December 1999

3D OR NOT 3D [Author: arcadian del sol]

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT, ALFIE?
One thing all the prognosticators seem to agree on is that Ultima Online: Third Dawn will include a new interface using 3D acceleration. The question is, what exactly does that mean? Nobody really knows. Deus Ex and EverQuest are 3D games, but then, so is DiabloII, in all it’s spritely glory. It could be that UO:3D will simply be the same isometric, dimensionally challenged game we have today, only with crisp lines and colored lighting effects. Or we might end up with a game that for all intents and purposes, is EverQuest. As for me, if it is the former, count me in. If it is the latter, email me to buy my accounts.

RICH MAN, POOR MAN
Those who play UO purely for the PVP experience will be the first to tell you that if you want to compete, you better be prepared to spend some money. Ultima Online has followed the same evolutionary path as Major League Baseball. What once was a gentleman’s game is now a “spend to contend” miasma of cable modems and SCSI hard drives. If you sloth along like me on a 56k modem and a seventeen inch display, prepare to be ganked inside-out by a cable jockey on horseback. Prepare to be at 35 hit points by the time you realize that you are under attack. I know what you’re going to say: “Arcadian stop being a crybaby newB and buy a cable modem.” Well, I’m going to be moving soon and I currently rent in a location where I don’t have such modern luxuries at my disposal. So for the time being, I have to suffer the slings and arrows of those who pay for premium internet connectivity. People in the back row, let me hear you testify!

So it is already a given that He Who Has The Best Connection Rules The Nation. It is the first law of online gaming. This law has a sub-article that goes something like this:
“In the event that said nation is conceived and perceived in the graphical representation heretofore known as “Three Dee”, He Who Has The Best Connection will find competition with He Who Has The Fastest Processor and He Who Has The Latest Video Card. He Who Has All Three Will Rule The Nation, according to established precept.”

I hardly have a fast processor. I have a Pentium II 300. I have a TNT2 video card that is as old as my television. I have a monitor that is large, but not the fastest gun in the west. I was able to play DiabloII but every “foozle” killed me three times while I waited for the new location to load. It was a minor annoyance. I was able to play Deus Ex, but there were moments of sputter and hesitation when massive numbers of “chodes” chased me through the Chinese strip club. Fortunately, they were simple minded AI bots – and not thirteen year old (emotional age, not physical age) gank-whores who play the game like an online laser tag.

“Well if you love the old client so much, then keep it, Arcadian! Cry more, newB!” Sure, sure – that sounds good. Unless you consider the rumor that there will be regions of landscape unreachable by the old client. Remember when The Second Age was released? You didn’t have to buy that either. The fallout is that we can’t ride llamas in Britain, and you can’t enter The Land of the Lost without it. Landscape is the least of my concerns however. I’m more concerned at the widening gap between the advantaged and disadvantaged players. How many of you are using “tiny UO” setting in order to get a display that is three tiles wider? I am. Why? Because when you are not the red PK gank-whore, you are already at a disadvantage. You don’t need more of them, such as being visible to an opponent who is not visible to you. The sacrifice is that UO runs a teensy bit slower now, but you do what you must in order to maintain a somewhat level playing field. Nobody is arguing that a new 3D client will be superior – and naturally those who use it will gain yet another advantage.

What does it all mean for me? Well, there was a time in UO, just before Tyrant arrived and started scrubbing the walls of Sosaria with disinfectants, when I was teetering on the edge of canceling my accounts. Suddenly, there were alternatives to UO, and many players moved off to those new games. I was tempted, but once I saw what they looked like, I decided to stay with UO. I still enjoy the isometric “god view” when I play games. It makes me feel like I actually control my character/party. In the 3D perspective, the environment controls you. I don’t like that. I also don’t like how horrifically ugly 3D graphics are. Want to know how “cutting edge” 3D graphics are? All they do is make a basic geometric shape, and wrap it with a picture. That’s all. Want to know what 3D graphics look like? Cut out a picture of George Clooney’s face from People Magazine and wrap it around an egg. Voila, You now have Clooney 3D! Give him a katana and you’re ready to go kick some dancing Meerling ass!

I would be remiss, however, if I did not say that of the screenshots I have seen, the new online product from OSI does look prettier than the current assembly of 3D titles. But then again, the fruit fly larva is prettier than any other maggot in the animal kingdom. That doesn’t mean I want one as a pet. EverQuest and Asheron’s Call will always be there to love me. Like harlots in a bordello, all I need is a twenty dollar bill and I can buy me some love. But I haven’t been to see them yet. I have a nice UO to come home to every night. She might not dance and sing and strut like EQ and AC, and she might not be the red lipstick and mascara type, but she’s got what I need, and she’s the one I took home with me.

Players are passionate about online games. The players who aren’t don’t stick with them for longer than 3 months. Currently, the field is limited to three games, and the communities have their reasons for selecting one over the other. My reason for sticking with UO has been the interface. EQ and AC look like an origami puppet show on crack, and UO has a familiar, comfortable isometric display I prefer to this day. Yes, it’s three years old – crucify me. I also prefer three year old port to port bottled two days ago. I guess I’m crazy that way.

And that’s the rub: for different reasons and different purposes, each one of us is crazy. I just spent a small chunk of my life writing an editorial about a game. You just spent a small chunk of yours reading it. But to those who think we both just wasted our time, I hope someday you too can find something to be passionate about, and when you do, be prepared to defend it to someone like you.
I can think of worse things than Ultima Online to be obsessed about.
Baseball Cards come to mind.

ULTIMA ONLINE: THIRD DAWN [Author: lum]

Everybody is talking about Ultima-Nexus on the UWOoOOoo mailing list but strangely nobody is talking about Ultima Online: Third Dawn.

So I’ll do it. 🙂

On October 4th, Origin Systems Inc. registered the following domain names:

– UO3D.COM
– UO3D.NET
– UO3D.ORG
– UO-3D.NET
– UO-3D.ORG
– UOTD.ORG
– UO-TD.COM
– UOTHIRDDAWN.COM
– UOTHIRDDAWN.NET
– UOTHIRDDAWN.ORG
– THIRDDAWN.NET
– THIRDDAWN.ORG
– THIRD-DAWN.COM
– THIRD-DAWN.NET
– THIRD-DAWN.ORG

On March 30th, Jack Heistand, Senior Vice President/General Manager of
Origin, declared in an e-mail sent to his employees and published by Lum: “Rick Hall will become the producer of an exciting new sku, which will be the most powerful new UO release to date.”

On May 18th, Kirk “RuneSabre” Black, just after he left the UO Live team, declared: “My future is firmly with UO. Of course I can’t give you details of what the future of UO I will help bring about are, but, I can assure you its going to be very cool!”.

On May 30th, Gordon “Tyrant” Walton, Vice President of Online Services and Operations of Origin, declared in an interview given to Jinx: “More people are working on it now than there were at the peak of UO:Renaissance.”

On October 11th, Paul “Sage” Sage declared: “I honestly believe that the next few months will be the most exciting months ever in UO history”.

A lot of rumors were floating around the fan sites since April. It looks like we will soon know the truth.
I can be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that:

– A new extension to UO will be announced soon (before November 11th).
– It will be named Ultima Online: Third Dawn
– It will included a 3D client (hence the acronym UO:3D)
– A demo of this 3D client will be shown at the UO World Faire
– RuneSabre leads the project (if not as the producer as the lead programmer)
– It will be out before April 2001

The only real news here is the name of the extension. But by putting together all the informations released or leaked I think we get a better idea of what’s going on.

The future of UO is slowly taking shape… 🙂

TGFKAUO2 NOT TO ACTUALLY TECHNICALLY HAVE A NAME [Author: lum]

Quite a bit of a furor raised by Jinx’s snooping out of Origin’s purchasing of ultima-nexus.com. You would think they might have some motivation behind it (like, say, making a website for a game of the same name) but David Swofford told gamers.com that no, they are REALLY GODDAM HAPPY to have the name of Worlds of Ultima Origin Worlds of Ultimate Online Dancing Happy Meer Bounce Bounce Britannia! Those kids and their websites today. However, we’ve scooped everyone with the following announcement from Windfeather over on Somerandomname.Stratics.com message board:

I’m sorry, but as much as we would like to, we cannot promise our game will have a name at ship. We only want to make promises we know we can fulfill to avoid disappointing our fans. We do realize the importance of having a name, however, and have done some preliminary design work in that area. We therefore can promise you that if our game were to have a name at ship, it would be fully integrated with the other parts of our design. This is because we have a crack team of developers who have in the past named other MMORPGs, and who would avoid any common naming mistakes made by other companies.

Reading this, I decided to get to the bottom of this mystery immediately, and after going through the dictionary applying Bree-Caitlin Phenome Analysis to every possible word in the English, French and German languages as they would apply to MMORPG gaming, I drew a complete blank. So I went to plan B. I flew down to Austin and met with my contact, known only as Deep GM. He told me the true, deep dark secret of TheGameFormerlyKnownAsUO2 – its name would actually be a symbol. We’re looking for that symbol as we speak folks, and rest assured, when we find out the symbol that denotes the game that until really quite recently was known as something involving Origin, worlds, and online, we will let you know here first. Unless Jinx beats us to the punch.

WHAT THE FUCK, MAN? [Author: lum]

I figured I’d better pop off on this one, since the Butt-Naked Avenger saw fit to show his ass in our general direction (I suppose that comes with the butt-nakedness and all). Let’s hit this point by point.

I AM SO NOT A HYPOCRITE Bzzt. Just because you have a shard with 500 people running on a PC does not mean that you are somehow immune from any charges of hypocrisy, power-tripping, or copyright violations. It just means that you are a hypocrite, a power-tripper and a plagiarist on a smaller scale. I know this may be hard to fathom since it involves higher mathematical functions like division and multiplication, but 1500 macroers tying up CPU cycles on an Origin shard has about the same impact as 50 macroers tying up CPU cycles on your little utopian paradise.

LUM SUCKS BECAUSE HE HAS OTHER PEOPLE WRITING FOR HIS WEBSITE… as opposed, of course, to the one and only one person writing for wtfman.com, I take it. I mean, that would just SUCK if different people posted updates to wtfman.com. Obviously you would have to have delusions of grandeur to do something like that.

LUM AND FEAR BLOW OSI STAFFERS Leaving aside for a moment Greybeard’s oral fixation (what, did LadyMOI promise you Ultima 9 would work or something?) the accusation remains that both Fear and I are homosexual because we are actually polite to Origin’s folks when they poke their heads out from their shells.

I realize politeness may be foreign to Greybeard, being a sign of adulthood and all, but even leaving that aside, do picture the following interview.

Runesabre: Hi, Greybeard. Thanks for having me on your website.

Greybeard: Fuck you. You think I sold out to the MAN or something? Bring back precasting, you lame shit. And get rid of statloss while you’re at it. And get me a beer, bitch.

Runesabre: What the fuck, man? (leaves)

So you see, it’s only from pure self-interest that we act like reasonable human beings and not flaming hemmorhoidal assholes when dealing with the folks who actually work on this crap for a living. It’s one of those cause and effect deals. You know. Like when you steal from someone and they get pissed and turn grey, then you can kill them. I hope that’s a metaphor you more fully understand. (By the way, a metaphor is a way of expressing an idea.)

I like Greybeard. Hell, I even like Ronald McDonald, despite his constant entreaties for hot monkey loving. (Nighthawk scares me, but that’s OK. I think it’s the tribal mask.) But in case you folks haven’t noticed, this is the week I am not taking any shit.

BETTER LATE THEN NEVER….. [Author: great bob]

Uovault, everyone’s favortie UO news site, if your definition of news involves nothing but posts about tavern openings, has broken the story that Todd Mcfarlane will be doing the art for UO2! Now I know that many of you might be thinking that you’ve known this for months and months now, but you’re wrong. This is news, damnit! It has to be, otherwise why would Uovault publish it?

I myself am planning some late breaking news that a man named “Adolf” is planning on invading Poland. My guess? It’ll be the hottest story of the century!

Of course, I myself am not immune to this kind of thing. Reading >Battle Vortex I discovered that Fear had allready posted the Greybeard story days ahead of me. My only justification is that I’m not Y2K compliant. I percieve the date as being Jan 8th 1900, and so in my mind I scooped them by nearly an entire century. Folks, if you send me stuff to my mailbox, please tell me you got it from somewhere else, k? I warn you, I still have the negatives, and you don’t want anyone finding out about the goat thing.

Then again, I was wrong when I said that “I’m sure Grey Beard himself can see the irony in this. Hell, he probally gets a chuckle out of the situation himself.” Obviously >not.

Racist hogwash, Errol Flynn and Dr. Twister all in one package. Who’d a thunk it? [Author: myschyf]

The Dr. Twister network, known for.. well Dr. Twister, now brings us this little beauty.

I have to say I’m getting pretty fed up with the rampant racism I’m seeing and its fucking everywhere — on Lum’s forum, on r33t (thank goodness THAT particular piece of shit is gone), and now we have Galad: the lewter, the racist, a man secure in his manhood and with an almost unhealthy fixation on Errol Flynn. If he would just throw a swastika, an upside down pink triangle, and a burning cross on the site he’d then have all the major hate groups covered and REALLY have something to brag about.

WTF is wrong with this little dipshit anyway? There’s no KKK chapter where he lives? There wasn’t enough racist crap on the internet and in our lives so he just had to interject a little more? Can’t find the Arian Nation in the phone book? Massive inferiority complex? Abused by Asian people as a child?

There’s nothing funny about this site. At its absolute worse it is horrifying simply because the author thinks its funny. At its best its either sad or disgusting or both.

And don’t even get me started on how lame his methods of looting are. This little twerp probably couldn’t pk a macroing newbie fisherman who had lost connection. He probably thinks an orc mask is ph4t l3wt.

You know when I first started writing this I was going to blast DTN for allowing this site to even exist on their network. On the other hand where else would you expect to even see it. Then the ‘I hate censorship’ demons raised a cacophony so loud I was driven from the keys momentarily. However these boys have a message board (such as it is — the level of illeratcy displayed astounds even myself. I truly thought I had seen it all) and I suppose if you don’t like what these morons have to say you can let them know there. (Don’t ever let anyone tell you Mys can’t drop a ‘subtle’ hint ::grins::).

…BUT BY GOD, AT LEAST THEY DIDN’T PRECAST! [Author: lum]

Sage Thunderlips, God’s gift to tamers, thieves and twinks, sends in this update:

You know its a sad day when my bug using sarcastic ass has a fan.

From kTalk: Thunderlips: how come you are not one of the Lummites? I value your opinion (and attitude) more highly than most of these
wannabes.

Actually I really have no urge to post on your site after those other poor sods got lynched. Plus I actually play the game as Thunderlips so they can literally lynch me, heh.

Anyhow, onto something shitty that happened to me in the wonderful world of UO. I found a spot in T2A where I could make a 95 Tamer is about 5 days. Quite pleased with myself, my modest nature demanded that I bragged about it on the UTB Tamer board (they just love me there!). I posted and Firedog basicly said, this is a no-no adn it will be fixed. I swear to god, not 3 seconds after he posted that, a Silver Serpent and 4 other lackies spawned on me. Not next to me, on me giving me a big’ol love hug (pic). Ever notice how the war mode mouse cursor looks like its flipping you off?

Good to see the GMs on the job enhancing everyone’s playing experience.

THANKS FOR THE AUDITION, BABE… WE’LL GET BACK TO YOU [Author: lum]

Some folks really want to be one of the new writers. Unfortunately, this guy seems to have too many gender identity issues.

(BTW, why is it that whenever I piss off the gimps, the inevitable retort is “Yeah, but you’re fat!”. That’s like, shorthand for “Everything you say is accurate and there’s no way I can ever get anyone to disagree with you, so instead I’ll fall back to what worked in grade school.” I mean, what’s next, Yo Mama jokes?)

AND YOU KIDS THOUGHT LUM WAS A SELL OUT…. [Author: great bob]

Irony, thy name is Greybeard.

You all remember Greybeard from UOEvil, dontcha? Recall back in July when he said “I would even go so far as to say that the day I log in and find that I’ve gotten a ban (even as short as 24 hours) for macroing, is the day I cancel my account”? Well, I sure did. Oddly enough, he might not have. You see, Greybeard is now GM for a private shard called honorbound. He recently sent this message to his players;

“Folks, you have GOT to keep abreast of the rules. I amazingly am still coming across people macroing. Dont think that because you are hiding under a tree in the middle of the woods somewhere that you wont get caught. Fact is that you will be found no matter where you “hide”. Now, originally the plan was to immediately
ban you on the spot when we caught you, but the three guys I found yesterday and today, I was generous enough to “only” wipe their backpack (including deleting their newbie box) and their entire bank account. Gold, keys, runes, reagents, kiss it all goodbye. TwinkleToes managed to macro up 1.5 archery skill yesterday and it only cost him 70,000 gp and 3000 reagents to do so. What a bargain eh? We are NOT fucking around with you and will not tolerage gimpy bastards flagrently disregarding our rules. Our generosity will soon be coming to an and you can expect accounts to start getting axed quick, fast and in a hurry in the near future over this.

Well, I guess if you’re not a rebel at the age of 20 you got no heart, and if you are a rebel at the age of thirty you got no brain. Or something like that. Coming soon: Braves pitcher Rocker berates Major League Baseball for racial intolerance!

Perhaps Tyrant and Greybeard can start swapping ICQ numbers.