December 1999

WAAAH! HIS HOUSE HAS A TREE IN IT! CAN I PLACE A HOUSE THERE? [Author: wirehead]

I’ve just been informed by one of my moles in the smurf program (let’s call him Deep Brainy Smurf) that counselors are no longer to forward “illegal house placement calls” to GMs, and that GMs will not act on or log these calls.

OK everyone, let’s get your thoughts on this. I personally like it. I don’t like the idea of smurfs being used as a police force (and one summoned as a form of ‘let’s get back at the guy we don’t like’ sort of immature warfare more often than not). Of course the folks who *don’t* use bugs to place houses may be somewhat irritated.

CAVEAT EBAY [Author: wirehead]

Got this horror story in the mail today. Similar hijinks have happened in Everquest, which caused Verant to disavow responsibility for any eBay transactions. In contrast, Richard “Lord British” Garriott seems quite proud of “the eBay model”. I suppose we’ll have to see if that pride continues in the face of scams like these…

Heres an astonishing bit of info for everyone that has ever bought or sold a UO account: How would you like to be able to get that account back EVEN after you have received your EBay money or whatever you sold it for? Think I’m kidding? I’m not. All you have to do is be the original credit card holder that opened the account, it doesn’t matter whose credit card is on it ‘for now’.

I have been playing UO since the charter and I can say I’ve seen some really screwed up sh** from Origin but this really takes the cake. Much like bugs are revealed to be exploited so Origin is forced to fix them, so should this be. This did not happen to me but someone close to me and I believe everyone should know exactly how screwed up it is.

——-begin

Around the time SP was made permanent (July 99), I took over another
player’s account because he was quitting UO. He had told me that if SP was wiped that he would leave for good. When the moment came, he mentioned that he wanted to give his account to a friend. I supposed it was for sentimental reasons. He said none of his friends were playing, etc.

I suggested that he give me the account since I was looking for a second one and had no intention of leaving UO. He agreed and cleared out his credit card info from the account site. Then, he gave me the password and I went in and put in my info and changed the password. He talked to me now and then to see how it was going.

Then, a few weeks ago, he messages me to see if I would be willing to give him back the account. This was about the time that Sunsword announced that UO could go on for years (and also the changed to containers, house ownership etc). I had just bought 4 vendor deeds to set up a shop in my little house (on the other account). The SP character on this account was the owner of the SP house and also did a lot of the secondary skills for me. I had also moved all my stuff in the large forge and had set aside about 30 bags of stuff for the ticket barrel. I took a week to think about it and told him that I had decided to keep the account but would be happy to help in any way I could.

He said that it was fine and that he did not want to cause me any trouble.

“If it is going to be that much trouble then I do not want it. Some
friends have been bugging me to come back so I thought I would try again.”
(icq from the original account owner on 10/2/99)

Then, this past Saturday, I go to log in with one of the characters of that account and I can’t. This is when I called (a friend at OSI). It was evening and I was so worried that I had been hacked. Then I went to the house and noticed that I had been unfriended, the locks changed, etc. Not a word from the previous owner. Same with the SP house. Not a word from the previous owner.

The large forge on LS is mostly full of my items now. All my best things. My guilds SP house and stone are lost.

He told me in icq that the decision to come back was something he never imagined and that he did not want to disrupt my play. Now he does this. As far as we both knew, he was gone from UO and that account is mine. In fact, the day he gave it from me, XXXXXXX (old friend of his) offered to buy the house on that account. If he had the idea that I was simply holding the account for him, then why would he have sent his friend my way?

” Umm, I do not think you are being a bitch. I did not think I would ever come back either. It is up to you” (icq from original owner 10/2/99)

After contacting OSI, I discovered that the OSI customer service person just gave the account back to him. I don’t understand this. The password and credit card info were mine and therefore it could not be transferred to anyone without my consent. A comment attached to the account said that they tried to reach me. I did not receive an email or a phone call about this matter. My phone number was there and they could have at least warned me.

On 11/3/99 I finally talked to Ed Ball who is the guy in charge of the account dept (I suppose). He told me that it didnt matter that I had the password and had been paying for many months. All that mattered was that XXXXXX has the original jewel case AND the original credit card number that opened the account. I asked him why this policy wasnt clearly stated since so many accounts were being bought on ebay or transferred like mine. His words : We are working on it.
————–end

-The email from OSI, pay close attention to this line “The original owner of the account (the person who possess the credit card with which the UO account was opened) is considered the true owner.”-

>Subject: Fw: Re Account being given to former owner
>Date: Tue, 2 Nov 1999 18:05:24 -0600

Dear (name removed),

I’ve received your letter and am giving it to Ed Ball here at Origin. I understand that there is a note in your account that says if you were to call in, to be patched through to Ed. However, I am confident that Ed will respond to your email as soon as possible. If you don’t wish to wait, then I would advise that you phone in the morning and ask to speak to him regarding your account.

It is important, however, to set your expectations at this point. In the cases of this type of thing that I have seen before, the original owner of the account (the person who possess the credit card with which the UO account was opened) is considered the true owner. This is absolutely necessary to protect individuals who are illegally hacked.

I believe that Ed can discuss this in more detail, but believe me, these rules are in place to protect our customers. Transferrence of accounts is a very dangerous business, and while it can provide some very cool results, it can also lead to disputes like yours. I am so displeased that you are now the victim of this situation. From what I can tell, you are absolutely sincere in your plea – but unfortunately that sincerity can’t win a legal battle. In cases such as these, our service department tries to identify the true owner of the account. I also understand that someone tried to contact you and was unable to do so.

So, while I do believe that Ed will contact you, I think you should prepare yourself for the fact that you will probably not be able to get the account back, or any of the possessions within it, unless you are able to patch up your differences with the person himself and arrange for your goods to be transferred to you.

I’m very saddened to have to impart this information to you. I know
first hand the pain that is involved in being ripped from what you believe is rightfully yours, and from things that you have worked hard for. I take such things entirely personally, myself, and I know what you must be feeling right now. I wish that I could say more, or do more for you, but I’m afraid I can’t.

Your options at this point are to wait for Ed’s response, or to call him tomorrow morning, and see what you can get from him. He’s certainly the authority in these types of matters, where as I am only a Community rep. I do wish you luck, and hope that you can work something out.. either with Ed, or with the friend whose account you shared (Note: the account was not ‘shared’ is was taken over).

If I can answer any other questions, I will do my best….

——————-

After reading this I think you will agree that anyone and everyone can get
a
UO account back at any time they want to whether it been sold for real money or whatever. This is truly screwed up and needs to addressed, hopefully these kind of situations could be rectified quickly if a large number of people started re-claiming their sold accounts, then maybe OSI might take some action.

I assume the original owner of the account merely called OSI and stated he was hacked, or possibly just that he wanted to change some account information or lost his password, provided his credit card number and was given back the account.

So what do YOU think?

MORE ON THOSE LOVEABLE AUSSIES [Author: wirehead]

As a reaction to Miasma’s rant, I recieved the following:

I’d like to respond to the absolute load of crap that Miasma spewed forth from his mouth again. He seems to have a real anger problem and resorts to attacking OSI for every set-back that happens in our campaign to get a server. Needless to say, I (and many others) do not regard him as the ideal spokesperson for our efforts.

Tyrant did the right thing in emailing our list and informing us of the complications they were facing — He could have turned the other cheek and kept us in the dark as to how the server was progressing, but no, he took his time to update all the people who are supporting this cause and trying to make an Australian UO server a reality.

There are a lot of “engineers” on the mailing list, who play this game from Australia. That message was basically a help request, asking all people on the list who had a clue, to email back with what they know of this countries carriers and hosting services. I very much doubt OSI would have flown their head of network ops out here for a free holiday if this was a half-assed attempt.

The email from Tyrant also states “We have the equipment ready to go, just need someplace to send it” — They need a provider. That is all. I suspect the reason a lot of the “incredibly cheap” requests were ignored, is basically because Australia is also plagued by ISPs who cram as many users as they can on a 64k ISDN link and others who route all their traffic via satellite direct to the US to decrease costs. They want to do this right the first time and put the server with an efficient, reliable, high performance host who will also be negotiable when it comes to the price of the data.

Don’t count on the Australia server not happening until every avenue is explored.

**flips Miasma off**

Korensky
UDL Knight
Siege Perilous

YOU KNOW, I SAW “THE ROAD WARRIOR” TWICE, AND YOU PROBABLY DON’T WANT TO PISS THESE GUYS OFF [Author: wirehead]

More news on the Australian server front. Tyrant writes to the Aussie mailing list:

Perhaps someone on the list can help us find an ISP that does not charge by the byte transferred within Australia? Is this some kind of government regulatory issue? It effectively makes UO more than 3x more expensive to run in Australia than in any other country we operate in. Currently we are examining options for a server that is outside of Australia due to this setback.

As I noted in a previous message, our Network Operations manager was disappointed when he visited Australia to meet with ISP’s as they were not forthcoming with the business and network information in the weeks prior to the visit, and even during the visit. Now the more we know, the less an Australian based server looks financially viable.

We will have a server accessible to Australian consumers that has a better connection than the USA or Korea, but it may not be located in Australia unless we get some new information and options pretty quickly. This might also set back our December 1st target date, but we certainly hope not. We have the equipment ready to go, just need someplace to send it.

Needless to say, this did not set well with the folks down under. The ISP Tyrant refers to is Telstra, Australia’s semi-official dominant telecom company. Here’s what a somewhat understandable engineer had to say in response:

Well, this is one pissed off Miasma here !!! Not only have OSI made a comment that they are considering not placing the server in Australia because we are “too dear”, but they have also ignored the INCREDIBLY CHEAP requests of many ISPs and from ACTUAL ENGINEERS that do the damn installation of the hardware that connects to the internet! The only reason we would be “too dear” would be if OSI didn’t do their research and went through the, for example, Telstra Business Centre. Now for those of you that don’t know, ANY service offered by the Business Centre has to be the most EXPENSIVE telecommunications service in the world ! Fact! BUT, there is a reason!! The cost incurred by going through the business centre of ANY of our Telecommunications/Internet Connection Service providers (and NO THEY ARE NOT ISPs LIKE ONENET ETC !!! STOP USING THAT WORD OUT OF CONTEXT!!!) is extremely expensive due to the fact they do everything for you. EG:, “Umm I cant connect to a website in Afghanistan…” **calls Telstra Business Centre and explains problem**… they then immediately find out why and tell you or fix it! Basically they do EVERYTHING FOR YOU !! So you pay for it which is fair enough.

The problem is that nobody has thought of talking to the little people like myself, the actual Telecommunitcation Engineers that are contracted by Optus and Telstra, etc. No they have taken the arrogant approach of “I KNOW ALL THEREFORE WHY SHOULD I SPEAK TO THE LITTLE PEOPLE!!!” and made a half-assed assumption that our telecommunications industry is too expensive! My arse !!! I spent about 2 days speaking to companies like Telstra, local ISPs, super huge metworking guru friends etc and what did I find out? That OSI made a half-hearted attempt!!!

The fact is that if you want to run your own ISP, and don’t have a friken clue, then use the Business Centre, makes your life easier! BUT, if you know what you are doing as far as networking and all things to do with the internet, the who cares if you are a multi million dollar company, get the best friken price from someone that says they know what they are doing! Same as our Defence Force does, best service from the LOWEST bidder, and they are a tad larger and have more money than EA/OSI ever will !

I am severely annoyed (if you couldn’t guess) that nothing was done to prepare for the server in my opinion (which I won’t delete so don’t ask!!!). They didn’t do the research which my humble overworked self got after 2 days and a bit of driving about to find out! Now if I can do it then why the hell can’t a super large multi-million dollar company like OSI do it!?!?! Simple answer, the “I Know All” attitude! Well OSI WAKE UP !!!!!!!!! You don’t know everything which is obvious after my little run around a few weeks ago! Don’t be so bloody arrogant to think you know everything and get off your $%^$ing high horse and ASK !!! I have done soooo much to promote this damn shard, not to mention all the other people that helped to get the effort off the ground, worn the expense myself and now I see a comment like, “Nope too expensive, sorry”, well in my OPINION, thats the biggest cop out I have ever heard! Do the research! Don’t assume to know everything cause you don’t! You send a guy here to find a place WITHOUT checking it out first, then you expect everything to fall into your lap just because “YOU’RE OSI !!”

I have spent around $800 on this only to see incompetence at the highest levels!!! If you don’t start making a SERIOUS ATTEMPT at getting us this shard then I’ll do my best to get people to quit! Who wants to deal with a “I know more than YOU do, so I won’t ask for help and I don’t really care for your opinion” company.

There are 3 weeks to resolve this problem and I will continue helping and pushing whereever I can to get us this shard, maybe there is some chance of making up for lost ground! As far as this News Update being wipe, **cares not for YOUR opinion**. If I burn bridges then so be it. The fact is that SOMEBODY needs a wake up call and this is it. I full expect some serious arse kissing to come from the OneList 200 odd email group, but that is also a half-assed effort, in my opinion! So I personally don’t care. There had better be some kind of contact soon to even make me want to keep this site going! I don’t get paid for it OR sufficient feedback so once again **cares not**!!!

If this post disappears it because I had a change of heart and not because of somebody telling me to remove it btw. I have been working 4 12 hour shifts and I am quite tired. I may regret posting this onto the site but at this point in time I can’t see any reason why I shouldn’t. They don’t respect the effort of the people that support the effort so why should I support them further. Time to put the foot down on top of the one that wants to keep walking over us!

So if you work for an Australian ISP and you can offer a flat rate for a T3 and a 24/7 NOC, you may want to contact the nice folks at OSI before mean dudes with mohawks show up and steal all of our gasoline.

LINUX CLIENT UPDATED [Author: wirehead]

Krelin, The Amazing Colossal UO Programmer, posted this on CoB:


Ok, I just built a Linux client and put a silly README file together, and stuck it up on the web-site. ftp://ftp.owo.com/pub/uo/client/linux/ is the directory containing the README, and client-glibc2.1.i386; the client is a binary built on RH6.0, so that’s probably your best bet to get it working, but other glibc2.1 systems may have good luck, too.

SPARKY SPEAKS! [Author: wirehead]

Jason “I Need A Snappy Nickname – Maybe Sparky?” Bell updated Comments from the Dev Team, which he technically is not a part of, not being a developer or anything, but probably no one had the authority to say, “um, Sparky, this is my page.”

Here’s my recap, in case you don’t want to actually read it, or are not an attractive smurf and can allure someone into reading it to you.

* UO got some award from some large accounting firm. Sparky got to give a speech. He mentioned that UO GP are worth more than Italian Lira.

* Asheron’s Call won’t hurt UO’s sales. Nope. Uh uh. *whistles*

* We expect lots of new players, and they won’t want to put up with all the sad ass shit you had to. So we need to make things better.

* There will be a non-PvP area of the world. Monster AI will be beefed up so those in the non-PvP area do not fall asleep. PvP is one of the “attractions” (quotes not mine) of UO.

* Sparky signs his letter “Orthanc”. Isn’t that from Tolkien? That’s a bogus nickname. He’s stuck with Sparky. Sorry.

WHO GOT DA FUNK? [Author: wirehead]

KillaX sent this to me as some kind of expose against Ironwill’s DFM guild. Personally, I think it shows Ironw^H^H^H^H^HNotorious NPC as being kinda cool. It also shows that DFM (a) knew about 1-hit-killer weapons and (b) disavowed them, at least in this email.

Over a year old, but posted for historical interest.

Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 10:06:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: Notorious NPC
Subject: HoS Destruction
To: (removed)
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=us-ascii
X-UIDL: e1cc7834d37f25e626f69f0d4fa14494
Status: R

This will be a night that the HoS will never forget.

The Digital Funk Machine will spearhead the assault against the HoS, as guilds still seem reluctant to come together to fight them. While we all have our petty differences, surely for a few hours we can place them aside to battle what most of us feel the evil of the shard.

DFM guildmembers have had some personal schedule changes which have made it hard to all play together; however this is a night that we will not let pass without taking full advantage.

This is what I need from you:

1) If you are in a guild that is at war with HoS, bring your guildmember. We will need forces to chase them through town. For those that are not at war, bring your character that does not mind having a couple murders.

2) Equip well. If for some reason you die during our battles tonight, it is the rest of our duties to help protect the items and guard the stuff AND NOT TO LOOT. So if you have that magic plate waiting for that special occasion, this is the time. You will fight against those that believe as you do, and I will personally make sure it is not lost.

3) We need runes to places. DFM does not have very many, and we need some to the dungeons, towns for the guilds, and to every known HoS house and hideout. We are putting trust into this, so dont screw over the murderers by sending us to town. 🙂

4) We need a color so that we are all identifiable to each other. For lack of reason, I say wear capes that are the darkest blue possible. This is important; anyone with that color will be treated as friend until otherwise noted.

5) Meet at the Vesper crossroads at midnight CST tonight. If for some reason that location is taken, then we will meet at the second mountain pass that is west of Covetous.

Notify any other guilds that you deem necessary. Unfortuantely the other night we had a run-in with Xanadu that had some trigger-happy members. 🙂 OUR ENEMY IS NOT EACH OTHER FOR ONE NIGHT – IT IS THE HOS.

On the case that HoS has their one hit bows, we will need to run and contact a GM or a Counselor. While they would proclaim otherwise, running from that b.s. is not shameful at all. And if you have a onehitter, do NOT bring it. DFM will not ever partake in that, and do not want to be associated as such.

Here is to the good fight,
Notorious NPC

TYRANT ON RECENT STORIES REGARDING THE VOLUNTEER PROGRAM [Author: wirehead]

Tyrant is the Head Man in Charge of The UO Service including Customer Service (among other things) at Origin, and has been known to have an opinion or two.

===

We do have occasional problems with the quality and consistency of delivering of service to the players and these issues tend to get broadcast as if it is our planned mode of operation.

We deal with these issues as soon as they are bought to our attention, and I’m sure most of you can understand why we can’t broadcast to our customers when we do personnel actions (even with volunteers) in today’s litigious society. What all players want is to have confidence that any service issue taken care of and that we don’t condone less than quality service.

The uoconcerns@uo.com email address is specifically for any kind of employee or volunteer service complaints and we do investigate each of them individually using our logging capabilities. This is not for game design issues, bugs or policy complaints, but only for reporting service representative incidents.

I don’t think the players ever want us to be satisfied with the level of service we are providing. I do think we are delivering better service based on the metrics I see. These “corruption” stories from the past set us back by damaging consumer confidence but our service trends are moving in the right direction. We will continue to improve the training, monitoring and management of our service personnel. I can promise you that without reservation.