December 1999

BANNED FROM UO? TRY AC, YOU’RE WELCOME. [Author: lietgardis]

About a week ago, the rumors hit mainstream — there was a way to exploit a bug in Asheron’s Call to get permanent item enchantments on weapons and armor. A few made profit during this mysterious time, trading their “permabuffing” services for rare-drop items, informal money through Paypal, and eBay auctions. Within a matter of days, though, the exact method was public knowledge, thanks to slow moderation on Crossroads of Dereth boards and certain AC sites of ill repute. Armed with that knowledge, a significant number of players went out in force to exploit to their hearts’ content — as they were well able to.

You see, it’s not really your fault if you exploit in AC. Even with perfect knowledge that you’re acting outside the clear intended purpose of item enchantment (that is, recasting your spells a maximum of every 15 minutes), it’s not really your fault if the bug is in the game. It’s not really your fault if you use this bug to make permanent, godly armor with a matching shield and weapon. It’s understood that you have no moral qualms about cheating, as per the definition above, and you shouldn’t be punished for that minor shortcoming.

The exploiting would have gone on until every person on every server had the best equipment in the game, with no regrets, except that it was finally decided that it just might be unbalancing. After this week of bliss for a huge number of players, the servers will be patched tonight with a quick fix. This wasn’t expected — why, if the bug’s there, and you’re given full license to exploit it as you wish, why did it need to be so expediently removed?

People were quite happy to exploit this bug. It enabled them to take low-level characters into tough locations they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to handle, if left to rely on their own magic skills, and made these places into overcrowded locuses of lag, pushing out the people that were legitimately there using their own skills and not advantages given by cheating. Surely hundreds of people managed to level their affectionately-titled, rerolled “lowbies” in relative safety with their “\’c3\’bcber” exploited Faran robes. They wonder why it needs to be patched.

Another group claims that the entire tenor of the game was better with the exploitation of this bug, as they were finally able to leave the stress of levelling behind, and be friendlier to others, when they could both level and chat with people at the same time — the stress of baning and casting Impenetrability on every single piece of armor every fifteen minutes being removed. They cry that they finally got to see how much fun the game would be without paying the price for playing a magic-dependent character, and the game just won’t be as much fun ever again.

All camps were surprised with the speed of the emergency patch, as most all were convinced the apparently lackadaisical developers would let it go until next month’s “event.” No evidence was given earlier than today that that attitude would change. And, after 10:00 PST tomorrow morning, everyone will be sad again — forced to cast every single bane on every piece of armor they wear at all times; forced to stress over levelling instead of chatting and helping others, as the bug had so benignly helped them to do; forced to only take their solo characters to places they could only reach with their own lower-level magics; forced to rely on themselves or mages in their fellowships, and play the game as it is currently intended. Fortunately enough, to make up for this drastic loss, nobody will be punished for use or sale of the exploit.

After all, it’s not your fault if you have no ethical standards.

SHARD OF SCREAMS [Author: myschyf]

Announcing the Shard of Screams
Origin is darkly pleased to announce the opening of the Shard of Screams, our newest and creepiest shard, on the gruesome evening of October 31st. Housed in a secret, dark and desolate location, the shard is the 23rd Ultima Online shard nether-worldwide.

The name, “Shard of Screams”, is perhaps a reflection of the deathly terrors that await in this twisted Britannia. As per our localized shard policy, the shard will be available only to undead for a short period of time. This will allow the undead to establish a solid foundation and community base on the shard. However, since undead are notoriously bad at forming communities, we’ve concluded it deadliest wise to allow the worldwide community of Ultima Online players to meet their doom enjoy this unique shard.

———-

The Shard of Screams will open this evening, October 31st (CST) for all Ultima Online players. Special tricks and treats abound on the shard, including decorations, magic pumpkins with mysterious properties hidden in and around towns, undead and demonic shopkeepers, and the opportunity to dress as a selection of unique and frightening monsters. We may have a few other unusual prizes hidden up our sleeves, in our cloaks, or behind our masks, so keep your eyes open and watch the shadows behind you!

As a special note, if you take the time to join us on the Shard of Screams, please be aware that passing through the monster gates will dress you up as monsters, but you will not acquire the monster’s special abilities or skills. However, Shard of Screams is set up with the Test Center code to allow you to alter your skills and stats at will. Once changed to a monster, your character paperdoll will appear blank, so be sure to equip any armor or weapons before putting on your “costume”.

Planning magic pumpkin hunting? Some magic pumpkins may be found easily in the open, but others are hidden from sight and may prove much more interesting.

The Shard of Screams will only be available for a couple horror-filled days, after which it will return to service as the Volunteer Shard.

THINGS THAT GO *BAN* IN THE NIGHT [Author: arcadian del sol]

Last night, the stories started coming in, little by little. Right now, I am afraid there isn’t a great deal of information available, but just so you know: PATCH SERVER WASNT KIDDING AROUND.

This thread on the official UO.Com message boards happened to be among the earliest indications that something was up. The reports posted there were all from players who made the defense that the only 3rd party applications they had running were UO:Assist and UO:AutoMap; both members of the defunct “UOPro” program. A few indicated that they also had various firewall protection utilities running. As I cannot verify these testimonials, I’ll have to leave them at face value, and refrain from any judgements.

For those of you who are new members to the Ultima Online community, any program you use to enhance the UO experience, is labelled a “third party application”. This basically means it is an unofficial modification to the Ultima Online client. There are a few of these utilities that are approved by OSI, and they bear the “UOPro” tag to indicate this. The membership in this program is very tiny, as it was shut down weeks after the first entries were added, and almost immediately after the controversial UO:Assist was finally approved; a process that made the repealing of the Volstead Act look like a game of rock-scissors-paper. The use of any unapproved 3rd party applications while accessing Ultima Onlines servers is expressly prohibited, and will ultimately result in the forclosure of your game accounts.

NEWS IN RELATION: The following update appeared two days ago on the “Ultimate Freedom” website (not linked here for clearly obvious reasons):
“Due to certain difficulties, most of the site’s normal content will be unavailable.”
“Most of the site’s normal content” consists of the marketing of a bannable 3rd party application formerly known as UOE (UO:Extreme), and a discussion board revolving around that commercially illegal product. I was forwarded an email from the owner of the site, that said simply: “Two words: EA Legal”

Whether that is true or not remains to be confirmed, however it is certain that somebody contacted the host of the domain, and the content was removed at their request. Various well known “cheater boards” (again, no links. bite me if you want them) feature discussion threads with titles such as “OMG! If you use UE, you’re banned! WTF?!”, so clearly something is afoot.

At this point, I usually offer my opinions or personal slant on the topic at hand, and it is immediately interpreted by the majority of readers as “high-handed”, “egotistical”, and even “self-righteous”. Pardon me while I take the unique approach, and consider my own opinions to be correct. I guess I just assumed that everyone felt that way about their own opinions. It is difficult, believe it or not, to actually write about something you don’t believe in. That aside, here’s my opinion. The views of cheaters, exploiters, and players previously banned from Ultima Online can be read in the discussion thread within the hour:

Playing by the rules is HARD, and for users who don’t always “get the joke” (*cough Sinij cough*), I use all caps to emphasize sarcasm. Ultima Online is a game of competition, by virtue of it’s multiplayer capacity. You may not play it for direct competition, but the competition is always there, compelling you to keep working that skill until you reach grandmaster status. To those who can do this by the rules, in fair competition, you’ve won. To those who reach the goal line by cheating their way through the race, you are not winners. You are a status somewhere below “loser”, and you know it. You know that you cannot compete, and your sense of inadequacy is what compels you to find the “easy gimmick”. You will find that the rules will ever be modified and strictly enforced upon you. It will seem like the officials are bearing down on you – they are, and they should.

In the real world, cheating in competition will result in an expulsion, and can sometimes be criminal. If you can learn that lesson by being banned from a game, consider yourself one step ahead of your fellow crooks.

In the meantime, I’ll be camping outside your villa.

TEST OF ETHICS [Author: lum]

To start, let’s look at the event in question. The “Test of Tactics” is a team-based PvP competition designed to produce the “Best of the Best” – which guild can give the most ass-whuppin on the other guild’s team, basically. It’s a lot of fun. Well, it was on most servers.

On Bristlebane, it happened that the winning team actually fought at warp speed. You see, they exploited an arcane bug involving how resurrection spells work in EQ. The GMs killed every participant before the competition – to clear every player’s buffs and ensure that each team was on an even footing, mind you – but this team managed to figure out how they would be left with a spell buff called “Spirit of Scale”. Spirit of Scale, or Scale for short, is a travel spell. It makes you go faster. It’s not intended to be a combat spell – and is much faster than combat spells that do the same thing – so it automatically poofs whenever you take damage from a spell.

Only if you do what the team in question did, you cast Sprit of Scale first – and the little known bug is that it survives your death. Once you die and are resurrected, you have the speed buff (minus the icon) until you are killed again or zone. Now, your Scale spell is now completely undispellable. You are really fast, and you will remain really fast until you die. You can race across the field and smack your opponents with your sword disrupting the first spells they try to cast. Some Test of Tactics, hm?

Some might consider this, oh, cheating. Maybe even exploiting. Certainly grounds for disqualification, right?

Wrong. As GM “Lady Daegarmo”, the event coordinator put it, in a cloyingly in-character account posted today,

Lady Daegarmo’s smile could not be mistaken as she knew that all of her teams effort to make this tournament a story of legends was unfolding. As she turned a corner, she suddenly stopped smiling, as she saw a team in distress.

She ran up to the group, and smiles were not seen on the faces of these champions. Lady Daegarmo asked “What is wrong? Do you not have your gear? Is your team missing members? What has caused you to not enjoy the festivities that are in front of you?”

With heads hung low, and spirits crushed, the party answered. “We beg your forgiveness, for we have failed you. You see, our team cheated to win our regional event, to earn our right to be here with the true champions, and we are so heartbroken by our actions that we are unsure if we wish to compete with those who earned their right to compete.”

“Our homeland has found out of our dishonorable deeds, and does not bless our presence here. We do not have the hopes and dreams of our people behind us. We do not have their prayers and their wishes to give us strength to defeat our foes. We ask for forgiveness and wonder if we should still enter the event.”

This was not a request to enter the event, without question it was a plea to dismiss the group so that they would not need to make the hardest decision they would ever have to make, the decision they knew in their hearts was right.

Lady Daegarmo paused and thought for a moment. The team was defeated, a lost cause before they entered the match. With as high of spirits and hopes that the other teams had, no amount of skill or courage could make up for the loss of morale by this team. As a Knight herself, the Lady pondered what punishment she would give those involved.

Disqualifying the team was an option, but by those who truly understood justice, knew that such a decision would be considered merciful, for it ended the pain and suffering of having to bring themselves to resignation.

Lady Daegarmo spoke “You have admitted to me freely the crimes you have done against your homeland. Send this message, that I give you the right to enter this event. Spread the word so that all of your countrymen know that you can freely make this decision to enter this event, or resign if your hearts so tell you that is the path you wish to follow!”

For those of you who don’t speak Elvish, here’s what actually happened (huge bitmap screenshot, quick and light text transcript). Basically, they initiated a conversation with Lady Daegarmo, taking screenshots the entire time, to justify to everyone concerned that using a bug in a PvP tournament was OK since it wasn’t expressly against the rules. And in fact they had every intention of using it again in the cross-server finals.

However, the team involved had a crisis of conscience within its own ranks. Four of the seven members resigned the tournament rather then compete. The three remaining were forced to forfeit the finals. However, they all kept the titles and uberloot that they won from the server semi-finals (super-rare fanged skull stilleto for the rogue, special title appended to the team leader’s name, et cetera).

What’s the message here? That Verant has a somewhat inconsistent policy towards rules enforcement? That players can’t be trusted more than four inches away from an adult at all times? I don’t know.

I prefer to think that the four team members who resigned rather than perpetuate a travesty Verant was perfectly willing to continue delivered the real message. When the true test was given, some passed.

MULTIPLAY AT YOUR OWN RISK [Author: arcadian del sol]

A LESSON IN AMERICAN HYSTERIA
Once upon a dark time in America, the House of Representatives held court to a paranoia the likes of which our Nation had never known before. Senator Joe McCarthy, sleepless over the threat of Communist infiltration of the major film studios, launched investigations into the private lives of actors, writers, directors, and producers. Some of them were die hard Communists, bent upon the demolition of our culture and replacing it with “that new thing they’re doing over in Asia”. But the hearings reached the level of insanity when individuals were branded and black-listed for nothing more than attending a child’s birthday party in which one or two suspected Communist Party Members had also been invited. Many people lost their homes, their careers – and a few lost their lives. It was a dark and tragic period of over-zealous justice, and the lesson we all were supposed to learn was thus: It is better that ten guilty escape judgement than for one innocent to suffer.

IP FREELY
Banning by IP numbers and other unique identifiers contained with each PC, is a valid approach. It is the only way to prevent, presumably, the revolving door by which banned players can re-introduce themselves into the online game. I’m not questioning the commitment to intolerance when it comes to exploitation, abuse, and misplay on the part of players who feel that personal ethics are an optional feature. For these exploiters and cheaters, being banned from a game will be the least of their worries. The “Real World” will be equally intolerant of their “cheat to win” mentality, and they will find themselves standing before a judge, if they fail to get the therapy they require. Notice, however, that the friends and associates of these people do not normally stand trial for that reason alone.

YOUR SKILL IN TALKING SMACK HAS INCREASED BY .1%
I was participating in a Seer run event. As most Seer events are prone to do, this one quickly dissolved into a PKing, Noto hunting, corpse looting free-for-all. This event was attended by a veritable “who’s who” of Chesapeake Roleplaying. Among these guilds was the well known “Legion of Virtues” (L/V). After watching a particularly well prepared looter make off with the valuables of about 8 dead participants, I attacked him, flagging grey. I thought I was in the company of like-minded individuals; certainly they all had spotted what was going on. And of course, as most “roleplayer” guilds are prone to do, the Legion of Virtues decided to abandon the gigantic Seer induced invasion of Corwyn, and chase down my little grey hide. After being ressed, I admit that I totally lost my cool. Not over being dead because that’s nothing new. I die every single day in UO. I was mad at what I felt was a betrayal by my “fellow roleplayers”. When the player I had initially attacked accused ME of being the looter, my head exploded and I started typing with my fists. Me and Little Looter Boy went at it verbally for what felt like hours. Several people kept returning to the scene asking, “Are you two still at it??”

It was a foul and vulgar exchange as you can imagine, but I reached my pinnacle, it would seem with the following PG-13 phrase: “You fucking immigrant scum!” – and immediately, my nemesis and his companion cackled with glee. They assured me that I had just “Effed myself” and that they were paging a GM. I laughed at them. Anybody with a passing knowledge of the Harassment Policy knows that you can’t report someone after willingly going toe-to-toe with them for 20 minutes solid. Not when you can just walk away. Three hours later, I logged off for the night. How pathetic, bluffing a Gm call. losers!

The next day, I get a call from my brother, currently stationed in Germany. “Dude, I don’t play UO anymore so this must be for you. Says it’s a ban or something.” He forwards the email to me (note: the account was given to me by my brother two years ago. Why OSI still used his email address is a mystery. Suddenly, I have to reconsider all the claims I’ve heard from people who say, “I never got an email or warning from OSI. – because now it wasn’t someone else, it was Arcadian Del Sol who didn’t get an email from OSI. I got an email from my brother instead). Anyway, I said “You fucking immigrant scum” to a player, and to be honest, if I saw someone say that to a guy named Qwan Nguyen at the Britain bank, I’d probably report that myself. But here’s what really happened: This player came to a town that I call home, as an uninvited intruder. He was not there to be part of the event, and had only come to the show to be a distraction, and a grief peddler. He wasn’t a citizen of Corwyn, and he wasn’t a friend of Corwyn – he was foreign to it. This is the context in which I said what I said. And no, his name was not Qwan Nguyen – it was simply Vengeance. It might just be me, but that sounds decidedly non-ethnic. But anyway, this editorial is getting too long and I’m sick of typing – I have to wrap this up.

Clearly the power is in the hands of the accusers – and there is no method by which the accused can explain their situation, or even appeal the verdict handed down by OSI. They are tried and found guilty in absentia. All it takes is a single moment of emotional weakness, and you can go buy yourself a copy of EQ. The harassment reporting feature has gone from a tool of enforcing respect, to the ultimate greif tactic. Yes, I know that nobody can put words in my mouth, but trust me – there are those who’se mission in life is to goad you into an emotional froth, and get you to say something stupid, so they can inflict upon you the penultimate grief tactic – the harassment reporting feature.

NO MATTER HOW SMALL THE HOLE, A LEAKY BUCKET CANNOT HOLD WATER
I wasn’t sure if I was going to even rant about this, but after reading Myschyf’s well written update, I was compelled to chime in with my thoughts. Clearly, there are some flaws in this system. It is all well and good to be vigilant against exploitation, and to implement a “zero tolerance” attitude – but I have yet to see a Zero Tolerance policy in effect that has not dissolved into lunacy, expelling a student from school for bringing a fingernail trimmer into a classroom. Part and parcel with the zero tolerance is the idea that in Ultima Online, you are guilty by association. If you visit the house of a guildmate, and he lets you log onto his computer to refresh your houses or your pets – you are forever subject to his actions in Ultima Online. If he turns out to be a house looting, gold duping exploiter – expect to see your own accounts banned because that one day, you logged into your accounts with his IP number. You are guilty by association. As in the example given by Myschyf, you can be guilty of the crimes committed, literally, by the friend of a friend of a friend.

The problems with such a system need no explanation – they speak for themselves. The McCarthy era was supposed to teach us that “guilty by association” is a poor system of justice, fueled by paranoia and suspicion. It requires little to no evidence. Nobody can reasonably deny now, that Ultima Online has a “guilty by association” law in effect, and on every single level, a policy like that is a cure whose dangerous side-effects are more deadly than the illness it was designed to cure.

It is better that ten guilty escape judgement than for one innocent to suffer. I believe that with every fibre in my body. Ultima Online has asked us, “Are you with us?”
That depends on where you are trying to take us. One thing is certain, the login screen to UO should be updated to say:
“Entering Britannia. Multiplay at your own risk.”

JUSTICE CANNOT BE FOR ONE SIDE ALONE, BUT MUST BE FOR BOTH –Eleanor Roosevelt. [Author: myschyf]

Panis started playing UO in 1997 on Great Lakes. He bought the charter edition of the game, with the cool cloth map and the pewter pin. He moved to Sonoma when that shard opened. There he belonged to a three-person guild. The other two people in the guild were his step-father and his brother. They didn’t have much time to play, but when they did they tried to fight murderers and such, being fans of the good vs. evil thing and well, there was evil to spare in those days. He came to SP “because I had a castle deed on Sonoma but no place to put even a two-story. After I started playing the reason became more that everyone on Siege was mature compared to Sonoma. Well there were less twinks on Siege and I liked that. No stat loss so you could actually punish people for being tiwnks was important too.”

While on SP he befriended a young lady named Kitty. He met her when she was new and gave her two thousand gold to start out with. Kitty had an in-game boyfriend named Desert Fox. Here is where our story really begins. Kitty and Panis became very good friends, as online people sometimes do, and he travelled to her home to meet her. While he was there, since he was there for a while and it was far from his home, he used her computer to log in and refresh his houses. He also used it log into his step-father’s accounts and refresh his houses (as his step-father is in the Navy and away at sea at the moment) and to log in to yet a third account that belonged to a friend (who had joined the Army and was, at the time, in boot camp) and refresh his houses as well.

Desert Fox, by all accounts, was a pker, an exploiter, a scammer and all-around ‘not very nice’ guy. Two or three months before Panis went to visit Kitty, Desert Fox used some racial epithets in front of a GM and was summarily banned. Desert Fox had the account information of an account that did not belong to Kitty, but that Kitty was taking care of for a friend. So he logged in with that account info, hollered at the GM and that account was banned as well. Well Desert Fox, being the enterprising young man that he is, made a new account faster than you can say ‘r0xX3R j0o!’ and went off to play UO.

In the meantime, Kitty’s friend with the banned account all of a sudden begins to get credit card charges for the account again. Just to see what was up, Kitty logs into her friends account to see if it is still banned and, lo and behold, the account is active!

The two or three months pass. Panis goes to Kitty’s house to visit and logs into his account, his step father’s account, and his friend’s account to refresh houses. Panis completes his visit and goes home. About a month later Kitty tries to log into her account and finds out she is banned. At this point, Kitty has accessed Panis’ accounts several times and thinking the worst, she calls to warn him. Sure enough, he’s been banned, along with his step-father and his friend in the Army. Now at this point neither of them has heard from OSI. Kitty assumes they’ve been banned because she logged into her friend’s banned account just to try to figure out why her friend was being charged and that the bannings are all her fault.

But wait, there’s more! On October 5th, after being banned for a couple of days, Panis finally decides to write OSI and ask why. OSI finally got back to him on October 8th. But get this. They told him he was banned because someone who had been banned had accessed his account and then asked him for information about the person who had accessed it! Now OSI has provided him with ZERO information about who this person might be. So Panis wracks his brain and begins to have a clue that Desert Fox might be involved. He calls Kitty and asks her to call Desert Fox. Sure enough, Desert Fox was banned on the same day. Not only was he banned, but his banning letter, which lists the accounts that have been banned for his crimes, list Kitty’s account, Panis’ account, the step-father’s account and the Army friend’s account.

OSI also did something else on the 8th of October. They charged Panis’ credit card for his banned account. Anyway, Panis, who had decided that their claims of this being an investigation must be true because they had charged him (I mean they wouldn’t charge him if they were banning him, would they?) replied to OSI with the whole sordid story. He received a reply from UO Account Admin on October 26th telling him that they reviewed his accounts, investigated thoroughly and that, as a service to the community, he was being permanently banned.

OK before I send you off to view the plethora of emails that OSI sent Panis and Panis sent OSI, and a credit card statement with the account and name info deleted and the date circled in nice shiney bright red, I’ve a few caveats.

My connection to Panis
Tenuous, at best. I’ve bought two nightmares from him, that’s it. I met him when, after posting on the CAT guild board looking to purchase a nightmare, he replied to my request. We don’t hang out together, he isn’t a friend of mine, he doesn’t know the Glowembers, I don’t hang out with his guild (I’m not even sure he is in a guild) and he is not a regular poster on Lums, nor does he hang out in our IRC room.

The timing of this article in connection with the last one I wrote
Purely coincidental. I thought I had refreshed my dragon on SP but when I went in last night to check it was gone. I could not claim it. So I contacted Panis to see if I could purchase another dragon. He informed me that he was permabanned. After inquiring about the circumstances I asked if he wanted to go public. As he has already been permabanned he has nothing left to lose by speaking out and he agreed.

The emails
Two of the emails from Panis to OSI are recreations. He sent them with Hotmail. Hotmail does not automatically save outgoing mail. So I asked him to recreate the mails. I told him that anything less than brutal honesty (i.e. if he was rude, recreate that; if he swore, recreate that) would damage his credibility. He said he was not rude and did not swear and that his emails read something similar to what he recreated. I believe him. You may do whatever you wish with this information.

And now the supporting documentation:

The first email from Panis to OSI asking why the account was banned. As I said before, this email is a recreation.

The first email that Panis received from OSI.

The second mail that Panis received from OSI and his reply to them.

After not hearing from OSI for about a week Panis gets upset and sends them this letter.

OSI’s final letter to Panis telling him he is a bad, terrible person, a threat to the community and is excommunicated forever.

Panis’ final letter to OSI telling them in no uncertain words what he thinks of them. This letter is NOT a recreation.
(When Panis told me he had told OSI what he really thought of them in his final letter, I braced myself for the worst. I thought I’d read something full of swearing and heated statements as to the nature and genetic structure of the ancestors and living relatives of those who are employed at OSI. As you can see, this letter is anything but that.)

A slightly illegible credit card statement with an even more illegible date showing charges on his credit card after he had been banned.
(I blurred out everything that wasn’t directly related to this story. You folks don’t need to know his other charges and he doesn’t need to share that information with you. I circled the UO charge
i
n red.)

A thread on the Battle Vortex Siege Perilous boards (where the SP community regularly posts) about Panis being banned.
There’s all kinds of people posting to this thread about what a good guy Panis is. Another thing of note on this thread is a snippet about BK. BK is Blue Knight, a member of the FJP guild (Foo Jackin Pimps). Just so ya know, I was a member of this guild for about 2 days once when I got mad at the Glowembers and quit for 2 days. I have nothing against them and they were always decent to me. But they are PKs in the extreme and they don’t care who they kill. However, Blue Knight has been banned about a gazillion times and he’s running around on SP these days with his gazillionth character. Apparently everyone on SP knows this and OSI doesn’t. I could say something nasty here about how they are too busy banning decent people like Panis but I won’t.

The CAT guild message board.
This is where I first met Panis. I don’t think he’s a member of the CAT guild but CAT has a lot of tamers and they use dragons and nightmares a lot. So when I was looking for a nightmare to purchase, this is where I went to inquire. Panis keeps tabs on this board and answered my inquiry. There’s a small snippet here about Vaniir being greedy (shame on you Vaniir!) and wanting to know when his houses will decay but nothing really germane to the story. (FYI, the SP community being what it is, namely small, I happen to know Vaniir as well).

IT’S FUN TO BE YOOOO BEEE EEE ARRRR [Author: lum]

Want one of the new “Fiery Avenger-class” weapons? If you’re on the Rathe, take a number. Oh, and join the right guild.

This is a epic mob looting right calendar to which access will only be allowed by CIW/KEG/BOTS for now. Access to this calendar by other guilds will be granted upon proof of clearance of isle 5 in the plane of Sky. What do epic mob looting rights mean? This mean that on your normal reserved date, if an epic mob is up, a guild that is scheduled on the 2nd calendar may well show up in the plane and help you clear to that mob. They will have a claim to the epic loot. This also means that the epic loot claimers will not loot any other loot – this includes armor drops and other godly loot (bloodfire etc etc). Why only CIW/KEG/BOTS ? It is because we believe we don’t see anyone else defeating Kunark dragons and therefore the chance to complete an FA quest.

ABASHI VS. THE SPIES OF VELIOUS [Author: lum]

Pretty much every thing in that post points to it being quite possible that the poster isn’t in the beta.
First, there are no “mirrored zones” (e.g. Zones from old EQ that are flipped, reversed, and have a different texture set). Though this has been suggested many times by the players as a way to add zones quickly, we’ve never done it.

Secondly, there are no Planes that cause a rez effect to be placed upon you on entrance. I’m not sure where that came from.

In regards to item drops, they are progressing along nicely. Suffice it to say that we want to limit the amount of info about items that gets released, so most of the best stuff won’t be put in until right before Velious goes live.

Here’s what our informant had to say in response to Abashi’s post.

No mirrored zones? Bullshit. There are zones in SoV that are identical and reversed in every way. This is an undisputable fact. If they aren’t identical, then Verant is more incompetent than anyone ever knew.

No planes that cause a rez effect? This is as accurate as most of Gordon’s other statements. It doesn’t matter what they end up calling it, no mana and half health is no mana and half health. If this was just a one time test or a permanent feature, it doesn’t matter. Gordon is wrong, again.

Items are dropping? True, but fine steel weapons and copper pieces aren’t exactly new to the loot tables. No new items are dropping. Gordon is wrong, again.

So SOMEONE is lying. I personally have no idea who. You’re welcome to place yer bets…