Not much of an update today. Everyone is probably busy watching their new 800×600 client crash anyway.

An astute reader of Senith and Ironwill’s little tete-a-tete noticed that while everyone jumped down Willy’s throat for busting on TC, no one noticed that he hates Atlantic, too. I guess it’s OK to pick on Atlantic, though, since the real elite PlayaZ are on Wakoku. I just like that shard’s name. Speaking of karaoke, why are Japanese people given such a bad rap in UO? I mean, they are the epitome of politeness when they PK you and steal your kills. I’ve never seen a Japanese player trash talk after they kill anyone. Then again I guess I have my transerv off too. (Doesn’t everybody?)

Another reader asked if I was going to put up a message base. Like I care what you pinheads think! There’s already 4,000 message bases for UO (all of which Designer Dragon posts on) so go play there. This is MY yard.


Destard.com is now officially the happening spot for amateur sociologists and budding psychanalysts wanting to watch the tragic breakup of a young man’s psyche take place online While-U-Wait. Senith now asserts that his prior rantings about how OSI is an evil corporation and must be destroyed were “just a dream”, and that in fact he never played UO at all, but merely a Quake server named “Ultima Online” (he rocked hipdm1). Those lost souls hoping to rally to his revolutionary banner must now return back to the loving arms of Dr. Twister, who would really appreciate if you clicked all of his ad banners several times. Thank you.


Well, if you use UOAssist (and of course, no one does) you’ve probably followed Tug’s sad and fruitless attempts to get UOAssist ruled street legal. The programming gonzo boys at OSI have told Tug that his program was badly written and would reflect poorly on the Ultima Online franchise, and pointed to things such as readme files in the wrong folder as proof of this. Tug ploddingly fixes everything he was told to fix, only to be told at regular intervals by an OSI representative that “yoooou must….. feeeex that too! Diiiisqualified!” in a really bad French accent. Well, Tug must have caught the GMs laughing uproariously in the background during his last phone call to check if UOA was approved, because they finally fessed up that UOA would be disqualified because it allowed people to run macros unattended, and this was a bad thing.

Well gee. Ultima Online has been running for a good solid two years now, and they just now decided that macroing was bad. OK. If macroing is verboten, first off they had probably talk to all those folks who write Windows automation software (I think Microsoft is one of those companies). And while they’re at it, they should take everyone’s pennies away, so they don’t *accidentally* jam into the keyboard and cause a macro to run. And they had damned well do a shard wipe so that newbies don’t wonder why they can never get past 45 strength while GM Buttwipes give them the beatdown the second they leave town.

If you don’t want people to macro, don’t make the skills so freaking tedious to raise that people HAVE to macro. Hell, I don’t know, flash porn on screen every 10 minutes. Then the typical UO player would never leave his keyboard. Ever. He’d probably ask the porn for a date. He’d have a meaningful relationship with the porn. Eventually the porn would leave him though, and he’d go back to macroing. Probably using UOE.


Well chances are good that you are reading this because you saw the link on Dr. TwisTer’s site. (Hint: you probably want to ignore all the crap on this page and scroll down to the link at the bottom.) While I still think that Dr. TwisTer is a blight on the landscape that all right-thinking Sosarians should unite and smite down from the mountaintop, I will note two things – (1) I really have no idea how old Dr. TwisTer is – for all I know he may actually be old enough to be a Smurf! and (2) Even though I disagree with him on almost everything, since he was mensch enough to link me, henceforth when I make fun of him and point at his bloated ego, I will capitalize his last name correctly. Because that’s just the kind of man that I am.

Now that I have all the TwisTies’ attention, I’d like to point out that I love each and every one of you even if you are all a pack of exploiting LusErs who ride the short bus to school every morning, and I feel that I must do something in return. Stay tuned as our investigative reporters find out the TRUTH… is Dr. TwisTer REALLY a doctor?


This is the first in a series of entries called “NotUO” or “Now you can keep up with the outside world while still wasting your entire pathetic existence in the Covey harpy room 24 hours a day”. The following is a TRUE AP NEWS STORY. I swear to God and Raph Koster, I AM NOT MAKING THIS UP.


KINGSTON, N.Y. — Brose Gearhart was due to spend his 90th birthday Friday behind bars for selling crack cocaine. Gearhart was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years in state prison on Monday for felony crack possession with intent to sell. Police said he ran a $1,000-a-week crack sales operation from his Saugerties home and routinely traded drugs for sex with prostitutes.

Man, that’s the way I wanna go out. A pipe-hittin’ century old pimp daddy. Screw prosecuting, they should give him a medal and he should write a book with Monica Lewinsky.

Also, you may have heard that a country called Serbia is trying to PK some Albanians in Kosovo. House exploits may also be involved. Never fear, though, the noted Anti guild known as NATO is on the case and providing the Serbs don’t recall out of Kosovo, we should see some hardcore pvp pretty soon.


As a result of the world (or at least the world Dr. TwisTer lives in) discovering this page, I got some mail. Most of it confirmed my belief that high school students taking firearms to class is actually a trend we want to encourage, but there were a few of you with clues you didn’t have to borrow from someone else. One of them mentioned that the COB Dev Board needed “nothing less than a low yield thermonuclear bomb”. I’m not sure why my little page reminds him of COB’s board, since the only thing remotely “interactive” on it is watching the counter increment, but it’s a sentiment I agree with none the less.

Look at yesterday. It was patch day. Now, everyone with their own IQ knows that playing on patch day is taking your virtual life in your own hands, since *funny things* tend to happen on patch day, such as everything you own disappearing into the void. But if you tried to check COB yesterday to see if anyone had posted what new bugs “creative uses of game mechanics” shrunk your server list to just Abyss and TC, you would get approximately 9 skillion messages on the order of FIX THIS NOW! NO, REALLY FIX THIS NOW! IF YOU DON’T FIX THIS NOW I’M GONNA GO PLAY EVERQUEST, SO THERE! PLEEEEEEEEZ FIX THIS NOW! YOU SUCK! FIX THIS, OK?, and the one message “Uh, we’re sorry” by the dev team was number 12,942,291 on the list. (Note that you can’t read any of these messages any more since the UO community posts about 4,000 messages a minute onto COB and it tends to overwhelm the Commodore 64 that runs the message base. Of course if you actually clicked on those links above you really need reality therapy.)

I’m not sure what we can do about this. I have this radical idea of actually using the little message that comes up from the patch server THAT IS SENT TO YOU EVERY TIME YOU LOG ON EVEN THOUGH IT ONLY CHANGES ONCE EVERY GEOLOGIC ERA to actually be useful and tell you when things are going wrong, but the patch server probably doesn’t have notepad installed on it, so that’s right out. I know that OSI has this big web site that cranks out Java and Shockwave and style sheets and dynamic fonts and Kilrathi spaceships and crazed Mongbat warlords but for some reason it always seems to be a touch behind the curve whenever something goes wrong. (Plus all the ELEET people only check the Update Center anyway. If that. After all, we DO have Dr. TwisTer. And he just wants to serve the public. SHROOMS!)

So here’s the thing. In the future, whenever the servers decide to roll over and die, the dev team will contact ME. I will contact those whom I feel need to know about what’s up (such as my guild members and anyone else who comes up with interesting bribes) and the rest of you can watch the cows get jiggy wid it until they come back up, since I will use my unearthly powers to knock out COB’s Commodore 64 during this server outage.

Works for me. Because, you know, I just want to serve the public. SHROOMS!


Well, I was one of the first in line to purchase Everquest when it came out (OK, so there wasn’t a line, but I did call EB to reserve a copy) with the hopes that I could leave the madness and codependency of Sosaria forever behind me.

In yer dreams, Jack.

Everquest is like a beautiful, mentally retarded woman. At first you’re entranced, but then it starts to sink in that something is missing… but if you could only put your finger on what.

The user interface looks like it was based on a web page on GeoCities. Beautiful, stunning scenery surrounded by a butt-ugly control scheme that takes up half the page. You can turn off the butt-ugly control scheme, with the tradeoff that you can then not actually do anything.

I was first introduced to the Friendly Everquest Fascism when I tried to name my character. No Lum the Mad for me… spaces are forbidden in Their World Now! So, merely Lum and chastened, I started my plucky halfling theif on the road to glory.

Five minutes later, after I died, I tried again. Ten minutes later, after I died, I tried a new character, a Troll Shadowknight also named Lum. Since the Troll city is so hard to find the exit to, his lifespan was considerably longer.

We won’t mention the half-elf ranger who fell off a tree, or the barbarian fighter who was too weak to fight off a crab or whatever the hell it was.

OK, I dug in, studied Stratics, and figured out how the hell to survive more than five minutes at a time In Their World Now. It involved bunny bashing. OK, I’ve played UO, I can bunny bash with the best of them, dammit.

Except that, reading and playing and studying other characters, the whole game is basically one large bunny bash. You just keep moving on to larger and larger bunnies. (Some of those bunnies are HUUUGE. With big nasty teeth!)

There isn’t much else to do in Everquest. You can go on “quests” which are kind of like the ones that NPCs in UO used to give you back when UO started, only not quite as mindlessly stupid. However, the XP that they give you doesn’t compare to what you get by bashing 10,000 bunnies over the head in mindnumbing sequence. PvP is pretty much nonexistent, from what I saw. In fact really the only fun I had was watching the creature spawn points, since the creatures spawned some 20 feet off the ground before running around in a vague simulation of “AI”.

Crafts? Muahahaha. Everquest has crafts, and they are tailor made to those who thought being a GM smith in UO was just too damn easy. You can work for hours and maybe come up with some patchwork piece of tattered leather that a troll MAY be not embarassed to be seen in. No matter HOW good you are, you can never make armor as good as what’s in the NPC shops, which pretty much ensures that the player economy is going to stay firmly in the toilet.

All the Everquest reviewers rave about how the game “encourages you to work in groups” (in the same way Everquest encourages you to do everything else, very similar to the way Serbs “encourage” Kosovar Albanians to emigrate). While this is a fine and noble concept, in execution it results in groups of total strangers, since even if you somehow could FIND your friends and guildmates (since there is no ICQ and IRC In Their World… hell there’s not even an Alt-Tab or Ctrl-Alt-Delete In Their World) you wouldn’t be able to group with them unless you were at almost their EXACT experience level. There is supposedly a valid reason for this, involving some odd MUD term I can’t really think of.

So basically I have an Everquest CD I can’t use, an account that keeps accumulating free days as 989 refuses to learn from OSI’s experience (“You mean that having all the servers in the same place on the same ISP is bad? NO WAY, dude!?!”), and a lot of dead trolls. Maybe I should get ahead of the curve and auction it all off on E-Bay.


OK, I like mean, vicious gossip as much as the next waste of bodily fluids, but this latest exchange in “Dr. Twister vs. those mean and nasty gumps at OSI” has just left the playing field.

There’s so many sad asses in this tale that you can’t sort them out. You just can’t. Rest easily, however for, I, Lum the Sanity Challenged, have sorted this all out for you.

Some background. There’s this game, Ultima Online. Many people thought it was a neat idea once. Unfortunately, the UO programming team hadn’t QUITE worked through volume 2 of “C for Dummies” yet, which included the chapter on debugging and QA teams, so they hit on the idea of posting their unstable code on a test center (called “Test Center”, doubtless to conceal their fiendish plans) and then after a week moving that unstable code to the production servers, where after a while those bugs would be moved to the “creative uses of the game’s system” column and new bugs would be introduced to the test server.

This went along happily for a while, except that people started characters on Test Center. They worked over them, slaved over them (well, they let UOAssist slave over them while they watched Buffy and Dawson’s Creek), formed guilds, towns, citadels, lives. They considered themselves cooler than all the other UO LewSers because, you know, they’re on test center. Debugging. Man, it’s hard work debugging. You have to hang around the Brit forge all day and kill newbies. But pros can handle it.

Needless to say, these players were not unhappy when talk started of the Test Center being wiped (apparently missing the big bold letters that said TEST CENTER on the login page). One of them was a Counselor named Senith.

Counselors hang around in their own *secret*private* IRC channel. In fact, that’s all that the great majority of them do (which explains why your call for help goes unanswered for upwards of, oh, forever). Because, you know, it’s hard work counseling. You have to hang around the IRC channel all day and page GMs little kiss up notes. But pros can handle it. Anyway, one night in this channel Senith buttonholed a GM named IronWill (you notice how all GMs have these FEAR INDUCING names? You never hear of GM Bunny Rabbit or GM Friendly Puppy or GM Zippy — oh wait, there is a GM Zippy, nevermind) about how mean it was that the Test Center was down.

IronWilly then showed that he had zero experience in cover-yer-ass Corporate Amerika by actually speaking his mind about the wonderful aspects of humanity that you see on Test Center. The whole thing is here. It’s here because Senith left the *secret*private* channel and immediately ran out and posted it on the first message base he tripped over.

IronWilly then presumably was called into the principal’s office and informed in no uncertain terms that OSI employees were forbidden from having opinions; as part of his penance he had to write “I will not be mean to people on Test Center” 500 times in email to UO sites.

Senith then decided that the only proper… the ONLY moral thing to do was to immediately quit UO and form a “The Matrix” fan club. I only wish I were joking. In a letter to Dr. Twister (the moral conscience of Ultima Online, and if you don’t believe it he’ll tell you again!), he muttered darkly about upcoming shard wipes (which of course the KeWl ExpLoiTer Twisties immediately took as warning of a wipe of all production shards) and that Necromancy sucked.

Ignoring for the moment that EVERY skill in Ultima Online pretty much bites the death cookie, Dr. Twister rode the ensuing controversy as if it was his guest star on http://www.ourfirsttime.com/. Every day or so in between new housing breakins (Hint: this time it’s SHROOMS!) he would post a breathless news update on how obviously OSI, a noted pawn of the Electronic Arts combine, were out to personally whiz in every UO user’s wheaties. (And I have faith, if anyone could whiz in all 100,000 UO user’s wheaties on a personal basis, it would be Designer Dragon, the man who has made Online Presence a new fighting discipline, sort of like Jeet Kune Do, but on message boards.)

Just when this tale could not possibly ever get any more mindbogglingly stupid, The Ministry of Information chimes in, aka LadyMOI, refugee from another train wreck of computer gaming, now the friendly face of the evil that is OSI. LadyMOI then proceeds to break the first law of corporate public relations, the one known as “When your company’s internal politics spill into the public view, do NOT point it out to everyone you know in press releases” by issuing press releases to the usual suspects (here’s one), where OSI emphasizes in no uncertain words that IronWill was a bad person, the shards will not be destroyed, and Necromancy is going to be cool, although you’ll need to be a GM tinker, GM mage, and probably a GM beggar to use it.

The truly scary part, though, was that LadyMOI signed the press release “WooWoo!”. Words fail. In response, Dr. Twister demanded that every UO player get 2 weeks free game time because LadyMOI said “WooWoo!” and, you know, Everquest players got 2 weeks free game time when Brad McQuaid said “WoahWoah!”.

OK. This has to stop. Everyone involved is probably too young to drink legally, yet this is starting to resemble some sort of Byzantine conspiracy.

Senith was an idiot. He pulls IronWill’s pants down in Act 1, and then wonders why no one else at OSI will talk to him in Act 2. Here’s a FREE CLUE – people tend to really hate having their drunken monologues replayed at work the next morning.

IronWill was an idiot. He actually bitched about coworkers and clients in a channel choked with about 400 12 year olds waiting some “ELEET EXCLUSIV NOOZ” they can mail Xsploitz with. The boy is obviously too stupid to be trusted with important machinery, which come to think of it makes him the perfect GM.

Dr. Twister was (and continues to be) an idiot. You cannot assume the moral high ground while fucking your best friend’s wife. It’s bad manners. Either stick to posting the latest EREET HOUSING BUGS or stick to being the noble defender of Ultima Online, but it’s just plain silly to do both. Or, on the other hand, he could just continue to point at himself regularly demanding attention. Hmmm.

LadyMOI was an idiot. She issued the “OSI RESPONDS TO THE IRONWILL/SENITH INCIDENT” press release juuuuust a few minutes after no one really cared any more. I guess it was important to note that Necromancy really wasn’t a cruel joke to keep people from defecting to EQ, but y’know, I suspect DD could have passed that message somewhere in the 320 megs of outgoing mail he sends out.

And Lum the Mad was an idiot, because he just spent gawd only knows how much time dissecting this whole sorry affair.

*Lum the Mad washes his hands*