Friday, July 25, 2008

GM inaction against dupers is mind-blowing!

It has been months, if not longer, since people have been blatantly duping. I know many people have sent quite a few emails to Jeremy with very useful information. It should be possible for the GM's to isolate the people who are responsible for duping/fencing and take action against them by now.

Most of us were probably expecting this to happen before character transfers were opened up again. However, as far as I know, nothing has happened. I am struggling to rationalize this. Maybe they are trying to get to the "big" guys? But going by the past precedents, I doubt that to be the case.

A good friend of mine, named SuzyQ, has been so frustrated with the entire thing that he simply refuses to log in anymore. I suspect this to be the case with few others.

I am guessing they have some constraints that I cannot comprehend being not in their shoes. Yet, it is so hard to not get frustrated. I think the best way for me to avoid frustration is to set a personal deadline (not to be confused with an ultimatum). So, here it is: I will simply quit logging into the game if there is no action forthcoming in the next 14 days. No temper tantrums, no long whiney posts, and definitely no good-byes.

Two more weeks of watching cheaters destroy the game I enjoyed playing for so many years is all I can take. I can fully appreciate the various obstacles EA has to pass through to deal with the ever-adopting cheaters and how hard it probably is to balance resources. But, I personally as just another normal player cannot take more than two additional weeks.

And no, you may not have my stuff!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

A refreshing U.Hall post

Every now and then I run into a gem of a post on U.Hall - Unfortunately they usually get very little attention as people tend to like posts that allow them to simply react instead of thinking and then reacting. Here is one such post that really highlights the direction that Ultima Online should be charting (in my opinion),

UO is Community: Three Ways to make UO a better game

by Masuo Kenji (Writer of Mythbusting Siege and Former Siege Reporter)

From my amount of online game-hopping (I am now back in UO for the long haul now), observations of online game community interaction, development and design, I am listing some steps here that Mythic can use to improve and promote UO. This isn't a list about improving certain features of the game, it's more of a general series of guidelines that the development team and community representatives of Mythic can use. I originally made this to be a lengthy article, but I decided to trim it down to three major points.

Feel free to add constructive feedback to this thread. Please, no "They'll never listen" posts. I am sure Mythic reads these posts more than you think.

Three ways to make UO a better game:

1) Mythic must realize (I am sure they do to a certain extent) that UO is a niche game, that attracts a certain audience and market (ex. Sandbox gameplay fans, older age groups, etc). In order to gain new players, they must really work to make it the best game in its niche.

They should sit down and make a list what makes UO unique from other games (ex. Skill systems, sandbox gameplay, depth, community and interaction between players), and work on making those unique features even more refined, defined, and better. (This is the way popular niche games like EVE-Online have improved and increased in subscribers over the years.)

Instead of making UO play "catch up" to other games, UO needs to stand out from the pack by re-defining, improving, and promoting its best core features. It's sometimes good to look at other games and take what's good from them, but remember that this game is an Ultima game, and it needs to show the world what an Ultima game is all about.

2) Remember that UO is a community game. Even the minor actions of a player can affect the greater whole. Sometimes I noticed EA Japan advertised the interaction between players in UO, about the power of the community of the game. There were official EA Japan UO sites that promoted the game by showing interviews with members of shard communities, and the real people behind them. I don't see this advertised enough on the western side, for some reason. Sure, you'll see some of this stuff on UO Stratics, but they need to put this kind of stuff on the front page of UO Herald. Currently, what's only advertised are a few blurbs about gameplay features and the KR client. Show the world that your game is unique and diverse, show the great things about this game that players can do that they can't do in other games.

What's a fairly easy way to get more recognition about your game? Officially film the UO town halls, edit them, and post them on the UO website (or YouTube). Don't rely on just UO players to do so. It'll make UO players enjoy seeing their shard celebrities making public appearances and asking questions, and show to the world that Mythic cares about their players, unlike other games.

That brings us to #3.

3) Customer service and interacting with your game's community. Staff at all levels should take a more active involvement in the community of the game. In the past, devs and representatives alike would appear fairly frequently in game, talking directly to the players and adding a personal touch to their customer service. Today, there is this "forbidden city" element where we send off questions to the palace, and we get a few answers back.

I know that Staff-Player interaction has decreased over the years, due to the cutback of Seers and Counselors, EMs, and GMs turning into game answering machines instead of interactive members of their shard communities.

If UO wants to stand out from other online games, the interaction between Mythic and UO players must be more open. I understand, that the dev team and community representatives are very busy, they work hard at their job, they want the best for this game, and that they do listen.

The problem, is that the players do not recognize that they are listening. They don't understand that they're working hard on the game. This must be remedied.

The reason why UHall folk are a bit testy, is because they feel alienated.

Even if you can't provide any information, say something like, "I don't have a response at this time, but I'll get back to you soon on this."

I see this sometimes, but not often enough.

Remember to interact with your community. You also don't need to be an answering machine. Talk with them about other things. Heck, make a post about that Tuna melt you had for lunch, what you like about UO, talk about the work that went behind something cool you put into the game, or something silly you saw on the Internet. You don't need to wait for someone to interview you. Show us that you are a person just like the rest of us!

It was refreshing to read the fairly recent post from Robert Mull. Even though it didn't answer questions that we'd frequently ask about the game, it was funny and amusing, and answered our internal questions about some of the people behind the game. It shows that they are human beings like us, and that they have passion for the game.

UO is COMMUNITY. Remember that, and use that to your advantage.


I particularly like his thoughts on sandbox play style. I think this is what has been missing for some time now from all the recent expansions and patches. We need more systems that allow us to create things ourselves. Not simply linear systems, although they have their place.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

My Story

The Begginings

I first stumbled into Ultima Online in my freshman dorms when one of my floor-mates was beta-testing the game. I remember being intrigued by how his avatar would walk around talking with other real people. Over the next few months I watched few of my other friends play the game as a thief, tamer, smith, etc. It would be not for another couple of years before I actually plunged into it myself. The name of my first character was Calliane and my friend who started with me was Warbringer. Over the next few months Calliane and Warbringer became mages. No, not grandmaster mages - that would take much longer.

Early merchant

Eventually a time came when I needed to make gold. Like everyone else I started a Reg vendor. I would go to all the mage shops in the land when they were refreshed and try to buy as many regs as possible. Luckily for me, I was able to get a vendor at one of the best spots in the game then: A small house right outside of Skara Brae bank. I soon expanded into reselling silver weapons by scouring the lands looking for cheap vendors; the outskirts of Occlo were a gold mine. Business was going good. I had close to five million gold when 100K was considered enough to retire on. I decided to invest my wealth into the early rares competing with people like Xanthar and Gawin. That is when I ran into a lousy person who exploited my naivety to hack me. That was quite an experience watching your mouse pointer move around by itself. I was not so bothered though. Maybe because I had no idea that my gold was worth enough to buy me a car.

But I was also not about to start up again and I decided to quit UO at this point. It was very unfortunate as I missed out on the best of the factions and seers. When I came back again, AoS was in full swing and UO was bombarded with complicated item properties. I was using a friends account which had a red named Street Fighter and a blue named Angel Athena - those would end up becoming my main characters over the next few years. It took me few months to figure out how things worked. I decided to reopen my business and again lady luck was smiling on me. I found a cheap doom (thief) artifacts vendor behind minoc stables. The owner would stock them once a week and I would be waiting with all my gold in the bank. After doing this for few months with my friend Porter, I decided to give PvP a chance. I had only recently gotten a very nice connection and figured it was time to experience this part of UO. What happened next probably redefined how I would play Ultima Online forever.

Becoming a PvPer

I joined up with a small guild named KoL. What can I say but that we sucked. We would go do champion spawns and almost always get crashed by HOT or PvP. But we did not give up and we got some spawns done which got us the much needed scrolls. Our GM was a stubborn bastard and was not the kind to suck up to bigger guilds. This taught us to be defiant, a very important quality in PvP. Eventually we merged with a like-minded guild named Skulls [-S-] and now we were a bigger group of mostly sucky players with couple of quality players on the top. Again we did not give up and now we had the numbers at least. This is when I met the one person who probably touched me the most in Ultima Online: Columbus, GM of [-S-]. What can I say but that some people are born leaders. I fought side by side with him over the next couple of years through thick and thin. We went from the largest guild to less than a dozen players back up to largest guild and so on. We spawned and crashed literally hundreds of champion and harrower spawns. I evolved from a useless meat-shield into someone who would crash a 10 person spawn by himself and manage to kill half the people + get scrolls. It was the most fun I ever had. But all good things must come to an end.

Becoming a rare collector

Columbus was called to serve in Afghanistan which led to disbandment of the guild. Still there was hope that once he comes back things would go back to the way they were. I even came back to UO on a new character named Tomas Bryce to prepare the foundations of the big comeback. That is when tragedy struck; Columbus was killed when his helicopter fell in the ravines in a far away land. I have experienced death before but this one hurt the most. I was faced with a choice: to quit UO for good or to continue playing. It was too hard to let go of UO in the face of what had just happened so I joined up with Wynn of [Mall]. I became a merchant PvPer. It was fun for while but pvp'ing alone got old after some time and I could not really picture myself joining any other guild. There would be no attempt to replace what I had lost.

This is when I experienced the world of rares again via Wynn. Lot of new rares had came into existence since the pre-trammel days. I became a full-fledged xshard trader of PvP items to support my rather expensive hobby of buying rares. Eventually Wynn quit and I was alone again. The vendor scene outside Occlo vanished years ago, all of my friends are long gone, and I am well past my teenage years; seems like there is very little left but ghosts of the past still connecting me with Sosaria.

But there are still more rares left to collect. That is if they are not all duped already.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Case Against Treyster

Couple of weeks ago, Nails Warstein approached me saying Treyster (Alec Moontree) was offering to dupe the entire collection owned by Oldsmobile which is for sale on Stratics. This did not come as much of a surprise to me as Treyster had been caught working with dupers in the past. For example, during the vine cord drama (more details about this further down - including the apology Treyster wrote) but it was still very disappointing as I had been convinced that he had changed and learned his lesson with the vc deletions.

So, I asked Nails for his icq logs but instead he proposed to give me his icq details so that I can log in myself and talk with Treyster pretending to be Nails. What happened next was quite revealing and I am going to post most of the conversation here (part of the end of the conversation is not posted as it implicates another person and I need to look into it further.)

Following is the log - Remember Nails Warstein in this conversation is actually me using his icq with his permission. I pretended that Nails and Oldsmobile (doug) were interested in his offer to dupe Oldsmobile's collection to get more details:

  1. [04:36] Nails Warstein: So, how will it work for doug
  2. [04:36] Treyster: Once I figure out if it still works or not, he can just bag it all up, wait 3-5 days and ill give him either double or triple back hehe
  3. [04:37] Nails Warstein: How many do you keep? How many does the guy keep? Who gets to sell first?
  4. [04:38] Treyster: I'll keep one of each, guy keeps one of each, and doug should get 2-3 of each back...more than likely 2 back, ill have to ask.

  5. and its dougs stuff so he gets to sell first
  6. [04:39] Treyster: and he'll sell us the stuff for insanely cheap afterwards so its np
  7. [04:39] Nails Warstein: What if it all ends up on dupe list on rare forums?
  8. [04:39] Nails Warstein: I am afraid doug doesnt get much out of it
  9. [04:40] Treyster: Tomas isnt guna be updating that....hes a fat lazy faggot, pardon my lan but i just dont like him cuz he doesnt like me and i cant even view stratics now thx to him (too bad rest was not as amusing)
  10. [04:40] Treyster: none of us do really....he'd be getting more than i ususaly do tbh
  11. [04:41] Treyster: we get our item + 1-2 back....he'll be getting his items + 2-3 back hopefully
  12. [04:41] Nails Warstein: Is it safe? what about EA?
  13. [04:41] Treyster: and after hes given us the free ones we'll have to pay for the items after that, but they'll be insanely $10 for most robes n such
  14. [04:41] Treyster: hell no its not safe lol....this is duping bro, the most illegal thing you can do in this game hehe (good to know that he is fully aware of his actions. No temporary insanity plea for him.)
  15. [04:42] Nails Warstein: Will this guy give items back
  16. [04:42] Treyster: but we've been doing it for months now with np.....can never tell when EA will do the ban hammer tho =/
  17. [04:42] Treyster: ive yet to have a problem....guy is really nice, not greedy by any means at all
  18. [04:43] Treyster: he gave me like 3b in runics and tokens for free lol just to show that he was trustworthy =/
  19. [04:43] Nails Warstein: is there any precautions doug and/or I can take while doing this?
  20. [04:43] Nails Warstein: wow 3B in runics?
  21. [04:44] Treyster: not really, no....I mean ive given him some pretty valuble stuff with np....but yea its very risky ya know I mean you could give him the items then tom EA decide to ban dupers and lose it all =/
  22. [04:45] Treyster: it does have its risks.....but the benifits out weigh them IMO hehe
While Treyster, as he states on line 17, was busy duping for months he was also busy trying to convince me that he does not indulge in fencing anymore. He wanted me to let him be part of the Rare Council and he even wrote this "apology." This apology came after me and Ryna confronted him over icq about the dozens of vine cords he was selling:

Treyster: I would like to take the time to Sincerely appologize to everyone of the rares community. Some of you may or may not knowthat recently I participated in the so called fencing of certain event items. It was a horrible decicion on my part and we all make mistakes, I learned my leason in a very hard way. Vine Cords sandles were deleted and I lost a many pair, it was a huge blow to my bank account and a slap back to reality to me. Since the deletion of the VC's I have yet to partake in any "Illegal" activity in the wonderful game of UO. From this "Fencing" of rares ive made quite a few enemies, got banned from stratics, and lost several very good friends. This "Mistake" I made has cost me alot and I have more than learned my leason, it was a very very harsh leason to be learned but what can we do from mistakes we make? Learn from them and move on. I do not expect everyone to forgive me for the things I've done I can only hope that you will all find it in your hearts to do so, I'm still the nice guy you've all known for years, and I'm still the honest and trustworthy Dealer and Collector, nothing has changed in that aspect. I made a huge mistake and I've learned from it and moved on, I belive that I have been Punished enough. I'm honestly and Truely sorry for what I've done, and im now actively trying to help the rares community in any way that I can.

I hope you will all forgive me for what ive done, Again I'm truely sorry to you all.

And in conclusion, just so you all know, Any "Shady" item that I sold months ago was very well known by the buyer to be "Shady". They all knew that the items they were buying were dupes, and they all knew the risks before buying. very very few ppl ever cared, and I only had 2 ppl complain when VC's were removed, They were not reimbursed because all trading in UO is buyer beware and they were all well aware of what they were buying.

From this appology I do not wish to be Flamed as I can not defend my self. I am currently not allowed to post on this great site. If anyone has anything to say to or about me at all please feel free to contact me at 121951026. I see lots of ppl talking behind my back, that is probably the most childish thing anyone could do, if you have something to say please say it to my face (virtual face hehe) I will not be offended.

Thank you all for your time and again I really am truely sorry.

In Summary,

Few of us strongly suspected Treyster for quite some time already when Nails contacted me out of the blue. I knew he (Treyster) was still fencing but I did not realize the extent of it till I had this chat with him.

If there is anything I can take away from this situation then it is that Treyster is a liar and anything he says can never be trusted. He is the type of a person who thinks that he can talk anyone into believing his bullshit. I am sure he will put a spin on this "Tomas hates me and is out to get me," "I was just lying to Nails," etc.

However, only you can decide for yourself. If you choose to believe that I am lying then more power to you. I really cannot be bothered about it. If I could muster up even the slightest hope that Treyster could change for the better, I would have done things differently. Alas, I know what Treyster is and I have shared that information with everyone else at the risk of my own account and facing fancied-up attacks on my integrity. Now, my work is done on this matter! You can do whatever the hell you want with this information (except post about it on stratics :P). I am not here to win a popularity contest and in the future, if an opportunity presents itself, I will not hesitate to expose others even if it shakes up someone's resolve to live in denial. I will be the first one to admit to having made mistakes in the past partly because I was not willing to admit to the existence of dupers or duping. This is the single biggest reason why non-collectors often dislike rare collectors; We are so often willing to ignore the ugly.

One final thing though: Please do think with your head. Just because someone with a lot of rares and/or high post count (or moderator status) says something does not make it true. You are your best friend and you have to think for yourself. Only way to look past all the bullshit.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Count-down to Treyster hacking me!

Since our friend Treyster is busy trying to hack me one of the things he has been doing is icq'ing people to help him find an e-assassin! As such, I have been getting ICQ's from random people forwarding me his msgs to them. Like this one:

[16:13] Treyster: I know you know alot of ppl....ppl who can probably Hack.....Im paying Top dollar to have Tomas Bryce hacked, his accounts deleted, his Blog site deleted and his computer Killed

In light of this rather moving quest that he is on, I figured I should start an official count-down! I give him one year to hack me. Well, more like: 1 year to find someone to hack me because he is incapable of doing anything himself besides lying through his teeth to people who trust(ed) him and pulling simple scams in an online game to pay for his bread and butter.

Alright so July 4th, 2009 is the grand deadline! I will put up a count-down as soon as I write a script for it.

Friday, July 4, 2008

(Small update on duping)

I would like to quickly share this information with everyone without going into details. Treyster aka Alec Moontree is a duper. He does not dupe items himself but he has been instrumental in supplying rares to dupers. He has been exploiting his connections in the rare community to not only sell duped items but to also acquire new items to be duped.

I realize that I am not providing great amount of details (at this time) and that this might be hard for some of you to believe but it is 100% supported by evidence. I will present the evidence here once I get the go ahead from the people who helped me acquire it.

Some of you might have already been aware of this but there are still quite a few people who trust him. Please spread the word.

Treyster's icq to me:
[01:15] Treyster: ill be putting all my money and effort into having your shit hacked know I can have it done, and I will now....
[01:32] Treyster: give me that have alot of ppl wondering......why are you singling ME out....from all the ppl you could have?
[01:33] Treyster: Parkay, Kyros, hollywood shono (soulweaver), tox.....tons and tons of other ppl.....but you choose me? (thanks for giving more names trey)
[02:34] Treyster: what are you trying to accomplish by doing this any ways? I mean you really think its guna stop ppl from buying from me?
[02:35] Treyster: Look at DVI's past Polls 90% of the ppl dont give a shit lol
(Note: I have only posted the most interesting ICQ msgs as I get them. In all fairness, there are indeed quite a few msgs where he denies the charge.)

Treyster has his vendors at Genesis Mall on Atlantic Luna.