The Old News & Updates


I noticed that archery has been brought up a lot in the UOHoC chats and message boards etc, in terms of balancing it with other forms of combat, so I figured I'd make a few comments here. Several people have suggested setting it up such that, as with magery, the shot can be interrupted by being hit. Frankly, this is a good idea, IMHO. Likewise, you shouldn't be able to effectively use a bow or crossbow at point-blank, because how can you be expected to reload and fire while being beaten on with a sword or mace? You'd be forced to use the bow as a blunt weapon, even if just to parry an attack, which should technically make it use the macefighting skill in close-combat, for albeit minimal possible damage against the target. Also, in reality, you wouldn't be able to run and shoot well. Archery takes precision and skill, and while running (or even walking) you can't keep it straight. If moving while shooting is kept, I feel that your chances of hitting should be HUGELY diminished. I'm glad to hear that there is already code in place to diminish your chances of hitting, but apparently it's not severe enough of a penalty. :-( In medeival warfare, archers never acted alone anyway, unless they were using geurilla tactics. Typically, a whole unit of archers would hang back and launch multiple volleys of arrows at the enemy army while their main force was still advancing. I'd like to see Archery become a difficult skill to master, one that would be powerful and potent as a support weapon, but not terribly useful in skermishes where you are likely to get rushed by sword and halberd wielding melee fighters. Archery should be used to support close-range fighting, without the archer getting too close. For instance, if three knights are hacking at a dragon and keeping it occupied, one or two archers should be able to help drop the beast quickly and efficiently, saving the knights from getting torn up unecessarily. But a lone archer in the woods would have a hard time dealing with brigand brandishing a scimitar, unless he could take the guy down before he got too close.

Chesapeake Link

I've added a new link to the links page for the UO Chesapeake page. It's a great place to find information on the latest happenings on the chesapeake shard, which is where I tend to spend my UO time. It has some information concerning Zephram and Ridley, if you want to try to keep up on that particular storyline. Enjoy!

UO Radio

Apparently there's been a UO-related RealAudio "radio show" in existence for a while already. You can go and check it out here: BNN - Britannian News Network. So far this one appears to be very respectible, and contains useful and valid information. Hats off to BNN!

Zephram and Ridley

There is now a story up in the Town Cryer concerning Zephram and Ridley. If you haven't had a chance to catch up on this little mini-plot, or haven't been following along at all, be sure to check it out. :-)


I just found out that someone is now making a RealAudio show for UO. I think this is a really cool idea. Anyway, I added the link to my Links Page, and you can go right to the site: [The Temple of Tith-Onanka: Real Audio Show] Enjoy! So far, the first show made available is mostly a bunch of rants and anecdotes with musical transistions, most of which would be more accessible in text form. I think it has potential though if it moves more into interviews and discussions with various people from the dev team, notable roleplayers, and various well-known members of the UO community. Unfortunately it's not as "professional" as I would like, in the sense that some of the rants seem to be geared towards insulting people and making some points that aren't well supported and don't always look at the global picture. Some of it is also shard and guild specific, which is unfortunate since something like this should be as universal as possible. But given some time, it may become a completely new facet to the UO community.

Independence Day

Have a happy 4th! If you'd like to have some fireworks on your screen, please feel free to download this little fireworks program I wrote about 6 years ago: FireDots. Enjoy!

And so on and so forth...

I haven't made many updates here this week except to add a few new comic strips, 3 total, to my comics section. However all is not lost. :-)

I've been doing some thinking about weapons balancing and may post something here about that soon. I'm speaking strictly of melee vs melee, and not archery or magery. Balancing of totally seperate schools of combat is a very different and very difficult sort of balance to achieve. Balancing melee weapons against one another is not always intuitive, but is far easier to do.

Oh yes, also- Happy 4th everyone! Chances are there won't be any updates over the weekend here, so I thought I'd say it now. Have fun!

I'm Back!

I'm back from the convention... as always it was fun, but it was also a bit unusual in a variety of ways, from having a suprise guest (Chase Masterson who plays Lyta on DS9, a bajoran dabbo girl, and she is quite a babe in person might I add!), to having lightning blast out the air conditioner, to having the hotel overbooked by 23 rooms such that they had to turn away people who had confirmed reservations from months before (myself included). One of the highlights is that I came home with an antique authentic african short-spear. :-) All in all I had quite a fun time, despite certain unpleasant distractions.

Anyway, I'm back, and I got a new comic strip put up this morning, so if you haven't seen it, be sure to check it out.

Shore Leave!

Welp, I'm off to Shore Leave! If any of you are interested in this convention, check out their web site. It's located in the Hunt Valley Marriott in Maryland. Tickets are typically available at the door in the mornings... by mid afternoon they tend to sell out. Those of us who are loyal to the con register in advance. :-) Maybe I'll see some of you there (though I know it's unlikely). One of the nice things about Shore Leave is that it's fan-run, meaning it's not commercialized. All of the proceeds go towards running the convention, and sometimes a portion goes to charity. It's a hell of a lot better than any Creation(tm) convention (ugh, those suck). Their web site has all the info, including ticket pricing and directions. See my previous update below for more info..

Gone for the weekend

I'll be away for the weekend... not that I frequently update the site on weekends anyway. :-) I'll be going to Shore Leave, a Star Trek and SciFi convention in Hunt Valley Maryland (north of Baltimore), so if any of you are going to it as well, you may see me there. I'll likely be dressed as a psi-cop from Babylon-5 at least part of the time. And remember, the corps is mother, the corps is father. :-) (hey, at least I'm not going around asking everyone "what do you want?", heheh)

Comics Strike

I've moved my rants from the comics page to it's own spot in my commentaries here. If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, you can see it here: "Comics Strike".


I don't usually make it a point to label people, but I'm afraid that there are always going to be people out there that are best described as "lamers". We've all seen them or met them. People who just get a kick out of making your gaming experience less enjoyable. These are the people who cheat, or use stupid tricks such as "hold tab and click on me three times for free gold!", or run around yelling things like "*You see so-and-so attacking you*" to trick you into attacking them... These are the people who don't play in-context as role-players, and they just want to get as many kills and as much loot as possible. One new brand of these that has appeared with the new reputation system are the dorks who stand around in the healer's place and hack down the freshly-resurrected people who happen to still be grey. Often times these people are thieves, but often they're not. It can be impossible to get resurrected and leave because as soon as you appear, they drop you again... One hit-point doesn't last long. And since the healers typically don't let you move much without hitting "YES" to the question of resurrection, you're stuck. For this reason, I was VERY happy to read this article on "The Joy of Villainy" about it... Sweet justice. Unfortunately it does take some cooperation to obtain such justice, however I hope to see more people settle the score.

Comics on Strike

Apparently there are several comics strips on strike, and of course we also must remember Samwise leaving UO completely... I've written an essay on my stance in this matter, and you can currently read it on the Bones' Comics page. Eventually I'll move it here as a commentary-essay.

The Bone Board

My old message board, "The Bone Board" has been resurrected. So go check it out!!

Updates & Comics

I hope to be getting some new comics and more updates going again soon. Things may be a little slow for a little while. I may soon be getting into some job interviews (I've been contacted by a headhunter). If I do get the job I'm currently looking into, I may have to move nearly 2000 miles. :-/

Configuration Options

I've updated the Configuration Options article to reflect the correction that was recently announced concerning the combat highlighting options under the new rep system.

Site Reestablished

I think I've managed to re-establish the entire site, except for the message board which will either be down for a little while or scrapped altogether. Let me know if you spot any problems. Thanx.

HD bites the big one

My host, questgate, had a hard drive failure over the weekend. The plan was to swap out the drive for a new one before a complete failure (at first it was just a lot of errors), but the drive failed faster than anticipated. To make matters worse, the backup failed because it aborted due to the errors, and a professional data recovery service also could not retrieve the data from the fubared hard drive. For this reason I have to completely re-upload and re-create my entire site here. Please let me know if you spot any broken links, missing images, etc.

As a result of this, the comics may take a good portion of the day to get completely back online. :-(


There's a new comic strip up today! The first one in two weeks... I've been occupying myself with a variety of other things lately, and I'm not sure how many strips will appear each week, but I hope to get things flowing again. Anyway, enjoy!

Dragon's Mandate

Yesterday I released Dragon's Mandate, and asked that you report bugs. Well, here's a few things you need not report:

  • When dead, you can still turn to face left or right.
  • When dead, you can still drop what you are carrying.
  • Walking up or down looks strange because the character only has left/right animation.
These are all things I knew about prior to release but felt were cute little quirks, the likes of which were common in old games, and thus are appropriate to a "retro" style. I was even thinking of adding some code to make the character speak when you attempted to do things while dead, to make him say "I am dead and can not do that", similar to what UO does when you're a ghost... but I opted to leave that out, at least for now. :-)

Pi Symbol

It's amazing how many people complain about a small link that is hard to notice and was intended to be a joke. Anyway, since it is a joke at the expense of "The Net", I have changed the link to something slightly more appropriate and potentially less "offensive". And if you have no idea what I'm talking about here, that's fine too. :-)

Retro Game

The game that I've been working on is ready for download! Let me know if you spot any bugs (yes, I know the lighting sometimes wraps around the screen). :-) I'll probably set it up on my main website later, so for now you can consider this sort-of a pre-release.

Anyway, here it is, my semi-retro "Dragon's Mandate". Enjoy, and be sure to read the TXT for info about how to play, why I made it the way I did, etc (you can read the text from within the game at any time).


I've added the new ghost configuration option to the Configuration Options article.

Slow Updates

Wow, it's been 10 days since my last update. You may also have noticed the lack of new comics this week as well. Well, that's because I've been devoting the last week and a half to RL issues, and to programming a semi-retro freeware game, soon to be released. I'll have more updates later. Anyway, I hope to get things back to normal next week. Thanks for bearing with me.

RL Death of a UO Player

If you follow the postings on the Vault, you have probably already heard this... But someone who was an avid player of UO died in a motorcycle accident, and OSI helped to create a permanent memorial for him on the Lake Superior Shard (a map for it is available on the vault). Be sure to check it out and pay your respects. Thanks.


A few days ago, Ridley made another appearance on Chesapeake. Apparantly he has no intention of giving up his thirst for vengeance against Zephram, and his attempts to restore himself to his former self have failed. Currently you can find him in the Britain graveyard, and by saying his name you can start a conversation with him.

Zephram and Ridley

Zephram was seen again last night for the first time in a while, and he finally tested his resurrection potion with disastrous results. The ghost who offered to be the test subject, a dead mage named Ridley, was not fully restored to life. Instead of a full body, only his skeleton was restored, and now not even the healers and shrines can help him. He vowed vengeance, and vanished. Only time will tell where this will lead.

Rep System

The new rep system will be going in very soon, and as such there will be a client patch along with it that will allow you to customize the color highlighting for combat. As such, I have added the new options to my Configuration Options article.


I've gone through my links page and removed most of the broken links, and updated the ones that I could. So for now anyway you will see some "holes" in the list.


I've added a few new links to the Links Page so far this week:

DD's Essays

DD posted two more essays on the Comments from the Dev Team page, and you can find them here: [The Man Behind the Curtain] [A Community Cookbook]

Renaissance Faire

Well, we had a great time at the VA RenFest on Saturday. We were afraid it was going to rain, since all the weather reports called for it, but it was the only time a large portion of our group would be able to go, so we chanced it. While we were there, we got a little bit of a drizzle that lasted all of but 15 seconds, and the temperature was quite pleasant for our highly insulated costumes due to the cloudy skies. :-)

New Comics Site

Well, this one isn't new today, but I think it's less than a week old. I have a link to it on the comics site, but be sure to check it out: [Killed on Sight]

Sick again!?!?

I woke up with a cold again this morning. The third time this spring? This is rediculous. I was just getting over the cough from the previous one too. Must be El Nino. Anyway, things may be a little slow here and on the comics page again because of this. Luckily I have a few submitted comics that I have yet to post, so you won't have to be completely humor starved. :-)

DD's 4th Essay

Now I've added DD's 4th essay... man, this is hard to keep up with. :-) So check it out: "So Let's Get Practical..."

DD's 3rd Essay

Designer Dragon is at it again, 3 essays in 3 days. I posted the 3rd one in my Editorials Section again, and it is titled, "Who Are These People Anyway?". Go check it out!

Message Board

I've just added a new message board to this site: The Bone Board! Drop in and strike up a chat. Generally, the same rules and guidelines apply as on my IRC channel.

UOHoC Chat

Well, I'm really pissed. I completely forgot about the UOHoC IRC chat tonight. I was thinking about it yesterday, but today it completely slipped my mind. I got into the IRC channel just in time to see Gasper's "time to wrap it up" message, so I'll have to get caught up through the log once it is posted. ARG!! *kicks self*.

Date Bar

I've added a new date-bar system to this page. I hope you like it. :-)

DD's Essays

The essays written by DD and posted on the Comments from the Dev Team page are now preserved here. With DD's permission I have "reprinted" them on my Editorials Page, so go take a peek! The one written on May 6th I gave the title "Things fall apart" since those are the first words of the essay and no other title was given.

  May 6, 1998
Comments from the Dev Team - again

There is yet another update posted on the Comments from the Development Team page. The one I referred to below is still accessible as a link from the page, but the new essay is what is directly posted there now. Be sure to read them both!

Comments from the Dev Team

Designer Dragon posted a new message to the Comments from the Development Team page, which I think is a good read. On the UO Vault, they quoted the last two paragraphs, but I think it is worth reading the whole message. It really makes a statement about on-line community. Many of us who are Ultima Dragons are already aware of just how far reaching the sense of community can be, particularly those of us who have been members since the club began on fraudigy, err... Prodigy. (As far as I know, UDIC is the only officially recognized Ultima fan-club. If you haven't checked it out, what are you waiting for??)


Interestingly enough, yesterday I received an e-mail from the guys over at OSI asking if I'd be interested in making my comics part of the Town Cryer on the OWO site. I don't know whether or not this will actually happen, we'll just have to wait and see. I won't make any decisions until I get all of the details.

  May 5, 1998

Well, I promised I'd post the new link for the new comic strip, and so here it is. Samwise may be dead, but the essence of it lives on in the new PVP comic strip.


This coming Saturday, I and several friends will be headed on down to the Virginia Rennaisance Festival. If you plan to go this weekend, who knows, you might run into us. The picture to the right shows how I will look. The over-tunic is blue, the rest is black.

  May 4, 1998
New Editorial

A short time ago, Fallo posted a "rant" on his FUSE web page. We have now decided to post it here as well. So go check out the new "UO Attitudes" editorial. If you have any comments, questions, complaints, etc about this editorial, be sure to e-mail him and not me. :-)

  May 2, 1998
Happy Puppy

Sometimes I think the guys over at Happy Puppy know everything, and at other times I think they have no idea what they're talking about. Their first review of UO painted a utopian picture of the game, making it seem almost divine. Then they posted a second review that retracted the first, and made UO out to be more like the antichrist. Actually, that's a bit of an exageration.. the second review was much more level headed, but if I remember correctly my reaction to it was that it was being a little harsh. But certainly no one can deny that the first review was totally idealistic. :-)

Anyway, they put up an article about role-playing. Once again, if you keep up to date on the announcements on the Vault, you've probably already seen this. However, I think it worthy of being mentioned again because it is a good read (actually, it's somewhat nostalgic for one such as I), so go check it out: [Sometimes Role-Playing Games Are Neither]

  May 1, 1998
OSI Response to Lawsuit

Origin had a response to the lawsuit that I find interesting. Not only does it follow my own opinions about the lawsuit in general, but it also blows holes through it better than I could. :-) Check it out: [OSI's Reply]

  April 30, 1998
Death of LB?

Is Lord British alive or dead? No one knows. I've been reading on the message boards a bit, and even just this morning people were talking about this issue. It seems that our king and ruler has not made a public appearance during the commercial release of the game, except to appear in a wrestling match against the Hulkster. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is the only appearance he's made, excluding the beta. Same with Blackthorne, except he did indeed appear on one server about 2 weeks ago (only to vanish into a mysterious moongate). Actually, I believe I heard of someone running into them once, but they were only logged in to show someone how the game worked. It was not an "appearance" as such. If this is specifically being done on purpose as a plot element, then fine. If not, I think it's really a shame that these two important characters are being left out of the picture. I'd really like to see them make appearances. Perhaps they could do something similar to what happened in the beta, where they visited each city giving a speach, transmitting it for all the world to hear. Heck, even if the characters are played by GM's for specific events, it would be great.

Death of Humor

Sadly, we've known now for a while that Dungeon Living has ceased to exist. Now we must add Samwise to the list. For about a week now the website was talking about Samwise coming back to life and even moving to OSI's own web servers. But today it was announced that Samwise is dead, and that the creator will be making a new strip instead for MPOG. I hope this all goes well. I'll try to get a link to it here once he gets it going and makes the link available. Meanwhile my comics will continue, though this week they are taking a back-burner to my RL work.

  April 29, 1998

Something that I and a few others were discussing the other day came to mind, so I thought I'd mention it here. Towards the end of the week last week, one of the counselors was telling me in IRC about the bug in which whole boats would appear in people's backpacks, immobilizing them. Of course, I already knew about the bug from reading on the Vault and on CoB, but what he was pointing out was the fact that I had a comic strip in which someone pocketed a boat, and that it was made *before* the bug appeared. When you think about it, it's kinda funny. And no, I don't claim to by psychic. :-)


I've been rather busy the last few days getting some much needed work done. I'm not sure how much longer it will take, escpecially since I could slip into my usual mode of procrastination at any time. Anyway, while these things are using up my time, things may be a bit slow here and on the comics page (which you may have already noticed). In any event, I managed to squeeze out a new comic strip today, so be sure to check it out.

  April 28, 1998

OSI's new harassment policy has been posted, so be sure to check it out.


I've added another version of the wedding picture from Saturday night's wedding on my pix page, this one showing both the bride and groom together at the beginning of the ceremony.

  April 26, 1998

Last night I had the honor of performing the ceremony for a wedding online between Kaylaina O'Dara and Jeriko Margrave. This is the first wedding ceremony I've performed, and the second online wedding I've attended. I must say, it went off without a hitch, except of course for the one that was the point. :-) Well, it's not totally true, there were two minor things that happened. I skipped a line, but instantly realized it, and backtracked to it. :-) The other thing was that we had a flower thief, but that was dealt with quickly and easily. Afterwards, a reception was held, complete with all the traditions, including throwing the boquet and garter, and the best-man's toast. Special thanks go to GM Lonestar for his immense help in the event. He put up with just about everything we asked of him. :-) All in all, it was a lot of fun; some of the most fun I've had in a long time in UO. And I'm already getting asked to perform more weddings, so I must have done something right. :-) To the right is a picture of the ceremony taken moments before the bride reached the table (one of the only free moments I had in which to take a picture) :-) Click on the picture to see a shot of the reception, as the announcement was being made about beginning the toast.

  April 25, 1998

Sick again... *sigh*.. I felt completely recovered for two days, and then yesterday I developed a sore throat again... might be bronchitis, losing my voice and everything. Anyway, wish me luck. :-)

  April 24, 1998

I added a link to the IRC page that concerns "nuking" and how to protect yourself.

  April 23, 1998
Ring of Dragons

I've had another site in the Ring of Dragons for a long long time, but I only now got around to inserting this site into the ring along with it. :-)

More on IRC

Well, I'm glad to see a few people stopped by my channel, even though I was AFK a bit. :-) Anyway, to help those of you who are not that familiar with IRC, I have added a new page that explains how to connect to Bones' IRC Channel.

  April 22, 1998
Articles on PK'ing

I saw these announced on the Vault, and are worth reading:

Life Goes On

Well, the illness must have been one of those 36-hour things. I'm pretty much over it now, though as one would expect it'll take me a few days to get back to full strength. Anyway, I put the time to use, and made 3 comic strips today, one of which I posted this morning. :-)

  April 21, 1998
GM Ed Response to God Client Incident

GM Ed made a statement on one of the CoB message boards about the alleged incident involving an OSI employee and abuse of the god-client:

This message is in regards to the recent GM abuse. We'd like to start off by thanking all of you for bringing this situation to our attention. We try to prevent any instances of abuse, but a certain amount of trust must be given to individuals to be an effective team. When we find any allegation of this sort, we investigate to the best of our ability.

We appreciate the time players take when they bring an instance of abuse to our attention. We also would like to apologize for any problems that may have occurred because of this indiscretion. If you are aware of any other such incidents then please mail us directly at uoconcern@origin.ea.com. We diligently research reported abuses, and deal with them accordingly.

While looking into this situation we have discovered the complaint was valid and that the abuser was an Origin employee, though they were not a member of the GM staff. We have taken the appropriate steps in assuring this does not happen again with this individual.

Again, this is not something of which we were immediately aware, but it has now been resolved. We hope you can appreciate our diligence in pursuit of this matter, and the candor we feel is necessary to maintain your trust.

Thank you for understanding.



Heheh, woops, for a good portion of the day the date was wrong on today's updates. It's fixed now. :-)

IRC Discussions

I have set up and registered an IRC channel on BeyondIRC for discussing UO topics and issues, whether they be about roleplaying, design and development, bugs, exploits, tips and tricks, humour, whatever. Drop in and check it out! Feel free to hang out and talk, even if I'm not present (or even if I am but am also AFK) :-) I hope to eventually get some informal chats going with some of the more notable people in the UO community there as well. [The channel name is #uo-bones]


I've slightly revised the "about" page in the comics section. Also, you may have noticed that I set the default for the music on this page to be OFF. If you want to hear it, you can still turn it ON. This was one of a few things I did to try to improve the load-time for this site. I've also convinced the powers-that-be to add image dimension tags to the advertisement code, so that the page doesn't seem to freeze at that point. I will also now periodically move news off this page and put it into the old news page.


Yep, definitely got sick. Although, I must admit I lucked out, since it seems to have restricted itself to a sore throat and fever. Overall I'm feeling relatively OK, but it's still enough to keep me house-bound. What annoys me the most about it is that the weather is beautiful outside, and I'm going to be cooped up here (69 degrees at 9:30am, and not a cloud in the sky, and practically no wind). :-) Well, I'm going to try to keep things running smoothly on this site. I mean, afterall, the alternative for me is watching cheezy talk-shows. :-)

Cheating GM?

There has been quite a heated debate going on via the Vault and the CoB message boards concerning a GM (or OSI programmer?) that was "cheating" by using the powers of the god-client while playing a normal character in the game that kills other player characters. Such powers include self-resurrection, walking through walls, and invulnerability. As to whether the whole thing is true or a hoax, it can be hard to tell. While a lot of the evidence that is brought force rings with a tone of truth, there is a lot that also doesn't seem to hang together well, and can appear to be a poor attempt at faking the evidence. Basically one should try to keep an open mind through all of this. Personally, my impression so far is that something *did* happen, but wasn't really that bad, and those who were angered wanted to get their revenge and thus started doctoring up the evidence to sway people to their side. As I said, it can be hard to tell though.

  April 20, 1998

Unfortunately, I think I'm getting the flu, so things may slow down here and on the comics page for the next few days. :-(

New Rep System

Well, if what I hear is true, one week from now we will have the new rep system, which I anxiously await. The notoriety system has been the biggest ball-and-chain to me in the game I can think of.

  April 19, 1998
Access Problems

For some reason this site was inaccessible for most of the day today, but it is mostly resolved. Now that that the site is coming back up, for some reason the advertisements are not working correctly and are slowing down the load of the page, so I have temporarily moved the ad code down to the bottom so you can still access and read the news here.


As usual, you may have spotted this on the Vault, but there is a new article called "To Sue... Or Not To Sue...", and I think it is worth reading. Written in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek style, it is worth the read. While I don't completely agree with it 100%, there are a lot of good points made, it seems to be relatively well researched, and in general it follows my own opinions about the lawsuit (though I don't give the game the same bad-wrap that this article does).

  April 18, 1998

This was mentioned on the Vault, but I thought I'd reiterate it here. There is a new Article up about role-playing evil, and is worth the read. Enjoy!

  April 17, 1998
More on Harassment

I've been following some discussions on the topic, and have been included in the recipient list for some e-mail that has been going back and forth on the issue. One message that was sent to me is partially quoted here:

First of all, I think the biggest problem with the harassment issue really is that there needs to be a defined definition of what should be policed, and what can't be.

The main complaint that the "non-whiners" have about Kazola's isn't that it was attacked. Hey, that's part of the game. But it was the out of context swearing and harassment... The threats and promises to "rape her corpse", all in front of the GM who was there.

Now the real issue here isn't banning PKillers. It is enforcing the policy that OSI has imposed. In fact, a few months ago, they even made it "tougher" and re-posted it for all to see and agree to (and they made SPECIAL note to draw attention to things like sexual harassment, racial and other hate mongering, etc.)

But when they witness it, they do nothing. This is the problem. This is the reason most of the serious gamers are upset. There are others out there who want to ban PKs and think this is a "PK" issue. It really isn't. If a thief in town said "I'm gonna find out where you live and kick your ass" he'd be in the same category.

I truely think that only by making it VERY CLEAR that this is the issue, and not the old PK/No-PK issue can anything be done.

Most Origin GMs are probably in that same young male brat bracket that is generally responsible for these problems. Personally, I'd like to see the GM staff replaced by properly trained, mature, and impartial (as in not players) 30+ year olds.

From there he went on to discuss other points as well, many of which I'm sure will be discussed at least a little in tonight's UO House of Commons Chat.

Star Trek?

It could be said that many who spend their time playing these games tend to have similar tastes in TV and movies. With that in mind, do you think it was a GM who decided this would be cute? Or was it just coincidence? Of course, the character on Star Trek's Deep Space Nine spells it as "Garak", but does that really make a difference? :-)


I'm wondering how well people can access this site now that it is on a new host. Personally, to me it comes up about as quickly and easily as it did on Geocities, except now there are no annoying pop-up advertisements. However, I got e-mail from one person who said that the site takes so long to respond that he is no longer even going to try, and this is after trying through several seperate ISP's (did he switch ISP's just for my site? I don't know). Because I can access it just fine nearly all the time, I'm inclined to believe that it was either a temporary problem, or that it is a local problem involving the hub that all his local ISP's connect to. Anyway, if you are having any serious problems accessing this site in a timely fashion, complain to the guys at Questgate (you can click on the button in the menu bar at the top), since I have no control over those matters. :-)

Fiasco on the Vault

It seems that there's a bit of an argument or debate over the deal with the UO Vault being hosted on a server owned by OSI. Apparently many believe that this seriously compromises their impartiality. Personally, I only discovered the news when Fallo told me a day or so ago, and that was only shortly before anything was posted about it on the Vault's front page.

I'd just like to say that in my humble opinion I think they are doing a fine job. They've had their share of problems over time, just like all of us, but lately I've found it to be respectable. There has been both good and bad news posted, and I haven't noticed any real change in content between before and after the move to the new host.

  April 16, 1998
Late Update

I'm sorry for the lateness of today's update, but FTP access to my host was down.

Black Dyes

This is halarious... I'm rather amused at the whole situation. Last night I "accidentally" dropped a few black robes to see what would happen. I wasn't the first, not by a long shot, but most of the people around me hadn't seen them before. Don't get me wrong, I didn't invent the dying method, I didn't distribute large quantities of these things, nor did I try to use it to get gold from people, it was an experiment and nothing more. Nevertheless, next thing I knew I had a swarm of people around me demanding more and begging to have their stuff dyed (interesting experimental results!). Anyway, when I came back into the game this morning, I saw pure black clothes everywhere! There must be an army of people dying up these things. As I wandered around a bit, I saw numerous questions about "will people be banned", "are they illegal", "how is it done" etc. During that time, I'd say about 50% of the people I encountered were wearing "shadowlord" black. It also seems to be all the rage on the message boards, and people are distributing instructions (and the software) for it, though early on (before knowledge of it became widespread) some of the robes were selling for multiple hundreds if not thousands of gold.

Well, the answer to how this will all turn out is an open one. I have not heard a peep from OSI yet anywhere. GM's do not respond to the question often or with any consistency of information (just like with any other issue). I think OSI's most likely course of action is to modify the server code not to allow color #1 ("shadowlord" black), and perhaps even write a script to auto-delete or auto-whiten (dying color #0, thus "undying") all items of that color. As for banning, if they were to do that they'd be blowing away a huge portion of their customer base (probably some of their most loyal players too). Besides, it would be an outrage to ban people for a harmless cosmetic exploit in the midst of all this turnoil over lawsuits, harassment, cheaters, bugs, PK's, etc. If they were to start banning for this after letting clear harassers go, etc, then it's their policies that *really* need to be hacked into. In any event, it will not last, either because it will be programmed out, or because everyone will get bored with it and realize that it looks ugly, except maybe for some evil characters (it could potentially become the official color for PK's or something). :-)

  April 15, 1998
Harassment Etc

I've been watching what's been happening lately with a few incidents online. I was quite sorry to hear of the incident at Kazola's the other day in which players were being harassed (and so were the counselors present), and allegedly the GM's did nothing to stop it. I understand how disheartening these things can be. No one wants to be personally harassed or abused verbally or emotionally.

I was harassed once by a player who was paying a thief. He kept following me everywhere I went, demanding to pay him gold to be left alone, but he didn't keep it all to an in-game context. I decided to fight fire with fire and show him what it was like, so I logged out at the inn, and quickly came back with my ghost character and followed him around shouting to the world about who and what he was. I only did it for about 10 minutes, just to get my point across.

More recently, a thief attempted to steal from me (I think his name in game was "Jamien" or something like that, my memory doesn't work well with names), and got guard-killed for it. As is my normal policy, since he tried to steal from me I took the dyed robe and dagger from his corpse. Upon his return I saw him speaking with another player, but didn't realize at first that he was also speaking to me. At this point he became extremely angry, and in his own words said he was going to "harass" me, follow me around for hours, use an earthquake scroll on me, and even poison my ghost (which was some sort of chreat/exploit available at the time to permanently ruin someone's stats). Considering I was using a newbie character, and I don't pay attention to such rabble, I could only laugh at the situation. I repeatedly explained that if he would apologize for the threats, I'd give his stuff back (after all, what use is a newbie robe and a newbie dagger to a newbie who already has those things?). Instead he continued to threaten me. I paged a GM, but none showed, not that I really cared at this point. Eventually I just walked away, still being taunted by him. These are both minor examples of some forms of harassment, and I personally have not taken the brunt of some of the nastier forms out there.

Getting killed in the game, even by PK's doesn't always ruin the game. The PK's that are of a more harassing nature are the real problems, as well as those who harass without even taking up arms. I've logged out just to get away from people before, and I'm sure many other peopel have as well. Samwise had some interesting things to say about the issue on his site today, so it's worth taking a peek, though I personally won't go so far as to quit over it. I hope that some better policies are put into place for dealing with this issue.

Also mentioned on Samwise's site today was that someone was auto-banned because of a clerical error at his bank. Personally I think it's assinine to ban someone just because the credit check didn't go through immediately (in that case, the error was corrected that same day, but the person was still banned). I think that a more reasonable way to operate the billing would be that if the charge doesn't go through, there should be a grace-period. During this time, the charge would be attempted once a day, for up to 5 days. If at the end of the 5 days the charge still has not gone through, then and only then should the person be banned (and sent an e-mail about it). Personally, I sometimes run my credit card right up to within a dollar of being full. If I were to do this just before the 1st of the month, I might get banned from the game even though my payment to my card might get applied the following day. I really hope this issue gets addressed soon as well.


If you keep up to date on the UO Vault and on CoB, you probably already have seen these, but I wanted to point them out anyway. "Battling Bullies on the Web" deals with a side of the PK issue that is not often conisdered, and "Ultima Online: The Final Word" which is more about the current status of UO.

  April 14, 1998

It was on this day in 1912 that the great ship Titanic met it's destiny. Personally I've been interested in the incident since long before the movie came out, but of course recently I've learned a lot. When I saw the movie, I was probably one of the few in the audience that got excited in just about every scene at how historically accurate everything was (because I was already familiar with it). The disaster stands as a testament to how great catastrophes usually are not the result of a single mistake or problem, but usually a long string of wrong turns (in this case a lot of things went wrong that led to the collision, sinking, and death of so many people; It wasn't as simple as just being an iceberg hit). There are important lessons to be learned just about everywhere we look, so it's a real shame that it often takes a major catastrophe to awaken people to problems and flawed reasoning. I hope that something similar isn't what awakens OSI to the problems they're having with customer support (specifically GM's, and dealing with harassment issues and the like). I still firmly believe that having sysops that are trained and empowered (both technically and in terms of authority) to fix things, help the players, etc, is something that is very important to an online roleplaying game. I don't want to see the game sink and then hear the sound of thousands slapping their foreheads simultaneously. :-)


I've re-arranged things slightly today, by moving the links to it's own page, and I also moved the index to the bottom of this page, since I want the daily updates to take precendence, and I always announce anything new I add anyway. Also, for quite some time I've had a button bar that looks like this: "[ INDEX | NEWS | PICS | COMICS | LINKS ]" which you may find useful.

Patch Day

Well, once again, another patch day came and went, though everyone is still trying to figure out the nuances of the patch. In general, I'm quite pleased to see some of the fixes that are being added, especially since some of them were ones that I recently pointed out here. Here's a few of the things I like so far (many of which I suggested at least once):

  • Spellbooks are equippable
  • Horses look correct when you ride them now
  • Potions will now be labelled based on strength of effect (this might not be in yet, but is on the "coming soon" section)
  • Death animations, and corpses facing directions other than north (direction 0) are now used.
  • Successive repairs reduce the over-all durability of weapons and armor, which is actually quite realistic and helps push the economy forward.
  • You get snooping messages now, so you know when people are "attempting" to peek at your stuff.

But I must also say that sometimes certain aspects of these patches seem a bit rushed. Of course, I'm giving them the benefit of the doubt by calling it "rushed", as most others would say that they're being careless or just plain inept. Here's a few of the problems we've seen so far:

  • Discounts in stores based on good notoriety only works on the price list and bill of sale. You still end up paying full price though. You really would think that they would have tested this. Luckily, it's server-side, and thus can be fixed without another elaborate patch process. Thinking of discounts, do the discounts for being in the NPC guilds work? I don't recall ever seeing them work at all.
  • Using your "open spellbook" macro to open your spellbook when it is equipped on your paperdoll can crash the client. For that matter, I wonder if the spellbook falls to your corpse when you die if it is equipped, as it does if it is in a bag... that's something I don't want to attempt to verify unless I use a mule. :-)
  • Guild members got flooded with "resign" messages last night, and at the same time the game ground to a near halt. Luckily that seems to have been temporary.


(I decided to go ahead and put this comment up a little early, considering that as of this writing it's only 10pm on the 13th local time)

Lately I've been seeing quite a bit of talk of player-run towns. I think this is a wonderful thing. I have fond memories of "Mystery City" back in the beta, which was an astonishing accomplishment because of the weekly world wipes. In just 2 or 3 days, a handful of players managed to build a small town of 5 buildings from scratch, complete with training hut, bakery, smithy, and town hall.

Over the months, several new role-playing establishments have risen, notably places like Kazola's, Oasis, Rivendell, Haven, and their ilk. Interestingly enough, I've never visited most of these places, and often can't keep track of what server they're on. I wish to change this, and soon will try to make an effort to visit all of these locations.

Something I'm hoping that will be done is to see an index created for them. I'd like to see a one-stop page devoted to player created towns and role-playing establishments. Personally, I tihnk such a page would be of great use to those of us who have a hard time keeping track of these places, and who would like to visit when we see them mentioned without having to search through weeks (or even months) of old news on the Vault to find out where they are located. I also think that the page should include a small one-paragraph description of the place, and have a radar-map showing where it is located, and have a link to the place's website if it has one. I hope someone will step forward and create such a site (I would, except I'm writing commentaries and comics, as well as doing other game-related activities).

  April 13, 1998
The Move

Well, I've been gone for a few days for the holiday, but before I left, and after I returned I have been spending a lot of time editing all of these HTML's for the move to QuestGate/LogicQuest. And finally it is done! However, it's more than likely that I've screwed up a link or an image somewhere, so if something doesn't seem to work please e-mail me. For now there will be no music or left-side menu bar, which I'm mentioning just so you don't think that the lack of those things is such a bug. :-)

  April 8, 1998
The Future of this Site

I just wanted to take a moment to say a few things about what is going on with this site, where it is going, what it is for, etc. This is little longish, but please read it anyway.

Originally I set up this site as a means to "shout above the noise" so to speak. Many people whine, scream, yell, complain, etc all over the message boards. Having some experience in on-line systems, both as a user and a sysop, and also being well versed in role-playing concepts, game mechanics, and balance issues, I felt that some of my thoughts and views didn't deserve to die unheard amongst the useless chatter on the message boards. Don't get me wrong, I don't claim to be "better" or "above" everyone else. I'm merely saying that the sorts of things I have to say fit into a category of rational and reasonable messages that tend to get drowned out on public forums. There are many others whose insights are just as good as (and perhaps even better than) my own that don't get "saved" as such, which is unfortunate.

However, I don't have something to say at every moment of every day as such. If you look at the index, there are long periods of no updates punctuated by clusters of articles. I try to at least add something to this "news" section at least once every few days.

The thing is though, that I don't play UO consistently. I sometimes stop playing altogether for a few weeks at a time, and then at other times play quite a lot. I haven't spent any real serious amount of time with my "main" character since Christmas, as I have been playing a multitude of other characters instead (including one in "green", shh!). With inconsistent play, it's sometimes hard to maintain a "current" view of the game, especially since I have at times spent stretches of time over a month long without engaging in combat, which makes tracking weapon balances and the like impossible for me.

Something that this site has brought me is a certain amount of respect in the UO community, for which I am thankful. Occasionally people actually attempt to keep me informed, or just drop me a note to say "hi", which I think is really cool. In a way I have carved myself a neat little niche. I have a certain amount of respect, but I'm not in the "spotlight" to the point of being hounded to death with questions and problems that have little to do with me. I'm not with the "in" crowd either though. For instance, I usually learn of the chats with DD after-the-fact. However, many know who I am, and life goes on. I sometimes wish for more (and on bad days I may wish for less), but generally it's comfortable. :-)

My comics have breathed new life into everything for me though, even though I'm running out of "initial inspiration" and may be forced to slow down with it a bit. Right now the comics are very rewarding. I get tons of positive feedback, which really lets me know that the work I put into it is appreciated. It's great encouragement to keep me going. And at the same time I get to tell a story, and make people smile without having to get things approved or plan in advance. I can just sit down and grind out about an hour and a half worth of work and have something to show for it that people really enjoy. As rewarding as wearing blue or green can be, this is better for me at this point in time.

So that brings me to the real point of today's update. I'm really good at pointing out all the flaws in games, things that "should" be fixed, things that "could" be better, etc. But a lot of the time, as rational as I may try to be about it, I feel I'm still just whining. And even though I know the dev-team reads this site, I still sometimes feel like I'm talking to myself and/or preaching to the choir. :-)

So the emphasis of this site may shift somewhat. The comics will now be taking up most of the time I put into this site, and so "articles" may become few and far between. However, I would like to keep this "news" section flowing. Remember, this is still a commentaries site, so it won't become a news-page like the UO Vault or CoB. I will continue to make comments on current events in UO from my own point of view and with my own opinions, but I will only make full-blown articles when the topic really demands it. However at least for now, my focus is the comics.

Once again I must reiterate that the comics have been received very well, and I think the UO world needs a little humor. There are several such comics sites available, but mine seems to be only one of two that get updated "regularly" and have people falling off their chairs. :-) It's a wonderful creative outlet, and I've always enjoyed making comics for fun (on the rare occasion that I've taken it up).

It looks like a deal may be going through, and I may get set up with a "new home" for this site soon. At the new location I may reformat the site a little. Feel free to bookmark or link to this site, and to the comics page directly, now and after the move. More exposure never hurts. :-)

And as always, feel free to e-mail me with your comments, praise, criticism (don't be too harsh!), thoughts, feelings, suggestions (like I ever take advice), etc. :-)

I think I've figured out why people can't seem to quit the game and just leave. It's the community. It's really hard to leave the people behind. It's amazing, no matter how much or how little you play, you can still be a part of the community, and being a part of the community is what really makes this game special.

  April 6, 1998

I've added a few new links lately, down at the bottom of the links section.

Psychonews Editorial

There's a new Psychonews article up about PK'ing called "PKers: c00l d00ds or ann0ying f00ls?". I think it's really worth reading. I've read this guy's articles before, and I think he often has a lot of good stuff to say. Go read it! :-)

  April 2, 1998
Looking for a New Home

Bones' UO Commentaries, along with Bones' UO Comics is looking for a new home. Geocities just isn't very adequate, with all those annoying pop-up ads, long unweildy impersonal URL's, restrictive disk space limitations, and inconvenient occasional upload problems. I would host all of this on my own domain (since I have one), but unfortunately I have a monthly transfer quota, and the overage fees would be extremely costly. We're looking for a site that makes uploading easy, has other UO content already, has more appropriate URL's, more disk space, no transfer limits, etc. I would like for the comics to have it's own directory under the commentaries, etc as well. The change may not be made immediately, as I'd like to see what is available and what is offered, then choose accordingly. If you are involved in one of these existing game-oriented sites and would like to offer some web space, drop me a line! (I know I've had a few quickly-written offers before, but I've lost them all and I need current information on what is being offered).

April Fools!

As you can see, I had a lot to say yesterday. The funny thing is that absolutely *NONE* of it is true (to the best of my knowledge anyway). I do not own or maintain FUSE, the counselors are not town-killing, and the little tidbits of UO news were completely fictional. You may now return to your everyday life. :-)

  April 1, 1998
Counselors Run Amok!

Counselors are on a rampage! Today, several have been spotted running around attacking people on sight. HERE is a screenshot showing one in the process of town-killing several innocent by-standers near the Britain Bank on Chesapeake. What can this mean?


Fallo has bestowed upon me the "honor" of continuing development of the "FUSE" server program. Now that it belongs to me, I have decided to rename it something more appropriate. It is now ABUSE, "Another Boring UO Server Emulator". *sigh*, I'm already spread quite thin with this web site, my artificial life experiments, and now Bones' UO Comics. Unfortunately I may not have the time to keep the program up to date. However, expect within the next week to have a patch available for it that will have a fully-stocked world of monsters, items, furniture, houses, and so forth. However, it may require 128 megs of RAM just to be able to load. The message board will be shut down, and I will not be accepting any e-mail on the subject, because I can't stand the incessant whining. On a more positive note, OSI has offered some big bucks for the rights to the saving mechanism in the program, but I'm still debating selling the whole project to a competitor instead. If it works, the client will be usable on several other services not run by OSI. Good riddance!

Today's UO News

Well, today is an interesting day, as many of you already know, I'm sure. Anyway, let's look at a few of the interesting things announced today with regards to UO:

  • OSI has announced that they plan to open a PK-only server. On this shard, town-killing is actually encouraged. Walking around in town while in peace-mode is a "kill on sight" offense from the guards, as only war-mode will be tolerated.

  • Counselors will soon be empowered to kill characters that they deem offensive. The rules that are being imposed are rather ambiguous, so don't be surprised if you even get your account banned because you said you don't like the color blue.

  • The new reputation system that has been worked on for quite some time was just a hoax orchestrated by disgruntled OSI employees. Notoriety will remain as it is for years to come.

  • The GM's will be cutting back their hours again. The new hours are 5pm to 6pm CST, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays only.

  • "Blackthorne" has been deemed a "naughty word". Saying it to anyone will automatically set their "ignore" list to include you.

  • GM's are now permitted to grant colored and named weapons and armor to those who ask for them, as long as they ask politely.

  • I have received a "cease and desist" order from OSI concerning Bones' UO Comics, as OSI feels that it is a disrespectful misuse of their trademarked graphics.

  • Monsters will now be controlled by new Artificial Intelligence programs that have been modelled after the brains of living organisms. OSI has not been forthcoming as to which animals they used as models, but on the Test Center some monsters have already been observed sleeping on window-sills, relieveing themselves under trees, and barking at anyone entering buildings.

  • Due to a software glitch, all accounts whose account-name begins with a "Z", or whose credit card is a master-card have been accidentally banned. Please don't call tech support about it, they can't help you because they're understaffed from firing everyone responsible for the glitch.

  • Characters that die will not become ghosts immediately, but rather zombies. When the zombie is killed, it becomes a skeleton. When the skeleton is killed, the character is deleted and the player must start a new character. This is currently in testing on the in-house test servers.

  • OSI has sold the rights to the "update center" to a third party vendor. Expect this to have two major effects on the web site:
    • Patch reports and the like will appear no less than 60 days after the patch.
    • No less than 50% of the page will be devoted to advertisements for other games.

  • Production on Ultima-9 has been suspended in an effort to make more resources available to solving the dye bugs.

  • New NPC's will be added for most of the typical Ultima characters, such as Lord British, Lord Blackthorne, Nystul, the Avatar, etc. On the test center Nystul has been seen saying "Canst thou help me? Lord Blackthorne hates me and wishes me dead! Thou doth look the sort for the deed. Bring me his 0 0 and I shall reward thee with ."

  • A new non-combat shard will be created. It will be role-play only, and therefore all spells and weapons will be disabled (this goes for the town-guards too). At this time OSI has not made comment as to whether monsters will have to exist with the same limitations.


  March 30, 1998
The Comics Continue

I've been getting a lot of positive feedback on "Bones' UO Comics", which makes me quite happy considering the effort I put into it. Since the page went up, I've been making 1 to 3 strips a day, and each requires somewhere from 1 to 3 hours to make (depending on the complexity, and whatever technical problems may arise). I'm not going to keep this rate up, obviously, but I just wanted to get this thing kicked off with a decent number of strips. Today I went back and brightened the text color on most of the strips to make it a little easier to read through the JPEG errors. Anyway, thanks to everyone for the kind words; I'm certainly having a blast making these comics. :-)

  March 23, 1998
Lantern Bug

Lanterns that you buy from provisioners do not work, somewhat. When you buy one, equip it, and ignite it, you and everyone hears it ignite. The problem is that only you yourself can see it flickering and can see the light-field around you. No one else can see these things, so if you're trying to be the "light-bearer" for a group excursion into a dungeon, you have to use torches. This is of course a "non-critical" and "cosmetic" sort of bug, and many would feel that it's more of a feature since it doesn't lag people around you (yeh, whatever). I noticed this bug within a day or two of lanterns being made available once again in shops, but didn't think to post it until now (simply because I have rarely been using them in the time-being, mostly because they aren't working. How's that for circular logic?) :-)

  March 18, 1998

I just added a new section, the "Mailbag" page, in which I may occasionally add messages that I have received that are of interest for one reason or another. Some may be flames, others may be particularly good ideas, whatever. Don't take this as an invitation to bombard me with e-mail though. The keyword was "occasionally", so don't expect to see everything I get posted there.

  March 16, 1998
Minor update

I just wanted to make another comment about the ideas proposed in my new article, "Skill Interactions", so I've added a small note at the end of it. If you've read the article already, go take a peek again!

New Article

It's interesting how I can go a few days without making a single update, and then all of a sudden I have 4 different things happen in one day. Anyway, I just wrote a new article, "Skill Interactions", so go take a peek!

Useful Info

I've added a new page with some info that may be useful to those who use UOX, FUSE, or other server programs for the UO client, "Bones' UO Color Codes".


I have just a few minor comments to make in reference to my last article called "More Thoughts" (some of these are things that have been brought to my attention via e-mail):

  • Leather caps used to be available in the beta-test.
  • Death animations ARE used, but happen so fast you can't see them. Basically, before the death sequence really has a chance to begin, the character is removed and replaced with a corpse. However, during the "fade to black" that you see when you die, you can see your own ghost flop over sometimes. :-)
  • Death cries for various monsters are being used now.
In general, the feedback I've received has been rather positive. Thanks everyone! :-)

Sad, but true

A friend of mine pointed me towards a really stupid/funny site on the net. The message it carries is definitely a sad but true one, presented in a not-so-subtly silly manner. If you don't understand the meaning for some reason, scroll down and hit the "WTF?" link. Anyway, check it out, it is " The Adventures of B0N3D00D and pLaTeDeWd"!

  March 11, 1998

I just added a new link for the Ultima Online Links site.

More on Lawsuit

I just wanted to add more thoughts on this issue. One of the points I'm trying to make is that there is little to be achieved with this lawsuit, and much harm to be done. Sure, OSI might be a bit nervous right now, and we've all had reason to be frustrated with them in the past. But the point is, what do you want from them? Even with a T1 you will still get internet lag if one of the major hubs is not functioning correctly (ahem, we're talking about you MAE-East, MAE-West, and Digex!). And bugs? Bah! Since when should a company be sued for bugs? I don't remember getting a bug-free program at all in this lifetime. Ultima 7 had this problem with keys vanishing and the rooftops falling to ground level, Ultima Underworld would sometimes have items change from one thing to another when dropped (like a candle becoming a chicken-leg). Heck, my graphics program can't make white be the transparent color, and the icon editor that came with norton desktop switches the light and dark greys when it saves. Sure, the game has server side lag, but since when did they make a gaurantee that there would be no lag? Should we be able to sue because the game is too popular? And the whole issue of damages is absurd, since these people could have quit any time, and if pressed for it OSI likely would have refunded for the CD. The web site explained the $10 a month charge during registration, if you didn't agree to the terms you should have quit then and asked for a refund. And if the game wasn't satisfactory during your free trial period, then you should have cancelled your account. No one is holding a gun to your head and making you play. I find it rather amusing actually, that people say things along the lines of "Oh, there's so much lag, and so many bugs, and OSI doesn't care, and I hate this game, and I know all this because I play 50 hours a week!" Hahah! If you hate it or are not satisfied, leave. Let the rest of us play in peace, because there are many of us who just want to play. As for not posting the $10/month fee on the package, well, they did post that there would be a charge. They most likely didn't put the amount because it was subject to change, for they did not know if the $10 would actually be profitable. For instance, if they had needed to increase it to $15, then everyone who bought the CD would whine and complain that the box said $10, and therefore they'd be in a bind. Some of the things that are being used against them in this suit were things they had hoped would instead protect them. A lawsuit is just simply not the answer, especially because of the damage it might do to the entire industry, which will be set back for years if the suit succeeds (because of the legal precedent that will be set saying that online game companies can be sued for internet/server lag, bugs, and floating service charges, all of which are part of the industry and are here to stay).

  March 10, 1998

I read the article about the class-action lawsuit that has been filed against OSI, and I must say I am apalled. I can understand the anger that people feel towards some of the unfortunate things that have ocurred in relation to UO, but this case is absurd. They're suing for damages? And what does that come to? $10 a month for, oh, lets be generous and say 6 months, plus the cost of the CD. $120 each? The lawyer fees will be far greater, and this will not even sting from OSI's perspective. This is, of course, assuming that the 5 members of the lawsuit are suing for their own damages, as opposed to the damages for all customers (and what would give them the right to sue on the behalf of everyone?). In some of the stipulations listed in the article, they quote the box package as saying that a monthly service fee is applicable after the free trial period, and then they proceed to deny that monthly fees were stated. Likewise, the $10/month fee is explained in the registration process.

What I see is a very shaky case, and they'll be lucky if the jury even takes it seriously ("Ahem, this is a game, right?"). But the thing that scares me is what if they win? It will set a precedent that says that companies like OSI can be nailed for not specifying the monthly price exactly on the box, and for being susceptible to internet lag. Such a precedent could severely damage the online game industry and set it back for years, because internet-induced lag is here to stay, and thus online games may become unprofitable if just any customer can sue for it. To me this just looks like an attempt at petty revenge on shaky ground that will not be effective even if it succeeds, and actually may do more harm than good. I hope the jury sees it for what it is.

New "fan-made" Server Software

There's a new server "emulator" (similar to UOX) out on the block, called FUSE. I've added a link to its home site. I just want to point out (as the creator of UOR did), that "emulator" isn't entirely appropriate since these programs usually are real servers. Anyway, this is a nifty program, and is easy to use. It was also created by a friend of mine, and I've been helping with some of the testing. So go check it out!

  March 9, 1998
Shields again

Second shield is done, you can see it HERE.


Well, when I set off to make some shields, I was working on 2 of them. One is *mostly* finished, in that all it needs are some more studs on the front surface. The other is completely done, and you can see it HERE. Also, here is a picture of the bracers that a friend made for me.

Grim Predictions

As I often do, I stumbled across some interesting literature posted with links from the vault, etc. There is an article, "Why Won't They Come", which is very good and worth reading (this goes for you too, OSI!). This has been a point of issue for many of us, and I was thinking of writing an article along these lines myself, though I don't have access to the kind of data that they used in their graphs. I find it very compelling. The bad news is that UO's support system falls into the second category, the ones that ultimately fail because it leaves the customers feeling unsatisfied. Personally, I would like to see UO do what the article has suggested, empower the sysops (the GM's in this case) with both the tools and the authority to fix what needs to be fixed at their own discretion, and to train them so they can make the right choices and act "in sync" with one another. One thing I've noticed is that many of the GM's are not on the same wavelength, and often are not even aware of what the other GM's are doing. And of course, except for teleporting you out of whatever wall or floor you might be stuck in, right now they only serve the function of telling you to write to tech support, which in turn will tell you that there is nothing that can be done. I hope this pattern changes.

  March 5, 1998
Slow updates

Updates to this site are a little slow in coming this week, and my new articles may end up being delayed accordingly. This week I've been spending some time making some shields. Yes, real ones, wooden ones with steal rims and metal studs. Don't get me wrong, they're not exactly "authentic", nor are they likely to last long in battle, but they will work well in a medieval/fantasy sort of outfit. A few friends and I often go to the local RenFests (Renaissance Festivals), in full costume. We make most of our own stuff, and sometimes modify things we buy (such as staining our staves). Anyway, the summer is still a ways off, but it never hurts to plan ahead. I'm getting tired of rushing things during the last week before going to the 'fest. Some of my friends have been making chainmail and leather armor, And are even thinking of selling some. Their web site is not quite finished yet, but you can see it here: The Dragonfire Armoury. There's a chance I may also sell some items through this endeavor too (probably shields). Any inqueries related to the Armoury should be sent to the contacts listed there.

  February 20, 1998
Me != GM

For those who aren't familiar with the C programming language, "!=" means "not equal to". Taking that into account, the statement "Me != GM" is true. Personally, I think it's neat that people think I'm a GM (probably confusing me with "GM Bones"), but I do not wish to deceive anyone. Not much anyway. :-) While I may have a few sources of what I would like to think of as "reliable" information, I do not actually work for OSI, nor do I have any real "pull" with them. Anyway, I must thank many of you for the praise, homage, and fear that you have shown, even if it is under misunderstood pretenses. :-) One thing to keep in mind is that anyone who is running their own opinionated Ultima-related web site is most likely not on the payroll at OSI. :-)

(in regards to my comments about cheaters the other day, when I said "this is fun", I was referring to watching the banning, not doing the banning myself) :-)

  February 4, 1998
Seer sighting

A seer was spotted this past evening (tuesday the 3rd) in Trinsic on the Chesapeake shard playing chess in a tavern. Who says it's not all fun and games anymore? Perhaps the seers will act as a reminder that there is always time to stop and smell the roses. :-)

  January 27, 1998
Bring on the seers!

Seers have been spotted in UO! What does this foretell? Seems to me that this is a positive omen. Look ye well, and ye may be fortunate enough to speak to one! :-)

(pictured to the right is Seer Garak near the Britain Bank on the Chesapeake shard, accompanied by two anomalous portals that lead to nowhere)

  January 24, 1998
A special day

Well, today is the day I celebrate my birth! That makes it exactly one quarter of a century down for me. Chances are that I'll have another 2 of those left, so wish me luck on making the most of them! Then again, with some of the most recent research, I may have the opportunity to have another 5 instead of another 2. :-) It's amazing what the biological sciences may be able to do in the near future! Anyway, have a good weekend; I know that's what I'll be trying to do! :-)

  January 12, 1998
Digital Life

As you may have been following here, I spent about a week working on a virtual ecology program called BugFest. After completing it I decided to dredge up just a few of my older digital life experiments, and they can now be accessed from The NecroBones Artificial Life Experiments page. I'm working on even more ideas yet again, but considering I just "finished" a project it may take some time before I code any of them. Besides, I have my reasons to get back to UO this week. :-)

  December 31, 1997
Year's End

Happy New Year everyone!! I guess it's time to start making those new-year's resolutions eh? How about resolving to cut back on UO to less than 50 hours a week? Nah... I think I'd rather think of something more useful to resolve to do. Perhaps I should build an excersize machine into my chair here so that I can get the illusion of walking while playing UO. :-) Seriously though, I think personally I will make more of an effort to get some programming done. I love designing my little shareware games, but haven't devoted much time to it lately. For years I've been wanting to make a CRPG, but due to the complexities involved (just animating the characters is tough for one person to do, let alone music, terrain, story, dialogue, etc), such a project usually gets shelved in favor of a two-day othello project or a week-long design of an UNO clone. The times where I *have* set out to make more of a role-playing adventure I usually ended up getting fed up with the workload (after all, I'm only *one* person!) and would therefore crank out a program that was very simple and lacked detail. Too bad I can't just design the concepts, and then have other people do all the art, music, programming, etc. :-) But then again, the whole idea of my shareware is to be my own artisitic expression, and the feeling of accomplishment at the end of such a project is priceless. This however would not stop me from working for or starting my own game-software company. :-)

  December 22, 1997

How evil are you? Find out by taking the NecroBones Evil Test. ;->

  December 17, 1997
The UO-Vault

Many people are having a hard time accessing the UO-Vault. This is because it is changing hosts for it's webspace. As far as I know, the URL will be the same once it has relocated (one of the wonderful things about domain names and virtual server accounts), however for now it is only fully accessible as a non-frames page at a temporary location:


Clarification on down-time

I just wanted to clarify on yesterday's rant about the 25-minute countdown for server downage. I think having advance notice is a great thing, and it was something I begged for during the beta. However, the time played during the countdown is useless in the longrun, so perhaps a countdown of 5 minutes before kicking the players, and then let the server complete the save before the maintenence/upgrade work is done. That way everyone at least knows that the server is going down, but they aren't left to think they can still play and have it count for something.

Guild Spotlight

I just wanted to commend the guys in a particular guild over on the Great Lakes shard for their efforts in the Orc Shadowclan, for this is one of the best examples of how guilds (or people in general) can come together, be creative, and have a lot of fun without just slaughtering monsters or each other. (notice how combat amongst themselves and with others is woven into the context, the mark of good role-playing). If you haven't checked it out, I highly recommend it. This guild sets a good example. I wouldn't be surprised if similar orc clans arise on the other servers. :-)

Lag, lag, lag, lag, bacon, and lag (Atlantic)

Lag, wonderful lag! Not. Unfortunately the lag was quite aweful yesterday. I believe Lord British once commented in an interview that the servers don't get lagged these days, that it is all in the net between the server and the end user (whether the bottleneck is the modem, the ISP, or MAE-East, or whatever). Well, I say that's crap, at least to an extent. If that were true, then in the case of a sudden freeze in the game, when the bottleneck clears your stamina and mana regeneration should reflect the elapsed time. In one or two cases yesterday, it did not, leading me to believe that time had at least slowed server side, even if only for about 5 or 10 seconds.

But that was not the problem. Momentary freezes are a minor nuisance and nothing more. Yesterday's lag was horrendous. At times I would lose connection altogether and be unable to reconnect for 5 or 10 minutes, even though the server was still indicated as "UP" by UOMON, and the packet loss was only 30% to 40% (I've been able to remain online in packet losses up to 75% before). This happened about 4 times in the day, for periods of anywhere from 15 minutes to closer to an hour. And in *these* cases, it appeared to be MAE-East causing the trouble. At least from here. I am aware that Atlantic has recently changed it's network connection, making it less reliant on MAE-East. I believe that not everyone has to go through MAE-East anymore, but since I'm using NetCom, I have no choice but to go through MAE-East for my connection to just about anything out there. Perhaps it is time for me to change ISP. I don't know. All I can say is that it is frightening to lose connection when you know there is a liche in the next room, and then have to wait for a while before you can find out whether you survived or died.

UO is not necessarily having problems that is it's own fault, and I don't think very many people realize that. Many of the lag problems really are due to the inadequacy of the major infrastructure of the net. It's merely more noticeable in UO, since it is a real-time system. As more and more games and videoconferencing programs become popular, the major backbones of the net will *have* to improve their performance (and not just *say* they're doing so, like MAE-East appears to be doing). That doesn't help us now, but I remain optimistic for the future.

  December 16, 1997
A few things

Unfortunately I missed last night's chat with the design team on the Adrenaline Vault. I had very much intended to participate, but well.. Can't win 'em all. I was however quite flattered to be mentioned in it. :-) I've made a copy of the log (which I grabbed from the UO-Vault) available HERE.

I made a slight edit to my most recent commentary (Ideas for Play-Balance and New Paradigms), in the form of a small addendum at the bottom as a minor clarification.

I'm also going to make an effort to put up a few of my more "minor" ideas and concerns here in the chronolgy, starting now...

Stealing from bags

One of the problems I see currently with stealing was the addition of the ability to steal from containers contained within the main pack. The concept of being able to do so is not the problem. The problem lies in the fact that the thief can snoop further and further in, several layers down. In reality, try to imagine how impossible it would be to reach into a draw-string pouch inside another pouch inside a backpack that is inside the main pack. To do this, let alone trying not to be detected doing so, would require tentacles. A bony arm just couldn't do it. I think a good remedy would be to cut in half the chance for success with each progressive layer. For instance, if you have 100% chance of success on the main pack, then you would have a 50% chance on the next container, and a 25% chance on the next. Another idea (and I saw someone else post this on the Beta Board) would be to have a linear drop-off, such as a -20% per layer.

Server downage

One thing that I'm sure we all find annoying are the time-warps. Luckily OSI is now giving some warning when they take the servers down on purpose. However, that 25 minute countdown really should start by saying "You might as well log out" (sigh). My experience is that the last 10 or 15 minutes before the T-25 mark is usually lost. They said in last night's chat that the server must be up for the save cycle to complete. Well, then what I would suggest is keep the server up for the required time, but kick the players off first. I log out anyway when I see the T-25 message, because I know nothing I do will be saved. I'd rather just consider that half-hour as part of the down-time. Most people don't understand this, and keep playing and just get angry that they have to re-do 30 to 45 minutes of play.

  December 10, 1997
Events Ideas

I just added another article today: Ideas for guilds/events, so take a peek!

Ghost-Con Player Event - completed

Well, I certainly had a good time at the ghost convention last night! I'm not sure how many knew I was playing as "Lurker" instead of "Bones", and it was clear I was never really in control of the situation (the group had a mind of it's own, as it should be!). And of course, getting everyone to quiet down for the pictures is always *real* fun... :-)

Unlike many other events, this one was not lagged to hell, though it was not totally lag free either. In fact, if we hadn't been lagged at least a little, I'd have been disappointed... :-) This was probably due to the smaller, more managable turn-out. I think at the peak we had about 20 participants in one place at a time.

We started out in the castle as planned, though only a few minutes after the official meeting time we ran out into the streets en masse, and travelled from one place to another, including the forge, the bank, and the warriors guild (pretty much in that order). We eventually returned to the castle and started posing for group-pictures. Afterwards, some of us went into the streets and began a massacre and cannibal-fest. :-)

Here are some interesting screenshots:

All in all, I was quite pleased, and we never got so badly lagged that we just wanted to (or were forced to) quit. We had a lot of fun, and we taunted and spoke of erie things to those few fleshie mortals who stopped and attempted to listen to what we had to say. I'd like to do this more often, and seeing as The Ghosts of the Castle are here for exactly that, this may become a frequent ocurrance in Britain!

  December 6, 1997
Orc Fort Player Event - completed

I joined last nights Orc event. For those not familiar with it, it was an event organized by players in which players would pretend to be orcs by wearing brown robes, orc masks/helmets, and would speak like an orc and defend the orc fort near cove from invading humans.

It was a great idea, and had the potential to be a lot of fun, but unfortunately it turned out like the scavenger hunts in the beta-test in that having so many people logged in at the same time and place brought the server to it's knees. The lag got so bad that multiple minutes would go by in which we would be frozen and unable to move. At times, I would even get disconnected and have one hell of a hard time getting back in. However, despite the lag problems, it was quite a bloodbath, and I managed to snap off a few screenshots.

During the event I was able to sneak into the orc fort, despite all the people who were attacking us on the way in rather than waiting for the seige to begin. After passing the dye tub around and handing out a few robes, we had to fight off a few humans who attacked us from within the fort. I slowly inched my way over, and in a single frame update on my screen I found myself dead with someone standing over me who previously was half a screen away (apparently about 10 seconds of time elapsed that I could not see). After re-arming, I stepped to the side to heal a little, and then I was frozen from then on. Luckily I was ignored for most of this time. Eventually I lost connection and I could not even log back in (doing so resulted in instant connection loss), so I'll have to find out later whether or not my character was permitted to time-out in peace.

Here are a few screenshots I took along the way: (click on them to view them):

  • This was the scene at 9:10pm, 5 minutes before we were supposed to start meeting at the Sweet Dreams Inn. The crowd was already huge, and the lag high, but we were still able to move at this point.
  • Here was the scene inside the orc fort shortly after the battle began. I died quickly, and moved away to recover after grabbing my helmet, robe, and spear.
  • When trying to reconnect, usually the server would start sending data across to update the characters on the screen without sending all the startup data immediately, and this is what I saw. Eventually it would correct itself, and I would lose connection again.
  • This is a good picture showing some of the carnage in the fortress entrance.
So anyway, it was fun, what little of it I got to participate in. But I must say, running around playing an "orc" as such is actually kinda fun. I may keep this character. So if you see "Ungher the Orc" running around somewhere, stop for a moment and say "Ugh".

  November 22, 1997
Bones' recent victory!

Well, it just goes to show that the old saying, "Your superior intellect is no match for our puny weapons" holds true. In this screenshot you can see just how my latest battle went. Score one for Bones! GM's 0! :-)

[fine print: if you believe this, you'll believe anything]

  November 18, 1997

For those of you who don't know me, I am Bones Dragon, one of the longest-running members of UDIC (The Ultima Dragons), and I can often be found on the UO-Vault and its "Beta Board". I was a beta tester in UO Beta-2, and I am currently a Counselor in the game as well. If you have met me in-game, you probably know me as Brother Bones on the Atlantic shard.

** Note: in writing this page I am not acting as a game counselor in any way, nor are the contents of this page in any way affiliated with OSI (Origin). These are my own opinions and observations, and nothing more. **

So I hereby welcome you to Bones' UO Commentaries page. Throughout the time that I've participated in UO, I have been enthralled by the potential of this game, and have become a loyal follower. However, at times I have felt the need to voice my opinions about various issues, and have not had an adequate place to do so... until now.

At least for now, I have opted for a similar look and feel to what is currently in place both on the UO web site, and on the UO Vault (my favorite UO news site).

This page will not likely be updated every day, but I will post my thoughts and musings about current events, issues, and news in the world of Britannia. I will also create an index at the top of the page through which you can access specific issues and topics that aren't of such a timely nature as that which gets put here in the chronology. I have already started the "issues" section with a treatise on Player Killing vs Role-playing Evil, and how the new patches affect them.

I also want to address something that many of you may be wondering, and that is why the hell is this page, and my guild page, and my pictures page all on GeoCities when I have my own domain name? Simple: Ultima stuff pulls in a large number of hits, and I also like to make my Ultima pages very large and loaded with graphics. When you are paying for web space that has a monthly transfer quota, it's far better to put the most-accessed pages on a free site. :-)

So anyway, read on and enjoy!


= Ed T. Toton III / NecroBones Enterprises / http://necrobones.com/contact.shtml
(Copyright 1997, All Rights Reserved)