Late as usual. If you don’t know what’s going on in the world of crooked GM’s, I suggest you go over to the Official OSI Announcement, which is pretty much useless. Then jump over to Dr. TwisTer’s for more details. Finally, you can read an interview with GM Darwin at Lum’s. I was going to comment on this situation beforehand, since I had heard a few rumors but, uh, it kinda happened fast and I was busy playing a game that didn’t suck. The summary statement, as it appears on Dr. TwisTer…

“GM Darwin was creating house and castle deeds online, handing them off to a character and then selling those deeds for REAL US$ MONEY on Ebay.”

The bizarre phenomenon of buying and selling virtual property on eBay has turned Ultima Online into a cottage industry, sometimes a profitable one. It’s easy really… get an account, macro up a good character or two, make some cash to go with him through macro mining or whatever, and wham… “I hope you will have as much enjoyment playing this great character as I did making him!” Now take the power of a GM, to instantly fabricate the items that people are willing to bid on, and you have an instant moneymaker there.

If you take a look at the amount of stuff he was selling on eBay, it’s completely staggering. How could he expect NOT to get caught? Apparently, he told his buyers that he and his friends just muled a lot, but on almost every damn shard? Even if you had an army of macro tailors in a house and 2 guys running around selling the stuff 24/7, 2 million gold takes quite a while to accumulate.

I find the Darwin interview is raising the most hackles, so might as well dissect that one.

well, most of what the little jerk said was true..

Not sure who he’s talking about here. Nighthawk? His boss at OSI? TwisTer? I’m not sure I really care that much. Let’s move on to the part that gets everyone rallying behind Darwin… the SOB STORIES!

A really good friend of mine was and is going through a very very rough spot in life… he is having marriage troubles… and needed to get out of debt fast in order to try and save his marriage.

Uh, okay. Since no other details of this problem were given, I can only assume that these marital troubles are nothing that I give a crap about. If someone has problems, he has problems, not you. If this guy has a marital problem that can be *ahem* solved by paying some bills, feel free to give him some cash. The means by which you lay your hands on the cash is the question. If someone had the same excuse for a jury while on trial for electronic credit card theft, would it hold up? Negative. It’s nice as a point of information on why he did it, but is no cause for a pity party.

Oh, by the way, I hope your friend is putting the cash to good use, like you.

But, if I had to do it all over I would do it again… a friend needed me and I stick by my friends.

See above.

Nah, we make $10 an hour, and I had been there 10 months the day I was fired and was still a temporary employee.

Now, some people may say, well no wonder our support sucks so much! Why don’t they give the GM’s raises? Look at the job of being a GM. You are a support person who is supporting ONE product. If you have ever used the GM interfaces for FUSE or Grayworld (UO server emulators), you know that basically you have a list of commands you type in to accomplish certain things, like deleting someone’s tower out of spite. It’s not that difficult from a technical standpoint; the support GM’s are not crunching code or making sure the hubs are streaming data. OSI looks at the job description, and decides that the most economic way to fill this role is to get a bunch of kids who were basically begging for the job (thinking it would be good or abusable or something) and pay them peanuts. This is a conceivable mistake. What is NOT, however, is that they would ignore thousands of complaints about their shitty support and worse, give it to the same kids to handle. Imagine you are a whiny disgruntled kid in a crappy job where you have godlike powers over the people who say you suck. Not hard to see why Boo deleted Nighthawk’s tower. They should at least spring for some hookers for their GM’s, or some weed, or a trip to Disneyland… anything to keep the rugrats content.

Luckily, OSI makes up for crappy personnel with quantity…

I mean there are times when there is one GM for 2 shards… that makes response times crappy and slow

So is this the isolated incident some people would have us believe it is? Lessee…

When that first account was sold, they warned us about it and said not to do it. But, the lure is always there… I mean, I am sure others GM’s have done it or are doing it.

Conjecture, of course. Just like GM favoritism.

While this was happening, after he was banned, one of the Lead GMs deleted his (Nighthawk’s) tower and other items, so when he was unblocked, he had nothing.

What a shock that is. Ex-GM Darwin doesn’t particularly care for Nighthawk, though…

Know the Nighthawk guy? Anyway, he was supposed to be banned for calling someone a Jap or something… anyway, someone from upstairs ie. the dev team or the community people said to unban him since he had all his friends protest… He is the one that actually turned me in. What does he get for all this? A placed Castle and much more… I heard over 5 + million gold. You can see how strict they are about racial harassment there.

Uh, I find the 5+ million gold pretty damn hard to swallow. There might be about 20 million gold on all of Baja*. As far as a new building, I hope he DID get a castle. It would almost cover the cost of the tower that was wrongfully deleted, plus the hassle to him and all of his friends, plus lost items. Moreover, I hope they made GM Boo pay for it by tailoring. MANUALLY.

And as far as racial harassment… I can see how serious they are when every damn time I find myself unfortunate enough to be logged in I get hit with the full range of slurs, from “FUCK YOUR MAMA NIGGER” to “fuckin stupid japs” to “what r u a fukin mexican?” (I did hear all of these in one walk around Vesper. I hear a lot more.) Every time I see someone start complaining because some jackass is smapping shit at them and a GM tells them, “Just put the person on ignore or leave the area…” I can see how OSI feels about harassment.

Again, I am not upset or mad with OSI about my my termination as it was my fault, just the way it was handled and now this bullshit letter they post on the site… that is just plain classless

As opposed to creating items with powers entrusted to you for customer support purposes and selling them to fools on eBay. The useless letter posted at was professionally vague, and tried to cushion the blow that they knew would be coming as the public found out about Darwin’s little antics.

Here’s an interesting bit about other GM’s being fired. Note that poor support, favoritism, twinking accounts, and deleting towers out of spite are not reasons to fire GM’s. Oh this reminds me… FUCK YOU DATURA! (Haven’t said that in a while. Feels good.)

A couple of GMs were fired for getting, err, personal with counselors. You see, they had a rule that we could have no relations outside of business with any UO player. Total bullshit if you ask me.

Uhh, first of all, since counselors are people who report to the GM’s (although they are volunteers), such relations could be construed as gross misconduct. Plus, given that the counselor requirement is now 25 years old, and judging from the pics of the GM’s, such an involvement could potentially put the counselor in danger of statutory rape charges.

So Darwin is out of OSI, Nighthawk allegedly has a home to replace the one that some fucking moron deleted, and UO still sucks. I really don’t have much to say besides that in wrapup, since although this revelation might shock some people who are wondering wtf is going on with people paying cash for make-believe objects, it’s all pretty much old hat to me. Almost everyone I know who is not a nincompoop and plays/played UO expects corruption, favoritism, crappy support, and behavior appropriate to a 12-year old from the GM staff as a whole. It makes me sick. Look soon for the ultimate Mu chronicle, “Musashi Cancels His Account”.

*This estimate may be a bit conservative. With the unexplained appearance of massive amounts of money on every shard, the current estimated amount of gold on Baja may be closer to 150 billion, since late May of 1999.

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