Ultima Online fires employee over cheating scandal

You don’t need to be a brand-new and modern MMORPG to suffer major cheating scandals, something the nearly 20-year-old Ultima Online has reminded us this week.

In its most recent newsletter, UO studio Broadsword explains that an Event Moderator — one of the studio contractors paid to run live events for the game’s production shards — was caught cheating, generating what appears to have been large amounts of rare-dyed cloth and an unknown quantities of unique items, which were then circulated into the already beleaguered player economy. In UO, the so-called “rares market” involves the sale and display and items that exist only in tiny batches thanks to these types of customized events, and a large part of the game (and its bloated gold economy) revolves around trading legitimate rares. It goes without saying that mass-creating those types of items for personal gain is the worst offense for a studio contractor.

“The Event Moderator program has been going strong nearly 8 years now, and we have all worked hard to ensure its success,” Producer Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong told players in the newsletter. “Please know that this situation has not been taken lightly, nor is this behavior tolerated.”

The fired EGM has apologized to the players and staff on the Stratics forum, suggesting his rares-collecting hobby had become an obsession that led to corruption. He apparently owned many accounts and homes full of rares in-game — on my own current home shard, as a matter of fact — and while Mesanna says all his accounts have been banned, an investigation into other buildings and items is apparently still ongoing.

The rares “will not be displayed like a trophy,” Mesanna says. “I am not going to encourage or put this type of behavior on a pedestal.” The houses will be emptied and raffled among the playerbase in the next few months, but players are torn over whether they want to see the legal rares on the accounts, some of which have historical value in the game, destroyed in this way.

In happier UO news, the team pushed out Publish 97 last month and is currently working on 98, which will release this summer and include 20th anniversary rewards, Halloween events, new collectibles, and a storyline arc “to mark this major milestone in Ultima Online’s history.”

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18 Comments on "Ultima Online fires employee over cheating scandal"

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Smoot
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Smoot

This article has some inaccurate information. the 150 uniques were the legitmate ones. How many “fake” items he created is unknown, and many of them are now in the hands of other players.

As for the glacial cloth, everyone knew it was fake from the start. It was their decision if they wanted to pay extreme amounts, knowing that in the past it usually a huge stack of 100k cloth is sitting somewhere. this isnt the first time cloth has been exploited, just a different color. It never should have existed in the first place. personally i would have liked to see it deleted before it was allowed to be sold. Its been around 6 months now. those who sold it profited around $5000. (note the banned player did not sell the cloth, he had others sell it for him) If the cloth had been dealt with swiftly, it would have had less of an impact.

Im happy that this is being dealt with now, but also would like to see a much stronger stance about cheating in UO overall. When someone sees cheating going on everyday, at every EM event and nothings done, it becomes more likely that a person will “turn to the dark side” and exploit the game himself.

Ive collected rares for a good number of years, and have 2 houses packed full of items. Theres no reason to indroduce these back. Theres plenty of rares out there to collect.

In real life, part of history is the loss and destruction of buildings, items, entire cultures and peoples. So yes, this collection is lost, but the incident will still be a part of the darker side of the games history.

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squidgod2000

Im happy that this is being dealt with now, but also would like to see a much stronger stance about cheating in UO overall.

Or in MMOs in general. Devs/pubs have basically surrendered to the botters and cheaters. If it’s not something that can be easily detected and punished via automated systems, they’re not going to enforce it.

Botters have driven me and my money away from more games than boredom, bugs, and bad communities combined.

Smoot
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Smoot

agreed. ive play the official servers of UO for close to 20 years, but the blind eye to botters will be what leads me to quit the game soon. I havent played any new content in over a year because of it. I still collect rares and do events on all servers, but its getting to be a waste of time. Its just a matter of time before no game content is worth playing. Botters have already killed most reason to play global events, EM events, re-vamped doom, and the armor market. theres really not much left. why would i play game content myself if i can just buy it for next to nothing?

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squidgod2000

Meh. Still not as great as GM Darwin.

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rafael12104

Surely there is a way to re-introduce the rares slowly back into the game? No, I’m not talking auction, but you know events, quests etc.

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Jack Pipsam

Never too old for a scandal.

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Hirku

Or to be a dumbass like this guy was.

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