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With the "2 Million Gold Challenge" no longer a possibility there was little point in keeping the tower...
It was time to let it go:
Having been away from the game for a year, sitting on unexpected retirement pile of cash on Atlantic, I managed to spend a couple hours a week messing around in Virtue Armor and buying outrageously expensive toys to play with. Keep in mind that at this point, not only was it clear that the "2 Million Gold Challenge" was never going to happen, but also the Thunderdome Casino was never going to get off the ground. And with the exception of Jareth's house and random people leaving random items in my mailbox, Barter Town had been a ghost town for at least 6 months. And then, in what started out as a simple forum thread (created to annouce the falling tower, giving other people the opportunity to grab some loot and nab a fantastic plot location), something odd happens.
Mr. Serious enters the thread:
Thinking he was joking, looking for an excuse to use the word "Trammie" in a thread, I joke along with him and go easy at first. To my horror, I soon learn that the humor of it all flew right over his head and he was dead serious in his defense of the sanctity of the forum:
I'd ask him in what way did the guild "fail" but... I think it's pretty clear that he's as clueless about our conversation as is about the shard he plays on. The guild's greatest accomplishment was not the depth of its roster, nor the gold value in items that we stole over the years. It was the hundreds of people we attracted to Siege Perilous in the process. Everyone benefited from the boost in population, including him. (If you're wondering, I get "hundreds" by taking 50 members not originally from Siege and adding that an average of 2 new faces in Barter Town per week multipled by 1 1/2 years on the shard.)
I provide a guild roster and point out where he goes wrong and... he loses it:
If he would have just asked, I would have been happy to explain that I quit UO a year ago, logged in randomly one day, won an item worth 350 million gold, sold that item, and then needed a place to store all the checks. Sitting on a newly earned mountain of cash, because of my limited play time due to real life, I played a couple hours a week for about 3 weeks total. In those 3 weeks, I created a "limited time" guild, advertised it as such, and left it to live or die on auto-pilot with little to no direction from me. Nothing more and nothing less. But instead of just asking, he takes limited information, fills in the blanks with assumptions, and paints me in the worst possible light possible. This leaves me the rest of the people on the shard (along with the tens of thousands of people who will be reading these stories over the next few decades) are left wondering what the hell he was talking about.
(UO Thief has received 250,000+ page views per year over the past 5 years.)
Much like Midiguru (from Episode 045) and MadMurphy (from Episode 213), Stratics seems to bring out the worst in people when it comes to taking the game too seriously. He becomes the latest serious person in a long line of serious people on the internet. And much like Mechanic (from Episode 173), he doubts the success of Barter Town, becoming the next doubter in a long line of doubters. But in a thread that was supposed to be about me giving back to the community of Siege Perilous in a graceful exit, Mr. Serious taints it all with his ego, giving nothing back in return.
Siege Perilous: 0
*spits out coke through nose one final time*
(Sir, your pants are on fire.)
Unfortunately for Chardonnay (instead of just asking), he now becomes the poster child of "how not to play the game" at the end of these adventures--as an uninformed citizen of Stratics. In order to highlight everything in these past 300 episodes it was necessary to contrast that with someone incredibly lame. Chardonnay forever becomes that essential "contrast of lameness" that brings everything full circle. I've always said that UO Thief (and sites like it) will be the keepers of the history of Ultima Online (as opposed to any of the official channels). This site will be up and running decades after Electronic Arts shuts it all down and closes UO's doors. And unfortunately for Chardonnay, because of the size of the readership of this site, his place in UO's history is now set in stone and it can never be undone.
He now forever becomes that guy.
If I were to have the opportunity to give him advice, I would tell him that there are many things in life worth taking serious and a video game isn't one of them. The game, the guild, and this site have never been anything more than a hobby for me. It's for this reason that the decision to walk away when everything was going so well was so easy. There are real life opportunities happening for me that just don't leave much room for UO.
- I'm sorry he was personally offended at the thought of someone killing 4 miners on Siege Perilous.
- I'm sorry he would be too proud to goof around with accidentally earned gold on a production shard, based on moral principles alone.
- I'm happy he perpetuated the rumor about "miner killing sprees" over the years, encouraging others to wear jester hats in the process.
- I'm happy he was able to benefit from the hundreds of people we brought to the shard.
- I'm happy he volunteered to be that guy at the end of all things.
(TL;DR - I told you I would get hate mail.)
To the tens of thousands who will end up reading this,
Good day and thanks for reading along all these years.
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