Ultima Online Beta

Lord British and Lord Blackthorn, flanked by Chuckles and Heckles, address the crowd in Ultima Online prior to one of the most amazing moments in an online game. In a stroke of irony, Lord British kindly asks the gathered vermin to stop stealing.

August 9 1997 (shortly after midnight): While one spectator ponders British and Blackthorn's invincibility, another proclaims "HE DIED". You can see the corpse just behind the raised portcullis in the lower left.

September 23 1997: Slightly outside of Britain a few Demon stragglers were on their way to witness the ending moments of Ultima Online beta in glorious black and white. GM Zippy, the lead Game Master, gives a deadline in the lower left of the screen.

Interview with Rainz, The Man Who Killed Lord British

Give us your background, how old are you, where are you from, what do you do?

Rainz: I'm 23 and I run an Internet software consulting/development firm in Indianapolis. I don't normally get the chance to get away from work much but UO beta has brought me out of my cocoon.

How long have you been playing Ultima Online? What do you think of the beta so far?

Rainz: 3 weeks. What Quake did for realism and Warcraft 2 did for strategy, UO does for interactivity. UO draws you into its world unlike any other game I've played. The beta started out so buggy and slow that it was unplayable for most. The OSI team has made leaps and bounds in the past 2 weeks, in it's current form the game runs unbelievably smooth and Internet lag is barely noticeable, evidentially some advanced prediction buffer is being used. If the current rate of improvement is any indication, the release version will kick severe butt. Simply put, the beta has just been pure fun. I've met nice people who just want to adventure and talk, as well as brutal player killers who slay newbies on sight. The contrast of good and evil adds a realistic tension to the dynamics of the game.

What gave you the idea to kill Lord British? Did you actually think you could kill him?

Rainz: I am a member of the Ravens of Fate, a guild dedicated to maintaining the balance of power in Britannia. Without conflict and war there is only one side subjugating to another. Lord British has noble desires, but he is the ultimate wielder of tyrannical rule. I knew that it may have been possible to slay British, but I didn't expect it to come so early in Britannian history. As any Ultima fan knows, killing British is something we've all attempted but never really had any luck with. It was a total shock, I stared at his corpse in disbelief then burst out in laughter.

Give us a recount of exactly what happened, from your point of view.

Rainz: The servers had just been taken down to prepare for the huge influx of players for the speech Lord British and Lord Blackthorne were giving throughout Britannia. When the servers came back up, I strolled through Britain with Helios, my fellow guild member. We headed to Blackthorne's castle where the first speech was being given. LB, Blackthorne, and their jesters were up on a bridge orating to the masses. Unfortunately I wasn't playing my mage character, so casting spells from a spellbook was out of the question. Luckily my character was a good thief who had high "stealing" skill. I desperately searched the backpacks of those around me and eventually came upon a fire field scroll. After that it was pretty simple, I just cast the scroll on the bridge and waited to see what would happen. Either LB or Blackthorne made the comment "hehe nice try", can't recall exactly who. It was a humorous sight and I expected to be struck down by lightning or have some other evil fate befall me. Instead I heard a loud death grunt as British slumped to his death. After that it was just pure mayhem, Blackthorne or another force summoned 4 daemons into the castle and people were dying left and right.

After the deed was done, what was your next action?

Rainz: I hauled balls out of the region like there was no tomorrow.

What has Origin, and Lord British, said to you regarding your actions? Has any action been taken against you?

Rainz: To make a long story short, Origin considered my style of gameplay to be detrimental to the nature of the beta test. I had previously played a character of evil alignment who slaughtered hundreds, this type of role playing was denounced by certain OSI members. After they had a discussion with me I erased my evil "Aquaman" character that same day and nailed his coffin. I thought that this had brought an end to the whole ordeal. Instead, after slaying LB, an OSI member informed me that I had come to the "last straw" and was now banned from "all further Origin World Online games."

Will you be playing Ultima Online in the future? When the game is out in stores?

Rainz: Would I try playing as the same character? I don't think I will be permitted to. Would I ever play under another alias? Maybe.

Any other thoughts on the game or your actions?

Rainz: No, that pretty much sums it up, hopefully some good comes out of incident for UO.

Official response to Rainz Ban

-----Original Message-----
From: ultima_online_news_@origin.ea.com [SMTP:ultima_online_news_@origin.ea.com]
Sent: Thursday, August 14, 1997 2:31 PM
To: multima_bulk-rat-request@origin.ea.com
Subject: Official response to Rainz ban

To All Concerned,

Recently we were forced to ban a player named Rainz from the Ultima Online Beta Test. I would like to thank him for the wonderful attitude he has maintained despite his ban. He remains complementary of the product and Origin and we are most appreciative.

I would like to clear up the very muddy waters surrounding this incident:

1. He was NOT banned for killing Lord British. This is the stuff of legend, kudos to him for not only attempting it but actually succeeding. He has now made quite a name for himself. The assassination merely provided us an opportunity to get his account information. We had actually been looking for him in order to ban him before this (see below).

2. He was NOT banned for playing an evil character. Evil characters are part of the game world, in fact without them what would good characters do?

3. He was NOT banned from all future Origin Online products, nor has he been banned from Ultima Online as a commercial product. If that was implied, it was said in the heat of the moment by a very tired and overworked Origin employee (who got that way trying to make the game fun for everyone). He is only banned from the Ultima Online Beta Test.

4. Now let me explain exactly what he WAS banned for: He was banned for deliberately going against requests we made of him as a tester. Participating as a beta tester is a privilege we grant people so that they can help us make it fun for everyone. He was exploiting flaws in the game system that put him at an unfair advantage to other players. He then used that advantage to go on a huge killing spree that left hundreds of players dead. Let me emphasize that going on a killing spree is fine, but doing it when no one that you are attacking has a chance to defend themselves because of your advantage is not fine. Only when he was caught doing this did he then describe the problem to Origin. He was then requested to cease these activities or be banned more than once yet he chose to continue. (Incidentally he participated in very similar activity during our Pre-Alpha test over a year ago.)

5. Hundreds of complaints were posted by other testers, many of them saying that they would no longer be participating in the test because of this activity. Please understand that we are trying to stress test our servers to make sure they can properly handle large loads, losing testers makes that much harder. The last thing we need is to lose hundreds of testers because of one player who continues to break the rules.

6. If he had found the flaw, reported it immediately, and then left it alone then no harm would have been done.

These are the facts as we at Origin see them. We have always, and will continue, to try to be as fair as we can to everyone who participates. We hold no animosity towards Rainz and we hope that he will join us (hopefully reformed from his fault-exploiting ways) in Ultima Online when we release the final version.

The Ultima Online Team
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