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Does anyone else remember "The Hermit Barbasol"?

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Trebr Drab, Feb 12, 2010.

  1. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Talking about UO's beginnings in another thread kicked my memory core into high gear. This was back in the early days of Alpha and Beta, before UO was released. There were two really active message boards, UO's and Auric's Ultima Moongates. I mean they were really active.

    On the Auric's boards, there was a poster by the name of The Hermit Barbasol. He was a roleplayer deluxe, and all he wanted to do was travel to each one of the virtue shrines. He cared not for wealth, nor power. He cared not that he would be weak and risked death on every journey. For there were many other's who posted at the same time of their greatness in combat, that they would "PK" everyone else and dominate as the greatest gamer to ever play in the lands of Sosaria. They were rude and obnoxious as any "PKer" ever was. They roleplayed not for an instant.

    And over time, months, The Hermit Barbasol continued to state his desire of simplicity, his modest goal, in his ever humble fashion, to visit each shrine no matter how difficult the task, no matter the dangers in a brutal land of lawless territories to transverse. He just wanted to see and visit each shrine.

    And equally, many others made vows and oaths. They would travel with the humble Hermit Barbasol, protect him, aid him in his personal quest of these visitations to the shrines of virtue. They felt they owed him such. If he could not defend himself, they would do so for him. He deserved their swords on his journeys. His saintly personage would find aid wherever he traveled, to achieve this goal so admired.

    All the while, as I said, there were those who would conquer all others. Brash statement that "you'll see". These would be the PKers that everyone "feared and ran from", according to them.

    But the most numerous posts of carnage came from one named "Blade". Blade was going to kill you. Me. Everyone. He said so all the time, many times a day. He didn't care about anything else. Not roleplay. Not the marvelous UO lore. Not Sosaria. He would be here to do one thing, to kill the players of UO. And he was so typical. Poor spelling, poor grammar, poor attitude.

    As much as many posters took to liking The Hermit Barbasol, so too they took to disliking Blade. They were the two ultimate extremes of gamers who would join the adventure that was UO.

    And eventually, as must happen, Blade's eyes gazed towards The Hermit Barbasol. He would kill him. Many times. He would be the reason The Hermit failed in his humble yet admirable goal of visiting each shrine. He said so. We were expected to believe it, because he said so.

    Now, back in those days, your IP address showed with your posts.
    And then, after months of the two extremes in The Hermit Barbasol and Blade posting their own goals in UO, it happened. These two, different IPs, suddenly switched IP addresses. And the cat was out of the bag. They were the same person, posting from home and work, always careful to use the right IP, until this mistake. And it was caught immediately, because of the "fame" of these two posters at opposite ends of the spectrum.

    You see, "Blade" as in razor blade..."Barbasol" as in the original shaving cream.
    Neither was ever heard from again. No one took credit for it. The story of Blade and Barbasol faded into distant memory.

    Just one of the many interesting stories from the days of UO's creation.
     
  2. Llwyd

    Llwyd Guest

    What an amazing story! Thanks for sharing that. :)

    You have to wonder if that player is still active, but living his life in UO under some other name.
     
  3. Rotgut Willy

    Rotgut Willy Seasoned Veteran
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    I'm not 100% positive, but I'm pretty sure Blade is no longer active in UO. He left UO for Star Wars Galaxies (he ran a large fan site for it), and I've not heard of or from him since. We had played together on Napa in BaH [Bandits and Highwaymen], a rp-pk guild.
     
  4. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    This is a great story, and it shows one thing: What UO made so special in the Old Days, was that people stood up for their good and evil goals. Both worlds, good and evil, clashed in a Britannia that had not yet been split into two facets. The coexistence of good and evil was what breathed life into UO, created communities, weld together the very characters living in this world (although the evil side was too powerful, while the good side lacked of tools to properly control them).

    These times have died with the invention of Trammel and Felucca. Stories like these are stories of the past, and they never will happen again in today's Ultima Online.

    Many people don't even know what they've been missing.
     
  5. BeefSupreme

    BeefSupreme Guest

    Devs should have met in the middle, and created trammel just for more housing and risk-free vendor shopping. Kept Fellucia for PvM,PvP etc.
     
  6. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    That is exactly right. I didn't intend this thread as a lead in to another talk about PvP, but it's an excellent point.

    UO has lost a great deal of life with the loss of PvP possibilities. Yet, the original ways were too far in favor of "evil". There simply was no effective way to fight it.

    And the thing is, they almost had it, just before they came with Trammel and added a "switch" to the game through Trammel/Felucca.
    The death penalty for murderers almost worked, except for a couple of key problems.

    I say it almost worked because I saw how "carebears" had gathered to take on the "reds". They saw a chance to forge law and order, to bring justice to the world of Sosaria.

    The key problems were:
    • Blue healers- they didn't go gray or red, they stayed blue when healing a red friend. This gave PKers a safe healing, and their targets couldn't attack the blue healers without going gray themselves, and thus being attacked by yet more blue friends of the reds. It's fixed now, after the split. Too late to help here.
    • Thieves did not take a murder count for killing their victim after the victim attacked them for stealing. This just doesn't work.
    • The total removal of penalty by staying ghost until working off the time. It would be fine to reduce the death penalty over time, but not removing it entirely.

    Because PKers basically weren't much phased by the justice system, it didn't work. And because it didn't work, those hearty "carebears" who gave it a try then gave up.

    And UO lost a social glue that was a real benefit to the entire game, in guilds, with trades, in activity.
    For example, today, how many players who refuse to go to Fel Champs for PS's because they will not be the PKers game play, how many would go if they knew they could have some justice and give the PKers some risk too? "Risk vs. Reward" needs to work both ways. It doesn't. It strongly favors organized PKers.

    Of course, a working justice system would reduce the number of reds. People who won't take the risk onto themselves. And that's exactly what it's supposed to do.
     
  7. Sonoma

    Sonoma Guest

    This. There is no real penalty for killing other players. Factions allow people to partake in PvP without becoming a murderer. This is Good. But there SHOULD be a heavy price to pay for being a murderer. The 60 total hours per kill is good... but it should be more then that. Reds should not be allowed to recall or gate travel at all, and they should have kept it so that reds cant go into towns without getting guard whacked. I would even go so far as to say that reds cant use insurance. Now you can still kill people, but you have to be careful of who and how many people you kill, or else you will go red and there is a real consequence to that action.

    This way those who really want to PvP can do so in factions, and there is still the threat of people getting PK'd, but there would be an actual consequence of being a murderer.
     
  8. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    *shakes head*

    You all are drawing the wrong conclusions entirely from this story.

    I see in the story a man who wanted to draw attention to himself and, sadly, it worked, and continues to work to this day.

    This statement in particular is really quite odd, given the actual content of the story:

    "Good and evil goals" for the most part implies RP on both sides, which clearly isn't the case from the story. The story reflects, quite clearly, that the one side was (or so it appeared anyway) roleplayed, and one wasn't at all. The "bad" side of the personality clearly sought to consciously disrupt other gamers' experiences.

    This paragraph from the original post is quite telling (emphasis added is mine, not the original poster's):

    From the original post, this was clearly not, "I, Barbasol, will visit every shrine," and "I, Blade, the evil-doer, will oppose you."

    The truly extraordinary stories of UO are those of the legitimate roleplayers, not the attention-grabbers. And those are often not heard, save by other roleplayers, and sometimes not even then.

    How many people visited every Shrine and either didn't write about it at all, or only wrote about it for RP boards not visited by "Blade" or his brethren? Or, even if they did post on "mainstream" boards, didn't make an alt message board ID in order to get even more attention? I was in a guild where visiting every Shrine by foot and boat was required for advancement in rank. A clear dichotomy developed between those who knew the map and those who didn't. We fought PKs along the way, but what we didn't do was brag about what we were doing and then post on alternate accounts to back up our bragging.

    This line from another post in this thread:

    Has it almost exactly right, but the rest of the post the quote comes from misses a key factor: It isn't about game mechanics, but about the sad and pathetic human tendency to worship bullies, and to oppose those who stand up to bullies. ("You're just making him mad...." "If you weren't fighting them, they wouldn't be red, because you wouldn't be there to give them counts." I'm still trying to figure out the odd logic of the last one, which was actually said to me in-game.)

    The oft-forgotten virtue of the Trammel rules facets is that it recognizes that this sad aspect of human nature isn't going to go away, nor can it be effectively constrained in a game setting.

    However, what can happen, and what does happen, is that the game can be structured in a way that in-game life can go on despite those sick tendencies.

    So, sure, a Fel guild can come to Trammel and monopolize a Peerless area until the timer kicks them out, or they get bored. And, sure, someone can join Trammel guilds to guild-kill and try and loot houses. And they can even brag about it on boards or, now, in alliance chat. And sure people can come to an RP event (a wedding is a good example) and steal furniture, and run around naked, and try to type out Nazi symbols, and mime anal sex using the "bow" macro. (All of those, btw, based on things I've seen in-game.)

    However, sooner or later the disruptive element will go away. Sooner or later, they'll go away or be forced away by game mechanics (Guildmaster removes the thief; Peerless timer kicks out the Fel guild that was standing around after having killed the Peerless; event disruptors will realize they have run out of ways to disrupt and/or will on rare occasions be removed by a GM), and in-game life will go on.

    Under the old, pre-Ren. rules set, their disruptions would go on and on, and there was no effective way to stop it.

    -Galen's player
     
  9. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Galen, GMs were never able to keep up with the disrupters and trouble makers.

    However, had they faced retaliation from other players in a form that mattered to them, they would have been far less likely to do it.

    (You can never remove such behavior entirely, and Trammel didn't either. The only thing that has worked has been the loss of active players to the point that you just don't see them running around.)

    Under that justice system, you had 3 kills in a week that you were allowed before getting flagged as a murderer. If the murder flag carries real consequences, most won't go there. And they'll save their 3/week for the jerks or in need. And that in turn, allows you to take care of disruptive players. Maybe immediately, but if that doesn't work you can wait until they have value on them, so they can't get away with naked griefing.

    This gives players tools to work with. Tools to give punishment that matters to other players. Could players abuse it and kill the same player 3x/week? Yes. But that victim can do the same back, especially in a guild where numbers can be used. And these kinds of cases would be rare enough that GMs could actually handle them, investigate the causes, and determine if one or more players should get a mark. Or even an entire guild, for that matter.
     
  10. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    actually the reds didn't bother me nearly as much as the noto grief players. Its funny to think about it now, but back then they were the real pain in the caboose because they seemed to be beyond the scope of the system with regard to accountability of actions.
     
  11. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Maybe it was wrong to bring up the Trammel/Felucca issue again. Two discussions get mixed up.

    I personally think that Hermit Barbasol achieved something great. He brought players together, created tension and some kind of quest for players, and gave them something to fight for by inventing a great story. It doesn't matter much whether we choose to impute to him he was doing it for getting attention, or not.

    About the Trammel/Felucca thing: The base problem really is that there's no penalty for murderers. It doesn't matter if you commit 10 or 10,000 murders. Not back then, and not today. This leads the whole system ad absurdum.
    A suitable way to counter this would be, to invent a system that allows players to take realistic action against murderers (like a detective profession who can try to catch them and lead them to prosecution), and where the severity of the criminal record determines the type of penalty for the criminal.
    Last year, I have made some detailed notes about how such a system could work.
     
  12. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    There was an innocence, and a purity to the game then that no other MMO will ever capture. It was all wrapped up in the childhood of a new genre of gaming, and of the internet itself. Even if Trammel had never been created, we would never again see days like those. They were something special, something we were fortunate enough to experience that unfortunately no one will ever experience again.

    Whether we realize it or not, in the past thirty years we have been through a revolution as profound as the Industrial Revolution, and UO played it's own small part in that revolution. It's one for the history books my friends, and no one who wasn't a part of it will ever quite understand what it truly was like, no matter how well the story is told, although stories like the one in the op will bring them as close to the truth of the experience as anything.

    Thank you for sharing a terrific story.
     
  13. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Wow, Llewen, that's deep. :thumbup:

    I like that. heh

    The internet revolution...yes. Just take one look at what happened in Iran with Twitter. Communication will lead out world to better things. It's just not going to be easy.
     
  14. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Llewen, you hit the nail on the head. It probably is useless trying to improve the system in order to breathe back the sense of adventure into UO. I'm glad I was part of the Old Days of UO, and of this unique experience.
     
  15. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    It has been bigger than just the internet, although that might be the component that is having the most obvious impact. It's the Silicon Revolution: microchips, personal computing, the internet, wireless, and more. It has changed, and continues to change our world in ways we could never have imagined or predicted fifty years ago, and we're still in the thick of it. Everything from the way warfare is conducted to the way grandma gets her recipes has been changed forever.