In December 2008, the current Event Moderator program went live. For five years, I have had the honor and privilege of being an EM on Great Lakes. My partner Elizabella is celebrating an anniversary as well, her fourth. This occasion seems a perfect opportunity to look back. Favorite Arc (Plot): Pauper’s Plan (Warriors of Destiny Finale) The first arc for the new EM program was the reign of Casca, the corrupt king pro-tempore who was in league with the Shadowlords. The storyline, modified and embellished from Ultima V, had many great elements: thuggish enforcers on the streets of Britain, a king twisting the Virtues, a resistance movement, dark rituals, exploding buildings, and dragons. This arc came at a time when the EM program was new. Those were simpler times. Most people didn’t know what EMs were, and event attendance varied considerably. Only four players attended the fourth spy mission, but over a hundred showed up for their Cloaks of Silence. A lot of good things came out of this arc, with the Royal Spies being my favorite. I remember deciding with my fellow EM at the time, Iatu, that he would run the Royal Guard, and I would create another organization to initially work with Casca and then later form the resistance against him. Many players were uncomfortable with the implications of a shadowy Britannian strike force, concerned that it ran contrary to the Virtues of Honesty and Honor. However, the Royal Spies very quickly found their own Code of Honor. In 2014, the Royal Spies will celebrate their 200th mission. Favorite Arc (Technical): Labyrinth of Worlds This arc started with a missing sandalwood box in the previous arc. It was recovered and found to contain eight blackrock prisms that connected Sosaria to other worlds. The Spies and Guard traveled to these worlds, from the frozen halls of Anodunos to the desert sands around the ruins of Killorn to the starry endless night of the Ethereal Void. Early in the planning, an arc based on Ultima Underworld II seemed like an impossible dream. The arc required a great deal of planning and building. In the previous four years of the program, we had only created a handful of locations that elaborate, such as Xenve An-Amo-Lem, the Spy Base, and the Village of Dawn. To do more than twice this number in eight months was a challenge. There were often months when we would be working to design the next world a week after the previous world had debuted. I think we captured the unique feel of each world, and I am happy with the results. Favorite Event (Plot): 30th Anniversary of Ultima I I have fond memories of the original Ultimas, so the 30th anniversary was a wonderful time to look back at the story that started it all. The Shattering, set during Ultima I, is an important part of UO lore. There were some issues with adapting Ultima I’s story to UO. The original game contained many elements that don’t really fit the current Ultima setting: time machines, space ships, and bobbits. Also, its storyline was very simple by today’s standards. As well, much of the back story of this time period was filled in later: Lord British’s rise to the throne, Shamino and his lost love, the Lands of the Feudal Lords, etc. Still, with a lot of research and writing, we were able to come up with a story I am satisfied with. Sherry the Mouse played narrator and filled the king’s role in the story; other characters filled in other parts as appropriate. Martyna Z’muir posted the original text of the event. Favorite Events (Technical): Punch and Judy / The Path of Virtue Elizabella has done many creative events: giant edible beehives, dyable PvP forts, haunted houses, and so on. My inner mad scientist adores these sorts of events, so I have chosen two recent ones to discuss. Punch and Judy had a flawless implementation and hit its theme perfectly. I found myself laughing throughout the entire event as those involved covered the King’s Men Theater in hams, ran through the streets chanting, and beat up the devil. The Path of Virtue was an implementation of the Gypsy’s questions in Ultimas IV, V, VI, and IX. Elizabella wrote entirely new questions. It was a lot of fun helping her brainstorm some of them. It was also fun to get to walk through the event myself and discover my preferred Virtue (Honor). Weakest Events: Devil’s Due (Plot) / Traitor’s Due (Technical) Devil’s Due took place during the second part of Blood Feud and was the result of severe writer’s block during a very long global arc. I did a poor job adapting a Japanese myth into an event, and there was tic-tac-toe for some reason I cannot remember. There is probably not much else to say about the event itself. Writer’s block happens, but we can’t let it get in the way. Traitor’s Due was also during the Blood Feud. It had been a long while since I had done a Royal Spy mission entirely without combat, so I tried to do just that. Unfortunately, one of the event locations was inside the Stygian Abyss with constant attacks by outcast gargoyles, so beyond creating an unsatisfying event, the event even failed to fulfill its theme. Hardest Event: Spy Training #11 In January of 2010, an MRI detected a cancerous mass on my kidney. It was a lucky catch half a decade before the cancer would have even shown symptoms. Still, it needed to be removed. I was lucky to find a skilled laparoscopic surgeon who removed it with the da Vinci robot. Still, with a Monday surgery, I would not be home for Tuesday night, so Elizabella and I prepared the event ahead of time as an oracle event. The day after the surgery, using dial-up because the hospital wireless wouldn’t allow UO, I just had to log in as Magnus, say hello, and stay in the spy HQ answering questions. Of course, I could barely sit up, had a tube running into the incision draining blood, and hadn’t eaten anything in a couple of days, so it was harder than I expected. The Lost Event: The Crown versus… Events such as the Stygian Abyss launch or server outages sometimes mean we miss a Tuesday. Such a planned server outage fell on July 13, 2010. Everyone knew about the down-time beforehand, but we had no idea how long it would last. Still, we had an event ready, just in case the shard came up in time. The event was a trial event called the Crown versus John Cullen, Cidur Klomp, and Adelais, putting those characters on trial for their actions during the arc at the time. We didn’t think the event would scale well to average attendance numbers, so we decided not to run it during a normal week. We don’t always use all the material we prepare or write. Beyond the lost event, there have been a few pieces of “lost” fiction. Here is one I wrote after Queen Dawn’s death. I have another one I’ll share at my ten year anniversary. In Conclusion Elizabella and I would like to thank Mesanna for everything over the last five years. More than twenty EMs from other shards have helped on GL, so of course, a big thank you to our team of fellow EMs who are always amazing. We also enjoyed the times we got to visit your shards. Most of all, thank you to the players of Great Lakes. We’re proud to be your EMs and proud to be part of the Ultima legacy. We look forward to more adventures in 2014.