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[NEWS] Feluccan Merchant Suffers as Vesper Guards Remain M.I.A.

Discussion in 'UO Atlantic' started by Fallon Valor, Oct 17, 2009.

  1. Fallon Valor

    Fallon Valor Guest

    ATLANTIC—The War of Shadows ushered an era of change in Britannia. Shadowlord invaders descended upon numerous townships, creating virtual war zones, most notably in the Felucca facet. Feluccan town guards, unequipped to defend against the Shadowlord armies, abandoned their posts, leaving local populations to fend for themselves until order could be restored. Most town guards returned following the defeat of the Shadowlords, but the Feluccan town of Vesper remains unguarded. As a result, one local business proprietor has seen his sales decline.

    While a few long-time residents of Atlantic may remember Frank Bama for his thieving exploits, most know him as the owner and operator of Vesper’s longest-running, Felucca-based mini-mall. Although the establishment’s name has changed over the years, most players know it as the “Potions and More MiniMall” (88°57’N, 113°24’E).

    “The current name, which will probably change now that I am thinking of it, is ‘Maverick and Tully Fel Vendor House In Guard Zone,’” said owner Frank Bama, who has been in the business for over a decade. “Maybe I should switch it to ‘Tully’s Risk Your Life for Cheap Goods Shop.’”

    Since its foundation sometime prior to the release of The Age of Shadows, the “MiniMall” has been located within the Vesper guard zone. Frank Bama was not the house’s original owner – the establishment, originally called “LLTS Vesper Annex,” was placed prior to house ownership, when houses were claimed by whoever possessed the house key. Since insurance did not exist at the time, Frank Bama managed to steal the key and has owned the plot ever since.

    “Never had anything in the house, but it was a nice house I would visit occasionally,” Bama said. “Anyway, long story even longer, the powers that be in Britannia decided to create house ownership, where one account owned the house and could change the front door lock. There were all kinds of rules to decide who had the most legitimate claim to a house. I had about five houses I claimed back then. I put a guildstone in this ‘Vesper Annex’ to increase my claim and my right to the house. I won.”

    Soon after he successfully commandeered the “Annex,” Frank Bama stopped thieving and began selling goods at the location. He allowed his other five grandfathered plots lapse and focused his attention on building his new business. For many years, business was booming. The establishment’s location within the guard zone made customers feel safe. The guard zone aside, however, many other aspects made this vendor shop unique.

    “Reasonable is an understatement when you compare my prices to [Luna prices],” Bama said. “The only other thing that makes my store different is occasionally you can see a red shopping there. Though, if they cause problems, they get banned for two months or so. Oh, and I can’t resize the house, either, because it is a grandfathered, improperly placed house.”

    As long as the house was in the guard zone, blue and red players felt equally safe shopping at the establishment. When the War of Shadow turned Felucca-Vesper into a war zone, however, his business began to decline.

    “At first, I couldn’t even recall into runes marked right outside my house,” Bama remembered. “I’d be booted to Jhelom with a system message saying something like, ‘You can’t recall there; you have been moved to safety.’”

    None of his customers could recall to the “MiniMall,” either, until Ultima Online (UO) Lead Developer Tim “Draconi” Cotton learned of the problem and came to the rescue of the establishment. Sadly, with the absence of the Vesper town guards, Bama’s business has remained “slow and spotty,” according to Bama. Most players are too afraid to shop in Felucca. Presently, Bama’s primary customer base consists of more experienced players, who stop by the “MiniMall” for a sense of nostalgia.

    “Paranoia strikes deep into the hearts of many UO players,” said Bama, “and people are just not willing to risk their lives, or insurance money, or stuff for cheap goods. Saw a guy shopping at my store the other day bare-bottomed. He says my deals are great, but he comes empty and naked with his detect hidden toon.”

    Despite Bama’s recent decline in business, he maintains a positive outlook.

    “I always liked being the underdog. I like living in Fel,” Bama said. “I will keep up word of mouth advertizing, probably mostly in my guild. Moving to another facet just isn’t my style.”

    Bama is planning some adjustments to restore a sense of security to the “MiniMall.”

    “I think I am going to set out my Crystal Portal on the first floor and set it so everyone can use it,” Bama said. “Then if someone tries to off you, they have to do it before your toon says, ‘Minoc Mint.’ I already have a little escape portal on the side of my house, which used to be for my red shoppers being attacked by blues, but now can go both ways.”

    Frank Bama can usually be found restocking his vendors at the “MiniMall,” adjacent to the Vesper tailor shop, “The Spinning Wheel,” ( 87°53'N, 115°44'E) in Felucca.