Saturday, January 16, 2010

Defining Moment: The Assassination of Lord British

Rarely does a game have so defining a moment as Ultima Online had. A moment which set the tone for things to come.

During his in game roleplaying appearance to the Beta testers of UO to stress test the server, Lord British was to appear before the entire population of players currently playing the beta. Lord British was a character of UO creator Richard Garriott and overloard of UO, and was flagged to be invulnerable, as he was in every Ultima game previously. However, and oversight when logging on caused him to lose his invulnerability, although nobody knew this.

Rainz, a beta player was among those at Lord Blackthorn's Castle with those lucky enough to be in his presence. The plan was for Lord British to leave Blackthorn's castle and arrive to his castle to the awaiting mob of players(99% of the players were awaiting him at his castle, while the remaining few were at Blackthorn). He never got there. As a result of guards being disabled in Blackthorne Castle, Rainz was able to snoop and steal a Firefield Scroll from another of the few who were at Blackthorn castle. Rainz quickly cast the FLamestrike, to the amusement of all in attendance. As Lord Blackthorn laughed off the attack, to everyone's shock, Lord British fell over dead. Comments were seen left and right of "LB is dead!!!" and "HE DIED?" Blackthorn then summoned creatures to slaughter everyone in sight.

A direct quote from Player 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.

Rainz was banned very quickly from the beta test afterwards. UO staff cited Rainz continual use of Exploits without reporting them going against the spirit of the beta as the reason for his ban, but many thought it was simply retribution for the embarrassment. Rainz was elevated to heroic status among online gamers in forums.

If Lord British can be killed with such impunity by a thief, what else can happen in this game? Players quickly learned that there were almost no boundaries.

This event remains the most memorable event in MMORPG history.

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