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If RL was like UO

If I didn’t want someone to see me, I could just hide completely. — Ditzy Chick

Archive for May, 2003

SI Interview

This past week I had the privilege to sit down with the CEO of Spawners, Inc., Cypher. I tossed out a handful of questions for him, to try to get an idea on how this group was formed, and what it was all about. Here is what he had to say.

Midian: How was the concept for Spawners, Inc. Born?

Cypher: Honestly, it’s been a series of “evolution’s”, over which we have had little control. Let me explain…

Well, Spawners Inc really only exists today, in its present form, do the UOAM server. Without UOAM I don’t know how we would ever co-ordinate our activities as we do (Thank-you Belxan). That said, UOAM is only a tool and there are a fair number of peeps that have worked hard to make the vision a reality. Spawners Inc was born just after Publish 16 when OSI introduced Champs and Spawns, though it would not come into that name for some months yet. At the time most of us were running around fighting in the TB Faction on Baja and our group was mostly composed of myself, Otto Diduct, Palindrome, Xog, Mysterious, Storm, Phyraxian, Gleam, Will Avengem, Antichrist and Cecilia. (Most certainly I’ve missed a few. Some are still in UO, others have moved on). Quite early on there was a ‘split’ in our group between those that wanted to do spawns and those that wanted to Faction. Worse, most of us did not have well developed PvM characters with which to spawn, so training time had to be set aside, cutting even further into our Faction time. Up until this point, the security of our map was paramount as we did not want to accidentally recruit an “SL” spy onto our map. However, we also realized that we would need to recruit some of these peeps at the spawns to help us work the spawns. What really made it all come together was one very small thing. The Justice Virtue. This is really the point where the group started to grow and peeps that we recruited started to ‘stick’ with the group, hence the 1st evolution of the map. Almost from day one we set up a process by which all the peeps at the spawn were entitled to the scrolls that spawned on the protector. Back when all this started, such an action was unheard of. Many peeps ran around spawns offering to protect you, but none of them ever offered you a copy of the scroll at the end. Our system for passing out scrolls has evolved over time but has always included at least one set of dice.

The Second evolution of the map would have to be the introduction of the Valor Virtue. After that we were no longer ‘tied’ to one of the three specific spawns that were active. We could start them where ever we wanted and whenever we wanted. This also spelt the end of our faction time and the first real rift in our group as we basically split from those who preferred to PvP vs. those that preferred to PvM. After the Valor Virtue kicked in we developed the concept of the ‘private spawn’. Now, many peeps have told us that there is no such thing as a private spawn and they can spawn where ever they like, unfortunately, they are no longer with us.

The Third evolution of the map occurred when Xog stepped up to the plate and set up our message boards. As I recall, he also coined the name “Spawners Inc” though, if I’m wrong on this, I’m sure I will be corrected. At this time we were probably around 50 active members running anywhere from 4-5 spawns per day. What the boards did was allow us to spell out idea’s and make plan’s for specific spawn type’s without having to try to get the information out to each person individually. Obviously, every spawner wants to do one specific spawn. The Harrower. I have no doubt that our group has ran more Harrowers then any other group on Baja, perhaps any other group playing UO. (Judging by the prices of scrolls on other servers) It has always been map policy that we make every effort to include as many mappers in that spawn as is possible. Peeps know that if there is a Harrower happening, they will be told, no one is going to ‘sneak’ off and run one with out the rest of the group.

The Forth evolution of the group was quite Simply AoS. More specifically, no more short term murder counts in Felucca. From that day on we no longer had to carefully watch how many murder counts our PvM’s had. If trouble came, our newly evolving PvP wing would happily swing by and remove the offending parties. Up until this time we would still get the occasional ‘lost’ Powerscroll because of a camper, but since AoS those times have indeed, been rare.

The Fifth evolution of the map group has been the development of a ‘council’ to over see the group and decide on direction. Truthfully, the map group had by this time grown so big and so diverse that it was no longer realistic for one peep to be calling all the shots. (Even if that peep was me -Cypher-). So, this is where we are now. We are still working through the growing pains of this evolution, but I am confident when we come out of it we will continue to grow…

M: Very good memory, grins, has it lived up to your vision?

C: Well, to answer that you would need to know my Vision, which itself has evolved over time. When we were first starting out, all we really wanted were some Power Scrolls to buff up our Faction characters and if possible, a 25 stats would be nice as well. As they say, something strange happened on the way to market, we started to have more fun hunting spawn together then we had been having PvPing. After that I started to envision having every PvMer on Baja in the group, (There’s a LOT of PvMers out there!) and while that may never happen it has led us to where we are now, and helped form our current ‘vision’ as it stands now. Which is to simply try to provide a ‘community’ for peeps to participate in. What peeps do when they are on the map is no longer ‘important’ just as long as they are having fun and ‘playing nice’ then its all good.

M: How big is this group and how big do you foresee it?

C: Currently we are sitting at about 80 active spawners (distinct and individual mappers). I try to keep the list ‘pruned’ to those that are actually using the map on a ‘regular’ basis. For the last couple of weeks we have had a moratorium in effect on new mappers as we allow a recent group to ‘gel’ with the rest of our group.

You would think, that after you hit about 30 members, then the 31st should fit in easier, right? Bigger melting pot and all. It should work out fine. What I have found is the exact opposite. Adding the 81st member is much harder then the 31st because, at some point, the 81st member has quite probably had conflict with one of the other 80. The problem becomes, Can it be resolved? How can it be resolved? Is adding this peep going to be more trouble then its worth?

All that said, Once the new council starts to grow into there role’s on the map I am ‘Hopeful’ that we would break 100 active spawners. It would really help our cause though, if OSI allowed champs to spawn Artifacts.

M: Artifacts on champs would be great, I have to agree there. With so many different personalities and play styles what makes SI work?

C: Whoa. Ok this is a tough one. What we have tried to do is create an environment on the map where you can be on doing whatever it is you wish to do without ANY pressure to do anything, be it Spawn, PK, PvP, Doom Gauntlet, Train, Hunt for Artifacts, whatever it is you need to be doing at that time in UO, Do it. Just be on the map. It is in this way that we have tried to create a sense of ‘community’ amongst our spawners. If Radeva has led a group to do a Venom spawn and they get invaded by Blues or Reds, in most situations, all he will have to do is let the community know and one of our PvP Leaders, in this case, Rial perhaps, will organize a team and ride to the rescue. If Lady Cecilia has died in the bottom of Shame, no problem, someone is usualy available to come to her aid. If Palindrome spots that the Lamp-post has spawned all he has to do is call one of our thief’s, Lady Jasmine possibly, after that its a simple matter to grab 4 more peeps and the Lamp-post is ours. That is what we have tried to cultivate with our group and while it doesn’t always work out just that way, when it does, it’s a beautiful thing. Certainly we have some diverse personalities that can wear on each other over time and if left unchecked will lead to problems down the road. Most of the time though, I think our group does all right and, at time’s, they make me quite proud.

M: What do you enjoy most about being CEO of Spawners, Inc.

C: Geez, another tough one. I have to be honest though, the Corporate Jet is really quite nice, but the Villa in France, that is where the action really is.

I try to be ‘fair’ to all the -mapets- and create an environment where they can all prosper, have fun, and make new friends. When I see this working out in that manner, then that is sincerely the part I enjoy the most. Just creating a fun little corner of the UO world that peeps can call their own. I also secretly love to organize things and when we do the harrower and walk away with all 32 Powerscrolls, that is the best.

M: I bet that is the best, 32 Stat scrolls divided amongst my friends would make me a very happy camper. Now what do you enjoy least?

C: Finally, an easy question. I do not enjoy conflict between mappers. 90 percent of the time someone has made an admittable error and the person that has been transgressed is forgiving. In these case’s, I say ‘whew’, dodged a bullet. It’s in the other 10 percent of the case’s where I was not personally there to witness events and I have to rely on 2 peeps giving opposite views of what they ‘think’ happened that really give me fits. Unfortunately for both parties, ultimately there is usually nothing that I can do besides make a mental note and wait for one of them to step out of line again. I do not like to have to ban peeps from the map. Its not fun for me, its not fun for them and its not fun for other mappers. Fortunately, now that we have a council headed by Moonshine-President, Lady Cecilia-Vice President, Mysterious-Secretary, Raptura-Treasurer, Xog – COO, Rial – PvP Leader, Palindrome, Tol and Fabian, I finally have some peeps to share this burden with. (And they thought they were getting to ride in the Jet )

M: I’m sure the group is often met by Red and Blue opposition, how does SI handle these threats and protect one another?

C: This is an evolving situation, because of how spawns are set up and the fact that we are all on the map together we have always enjoyed an advantage over spawn campers. Back in the early days when a camper would show up near the end of one of our spawns, or even the beginning, we would identify him and everyone would say if they could take a count or not, then about 10 mins before the champ could be expected, our one volunteer would kill the camper. (If I didn’t recruit him into our group first) There are actually a fair number of our members that we recruited in this very way. It’s actually quite the test of a peeps ‘character’ as to how they deal with adversity and how forgiving they can be. The 2 peeps that spring to mind are Avenger and Eminem, both of them camped us and were pk’d by us long before we recruited them. Though, from the beginning I have always liked to pick up strays.

After the introduction of AoS roving bands of PK’s started to appear across Britannia killing at a variety of locations across the shard. (Some of these roving bands are us–We have to control PS prices some how ). Not to be caught napping, we have been working diligently to build up our PvP wing with both Reds and Blues so that we may counter any threat that comes our way. If blues show up at our spawns, we call for reds. If reds come, we call for blues, Our council just recruited, from within our group, Rial, to act as our PvP leader and to get everyone trained in PvP. I’m certain the months ahead will prove interesting for all.

M: Last but not least, how would a player find information about joining Spawners, Inc.?

C: Well, we are in the yellow pages, Under recruiting.

M: Laughs

C: Actually, we do have a process set in place now (No more strays). Peeps should go to this web site and register using the name of their Main PvM character. They should read the rule’s listed under ‘Spawners Recruitment’. If after having done this and having read all the fun little soap opera stuff, they still want to join, then they should check the ‘memberlist’ to see if there is a name of anyone they know that is currently in our group. Then post a message under Spawners Recruitment indicating your desire to join up. If you don’t have a sponsor, no worries, someone might recognize your name and speak up for your character. This is not a ‘fast’ process. i.e., do not expect to register and be on the map later that day. I would say that the ‘average’ wait time is 3-5 days before a sponsored peep jumps through all the hoops. Is it worth the wait? I hope everyone finds it so.

One more thing, we do try to control our rate of growth. Sometimes we hit a spurt, but generally 4-5 new members per month.

I guess that is about it. While we used to be all about Spawning I really feel that we are becoming more about community. We shall have to see where OSI takes us from here.

In closing I would like thank all Spawners, both old and new, that have been working hard to help contribute to the success of Spawners, Inc. I would love to mention them all by name, but that would probably overwhelm the Stratics Servers. Also, thanks to you Midian, for taking time to set this up. Much Appreciated.

M: Was my pleasure Cypher.

   Well there you have it, a tight community, friends, fun, and scrolls galore what else can a gamer ask for?