Here is a copy of "Confessions of a UO Gold Farmer" from which I have removed the formatting which made the article unreadable, at least to people like me with bad eye-sight. You'll see that someone else, apparently someone who worked on the Ultimate Online team, inserted comments before & after, doing his own reformatting.The copy I have (containing the confession & the UO team member's comments) appears here.
#29818 - 01/21/05 08:34 AM
In May of 2004 we worked with an exploiter to stop a very damaging exploit in the game. The reason we got involved was at the exploiters request because his competition had just found out how to also do the exploit and he did not want them to benefit from it. You could say it's exploiter conflicts. lol
Today I got a message from the unnamed exploiter telling me a lot of information that was not known. According to him he has moved on to other things and wants to tell all about his exploits. It's an interesting read and gives you a look into these exploitations and how they are very much like a normal business.
These exploits no longer work. So don't be a dork and try them. If you do it may throw some red flags and get you into some hot water. :)
The following is from the exploiter. It is unedited and is exactly as I received it.
So Long! And thanks for all the birds!
Confessions of a UO Gold Farmer
You all have seen my Picture:
I am a programmer by trade, and a tinker by hobby. I love things like automation and scripting. I have loved the Ultima series and was playing UO the day it hit the street. However, life does catch up and I quit UO as a player in August of 1999. However, wasn't until December 2001 that UO would come back into my life. I received an email from EA telling me how UO had changed so much, and I was honestly curious. But, the pangs of defeat were still in my gut. You see, when I quit UO I had lots of stuff, all of which I gave away to newbie's on their first day. A Castle, many houses, gold, goods, and loot, all given away freely. A close friend quit UO like I did, but he had the bright idea of hocking his account online on Ebay and got like $1000 for his account. I was disappointed because I knew I have a MUCH better account than he did. Don't we all? Given all that, I decided that if I was going to get sucked back into the UO worlds, I was going to have a goal. My goal was to make back all the money I had played in the pervious years of playing UO and then I would quit.
So there I was, I had the game and a goal, but I lacked a plan. Thank goodness for my education! College seemed to pay off, or maybe I just broke even. Anyway, I started researching what people where buying and selling. I spent about 40 days gathering data and when all was said and done, I discovered that UO had a 4.3 Million dollar Ebay Market. There was definitely a piece of pie to be had, and gold was the hot item.
Plan in hand, I started looking at game play with a new passion I never seemed to have in the years of play prior to this. I quickly realized that one player on his own really could not be a producer. Later I did find that a single player could make a decent profit, but the work involved was definitely labor intensive. You can read more about that on Julian's web site. Anyway, UO is just a client/server computer program. Programs like these require user input, but that can be scripted or programmatically controlled. And, this is something I knew a thing or two about.
What about the EULA and ROC? Well, the EULA stats that no 3rd party applications are allowed, but we all know and use many different utilities out there. So, since I agreed to the EULA, I am the first party, being the paying member for UO and EA is the second party, being the provider. So, if *I* make/author a utility, it is a 1st party utility, and in my opinion, anything you make doesn't apply. Over simplification maybe, but I can sleep at night on those terms. Now, the rules of conduct are a different story. The ROC say something like, thou shall not macro unattended. The litmus test for this rule is a GM asking you to respond, and if the GM is satisfied, you are golden. I concentrated on resolving this first problem and I believe it was a pretty creative solution.
Instant messaging has been a great blessing and is used by millions of people everyday for instant communication. When a GM talks to you in the game, or anyone for that matter, UO becomes one massive IM application. So, why not wire UO up to something akin to Trillian and pipe any in-game text to an IM application of your choice? This is exactly what I did. Since I was able to get game text from the game client, I piped it to MSN messenger and was able to converse with GMs or anyone else in the game from my smart phone that was MSN messenger aware. So, as long as you are able to respond right? I felt that I had satisfied the ROC. Game on!
In the end, however, it wasn't GM intervention that was the challenge. It was interactions with the less than desirable persons that also farmed gold. Interaction with people like Lee Cadwell, aka Black Snow Interactive, was like being in an old west town where you were asked to leave by sun down. "This game aint big enough for the two of us...DRAW!," is a quote that comes to mind. You can read some of the ICQ logs here. There were even people that made bots that hunted bots. The motto was, if I can't compete, I'll just make it so no one can.
There were also others like IngotDude that would stoop to the use of dupe bugs instead of focusing on "allowed" game play mechanics. We all know what happen to him in the end. Actually, it was because of him that I first came into public light. A picture of my operation that I showed a select few was circulated and assumed was his setup was posted on Stratics.com. I was consumed by pride and had to explain that it was *my* setup depicted and not Ingotdude's or BSI's setup.
Between the pressures of my competition, the required maintenance work and the impending doom of on-line game markets, I decided to retire my bot farm in favor of other possibilities that required less work to maintain. Last May I sold off the last of my game assets and today I have posted my bot army for sale on Ebay. I don't want to part with these beasts of burden, but I do have to close this final chapter in the gold farming adventure. They are trusty little machines, and will do everything you ask of them, provided you know how to ask. Or, if you know someone that needs a computer, you can hook them up with one of these. Who knows, they might even want to play UO. And just to be clear, I am selling just the computers.
He appears to have ebay auctions up selling the computers that were used to farm all of this gold. If you are interested to see them closer you can do so here. I did a little further looking and it looks like several people bought gold from him on ebay according to his feedback.
I have to say that I'm glad he's out of the business now. Since we exposed this big exploit in the game we have had a good long run of no issues like this that I have been aware of. That's a very good thing. Kudos to the UO dev team.
As of 2012-11-24, many of the links in the confession are dead. -- Gene Michael Stover