1999-12-23: Comments from GM Datura

Comments from Datura

Dec 23 1999 5:48PM

This was originally posted to Player Relations at[1]

Yesterday, I was sitting in my office talking with GM Rock when Leilo came in and informed me that tomorrow my profile is due., okay. So, here I am sitting at home at 3:40am and I am trying to brainstorm what to write and how to introduce my self. In case you were wondering, yes, more often than not, we do call each other by our GM names.... without the GM part of course.

How did I come to work here? Why am I here? I was eight years old when my brother and his friends introduced me to Dungeons & Dragons. This was during the time in which churches carried pamphlets informing our parents of how D&D would draw their children into the realm of El Diablo. I was eight years old, young and impressionable. I would just like to take this time to state that I have yet to sacrifice or dismember anyone or anything in hopes of acquiring more power. When I was young, I spent my days playing football, kickball, basketball, and other various games that my friends and I made up. At night, we spent our late nights huddled in front of a Commodore 64 playing the Bard's Tale series and Pool of Radiance/TSR titles. This was how I spent my summers/weekends as a kid, and how I was lead down the path to discover Ultima.

Another friend of mine named Mike, whom I have known since elementary school, introduced me to Ultima IV. Ultima was the game that I had wanted, since no more Bard’s Tales were being made, and all other the other games I was playing were boring. Mike and I ended up playing and solving Ultimas IV through 7.5. He left for college and I bought my first computer since my C64 so I could play Ultima VIII. I bought a P90 since I knew nothing at the time about PC's and a P90 is what the pamphlet I had for U8 recommended to play it on.

That was 1993 and we now make a jump to 1997. I was going to school at Southwest Texas University, still had my P90, and I was waiting to play UO beta on it. I sent my 2 dollars in for the beta and I was spending my time geeking it in Ichat waiting for GM Goatboy, CWM, and GM Beast to come into channel and tell us the latest news on UO. It was in Ichat that I met a friend who later became GM Ostara. It was in Ichat that I met Slyfiend, who was later featured on our front page. It was in Ichat that I met Thrin, Skull, Medic, Badger, Scourge, Zantego, Cobymac, and many others I would later see in the game when I was a Gamemaster. Finally my beta CD arrived in the mail in July ‘97, and I was playing on my P90 with 80mbs of ram and a 28.8 dialup. And they said I needed a P133… Hah!

Since I was out of school at the time, I played the beta an average of 12 hours a day. My friends were always throwing parties in our upstairs apartment, so when night time came, I was always being dragged away. I am not sure into what detail I can go into in regards to the parties we had. When you walked into the apartment, the room was dark. Before your eyes could adjust to the black light, or the strobe light, someone was asking you to remove your shoes. You would look down to your right, and see a pile of about 60 shoes. Once your eyes were adjusted to the light, you could make out figures dancing about with body paint that was glowing on their bodies. The music being pumped out from the speakers was usually Chemical Brothers, Moloko, Lords of Acid, The Prodigy, Moby, BT, Bomb the Bass, Portishead, Young American Primitive and other techno artists. Our parties were loud, fun, and often got pretty crazy by the time 4am and only the "regulars" remained. This is how my life was when I was 22 and going to school at SWT. UO then party, UO then party, UO then party.

In September 1997 it was time to go to school and time to work. I sought out a job in Austin (a 30 minute commute) at the South Austin Best Buy. I had worked at another Best Buy for 2 years, so they put me in charge of the software section.

October 1997 came and UO was released for commercial sale. I was selling all of our boxes to anyone that would give me five minutes to inform them of Ultima Online.

November 1997 came and I convinced my supervisor Eddie to let me off work early so I could attend a party that Origin was holding at a club called Paradox in Austin. I left work and drove to Paradox in hopes of meeting someone who played the game and on my server. My friend who introduced me to the game was playing on the East Coast and I was playing Pacific at the time. I walked around the club and stopped to ask everyone in the place if they played on or knew anyone that played on Pacific. Nobody was playing Pacific, but it wasn't all for naught. I did get to meet Raph Koster (Designer Dragon) and debate the "notoriety" system and the ideas of bounties for murders. I also stopped and had a shot of something in a test tube with Starr Long (Blackthorn).

While I was talking to Starr Long about an announcement by GM Zippy that they were hiring Game Masters, he asked if he could trust me. I said, "Yes, of course you can." He then opened up some groovy looking tin and handed me his business card that listed his direct phone number and email address. He told me to email him my resume to him and that he would get in touch with Zippy.

In January 1997, I was leaving for New York to visit my grandparents and still hadn't heard from Origin about a job. I emailed Human Resources before I left, and gave them my grandparents phone number to call me if I got the job. On January 8, 1998 I got the call while in New York that I had a job as a Game Master at Origin Systems Inc. My 30-minute commute turned into a 45-minute commute and my 12 hours a day gaming habit turned into 12 hours a week. My game time was cut into by my working 50 hours a week in the game.

After a year of being GM Datura, I am now 25 years old and a responsible adult who is known as GM Lead Gabriel. Datura was named after a plant that grew in San Marcos that I would see on my walk down a hill to class. I had learned about Datura and other plants in my class called ‘Magick, Ritual, and Religion.’ You may not have heard of the plant by that name, but may have by its other names: Belladonna, Gabriel's Trumpet, Nightshade, Applethorn, and Jimson Weed. I still love Electronic music very much and I hope to start being trained here at Origin on how to make it. Once I feel comfortable that I am able to produce something audibly pleasurable for the masses, I hope to start creating new music for all of Origin’s games.

The next time that I sit down to write one of these, I won't be up ‘til 5am and I will detail what I actually do here. And now comes the time for the thank-yous (as if I was on stage accepting some sort of award).

I would like to thank you for your time in reading this, Starr for trusting me, Mike for getting me interested in the Ultima series, and to those who have put their time and efforts into making Ultima Online an enjoyable place to visit.