MEETING GM ASH - PLAYER RELATIONS

Team Comment - A Word from GM Ash - August 31, 2001
A year ago, I put in my application to work at OSI/EA. I didnít know what to expect. I had fond memories of the cut scenes from Wing Commander and Ultima IV from my younger days and thought about how great it would be to work for the company responsible for those games. During my years studying psychology at the University of Texas at Austin, I had no idea that I would be working on a video game after I graduated. When I discovered that I had the opportunity to work on video games as a career, I accepted. I learned that the game I would be working on was the online extension of the Ultima world, and became immediately enthralled.

Currently, I am a Game Master for Ultima Online. I am better known in game as Game Master Ash. For some background, I have been playing video games since I can remember. I started in the days of the Atari 2600 and have played through the current console and PC games. Some of the games I play when not playing Ultima Online are Counter-Strike for the PC and the Madden and NHL series for the PS2. In my extensive video game career, I am still astonished at the depth of the community that I interact with when I play Ultima Online. Every day I see something new, and something is always there to impress upon me the honorable nature of the community. Whether it is a humorous event at the Britain bank or a community festival in Yew, the community is always active in Ultima Online.

Game Masters are the front line of relations between OSI/EA and the community. It is important to give a positive impression to players, as they are what make the game so unique. Without the time and dedication that players invest into the game, UO would not be what it is today. One of the functions of Game Masters is to ensure that the community is maintained. I analogize this responsibility to a public servant in a real world society. Some of the responsibilities extend to dealing with player harassment or even removing items stuck in trees. This is the side that the community sees most of the time.

Along with the public responsibilities, Game Masters work behind the scenes to talk about Ultima Online issues and policy. When I was younger, I always joked that I would never use my Student Congress skills in real life. Then I learned that as a Game Master, one function of the job is to help debate and shape UO policy. When players make suggestions to Game Masters, they listen to what is said and bring it up in policy discussions. We present the ideas, and if we can reach a consensus, the changes are implemented. The discussions are always interesting and are very similar to policy issues that people face in the real world.

I enjoy helping the citizens of Britannia as they are a creative and brilliant community, and I look forward to seeing you all in game.

Ash
Player Relations
Ultima Online