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HomeInterview With Ex-Seer Pann

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As you are all aware (or are aware now), the entire Volunteer program, with the exception of the Companions (as of right now, anyway), as been TERMINATED. Without warning, and without much of an explanation. Hundreds of players who put hours upon hours of time trying to make your game a more fun and eventfull experience have been dismissed without any decent explanation. OSI says quote,

"Though it’s a difficult decision for us, it is based on the reassessment of our online, company-wide business structure as we address growth and changes in the online entertainment industry"

However, the Asian servers remain unaffected. Reasons for the termination of the program vary from financial issues to the risk of a lawsuit. The latter being the more likely as I think OSI probably realizes that the volunteers would PAY to volunteer, and the rules about labor are likely very different in Asia. Regardless of the reasons, thus far no one at OSI or EA (what's the difference? OSI is just a name now, I suppose) has bothered to give a real explanation to the Seers, Counselors, and Elders who so DESERVE to hear the truth.

I had a chance to talk to now Ex-Seer Pann of Great Lakes about the interest program and her reaction to its cancellation:

[Redlow]: Wanna introduce yourself first? ;)
[Redlow]: They lady under the robe, so to speak.
[Pann]: My name is Val. I'm 37. I live in Austin with my husband Jeff, who I met in UO, and my daughter Alex.
[Pann]: My UO experience is that I've played since Feb. '97. I smurfed for a year on Slownoma, then became a troub on GL in '99.
[Pann]: I was robed as a seer in Jan this year and was made Ancient Seer in March.
[Redlow]: *nods*
[Redlow]: Starting off with the positive, then moving to the negative.. What were your most memorable experiences while volunteering and what do you think of GL's players overall?
[Pann]: I'd rather get the negative out of the way first and end on a positive note.
[Pann]: The worst part was trying to get our plots done, having to deal with the mechanics of the game and the OSI bullshit.
[Pann]: Over time, our abilities were crippled. We were like pigeon-toed kids trying to walk with our feet tied together.
[Pann]: They wanted us to do all this great stuff, but did not give us the ability to do it.
[Pann]: That was the worst.
[Redlow]: Of fear of coming off as showing favortism?
[Pann]: I won't ever try to second guess the OSI mentality.
[Pann]: I have no idea what their reasoning was. I just know it wasn't practical.
[Pann]: The next worst thing would have to be grief players at our events.
[Pann]: I had some guy tell Evie to perform oral acts on him and there was nothing I could do.
[Redlow]: good lord..
[Pann]: I was told later to submit the journal log and they would ban him, but that teaches him nothing. Another credit card and $15 and he's right back at it, with an even worse attitude about seers.
[Pann]: I refused to do it.
[Redlow]: *nods*
[Pann]: Next were the whiners like White Lotus and Althea who spammed crap on the messageboards about how we played favorites
[Pann]: when they never made any attempt to join in the quests that were practically in their laps and we couldn't tell them to stfu.
[Pann]: But I can now. So, that's a good thing.
[Pann]: =)
[Redlow]: Yes, now you have your chance. Anything you want to tell certain players, feel free to.
[Pann]: I was saving all that for Goldberry. hehe
[Pann]: j/k
[Redlow]: *laughs*
[Pann]: Now, for the good stuff -
[Pann]: Despite the limitations and the bad stuff, it was great fun to be a seer.
[Pann]: I was so proud of the Mother the day Augur planted it outside Skara Brae.
[Pann]: I felt like the Evie plot had actually accomplished something, left a beautful treasure for the shard.
[Pann]: I hope they don't chop her down.
[Pann]: I worked very hard to include as many people as I could in anything I did.
[Redlow]: That would be a travesty. Many people complain about the remains of Dego's quests still being around, but I love seeing it.
[Pann]: And there have been a lot of people who have told me they were bored, burned out and about to quit, but then got into my quests.
[Pann]: That made it all worthwhile.
[Redlow]: *smiles*
[Pann]: As for how I feel about the GL people - A lot of players knew that I was trying to transfer to another shard,
[Pann]: for reasons I won't discuss -
[Pann]: but I was planning to make characters on GL after that move, so I could still be around everyone.
[Redlow]: *nods*
[Pann]: I love the players we have on GL. They were bright and funny and made my job rock.
[Pann]: It made me want to work twice as hard to be the best seer I could be for them.
[Pann]: Now, I get to play with them, so that's fun. Just can't kill them with souped up lich lords anymore. hehe
[Redlow]: *grins*
[Redlow]: The inclusion of many players (such as EdGuardo having his memories messed with) was one of the greatest things I've ever seen a Seer do. I think putting that kind of direct involvement of players into quests pushed the boundaries. The community active in quests is gratefull for that.
[Redlow]: (or I am at least, as I don't represent the community)
[Redlow]: Of course, that's all done now. Were there any signs of the volunteer program about to be shut down?
[Pann]: We all had our antennas up when they took the IGMs.
[Redlow]: How long have you been without IGMs?
[Pann]: No IGM's since sometime in April.
[Pann]: But we were continually told, "We're not going to get rid of you. We need you for the new quest thingy we're making."
[Pann]: People were still being promoted, but robes weren't being changed and no transfers.
[Pann]: Nikademus, one of our program coordinators, had sent Cal e-mails and was told that the things we needed would be taken care of.
[Pann]: Nika had even gotten approval and worked his arse off to make us an interest volunteer website. We all got access to it Sunday night.
[Pann]: So, no, we had no warning. And, as crappy as that was, I really don't see how they could have warned us.
[Pann]: I had the ability to make named items. Not colored, but named.
[Pann]: I could have been squirreling up a lot of stuff to sell on EBay.
[Redlow]: *nods*
[Pann]: So, there really was no safe way they could have warned us. As much as I hate to admit that, this was the only way they could do it.
[Pann]: Doesn't make it make any more sense, or make me think it was good.
[Redlow]: What was your immediate reaction when you heard that the program had been terminated?
[Pann]: Complete shock.
[Pann]: I was so stunned that I laughed. I thought, "Jon Hannah, you little swarmy bastard."
[Pann]: And I don't know why I blame him. I have no idea if this was his doing.
[Pann]: But, I know him socially and I guess he's an easy target.
[Pann]: (Jon Hannah is Calandryll)
[Redlow]: *nod*
[Pann]: Then, I cried a little.
[Pann]: It really hit me when Kyla from River's End told me to make a newbie and meet her at the bank.
[Pann]: I ran around the corner, expecting to see just her, and there were a dozen people waiting there for me.
[Pann]: That made me cry.
[Redlow]: Sorry.
[Redlow]: I think OSI doesn't quite realize the impact the game has on people's lives.
[Pann]: We are not people to them. We are dollar signs.
[Pann]: And now the Asian market makes a louder "ca-ching!" than we Americans do.
[Redlow]: What was your opinion of OSI before the program was terminated? And now?
[Pann]: I love UO. I love the game. I love the people I have met here. Obviously. I married one!
[Pann]: But, OSI? I have never had much respect for them.
[Pann]: I could launch into a REALLY long story, but you want to keep this short.
[Redlow]: *grins*
[Redlow]: I can imagine.
[Pann]: Well, Jeff and I did TV appearances for them.
[Pann]: And, I also was in the NY Times article that Heather was in.
[Redlow]: TV appearances?
[Pann]: We were on Canada AM, and another Canadian show "Undercurrents" and a local news story.
[Pann]: We were promised a tour of OSI, but we didn't get it. We waited a year. Finally, when Todd Pratt's keep was blessed, I wrote and said, "Umm, what about our tour?"
[Pann]: and then we got it.
[Pann]: I think the biggest problem with OSI/EA is that the left hand doesn't know what the right hand is doing. And doesn't care.
[Redlow]: If you could sum up OSI in one word, what would it be?
[Pann]: One word?
[Pann]: Business.
[Redlow]: Moving away from the negative, what are your plans now that OSI has killed the Volunteer program?
[Pann]: My home shards are LS and SP and I knock around there quite a bit with my friends and family.
[Pann]: I'll continue to do that.
[Pann]: And I've made characters on GL so I can play with the friends I've made there.

[Pann]: Contrary to the illicit ramblings of the aforementioned whiney White Lotus, these are not "seer butt kissers" but friends I've made
[Pann]: And I'll continue to enjoy their company.
[Redlow]: *grins*
[Redlow]: Anything else you'd like to add?
[Pann]: I've said this to as many people as I could in game, but for those who I haven't seen yet, I want to say
[Pann]: thanks for making my time as a seer so incredible and thanks for all the sweet things that you've said and done today to make this blow a little softer for not just me,
[Pann]: but the whole GL team.
[Redlow]: Alrighty Pann. Thanks for your time, and thanks for making GL a little more interesting :)
[Pann]: You don't want to see me naked, Red? Should I be insulted?
[Redlow]: Oh right right! I've just been shocked by all this and haven't been myself
[Pann]: hehe
[Redlow]: Send me some naked pictures!
[Pann]: Believe me, You do NOT want to see me naked!
[Pann]: lol
[Redlow]: aw, c'mon....
[Redlow]: The UO Porn page is sorely lacking in volunteers.
[Redlow]: Even if former Volunteers.
[Pann]: Ask Tristam. Not that he has seen me naked, but he can vouch for the fact you don't want to.
[Redlow]: All right then. No Pann Porn, sorry guys.
[Redlow]: For more, in depth interviews: Pann will be interviewed Friday May 11th at 8:00pm EST by Noleeens in #RPCI, followed by Seer Hermes on Sat at 8:00pm EST. In Stratics IRC -
[Redlow]: Thanks again Pann :)
[Pann]: Thank you, Red.
[Pann]: =)

Will things ever change at OSI? Will they ever come straight forward about matters and tell the truth? Despite their apparent indifference about this whole matter thus far - the small short brief statement on the UO home page - this is a very, VERY serious blow to UO. No more counselors, no more interest team.

The effects of this have yet to be felt, and I for one, see this as the worst thing to happen to UO. Ever. And possibly the beginning of a storm of outrage against EA/OSI.