2003-08-27: GM Zilo Steps into the Spotlight

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GM Zilo Steps into the Spotlight

Aug 27 2003 3:47PM

This was originally posted to Player Relations at uo.com.[1]

Comments from the team... comments from the team... How about the history of GM Zilo instead? Sorry, Senior Game Master Zilo.

I discovered Ultima Online at the 1996 E3 show. Some friends (coincidentally enough, GM Dengar, UO Product Manager/Lead GM Maleki, and a few others) and I drove to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the event. Walking into E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo for the uninitiated) for the first time was quite a mind-numbing experience--I'm talking on the same level as Disneyland for a 6 year old.

Squirreled away from much of the traffic, we stumbled onto a little booth displaying a wooden shack with countless dead bodies littering the road outside. Needless to say, I was intrigued. My friend (not either of the aforementioned OSI employees) pointed out that Richard Garriott was giving the presentation. We sidled on up to him and started grilling him with questions:

"What's this game?"

"Is that a player killing those folks?"

"You can kill people and take their stuff!?"

"Is that his house?"

"You can own a house!"

"What do you mean that guy is an Alchemist/Lumberjack/Archer!"

"Why is everyone moving so slow?"

"Is that her dragon!"

"Oh... it's killing her... was that her dragon?"

Stuff like that. I was pretty impressed.

But then I forgot about it, until the same friend who pointed out Richard Garriott to me brought a copy of it over in February 1998. With the game refreshed in my mind, I was excited to play.

And then PC-gaming changed for me, forever.

The first night I played, I knew UO was something great. I ran around clueless for days--hmm, weeks would be more accurate. There was so much to do. I tamed rabbits, got mauled by trolls, and discovered the joys of server lines. I ate turf on a daily basis, until I too mastered the art of casting Energy Bolt. The first time I was killed by another player, this little window popped up asking me if I would like to resurrect or play as a ghost. Of course I chose resurrect--I just needed one more hit to kill the guy! So, five instant resurrection clicks later, I chose play as ghost and then realized that insta-ressing took skill points away (and that using melee weapons back then was like hitting folks with Styrofoam). Ouch.

Another time, I remember sitting on a log out in the forest. My friend Maelstrom had just tamed a grizzly bear. "Hey cool, he’s clapping. Did you teach him that trick?" I asked. Next thing I saw was a black screen with the words "You are dead." Maelstrom became "Dastardly," and we spent the better part of two weeks defending his life from blue players seeking titles. We were apparently on the wrong side of the law now. I had killed Maelstrom while we were both trying to destroy a great hart with our newbie swords a few days earlier. Eventually, we headed a gang that controlled the shipping and trading lanes of Rat Valley (i.e. thieves).

I renounced my evil ways when I switched to the Lake Superior shard in late 1998. With a few other folks, we formed the [SBR]: Skara Brae Rangers. It was a guild established with the purpose of making the bad areas of the game a little safer. I'm sure there are some old timers who still remember the group. We were the "lootless army." With nothing but leather and non-magic weapons, we would swarm and overrun the enemies of the people. We would lie in wait, hidden in places like the Britain crossroads or the Yew Ort fort, and would spring out and destroy evildoers. It was a lot of fun to jump out of hiding and yell: "box box!" and then annihilate characters that had much more individual power than we had. I still think we helped change the course of player policing on Lake Superior for all time.

Enough reminiscing. I got this job out of love for the game. I've played other MMOs, PSWs, whatever you want to call them, and Ultima Online is by far the best game around. No other MMORPG has the depth that this title does. After graduating from Full Sail in Orlando, with a Computer Animation degree, I hopped in my car and came out to Austin, Texas, hoping to somehow get in on the OSI team.

I still play Ultima Online. I believe it makes me a more compassionate and effective Game Master. When you talk to me in-game or receive a message from me, you can be assured that you are getting an honest answer. I will not do anything to detract from the game I love, nor will I allow players or fellow GMs to do so either. I firmly believe that Ultima Online helped the gaming industry evolve to a whole new level and continues to be a catalyst for innovation. It’s my goal to make sure that players get the same enjoyment out of the game as I have.

See you all in the game!


Player Relations

Ultima Online


  1. http://web.archive.org/web/20031210120125/http://update.uo.com/pr-comments.html