The Art of the Ultimate Gank

Hello Goons and Goonettes, let me regal you with a story from my glorious gaming past, before the responsibility of life and burden of morality changed how I lived my life and gamed my games. Now that I’ve gotten older, much like my comrade in arms Theodore, I find myself rarely playing competitive online games; instead, I’m finding more enjoyment from hard single-player console games. I remember what it was like to be an asshole teenage gamer with literally nothing else to do, and I never want to suffer humiliation at the hands of some dork kid who’s still getting boners just imagining what pussy might feel like. It wasn’t always like that, though, and this story starts 20 years ago when I was a sophomore in high school that was HEAVY into Ultima Online.

First, a little back story on the game itself. Ultima Online was one of the first waves of MMO’s, and it was unique in a couple of ways. First off, the game was cracked by enterprising modders, and by the time me and my friends got into it, there were more free private servers than official ones run by the makers of the game. These private servers operated mostly by the same rule sets, with the exception that you had to apply to join them, and they didn’t cost any actual money. The last time I checked in on the game was 2015-16ish, and it was still going strong. I’m willing to bet there are still a sizable number of lost souls playing on super strict roleplaying servers to this day.

Ultima Gameplay

The other interesting thing about Ultima that matters to this story is that you were completely open to PVP encounters once you left the town limits of any of the game’s established cities. That wasn’t the worst of it either. If some asshole found you in the woods chopping trees or something and killed you, your body was completely lootable. ANYTHING in your inventory, anything you were wearing, whatever weapon you had equipped, they could take it all. Generally, you wouldn’t leave town limits with shit you weren’t prepared to lose unless you were coming back from a dungeon run or taking stuff to a house you built on the server.

Safe in Town

The nature of PVP in the game meant that tons of goons would form gank gangs and attack noobs or whoever was dumb enough to leave town limits. In a three or four against one scenario, you might maybe be able to run away, but you’re probably going to die and lose your shit. Being the goon that I am, I led a gank gang that consisted of myself and three of my buddies from school. We called our guild Vengeance, and we were absolute cock suckers to anyone that we came across. Teenage boys really are the most dangerous animal on the planet, and we were living out our virtual ‘lord of the flies’ fantasies from the minute we got home till the minute we went to sleep. I’m not kidding when I say I played this game so much that I almost flunked 10th grade. I would only stop to eat and jerk off, both activities taking me away from the screen for about 3 minutes each.

So, the stage is set. You know about the game, and you know that I was a terrible teenager. You might be wondering what makes this story special? Well, dear reader, one fateful night, we found out that a kid we absolutely fucking hated played on the same server we did. So, I hatched a plan. A plan that sometimes wakes me up at night because I was such a terrible shit head to this poor kid for no good fucking reason.

The plan was to get the kid, who I’ll call Larry (obviously not his real name), to trust us enough to go outside of town limits with his good gear on. I started off the ruse by hitting him up on AIM. He knew I wasn’t his biggest fan, but he didn’t realize the depth of my hatred and the extent of the emotional trauma that I grew up with that allowed me to do this to another human being.

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We talked about school for a while, and then we talked about UO and agreed to meet up in-game. I cozied up to him for about a week, getting him to trust me by clearing various dungeons and shit with him. When I knew I had his trust, it was time to spring the trap.

I asked him if he ever attacked other players in the game, to which he responded that he hadn’t but thought it might be kind of fun. I told him that I ganked with a couple of other guys from school, and if he wanted to, he should join. He was drawn in by the allure of taking other people’s shit and agreed to come on a gank sesh with us. He was all set to go, but I noticed he had mediocre gear on when I inspected his character. I needed him in his best shit to make this work. So, I played out the next part of the trap and explained to Larry that even though we would be killing in a group, we needed to bring good gear if another gang showed up or the player we targeted was stronger than we thought. He was reluctant, but I assured him that the risk was low because we’d be rolling 5 deep. Somehow trusting my nefarious ass, he bought the line that I was selling and put on some really primo fucking armor.

Map of Ultima

Geared up and ready to roll, we got on our horses and rode out to the woods outside town to meet up with the other guys. When we met up, we told him that the best hunting spot was a mine that was a decent clip away from town (so he wouldn’t be able to run back to the protection of the guards), and we led him to what was probably the worst 15 minutes of Larry’s life up to that point. When we got near the mine, I typed, “Oh hey Larry, I forgot to tell you before to go fuck yourself.” and we circled him and began to attack. It took him a good 30 seconds to realize what was going on, but when he finally started to fight back, it was too late. We had ganked Larry, and we ganked him realllllllll fucking good. At first, we left his body unlooted on the floor and told his ghost form that he could go res and come back for his stuff. When he came back, we killed him again. And again. And again. After repeated killings, we took to looting his shit. I claimed his Mythril armor, someone else his sword, another guy his shield. We looted every last thing he had, and we even killed his fucking horse. That was a dirty move that most people didn’t do when on the gank, but we were so filled with blood lust and dark energy that nothing with even a whiff of Larry could be allowed to survive.

On its own, this would’ve been bad enough, but there was one last prize in his pack. His fucking house key. Larry was an unfortunate soul, but he was also exceptionally fucking stupid because NOBODY left town carrying their house key. If someone got their mitts on it, they could unlock your front door and take everything that you owned in the game, and wouldn’t you know it, that’s exactly what we did. We went to his house, took everything, and then demolished the home. We razed his digital homestead. If you’re gonna go psychotic, you gotta go all the way.

While this whole debacle was going on, Larry sent me tons of messages on AIM, first pissed, then just begging for his stuff back. Being the thermonuclear shithead that I was at the time, I just LOL’d and made fun of him. Back in-game, we danced around him wearing all his shit while he sat there with nothing but a pair of drawers on. It was one of the most evil things I’ve done to another person in all of my 36 years on this planet. Understandably, Larry didn’t talk to us for a really long fucking time. I’m probably lucky he didn’t Columbine us because he would’ve been completely justified after the prison-style gang fuck we had just put him through.

My friends and I kept playing Ultima for most of the school year but eventually when summer came around, I discovered that I preferred getting fucked up and chasing pussy than spending every waking moment in my room playing a shitty computer game. Drugs saved my life. If it wasn’t for weed, pussy, and Everclear (the grain alcohol, not the shitty 90’s band), I’d probably still be playing Ultima right now.

I don’t want to end this on a sour note either, so I will say that many years later after I’d joined the military and gone through years of therapy to try and formulate myself into a halfway decent person, I looked Larry up on Facebook. I sent Larry a private message and apologized. The next time I was home on leave, we even got together and had a few beers together. It was weird at first, but eventually, we laughed it off and discovered that we both liked the way cocaine smelled. Go figure. He became a pretty decent friend after that.

I guess the moral of the story is that it’s never too late to atone for past sins, and drugs heal all wounds. Also, stick to single-player games. You’ll never inflict or be on the receiving end of that kinda fucked up situation if you only play God of War or whatever.

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