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   Home > Big Mamas Shoppe > History

Big Mama's Shoppe

History


The two Big Mamas: Lina & Saphireena



F a l l - 1 9 9 9 :
S A P H I R E E N A ' S   Q U A L I T Y   F U R N I T U R E

Once upon a time there was a young girl called Saphireena. She was gifted with her hands and could make nice things but she had not mastered any particular skill completely. She acquired a furniture dye tub through the "Britannia Clean Up" phase in 1999 and enjoyed dyeing the furniture she made. Others liked her furniture so much that she decided to hire a vendor to start selling some of it. A friend of hers, Myrd'draal was kind enough to provide her with a little corner in his own shop, onto which she could place her vendor. The shop was located in the Lizard Swamps north of Trinsic. Little did Saphireena know that a year later she would not only own a huge castle shopping mall in the same area but that she would also become one of Britannias most famous merchants and a 4xGM. Click small pictures to enlarge ->




Saphireena's first advertisements

W i n t e r - 2 0 0 0 :
B I G   M A M A S   S H O P P E

Although keeping a vendor was bringing a new aspect into Saphireena's life, it was also tedious and not very profitable. The long journeys travelling between her home in Occlo and the Lizard Swamps of Trinsic were long and weary ones. Since furniture was not valued very much, her profits were minimal. Also she would have liked to expand and sell other items in addition to the furniture. Saphireena dreamt of her own shop.

Saphireena's best friend Lina, who also lived in Occlo, had not yet had any vendors but was also dreaming of a shop of her own and the girls decided to start a business together as soon as a suitable building could be found. The perfect opportunity provided itself when Lina's guild mate Iska, put his own shop up for sale. It was a small stone house right by Occlo bank so it would be PERFECT for the girls! The price was quite high for a small house: 120 000 gp but the girls felt it was worth it. The location was superb and at the time Occlo was frequented by many experienced players with loads of spending money.

The girls worked extremely hard to gather sufficiant funds by killing liches at the Dead City. Eventually they had all that was needed and arranged to purchase Iska's old shop. After the shop had been transferred to Saphireena, the girls were absolutely ecstatic. They now had their very own shop!!! The name of the shop was the next step and eventually they decided on "Big Mamas Shoppe" after theirselves since they were both mothers IRL. Little did they know that this name would stick to the minds of the people so well that soon everyone would know it's name.


Relieving the old owners vendors from their duties



W i n t e r - 2 0 0 0 :
T H E   W E B   S I T E

Having previous experience in creating successful communitites, I knew that a great informative web page was the key. I made a web site for Big Mamas Shoppe in a week and this helped to spread the word. The design of the pages was meant to give the viewer the feeling that they were actually in the game playing. You could click on the vendors to open their backpacks, items would be highlighted and the front door opened. It was a first of this kind and still today I have not seen anyone make a UO page like this.
Click the picture to view ->

S p r i n g - 2 0 0 0 :
U O   R E N A I S S A N C E

During the year of 2000 a new edition of Ultima Online was released: Renaissance. The lands of Britannia were doubled to create a twin sister land. The old lands, where our shop was, became the facet called Felucca. It would become the lands of evil, while the new twin sister facet Trammel became the lands of good. Felucca would be a playground for all those interested in PvP, thievery, murder and other vile acts, while Trammel would be a non PvP zone where all wrong doings to other players was strictly forbidden. Not only that, but the old lands would turn sour, with the trees dieing and corpses would be strewn all over the place. Perhaps the largest aspect that would affect Big Mamas Shoppe was the fact that of all the places in Britannia, only Occlo would be one from which access to Trammel would be directly forbidden because the "twin sister" of Occlo would be a place called "Haven" on the Trammel facet - a place for young players only - with access denied from others.

Since most of Big Mamas customers were friendly role playing inclined people who would be moving to Trammel, the shop would go bankrupt if it stayed on the Felucca facet. And the idea of serving a bunch of kewl doodz and villians did not appeal to the girls at all. So the decision was made to move to Trammel once the lands opened up for house placement. Lina and Saphireena decided to give the old shoppe to their good friend Karenina since she was in the need of a shop of her own.


After Saphireena had moved the last of her things to the bank, she changed the name and said farewell to small stone building that had served them so well. Notice that the trees are already dead and there is sorrow in the air.



The next months were odd times indeed. Iska, the man who had sold Big Mamas Shoppe to the girls quit playing UO and donated all of his possessions and fortune to the girls, including a castle deed. Back then checks did not exist, so people bought castle deeds to "save" one million gp at a time. No-one would have believed that that precious castle deed would actually be used to place a castle some day. Another aspect that made the following months odd was the fact that Lina had to travel far away and would not be seen in the lands of Britain for many many months to come. So Saphireena was left alone and with no shop to run. Big Mamas Shoppe was on hold.

Over the next months Saphireena studied the art of house placement extensively and travelled the lands of the different shards to check out possible spots to place houses. By the time house placement actually came around, Saphireena was a Grand Master in the art of finding places for houses and placing the deeds.

S u m m e r - 2 0 0 0 :
H O U S E   P L A C E M E N T

On the day of castle placement, I succeeded in not only placing one castle, but two castles to the great wonderment of everyone. I will now reveal how it was done:

AFTER TRAMMEL CAME:

  • When Trammel came, I used a Land Surveying tool to check all possible castle spots and found about 20
  • I marked all spots on UOAM and made runes to them

    WHAT I LEARNED DURING TESTING:
  • That if you log on a short while before placement or during, you would have no chance of getting in
  • That the more crowded the sub server - the more likely you would get telestormed
  • That the more you move during placement the more likely you will be telestormed
  • That if one character was telestormed, it was nearly impossible to log back in with that char, but it was possible with other chars if you were lucky
  • That if the placement of the deed was unsuccessful, I would have to wait 60 seconds to try again, thus - one should have multiple deeds

    ACTIONS I TOOK AFTER TESTS:
  • I downloaded the newest UOAM to see where the subserver boundaries went
  • I made extra castle spot runebooks and parked backup character on the same spots in case I got telestormed
  • I bought an extra castle deed in case the first placement failed

    HOW I CHOSE MY #1 SPOTS
  • I chose spots that only had one or two squares to place on so that fewer people would be likely to have found these spots
  • I avoided subservers that had the most telestorming and chose my #1 spots on peaceful subservers

    AFTER OTHER SHARDS HAD PLACED:
  • I visited other shards and checked the castle spots I had marked to make sure they worked, then ended up finding 30 new spots!!

    HOW I PREPARED BEFORE ACTUAL PLACEMEMT
  • I parked my characters with both accounts in my #1 and #2 spots many hours before it started
  • I hid as not to reveal to passerbys that there might be a castle spot where I was standing
  • I didn't say anything nor walk one single step to avoid telestorming
  • I made a simple "Last Object - Last Target" macro on both machines
  • To create the Last Target, I used the Land Surveying tool on the right spot
  • To create the Last Object I then double clicked the deed and pressed Esc
  • About 30 minutes before castle placement began, I parked myself and my son in front of our computers side by side and told him what to do
  • About 10 minutes before placement we both started pressing down the macro key so that the Last Object (deed) Last Target (ground) would repeat over and over
  • We did not say a word, nor look anywhere (not even at the clock) for those 10 minutes, we just pressed down the macro button without lifting our fingers once

    When actual placement started we both got the "This is a valid spot, Place house here?" window and pressed OK. For some reason ghost images of the castles floated around a bit before it was actually there before our eyes, even though we had pressed OK, and man I was soooo terrified that I had not succeeded, but it must have been just lag. To my utter and complete disbelief we both succeeded in placing the castles and we danced and shouted and screamed and laughed after locking up the doors and going in.

    I had about 5 VISIBLE people (god knows how many were hiding) competing with me for the Vesper castle while my son had none at the Trinsic castle (no wonder since it only had 1 square you could click to succeed and thus no-one else had found it). In addition to the small competition I think the most important factor was using the macro over and over. I am sure most others simply waited for the message, double clicked their deeds then tried to click the right square.

    After all those months of working towards this goal - and achieving it, I felt the reward was well deserved. After people started hearing of my great "luck", some were furious and jealous, even though they hadn't prepared to the extent that I had. Sad for them, but it was also their fault for not putting the effort into it. Some tried to make me feel guilty for "hogging" 2 castles, but I refuse to feel guilty because they have both been put to good use. And the second castle became an apartment building that houses 10 people, so they are not merely for my own private use.

    But don't get me wrong, OF COURSE I feel insanely lucky and privileged to have gotten a castle, not to mention 2. I wasn't expecting it, I would never have believed it, the best I was realisticly hoping for was a tower and at least a villa. It took me weeks to actually believe it had happened and that Europa was not going to be reverting hehe.



    Fall - 2 0 0 0 :
    B I G   M A M A S   A Q U A R I U M   &   S H O P P E

    During the summer and fall of 2000, Britannia was swept with a new fashion. Someone had thought of making an aquarium from cloth, then before you know it, everyone had one. This sparked the idea to make a public aquarium. A room with many aquariums presenting all of the different types of fish.