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The Social Rules
Welcome to UltraCorps. This is an online game for hundreds of players at a time. It's a wargame, but it's also a community, and the most important rules of this community, the ones you should know first of all, are NOT the game rules, but the social rules.
UltraCorps is a game for civilized adults. That doesn't mean we require proof of age. It means we expect the players to ACT like adults. That's not negotiable. If you wonder why this section was necessary, GOOD! You're probably a (slightly idealistic!) adult.
Because the game has a free mode, we expect we'll get some testosterone-soaked l00zer-dudes jumping in, because they'll play anything that's free. We will simply ditch the ones who make trouble. There may or may not be a warning, depending on whether we think it would actually do any good. We certainly feel no duty to give anyone a second chance to cheat, or to refund any payments made by a cheater. Our duty is to run a smooth game for the people who play in a civilized way. By ruthlessly throwing out the obnoxious players, we can make the game more fun for the rest. And we'd rather have the polite ones as our community anyway!
UltraCorps is supported by a staff of designers, coders, tech support people, and so on, whom we'll collectively call the admins. Their decisions are final. When a situation arises in which an admin has to step in . . . either to correct the effects of a bug, net problem, or exploit, or to deal with a rude player . . . that's the way it is. We will try to make everyone happy except the problem players, but if we can't make you completely happy, please accept our apologies and soldier on. Maybe we'll be able to do better next time.
To contact the admins, send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
In the history of UltraCorps, the problem that has caused the most player anguish has been MACing - Multiple Account Cheating. A MAC player sets up extra positions in the game and gives their assets to his main fleet.
This is cheating. Period.
Rules are in place to control MACing. For instance, you can't create a gift fleet until you own five planets. The admin have several ways to identify MACing. If you think you see a MAC situation, report it to email@example.com.
MAC players will be removed from the game in whatever way the admin thinks is appropriate at the time. If "regime change" is the chosen option for a MAC force, the admins will advise the neighboring players that they are now dealing with a different person.
(Note that this is not the same question as whether it's cheating to set up more than one position in a single game if they don't share resources. Our answer to that right now is: It's not cheating, but it can LOOK like cheating, and cause arguments. On the other hand, if somebody wants to pay for two accounts, and doesn't use them abusively, then who are we to turn down an honest customer? Certainly there are situations where it could be legitimate - for instance, a father might want to buy one account for himself and another where he mentors his child. We'll just have to take these as they come.)
A "clan" is an alliance of players that has continuity between games. Clans are a fact of life in online gaming. They can be very good or very bad.
At their best, clans offer a way for new players to meet experienced ones for advice and training. A senior clan member can be a valuable ally for a new player. A good clan has traditions of its own and helps pass down the traditions of UltraCorps.
But clans can be abused, too. If several friends start the game close together and immediately pool their fleets into one super-empire, that's just a MAC cheat. If they all play separately but coordinate their strategy . . . well, that's not technically cheating, but it's quick death for the new player who starts next to them!
And clan affiliations can be a drawback. If your clan expects you never to fight a fellow clan member, you can find yourself in a situation where your expansion is blocked by people you don't know . . . yet you feel bound not to attack them. This is a wargame, and when you're completely surrounded by allies, your conquests are over!
Or you may be pressured by your clan to attack someone that, for whatever reason, you want to be at peace with.
On the whole: We don't forbid clans. That would be impossible. But we do forbid "join or die" recruitment. Clans should model themselves on samurai, not on street gangs . . . and we advise players to read the fine print before joining a clan.
This game lets you communicate with other players both privately and publicly. Keep it clean. Vulgarity and insulting language are not acceptable. Our community doesn't need griefers, no-lifers with short fuses, and random potty-mouths. We don't want them, we don't want their money, and we don't even want their friends, because their friends are likely to be the same way.
There's a very simple filter on game names, world names, and aliases. It is intended to prevent accidental or unthinking offense. This filter is easy to get around. For instance, if we block "fnord," you can type F*N*O*R*D and get through. Any idiot can do that! But when it happens, we know the idiot did it on purpose, and we can ban him.
We can't filter offensive avatars in advance, but we will take action if we get a complaint.
Also prohibited is any form of advocacy - advertising, political argument, charitable pleas, or anything else. You cannot beg for money (even for a good cause), support candidates or political positions, or in any other way try to solicit or recruit UC players for anything outside of the game. This is the rule in the forums, in headlines, in private mail, and everywhere else in UltraCorps.
We make one exception to the "no advocacy" policy. You may think we're nuts for this exception, but deal with it. We DO permit players to share the word about other good games on the forums, no matter whose games they are. (We are gamers. Our users are gamers. We all like talking about games. Enough said.) However, if an admin feels that someone is getting annoying in advocating another game - let alone actual advertising either for a game or for their own position in a 'pyramid scheme' MMOG - it will be closed down like any other spam, and the offending user may be booted.
It is illegal to create a program that accesses our site in any way except by standard manual clicking on the links on the game pages. Such programs might be attempts to collect a sheer mass of information that would give the operator an unfair advantage . . . and, whatever their purpose, they would tie up our bandwidth and servers, slowing the game down for everyone. Anyone caught using such a program will be ejected from the game without a refund, and other legal action is possible.Note that we have no problem with the creation of analysis programs that run on your own computer. See Player-Created Programs.
Since UltraCorps is browser-based, the standard client cheats are not available. Nevertheless, anything that could be characterized as a "client-side add-on," or a hacked browser intended to give an advantage, is illegal.
No doubt there are hacks and exploits lurking in the code. If you discover one, the polite thing to do is immediately notify us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you "test" a newly-discovered exploit before reporting it, and use it to give yourself a slight advantage, just to show how it works, the admins might admire your cleverness and leave you with your sneaky winnings. We might even invite you into a discussion of how to plug the hole. But if we discover someone using an exploit in a massive way, especially if it directly clobbers other players . . . or even using a small exploit repeatedly without reporting it . . . we'll just throw the cheater out. With no refund.
PUB Game Abuse
In UltraCorps, you can set up a small private game (a "PUB Game" and invite other players to join. The creator of a PUB game "owns" it and has a great deal of control - he can tick the game at any time, for instance. This can be used abusively. If someone is a real twink, he can set up a game and then use his power to make sure the other players lose.
If you own a PUB game, you can "boot" a disruptive player. But what if the game's owner is the one causing the problem? The admins can't help you with that, unfortunately. Any issues about refereeing a PUB game are between the game owner and the players. (That doesn't extend to trash-talking. A PUB game owner is subject to the same rules of civility as everyone else.)
However, the PUB Game Reputation system exists to discourage abusive PUB refereeing. If you join a PUB game and the person running it turns out to be an idiot, you can rate him negatively. And before you join a game, you can look on the player's Profile page to check his reputation.