This summary of UltraCorp serves as a timeline of events. I also discuss how I depicted these events in my book, Heart of Darkness. I am using notes and the book as a reference to make it easier to understand.
You can also view the UltraCorp page currently available.
Part One - Power
In July 2015, Ace Candy was just another name trying to make it in the world of Sub Rosa. He often played with Toolhead, who served as his first mentor to the game. Toolhead took a hiatus from the game during this time, leaving him to decide what to do next. Ace decides to mend his relationship with a religious group known as the House of MAGNUM, created by Kalsb. The House of MAGNUM serves as one of the first recognized groups in the game's history, and besides converting as many members as possible, their true intentions remained unknown at the time.
Toolhead had an ongoing feud with the House of MAGNUM, and Ace never joined before out of a sense of loyalty to Toolhead. While they were initially suspicious, they get to know him better and take Ace as one of their own. Ace did just that, and he continued to cooperate with them for a few weeks. After Cryptic Sea added helicopters in Alpha 24, Kalsb told Ace that he dreamed of a day when everyone could fly helicopters. Notable members included Aharmlesskitten, Hurrrrrrr, Quackyface, and Maxwell216.
After seeing how the House of MAGNUM could amass followers, Ace imagined a way to do the same for profit. Ace assembled Kalsb and a few others to propose the idea of a union of players who all worked under one banner on the principle of helping the community make money. Kalsb thought it was a great idea and helped Ace establish UltraCorp in August 2015.
Naturally, UltraCorp quickly grew in size and popularity throughout the next few weeks. UltraCorp primarily took control of OXS International and would expand to other in-game corporations when profitable. Their tactics were efficient for a few reasons:
- Many employees inside UltraCorp allowed them to be everywhere at once.
- Cooperation between companies streamlined the money-making process. Inter-company trading also increased their stock prices exponentially, making millions in stock increases alone.
- Teams/players not in UltraCorp were either bought out or conquered by force.
While Ace went on deals, his kill squads would be out doing acquisitions, limos, etc. Helicopters trivialized the dangers typically attached to making trades. An elite guard accompanied Ace while he went on exchanges. If the other team tried to set them up, Ace's guards could make them submit.
- Chairman = Ace
- Lieutenants = House of MAGNUM and later agents who proved worthy
- Squad leads/captains = Agents who could lead
- Agents = “Dedicated” infantry
- Conscripts = People picked up off the street (usually still with white shirts) to fight quick battles.
UltraCorp met their first opposition in late August, the Nexaco Freedom Fighters ("NFF"). They rose to fight UltraCorp over their control of the economy. Founded by Proctra, they cited an overwhelming control of the in-game economy as a casus belli. Ace wanted their company, and Proctra didn't submit to the pressure, so Ace executed an invasion. A massive-scale assault was taken underway by UltraCorp forces attempting to gain control of the Nexaco base from the NFF. The ensuing battle was captured on video by the game's lead developer Cryptic Sea, roleplaying as a "news helicopter" during the firefight. At specific points, NFF forces mistakenly opened fire upon the "news helicopter," believing it to be an UltraCorp transport or gunship.
The attention from Cryptic Sea plus a demonstration of yet unseen tactical prowess helped further cement UltraCorp into the game's history.
UltraCorp began recruiting more conscripts en masse throughout the next couple of weeks. People had seen what UltraCorp was capable of, and recruits flocked to the group in droves. At its peak, the first generation of UltraCorp had over a hundred people.
To further strengthen UltraCorp, Ace did several things to establish a cult of personality around the upper management and himself. He taught conscripts practical skills and gave frequent lectures to agents about the company's hierarchy, fostering a set of beliefs to maintain the corporate structure. Because of all of these factors, he was more likely to be feared than praised. One such recruit Ace helped train went by the name of PsiSyn. He had just bought the game and had trouble figuring out what he needed to do. Ace helped train him and a few others as recruits for OXS. PsiSyn then apparently forgot who he was, which angered many people.
Around this time, Ace received word of an upstart newspaper called the Sub Rosa Informer, run by a player named Arcinius. He saw its potential to spread a positive image and assisted Arcinius with the paper. While Arcinius strived to keep the newspaper unbiased, Ace counteracted this by providing intelligence that could only paint UltraCorp in a positive light.
After the assault on the Nexaco base, the NFF went around and fought UltraCorp at almost every other turn. In response, Ace would immediately get another squad to kill them. Ace became spiteful and mechanical towards anyone who interfered with UltraCorp's operations, and he realized diplomacy was inefficient when he could take over everything. Ace soon became a political entity, and it was clear that he was becoming more interested in gaining control over every company than making more money.
In this chapter, I wanted to illustrate the decadent amount of violence in the community and how Ace slowly normalized the acts of violence he committed. While it is no surprise that many people do not like Brazilian players, they became a large enough minority not to go unnoticed.
Due to a lack of self-control, many agents/squad leaders felt "invincible" because of their membership in UltraCorp, killing random people on the street for fun. One particularly violent squad - Jim Crowe and Caboose - rounded up Brazilians and executed them on a wall near a gun shop. Ace didn't even care a damn bit about any of this, going as far as invading bases over petty reasons. With complete free rein over the sandbox, Ace became detached from reality, subsisting on a sense of euphoria. House of MAGNUM lieutenants were still down to earth and complained to Ace about these reckless acts. They began to grow weary of Ace's power and wondered if they were worth anything in the organization anymore.
In the decadence, complaints about UltraCorp got written by disgruntled SR players voicing their complaints about how UltraCorp had destroyed the traditional sense of the game. A lack of diplomacy made many people feel like they weren't playing the game as intended (getting on the phone, making deals, etc.) I mostly wrote this chapter as an amalgamation of complaints, illustrating how other people perceived UltraCorp during this time.
On September 24, Arcinius began plans for an "election." Who would become the mayor?
The divided loyalties in UltraCorp became exemplified by the House of MAGNUM running separately. Ace was thoroughly disgruntled by this, as Ace wanted HoM to identify with UltraCorp. He offered to sign up for House of MAGNUM membership to get them to side with UltraCorp in the election, but Kalsb refused. Things became very tense in the run-up to the election. House of MAGNUM members stuck together while Ace commanded the rest of his agents, maintaining an uneasy truce that could crumble at any moment.
On October 1, the first debate began at the Megacorp building, with the NFF vs. Sub-Info debating. The event quickly turned violent as a terrorist drove into the building with a van and shot up everybody (later found out to be a member of the House of MAGNUM). All other debates got canceled as a result.
On October 8, the election officially began on Strawpoll (unsecured). UltraCorp was winning, but Rocktalon started pushing people to vote for Kalsb, giving the House of MAGNUM the lead. Arcinius saw this, and Ace called for an emergency conference between UltraCorp, The Informer, and the NFF. Despite NFF being pure enemies of UltraCorp, they all decided to form a coalition together to get Ace to win. The final ballots got tallied, and Ace won the election.
In the weeks following the election, it became clear that a civil war was coming. Kalsb tried to convert UltraCorp members extensively to get them on their side for the upcoming battle. Ace quickly became reclusive and messaged Toolhead in the hopes that he could try and get them to cooperate. Toolhead managed to calm down Kalsb for a while, and they wound up finding common ground on UltraCorp.
Toolhead had hindered UltraCorp operations whenever he could over the past few months. He also messaged Ace on numerous occasions expressing his dissatisfaction with what UltraCorp had done to his beloved game. Their animosity reached a head when Ace heard that Toolhead would agree to disband UltraCorp to stop the violence. Ace promptly kicked him out, leading to more people flocking to the House of MAGNUM.
Sabotage attempts led by both Kalsb and Ace became the catalyst for civil war breaking out between UltraCorp and the House of MAGNUM, leading to the Nexaco Freedom Fighters dissolving. Conflict embroiled Sub Rosa, making the server unplayable for weeks as the two groups battled it out. While UltraCorp had over a hundred members, most of them weren't properly trained and skilled as the House of MAGNUM. It would take around five agents to dispatch one of them, and it quickly became a showcase of quality over quantity.
Ace was essentially cast out from the community as all the UltraCorp members had deserted because the cash flow dried up or got exiled. He could not deal with the toxicity around him, leading to UltraCorp crumbling. There were a few other reasons that contributed to this:
- An overgrown amount of people
- Decadent members believed that being in UltraCorp would shield them from repercussions
- Brazilians were targeted and harassed by numerous squads (initial reasons for the creation of the BR Revolução)
- Squads would camp spawn/car shops waiting to kill teams that failed to trade
- Incompetent leadership
The House of MAGNUM had "reign" over the community, but the public knew their role in the conflict and fought against them. Shortly after, they soon disappeared - a pyrrhic victory for the House of MAGNUM.
Part Two - Corruption
For the few months that UltraCorp existed in 2015, Ace had already significantly impacted the game's history. The rest of UltraCorp's history is hugely disjointed, in my opinion, but it exists like a series of vignettes. Ace had established a precedent, and what followed next was a series of events involving constant experimentation of leadership and the systems that go along with it.
At this point, Ace is slowly going over reasons and refining how a new UltraCorp should form, fleshing out the ideology, etc.
Lemoncel was an ordinary player that had no idea of the destiny that would await him. He had joined UltraCorp and made connections. Eventually, he met an ex-UltraCorp member who he had noticed. This player told Ace about him while he was in exile, and Ace invited Lemoncel to talk about UltraCorp and how he could form the second generation of UltraCorp under Ace's guidance.
Ace had slowly gone over why UltraCorp had failed while in exile. He spent time figuring out how to form a new UltraCorp, and fleshed out the core ideology. Lemoncel was fascinated by it, and Ace taught him strategies, how to use squad leaders, etc. Ace observed how Lemoncel played the game and gave him pointers at the end of the day (e.g., hire/fire, don't worry about killing this guy).
Lemon formed UniCorp on January 9, 2016, to be the next UltraCorp. Kalsb learned about it, and they were suspicious of it. Ace denied any connection to it when asked. UniCorp quickly became popular, growing to over eighty members.
When the time was right, Ace wanted to take over UniCorp since Lemoncel wasn't cut out for being a leader at all. Similarly, Lemoncel had trouble managing the group (the group was becoming overgrown, and he hired bad actors). UniCorp soon disbanded on February 20. Instead of exiling him, Ace took Lemon under his wing and continued to hone his skills for a different rank in a new UltraCorp.
A couple of months passed, and Ace began to enact several things that would allow a stronger UltraCorp to exist in the future.
On April 12, Ace met with PrimeMinisterSinister and asked him to establish the Sub Rosa Informant as a synthetic medium of spreading UltraCorp propaganda. (Frankly, he forgot the name of the Informer here.) The Informant would begin writing pieces about a new UltraCorp on the horizon and eventually works in favor of Ace's operations.
Arcinius came back from a hiatus and claimed that the Informant was infringing upon the Informer. As a result, the Informer and the Informant had fierce competition and constantly asked Ace to help destroy the other. Eventually, Arcinius gave up his morals of unbiased journalism to receive assistance from Ace, causing both the Informer and Informant to be de facto propaganda arms of UltraCorp.
At one point, the Informant arranged a meeting with FortressCorp to try and take down Ace, as they had seen somewhat past the veil. AeroArchonite (the cofounder of the Informant) told Ace of this meeting, but Ace took no action until later.
Eventually, the Informer got pushed out, as Ace put more support behind the Informant (given it was a pure propaganda arm, as opposed to something that Ace had no control over). Unfortunately, due to a fallout between the two owners of the Informant, the group collapsed. However, a new asset to UltraCorp was created - that being AeroArchonite.
Aero was highly loyal to Ace (as per the meeting with FortressCorp and the Informant) and got assigned as the council's president. Aero felt invincible, similar to how early UltraCorp members felt. Despite this, his role was only synthetic, and this only made him look like a lousy PR rep due to his pretentiousness. The president was an utterly artificial role created to keep the sub-groups in line by maintaining the illusion of independence.
Ace convinced both Aero and Lemoncel to read 1984 by George Orwell and apply anything they learned to how UltraCorp operated from the book. It involved extensive logging of the entire member list of Gen 2. Ironically, Ace never read the book when he suggested this.
Overall, the second generation of UltraCorp mainly consisted of several groups indirectly created by Ace to serve as his puppets. Instead of having absolute control, the sub-groups would serve as an extensive umbrella network for Ace. Member groups of the committee were to provide agents, administrative assistance, and general support in all things UltraCorp. (FortressCorp, OGRE Clan, People's Republic of SR, Helicorp, SR Racing Organization, Queeba Industries)
The UltraCorp executive management evolved into a triumvirate of sorts, consisting of Ace (Chairman, administrative and significant scale decisions,) Lemoncel (CEO, military and tactical control,) and Aero (President, public relations, and "diplomacy"). It appeared that the president would be able to make executive-level decisions in the name of the groups and that there was a pseudo system of checks & balances.
The reality was that Ace would be controlling everything. The sub-groups would unify into a singular UltraCorp, and Ace would be at the top.
Some notes about a few of the sub-groups:
- Another group similar to UniCorp – founded from "the shadows." They were founded not to make money but to stop random violence. The owner's intentions were true, but the UltraCorpist ideology behind the group desired control.
- People's Republic of Subrosa
- It was supposed to be a counterparty fighting against the top mega-corporations, but their communist beliefs got in the way.
- OGRE Clan
- Ace designed them to be a more traditional "professional" clan as he wanted to see if a para-militaristic group could be feasible in Rosa County. Unfortunately, they ran wild and started declaring war on everybody, touting themselves to be a force to be reckoned with as religious extremists would. They are why the "no declarations of war" rule exists on the Sub Rosa subreddit.
This new UltraCorp weakened relatively quickly due to many member groups rapidly fizzling out. After all, they were experiments fabricated to test different facets of UltraCorp. The player count soon stagnated by the end of May, and the game remained inactive for several months.
On June 26, 2016, Ace attempted to build pride within the groups by hosting a "battle of the clans," pitching the groups against each other in a friendly tournament. It further promoted the plan he had set up, slowly integrating all member groups into UltraCorp under their own "will." The event organizers still held the event afterward and continued to persist for several years, albeit the name changed to Battle of the Corps.
In late March 2017, Ace was back at square one with more support. Ace could effectively control UltraCorp over the phone no matter what time it was. However, he eventually falls into the same trap of trying not to be diplomatic, and Ace offers two options - submit or die.
Spies in UltraCorp would relay if their team were receptive to trading. If not, they would open the door for agents, allowing for a hostile takeover. It diminished the number of deaths in UltraCorp and thus made it significantly more efficient.
Several events happened during the next couple of weeks that mainly were self-contained:
- A court got created that tried to indict some of the notoriously violent death squads for crimes committed during this time. However, many people took it as a joke, and Ace gave up after failing to "convict" anyone.
- Aero had written a book of laws to try and keep relations between agents and squad leaders calm. However, nobody bothered to read them, and Ace had already given up on it.
- Aero initiated a flash election for the presidential role after Jim Crowe wanted to run for president. However, both sides constantly attacked each other's character, and the election ultimately got called off due to this. Also, Ace never intended for Aero to get replaced in the first place.
Ace had tasked AeroArchonite with finding protectorate mercenaries for UltraCorp. He didn't want the notoriously violent death squads to reappear, so he sought out violently inclined individuals to perform hits and other tasks. If they went out of line, Ace could deny their actions.
In late March, Ace ordered AeroArchonite to shakedown the team occupying Nexaco to get them with UltraCorp. He persuaded a group consisting of Burnt Toast and two others to join UltraCorp. However, when disarming them, AeroArchonite panicked and killed Burnt Toast and killed the other two players as well. His friend, DemonSheep, had heard about this and was enraged. He had previously applied for protectorate status but declined because he hated UltraCorp's reign of the in-game economy.
DemonSheep made it his life's destiny to annihilate everyone who stood in his way and put on the mask to become the infamous player known as MAGNUM.
He formed the Secret Order of MAGNUM on April 2 and gathered several people to work for him. Initially, they targeted Brazilians and anyone else who stood in their way. MAGNUM and his group swore themselves as the ultimate enemy of the Brazilians. Brazilian players often disrupted gameplay due to their inability to speak English and their overall lack of experience with Sub Rosa. New players soon became targeted just as Brazilians once were, and many players became opposed to MAGNUM due to his lack of discrimination between Brazilian targets and average players.
The violence soon evolved beyond Brazilians and became indiscriminate. UltraCorp became a high-value target due to the company's policy of hiring and training new players.
On May 1, MAGNUM singles out UltraCorp and starts their RDM campaign against them, along with propaganda and spying. The constant RDM by the Secret Order against UltraCorp and the increasing number of members made making money almost impossible, and counter-intelligence/surveillance operations did not prevent people from joining MAGNUM.
Methods that the two sides used:
- UltraCorp was actively encouraging recruitment, so MAGNUM sought to have spies infiltrate the company. SoM was highly secretive, and he didn't let anyone in who they didn't know.
- UltraCorp had a structured operation to protect money. Aero tried to make a rigid training/curriculum to help new players, but he did not force players to read it.
- MAGNUM would get on short notice, and he would immediately get his members and quickly put all of their money into weapons and cars to fuck up as many of Ace’s operations as possible. Because of the lead time needed to obtain the corporations, MAGNUM could camp and kill one of the base managers and steal a base. The bases became contested too much, and since proper training never got implemented, UltraCorp couldn't deal with it.
- MAGNUM was highly efficient at killing UltraCorp agents, similar to how the House of MAGNUM was. UltraCorp had a ton of people but recruited a lot of inexperienced players. To counteract this, Ace and AeroArchonite made a dangerous individuals list to keep track of people. Everyone hated MAGNUM since he interrupted the flow of the game. Poor people and Brazilians could not make money because of this.
Notes from an internal review of UltraCorp:
- Hiring placed quantity over quality; most members were untrained.
- There were too many ranks. Some were useless, bogging down the chain of command.
- Complex legal documents nobody followed were self-defeating to everyone.
- The intelligence sector became ignored; precautions failed to prevent spies from getting in.
- An attempt at democracy failed horribly, does not work in a small group like UltraCorp.
- UltraCorp members continued to RDM while defending their status in the group, which led to negative PR.
- The agents and commanders hardly knew each other, and this led to lowered morale.
- Server takeover tactics alienated the greater community and new players.
Man, I bet you're dying to know what the hell is going on in this chapter. Better yet, I bet you're wondering what the vision Ace saw was supposed to represent. You'd want me to explain it right now, wouldn't you?
Try deciding for yourself what I meant when I wrote it. If you haven't finished Paradise Lost, I will say that the last chapter ("Whiteout") is connected.
Ace could not put up with the Secret Order, and UltraCorp pulled out on May 12, causing Ace to go back into exile once more. By the end of May, the game had devolved into unorganized chaos as the Secret Order of MAGNUM began attacking civilians and everyone else until nothing remained.
The subsequent Battle of The Clans was held in late July, serving the community instead, run by moderators such as Joe A/Dablackcat, Kalsb, and Dean, which brought the game back to life after a fierce war. Like the Olympics after World War II.
In July, the BR Revolução came to light. The Revolução were a group of Brazilian agitators who rioted in-game over widespread discrimination of Brazilian players. Their goal was to murder anybody who wasn't Brazilian, and the Secret Order of MAGNUM declared an all-out war against the Brazilians in response to this.
The Brazilians kept fighting off MAGNUM members, and it culminated on September 25, 2017, when MAGNUM was perma-banned by Cryptic Sea, the developer of Sub Rosa. The Revolução collapsed soon after due to the inexperience of most of the Brazilian agitators.
In August, Ace disrupted the third Battle of The Clans event by creating fake teams, stalling the event organizers. The BOTC got permanently canceled soon after.
This chapter serves as a recollection of what happened to some of the people depicted in the story:
- AeroArchonite took a break from the game and stopped talking to Ace. He has since made contact with Ace again.
- Lemoncel would talk to Ace, reminiscing about the old days at 2 AM. They did not speak to each other for a while but have recently rekindled their friendship.
- After the BOTC got canceled, Kalsb stopped associating with Sub Rosa. Kalsb messaged Ace and provided some feedback for the book, which I appreciate.
- Toolhead became a prominent member of Sub Rosa Underground but has since stopped associating with Sub Rosa. His relationship with Ace was never the same, and he was cold every time Ace tried to reach out to him.
During this time, Ace and Aero created a document called "Livonian Protocol," which contains a detailed analysis of what went wrong and how to re-create the ultimate reincarnation of UltraCorp. It outlined how choosing candidates for different roles would allow an unstoppable group to seize reign. A psychologist friend contributed a few grand-scale ideas that involved creating propaganda. Due to the context behind its creation and jargon used inside the document, I doubt that this document will ever see the light of day.
On November 24, 2017, Ace was banned from the game by pro-MAGNUM moderators of the official servers. The game had updated to Alpha 27, and the Alpha 25 servers were all but dead. With this in mind, Ace continued to play the game intermittently but later stopped playing until the events of Paradise Lost played out, culminating in the rise of the successor to UltraCorp - United Stock & Trade, the history of which is yet to have an end.