Cal Talks About Classic Shard, UO Developer Video Diary, Announces Video House of Commons for March 1st, 2011

If you are curious about the long-desired Ultima Online developer video diary that was first mentioned back in December, the one that was originally planned to be shown back in January, we have a lot more information. We have a long-delayed answer to the question of a so-called “Classic Shard”, and the answer is, not right now. We also have a reference to some major thing or things that happened between January 3rd and late February. Cal also mentions that the video is still coming.

To see these comments in their full context, as well as all of Cal’s comments, please read the the full UO.Stratics thread.

Here are the comments from Cal Crowner, the UO Producer, to start the thread off:

Yes, it’s done. So why isn’t it out? The answer to a “Why” question at the Academy is “No Excuse.” So let’s just go with that.

The intent was to frame several subjects about what we are doing for the remainder of the year in a few short minutes. Between editing and all the things that have happened between January 3rd and now, the answers have not changed, but the method in which we broadcast has many times.

Anyway, you are only waiting for one answer so here I am with flame-retardant mutant suit to field questions and avoid pitchforks.

The answer is: not right now.

In constant review of the threads and other fansites that cater to Ultima Online, we realized that the classic shard comes down to a checklist. It becomes about if you have X rules then this is what a classic shard is. The problem with this is, when working inside this constraint it’s impossible to please everyone.

Also, we DID look into the possibilities of different rulesets and took a look at what had been done in the past, and there was no viable answer that works for everyone.

Finally, it’s about opportunity cost. The more resources and time we spend on developing a classic shard… that is ONE single shard, that means other things get neglected. It would be many months of work at the expense of the wider game.

We are planning a Video House of Commons for next Tuesday, March 1st to field any questions about the coming months, Magincia as a player-driven town, Spring Cleaning, faster/simpler story arcs, arenas, UOgamecode store, shard hardware, and other topics of note.

The reason I did not want to put this in writing is because it doesn’t allow you to “see” how we feel about the game, and this answer is only part of what we want to do with Ultima Online.

Well, there you go. Have at it.


In reference to the Enhanced Client and whether we’ll learn anything about it (UOJ note: Derek Brinkman is Supreem, UO Lead Engineer):

This is Supreem’s area and he will discuss it.

In reference to the things that occurred between January 3rd and now and whether Magincia would end up with player housing:

Save questions like this for the Video HoC … too much to write down on this one.

In response to somebody telling “classic shard” supporters to move on, or check out free shards:

Well … thanks for bringing this up. The stuff that did NOT make it into the video.

We researched a LOT! That is client options, outsourcing, and multiple “What if scenarios.” And those *cough* other places to play.

How do we handle folks leaving the live shards to investigate the new one? How do we support it with the rest of the production shards? How will we update it?

Also, at that time UO was a Mature-rated game. There were things that we cannot do in this new age of ESRB (e.g. when was the last time you turned in the severed head of another player for bounty or skinned a cat leaving it on someone’s doorstep?)

UO then was a new world that was on the verge of something unlike anyone else has seen since. I can tell you I got a bit of “gospel” being around the devs and folks of GDC who are zealots for this game. I found out how this game has inspired people to even become game developers.

We are going to do our best to bring the spirit of what the community has been asking for back.

In response to a player asking about a live video chat and how it relates to the video message (developer diary):

I won’t tell you what I was told about when [the video] is going to post because it may end up just making me a big fibber!

No the Video HoC is not in lieu of the video update. The Video House of Commons is so we can have some real-time interaction with the community about all the stuff we’re planning in more detail.

Again, we didn’t want to just throw this thing up and not give a method for everyone to express what they think about our decision.

Also, it did take forever to get this out there, so we want to give you a bit more info.

In response to a player asking about a “classic shard” and whether they can reach an agreement, perhaps even on what a classic shard is:

What you suggest is option #27 or something like that … if we do this it’s gotta be done right or not at all so right now it’s not at all.

My thoughts
I would have to see the video to understand what the big deal was.

I don’t necessarily have a sense of dread, but if I could ask two questions at the House of Commons chat next week, I would ask whether the EC (Enhanced Client) is getting updated and/or new artwork, and just what exactly happened after January 3rd to change everything and to cause them to change and edit a lot of things. Clearly something was tangled up with EA management and it’s just now being untangled. Maybe that’s three questions, whatever.

As for the classic shard…if they don’t have the resources now, I doubt they had the resources a year ago. I’m assuming their resources are tied up with the next booster pack. It sounds like they ran the numbers, so to speak, and even considered outsourcing a classic shard. That makes me wonder what would have happened if they said that it would be a separately paid for shard and that supporters would have to pay extra for it. I also wonder what would have happened if they went through with it and we find out that not everybody is in agreement with what they want a classic shard to be.

I don’t know what else to say, other than the next several days will be an interesting wait.

Updated
The Ultima Online 2011 video, it’s here, and it’s edited. Color me surprised, Cal was not kidding when he said it had been edited and things removed. I also understand why a classic shard wasn’t going to happen, at least with current resources, and it doesn’t have anything to do with a booster pack. Instead they are upgrading the artwork and working on a completely new user experience. Click the link, watch the video, read the transcript.

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Cal Talks About Classic Shard, UO Developer Video Diary, Announces Video House of Commons for March 1st, 2011 — 2 Comments

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