A Comment on the Decay of Town / City Loyalty

There is a heated Stratics thread.

Just to give an all-too-brief background (and it’s way too brief because my spare time is devoted to another UO project), as part of the ongoing story arc, you need to acquire city or town loyalty.

For a full explanation of city loyalty, see the UO Herald page or the loyalty part of The Awakening at UO Guide.

Current Rewards
Is it useful? Besides trying to engage the players and give them a geographical sense of belonging, the current reward is a spiffy looking city banner that you can display in your house showing your allegiance to whatever town/city you prefer (UO Guide – City Banners).

The thinking is that it will be importan0t later on down the road leading up to the anniversary in September, and the hints we’ve received indicate that town loyalty will play a part, but for now it’s the banner. I certainly don’t think that the loyalty ratings are only for the banners.

The Down Side
There is a decay rate based on love, hate, or neutrality. It was pretty steep early on, I think 5% in some cases, which means that if you participated in the story arc and gained loyalty, if you didn’t keep up that participation, you could lose most, or all of it, within a few weeks. Apparently it’s been reduced to 1% or so, but that is little consolation to the people who participated early on.

What’s the problem if decay rate has been reduced?
It’s still there. If loyalty plays a part later on in the year, you’re faced with two choices: gain loyalty now and then spend a certain amount of your in-game time every week maintaining it, or just ignore it until later on in the year, and then grind it out in a few days.

But is it really a grind?
If I gain loyalty now, and then have to spend even a small part of my in-game time maintaining that loyalty until the conclusion of the story arc sometime later this year, then it’s a grind. I have no incentive to do that – I’m better off gaining loyalty at the times that it’s actually required, rather than gaining it now and then having to maintain that. For some roleplayers it will not be a problem, but for me it’s a problem.

UO Dev Comments Last Year
Those of you reading UO Journal last year, you’ll remember that in February of 2011 there was a UO Developer Video Diary, and this was what was said:

Mesanna: We’re getting away from basically just quests that you go out and kill mobs and we’re getting more into the story of a quest

Cal: We don’t need to have these long, elaborate story-arcs. We need things that are engaging…and well I’ll just call them bite-sized.

Cal has since moved on (or been moved on), we have a long, elaborate story-arc, and the town loyalty is basically just quests that you go out and kill mobs, for all intents and purposes.

It flies right in the face of what they said last year, although I’m okay with a long, elaborate story-arc if it leads up to something major at the 15th Anniversary.

I’m not okay with basically just quests that you go out and kill mobs.

This is Ultima Online. It has it’s grindy areas, no denying that, but you can do just about everything in the game without grinding.

Maintaining town loyalty is, by all definitions, grinding, because you rapidly reach a point where you are doing something over and over to maintain what you already have.

Solution?
If it’s going to be reduced to 1%, then reduce it to 0%.

Read the Stratics thread and pay attention the comments from Martyna Zmuir, georox, Uvtha, lupushor (the OP), Woodsman, Nimuaq, and Adol.

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