Things That Need to be Addressed – The April Edition

As we are wrapping up the major story arc and resettling of New Magincia, I think it’s time we start looking ahead ahead. I will be addressing New Magincia here shortly, but I just want to congratulate the UO developers and UO players, because so far I’m not seeing anything like a Luna 2, at least on my home shard. I’m seeing and hearing from players and guilds who are very pleased with their New Magincia plots and this bodes well. It goes against what I believed initially, that it would become a Luna 2. It’s my goal to post a state of UO and where UO has been and where it’s going, every few months, and this ties into that – these are things I’d like to hear from the devs.

Looking ahead. Things that need to be addressed.

First off, No more House of Commons chats to get important information out, because the last one turned into a “House of Can We or Can We Not Tell Them That” and everything that we learned could have been summed up in a much better format, such as a post on UO Herald. It was very frustrating for a lot of us to watch it. If you’re going to have a video chat like that, then be willing to talk about anything that’s brought up. It sounded like you guys were talking about a top secret game that hadn’t been released yet and you didn’t want the competition knowing. UO is a 14 year old game. Many of us who are still around have been around since the beginning or nearly the beginning, and didn’t deserve that.

Be up front with us, because when you all finish the graphics, new player experience, and quest updates, and try and make a push for new players, current UO players are going to be your front line, we’re going to be out there selling UO just as hard, if not harder, than you all, from trying to bring in new players to bringing in friends who have long since left. EA certainly will benefit financially from new players, but we as UO players will benefit even more from new players.

On to the things that need to be addressed.

1) Talk to us about the graphics update. It’s been over a month since the plan for it was finished. This doesn’t need to be another one of those video things that gets dragged out. It’s done according to a Facebook post, so talk to us about it. We’ve been through two graphics updates already and neither held, I think we need to hear more about this one, and especially need to know it’s going to stick.

2) The Enhanced Client. I don’t know what happened in the past few patches, but it’s becoming unplayable for me, and I’m not alone. It’s crashing way too often in PvP and in heavily populated areas such as Luna and Zento. There are so many little things that need to be fixed and improved before you try to bring in new players. I’m in the process of building/remodeling three houses next to each other, and so the shortcomings in the house customization and decorating areas are very apparent to me, whether it’s the missing teleporter tiles or having things fall through floors into secure chests below, or not being able to place house add-ons because a house add-on on a lower floor is interfering because the add-on I’m trying to place thinks it’s on my floor. There are so many good things about the EC, but these little things really destroy it for a lot of people.

3) New Player Experience. I don’t know that it needs to be discussed all that much at this point in time, since to me the graphics and EC are a larger priority – without the graphics, there won’t be new players for the new player experience. If you have anything new, that would be cool to hear about.

4) New questing system. Like the New Player Experience, I don’t know that it needs to be discussed all that much at this point in time, for the same reasons. If you have anything you’d like to share, great.

5) New Booster Pack or Mini-Booster Pack. I think most of us know what’s in it – two new housing tile sets, something with the virtues, or the virtue banners, brewing, and the vendor bazaar in New Magincia. Personally I think the graphics update and Enhanced Client are more important than this and I hope that this doesn’t delay the graphics update, work on the EC, or anything else that you are working that will help bring new players in. The booster concept is nice since it’s utilizing already existing areas, and I know it brings money in, but UO could bring in a lot more money with new players. Please get this out of the way and out to us and then let’s move on to the major stuff like the graphics update.

6) There are a lot of things in the store that would sell a lot more if the prices were dropped. Start with Stygian Abyss, and move on to the items. You don’t need to drop prices on game time or transfer tokens, but some things like name changes could benefit from a price drop, as well as some of the in-game items. Now the Britannian Ship is, in my eyes, a nice bargain, and I would leave that, but some of the other things, I could see myself spending $40 or more if some prices came down.

7) In-game communications. Having seen the New Magincia lottery notification system in action, I want to see this expanded. I thought it was very well done, and I think it would be a very positive thing if it was broadened to allow players to communicate with one another. Solid in-game communication is important in all modern MMORPGs and UO should be no different. It would be wonderful to have such a system, whether it be notices sent out from a guild to guild members, or orders given to a craftsman or craftswoman for certain items that they would like to be made, or orders placed with miners or lumberjacks. We should not have to rely on a haphazard system of ICQ, email, IRC, the in-game mailboxes, and bulletin boards.

Things that need to be addressed, but probably won’t be addressed.

8) The Ultima IV stuff that is floating around. This I don’t expect any answer on since it’s in a different group, but I’d just like to say that if EA BioWare throws some resources into this project and doesn’t with UO, it would bother a lot of us. There is no reason why UO and the Ultima IV stuff should not compliment each other. This isn’t Lords of Ultima that really has nothing to do with Ultima other than a few placenames.

9) Griefing. I’ve said a lot about this, but I’ve seen it in action, and I would like to hear that something is being done.

10) Scripting. Update: I came off very strongly and accusatory and I apologize. I think the best thing is to just refer you to the relevant Stratics threads where people discuss these scripting issues and wait and see if anything came out of this past weekend. The incident(s) this past weekend have apparently been reported by those who witnessed it, but here are the Stratics threads:
* “Pacific Scripters” concerns scripting that was caught by several UO players on Pacific, Lake Superior, and other shards, from scripters buying up tickets in the New Magincia lottery, across many shards.
* There was another thread posted a few days after that thread and that thread may have been deleted or removed from public view by Stratics moderators. I was never able to see that thread, just this snippet that was cached in Google
* Issues brought up in that thread, have also been brought up before on Stratics such as in this thread from earlier in March.

11) General Chat. I’ve saved this one for second to last. I’ve seen a lot worse in other games, but I’ve heard, and I want to stress that I’ve not seen it first hand, that players have been jailed by GMs for swearing in GC. I see swearing everyday in GC, usually from the same group of people. It does not bother me, and I just figured most people have their filters on that don’t want to see it. If it’s actually a problem, then it needs to be consistently enforced or at least addressed. It doesn’t do anybody any good to see things that are accepted on one shard get you jailed on another. If it’s just urban legends and nobody is getting jailed, then address them and end the rumors.

12) UO Herald. I’ve saved this one for last, because I believe the handful of people that are responsible for it are also responsible for Dark Age of Camelot and Warhamer: Age of Reckonning and I have a lot of sympathy for them, but I just want to remind people that something needs to be done from the point of view of new players. If everything happens the way I believe and hope it will happen, such as new graphics, new player experience, and everything else, this is final link in the chain. You can’t put all of that effort into attracting new players and then leave them with Bring back, and put some effort into it. You can’t push new players off on third party websites, the vast majority of MMORPGs do not do that, even the smaller ones. Offer to hire JC the Build who runs and turn him loose on

What did I leave out?

Hermes will shoot me for this, but I’m leaving out Stygian Abyss. I think things are being done with it, and I’d rather be surprised a little bit.

I’m also leaving out the Return to Britannia campaign for returning players, but I will keep bringing it up, just like I did, I think it needs to be brought back and made permanent – offer a free month to anybody who hasn’t had an active account in at least a year, and don’t limit it to just certain times of the year, make it ongoing. I think it could be a very valuable tool in bringing back players in addition to new players.

I’ve also left out your favorite issue. Yes, you, the person who is reading this. If you want me to mention it, then send us a note.

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