Gamasutra has posted an in-depth interview with Richard Garriott, aka Lord British. The majority of the interview covers his views on MMOs today, on mobile gaming, or more precisely, cross-platform gaming, why he thinks certain social games do better than others, and in general a wide range of topics related to gaming.
There is a very brief discussion of what Garriott considers to be a spiritual successor to UO, Lord British’s New Britannia, that his company, Portalarium, is currently working on. He does reference Ultima Online in discussing it:
Now that being said, one of my personal goals is to create a more what I call an Ultima Online-like experience with the game that I’m hoping to do — the big game coming up. And that will again go back to making linear narrative somewhat of a challenge, just like it was a challenge in Ultima Online.
Towards the end of the article, in a discussion of metrics, Garriott explains the usage of metrics and how it related to fishing in Ultima Online, both originally and then how the developers adjusted it to match peoples’ expectations.
RG: Yeah, well, I can tell you in Ultima Online we constantly used those metrics to redesign the game. For example, one of my favorite stories is, in Ultima Online, when the game shipped, you could use a fishing pole on the water and there was a 50/50 chance you’d get a fish. Beginning and end of simulation — literately use a pole, on water, 50/50, fish. Lots of people did it, tons of people did it.
And people began to believe apocryphal information about fishing; they began to believe that if you fished in a river versus in the ocean they were better chances of getting fish, which of course was not true. I told you the simulation use fishing pole, on water, 50/50, fish. That’s it!
But so many people were doing it, and so many people had these fictitious beliefs that we thought, “Wow, we should spend some time to make fishing better!” And we did. Over time we actually made the fishing simulation more improved, gave you different kinds of fish, and there really was a point to using different places, and then it became even more popular.
And there were things that we thought were really cool that we put in the game, that nobody noticed or cared about — very sad and tragic. But we either fixed and adressed those, or often, we just removed them from the game.
Full Article: Gamasutra