I was hesitant to make this post since we are supposed to be seeing Jeff Skalski’s first official producer’s letter to the UO or Ultima community this week, but when respected members of the UO community make such posts, and when I read many responses that I agree with, I can’t hold my tongue. I hope that Jeff’s letter addresses the following, but this is not addressed to Jeff. Instead, it’s addressed to anybody who has an interest in UO. Much of the following is probably out of Jeff’s hands.
1) Act like BioWare owns it.
BioWare used to stand for quality and support, but BioWare Mythic clearly does not. UO players were led to believe things would improve with the changes in names and integration within BioWare, but that’s not happened, and it’s been way too long. BioWare Mythic’s Vice President recently talking about how proud he is to be head of the studio that runs UO is just rubbing salt in our wounds.
2) Raise the level of communications.
This means fixing up the website to communicate information to players, talking to us in a timely manner, and adding UO to the BioWare forums alongside Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, Dragon Age, and BioWare’s other RPGs. WAR and Star Wars: The Old Republic have official forums. Make some for UO and Camelot. Stop pretending like we don’t exist and stop with the nonsense that the silent treatment is what’s best for UO, because it’s not. This is even more important in the wake of the account migration fiasco, parts of which are still causing problems. The silence is hurting UO as bad as anything else.
3) Talk to us about the short and long-term plans for UO.
Don’t act like the plans for UO are to be written on a scroll tucked away in some secret vault within the Vatican. We know UO players are a bitchy lot and that some flip out if some deadline isn’t met, but we don’t need dates, just details. Right now a new or returning veteran would take a look around and assume that UO is continuing to die, and quickly leave. Talk to us, and make sure that those plans are posted in a prominent place on UOHerald.com or UO.com.
Don’t give us buzzwords or vague goals either, because that’s bullshit.
You’re not a startup with a brand new MMORPG, UO has just passed 14 years, and it’s hurting, and the time for being vague has long since passed. Give us concrete details. If you don’t have concrete details for UO’s future, then tell us right now so that we can stop telling others that things are going to change or UO is going to improve, and let us move on to other games.
I’m well aware of the high resolution artwork updates. I’ve even exchanged messages on Twitter with Jeff Skalski publicly about them. But I guarantee you that many are not aware of them. This is a sign of how bad things are as far as community relations and communication.
A lot of these problems have been around for years, there’s no excuse at this point.