12 Topics That Would Make a Proper Producer’s Letter

In no particular order, the following is a list of questions I’d like to see the UO/Ultima Franchise Producer answer. To me, the following questions would provide an excellent producer’s letter, not the watered down producer’s letters that we get in reality. You know, the ones that pass through layers of bureacracy and only reveal a handful of new things that could be handled in one, and at most, two publishes.

Answers to them would provide us more of an insight to the future of UO than what we currently get.

You maybe surprised, but I’m not going to get into in-game mechanics or other aspects related directly to the game, although some of the topics below certainly tie into it. I’m trying to look at the bigger picture, and not what’s in the next publish or two.

I’m not even going to mention the high resolution artwork update. Well, I just did, but I believe it’s happening and I believe Jeff Skalski when he says it’s important to UO’s future, so I don’t have much to say, other than it sounds like they need more artists/developers to help.

#1 Community Relations
If you can request a half a dozen Event Moderators from the UO community to put in 20 hours a month, why can’t you request half a dozen UO players to put in 20 hours a month putting together stories for the UO Herald/UO.com?

If you can ask for people to run in-game events, you can ask for people to contribute to the Herald/UO.com. I would shut down this website or give it to somebody else, and gladly work on the Herald/UO.com, highlighting player resources, community news, fixing broken links, etc., and I know I’m not the only one.

Boosting community relations is one of the cheapest and most effective things a company can do for a game. Twitter, Facebook, these are tools to supplement, not replace, community relations. Third party websites are things that supplement, not replace, official community relations as well. Like it or not, it’s also a sign of how well a game is supported. Right now, UO’s community relations and website would not instill much confidence in new or returning players.

#2 BioWare’s Public Dedication to UO (or lack thereof)
If BioWare is as dedicated to UO as they claim, why haven’t we seen a new hire or two or why don’t we see more public support from BioWare for UO? It’s quite clear from where I sit that UO could use more resources. You would barely know UO exists from looking at BioWare.com. An Electronic Arts Vice President, the man who is over BioWAre and other EA labels, claimed that UO was “widely profitable”. The man who runs BioWare Mythic claims that he’s proud to be head of the studio that runs UO.

These people are in a position to do something to help UO out. If UO is “widely profitable” and if the head of BioWare Mythic is so proud of UO, then why don’t things reflect that? Why aren’t the profits being plugged back into UO to make it a better game and bring in more players? Why is UO barely even mentioned on BioWare.com?

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Thoughts on the Producer’s Letter, the Top Secret Edition

So we have the January 2012 Producer’s Letter. Producer’s letters are the kinds of things that can give us insight into how a corporation or a studio views a game, and for quite a while, UO’s outlook was pretty bleak, because the producer’s letters were quite generic and full of buzzwords and a certain type of vagueness. Very odd when compared to the producer’s letters of other games, where the producers would get into very detailed specifics and were willing to talk about future plans.

With so much secrecy around UO’s future plans, you’d think they were adding goddamned panda bears to UO. World of Warcraft is adding pandas, and not only are they not ashamed of it, they seem quite proud of it and want to tell you about it every chance they get. I guess when you bring in so much money, crazy shit like adding pandas as a playable race starts to sound good.

But UO? Far more simple things than a new continent or giving the furries what they have apparently been wanting for years is shrouded in secrecy. There have been too many times where things were kept secret, and when they were finally revealed, we were like “You kept this a secret from us? And here we were worried you were going to add fucking panda bears.

I went on a rant a few days ago about things that need to be addressed, such as UO and its community as well as UO and its future and what I wanted to see in the producer’s letter.

Sadly, not much has changed over producer’s letters from previous years. Things we already know about from the November 2011 producer’s letter or other posts on UO Herald, or past UO producer’s letters have now been repeated in the latest version of the producer’s letter.

Things that didn’t need to be said again, but were repeated anyways:

#1 2012 is UO’s 15th Anniversary and there are events planned.
#2 Pub 73 and 74 have been released and pub 75 is in development.
#3 The dungeons are being revamped, one at a time.
#4 UO devlopers, artists, players, etc. are great and deserve pats on the back.
#5 The Origin store needs work.
#6 They want to deal with hackers (do you mean cheaters/exploiters?)

Things that we already know about, and that are useless to tell us about anyways without specific examples:

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Multiboxing and Macroing in UO – Don’t Do It

Bonnie “Mesanna” Armstrong also posted this earlier today on UOHerald.com:

Multiboxing is not illegal but Macroing is, and this is considered macroing in UO. If you observe a player using multiboxing please report them and CS will investigate the report, per the TOS.

This message functions as the global reply to the recent discussion we saw on the boards.

Everything from here on out is my view of it, and if it’s wrong, feel free to contact me and correct me.

What’s being discussed is due to a thread on UOForums.com where some players were discussing the means, or rather the outcome, of having multiple accounts logged in to UO and keyed to a single keyboard and mouse, and being able to have multiple characters actively engaging in certain in-game functions all at the same time.

It’s not about you or me having one account logged in and then using a Virtual Machine (VM) or another computer or laptop and logging in with a second account and switching back and forth for reasons like swapping items or swapping houses.

It’s about somebody having multiple accounts active and keyed to a single keyboard and mouse and having those accounts automatically do something like attack another player or tough monster, something that definitely falls into the realm of scripting or macroing of an illegal nature. It’s usually pretty easy to pick up on and you are asked to report it if you see.

From the Stratics and UO Forum threads, there seem to be basically 3-4 groups of people posting about it.

1) People who genuinely don’t understand multiboxing.

2) People complaining about multiboxing.

3) People who are playing word games and trying to twist Mesanna’s comments around. Whether these people multibox or they just want to troll other players or the devs doesn’t matter. Most of them are making posts that indicate they know full well that what they are talking about and they see it as a great way to troll others, or they are just wanting to take jabs at the devs for one reason or another. Some of them were saying it was legal, and now that a public statement has been made by the devs, they’ve shifted the argument to try and drag down legitimate uses such as house swapping or they are trying to create doubt among those who don’t understand the issue. There is playing devil’s advocate and there is playing word games to either defend something you or your friends do or to antagonize others.

To help clarify: In order to multibox, you have to use third party software to control the other UO clients that you are not directly controlling, and that software is not approved of by EA.