UO Herald Interview – Noteworthy Persons – The Yattering

This appears to be a new feature on the UO Herald, an attempt at reconnecting with the UO community.

In this instance it’s the “Noteworthy Persons – The Yattering“, and it’s very much reminiscent of the old days on UO.com when player characters and player establishments were given a lot more importance.

People forget that some of the best content in Ultima Online comes from the players themselves.

I’m not going to post the whole interview – it’s quite long, you can read it at the link above, but it features a character named “The Yattering” on Baja, who is rather fond of Mesanna and has an interesting way of talking, as you can see from the excerpt below:

People seem to either love you or hate you, do you know why that is?
no Mama. yattery adorable! how no lovings me?

Where did you live before you came to Britannia?
yatter was livings in Abyss. they say yattery annoying. big demons toss yattery out.

Where is the rest of your family?
demons throw yattery out. no family but Mama now. yattering have gobliny-friends though. missings Bom Evilstench.

How did you become Mesanna’s Pet?
was bitings knees as faire. bit Mama. Mama bite back. LOVE!

UO and Community Relations, a Primer

This stems from a few conversations I’ve had in the past day or so, and is also a follow-up to an article from a few weeks ago as well as about half a dozen articles I’ve posted over the past year. There is a lot of redundancy here if you follow UO Journal. I’m just going to break down my thoughts on this, for the 15th time in the last year, maybe 20th, who knows.

Hire an actual community representative who can work on UO.com
As many of you know, UO shares a community representative or two with three other games, and possible four other games. The only person we really see doing anything is Kai Schober. You see him updating UOHerald.com with patch notes. If you play Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning (WAR), you see him on the official BioWare.com WAR forums interacting with players. If you play Dark Age of Camelot (DAOC), he also posts patch notes on DarkAgeofCamelot.com. Kai also handles community relations stuff for Warhammer: Wrath of Heroes, a spin-off of WAR, and he probably handles some work on the Ultima Forever project. Kai is also in charge of updating the websites for all four games (three MMOs, Wrath of Heroes).

As long as UO is sharing a community representative with three other MMOs and an additional one-two games, I don’t see good things happening on this front. It’s more than a full-time job for just one person, but the one person we have doing this happens to be dealing with communities from other MMOs, each of which deserves their own community relations person. If we are as “widely profitable” as the head of the EA Games Label has claimed, and if the BioWare Mythic Vice President is truly proud of being over the studio that develops UO, this should be a no-brainer.

Why is it that smaller games have dedicated community representatives, but UO, a “widely profitable” game doesn’t? Look, UO Event Moderators are contractors, and there are dozens of them. A dedicated community representative can do more for UO than a few EMs. A lot more. That’s not a dig at EMs either. A community representative could take care of broken link, bringing back UO history, highlighting fan sites, highlighting EM events, etc. If EA/BioWare can spend money on EMs that they don’t even bother highlighting their events on UO Herald, EA/BioWare should be able to hire at least one full-time person.

As long as we only have a part of a person that we share with other MMOs, we’ll never see the kinds of things mentioned below taken care.

Bring UO.com back.
For the majority of UO’s life, and given that the majority of UO players who have left, left long before UOHerald.com, UO.com was the official website. It’s iconic. This is supposed to be happening, but I’ve mentioned this week that I don’t think it can happen before the 15th Anniversary. I hope I’m wrong, but UO is behind WAR when it comes to website priorities.

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UO.com Relaunch Delayed (Probably), Also Broken or Old Links Can be Fixed, it is True!

In the Ultima/UO producer’s letter from a few weeks ago, the following was mentioned: Speaking of the herald, we are planning to relaunch UO.com later this year with an all new look. More details to follow on that in future posts.

First off, many Lizardmen had to die for this information. And by Lizardmen, I mean electrons that light up my computer monitor.

Top Sekrut Information I Have Learned about UO.com: Since the UO Producer’s letter mentioning a desperately needed relaunch of UO.com, I have learned that UO.com’s redesign/relaunch is still behind WAR’s website redesign, which means that UO.com will not be redesigned/relaunched before the 15th Anniversary.

Why do I say UO.com will not be launched before the 15 anniversary of UO? Because I read this WAR thread in the Official BioWare Mythic Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning Forums. In it, Kai Schober, BioWare Mythic Community Relations Person, who covers WAR, DAOC, and UO, although you would only think he covers WAR since those are the only people he interacts with, explained that WAR’s official website relaunch was still ahead of UO.com.

For those not familiar with the epic saga that is the official WAR website redesign and relaunch, it’s been talked about, hinted at, even had official mockups posted to the official WAR forums on BioWare.com. FOR OVER 6 MONTHS! And now, according to Kai Schober, the official WAR website redesign and relaunch has not only been delayed yet again, to add insult to injury, Kai has confirmed within the thread that WAR’s website relaunch is still ahead of UO’s website relaunch. And Dark Age of Camelot’s redesign and relaunch took equally as long, and was even delayed because the person doing it had problems with a Drupal upgrade or something.

Keep in mind that Kai Schober is in charge of the BioWare Mythic websites. He was in charge of the DAOC redesign and relaunch. He is in charge of Warhammer Online’s redesign, and given that he said UO.com is behind WAR’s relaunch, I have no reason to doubt him, and I believe that he’s also in charge of the UO.com relaunch.

Look at a calendar.

It’s February, 2012.

UO’s 15th Anniversary is in September of 2012. SEVEN MONTHS FROM NOW.

Given that after six months of work, WarhammerOnline.com’s relaunch has been postponed again, and given that it took at least six months of work to get to the point where WarhammerOnline.com could be postponed, well you do the math.

It’s not hard to see that UO.com will not be relaunched before the 15th Anniversary. How embarrassing will it be when UO celebrates its 15th Anniversary, and a lot of ex-players come back to look around and see UOHerald.com.

There is a little hope on the broken links front. Remember all of those broken links I dug up for UO people and Kai to look at? Well after many months of being ridiculed on the official Warhammer forums, the reason being that the latest news links were over a year old, Kai went in to WarhammerOnline.com’s front page, removed the dates so people wouldn’t see how outdated they were, and then added some new links to make it appear that somebody gives a shit about Warhammer’s official website. If he can spend 5 minutes doing that on the official WarhammerOnline.com website, I have every confidence that he can do the same for all of the broken links on UOHerald.com sometime in the next seven months. He will find the 15 minutes he needs to fix those links on UOHerald.com!

Obligatory He-Man video to cheer you up!

City Loyalty Ratings – Explained!

Kai Schober has posted an in-depth explanation of city loyalty ratings. It’s been a hot topic among a lot of UO players since it went live recently.

Basically a character is rated by every participating city, based on whether the city likes, hates, or doesn’t care about them. The values/numbers for these ratings are not displayed to characters/players. The explanation posted on the Herald takes you through the different tiers of being hated or being liked/respected. You can become loved or hated by actions you take based on the live events going on – dealing with rioters, etc.

The notes at the bottom of the document help clear up a few questions I and others had:

* It is possible to shift a city’s favor slowly over time, but this is much more difficult for those with checkered pasts
* Negative deeds are worth more hate than positive deeds are worth love
* Negative deeds are remembered longer than positive ones
* While the world is in chaos, all cities distrust each other. This is why trying to be devoted to multiple cities will just earn neutral ratings from all. However, this will not always be the case…

The implication is that there is a potential for cities to unify in some way, or at least allow characters to be loyal/devoted to more than one city. It also confirms something I thought – that it’s a lot harder to move up the positive side of the loyalty ratings than it is to drop. This makes sense, and actually ties into the virtue system in a way. Evil always takes the easy way, that kind of thing.

Read the full document: Entire article at UO Herald

Billing Support for UO – Another Contact Option

EA has added another way to contact billing support for Ultima Online.

This was posted a few days ago on the UO Herald:

We have improved the way to contact our Billing Support for Ultima Online. If you have a problem that you need help with you can either email support@ultimaonline.com, or visit help.ea.com. This website offers you a form to make sure that all necessary information get to our billing advisers.
If you are based in the US, this website allows you to leave your phone number for us to call you back. We are actively pursuing expanding phone support outside the US.

To use help.ea.com, login with your EA Account and click on ‘Talk to a Game Adviser’ on the right side of the page.

What follows is a screenshot and information about talking to a Game Adviser.

My question is, and I’ve asked this recently: Why don’t they add a simple tutorial to Accounts.EAMythic.com, explaining the linking of accounts, when to add _uo to your account if you haven’t created a certain type of EA/Mythic/Origin account, etc.

That would save a lot of frustration for returning players. There are going to be returning players next September for UO’s 15th Anniversary.

Read the fully story: UO Herald