The phrase Risk Vs Reward got thrown around a lot while debating the felucca changes. Well I have a new phrase to consider; Work Vs Reward. A lot of very important elements of UO, like skill gain, and BODs for example, are based on "random chance". Oddly enough there are some fairly trivial elements of UO that are non-random; Fame and karma for reputations, for example; You kill the monster, you get the associated fame/karma. Why shouldn’t skill and BODs work the same way? You do the work, you get the gain/BOD. If you look at systems that people are upset with, the core problem can usually be traced back to the random chance element in that system. People put in a lot of work but did not "get lucky" and get the expected reward so they are unhappy. Skill gain, for example, has always been a hot potato. Random chance is not used for skill gain in other games. In most, the work you do goes directly towards an increase in skill. In my opinion, involving random chance in skill gain is a fundamental design flaw in Ultima Online. The results of this flaw are obvious; Skill gain is something that has been open to abuse, exploit and cheesy tactics since day one. In spite of the tremendous amount of time and effort that OSI has put into maintaining the skill gain code and trying to thwart outright cheaters, they are left with a buggy system which many customers are dissatisfied with. Many elements, like the anti-macro code, added to stop cheaters, hurt the honest player. It is difficult to balance gain rate between the casual and hard core player. Gains are still frustrating and unpredictable. The very fact that OSI added a "guaranteed" gain element is an admission that there is a problem; After all, if the gain system were properly designed one would not get "stuck" and have a need for a guaranteed gain. That the effort poured down the skill gain black hole could have been put to better use improving the game is obvious. So why was something as important as skill gain management left to random chance in the original game design? Probably because it was easier to code that way. By using random chance to simulate skill gain based on the players work, the designers avoided having to track any "skill credit" values towards an eventual skill gain. Further, there were probably performance issues on the early servers. Random chance likely performed better at that time. With GGS today, the server must track a value (time of last skill gain) for each character skill and access that value at each skill gain check. So the first hurtle, tracking a per/skill value, has been overcome. The next step would be converting skill gain from a random chance to a use based system. In a use based system, one would accumulate a lower level "skill-credit" each time one used a skill. Once sufficient skill-credits were available, one would get a gain. The number of skill-credits required to get a gain at a given skill level could be calculated by a simple formula. For example; Required_Credits = Current_Skill / Skill_Rate + Skill_Base Skill_Rate and Skill_Base could be set on a per-skill basis to control how fast one could gain in a given skill. The skill-credit, given when a skill is used, would be based on the ratio of users skill to the task difficulty. The number of skill-credits. This could also be calculated by a formula like; Skill_Credit = Minimum( Required_Skill / Current_Skill, Skill_Base * .5 ) This would encourage one to perform tasks near ones skill level but not preclude some gain on harder/easier tasks. A smaller percent of the skill-credit would be granted for a failure. To balance casual and "hard core" players, the Skill_Rate would gradually decrease as more gains were granted during each day. Thus, the rate at which one gains would gradually decrease as the number of gains grew. The Skill_Rate would be reset to it’s standard value at the beginning of each day. This would allow the casual player to get fairly good gains while allowing the hard core player to continue to gain a reasonable amount without totally abusing the system. If a system like this were implemented, a lot of buggy code could be eliminated, skill gains would be predictable and manageable, there would be no "instant GMs" and no frustrated casual players. The same concept could be applied to BODs; You complete a BOD you get some "BOD-credits". Once you have sufficient BOD-credits you could redeem the credits for a better LBOD or a reward. In the champion spawns one could get "champion-points" for killing the spawn. Then, when the champion is defeated, only those with sufficient champion-points would get a scroll. This would solve the problem of "altar sitters". Many systems, in a game, should have a strong random chance element. A system that involve directly rewarding a players efforts is not one of those. I believe that it is time that role of random chance as a mechanism for rewarding player effort be eliminated.