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Discussion in 'UHall' started by Hannes Erich, Apr 28, 2012.
I vote other...
I dont think a thread about Diablo 3 is bad. Many of us have played Diablo and UO atthe same time. The games are different enough to play whichever you are in the mood for.
The Diablo 3 will kill UO is not productive. I wont collapse my house to play D3. I doubt many will.
Would be nice to meet some UO players in D3 though.
The "I Quit" threads are unproductive. Why should the devs fix something that you dont like when you dont play anymore!
Petra Fyde, from your posts that I've read lately, you seem like a genuinely decent person. Just want to say thank you for listening to my concerns these past couple of days, as impassioned as they were.
I don't normally get impassioned on Internet forums. I'm more of a lurker, occasional helpful poster, and someone who prefers to spend his playtime in the game instead of forums. It has been years since someone felt offended by a forum post I wrote, and I can count the times that's happened on one hand (OK, two hands, tops).
In the past two or three days, I've managed to ruffle some feathers. So, today I asked myself, "Why all the crazy, Hannes?"
The truth is, I think my frustration on the boards owes to the fact that I have been running across more and more returning veterans in the game, and when the recent rash of "I quit" posts popped up and started filling up the forum, it was right after Skalski's interviews with Sosaria Reels and UOForums.com. There were a couple of days especially when UHall looked like a UO haters convention, and it just seemed like the worst possible timing. I began to realize, I'd feel guilty if I didn't say something. This year is the game's fifteenth anniversary. People go on and on about how empty the game is of people, then turn around and make the game seem as unappealing as possible to onlookers.
People justify this by saying they're just venting. Or that it's not their responsibility to encourage more business for Mythic. Maybe I have a different perspective because I'm also a member of a handful of other communities, one of which surrounds an abandon-ware game. The publisher, EA, stopped supporting it whatsoever several years ago. The dev studio hasn't existed in a decade. No dev team, nothing. You couldn't even buy it for years (about a decade), until GOG.com got hold of the rights recently. For all of this time, that game's players have been solely responsible for its image (and multiplayer servers). They all--including me--realize the responsibility they have when a curious new face shows up on their forums. Alternatively, when I see all of you folks here replying to my concerns with "not my problem," I just wish you could understand how naive that sounds. Honestly, I feel grossly arrogant saying "I know better." But I know better. As the years slip by, you will understand that it IS your problem. You'll see how it WAS your problem, even today, even yesterday. The suits at EA aren't distressed every time one of their game services flickers out. It is a big, old company. It is a bit of paper work. A post-mortem nod for the gaming press. UHall on Stratics is one of UO's most visible representations outside of the game. This game will live or die by your hands, folks, no one else.
It doesn't matter if you don't want that responsibility. You can call it a curse or a blessing, or simply ignore it. It's yours.
I think that's all I have to say about it.
I listened to the interview twice, and read his January or February producer's letter, and what struck me was that the team is focused on current players, rather than trying to grow UO. They even said new players are not a focus.
I think it's odd that some high-profile posters/players are quitting UO, but on the other hand at 15 years old, UO needs a direction, and keeping existing players happy is not a direction, and I wonder if subconsciously that is making some people upset . I find it hard to believe they (the UO team) are completely happy with the number of players currently playing UO, but going by the producer's letter and the interview with Stratics, they don't seem concerned, going so far as to say that new players are not a focus.
There is nothing subconscious about it with me - I want UO to be here in 5 years. If that means they have to do things to UO that I don't agree with to bring in new players, I'll happily bite my tongue and cheer them on. I thought Trammel and Age of Shadows were really bad for UO, but I accept the fact that they obviously succeeded since UO grew after those expansions were launched. Here in 2012 I'm willing to accept more change if it brings in new players.
Hannes, you said this in March of 2011, and it stayed with me:
I may disagree with you about Stratics and fansites and people complaining on them (I think fansites are where people should be complaining and venting), but you were dead on about successful MMOs not outsourcing community management to fansites. Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot are the only two North American MMORPGs that do this. Even Warhammer Online has official forums on BioWare.com.
New players look at the official websites and look at the official communities. The last time I left UO, I was away for several years, and I played a lot of MMORPGs, and every single time, the first thing I did when I decided to try them was to look at the official websites and official communities.
Official websites and official communities are an incredibly accurate indicator of how companies view these games.
Those of us playing in the early days remember that the competition was basically two games. Those two games are still around, and though they may not have as many players as UO (although I think EQ probably has more), they make an effort to maintain official websites and official communities - both Asheron's Call and EverQuest are treated as though their parent companies still care about them.
Official sites are there to directly support the games, and that includes official forums and regular communications.
Fansites are for the fans, not the games. It's a huge difference. You are right in that because UO outsourced their community management to Stratics and elsewhere, that there is a burden, but I don't think it's fair to place that burden on Stratics, because we shouldn't have to tip-toe around on the off chance a developer or potential new player might see our post and get upset.
Added: Hannes, I agree with you a lot actually, my problem is that it's EA's fault if fansites act like fansites. EA should never have made the decision to farm out its community to fansites.
1) I think both. There a lot of stupid posts and a good handful of simply obnoxious posters, but there are on occasions very good ideas, and very valid complaints and critiques. How much our input effects the game I don't know. That's a hard thing to judge, since there are many schools of thought on how games should be designed.
2) I don't think all "I quit" or "UO compared to xxx" are counter productive. They can help and point out flaws in our experience, and further more illuminate what we expect our experiences should be like in the future. If a post is like "I quit.. cause UO sucks lol!" then of course, not its not productive, but if its simply and explanation of why I think it can be helpful.
Yeah the tone set by the current producers seems to be more keeping UO afloat. I've posted here in UHall recently: If you want a dying playerbase, you build the game to cater to a dying playerbase. You will reap what you sow. And just like in sports. You need to play to win. If you play not to lose, you will likely lose.
Rest assured, UO will be around in 5 years whether EA is behind the wheel or not. I'd say don't bite your tongue and cheer on changes that you don't like. It's counter-productive and it sounds like you've played long enough and contributed long enough to the community to have a rightful say about it's development.
We're not here to earn customers for EA so they can spend the increased revenue on other games. We're here to help build a game we love for the long-term, whether EA is at the helm or not. Yes there are already freeshards, but EA still sets the standard as long as they spend resources on developing the game. When they stop, then others who are more passionate will volunteer, motivated by their passion rather than by a corporate paycheck.
One of the college football teams I follow has a coach known for playing not to lose, and he lost too many games with that strategy. That's a very apt analogy.
I like to ask people what the direction of UO is. Some of them have responded with "more bug fixes, spawns and dungeons are being changed, and some old stuff is being completed" or something similar to that, which is what Jeff said in the interview. The problem is those aren't a direction for UO. Those are things that should be (and are) addressed on a regular basis, and should not be considered a part of any kind of direction.
It is disconcerting that so many things announced in the past year and a half have now fallen by the way side, given that it's the 15th anniversary. The enhanced new player stuff - gone. Boosters like High Seas - gone. Theme packs like the Rustic and Gothic packs - gone. The revised quest system - maybe gone. Throw in the fact that they've said no more expansions. It weighs on peoples' minds.
I'm pinning my hopes that they'll come through on the high resolution graphics, because if you take that out of the equation, there is nothing being done to attract anybody, new or vet players. I would take something as small as the High Seas booster at this point just to generate some interest among UO players that have quit in the past.
The concept of the boosters - things like High Seas every six months, actually was not that bad given that the team had been slimmed down after Stygian Abyss. It may not have been a full expansion, but it was at least something that you could show people. If they had stuck to it, we would have had another three boosters between High Seas and now. I can think of quite a few things that would fit into a booster scheme.
True. The free shards do give UO a longevity independent of EA.
As I remember the intention was to draw back former players, of which there are many. Some of those are actually returning, evidenced on these boards
Older players have 1. more disposapal income on average, 2. more free time - especially those of us who's children are grown up. There was a 3, but I decided against posting it.
Also - boosters and expansions cost money, the current trend of introducing a little new content with story arc related events and a slew of bug fixes possible suits current players better?
More players, yes. New players? Not necessarily.
As a returning player myself after "quitting" maybe 5 years ago, I returned to find what seemed to me to be half or less of the population of when I left. In fact, I was shocked at the rate of the decline so much that I checked the forums for "doomsdaying." I was surprised I didn't find more than I did.
Are you saying the downward trend is turning around? I haven't found any reason to believe so, other than by the logic that those who have stuck with it this long have less likelihood of leaving permanently. I would highly doubt that any of the recent efforts by the current Dev team have curbed the decline by any significant amount.
Boosters and expansions are supposed to have a net positive gain "cost"-wise. If they don't, then something went wrong.
But yeah you should make vet players happy before trying to make new players happy. Make the vet players happy, and they'll bring new players with their enthusiasm. Other than that, there will have to be BIG changes to this game before many new players find a reason to play. I don't agree that those changes need to be primarily upgrading graphics, but I've been wrong before.
I don't know whether the trend is turning - none of us have any way of knowing, I can only trust in that Jeff said subscriptions were up - though that was before the current faction problem.
I see posts from people returning and hope, I see posts from people leaving and despair - and sometimes try to suggest things in hopes of persuading them to stay. I have never been a returner, because I have never quit.
I believe that the only way new graphics would be acceptable to the majority would be if they used the 3d models on which the sprites are based. People want to look at a screen print and know 'that's UO'. they don't want to have to think 'what game is that?' But that's only my belief and opinion, which counts for very little really.
I'd love to ask people to phrase things in a more positive way - sort of instead of 'uo will die if you don't do this' something more like 'I believe UO would thrive if you did this'.
Tell people UO is dying often enough and you will be helping to kill it.
One addition to my post above about graphics, then I'll stop deviating from the thread topic. I hope this doesn't stir up debate because I know this subject has been discussed to no end.
I'm with Jeff, a 2nd client should never have been created. I've never seen why graphics need to be updated on this type of game. Especially if those new graphics require more than double the computing resources, make UO lose some of it's original flavor, and aren't modern anyway because they still aren't better graphics than games had 10 years ago.
If I care about graphics, then I'll go pick up a copy of the latest GPU hog game. UO just can't compete in that area, nor should it try. It's draw is in other categories. Development should focus there.
I also returned to Ultima after a long hiatus.. It wasn't cause I started hating the game.. it was simply that my retirement was looming close and I needed to focus on IRL matters for a few years. So I guess I don't fit the role of a returning player lured by new content. Ultima has been an obsession of mine since Akalabeth.
That said.. most of the people I talk into trying the game have the same complaint.. "It's too hard" , "Wheres the little arrow that tells me where to go next?"
I just shake my head sadly and wish them well.
Yes that has been my biggest problem too, anyone that joined didn't know how to make their own fun without being led to it
I didn't when I started, but I had friends and active Guild leaders that showed me the ropes, did outings towards experiencing most aspects of UO, without of which I'd probably quit, if I ever played at all, and I think devs know that. New players need established friends, not a greater Haven experience. Friends get you in, and friends keep you in. Needless to say... I feel Jeff's taking the right direction in getting UO to float higher, which then allows him 'time' to work on other areas, further increasing the success of the game.
People are entitled to their "last word" as long as they do it in a generally accepted way (i.e. RoC abiding). Not everyone goes on tangent criticising everything, some quit posts are nostalgic, some bring up good points. it would be an overkill to remove them all, it would be difficult to judge who can and who cannot say goodbye - we are a community after all, so as long as it's respectful in form, why not?
LOL! do that here please
The number of people who have never played UO is far larger than the number of people who have played it and left. If the majority of those people who had played UO and left were going to come back, they would have already done so. World of Warcraft loses more people in a week than currently play UO, and those WoW players would probably love a sandbox system and a really cool housing system. The problem is they don't know UO exists or they look at it, and the lack of serious future plans is a deterrent.
Yes, boosters and expansions and work on a new player experience cost more money than just maintaining UO and fixing bugs and finishing old system.
However, the biggest gift you could give current UO players is not bug fixes or finishing virtues.
The biggest gift you could give current UO players is bringing in new players who are going to help build UO's future.
Don't forget that it was around the time that the housing timers were being turned on. Many people had suspended payment of their accounts while housing timers were turned off.
True, and I apologize if I phrase things negatively at times.
But you bring up a good angle. For those people who get upset that the EC is being upgraded with high resolution graphics, or who just get upset at the idea of things that could bring in new players, maybe they shouldn't think of it as things being done that they will never try.
Maybe they should look at it as things that will help bring in new players. We're in an MMORPG, and anything the devs can do to keep the "Massively" in MMORPG is good. I know some people fear change, but nothing will ever come close to touching the changes UO aleady went through a decade ago with Tram, Age of Shadows, Publish 16, etc.
I guess the way I see it is this:
When people say they want to be around a bunch of other players, they are told to go play on Atlantic.
Wouldn't it be nice if people said they wanted to be around a bunch of other players, and they were given a list of half a dozen shards (or more) that had high populations?
I could have saved myself a whole lot of forum posting over the course of three nights, if I had just thought to type something like this.
That is why Petra drives this bus. *winks*
While most "I QUIT" threads eventually get locked, I see it as a last chance to say good bye to online and in-game friends that you've never met.
Because most of those "I QUITE" threads turn into something that is well beyond their intended purposes (assuming their intended purpose was to simply say goodbye).
Personally, I think you folks over there do a terrific job at riding the line between trying to keep these boards free for expression of speech, and trying to maintain a level of control over the general tone of the boards.
The bottom line is that as much as we all would like everyone to post constructively (and I think most do most of the time), we're all subject to tempers and emotions - especially when it's on the topic of something we care about, and have invested years into.
As a dev, I don't like the dev bashing that sometimes happens, but I understand it. In my opinion all the work you moderators have put into these boards have really paid off. You guys might not see it in dealing with the day to day stuff, but from my point of view, the difference is VERY noticeable.
(Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk HD)
Nobody could have said it better. We should come up with some highland music to celebrate our Mods!
I think dev bashing is well moderated here on statics. What is not, in my opinion, is the opinions of frequent and righteous posters stifling the frequently discongruent opinions of people that don't post so frequently and do not derive some bizarre righteous status from this # of posts counter. Nevertheless, and I will climb off my soap box for a second, I think this forum, through its moderators, has established a unique and fantastic relationship with the game developers like Grimm while maintaining independence. This (almost) makes up for my other big complaint.
Definitely Destructive! One of the main reasons I use other websites for UO information before I come to Stratics. Honestly, all the negativity on Stratics is one of the contributing factors to me using Stratics less and less.
Firstly, let me make my position absolutely clear: I no longer play UO. I quit several years ago; but I still have access to friends accounts, with which I occasionally login for a brief look-around. I never made an "I quit" post, because it didn't seem to matter at the time. I currently play another game, which (IMO), is better that what UO has become. I don't draw direct comparisons between UO & my current game (although I will encourage people to try the other game.)
Back when I was a regular poster here, I made repeated attacks against what I saw as the failures of UO at the time of posting. I never personalsed my critiques to the extent of "Fred the Dev has ruined UO", but I didn't hold-back when I thought that corporate decisions were spoiling the game I loved. (This earned me quite a few infractions/temp bans)
Surely, the purpose of non-official forums, liike Stratics, is to allow players to vent their frustrations with the direction that a game is taking, without the risk of being banned from the game itself..
Whether players choose to do this in a logical, reasoned manner (... and I could write an essay on what I thought was wrong with UO when I quit); or whether people say "this game sucks - go and play xxx", doesn't matter. These are all just personal opinions, and "this game sucks" is just as valid as "I am a fanboy"
For an independant forum to censor naysayers is just wrong.
*I appreciate that there may be an argument that as a non-player, I don't have a right to comment here. However; it would take me less than 5 minutes to reactivate a UO account; if I decide to do that, would that make my arguments any more valid?*
A guy walks into his favorite restaurant one day. The same restaurant he loves & has been going to for over 14 years.
He orders his usual steak and when it arrives at his table he realizes that maybe he doesnt like the new sauce on the steak and/or is just plain sick & tired of steak.
Instead of orderring a different item from the huge, creative menu or just paying for the correctly prepared nice steak he calls over the owner and in front of all the other customers he rants that the owner knows nothing about selling steaks or running a restaurant and he is never coming back again!
Did any of the other customers need to hear his rant and should the owner change his entire menu because of it?
Food for thought...