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A world I used to know...

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Rudyom, Aug 29, 2009.

  1. Rudyom

    Rudyom Guest

    Hail and well met,

    I played Ultima Online from December 1997 to December 2003. In the last week I have begun to visit Britannia. The main drawcard was the prospect of a new ‘enhanced client’ modelled closely on the original 2D client. To be honest, I, like many others, was never a fan of the 3D client.

    There have been significant changes to the world. I find that the world I once knew no longer exists. This is not unexpected, given the passing of some six years. The game world presented such a new and alien environment that I felt it might be interesting to put forward some of my early observations.

    New Player Experience

    Yes, I admit, I put myself through the new player experience. I felt it would likely be the best way of coming to grips with some of the changes which have occurred in the world. On the whole, it did a good job of giving me a grasp of the basics.

    However, I did become ‘stuck’ a few times with some of the actions that were required. The directions given were commonly written in a way which did not describe the action required. A particular example is how to select the katana as a quest item. Working out how to complete that small task had me stuck for two or so minutes. The description of the task was simply not good enough. I was determined to figure it out and persevere. To a new player, I imagine the experience would have been exceptionally frustrating and a poor introduction to a wonderful game.

    I recognise these issues might only have presented themselves because I was using the new enhanced client. It is possible changes are still being made. I think, however, that the issues I encountered were not client related.

    Enhanced client

    On the whole, I have to say that compared to the legacy client the enhanced client is quite well done. The new additions and features I have seen are positive improvements over the old client.

    There issued which immediately caused concern was the ‘paperdoll’ or character portrait. In all honesty, I believe they are probably the ugliest pieces of artwork I have ever seen in a retail game. They honestly made me cringe: the stance, body proportions, facial textures, complexions and even the hair could only be described as repulsive. There is not one positive thing I could say in relation to them.

    I imagine it may present some hurdles to fix correct, given different garments, weapons and armour templates have been created for them. An easy fix may be to allow the use of legacy character artwork (as is the case for containers). I personally would prefer the 12 year old artwork.

    If the enhanced client used the artwork for legacy character portraits I would probably have been sold on it instantly. I get a bigger window, better spell effects, nice options and my character still looks cool.

    Gameplay

    There were two things which struck me on re-entering the world: the abundance of neon clothing and items; and the adoption of weapons and armour with properties. I will discuss neon clothing below. The issue of weapons and armour properties I may discuss in another post.

    They say that if we do not consider the mistakes of the past we are bound to repeat them. If we consider the issue of neon or miscoloured items we need to start at the beginning. I recall the very first true black dye tubs and items of clothing. They were not lawfully obtained in the game, but were created through a third party program.

    I seem to recall an initial attempt was made to outlaw the colour as it was created through an exploit. The primary concern was that the art work was not supposed to be hued in that fashion. The availability of the dye tubs spread so quickly that they could not really be contained. It came to a point where, instead of being removed, they were tolerated. They were eventually made available through the veteran rewards system when that was introduced (really, a nice piece of UO history).

    The primary point I am making is that the introduction of true black was not by design but rather by exploit. The artwork was never supposed to function that way. It never looked right, it may have looked cool, but it did not look right. Thankfully, good taste prevailed and more often than not people would accessorise by having a true black item amongst other colours (an entire outfit of true black never looked good).

    It is puzzling that the current artwork is abused in a manner which is far worse than true black ever was. I think it began, on a large scale, with the introduction of faction items which had a unique colour hue. It seems, however, that using item hues have hit a slippery slope. At some point someone said ‘let’s make an item look like this’ and it opened the proverbial floodgate for other items being given ‘unique’ hues. The current game world is filled with weapons, armour and clothing which is neon blue, neon green, neon yellow and ‘fire’.

    They are out of place. The rest of the art in the game landscape does not look so garish or bright (except for grown plants, house items etc). They look horrendous. It would do the game world wonders aesthetically if the colour palette for items, armour and clothing were rolled back or toned down.

    Concluding comments

    To end on a positive note, I will say now one of the most enjoyable things I encountered on returning is the people. The best memories I have of Ultima Online concern the people and characters I met a long the way. It is nice to know that in Ultima Online one can still walk up to a bank (even if it is the wrong one) and speak to people who are friendly, welcoming and above all creative.



    - Rudyom
     
  2. DVDA

    DVDA Guest

    Too long, someone please give me the annotated version please
     
  3. Rudyom

    Rudyom Guest

    Just for you DVDA, the key points are:

    1) Fix bugs in the new player experience;
    2) Fix ugly 'paperdoll' or character profile artwork;
    3) Do something about neon hues on clothing, weapons and armour;

    - Rudyom
     
  4. DVDA

    DVDA Guest

    I agree 100%, especially on all the colors, I was just mentioning on the "Dev's Pet hues" post about how everyone's paperdoll looks like rainbow bright
     
  5. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    Jesus, it takes like 2 minutes to read that much text... :dunce:
     
  6. DVDA

    DVDA Guest

    I am in law school, I already a lot I am burned out!
     
  7. Cear Dallben Dragon

    Cear Dallben Dragon Babbling Loonie
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    Are you that crazy mage north of skara?
    You owe me blackrock.
     
  8. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Hail and welcome back!

    I, too, was a player in the Early Days (1997-2001). I returned in December 2007 and had a similar experience.

    New Player Experience

    To my opinion, the biggest barrier for new players is that the entrance barrier is too high today, due to the extremely powerful and rare/expensive items that were introduced into the game. If the guilds weren't helping out new players, they'd be totally lost. If you see armor and weapons selling for millions in vendors, you can easily be discouraged. Even today, 1 million gold still is a lot of money for me, which I will not spend on vendor items. (I made about 4 million in 2 years.)

    Enhanced Client

    I, too, prefer the Enhanced Client, and share your disgust about the (male) paperdoll. The faces look extremely dull, and the hair styles are horrible. But altogether the new client finally offers a functionality I have always wanted. The grahpics are not bad (way better than the Legacy Client), although certain things still need to be improved (resolution, blurry artwork, etc.). I only play the Enhanced Client, I got used to it, and I cannot imagine to ever switch back to 2D.

    Gameplay

    About the weapon and armor properties: I was totally confused about them when I returned. It took me half a year to figure out what they meant and what properties good items should have. Today, I actually like this kind of complexity. It is fun and challenging putting together a good suit or finding a good weapon. It is a slow process, which is good. Not so good are item insurance and Powder of Fortification, because they ruined the business of crafter services.

    About colors: I could not agree more. I remember the True Black Dye exploit very well. But the point is, that over the years UO has been flooded with people who play UO like a SIMS game. They actually demand all kind of Disney and Pokemon content. Unfortunately, this destroys a lot of the original character of UO. In this case, profits probably have higher priority then class.

    But, there are much more serious issues with gameplay, which you probably haven't experienced yet: Bug abuse, cheats, scripters.

    Conclusion

    I enjoy UO very much these days, although I can imagine lots of things that would improve UO very much.
     
  9. Lord Patapon

    Lord Patapon Guest

    Interesting comments Rudyom, all your points are pretty much valid to my eyes !
    ... and this is becoming quite frequent, too, but I fully agree with hawkeye_pike !
    (nice blog, btw !)
     
  10. lucksi

    lucksi Guest

    I met a new player on Origin yesterday. An occurrence so rare, I would have done a spittake, had I been drinking anything at that moment.

    And it seemed to be a real new player, doing the quests in Haven and killing stuff in the ruins that are there.

    And no, he didn´t want arties from me or great armor. Was just asking for some arrows (and information about skills and the game). Now, how long has it been since you have had an encounter like that?

    Well, if you have, you are probably not on Origin :D
     
  11. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Welcome back !!

    I hope your return will not just be temporary and that you will enjoy the game once again.

    What shard have you come back to ?

    I look forward to seein many more new or returning players to game.

    We need some new life in Sosaria !
     
  12. Lucksi! You crazy German you! hehe I have missed ya! ;) I saw you tonight in game, its great to see you back :):)

    Welcome back Rudyom, hope you stay around awhile and see all the changes and the changes that are yet to come :)
     
  13. Minerva Foxglove

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    Paperdoll is what stop me from playing enhanced client . Also stocking a vendor was hopeless I thought. Backpack is best the old way but still hard to see the items.

    And yes, new players has a hard time to get started, its such a gap to how established players life looks.

    As a new player to look at the paperdolls of other players and then find out what the equipment cost..and they want a little house too.. Its very discouraging.
    I dont believe they need money but a bit better equipment so they can make money, it makes a great difference.

    On Europa we are a small guild of vets, crafter oriented, that try to catch as many as we can and give them some LRC and spellbook or warrior outfit with some runes and some advice where to read about the basics.
    We take turns in Haven and answer questions and repair.
    This isnt alot for a newcomer but they use to return and tell us how much it helped and they are doing well now and love the game. They want to help others as well:thumbsup: Maybe to be seen and welcomed is important too..
     
  14. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    The look of the paperdoll is really what prevents you from using a better client? Hmmm...

    By the way, the Legacy Backpack in the Enhanced Client is really not very well done. I use it for stocking my vendor, but is a pain in the arse trying to lay it out properly, because items won't go where you put them. I hope they will fix this soon.
     
  15. Minerva Foxglove

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    Yes , hmm to you but to me silly lady the paperdoll and how things look is that important.
    When I tried to stock the vendor I ower and ower managed to drag wrong items even, and it became messier the more I tried. They will have to fix it bc its just too annoying, But due to the paperdoll it doesnt matter to me.

    I rarely complaint and had big hopes for the enhanced client . But im a crafter by heart and I use the paperdoll all the time for making armours for new people and I put them on to check resists and the look of it. And im used to see my neat little tailor lady looking sane.:mad:
     
  16. Schuyler Bain

    Schuyler Bain Lore Master
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    I have to agree with the ugliness of the paper-doll in the KR/SA client. Ever since launch I have played with my paper-doll visible and do look at others. I too would love to have the classic paper-doll art made available in the new client.

    I would also agree with the rest of the OPs observations - welcome back
     
  17. Bara

    Bara Guest

    I'm curious about the new paperdolls. I haven't been able to find a screenshot of them though, could someone please post one?

    As far as the overuse of neon colors go: I agree; it's a bit obnoxious and overdone. They simply don't fit the color palette of the rest of the game.
     
  18. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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  19. EnigmaMaitreya

    EnigmaMaitreya Crazed Zealot
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    I played UO from the day it went live until about 8 months after Trammel went live.

    I came back about 18 months ago.

    UO may look the same on the surface mostly, but underneath it is ... very different. You may find it goes way beyond the Items With Properties.

    The most challenging things I face is having the Original Experience and having a Distinctly different experience now. With very little understanding of how in the Hades things got from were they were to were they are now. Mostly the changes seem to be counter intuitive, destructive of play styles and (not unique to UO) the classic "What the Right Hand taketh away, the Left Hand Replaces". An example that is NOT real would be, Oh this thing hits to hard so lets nerf the damage....some time later, Oh this thing is useless so lets increase the Defense making it nearly invulnerable such that it is back to were it originally was but different.

    Welcome Back, Have Fun, Be Safe and do not hesitate to ask questions here and if they are burying you with Techno Babble and / or Acronyms just ask them to please explain what the heck they are talking about. Often times the explanation when expressed .... clearly, is of immense value to trying to figure out how to play the UO of today.
     
  20. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    [​IMG]
    You know I could take this car and turn it into one of the most modern (technically speaking) cars around. How many people out there would diver it, not many. I don’t care how great this car ran; people will take one look at it and walk away. No matter how great SA is or KR was, if you don’t like the graphics then you will not like the client, no matter how good it is. They gave us the building graphics in the SALegacy client. How hard would it be to give us all the old Graphics in the SALegacy client and if you want the new art then you would use the SAEnhanced client. Would that really be too much to ask for?
     
  21. XLaCeDX

    XLaCeDX Guest






    "About colors: I could not agree more. I remember the True Black Dye exploit very well. But the point is, that over the years UO has been flooded with people who play UO like a SIMS game. They actually demand all kind of Disney and Pokemon content. Unfortunately, this destroys a lot of the original character of UO. In this case, profits probably have higher priority then class."




    You can thank us folks who like color in UO for helping to pay to keep this game alive.
     
  22. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    I doubt it is people with bad taste who keep the game alive. On the contrary. If you destroy the character of something, it may suceed for a while, but fade away and die sooner or later.

    Changes, enhancements, add-ons are necessary, but they can also be introduced carefully and without denying esthetic aspects. Fashions always die. Classics, however, stay forever.
     
  23. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    QFT:danceb:

    UO Clasic papredoll
    [​IMG]
     
  24. XLaCeDX

    XLaCeDX Guest




    "I doubt it is people with bad taste who keep the game alive."



    Well I at least will give you credit for paying for a UO sub, since you're so modest.


    :)



    "UO has been flooded with people who play UO like a SIMS game. They actually demand all kind of Disney and Pokemon content."


    I think people who say people who like color in their video games lack 'class', lack 'class'.


    "In this case, profits probably have higher priority then class."


    Nothing in life is free is it?


    EA Games isn't in business to NOT make profits.


    No profits no UO.


    Again, you can thank us folks who like color in our video games for helping keep UO alive.


    Your welcome.


    :)
     
  25. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    And that is why we will be able to use the old UO2D client in SA.:thumbup:
     
  26. To the OP:

    I agree with pretty much everything you said.

    I hate the new paperdoll, I hate the new character models...all of them pretty much. The devs finally listened to my litany of non-stop pancakes and made the rune beetle black again at least, but most of the other creatures and especially the player models, look terrible.

    I had never really thought about it before, but you are right, the paperdoll in KR/SA is probably the worst single piece of art I have seen in a modern commercially available game.

    When they did KR, what 3rd grade art class did they get to do the character models anyway?

    Classic UO (2d Client) FTW
    KR/SA FAIL
     
  27. I love the car analogies...

    Classic 2d UO
    [​IMG]

    KR
    [​IMG]

    SA
    [​IMG]
     
  28. Heartseeker

    Heartseeker Guest

    Classic 2D= AMC Pacer, Gremlin or Ford Pinto.

    Take your pic.

    Your SA one is spot on though.

    Kinda wondering why people really care about the paperdoll though.

    I mean your Avatar in game is the one you see right?

    Believe it or not some of us don't look at the paperdoll.

    Anyways, to the OP:

    This game is so different from the one released, that the only thing that resembles the original is the Name.
     
  29. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    LOL Gotta love the clasics.
     
  30. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    The graphics and the paperdoll have stayed the same.
     
  31. Rudyom

    Rudyom Guest

    On character profile and paper doll:
    I happily admit - I am fickle when it comes to art work. I expect that is probably the case for many computer gamers. The paper doll artwork would prevent me from using a client which, by all respects, is better than the original. It really is a significant, and it seems underrated, part of the game artwork and there are numerous reasons why it should look good:

    1. It allows you to differentiate your appearance from others. This seems obvious, but is often forgotten. It ranges from you creating your own unique individual style and identity to the differentiation of guilds by the choice of clothing apparel and colours. Granted, a significant part of this is character artwork rather than the paper doll but the two complement each other.

    2. Many players will have regard to how a character looks in the paper doll whether they are dressing themselves or looking at other players they are interacting with.

    3. Gamers, like myself, are fickle and want to see that their character looks good. This is the case in many other MMOG’s.
    In other worlds, whole economies have sprung up around the trading of character masks and particular clothing items for no other reason than the fact they look good. Ultima Online is no exception – the appearance of your character close up on the paper doll is important. As such, the quality of the artwork is significant.

    In my personal opinion, and I emphasise my personal opinion, the artwork in the enhanced client looks repulsive, cheap and ill produced. Clothing, armour and weapons look inconsistent and ill fitting. They do not sit well together at all.

    Rudyom

    P.S. Cear Dallben Dragon, Blackrock is too dangerous for thee, leave me to my work!
     
  32. BajaElladan

    BajaElladan Certifiable
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    Perhaps the Greatest Post Re: UO EVER!!!

    Absolutely the Greatest UO Post EVER!!!!!
     
  33. Tuferon

    Tuferon Adventurer
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    Re: Perhaps the Greatest Post Re: UO EVER!!!

    If you roleplay. for instance, a paperdoll is an issue. The 2D we have is not the origianl but was altered when 3D came out. I can look at my 1998 doll...not the SA one at all. Like having a mirror from the damned
     

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