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EA acknowledges UO (gasp!)

Discussion in 'UHall' started by MrSomethingSomething, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. I thought some of you might get a kick out of the statement below. I would have linked to the whole article, but it's honestly just some numbers talk about Star Wars the Old Republic, so I didn't bother. My apologies if it's been posted already. Feel free to delete/lock. Anywho:

    "March 1, 2011
    John Riccitiello - Electronic Arts - CEO
    So, we essentially created the MMO business with Ultima Online and then Blizzard vastly improved it with a better product, World of Warcraft
    that realized heights that no one anticipated was an opportunity or real in this sector. Hats off to them."
     
  2. Amber Moon

    Amber Moon Seasoned Veteran
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    'We created...'

    Hahaha :mf_prop:
     
  3. Derium of ls

    Derium of ls Slightly Crazed
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    yeah the "we created" part blows my mind hahaha

    Also, EA did you forget the guy who pretty much shaped WoW worked for YOU on UO before he ditched us to design WoW??


    lol, you didn't create MMOs, and you HAD the talent WoW has before WoW even did!
     
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It is weird to think about the fact that the lead designer on WoW was the lead designer for Age of Shadows.

    Personally, if I was EA's CEO, I'd have an eye towards 2013 when Blizzard's next MMO, Titan or whatever they are calling it now, is supposed to launch. That's going to be the only real challenger to WoW.
     
  5. I don't consider WoW a better product than UO! WoW is a grindfest with better graphics, better support staff, and slick marketing. The product itself, the game, is inferior to UO in many ways. This is not to knock Wow. Lots of people love and enjoy it, but UO has more depth providing more freedom to its player base.

    Perhaps the advantages that WoW has equal a better product to lots of people (I do not agree), but the CEO of the company that owns UO is saying this? What the hell? Idiot!
     
  6. canary

    canary Guest

    Kudos, at least, for his honesty.

    WoW has been managed very well throughout its history. UO has been through some tragic management.
    Wow has good customer service. UO has pitiful customer service.
    WoW seems to have a clear vision. UO lacks vision.
    WoW visually is more stunning, cartoony aesthetics to some aside. UO is often criticized for its bad graphics and art team.
    WoW is great at communicating changes, updates and the like. UO seems to have a 'closed mouth' policy in effect until its nearly out the door.
    WoW won't release a product until its ready. UO? Not so much. We don't even know if they have a real QA department.

    What is the last difference, but to me the important one?

    You play in Azeroth. You live in Sosaria.
     
  7. Dakkon Blackblade

    Dakkon Blackblade Seasoned Veteran
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    I mean subjectivity aside, you cannot argue with the numbers. And while I agree that WoW is fairly boring, I don't think UO as it is offers a superior experience, and apparently a whole lot of people agree on that note.

    If UO had graphics/gameplay on par with something like Diablo 3 (Isometric ftw) and supported only that new client, I would say UO would then be a superior experience.

    Also if UO had better customer support, developers with a clear vision, and more control over the actual direction of the game that would go a long way.
     
  8. Winker

    Winker Babbling Loonie
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    Diablo 3 comes out at the end of this year. Bet there is a drop in population (not subscriptions) when it goes live
     
  9. Omnius

    Omnius Crazed Zealot
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    It'll be the same as when Diablo 2 came out winker.
     
  10. *shrugs* yeah ...

    EA created UO ... duh!
    Owned OSI, provided the 250k startup funds, released it to the world.

    EA created = well yeah duh!:gee:
     
  11. Prime.

    Prime. Sage
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    I think they got created and destroyed mixed up.
     
  12. Nimuaq

    Nimuaq Lore Master
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    Who cares about the "created" part, here the CEO of the company that owns UO stating that WoW is better than UO. He could use modern or popular instead of better but he didnt cause he either doesnt even know people still play UO or he doesnt foresee new players starting UO instead of WoW. How sad is that?
     
  13. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    It would be nice if he was clever enough to advertise his game and play up UO's strengths that WoW either doesn't have, or hasn't done as well as UO has.

    Not everyone is wowed by fancy graphics. Personnally I'd prefer having to buy a better computer to handle all the neat content, not just to handle neat graphics.

    Offer a new sandbox to play in that has as much content as UO does and add Customer Service as a new feature, and you can have the art done by a toddler with a box of crayons for all I care.
     
  14. canary

    canary Guest

    And that's great, but Joe Q Customer, by and large, disagrees.

    Art has been a sore spot for a LONG time for UO in terms of attracting (and keeping) players. They had a chance to get some redemption with KR and failed. Let's hope that whatever art direction Cal has approved starts to remedy that.

    People like things (generally) that are attractive and fresh looking. You need style AND substance.
     
  15. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    This is really depressing.

    Why didn't they say "a product with broader appeal." It would have done the made their point adequately without in essence insulting (estimated at approximately) 50,000 steady and loyal (if a tad crazy) customers.

    -Galen's player
     
  16. Boogy

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    I hate to say this, but I have seen some amazing things done with UO the last couple of years.... unfortunately about %95 of it doesnt come from the Mythic/EA team.


    Really people, go look at what some of non sanctioned shards get.
     
  17. WildWobble

    WildWobble Sage
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    I will be going to d3 when it comes out! FTS! I was in the beta for d2 and i dominated the usweast hc ladder for 3 years BLIZZARD knows how to make a game and support it! UO is crap when it comes to support! I love uo only because its a bigger sandbox then any other game i have ever seen but when it consistently lets me down with bad service I will re-evaluate my opinion! Unless Uo gets some better In game support in the next 8 months I will close my account and say so long! If uo still exists in 2-4 years after i get sick of d3 i may be back but i doubt it!

    If i could figure out a good issue not covered by thier cover all disclaimers i would file a lawsuit against ea mythic just to cost them a heap of cash in expenses I don`t care if i would win i just want them to suffer a little bit! since they are makeing me suffer by their lack of support! YES I AM AT THE BREAKING POINT one thing will calm me down and thats if they find my character who has been in limbo for the last 3 months!
     
  18. JC the Builder

    JC the Builder Crazed Zealot
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    Age of Shadows turned out to be such a horrible expansion because EA never reinvested UO profits back into development. There should have been a live team and an expansion team. Instead the same developers were expected to fix bugs, add event content, balance the game and work on expansions.

    EA has never done a single thing to help UO and it is only through the efforts of passionate developers and Richard Garriott that it is what it is today. Just look what happened shortly after Stygian Abyss. We had one of the greatest teams put together in years and it was absolutely gutted.
     
  19. canary

    canary Guest

    Well I thought it was shortly before. When Draconi and quite a few others were let go.

    Either way, no arguments here that they had a great team at that time. What I loved about Draconi was that he cared for his job as well as UO.
     
  20. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    One positive thing that occurs to me, now that I look at this statement, is that there's no obvious indication that they don't know UO is still around. Or that they consider it only part of EA's past.

    -Galen's player
     
  21. Derium of ls

    Derium of ls Slightly Crazed
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    yeah but with a statement like that, I'm afraid they will now take a look at UO and say "take it down" or put a timer on it until their next MMO comes out.
     
  22. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    As much as I dislike WoW, these statements - cynical as they may be - are mostly correct. The reason however is, as always, the budget.

    P.S.: And just wait for the guys posting in this thread that graphics don't matter. Haha!
     
  23. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Well sure but that's always possible.

    And always been possible.

    This is EA. These are the guys who paid millions for Tetris because it was a familiar product, then changed it, thus killing the very reason it was worth the money to start with!

    This statement is a more positive sign than the fact that UO isn't listed on their customer service/support phone number.

    -Galen's player
     
  24. HD2300

    HD2300 Certifiable
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    Best team was post ML ~2006, before they neglected everything and focused only on the KR client.

    After that, definitely no way. If they really were that good, then the population would have have grown, not declined significantly. I 100% agree they were very very good at posting on the forums, but not where it counted in pushing out events, content and systems that would gain subs. They could talk the talk, but couldnt walk the walk. And really these teams had their opportunity, and if they had succeeded where it mattered i.e. growing subs, they would still be at EA and UO would have a lot more players than it has now.
     
  25. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
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    This...
     
  26. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Plus the EA CEO saying earlier last month that EA wants to stop producing as many titles and only focus on the bigger/better/more profitable games. That and facebook/mobile games.

    I don't think we'd be getting an art upgrade if we were on a timer though, nor would they be working on the new player stuff. They'd simply crank out booster packs with more pixel crack.
     
  27. Derium of ls

    Derium of ls Slightly Crazed
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    true, but if we are on a timer they get "free" trials with things for their future games.

    since they already have UO, why not have that dev team test certain ideas and see how well it works in a dead game, to get an idea how well it will work in their next. that way so they don't 'risk' anything and get feedback with no loss on their end... eeek, I just scared myself! :sad2:
     
  28. jaashua

    jaashua Guest

    Absolutely true. If anything, you actually want to err on the side of style.
     
  29. JC the Builder

    JC the Builder Crazed Zealot
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    Because that is not how EA works. They view a shipped game as a finished product. That is why EA sucked all the profits out of UO and kept on a meager development team. In UO's heyday it was bringing in over 20 million dollars a year in revenue for EA.
     
  30. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    GM staff in WoW is NOT better, but they do have MUCH better communication of ideas, fixes, and take in feedback from the players on their forums.
     
  31. Demonous

    Demonous Rares Fest Host | Ches Jul 2010
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    WoW is not a good mmo, its probably the best themepark mmo, but i hate themepark mmos, if its not sandbox its horrible in my opinion, and the only reason so many people play it is because Blizzard is the creator, so all those warcraft/starcraft/diablo followers joined up
     
  32. canary

    canary Guest

    12 million people beg to disagree.

    I personally did the WoW thing and grew bored after about a year. I do agree that the amusement park style games are not as enticing for me in terms of sustaining interest. However, I think the numbers show that Blizzard is doing something very, VERY right.

    While I do not wish for UO to attempt any more copying of WoW ideas, I do think they could take a page or two on professionalism, customer service, communication and overall ability to do things right in order to make their paying playerbase happy.
     
  33. Demonous

    Demonous Rares Fest Host | Ches Jul 2010
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    most games have at least decent customer service, UO is one of the few that doesn't, and like i said the reason why WoW has so many subscriptions is because of the company that made it, a good majority of their players are life long blizzard followers because of how successful warcraft, starcraft and diablo were so they will play any blizzard game, if blizzard made my little pony online, those people would probably play it

    i just like being able to do whatever i want in mmos, 90% of mmos are wow copies where you're told what to do, you just fight stuff all day and need a group to level with, cant go around alone and accomplish things, i like being able to kill people and get something off of them, not having to request a duel from them... then again i play darkfall as well which is hardcore like UO pre UOR, full loot pvp, i think arenas will be good for UO this day and age, but years ago arenas wouldn't have worked, wow has copied things from UO too but as long as UO doesn't take too much from wow its alright
     
  34. Siteswap

    Siteswap Visitor

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    That just about sums it up .. Blizzard do everything right, both for the game and the customers, whereas EA do everything wrong.
     
  35. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    "So, we essentially created the MMO business with Ultima Online and then Blizzard vastly improved it with a better product"

    Hopefully shareholders are asking how some fool who rates competitors products higher than EA's own in public, and declares that is the case because EA failed to keep up with the way the genre developed while he was in charge, is still in a job as head of the company.....
     
  36. Pinco

    Pinco UOEC Modder
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    QFT!

    WoW has basically LOT of money and is treated as the best game on its company.
    UO is the last wheel of the cart, just watch how was made the EC: with the spare resources of warhammer, they don't even care to keep it stable...
    I felt sorry for the devs after watching the last HoC video... they have lot of ideas, lot of great things to do, but they don't have enough people/money so they are forced to choose to do the faster things with the low economic impact...
    Really is like to see a teenager that must choose between a comics book or a cinema with friends because don't have enough money :D
     
  37. Demonous

    Demonous Rares Fest Host | Ches Jul 2010
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    there are 2 types of mmos, sandbox and theme park, UO is sandbox, wow is themepark, probably 90-95% if all mmos are themepark mmos, so i wouldn't say WoW is better than UO, id say its a very different game and a majority of mmo players prefer that type of play where you are stuck as a mage or a warrior and have to do set things, me i prefer freedom and whatever template i want, so the right thing to say is Everquest started themepark mmos and WoW vastly improved it with a better product
     
  38. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Maybe - but what I'm pointing out is Riccitiello is telling his shareholders 'we led the field, lost it, Blizzard make a better game - and that all happened on MY watch'. So they should trust his judgement, and get rid of him - especially since only a couple of weeks back he was also admitting EA 'dropped the ball' on console games too. It's almost as if he wants to be kicked out....
     
  39. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Blizzard also has over 2,500 people devoted to customer service and community-related issues, just for WoW. 2,500 people. That's GMs, that's people who interact with customers on their forums and through email, etc., etc. and Blizzard has control over all aspects of it.

    Other people downplay WoW, but EA is chasing Blizzard and they are betting the MMO group on it with a $300 million investment, and that investment does impact UO.

    EA has become dangerously obsessed with WoW, while blindly ignoring the things that have made WoW so popular and that have caused so many people to come back to WoW after trying other MMOs.

    UO and Camelot suffered because of EA's obsession with WoW, thanks to the massive layoffs that affected UO and Camelot directly and indirectly after Warhammer went through its spectacular implosion.

    It tooko UO 5 years to lose 66% of its subscriptions. It took Warhammer three months to lose over 60% of its subscriptions. Within four months, it lost, percentage wise, more people than UO had lost in five years. And Warhammer, UO, and Camelot fans paid dearly for Warhammer's losses to help appease the stockholders.

    EA's obsession with WoW wouldn't be so bad IF they had been studying and learning from WoW and applying those lessons to their MMOs. That's means better customer service from the GMs down to the websites. That means more people and multiple teams. JCtheBuilder had it right - we have one team that is doing the work of what should be 2-3 separate teams. People bash them and seem to forget that they are pulling triple duty. What Blizzard would do with 3-4 well-funded groups, UO is doing with a small group. Blizzard has people dedicated to squashing bugs within just the clients . UO has people who squash bugs within the clients when they aren't working on the servers or working on live events or future content.

    It's very easy to say that all of EA's mistakes and recent lack of success in the MMO arena are due to it being a publicly traded company and being obsessed with keeping the stockholders happy. There is a lot of truth to that. EA loves to lay off people at the end of the year to make the stockholders happy - they've got a history of it.

    The problem is that Activision Blizzard is publicly traded as well.

    If Activision Blizzard as a whole lost money, but the WoW group turned out a profit, would they slash the hell out of the WoW group? Would they slash it to the bone and cripple it? No. The Activision Blizzard execs would be run out of the company by the stockholders if they did anything close to that.

    But EA has done just that in the past with UO and Camelot. It's a great and easy way for EA to save a quick bit of money to make the stockholders happy, but every time it happens, it sets those games back a year or more. It cripples their ability to not only retain their existing customers, but to grow their customer base.

    EA executives just do not have the ability to look ahead past the next couple of financial quarters. They want to shove a product out the door and then move on to the next product. That works great in the EA Sports division, it doesn't work so well elsewhere.

    When a product implodes like Warhammer did, do EA executives say "well we have these other products that are still profitable and have a loyal fanbase, and they are diverse, can we grow those, can we invest in them, can we help them to grow their playerbases over the next few years?

    No, they turn to this other project they have, this other basket with "Star Wars" written on the side, and they throw all of their eggs into that basket and bet everything on it.

    I'll give them a little credit - it looks like Camelot has hired on a few people recently, but I wonder if they are new additions or replacements. And they are still on track to build BioWare a customer service center in Ireland. Plus they are allowing the UO team to bring us high resolution art and a much better new player experience.

    The problem is that with these new things that the UO devs are doing, they should get more employees to help. They should not have to stop doing certain things to do these other things.

    I still don't think they'll be able to handle Star Wars, whether it succeeds or fails. I'd like to think a success would lead to BioWare becoming like Blizzard and gaining a lot of autonomy, but even that would be in jeopardy if EA has a bad quarter or two - they'll won't take a hands-off approach to layoffs within BioWare if games outside of BioWare don't do as well as expected.
     
  40. Dakkon Blackblade

    Dakkon Blackblade Seasoned Veteran
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    Does UO have a sufficient number of new players coming in to merit the focus on new player experiences? I am unfamiliar with the current population but have heard from quite a few people it is sparse.

    I personally don't blame the dev team that much for the wrong doings I understand they are understaffed and their hands seem to be tied as to what they can do without jumping through flaming hoops.

    I don't think jesus his damn self would make a difference if he were lead developer on UO, it's all about the purse strings in the end.
     
  41. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
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    I think this is one of the cases where the lack of new players (or, at least, new players that stick around) directly drives the need for a better New Player Experience.
    I think that while it doesn't directly benefit the current players, the New Player Experience has been a major hurdle in the retention of new players. Back when I joined there were companions (although I never did see one), but even they were not necessary, as the mechanics of the game were relatively simple enough that they could be picked up on one's own.
    These days, the mechanics are a lot more complicated, and players will often arrive with experience in other games which have very different interfaces and controls.
     
  42. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Obviously somebody is seeing the amount of new players trying the game, and the retention rates are lousy (big surprise), or they are trying to look ahead beyond the art upgrade.

    People act like there is not a direction to UO, but we've got this master plan for the art done, and it just needs to be picked over by PR or whoever, and we've got them turning their attention to a plan for new players. They have some broad ideas, and they know the current system is broken, and it sounds like from the HOC they are starting to drill down on the new player stuff. Those two things are a plan for the direction of UO.

    I would be more impressed if EA hired additional devs, but after the layoffs of the past few years, I doubt that will happen.
     
  43. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    I, for one, think that retention alone would justify a better new player experience.

    Even if it were as low as, say, 2 to 5 a month.

    -Galen's player
     
  44. canary

    canary Guest

    I hate to play the eternal pessimist, but let's see this art and their actual plans in motion before we pat them on the back for it, OK?

    I mean, KR art was supposed to be the future of UO, and look how well that turned out.

    Plus, and just being honest here... the current UO art team is basically ridiculed in most circles for their inability to produce decent art. They can't even get the isometric perspective right on things as simple as circles. They haven't exactly wow'ed anyone in recent history.

    If they are indeed upgrading resolution in art, I would actually suggest removing the current art team and starting fresh.
     
  45. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I have my doubts - they are doing two major things and I'm not seeing a bunch of posts welcoming new hires.
     
  46. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
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    I wrote a small wall of text in another thread about the perspective. To really shorten it a lot here, the perspective is oblique, rather than isometric, and to my understanding it is impossible to get artwork that's "right".
    The XY plane is not described from the same perspective as the XZ and YZ planes. So any art that is the correct perspective to the floor is wrong to the walls, and the same is true the other way.
    Is what you define as "right" for a circle, the way arcane circles are?
     
  47. canary

    canary Guest

    Any items from older art sources seem to fall in line MUCH better with perspective (pentagrams, etc) than newer items (seriously, whats up with the 13th anni circle... REALLY?). Most new art tends to just be an actual circle rather than tilted in the least. And that goes for most of the 'newer' art.
     
  48. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Your analysis mirrors my own, more or less. Whether or not you consider this a good, poor, or neutral reflection on the analysis is up to you. *chuckles*

    EA in general seems to behave very irrationally; Martyna's player once said something like "EA as an institution is crazy" and I think that remark is fair.

    My stock example for this has been Tetris. They spent millions to purchase Tetris so they could make money from it as a cellular phone game. It's perfect for phones, and it's a familiar property. Then they changed it; at least on the phone I saw it on, they added a feature as the default setting where you have a guide at the bottom of the screen showing where the piece in play could go. Helpful once you get used to it but very distracting and greatly detracts from the familiarity of the property to players.

    And, of course, the familiarity, paradoxically, was what made it such a valuable property to start with.

    Watching how they have treated UO, they appear to have strayed very far from their original business model, where they'd let the studios handle the games and give them the tools they needed. Now they appear to have a very centralized, old economy structure, and that's pretty inappropriate for their product. (OK, I should clarify I am not a close student of this; I'm extrapolating a lot from the few anecdotes I've read.)

    I've got a bad, bad feeling about this Star Wars game, but at least some of that is my own growing distaste for the Star Wars franchise and everything it's produced since Return of the Jedi (with the exception of the first couple of years of Star Wars Galaxies and the last 30 minutes or so of Attack of the Clones.)

    I also can't figure out for the life of me if it'll be better for us or worse for us if it succeeds or fails.

    My guess is that the UO team doesn't know that either. And it must make planning a nearly-impossible and very scary experience for them.

    -Galen's player

     
  49. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

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    Therein lies the problem, an artistic paradox.
    I've tried to write this post several times now, and each time returned to this point. I understand what I am trying to say, but it comes across as a lecture, which I don't think anyone wants to read.
    The main points of it are that the oblique projection the game uses is "impossible", and all the floor circle artwork is "wrong" (the old ones are rendered in an isometric perspective which is different to the world, and the new ones are correct relative to the floor but not the walls (because it is impossible)).
    I don't think the artists themselves are to blame, since the main flaw is with the perspective they're rendered at, and not the art itself. Getting the correct perspective would likely require more mathematical input than is a requirement for artists.

    I hope that made sense, it is difficult to describe in words, without making it a full lecture.
     
  50. canary

    canary Guest

    Well, you can lecture all you want. Doesn't change the fact the artists make it look bad.

    And it isn't simply circular items. The art is just plain bad. Period.