kitiara-atlantic put these together.As posted on Uhall. No Siege news is included, but there are still some interesting tidbits... Here are my notes from the event: UO Town Hall Meeting – Chicago 2008 Notes by Kitiara - http://www.uocraft.com Five on Saturday Jeremy apologized for the FoF AWOL this week, as she left her VPN key and laptop charger at home. Publish 56 should make it on to Test Center next week. 11th Anniversary Items: The items were supposed to be announced in a communication to BOTH Japan and the US, but there was a communication breakdown in marketing. The package will be released as a retail box in Japan in November. The items available in Japan will be exclusively available via the Japanese retail box for 30 days. After 30 days, they will be available in the US and elsewhere via the UOGameCodes.com store. Jeremy will release more details next week at the earliest, though more likely closer to December. There will be stuff included in the 11th Anniversary celebration that will be free. A suggestion for 11th Anniversary chariots was “noted” by Jeremy. Leurocian responded with, “That would be pretty cool!” Publish 56 Factions: There will be new buyable things with silver. A bug that allowed faction members to grief their own players by killing them to lose kill points will be fixed. Factions will play a role in the next live event arc. Halloween: Trick or treating will be available with new treats. Beggars will have an advantage in trick or treating. A bug with begging will be fixed in Publish 56. There will be themed activities to participate in. There will not likely be a “Shard of Screams” or Halloween shard this year. Jeremy explained that this is usually something the dev's do in their spare time, and with the Stygian Abyss expansion coming up, the dev's don't have much spare time. Live Event Content: There will be “changes” to Magincia with the upcoming live event content in Publish 56. Leurocian: The live event content in this publish “is comparable to an expansion in itself!” Factions are tied into the next live event arc. Taming: Tamers will no longer be able to command a pet to attack while hidden or stealthed. The tamer will be revealed. Plants: Plant seeds will NOT become stackable. Jeremy noted that they will really need a BOD style storage system due to the way that the individual seed items are handled. Since seeds with different ID's look the same, making them stackable would be confusing for players, aside from the lack of feasibility from a programming standpoint. Naturalist Quest – the new cactus with flower will be the only new plant available in the Blaze color via the Naturalist Quest. All other new plants will be available in the other rare colors. The bug preventing new plants from being cared for while locked down will be fixed. Miscellaneous: Blank scrolls will be able to use commodity deeds. Cooking items, amongst other things, will become stackable. The patch for KR for Publish 56 is huge – over 700MB. This is due to some new artwork and animations. Jeremy thinks that when we see the new art, we will definitely think it was worth the large download. After Publish 56: There will likely be one more publish in 2008. It will likely include bug fixes, more stacking items. In early 2009, there will likely be one publish before Stygian Abyss is released. This publish will likely push out the balance changes prior to the release of the expansion. Will the Treasures of Tokuno be turned back on? Jeremy: “That is not on the schedule to get turned back on.” What about squashing scripting and cheating? You could tell that both Jeremy and Leurocian wanted to tell us something, and several times they alluded to legal reasons why they could not elaborate, but did say that within 1 to 2 months, we should here some significant news on what is being done to prevent cheating. Jeremy specifically referred to speed hacks at one point. Will Dread Warhorses spawn again? Unknown. Will UO ever add built-in voice chat? Jeremy: There are no plans to add voice chat, as third party tools like Teamspeak and Ventrilo do a good job of serving that purpose. Will we get more fixed house designs (like the Classic houses)? Jeremy: Fixed house designs take a huge amount of work to implement from the art team, and it is not likely that fixed house designs will make it high enough on the priority list anytime soon. 11th Year Veteran Rewards are in progress. Will we get additional character slots? Maybe. Will we get additional points added to the skill cap? No. Instead, skills will be fixed in the balance pass to allow for template specialization as it was intended. Will UO get any sort of system similar to “Realm vs Realm?” No. The Balance Pass: Will likely be pushed as a publish in early 2009, prior to the release of Stygian Abyss. Greater Dragon fire breath will be nerfed for balance. It is much too powerful as is. Weapon accuracy is currently much too dependent on HCI and DCI and needs to be balanced. Chivalry will get a good amount of attention in the balance pass, as the team is not happy with how it is currently a 60 point skill – ie. There's really no reason to train it over 60, as you get a majority of the benefits of the skill even at that low level. Skills will be evaluated to make sure they scale properly to their maxes. Special moves are being investigated in the balance pass. Spell casting will be scaled to match the caster's skill level to the power of the spell effects. Stygian Abyss: Skills: Imbuing Allows players to bestow magical item properties to items. Any race can use the skill – not just gargoyles. Imbued items cannot be fortified. (So, fortify items before imbuing them). Max intensity level of a property: 100. Max number of properties per item: 5. Offers crafters more control than enhancing. Items won't break upon failure, but resources will be consumed. There will be no Self Repair property on imbued items. Can be trained up to 120. Will likely have a crafting-related method for acquiring power scrolls (as opposed to the current Champ Spawn loot). Will use a new item called a Soul Forge. The Soul Forge will likely come in 3 flavors: a house add-on, a public forge that will give a bonus to those using it, and a “Queen” forge in the gargoyle city that gives a maximum bonus when used. Players will need to earn the trust of the gargoyles in order to be allowed to use the max-bonus soul forge, and will need to be highly skilled in imbuing. Imbuing skill title: Artificer Those of us that like to hoard stuff should start stockpiling plain-jane magical weapons from loot, as they will be able to be “unraveled” to create imbuing ingredients. Unraveled items will create one of 3 levels of imbuing ingredients, called “relic fragments.” You may also want to start stockpiling granite, fertile dirt, dragon's blood, demon bones, taint, white pearl, eye of travesty, and regular gemstones. Mysticism A new school of magic with 16 new spells, requiring reagents. Skill title: Mystic Will be scaled by skill level to achieve maximum spell effects. For example, a summoned creature's power will depend on the caster's mysticism skill. Can be trained up to 120. Power scrolls will be available through Champ Spawns, as usual. Lower Reagent Cost (LRC) will work with mysticism. Spells: Purge Magic – Debuffs a current buff from a player or monster Enchant – temporarily enchants a weapon with a hit spell effect Animated Weapon – conjures a weapon to attack with, similar to blade spirits or energy vortices Stone Form – buffs the caster's defense at the expense of speed Spell Trigger – stores a spell on an item to be used later. (Trapped boxes were compared to the concept of this spell). Throwing A new ranged combat skill Thrown weapons automatically return to the wielder. Boomerang, Cyclone, SoClaive Skill title: Bladeweaver Technical: The SA client has been in development all year. The dev team has been working to squash every single bug in the KR client for its re-release as the SA client. That's why we haven't heard much about bug killing in KR – because the engineering team is hard at work making sure that every problem in KR will be fixed for the SA release. The SA client will use 2D art wherever it looks better. One example: housing walls. Some spell effects and art will be taken from KR as well. The SA client has a much smaller memory footprint. Memory leaks have been plugged. It handles animations much better, and this will contribute to easier expansion in the future and smaller patches. Jeremy will solicit a call for client feature requests within a month or so. There will be a beta test for SA. When? Unknown. The timeline is “fuzzy” right now. Miscellaneous: Will there be new artifacts in SA? Yes Are the SA lands like a facet? Yes Will there be new housing? Yes, but the team could not elaborate at this time. Are there any plans for new ridables in SA? No Regarding the new Flying ability of the gargoyle race: Flying behaves like riding an ethereal mount for purposes of combat. (ie. Similar to how you can be dismounted from a mount, you can be knocked to your feet from flying). “Epic Encounters” in SA: Peerless combat is intended for player groups of 1-5 people. Champ spawns, 5-10 people. SA will introduce “Epic Encounters” intended to be completed by groups of 10-20 people. They will be in the Felucca ruleset. Will there be anything new for fishers and treasure hunters? Yes, but there will be no changes to sea travel itself. Will there be changes to the Virtue system in SA? No Will we be able to convert from human to gargoyle? Probably, but there won't likely be a storyline or quest attached to the process a la human-to-elf because the team could not think of a storyline that didn't sound completely stupid. It will likely be something you “purchase” at an NPC shop or something along those lines. Will SA be on store shelves? Unknown. Jeremy explained that while store placement is good for visibility, it's not good for revenues due to packaging costs and the like. Aside from that, it is difficult to get retail stores to stock PC games in general due to the fact that the game stores make a good profit from reselling used console games, and that resale market does not really exist for PC games. So, PC games get a very small percentage of overall shelf space in the game stores to begin with, and then to get stores to stock a game with a niche market (read: small market) like UO is difficult. The stores are looking at their rate of return on that 6 inches of shelf space. Future Bug Investigations & Fixes: Taming gains: many people have reported the inability to gain taming through normal game play at high levels (117+). Leurocian cited a similar problem with Spellweaving, whereby there was a glitch in the code that prevented skill gains because no spell in the game had a difficulty high enough to qualify for a skill gain. The same thing may be happening with taming, ie. No pets have a difficulty high enough to qualify for a skill gain (other than the GGS gains). This will be investigated. The team will investigate a possible accuracy issue with moving shot/special moves as part of the balance pass. The team will look into problems with pet pathing (ie. Pets getting caught on corners of things when they're following their owners). Ideas That Were Noted by the Dev Team: Add chariots as an 11th anniversary item. Make champ spawn areas a free for all (ie. No murder counts). This might encourage Trammel players who want to remain blue and therefore don't want to go aggro and receive a murder count to go fight at the champ spawn areas. Could encourage participation from players who wouldn't normally do champ spawns. Give preference to players who achieve real skill as opposed to those who are buffed up by skill items. This was discussed in several contexts, including the issue of assigning how many stable slots a tamer should have. (It was also discussed in terms of combat skills). The dev team explained that they do have a general preference toward real skill over item buffed skill, but it is a tricky thing to change due to the fact that skill items (such as jewelry) DO exist in the game and are a huge part of the way people have played this game for years. Sweeping changes that affect peoples' playstyles must be very cafefully considered and handled on a case by case basis. That's not to say the team isn't working on ways to favor real skill over jewel-buffed skill, but that such changes will be made over time as opposed to a sweeping change in rules. The recent change to spell forms and jewelry was cited as an example that was theoretically a proper change, but got strong reactions from players because it affected the way they've customized their character templates and how they've been playing the game. Miscellaneous: Does the team endorse any third party sites for buying UO gold? Jeremy responded: Buying and selling items for cash in Ultima Online is NOT ILLEGAL. However, UO does not endorse any sellers and completely stays out of it. The head of Mythic is strongly opposed to the sale of in-game items for cash in MMO's, but UO has long held the stance that it is legal and that will not likely change. Regarding the fact that the login servers went down during the Town Hall Meeting: somebody accused Jeremy of forgetting to feed the hamsters before she left for Chicago. Her response: “That's not my job! I don't feed the hamsters – I just report on their condition!” Leurocian was hoping that the Scoundrel Rico would be in attendance to explain what the “la” means at the end of each of his posts in the forums. Does UO have GM's specifically trained in UO? Yes. How many? Not sure, but there is a dedicated UO customer support team.