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How EA can invest several million in the franchise and not regret it

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Hannes Erich, Apr 15, 2013.

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  1. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Eve Online now eclipses UO's peak subscriber base in 2003. AND IT'S A DECADE OLD. They did it with face lifts. Well, if you haven't noticed, isometric action RPGs are big again. So let's talk. Want to make that sort of money off this old game? Here's how.

    The EC can be salvaged with unrivaled success. Its engine is modern, and Pinco has given its UI the best suite of features in the entire isometric RPG genre, although it needs to be optimized for some performance issues. It's a wonderful client with lackluster implementation.

    Not just a face lift.

    Don't throw out the EC, re-imagine it from the ground up. Make it or break it. Don't treat this like just a face lift. Treat it like building a new game on top of an established one. Create black moon gates within the old servers and charge players a discounted, one-time purchase price to copy (not move! one-way trip!) their characters and items to "Ultima Online 2", the way it should have always been built--built on top of Ultima Online, retaining all of your subscribers characters and items. This will end interdependence (new items, races and facets with zero duplication requirements), it will easily bring your old players back--and after 15 years you have the lion's share--and encourage existing ones to move forward; it will begin the new era.

    I've been a fan of the Classic Client for 15 years, but it's time to polish it off, wrap up some unfinished things, put a bow on top for a booster pack, and then put it--and ALL THE SERVERS running it--into maintenance mode.

    Want to compete with Diablo III, Torchlight II, Path of Exile? The planned Torchlight MMO?

    Spend several million on this. Introduce an extensive and optional quest system into the middle of your sandbox (maybe sell story arc packs in the store), a rich pet and companion system (sell pets and hirelings on steroids), as well as an auction house, and vendors who BUY items from players (you know, like those crappy Sphere servers were doing years ago).

    There is absolutely NO reason to build another ARPG from scratch. Ultima Online has GREAT systems and features in place. There's your foundation for something bigger. You know it, I know it. But the art doesn't compete, and that means you're not competitive. So stop doing what you're doing, take my suggestions (they're free!), and make yourselves some money.

    Competitive means competing (the face lift)

    HD, HD, HD! If the environment art pixelates too much on a close zoom, you're doing it wrong. Build this for contemporary specs. You're doing this for new customers, and to bring back all the customers you've lost to better looking isometric RPGs! Don't just hire a superb artist and animator. Hire a team of them.

    Since dragons and other creatures in western fantasy look different from those in eastern fantasy, make both variants, and spawn them regionally.

    For the face lift portion, your new high definition art should allow players to zoom much closer to their characters. Great! Build an item store rich in cosmetics (as well as temporary stat boosts and other consumables for use in Trammel), and give your isometric player base a level of customization seen no where else in the genre. Sell faces, body types, mood stances, voice and body emotes, new race skins for RP.

    UGC

    The current kings of the MMO industry are starting to agree to the obvious: user generated content represents a substantial return on investment. It means player investment and retention. It means thousands of people doing your work for free. Give players map editors and give them the ability to create little bits and pieces of the world, wherever programming limitations allow. Steal Linkrealms' idea. Google it.

    ULTIMA ONLINE IS DEAD.
    WAIT. NEVER MIND. JUST SLEEPING.
    LONG LIVE ULTIMA ONLINE.

    When you're finished with a good, polished release version of all of this, open up a slew of new Free To Play servers, and charge a one-time purchase price to all the new players who will be ditching their crappy isometric ARPGs for what you've built--the industry's first and final, definitive say in the matter. Ultima Online.

    Let's save UO, let's do this, let's make EA a crap ton of money, create some jobs, beat UO's peak record, and give birth to the next era. All over again.
     
    #1 Hannes Erich, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  2. Cogniac

    Cogniac Grand Inquisitor
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    It's a good sign that people are still invested enough in this game to keep making posts like this, and I really hope such things continue for years to come.

    That said: EA is never going to seriously invest in UO ever again. None of this is ever going to happen. EA cares just enough about UO to keep it from entirely collapsing so they continue to get easy money.
     
  3. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Never mind that. Would you buy this if you saw it on a box in the store, or on sale for download? That's all I care about. I know I would. I'd also continue to play on Classic Client servers. But that's going to end up in maintenance mode sooner or later anyway.

    EA doesn't care about easy money, EA cares about return on investment. Sometimes that's coincidentally the same, sometimes there's a Big Difference.
     
    #3 Hannes Erich, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
  4. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    I think you may be a) simplifying a major....major project, similar to previous terrible failures, but more expensive and larger in scope and b) overestimating the potential return.

    It really makes no sense to hump a new game "on top" of the old one. No sense at all. Just make a new one in the same spirit. Though I doubt they would do that, as 500k is a sub ceiling, and thats really not that impressive. They already have a handful of failed multi million dollar mmos on their hands.
     
  5. SpyderBite

    SpyderBite Sage
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    The subscription only model for UO has to go regardless of what they reinvent, change or leave the same.

    I spent $60 on the initial purchase of GW2 and I easily drop $50-$100/month on in game purchases. I pay $15/month on SWtOR but don't spend much in game purchases with the exception of the latest expansion and some cosmetic novelties.

    I spend $13 on UO for a month or two before it occurs to me that I'm not really getting my money worth. So I drop the sub, play and spend hundreds of dollars in other games for 9 or 10 months.

    UO is really on life support and has been for almost a decade. Which is fine. It means it will keep going for those of us who want to pop in for a couple months of nostalgia. But, until Mythic/EA rethinks their revenue strategy, UO is never going to do more than nickel and dime a very small niche gamer community.

    I have no problem with any of the scenarios that play out down the road. But I'd prefer to see a f2p with RL$ trading/store/etc. model. I'd probably spend more in a month than I did the first 3 years of subscriptions I paid beginning in 1997.
     
    Mitzlplik_LS likes this.
  6. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    Instead of realizing the growth potential of UO, EA is stuck in looking for the next/latest/greatest thing. Which is why they continue to fail.
     
  7. Aran

    Aran INFRACTION INFRACTION INFRACTION!
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    I won't play UO without the client I started playing it in, I'm sure I'm far from alone.
     
  8. Vexxed

    Vexxed Certifiable
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    Umm what makes you think people that have been playing this game for 15 years with the Classic Client would be even REMOTELY ok with this? I sure woudn't..... Matter of fact I'd rather see UO Die & turn to Ash then to see the version of it I know & love turned off in favor of the EC. I kinda stopped reading after that.....
     
    #8 Vexxed, Apr 15, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2013
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  9. Rupert Avery

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    Argh not another CC vs EC thread...
     
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  10. yars

    yars Lore Keeper
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    allow players to mod the game, not just the interface
     
  11. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Can we PLEASE stop with these 'client wars' threads?

    They absolutely nothing except antagonise the community and set posters at each others' throats.

    Go petition EA to invest in the game if you really believe in what you're saying - no one here can do anything about it, not even Mesanna, unless I badly miss my guess.
     
    LordDrago and Lord Frodo like this.
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