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Maybe "Off Camera" should be the new Producer of UO

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Hanokh1967, Mar 3, 2011.

  1. Hanokh1967

    Hanokh1967 Guest

    I work Tuesday evenings so I was unable to watch the video. I read the transcript last night and am dumbfounded by what I read:

    Cal and Mesanna came across as two strangers that had met five minutes before the camera started rolling and never heard of UO before that moment. Neither seemed to have any idea of what was going on in UO now or what is planned for the future. Neither seemed to have any idea what the other was working on now or had been working on in the past. No wonder the communication with the playerbase is so bad--they don't seem to communicate with eachother!

    The person(s) listed as "off camera" in the transcript seemed to me the only one that had any idea what was going on in UO or why there was a camera there recording in the first place. This "off camera" person seemed to have to prompt Cal's every answer and repeatedly remind him of the subject being discussed!

    Was this a member of the development team, a PR person, an EA exec? It seems like Cal needed permission and direction from this person to even speak.

    Maybe once I see the video firsthand, it won't be as bad. I wasn't expecting much good news, but did expect a basic level of coherence in laying out the plans for the future of UO.
     
  2. jaashua

    jaashua Guest

    It didn't look that bad.

    But, yes, lots of "we're thinking about that" or "We've discussed that".
     
  3. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    "Off Camera" is probably the guy who decides what they are and are not allowed to say.

    It's hard to have a "converstation" when you get in trouble every other step for something you say.
    Since Mythic took over years back our dev team isn't even allowed to post without having their posts checked.
    Gone are the days of candor and open discussion.
    It makes for uncomfortable conversation on both sides, and until we as the paying customers get the higher-ups to change their ways it will continue.
     
  4. :talktothehand: NO!

    You wanna >shut down< the entire Audio Visual Support Department?

    get out ... :lol:
     
  5. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Yeah, I get bad vibes from it all. "The team" seems to be cut to the bone, leaving things disorganized and chaotic, and not due to their own fault. It's like they have a handler who's really pulling the strings, and those strings are tightening and choking UO from the ground up.
     
  6. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Well, after seeing the video, I have to back off partly from that comment. I still feel that the Devs have been constrained by the situation, laid off employees, cut backs, whatever. But, and not to blame anyone for this, the text version left me with a very wrong impression of how that went.
     
  7. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    notice Cal said he was "currently" in charge of UO. That initially sounds like either his days are numbered, or since UO satisfaction levels have been so consistently high, maybe a promotion.
     
  8. HD2300

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    FYI "Off Camera" is the new Community Manager of Mythic. He just got promoted. Not bad having only started less than 1 month ago.
     
  9. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    Or he is fed up with the corperate crap he has to deal with and is ready to move on.
     
  10. Restroom Cowboy

    Restroom Cowboy Visitor

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    I agree with Flutter, it has to be tough to get hammered by both sides. Higher exec's I suppose on one side, us on the other. This stuff has to be like walking on egg shells for them...*sighs*
     
  11. canary

    canary Guest

    This started WAY before Mythic hit the scene.
     
  12. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    It seems to be different from team to team. Having been through the various team from before T2A through now, some teams were more open than others. You had some devs that would get on the test centers with the players to test out things, Firedog for those who remember did this quite a lot. Some would get on the boards and mix it up with the players, others would hang back.

    Right now we have a much more guarded dev team than the one that was during the KR-SA era even though some devs were present in both teams, they seem a lot less vocal at the current time than previously.

    The "days of candor" have ebbed and flowed over the years, right now we seem to be at an ebb (even considering this week's HoC).
     
  13. Doubleplay

    Doubleplay Lore Keeper
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    I am sure it is OK, and even expected to dress super casual, to slouch in your chair, giggle a lot, and try to make a play on every word when you work in the software industry.

    Professionals know that when you go public, some of this should be left hidden from view. The public invests a lot of time and money in the product. They need to be reassured that you are serious about delivering it. I wish I had not watched this. 12 years I have invested. Please treat the questions with respect next time. Please prepare your answers. Live chat may be appropriate for a few off the wall questions, but I contend the player base is interested in the hundreds of well established questions that the team has had plenty of time to address properly. Why hasn't that been done in a serious manner?
     
  14. canary

    canary Guest

    I have to agree with this. While I do not want a bunch of 'suits' on video, it doesn't help morale to see the dev team look so... unprofessional. It only adds to the notion that they appear to care little for the product they work on.
     
  15. Shelra

    Shelra Seasoned Veteran
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    One needs to understand that when you are management, there will be decisions made that 'all the people' will not agree with, nonetheless, follow through is essential for the growth of the business, no matter what that business is. This being said, I feel the repoire between the three were positive, they didn't give me the feel they were not on the same page. They gave the impression that some decisions were made and they were not prepared to share with the public at this time. This is not necessarily indecisiveness, but on their list of what is in the works. They gave the impression they have alot on their plate that although concrete decisions have not been made, they seem to make it a priority, hence the remarks that they take to heart of what players are voicing, which I feel Cal and team will take into consideration of integrating what may or may not come to the player base in the future. They are listening. Do they have to share everything with us? No, nor is it feasible in reality. Would it be nice? Yes. As management, you learn it may not be in the best interest to alert others to what is on the plate/in the works for the process could cause un-needed distress that in the end may have nothing to do with the final outcome.
     
  16. unified

    unified Guest

    :thumbup1:
     
  17. unified

    unified Guest

    :thumbup1:
     
  18. Tinsil

    Tinsil Guest

    :thumbup1:
     
  19. RJO

    RJO Guest

    Where is the video of the townhall by the way?
     
  20. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    There is a link to it on the UO Herald, and here in U-Hall someplace.

    Looks like it was recorded by the same great lady who sometimes records events, not by the Mythic folks. Cheers for the Lady of the Video.

    -Galen's player
     
  21. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Surprisingly enough it's in this thread:
    [NEWS] House of Commons Video Chat


    I think a few people ought to watch it again, listening to what's actually said and not what they've twisted it to mean. To actual hear things like Supreme hasn't finished the arenas because he had to work on the server migration. Things like you can't transfer off Siege because it was deliberately set up in the first place to make that option impossible.
    Also think about maybe the team know exactly what the plans are, but are less sure how much they can tell the ravening wolves laying in wait for the least mistake or failure to deliver, no matter what the reason, to tear them apart.
    YOU lot keep them silent, with your 'go for the jugular' attitude.
     
  22. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
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  23. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    Petra I'd love to have some of the koolaid you drank, but reality is in perception. The perception is bad. Seriously the Dev team has no idea what the bug report email is?????? They had no idea what the hot topics are in the community so they could have been more prepared??? That video should been used to get people energized and excited about the game, not demotivate people. Here's an idea, offer information, maybe something NOT asked that people didn't know you are working on. Instead they gave the impression that they are working on NOTHING since almost every question was answered with a not right now, someday, I'd like to do that, No way, etc. Tell us what you ARE working on or planning for the future (that's approved of course).

    I just wanted to add this as well, back when double D, Designer Dragon was on board we all had many heated debates over the direction of the game but you got the impression it was more than a job for Raph, he actually cared about the game.
     
  24. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    I didn't get that impression at all.
    Not after actually seeing the video.
    I think these folks actually have a real good grasp on things. I don't totally like the way things are going, not 100%. But at the same time, as I think about things, there's a lot of problems they have to deal with and work around.
    Overall, I came away very pleased with their dedication to UO for what it's supposed to be. And I think this group of Devs is a continuation of the Draconi group (naturally), who started putting the shattered pieces of UO back together again.
    There is hope, Avatar.

    Another note, some of you want them to be more professional. Ok, I'm sure they can work on that. But that's not a big issue, really, is it? I mean, professionals can dismantle a game just as well as anyone else.

    And finally, are those pirate boots Mesanna is wearing? Whatever, nice!
     
  25. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
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    Ha I thought I was the only one that noticed the boots
     
  26. Kiminality

    Kiminality Guest

    I'd actually love some of what you've been drinking, because there's times I just plain can't muster irrational negativity, no matter how hard I try a little slither of logic sneaks in, and suddenly I'm a cheerleader for not being able to criticise everything that comes from the devs' mouths.
     
  27. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    your avatar almost sent me in an epileptic fit... :stir:
     
  28. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
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    lol I think its cute!!
     
  29. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    What you consider negativity I see as concern and constructive criticism. Nothing personal at all. Nobody can argue the overall direction the game has gone has reduced the number of players. That would lead me to believe the game is moving in the wrong direction and that concerns me.
     
  30. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

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    it actually is too much, thats why you can't stop looking at it and almost die...

    dahifikljg.éb.é...
     
  31. Thav12

    Thav12 Seasoned Veteran
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    Firstly, I like the fact that they even put out these videos. Gives you a very sort of personal involvement kind of feel in this game. I mean seriously, do you expect to have a personal conversation with your game developer in every game? In UO we get as close to that as possible. Thousands of people play this game, are passionate about it and want to have a personal impact on this game and its development. Personaly, I think that is what makes this game so great. I also think that the dev's are truly trying to capitalize on that aspect by allowing players to more or less directly ask questions and get personal replies. Fantastic.

    Secondly, I think if you do put out these kind of video's, it would be better (really) if you script it a little bit more. I like the spontaneous eh's and oh's, followed by ehms and maybe's, but these questions could have been anticipated, and more profoundly answered without these glances of surprise. Also, by scripting the conversations a little bit more, you could have steered the conversations a bit more in the direction of information rather than being defensive about the game plans. There is nothing to be defensive about.

    Finally, I wish that the plans would be available for us to comment on. For instance, put publish 77 ideas out there. Not for us to say yay or nay, but to provide feedback. THis way, you can be excited about changes, or hate them, but still anticipate how it is going to impact your gameplay. I think it would tie the players even more profoundly to the game. This smoke and daggers kind of stuff only seems to make people feel upset that they are left in the dark. Now, story-lines and surprises could still be rolled out without everyone able to read about it 6 months ahead of time. True communication and community involvement implies you actually get people involved and communicate with them. Everyone will understand it when Supreem writes in a thread on publish 75, "hey that idea of ours to put arena's in where you can challenge you neighbors using a copy of your favorite char was cool, but I can't pull it off technically without allowing 200 ways of creating dupes to surface" Ok, plan shelved and taken of the publish list. However, If in that same thread his plan to allow people to only bring 6 apples and 10 potions is put forth and you can't reenter the arena for an hour after having been there, it may be cool to be able to suggest that we should have a bank access option. Supreem can then also write "hey, cool, did not think of that and I can program that in 5 min." (These examples are of course purely for illustration purposes and do not pertain to anything)

    Not drinking cool aid, just sayin. Can't wait for some important EC updates!
     
  32. Kiminality

    Kiminality Guest

    Over time, any game will lose players for numerous reasons, from the simple fickleness of human nature, to life moving on.
    UO is in an awkward point regarding growth that pleasing the existing players and pleasing potential players carry a degree of exclusivity.
    As UO stands, as you yourself have observed, it doesn't appear to be drawing in more players than it's losing (hence the populations decline), but moves to make the game more appealing to potential players are often met with strong criticism/opposition from existing players.
    In that situation, there would appear to be no "right direction".
    The current trend for pouncing on every move the devs make (which I may have misjudged you as following, so apologies if that is so) does nothing to help the situation, as it only serves to penalise the developers for reaching out to the players.

    PS. (I still want some negativity juice, if anyone's got some spare)
     
  33. Well, it isn't >really< like it is difficult to find something to "pounce on" ... now is it?

    NOT being a new game and all ... what is being pounced on (come on, Walked on the wide plains of ...)
    Is the performance of >the games software<

    GM's a different department that are beyond influnce? FINE !!!
    more time to work on the games software performance
    Marketing gonna go towards more "digital download"? FINE !!!
    more time to work on the games software performance
    UOGamecodes "placement process" is difficult? FINE !!!
    more time to work on the games software performance
    Too difficult to research and arrive at a decision re: Classic? FINE !!!
    more time to work on the games software performance
    Too costly in $s and manpower to maintain an inhouse forums? FINE !!!
    more time to work on the games software performance
    Not sure how or where the bug reports come from? FINE !!!
    Put a sticky up on herald ...
    more time to work on the games software performance
    Want to create a better NPE? FINE !!!

    Ask the established Vets WHERE to spend
    more time to work on the games software performance
    so that:
    The new player doesn't get all pumped up IN the NPE and crashes and burns(Ganked and swindled)
    In the incomplete and buggy systems IN the software IN the wider world ...

    :scholar: Oh yeah ...working on the games software performance should be a priority ...
    It doesn't seem to be ... produced product wise(software performance) ...

    Might want to put some attention on that ... :danceb:
     
  34. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    All tapped out of the juice, I went on a binge last night. Seriously though, UO was always the game that was different than an EQ, AC, DAOC, WOW, etc. When EQ came out people flocked to it in groves from UO, then many came back because it did not hold their interest like UO. The players that came to UO in the beginning were probably the "core" mass of the gamer population that they were ever going to get and would likely play until the day they died. They were the people not attracted to flashy graphic uber loot driven games. The more UO tries to draw in new players it's becoming more like those games that most of us wouldn't play in the first place. In doing that they will never be able to compete with these flashy games, so why alienate your hard core player base?
     
  35. [​IMG]
     
  36. Trebr Drab

    Trebr Drab Guest

    Dirty rotten EA execs! Bean Counters!
     
  37. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I happen to agree with Kiminality - there are people that leave games and leave UO for reasons that have nothing to do with the game itself. That's just a given. If anything it maybe speeding up with UO, because of UO's age From 2003 - 2008, losing %66 of your players is bad. It's not like Warhammer Online bad, but it's bad.

    I think updated art and a new player experience does not have to change UO, and I happen to think that UO can compete with these flashy games if it gets an update to the modern era. There are so many players that bounce from game to game looking for something. They ignore UO because of the graphics, and if they overlooked those graphics, with the current new player experience, they probably won't get a good sense of UO. UO could very well be what they want, but they will never find that out.

    We should meet those players halfway. It doesn't mean we have to go 3D or move to levels or anything that radical, but it does mean we have to have a better client, better artwork that scales on modern computers, and a better experience for new players. Those players could keep UO going past the 20th anniversary.

    The worst damage has been done to UO - Trammel and AOS. Short of being turned into a rail-based leveling game, the worst has already been done to UO and it can't be fixed easily. Trammel disrupted communities and created a large geographic split. AOS made the game item-based. Things can not get worse than either of those. I could toss in Pub 16 as well.

    UO doesn't have to change at its core to meet these new players and rope them in. A lot of us remember moving up to 1024x768. These younger MMO players, the only time they've experience such low resolutions is on their iPads or phones.
     
  38. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    I hear what you're saying, we can't undo what's been done. The land mass has increased and the population decreased, bad combination. All of my friends that I have played with since the shard opened have left. The main reason is all of the changes. I have one friend that would come back, but he's been out for so long (and he's very old :)) I've offered to walk him through everything, supply whatever he needs etc. And honestly I tend to feel out of place anymore in this game. I belong to a large active guild on Chessy of very nice people but most are tamers, as most people tend to be anymore. I still play a warrior character, a sampire out of necessity, and as a sampire it's a very lonely existence. Enough pouring my heart out, time for a long island ice tea.
     
  39. silent

    silent Lore Master
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    I'm really digging that pic. :lol:
     
  40. Kiminality

    Kiminality Guest

    I remember moving up to 800x600...
    It was so much prettier on my 14" CRT...
     
  41. Doubleplay

    Doubleplay Lore Keeper
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    Make absolutely certain your kids don't accidently get this picture on their phones, I-pads, or notebooks. If caught in school with the picture, in today's world they will be kicked out of school forever. Trust me, I know. My son was expelled from high school for two years after carrying a mad magazine pic like this into English class folded in his book.

    BTW... He graduated with honors from the extension school and is now a very successful engineer.
     
  42. LordDrago

    LordDrago Certifiable
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    This reminds me of being in the same room as, and speaking to, officers from the Soviet Union. Many times you can notice them "checking" with someone else in the room before or during them answering a question you ask them. It was especially funny (perhaps you had to be there or be militaryto find it funny, but....) if the person they "checked with" was of lower rank than the speaker.

    Note: this same individual would also note if we spoke Russian, demonstrated a more than "normal" amount of knowledge regarding certain areas/systems/etc.


    Hmmmm....wonder if Cal might be heading to the EA Gulag.. hope not Cal!!! :)
     
  43. jbfortune

    jbfortune Slightly Crazed
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    What I find surprising is the "supporters" of the dev team still support them! Wonder what it will take to turn you to the other side?

    Don't you get fed up of repeated broken promises and missed deadlines?

    Lets be honest, the new player experience is going to be a dud. If a player does sign up and for some strange reason sticks around to play the full game, they'll see a broken mess. Compared to most MMORPGs from the last 5 years, they'll see a hard to control, poor looking, very empty (unless they manage to get to Luna) poorly supported, full of elitist players game and quickly cancel the sub and move on.

    Who needs instances with 60 players when I can build a small garden? It kinda reminds me of that Simpson's episode where the kids refuse to do the gardening but are quite happy to play the Virtual gardening game.

    I work in a coal mine, the last thing I want to do it mine some more for "enjoyment"
     
  44. canary

    canary Guest

    There are threads right now which address the concerns of players and developer priorities. :)

    I think this year they should concentrate on bug fixes, art, updating game mechanics (coughsPvPcoughs, coughsVirtuescoughs) and getting the game presentable before they work on tackling a new player experience. Because really, you might... MIGHT... get them in the door before they realize what a mess the game is in. And want new player would want to stick around for such a buggy mess of a game when there are many more polished professional looking games out there. For example, look at the Virtues. Supposedly the cornerstone of Ultima, and yet has went unfinished for like 8 or 9 years now? What other games do you know of that just build systems halfway, ignore them and move on?

    Getting the game up to speed and in line with more current games is paramount. If you build it (and advertise)... they will come.

    What I'm essentially saying is:

    Taking time to code in a flower bed shouldn't be a developer priority.
     
  45. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    The art stuff is obviously well ahead of the new player stuff. I was actually wondering if they would put all of this time into the new player stuff and then work on the art stuff, but the art plan is done, we just have to wait for PR to mangle it before giving it to us. Meanwhile the new player stuff still has a long ways to go in planning.

    What other games have the feature of almost the entire dev teams up and moving on or being laid off every so often? What other MMOs that are making a profit have the feature of losing members of their team because other parts of the company are losing money? There are bound to be some, but not many.

    I would put that right behind AOS/Tram for screwing up UO.

    Speaking of AOS, the lead designer for AOS is currently the lead designer for WoW. All of the major MMOs have had past UO devs attached to them at some point. I wonder if the EA executives ever stop and think that UO is just a training ground for their competitors. Maybe that's why they don't seem to care about UO at times. If they stopped and thought about how some of their biggest competitors are using talent that came out of UO, maybe they'd realize that the problem is EA.
    This is one thing I really don't get with a lot of UO players. They don't seem to have a lot of faith in UO. They think that even with new art and a better experience for new players, that UO just can't attract them. If they think so poorly of UO, I wonder why they are still around.
     
  46. canary

    canary Guest

    Because onlines are everywhere anymore, and you usually only get one chance to make a good impression on someone. Lots of competition, sadly. So you gotta bring the best game you can with the most polish to the market.
     
  47. Doubleplay

    Doubleplay Lore Keeper
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    Recent world events having renewed my confidence that dignity, character and pride still exist in our world, I would suggest that some of the issues we are talking about concern those virtues.