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New player demands red-carpet entrance

Discussion in 'UO Players Corner' started by Hannes Erich, Nov 13, 2008.

  1. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Kidding about the red-carpet demand, but wanted to introduce myself in case anyone is looking for newbies to give advice to. I grew up with the old Ultima games (pre-UO) starting with Ultima III, and played Ultima Online during the early nineties, in many ways a fundamentally different era for the game. I became curious and nostalgic after spotting a ten-year retrospective article on 1up.com, and after reading about Mythic's revival of elements from Ultima's canonical mythos. (Plus I am taking a long vacation from Eve Online.)

    I was a member of The Nobility on Great Lakes, a pre-beta guild that was listed in Prima's original UO guide along with The Syndicate and League of Pirates, the latter being occasional allies or enemies.

    I am very impressed by Mythic. I am returning to EA, after boycotting the company because of their mismanagement of Origin Systems, and Westwood Studios. I think the folks at Mythic are genuinely interested in creating worlds, in a way that reminds me of Origin Systems (rest in peace), and in a way that gives EA a second chance to earn my respect, trust, and money.
     
  2. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Good to have you back!
    However, you were not so wrong about demanding a red-carpet entrance.

    UO should offer a red-carpet entrance to new players!

    Why? Because there are none! The game has to be improved to be more accessible to new players, to give them a chance to compete without losing hope. That's the red carpet that should be introduced in order to get new subscribers.

    That, and a NEW KICK-ASS CLIENT!
     
  3. Hildebrand

    Hildebrand Certifiable
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    I too, started with Ultima 3. I didn't have a chance to get into UO back then, but I watched my cousin play it when it came out (as he would get constant crashes).
    There is some revival indeed! EM's coming back, new content, new Stygian Abyss, new SA client. Good times are coming!
    Roll out the carpet!
     
  4. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Good news!

    The bank of Haven, from front door to service counter, features a red carpet! Looks like anything is possible in Ultima Online.

    Speaking of which, I'm very happy to receive your welcome, Hawkeye. I was a long-time reader of your Travelogues website, and I'm glad to see you're back in the community.

    I respectfully disagree about the new player experience being hopeless. Instead of upgrading my account from 1997, I started a new account. In 1997, you remember, you were dropped off on the street with not much to start with. In stark contrast, the NPC guides and quests in New Haven are fun and rewarding. They are also well-written and extremely informational. Of course, things can always be improved; but added to the constant stream of helpful players dropping by New Haven, the new player experience has come a very long way.

    The slow trickle of new players is more likely caused by an issue with UOGamecodes.com that is preventing anyone, except for existing account holders, from purchasing a New Account Creation Code. However, I have updated EA Support about it, and meanwhile purchased Mondain's Legacy from Markeedragon.com. EA Support has not responded yet.

    Hildebrand, what does "EM" stand for? I am very much looking forward to the new expansion as well! I hear there are many improvements in the SA client. Like many others, I favor the 2D client, but I will give the SA client a try.
     
  5. Hildebrand

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    I was referring to the Event Moderators. I look forward to the new events that they will put forth. I'm not sure how it works exactly, but I'm excited.
     
  6. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Are there still Seers in UO? Or do Event Moderators fill that role? (They sound very similar.) It also reminds me of the volunteer counselor program that caused a stir back in the beginning. Don't get me wrong, I admired that program and was sad to see it go.

    The EM application is very thorough. :scholar:
     
  7. RoseBlue

    RoseBlue Seasoned Veteran
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    LOL LOL LOL
    Too funny
    How could there be?
    I'm not totally a newbie (hem...not "totally" I said) and I have no idea where in Khaldun Sicarii is!...

    (my stealther with 115 stealth gets revealed every second when I'm trying to explore lol)
     
  8. sayler04

    sayler04 Guest

    Speaking as someone who has felt like a newbie for most of my 5 years (across nine years) in-game, I can hionestly say that I'm GLAD there arent tons of new people all the time. Yep, GLAD. I'm not being elitist; rater it comes down to two salient points.

    First, I was talking with a friend this evening who plays WoW. He loves it. Its great. It s SO popular, with ten million subscribers or something. He tried to log onto his usual (insert WoW term for shard here), and had to wait nearly 40 minutes to get on because its THAT popular. If I had to wait 40 minutes to get onto UO, i'd find some less popular game to play. I LIKE that it doesnt take me 40 minutes to walk across a city because there are so many people in it that im in a state of permanent lag-spike. And I like that there are places I can fight monsters or harvest resources without waiting for a respawn that i will have to compete for. Sure, I like new players-- they enhance the experience and the community-- but there IS such a thing as too much of a good thing, in this case.

    Second, less new players means more opportunity to older players and newbies to interact positively. If there were thousands of newbies around, a select few would get the positive support and encouragement of vets, while most would flounder around for a bit and ultimately quit the game. For years i've had a very small house that i kept solely for sentimental reasons. The other day I made friends with a new player and ended up giving him the house. I could have sold it for dirt or let it fall, but it was my first house in UO and my first IDOC and i remember it fondly. So I got to give it to a newbie, and alot of other things to, and he will appreciate it far more than someone who stumbled into UO at the behest of a commercial and will be gone in a month.

    Speaking of commercials, when is the last time you saw a TV ad for Ultima online? A print ad? Perhaps the reason we get so few new players ISNT that the new player content needs work, but that UO has no advertising presence. I see commercials for WoW all the time, but I don't think I ever saw a UO commercial, even when it first came out. I think the new player stuff is pretty useful, honestly, and alot of fun.

    I understand the need for new players, and I always harbor some deep-seeded fear that subscription will drop fatally, but there's more than one way to skin a cat. And I think the developers are doing a great job at the skinning.


    rage
     
  9. Good points ... and I agree that the lack of advertising of UO has hurt. Much more than <insert pet peeve here> or <insert another peeve here> has ever done.

    It was less than 5 years ago I could go into the local s/ware store and see at least a couple versions of UO on the shelves. Now? Nada ... but scads of WoW and so forth.
     
  10. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Rage, you may be right, partially.

    However, I wouldn't assume there can only be two scenarios: No new players at all, and so many new players that the login servers are overloaded. Come on, you wouldn't really close UO to new players just to avoid lag? You can't be serious? However, UO will never be that popular that servers will actually be overloaded, unless a miracle happens. And even if - it is quite easy to add a few machines for load balancing and avoid lag spikes. WoW seems to fail on that. But it only is a technical issue, which can be solved.

    About marketing: To be honest, if you'd show UO screenshots or in-game movies in a TV ad, you'd ridicule the game more than help to make it popular. These yester-tech graphics would give customers a totally wrong impression about the depth and extensiveness of UO. Showing this old client on TV would be a plan that would probably backfire.

    I still think UO's hope lies within new players. You've been playin UO for as long as I did. Look back to the Early Days, and compare with today:
    Player communities are dead! RP communities are dead! I know from back in 2000, when Catskills had at least 10 player-run towns and at least 20-30 active RP guilds. Guild battles, events and RP interaction happened several times a week. Today, I know maybe 2 half-active RP guilds, and the handfull of player towns are deserted. There's only one guild on Catskills that actually organizes regular events. And even if you announce it everywhere 7 days in advance, you are lucky if 5 people are showing up. There's maybe 5 big active guilds, all focusing on peerless, Doom and champ spawns, searching for items and artifact all day long.

    The game today is mostly about items. People seem to search only for more and more uber items to complete an insanely valuable suit, so you can solo the Dark Father and achieve the next nifty artifact. That's what everybody is striving for. And it is a typical veteran player issue. New players would bring back the innocence, the sense of adventure and interaction to UO, which is what this game needs most. And if the old content was more diverse and attractive, maybe even some veterans would put away their 50-million-gp-suit and venture a dungeon in newbie armor again.

    (I generalized here, and of course there are exceptions. But that's what they are: EXCEPTIONS!)
     
  11. sayler04

    sayler04 Guest

    Hawkeye, I will concede some of these points. I do miss the days of rp guilds, which are so non-existant that seeing the rare solo-RPer at the bank is sadly refreshing. I miss player run towns, which exist only instructure, and those only occasionally. Community activity barely exists, and YES, the game has become largely item-driven for alot of people. Even hunts that necessitate group effort have resulted in groups that exist solely for the purpose of gaining items and gold. A sad state of affairs indeed.

    One of the things I remember most fondly from the old days was going to the anti-virtue dungeons, particularly shame, and wandering around healing, resurrecting, and otherwise rescuing training newbies. It was fun and enriching, and a great way to welcome new players into the fold. Those dungeons now are mostly empty, as any newbie melee-er ends up finding a golem and training up to legenday without ever spilling a drop of blood. I don't think that its the newbie quests which have sapped the life out of the new player experience; rather, its the lack of ANYTHING entertaining to do at skill levels between 60 and 100. Even with my elder mage, uber-suit and all, i'm repeadely eviscerated by sicarii, by invasion spawn, and the ghosts of magincia. Not too much to keep it from being enjoyable, but events like these are rarely of the ilk that encourages new player participation. Similarly for crafters, is there even a point to making weapons and armor at any skill level under legendary? There is no longer a market for anything but the best of the best, excepty under the rarest circumstances.

    For those of us who have been around long enough to know the depth and extent of UO potential, we have the patience to train those uber characters, to muddle through the incredibly boring parts where we can't hope to find, make, sell, buy or fight for uber-items and rares. But for those just coming in, i imagine the effect would be a few weeks of slow disappointment resulting in cancelled accounts.

    I believe the return of EMs will go far to enhance the community. And I think its very important for vets to take newbies under their wing, until they learn to love uo as we do. I also think, as was stated earlier, that even a more visible presence in software stores would go a long way to bringing in new people. Ad execs are clever enough and sleazy enough (no offense to ad execs out there, i come from a long line of em) that they can get around the shortxcomings inherent in screenshots. Community expansion rests upon two basic supports: getting new players and keeping them. And it falls to the developers, the marketers AND the players to take responsibility for these.


    rage
     
  12. GFY

    GFY Guest

    I agree completely. Would it really hurt for UO to come out with a CD like UO Gold did a few years ago. Give new players the almost latest version and some nice treats to entice vet players to buy the CD. I always thought the time period around SA, UO Gold, & Mondains Legacy was one of the hey days for UO. Lots of new content, lots of new toys, and lots of new and vet players.
     
  13. sayler04

    sayler04 Guest

    Not sure if this succinctly pertains to the thread, but i think it does. If not, apologies, and do what you will, O moderator!

    I tink another thing hindering the new player experience, and indeed the not-new player experience, is POLITENESS or a lack of it. Again, once you're in-game long enough, you get used to the fact that some people allow their worst nature to run rampant when dressed in the anonymity of online conversation; we can take it, albeit grudgingly. But for the new player who may not understand etiquitte, or may simply need more information than their target feels like lowering themselves to give, the ofttimes callous comportment of many in our community can be an instant dealbreaker. And for the rest of us, we deserve better than abusing one another.

    Today I happened to be at home crafting when another player recalled in and was looking at my vendors. Because I tire quickly of looking for one specific needle in the haystack of vendor houses, I asked said player if there was anything specific I could help him find. He replied "p*ss off".

    Now, I can understand if someone pks you and you get mouthy. I can understand if you think someone is scamming you and you get mouthy. I can even understand iof someone won't leave u alone and you get mouthy. but come on! If we want to KEEP new players, and each other, around, we need to realize that being an avatar instead of a person is not carte blanche to me a jerk.

    So, for our new players, PLEASE demonstrate graciousness unless the situation calls for it. It may not be a red carpet at the door for newcomers, but the lack of hungry guard leopards might help.
     
  14. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    Hail, original poster here. As a new account holder, I can guarantee you that access to the game service is the first step toward strengthening the player base. This may sound obvious. But as I described earlier in this thread, there is an issue with UOGamecodes.com that is preventing purchases of the Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy New Account Code.

    I will continue to use official channels in order to notify EA/Mythic of the issue, and will hope for the best.
     
  15. Cailleach

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    Just like to say that if any of you are on Europa and need anything/have questions that need answered/would like to go invasion hunting or any other hunting with others, give me a shout here, via PM or on icq (451 321 008) or grab someone in game with the SAOR guild title. We're happy to help :)

    For me, when I started to play 2yrs ago, even with a vet husband alongside, I found things pretty overwhelming. 2yrs down the line and I'm still learning something new most days. The game can be incredibly overwhelming, simply because of its amazing depth and complexity. The one thing I would have found useful in my pack when I landed was a book with basic templates and information about armour, resists, stats and skills. And things like 'mages need int, not dex'! That is the reason I set up SAOR - to help those who are new, who have questions and who would like to have access, via guild chat, to more experienced players. That, to me, is the most important thing we offer - the ability to chat to others without having to go and find them ingame to do so. Some of our players stay with us, some move on to other guilds, some decide the grass isn't greener and come back. We teach the new ones to be polite, to ask before piling in on spawn, how to recognise, and deal with, scripters, and how to play the game to get the most out of it for them. We don't always succeed, but we try :)
     
  16. Hannes Erich

    Hannes Erich Seasoned Veteran
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    After being around for a couple of weeks now, I can offer a little advice to starting warriors. Not the sort of advice that will carry you through the long-term advancement of your character(s). But advice that will carry you through the next few days.

    The most important bit of advice is to enjoy--and take advantage of--your young player status for as long as it is designed to last.

    A friend from another game joined Ultima Online shortly after me. When I saw his young player tag missing (from over his head) I asked him what the matter was. He said he got rid of it.

    I asked him why.

    He showed me his blue beetle, and explained that someone had offered him the mount, but that in order to accept the offer... he had been required to remove his young player tag--an action that could not be undone.

    A blue beetle.

    Meanwhile, I had the wealth and benefit of forty playing hours worth of helpful advice from the many veterans hanging around New Haven, as well as high resist armor, high property weapons, and half a million in donations.

    I looked at my friend's blue beetle, and I shook my head in sympathy.
     
  17. Moral of the story: Never, ever - under ANY circumstances - renounce your [Young] status! Fast skill gains and simple play can easily wipe it out as it is and beetles will be around a lot longer than young status.

    With damn few exceptions, a young player can be virtually unattackable and can easily roam the lands with impunity from attack by monsters. Great learning tool.