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[NEWS] More from Cal

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Larisa, May 14, 2008.

  1. Larisa

    Larisa Reporting Manager
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    More From Cal
    Calvin Crowner
    14 May 2008
    12:25:25

    I’ve seen the slew of questions that arose from my last post, so I wanted to take the time to respond to a smattering of them:

    What is the size of the team?

    I will answer this as I answered the post to 4gamer.net: "As many as we need, but not as many as I'd like." I will tell you simply, I really enjoy the team as it is. The team relates well, plays well, and everyone enjoys their job.

    Raining down fire on malcontents, or contributing to a legendary tale of good and evil that's lasted longer than any other community … yes, we do love our jobs.

    Along with this subject, you may know that we lost a few folks in the transition from Redwood Shores. Fortunately we've been able to find other talent who both love the game, and are passionate about being part of the team. So what are we doing with these new people?

    Three things: Fixing, designing, and training.

    I will tell you we recently had to figure out where to put some new team members coming in next week without sitting them in Draconi's lap.

    Next:

    Why don't you tell us what's on the schedule?

    Simply because the schedule is subject and subjected to changes every six hours to six days, and in the case of the Epic event ... six MONTHS. We discussed the content for the Epic Event last October, and had to postpone it. We are still on target for the bulk of the content by late May, and it's going to be a prelude to something realm-changing.

    Some of the team saw the new art last week, and the Art Director himself was quite impressed. Our concept guys leapt at the chance to create this new content. Look for it in June.

    "Hey! Wait a minute! You said in late May!" I just proved my point.

    Why does it take so long to provide ?

    We are constantly going through levels of refactoring while we're implementing fixes and content. Often, problems we expected to take several hours can extend to a couple of days. To make something worthwhile, and to fix more than we break takes time. We've actually been getting the Evil Eye from QA a lot the last few days. So we would rather make sure it's fixed -- when at all possible -- before releasing it.

    In many ways you have all provided your own answers: "I've seen this for years and it's still broken." Historically, and presently the constant demand for content sometimes outweighs the time and resources to fix old features and systems. We'll try to do our best.

    Not only for the community but also for the respect and love of Ultima itself, that’s what keeps us pressing forward. I'll try to avoid the kumbaya moment, but there is so much behind the scenes that we can't share and at times we tend to draw blood from our bottom lip because we can't.

    I know you have all been very patient with multiple iterations of the Ultima Online team concerning bug fixes and content delivery. All I can say is thank you, and bow respectfully.

    Finally:

    What about KR? What about SA?

    As far as Kingdom Reborn is concerned – We have a couple of fixes going in this publish: walking as a ghost across the bridge in the Wind dungeon, and a legacy toggle issue with pink tiles around cave entrances. I’m not a fan of the color pink, sorry about the delay on this. There are a few others, but know we’re still working on more goodies. Also, we’re still investigating most of the topics discussed here on the boards. To this end, in the near future we’d like to do some server load/stress testing. We’re discussing between 20-25 players chasing a few devs and GMs around. Please be prepared to share frame rates, machine and OS specs.

    Also know all new content will be updated for both Kingdom Reborn and the Legacy clients for the Epic Event.

    Sighs. So much for the light publish.

    Begins to walk away...

    "WHAT ABOUT Stygian Abyss?! ..." He pauses slightly, without turning, a mild chuckle pressing the corners of the room, “We announced the expansion over a year ago, and you should be hearing more news about it soon.” He continues a slow shuffle into a dark room, most likely to be eaten by a grue.

    Door closes ... footsteps fade. Following you open the door to discover a beach at sunset. There is a blue page here.
     
  2. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
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    Eaten by many a grue myself. No flames. No trolls. (this time :D)

    Looking forward to the end of the month and news of SA in the near future.
     
  3. Pickaxe Pete

    Pickaxe Pete Lore Master
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    Sounds great! I look forward to the SA details soon(tm).
     
  4. RedDaTeef

    RedDaTeef Guest

    What a bunch of...that was. Thing is, either answer question or don't, Not some bs halfway in between. As another poster said to keep stringing ppl along.
    If they would stop playing fuseball next to the fireman pole while drinking latte cappichinos all day, they may actually get it crap done.
    Pathetic.
    *another step closer to quitting*
     
  5. Cyrah

    Cyrah Lore Keeper
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    Cal is exactly what I expect from EA.
     
  6. I want to believe
    I want to believe
    I want to believe

    But history is not on your side, Cal, and we have all been bitten before. Show us, make us believe.

    I want to believe
     
  7. DevilsOwn

    DevilsOwn Stratics Legend
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    *holds hands with ND*

    I want to believe
    I want to believe
    I want to believe
     
  8. Zodiac19

    Zodiac19 Guest

    Woo Hoo, Kr is getting a little more love.
     
  9. Raina

    Raina Journeyman
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    So the answer to the first question is, like, what... four?

    ~Rai
     
  10. falseprophet

    falseprophet Lore Master
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    no its 3.3897 you forgot to carry the 2. but sounds like Cal has been hanging around politicians too much and has perfected the no-answer answer
     
  11. Joyous2K

    Joyous2K Guest

    That's not the kind of love I wanted. That was more like a throbbing shaft. A walk on bridge fix and pink colors somewhere?? WTH?

    The 5 months of rabid bug fixes after the 8 month propaganda campaign was sweet & tender love. Alas, those guys don't work at UO anymore. This is just backdoor stuff.

    CAL - Keep up the good work. I am looking forward to the July post about the upcoming plans for UO, KR, SA. Throw in some of that good humor too. Maybe some Japanese language trivia and a Tom Cruise reference.

    Maybe in July you can tell us that you found the ultima-registration page and are looking into it.

    (I tell you as an aside Stratics AC, I like the thumbs down icon)
     
  12. Zooithion

    Zooithion Crazed Zealot
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    Thanks for the update!
     
  13. love2winalot

    love2winalot Guest

    Hail: Game Stop has previewed Warhammer 2 times already, and EA has it in closed beta, with a 4th quarter release. SA was announced as the next expansion before most of us had any idea that EA was making Warhammer online.

    So, Cal, .........Why can you all release tons of info about Warhammer, and act like if the letters, "SA", come out of your mouth, you would get fired? Since when is an expansion of a 10 year old+ game, held in more secretcy than a brand new MultiPlayer on line game?

    If I write a letter to GameSpot asking about upcoming releases, and ask about SA, I will bet they say, "What game is that? Never heard of it".
     
  14. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    Everything I've been reading and hearing seems to hint at the idea that the current dev team is in the midst of trying to re-invent UO.

    From Draconi's hints about the way that event mobs will behave to how Factions will affect more of the game, to new weapons with new abilities we haven't seen before to "new artwork" and new music.

    I get the feeling that a lot of what we have known UO to be over the past 10 years will no longer be applicable. The question is... will the players accept the changes and will it bring in more players. This has been tried before in other MMOGs and the outcomes have been... interesting to say the least.

    We'll see how it works out with UO.

    Looks like UO is about to effectively turn into UO 2.0 or maybe even UO 3.0 or UO 4.0? I guess it depends on how you consider the "eras" of UO.
     
  15. Sebrina

    Sebrina Guest

    That is some interesting comment there Dermott. I thought that I was going to be the skeptical one here. But I do agree about beating around the bush.
    Just give us some answers...You can't keep players hanging on strings for years and not expect rebellion and plain abandonment.

    Devs, you really need to tie up your strings and move forward!
     
  16. Raina

    Raina Journeyman
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    Interesting Idea... but isn't that what KR was supposed to be?
    Even with UO, I can really think of 3 'Major' Changes, and only one of them was ultimately positive community wise (though some still do complain and always will *grins*)

    Renaissance: With the addition of Consensual PvP gave UO a bit step up on the Market if I recall, one of it's biggest.

    AoS: Completely redid how items work, temporary boost in subscribers and a long downward spiral.

    KR: Hey, when you can actually do everything in UO with the KR Client, then we can talk, until then it's pretty much still Beta, but also didn't receive nearly the fanfair it was expected to have as far as 'reinventing' UO.

    So what could possibly be next? The trend they have been going towards for years now is to make UO like every other game. On one hand I can understand it, limited options are easier to balance, however that's not UO.

    Whatever it is has to be more Computer / Spec friendly than KR or they'll loose a fair amount of subscribers.

    If your right, and that may not be a bad thing, I sure hope that it isn't any time soon and perhaps will give them enough time to realize that UO is supposed to be unique. It's lost a lot of uniqueness over the years...

    ~Rai
     
  17. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    Well, to be fair, KR got a bum rap due to the cross country move and it looks like to me based on what's going on ingame, with the devs and so on that the events are sort of a "stall tactic" of sorts while they finish work on the SA expansion, which will (in theory) include a re-release of KR as well as contain the bulk of the planned "we can't talk about that right now" changes.

    My main focus in the conjecture posted previously was based mainly upon gameplay itself, not on any given client specifically.

    I'm more than a little nervous about the whole thing. While i'm open to changes to UO, and even incorporating aspects of other games that will add to the playstyle of UO, I also agree that removing the uniqueness of UO in the process is NOT a good idea.

    It's a delicate balance. We'll see how it works out.
     
  18. Fox (Europa)

    Fox (Europa) Guest

    Here's the reason Cal and all his predecessors tell us nothing about the plans for UO: They never then need to actually deliver anything.

    If they said they were going to do something then they would be obliged to do so. As it is they can just sit back and deliver a dribble of this, a dab of that, then when they mess up it doesn’t matter; they can just drop whatever they were working on.

    It’s just laziness and poor management masquerading as in-game secrecy, as if anyone in the industry cares about the plans of a small, niche game like UO.

    If I ran my software department like these guys I would have been sacked years ago. My customers expect a list of my deliverables and these are then tracked for success. Without this I could produce anything or nothing, which is exactly what the UO dev team does.
     
  19. Umm , does what he just said fall into an extremely long version of , we are aware of the issue and are working on it , no time frames though?

    Do we still have an active producer?
     
  20. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    Yes.
     
  21. athos_uo

    athos_uo Seasoned Veteran
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    Could someone please tell me what does this "a blue page" in the last sentence mean. Does this have a specific or symbolish meaning?
     
  22. Surgeries

    Surgeries Grand Poobah
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    Me, as well.

    Grues don't smell so good, either...especially right before they eat me.

    A blue page? Hmmmmmm.......

    *Tries moving the Guardian Mirrors*

    :eek:
     
  23. Millie

    Millie Guest

    "We are still on target for the bulk of the content by late May, and it's going to be a prelude to something realm-changing."
    This statement scares the hell out of me. So many things in our game have been destroyed by their realm changing events.
     
  24. Cybrdragon

    Cybrdragon Guest


    Ditto. :(
     
  25. Raina

    Raina Journeyman
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    Reference to the old game Myst I believe.

    ~Rai
     
  26. athos_uo

    athos_uo Seasoned Veteran
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    Oh, I see!

    I played surely once Myst, but forgot it completely.

    Thank you very much!
     
  27. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
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    Translation: Not big enough that actually stating the size of the team would assuage the public's belief that Ultima Online is currently being run by a skeleton crew that splits its time between UO and DAoC. Cal, with respect, EA's never had a problem answering that question with some general idea of size in the past, and typically, we could get answers as to who was working on what. Unless something has changed dramatically (which I doubt it has), we know the "Live" team consists of two people. Your answer, while very witty, and typical of the off-handed nature by which you're dealing with the UO Community at large, is -- to be quite blunt -- fluff.

    Which likely translates into, "UO currently has less space devoted to it than ever in the past, so, yeah, we're crammed when we pick up a couple of extra people. Thankfully, they also work on DAoC, so we can justify the slight extra amount of space."

    This leaves me very little faith in UO's development. Just about every other MMO out there can at least give an idea what the next couple of months hold. We're lucky (and were in the most recent publish) to have that information more than a couple of weeks before it goes live. I'll go on about the expansion later... The fact that the UO design schedule is that fluid is NOT a good thing. It really isn't. Any of us programmers understand that things come up, bugs jump into systems, and sometimes a design just doesn't work. But if I told my boss I had no idea what I was going to be doing for the next six weeks because, well, you know, things come up, I'd be out of a job.

    That really is a fitting comparison to, because while the UO community does not directly employ you, it is because of the UO community that you have a job working on Ultima Online. Believe me, history, your subscription numbers, and many other factors point to the fact that this kind of development does not work, nor does it keep the UO fanbase (by and large) happy. The complete lack of solid development on the new client, which is currently subpar in many ways to the client it is supposed to supplant, is just one area of issue. The lack of information on UO:SA is another.

    Still very telling that the not-so-epic event currently in progress is optimized for the 2D client.

    Going by the EA standard definition of "soon," we'll be waiting another 6-12 months. And... how does a mild chuckle press the corners of the room? Oh god. You're responsible for the current BNN stories, aren't you? Dear god. No.
     
  28. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
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    It went really well for SWG.

    *chuckles*

    And EA Land.

    Not that EA just announced they were pulling the plug on that or anything...
     
  29. Is it soon yet?
     
  30. Kojak

    Kojak Lore Keeper
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    yeah, i bet the realm changing news is that we're getting rick rolled into warhammer online
     
  31. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    Do I get to keep my chars & houses?! ;)
     
  32. Kojak

    Kojak Lore Keeper
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    yeah, for the low low price of $29.99 (payable to me plz - thx)
     
  33. "realm-changing"

    Does that mean you're also programming for WoW?

    Realms are WoW.

    SHARDS are UO....

    All the rest is nice and all but........could you at least get the terminology right?

    *sigh*
     
  34. Hildebrand

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    Wasn't the realm change due end of May? Perhaps end of June? End of July?
    I'm waiting for them to rock my world, but HUGE words like "Epic Event" and "realm-changing" are making me think meh. :sad4:
     
  35. Raina

    Raina Journeyman
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    They haven't done anything more than start any of their Epic Events in as many years as I can remember, you actually think they will finish this one?

    I mean, heck, look at poor Ricardo...

    ~Rai
     
  36. BartofCats

    BartofCats Guest

    so long as we are not in for another summer that has the same events that were promised last summer. Its no wonder why entire guilds left to play other games when there was no new content all summer last year, just KR.
     
  37. Hildebrand

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    Where's Ricardo? Did they hang him or feed him to an Ophidian or what?

    They did say they are tying loose ends. I believe they wanted ppl in the focus group that have knowledge of the events. Supposedly to clean up the storylines. **hopes**
     
  38. Alvinho

    Alvinho Great Lakes Forever!
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    Seems like the pink tiles may become blue the next patch to fit his fancy?
     
  39. Crysta

    Crysta Babbling Loonie
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    Cal, why did you skirt the issue of just why things are moving so slowly on both fronts? Devs could tell certain other people at a specific other place directly, and we want to say it openly since it's not anything terrible or mind-blowingly confusing or stupid, but seeing as we can't you should. Or another dev. Just say it already. It's starting to bother me. Or say it's okay for me to pass it on already.
     
  40. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    *Bump*

    Crysta, I'm extremely curious. Hopefully someone official will see this and say something.

    :)
     
  41. Loqucious

    Loqucious Guest

    "WHAT ABOUT Stygian Abyss?! ..." He pauses slightly, without turning, a mild chuckle pressing the corners of the room, “We announced the expansion over a year ago, and you should be hearing more news about it soon.” He continues a slow shuffle into a dark room, most likely to be eaten by a grue.


    Umm........wasn't this announced more like 2 plus years ago? Oh well, at least there is still hope, I am very grateful when they make posts like this that keep us somewhat informed.
     
  42. love2winalot

    love2winalot Guest

    If you go to UO Guide, last may they posted there that EA had pulled ALL references to Stygian Abyss, and it's release, "until a future date".

    Sooooo, I am sitting here in the EA marketing department. Over in the corner the people are working away at SA. They notice me watching them, and run over and have me sign, "in Blood", a non disclosure agreement. ??????

    Me: Are you working on SA?
    EA: Maybe, kinda, sorta, who wants to know?

    Me: Is it even in closed beta yet?
    EA: If it is, it is closed, and you are not invited. hehehe

    Me: When will it go to open beta?
    EA: There is no difference between open beta, and the actual release. Geez, don't you play KR?

    Me: How do i market an expansion that no one even knows about, and the game magazines have never heard of?
    EA: That is your proabelm. Now get back to promoting WarHammer......

    Funny..........Sad........but TRUE. :popcorn:
     
  43. They won't respond to this thread it's to negative... Man I miss Wilki as the rep (No offense Jeremy is great also)...
     
  44. Belmarduk

    Belmarduk Guest

    Fix the bugs,get scripting down to a normal level,Either get on with KR or give us our old 3D client back.Period
    I doubt anything will happen though in the next 16 days..... Then it will be to late...for me anyway...

    Edit: Ahh 32 days left - Phew - Hm still not likely....
     
  45. GAMBIT35

    GAMBIT35 Guest

    I can't believe you guys are actually debating if SA is still going to be released. You guys say you don't like being mislead but if all they do is say "soon" or "next month" and you fall for it everytime, then what do you expect.
     
  46. Why can't we just hope that the Vanguards and Shadowlords are a lead up to SA? A nice, happy "Surprise!".
     
  47. Nenime

    Nenime Guest

    This reminds me of another anticipated game about a certain Duke ;) ("... when it's done."). So SA should be renamed in "Abyss 4ver" :D
     
  48. Maximus Neximus

    Maximus Neximus Lore Keeper
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    SA will be released at the end of this "epic event"... aka after the boring ass kill the npc over and over as it gets harder over a few months, event keeps going. I'm sure they'll soon have the shadowlords spawn in towns and they'll be buffed up vanguards with 10k+ hitpoints.... Same old same old
     
  49. Azureal

    Azureal Guest

    They could spawn Paragon Elder Shadowlord Elite Ninjas for all I care, so long as they turn the guard zone off.

    Vas Corp Por!
     
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