It is my strong opinion that the Development Team is sitting on the edge of the end of Ultima Online, and it saddens me. They speak of their bold plans, they talk that there are great things coming, and we continue to see nothing. Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn was supposed to usher in the rebirth of Ultima Online. Instead, it has sounded a death knell, a war between clients, and rightfully so. In its present condition, the KR client will never replace the 2D client, and yet, in order for UO to survive, the 2D client MUST someday be made obsolete. So to first address the KR client... there are three things that the UO Dev Team MUST do in order to encourage adoption of the KR client: 1) Bring back the interface that makes UO special. It is said that people complained that the UO interface was difficult to learn. That was probably true given only the state of the instruction manual. Contrary to those claims though, the UO interface is fairly intuitive at its basest levels. What needs to happen is a unity in the look and feel of interfaces. But the magic of those interfaces doesn't need to be replaced, and they most certainly do not need to become EQ or WOW interfaces. If people want to play EQ and WOW, they will go there. 2) Refine the artwork and make it crisp at least at default zoom level, which should be easily selectable. The artwork needs to be clear as icons, the artwork needs to be brighter than it is, and most importantly, when its tiled artwork, it needs to be seamless whether zoomed or not. This means that staircases should match their tilesets, that walls should line up well, and so forth. 3) The KR client MUST do everything the 2D client does, and MUST do everything that UOA does. It should be an inclusive package that you don't need add-ons to accomplish. Now that I've opined about the KR client, let's move on to the Stygian Abyss, and discuss expansions. To me, there have been only two successful expansions in all of UO's history. Ultima Online: The Second Age, and Ultima Online: Third Dawn/Lord Blackthorn's Revenge. Okay, you caught me, 3D and LBR are separate expansions, however, the reason I list them both is because they both presented Ilshenar. One as a 3D only feature, and the second to all users of Ultima Online. However, of the two, T2A is the one that stands out the most. The Second Age was introduced to us with forboding in-game events. Blackrock and the Followers of Armageddon. Suddenly the earth rips and there's entrances to the T2A areas, and off you go into a lost land filled with new creatures, mystical places, and so forth. The only failure of T2A is that large areas of it continue to go unused because the initial DevTeam was planning on it being the great frontier with player communities forming -- but they couldn't overcome the technical problem of house placing with the bumpy landscape, and as the DevTeam changed, so too did the goal of placing housing there. But T2A was a new adventure. It was a new experience. There was danger and intrigue. There was a war between two unknown species. And it was exciting. Ilshenar was the only thing that came close to that experience, because it was a similar presentation. It simply lacked in that its introduction was never complete and had no in-game events surrounding it. It just literally appeared. The Age of Shadows and Malas were a joke. Little fiction, but there was some. However, the trailer park of UO was exactly that. A place to put houses, with nothing even remotely interesting about it. No real history to it, and certainly nothing about it in-game. And of course, an island in the middle of nowhere that ended up not being used because of server lines (something that by now you'd think they'd have found a way to overcome in 10+ years). Sure, there's Doom, the "largest dungeon ever," but it wasn't really the largest dungeon at all, and aside from the repetitious gauntlet and poorly implemented stealables, no real reason to venture deep within. Samurai Empire returned to the ways of previous expansions, but to me was a failure in that it all felt so very ... not there. Like, there are nice touches to scenery, but there's no compelling reason to go adventuring there. None of the nice touches that were found in the Lost Lands or Ilshenar. Just a few points of interest, no in-game history to be found anywhere via text, tomes, signposts, or anything. It just sort of was. And while it had some in-game introduction, like all other expansions since Ilshenar, it was just a moongate. Mondain's Legacy... destruction. Which is what's been happening to UO lately. But it's not much of a legacy. The dungeons aren't even cleverly designed. Some of them look down-right sloppy. The "instances" aren't. I don't know... it just felt rushed, incomplete, and ultimately boring. So, what to take away from these experiences? Put some heart into the Stygian Abyss. Fiction. In-game leadup. New, interesting creatures, in-game points of interest, and so forth. Take a lesson from the Lost Lands, but more, come to think of it, take a lesson from Khaldun. Khaldun was a piecework dungeon to which anyone who's been there for adventure and lived the exploration of it STILL hopes has a second level accessable by some manner (and I think we can all agree that it was meant to happen, but they took away the events workers). And there are just awesome little touches in it that leave hooks for roleplay, for thought, for conjecture. But don't leave it all to us. Those tomes that drop in Khaldun (or is it dropped) were awesome. Take time with the expansion. DON'T MAKE IT ANOTHER MOONGATE FACET. Allow it to become one with the world. The last thing we need is yet another facet. And in the meantime, start looking at existing dungeons. Sit down with them. Maybe take a storyline, and give a theme to a dungeon. Put in some of the Khaldun magic. Drop in a new level, secretly hidden, leading to somewhere we've never been before. Open the crypts. Blast entrances into things from previously closed off areas. Play with the existing world. Bring content from within. Give Malas a purpose. Whatever. But put more than ten seconds of design into a dungeon. And with Stygian Abyss, make us drool for adventure. Give us that feeling of going somewhere new for the first time ever. These things I list here, along with setting up a small, dedicated team that works to improve the PvP experience, will keep UO alive, will get people excited about it again, will get people telling old players they need to come back and check this stuff out. THIS will bring a rebirth to Ultima Online. But there's one catch. Once you start down this path, there's no turning back. There's no starting something and then failing to complete it. There's no doing it for a bit, and then switching DevTeams and goals and taking it away again. Because that would only hammer further nails into the coffin. But this... along with regular bug fixes, revisiting systems that need to be revisited, and the regular stuff that's just a continue part of the balancing act, but this over all other stuff... this will keep UO alive. I'd love to see it happen. And I have no faith that it will. But you, the developers of Ultima Online, are the only ones who can make it happen, my doubts -- our doubts -- aside. Words of wisdom from someone here from the very beginning, and from someone who, unlike the suits at EA, knows why you continue to make money with Ultima Online. I'm just some poster on a forum, but trust me, I'm not off-base here.