The UO Dev people have been doing a ton of stuff for us lately, in bringing us things that we actually like, and fixing things that we dont! I don't feel like the information in this post should necessarily interrupt anyone, and like, how they are making good crafting changes and cleaning up so much age-old, serious nastiness (pet balls as PVP tools, people who script housing placement, people who trash the economy through duping and gold farming, and so on). I'm throwing this out here as a fact to be noted for possible consideration in the future. The notoriety system does not work properly any more in its attempt to identify good vs. evil characters by their color. Here's a quote from another thread showing the outdated expectation of this system: <blockquote><hr> The colour of your character's name (being displayed) DOES define your characters moral judgement. A blue character is someone who has not committed a crime or murder (general statement). A grey name is someone who has recently done something wrong (but not evil) and a red name is a player who has murdered another player. Read every manual since 1997.... [/ QUOTE ] The way it actually works today is that Felucca champ spawns have introduced two factors that mess it up. Felucca champ spawn "protection" encourages players of all colors to attack and defend spawns against one another, independent of any "evil" vs. "good" theme. Also, certain other game dynamics involving area effect spells and fields creates a need for reds that is independent of this theme. The system says that a single group of people who moves into a champ spawn area and kills the champ spawn boss without interference from people not a part of the group will be rewarded with double the power scrolls (champ "protection"). A group of players assigns one "protector" person who presides over all of the people who kill the champ. To collect their extra scrolls, the group must kill the champ without unprotected strangers (of any color) running up and attacking the champ spawn boss along with them. The original intent of champ spawn "protection" may have been different. It looks as though it may have been intended to encourage good-notoriety, high-performing PVPers to help the less PVP-experienced players complete champ spawns by 'protecting' them from presumed red invaders (the more Justice virtue the protector has, the greater the number of extra power scrolls that are rewarded). I don't know this for sure, you tell me, it's just a suspicion. Today, the concept of protection works into champ spawns like this. Guilds with some size will do champ spawns, and with only 6 power scrolls per spawn and most of them being unusable for PVP chars (lots of 110s, 115s, a number of nearly-useless 120s, etc.), it's most ideal to set up "protection" with a pre-determined Knight of Justice char in order to get 12 scrolls. In this context, other guilds show up to attempt to take the champ away from the original group that worked up the spawn. Nobody raids a champ spawn to politely ask, "can we get protected by your protector and kill it with you?". Regardless of the raiding characters' notoriety, they are there to kill the original champ spawn participants and kill the champ for themselves so that they can get the power scrolls. If the original guild happens to have a large number of reds, the raiding players may choose to raid on their blue chars, or in any case you often see raids being done with their red chars. If the raid is succesful, the raiding guild might call in it's own blues to set up their own "protection", or they might just "red-kill" it to get it done quicker. The original guild that worked up the spawn through all 4 levels feels that it has a form of rightful ownership to killing the champ and getting their hard-earned scrolls. Therefore, they feel justified in defending "their" champ boss against the raiding guild, and that feeling is independent of whether the raiders are utilizing reds or blues. Note that it's called "raiding" when one guild shows up to attempt to take a champ spawn away from another one, it's not called "visiting" or "helping". This term is used because it accurately reflects the circumstances. So what all of this means is: characters can and do start out as "blue" and perhaps even prefer to be "blue", and even do no player-killing except in the context of defending "their" champ spawns from raiders, and as time goes on, these players pick up murder counts. Some people try to work around this by idling their blue spawn characters for hours and hours to get the murder counts they never really wanted to drop off. It's really quite silly in the context of a modern video game for them to have to do this; they set up some means of staying connected and go to bed/work, leaving the character on line. The system forces characters who do a lot of spawn defense to eventually become red, and have to suffer all of the same inconveniences that an intended "evil" character endures. There are almost no red healers around, that player can no longer protect or be protected at champ spawns, that character can no longer use any virtues, the character can be attacked freely in towns, and so on. This happens without the char having participated in any behavior that the Felucca playerbase perceives as "evil" - spawn defense is accepted as part of how the whole thing works. The next involved issue is that "blue" players' area effect spells and mage fields do not naturally effect other blues. The reasons for this make sense in the non-champ oriented notoriety system itself, but for the purposes of spawn defense, the chars need their fields to catch all non-friends regardless of color. This, coincidently, happens to be the current behavior of a red player's fields and area effect spells. The only means a blue has of changing this is to perform the odd act of deliberately flagging "criminal" and then maintaining that criminal status. This is awkward and problematic to do well; odd work-arounds like this due to a character's 'good' notoriety shouldn't be necessary. The end result of all of this is that there is a need to deliberately maintain "red" chars for purposes that are completely outside of the whole good vs. evil notoriety system. I have also directly observed this. Going "red" this way can create a gravitation toward genuine "PK" behavior in the case of a player who has never done it before and would not have considered it otherwise. Once a char already has 50 some counts, is red, gets attacked wherever they go by chars of all colors, cannot leave Fel, cannot get rezzed easily, - the char is literally treated like an evil guy who must live in danger constantly - it becomes that much easier to participate in the behavior he's been accused of. I don't feel like this situation is ideal. Having explained all of that, if my home shard were my own personal shard that I was running, and considering the whole situation as I understand it, I would, without reservation, change my shard's notoriety system in the following ways. These things change the existing system as little as possible while tearing the champ spawn notoriety issues out by the roots. Champ spawn areas would be handled differently from other areas of the shard. Murder counts from fights which were initiated within the champ spawn areas would not always be assigned. The differences are best described this way: <ul> [*]All players would have a means to select either "I wish to take murder counts in champ spawn areas of Felucca" or, the opposite, "I do not wish to take murder counts in champ spawn areas of Felucca". The default setting for a new char would be not to take counts. [*]All players would have a means to select "I wish for my area effect spells and fields to affect all players in champ spawn areas of Felucca, regardless of their notoriety, except for players in my party and players in my guild/alliance". A point on this: the biggest effect is for blues, but the added means of allowing party members to be immune to one another's area affect spells and fields is a great addition for both reds and blues. If pressed, one could implement this for guild/alliance only, but its not as good that way and in that case it only makes sense to offer it to blues. [/list] (The two above effects would actually apply to fights that were initiated in the champ spawn areas, similar to how fights initiated outside of guard zone and continued inside of it are handled. It wouldn't involve the server tracking the ongoing location of the fight for the purpose of murder count assignment.) <ul> [*]Offer an optional amnesty for reds, to clean up the mess that the current notoriety clusterf*ck has created.[/list] The means by which players select the first two options doesn't matter so much - one could have them do it at a shrine, like karma is locked and unlocked right now, who cares, as long as it's there. If in the future, the UO Dev people would like to retain the existing notoriety system while making it work properly alongside the Felucca champ spawns, they should consider doing something like this. And also realize that there's a number of players who either don't participate in Fel champ spawns enough to really understand what these differences would mean on the whole, or, they like the strategy of using the problems in the existing system to grief the blues of other guilds. These two things aren't good reasons to not move ahead with such changes, imo. These things would make it possible for reds to continue being exactly as they are now, not interfering with their notoriety choice and allowing them to continue to take counts at all times. And at the same time, it allows blues to fully participate in champ spawns as a 'blue' without being punished with the 'evil' Red status for what are expected, normal behaviors in the Felucca champ spawn environment. Another thing about this is, I suspect that the changes wouldn't be horrible to implement into the existing server code that controls the champ spawn regions. It looks some of it's already around and some of the framework is there already.