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So, Ultima Online: For Better or For Worse

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Diomedes Artega, Oct 14, 2008.

  1. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran

    Oct 9, 2008
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    Good evening ladies and gents. After reading a lot of different threads about our game, I am interested to know your thoughts.

    I've recently read some threads on new skill ideas and what we need to do to keep new players...or existing ones for that matter.

    I have read some good comments but I have to know...what should really be done to differentiate our game from others?

    1. Races have been mentioned but, some have complained it's like other games and some even complained when elf was introduced. So you like the idea of having more races or is it bad to have more races?

    2. Do you think we have enough skills in the game already?

    3. If people want to be unique on not having ideas like other games, what refreshing ideas would you bring to the table?

    I won't rehash from the skill ideas threads I've read or the keep new players thread, but I would like to hear people's thoughts. In my opinion, I never remember reading so many "I'm quitting threads." At the same time that it is sad, it is the state of the game it seems for better or worse.
  2. Salty Pete

    Salty Pete Guest

    You obviously weren't around during the AoS release.
  3. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
    Stratics Veteran

    Jul 26, 2008
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    UO's best way of differentiating is, as always, to survive :)

    I think the players could bring out a lot more of the game's potential with a rich set of guild bylaws allowing restrictions on equipment, skills and types of interactions (even allowing guilds to pick up some faction-like roles).

    Guild-marked equipment (allows a greater sense of uniqueness since character names can be duplicated)

    Using New Haven as a rough model, make each Tram city a zone of intermediate quests with different personalities depending on the dominant industries. (no "kill 10 of X" quests, but rather, "do this type of thing and you'll get a bonus along the way while you're doing it"). I think there is plenty of room to fill in the gameplay gaps with existing skills before adding many new skills (although obviously we're getting a couple of new skills with SA so I won't complain).

    I am not dogmatic against importing things from other games, as long as its done with UO's spirit in mind. "Achievements" are an idea that is popular these days that I'm developing a fondness for, although I'm not sure how to translate it to UO that's meaningful and no just a checklist of hoops to powergame through.

    Different races are tricky ... one of the nice things about UO is that characters evolve over time ... a lumberjack can become a warrior, who can become a healer, who can become a wizard over the course of their life. The idea that there are paths that become cut off by choosing a race feels counter to the spirit of the game. It also comes across a bit like an underhanded attempt to get people to open additional accounts.

    Anyways, those are the ideas/thoughts of the moment :)

    (as for the quitting posts, the way I look at it is there is always some churn no matter how good a game is. It's not really a sign of anything other than the passage of time and life. People who leave after a number of years are going to have very strong feelings no matter why they are quitting ... I respect their grief, even when I don't share their views)
  4. Diomedes Artega

    Diomedes Artega Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran

    Oct 9, 2008
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    I'm aware of how many people left at the time. However, you are correct. I started playing shortly after that. The thread is on people's ideas though, not how long I have played. :)

    I think all those ideas are pretty good Maplestone. It's a good point on how one's characters evolve, however if I understand correctly from what you said, I never thought of it as an elf or human or another race that could be introduced being better than another.
  5. ColterDC

    ColterDC Visitor

    May 13, 2008
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    UO currently has alot of problems, the worst of which is the amount of cheating.

    So many players leave the game due to all the cheating. It makes the honest player unable to compete in so many aspects of the game that they just leave.

    You can add new skills, races, landmasses, whatever. But nothing is going to keep new players around once they discover that most of this game is dominated by cheaters. They are then forced to do 1 of 3 things.

    1. Cheat
    2. Quit
    3. Pretend it doesn't effect them, even though it does.

    Take PvP for example, why do you suppose it's the same 20 guys fighting each other every night? Because most of the people who refused to cheat have left UO. Leaving only a bunch of speedhacking, auto chugging/healing cheaters to argue over who is the best at downloading 3rd party programs.

    EA's decade long lack of enforcing the rules is the most pitiful thing I've ever seen in all my years of online gaming.
  6. Lyconis

    Lyconis Sage
    Stratics Veteran

    May 20, 2008
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    Its great people think of so many things to keep the game going. But I do believe a lot of the items and skill scrolls and a move to a truly item based game has created many of the bored and disgusted players. If I try to find a group in game now to do something I think would be fun, they ask me "what do I get out of it".

    Perhaps I'm simple but to start I would look at :
    1) Enforcing rules if set, and I don't mean the vague TOS, or a ban hammer what have you. If they are enforced for a week, continue to enforce them.
    When "nanny law" rules are made it would be nice to inform the public (the website before login would be awesome!, town criers too! but that gets into the next subject). For this example I'm talking about silly rules like no advertising websites, how many of you scrambled to remove links from your profiles to your guild websites? How many of you have been seeing links to sites about purchasing for gold now (I've been seeing TONS this past week).

    2) Community Interaction and communication (The best thing I've seen in a long time is Jeremy, the shard wide events are ok)
    2a) New players. When I started UO someone came up to me and greeted me as a young and asked if I needed any help walking, moving, etc etc. Interaction..... a fully staffed GM support while the shards are active would rock too. I'm sorry I used to page a GM to kill them in whats now called Felucca. I promise not to do this again if they re-appear!
    2b) Use of features that currently exist e.g. Town crier! or the loading screen html file for the client. Town criers could say "It is now illegal to speak of or publish websites that promote the sales of gold for cash".
    2c) Community input. Polls on the uo website anyone? In game polls maybe? town criers could tell everyone to go to the castle in britain to vote at a ballot box (only 1 vote per account!)

    The players I've seen that enjoy this game, stay and become part of the community, care not about what great items they can get, or how they can power play a character and max out their skills. They enjoy playing a game with endless possibilities. Adding more puzzles and quests, keywords to access locations instead of helping context menu's and gumps, in game books that help you figure out the keywords. Housing and locations from old community gatherings. I have not seen an in game council of player characters meet in over a year. The item grind seemed to have consumed the players.

    I remember being able to gather a group of newb players to go chase down a red, or go hunt random spawn, or explore. I never remember squabbling about an item, or dropping a party before a monster was killed. There was a player I was hunting with that tried to sell me the thigh boots he had looted.
  7. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Jun 11, 2003
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  8. I was an AOS quitter. Came back a year later - after some time in DAoC.

    Diehard Ultima lore folks will tell you that races - of any kind - should adhere to the Ultima lore. That would mean Dwarves, Bobbits and some others. It would also mean that using UO as a base, Meers, Jukas, Orcs, Titans, Cyclops could all conceivably have a role.

    However, frm my limited gaming experience I would say this ... even the most rudimentary dungeon crawl leveler I have played had specific stats per race/type of character ... and enforced them. Humans didn't gain certain stats as fast as a Half-Elf or Orc, etc. UO needs to do that effectively to actually make different races ... well, different.

    When I played DAoc, I recall having a pretty effective Hibernian Druid but trying it with a different race meant altering thought processes as that race had different stat gains per level, etc. My Human Theurgist was a hoot to play right up to the point of my departure.

    My 2 gp for what they are worth ...
  9. laurlo

    laurlo Guest

    1. Races have been mentioned but, some have complained it's like other games and some even complained when elf was introduced. So you like the idea of having more races or is it bad to have more races?

    I'm fine with new races, but honestly they aren't that special, unique, or thrilling...

    2. Do you think we have enough skills in the game already?

    I think if any new skills are implemented than we need to have more skill points...so unless we get more skill points I do not want new skills. besides, the current ones need expanded on or made useful.

    3. If people want to be unique on not having ideas like other games, what refreshing ideas would you bring to the table?

    I would love to be able to customize and register towns...

  10. Phaen Grey

    Phaen Grey Lore Master
    Stratics Veteran

    May 12, 2008
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    New Races are only useful if you have the character slots available to make one, I would like for children to be added to the game, though doubt it will ever happen.

    Spend resources on making skills already in the game useful, If more skills are added we are seriously going to need larger skill point pools to use them, I can't think of a template I can alter to add something new to.

    Anything to make towns better is a bonus, NPC's, Townstones, city signs, and territory additions would be awesome.
  11. Mishra_

    Mishra_ Sage
    Stratics Veteran

    Sep 4, 2002
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    I left after AOS and played DAoC on Guinevere... Still miss the action that DAoC once had and would have never come back if it was there.
  12. D'Amavir

    D'Amavir Guest

    More races are good as long as they stick to things in UO. Not Ultima 1 or D&D. UO. We have plenty to choose from; Orcs, Trolls, Meer, Juka, Lizardmen, Ettins, Gargoyles. And the races should be just visibly different. Adding racial traits and skills just ties up development time with more and more balancing issues and limits what players can and can't do depending on their race.

    Fix what you have before you add more. Or get rid of those that are useless. New skills or new skill levels shouldn't be used as a crutch to replace actual new content. That is what it has been used for in the past in UO and in most other games. They can't thing of anything real to add so they boost your skill or level caps and hope that your desire to reach those caps is enough to keep you around till the next skill or level cap boost.

    More things geared towards community building. The heart of UO has always been its community and EA hasn't really shown a desire to build or even maintain that community spirit. Less focus on 'items' and more focus on activities and skills. The item du jour grind is just as damaging to games as the skill/level grind is.
  13. It Lives

    It Lives Lore Master
    Stratics Veteran

    Jun 11, 2008
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    You used up your extra char spot already? I heard they have a quest for any who feel they want to change over to elf and back too.
    I could swear I also read they will do the same for gargs in SA.

    Add in soul stones to that and shazAm you have a huge range of possibility, more options than ever before.

    Isn't uo's popularity(spirit) its huge range of choice.

    You feel cut off or overwhelmed?
  14. Loqucious

    Loqucious Guest

    All these skills and races and new items are fine to keep this version of UO moving forward, but it cannot, and never will be able to, compete with games like WOW, and will ultimately die.

    The uniqueness of UO was it's simplicity which allowed for imagination. That is totally lost now. This game is now set up in such a way that you are almost guided as to how to play the game. Yes, there are still many more options for the players, but the individuals ability to create the world they live in is far diminished.

    The real answer, and I know only the old timers will understand, is a retro shard. Put up a retro shard and LEAVE IT ALONE! Then continue to expand the pixel crack that now dominates this game. In this way people can enjoy their new pixel crack, but when it gets boring, which it always does, they can go back to the freedom and creativity of a retro shard.

    If you didn't have a chance to play on a pre-LBR or pre-pub16 shard you will have no idea what I'm talking about. I wish you could because it was TREMENDOUS!
  15. Landicine

    Landicine Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    May 23, 2008
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    1. Races are a tough question. The original three Ultimas had other races. Later Ultimas had intelligent humanoids who were usually antagonists or NPCs. Gargoyles are a big part of Ultima lore, and even the city in Ilshenar doesn't pay homage enough to this.

    People will play races even when there is no mechanical benefits. My shard had elves before there was a elf race. People played orcs for years, and people played vampires before there was a transformation spell for it. As a sandbox, Ultima Online should provide tools for people to use to tell the stories they want to tell. However, I think Ultima themed races (gargoyles, meer, juka, maybe orcs) should receive priority over the standard fantasy races that every game has.

    2. Skills are another issue. I've seen tabletop RPGs without skills, and I've seen ones (like GURPS) with lists that put UO to shame. The problem with too large a list is 1) broken interactions that unbalance gameplay and 2) a huge bunch of dud skills that barely have a use. As long as these two problems are dealt with, I don't think a skill list can ever be too long. Of course, the longer the list, the harder it is to solve the above problems. Since there are a lot of dud skills (forensic evaluation), I would prefer focus on this.

    3. There is nothing new under the sun.

    I don't think it is possible to come up with completely original ideas that don't borrow from fiction, movies, other games, etc. I think a better question is "how to should UO be improved to work to its strengths?"

    The virtues and its sandbox gameplay would be two things I would work on. A complete virtue and vice system (good without evil doesn't tell a good story) would be something I would work toward. As a sandbox, I would always go to more tools for players to run events and their storylines. Event stones which could also be used for PvP tournaments might work.

    I personally don't think UO has lost any of its magic. I don't feel guided or forced to do any certain thing. However, this might be my point of view as a random roleplayer. For example, in the last few weeks, on my various characters, I've:

    1. Ambushed a rescue party from a pirate ship.
    2. Murdered an innocent girl who I had taken hostage.
    3. Milked a cow
    4. Written books for an in-game library
    5. Set up a crime scene for a kidnapping so other players could hunt for clues.
    6. Visited a haunted house with a black-goza maze that was really difficult.
    7. Grew several plants to make chocolate.
    8. Bought and sold items from player vendors to make a profit.
    9. Visited the shrine of Valor because I was spying on another character.
    10. Turned various bits into the Vesper Museum in hopes of getting a gypsy headress for my reformed pirate.

    Honestly, I love this sandbox.
  16. Oriana

    Oriana Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni

    Jun 24, 2003
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    I don't think UO will die for a long and it's almost a sin to even compare it to WoW. Not because I don't care for WoW, it's just they are 2 very different games and play styles.

    As to some of the other statements about not a lot you can do individually to change the community is a load of hooey. Well, ok maybe not individuals but small groups can and do make a lot of impact on various shards. There's tournaments, auctions, various contests from story writing to deco. Various Holiday events happen all over and it all becomes a part of that shards history. This game is still very much what you make of it. It's not all about items to compete all the time. I gave that fight up ages ago and just started enjoying what I can do and thats still a lot. As for the cheaters/exploiters, they need to be handled, I wouldn't say I ignore it or think it doesn't affect me, I am well aware of the reprecutions from their actions. But as with RL, that doesn't stop me from doing what I can to help the community in a postive way and take solice that I have a place to come and enjoy myself when the real world gets to be a bit much. If I worried all day, everyday about the cheaters in the real world then I wouldn't enjoy life as it is, same thing in UO.

  17. Lord Patapon

    Lord Patapon Guest

    1. New graphics, nice as possible, UO style, as smooth as 2d. Better UI.
    2. Give a (better) hand at newbies through tutorial or whatever.

    Anything else is details: UO is already the deepest MMORPG system on the field, and, more importantly, the one that gives a real impression of freedom.

    Now, a few propositions here are good, or very good, but I think a lot of people seem to forget that UO is an eleven years old game; you can't strongly change the code *just like that*.

    Easier to make another game.