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The UO Website, 5 Years, 4 Producers

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Woodsman, Jun 22, 2012.

  1. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Why is it that after over 5 years years, none of the past four producers seems able to get screenshots and video up on UOHerald.com in a place where new players can see them, along with the producer letters/plans?

    I'm looking at archived copies of UO.com that go up until January of 2007. Full of screenshots and stories with screenshots that are highlighted and information from producers about the game and their plans. The website feels, as one person I know described, "warm and inviting".

    And then BAM February of 2007, UOHerald.com. No screenshots, the warmth has been sucked completely out of it, no stories with screenshots highlight, no highlights of future plans (ironic given that this was in the era of KR and over two years before Stygian Abyss launched).

    It's not like they have to actually make the videos either. Plenty of UO players are making videos right now.

    And game websites are making them with the UO team


    And it takes literally seconds for anybody to create a screenshot, and maybe 30 seconds to edit/crop it and upload it.

    And links to producer's letters and plans for UO also take literally seconds to make, it's not like the UOHerald.com is hand-coded, it's running on a CMS.

    Why, for nearly 5 and a half years, has UO had a site that does nothing to actually show off UO? Is there some edict from EA that UO is not to be displayed prominently on its own website?

    Dark Age of Camelot, Warhammer Online, and Star Wars: The Old Republic all have screenshots, and videos and producers letters/plans prominently displayed on their home pages, so it's certainly not a Mythic-wide or Bioware-wide edict either. And even though we share a community relations team with Camelot and Warhammer, that team is certainly competent enough to show off screenshots and videos of Camelot and Warhammer right there on those pages.

    One of the things you have to do to get people into UO is show them UO, and the UO Herald website doesn't do that.

    And it hasn't done that for over 5 years.

    5 years of not even easily displaying the very game you are trying to convince people to play.

    5 years.
     
  2. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Don't disagree with the premise, but I suspect that it's a matter of opportunity cost. They aren't sitting on their hands. Given the choice between bug fixes and web copy, I know which I'd choose. I'd prefer both, too, but sometimes both is not an option. I anticipate vehement objections, nitpicking, and accusations of cheer-leading, but I'll say it again nonetheless: sometimes both is not an option.

    If they want to hire someone to volunteer for the role, I'd be happy to help to help them identify someone. This wouldn't sap developmental resources. However, I'm not sure they'll be very amenable to volunteers, given the whole counselors thing . . .
     
  3. AirmidCecht

    AirmidCecht twitch.tv/airmid
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    Huge clue right there :)

    This was also the year we saw official titles instead of the warm 'handles' we were accustomed to. Sanya has moved on to other projects and has hopefully learned from this.

    Jeff has said in the past they are looking to revamp the uo website and I trust that hasn't changed under Mesanna's guidance.
     
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    5.5 years of not being able to find a few minutes to upload a screenshot or paste in some embed video code on the sidebar?

    Even as the Mythic web team found time to upload or post screenshots and videos on the Warhammer and Camelot websites?

    Let's take the example of Dark Age of Camelot's gallery. That website is managed by Kai Schober, Rowland Cox, and whoever else is on the Mythic community relations team. The same team that UO has.

    59 screenshots in the Battle Scenes gallery
    51 screenshots of horses in the Armor and Barding gallery
    42 screenshots of horses in the Player Mounts gallery
    11 screenshots in the Nostalgia gallery
    30 screenshots in the Classes of Midgard gallery
    32 screenshots in the Classes of Hibernia gallery
    32 screenshots in the Classes of Albion gallery
    22 screenshots in the People and Places gallery

    279 screenshots in the media section of the Dark Age of Camelot website.

    93 screenshots of %^$#%%$# horses.

    0 screenshots of anything in the UO media gallery.

    They can't find the time to make one decent screenshot for UO's website, but they can post 93 screenshots of %T$#^$#Y^W$% horses? If anybody wants to check the math, just click on each gallery, select the first picture, and the first picture has a tab that tells you how many pictures are in that particular gallery.

    They find the time to post images of a bunch of harpsichords that aren't even in the game yet, to a fansite no less, but they can't find the time in the last 5 and a half years to put a screenshot or screenshots somewhere prominently on the front page? The Dark Age of Camelot website uses the exact same software that UO does so it's not like they are having to learn anything new for UO.

    They have volunteer moderators for the official Warhammer Online forums and for the BioWare.com forums in general. And there are other EA websites/forums that have volunteers. I'm not sure why people still have this notion that EA is against volunteers. They use a lot of volunteers, and BioWare relies on volunteer moderators for their official forums (Mass Effect, Dragon Age, etc.).
     
  5. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    A lot of things surprised me when I came back last year. A lot of things confused me. The website has very nearly at the top of the list of things that confuse me. The handles thing too.

    Sanya deserves to be blamed for a lot of what happened to really hurt UO from what I've heard - websites, etc., but she's been gone for a long time, and I cannot, for the life of me, understand why they cannot add just one screenshot on the the UOHerald website where a new player could look at UO in all that time since she's been gone.

    Maybe Sanya was ashamed of UO. But the UO team isn't, and while I think the graphics are outdated, I don't have a problem telling people I play UO.

    A new player can look at the Dark Age of Camelot website and find screenshots of 93 different horses. A new player to UO cannot find a single screenshot showing UO.
    I'm just asking for a few screenshots at this point. We're so close to the anniversary, if they don't have a new website being worked on right now, based on what Kai has said in the past, we won't have one. I followed his progress on the Camelot and Warhammer websites and it took them a long time. Nearly a year, and he had mentioned that the UO website had been pushed down the list of priorities (probably because of Wrath of Heroes).

    I just want a few screenshots before the anniversary.

    For the sake of clarity, Sanya left in May of 2007, over 5 years ago. I can't blame her for the past 5 years of no screenshots. She may have hated UO, but the problem rests squarely with those who were involved since then and with the current relations team. And for 2 and a half years after Sanya left, UO still had dedicated UO community relations, so Sanya's influence should have been over when she left.
     
  6. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Cool. My offer stands.
     
  7. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    Given the choice between bug fixes and web copy.... hate to be argumentative or overly dramatic here, but if the Developers are the ones working the web sites, we have deeper problems than some missing video and screenshots. Hell, the website is the one thing they probably *could* outsource without a load of problems.
     
  8. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Outsourcing requires fewer resources, but it requires them all the same. I'm assuming that they're working with a limited budget, but maybe I'm wrong. Also, web copy is pretty much the last thing I'd outsource. Website development, absolutely, but it's better to have native English speakers writing copy for an English language website. This is the voice of personal experience.
     
  9. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    There is already a team in place and in charge of the UO website. Kai Schober said on the Warhammer forums that he was in charge of it. He also said it was delayed.

    Now Jeff managed to get somebody to add a fansite or two to the UO Herald and fix some links, if what I was told is accurate. I don't know if it was Kai or somebody else, but I know that Jeff was able to get a fansite added. And the UO team approved a new 3rd party program a few months ago. And the UO team posts little snippets of screenshots on Stratics.

    I'm asking for a simple screenshot or two, maybe embed some videos like the MMORPG.com videos or something. I'm not asking for a redesigned website because I don't think it can happen based on how long it took for Camelot and Warhammer and that Kai said it had been pushed back. It's not that I don't want a redesigned website - it's going to be bad for the 15th anniversary when people take a look at UO Herald.com.

    I'm just wanting some simple screenshots somewhere linked on the front page for people to see UO. That's all.
     
  10. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    What I find unusual is that most art you Do see is concept, or KR art. I've posted game box examples of the "concept" art in Grimm's section, and while it's 'similar' to actual experience, it is indeed Not real - the concept art is representable of screen grabs I see from Non-UO games, as they are Not 'top down'. I find those cover arts False and Misleading (yeah, yeah, there's probably a disclaimer somewhere) meh. Maybe that's what they do, no actual grabs, just faked stuff - I'm glad they Don't have any personally, if that's what they're gonna do.
     
  11. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    I'd also love to see a website revamp. I'd especially love to see the guild database return. Not suggesting it's a bad idea, just saying that I'm dubious about their ability to juggle everything atm.
     
  12. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Let's not make this more complicated than it should be with talk of outsourcing or getting a volunteer program in place or redoing the whole website.

    I'm sure anybody in this thread Screen shots of EC / mods | Stratics Forums would be happy to contribute their screenshots.

    If Kai and whoever else can upload screenshots of 93 horses to the Camelot website, if pictures of harpsichords can be posted on Stratics, I'm sure they can spend a few minutes uploading some of those screenshots in that thread.
     
  13. Sauteed Onion

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    I'm afraid we'll loose herald again if anybody messes with it. LOL, but not trying to lol; but lol anyhow. There are some fundamental problems with UO, and just everything about it; I just recently came back after a billing issue turned into a lengthy uo break, but now I'm kinda steamed I came back. Cause I know my subscription is just supporting this fluster cluck. I think I'mma draw the line and may come back closer to the actual anniversary, but this just getting stupid.
     
  14. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Yep. That'd be a simpler project than a website revamp.
     
  15. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    I just got back from a half year break... they seriously... approved a new third party program?!...

    You do realize how far-fetched that sounds. <chuckle>

    What did they approve?And where is it? I'm not going to believe it until I've actually used it and not been banned for doing so. <g>
     
  16. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Sevin0oo0 likes this.
  17. HD2300

    HD2300 Certifiable
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    Messana is the Producer of UO. Jeff is the UO Franchise producer.
    So what other UO Franchise product has Jeff been producing?
    IF you use some common sense, you will understand why things are as they are now.
     
  18. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Jeff is the Ultima Franchise Producer. UO is part of the Ultima Franchise.

    Other Ultima stuff out there would be whatever secret game lies behind Ultima Forever, the Ultima IV facebook game (if thats not the "secret"), and a few other long-rumored projects. However, none of what he's allegedly working on has seen the light of day... o_O
     
  19. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    I've offered to do the website for anywhere from free (rewriting the players guide) to a pittance of what it would really cost ($10/hr redesign/maintain website) and never got a single response.
     
  20. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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  21. KaiSchober

    KaiSchober Community Manager (Retired)
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    It hasn't changed. We have started with the initial works - the Logo is already in place :D - and will continue to build and fill it.
    Screenshots or videos (as well as a huge legacy of stories) will be part of it.
     
  22. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
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    I have long felt they don't take UO seriously. At the very least they don't give it the same considerations they give most of their other games. The cost to create a mediocre website are not enough to justify the lack thereof. It's about commitment of resources and not about money. It(website) has not been deemed important to maintain the game.
     
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  23. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    EA hasn't cared about UO for years. I am still under the opinion that EA is purposely TRYING to make UO go into the red so they can justify shutting it down... It's just that the p(l)ayers are too devoted and we won't leave. They have tried first by moving UO to CA.... when that didn't work they I believe had the first round of a firings... that didn't work. They sent the HQ for UO to VA.... now they lost a bunch of folk both on the team and p(l)ayers but not enough.. the economy went to frell and they fired a ton more folk off the team..... including all the QA department.... they have restructured and redone things adding Mythic and all sorts of things turning things upsidedown both for the team and for the p(l)ayers.... but still we refuse to quit...

    Now here we are years later and while I say 100% for sure the TEAM loves UO..... most especially Mesanna.... they don't seem to have any support or backing from EA... and as far as I am concerned UO is still the Red Headded stepchild of EA that they are trying DESPERATELY to "sweep" under the carpet. Only we are more like the tell tale doggy piddle and we won't be swept up. This stain just keeps showing up no matter how they try to remove us.
     
  24. AirmidCecht

    AirmidCecht twitch.tv/airmid
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    *wonders just many red headed step children ARE there?*

    This comparison is so overly used that I feel we should be the ones accused of abusing it ;)

    We are not going silently into the night as a UO community regardless of what is done with UO in the near future or far off glances of it.

    I think EA has also fairly illustrated that when they are done with a product or project, it's done in a pretty all encompassing full sweep of studio and employees regardless of fanbase.

    Of course the UO Team is devoted as much as we are to the world we play in and work within whatever budget they have to bring us whatever they can. After 15yrs, that in itself is an accomplishment though I will always agree more can and should be done from BioWare to support them. But UO has been unbrella-ella-ella'd under Mythic and now Bioware for so long perhaps we need to be more vocal with them as a community?
     
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  25. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Thank you for responding Kai.

    I'm glad you are bringing back the history of the old UO website, it was one of the worst things I think that was taken from UO. I know that the archives are hosted on UO Guide and Stratics, but those were a part of the old UO site and really gave it a lot of flavor, and gave people a sense of history and continuity about UO.

    As somebody I know said, when UO.com became UOHerald.com, it took a really rich website and turned it into a crappy blog.
     
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  26. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    How long have you played EA games? Because if EA wanted to close UO, they would just do it. Nobody in the upper branches of EA management would sit around discussing how to drive players away, they would just do it.
    The move to CA was not an attempt to kill UO. UO was a causality of a reorganization and cost-saving measures that was driven by bigger things than UO. Ultima Odyssey was the ultimate causality, since they had to cancel it after sinking millions into it (over $10 million from what I've heard). They did not expect so many members of that team to stay behind in Austin, otherwise they wouldn't have tried to do it. EA forced Maxis to move to Redwood City - were they trying to kill off the Sims and SimCity franchises as well? They moved Westwood Studios personnel around, were they trying to kill off the Command and Conquer series?

    I'm not happy with how EA has treated UO either, but when I look at the company as a whole, UO may have fared worse than some games, but it's also fared better than other games (like say Wing Commander). I question EA's long-term commitment to UO since it seems like they are unwilling to do the things needed to keep UO around for the 20th Anniverseary, but that's for another thread.

    I do hope they are taking measures to really clean up the website, because it does read and look like a crappy blog. It really is amazing that for over 5 years, there were no screenshots or video readily available.
     
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  27. Reth

    Reth Journeyman

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    Reading this makes me :D
     
  28. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Drupal easily supports the kind of gallery stuff UO needs, and I was thinking that you all could either hold some quick contents or just ask for submissions, or take screenhots from the Ultima Japan website like

    Ultima Online Japan Housing Contest

    The main Ultima Online Japan website is just full of probably 1000+ screenshots.
     
  29. Cogniac

    Cogniac Grand Inquisitor
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    Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity.
     
  30. Ludes

    Ludes Babbling Loonie
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    In my opinion the whole atmosphere and feeling behind the interaction of Devs and the Players changed after the Ultima X debacle... They had so many of us involved with descriptions and screenshots... We all avidly watched the game play videos... there were thousands of people holding their breath till release day..

    Then... less than 30 days from release they pull the plug. The flame wars and developer bashing that followed pretty much gauranteed that EA would never again pre-advertise the inner workings of it's developers on any scale that would be noticed.
    I'm sure heads rolled over it and there was surely a lot of embarrasement... they even presented the game at an E3 convention..

    Then they had to explain to the world.. "...oh hey folks we were just kidding"
     
  31. Warsong of LS

    Warsong of LS Seasoned Veteran
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    Like have said before and I will say again. Why not just let the Japanese Team handle the website? They seem to be able to keep up and run a good site. I am sure many of the team overthere speak English. And I for one would overlook grammer and syntax errors to have a site as good as the UO Japan one.
     
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  32. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Ultima X Odyssey was canceled June 2004. The biggest fallout from Ultima X was that EA was shocked that a lot of people weren't willing to move from Texas to California and all of the sudden they had a nearly finished game and a fraction of the developers needed to push it out. They spent many millions on X, the decision to cancel was not one taken lightly, and I was recently told there was even consideration of trying to reverse everything or trying to keep a team in Austin and one in California, at least until it was finished. A lot of devs went to other companies at the time when they told EA they weren't going to move - Ultima X was based on the latest and greatest technology so some of them had no problems getting jobs elsewhere, and so they couldn't even get the people that left/were laid off back together. There was other drama as well.

    I think it had very little impact on UO. The interaction between devs and players didn't drop off. The UO website still had plenty of interaction with fans and fan sites. The website actually resembled an MMORPG website and not a blog with patches up until the changeover to UOHerald.com in early 2007.

    Look at UO.com - February 2007

    (There was a steady stream of Five on Fridays for years after Ultima X was canceled)
    Five on Friday - January 2007

    And how about physical interaction with the fans?
    Town Hall Meetings - 2007
    January 27, 2007 - Marietta/Atlanta, Georgia
    February 24, 2007 - New York, NY
    March 24, 2007 - Rockville, MD
    April 21, 2007 - Philadelphia, PA
    May 19, 2007 - Chicago, IL
    July 7, 2007 - Columbus, OH
    August 25, 2007 - Seattle, WA
    October, 2007 - Austin, TX
    November, 2007 - Anaheim, CA

    Past Events
    Redwood City - March 2006
    Chicago - October 2005
    Washington D.C. - June 2005
    Seattle - April 2005
    Los Angeles- March 2005

    I think 95% of the blame rests ith a few key individuals within Mythic (who are no longer at Mythic) who made the decisions to gut the UO website and turn it into not much more than a crappy blog with no screenshots, and whoever in management decided UO didn't need a community manager. Seriously, who the hell designs an MMORPG website without a screenshot gallery and without nearly 10 years of really cool content? Somebody who is an idiot or who hates the game. Or both.

    Japanese UO players should be very thankful that those individuals never got their hands on UltimaOnline.jp.

    They day they name a new, dedicated community manager for UO is the day that EA can publicly claim they back UO. I think Kai is a much better community person than he gets credit for (I talked to somebody who met him at a Warhammer gathering), and on that MMORPG.com video he was trying to get information out there about UO's future, but he's expected to handle 4 very different games, and you just can't do it.

    Between the 4 games, they probably have a cumulative of 200,000 - 300,000 players/subscribers. When UO had 250,000 people, they had more community relations people dedicated to UO than BioWare Mythic has dedicated to all 4 of its games, and they had a larger web/content team than Mythic has right now, just for UO.

    I do get what you're saying, but I think ultimately it was the decisions made in 2007 that really hurt UO in the long run.
     
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  33. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I just discovered when the change with the UO website started to occur. It should have been obvious that they were about to do away with a serious UO website.

    ORIGIN - Ultima Online - Main

    That sounds like somebody prepping to do away with a decent website and just pushing responsibility off to fansites.​
    And that happens to be the person I believe is responsible for the destruction of UO.com.​
     
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  34. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    Well. Do you really think screenshots of this game would attract new players?
     
  35. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    Stands a lot better chance of attracting new players, than the utter neglect that exists now.
     
  36. wilki24

    wilki24 UO Legend
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    I think a lot of the old site is still there. If you google search with the site:uo.com parameter, you can find all kinds of goodies like this.

    Or the old Five on Fridays!

    You know what I'd love to have access to again? The old uo.com forums, and all the lost stratics threads. So much history lost there. :-( Though, it can be fun to use the google groups search to look at the old posts from the usenet ultima online group back in the old days. alt.games.ultima-online I think it was.

    Now I'm getting all nostalgic again!
     
  37. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    Hello sir, thank you for posting.
    May we please have our MyUO information back?
    Thank you.
     
  38. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    Oh Gawd I'd love to read my newbie posts over there...
     
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  39. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    The problem isn't bad ideas.
    The problem is our failure to admit them.
     
  40. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

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  41. CryptisRavenous

    CryptisRavenous Adventurer
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  42. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    >>"Well. Do you really think screenshots of this game would attract new players?"
    a better chance than the misleading "concept" box art of the past, too
     
  43. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Jeff Skalski posted this today:

    after somebody asked
    My guess is "up to date" means either finding somebody to do it, or meeting stricter security measures.
     
  44. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    My guess is that at some point we'll have to use our EA account info to log in to the Origin client before we can even play UO (one UO account or other EA game account at a time per computer); that we'll access character, guild, faction and other related Ultima info through the Origin client; and we'll also use that client to chat with/advertise what we're doing to our friends while we play UO or some other EA game.
     
  45. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    My guess is when that happens, a lot of my peeps, me included, will probably be gaming elsewhere, because from what I've heard thru the rumormill, and thats mostly what we get with this game, is that the Origin clients will be set up to scan processes you have running, etc etc.
    Innocuous enough on the surface, but once this kinda stuff starts, it just gets more and more. Kinda like anything mega corporations or governments do nowdays...

    *puts tinfoil hat in desk drawer and walks away*
     
  46. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    I don't disagree with you. I sometimes wonder if that kind of scanning or checking to see what else you have on your computer isn't already happening. I have so much lag anymore running UO that it's not even funny. I haven't used UO Assist in two years and so I obviously can't use UO Automap or UO Cartographer. But even without any of those running and with none of the other applications that I sometimes have open while UO is running (ICQ, Internet Explorer, Excel, or Paint) open either, using the classic client lately is still horribly laggy/unresponsive. Trying to get tooltip information by mousing over stuff is terribly slow and doing something like targeting an item to unravel seems to be out of whack and it takes forever for the client to respond. It really makes me wonder what all I've downloaded with UO sometimes.
     
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  47. NBG

    NBG Lore Master
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    We better still be able to run multiple clients.... if they switch us to another login method.

    Anyone else get the sick feeling in their stomach if they decided to do a new login method given how the account management went last time?
     
  48. NBG

    NBG Lore Master
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    All I know is that if I am going to have to disable my Anti Virus program just to play, I am going to bring the torches.... Someone else please bring the pitchforks.
     
  49. Gilmour

    Gilmour Certifiable
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    Hell i would help out for free, But ever since the volunteer mishap back in early this millennium, which ultimately got the volunteer programs canceled, EA not taking any volunteers or handouts whatsoever.
     
  50. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    LOL