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The Virtue System in UO

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Dot_Warner, May 19, 2015.

  1. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    @Kyronix

    Since it's been said the Virtue System will be completed with the upcoming expansion, I thought it would be a good idea to review the existing Virtues for weaknesses and ways to keep them relevant with today's metrics.

    Keep in mind that having Knight in all the Virtues will, I believe, confer an additional reward on top of those already earned. I'm hoping the reward for "Avatarhood" is decently enticing...

    The Virtues, being a core concept of the Ultima series, should be as approachable as possible to as many character types as possible...even if the reason for their gaining a Virtue is just for an RP purpose. Right now, too many of the Virtues are geared almost solely for Felucca play, even though the majority of players rarely go there.

    My desire IS NOT to strip away their original Fel-based reward mechanics, but to get a good discussion going about how to expand them to have relevance for more playstyles.


    Compassion-

    This is probably the most well-crafted of the Virtues, with a thematically appropriate reward and many ways to gain points.

    Ways to gain:
    • Escorts quests
    • Prisoner Quests
    • Water Purifier Quest (Solen Hive)
    • Compassion Sage

    Reward:
    20/40/80% of max hit points automatically restored to target of resurrection via magery or healing.

    Grind Level:
    Low to Medium

    Ways to improve:
    • Bump up the Compassion Sage drop rate to be less grindy
    • Remove the 5 daily escort limit *



    Honor-

    This Virtue is decent, though can be rather difficult to gain for ranged and magic users due to the distance requirement. (A mage who can go toe-to-toe with most of the large mobs is rare.)

    Ways to gain:
    "Honorable Combat" with high-fame mobs.

    Grind Level:
    High

    Rewards:
    Ability to move amongst hostile mobs for a period of time.
    Perfection and Honorable Execution bonus with Bushido.

    Ways to improve:
    • Simplify "Honorable Combat" to be fairer to ranged and magic users. (They're presently at a disadvantage)
    • Give a decent amount of Honor points to those who compete in arena duels, capped per day.


    Valor-

    This Virtue is too narrowly targeted, being rather pointless to anyone who doesn't work Champion Spawns.

    Ways to gain:
    Killing mobs in Champion Spawn regions.

    Grind Level:
    Low to Medium

    Reward:
    Ability to activate (in Felucca) or advance a Champion Altar.

    Ways to improve:
    • Give a decent amount of Valor points to those who compete in arena duels, capped per day.
    • Give a small innate amount of DCI or HCI to each path (or some other combat-related stat) to broaden appeal.


    Sacrifice-

    This Virtue is relatively easy to gain and has a very useful reward. However, it would be nice if there were more non-combat methods to gain points.

    Ways to gain:
    • Sacrificing Great or better levels of fame to mobs to order to redeem them.
    • Grizelda the Hag's moonfire brew quest
    Grind Level:
    Medium to High

    Reward:
    The ability to self-resurrect with all of your unlooted belongings in your pack.

    Ways to improve:
    • More non-combat related methods to gain.
      • Giving blood at a healers (taken directly from Ultima IV)
      • Tithing to a Shrine, or specifically to the Shrine of Sacrifice
      • Giving food/gold to NPCs in Paws or to peasants and beggars in cities
    • Remove the once daily limit on sacrificing fame *

    Justice-

    Another Virtue with a far too narrow focus, part of the failed carrot-on-a-stick method to lure people to Felucca. However, the reward is rather lucrative.

    Keeping it a Felucca-only Virtue makes little sense with the present distribution of players and ease in acquiring forged pardons and forged royal pardons.

    Ways to gain:
    Killing murderers in Felucca

    Grind Level:
    Medium to High

    Reward:
    60/80/100% chance for a Protector to receive a Scroll of Power when a protectee receives one during a Champion Spawn.

    Ways to improve:
    • Additional ways to gain Justice points outside of Felucca, while keeping killing murderers the top point earner.
    • Killing brigand and raider NPCs at the brigand fort west of Britain.
    • Rescuing prisoners from their captors (re-enable brigand camp spawns)
    • Add the ability to keep a small number of random uninsured items when killed to broaden appeal. (This is just an example, but it should also have a non-pvp-related reward.)


    Honesty-

    This Virtue feels somewhat quickly kludged together and then forgotten. It is currently a serious grind that rapidly gets annoying/boring. The reward is only marginally useful on large purchases such as High Seas ships or taxidermy kits. (Note: I have currently have knighted Honesty on three characters...but I know of NO other players, aside from Frarc (when it was introduced), that have bothered)

    Ways to gain:
    Turning in "Lost Items" found around Britannia. Returning the item to the appropriate NPC receives the most points.

    Grind Level:
    Ridiculous :coco:

    Reward:
    10/20/30% discount on NPC purchases.

    Ways to improve:
    • DRAMATICALLY increase the lost item spawn rate. The current level couldn't possibly meet the demand should multiple people grind for points.
    • Have most of the lost items spawn in logical places instead of the current completely random method.
      • I would suggest static spawns around the land's tourist attractions (shrines, dungeon entrances, hedgemaze, moongates, etc.) and along roads.
    • Create heirloom lost items that spawn in dungeons (on mobs and in containers) which give significantly more points when returned to the correct NPC.
    • Create a Census Official NPC in each city that can be paid a fee to give the general location of an items owner (name must be manually provided by the player)
    • Add a button to NPC shopkeeper's menu to toggle the discount (sometimes it's simply not worth the point loss to make a purchase)
    • Give the standard explicit system message stating point gains.



    Ways to improve the Virtue System overall:
    • Enable the ability to see other player's Virtue gumps in the Enhanced Client
    • More quests in Britannia should award thematically appropriate Virtue points.
    • Each virtue should have a consumable that gives a boost commensurate with Compassion Sage obtained from an appropriate source, useable once a day.
      • Consider allowing cooks/alchemists the ability to craft the consumables after a recipe quest and attaining Follower in given Virtue.
    • EMs should have methods for awarding Virtue points when thematically appropriate.
      • Add this as something gained when killing their mobs, a 100% everyone "drop" for doing any damage to one of their boss mobs, walking through an EM moongate, or a 1-use-per-account clicky (or all methods for variety).
    • Add a method to gain some amount of Virtue points when physically visiting a Shrine.
      • I would suggest reusing the city unrest trash code and the monster attack code from The Darkness (Candle of Love) quest chain so people can "cleanse" the shrines (picking up periodically spawning trash and clearing randomly spawning, specific mini-invasion mobs (think Ambushers)).
    • Give title choices to those who have Knighted Virtue
      • i.e. 'Knight of Compassion,' 'the Virtuous'
      • Add title for those who Knight all the Virtues associated with a specific Principle, 'the Loving,' the Courageous,' 'the Truthful.'
    • * Removing the daily gain caps on Compassion and Sacrifice's main gain methods for those who willingly want to grind them (In view of the fact that the other gain-un-capped Virtues can have a direct impact on shard economies, capping the two related to actual gameplay seems...odd.)

    I'd like to hear the rough outline plans for Spirituality and Humility before they're set in stone so we have a chance to comment and make suggestions. I'd like to know the concerns over the obvious confusion regarding the difference between humility and humiliation, a la the Virtuebane banishment event, have been acknowledged. (Humble Pie is an expression for apologizing and facing humiliation for an error, which is only humility if you squint real hard...)
     
  2. BrianFreud

    BrianFreud Lead Wiki Mod & Doer of Crazy Things
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    I would agree on everything, except for one point - this part just seems to wide open for exploitation"
    • EMs should have methods for awarding Virtue points when thematically appropriate.
      • Add this as something gained when killing their mobs, a 100% everyone "drop" for doing any damage to one of their boss mobs, walking through an EM moongate, or a 1-use-per-account clicky (or all methods for variety).
     
  3. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    I don't appreciate the idea of making gains about anything other than an action, or series of actions of the character.

    I would like to see the shrines included in some meaningful way.

    The addition of a Hawkwind as a boost, multiplier if you will, and sage that can tell you how to gain greater virtue in all the paths would be neat.

    There were lots of ways to gain sacrifice in U4, but the only way to gain the top tier was to give blood.
     
    Merlin likes this.
  4. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    Exploitation? By EMs? The ones who have everything approved by Mesanna? o_O
     
  5. Merlin

    Merlin The Enchanter
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    Not sure if I like the idea of EM's deciding to give out virtue points. Would have to be very defined methods.

    Sorry, there is nothing 'honorable' about standing ten tiles away and casting spells or shooting arrows. This virtue should absolutely be more beneficial for melee fighters who have to stand toe-to-toe with high end bosses than people who stand in the back. In the heart of this virtue, rewards for true honorable samurai (or any ancient) combat shouldn't be given to those who fight in the shadows.

    Agreed 100% on Honesty. I'm curious what the stats are on people who actually ever even do this. The Honesty virtue needs a whole revamp. Reward needs to be more worth the time it takes.

    There should be other various virtue related quests to gain a certain amount of each virtue, depending on the quest. Maybe make it so that you can only gain from it every so often or something along those lines. I started playing Ultima Online after becoming obsessed with Ultima IV : Quest of the Avatar, so would really like to see more Virtue related tasks in the game than what is currently available. Incorporating the shrines or more specifically, the original virtue cities would be good to see. Have a virtue-type boss or mission in the anti-virtue dungeons.

    There should be some 'priest/priestess' of each virtue in each respective virtue town. That's who you should have to see to get a virtue title and instructions related to any additional Virtue quests.
     
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  6. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    This is a game. :p Its needs to be accessible to its players. Skewing part of what should be a core system to one type of playstyle is undesirable. The best compromise would be to make the distance greater to allow for more running around.

    More quests are always a good thing, as well as reasons to go to the cities!
     
  7. Lord Nabin

    Lord Nabin High Council Sage - Greater Sosaria
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    This is a good discussion

    Thank you
     
  8. Kyronix

    Kyronix UO Designer
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    Thank you very much for the feedback about the state of some of the Virtues. I'm not going to get into many specifics here, but if you'd like to be involved in the early testing of some of the new Virtue systems, feel free to join the focus group, where we'll be giving early access to them.

    At this point in the cycle we also won't be revisiting any of the existing virtues. I understand some may have lost their relevance since their original introduction, but there simply isn't time at this point. That doesn't mean we won't take your feedback into consideration when the schedule permits such a revisit. We also are still "concepting" what happens when you Knight in every Virtue. When we implement that, it may be a good time to revisit some of the issues you've pointed out with the existing Virtues. Not promising anything, just giving some context how various features make it into the publish schedule.

    As far as your feedback on the existing Virtues, I wasn't on the team when the Virtuebane event was done so I can't say what the impetus was behind the decision for the pie. I did have an interesting conversation with more than a couple people at the 15th Anniversary Party some years ago who did the Honesty content to take advantage of reduced vendor prices, something they especially enjoyed.

    I think sometimes people are quick to think that their immediate circle of friends, playmates or forum buddies represent the pervasiveness of a feature game wide. The fact of the matter is that all of us are just a small part of a much larger community, that despite reports to the contrary, is as vibrant as ever. That being said, making existing content more attractive with small tweaks is something that is an easy win for us, and is only easier with excellent feedback like you've provided.

    I also think that we are sometimes too quick to call something a grind. Finding a balance between replay ability and reducing the "grindy feel" is an extraordinarily challenging task. UO is an MMO after all, a virtual world in which you live. Take Honor for example, I don't think it's fair to call the method of gain for Honor a "grind" when at it's really just an added step during normal combat, with a movement restriction. I can see the concerns with Archers/Mages, but they also get the benefit of kiting mobs where as melee classes do not. Repeating the same task in order to maximize the reward of course is going to get boring and give that "grindy" feel, there is, however, only so much we can do to make it feel varied. Keeping that variety within playtime is just as much up to the player as the design itself.

    Thanks again for the feedback!
     
  9. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    I've asked a lot of people if they work Honesty, only a few have said they tried it and gave up due to boredom. Many said the boredom came from not being able to find enough lost items to make it worth their time, or the frustration of searching a city multiple times to find the correct NPC to return it to (Britain and Yew being the worst). Are there metrics on Honesty? Can you see how many people world-wide who have knighted it? It's not bad in theory, its just finding enough items without running all over the map that's the problem.

    Something being a grind is rather subjective, I'll admit. Here, I'm basing it on how repetitive the actions are to gain the virtue. In the case of Honor, "normal" combat (to gain the virtue) is almost exclusively with succubus as they give the best gains in the shortest amount of time, and you can gain knight on them in a few hours. It would be hard to fix this without changing the fame levels of mobs across the board.

    More ways to gain each of the virtues would help the grindy feel considerably, especially if there were more non combat methods (though Honor and Valor make sense being combat heavy).
     
    #9 Dot_Warner, May 20, 2015
    Last edited: May 20, 2015
  10. Larisa

    Larisa Reporting Manager
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    I work honesty all the time...I enjoy it very much..I know that might seem odd but it's a thrill when I find a lost item..and it gave me a reason to work up Forensic Eval!

    If I am chosen to be one of the early focus group testers I will be interested to see how you did the remaining virtues, I've always wondered if they were going to be completed, I am thrilled that they finally are!
     
  11. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Whilst there may be some truth in that, I happen to interact with a lot of people and suspect I get a reasonable feel for what overall folks think - but we are always told we only represent a small subset of opinions without any evidence that you guys have ANY coherent, substantiated or widely based evidence otherwise .... so by all means question how we 'know' what we know', but at if we are not persuaded you 'know' any better, we won't be any more convinced of your opinions than you are of ours - and many of us are pretty sure that if, as claimed, the Devs do play a lot, they certainly do not 'play' in the same way a hell of a lot of us do....
     
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  12. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Thing is though, that to me sounds more like Valor than Honor - there are a lot of ways to be honorable that don't involve fighting, whilst valor is more of a 'struggling against the odds' and with bravery concept, so most likely fits more to combat in a game setting (though in UO the 'struggle against the odds' may fit doing any of the things that boil down to grinding ;) )

    I freely admit I am not sure how better Honor could be done, but it's a strange one at the moment - my tamer can farm Honor easily by standing behind his dragon, with pretty much zero risk..... which is not particularly 'honorable' to me.
     
  13. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Going back to the descriptions of the virtues, though some are going to be tricky to bring down to measurable game mechanics, how could we get things more closely attuned to these :

    • Honesty is respect for Truth ("that which, when you possess it, means all may rely on your every word");
    • Compassion is Love of others ("the quality that compels one to share the journeys of others");
    • Valor is Courage to stand up against risks ("that which answers when great deeds are called for" and "the cloak that protects the other virtues");
    • Justice is Truth, tempered by Love ("that which should be the same for nobles and serfs alike");
    • Sacrifice is Courage to give oneself in name of Love ("that which is loath to place the self above all else");
    • Honor is Courage to seek and uphold the Truth ("that which shirks no duty");
    • Spirituality is to seek Truth, Love and Courage from one's own self and the world around ("that which, in knowing the self, knows all");
    • Humility is the opposite of Pride - the absence of Truth, Love or Courage ("That which serfs are born with, but nobles must strive to attain").
     
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  14. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    Theoretically you're gaining substantially less than a warrior would for the same kill due to using a pet. Theoretically you'd gain even less if you were using a summon...

    The original design for Honor was very restrictive and somewhat untenable (healing was a no-no). At some point, I can't seem to find when exactly, it was changed to be more about remaining within a certain undisclosed distance from the mob...but nobody knows if any of the other old restrictions remain in some form.
     
  15. Kyronix

    Kyronix UO Designer
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    Everyone who plays is going to have an opinion on any given feature, and pleasing everyone is simply not possible. Everyone who plays is going to play how they want to play, despite how others think they should be playing - a sentiment I've seen on more than a few occasions. The best part? There's nothing wrong with that. It's those type of disagreements that spur (what hopefully is friendly) discussions and only serve to enhance the community. The foundation of UO is just that - any way you want to win, that's how you win. The player base is incredibly varied and come from cultures that span the entire globe. What's popular on Yamato may not necessarily be what's popular on Europa.

    A perfect example of the varied popularity of a feature is the Void Pool. I've seen it said here more than a few times, "I don't know ANYONE that does the Void Pool, it was SUCH a waste of resources, instead they should have done X!"

    I'm not quite sure what evidence you may be referring to, but we only go by our own experiences and the experiences reported by our users. To put that in the context of my Void Pool example, a feature otherwise derided as a giant waste of time, is insanely popular for our Japanese players. So much so, that we've had to have a real discussion about how to fix a problem where they recently did the void pool for over 11 hours and were stopped only when the server went down for maintenance!

    Pretty much anywhere Ultima Online gets mentioned, someone on the team finds and shares it. Forums, in game meet and greets, and especially direct e-mails. We especially get a tremendous amount of email from players containing valuable feedback on a host of game features. While we can't always reply to all of them, we read every single one of them.

    You're right, there's a good chance we are all playing the game differently. And that's just a-okay.
     
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  16. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    Spirituality is the most subjective of the Virtues, at least by modern standards. Gaining in the other Virtues should also gain you Spirituality, with a larger amount gained upon knighting a virtue. Couple that with doing some activity at the Shrines and you have a decently solid non-threatening (to IRL religions) way to gain. Just please, no proselytizing!

    Humility is going to be hard to do in a way that isn't clich├ęd or insipid. In Ultima IV, you gained in the virtue by through using "humble" speech options. I don't see how that will translate to UO without devolving into silly things like turning off profession, fame and vanity titles. Questing may be the only way to go...

    I really want to see what the devs came up with :p
     
  17. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    Never said that the diversity of playing styles was anything but good - but that many are seemingly ignored, and it's not clear that the team actually grasp how very many people play and experience the game - for example, since you know the player and account numbers, how big a percentage of that player base have you seen feedback from, through the ways you mention?