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To the Devs - State of the UO

Discussion in 'UHall' started by tjm6f4, Apr 23, 2012.

  1. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    This is a personal opinion thread for the Devs if they ever read. My hope is that something in here from my eccentric brain will give them ideas to improve the game. I firmly believe UO will die, but I am in full support of letting this game die an honorable death with a player-base that says, "Yes, the UO we joined was not the UO it became, but in the end, it was game we were enjoying."

    Factions
    1) Two point pools for a faction player: a) Total Points (TP) accumulated for that character; b) another pool for points available for spending (SP). The TP will always increase, much like a reputation system. You get points by killing other faction members, you lose points by being killed (as well being put in stat) - eliminate the ability to transfer points. Points obtained will go directly into the TP and SP pools and until you spend from the SP, then TP and SP will always be equivalent. You spend SP on faction artifacts - get rid of silver. Faction rank is determined by TP. The only way you lose rank is by being defeated a lot, which makes sense.
    2) Probably the most controversial change I can recommend for Factions is allowing faction murders to openly attack people in guard zones if their faction controls that town. Let's make Fel, Fel again; you have 5 other facets, let us have a tiny bit of ours. Independent towns that are not affected by factions can keep their guards.

    Economy/Scripting
    This is a post I made in another thread, Copy-Pasted to here - totally relevant.
    Take the economic power away from the scripters by introducing vendors (gold sinks) that are priced just below the effort-to-cost ratio of scripting - easily calculated. In essence, it would be cheaper to just buy resources from the vendor rather than from players or any website. What this also does is get gold out of circulation. And if you're thinking this will destroy the ability to go get any resources and sell them yourself in an honest way, you're right, but let's be honest, it takes too much and you would need to price those ingots way too high anyway to make it even worth your time.
    The problem you run into with this (which is also an existing problem) is that scripters will buy from this vendor and turn the purchased items into a given turn-in spot. To fix this, I propose making the ID properties of vendors privately accessible from the client-side. This will disable the ability to use Last Target on vendors but not in, say, combat. I would imagine that scripts rely heavily on this. Personally, if you do this please reduce the amount of time needed to obtain items from turn-ins. A constructive suggestion would be to reduce the amount of points required but require players to have a certain level of reputation from earning something elsewhere, yada yada, trammy-things, blarg.

    Graphics/Client
    Your production chief said it, you're splitting your energy between two clients. Communicate with the community, show a concern for their grievances, ditch (and explain the reason for ditching) the EC. Take your resources and fully develop a new client to appeal to the current era of gaming.
    ALTERNATIVE: If you can't get EA to give you some mulah for this, produce transfer token machines (that are nontransferable) on low population servers and let players migrate to other servers to seemingly boost populations and improve game-experience. All these servers were created to support large populations, but you don't have that anymore, so adjust.

    Roleplaying
    1) I like that you are putting on events in-game through the EM's, but I dislike that EM's interact with players, that kind of kills the whole RP element.
    2) Get rid of general chat. I want to type my trash talk over my head as I stand above my opponents corpse - it's much more realistic in the RP sense. On a more serious note, I miss seeing the spammers at the bank rather than everywhere I go, and sick and tired of the general chat flame-sessions. Turn it off you say, well, I see eliminating general chat altogether as more of a solution than a filter option. It takes in-character communication away and reduces the RP I loved so much about this game when I started.

    TL;DR - I care about this game in it's final years; I would like more priority given to the bolded areas above.

    Thank you.
     
  2. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    On the scripting stuff, rather than code new systems, I'd prefer they just enforce the TOS, but that was debated in another thread.

    On Factions/PvP, I think it just needs to be really overhauled. Part of the problem though is the lack of players. They need to just focus on bringing in new players, which leads to
    Dark Age of Camelot, Oblivion, Fallout 3, RIFT!, and a slew of other modern games are powered by the same software the EC is built upon. Yes, I said RIFT! They did get the budget increased to work on high resolution graphics, but I wish they'd just move to 3D to try and bring in new players and save the game in the long run. It would make it easier for them to add content if it was 3D, and they could still keep the isometric perspective that we already have.

    The problem is that EA is hurting in the stock market and SWTOR isn't doing as well as they had hoped. I have my fingers crossed that UO doesn't get any of its budget affected by that, because we saw what happened to UO the last time an EA MMORPG didn't do so hot.
    I agree, but then again it would cost UO revenue and EA wouldn't do it. I wouldn't want to see a drop in UO revenue because if it became unprofitable, EA would close it down pretty damn fast.

    Me too. I was disappointed that they have shelved the plans to really work on attracting new players, because no new players means a slow death.
     
  3. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    "stuff I like" does not necessarily equal "stuff that is good for the game."

    This is a post of the former phrased as the latter.

    Note how it repackages shard mergers as client issues. (Huh? Seriously?) And equates non-interaction with EMs with RP. (Huh? Maybe he means out-of-character interaction, but then you get complaints that no one knows what's going on. Also he hasn't really specified and as written he could mean any kind of interaction aside from spawning monsters.)

    So, yeah. Been saying that a lot lately.

    -Galen's player
     
  4. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    It could be argued the the TOS applied to a different time in the game's culture and economy, something I personally believe, but I respect your opinion as well.
    As far as PvP goes....

    They would lose money that people spend on transfer tokens from their site, they'd save more by shutting down servers, consolidating efforts in development, roll-outs of patches to less servers, and less EM's & GM's.
    The catch is that you would not be able to trade the transfer tokens spit out from the machine. Transfer all characters on inactive accounts to another server so that if they ever come back, they're automatically moved anyway. I honestly feel people would come back at the prospect of being on a server with more people. Population would also help PvP a lot.

    I can't pick out anything specific to respond to from Galen's post other than I think general chat took away some of the unique atmosphere of the game, which was ultimately a good thing imo.
    This whole thing is my opinion, right or wrong, it's for the dev's to pick apart and take from what they will.
     
  5. outcry

    outcry Lore Master
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    I agree with this part, but make all fel no guard zone as they do have 5 other facets
     
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  6. Meatbread

    Meatbread Journeyman

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    Why don't people like you get lost and quit, play some other game, and crap up its forums instead?
     
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  7. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    Lol, goin' all the way with it I see.

    The truth hurts; I vote denial.
     
  8. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Ahh, so you were going for the shard merger. I was going to give you the benefit of the doubt and hope you weren't going there.

    Shard mergers will do nothing but piss off the players whose shards would be closed and who would lose housing spots, shard history, and whatever communities they currently belong to.

    If EA wanted to tell players that they were going to lose their houses, keeps, castles, and have to move elsewhere, many players would tell EA that EA was going to lose their subscriptions.

    You don't **** with peoples' housing in UO, not unless you want them to quit.

    The hardware is relatively cheap at this point, compared to the old days. Rolling out a patch to 25 shards versus 10 shards isn't much different when it comes to development or patching. It's probably virtualized as well.

    Less EMs and GMs? If EA wanted to save money, they'd just cut back on them or their hours right now. Just remember, at least EMs are contractors, so they aren't costing EA nearly as much money as a full-time employee, and the GMs are shared with other games.
    People can move right now to a server with more people - Atlantic, Great Lakes, Lake Superior, Pacific are pretty active, especially Atlantic. You don't need to code a new system, close down shards, etc.
     
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  9. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    He wasn't exactly subtle. Even in the original post he had shard mergers, he just bizarrely put it under the "clients" heading.

    -Galen's player
     
  10. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I saw it, but he didn't blatantly say close a bunch of shards, although in hindsight, the intent was there.
     
  11. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    The communities of which you speak died a long time ago. With this, you and the friends you have left in-game can transfer to another shard for free.
    If you're worried about losing the value of your castle, well, low-population shards have already lost the value of their homes anyway and it will only get worse.
    If you haven't considered either of these things, I understand why you would not like such an idea, but if you still think moving to another server with a more thriving community is a bad thing, enlighten me.
    When it's just me and 5 other people on my shard, I become pretty willing to make a change.
     
  12. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    As Hannes has pointed out in other threads, there was a degree to which when the game was more populated that population itself was the cause of complaints. "Trailer park," "subdivisions," etc.

    Some like particularly small shards. Those who do not have options. Why inflict the lack of choice on the rest of us.

    -Galen's player
     
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  13. Rupert Avery

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    I would love to see them turn off insurance in Fel now that would be fun!
     
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  14. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    merge into one shard...[sorted]
     
  15. MissEcho

    MissEcho Slightly Crazed
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    Don't agree with 95% of the OP opinion. They are entitled to it, but to say
    is totally incorrect. I see nothing there that will improve my game. In fact some of the 'opinion' would make me close all account and leave for good if they ever came to pass.
     
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  16. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    Maybe everyone should be posting replies (like Outcry and Rupert) or their own threads suggestions themselves rather that critiquing an opinion-based thread? Do it enough and the Devs will take notice.

    You know, some would argue that that you should just transfer to Siege, but I think it's a bit hypocritical how much people resist change at this point after the game has become what it is. I support this idea though. It would be drastic, but I like the idea that Fel is Fel, and everything else is EA's "happy-go-lucky dream land of candy canes for the average player." I miss the times when going to Fel was dreaded.

    Let's see suggestions and have a constructive conversation that leads to possible solutions rather than fight the topic altogether. A "compromise" would be to have less servers but not enough that it creates the scenario you're worried about. Do this by instituting globals limits on the number of people who can transfer TO a designated low population shard, while not restricting the number of transfers to a designated high population shard. Once that global limit is reached, people would not see that option on their token anymore. Keeps population small but revives the environment a bit. With that being said, I think it would be unfair to favor those who favor low population shards vs. high population shards, but at least this offers a solution to that potential battle - you're welcome.

    Well, that is of course your opinion as well as your prerogative. However, I will not be so foolish as to flagrantly claim you are "wrong." I've seen more drastic changes go into this game, and if they didn't make you leave, I'm surprised these would.
     
  17. Velvathos

    Velvathos Lore Keeper
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    Agree with most of what you said.. But..

    The website... When it is gonna get some love or let alone, relaunched into ultimaonline.com?

    In my opinion we need a active web development team for UO.COM and I mean for pictures, a guild search/character search function, so I can see who is in what guild, what they're wearing, who is at war with each other, what faction guilds there are and how many points they have etc.. I do not understand why they cannot fix the guild & character search, I did notice that when it became inactive was when several shards started to slip in terms of active players, that and the account migration.. But several things the website needs.

    Fan art/comics
    videos & screenshots (screenshot of the day?)
    player submitted screenshots
    wallpapers/fan wallpapers
    contests (for artwork or in game stuff)
    player establishments
    official forums

    How can a video game lack an MEDIA section? A MMO especially, needs to be INTERACTIVE, if it is not, people will just turn their heads away..

    A piss poor website such as UO Herald turns people away, there is nothing there, I don't even have any reason to go there, I get the same already news off UO Forums and Stratics which is the only use for UO herald, is NEWS, NEWS, NEWS, because it lacks anything else, I could do a better website FOR FREE.. Not to mention having a decent website is a BIG.. PART... OF.. MARKETING.. YOUR.. GAME.. I wonder how many website hits they have in a day? If you type in the letters "UO" on Google, UO Herald does not come up, no.. University of Oregon and Urban Outfitters is what you get..
     
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  18. Lady CaT

    Lady CaT Seasoned Veteran
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    I think someone has forecast the game is dying every year for the last 15 years. I'm sure there was some chicken little saying the game would be dead on arrival before it was even released. But here we are 15 years later and many of us still love the game, changes and all.
     
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  19. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    That's simple. There are only a few people working on the site and they also do PR stuff, and it took them a long time to finish the Camelot and Warhammer websites. They had to remove similar functionality from the Camelot and Warhammer sites because they openly admitted they didn't have the expertise needed to update the code to whatever security standards EA put in place after the problems that other companies were having with web security. The fact that BioWare had a web server hacked last summer and player information compromised has probably put a damper on them pushing for the proper developer resources to add that stuff back in. Our community representative even admitted on the official Warhammer forums that websites weren't a priority and that he had problems just upgrading the website software.

    Expecting him to add in the coding to securely pull information from any of the Mythic games is asking for the impossible.

    Right now he's probably tied up with the Wrath of Heroes beta stuff, so good luck on seeing activity with the website.
    It really helps the people who think UO will be shut down after the anniversary, and it discourages returning or new players, because it does not inspire any confidence whatsoever in UO.

    UO is the only major MMORPG that farms out its community relations, and all of the excuses given do not hold up under scrutiny.

    Even though the web people are not under Jeff Skalski, Jeff did get something done. A few weeks ago, uo.ultimacodex.com asked him to fix the old broken links and mention Jeff's interview with UO Forums - A Message to BioWare Mythic Community Relations | Ultima Online Gateway

    Jeff had a Senior GM go and fix the links and add the interview to the Herald - Who is Tim Chappell? He is a Ninja. | Ultima Online Gateway
     
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    UO will die if we don't get more new players. That's not a chicken little response, that's a cold hard fact. This isn't 2002 or even 2008 when UO had 75,000 players. It's 2012. UO has far fewer players that can act as a financial buffer for players who leave, or who try UO and don't subscribe, and long gone are the days when UO didn't have much competition.

    We may love UO, but EA does not, and EA is not a charity and will not keep UO open if it loses money.

    Somebody made a good comment last week that unless we are all out there recruiting a ton of new players and returning players, UO won't make it to its 20th birthday. I'm inclined to agree. They also mentioned that the dev team is catering to us, when they should be chasing after new players, since we aren't able to bring in a bunch of new and returning players.

    If you've been playing continously, you probably haven't noticed the decline as much, but I took almost 4 years off starting before KR, and it was almost a punch to the gut when I came back last year to see so many empty housing spots on medium-populated shards. It was incredibly depressing.
     
  21. tjm6f4

    tjm6f4 Guest

    Abso-frikkin-lutely man. Great idea. I noticed a week or two ago how they recognized UOGuide for doing a job that they should really be doing in the first place.
    However, maybe it's not all their fault since they just don't have the money to employ people to do such jobs on a regular basis.

    Excellent points Woodsman.
    It is CLEAR that they are not on track to bring this game back. If they were, you would be seeing EA throwing money at this and more people added to the team.
     
  22. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    UO cannot and will never attract new players....the graphics to me are good, albeit retro and after all to me UO is old school 2d .... but to new players would be not so good at all ....Then there is the complexity......wow...we need not even get started there because even 10 year olde players dont understand the game anymore...its got far to deep..... Then theres the silly ''year gift '' thing....u cant ride a ethy till 3 years....really??? u cant hop shards till your 14 years ....wtf!!!!! i hated that way back when i started and iam afraid in todays market new players want things quick and i mean quick....they will not tolerate these things...they want them tomorrow.

    so to get more players playing together....

    Merge shards or at least dungeons/play areas...jesus if people cant give there luna shop up for the sake of the game then we can keep 19 lunas...but for the good of the game i would give my luna shop and castle up tomorrow...at the end of the day...with a world cramed full of shops luna would not be the mecca it is today.
     
  23. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    You are correct of course, it is simple logic. I really don't think UO is gonna get many new players. Anyway, it will still limp along 5 more years probably. Either way it had a damn fine run.
     
  24. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Woodsman, I'm not going to dispute your assessment totally, no one denies there are fewer players, but I am going to ask you to consider a few things in your assessment of the housing situation.
    When I started (late 2k) houses could be placed in Tram and Fel, and every spot was taken.
    Then they added Malas
    And Tokuno
    And Ter Mur
    And somewhere along the line they also changed some of the terrain in Tram and Fel to allow for more house placement.
    So - how do you think the total number of houses overall compares with, say, 2001?

    I don't think the situation is as bad as you paint it. Players are more spread out now, there's so much more game area for them to occupy. If, for example, all the players online at a given moment on each shard were to be transported to Brit, I think there would still be enough to crash the shard.
     
  25. Velvathos

    Velvathos Lore Keeper
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    This appears to be everyone's answer but it is the wrong one, the game costs $15 a month to play, it is a FIFTEEN year old game and they expect people to pay monthly for it? Look at F2P games with item shops. Lord of the Rings Online, DDO, Age of Conan, Champions Online, Aion, Fallen Earth, MMO's that were all lying on their death beds and went F2P.. Guess what happened? Players went back, they opened servers back up, LOTRO has like 100x the player base than when the game was pay 2 play. All 6 games have in fact made MORE revenue then when they were pay 2 play.. Look at Star Wars, it is already flopping, Warhammer: AOR is flopping and DAOC is about done for... I feel EA will never make any of them F2P, but truth be told, it has bee a savior for many MMO's simply because people save $15 a month and a lot of them are wiling to spend a little bit of that on the item shops, this is why they are making revenue.

    The housing issue comes to mind in UO though when making the game F2P as well.. THEY COULD offer VIP accounts to those who don't want their house to decay if they go inactive.. So bringing back the "house refresh" system would be necessary for players with houses, but maybe like 30 days instead of 7? Otherwise players could just place a house on a free account and let it sit and not ever login..

    But even so, if the game was F2P and properly advertised, it would generate thousands of new players...

    And graphics is not an issue at all.. I mean, thousands of people don't play Realm of the Mad God for it's graphics... They play it because it is free (and fun) and then they spend money on the items shop and I will say this.. UO is in fact the only MMO I do not spend money on their item shops unless its an expansion, because that is highway robbery in my opinion, do they seriously expect me to buy from their online store when I am already paying a monthly fee? I would rather skip the monthly fee and re-direct my money towards the online shop...
     
  26. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Well in 2001 there were well over 100,000 players, probably 150,000+ and here in 2012 there is half (or less) the number of players, and even with all of the bugged houses that should have fallen, there are obviously far fewer houses these days. Even when I left in 2007, there were still well over 75,000 players, and it was not that easy to find decent 18x18s and tower spots on medium-populated shards. When I came back last year, I filled up several runebooks with empty 18x18 and tower spots, and even found some spots for keeps.

    That was probably a bigger indication to me of just how much the population has declined than the lack of activity at Luna and at West Brit Bank compared to before I left.
    Petra, I can agree with you to an extent that things aren't that bad, but they aren't good, and that's a huge problem, because like others have said, fixing things or trying to bring in new players when UO has dropped more players is too late.

    The only thing that changed between when I last left and then came back was Stygian Abyss/Ter Mur. When I came back, I filled up my ICQ list with dozens of players - new, returning, and long-time. Just over a year later, the is a fraction of those players still around. Now I could easily go back out and fill it up again, but it's not very good when so many different players have left (and it wasn't any particular group - new, returning, and long-time players)

    People leave UO all the time. Real life, financial, family, and employment all take a toll, as do other games that come out and that pull people away. I'm one of those people.

    I have some hope they are doing serious things with the EC, and that's what I've heard through the grapevine. Maybe it's wishful thinking and a longing to see UO survive to the 20th anniversary, but I just know that if things aren't fixed now, there won't be a future for UO, at least under EA. It'll be free shards.
     
  27. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    "F2P" was a phrase dreamed up marketing and sales people for a trial account without a time limit. There is nothing free about it - instead of a $15 monthly subscription you are paying $1 or $2 or $5 at a time.

    The games you listed all had problems that were being corrected before or during their change in payment schemes. F2P did not fix those games. There were plenty of subscription MMORPGs before and after those F2P that were doing just fine.

    I'm trying not to insult you, but F2P is really just marketing buzzwords meant to ensnare gullible people into thinking they are playing for free.

    UO could take the time limit off of its trial account right now, and call itself "F2P". That's all that would be needed for UO to call itself "F2P". It's basically what Blizzard did - offer it's trial account that is limited to level 20 (which can be done in like a week) and pretend that it's a "free account".

    Sure, it's free. If you never want to do the majority of content. And if you're gullible. I've had more than one friend think that Warcraft was actually free based on the advertising, only to realize a week later when they ran into the limts, that it's not.
    I don't even know where to being with this one.

    If graphics aren't a problem, then why aren't people flocking to UO? Why haven't the many hundreds of thousands of people who have tried UO come back? Hint: It's not because of the subscription model.
     
  28. RaDian FlGith

    RaDian FlGith Babbling Loonie
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    Graphics, of course, are a problem. Maybe not to everyone, but certainly to attracting the majority of potential incoming players.
     
  29. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    The only thing the Dev Team should be working on in UO is graphics. Nothing else. No updates, no story arc, no more addtions....just high res graphics. Once that gets done then start adding content and events to the game. Until something is done to get this game looking good it's going to continue to decline in playerbase. UO should look like Titan Quest or better.

    At the very least we should have the KR graphics available as an option but for some unknown reason they haven't been made available. Horrible decision by management and those in charge of UO's longevity. It's a shame what's been allowed to happen to this game which was the first of it's kind and is the mother of all MMORPGs.
     
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  30. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    There are things they can do while the graphics are being upgraded, since the devs are not artists.

    I agree though. This game has a massive amount of content, but until we have high resolution graphics, most people are never going to give it a chance, not when there are web-based MMORPGs out there that look better. I never thought I'd see the day when I have a phone or a tablet that supports higher resolution graphics than UO, and here we are. Then again, I never thought I'd see the day that people have argued that UO should stick to 1990s graphics :gee:

    It's like selling an old house. Many old houses are just plain awesome, but if you have broken windows and peeling paint, most people looking at homes will pass right on by.

    That is the most frustrating thing to me - this game has so much content and a housing system like no other, and yet the most obvious thing that could bring in new players is only being partially done - they are still sticking to 2d and there won't even be high-resolution animation, just high resolution environment.

    If they announced a full 3D high resolution graphics update, while keeping the current isometric perspective, everybody reading this could probably go out and easily recruit 10 people who used to play UO but have moved on to other games. Damn frustrating that such an awesome game is not going to be given a chance to make it too many more years.
     
  31. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    We are in complete agreement Woodsman on the vision and future of what UO should and could be…

    The content is there and the housing is unique to Ultima. Myself I prefer the Isometric view and have never been a fan of the 3D Engine (which most of the financially successful MMORPG’s support).
    One interesting feature of the game engine for Titan Quest was it allowed you to zoom out in a birds eye isometric view and it was like playing 2D in high resolution or you could zoom in the game morphed into 3D. What Titan Quest had going would be a good model/game engine for UO, bringing together fans of both gaming engines.

    I love UO and want to see it go on for many more years but I have my doubts given the current state of the game. There are parts of the game I still want to explore (2 Peerless in particular I want to farm big-time) but because the graphics are so poor I find myself not wanting to log in for long periods and go out and seek adventure. Instead, I settle for a few Treasure Maps but no ‘high adventure’ for quite some time because the game visually is just too unappealing to me.

    One other thing I would like to see(after graphics) is the resurrection of Lord British and the original cast of characters including the Avatar, removing UO lore from the game was one of the dumbest things ever to happen. I would love nothing more (except High resolution) than to see Nystul, Spark, Iolo, Dupre, Geoffrey, Jaana, Mariah, and Sherry or any of the cast of original characters roaming Sosaria once again.
     
  32. Velvathos

    Velvathos Lore Keeper
    Stratics Veteran

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  33. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    Velvathos,

    You can advertise til the cows come home but the way UO looks right now your not going to get people to come play Ultima Online with graphics circa 1997. We have browser based games more visually appealing than UO. Kids today would get laughed at by their friends for playing Ultima Online in it's current state.
     
  34. O'Brien

    O'Brien Thought Police

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    2nd Hint: It's not because of the graphics.