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[UO Herald] Producer's Letter - 11/02

Discussion in 'UHall' started by UO News, Nov 2, 2011.

  1. UO News

    UO News RSS Feed
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    Hello UO Fans,

    I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself properly. My name is Jeff Skalski and I’m the Ultima Franchise Producer here at BioWare. As many of you know Calvin left us two months ago to move onto his next adventure in life. I’ve stepped in to help Mesanna and the team to stay on course. It’s been a wild and challenging ride since I joined the team and I still have plenty to catch up on in terms of the latest UO content. In fact, I have exactly 12 years to catch up on which is a lot in the MMO space. Before I go any farther let’s get some of the big questions I’m sure on your minds out of the way…

    1) Franchise Producer for Ultima? What does that mean?

    It means I have the best job in the world. Never in my wildest dreams did I think this was ever going to happen. Who would have thought some UO RP’ing high school kid from the 90’s who got into the beta would get this opportunity 15 years later. I’ve been a huge fan of this franchise for quite some time. It started the day I first played Ultima 1 on my friends Macintosh and continued with each new adventure into Britannia. We love Ultima here at BioWare and have a huge respect for what it has accomplished. Ultima made a huge impression on so many of us who work on RPG’s and MMO’s.

    We have lots of exciting things to share, however that day is not today. I will say we are just getting started. The rereleases of the classics on GOG.com were just the beginning. Launching UltimaForever.com and giving players an official place to download for free one of my favorite games in the series, Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar is just a baby step to where we are going. Expect to see more content celebrating all things Ultima on that site over the coming months. Meanwhile, UO will continue to move forward with your help. The team and I really want to hear what you want to see next, so please let us know. I can’t promise everything, but I can promise we’ll consider everyone’s feedback as we layout the plan for the next 14 years. ;)

    2) What are your plans for Ultima Online?

    Well, being that I’m a retired UO player who’s in the transition of becoming active again, there are 3 areas of focus I plan to put a lot of my time and energy towards.


    • Communication with the people of Britannia who matter most… you the players.
      • I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening lately. It’s obvious to me that you demand to hear more from us, so I plan to improve that. Starting with this 8 week late Producer letter. (Hey at least I admitted it.) Joking aside, I had a lot of Ultima Online to catch up on before I felt I could type this up.
      • Second, for those UOForums and Stratics users you’ll see me and the team online more. We’re going to be kicking off weekly Q&A sessions with members of the team. Expect to hear from Mesanna soon.

    • Breathing life back into areas that have long been forgotten.
      • Ultima Online is huge. It’s crazy to even begin try to explain the scale of the game to a new player. As the game has grown over the last decade some areas have begun to get lost in the shadow of new content and features. I really want to see new life brought back to these areas and keep you guys and girls on your toes. You’ll see a little of that each publish. Just like the upcoming Shame dungeon revamp in pub 73.

    • Last, but definitely not least, kill bugs.
      • We have too many bugs sitting in our queue and I want to take an aggressive approach to fixing them. We won’t be able to knock them all out at once, but we can start taking out chunks of them each publish. We read the bugs lists on the forums and I’m planning to reach out to the community on which ones we should attack first.
    Before signing off on this letter I just want to say it’s refreshing to come back to UO and still see so many passionate fans from all corners of the globe dedicated to this world of Sosaria. 2012 will no doubt be an exciting year for us all as we build up to the 15th year anniversary.



    Cheers everyone and see you online,

    Jeff Skalski
    Ultima Franchise Producer
    Tweet me anytime at @jeff_skalski



    More...
     
  2. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    :thumbup1:

    Weekly Q&A sessions. I like!
     
  3. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    About time too!!

    Yay for bug fixes and communication changes. Keep those promises Jeff and you will be remembered fondly
     
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Okay, this begs the question, what caused it to have to go through so much red tape? More communications and more bug fixes cannot have held things up, especially since they had been trying to increase the number of bug fixes before Skalski came long. And I doubt the higher-ups really care about them revamping dungeons.
     
  5. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    To understand the answer would be to understand the mind of EA. Plus there might have been a lot more content in the letter that they didn't want him to put out, the way he might have worded certain things that the higher-ups don't like, etc.
     
  6. Jeff my friend. Shame is great. Don't sugar it down. But I am on one knee begging... please make UO a realm to explore again. Shame is a good start. Please consider random spawning adventures that pop up all over the land.

    Cracks in mountains for mini dungeons that come and go.
    Odd orc battle parties.
    Shipwreck on a shore.
    A game generated decaying house.

    Things that randomly appear and disappear with no rhyme or reason.

    I want to walk south and walk the realm and find stuff that is recall, rinse and repeat.

    Lots of good ideas around the above are just examples.

    And simplify it. We dont need 4 factions. Why not just good and evil or just order chaos. 2 sides. Simplicity. Even Red or Blue.
     
  7. Mirt

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    Welcome Jeff and good luck!
     
  8. Kayne

    Kayne Guest

    Great ideas here. Would be cool to randomly run around and spot cracks in mountains and go find out what might be there this time.

    Ogres, Trolls, Orcs, Ettins should occasionally come wandering toward towns and have to be pushed back. They are humanoid they have the intelligence compared to other mobs. Hell make it so they have to have items dropped near them that could be the key to making them retreat. Until you find each individual ogres item they keep attacking
     
  9. Poo

    Poo The Grandest of the PooBah’s
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    good to see ya.

    good to hear from ya!

    come in and chat from time to time, kill some bugs from time to time, give us some shiny stuff to play with from time to time.

    we are easy to please.
    maybe almost too easy.....

    as with with any new Captain at the helm its always interesting to see where the course will change too, or if it does at all.

    im looking forward to see what you will bring in while UO while its under your direction.
     
  10. long live ultima online.

    welcome!
     
  11. Rupert Avery

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    He told me the red tape was generally his grammar issues :)

    but then I also said can I get the uncut version :)

    Truly a good introduction!
    a lot of clear goal.
    Good luck to you Jeff
    speak to you on twitter! :)
     
  12. jack flash uk

    jack flash uk Crazed Zealot
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    Well you are LYING, you can't have the best job in the world. if this was so, you would be sitting next to me in Hatifeld's Fire Appliance:)

    however!

    belated welcome, good luck, and i must say WOW publish 73

    and while yr at it, send Mesanna to Europa for Roulette!

    Jack;)
     
  13. Storm

    Storm UO Forum Moderator
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    Good to hear from you and welcome back! I to have played from the near beginning!


    Communication with the people of Britannia who matter most… you the players.
    I’ve been doing a lot of reading and listening lately. It’s obvious to me that you demand to hear more from us, so I plan to improve that. Starting with this 8 week late Producer letter. (Hey at least I admitted it.) Joking aside, I had a lot of Ultima Online to catch up on before I felt I could type this up.
    Second, for those UOForums and Stratics users you’ll see me and the team online more. We’re going to be kicking off weekly Q&A sessions with members of the team. Expect to hear from Mesanna soon.
    This is a big one and I dont think anyone would say this is not needed

    Breathing life back into areas that have long been forgotten.
    Ultima Online is huge. It’s crazy to even begin try to explain the scale of the game to a new player. As the game has grown over the last decade some areas have begun to get lost in the shadow of new content and features. I really want to see new life brought back to these areas and keep you guys and girls on your toes. You’ll see a little of that each publish. Just like the upcoming Shame dungeon revamp in pub 73.
    You have a very good start here with the upcoming shame changes and if you provide more along these lines it will be a winner


    Last, but definitely not least, kill bugs.
    We have too many bugs sitting in our queue and I want to take an aggressive approach to fixing them. We won’t be able to knock them all out at once, but we can start taking out chunks of them each publish. We read the bugs lists on the forums and I’m planning to reach out to the community on which ones we should attack first.

    This is a great thing to hear as to what ones to attack first you are going to hear as many answers as there are players nearly in my opinion anything that does not have a work around for the time being or is game halting should be first here period


    With that said again welcome back and look forward to seeing you on the forums and maybe even in game :)

    Storm
     
  14. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    2nds that !!!!

    but hell let the europeans know about it...secret code...style...like...
     
  15. Tjalle

    Tjalle Grand Inquisitor
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    Thanks for the introduction, Jeff!

    More communication would be very welcome amongst the forum members, I´m sure of that. :thumbsup:

    Also a needed thing. Good that you guys started on that.

    Long overdue so I´m glad to hear you´ll focus more on that.
    Just make sure you check and double check each bug fix so one fix doesn´t lead to another bug/loophole/exploit...

    All this sounds good. Have one question though. Will there be any focus at all at trying to deal with the rampant cheating going on in the game these days?
    Don´t have to name any whats/whys and whens if you are, just curious if there will be any time spent on that at all...
     
  16. Serafi

    Serafi Babbling Loonie
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    Oh my, yes - it is next year isn`t it.

    Welcome Jeff. I hope you are able to give us a vision of something UOish. It does sometimes feel like the old lady get slapped with bandaids and shuffled out again. Never really getting that great new dress and all.

    Even then though, she is the best.
     
  17. AirmidCecht

    AirmidCecht twitch.tv/airmid
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    Yay we can "officially" welcome our new UO Producer :D

    Everyone line up! Boys on the right, girls on the left! Let the man dance his way down the aisle....

    :banana:

    We are really looking forward to the plans for the UO Franchise as a whole. Me thinks the 15yr mark is gonna be great!
     
  18. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    OH and lower the price of those new dyes in the clean up!!!

    250k per shot....you are having a giraffe!!!
     
  19. Tjalle

    Tjalle Grand Inquisitor
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    I must say that that is the best idea I´ve read in a long time to encourage random explorers. :thumbsup:
     
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Reading through it again, might have been Ultima4Ever stuff.

    Wonder if we'll get UO.com before the anniversary, he just posted this tweet:

     
  21. Wenchkin

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    Welcome to the crazy zone Jeff!

    Good to hear communication is going to be increasing, it's always appreciated when the dev team members engage with players :)

    Breathing new life into old areas - this really is my Christmas present early. I'll be over the moon if the old dungeons and locations get some TLC, especially the Fel side. If we can get some overland spawns as well as dungeons it would be great to encourage more exploring again. But even just revamping the old dungeons is brilliant! I honestly thought they'd never get dusted off, I'm so happy that I was wrong LOL.

    And bugs... we won't miss them, squish at will!

    Wenchy
     
  22. Salivern_Diago

    Salivern_Diago Lore Master
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    Lots of good stuff there Jeff! Thank you for listening to us all (and my messages lol). I'm looking forward to what you'll be bringing to the table for UO. The new changes look brilliant. Welcome to UO offical now! When do we get to see you in game? lol

    I sign under Ravenwinterhawk's post, thats an awesome idea.
     
  23. Madrid

    Madrid Slightly Crazed
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    Welcome Jeff...better late than never I guess!

    Put that vendor bug that allows people to lock up other people's items in perpetuity near the top of the bug list. I don't think that could be too many lines of code to fix that.

    Keep up the work on the high resolution or give us the UOKR toggle. The game has regressed from a visual standpoint. It was better 2 years ago and UO needs everything going for it to attract new players and keep it going for another 14 years. Sadly the 2D client or the current look of the EC Client isn't going to do that.

    Onward...Forward...
     
  24. Shiznit Bo'Bourbon

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    Nice bit of talk, we'll see if you can walk the walk. Maybe you can. EA is certainly taking a larger interest in Ultima as a brand than it has in eons.
     
  25. i love every single one of these ideas!
     
  26. Mirt

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    Great ideas. I do remember that there was once an idea to have the world shift as we did things. For example kill all the bunnies off of East Brit and orcs would move in close to town and so on. I remember it being dropped because it was pretty close to impossible to code at the time... but that was almost 14 or 15 years ago. Is this something that would be possible today because that would make UO something that no other game could ever hope to be, a real living world that interacted with us. If we could do that I think we would all spend more time in the world.
     
  27. This would be awsome to come to our world of UO. Having monsters come into towns, were you have to fight defeat them and make it safe again, towns that have very little traffic that is. Good ideas btw, love them.
     
  28. whiterabbit

    whiterabbit Stratics Legend
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    Aarp Jeffs. yoos kin bys pitmuck fer ice creams any times.

    Ozog Ice creams man
     
  29.  
  30. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
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    Welcome, officially. :)
     
  31. LadyNico

    LadyNico Always Present
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    Welcome, Jeff.
     
  32. rottenbeggar

    rottenbeggar Guest

    Cracks in mountains for mini dungeons that come and go.
    Odd orc battle parties.
    Shipwreck on a shore.
    A game generated decaying house.

    Things that randomly appear and disappear with no rhyme or reason.

    I want to walk south and walk the realm and find stuff that is recall, rinse and repeat



    Welcome Jeff god.

    I bloody love the idea of random things, random adventures rather than the typical everyday grind, thats what will keep people logging back in, what will stumble upon today there are so many possibilities awesome ideas RavenWinterHawk!

    Just like the idea of when monsters have prisoners, perhaps harder monsters with a better reward?
    Monsters typically follow the most powerful of their tribe, they do what the leader says to do now there's an idea right there.
    Put those two ideas together you have another idea.
    Ahh the possibilities...............
    Love the new publish!
     
  33. Add to them I bet you have more. This type of things would make the game much for entertaining. Explore and find. Simple concept.
     
  34. rottenbeggar

    rottenbeggar Guest

    Seeker of Compassion (Level 1): 20% of their hit points restored 500gp
    Follower of Compassion (Level 2): 40% of their hit points restored 1000gp
    Knight of Compassion (Level 3): 80% of their hit points restored 1500gp
    This on assisting npcs this would be a great starter for a newbie.
    basic tweaks more exciting and willing to do them more often.
     
  35. Kojak

    Kojak Lore Master
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    well at least he's played the game - that's an upgrade from Cal ... hehe
     
  36. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    A most welcome letter, indeed... proof that, contrary to some reports, UO is still very much alive and kicking. I detect a very real "breath of fresh air". Welcome, Jeff! :)
     
  37. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Welcome, Jeff.

    I'm looking forward to hearing more about EA's plans for UO and for all things Ultima.

    One question I have right now is whether you plan to revive the Ask the Devs subforum. If yes, will any attempt be made to address questions players submitted in the past or will the team only address questions submitted after some future date?
     
  38. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    We’re going to be kicking off weekly Q&A sessions with members of the team. Expect to hear from Mesanna soon.
     
  39. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Thanks for trying, but that isn't the question I asked.
     
  40. Jade of Sonoma

    Jade of Sonoma Babbling Loonie
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    Dear Jeff Skalski,

    CONGRATULATIONS!
    Ultima Franchise Producer!

    UO is often referred to as the World's biggest test center! So go ahead and Test away!
    I wish you all the best :)

    Remember the Flying carpet which could be found in a remote cave? The hunt for that which didn't exist in Ultima OnLine led me to the Destard Dungeon where I found and finally tamed Dragons. Since you played all the old solo games, you certainly will know what is needed in UO. Just don't try to fix it all in one day.
     
  41. Slickjack

    Slickjack Rares Fest Host | Cats Nov 2010
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    OMG... you took my line!

    Welcome Jeff and very glad you have history with UO and respect what it is.
    Everything you mentioned sounds great, and HOPEFULLY it all can be delivered.
     
  42. Viquire

    Viquire Crazed Zealot
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    HUZZAH!

    Old school player, wants to "catch up" before communicating. Manages not to step on toes in first post, desires:

    more open communication

    squash bugs

    player input

    and promises much more from the Ultima name over the next year. I may pass out.:party:
     
  43. BajaElladan

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    Hail Jeff Skalski and be Welcomed,

    I was actually impressed and encouraged by your Letter. That hasn't happened for me in far to long so I Thank You!

    As you update yourself on UO's last 12 years during which you were elsewhere, please take note of changes that large majorities either favored or opposed. Evaluate from where Sosaria IS, and determine if its not to late to reverse mistaken course changes, AND how best to Sail Forward into a brighter more enjoyable and sustainable Future.

    Hopefully part of your job is to focus on the big picture. We have less than One Year until UO's 15th Anniversary. I hope you begin immediately to formulate the Finest Anniversary Celebration in the History of the MMORPG genre.

    I have walked Sosarian soil continuously since 1997 and I truly Hope and Want others to continue walking upon it long after I have entered Eternity. To that end, I hope you and your team will work with the Active Players to draw back former Players such as yourself, and to attract and keep New Players on all of our Shards, or Islands as some call shards.

    You have many passionate Friends wanting you to Succeed and willing to do all they may to aid in that success. I hope you remain with us for a very long time as we enter our next 15 year Journey.

    Eliminate cheaters, exploiters, and griefers ... exterminate existing bugs without creating new ones with every patch and publish ... fund it all with increased subscriptions rather than with new reaches into active Payers already empty wallets ... and even the Time Lord and Guardian will quake in Thy presence.

    Thank You for this Letter! Now Let's ALL get Busy!!!

    Lord Elladan Faeryn
    Legendary Paladin of Trinsic
    Order of the Holy Rose
    Member, Royal Council of Britainnia/Baja
     
  44. DenAlton036

    DenAlton036 Guest

    Yes! Awesome!
     
  45. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    Welcome aboard (officially), the Royal Leggings of Ember are over in the corner, I suggest having a good pair on hand occasionally.

    The past (almost) week has been quite a turnaround from a large thread over "our game is DOOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!" to several days worth of constant info dump including a Publish that the last time we had one this intensive, we had to pay $15 for it. And good sounding news to follow up on that as well.

    I expect that communication will obviously drop off over the next few days/weeks simply due to how much is being put forward right now, but HOPEFULLY, the trend will be better and more open communication. We'll be watching.

    Quite a *bang* of an entrance though... let's hope it's not a one-time event.
     
  46. Ancient Sosarian

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    Hail Sosarian Skalski,

    The next Caretaker of our Beloved World. Come with Great Power and embrace that which Thou art entrusted to Shepherd forward.

    Most Welcome Thee. The Oracles, Soothsayers, and Prophets have long foretold of Thy Return. How like Moses, from the World of Lord British, Thou wouldst Lead a great Host unto our Promised Land of the future, our as yet, Undiscovered Country!

    Some will doubt, naysayers voices will also utter discord. Hear them, yet heed them not. Lead us to the bright future we shall create and forge ... Together.

    Many have Ideas. Some miraculous and inspired. Some just plain silly. Some meant as traps and snares. Sort them all out, then Lead Us to that Bright Future we all crave.

    We very much Look Forward to coming to know Thee and Thy Team much better. And to have you know as many of us as possible.

    For Sosaria, Lord British, the People, and the Virtues,

    An SoS
     
  47. Bazer

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    So Jeff, any chance as UO franchiser you are willing to bring UO back to stores? or at least the game time cards? i know id be willing if you did to buy every coppy available in the store i work in and give them away as gifts to get people more interested.
     
  48. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    Game time cards I can see... we're still quite a bit of work away from having something worth putting on a store shelf again.
     
  49. Slayvite

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    Greetings Jeff.

    On a personal level thx for listening to my problem and taking care of it so quickly.

    Oh Mesanna, I love you. What you just did (you know) has re-instilled my faith in the team and my passion for the game. :love:

    One idea from me now (it's late and i just flew 800 miles)
    Random spawning items in ANY mobs loot (make it rare drops thou) that have an NPC's name on them so we can return them for some Honesty virtue. Much like the items that spawn on coastline now.

    Oh and how about 'trophy emblems' that very rare spawn on mobs. could then be like obtain 5 take them to a certain NPC (different NPC for different emblems) to get a reward like a gem bag or imbuing item. Something usefull but not game changing.

    Now i will appologise now for any rants i have in the future, i get very 'passionate' about this game........even got the UO symbol ink'd on my shoulder.

    :arr:
     
  50. Ahuaeyjnkxs

    Ahuaeyjnkxs stranger diamond

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2008
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    Welcome... you can put me on your ignore list right away, will save you some time :sad4: