Today I laid it all out for the UOGuide staff and I thought that I might as well make a similar post on U Hall. This is perhaps my last. Ultima Online is not a sinking ship, it is already on the bottom of the ocean. Subscribers are at an all time low, the UO producer heads up 2 other MMOs, there hasn't been an expansion 3 years, there hasn't been a booster expansion in 1 year despite them being every 6 months, game additions are few and far between, etc. I haven't "played UO" since about Stygian Abyss. My logins mostly consist of checking houses to see if I need to activate accounts. The thing I loved most about UO was PVP. But you can only love something so unbalanced, buggy, and unchanged for so long. I managed to stick it out longer than most people, saw them come back and leave again. I attribute UO's leaks to a few main culprits.Electronic Arts - If it wasn't for Richard Garriott fighting so hard for this brand new genre of game, we wouldn't be here today. It is unfortunate that he ended up leaving the UO team and left everything in charge of a company who has no idea what they are doing when it comes to games other than Madden. EA never expanded the UO team or reinvested its insane profits back into the game. Only 21 people programmed and designed Renaissance expansion. The entire salary of the UO team was paid in less than 1 month of subscription fees at that time. Producer Chaos - I don't presume to know all the facts about how UO was developed. I can only go by the results we have seen. From Renaissance "it won't be a mirror" to Age of Shadows being a hugely dividing and buggy expansion, to Samurai Empire "ninjas are cool" to nothing for 3 years to the hugely disappointing High Seas, we just haven't had good luck. Draconi was perhaps the best UO producer since Garriott and he apparently was laid off one month after finally launching the 3 year albatross that became Stygian Abyss. Our most recent producer seemed like a cool guy but leaves without a word. I don't blame him for jumping ship to a new opportunity if one presented itself. New Client Drain - The quest to make a better client for our 16 year old game has been a failure. It first began with Third Dawn, a resource hogging, bug ridden, motion sickness inducing experience. About the only thing they got right was requiring it to visit the new facet. But it was just so bad that they had to systematically revert features back to 2D. It finally died when Kingdom Reborn came around. Unfortunately all the mistakes were repeated with uncanny accuracy. All this led to a drain on an already sparse development team who had to develop, support, and test for 2 game clients. Then there are the game clients we weren't told about, of which there is at least one. And the UX:O game which obviously took resources away from UO. Now we share resources with 2 other games. Developer Anxiety - Since Age of Shadows, there have been very few major additions to the game. By major I mean core changes or sweeping updates. To me it appears that after creating such a divide and driving away so many players, the developers decided that all changes must be kosher and acceptable to at least 90% of the players. No matter if it is slowly killing the game or leads to stale expansions. One blatant example I can give is how monsters are so vastly underpowered compared to players. I can sit with my unarmed mage and let an Ettin or Troll or a dozen other things hit me and my life will never drop. In fact I can punch it to death. I remember when you could die to a Headless One and a Troll was an 8 out of 10 difficulty according to Stratics. UO needs major additions and changes to make it fresh and fun again. Even Blizzard realizes this with their controversial Cataclysm expansion. They have a game with 10 million players and can do that, yet we can't manage to balance combat because PvE might be a little more difficult? Misguided Development - UO's development history is littered with unfinished, abandoned and wasted projects. From the much maligned virtue system, to a complete Faction revamp that was universally hated and didn't solve the core Faction issue (rewards for owning towns) to fish tanks, it has been a rocky road. There are just so many things that could have been better if only development time was allocated correctly. Before you work months on a major game addition, maybe you should run it by the players first. Developers can develop blinders and think what they are creating is so great that players will love it. EVE Online's CCP games had a severe case of this recently, releasing an "expansion" which did absolutely nothing. It was so bad they just announced a 20% layoff and have refocused everything back to making spaceships instead of Sims Online. What part of UO screams gladiator combat? They should be focusing on something more game changing than Arenas in my opinion. Currently there is no expansion/booster/major publish planned besides something you can already replicate in a Felucca house. About the only thing UO has going for it is the community. It has been absolutely outstanding. Every time I see a website (Ianstorm, UOPowergamers, UO Weddings, UORadio, Tradespot, UOLS) go offline or become a ghost town it makes me sad. Most of the people left actually playing UO are going to be here until the servers shut down. I believe they would accept drastic changes if it meant an attempt to make the game great again. This topic isn't meant as a doom and gloom prediction of UO's future. I make this to simply outline the current state of UO in hopes that it will change direction in the future. There are so many people out there who want to play UO again and now I find myself being one of them.