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Updating the Official Website

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Nimuaq, May 20, 2011.

  1. Nimuaq

    Nimuaq Lore Master
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    I know it is hard to find someone amongst the Community Managers that knows the game enough to fix the website, the last community coordinator responsible for the website content, James Nichols, stated three months ago (before he left UO 28 days later):

    For my late feedback, I strongly think that these pages should be immediately improved:

    Pages under Ultima Online - Community

    Community - Live Events - Events from 2009 (which curiously shows as 1970)​

    Community - Game Fiction - Britannia News Network - Most recent article is from 2008, Hot Stories in individual shard pages are from 2001​


    Pages under Ultima Online - Playguide


    Download and Install UO - Trial link is broken, client versions that can be downloaded from this page are from 2009.​

    Ordering from the EA Store - It says the links will be available once Stygian Abyss is in the store, page from 2009 apparently.​

    This message is on most of the Playguide pages for quite some time:

    We have just recently completed a major overhaul to the Herald's back end content management system. Due to this we're busily working to re-populate all of the content within the play guides, until that time we apologize for this brief interruption and check back soon - thank you!

    Pages under Update Center

    Ask the Devs - Introduction mentions Five on Friday archives. The link itself is broken. You can copy all FoFs from here.​

    Latest Updates - Just redirects to the homepage.​

    The pages other than the Playguide content can be fixed quite easily. Playguide has a lot of vital information, it just needs minor updates. I believe it shouldn't take much time of Kai Schuber or Rowland Cox to fix most of these stuff and if they don't know enough about the game yet, we can help them for the playguide content.


    After seeing what volunteers like Petra does content-wise in a daily basis, I dont understand why our beloved game's website is in its current form.
     
  2. Cirno

    Cirno Purple Pony Princess
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    The answer to that lies in a childrens television series from the 80s, which was based on the true story of Petra:
    Super Gran - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
     
  3. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    I was just checking on UOHerald.com a few days ago myself, still a lot of work left to do by someone on the team. Given the situation, I believe Cal should contract a former employee (like Chrissay or Jeremy) or maybe even someone from the community... to come in and finish the site as a project.

    Anything beyond finishing what is there would be outside the scope of the contract, and require more direction and collaboration from EA and BioWare... nothing new, just finish what is missing.
     
  4. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    First off..... they would have to have a community person..... which if they do this person is an epic failure and should be fired post haste...

    Secondly they would have to know the game... another thing almost NONE of the Dev's knows much about the game if they personally were NOT involved in adding...

    And finally EA would have to hire more people to work on UO. People that actually CARE about UO and it's image. Sadly that's about as likely to occur as world peace. Personally I figure they don't bother because they think none of us care as we pretty much know the game.

    I think they should hire some skilled people like Petra and Pinco to improve the game. They wouldn't do too bad hiring folk like Ra'Dian and Dermott either.

    Then it would be REALLY good if they took folk they already pay (ie the EM's) and have them assist in adding new storylines and Metafiction to the game. There are a few EM's who truly shine at knowledge of UO history and could seriously add to the game.

    And Finally if they hired an art team that was competent... and had them bring UO to the 21st century... with a REAL 3d engine and had them totally and 100% abandon working with the old 2d engine... Even if we had to say loose our home to have to rebuild on a new server system or whatever... it would be worth it to bring the game back into competition with todays games. I would relocate for that. Let me keep my junk I've acquired over the years in some packing crate or something but bring us into the 21st century.

    But maybe that's just me but I figure if you are going to dream.... dream big.
     
  5. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    They don't have the people to do the job?
    Not replacing personnel now gone?
    Giving Away the data (archives) - last ditch attempt before deletion?
    Even after Cal stated (in a video I think) they "were more than good" in regards to people, back when the axe was swinging?
    In this economy and some voluntarily quit?

    Doesn't that all translate to NO MONEY? I don't want to be a downer, but that's what I read into it, sorry

    Hypothetical question: Would a Large for-profit company (EA), knowing say 6-18mths in advance that they would discontinue UO (due to age, technology etc), tell all their subscribers as soon as they knew?
    After all, it's only virtual property, so we're not really losing anything, nor place us in any type of hardship - they owe us Nothing.

    ( I have seen Many companies wait until the very last day to tell the employees they're closing and not show up anymore, thinking nothing of that tactic since it's good financially).
    Doesn't mean any Devs will disappear, they're just an asset to be moved or reallocated.
    I'd bet they work on other games right now, don't expect them to say which ones - they could even be working on UO's replacement.
     
  6. Tom_Builder

    Tom_Builder Slightly Crazed
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    Companies are cutting back, if there is a way for them to save money then they dont care about anything else.

    I work for the largest gaming company in the world. If you came to Las Vegas 10 years ago you would have seen one supervisor watching 2 to 4 tables, with a Pit Manager watching over everything in his/her Pit. Today if you walk in to a casino you will see one supervisor watching 8 to 10 tables (they fired all the pit managers), and the tables might not even be in the same pit.

    They always hammer us with customer service, greet the guest when they sit down, ask them how their stay is, ect... Now that was fine when you were right there, but how the hell can you greet a guest when he sits down on a game 75 feet away. WTF!!! We are so busy trying to swipe rating cards that we cant even look up, let alone say good morning to everyone.

    Today the company has record profits. Why do you think that is?? We are working with less then 50% of the staff we had 3 years ago. You know what I hear everyday during our morning meeting?? We need to cut back on the payroll!!

    This is how all companies are doing it, cut labor, but keep the customer coming back. Without employees to take care of the customer, we will never see great customer service. No matter how hard the employee tries, there is just no way. I see this first hand every single day.

    Maybe once they fill their pockets they will give us the people we need to do the job right, but I have seen the size of their pockets, I dont think there is enough money in the entire world to even make a dent.

    Tom
     
  7. Nimuaq

    Nimuaq Lore Master
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    I dont think it is necessary to have any basic info about UO to fix the broken links and the outdated downloads on most of the pages, but this is a really great idea to fix the Playguide.

    If I understand correctly, we're sharing community managers with Warhammer Online and Dark Age of Camelot. So, we dont have our own community manager(s), yet alone one that actually knows the game enough to interact with the community.

    Imagine yourself (MalagAste) being the community manager of both UO and Warhammer Online. You know UO, its history, its expansions and additions, the criticism from player base, bugs... but you might not know anything about Warhammer Online. Can you post something on their boards to interact with them?

    Take this post for example: http://vboards.stratics.com/uhall/242418-make-forged-metal-tools-high-end-bod-reward.html

    I can expect a reply from Mesanna, Supreem, Phoenix, Logrus, Shade, Uriah... but not from the community managers because you lost them at community collections. Checking stratics or uoguide to learn about these also would not work, (there is no page for Powder of Fort bottle or 400 lockdowns) you need to see these systems for yourself, thus you need to play the game. I would have been terrified to post something to that thread, it is like trying to discuss advanced mathematics with renowned Professors while the only thing you know is addition. Double click and combine is a great idea that needs to be passed to the Devs by someone from the community coordination, but how can they pass a suggestion without knowing what it really means.

    I believe this is the main reason we never hear about them: they dont know the game enough. Devs might not know all the additions to the game (neither do I) but when there is an issue, they always log in and check the specific problem. Engineers frequently check the code when a new issue arises.

    Having Petra, Pinco, Ra'Dian or Dermott as community manager would have been great, we both know it wont happen, but it would have been great. Using EMs is another great idea that will work and is actually plausible.

    If the community managers dont know much about the game -and apparently they stay as community managers so we dont have any other option- then we can teach them the game. Veteran players teach the game to the new players every day. They just need to come to us, it is not embarrassing to start to learn the game, we should help them so that we can rely on them in the future.

    The main purpose of the thread was to point the parts of the official website that needs immediate attention, but I guess it is also related to the community coordination in UO. While the points about the cutting back costs etc. is insightful, they are not helpful. If there is a single community manager out there, UO community is more than large enough to gain her/him.
     
  8. Kojak

    Kojak Lore Master
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    I don't think I've ever gone to the official website for information - does it have any actual info on it?

    I thought it was just for announcements - if it had anything beyond that, it's probably horribly outdated or wrong
     
  9. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    BioWare has forums and an updated site for Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, which probably has fewer players than UO and Camelot, and they even have official forums for DOS games from the 1990s.

    BioWare has a massive community staff, including a large number of forum moderators for all kinds of BioWare forums. The amount of community-related stuff they are doing for Star Wars and have done since it was announced a few years ago have dwarfed almost all of EA's efforts for UO since UO started. Some of their main forums have updates of a dozen+ sub-forums just for one main forum, and 30+ moderators.

    BioWare Social Network

    BioWare has 15 moderators for Warhammer: Age of Reckoning and those moderators oversee around 8 main forums and another nearly two dozen sub-forums. Just for Warhammer, a game that is probably at or below UO and Camelots' numbers.

    Even the Camelot site is still reasonably designed and retained some of the flavor of its earlier years:

    Mythic Entertainment | Camelot Herald - Community News for Dark Age of Camelot!

    Camelot still doesn't get its fair shake either.

    UOHerald.com has a horrible design and horrible non-UO branding that is not recognizable to long-time UO players and is poorly laid out and it was poorly received when it was rolled out, yet nothing was done to address it.

    BioWare has a large community staff dedicated to Star Wars: The Old Republic, and if you look at the source code of the website:

    Star Wars: The Old Republic is running the same software as Ultima Online

    You'll find that it's Drupal, so they certainly have the expertise to do a much better design for UOHerald.com than what we currently have. BioWare has some really good website designers and support people who could spend a day on UOHerald.com and come up with something much better and more reminiscent of Ultima and Ultima Online, because they have the Drupal expertise to work on UOHerald.com.

    There comes a point at which you can no longer claim it's merely about cost-cutting, and you have to admit that the neglect is deliberate on EA's part.
     
  10. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    Nowadays, UO's playerbase is largely made up of veterans who have put at least 5+ years and thousands of [enter local currency here] into it. So it is unlikely that a majority of the subscribers left will be closing accounts anytime soon. That gives EA and the development team a lot of flexibility as far as quality goes. Is anyone here going to unsubscribe because of how poor the website is? What about the team keeping to their self-imposed deadline to release a new booster pack every 6 months? Heck, I bet Cal could announce today that from this time forward all player characters will appear as purple llamas on the screen and enough people would stick around to keep it going for a much longer amount of time than it should. EA does not view UO as a cash cow or even a potential one so budgets and performance will be reflected in that. That doesn't mean that EA won't expect annual increases in total revenue, but it seems like that is coming via spending cuts, rather than trying to attract new subscribers. At least, that's how 2011 seems to be panning out so far. That isn't to say UO doesn't still have several years left but I wouldn't get hopes up for any flashy new content the magnitude of Stygian Abyss ever again. I hope I'm wrong.
     
  11. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    And yet a lot of effort is being put into things that will bring in new players as well as vets who have moved on to better looking games. Having a crappy website and horrible official community relations (Facebook, seriously?) flies in the face of trying to bring in new players.
    UO started feeling it in 2009 when they made the massive cuts after Warhammer failed and Stygian Abyss rolled out.
    Look at the size of the booster packs that are on Test Center. They don't have the people to complete the housing tile sets for small booster packs so I don't see them having the people to do anything bigger. Well maybe they do and maybe those people are working on the new quests, player stuff with the EC, and the graphics, but you wouldn't know it because they aren't exactly talking to us.

    EA has the resources within BioWare to do give a bump to UO on the community relations side of things, if not the development side of things, or at least graphics.

    I wish we had better communications with EA and not these lightweight updates such as todays as well as these town hall things where they have to discuss whether or not they can answer questions from the players.
     
  12. Vlaude

    Vlaude Lore Keeper
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    True. So far the only effort we've seen put into bringing in new players is the devs talking about effort being put into bringing in new players. And yes, those thing do seem counterproductive to that effort don't they? Curious isn't it?

    Well when all these new players start rolling in I'll be sure to welcome them with open arms and some tips and resources to help them get going. Until then, I'll believe things from the dev team as I see them.
     
  13. olduofan

    olduofan Guest


    This is all we need right there is 99% of the problem imo :coco:
     
  14. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    As long as they don't say I'm a Fat llama, or I'll report 'em!
    But I agree on the branding of the site - every time I go I have to recheck the url; I'm like huh? is this the right UO website? It's feel doesn't seem to be related to gaming.
     
  15. Nimuaq

    Nimuaq Lore Master
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  16. ChReuter

    ChReuter Guest

    Now I could very well be wrong here, but I seem to remember someone posting about just how out of date some of the info was and the really out of date stuff went back to before AOS. If this is true, than I'm thinking it would be much more simple to just do away with the current webpage all together and start anew. Maybe even make it so the players can submit the new info in a way sort of how wikipedia works, and after said info has been approved than use it for the new page. I'm pretty sure, the current crop of players knows the game better than almost anyone on the dev team...
     
  17. Mairut

    Mairut Guest

    Amazing. :bowdown:

    You perfectly described food service, and also health care to some extent.

    Does anyone know how to check or if it's even possible to check and see if EA has filed bankruptcy or chapter 11 on Mythic?

    There is, or was last time I played, a wiki-type website for UO.
     
  18. Surgeries

    Surgeries Grand Poobah
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    Also NASA to some degree.

    When the head of NASA resigned a few years ago, he got on TV, and I will never forget what he said. I may be para-phrasing a bit, but it was something very close to:

    "...I demanded that my people do things Better, Faster, and Cheaper. I know now that was a huge mistake. If I was asked today to ask this of my staff, I would tell the people demanding all three items to Pick Two."

    There is no such thing as something for nothing...forever. A business or person may get by with a lopsided trade for a while. Over time however, Nature wants the scales to be even, and the Eternal Accountant stands ready willing and able to make sure that the Debits Equal the Credits.

    The employers who are currently able to get away with the treatment previously described will be held accountable for their shortfalls in providing sufficient Debits for their employees.

    It always happens.

    As the economy cycles back to an upswing, employers will need to become more competitive to keep their best employees. Currently they are afforded a very large imbalance in what they give for what they get, but you can be 100% certain that will change.

    And when it does, they will have to re-balance the scales...and that is always painful for them.
     
  19. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest