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What's old is new; what's new is old

Discussion in 'UHall' started by GalenKnighthawke, May 15, 2009.

  1. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    JC the Builder, in another thread, pointed out this link:

    http://update.uo.com/oldpatch.shtml

    to some of the oldest updates in this game. Chrissay has stated that these old updates will be added to the long update historical archive at the UO Herald.

    Scanning the list of those old updates, I notice some familiar issues.


    • Weapon balance (2-12-98)

    • Taming (12-18-97; 3-19-98)

    • Monster loot (though it was called "treasure" back then) (9-25-97)

    • Exploits (9-16-98)

    • Unapproved 3rd party programs (9-16-98)

    • Improving the in-game customer service function (10-29-97)

    • Archery balancing (1-13-98)


    You get the idea, I think.

    The idea is that the issues we face as UO players are not new ones.

    Some will argue that this means EA has never cared about its customers, has literally NEVER dealt with these issues, etc.

    Those who argue this miss the point entirely.

    These issues have been dealt with. And then, they re-surface for whatever reason. Monster loot becomes an issue because player behavior and player expectations change. Archery becomes an issue because it's hard to balance a skill that affords players warrior-level damage, but from a comparatively safe distance, and because innovative players keep learning new combinations of skills and spells and the like. Exploits become an issue because players are also, sadly, innovative in other, less benign ways. Third party utilities are an issue because programs used to assist in crafting skill "grinding," illegally but harmlessly, also prove to be useful to perform other functions.

    Complaining and flat-out-whining about stuff in the game is completely inevitable and is arguably a right of ours as long-term customers of a product. I will wager there is not a single player here who hasn't whined about something in the game.

    But please try to keep in mind....It's not like these issues are new. It's not like they haven't been "fixed" before only to re-surface again due to unforeseen circumstances.

    Am I suggesting that players be more patient? Maybe. Not necessarily though. Sometimes patience is not a virtue.

    I am definitely suggesting that, when we complain, we keep in mind that sometimes it's not like issues aren't dealt with. It's that they are dealt with and come back.

    No matter what they fix today, they will 100% guaranteed have to fix something else tomorrow. Sometimes stuff has to be fixed even when it isn't exactly broken; it just has to reflect changing circumstances. Sometimes, an issue that we face today was even "worse" back in the day.

    -Galen's player
     
  2. EnigmaMaitreya

    EnigmaMaitreya Crazed Zealot
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    The reason is that more people want to be entertained by the efforts of others, than take the time to entertain themselves.

    Hence, everything is a Bright new Shiny Toy, for a day, a week, a month .... then it is tossed on the Scrap Pile of history and they start demanding a new bright Shiny Toy to play with.

    It is a Mobius Strip and there is no exit.

    The balance issue is and has always been a joke. Incompetent person A gets their butt handed to them by Mob A or PvP A and they start whining about how Template A is so much stronger than Template B, obviously because they were beaten and if the Templates had been balanced they would not have lost, ergo, the Dev's must nerf Template A until player A of Template B can beat all Template A players.

    Balance comes in two forms, we must choose which we want. Everyone is a Tank Mage OR we accept that Balance is achieved by Rock beats Scissors beats Paper beats Rock. And when we lose STOP the incessant whining that YOU lost because something is UNBALANCED/OVERPOWERED.
     
  3. Ultima is a limited universe where problems can occur in only so many ways. Balancing issues will always be a problem due to additional content/changes, and likewise for exploits and cheating.

    Of course the arguements won't change much, but with each arguement presents a new problem.

    Archery balancing from 98 would be dramatically different than a balancing issue today, so you really can't compare the two. So while the arguements might be similar, they are by far, not the same (maybe with the exception in some cases where certain skills have hardly, if ever changed such as taming).
     
  4. SevenFaith

    SevenFaith Lore Master
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    "Drinking potions while holding bows became impossible. " - 9/16/98

    I guess that this 'Balanced' mod is nothing new, then!
     
  5. Sarsmi

    Sarsmi Grand Poobah
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    I think there are some issue where either there are no solutions, or no viable solutions. Could they fix scripting for good? I think there is a solution out there, but it would involve changing the client(s) radically, which would involve a great deal of coding effort and time. Or they could put in a bunch of stop gaps in every game system that gets hit by scripters (resource gathering, library turn ins, heartwood quests, etc) but without unique solutions those would also most likely irritate the legitimate users of those systems (Can you select the picture that goes with the first three? Can you type the word you see? Stick your left leg in, stick your left leg out...)

    I think when you're a new dev you are excited about pet projects (usually those that add new content you think would be fun), and are much less excited about the prospect of bug fixing and game balancing. That stuff is boring! So it becomes something that is stuck on the back burner and is inherited by new devs as time passes, or is worked on in odd moments or when the balance or bugginess becomes really awful. Possibly bugs are thrown on a big ol list and the ones that are quick fixes end up getting tackled regularly, while the tougher ones sit.
     
  6. Zero Day

    Zero Day Guest

    Actually some devs do like game balancing.


    However development is a team effort funded by a corporate entity with a customer base.


    The approximation is the customers are like children, the devs are more akin to babysitters than parents.
    And the corporate entity are the trust fund set up by absentee parents to pay the babysitter.


    The dev's want to keep the kids busy so that they'll play quiet and quit complaining.

    So the customers (US the gaming population) gripe and moan about all the things we love/hate about the game.
    The dev's scamble to do what they think will shut the most people up.

    The corporate entity will turn a blind eye to the kids and the babysitter as long as the trust fund keeps paying.



    So we have a game that started out really cool, changed by babysitters seeking to silence screaming children with bells and whistles instead of making them eat there vegetables before their desert.


    The game wont be balanced until the devs start acting like parents instead of baby sitters.

    And we'll keep getting useless bells and whistles if we don't quit acting like crybabies.
     
  7. Amigo

    Amigo Guest

    "Learning skills by watching people who are using them will be removed. "

    How did that work?
     
  8. Sarsmi

    Sarsmi Grand Poobah
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    There were no skill locks but there was a skill cap - so you could go bank with your GM magery and then someone would like a campfire and you'd gain in camping and lose in magery. :p
     
  9. Thangorodrim

    Thangorodrim Guest

    Good comments.

    The game is an allostatic mechanism (in the biology context - look it up) and it evolves. Its not sophisticated enough to be self-regulating, however, so the developers will forever tweak.

    I recall the shameful Bard nerfing implemented by Vex (may she burn in hell forever - even custom housing does not offset that sin*) which, along with the simultaneous mild taming nerf, was directly a consequence of PvM gold farming no longer being constrained by PK activity with the advent of trammel.

    * I don't really wish ill to the person behind Vex. Its a sensitive issue for me because I worked provocation from ~33 to GM in Destard and Hythloth exclusively over almost two years. No macroing, though peacemaking and music were already GM. The planned Bard nerf was publicized a few weeks after reaching that goal. Poof.
     
  10. Rocklin

    Rocklin Guest

    I remember people RUNNING from Campfires being lit. lol
     
  11. EnigmaMaitreya

    EnigmaMaitreya Crazed Zealot
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    Was a time when Campfires were a form of Griefing people.

    It did lead to the tri-state Skills though (down, up, locked).
     
  12. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    Some issues have been dealt with and then resurfaced ... and some havent. To suggest as you do that this is the case across the board is misleading. Please dont try and gloss over the fact that UO has had some issues that have been outstanding for years and have NEVER been dealt with.
     
  13. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    I can't think of an issue that hasn't resurfaced at least once.

    Unless of course you're going to be defining "issue" really narrowly.

    As in, a single third party application was eliminated, or a single hacker/dupe site was eliminated = issue dealt with. Technically true but misleading.

    I am referring mostly to categories. As in, 3rd party utilities, generally. Or Taming issues, generally. Or Archery, generally.

    As to issues outstanding for years that have never been dealt with? Well I guess we've always had lag, but they have dealt with it, they've just had to deal with it again. And again. And again, "imbalance" issues have shifted and changed over the years. But yeah we'll always have "imbalance" issues, some real some not.

    I guess I really should have known better than to post and think I wouldn't bring out the "everything sucks, everyone but me whines" crowd. (Not referring exclusively to the one I'm replying to.)

    *sighs*

    -Galen's player
     
  14. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    Err, Vex is a GUY, and last I heard had become a professional Poker player, in addition to working on other games.
     
  15. Thangorodrim

    Thangorodrim Guest

    Do you have a source for that? I seem to recall Vex identifying itself as part of the female species. Maybe I have Vex confused with another.
     
  16. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    Considering I've met Vex personally, as part of the meeting that resulted in the eventual detonation of Haven, yeah, you're confusing Vex with someone else.

    Michael "Vex" Moore, according to June 2003 UO Newsletter archived on uoherald
     
  17. Bomb Bloke

    Bomb Bloke Lore Keeper
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    Keep in mind that "fixes" to something often just result in more bugs.

    For example. Currently, creatures cannot use the teleport spell at all (though they will still attempt to cast it), and if a pet follows you into a house and then attempts to fly, it will become stuck.

    The reason for these two bugs are attempted fixes to stop creatures entering houses illegally.

    Then take the Felucca monster spawn rate. For ages it was cranked waaaay up (something to do with the champion spawn code). No one - either in an official position or not - could even remember if it was intentional or not! Eventually the spawn rate was nerfed, though it wouldn't surprise me in the least if they decided to turn it back again.

    As for monster loot/balance/exploits/etc, all these things can't just be fixed once then left. Since the '90s, we've had more monsters added to the game, more weapons, and likely a lot more code for exploiters to find holes in.
     
  18. hawkeye_pike

    hawkeye_pike Babbling Loonie
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    Ah, I remember skill atrophy. It was an interesting concept. Back in 1998, you weren't able to makr your skills as rising or falling or lock them. Skills decayed if you didn't use them. It was almost impossible to create the perfect template.
     
  19. popps

    popps Always Present
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    Personally, I think what happened that opened the Ultima Online "Pandora Box" and introduced a game balancing nightmare, was the day that Ultima Online from a mainly skill based game became a mainly item based game.

    There is way too many items out there capable of providing way too many bonuses combinations to be able to keep anything under control and balanced out among the various skill sets, IMHO.

    I think that the game would have been way much more possible to be balanced out if it stayed a mostly skill based game as it was initially, rather than keep introducing more and more and some more powerfull items that skew the balance with all their bonuses and possible combinations between them.
     
  20. EnigmaMaitreya

    EnigmaMaitreya Crazed Zealot
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    Well I certainly do agree with the Itemization vs Skill based encounters.

    Itemization tends to produce the construct of an Appliance rack with buttons to push to accomplish the task.

    Skill based tends to manifest the skill of the "Person" through the skills of the "Avatar"/character.

    *Shrug*

    Just my opinion but the Skill based is ... doomed as it tends to create a pyramid effect in the player base. The broadest group are inept/incompetent. The tip is ... well the Elite.

    Financially this is inverse to how you want things to be so you can cater to the ... largest dollars and cents group. hence, incomes the Itemization and out goes the skills.

    In comes the runaway "Economy", the scripters etc.

    In comes the concept that Real Life Currency is the dominating force in the game. As in the broadest group will "BUY" their way to being Uber.
     
  21. Thangorodrim

    Thangorodrim Guest

    I'm all for empirical data; standing corrected.

    The bard changes were still a cheap shot.
     
  22. BakeryGnome

    BakeryGnome Guest

    It is just a game.
     
  23. popps

    popps Always Present
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    And what is that supposed to mean if I may ask ?
     
  24. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
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    I remember that lol. Damn...it was so hard to GM magery too.

    Don't forget the thieves! You know someone next to you is a thief when you suddenly gain snooping!
     
  25. Harlequin

    Harlequin Babbling Loonie
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    Actually, I can't think of any issue that has never been dealt with either. My observation is similar to Galen's, exploits that may have looked unresolved like dupes/scripting/speedhacking are actually a series of very different exploits.

    Might I ask what outstanding issue (or issues) you feel has never been dealt with?