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Discussion in 'UHall' started by Terrorknight, Feb 17, 2010.
With the recent departures of a few key EA/Mythic people, does anyone know who is left to run UO?
The hampsters and the person feeding them.
Mark, Billy Teng, Phoenix, Mesanna, Grimm Omen, Wilki, and Supreem are the ones I can think of.
I think the future of UO is quickly becoming open source.
What's really funny is we call him Billy Teng too.
We never call him just Billy.
"What's the difference between Billy Teng and Chuck Norris?"
"Billy Teng is not afraid of Chuck ..."
Thanks Joy-Elf for the sweet new sig ...
Thanks for answering the question.
What the hell.
If you know better, please correct me. I am just as curious as you.
it is a very nice sig, but shouldn't it say 'Uriah' in the middle?
Gracias .. and yeah it should say Uriah ... but it's my first gift from a player and it's sheer sweetness ... so I'm accepting it.
To answer the question, though .. YES! There are people left on the team. Yes we have a stable of develeopers who you actually know ... and love ... others who contribute behind the scenes as well.
Also, we are actually adding a couple of people to the team in the next month or so ...
AND AND ...
Well for the rest of the stuff you'll just have to wait and see.
I'm not throwing promises by any means, but I'm excited about what we have planned for you guys ... and so is the team
And please stop making me get my post count up ... Air is watching ...
Much like their subscription numbers, I'm sure it looks better if we think they have a bigger team rather than simply a skeleton crew. In other words, good luck getting a full list from them.
I trust you cal, it takes alot for me to believe anyone anymore, but you have been honest so far.
Yeah sorry, Canary ... I don't give out my Powerpoint slides to just anyone
Also, I really enjoy my job and my team so sharing that information at best would be unwise.
I hear what you guys are saying ... and I understand your concern. But for now please know the team is solid, and actually growing and we're paying attention to what you guy are asking about.
Now if you'll excuse me I have dinner waiting ... I had a New Year's resolution and no fast food for three months ...
Ummm no it's not going well ... I really want a Quarter pounder with cheese and a strawberry milkshake (small).
Just a quarter pounder, you have to get a double lol. Instant heart attack.
Joy awesome sig you did for Cal Maybe I should have you redo mine at some point?? hehe j/k Gemma did awesome on mine, but I like variety.
As for Cal, you're hinting at the stuff thats yet to come, but but I want it now! Ok, I'm impatient. Can't help it. I really do hope it's as good as you're making it sound!
2 Big Macs FTW!
Really, when the question is
"With the recent departures of a few key EA/Mythic people, does anyone know who is left to run UO?"
The answer is NOT
Don't misdirect, it annoys people who notice.....
In other words, SKELETON CREW.
*Points to the thread Sakkarah started to announce her departure--specifically post #39. http://vboards.stratics.com/showpost.php?p=1614577&postcount=39. Really confused as to where Leurocian is now. *
Still with Bioware, AFAIK. I believe Stratics forgot/ did not remove his tag.
You remind me of a previous EA employee (Luc Barthelet), do you know him? I remember the first time I saw him post on stratics, in another forum. For the first 24 hours he received some real interrogation on the boards.
His DEV team, Lee, Sara, Pari and the stratic moderators devoleped a strong bond with the players. It was the best year of game play.
You tell us you're listening, and I just wanted you to know that there are subscribers out here that appreciate it. Many. Looking forward to more years of UO, I think this good game will only get better.
*folds arms and backs in corner*
One that people don't know about or speak about is Tyrant.
Nothing more said.
Yea he's with Bioware.
tyrant is a scourge not a dev or related to developers just someone using bugs to own property in dead game
70 = Expert Producer (Happy Community)
That can't be a bad thing *winks*
(I'm tired of the naked chick sig, even in her various forms of dress from players. Lucky you!)
Don't hold back too long on the good news...we could use it about now. Thanks for popping in tonight and walking us through a real kick in the gut loss. I'm sure it's felt even more so with the team.
Sakkarah, I hope you keep in touch!
Whats the point of getting rid of the good people and replacing them with other people? How about keeping the good devs?
Okay well I want a castle on the mountains, ummm.... A pink GM robe, a tamed multi colored horde minion that I can walk around with. Umm, I want my character to be able to swim (But just me) and Mc Double with Large fries.
(Notice how I changed the last word in the quote )
Translation: Classic shard is coming?
Yes he moved to the Great State and resides in Austin with a growing family. Been there since around the time of the last ToT which would make it nearly a three quarters of a year now.
Hmmm, he must have been reading his Tarots very closely eh? Not to mention he is just as sharp as a tack!
I must say that I do appreciate your decision to NOT allow the nattering naybobs of negativism to get a firm foothold completely unchecked. I sure wish you had exercised this kind of damage control last December. Just knowing that someone is paying attention is a help.
No fooling around, I think most of us see you have a tough row about now and we are trying to send more positive waves in your direction. You must forgive us when we succumb to the doldrums. The Family has taken a few big losses recently. Stay sharp, and stay the course. The term "Not on MY watch." has a whole new meaning, non? Blessings.
I appreciate the posts Cal. Keep it up! Definitely gaining skill points.
Airmid, you have to keep the sig. I love the pink dress! Too cute.
Remember that the 'devs list' that is normally on our front page is only a list of EA folk who are willing to brave being misquoted, misinterpreted and misjudged on here.
For a more complete devs list, perhaps a list of the names on the Valentine roses would be more informative?
Is there any of the Developers currently on UO, who plays regularly the game ?
I've been wondering:
Some great people have been leaving the UO Team recently. Obviously, they are being replaced by new people, so it probably isn't just EA laying off personell to reduce cost. I have no idea what the reason behind that policy is.
On the one hand, people who have been with the UO Team for years, know the game like no other and have a lot of experience and knowledge, are leaving (volontarily?).
On the other hand, fresh blood brings new ideas. While a lot of new game features have been fantastic, I still fail to see a really strategic decision about the future of UO. I mean, instead of adding more and more features, solving some of the very old issues might be more rewarding for both the players and the subscription numbers.
It probably is under NDA, but I will ask anyway: What is the strategy about the future of UO? Is there a strategy other than just keeping the game in its status quo?
(P.S.: With "strategy", I don't meen fixing hacking and cheating. That's a matter of course.)
New people or recycled DAOC people? We all read the articles about Mythic slashing jobs to conform to EA stockholders wallet size.
Answer us this Cal; Who is replacing Sakarrah? Typically we have seen this position given to someone we are familiar with but with all the cuts and leavings we are less and less familiar with the people we have left. I'm curious to see if you fill the position from outside the current team.
I'm watching you Cal and you have by no means made up for past blunderings. I'm not as quick to forget as many others have when they notice you are actually posting and seeming to pay attention to us. I notice it too but I want more than lip service and assurances of "good things to come." That's not to say you posting and showing interest isn't a positive step, because it surely is. Keeping it up after you get a mouthpiece for us will be the key.
Now we have a month to wait on new team members. What happens in the meantime? Where is our content? I don't mean EM either. I am a fan of the EM program but chasing them around with the 30 professional EM chasers gets old fast. It's a great program, it's just not for me. I want a town invaded or a quest to do. Think Candle of love(favoritest event evuh) or a cleanup something or another. Don't leave us hanging. BTW adding items to existing boss' doesn't really count for content. That is something that should happen on a monthly basis and not something to appease us in the meantime.
We have been fed Magincia rebuild for a long time now. Addressing that would be a good move on your part. Either it's on or not but if we are waiting on mystery devs to come in, learn the system then half ass push it out you may want to reconsider those resources and do something else. There is nothing worse than being told we are getting something only to have it throw in sloppily just to shut people up.
I can't say for sure but I was reading somewhere ( don't think Cal would or can agree or disagree with this) that all EA employees including those at mythic are signed to a contract. (I've seen alot of 2 year employees) and after those two years they either get resigned contracts or booted and replaced. I know with recent budget cuts that could be a reason to, but that really shouldn't affect UO when you look at how much of a cash cow this really is for EA. Just my thoughts, sorry if I offended anyone.
Thank you for posting.
I think the greatest complaint I have regarding UO is a lack of communication from the Dev Team, and I hope this complaint will soon be a distant memory.
Remember, no matter what you say here, there will always be some who will react negatively to it. Don't let them get you down, and definitely do not allow them to discourage anyone from Mythic from posting.
Here is hoping that you will shortly be surpassing my meager post count.
Hmmm I had to think about your post for a minute before I knew if I liked it or not, but I realized you said a lot of what I've been thinking lately.
Terrorknight and those who have said this before him, please explain how you guys think UO is a cash cow for EA/Mythic?
Do you guys really think there are still that many accounts open and/or new accounts are being opened? Without knowing the numbers on subscriptions, I have a hard time believeing that UO really is a cash cow for EA. I just see it as they are already crunched, hence the lay-offs and don't care to lose the extra revenue at the moment.
And who knows, maybe there are enough subscriptions that is a cash cow, I dunno, thats why I'm asking.
"Phoenix" was once known as "Vex," and he definitely played regularly, if memory serves from around the T2A era through around pub 16. What he has or hasn't done since I simply don't know. I am also certain that Grimm played as well, though again, it's possible neither has of late, they'd need to respond if deemed appropriate. If anything, these guy's in game experience may actually support some of Cal's comments on relooking a "classic shard." I don't know about the other folks mentioned, but do know Messana, Wilki and Supreme have also been around the dev side for quite a while. I'd be shocked if MrsTroublemaker, another old timer within dev, was not also still on the payroll. Hope that helps a little.
Its just basic math. Many sources have stated that UO still has a sub base of about 100k accounts. (keep in mind many people have multiple accounts) over half of these accounts are japanese. But if we went conservative and took 50k accounts times $10 per month would equal $500,000 per month. Thats 6 million dollars per year. There is no way costs can exceed that for just UO. If operation costs were more then games that are free to play would not survive. So I believe that most of the money made from UO goes to other projects, which is why they laid a ton of people off. Because the layoffs didn't affect just UO. Also if UO wasn't a cash cow for EA they would have closed it down long ago. Many pay to play games have gone away because they weren't profitable, so if UO wasn't I know it'd be gone.
(Sometimes its easier for people to see when the numbers are laid out in front of them. And because its a cash cow its good for us players, because then it wont go away. The downside is if they continue to take money and use it for projects that fail then they will keep laying off and we'll go no where.)
Also keep in mind that many players just pay for their sub. they don't log into the game for long periods of time. Thats why we don't see all the players anymore. But for me for over a year I payed for 3 accounts and would log in once a month, because I didn't want to lose my stuff.
I see your point for the most part. I guess I'm one of those that has to see it on paper to understand it. Cost vs Revenue tables, etc.
Yes. Its very hard. Because we don't know all their expenses. (plus like you i'm a see it to believe it type of person) But for me I used to work for some very large free to play games. I can't mention exact companies numbers because I signed contracts but with some they had base players well into the 500k range. Their rev. was way below 6 mil a year and they had to pay designers much more because bigger companies would steal them away. So they had alot of overhead and still made a killing. I do understand the moves that EA has made to lay people off, but I think that is more of a big picture thing. That they are losing money as a company, but not from UO.
Great question ... I'll try to be thorough.
The focus this year is "The Live Game". We are trying to drive more roleplaying with the fiction, and with the update to factions, we'd like the system not only to be about PvP but give others who don't care to PvP a reason for participating.
What we find is that during an "Expansion" year the live game doesn't get as much attention while we're prepping goodness. So we'd like to let the playerbase know we're paying attention, and supporting what IS not just adding more stuff.
Many of the changes and direction will be addressed through fiction. We have folks dedicated to the Factions SYSTEMS specifically, and Shade and I (along with an additional game designer in the studio) are hashing out the main story arc. It's going to be dastardly. I tried my hand last year at writing a little bit, and it was met well ... I won't be doing much, but I'll get to be more creative.
I was an English major at USAFA ... but I guess not even Word 2007 can account for all my gaffs <-- Edit ... I spelled gaffes incorrectly but leaving it!!
<reads back to make certain he doesn't leave anything out>
As far as players who are actually playing the game ... Yes, we actually have several folks on the team who are more than committed to understanding the game and play it. Within the team, and also through the EMs we have several checks in place to make sure we stay in touch not only with UO ... but core Ultima. In addition, the team plays together weekly on Baja. Finally, Mesanna is the Divine Angel ON all shards so she'll snap at us if we get too out of hand.
Thanks everyone for all the encouragement. Yeah last week was rough, and I can't promise to always be around ... but if the team gets as warm a reception as you've given me, I'm sure you'll see more of us.
If not ... I'll nerf everything and start from scratch ... *
* - (Disclaimer: The previous sentence was sarcasm.)
Thats just sad really...
Is Shade someone we didn't know about, or have I just missed noticing the name before?
Um, welcome to the business world? With current state of unemployment and people scrambling for jobs you can replace someone for 75% of the cost or less.
When you have a game like this struggling to survive - you need to be very cost aware and that is one way to change your cost structure.
Hell my first job was with a company that was famous for that. They didn't fire you explicitly but they didn't give decent raises and most people left after a few years. I mean we had some really talented college grads that found there was way more $$ to be had elsewhere. So instead of paying these people to keep them around - they let them leave and replaced with more cheap college hires. It was a treadmill of new employees that turned over every 2-3 years. I keep in touch with alot of them and they are now Directors, VP's, Partners in other companies. Great people but if you aren't going to pay - they eventually leave.
Back on topic - one of the biggest challenges that still remains is attracting and keeping new players in the game. For the most part - 95% of the people I see are vets on GL - true vets. The items they buy are in the millions, they have skilled out characters etc. It is very rare that i run into a new player and it can take hours of explaining to teach them the game.
I personally like th complexity of the game in imbuing and such because it does afford you an advantage if you study up - but it can be very very intimidating to new players. So much so that it is more like math homework instead of gameplay.
We really should focus on way to attract new players to the game.
One thing we could do is have a 'new player only' shard that every new account starts on. It is geared up to give them good new player armor and ways to gain skill working with new other new players and EA could staff it will 24 hr companions. Once players reach a certain skill level (say 600 skill points) they get a free xfer to a shard of their choice along with 1m in gold to spend to buy real armor/items.
This would corral the new player to make it easier to find/help them and insulate them from the PvP bickering and people who 'have everything' that make new players discouraged.
Its like the guy graduating college with his $40k a year job all happy until you drop him in the middle of Brentwood California where houses start at $2m and eveyone around is famous and rich. They wonder - how the hell will I ever survive in this world?
Just another thought of mine to get the game moving....
OR you could have a 'free' shard for everyone to play to get into the game and then when you activate your account - you can transfer your character to a full blown shard. This free shard would allow you do everything on a regular shard but it would get wiped of houses/items every 3 months (thus prompting people to subscribe).
UO's content has always been great. Right now the number issue as far as the long term future of UO is the graphics. Many players may be okay with the 2d Jurassic graphics but many old players like myself are not. And I would think new players (new customers) which are vital to any continued successful business the 2d Graphics aren't up to par. This issue needs to be addressed..the sooner the better. I personally don't care for the role-playing and 'event's. I'd much rather have you guys working on making the game look better and then later on down the line start doing events. The game is sorely lacking from a visual standpoint and despite the negative press UOKR received the EC was a big step backwards.
I would like to see some progress made in this area as far as a UO High Resolution option. I've seen an interview of yours where you mentioned that this one something being looked at. Get on it man...get the ball rolling.
Surely you've seen the polished up graphics Saphreena has done. Something along these lines need to be done to UO to ensure the future of the game. Get Saphreena or someone like her on your payroll and get working on improving these graphics. Upload a few high resolution graphics as often as possible and over time we'll have a beautiful looking game.
All right Cal, now you have me worried.
Come on. An English Major AND a zoomie?