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Are the prophecies of UO's demise greatly exaggerated?

Discussion in 'UO Siege Perilous' started by Bruin, May 5, 2009.

  1. Bruin

    Bruin Guest

    So, just some food for thought. I have always believed that UO has maybe 2-3 years left before they pull the plug.

    As it appears, membership has been drastically declining. You hear about people on prodo shards constantly complaining about declining population, as well as it seems we have the same issues here.

    Here is an excerpt from an interview with Josh Drescher is senior designer at EA Mythic that someone had linked to in a previous thread I read:

    "We still handle Ultima Online which is a ten year-old MMO property that's about 100,000 subscribers and is still wildly profitable."

    The full article is here. Granted it is about 1 year old now.

    Now if I remember correctly, back in what most on Siege would consider UO's golden years, say just pre-uo:r, UO had about 100,000 subscribers. Wasn't everything great back then? Weren't banks filled with bank sitters and there was always people to fight and events going on?

    So what is the truth?

    Just some of my thoughts though as to what may be causing us to believe in the perceived differences in the number of people -
    - More land = thins out the population. The number of shards has increased dramatically, from ~9 to 27, as well as all the additional land mass (Trammel, Ilshenar, Malas, Tokonu).
    - We might have the same number of accounts, but fewer people. People keep accounts nowadays to hold houses. You used to be able to have more than 1 house per account back in the day. So part of the problem MAY be that people today average more accounts, therefore there are fewer actual players but the same number of accounts.
    - This game used to be about interpersonal activity. Hunting as a group, fighting as a group, hanging out in taverns. Now there are a lot more things the solo person can do. Taking care of plants comes to mind.

  2. Xulgag

    Xulgag Guest

    From my perspective, I held the account to hold our guild keep. I know now that there is next to no chance for our branch to reopen and I am not even inactivly trying to recruit. But, my point is that I held my account active. Here might lie the hidden numbers, that you pointed out. The playerbase may not log in or they may have moved to prodo shards, but do not log in due to:

    a. Other more graphicly exciting games.
    b. Real life issues that are taking presidence.
    c. disinterest, but not enough to cancil the account.
    d. Forgetting they even have an account that keeps getting billed to one of their dozens of credit cards.
  3. Draxous

    Draxous Grand Poobah
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Feb 3, 2004
    Likes Received:
    UO's future depends entirely on the next expansion SA... period.

    It is a monster of an expansion (compared to any other before it) as it not only delivers new race, new skills, new land, new content... but it is also supposed to be delivering a 'new' client that Ultima Online will need to build off of.

    The new client is the biggest thing.

    The next biggest thing is whether or not they decide to gamble on this game and place it in stores as a box. Not only from the advertising they will gain from browsing shoppers, but the reinvigorated confidence that-that kind of a commitment would take.

    Finally, this games future relies heavily on the current dev teams shoulders. Making content that is tailored to everyone and not just a select few play styles as the last 3 expansions had been. This game lost a lot of cohesion to it's design when they introduced Age of Shadows... that expansion right there can be attributed with the slow decay of this game. Players have been for over 6 years now trying to adapt to a world where you could no longer dress how you wanted to look, but more how you wanted your character to behave. (I always thought artifacts should come in several different styles... like a bone chest, studded chest, chain chest and so on all mimicking the heart of the lion for example...) but I digress...

    So in a nutshell, UO's entire future hinges on Styngian Abyss (if I even spelled that right) because, face it... UO hasn't had an expansion in what is it now... 4 years!?!?!? Unless you consider Kingdom Reborn one... and that was an epic fail.

    The game has only lasted this long because of the publishes and events infusing new content into it.

    On a guaranteed bright side to all of this... even if SA is a complete failure, it will still be a couple years before they pull the plug as that expansion and the new content run it's course.
  4. QueenZen

    QueenZen Always Present
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Jul 28, 2000
    Likes Received:
    The demise of UO has been going on for years, and it has not met it's demise yet. I will agree though that they may be losing more subscribers in the past months than usual.

    The global and domestic economy kinda suck for some, so they will be more cautious what they blow their rl money on making some cut accts. or drop their last UO acct. left.

    I wandered all over Chesapeake about 2 weeks ago and was quite stunned to see so many more empty spaces where homes once stood all over it was the same, I saw far less homes which to myself, means less players, thus less UO income.

    But there is also on many shards due to too much land, a sort of migration, old world areas getting abandoned as empty places open up in Malas or Tokono areas and players seem to be glutting around these areas more than old world areas. But even there, I have 2 homes just out the Zento gate on Chesapeake and I see homes falling all the time even there, course usually they are quickly filled up...leaving entire Minoc shoreline where I had huge homes, about empty and many more areas in old world lands even Malas further out empty there. So if it seems declining even THERE, can not expect much here.

    There is too much land mass, makeing every one playing just way too far flung.

    And EA could do MUCH to improve their customer service. Folks clicking on the links to buy transfer tokens or name change tokens or 11th items and the links didn't work for this one or that one but often too many.

    So they try calling and get outsourced accents from wherever in the world, and maybe do not get the help they needed. Some folks hang it up they want better customer service. EM's hit and miss here today gone tomorrow, GMs oft take too long to respond even for the most patient customers at times. It all may add up to frustrated customers, whom just decide that it is not worth their paying for if they did not get the customer service help they needed or what they *felt* they should have gotten for their monthly fee to EA. Me, I haven't paged a GM in like 4 yrs. haven't called EA in about as long either, just don't have much to complain or call about very often, but when I have used their customer service, the cs, I got was quite nice.

    But heck UO's demise been predicted time and time again, yet there is still something unique about it even with all it's flaws and oft times on again off again customer service record, that still keeps folks paying and playing. . and staying.. or reactivating after years of deactivation, something keeps bringing some back, and keeps others still sticking around in UO probably till they do pull the plug on it all.

    I am not worried about it, it will hang in there or crash and burn in due time anyways, but of many of the online games out there, Ultima Online has kept some folks interested to stay and pay and keep on paying...for nearly 10 or 11 yrs long. Even when they DO pull the plug, it still was one of the more absorbing and unique online game world, that ever got created. :)

    My apologies for 'attacking yall with a wall of text' :) demise shemise,
    come hell or high water UO had a darn good run any how for YEARS, whether it lasts longer or NOT !
  5. N49ATV

    N49ATV Slightly Crazed
    Stratics Veteran

    Nov 18, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Gotta agree. I came back after 4-5 years off. Its still a good game. Not a great game anymore. But if they lowered the rates with recession, and maybe closed a few shards down, with free char transfers, and some form of compensation for items/homes that cant be brought across. If they shaved a few shards, and combined them with similar area/ping shards. More players, more action, might keep it going.

    But I agree SA will be a breaking point.
  6. Faeryl

    Faeryl 2011 Winter Deco Contest 1st Place
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    May 23, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Well, they already mentioned in the SA Press Release that they intended it to be digital distribution only