2010-06-24: Producer's Update - June 2010

Producer's Update - June 2010

Calvin Crowner

24 Jun 2010 18:22:34 EST

The developer/player relationship is an interesting one. There is a delicate balance between the developer as player, developer as psychologist, and developer as creator/annihilator. We have to balance each one of them in order to maximize what each of you think is acceptable.

As players of our own game, we have a passion and interest for the legacy of Ultima Online, and how we interpret that and convey it through story, or prioritizing what systems and bugs to fix. We then think about what the player wants. Next, as creators and annihilators, we remove and add as necessary. Not unlike chefs, sometimes the mix of ingredients is acceptable, sometimes bitter and unpleasant. However, if we want you to return we’ll keep improving our skills.

This summer we’ve chosen to take the story arc a different direction. So often it’s been easy to show you good, and say “Hey, this is good, we are all good-natured at heart, this is obviously what life is about … “

Well as some of you have figured out … that is not always the case in life. When there is a decision to make when Evil is appealing, how do you choose? When developers have to make decisions for 10s of thousand of players, and many 10s of thousands watching, choices are even more difficult.

From my perspective no game is anything without substance. Ultima Online, in my opinion, has more substance than many interactive worlds with which I’ve been involved. In the next several months, we ask you to look beyond the surface of what we’ve given you, and what the purpose is. We are nowhere close to the middle of this saga. This is just the beginning. You will be going through many stages of battles. Evil is always the same, it just changes its face from time to time.

Quickly, an update on core systems:

As of this recent update the extensive download to your clients for gargoyle animations, weapons and wearables should be done. We still have user interface elements to update, but we’re moving progressively through our checklist of items each publish.

On the 3rd party program detection: as stated we’ve already put in tracking to determine different apps working through the client. We’ve had to continue to update how we parse the information so that we don’t take unfounded action.

What’s coming?

July, we are putting together a small present for new players, and those who wish to reactivate some of their under-developed or forgotten young accounts. There are some minor tech hurdles we are working through, but right now we are planning to press the visibility and accessibility of Ultima Online from multiple fronts.

We are updating treasure maps: updating the items in each level, and varying the skill level needed for lockpicking. Also, Logrus is putting together something spicy that will give Treasure chest an interesting little challenge.

In the interim, check your local Event Moderators, and gamemasters in Japan for local events. EMs will also support the ongoing arc in several weekend events between now and the launch of Pub 67. And yes, we also have plans for 4th of July celebrations across all shards.

From the feedback we’ve seen, you really appreciated the fiction installment this week. Again, we do have a plan with the arc and interaction with both Event Moderators and scripted/developer-driven events. The Ophidians are a much much smaller piece of this story.

Some of you may have heard that our wonderful matron Mesanna was in surgery last week. Thanks to the Event Moderators and community for their gifts, and well-wishes. She is up and cranky – which means things are all as they should be in the world of the UO team.

See you on the boards!

- Cal