2010-09-10: Producer's Update

Producer's Update

Posted Sep 10, 2010 16:03:14 EST by Calvin Crowner on the UO Herald.

This week I’d like to follow up on some questions asked during the Town Hall as well as continue to clarify what a booster pack means, and what you are paying for and what you are NOT paying for.

What is the plan for the next Booster? When will we see it?

Booster packs are geared for semi-rapid dev cycles plus testing. The goal is to release two per year. We have several ideas right now. But in the short term we are going to focus on completing the current design, delivering arenas to test center as soon as we can, and fixing bugs in game.

The booster went into Alpha testing Wednesday (September 8th) and we have an aggressive bug schedule we are digging into, to get players hands on it and to an external test center in the not too distant future.

Most importantly, the cost of the booster pack does not include “the cost of labor.” This means that we fix bugs and core systems that EVERYONE will have access to. What you pay for is the content surrounding those updates. For example, with the current booster in production everyone will receive the benefit of smooth boat movement. It is core functionality we cannot actively separate from the game. What the customer pays for are new ships, new quests, and access to “cool stuff” like new recipes and boss battles.

As for all content, the booster is available for both clients. Smooth boat movement was initially developed and tested in the Classic Client, and later developed and tested in the Enhanced Client.

Players do not pay for the Ultima Online clients. You pay for the content.

When will we see actual tangible merchandise from UO, and will we see a box on store shelves?

It is unlikely you will ever see another box for Ultima Online on Target or Best Buy store shelves. Much of the industry is moving toward digital distribution. However, in terms of merchandise (t-shirts, cloth maps, Mesanna bobblehead dolls); we have taken that recommendation into consideration and trying to come up with a plan that will work for the business and the community. What we found out during the Town Hall is that many players take pride in their knowledge and association with the legacy of Ultima Online. You would the ability to share your dedication in more ways than downloading and paying for virtual items.

It will not happen any time soon, but I wanted to let you know we heard the request and are making an attempt to address it.

When will you fix access for individual player housing, as it was in the Kingdom Reborn (KR) client?

This is on our radar currently. This was a function/feature that was initially a bug in the KR client that was later fixed. The side effect is that players appreciated the option. We are talking about it internally, and trying to work it in to the next dev cycle once we are certain removing the restriction makes sense.

What’s going on with 3rd party program detection?

This week the first series of actions took place on 3rd party program use offenders. I will not share numbers or specifics on account names, locations of offenders, or how often we will take action.

Criteria for taking action are based on frequency of the offense. For example, account X was found using program Y, Z number of times. This implies that the account/player willfully violated the terms of the game. High frequency violators will be removed from the game. Low frequency violators will be warned and in time suspended if the offense continues.

Flames, vegetable throwing, and other creative methods of termination and suspension are not currently planned.

UO Assist and UOAM are sanctioned applications.

What happened to 5 of Friday and will it ever return? What about ask the Devs?

While this update might seem like a FoF … it’s not. We [team leads and the community team] had a chat after the week of the Town Hall to come up with a method to update you more consistently about goings on with the team. I am getting used to using the Ultima Online Facebook page for getting out information rapidly. The Facebook page, in concert with the UO Herald for more formal announcements and updates will hopefully help increase the frequency of updates.

Also, you can always find us lurking on the forums.

As time progresses we’ll continue ensure the information you need is accessible and any issues that keep you from enjoying our game are addressed.

What’s up with that newsletter that went out and why didn’t I get it?

I have heard that some players receive the Pogo newsletter but have heard nothing from UO. I have received a few private messages, and will make an attempt to get you on the EA notifications opt in list. However, in the short term you can view it here(

Why did you answer this letter in the form of an FAQ?

I thought this format would be best.

What’s with the still no mention of “X” feature….

As always, I’m certain I have missed a few dozen other topics near and dear to your interests, but this is all I have space for currently.

Please have a safe and careful weekend, and see you on the boards.