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Well with all the chaos of the 15th anniversary for UO, crazy storms, and not to mention our own 10th year anniversary events, we can now post the interview with the dark lady her self - Mesanna! Thank you, Mesanna, for answering our questions despite the hectic couple of months and for showing up to our 10 year shard tour closing event on Sunday!

 

 

I hope you all enjoy the interview!

 

1. Tell us about how your UO career started and has changed through the various positions you have held through your career. Did you ever expect to be the Producer of Ultima Online? What was the transition from Assistant Producer to Producer like?

I actually started as a volunteer helping the dev team test on a test center. Way back when there were no set skills and you had to build your character like on Production. After that, the dev team wanted to start an external testing program, and my relationship with EA began. I was over the external testing team and a counselor on TC at the same time. I worked on contract for a long time and then was hired as a QA Lead. During all this time I was lucky enough to work from home in San Diego. I watched UO move from Austin to San Francisco, Calif. When UO moved from California to Virginia, I was asked to move to Virginia and become the ADM (Associate Development Manager), then the Associate Producer and now the Producer. I never in my lifetime expected to be the Producer of UO and still a little shocked today that I am. Transition…lol that’s a funny question…I go to more meetings and I write more reports =P

 

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

I know I am not going to do my days justice, but let me try. A typical day starts off around 9 a.m. reading thru lots and lots of emails and replying, going thru Stratics private messages and reading those. Doing the daily stand up and making sure we are on schedule for the publish. Making sure no one has any roadblocks and removing those if necessary. Taking care of the EM’s and all the event set up is a daily duty. Adding ideas into our backlog for publishes, coming up with ideas for new art for special occasions and trying to stay ahead of holidays for the artist. Answer questions, make decisions, give opinion, add in a few meetings, sprinkle in a little lunch and then leave around 6 to 6:30 to come home and set up more events, support the EM’s and think of more inventive ways to kill everyone =P

 

3. Give us a brief overview of how a patch is decided upon from inception to finish.

We, as a team, come up with different ideas of what we would like to do in UO. When it comes time to put together a publish ideas are pulled out of the back log. I set the time line for each publish and assign different tasks to each team member and a publish is born! After everything is coded it is published to TC1 for a week, then to Origin for a week or two. After that we publish to production.

 

4. Give us a brief overview of how an expansion is decided upon from inception to finish.

It all starts with one small idea, one suggestion, one small seed add some creativity, and a good team that loves the game. We all sit down and pitch ideas to each other. We feed off the excitement and things start to form into a great expansion/booster pack/theme pack.

 

5. What was your favorite Expansion for Ultima Online and why? What about favorite monster in game and why?

I can’t say I have one favorite expansion or monster because I have been involved with so many I have my favorite pieces of everything. I am sure it’s not the answer you guys want, but it’s the best one I can give you.

 

6. Is the EM Project still your baby or is someone else coordinating all of the EMs and there events? Are you still bringing on more EMs in the future?

It’s all mine and I am always looking for good EM’s. Real life takes priority and sometimes people have to leave for various reasons.

 

7. What "Mesanna" events do you forsee in the future?

I have not come up with any new ones but once I do I will be sure to let you guys know.

 

8. What can we expect from the team moving forwards from the 15th Anniversary?

As I stated before we are doing a major bug push, after that we have a theme pack we are thinking about how to tie in all that new art we showed during the Anniversary Party. In addition to that, we want to finish the other dungeons, put in a Vendor Search, and looking at adding a voting system for the new player counsel. These are just a few things we want to do.

 

9. Is there any word of what Dungeon will be next for a revamp?

We have not made up our minds yet.

 

10. Presently, the EC doesn't get along with books. Page wrapping, line wrapping, lage/line length, etc is all different than the CC and/or broken horribly. Most times, CC users cannot read what EC users write in books due to these issues. This has been the case since KR. When will EC books behave like books in the CC for writing and pasting text?

We tried to fix this but we found that if we did fix this the existing books will break. With all the history stored in the old books we opted not to destroy them.

 

11. Are you and your team working on any ideas that will increase the appeal of UO to former and new players? If so, can you tell us what or give us hints?

We are starting with basics and getting old bugs fixed. We are trying to come up with ways to stop scripter’s and detect duped items. A lot with finished the rest of the dungeons, doing some sea encounters, fixing armor, re evaluating pets and how many slots they take, trying to come up with a good way to increase interest in PVP’ing and umm a lot more that I would rather not talk about yet until we get more information.

 

12. Have you and your team considered expanding the mailbox and Magincia lottery notification/messaging to a more formal/centralized system where all players can contact other players, authorized friends and/or send items in game?

We have kicked around some ideas to expand on the mailboxes but have not finalized any details yet.

 

13. As a crafter I have been very pleased with the BOD changes. The bribery system is great and I have found no faults with it. When do you think that the Asian and Gargoyle items will get included in the bod types and will they yield new rewards? Such as stone runics, new tapestries, perhaps some kind of reward goza mat?

We do want to make some additional changes to the BOD rewards and add some of the items that are new to the old BOD’s. So I guess the short answer to that is yes we have it on our list.

 

14. How much of the current 15th anniversary acts will continue to be in game after the story arc is over? Will there be ways to acquire items that were acquired during this event later on?

We have put ways to get those items in game.

 

15. It was announced on the UO Herald that your team is looking into the possibility of an in game global vendor search. What are some of the initial obstacles to doing this?

No obstacles except not enough time in the day to do everything we want to do done.

 

16. Can you add more non-alcoholic drinks to vendors? Like tea, coffee, etc. Why aren’t these already there?

Yes these can be added and I don’t have an answer as to why they are not already in the game.

 

17. When is Sudiva going to be put on the Beach in Illsh and when will we be given a way to access it?

Sudiva is already on the beach. Sorry, was a little late in answering these questions

 

18. Regarding the 2D client, is there any chance Mythic/EA would consider allowing players to submit updated/high res art or animations?

I wished it was that easy but it’s not. We are working on this, we are on the walls now but we cannot put these out till we get all the walls, doors, foundations, and roof art done.

 

19. When will we see the new +5 scroll implemented permanently in the game?

It will be a permanent item when we publish Pub 79.

 

20. Are there plans for adding more than 10 co-owners to houses? If so, what’ s the timetable?

Yes! We have an idea I think everyone will really like. Once we get everything lined out I will fill everyone in.

Edited by Rupert Avery
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10. Presently, the EC doesn't get along with books. Page wrapping, line wrapping, lage/line length, etc is all different than the CC and/or broken horribly. Most times, CC users cannot read what EC users write in books due to these issues. This has been the case since KR. When will EC books behave like books in the CC for writing and pasting text?

We tried to fix this but we found that if we did fix this the existing books will break. With all the history stored in the old books we opted not to destroy them

 

Something needs to be done for EC books, as right now, writing in them is pointless. I believe Pinco, who has tried to tackle this issue several times, can give good advice on how to fix many of the issues. A BIG help would be to give the EC a similar font to the one used for CC books, then to limit line length and lines per page to match the CC.

 

Copy and paste is also broken with books. The EC stuffs all the text onto one page, making it unreadable in both clients.

 

Simply doing nothing is unacceptable.

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What Martyna says is true. The EC even does this BS when your trying to send a bug report or page a GM. It writes all the text on ONE line. Making it hard to send a GM page or anything since you can't see what your sending..... and I"m often concerned they won't get 90% of my message since it's WAY off the page.

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She does say why they can't and why would they make up an excuse for it when they've done so many things in the last years time? If they could easily fix it, then they would have done it by now.

 

Though I don't know, the selling point of the EC is that its so much more flexible, so couldn't they change the way they work in the EC alone to match working with the CC.

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Thanks for conducting the interview, it's always good reading what Mesanna has to say, but the interview itself did start to feel more like a Q&A at the end and not really an interview. :)

 

Still, no complaints!

 

Much of it was player questions compiled for her. So it would make sense it would feel like a Q&A.

 

A huge thanks to Mesanna for doing this!

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She does say why they can't and why would they make up an excuse for it when they've done so many things in the last years time? If they could easily fix it, then they would have done it by now.

 

The "why they can't" makes no sense. Why would fixing EC books make "the existing books...break"? If the EC can display books written in the CC, then there are no reasons that it can't save text in a similar manner or with similar constraints.

 

Though I don't know, the selling point of the EC is that its so much more flexible, so couldn't they change the way they work in the EC alone to match working with the CC.

 

This is pretty much what's been asked for since KR came out five years ago.

 

Not being able to make a simple in-game text editor work properly is somewhat shocking.

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