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Just came back. I had some questions with regards to improving the game population... Looking for Feedback

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I've played UO on / off since forever.   I end up back on this damn game after ping-ponging around other MMOs.   I'm always back to UO, even though I often say "screw this game.  Never again!" .  


UO boasts the most things to do, and the freedom to do it when I want.    I'm honestly tired of the 3D CookieCutter MMO mold where you have to go from zone to zone, leveling, doing meaningless quests, and chasing EndGame nonsense, only to have it nerfed in the next expansion.



Time of Legends recently got me to get back on.  It's really hard to say no to dinosaurs, and Minax asking to have her face caved in.   It's also nice to see that a lot of my artifacts from the Abyss are still viable pieces of gear.   I'm still wearing a Jackal's Collar from Doom!    



Naturally, I installed the Enhanced Client, to see how it had improved.   It's better than Kingdom Reborn was, but still in need of things.   I can't handle the classic one anymore only because the little game window isn't resizeable, and it looks so tiny on my screen.   Otherwise, it would be fine.  It's still a great client.



Anyway, I noticed basically EVERY shard has a population of LOW.    I think I saw Lake Superior hit medium for a little.


What. Happened?!  Last time I played (SA had just hit), things were still happening.  People were everywhere.



So, I think the game needs fresh blood.  



I've been playing again for about a month.   I've been experiencing the new content (while fixing my characters to SURVIVE the new content), and I've also been trying to observe things that might suck for new players.




Here are some things I've noticed about the Enhanced Client, and some things I have gathered from friends about what is basically stopping them from trying the game.   They favor Runescape.    Runescape is essentially UO's competition now.   It's not WoW, or FFXIV, or any of the other fancy 3D mmos.   It's Runescape.   That is the most similar game out there right now...


  1. The paperdolls in the EC are simply not good.  To be fair, the Gargoyles look awesome.  The humans and elves do not.   The bodies are weird, the skintones are odd, and the faces are lazy looking.  I suspect that this is because the gargoyles were drawn way later, by someone else.   Unfortunately, players are forced to look at mostly human/elf NPC paperdolls (at shops), and most players.   The elves don't even look like the ones presented in the Mondain's Legacy artwork... 
  2. The free trial is only 14 days long and doesn't let you try the newer stuff.   The only way to find out if you're into that stuff is to pay.  Maybe the trial should allow you to try SA/ToL?  Most brand new people spend over half of the free trial running around crying because it's overwhelming.   That's UO, though.
  3. There are EC UI mishaps like hair not sitting right on paperdolls in NPC windows, dye tub/hair dye UIs being wrong (I submitted a bug report about this), and some other seemingly foofoo/mundane things that should probably be fixed.  One that is still around from years ago is when the bag grid gets offset from the container frame and just bleeds out into nowhere.   
  4. The house tiles.   Kingdom Reborn promised those fantastic looking tiles.   I remember them existing for like, 30 seconds.   Now, the Enhanced Client has better rock/grass/water/MalasOuterSpace textures, and nicer models for players + enemies... great particle effects.... but the same goofy house tiles from the classic client.    They don't sit right visually.   I think we all are just used to seeing them and it's like "oh yay, sandstone houses!".... but all of my friends immediately go "Why do the houses look so dumb.  Were they drawn with crayons by a little kid?".   
  5. This is just my opinion:  Maybe slowly redo some of the music?  Most of the stuff you hear is still the same stuff that was ripped right out of Ultima IX.   UO used to have it's own tunes, years ago.   I think it's time for that again.
  6. Another SMALL thing that a friend and I cracked up about and admitted it was stupid, but funny:  The names of people in Zento.   "Rod the Samurai", etc.    Maybe a list of actual Japanese names should be the ONLY names that spawn there, and maybe even go so far as to making sure the NPCs there use the Japanese paperdoll face?   It would fit the implied theme of Tokuno Islands properly.   


These are seemingly mundane things, really.   However, new players aren't able to experience Doom, or Shadowguard.  The Abyss will get them killed. 


So, the above mentioned cosmetic things are really going to jump out more to those kind of players, and probably make them lose interest before they ever get to the cooler content.  I think fixing these things would go a long way in enticing new players to come join and stick with the game.  




Now, I understand that fixing these things involves time.    I think I remember reading that the tiles were half-way-ish, but putting in half of the new tiles was senseless because it would literally look stupid if new tiles appeared next to old tiles.    I agree.


I've seen other people's suggested paperdoll art.  Maybe better quality paperdolls could be submitted by players and voted upon?


Maybe even for the tiles?  It's possible there are enough fans of UO that are competent artists, that the work could just be farmed out to the players, and voted on either internally at the company, or on forums/UO.com?  Maybe award the winners with free subscriptions for a bit, or some in-game tokens in lieu of real money? 





Anyway, these are just ideas I had, and things I noticed.  I am curious what other people's input is.



I would really like to see the population spike again.  I'd also like to see some of my friends ditch Runescape for a game that has more interesting content once you get into it...






I'd also like to see Felucca have trees that aren't dead, but that ship probably sailed....

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As a case in point, I got my girlfriend onto the game, and a friend.


With trial accounts, I can't even give them any of the random loot I have laying around, because it requires Stygian Abyss.   This made helping them out with some nice armor a bit difficult, especially because the NPC armor that is for sale has not been scaled to match the rest of the game really...  you put it on and basically still get wailed on.

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UO is sort of outsorced to Broadsword and has 4-5 developers.

One of them is an artist, so don't expect much of graphic updates. High resolution update for the EC with redoing some of the artwork is cancelled.


The thing with the trial accounts is valid, but I am not sure roadsword can change it as the billing system is still handled by EA.


This UO is what you get, don't expect big changes. They neither have the money nor manpower.


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Yeah, it definitely has the "we're on life support" feeling to it, which is sad.   It's also kind of funny that the game can stay afloat with such a small team.  



They might want to seriously consider farming the art out to the community.   I'd imagine there's people who would be more than happy to help.  One of the many people causing Atlantic to go into the "medium/high" population count has to be interested... ;)



Facelift to visuals like paperdolls/tiles ---> Attract new players that aren't scared off by doofy looking first impression visuals ----> money to hire more people....  



I actually applied to their "Seeking Software Developer" thing on the login-page!  I'd be more than happy to dive facefirst into like, 15 year old code and try to sort out what they were thinking at the time.






I noticed little model/tile updates (bake kitsune in Ninja Animal Form..., rune books), but, I don't really think that's the kind of stuff anyone who's been playing forever cares about...


and new people won't even notice.



I blew 500k on bright hair only to have it give me dark green instead of bright blue.   The GM told me to try again.   No thanks on that one.  


I won't be clicking those buttons ever again.   I doubt they prioritize something that goofy, even though it costs half a mil.    I never got a solid resolution on that one, so I just gave up and used the "normal hair dye".


It only took 6 tries to get a shade I *actually* clicked on.    It was more annoying to be told "just try again", and kind of annoying to never get a resolution since the problem lies in the fact that the actual interface is wrong 100% of the time.  


But, for me, having a maxed out mess of characters... It's like "eh, whatever, that sucks, screw it.", followed by going out and playing more.  


Now, I can only imagine what a newer player will feel like when they get hosed by this.   That's the kind of stuff new players notice, get annoyed at, and quit.   The build up followed by let down will be something like a little kid running into a glass door that they think is open.  





This is just my opinion on priorities though, since I'm looking at it from a "how do we kickstart the population" stance.   


I'd personally just slam through and focus on UI/Art things for an entire development cycle or two.    The game literally has plenty of content and is playable right now for people who are at that level, so I don't know if they'd be too angry if they see that the next publish is mostly just focusing on visuals/user experiences...

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Game needs a good graphic update.

Outsourcing to gamers is probably legally difficult, as EA/Broadsword is in it for the cash.


For your dying hair problem. Next time check out the shades on the test shard.

And yes UO is buggy and they call it features. :P

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Game needs a good graphic update.

Outsourcing to gamers is probably legally difficult, as EA/Broadsword is in it for the cash.


For your dying hair problem. Next time check out the shades on the test shard.

And yes UO is buggy and they call it features. :P



I can just go back to the 2D client to get the right shades in the UI.  


It's just the EC that has a completely wrong UI for the dye tubs.


Even the leather tubs are wrong!   I wasn't about to go waste another 500,000 gold.   Maybe after I finish grinding out Minax artifacts to get Blackthorn clothing to replace my crimson cookie apron and hobo-robe of death...


That's the other thing I desperately wish they would fix in a better way.    Every high level character inevitably looks homeless because of some robe + apron/sash combo.    Those minax artifact drop rates are terrible, and you need 100 for one piece.    I'll have to go farm out like 400+ of those things.  


I'd settle for the option to just turn off your clothes from showing up on your model.  It's not like tons of games don't do that or anything....



As for art, Shroud of the Avatar (UO2.0!... kind of.    It's ... yeah... ) has been outsourcing to players for pretend payments (in-game upgrades).   Not sure if it's legal.   



The new client's particles, and player/monster models are all pretty OK.   It's just the house tiles and UI elements that look pretty bad.   


It's fixable, but the real question is, will they ever bother? 


If they only have one artist, my guess is "nope".



It's Catch-22.   


To get more staff, they need more players paying...

and to get more players paying, they need more staff to do things to get the new players... 



I actually sent (in their feedback thing) a link to this thread for their consideration.   


I was going to post something on their FB, but, I'm blocked I think.    I don't know why.   I might have made fun of something they posted about Stygian Abyss or something 3 years ago.   I can't remember, but I definitely cannot click anything, or comment on the page...  


I emailed them about it a few times.  No response.  I think their support mostly only focuses on what they consider "holyshit" problems.    Facebook/Hair Dye/foofoo things aren't important.  

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