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April 01

More L10N Fixes – 04th April 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Various Fixes and Changes
  • Problems with item identification have been fixed, and will now function in the following manner:
    • Items will now retain properly the list of which player or players have recently identified the item. As new players identify the item, players that have not identified the item recently might need to re-identify the item again to see the full description of the item’s attributes. The owner (defined as the player holding the item in their main backpack or equipping the item) will not need to re-identify the item unless the item is removed from their inventory and identified by other players enough times.
    • The players who “owns” the item will never be removed from the list, as long as they own the item. Ownership is described as holding the item in possession, or within the topmost backpack container.
  • A problem with guilds being unable to rescind or remove a war declaration once issued has been fixed. Now guilds can rescind a war declaration after it has been issued, before the guild being declared upon accepts the war declaration.
  • Guildmasters unable to remove players from the guild with names listed on the second viewing page of the guild menu has been fixed.
  • The new player tutorial will now accept localized speech commands.
  • Vendors will now change directions to face only the vendor owner when spoken to. Additionally, the distance required for owners speaking to vendors to change their directions has been increased. Players wishing to purchase from vendors will now be able to do some from an increased distance as well.
  • A problem with dungeon traps overlapping has been corrected.
  • An issue with Inscription was fixed.
  • A fix has been added to fix crafting for anvils and forges. Also, abbattoirs and pentagrams are now fixed to properly check against the carpentry skill. Thus, these items can now be crafted as intended. The fletching requirement for forge and anvil making has been fixed (removed).
Latest Game Update :: Various Fixes and Changes, Continued
  • The following items have been fixed:
    • The warning message that pops up when entering a gate has been fixed to work properly with the button text.
    • The Help Menu option will now allow for contacting Game Support in the Ilshenar lands.
  • The following items have been changed:
    • The treasure map window display has been changed to a scroll display. This is closer to the appearance of the scroll display prior to Localization.
  • The following changes to the House Decoration Tool have been added:
    • Fix to the Decoration Tool usage with large crates.
    • Added the ability for the Tool to turn the easel without a canvas.
    • Added several paintings to the item list that the Tool can manipulate.
    • Removed the ability to manipulate the training dummy and pickpocket dips.

Account Bannings – 02nd April 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Account Bannings –
After extended logging, we have completed a search for accounts using illegal third party programs to “speed hack”. The programs are used to exploit in Ultima Online and gain unfair advantage over honest players. The accounts logged exploiting in this manner have been suspended and e-mails have been sent to the account holders. Additionally, the ability to use this exploit has been addressed. The total number of players affected by this action is less than 300.

We are committed to removing players that choose to exploit Ultima Online and continue to work to provide a level playing experience for all UO players.
We had a mass-banning on Valentine’s Day for purple items, and now another one for April Fools’. And who said OSI doesn’t give out gifts anymore ?
Oh, and check out this thread on the official boards. The following was actually in the readme file of a store bought copy of UO3D.

Please remember this software is in Alpha Testing, and will be undergoing constant revision and polishing over the next several weeks. We thank you for taking the time to assist us during this process.

LadyMOI Leaves, Vet Rewards Gets Committed – 03rd April 01 – nocturne
Lum The Mad reports that Carly “LadyMOI” Staehlin has left her position as UO’s Producer, with Rick “Stellerex” Hall replacing her. Hall was previously the producer for UO3D.
Meanwhile, Paul “Sage” Sage, 1337 Designer (at least for the moment), reaffirms that Vet Rewards will make it in-game with an FAQ. –
Why are vet rewards not in at this time?
Vet Rewards is the first system in UO to tie items to an account, rather than a character. This was something that was very new for us, and while seemingly simple, was actually a very complex task. UO, while incredibly flexible, was not originally designed to support this kind of addition. It was clear after release that the Vet Rewards system was in a state we did not feel comfortable with keeping active. (i.e. Some people could get more rewards than their accounts merited.) The system had issues and we felt it was best to hold the system back to try to remove the known issues, rather than keeping it active and trying to fix it on the fly.

Why has it been so long?
While we could have held off on many aspects of development for Vet Rewards, it was believed that UO:Third Dawn took precedence over Vet Rewards. Third Dawn potentially reached more people, and was better for the ability of the game to maintain a longer life cycle. (In other words, Third Dawn would give us the ability to hold the interest of the players for longer.) While simultaneous development occurs all the time, the danger of working on Vet Rewards and Third Dawn together would have hurt both projects. Therfore, we gave Third Dawn priority.

Are Vet Rewards going to be implemented?
The current team is committed to having Vet Rewards come out and be stable. This may still take some time. The Vet Rewards system has been largely put on the back burner until Third Dawn could be published. This does not mean we will be putting Third Dawn fixes or enhancements to the side in order to do Vet Rewards, as we should be able to work on both simultaneously from this point on. Vet Rewards is currently back under development and we should have more information on when they will be back on TC soon.
The original post was in this thread, and more comments can be found in this thread.

Sage also made some Dev Team Comments, where he talks about stories in MMPOGs and uses some odd metaphors.

Sagacious? Not really. The dev team proposes, EA disposes.

*splash splash* – 04th April 01 – nocturne
Homes :: Decorating Lady Jordan continues her home deco tips with how to make a waterfall.
FYI :: UO: Third Dawn Upgrade Maps –
It has come to our attention that existing customers ordering the Ultima Online: Third Dawn upgrade offer have not been receiving the complete paper map of Ilshenar and the Britannia and Lost Lands as promised, but have received a map with only the Ilshenar lands visible. We would like to apologize for this, and will be shipping the dual-sided map of Britannia, the Lost Lands, and Ilshenar to all customers who have participated in the special upgrade offer.

The dual-sided map will be shipped to the address entered for the upgrade offer. Additionally, customers who participate in the Third Dawn upgrade offer in the future will receive the dual-sided, retail version map.

To participate in the Ultima Online: Third Dawn upgrade offer, please visit http://www.uo.com/upgrade.html. The upgrade offer includes an Ultima Online: Third Dawn CD along with a map displaying the new land of Ilshenar and the existing lands of Britannia. As a special addition, this upgrade also includes a collector’s edition cloth map of Britannia and the Lost Lands. All of this is bundled into one package priced at $9.95 plus shipping ($4.95 for U.S. and Puerto Rico or $6.95 International).
It would be funny how they can’t seem to get anything right, except it’s really too tragic to be funny.

More L10N Fixes – 04th April 01 – nocturne
Patch April 01 – Various Fixes, including more flipflop, crafting and L10N fixes; Gate warning messages, treasure map scroll windows, and the Help Menu in Ilshenar.

More News No One Really Cares About – 05th April 01 – nocturne
You can now join players in your hometown as you crash explore the newer new lands together…

FYI :: iGames UO: Third Dawn Launch Party –
For those players who want to get away from their roommates, play with a faster internet connection, or just experience a whole new meaning to the word “multiplayer”, iGames has affiliated gaming centers and internet cafes all over the US and Canada. And this week, iGames and Origin Systems are announcing the iGames Ultima Online: Third Dawn Launch Party, hosted at nineteen iGames centers across the country! The event will be held on Friday, April 6th from 6:00 pm – Midnight EDT (6:00 pm – 9:00 pm PDT).

Come down to any participating iGames center to try out UO: Third Dawn with other players in each center, or with hundreds of thousands of UO players worldwide.

Want to continue to play with others in your hometown? EA and iGames are working together to form a game center guild program to bring Ultima Online players together on a quarterly basis at iGames centers to participate in special UO: Third Dawn events. To join the guild program, or to get information about leading a guild, gamers can sign up at the iGames website at http://www.igames.org.

Experience the new look and feel of Britannia with enhanced graphics and effects, motion-captured 3D characters, new beasts and monsters, and a completely new land! For more information about this Launch Party and to find participating iGames centers, see the iGames UO: Third Dawn Launch Event website.

See you in the new lands this Friday!
I haven’t felt such joy and excitement since the latest UOHoC chat announcement! W00t!

Player Relations Comments has an actual post, after being quiet for a year. Maleki, 1337 GM, tells us that Player Relations really does exist at OSI. Unfortunately, he doesn’t tell us why we can’t seem to get any help when we need it, or whether “I cannot help thee with that” is now a localised macro.

All is Quiet – 09th April 01 – nocturne
No UO news for the past few days. I’m not sure if that’s a good thing. Go visit our Fallen Age site. 12 Days to Beta. Somehow, I feel it’ll be more exciting than UO3D’s beta.

So Much for the Quiet – 10th April 01 – nocturne
General Testing :: Additional Fixes, Localization Changes and Various Fixes and Changes
  • Faction messaging has been processed for localization.
  • Technical demands, that the Blade Spirit and Energy Vortex spells require, have been adjusted so that they are less processor intensive. This gives a server-side performance increase.
  • Blade Spirits no longer display a paperdoll when double-clicked.
  • Text information for Anatomy, Arms Lore, and Evaluate Intelligence have been processed for localization.
  • Faction speech triggers have been processed for localization.
  • Ship Tillermen will now understand their voice commands in all supported languages.
  • A bug with house owners being unable to remove co-owners from the house access has been fixed. Previously only the co-owner at the top of the list could be removed.
  • Players with “Young” status will now properly receive their invitation to Haven.
  • A sound effects problem with ghosts, specters, and wraiths has been fixed.
  • Problems with the statue enable/disable buttons have been fixed.
  • A problem with the guildmaster grant title option has been fixed. Guildmasters will no longer appear in the list for granting titles to other members.
  • Players who are not poisoned will no longer get the “cure” animation and sound effects when trying to drink a cure potion.
  • Problems with the Magic Answer Ball have been fixed.
  • Ilshenar creatures of “good” alignment will properly highlight to positive karma players in the same manner other “good” creatures do, with the blue highlight. Players with negative karma will still attract the creature’s aggression, which will then cause the good creature to become grey and attackable to the negative karma player.
General Testing :: Change to Weapon Skill Modification
[230701] Changes to how modification of skills from weapons appear on the skill itself.
The aptly named Vex has made a post to Dev Team Comments.

Melantus wants to know what are you think are UO’s Top Ten Bugs. I’d speak out, but I don’t think I can resist flaming him, since I probably now qualify as a “bitter” player.

Also, the new backup system is now up on Atlantic and AOL Legends, take heed. –
The following was posted to FYI, and it is important for every player to understand this information. I’ll talk more about it toward the bottom:

AOL Legends Backups and Maintenance
We will be activating a new backup system on the AOL Legends shard on Monday, April 9th following its regularly scheduled maintenance period. The result of months of work by the UO team, this backup system will greatly decrease the time required to complete a shard backup. The system has been actively running on test shards for some time, and we estimate that after activation, this change will bring shard backup times down to between 5 – 15 minutes per shard. As a result, the amount of time required for shard maintenance, restarts, and ‘time warps’ may be narrowed to between 5 – 15 minutes in most cases.

Please note: As this backup system decreases the amount of time required for a shard backup, it will also decrease the amount of ‘warp time’ available prior to a maintenance period. We urge that players keep this in mind when playing before a scheduled maintenance period.

The AOL Legends shard will be brought down for a maintenance period on Tuesday, April 10th at its regularly scheduled maintenance time.

We will be closely watching the AOL Legends shard once the change is activated and barring any unforeseen complications will begin activating this system on the remaining shards in the near future. We will announce a release schedule for the remaining shards at least 24 hours in advance of their activation.
Basically what this means is faster backup times, and thus backups more often. This should affect “timewarps” and greatly reduce their length to just a few minutes.

This will also affect what some players call “server wars”, where players enter combat during times they believe will not be saved. As we have always said, assume that everything you do within UO will be saved. This is especially true as the change comes about. The “timewarp” after maintenance will be extremely short. Any actions done prior to maintenance must be considered as being saved by all players.

This is something that has been worked on for the past several months, and has been running through tests for the past couple of months. It should provide a much better environment for the players to play UO within, and we will continue to monitor the system very closely as we progress slowly with it.

Generic Update Title – 11th April 01 – nocturne
Drew “Jack Benny” Adams ((what the fuck kind of handle is that?)) has posted to Dev Team Comments, even though he’s not really on the dev team, being the Manager of Online Operations ((OOps? MOO?, they both kinda make sense)). I think EA is trying to say that they still have people working for them, what with the gamut of comments being posted since the Fallout.

More importantly, please support us support cancer research. Visit the main page for details.

Origin is Dead! Long Live the King! – 12th April 01 – nocturne
His NDA with EA expired, Lord British has returned with a pair of interviews at GameSpy and CDMag. Some questions repeat, of course, since his future plans are on everybody’s mind. Probably yours too, so I’ll summarise. LB – he owns the trademark to the name – will be setting up a new, unnamed company. It will be massive multiplayer, it will likely be made up of ex-Origin staff, it may be X. Go read the interviews, he’s eccentric. Then again, if I were rich, I’d be eccentric too, instead of just weird.

Little Fixes – 13th April 01 – nocturne
Testing for Next Update :: Two New Fixes
[030501] Fixes to the Maker’s Mark and requirements to some craftable items requiring grandmaster skill to create.

EVENTually… – 15th April 01 – nocturne
Calandryll, “Designer in Charge of Ongoing Content”, promises actual stories, or, rather, stuff you can make stories out of, sorta like DMing, if any of you are old enough to remember that. Check out what he has to say in Dev Team Comments. If you want more, you can read this long thread.

Well, Somebody Got Promoted – 17th April 01 – nocturne
More Dev Team Comments, this time from Runesabre, who is filling LadyMOI’s shoes as UO’s Producer. He gets all excited about the new “no timewarp” back-up system. Rick “Stellerex” Hall is Executive Producer, or something. Lum Knows.

Foe of the Abyss – 18th April 01 – nocturne
All from this thread, selected quotes follow –
I spent most of the day yesterday annoying the demons and gargoyles in Ishlenar, killing gargoyles in all of their 51 flavors. I pulled up my paperdoll and was suprized to see:
The Famed Diogi: Foe of the Abyss Instead of The Famed Diogi Grandmaster Mage
Way way way back during the beta they had hinted that titles could be gained by your actions. The example they gave was a warrior who killed a lot of dragons would come to be known as a Dragon Slayer. Maybe they are finally getting around to actually implementing this? – Gewurtztraminer
This is true and not a rumor. This has something to do with that “mystery” of Ilshenar that I talked about a few weeks ago, but theres much more to it. That’s all I’ll say about this for now. :) – Melantus
I’ll be honest with you however and let you know that part of this is still incomplete. You can however achieve the same results as the original thread started, however part of this that is incomplete would help you to better define exactly where to go. In other words, it can still happen but it would be nice to get this other part in. then it all would be a bit clearer and you no doubt wouldn’t need as many hints to figure it out. We should have the rest if it in real soon. There were a couple of problems however we needed to take care of. – Melantus
The title will decay if not “refreshed”. How to refresh? Repeat how it was gained in the first place (and that is what I’m not describing further). – Melantus
Your skill titles will not show until the “Foe…” title or whatever it may be decays. in reply to if you will lose the new title if you GM another skill. – Melantus
I looked up Diogi on MyUO characters, unfortunately, the funky title doesn’t show.

“I cannot help thee with that” – 19th April 01 – nocturne
Nazgul, Team 1337 Player Relations, whatever that means, says “GMs are people too!” and “Tell Messages are okay, dammit”. Of course, he wants to hear your 2˘p.

Meanwhile, Melantus says “we’re working on it”, “wait till you see the sea horse” and “I mean it, wait will you see the sea horse”.

Finally, Eidolon leaves a legacy. Let me know if you find it.

LB Speaks Again – 20th April 01 – nocturne
LB did another interview, this time with RPGDot.
RPGDot: What were the decisions to sell Origin to EA back in 1993? Would you do it again from today’s point of view? And, would you sell a new company of yours to a large company again?
Richard Garriott: Back in ’93 it was clear that even though we were a top 10 company, only the top 5 had the mass necessary to survive platform shifts. For example: we had bet on the Apple, when the PC standard took off, and nearly went out of business. Yes, I’d do it again. It has a cost and benefit.

Comments Comments – 21st April 01 – nocturne
So the Tower on Baja got to Greatly Worn. Thanks a lot, whoever you are who started the decay counter again. Apologies to those hoping it will fall. Better luck next time. Next for stopping by.

If anyone really reads this, MrTact posted to Quality Assurance Comments and “Executive Producer” Stellerex posted to Dev Team Comments. Promises Promises.

Client Patches, More Comments – 24th April 01 – nocturne
FYI :: 2D Client Patches 3.0.0f, g –
Client Patch 3.0.0f will include the following:
The translation server will no longer pop up a dialog box when it encounters a missing language pair.
A crash caused by trying to plot a course on a map between two identical locations.
A fix for the “Unknown Packet Oops” dialog crash.
Other random crashes.

Client Patch 3.0.0g will fix a bug related to switching to 800x600 resolution.

These patches are for the 2D client only. The 3D client build number remains 3.0.0f.
More Dev Team Comments, this time from Evocare.
Finally, some good news, connectivity-wise, in this thread, from RubenCortez, Online Operations. Hopefully the problems with Taiwan and Europe will be cleared up as promised. Also, this little nugget –
Japan is now one of our larger sites. Plans here include beefing up the network infrastructure, increasing our presence within our provider, and getting ready to add a new, 6th shard.

Next Patch, Next Release – 25th April 01 – nocturne
Tajima, Producer, Ultima Online, speaks in this one thread
Runesaber is now the Producer of UO Live. (And that position couldn’t be held by a more deserving individual.) I was the Co-Producer/Development Director of Third Dawn, and am now focusing on the next UO title among other efforts.
Ultima Online : Four Play, you heard it here first.

Big News Day! Mizuho Announced! – 26th April 01 – nocturne
Official announcements of Connectivity changes mentioned two days ago, a new Japanese Shard, Sage confirms Ilshenar titles, and a new patch coming right up. Oh yes, and, of course, Dev Team Comments, this time from Leilo.
Testing for Next Update :: Faction Election changes
[030501] Changes to how the Faction Election System works.
Testing for Next Update :: Various Fixes and Changes April 25
[030501] Fixes to Facial Hair/Beard menus, Disguise kit menu Fix, and Faction joining problem with certain characters.
FYI :: Publish Update –
We will be publishing the changes listed in Testing for Next Update to all shards to be active following their next scheduled maintenance period. The changes will be added to Latest Game Updates once the publish is active on all shards.
What’s New :: Announcing Mizuho Shard –
Origin is pleased to announce the public test opening of Mizuho, our newest Japanese shard, on April 26th (CDT). The shard will open for three days for testing purposes as we monitor the shard for any unforeseen problems. Once it has been determined that the shard is operating optimally, Mizuho will be wiped on April 29th, to be re-opened officially on April 30th. Mizuho is the 9th Southeast Asian Ultima Online shard and our 23rd shard worldwide.

The name Mizuho dates from ancient times, when Japan was called “Land of Mizuho”. Mizuho stands for beautiful water, and Japan has been long famous for its rich rice harvest. The shard name was chosen from submissions to the official UO Japanese website and voted on by UO players via the website.

As per our localized shard policy, Mizuho will be available only to Japanese players for a short period of time. This will allow local players time to establish a solid foundation and community base on the shard. After this period, we will open Mizuho to the worldwide community of Ultima Online players, allowing the shard to develop the cross-culture diversity found on other UO shards.
For the record, Japan isn’t in Southeast Asia. Southeast Asian countries don’t have a shard. They barely have an economy.
FYI :: Atlantic Backup System –
The distributed backup system will be re-enabled on the Atlantic shard after its regularly scheduled maintenance on Wednesday, April 25th CDT. We will continue to monitor the shard closely for any unexpected issues.
FYI :: European Hardware Upgrades –
We have scheduled hardware upgrades for the Europa and Drachenfels shards for the upcoming week. The new equipment will begin setup and testing in our new server location on Monday, April 30th, and the shards are scheduled to be relocated to this equipment effective Wednesday, May 2nd. Additionally, we are scheduling an extended maintenance for both shards on Monday, May 7th, during which we will be adding additional storage hardware to the shards. The shard relocation and extended maintenance schedules will be confirmed at least 24-hours in advance.
The following was forwarded to me. As posted by Sage, 1337 Designer, to an email group I’m obviously not on. –
Let me clear up some things here.

No. You can not earn the hero titles anywhere but Ilshenar. Most of the system is in place. There are some “surprises” that are not in right now. This would allow people to get to the highest tier of the title system. We hope to get the “surprises” in soon. I can’t say when for sure.

I am sorry that many of you might have believed the system was broken. It is not. In fact, there is a lot more to be discovered about it. So, the fact that it is “unfinished” doesn’t mean that most of it can’t be enjoyed. So please, enjoy. And thanks go to Daniel Buckler, or fieryIce for the tremendous amount of effort put into that system. Such systems are always a team effort, but fieryIce clearly kicked much ass.

Stellerex on Wired – 27th April 01 – nocturne
Rick “Stellerex” Hall, Senior Producer of UO, has done an interview with Wired News Radio. It’s an interesting listen, targeted at the general public. A transcript, done by Heather of Crossroads, can be found here.
FierYiCe on Ilshenar titles
Getting an initial title requires much more effort than keeping it. Maintaining a title should be very easy. Although the higher title you get, the more effort it will take to maintain it.

There is also much more that hasn’t been discovered yet. Let’s just say pay attention to the spawn… :)
Also, if you happen to prefer other platforms, sorry, UO is Windows only.

10K – 28th April 01 – nocturne
Oh, look at that, I log in and I’m the 10,000th visitor. Let’s see, we started counting on 10 Oct 2k, exactly 200 days ago, so that’s an average of 50 visitors a day. With noctalis.com averaging 5k visits a day, that makes UO exactly 1%. Nice round numbers all in all.

Thanks to the 49 of you. Special thanks to Lady Jordan and SoCelia, and to anyone who’s ever visited our other sites, responded to an ad, bought something, signed up for something, or told a friend about us. You’ve kept this site going.

More Comments – 29th April 01 – nocturne
FYI :: 3D Client Patch 3.0.0j –
UO3D Client Patch 3.0.0j will include the following:
Substantial memory leak fixes.
Various crash bug fixes.
Player Relations Comments by Canyon, the guy who trains all the school drop-outs that OSI employs as GMs. “Okay, one more time… I cannot help thee with that. It’s spelt T-H-E-E, it means you, got it?”
Melantus discovers that Cincinnati players have good ideas.
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