[an error occurred while processing this directive]

July 01

Publish 12 – 23th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Publish Update – All Remaining Shards
Publish 12 will be published to all remaining shards today, to be active following their next maintenance period.
Rares :: Veteran Rewards Latest Game Update :: Veteran Rewards
The Ultima Online Veteran Rewards Program – please note that while these have been published to all shards, the rewards system is not yet active. We will be monitoring the shards, and will begin activating the rewards system systematically on pre-determined shards once we are certain the publish is operating optimally. Keep an eye on FYI for more information!
Veteran Rewards :: Rewards | Third Year Rewards | Second Year Rewards | First Year Rewards | Dye Tubs
Latest Game Update :: Vendor Changes
Gump Changes

Player-Owned Vendor Buy/Sell menus have been localized and changed from a simple speech trigger to a larger gump that gives more information and causes the information to not scroll off the screen as it did previously. Information included will now be:
  • Amount of days (in UO time) that the vendor will work for current gold on hand.
    • This includes the vendor’s account and gold held for the player.
    • This message is not displayed if there is not sufficient gold in either of the vendor’s accounts. In these cases, an alternate message is displayed: “Gold needed for one more day: (amount needed)”
  • Gold held for the player is displayed.
  • Gold held in the vendor’s account is displayed.
  • Vendor fee is displayed.
Vendor Fee/Rent
  • Vendors will now need to be paid every 8 hours (real time).
  • The vendor fee will be calculated as: (combined value of all objects on vendor (either their true value or the value set by the player, whichever is higher)/500) + 20.
  • If the vendor’s owner is a murderer, the rent will be calculated as: rent = rent number of owner’s murder counts.
  • If a vendor is on Siege Perilous, the rent is multiplied by three (this is cumulative with the above values).
  • Thus, if you have no murder counts, are not playing on Siege Perilous, and you have 0 items on the vendor, your rent is 20 gp per 8 hours of real time.
  • If your vendor holds items valued at 1000 gold, the fee is (1000/500)+20, which equals 22 gold per 8 hours of real time.
  • If a player has not paid the vendor fee, or rent, the vendor will take the rent fee out of the money it has earned from sales. If the rent has not been paid and there is no money left from sales, the vendor will destroy itself, along with any goods on the vendor at that time.
NPC Shopkeeper Restocking Changes
  • All NPC shopkeepers will restock their inventory randomly, although the average number of times a vendor restocks over a certain period of time has not changed. This has the side effect of making it no longer possible to predict when a shopkeeper will restock, and shopkeepers in the same area will no longer restock at the same time.
  • The rate at which vendors increase and decrease their inventories has been modified to increase their inventory faster and decrease their inventory slower.
  • Reagent shopkeepers will no longer disconnect players when they restock.
Latest Game Update :: Skill Modification Changes
Skill modification has been corrected. An example before the correction:
  • Player A had 50.0 “real” archery before any stat modification.
  • Stat modification on a skill of 50 adjusted the skill to be 50.9, which could be viewed by the player in their skill window (without “show real” checked).
  • Player A then equipped a magical bow granting +20 to archery. The +20 was calculated as being added to the 50.0 (the real skill number) for a total of 70.
  • Stat modifiers were then applied and calculated on the modified number of 70, instead of the original 50, for a result of 70.5 (as a skill becomes higher, stat modification has less of an effect).
  • Thus, instead of 70.9 it showed as 70.5.
This change causes the applied bonus from the weapon or armor to be added after all modifications are calculated, thus enabling the player to see 50.9 + 20 (from the magic bow) as 70.9 and not 70.5 as before the change. Note that the above numbers are just an example of how the change will function for all items that have skill modifiers.
Latest Game Update :: Miscellaneous Updates and Bug Fixes
Changes to the Third Dawn Zoom-in Feature
The Third Dawn zoom-in feature will receive the following changes:
  • Update range will automatically be changed in relation to the screen size and zoom factor. For example, if you zoom in really close to your character, your update range will be reduced to a small amount around your character since the other areas are no longer visible.
  • Objects that are out of range will appear as “greyed out” in color. This will assist players with being able to better drop and pick up objects at the various zoom-in degrees.
Murder Count Display Added
The ability for players to check their own short and long term murder counts has been added to the game. By saying, “I must consider my sins”, you will get a text response in the lower left corner of your screen that will show your Short Term Murders, Long Term Murders, and Ping Pongs (the number of times your character has gone from blue to red, based on your short term murder counts).

Spell Changes
The lightning spell effect in Third Dawn will now appear during each use.

Bladespirits and Energy Vortex spells have been adjusted to be less processor intensive. This gives a server-side performance increase.

Bladespirits no longer display a paperdoll when double-clicked.

Speech Localization
Text information for Anatomy, Arms Lore, and Evaluate Intelligence have been processed for localization.

Ship Tillermen will now understand their voice commands in all supported languages.

Various Bug Fixes
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 effect problem with ghosts, specters, and wraiths has been fixed.

Problems with the statue enable/disable buttons have been fixed.

A problem with the guildmaster title grant 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 effect 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.
Latest Game Update :: GM Rating Tool
Once every 10 days, players will be given the option to rate the service they receive from a Game Master. The rating choices that will be available are: “Excellent”, “Good”, “Average”, “Poor”, and “Bad”. There will also be options to cancel the rating or to report that there was no response received from a Game Master.

The responses will be kept in a database and tallied weekly, monthly, and quarterly, allowing us to effectively monitor our staff and the service that our players are receiving.
Adrick –
The energy vortex and blade spirit AI was rewritten to remove alot of inefficiency in their cycle counts. This has resulted in substantial reduction in dungeon server cpu cycles used by these programs.

As a result they now attack targets with better prediction and spend less time “thinking” and more time fighting their target. The z exploits have been removed so that they can be dispelled correctly. Using a blade spirit or Energy Vortex on creatures that have the ability to dispel them is not going to be effective unless those creatures are mana drained. I’ve done some checking and they appear to be working (they do damage, they are dispelled correctly, they attack).

Balrons are one of the most challenging monsters in the game – it may indeed take more of them to kill the more challenging monsters but for the (upper mid) level creatures they should be functioning the same.
Adrick –
I didnt say it wasnt changed – it was – they now actually fight and can *miss* targets instead of always hitting. Ogre lords are tough creatures –

The spells ev and bs are now better balanced against other mage spells and other classes such as archers and warriors. If it takes 8 ev to kill a Balron when it used to take 3 no other spell would even scratch a baloron 3. EV is still more powerful than any other spell for dealing damage – its just not multiples better.

So to sum up the changes to bs and ev were to fix lag (mostly on the dungeon servers) and to bring them into balance as I pointed out above.
BSs and EVs also no longer poison.
Krum –
Vendor restocking was changed as part of a publish 12 and 13 bug fixing effort. Since the release of UO, vendor restocking has never worked the way it was designed to. I discovered this while fixing the problem with mage vendors disconnecting players when they restock.

Vendor restocking has been changed in these ways:

1) Reagent shopkeepers will no longer disconnect players when they restock. This problem was caused by the shopkeepers restocking one item at a time for each shopkeepers in the area. Each time this happened, a packet was sent to every player near the vendor. Not only did this disconnect players but it lagged the servers. This was an obvious bug, but has been in there since the game shipped. It wasn’t noticeable until shopkeeper max stock targets were raised to 999. All shopkeepers now restock their inventories in bulk.
2) All NPC shopkeepers will restock their inventory randomly, although the average number of times a vendor restocks over a certain period of time has not changed. This was implemented mainly to help reduce lag spikes caused by restocking. It has the obvious side effect that it is no longer possible to predict when a shopkeeper will restock, and shopkeepers in the same area will no longer restock at the same time.
3) The rate at which vendors increase and decrease their inventories has been modified. They increase their inventory faster and decrease their inventory slower. The amount that their inventory is increased or decreased is a function of their stock target and current inventory at the time they restock. This may be a more controversial change, but “4 out of 5 players prefer more regs!”


Interview with Jeff Green – 01st July 01 – nocturne
The Armchair Empire has conducted an interview with Jeff Green, Editor-in-Chief of dead-tree mag Computer Gaming World. He’s a pretty funny guy. Here’s the quote relevant to this site.
In the eyes of gamers, will Richard Garriott redeem himself for Ultima IX? How much was he to blame for the way the game turned out?
I hope so! It’d be nice to see. You know, I’m sure most of the problems with Ultima IX were not his fault directly. I’m sure there was lots of pressure on that team by EA to get the game done – the usual b.s. But I really wish he had taken a stronger stance and put his foot down. I would have been cool, and right, to see him go to war over the integrity of the series he started. I would have loved to hear him say: “Hey, EA_fuck you. Take me to court. But you are not putting MY game out there in this kind of state.” But maybe it just wasn’t his game anymore. In any case, it was a sad, pathetic end for a once-great series.

Publish 12 – 02nd July 01 – nocturne
Calandryll –
Because of the recent publish and the holiday (July 4, Wednesday) we will be publishing the next scenario publish today, active tomorrow morning on all shards except for Chessie. Chessie will get the publish sometime later this week. My apologies to those on Chessie for the delay, but given publish 12 and the holiday, we feel this is the best course.

I’ll keep you posted should anything change.
Maleki, 1337 GM –
Once publish 12 gets active on all shards, you will now be able to rate the quality of service you received when a game master assists you. When the call is closed, you will get a window allowing you to rate the service from excellent to just plain bad. This is one of the many ways we are looking to improve the quality of service and feedback is welcome.
lol lol I didn’t read the story, but the picture is worth a thousand words.

UO 2.0 – 03rd July 01 – nocturne
UO 2.0 ((not to be confused with UO:WoOOooOOOo)). Ehrm, right… not to mention the “other UO title” mentioned in April. UO: Four Play, anyone ?
Savage Kin Paint is in.
  • Made by Cooks ((80 skill)) from a tribal berry and a sack of flour.
  • Tribal berries spawn on the savages.
  • When painted, savages will not attack you.
  • Savages will still attack your pets.
  • You cannot cast Incognito when painted.
  • The paint lasts for about a week, and can be removed with an oil cloth.
  • The paint disappears if you die.
  • The paint will burn you for ±50 points of damage should you attack a savage.

Stuff – 04th July 01 – nocturne
Calandryll –
Since there have been quite a few posts about the savage paint and the orc masks, I figured it would be a good idea to post some more information about them to explain why they are doing some of the things they do.

Healing problems with paint and masks. This is a bug, something I thought I had fixed last week, but I missed another way it can happen. I tracked that one down too (and found a really, really, stupid coding mistake on my part) and it’s fixed. QA is looking at it and if all goes well it will go in next week.

Paint dissapearing when you die. This is not a bug. There are two reasons for this. One is that the system automatically reverts you back to your original body type when you die as part of the polymorph code. This is deep in the C code of the servers and to be perfectly honest, wasn’t something I felt comfortable having changed given the problems it could cause. One of the goals of the content team is to touch existing systems as little as possible. The other reason is because we want the paint to be an item that cooks can sell over and over again. Which is also why it wears off after about a week.

Kirins and Unicorns. If you put on savage paint you can’t ride a kirin or unicorn. This is a bug and it’ll be one of the first things I look at when I get into the office on Thursday. I am pretty sure I know what is going on with this and if I am right it should not prove difficult to fix. I’ll update this tomorrow in case it’s more than I thought.

Masks/Paint exploding after attacking an orc or savage. The mask and paint will explode if you put it on after attacking (or being attacked by) an orc or savage respectively if they are still in your aggressor list. This is as designed and done to avoid certain exploits. Think of this as the magic properties of the mask/paint knowing that you have recently assualted one of it’s kin. If you have a mask/paint and attack an orc/savage, wait a few minutes before putting the mask/paint on. This is especially true if you kill an orc and get a mask as loot. Do not put it on right away!

Can’t track players who are wearing savage paint. This is a bug. We’re looking into fixing this as well as the other new scenario monsters that cannot be tracked.

Unconfirmed bugs. I’ve seen two bugs posted here that have not been confirmed yet.

– Putting on paint allows you to loot savage NPCs that you did not kill. I suspect (if this is true) that this is more of a generic looting rights issue than an issue with the paint since the system itself does not recognize that you are a savage and so is the NPC. To the system, it’s just body type numbers and there is no association between then two. I’ll check into this to see if there is an interaction that I missed though.

– That putting on paint allows you to PK people in Trammel. I have only seen one thread about this so far. I would suspect if it were that simple and actually happening, there would be far more posts (and GM calls) about it. My feeling is that either it’s not occuring or there is a lot more to it than just the paint. But with an issue like this, I prefer not to guess. If anyone does have info on this, please send me a private message. If I am able to reproduce it, this would become the content team’s highest priority, but again, from everything I have seen, it’s hard to say that it is actually occuring. I don’t want to cause any alarm by posting about this, but at the same time, I think it’s important that I acknowledge the report and not blow it off as impossible just because it is unlikely.
Update: This does not appear to have anything to do with savage paint.

Hope this posts helps. If you have any other questions or bug reports, please post them (or if you think it’s a dangerous exploit, then private message me) in this thread. I’ll be working on cleaning up the paint issues the rest of this week so we can get them QAed and into next week’s scenario publish.

Show Me the Money – 05th July 01 – nocturne
Curious as to how much of your money goes to EA ? According to this ZDNet UK article
Internet games not only provide a predictable source of revenue, but also tend to have relatively fat operating profits. Ultima Online, for instance, has operating margins of about 30 percent, Credit Suisse First Boston’s Terry estimates.
Calandryll –
Update on some of these issues:

Healing problems with paint and masks.
– Fixed and verified by QA. Will be in next week’s publish.

Kirins and Unicorns with savage paint.
– Fixed and verified by QA. Will be in next week’s publish.

Can’t track players who are wearing savage paint.
– Still working on this one.

Putting on paint allows you to loot savage NPCs that you did not kill.
– No confirmed reports and not reproduced. Looking into generic looting rights issues.

That putting on paint allows you to PK people in Trammel.
– Not related to savage paint at all. I won’t say what this is, but it is fixed in publish 12.
Calandryll –
The mask, paint, and bola have specific purposes in the scenario… you’ll see next week.
New story up: Fighting Back.
Calandryll –
There is a part of the ending that players can determine and that outcome will be permanent (well as permanent as anything in a MMORPG is :P). The story on Thursday will give you clues as to what that is.

Third Dawn Reviews – 07th July 01 – nocturne
Since there isn’t any news I’ve dug up some UO3D reviews to starve off your boredom. From GameSpy, IGN PC and Gamezilla. Have a blast.

GameSpot Graveyard : UWO:O – 09th July 01 – nocturne
GameSpot has posted a Graveyard feature on UWO:O, written by Desslock. Desslock’s appendum comments are here, the article itself is here and the interview with Starr Long is here. Long talks a little about the design of Tabula Rasa near the end.

Dev Postings – 10th July 01 – nocturne
Calandryll gives his take on the scenerio in this reply. Evocare defends precasting. Adrick does it too. FierYiCe talks about third-tier Ilshenar titles.
Not sure if there’s any connection with Publish 12 or the reinstatement of house decay on the Japanese shards, but my houses which haven’t been decaying had their timers started again. If you have any perma-like-new houses, you might like to refresh them soon, like now.

Ilshenar Titles – 11th July 01 – nocturne
FierY iCe –
The decay rate of your Ilshenar titles is constant. Essentially you get “points” for killing monsters. Harder monsters give you more points. A set amount of points decays each day. And there is also a max you can reach for killing certain type of monsters. So as an example there would be no way you could get to the second tier if all you killed was sewer rats as they can only get you so high in “points”… :) And to let you know that cap was a little bit low so it got slightly bumped up in publish 12, which will make it easier for you to keep your titles longer.

Scenerio’s Over – 12th July 01 – nocturne
The scenerio’s over. The savage attacks on the towns will continue until the players beat them off ((if you haven’t already)). All additions, including the new items, are here to stay ((Savages will spawn somewhere, etc.)). Ridgebacks require a high taming to tame, but no taming is required to own or ride one.
Cynthe posted in OCR Comments, concerning the status of finding Mel’s replacement.

Orc Masks and Savage Paint – 13th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Orc Masks and Savage Paint –
Many players have been asking about the new masks of orcish kin and the savage tribal paint and how they work. While most players have figured out the mask will explode if you attack an orc and the paint will burn if you attack a savage, there are many other interactions that are designed into these masks. In order to clear up some confusion, the list below should clarify some of these interactions. Note the examples are all in reference to the mask of orcish kin and orcs, but they all hold true for tribal paint and savages as well.
  • If your pet, hireling, or summoned creature attacks or is attacked by an orc while you are wearing a mask of orcish kin, the orc mask will explode. Note this is the case even if your pet auto-defends.
  • If you provoke two creatures onto each other and an orc attacks one of those creatures while you are wearing a mask of orcish kin, the mask will explode. The system sees you as the controller of the creature you provoked and hence, the mask will explode if an orc attacks or is attacked by it, even if you are no longer in the area.
  • If you attack an orc and kill it and then put on the mask of orcish kin the mask will explode because you still have that orc in your aggressor list. After attacking an orc (even if you never hit it and it never hits you) wait a while before putting on an orc mask.
  • You cannot wear a mask of orcish kin and savage paint at the same time.
The orc masks and the savage paint are powerful items, but with that power comes danger. It is wise to use caution when donning either of these items.

Scenario FAQ – 14th July 01 – nocturne
Calandryll –
Q: Will the items, monsters, and points-of-interest remain in the game once the scenario is over?
A: Yes. With minor exceptions (such as the frightend orc) all of the items, monsters and POIs will remain in the game after the scenario ends. The idea here is to create lasting content that goes beyond the story.

Q: How do the stories on BNN work?
A: The stories are posted about one week before the scenario publish they relate to. The purpose of the stories is to provide you with the context for the updates and to give you clues as to what to expect next.

Q: How often will you do these and how long does each Scenario last?
A: We expect to continue doing these as long as players enjoy them. Generally each scenario will last between 6 to 8 weeks, with about one month (give or take a week) in between each one.

Q: Will the scenarios tie into each other?
A: Many will, yes. The idea is to create an over-arching story, not just a bunch of short stories.

Hanse on Fishing – 15th July 01 – nocturne
Hanse on Fishing in this thread
Big Fish –
The big fish was complained about because it was too hard to fish up. We made it more common (along the lines of a treasure map, but it requires less skill). It had a typo and had a very tough fishing up percentage (folks were spending 8 hours without fishing up one). It was something like a 0.01% chance. It was upped to roughly 3% or so successful attempts (that’s a very rough estimate). That change was made prior to the taxidermy kit being available for purchase.
Hot Spots –
There aren’t any tricks. Fishin’ is pure luck. If you find a “hot spot”, you’re just having a lucky streak. :)
Server Lines –
Oh. There is one issue with fishing near server boundaries. The deep water calculation fails if you are within 8 tiles of a server boundary.

This is because it looks for water tiles all around you. If one of those tiles is “unseeable” by the server you’re on (ie: the tile is on another server), then you are considered fishing in shallow water.

So, do not fish too close to those boundaries.
Risk vs. Reward –
I’ve fished for a long time. We fished hidden, from shore, and received tons of bottles for no risk. Now, you are revealed if you fish, it must be deep water, and the risk is fighting off a serpent. The balance is much better than it was before.
I only quoted the gameplay bits, there are also some of his personal experiences as a fisherman and all, it’s a pretty long thread.

Publish 12 – 16th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Publish 12 Update
Since activating Publish 12 on the Chesapeake shard in late June, we have been monitoring the shard closely, and we are targeting to release the final week of the event scenario publish to the Chesapeake shard on Tuesday, July 17th. Once it is determined that there are no unforeseen issues involving the final week of the Savage Empire scenario and Publish 12, a schedule will be set for the release of Publish 12 to the other shards.

Publish 12, which includes the veteran rewards system, is our highest priority, and we hope to see it released to all shards soon. We are looking to roll out Publish 12 to all shards by late next week, but please understand that due to testing considerations and time-sensitive problems that may arise, all schedules may be subject to change.

A list of the changes included in this publish can be found in Testing for the Next Update.

Considering the complexities of the rewards system, we will wait until all public shards have received Publish 12 before the veteran rewards system will be activated. Once all shards are running Publish 12, and we are confident that the veteran rewards system is functioning properly, we will begin to activate veteran rewards systematically on pre-determined shards. Please note that this means that players will not be able to choose rewards immediately once the publish is received. We are working to see that this delay will be as short as possible, and we appreciate your patience.

Factions For Publish 13 – 17th July 01 – nocturne
Adrick –
These are the heart of what is ready to be tested for release in 13 for factions. I realize there are other faction bugs that are a concern to many players and its simply the case that not everything can be addressed at once – there will be ongoing fixes to the faction system as bugs and balance issues arise within the system. Some of what was planned for 13 has been moved out to a future publish. All what I listed here is ready for test for 13. We are comitted to the faction system and for it to continue to be fun and rewarding to the players that participate.

I have no timeline right now on public testing or release dates – Im waiting on Publish 12 to go to all the shards so I can work closely with our QA/testing team to get the faction portion of the publish solid.
The numbered list has been posted on General Testing as Updates to the Faction System.

[301101] – A comprehensive list of changes and fixes being made to the Faction System.

Raph “Designer ‘Holocron’ Dragon” Koster Interview – 18th July 01 – nocturne
Q23’s Mark Asher interviews Raph Koster, one of the original designers of UO, who’s currently working on Star Wars Galaxies for Sony Entertainment Online. The man is a philosopher and an idealist, read the interview.
What’s the biggest mistake that was made with UO?
Naivete. We were nave about the number of people we’d get, the way they’d behave, the amount of bad behavior we’d get, the appeal of the concept… it manifested in things like the many problems with playerkilling, the way low sales forecasts, a lack of awareness of what it would take to run the service, mistaken priorities in the game design and technology… on the other hand, I think that if it had not been for that naivete, it couldn’t have been what it became. It takes a certain amount of cluelessness to go tilting at windmills, you know?
Mark also has an article up dealing with the history of the MMPOG.

Scenario Analysis – 19th July 01 – nocturne
Calandryll, in this long thread
A few weeks ago, based on some requests from players, I promised I’d write a synopsis of the scenario, describe the goals, and write my view of what we accomplished. Ask and ye shall recieve:

The Savage Empire Scenario
Scenario Description
Strange creatures (the savages) are driving the orcs out of their homes, which is causing the orcs to attack the player cities. The savages’ reasons for doing so is not revealed… yet. Note, while the scenario title bears the same name as the single player Worlds of Ultima game and was inspired by it, it is not based on that game.

The Savage Empire Scenario had 6 major goals:

1. Introduce players to the concept of scenarios and set the expectations.
a. Since everyone reading this knows what a scenario is by now, I think we achieved this one. :)

2. Update new content into the game within a context (story) on an ongoing and uninterrupted basis (no delays or off-weeks once a scenario starts).
a. With the exception of the Chesapeake shard, there were no delays, off-weeks, or interruptions in the scenario.
b. We did split week 4 into two weeks (the orc bomber was originally supposed to be with the orc chopper and town attacks in week 4) to give QA more time to test, but most players didn’t even realize the change to the schedule and it was a good example of fluid design.

3. Make sure new content is fun and useful and try to include as many play-styles as possible.
a. Most feedback from players regarding the new monsters (especially the orc scouts and savages) was very positive. The new AI introduced worked well and players seemed to enjoy the challenge they presented. Good AI, with respects to monsters in a video game, does not mean “make the monster more difficult”…it means “make the monster fun and challenging.”
b. The interaction of the bola with savage riders (need to knock them off the ridgeback to tame the ridgeback) helped create some grouping, while not forcing it on those that like to solo.
c. Some players played the scenario because of the story and role-playing. Some played it for the loot. Others enjoyed searching for the orc encampments and exploring the new dungeon. All of that is good.
d. Most of the new monsters were texture changes. The artists did a great job making sure everything looked good as far as the Third Dawn models and most of the 2d replacement art looked good.

4. Introduce as few bugs as possible, fix any bugs by the next update, and don’t impact other development.
a. We published the shards nine times. During those nine publishes, we had no reverts and with the exception of the merge issue with publish 12 (which was not a problem caused by scenario code and only occurred on Chessie), we did not impact development at all.
b. There were only two bugs of major concern released as part of the scenario. One was a shard crasher (happened once, was fixed an hour later) and the other was an issue with stealing caused by the orc mask (again, fixed within 12 hours of the first GM report).
c. The majority of other bugs were fixed by the next week’s update (what few there were) and overall, considering the amount of content and nine shard publishes in a row, our QA team did a bang-up job catching the bugs during testing before any of you ever saw them.
d. We also had a lot of help from folks such as Prophet, Evocare, Vex, Adrick, and Groover working on things such as the looting rights change, client patches, making savage paint work (you have no idea how many changes we made to code that had not been touched in years to make this happen), and general design ideas. The team pitched in a lot while continuing to work on their systems.

5. Create a dynamic outcome based solely on code and systems
a. While the dynamic outcome got a bad rap, actually, the code worked perfectly, the timing issue is what caused concern. The fact that it ended too quickly was a major disappointment for many players and one we plan to resolve in future scenarios. But, the way in which the code reacted to the players’ actions proved that we can code dynamic outcomes without having to manually update or force anything.

6. Take the feedback from players on the first scenario and incorporate them into the next scenario.
a. I’d like to concentrate on the last one. I’ve been reading the feedback and here is what I believe were the major concepts players wanted more of.
– i. More in-game fiction. Books, scrolls, etc.
– ii. Less camping… have some monsters spawn in random locations.
– iii. More story in general (explanations and reasons). This is more a product of the fact that the Savage Empire scenario was more of a set-up scenario. You’ll learn a lot more in future scenarios.
– iv. More craftables and less that require fighting to get the resources. While I believe that having some craftables require fighting (again, encourages community group play – sorta the point of playing an MMORPG) not all should.
– v. Make sure the dynamic outcome lasts longer. This one goes without saying. :)
b. While not all of these will make it into the next scenario, the feedback is useful and could influence future scenarios. Did I miss anything?
FYI :: Publish 12 on West Coast Shards
We have published the changes listed in Testing for Next Update to the West Coast shards (Baja, Napa Valley, Pacific, and Sonoma) during this morning’s normal maintenance period (July 19th). We will monitor these shards closely, and will be publishing to the remaining shards once we have determined the publish is operating optimally.

This House is Condemned – 20th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Improperly Condemned Homes
We would like to assure all players whose homes are currently marked as improperly condemned that they will not lose their homes at this time. The housing decay is not active currently, and the problem causing homes to appear as improperly condemned will be addressed as soon as possible.

We will update further once this has been fixed.
FYI :: Housing Decay Alert
Due to an issue causing permanent buildings to decay, all shards with Publish 12 (Chesapeake, Baja, Sonoma, Napa Valley, and Pacific) were given an automatic housing refresh last night (July 19th), and the affected buildings will be refreshed manually until the issue is addressed.

In addition to this, housing decay on all remaining Ultima Online shards has been turned off over the weekend. This means that all homes on these shards will be refreshed to like new status, and will remain so until further notice. We will give at least 24 hours notice before the decay is turned back on, and we will update the patch message to ensure that all players are notified. We apologize for any inconvenience, and urge all players to check the patch messages before logging in to avoid missing important information.

More on Housing – 21th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: House Placement and House Transfer
The auto refresh that was implemented on all shards has affected the ability for current house owners to place or have new houses transferred to them. The development team has been notified and is working to resolve this. We apologize for the inconvenience and hope to resolve this as quickly as possible.

Publish 12 – 23th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Publish Update – All Remaining Shards
Publish 12 will be published to all remaining shards today, to be active following their next maintenance period.
Patch, July 01 – Inactive Veteran Rewards, Miscellaneous Updates and Bug Fixes, Vendor Changes, Skill Modification Changes and the GM Rating Tool.

Back to Decay – 23th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Housing Decay Reactivated July 24th
Tomorrow afternoon (July 24th) at 11:00 pm CDT, we will be reactivating house decay on all shards. Houses currently improperly marked as condemned will be uncondemned before the decay is turned back on, and will not collapse when the system is reactivated. Please note that once the decay rate is turned back on, all players will need to refresh their homes as they normally would.

Vet Rewards – 24th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Veteran Rewards Update
As a reminder, we will be monitoring all public shards once they have received Publish 12 to see that the publish is running optimally before we will activate veteran rewards. Please note that this means players will not be able to choose rewards immediately once the publish is received. The rewards system will be activated systematically on pre-determined shards, and we will post a schedule once it is determined. We are working to see that this delay will be as short as possible, and we appreciate your patience.
FYI :: Account Security
As a reminder, no EA employee will ever ask for your UO password. If you are contacted in game or via email, IRC, or any other Internet messaging program by someone claiming to be an EA employee, do not give out your password. Furthermore, do not attempt to access or edit your account information through any third-party programs that may take you to a false representation of the Ultima Online website. The only valid URL for the Ultima Online account management website is http://www.ultima-registration.com.

For additional information on computer security and safety, please visit http://support.uo.com/faq_1.html.

3D Client Patch – 25th July 01 – nocturne
FYI :: 3D Client Art Patch 68
We will be releasing a client patch on Wednesday, July 25th at approximately 11:00 am CDT. This patch contains several minor art improvements, including art updates for the following:
  • Female armor and clothing
  • Elementals
  • Ophidians
  • Centaurs
  • Cats
  • Hens
The current versions should remain 3.0.2g (2D client) and 3.0.2j Build 67 (3D client). Although this is effectively Patch 68, the build number will not change from 67 at this time.
FYI :: Distributed Backup Update
We will be enabling the distributed backup system on all remaining shards with the exception of Balhae and Arirang, on Thursday, July 26th CDT. We estimate that this change will bring shard backup times down to approximately 15 minutes per shard. As a result, the amount of time required for shard maintenance, restarts, and ‘time warps’ may be narrowed to approximately 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.

We will announce a release schedule for Balhae and Arirang in advance of their activation.

Patch Notes – 26th July 01 – nocturne
Adrick –
The energy vortex and blade spirit AI was rewritten to remove alot of inefficiency in their cycle counts. This has resulted in substantial reduction in dungeon server cpu cycles used by these programs.

As a result they now attack targets with better prediction and spend less time “thinking” and more time fighting their target. The z exploits have been removed so that they can be dispelled correctly. Using a blade spirit or Energy Vortex on creatures that have the ability to dispel them is not going to be effective unless those creatures are mana drained. I’ve done some checking and they appear to be working (they do damage, they are dispelled correctly, they attack).

Balrons are one of the most challenging monsters in the game – it may indeed take more of them to kill the more challenging monsters but for the (upper mid) level creatures they should be functioning the same.
Adrick –
I didnt say it wasnt changed – it was – they now actually fight and can *miss* targets instead of always hitting. Ogre lords are tough creatures –

The spells ev and bs are now better balanced against other mage spells and other classes such as archers and warriors. If it takes 8 ev to kill a Balron when it used to take 3 no other spell would even scratch a baloron 3. EV is still more powerful than any other spell for dealing damage – its just not multiples better.

So to sum up the changes to bs and ev were to fix lag (mostly on the dungeon servers) and to bring them into balance as I pointed out above.
BSs and EVs also no longer poison.
Krum –
Vendor restocking was changed as part of a publish 12 and 13 bug fixing effort. Since the release of UO, vendor restocking has never worked the way it was designed to. I discovered this while fixing the problem with mage vendors disconnecting players when they restock.

Vendor restocking has been changed in these ways:

1) Reagent shopkeepers will no longer disconnect players when they restock. This problem was caused by the shopkeepers restocking one item at a time for each shopkeepers in the area. Each time this happened, a packet was sent to every player near the vendor. Not only did this disconnect players but it lagged the servers. This was an obvious bug, but has been in there since the game shipped. It wasn’t noticeable until shopkeeper max stock targets were raised to 999. All shopkeepers now restock their inventories in bulk.
2) All NPC shopkeepers will restock their inventory randomly, although the average number of times a vendor restocks over a certain period of time has not changed. This was implemented mainly to help reduce lag spikes caused by restocking. It has the obvious side effect that it is no longer possible to predict when a shopkeeper will restock, and shopkeepers in the same area will no longer restock at the same time.
3) The rate at which vendors increase and decrease their inventories has been modified. They increase their inventory faster and decrease their inventory slower. The amount that their inventory is increased or decreased is a function of their stock target and current inventory at the time they restock. This may be a more controversial change, but “4 out of 5 players prefer more regs!”

Helios Looking for Lore – 27th July 01 – nocturne
Helios, Designer, is asking for feedback on Animal Lore in this thread.
The Official site is holding a contest to win a copy of The Technocrat War, the UO2 novel by Austen Andrews. Join the contest or take a look at the book at Amazon.
Cynthe –
8 x 8 is not a bannable offense, and while I understand theat there are people who disagree as to whether this should be the case, I’m afraid that insulting people won’t change the facts.

Purple Items Still Illegal ((like duh)) – 28th July 01 – nocturne
Cynthe, when asked for an Official stance on the purple items –
Actually, there will most likely be a strengthened stance on these items very soon – meaning that they WILL be considered illegal to own, and players will be punished for having purple sigil-hued items in their possession.

If this does become the casse, however, we will announce it on the site, and put it in the patch message as well, so no one will be caught completely by surprise. We want to rid the game of items created through an exploit, but we certainly don’t want to catch people unaware for something they may not have realized would get them in trouble.

The best advice for you right now is to make sure to check the patch message whenever you log in to see if something has been posted about this matter. :)
Cynthe –
In reply to: Well, if nothing new is ever coming out for the 2d client (as has been stated many times by OSI), I see no reason to continue playing.

Hmm… I’m not sure where this was said, but if it has been said, then it was a mistake. The 2D client is by no means dead, and there will most certainly continue to be things done for that client. :)

Ilshenar Titles – 29th July 01 – nocturne
FierY iCe –
Killing more and more monsters will not get you the third tier of titles. Getting to the third tier will involve fighting the “Champions of Evil” I have mentioned before. In order to see these champions though you do have to fight back the spawn quite a bit. So while killing tons and tons of creatures will not get you the third tier, it is required to get the Champion to appear… And then you can fight the champion to try and get the third tier… :)

Oh, and I highly recommend you try to fight the champions in groups…
FierY iCe –
All of the Champion’s have very unique abilities and powers… “MEAN” is probably an understatement.

:)
FierY iCe –
Do I or someone have to have the 2nd tier title in order to summon the Champion?
No. There is no tier requirement to summon the Champion.

Do we have to have X number of players to summon the champion?
No. Any number of players can summon the champion.

Do you have to do a certain amount of damage to the champion to get the third tier?
It uses the same system as looting rights. If you did enough damage to the Champion so that you can loot it initially, then you will be eligible for the third tier.

I’ve noticed there are always dragons or creatures around. Are they a part of the title spawn?
No. Any creature that is always in the area is just native to that area. The only creatures that count for the titles are the ones that dynamically change.

Can you give us any other hints??? I’ve tried everything and can’t get a Champion to spawn. :(
Spawn size and strength can be affected by you.
If you kill enough creatures you can cause the spawn to shrink.
If you leave the area alone the spawn will grow.
The spawn size is directly related to the difficulty of the creatures that it creates.
Champions tend to get “upset” when you shrink their nice big evil area’s…
The thread is here, if you want to read what other players have to say ((mostly speculation)).

Comments from the Team – 30th July 01 – nocturne
Quixote in Player Relations Comments, Cynthe introduces Sannio and Kerowyn in OCR Comments. Sannio replaces Mel as Online Community Coordinator while Kerowyn takes over Cynthe’s old job as UO.com Content Editor/Writer.
Sannio –
Vet Rewards – which are not active yet, by the way – is a very special situation, in that we’re anticipating a huge response once they go live, and we’re taking the time necessary to see that the hardware can withstand the deluge of players who want to try out the system on the first day. Once we’re sure everything is ready, we’ll activate Vet Rewards – although to make sure everything goes smoothly, we’ll start with one Shard at a time. (In case you were wondering: we’ll post updates when Vet Rewards will be activated.)

GameSpy Hall of Fame : Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss – 31st July 01 – nocturne
Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss has been inducted into the GameSpy Hall of Fame.
In 1992 Blue Sky Productions, later to be known as Looking Glass Studios, debuted with one of the most innovative and influential first-person perspective computer role-playing games in the history of the genre. Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss, set in the universe of Lord British’s Ultima series, may have been the first CRPG to actually capture the tense claustrophobic excitement of a grand D&D styled fantasy dungeon romp. It did so with an attention to detail and a level of programming sophistication rarely seen before or since.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]