March 02

01 March 02 Barding 2002 v3.0 – nocturne
In Concept :: Possible Changes to Barding Skills (revision number 2)
This is a second update to proposed changes for the Barding profession, changes that are being considered toward helping balance Barding as a class, as well as toward improving the overall in-game experience of playing a bard. Please keep in mind as you read this documentation that these changes are not yet finalized, and after testing and reexamination they may enter the game with some alterations. The updates specific to this iteration are below the main section, just above the FAQ at the end of the document. The main section & FAQ are untouched at this time to provide a better frame of reference toward what has changed in this version.
The addition is as follows;
Edit: The following eight points have been added to this document Friday, March 1, 2002.
  1. The interruption chance will be eliminated. Becoming invisible, recalling/gating, and starting a new song will still halt the bard’s current song. No other activities will be able to interrupt the bard. If the bard is unable to pay the upkeep cost, the song continues — the bard will just be out of stamina (and possibly Mana).
  2. The chances to provoke various creatures will be raised. Right now we’re looking to go to about 60% for dragon-level creatures at 100.0 Provocation, with magic instruments able to raise that to 80%.
  3. Provoke bonuses from Enticement and Peacemaking skills will be removed — the chances stated in #2 above would be with just Provocation.
  4. There will be the possibility of provoking ancient liches and ancient wyrms with Provocation beyond 100 skill.
  5. Note that all of the provocation difficulty numbers given above assume 100.0 Provocation skill provoking two of the same creature type onto each other. It is still intended that provocation will be somewhat easier when one target is less powerful than the other. Generally, the difficulty of a provoke will be the average difficulty of the two targets.
  6. It will remain true that difficulty of additional simultaneous provokes will rise. Provoking one pair of dragons to fight will be very possible, but provoking a second pair at the same time would be unlikely. Skill above Grandmaster of course would make it more of a possibility. In other words, bards will have no problem provoking groups of medium and weak creatures, but will have great difficulty doing it with groups of tougher creatures.
  7. Peacemaking will be dual-mode. In one mode it will be a radius-effect one-shot, with the radius determined by skill level. In the other mode it will be usable as a targeted ability that keeps a target from retaliating. This allows players the choice of using either option.
  8. Enticement will be given additional effects that will interact with as-yet-unannounced game changes. More info on this will be posted later. Enticement will become more useful on its own rather than as a support skill that just gives the bard access to additional abilities.
Vex made the following posting on the official boards.
Vex –
With the recent huge upheaval on our boards regarding the upcoming changes to Bards, I feel it is extremely important to make a few things clear. In this article, I will explain in detail several critical issues regarding the Bard changes, and I’ll try to stick to the facts. Until now, these are things we have not directly stated, but I think they may help explain our reasonings for the recent changes we’ve posted into In Concept.

The tone of this is intended to be neutral, so if it comes off as abrasive, then I apologize!

As it stands, the Ultima Online Bard is capable of single-handedly defeating over 95% of the game’s content. Bards can destroy most of the toughest creatures in the game quickly and efficiently. Bards have the greatest access to loot in the game, including gold, powerful magic items, and high-level treasure maps. Bards can single-handedly take on and quickly defeat the entire spawn from those treasure maps, which gives the bard access to still more high-level loot. To be able to do this, the bard doesn’t need much in the way of equipment. The cost and risk is very low relative to the reward. Granted, bards do often die, but death means little in a game where you can resurrect and return to where you were within minutes.

We know of many accounts less than six months old that have many millions of gold accumulated as well as significant caches of the most powerful magic items in the game. Our Game Masters regularly observe bards with both the Illustrious Lord/Lady title and the [young] tag. Several members of the UO Live team have bard characters and experience firsthand what they are capable of. UO designers do observe the game. We use anonymous normal characters, we travel the game invisibly observing using development tools, and we extensively review logs.

Bards are this effective with a relatively small investment of skill points and character building time. The Provocation skill is devastatingly effective even under 80.0 skill points, because the skill level only determines chance of success. Since Provocation can be used every few seconds, a failure means little. Given time, success is guaranteed.

When the Live or Ongoing Content design teams work to add new content (monsters, and everything else) to Ultima Online, one of the first questions raised is, “How will bards impact this?” For example, bards are able to gain Fame and Karma much faster than non-bards. This means that bards are naturally able to achieve and maintain the highest level in the Sacrifice virtue much easier than non-bards. And the benefits bestowed upon the bard from that virtue only further decrease the risk for the bard. Recently, several new monsters added to the game have been made resistant to or immune to bard abilities, in order to see that other characters have an equal opportunity to benefit from the new content. That is by far not the ideal way to do it.

One thing is extremely clear. Bards are just plain too powerful. That power must be curtailed. Not for any kind of nefarious motives, but simply for the good of the game as a whole.

We have been asked why we can’t simply make other classes more powerful and balance them that way. That solution would certainly not work. If all characters are able to attain a power level where they are able to defeat the game’s most powerful creatures quickly and efficiently, solo, then all of the problems related above just become worse.

Many posts on our boards have argued that it takes an extremely long time to raise the Provocation skill and relatively little to raise melee combat skills, and because of the long time it takes to raise Provocation, those characters should be able to wield such extreme power. This is just not true. First of all, Provocation is extremely effective at lower levels. From 90 to Grandmaster, for example, the 10% chance to fail a provoke dwindles down to 0%. While it may take the player many months to make that skill increase, the benefit gained is little. There are few consequences to missing a provoke attempt to begin with, and simply lowering that chance of failure from 10% to 0% does not make a huge difference in the skill’s power.

It has been suggested that Provocation be kept at a very slow gain rate and its power level be scaled based on time invested in increasing the skill. This cannot be done. We simply cannot allow any character to wield that much power, because of the very unbalancing effect it has on the game’s economy and any new content added to the game.

This leads to the next issue, where many players make a distinction between responsible and irresponsible bards. The UO design team believes that there are many players who do play responsibly and don’t use their bard’s power to farm gold and loot and fame, and who do make an effort to assist other players. We have seen it in action. Just like we have seen the high level of abuse that bard power leads to as well. It is impossible for us to design a way for any player to wield such extreme power and then limit them to using it responsibly. “Responsibly” is a very subjective term, and computer programs are incapable of making that kind of judgment. No matter how good a set of rules and conditions and restrictions we could invent and program into the server, someone would find ways around them. Furthermore, it’s not feasible to use customer service representatives to police this kind of thing. Since there is no way for us to successfully limit bard power to responsible use, there is no choice but to remove the avenue for abuse.

In summary, drastic alterations to bards’ power absolutely have to be done for the future of Ultima Online. We can’t make an attempt to fix the problems with the game’s economy until we curtail the ability for practically anyone to rake in gold and rare, powerful loot at high rates. Any new high-level, long-enduring player-versus-monster content added to the game will be somewhat meaningless to characters who can defeat it single-handedly and quickly. With so much power, content that is intended to be a long-term goal is almost reduced to triviality. So long as any type of character has such an amazingly high level of power as bards, two things will happen. Non-bards will perceive an injustice against them, and more players will create bards. Both of those are trends that have long been in progress.

We are still refining and balancing the final design, but the UO design team feels that the list of changes currently In Concept for bards leave the skill set with a highly potent combination of skills and abilities. Even though bards will no longer be able to increase their wealth and fame as fast as before, they will still be able to find challenging and interesting gameplay.
02 March 02 Dev Postings (New Leather Types, Plants) – nocturne
Augur –
Just to clear a few things up since there have been a lot of threads on this topic : when/if the plant system goes in, it will not use any of the old potted plant art (from rewards/gifts/etc.)

Plants being grown start out as empty plant bowls (grey bowl art piece), then bowls of dirt (bowl of potatoes art), then bowls with green leafyness (bowl of lettuce art), and then once the plant is Full Grown, it uses all the assorted non-bowled plant art types in the game (cactii, campion flowers, fern, snake plant, small palm, etc.), dependant on the seed type that was used.

There is never an instance where a piece of plant art that is already gainable in the game at this time or in the past is used (at least I can’t remember any time players have been able to get plant art that’s not in a bowl).

In terms of skills needed, you may “need” alchemy in order to have potions to use on your plant, but you could always buy those potions from other players. You don’t need alchemy or any other skill to actually use the potions on the plant.

Hope that helps clear things up/allay any fears, :)
Hanse –
A designer or two can overload our QA channel for a single publish, depending on how extensive a change is. Given the complexity of the game, even if we did hire more folks (designers, QA, programmers, GM’s), there would still be a bottleneck. The game is so huge, I like to compare it versus an encyclopedia set. Finding a typo, grammatical error, or misinformation (bugs, as you’d call them) in an encyclopedia set during an editing process is a HUGE task in itself. Add to that research, client and server programming, localization of new text, and implementation of the new design or changes… whew…talk about a lot of work. Just the research and documentation alone for new tailoring craftables, leather types, colors, and bulk order system is enough to put me under for a week. Then there’s the implementation and testing… …and that’s only one new feature/change to the game. Our last QA document for testing blacksmith bulk orders was almost a half an inch thick! :)

For fishermen and tailors:
As for sea serpents, we added one of the special leather types to them (Evocare dropped the earlier quote in another thread about the new leather types that this thread is about). It’s not gold, but you can convert the resource into gold, if you wish.

For tailors:
The four types (at this moment) are leather, spined leather, horned leather, and barbed leather. No visible artwork, but the names will change when you craft with them (ie: “exceptional barbed studded leather armor”). This puts a new twist on the tailoring skill and uses resources that are semi-unique to Ultima Online. :)

Of course, the disclaimer… the changes mentioned here are for Publish 16. We can change any of these at our discretion. The implementation will be visible on Test Center (when? I don’t know…). I’m sure you’ll have interesting feedback when you have worked with it.
Hanse –
Armor class and a name (no hue change, because you can hue leather with leather dye tubs) will be the difference between each color. Normal leather types will stay the same. If you cut up the new types, they revert back to the correct leather type (except for the armor that is better than studded).

Also, I just realized that fishers can fish up the new resource for Tailors to craft with (it’s not a new item, though). It was originally considered only available in dungeons, but there’s another bonus for fishermen. :)
Hanse –
I hunted the ancient wyrms with a big “slay” button. :)

Seriously, a pure crafter will probably not be hunting for hides of the top class. You’ll either use your own dungeon crawling character or buy the hides/leather from other folks.

The same goes for a new resource that we have not announced yet that Tailors get (yes, other than cloth and leather/hides).

The colors of the hides and leather does not vary based on serpent color.

BOD’s for tailors will have advantages for GM’s. I’m working on other issues right now and do not have the exact formulas infront of me, though. We’ll get into BOD’s later on…
Hanse –
This is not an overhaul of fishing. It’s a change to sea serpents only. Creatures that have the leather resource on them are gaining different types. The 4 types are spread by difficulty, although sea serpents are slightly easier than the rest of the creatures in their class (drakes, wyverns, centaurs, and a few others). Although, that class of creatures is the smallest of the 4 types. The best type just had a lot of really tough creatures to choose from (ancient wyrm, white wyrms, dragons, nightmares, bone dragon, etc).
Hanse also mentioned that the new resources will be stackable. Grok introduces himself in QA Comments, telling us all how happy he is that UO:LBR is bugfree, or at least not fully buggy.
03 March 02 Dev Postings (PvP, Power Scrolls, Felucca) – nocturne
Evocare –
Evocare, can you please tell me about this:

I calculated this*might be wrong*:
120 tactics
120 anatomy
120 fencing
120 healing
120 resist
100 magery
166 str
131 dex
Vanquishing Supremely Accurate long spear.
all of this= 57.11 average damage (-/+17).
By the way…… please correct me If I’m wrong

It sounds like you’re making a few assumptions.

First, you’re talking about a character that has managed to get five 120.0 scrolls of power, a +25 stat scroll of power, is under the influence of a bless spell or greater strength potion, and has reached (and maintains) a level 3 of Humility? Even then, my calculations say you wouldn’t be able to get your strength that high (it’s possible you have some outdated humility info, or I’m completely forgetting about something off the top of my head).

Second, and more importantly, you’re making the rather large assumption that the bonuses for going beyond normal skill values are linear, rather then offering diminishing returns. This is a crucial point, since this method allows us to give characters increased power for higher skill levels while keeping the effects under reasonable control.

Evo, let me just ask you one simple question:

WHY?

Well, there are lots of reasons, and were we speaking in person it would be considerably easier to go into greater detail. So, here’s the best quick summary I can muster right now…

1. The scrolls of power provide a new dimension in skill gain. Rather then simply going through the rote process of exercising a skill until having reached the top tier, a character can only get so far (100.0) before having to take on a meaningful challenge in order to continue their development process.

2. Due to the above, we (the dev team) feel players will feel a greater sense of achievement once they reach the top tier of their skill development. This sense of achievement will be underscored by the fact that players at that top range will know their peers did not simply “powerhour” their way to the top in a short period.

3. The scrolls are a meaningful resource for the majority of players, thereby (hopefully) establishing a centerpiece for conflict that is fundamentally more compelling then “I want to kill you because you’re on the other team”.

4. The scrolls will allow players to specialize better, without having to develop more “helper skills” (ie: Eval Int or Anatomy). Assuming we balance the post 100 skill effects well, and implement some other changes effectively, we’ll also maintain the viability of hybrids.

5. Players that still have goals for character development are less prone (IMHO) to feel they’ve “done it all”.
Evocare –
In all honesty, speculation as to whether or not PvP will or won’t be balanced to your satisfaction isn’t going to be very productive right now, especially when making the majority of that assessment based on incomplete and/or incorrect information. ;]

Let me try to leave those of you here with two thoughts to mull over…

1. I hear your concern, and we’ll do our best to ensure that UO PvP as of publish 16 stays at least as well-balanced and fun as it is right now (although I believe we’ll actually have an even better balanced, more diverse system after all the changes).

2. In order to ensure that you’ll have ample opportunity to air your concerns again before the changes go live, you’ll get to try the changes out on Test Center once they’re ready (assuming we go ahead with it all). Once you’ve had a chance to duke it out with a variety of new skill & stat combinations, I’ll be looking forward to your feedback on these boards once again. =]
House and Boat prices are currently (and permanently) 10× normal shard prices for the SP shards.
04 March 02 Taming 2002 v1.0 – nocturne
In Concept :: Proposed changes to Taming Profession & Pets
The following proposed changes to the Taming profession and pets are being considered toward helping balance Taming as a class, as well as improving its place within the greater gaming systems that comprise Ultima Online. Please keep in mind as you read this documentation that these changes are not yet finalized, and after testing and reexamination there may be some exclusions, alterations, or additions to this proposal.

The usage and utility of the Animal Lore skill will be altered in the manner described below. (The exact nature of how “Legacy” pets are incorporated into this system has not yet been determined.)

Animal Lore
  • Upon successful use of the Animal Lore skill, players can see the following data for any tamed creature they control, or any tamed creature within a trade window:
    • Exact numeric data for: All Skills, Strength, Hits, Dexterity, Fatigue, Intelligence, Mana, Number of Previous Owners, Damage, Natural Armor, and Loyalty.
    • A list of all foods the creature can eat.
    • A list of all special abilities (See “Pet Special Abilities,” below). If the pet has the “Enemy” special ability, it will display the potential enemies as well as developed enemies.
    • A general description of how well you can control the pet based on your skills, the taming difficulty, orneriness, and current loyalty.
  • Animal Lorists with 100.0 skill can view the above statistics for any tamed creature.
  • Animal Lorists with 110.0 skill or greater can view the above statistics for any tameable creature, even if it is not tamed.
  • Animal Lorists with 120.0 skill or greater can view the above statistics for any creature in the game.
Stable Slots
  • In additional to the current stable slot system (which is: two pets may be stabled if Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore total to less than 160, three if between 160 and 199.9, four if between 200 and 239.9, and five if at or above 240), players will be awarded another slot for each of the following skills at 100.0, 110.0 and 120.0: Animal Taming, Animal Lore, and Veterinary. In this way the maximum possible number of stable slots will be 14.
Pet Limit
  • You will be limited in the number of pets you can control. Keep in mind that you don’t need to control a mount to ride it, so you’ll only need to keep control slots open for your mount if you plan on dismounting and using them to fight.
  • The number of pets you can control is directly related to your Animal Taming and Animal Lore skills. At 90 Animal Taming/90 Animal Lore, you can control one dragon or white wyrm. At 100/100, you can control one white wyrm or dragon as well as one drake, ki-rin, unicorn, or nightmare. These numbers are not exact or set in stone, and won’t be until we have crunched enough numbers, play tested, and considered feedback.
  • Finally, you can never control more than 5 pets at once.
Pet Loyalty
  • The following activities can increase a pet’s loyalty at any level:
    • If the pet’s owner heals it with the veterinary skill.
    • If the pet’s owner successfully commands the pet.
    • If the pet feeds on something it killed (automatic).
    • If the pet kills a hated enemy (see Pet Special Abilities).
  • Feeding a pet can only raise it to 80% of its maximum loyalty.
  • The following activities will decrease a pet’s loyalty:
    • If the pet’s owner unsuccessfully commands the pet.
    • If the pet cannot see its owner during combat.
Pet Bonding
  • Pets that are treated extremely well over a period of time may bond to their owner. If an animal requires more than 29.1 minimum skill to tame, you must have the minimum skill to tame that animal before it will bond with you.
  • You are limited in the number of pet bonds based on your Animal Taming, Animal Lore, and Veterinary skills. You receive the ability to bond with 1 pet regardless of skill, 2 pets at 200 total points, and 3 pets at 300 total points.
  • Bonded pets receive the following special benefits:
    • It will be easier to control your bonded pet, and they will lose loyalty at a slower rate.
    • Instead of the usual “[tame]” tag above its name, a bonded pet will display “[bonded]” above its name.
    • The Veterinary skill will be slightly more effective for bonded pets.
    • Your bonded pets will recall with you.
    • Upon the death of a pet, those which are bonded pets will turn into a “pet ghost” (see Pet Resurrection).
  • The bonded pet keeps friends, but will not listen to them. Friends of bonded pets will not be able to command the bonded pet, but will be able to resurrect the pet upon its death.
  • The bond is only broken if the pet goes wild, is released, or dissipates.
  • Casting the 5th circle Summon Animal spell normally brings forth a random animal, but if the casting player has a bonded pet, this spell will instead always try to summon your bonded pets (if they are not nearby or in the stables). This spell works even when the bonded pets are in ghost form.
Pet Resurrection
  • When a bonded pet dies, it turns into a “pet ghost.” This ghost can still obey the movement commands (follow, come, etc.). If not resurrected within an hour, the pet ghost will dissipate and is gone forever.
  • If the owner or a friend is nearby, the pet ghost can be resurrected with bandages by any player with at least 80.0 Veterinary and 80.0 Animal Lore.
  • Resurrected pets suffer a permanent skill penalty of 1 to 2 percent. However, it’s possible to regain those lost skill points through continued training of your resurrected pet.
Pet Taming
  • If the tamer hides or becomes invisible while taming, any Animal Taming attempt will fail.
  • If an animal cannot pathfind to the person trying to tame it, the taming attempt will fail. This limitation includes situations where the creature is blocked by placed objects, walls, energy fields, and any other such object.
  • Paralyzation taming will remain as a valid technique. However, a bonus is granted to the skills, stats and bonding time for any animal that is tamed without the aid of paralyzation.
  • Pets will suffer some level of skill loss (not stats, armor, or damage) after they are successfully tamed, but will have full potential for training.
Pet Skills
  • Spellcasting pets (see the “Spellcasting Ability” in the “Pet Special Abilities” section, below) will automatically use their Meditation skill to regain their Mana, and will be able to gain Meditation skill when they do so.
  • All pets will be able to learn Anatomy, Resist Spells, Tactics, and Wrestling.
  • Pets with the Spellcasting ability will be able to learn Magery, Evaluate Intelligence, and Meditation.
  • Pets with Natural Poison will be able to learn the Poisoning skill. The Poisoning skill is used to determine how often they inject poison in combat.
  • Bonded pets will learn skills more quickly.
  • Pets with 90% or higher loyalty will learn skills more quickly.
Pet Special Abilities – Some pets will have innate special abilities, as per the list of abilities below. Some creatures/pets may have more than one special ability.
  • Pack Instinct – When more than one of this animal is grouped with others of its kind, it gains more Hits, does more damage, and is easier to control while in the pack. The bonus is cumulative.
  • Hated Enemy – This pet has the potential to develop enemies. Each time this pet kills a creature of a type that is a potential enemy, there is a chance it will develop into a “Hated Enemy.” After a pet has developed a Hated Enemy, it becomes more fearsome in battle against that type of creature by inflicting more damage. The potential enemy types for a pet are innate. For example, a hell cat could develop ice, canine, and faerie enemies, or a unicorn could develop demon, orc, ogre, troll, and undead enemies.

    The current types of possible enemies are Acid, Animal, Arachnid, Canine, Cold, Demon, Domesticated, Dragon, Elemental, Faerie, Feline, Fire, Gargoyle, Giant, Human, Insect, Juka, Living, Magical, Meer, Metal, Non-living, Ogre, Ophidian, Orc, Reptile, Sea Creature, Terathan, Troll, and Undead. More types may be added later.
  • Iron Stomach – Pets with this ability can eat almost anything, including metal and leather. Feeding your pet magic items causes temporary, random magical effects.
  • Human-Healer Friendly – This pet is especially receptive to the Veterinary skill and will be easier to heal. This ability can be developed.
  • Natural Poison is an innate ability that allows the pet to poison a foe with a successful attack and poisoning skill check. This ability is developed as the pet’s Poisoning skill increases.
  • Fire Breather – This pet can breath fire. Roar! This ability can only be developed by increasing the pet’s strength.
  • Spellcasting is an innate ability. This pet can cast spells, although it makes its own decisions on what spells to cast and when to cast them.
Veterinary
  • The bug that prevents you from using veterinary due to the z-axis or flying pets will be fixed.
  • Using Veterinary to heal a pet will increase its loyalty.
Taming Difficulties and Skill Gain
  • The minimum skill required to tame a Drake will be lowered to 84.3.
  • Taming aggressive creatures will give a slight bonus for skill gain.
Miscellaneous Taming Issues
  • The “guard” command will require loyalty checks similar to the “kill” command.
05 March 02 Compassion – nocturne
In Development :: The Virtue of Compassion
[InDev] [Compassion] Compassion is part of a philosophy within Ultima Online known as the Virtues, and is one of eight pursuits within the upcoming Virtue system.
06 March 02 Justice – nocturne
In Concept :: The Virtue of Justice
[InConcept] [Justice] Justice is part of a philosophy within Ultima Online known as the Virtues, and is one of eight pursuits within the upcoming Virtue system.
07 March 02 Account Age Not Updating – nocturne
FYI :: Account Age Not Updating at Beginning of Month
Around the beginning of each month, we’ve taken quite a few calls from players who are concerned that their account ages have not updated. The account age system does not actually update itself at the beginning of each calendar month, but should update itself within two weeks of the last time the character was logged in. If you’ve been logged in and noticed your account age is wrong, then please check your account creation date in the Account Management section of our web site, and also please be sure you understand how your account age is calculated, as described in the Rewards Program documentation at http://update.uo.com/design_350.html (your account may appear to be up to 2 months older than it really is – this is normal).

If it’s definitely wrong, and you log back in after two weeks to find it has still not updated, then use the Ask a Question feature of the Game Wizard at http://support.uo.com to submit your inquiry. When making your inquiry, please be sure to tell us your account name, and the shard you noticed the discrepancy on.
08 March 02 Tailoring BODs – nocturne
In Development :: Tailoring Bulk Order Deeds
The basic concept of the bulk order system is that players who interact with certain crafting-based NPC shopkeepers will, on random occasions, be offered the opportunity to fulfill “bulk order deeds” (also known as “BODs”). In return for completing these BODs, the player will receive special rewards as compensation.

A Blacksmithing BOD system is already in place, and the concept will now be expanded to also include a Tailoring BOD system as well.

Tailoring Bulk Order Deeds

Characters that have a sufficient Tailoring skill and frequently selling goods with NPC Tailor and Weaver shopkeepers will have a chance to receive BOD requests from them.

  • Characters with Tailoring skill of less than 70 will only be given BODs for items that would give the character the opportunity to gain in skill.
  • Characters with 70 or higher Tailoring skill may receive BOD requests for any of the items that are craftable by players’ Tailor characters.
Frequency: There will be a random chance that a Tailoring BOD will be offered to the player upon each trade a player’s character makes with an NPC Tailor or Weaver.

Difficulty: The level of the character’s Tailoring skill will affect the level and complexity of any BOD offered to that character; as the character’s Tailoring ability increases, so may the difficulty of the Tailoring BODs increase.

There are also two levels of BODs: Small BODS (or “SBODs”) and Large BODs (or “LBODs”).

  • SBODs are the basic level of BODs, and may be offered to the player at any point in his or her tailoring career.
    • The difficulty of SBODs will be lightly challenging, scaling up or down based on the level of the player’s character’s Tailoring skill.
  • LBODs will be more difficult than SBODs, and will only be offered to characters with higher than 70 Tailoring skill.
    • The difficulty of LBODs will be highly challenging, scaling up or down based on the level of the player’s character’s Tailoring skill.
    • Several SBODs may be required to be combined with an LBOD in order to fill an LBOD request.
Use: The Tailoring BOD will appear as a grey deed within the character’s backpack, labeled “a bulk order deed.”

  • Double-clicking the deed will display a gump-window which will list the desired item(s), amount, if the item needs to be acceptable, and of what sort of material must be used.
  • To complete an order, the player can use the “combine” button on the deed’s gump to combine the crafted items with the deed until the amount of items the deed requests has been reached.
  • The items and deeds must be within the character’s backpack for the combination to work.
  • Once the correct amount of items have been created and combined with the deed, the deed can then be dropped on the appropriate NPC for a reward.
Bulk Order Deed Gump-window
Large Bulk Order Deed Gump-window
Collecting the reward: Players may redeem the BOD by dropping it onto the correct NPC shopkeeper.

  • The reward will appear automatically in the character’s backpack.
  • The reward will be a certain amount of gold, a special item, and an increase in the character’s Fame – the level of each will be based on the difficulty of the BOD.
    • If the amount of the gold reward is equal to or higher than 5000 gold pieces, then the player shall receive the gold in the form of a check.
    • The special item will be one that is not currently available in the game outside of the BOD system.
    • The rewards are not listed here, in order to allow Tailors to discover the type and nature of these rewards for themselves.
Special cloth color that will be low to medium rewards
Example #1: The easiest Tailoring BOD to complete would be an order for 10 skullcaps, of normal quality, each made of cloth.

The player will combine each skullcap as it is completed with the SBOD, and when all the required skullcaps are combined into the SBOD the player will drop the SBOD onto an NPC Tailor or Weaver in order to receive their reward.

The reward would be a moderate amount of gold (in the character’s backpack), one special item (also appearing in the character’s backpack) and a minor increase in Fame for that character.

Example #2: One of the hardest Tailoring BODs to complete would be a large bulk order for 6 SBODs—1 SBOD for each of the 6 pieces that make up a set of leather armor, with each piece being of exceptional quality, and each piece made with the new barbed leather material.

The player will need to collect the appropriate SBODs, and fill their requirements as normal. The player may combine each SBOD as it is completed with the LBOD, and when all the required SBODs are combined into the LBOD the player will drop the LBOD onto an NPC Tailor or Weaver in order to receive their reward.

The reward would be a bank check for a large sum of gold (in the character’s backpack), one special item (also appearing in the character’s backpack) and an enormous increase in Fame for that character.
You can find the discussion thread here. The tailoring addition also includes seven new rewards for blacksmiths and new weapon large bulk order deeds.
08 March 02 GameSpy :: 30 Most Influential People in Gaming – nocturne
Lord British comes in at seventh place in GameSpy’s 30 Most Influential People in Gaming.
As a teen, he published the role-playing game Akalabeth that lead to the 10-title Ultima series for which he is best known.
Other notables include Peter Molyneux (Black & White, Dungeon Keeper) and Will Wright (SimGames) , with Shigeru Miyamoto topping the list.
09 March 02 Dev Postings (Justice, Compassion, Pets, Misc.) – nocturne
Justice
Evocare –
The idea behind this virtue is to incentivize co-operative behavior in tandem with the current Felucca Dungeon/LostLand proposal. In order to illustrate the point, let me provide a few hypothetical examples.

First, imagine a scenario in the new Felucca dungeon/LL areas with two blue players. For the purposes of this example, assume there is no Justice virtue. In this scenario, each player is actually better off if the other player isn’t successful in killing a champion, since it increases the odds that they’ll be the one to reap the reward(s).

Next, imagine a similar scenario, except the two players are in a Justice relationship, where one player has agreed to protect the other (be it by helping that player fight the champion, or by simply hiding in wait for murderers) while the “protected” player takes on the champion. In this scenario, the player that relegates him/herself to the “helping” role is directly incentivized to ensure to the best of their ability that the other player is successful since if that player is successful, they’ll also reap the same primary reward (an extra scroll of power).

In the same fashion, a group of 10 players using the Justice system can be rewarded equally when compared to a group of 5 players who don’t take advantage of it (ie: if a champion ordinarily provides two scrolls of power upon death, it would provide four in the case of the 10 players who used the Justice system).

In order to understand the mechanics of this system, it is important to realize that when a champion of evil dies, any scrolls of power given as rewards are directly placed into the packs of the players who have earned them, they are not found on the corpse of the champion in the same way that “normal” loot is found.

More then anything else, the Justice virtue provides a mechanism for rewarding groups of players that successfully help each other. This is why the rewards for being a follower of Justice are directly tied to the success of the people you’re helping.
Calandryll –
Correct. Folllowing all 8 virtues to their highest path may be so difficult it may border the impossible. The idea of the system is to create virtues that different play styles will enjoy. So there is a virtue for PvM (Sacrifice), those that enjoy helping people (Humility), mages/healers (Compassion), and PvP (Justice). Hopefully we’ll get virtues for other major play-styles as well, such as crafting (although any crafter that can gain fame can also do Sacrifice already).

But, not every virtue will appeal to every play-style. Some of them just fit better with different play-styles than other. If we tried to make Justice work for crafters, PvMers, beggars, miners, and anyone else no matter what they choose to do in the game, you’d wind up with a watered down system that nobody would enjoy. So if Justice isn’t your thing, that’s ok, hopefully one or more of the other virtues will be.
Calandryll –
No, the pursuit of the Avatar will be limited to those who participate in nonconsensual PvP playstyle in Felucca only.
Right, and you can choose to if you want to.

Also, I have to add, the system is not intended to be a “pursuit of the avatar” system. Nobody is supposed to achieve the same “status” as the Avatar did through the virtue system. That’s why it is being designed so that following *all* of them will be very difficult, if not impossible. People, by their very nature, tend towards certain virtues since many of the virtues contradict each other in many different sitatuons. Often, one must choose between them when a situation arises.
Calandryll –
Of course it can be achieved without non-PvP. We chose to use PvP since it is a valid play-style in UO and the idea of taking down a murderer fit Justice nicely. Killing a murderer (who by definition has done wrongs) certianly fits that within the context of UO. It may not fit the real world since killing is permanent, but killing a murderer in UO isn’t the same thing and is the way you impose a penalty for their crimes.

What I meant by contradicted was based on the old gypsy questions in previous Ultimas. Stuff, like being asked to choose between bringing a man who steals bread to Justice or showing Compassion and letting him go. That’s classic Ultima and were meant to show that there is no right answer when it comes to the virtues.

Also, just to be clear, I am not saying you are “wrong”, I am simply stating why we did what we did. I hold everyone’s opinion valid and try my best not to insult people for theirs. ;)
Compassion
Calandryll –
You can get knighthood through escorts or prisoners, it’s just that you’ll get more “points” from prisoners.

Also, remember, since the moongates were changed to let you pick the city you want to go to, even those without magery will be able to get escorts to cities fairly quickly.

And yes, the virtue points decay, just like all virtues.
Calandryll –
I like the rewards very much, it gives you the ability to help others even if you don’t have the needed skills.
DOH! Actually, you still need the ability to resurrect on your own. That was the old doc that got posted. Fixing it now. We didn’t want to grant someone the ability to res players because that would sort of nerf the healing skill over 80 and one of the few useful 8th circle spells.

I have one question though. Does this mean that the escorting system will finally be fixed so the escorts doesn’t suddenly vanish?
It’s something we can look into while QA tests the system since they will have to test escorts as well.
Calandryll –
It’s actually not a hard virtue to gain in at all. So the reward reflects that. It’s not just that it will save you a bandage, it also saves time, especially in a dangerous situation. Ressing someone, who needs to get back to his stuff fast, with 80% of their HPs right off the bat could mean the difference between making it on time and decay.
Calandryll –
The reason the percentages aren’t that high is it really easy to get the points. Having 80% of your hit points right off the bat is pretty powerful, especially considering the other option is to have 1. :) I would not want to go over 80%, but the other numbers are certainly debatable.
Calandryll –
I’m just thinking that 20% is still within the realm of easily getting whacked back to dead when you are in a bad situation (which I would assume is when this ability would be most needed). Given that you don’t want to budge on the upper limit, then I would be much happier with a tighter spread between the three levels, just so that you get a decent punch for your money even at the first level. Something like 40% / 60% / 80%. That way, even with just 40% your “patient” at least has enough hit points (almost half) to try and run out of the situation to safety, even if they take a hit or two on their way out.
Again though, getting to the first path isn’t going to be very hard at all. You could probably do it in 2-3 days (given the limits) actually. I’ll bring it up though. Oh, also, I am never one to “not budge” just that I have strong feelings about the upper limit.

Even nicer, though I’m not sure how possible it would be, would be if the ghost is within 3 squares of their corpse, that all items from the corpse would automatically teleport back to them once they are rezzed. Just a nice little additional bonus, as it were, since the reward is already so small anyway :)
That might conflict with Sacrifice a bit much. It actually creates some nice decision making for the player who died. Do you insta-res with sacrifice and automatically get your stuff, but risk getting killed again (if you are in a dangerous area) or do you let your friend res you with his compassion, giving you more HPs, and then make a run to get to your corpse? I kind of like that.
Calandryll –
The same wisdom that limits Sacrifice to PvM (and crafting now), limits Humility to helping people, and limits Compassion to those that can resurrect. Most of the virtues will be based around play-styles.
Calandryll –
The way it works is, if you have Compassion and you res someone, they get the bonus hit points. If you res yourself through Sacrifice, you would not get any additional hit points. The reward is geared towards helping others.
The Compassion effect is automatic, it doesn’t require activating the virtue gump. The Spirituality virtue will probably get a different reward attached to it.

Pets –
Oaks –
Pets will not have a skill total cap, but they will have the individual cap of 100 per individual skill.
Oaks –
With the changes, newly spawned sewer rats will now eat meat, fish, eggs, and fruit.
Oaks –
Sorry this wasn’t mentioned in the last proposal (even though it is in the design), but you will be able to use Veterinary on any pet.

And yes, all new small snakes (not legacy snakes) will be able to eat eggs and raw meat with the changes. =)
Oaks –
The idea is still there, but the develop time isn’t. =P We dropped Hitching Posts for this set of changes because we felt the additional stable slots based on skills would benefit all tamers equally, by not requiring house ownership. A simplified version of Hitching Posts that duplicate the “stable” functionality of a stablemaster, but do not add more stable slots, may be implemented in the future. No promises as to when.
Oaks –
Your current pets will most likely not have their skills decreased.
Misc. –
Prophet on GGS –
Just want to respond to your examples with some comments:

Example 1: The problem here is how do you define combat? Easy right, when your casting an attack spell on someone. Ok what if that person is a guild mate or an orange that is friendly? Should you still get the better skill gain? What if you casting heals? But currently have no aggressors (because you just invised yourself) but you are still in the middle of the attack? That’s nothing something simple the system can identify. The point I’m trying to make is that sort of gain system would be almost impossible to define entirely so there isn’t massive inequity and nice gaps for exploiters to… well exploit.

Example 2: Most crafters I know like to craft in their homes or in cities and have little interest in crafting in the middle of the woods, so this would go against their natural game play style. And more importantly the crafting play style is one that doesn’t involve combat. What gain is there in forcing them into it?

The question that should be asked is: Are there any other simpler and better alternatives to GGS? The key here is simple, for what it does and how effective it will be both for casual and power gamers GGS remains a very simple (thus more robust) system. Complex systems take much longer to code, tend to have many more bugs and exploits and in the end tend to get scrapped for simpler systems.

That’s about it for my thought right now. Looking forward to your feedback.
Evocare –
1. To Gilthas. How will the actual bard songs be improved, or will we have to listen to that awful midi music throughout the need for the song?
There aren’t any plans to change the awful midis. ;] When Vex speaks of improving the bard songs, he’s really speaking of trying to make some overall improvements to the bard skills in order to compensate for the decreased power of provocation.

2. To Peaches. Is there anything works to balance warriors upwards in pvm to match those of other classes besides adding in new equipment?
Does improving existing equipment count? If so, yes.

3. To Lord Xanthor. When is the UOTD art going to be made available and will players be able to get things changed in a timely matter if they don’t like something? Also are UOTD Ostards going to be improved as well?
We’re hoping to have the improved avatar/wearables art complete by the end of this month. However, it’ll have to go through QA before it gets to the public.

As far as getting things changed once it’s in testing, that’s much more difficult. Inevitably there will be things that some players like, and others don’t, in much the same way that some players like the current UOTD art and others don’t.

We’ll do the best we can to improve the art in such a way that as large a number of players as possible will be satisfied, but in all truthfulness, that’s the most I can promise. I can absolutely guarantee that players will nitpick the art in all kinds of ways for all kinds of reasons. Heck, I’m driving some of the artists nuts by nitpicking through the whole process (like most players, I’m very passionate about trying to make sure it ends up looking as best as we can make it look). The only reason I get away with it is because it’s my job to approve/disaprove the art. ;] We do have limited time, so I have to be careful about which things I feel will be most important to the playerbase as a whole and which things aren’t as crucial. In the end, I sincerely hope our current and future 3d client users wind up with a better looking game. =]
Canyon, So Long and Thanks for All the Fish –
My apologies to the late Douglas Adams for the title of this post. And no, this isn’t a post about proposed fishing changes, either. I have been offered, and accepted, a move within EA to develop and manage the customer support group for The Sims Online. This is very exciting, because it allows me to work on creating a support group from scratch for TSO. TSO is going to be a huge project, and I’m really excited to be a part of the team. The feedback I’ve seen here on a variety of issues, as well as the experience I’ve gained supporting UO, will be extremely valuable as things progress.

After two and a half years of working on UO, it’s tough to leave it behind. I’m in the same office, and I’ll continue to interact with the GM staff. Next week I’ll be turning off my ability to receive private messages, and I won’t be posting here anymore.

When you have issues, please visit our customer help system at http://uo.custhelp.com/. If you have feedback for the service you received, please continue to write gmreviews@uo.com.

It has been a pleasure working with the UO player base, and I hope you all give TSO a try. *shameless plug*

I hope you all continue to enjoy Ultima Online. Thanks for everything!
11 March 02 Client Patch 3.0.7d – nocturne
FYI :: Client Patch 3.0.7d –
We will be releasing a client patch today, Monday, March 11th. This patch will contain the following changes:
  • 3D client only
    • The 3D client will display the new Ancient Wyrm model.
    • The various 3D clients will now display their versions along the lines of “3.0.7d UO:3D Client.”
  • Both 2D and 3D clients
    • MP3 music that is intended to loop will be ensured to do so.
    • MP3 music now fades in (less abrupt).
    • When you leave combat mode, whichever music was playing beforehand should resume.
    • Fixed a resource leak related to MP3 music playback.
  • The current version should be 3.0.7d for both the 2D and 3D clients.
14 March 02 Taming 2002 v2.0, Barding 2002 v4.0 – nocturne
In Development :: Taming Changes, revision 1
This is an update to proposed changes for the Taming profession and pets, changes that are being considered toward helping balance Taming as a class, as well as toward improving the overall in-game experience of playing a tamer. This document completely supersedes previous posts to “In Concept” on this subject.

Please keep in mind as you read this documentation that these changes are not yet finalized, and after testing and reexamination there may be some exclusions, alterations, or additions to this proposal.

Please also note that the stats and skills of “legacy pets” (those pets which are in existence prior to the publish of the system changes detailed below) will not be affected by the changes listed here.

Animal Lore

The usage and utility of the Animal Lore skill will be altered in the manner described below. (The exact nature of how “legacy” pets are incorporated into this system has not yet been determined.)
  • The Animal Lore skill will display the following data for any tamed creature:
    • Numeric values for Skills, Strength, Hits, Dexterity, Fatigue, Intelligence, and Mana.
    • Any pack instincts the pet may have.
    • A list of foods the pet eats.
    • A general description of how well you can control the pet based on your skills, the taming difficulty, and current loyalty.
  • At 100.0, you can view the above statistics for any tamable creature.
  • At 110.0, you can view the above statistics for any creature.
Stable Slots
  • The current stable slot system will continue to be in use.
    • All characters are allowed to store 2 pets with an NPC Stablemaster.
    • A character that has a combined total of between 160 and 199.9 in Animal Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore skills can store 3 pets with a Stablemaster.
    • A character that has a combined total of between 200 and 239.9 in Animal Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore skills can store 4 pets with a Stablemaster.
    • A character that has a combined total of 240 or higher in Animal Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore skills can store 5 pets with a Stablemaster.
  • The currently allowable stable slots will be increased. Players will be awarded another stable slot for each of the following skills at 100.0, 110.0 and 120.0: Animal Taming, Animal Lore, and Veterinary.
    • In this way the maximum possible number of stable slots per character will be 14.
Pet Limit
  • You will only be able to control a number of pets based on your pet control slots. Every player has 5 pet control slots. Most pets only require 1 slot, with the following exceptions:
    • 2 control slots: unicorn, ki-rin, nightmare, drake, hellhound (leader), predator hellcat (leader), imp, and frenzied ostard.
    • 3 control slots: white wyrm, dragon.
    • 4 control slots: hirelings, golems [I swapped the order of these. I hope that’s okay. It seemed more appropriate to go from “1 slot” to “4 slots”].
  • You must have the required control slots available for your mount. Ethereal mounts will require 1 control slot. This means if you go hunting with a dragon (3 control slots) and a drake (2 control slots), you’ll have to go on foot.
Pet Loyalty
  • Loyalty checks will have a tighter range. For example, a dragon used to have a chance to obey someone with 50 Animal Taming/50 Animal Lore skill, whereas now they will not obey anyone with less than 80/80.
  • If you have the minimum skill required to tame an animal, you will have much greater control.
  • The number of previous owners will no longer affect control.
Pet Bonding
  • After a real-time week of ownership, pets may bond with their owner.
  • If the animal requires more than 29.1 minimum skill to tame, you must have the minimum skill to tame it before it will bond with you. Examples of animals with 29.1 or lower are horses, ostards, dogs, cats, pack horses, etc.
  • You are limited in the number of pet bonds based on your Animal Taming, Animal Lore, and Veterinary skills.
    • All characters are allowed to bond with 1 pet regardless of skill.
    • A character that has a combined total of between 200 and 299.9 in Animal Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore skills can bond with 2 pets.
    • A character that has a combined total of 300 or higher in Animal Taming, Veterinary, and Animal Lore skills can bond with 3 pets.
  • Bonded pets will recall with you.
  • Bonded pets will turn into pet ghosts when they die.
  • Instead of [tame], the [bonded] tag will display above a bonded pet.
  • A bond is only broken if the pet goes wild or is released.
  • Casting the 5th circle Summon Animal spell normally brings forth a random animal, but if the casting player has a bonded pet, this spell will instead try to summon your bonded pets. It will not summon them from the stables, but it will work if the bonded pet is a ghost.
Pet Resurrection
  • When a bonded pet dies, it turns into a “pet ghost.” This ghost can still obey the movement commands (follow, come, etc.). The pet ghost will not dissipate or lose loyalty, but cannot be stabled.
  • Any player can attempt to resurrect the pet with bandages if they have at least 80 Veterinary and 80 Animal Lore. The pet owner or a friend of the pet must be nearby to confirm they want the pet to be resurrected.
  • Resurrected pets suffer skill loss. Pets resurrected by their owner receive less of a skill penalty.
Pet Taming
  • If you hide, or come under the effect of the invisibility spell, while using the taming skill, you will automatically become visible.
  • Except in the case of paralyzation, if an animal cannot pathfind to the person trying to tame it, the taming attempt will fail. This limitation includes situations where placed objects, walls, energy fields, and any other such object block the creature.
  • Pets will suffer some level of skill loss when they are tamed, but have full potential for training.
Pet Skills
  • Pets will learn skills at an accelerated rate compared to players.
  • All creatures, including pets, will have a faster Mana regeneration rate if they have the Meditation skill. Just like players, they will be able to gain Meditation skill when they regain Mana.
  • All pets will be able to learn Anatomy, Resist Spells, Tactics, and Wrestling.
  • Spellcasting pets will be able to learn Magery and Evaluate Intelligence.
  • Pets with Natural Poison will automatically learn the Poisoning skill in combat. The Poisoning skill is used to determine how often they inject poison. Pets with 99.0 or greater Poisoning skill will sometimes inject a poison 1 level more potent than their normal level.
Pet Special Abilities
Pets in PackDamage Bonus
2+25%
3+50%
4+75%
5+100%
  • Pack Instinct. If you have at least 2 pets with the same pack instinct under your control, each of those pets gets a bonus to their damage. The instinct types are: Arachnid, Canine, Feline, and Ostard. See the chart at the right for more information.
  • Iron Stomach. Pets with this ability can eat almost anything, including metal and leather. Eating magical items helps the pet regain Mana.
  • Human-Healer Friendly. This pet is easier to heal with the Veterinary skill. This includes normal healing, curing and resurrection.
Veterinary
  • You will only be able to use veterinary on pets. However, you will be able to use it on any pet, except golems and hirelings.
  • The bug that prevents you from using veterinary due to the z-axis or flying will be fixed.
Taming Difficulties
  • The minimum skill required to tame some creatures will be adjusted to provide a better range of pets for mid-level tamers.
Guarding, Friends, and the Stop Command
  • The “guard” command will always require a loyalty check.
  • Pets will only guard their owner.
  • Pets will only obey commands from their owner.
  • Friends of pets will be able access the pet’s pack if it is a pack animal.
  • Friends of pets will be able to confirm the resurrection of that pet.
  • The “stop” command will stop a pet from guarding, following, and attacking.
Unicorns and Ki-rin
  • The bug where you need to double-click twice to dismount a unicorn or ki-rin will be fixed. Yay!
  • Unicorns will no longer open a gate for their rider. Instead, they will attempt to cast cure (using their Magery skill) on their rider if they become poisoned and fall below 40 hit points. Once they successfully cure their rider, they cannot attempt to cure them for another hour.
  • Unicorns will be immune to poison.
Miscellaneous Taming Stuff
  • Animals that could not be fed before (snakes, rats, etc.) will now eat food appropriate to their type. A great deal more pets will have an appetite for fish.
  • Pets will no longer cast Mass Curse.
  • Hellhound leaders will spawn with a range of bright hues again. A predator hellcat leader with similar hues will also be introduced.
  • Legacy nightmares and white wyrms will display correctly in UO: Third Dawn. Their appearance will not change in the 2D client.
  • Shadowlord warhorses will be correctly hued green in the 2D client.
In Development :: Bard Changes, revision 3
This is the third update to proposed changes for the Barding profession, changes that are being considered toward helping balance Barding as a class, as well as toward improving the overall in-game experience of playing a bard. This document completely supersedes previous posts to “In Concept” on this subject.

Please keep in mind as you read this documentation that these changes are not yet finalized, and after testing and reexamination they may enter the game with some alterations.

General Rules

The following general rules will apply to all bard-related skills (Musicianship, Discordance, Peacemaking and Provocation):

  • Musicianship: this is the base skill for all bard abilities. Any attempt to use other bard skills is preceded by a non-difficulty based check of the character’s Musicianship skill. If this skill check fails, the subsequent skill check to use the bard ability is never made and the character must wait some time before attempting the ability again. There are currently known issues allowing extremely rapid gain in this skill. These exploits will be fixed as part of this publish.
  • Skill Bonuses: Exceptional instruments and Magical instruments will give bards skill bonuses in certain circumstances.
  • Ability Range: all bard abilities will have a range. The bard must be within this range of the target to use the ability. Furthermore, the bard must remain within this range or the ability's effect ends. The base range of all bard abilities is 5 tiles, with each 15 points of skill in the ability being used increasing this range by one tile. The Peacemake ability will have an alternative mode usable as a radius of effect. For this variant, the radius of effect is identical to the ability’s range.
  • Activation Cost: all bard abilities will have an activation cost equal to 10% of the bard’s maximum Mana and Stamina, rounded down. If the bard is unable to pay this cost, the ability use fails. There will be no ongoing upkeep. There will be no activation cost on failed barding skill attempts.

    For example, if your character's maximum Mana was 100 and Stamina was 50 (aside from any “buffs” or “debuffs”), the activation cost would be 10 Mana and 5 Stamina (unless the barding ability attempt fails, in which case no Mana or Stamina is lost).
  • Continuation: Once a bard ability has been used on a target, the bard must remain alive, visible, and within line of sight of the target or the effect ends. Regarding creatures with “Dragon AI” (such as daemons, drakes, hellhounds, nightmares, and, of course, dragons): if at any point the bard moves while using any barding song, that may compel the creature to retarget on the moving character.
  • Uniqueness: A single creature can be the target of only a single instance of each bard ability at a time. A single creature can be the target of both Provocation and Peacemaking, but cannot be the target of two simultaneous Peacemakes.

    If a creature becomes under a given barding effect (Discordance, Peacemaking, or Provocation) and a second bard attempts to use that same effect on the creature, then the older effect takes precedence and remains active.
  • Repeatability: All current skill usage delays remain in effect, but there are no new limitations other than those stated above on their use. A bard can have several Provocation fights going at once, provided all of them meet the above restrictions.
Bard Abilities
  • Provocation: In general, this ability will remain unchanged except for these items:
    • Difficulty-Based: The Provocation skill check becomes difficulty-based. Each creature will have a dynamically computed difficulty score based on its attributes, skills, and special abilities. This means that some creatures of a type might be slightly easier or more difficult to provoke than the average. The base difficulty in provoking two creatures to fight is the average difficulty of the two creatures. A chart showing the average difficulty of various creatures is provided below.
    • Correct Damage Assignment: When two creatures are successfully provoked by a bard, damage assignment will be correctly handled for both creatures involved, meaning the bard will receive correct credit toward looting rights, fame/karma rewards, etc. without having to perform a second provoke on the same creatures in reverse order.

      Regarding looting rights, the bard will receive proper damage credit for all damage done to each other by his provoked creatures.

      As an example, consider a bard that provoked two creatures and one has died while the other is left at 10% health. If a passerby finishes off the wounded one, the passerby isn’t likely to get looting rights even though he got the killing blow, because the bard still did the vast majority of the damage.
  • Discordance: this ability replaces the current barding ability known as “Enticement.”
    • Skill Conversion: the Enticement skill in the game will be renamed to Discordance. Any characters who have skill points in Enticement will have those skill points automatically transferred to Discordance.
    • Difficulty-Based: This ability is difficulty-based like provocation. The base difficulty of this skill check is the difficulty of the creature using the same computations as Provoke (examples given in the table below).
    • Targets: This ability cannot target player characters. It can target player pets in Felucca, subject to normal flagging rules.
    • Effects: This ability applies attribute and skill loss to the target creature. The percentage of attribute and skill loss is scaled on the bard’s Discordance skill. At 50.0 skill, the target loses 12.5% from all stats and skills; and at 100.0 skill the target loses 25% from all stats and skills. Subject to standard rules above, the target will regain lost stats and skills once the effect ends. Note that the creature’s barding difficulty rating does not change as a result of stat and skill modifying effects of any sort, so using Discordance against a creature does not make it easier to Provoke.
  • Peacemaking
    • Standard Mode: Peacemake will become a targeted ability. If the bard targets him- or herself, it works in standard mode. This is a one-shot ability that causes all creatures and players in its radius of effect to stop fighting. Creatures and players can immediately re-target and resume fighting.
    • Targeted Mode: In targeted mode, Peacemake is difficulty-based, with difficulty being computed identically to Provocation and Discordance. Upon a successful Peacemake, the target becomes reluctant to fight. Immediately upon effect initiation, the target stops fighting. Thereafter, until the effect is ended per standard rules, whenever the affected creature is attacked for whatever reason tries to start fighting, there is a chance (based on bard skill and creature difficulty) that the creature will instead return to a peaceful state.

      While this ability does not guarantee lack of retaliation from a monster, it does make it a much easier opponent to handle. A player can be targeted with this ability per normal PvP rules (I.E. allowed Trammel guild wars, criminal to use against an innocent in Felucca).
Instruments
  • All musical instruments will begin to wear out with use, including newbie instruments. A non-exceptional player-made instrument or one purchased from an NPC will have approximately 400 uses. An exceptional player-made instrument or a magical instrument will have approximately 500 uses.
  • The instrument used by a bard skill will automatically be the “last instrument” you double-clicked. This is current bard behavior and isn’t being changed as part of this update. When players wish to change their default instrument (when, for example, you have different magical instruments and need to switch between them during an adventure), they will simply accomplish this by double-clicking it and having it set itself as the new default “last instrument.”
  • Using an exceptional player-crafted instrument grants the bard a bonus of 5 skill points worth of effect for using any bard-related ability. This is applied as a reduction in the difficulty of the skill check, and does not have any effect on any calculations that use the bard’s skill level. For example, the bonus for using an exceptional instrument cannot increase the maximum range or radius of an effect.
  • Magical instruments are to be introduced into the game that will have certain similarities to the “slayer weapons” (what some players call “Virtue weapons”) that are more effective against certain creatures and less effective against others.

    Each of these magical instruments will give the bard 10 skill points worth of difficulty modifiers against a certain class of creature. However, possessing these instruments does not cause the bard to be vulnerable to other types of creatures. Instead, when using the instrument against the opposing creature type, the attempt has a difficulty penalty instead of a bonus.

    As an example, an instrument of Daemon Dismissal (labeled in the fashion of “a lute [Daemon Dismissal]”) will increase the bard’s chance to use a barding ability against any variety of Daemon by 20% (when that instrument is used). When used against an elemental, however, the bard’s chance of success is reduced by 20%.

    Note that it is currently undecided where these magic instruments will spawn. However, they will be fairly common as loot.
Bard Difficulty Table
Target CreatureApproximate Difficulty
Mongbat10.0
Headless One25.0
Orc59.0
Earth Elemental70.0
Ophidian Warrior74.0
Efreet87.0
Terathan Avenger93.0
Dragon107.5
Succubus112.5
Ancient Wyrm125.0
  • Difficulty ratings vary per creature and will fall within +/- 2% of the values given in this table. The Difficulty rating is the skill level at which the bard has a 50% chance of success versus the creature. At this skill level –25.0, the bard has no chance of success and can't make the attempt. At this skill level +25.0, the bard is guaranteed success and cannot gain skill against this creature. Using an exceptional instrument grants the bard +10% chance of success. Using an aligned “slayer”instrument grants the bard +20% chance of success. To compute the difficulty of provoking two creatures, average their difficulty ratings.

    Example: At 120.0 skill, a bard with a dragon-slaying instrument has approx. 60% chance of success to use an ability against an Ancient Wyrm, or to provoke two Ancient Wyrms to fight. At 100.0 skill, with the same instrument, the chance is approx. 20%.
17 March 02 Frictionless Insight Interview – nocturne
Frictionless Insight has a really good interview with LB, done when they were at the DICE summit. Here’s the sample –
Throughout my schooling, from kindergarten through graduation from high school, I did science fair projects literally every year, and often did very well just because I was so well rehearsed. I knew the science and math faculty at the school quite well, and they knew that I was a self-motivated, studious person, so I actually negotiated with the faculty to have my own class, with no teacher. I got that classroom for a period at school during the school day, and I got a grade for my self taught class. At the beginning of the semester I would say “Here’s my project, I’m going to write some more games.” They’d say “OK, show them to us when you get done.” That’s what I did for four years of school. I had my own class – no teacher, no grades, and I always got an “A.” Every time I’d make a new game I’d show it to some of the faculty and they’d say “That’s really cool – do another one. I just called them DND1 through DND 28. I’d first write them in a notebook, then type them up on paper tape, and read them in through the paper tape reader into the modem. Then I would finally get the chance to play them on this paper spool printing teletype.
18 March 02 Dev Postings (BODs, Taming, Minax HQ) – nocturne
Hanse –
Here are a few changes you folks might want to check out on Test Center publish 16, when it is available with tailoring BOD’s. We know some of the changes won’t be easy to determine, but you’ll probably see some improvement.

1) GM chance for exceptional quality is higher.
2) GM chance for colored bulk orders are higher.
3) Rewards for exceptional items are higher (note: this lowers the 1 in 18 million chance for valorite hammer… which after 5 months has not appeared on any shard).
4) Seven new rewards, of which three are low-end. Four of the rewards are medium range.
5) Weapon large bulk orders…
6) Exceptional quality deeds give a better gold reward than normal quality deeds.
Hanse –
NPC’s are unbiased. You have the same chances the first time you got a bulk order deed (at GM) versus the last time.

Although, publish 16 does give a bonus to colored items for GM’s. Also, the quality level was raised from a third to half for GM’s in the upcoming publish. We will want to keep an eye on this on Test Center when it’s available for testing.

After the quality and color bonuses, it’s just a steep curve.

There’s very little consistency with the types of orders given out for blacksmiths. It is so widly varying that you will find what you would think of as “bad” streaks. Although, you have a better chance at GM and above (same for being above as GM) than any lower skill level. Rumors of 70 doing better than 100 skill are bogus.

Tailor deeds will be pale green.

Dropping items on the deed sounds easy in concept, but isn’t easy in practice. That was the original design we had for the bulk order deeds, but it requires the deed itself to be a special item type (container). Spellbooks are containers. Runebooks use the same artwork. The deed is actually a hued house deed. There’s no telling what side-effects it would have on all existing deeds, if we were to change its object type. That’s why the combine button was used (to avoid all sorts of wierd bugs). So, the original design was scrapped.

Forges are not part of the bulk order system as a reward. Only colored anvils are available as a reward. Colored forges look aweful when hued. The coals turn blue if the forge has a valorite hue.

You cannot craft colored sandals with publish 16. :P

Smiths have 9 colors to work with (normal plus 8). Tailors have 4 colors to work with (normal plus 3). So, the disparity between collections and combinations will be less. Plus, we think the lower end BOD’s are interesting to do because of the special colored cloth you receive to make more items to sell. It makes the whole system exciting. :)

The tailoring bulk order low end rewards are much more usable than the blacksmith low end rewards. Although, we’re adding more usable low end rewards to blacksmithy in publish 16.

The colors are all original except one of them (which looks good on clothes). That is not the white wyrm pure white. It was too bright and fuzzy on the clothes. It’s a better white scale with darker shades towards the left of the palette. It looks great when worn (dark, with the bright white highlights).

Also, since that is a JPG, the colors are darker than in-game. All the colors are unique and every one of them you can tell the difference from a dye tub color (although, there may be a few hues colorblind folks may have problems with, most are still brilliant enough to determine). :)
Hanse –
Normal leather: non-aggressive creatures… mostly… mongbats are aggressive, but considered in this class.
Spined leather: easily killed aggressive creatures… mostly… dire wolves, alligators, ratmen, and lizardmen are good examples of this type of leather bearing monster/animal.
Horned leather: Drakes, wyverns, sea serpents, ki-rin, and unicorns.
Barbed leather: Dragons, wyrms (all three types), nightmares, etc… tough creatures… experiment… :)

All the creatures that give leather now either get upgraded or stay the same. Only sea serpents were modified to have leather available on them.
Hanse –
The concerns on both fronts are the following:

Multi-skilled crafters (blacksmith, tailor, carpenter, tinker, etc) would be adversely affected by a universal timer. This is the majority type of crafter due to the skills complimenting each other.

Single crafting skilled characters, while uncommon but not unheard of, would have an advantage collecting the deeds. Even though the characters are separated, this is not a prevalent grouping of skills on characters.

So, what would this do?

People with multiple crafting skills on one character would feel forced to make a tailor crafter again. Is this fun? I do dare to say: “no”. If you’re a veteran of the game and have already worked up tailoring once or more, the novelty has worn off. You would be working towards a goal you have already achieved before.

Even though, as a multi-skilled crafting character, you have the choice of getting one deed or another with a universal BOD timer, many would still feel they were missing out on the fun either tailoring or blacksmithy bulk orders. We do not want to stifle fun in our game.

So, we have decided, based on feedback and constructive criticism, that the timer will be separate. All other changes to the system will be bugfixes based on QA and testing on Test Center.

Thanks for all the input folks!
Oaks –
White wyrms, dragons, nightmares, ki-rin, unicorns, and any other high-level tames that might be added will all have the “angered the beast”. This was added after the post to In Development.

Well, you can look at it two different ways:
1. If you failed your attempt to tame the unicorn, it suddenly distrusts you and wants you away from it. It could teleport away, but killing you is better and will allow it to make sure its horn is still nice and sharp.
2. It’s for gameplay. Taming a unicorn is like taming a horse once you have the minimum skill. Boring! High-level tames should be challenging. Once you convince the unicorn that you’ll be a good companion, it’s not going to go on a killing spree the next time it sees an ethereal warrior…

What this means is you cannot use Veterinary on animals that are not tame. That’s all. You will still be able to use the healing spell on your pets.

You will be able to bond with your legacy pets. Once bonded, you will also be able to resurrect your legacy pets.

Keep in mind that you have a 0.6% to get the dragon to listen at 80/80, and guard checks now require loyalty… so about all you could do is ride it around (if it’s a mount) or let it auto-defend and auto-attack.

Hated enemy was dropped due to the exponential testing time that would be required. The time that would have been spent developing it, however, will be used to introduce new tameables.

The bonus skill gain for taming aggressive monsters really won’t be needed with GGS.

Once the changes go onto test center, we’ll see how well someone can play with 80/80 and a dragon. If it needs to be adjusted, we’ll adjust it. =)
Gromm –
No story this week, sorry guys. Things are progressing nicely on the next scenario. We have a patch currently being tested and are fairly close to getting the rest of the scenario items through to QA. We’re really happy with the way things are turning out and we’re pretty sure you’ll agree that the wait will be worth it. We’ve got some stuff in the works that’s really going to freak you out when you see it, I can’t wait. :)
Calandryll –
The aspects of PvP in Felucca are part of the game, just like PvM, crafting, resource gathering, and what have you. Segregation isn’t the issue, it’s about play-styles, in fact, there is no segregation here. There is nothing keeping anyone from going to Felucca. If that were true (such as if being a crafter segregated you from Felucca) then I’d agree and not design it that way. But, going or not going to Felucca is a choice, just like choosing to play a crafter or to play a character that likes fighting monsters. And, again, as I said, if you don’t like PvP there will be accommodations through Spirituality.

And no, karma should not be tied to the Virtues. The fame and karma system is a system that judges people as good or evil. The virtues are not about judging people.
Evocare –
Honestly, I’d like very much to share the ideas that are in our magic bag-of-tricks. However, I’m holding off on doing so until the changes hit test center since it’s pretty clear that these types of changes have a tendency to breed a lot of argument with little-to-no resolution until players actually get the chance to try them out.

That being said, I think you’ll be as “happy as a clam” with the changes. After all, we didn’t completely blow it with the last set of combat changes that re-enabled precasting, modified both spell and weapon damage, and changed what determines the chance to perform a special move, right? As I recall, there was a relatively common fear that those changes were going to force everyone to become a tank-mage and/or eliminate the viability of warriors, neither of which appear to have happened. ;]
Evocare, on the location of the new Minax HQ –
We’re carving a rather large hole in the eastern part of the Destard mountain range and putting it in there. There will, of course, be a path through the mountains to get to it. Offhand (I’m at home, not looking at the map right now), I’d say it’s about 2 screens or so through the mountains to get to the stronghold, and the pass is probably around 10 tiles wide.

We chose to place it in the mountain range because that’s one of the few places we can be pretty much guaranteed that nobody managed to place a house on any shard either legally or illegally at the time it was placed.
Cynthe speaks up in OCR Comments, talking about the new who-does-what on the Community team.
19 March 02 FYI – nocturne
FYI :: “Pets in a bag” exploit –
We’re aware of a current exploit that involves turning pets into a smaller “statue” form within a bag, and where that “statue” is labeled as “[tame].” These creature-statues do not stay in this temporary form, and after a time the pet will go wild as normal, and revert back into a normal creature.

While we are working to resolve this issue, we urge extreme caution when buying what seem to be rare creature-statues.

Again, the creation of these temporary “statues” is considered an exploit, and players found using this exploit may have action taken against their game accounts.
FYI :: The New UO.com Newsletter –
Last week we began sending out our Ultima Online newsletter with a brand new look, and many of you were pleasantly surprised at these inspiring changes. Where once the newsletter was text-based, now it shows off the great UO: Lord Blackthorn’s Revenge art that you’ve seen as the UO:LBR box and on the UO:LBR Web site. There are also four variations to the newsletter, allowing us to focus certain elements on players who are new to UO as well as veteran players who have been enjoying the game for years.

To help us distribute the newsletter, we’ve brought in a group that specializes in such things, and they’re doing an awesome job. Part of their system included e-mailing this new version to all our players, and including links both to our official Web site (www.uo.com) as well as back to their third-party Web site (ultimaonline-com.m0.net). We want to assure you that this particular usage of a non-UO.com URL is intentional and necessary in this case. We also wanted to assure players that your personal account information still remains secure and undistributed by Origin Systems, and the reason why these non-UO.com links are part of the newsletter is only to help them in managing the newsletter itself.

By the way, this newsletter e-mail is for informational/marketing purposes only. We’ll never ask you to share private or game account details with any outside party, and that continues to be true even with this newsletter. Click here if you ever have questions or concerns regarding our account hacking policies.
23 March 02 Dev Postings (Barding, eBay) – nocturne
Barding
Vex –
For the use of internal Quality Assurance, the new bard code has debugging information built-in that causes targets of bard abilities to announce their difficulty. Furthermore, the bard character itself will announce its overall difficulty for Provocation attempts, taking into effect the averaging of difficulties and instrument modifiers.

I’ve been given permission to leave this debugging output active when these changes go to external test shards. So, rather than just posting a huge table listing all approximate bard difficulties, for a time you will be able to see the actual numbers in use.

The difficulty will be given as a whole number. For instance, when you provoke a Terathan Avenger on a Terathan Matriarch, the Avenger might say “My bard difficulty is 959” and the Matriarch might report “My bard difficulty is 918”. (Those are realistic examples.) Your character would then say “Overall difficulty of provoke: 938”.

The overall chance of successful provocation is computed as follows: Divide the difficulty number by 10, and subtract it from the bard’s skill level. Multiply the result by two, then add 50%. This is the bard’s chance of success. With the above example, a bard at 95.0 skill would have a chance of 50+2×(95.0-93.8)=52.4%.

The bard can attempt any provocation at (Difficulty÷10)-25 skill points. This is the point at which the bard has a non-negative chance of success. In the above example, the bard could attempt that provocation at 68.8 skill.
Vex –
1. I want to provoke a blood elemental and a daemon to fight each other. If I have a daemon dismissal instrument does that mean I have to target the daemon first in a provoke? In other words, if I have a blood drinking and a daemon dismissal is there going to be a specific sequence that I will need to do?
The instrument modifiers are applied per creature as a modifier that reduces the difficulty of using bard skills against the creature. When using provocation, the difficulties of the two creatures are averaged. You can only use one instrument in a provocation attempt. Here are some examples involving an instrument of Daemon Dismissal:

Provoking two daemons to fight: Each daemon becomes easier to provoke by 10 points of skill, meaning the overall chance of success increases by 20%.
Provoking a daemon to fight something that is not a daemon and not an elemental: The daemon becomes easier by 10 points of skill, but you get no difficulty modifiers for the other creature. The net effect is that the overall chance of success increases by 10%.
Provoking a daemon to fight an elemental: The difficulty of the daemon is reduced by 10.0 points of skill and the difficulty of the elemental is increased by 10.0 points of skill. It is a wash, and attempting this provoke is done at standard difficulty.

All provocation attempts treat the first and second targets identically. It doesn’t make a difference which creature is targeted first. Think of it as provoking two creatures to fight each other, rather than provoking one creature to attack another.

2. Will dragons auto-dispel and EV or a BS even if continually peaced, or will they only attempt to dispel if they shake off the effects of the peacemaking?
Magic-using creatures will attempt to dispel any summoned creature, elemental, spirit, or vortex that targets or does damage to them. This is a defensive action that will not be suppressed by the use of targeted peacemaking.

3. As question #2 except will other spellcasting creatures (such as orc mages, daemons, blood elementals, etc.) attempt to dispel an EV or a BS even if continually peaced, or will they only attempt to dispel if they shake off the effects of the peacemaking?
Same as above.

4. Double-clicking on an instrument will set that instrument as the default instrument for bard skills. When wanting to switch to another instrument (such as from a blood drinking instrument to a daemon dismissal instrument), will double clicking on the instrument decrease the number of available uses for the instrument?
Playing an instrument by double-clicking it exercises the character’s Musicianship skill and flags the instrument as the character’s Last Instrument. This action does not incur a skill delay, nor does it cause wear and tear on the instrument.

5. Will having 120 musicianship (from a musicianship scroll of power) give any benefit, or is this something that was left over from a previous bard revision?
Musicianship will be removed from the list of skills able to be raised above 100. It is a non-difficulty-based skill and there are currently no plans to change it to difficulty-based. A non-difficulty-based skill cannot normally be raised above 100.0 skill.

6. When taming a creature and “angering the beast” (such as a dragon, white wyrm, etc.), will it attack the tamer even if continually peaced, or will it only attack the tamer if it shakes off the effects of the peacemaking?
If a creature becomes angered while being tamed, the peacemake effect has the standard chance to stop the creature from becoming aggressive toward the tamer.

7. If someone casts invisibility on a bard while he has a bard song in effect (e.g., provocation, discordance, peacemaking), will the bard’s song cease to function since the bard must remain visible?
The timeout for all bard effects terminating for lack of line-of-sight, being out of range, the bard being dead, or the bard being invisible will be a minimum of five seconds. This means that the bard can become invisible, break line-of-sight, or dash out of range for up to five seconds without breaking his ongoing bard effects.

If someone casts invisibility on the bard, the bard need only become visible again (by moving or performing any number of actions that reveal a hidden character) within five seconds to preserve any existing effects. Leaving the choice up to the bard leaves team play options open while reducing “grief play” potential.

8. If a bard provokes two creatures to attack each other (such as two trolls), will the bard be able to provoke a third creature (such as an ogre) to attack one of the other two trolls already under provocation?
Yes. Furthermore, recent tweaks to the updated bard ruleset remove the “uniqueness” restriction from Provocation, meaning a creature can be provoked by or provoked onto by multiple bards. In other words, this particular game dynamic now remains unchanged.

9. Will the number of uses left in a musical instrument be a cryptic description when single clicking on the instrument, or will the exact number of uses be displayed when single clicking on the instrument?
Communicating precise numbers is called for in this circumstance, to avoid any potential for scamming in the trading of these new magic items.

10. If a aura enchanted creature damages a bard while the creature is under a continual peacemaking effect, will the creature immediately attack the bard since it damaged the bard, or will it only attack the bard if it shakes off the effects of peacemaking?
The radius damage effect is passive. Targeted peacemake will not turn this effect off, so even if the creature does not target anyone it is still possible to become damaged by walking too near the creature. Causing a character damage in this way will not cause the creature to attempt to aggressively target the character.

If anyone else has any other questions, feel free to post them in this thread. Please keep any posts in this thread constructive so hopefully the Dev Team will answer our questions. Thanks!

– Nadya Modavia.

Other rule notes: The chance for an established Peacemake effect to suppress subsequent attacks will be a minimum of 50%, with the chance scaling upward to 100% depending on the creature’s bard difficulty and the bard’s skill. This means the difficulty of establishing a peacemake will remain unchanged, but once in effect its ongoing aggression suppression is more effective.
eBay
Calandryll –
Out of the 12,060 combined DAILY total Internet Games eBay listings, Ultima Online is responsible for 4,915 which is nearly 41% of the total market!
The percentage of UO auctions vs. other games is skewed because some other games have made it against their TOS to do so. So of course UO is going to represent a large percentage. But, even that said, 2,500 total sales is still a low percentage when compared to the total number of UO players.

Housing, Rares and Veteran accounts aside, I agree with your statement. However, won’t Champion’s and Skill Scrolls result in a similar scenario you just described? Seems like a very hypocritical stance to take prior publish 16 knowing full well you are currently contributing to making your statement false for UO’s future.
Again, as I said in my interview, it’s a case by case basis and something that is reviewed. But we don’t know the effects (we can speculate) until they are active.

I find it alarming to discover that there are approximately 100 vanq weapons eBay listings DAILY within a select target group of mostly American Shards.
I don’t. Compared to the number of vanq weapons in the game anyway.

Herein lies the quandary, if OSI believes it to be reasonable to trade resources money and/or time for another resource, then why doesn’t OSI simply sell housing, gold, weapons for RL$ themselves?
I don’t have an answer to that, it’s not something I would ever make the call on. One issue could be that us selling the item upfront has no time attached to it, where even if you buy 10,000 ingots on eBay, someone spent the time in game getting those resources.
Calandryll –
94 swords of vanq out of 2500+ items is less than 4% of the total items for sale. :) And 94 sales out of the hundreds of thousands of accounts is statistically insignificant.

My point wasn’t that people don’t sell items at all. The point was that those sales don’t hinder another player’s ability to get the item in the game since we don’t have the concept of camping the same monster for 2 days just to get the item. So while a few (very few) people may be buying vanq swords, there are far more people getting them from killing the monsters themselves.

Really what buying this items boils down to is a trading of resources. They spend money (a resource) in lue of spending time (another resource). Again, if someone mines for a few days to sell the ingots on an auction site, they are not taking up the only mining spot in the game. People who want to mine for themselves or to mine to sell for gold are not hindered by the few people mining to sell on eBay. Now if there was only two or three spots to mine in the entire game and the auctioneers were camping those spots, keeping other people out, the issue might be different.
Misc.
Greyburn, How to make a macro for the UOTD gestures? –
Create a “Command” macro (i.e. pick command from the list that has “say”, “emote”, “yell” etc.). Then type “`dance” in the field to the right. That is, the tilde key (but don’t press shift, you want the other character on the key not the tilde) plus the name of the emote animation you want to do.

In other words, you type the other-single-quote-mark-looking-key followed by the name of the gesture. If you hit the right key in the game (as apposed to in the options menu), this will appear in your text line “Gesture:” You can type “`dance” in game to execute the dance gesture too. I hope I’ve helped (and not just confused you more). :)

While you’re in the macro menu, here’s another interface tip for you: See the gray rectangle to the right of the “Key” and “Name” fields? After you finish creating your macro, you can drag that rectangle to your game window and double left click it at any time to execute your macro. You can also change the text displayed on it by changing the text in the “Name” field of the macro menu. Just keep in mind that the button will always execute the macro in it’s current form (if you change the macro from `wave to `lecture, clicking the rectangle will play the lecture gesture). However, if you change the text in the name field, the button will not be automatically updated with the new name. You’ll have to drag a new rectangle to the game window to get the name change.
Calandryll –
From everything I saw as a player, there were far more PKs (and NPKs, who were worse then the PKs) than those playing the “police”.
Calandryll –
Heh, you and I are remembering things very differently I guess. NPKs were far more common in the Dread days because of all the ways you could go gray by mistake. Many of those were fixed before or around the time stat-loss came out (firefielding, noto-query, etc.)

Back in the Dread days, I went Dread because of NPKs. People who would attack my friend who went gray by accident, or attack another Dread Lord who I knew to be honorable, stuff like that. I was one of those police...and we were few and far between compared to the PKs and NPKs (who I do not consider to be police). There was an old saying back then that the only true good guys were the ones that were willing to go Dread to defend people they knew to be innocent. ;)

The truth is, nobody can prove it either way, we each have our own perceptions.
Gromm –
I never think of the things that I create or write at work as “mine” exactly. Yes, I’m proud of some of the stories I’ve written and characters I’ve created but the first thing I have to remember is that they are not “mine”, they are UO’s. Everything I do here is for UO, not myself.

Bearing that in mind makes the job easier. I don’t get my way every time with every character, I’ve had plenty of my plot ideas shot down and not been happy about it. But this doesn’t bother me nearly as much because I know the characters work for the game, not me personally.

No one “stole” the name Lord Blackthorn. He just needed to be used for a purpose here at OSI that may not have been originally envisioned when he was created.

I hope that if I ever see a different group of folks take over the fiction here that they surprise me with the characters. :)
24 March 02 Salvo’s Ship – nocturne
Rather high on the cool-shit scale, Salvo sent us this pic of his ship. Go take a look.
29 March 02 Dev Comments (MSNBC Article) – nocturne
First off, read this MSNBC article covering the controversy over the Bard nerfing, where Cynthe (under her RName Amy Sage) is interviewed.
I’m seeing quite a few questions, comments, and misconceptions I want to go ahead and respond to on this. First off, the interviewer was not familiar with UO before the interview, so there were some things that were said that she interpreted slightly differently than they were meant, and a few points that didn’t quite make it to the article. About the Korean shard she mentions – the shard was Baekdu, and it actually had to be completely wiped 2 weeks into its testing period because there were already quite a few players not only with Grandmaster characters and millions of gold, but with castles… and when we checked into the records, every single one of those accounts had a bard as their main character. A castle is the largest and most expensive thing to acquire in UO, and Baekdu was a Siege Perilous ruleset shard, meaning those castles were even more expensive than on regular shards – and it took players two weeks to achieve that goal. Whether the Korean style of play was different from the American style, you have to realize that in a game like this, what does accomplishment mean for any character if there are people who can reach the pinnacle of the game in two weeks? That incident was one of the things that spurred us to make barding more difficult on Siege Perilous ruleset shards, and showed us more vividly than ever that there was a significant imbalance. So now on to some other comments from this thread:

Ooh i love the bit about trying to please the majority, hmm
*looks around*
isnt that us?

Sorry, that’s not the case. I don’t have a verified number as to how much of the UO populace is made up by bards, but the consensus that we came up with after conferring with several departments was somewhere close to 10%, which – even if we are a bit off – is not the majority. The majority of the UO players want to feel that their choices are meaningful, and want to feel that if they apply themselves to their characters, they have the capability to achieve at least comparable rewards to someone else who spends the same amount of time. The majority of the players don’t want to be told that if they want to ever have the money for a house, that there’s only one real choice for them as far as profession goes. One of the points I stressed in the interview is that in a role-playing game, you should be able to choose your profession based on which play style is more fun, not based on which one gives you the most rewards. And in this case, it was clear that with bards as powerful as they were, there really wasn't a meaningful choice to be made.

Blame the “achievements” on bards but, in reality, it’s OSI’s fault for not changing how characters/ skills improve after the population figured out the most efficient ways to do things.
This is actually what we’re doing. Something to note is that as our subscriber base grows, the imbalances grow larger. People learn the fastest way to get from point A to point B, and many of them take advantage of that, which puts everyone else at a disadvantage. This is one of the really unfortunate things – it’s not everyone that’s taking advantage of the system. I fully believe most of the bards who say that they have not abused the system in any way. But the problem is that as long as it’s possible, plenty of people will take advantage of it, and you’ll continue to see gold pouring into the game at a tremendous rate, and those people having an advantage over everyone else due to the almost limitless resources at their control.

It would be nice to see a red reply to this, but i don’t think their qualified to respond. I have a feeling this situation just elevated above the Dev’s head and right into EA’s corporate offices.
Actually, we have the full support of EA in this. They, as a large corporation, understand all too well how important it is to try to please as many people as possible, as well as how difficult that can sometimes be.

one piece of bad press does not a disaster make. now, if all the gaming mags are publishing articles about it as well, it makes things worse. a lot depends on who sees it. without a link, i never would have found out about this. and i’m guessing that most of us got into uo via word of mouth or just seeing the box on the shelf.
You may disagree with me, but frankly, I don’t see this as bad press. As I said to Lisa Napoli, this is both the blessing and the curse of running this kind of game – it becomes a world, where people become attached to their characters. They stay for four or more years, because we’ve created something that draws them in, that makes them bond with their online selves. When you think of it that way, it’s a fantastic feeling as a developer. But that same success is what causes these kinds of problems. When change affects you personally and shakes up something you care about, it’s hard to accept, and it can make you angry and frustrated. That’s true of anything – not just games. But when you see it from this side of the fence, you see that it’s unavoidable. In order for the game to continue to grow, we have to pinpoint the things that are hampering that. And the fact that something has been imbalanced for years isn’t a good reason to not fix it.

When a city puts in a new freeway, thousands are people are diverted while construction goes on – that’s probably years of frustration in store for everyone who lives there. But it’s done so the city can grow, and certainly not out of malice for the people who use the street. In order for UO to grow, we need to see that people have meaningful choices, and that they have a chance to succeed without forcing them to play in any one specific way.

Must have been a slow news day.
I’ll admit, I was certainly surprised to hear from MSNBC! But I’m actually pretty excited that our community has had this much of an effect on mainstream media – it really says a lot about the growth of the MMORPG industry.

FROM the 10Q
“An increase in the number of paying customers for Ultima Online to 208,000 as of December 31, 2001 as compared to 185,000 as of December 31, 2000”

It does beg the question, though. Where did the 230,000 number come from? Can’t seem to find it in any of the 10Qs….

According to our records, we currently have 230,000 active accounts.

We make a very large number of changes on a weekly basis.

Is it April 1st already?

We have something in our development cycle called ERT’s, for Emergency Response Team. An ERT is basically an issue that has to be fixed NOW, and can’t wait until the next major publish. Most of them aren’t announced when they’re published, because they’re generally invisible fixes. Most of them are exploit fixes, but there’s also shard hardware fixes, login server repairs, etc. So as far as putting out fixes for the game, yes, it’s pretty safe to say there’s at least one a week. Then when the Ongoing Scenarios are happening, there are very visible – and often very large – new content publishes weekly. In addition, we have the gargantuan publishes every few months, and generally a client patch or two a month as well. When you combine all those, that’s a lot of changes.

In response to critics, Electronic Arts has revised its proposed changes twice so far

3 times.

Actually, it’s had 3 separate iterations posted, which means that the original proposal has been revised twice.

But Sage maintains that’s not true, and that once changes actually go into effect, the controversy will abate.

Once futility sets in, no amount of posting will help. Even a stubborn, gold-farming bard can see that….

Actually, I don’t think I said the exact words that the controversy would just end after the changes went live – I’m optimistic, but not blindly so. :) I think what I said was that we firmly believe that once bards get a chance to test out the changes for themselves, they will find that the class is indeed still quite playable, and that we intend to pay close attention to the feedback we get from testing. We do plan to see that the class is still fun – and with that in mind, we feel the outcry will die down once the bards become accustomed to the changes.

Ok this whole thing here makes no sense at all. How is taking a PvM character class and making it less powerful appealing to new players? I dont quite follow that reasoning. How exactly is my being able to provoke 2 deamons onto each other diminishing the gaming experience of new players? I think that this is a huge scam intended to target the vet player base for natural attrition.
While perhaps your habits may not directly affect a new player, the result of those habits by a portion of the player base do. By allowing one class to reap substantially greater rewards than any other, you are essentially removing the element of the game that allows players to make meaningful choices about their characters. If you played a game of Quake, and chose a particular character because you liked the way he looked, then found 3 hours later that the reason you couldn’t ever seem to find anyone alive to shoot is that your character was twice as slow as another, and that other character got to everyone before you did – it’s likely that you would be irritated that you’d chosen that slow character. Chances are you’d go back and immediately choose the faster character. In that instance, the element of choice was essentially removed – the choice was made clear because one was so much better than the other. This is a simplified example, but it’s what happens when a player who has struggled for every gold they get who sees a Glorious Lord [ young ] GrandMaster Bard with millions of gold. It’s a huge blow to your feeling of accomplishment to know that others are passing you at the speed of light, and that your character has no real chance of every catching up. So while it’s not a direct impact, the impact is there.

And as for the idea that we’re somehow trying to “target the vets for natural attrition”… chasing away paying customers generally isn’t a good way to run a business, so I think it’s safe to say that’s not an accurate statement. :)

Anyway, I hope that’s cleared up some… I probably won’t be around the boards much this weekend, but I’ll be happy to try and clear up any other concerns when I get back in on Monday.
Scenario 4 and Pub 16 are separate and will be released independently. Target date for Scenario 4 is late April.

Jack_Benny’s post on the problems plaging Pacific. Greywolfe takes his turn at OCR Comments.

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