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Ultima Online: The Making of a Classic Part 2

2

Comments

  • LoktofeitLoktofeit Stone Mountain, GAPosts: 13,671Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by maplestone

    I have to admit I wish he'd gone back to the drawing board and said "ok, we have two completely incompatable groups of players here, throwing them all into the blender together is going to be a disaster"

    The problem isn't that the two groups are incompatible. The problem was that the mechanics were such that all playstyles were subjected to the tyranny of one playstyle. In a game where dozens of playstyles were viable and supported by game mechanics, each of those playstyles was hampered by FFA PVP. 

    Had there been some form of safe haven in the gameplay area of the world, beyond just cities and small guardposts, the PVP would have been far more acceptable. Both Felucca in UO and the security systems of EVE Online have proven that gating the safety and allowing players to mitigate their risk results in a more diverse game world. Additionally, players who normally don't PVP are more inclined to try PVP or engage in PVP if they don't need to switch server and grind up a new character just to try it out.

    There isn't a "right" or "wrong" way to play, if you want to use a screwdriver to put nails into wood, have at it, simply don't complain when the guy next to you with the hammer is doing it much better and easier. - Allein
    "Graphics are often supplied by Engines that (some) MMORPG's are built in" - Spuffyre

  • Garvon3Garvon3 Worcester, MAPosts: 2,898Member

    Originally posted by Loktofeit

    Originally posted by maplestone



    I have to admit I wish he'd gone back to the drawing board and said "ok, we have two completely incompatable groups of players here, throwing them all into the blender together is going to be a disaster"

    The problem isn't that the two groups are incompatible. The problem was that the mechanics were such that all playstyles were subjected to the tyranny of one playstyle. In a game where dozens of playstyles were viable and supported by game mechanics, each of those playstyles was hampered by FFA PVP. 

    Had there been some form of safe haven in the gameplay area of the world, beyond just cities and small guardposts, the PVP would have been far more acceptable. Both Felucca in UO and the security systems of EVE Online have proven that gating the safety and allowing players to mitigate their risk results in a more diverse game world. Additionally, players who normally don't PVP are more inclined to try PVP or engage in PVP if they don't need to switch server and grind up a new character just to try it out.

    Putting the two in different universes is not the answer. FFA PvP can be done right. Eve did it right. UO did not.

  • oubersoubers bazelPosts: 876Member Common

    man, i miss UO....

    image
  • smh_alotsmh_alot Area 51Posts: 976Member
    I'll always keep wondering how Ultima Worlds Online would've been if they hadn't cancelled it midway :-/
  • tom_goretom_gore TamperePosts: 1,796Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by wrekognize

    I wish more people realized how good this game is. Today's UO has a ton of content.

    The problem is a lot of that content was an antithesis of the gameplay mechanics UO was originally. Age of Shadows completely changed the focus of the game (for the worse IMO). I'm glad for the time I spent in Europe RP scene, where all the gear grind was eliminated and players could just focus on roleplaying.

     

  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member

    Originally posted by Garvon3

    Originally posted by maplestone




    Originally posted by Garvon3







    But... having them all together is what made Ultima Online great. You had all different play styles together in the same place. It was a simulated world. They just needed a better incentive system for NOT killing people.

    I can also honestly say that not a single PKer, thief or griefer provided me with one second of entertainment.   That was (and still is) the complete and utter antithesis of what an MMO is to me.  Cooperation, community, a shared sense of purpose of *all* players at the table - those to me are defining features of the pencil-and-paper culture I knew and wanted the first time I logged into UO.  PvP has no place in that.

    ( to be fair, there was a time when I was opposed to the idea of seperate PvP and PvE servers because I did appreciate the background news and "trade goods from distant lands" feel of having a PvP zone (Fel) that I never visited, but over the years I've slowly come around to the conclusion that the two playstyles, the two worldviews are simply incompatable - I now believe that the game should have been forked completely - not just two facets or two types of servers but take two copies of the codebase, give them to seperate teams and let two completely seperate games emerge )

    I have a different opinion. PKers gave me a sense of danger in the wilderness and a sense of immersion into the world. They were a part of the ecosystem. Danger is one of the things I liked about early MMOs. EverQuest also had a dangerous world. It forced communities to come together and made the whole game make sense. I was part of a guild that hunted player killers, never would have been able to be a "defender of innocents" if there were no PKers. I can understand how it can make some people unhappy, but I feel like someone who doesn't like anyone "interfering" or altering their gameplay, would be better suited in a different game, because thats not what UO was. It was a complete social ecosystem, not just a club of like minded individuals. Which, is how we both played the same game and have wildly different opinions.

    ^This... In fact, it was an actual intention of the devs that PK's (and the danger of getting PK'ed) would force blues to group together and seek strength in number. Garvon3 is, more or less, showing that much of what Raph Koster and the UO team intended with the PK system worked (for more, see his blog ... I can't find the specific article/video where he talks about it, sorry). In essence, the presence of Reds helped build community and create a dynamism where players could change the world (I've seen others mention this earlier in this thread and the "Part 1" thread... perhaps it was Garvon3 then too).

     

    That's not to say that the system wasn't broken in many respects (Koster admits this as well, citing examples of the in-game bulletin board/bounty system actually spawning a wave of murders as PKs competed to be the baddest Red on the block -- see the 43:00 minute mark of this GDCOnline talk). So, maplestone does have a point though Koster does talk a lot about why he personally favors open PvP versus a "switch" or no PvP at all around 17:00 - 22:00 HERE. But,even in that video, he explains why the PvP mechanic was broken because the MUD/MUSH/MOO-inspired devs had never dealt with such an enormous playerbase in their earlier experience. Still, I think Garvon3 has it right because the whole Red vs Blue dynamic brought the "unknown" into the mix in a way that contemporary games do not.

     

    For example, one of my most thrilling moments in game was when my guildmates staged a scenario in the graveyard just outside of Moonglow to test my mettle. I was young and naive, they kept suggesting to me that I visit Moonglow. One day, I finally did. I was exploring the graveyard when another blue approached. As I greeted them and we started to talk, a Red appeared, attacked the Blue and "shouted" 'DEFEND THE VIRTUOUS!' (I was part of a virtuous guild). In that brief second, I had a choice to either stand and fight or run away and let the "innocent" die....

     

    I stood and fought, almost dying several times (I was a novice and no match for anybody who knew what they were doing), but the Blue had enough time to hide and once they were safe, I disengaged and hid as well. But, I took the risk to break my stealth to say "Log and come back later, I am too weak to fight him!" to the now stealthed Blue before hoping I could hide again (which I managed to do, just barely). I was too dumb at the time to realize it was all staged, but at that moment I felt great about myself even though, in all honesty, I was lucky to have achieved a "stalemate" and I hadn't met an honorable death like I probably should have.

     

    Still, that guild (and playing in a game environment where Reds could, and did, appear like that ) created a deep sense of thrill and unimaginable opportunities for bravery and excitement. What is more, staged or not, it allowed my guildies (all RP'ers and much better gamers than I was) to gauge my heart as a player and ignore my obvious shortcomings in skill, RP'ing ability, and overall knowledge (I was maybe 15 at the time and they were all much more experienced gamers/RP'ers).

     

    The TL;DR moral of the story: With risk comes reward and when you create a virtual world without the dynamic risk that open PvP provides, you lose out on that sense of excitement and the unpredictability of playing against humans. Granted, I was ganked on occasion and died in dungeons at times (and had unscrupulous players loot my hard-earned bounty and chop my body into pieces for no other reason than to be jerks), but the reason UO stood out to me is that it allowed for the unexpected and you truly had a sense that something new was always waiting for you just around the next bend...

     

    For a few more thoughts on this, one last link to something by Raph Koster that examines BOTH sides of the pro-PK/anti-PK debate: http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/pkphilosophy.shtml

  • maplestonemaplestone Ottawa, ONPosts: 3,099Member

    As an aside, I constantly ask myself why I can't just shut up and walk away from these topics rather than reopenning old cans of worms :(

  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member

    Originally posted by maplestone

    As an aside, I constantly ask myself why I can't just shut up and walk away from these topics rather than reopenning old cans of worms :(

    This might be an old debate, but it's one of my favorites. The issue of open PvP vs. some kind of "toggle/switch" to turn it on and off is an issue that predates MMORPG's (as you're probably aware). It's actually really cool you brought it up.

    In this rather sad post about the death/suicide of Jeff  "Dundee" Freeman, Koster discusses arguing with Dundee about this very issue on the r.g.c.u.o. newsgroups.

    The debate led to Koster guiding Dundee to resources which allowed Dundee to ultimately create a shard where the players themselves policed the problem and the coding (more or less) successfully made the life of a PK short-lived (therefore PKs became a very rare/short-lived breed).

    Also, I can't remember where it was, but I've seen and read Koster discuss how he wished the UO team would have pursued this playerbased community policing system more vigorously rather than looking to greater GM involvement and, ultimately, adopting the "fixes" of trammel (and the other ineffective approaches they tried for solving the problem).

    And, hey... I hope you really don't shut up about something like this. As you can see, even Raph (who was/is pretty pro-open PvP/PK) conceded to Dundee's point that the PK's in UO were out of control and were infringing upon the rights of others to have freedom and choice in the game.

    While personally I think it added a great deal to the game, it truly was a major problem too. In my zealous support for open PvP, I conveniently omitted the fact that I, as a novice player of no importance, ultimately ragequit UO after getting ganked and robbed after farming earth golems (?) in a dungeon somewhat close to Yew.

    I guess it's safe to say that both sides have a valid point. I just think the focus should shift away from the all-or-none approach to open PvP FFA vs. having a swith (or pure PvE) to a more player community-driven solution. That would require work and a lot of creativity on the part of devs, though... and we all know how abundant those two things are in this genre at the moment =/

    Just the same, you have a very valid point and I didn't mean to come on so strong. I just find this topic fascinating and one of the core questions of MMORPG design that I feel devs have just given up on (deeming it unsolvable), when it's still debate-worthy and something worth thinking about (at least to me).

  • kakasakikakasaki Lockhart, TXPosts: 1,205Member

    Originally posted by oubers

    man, i miss UO....

    Man, I'm sorry I missed it...

    A man is his own easiest dupe, for what he wishes to be true he generally believes to be true...

  • xxpigxxxxpigxx Harlingen, TXPosts: 412Member
    I liked SWG's overt/covert system.

    It worked erll, IMO
  • RaphRaph MMO Designer San Diego, CAPosts: 139Member Uncommon

    I blogged some glosses, annotations, errata, and clarifications. :)

     

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/02/17/making-of-uo-articles-at-mmorpg-com/

  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member

    Originally posted by Raph

    I blogged some glosses, annotations, errata, and clarifications. :)

     

    http://www.raphkoster.com/2012/02/17/making-of-uo-articles-at-mmorpg-com/

    Ladies and germs, say "hello" to a bonafide Wizard... ;D

  • Garvon3Garvon3 Worcester, MAPosts: 2,898Member

    Originally posted by MustaphaMond

    Originally posted by Garvon3


    Originally posted by maplestone




    Originally posted by Garvon3







    But... having them all together is what made Ultima Online great. You had all different play styles together in the same place. It was a simulated world. They just needed a better incentive system for NOT killing people.

    I can also honestly say that not a single PKer, thief or griefer provided me with one second of entertainment.   That was (and still is) the complete and utter antithesis of what an MMO is to me.  Cooperation, community, a shared sense of purpose of *all* players at the table - those to me are defining features of the pencil-and-paper culture I knew and wanted the first time I logged into UO.  PvP has no place in that.

    ( to be fair, there was a time when I was opposed to the idea of seperate PvP and PvE servers because I did appreciate the background news and "trade goods from distant lands" feel of having a PvP zone (Fel) that I never visited, but over the years I've slowly come around to the conclusion that the two playstyles, the two worldviews are simply incompatable - I now believe that the game should have been forked completely - not just two facets or two types of servers but take two copies of the codebase, give them to seperate teams and let two completely seperate games emerge )

    I have a different opinion. PKers gave me a sense of danger in the wilderness and a sense of immersion into the world. They were a part of the ecosystem. Danger is one of the things I liked about early MMOs. EverQuest also had a dangerous world. It forced communities to come together and made the whole game make sense. I was part of a guild that hunted player killers, never would have been able to be a "defender of innocents" if there were no PKers. I can understand how it can make some people unhappy, but I feel like someone who doesn't like anyone "interfering" or altering their gameplay, would be better suited in a different game, because thats not what UO was. It was a complete social ecosystem, not just a club of like minded individuals. Which, is how we both played the same game and have wildly different opinions.

    ^This... In fact, it was an actual intention of the devs that PK's (and the danger of getting PK'ed) would force blues to group together and seek strength in number. Garvon3 is, more or less, showing that much of what Raph Koster and the UO team intended with the PK system worked (for more, see his blog ... I can't find the specific article/video where he talks about it, sorry). In essence, the presence of Reds helped build community and create a dynamism where players could change the world (I've seen others mention this earlier in this thread and the "Part 1" thread... perhaps it was Garvon3 then too).

     

    That's not to say that the system wasn't broken in many respects (Koster admits this as well, citing examples of the in-game bulletin board/bounty system actually spawning a wave of murders as PKs competed to be the baddest Red on the block -- see the 43:00 minute mark of this GDCOnline talk). So, maplestone does have a point though Koster does talk a lot about why he personally favors open PvP versus a "switch" or no PvP at all around 17:00 - 22:00 HERE. But,even in that video, he explains why the PvP mechanic was broken because the MUD/MUSH/MOO-inspired devs had never dealt with such an enormous playerbase in their earlier experience. Still, I think Garvon3 has it right because the whole Red vs Blue dynamic brought the "unknown" into the mix in a way that contemporary games do not.

     

    For example, one of my most thrilling moments in game was when my guildmates staged a scenario in the graveyard just outside of Moonglow to test my mettle. I was young and naive, they kept suggesting to me that I visit Moonglow. One day, I finally did. I was exploring the graveyard when another blue approached. As I greeted them and we started to talk, a Red appeared, attacked the Blue and "shouted" 'DEFEND THE VIRTUOUS!' (I was part of a virtuous guild). In that brief second, I had a choice to either stand and fight or run away and let the "innocent" die....

     

    I stood and fought, almost dying several times (I was a novice and no match for anybody who knew what they were doing), but the Blue had enough time to hide and once they were safe, I disengaged and hid as well. But, I took the risk to break my stealth to say "Log and come back later, I am too weak to fight him!" to the now stealthed Blue before hoping I could hide again (which I managed to do, just barely). I was too dumb at the time to realize it was all staged, but at that moment I felt great about myself even though, in all honesty, I was lucky to have achieved a "stalemate" and I hadn't met an honorable death like I probably should have.

     

    Still, that guild (and playing in a game environment where Reds could, and did, appear like that ) created a deep sense of thrill and unimaginable opportunities for bravery and excitement. What is more, staged or not, it allowed my guildies (all RP'ers and much better gamers than I was) to gauge my heart as a player and ignore my obvious shortcomings in skill, RP'ing ability, and overall knowledge (I was maybe 15 at the time and they were all much more experienced gamers/RP'ers).

     

    The TL;DR moral of the story: With risk comes reward and when you create a virtual world without the dynamic risk that open PvP provides, you lose out on that sense of excitement and the unpredictability of playing against humans. Granted, I was ganked on occasion and died in dungeons at times (and had unscrupulous players loot my hard-earned bounty and chop my body into pieces for no other reason than to be jerks), but the reason UO stood out to me is that it allowed for the unexpected and you truly had a sense that something new was always waiting for you just around the next bend...

     

    For a few more thoughts on this, one last link to something by Raph Koster that examines BOTH sides of the pro-PK/anti-PK debate: http://www.raphkoster.com/gaming/pkphilosophy.shtml

    Man...how did MMOs go so wrong...

  • InPorYlemInPorYlem Why in the world, ALPosts: 1Member

    For anyone still looking to play UO, there is lots of free player run servers.  The most activate currently is called In Por Ylem.

    www.inporylem.com will give you all the links and info you need to start playing.  

     



     

  • NaganoATNaganoAT Graham, WAPosts: 1Member

    Originally posted by InPorYlem

    For anyone still looking to play UO, there is lots of free player run servers.  The most activate currently is called In Por Ylem.

    www.inporylem.com will give you all the links and info you need to start playing.  





     

     

    True dat.  I signed up at IPY about 2-3 months ago and its been a blast so far.  I played at uogamers (hybrid) a handful of years ago but that place got old quickly.  Those of you craving for a UO fix should definitely check it out!  Nothing will replace the awesomeness of the OSI days, but this one is as close as it gets.



    I love that UO still gets some attention and props.  I think it's one of the most underrated games out there. And the fact that there is still a relatively sizable population that plays it is downright incredible after all these years.




     

     

  • nobotttersnobottters Chicago, ILPosts: 88Member

    Please burn this article, it is so fabricated, and wolves woodnt need to eat rabbits.

    Finally the story of this article should be not the $2 beta disc's but the truth in that they were $6 and they were never sent out and they stole all the money... well until after launch i finally got mine.. when they were about to be sued to the moon

     

     

     

     

    Regards,
    Nobotters - A better gaming experience

  • IndolIndol O''Fallon, MOPosts: 189Member

    Originally posted by nobottters

    Please burn this article, it is so fabricated, and wolves woodnt need to eat rabbits.

    Finally the story of this article should be not the $2 beta disc's but the truth in that they were $6 and they were never sent out and they stole all the money... well until after launch i finally got mine.. when they were about to be sued to the moon

     

    I'm not too sure what to say other than, haha nice one! image

    They certainly did send out beta cd's. And they certainly weren't sued to the moon. Although i'm sure richard garriott wouldn't have minded the moon part.

  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member

    Originally posted by nobottters

    Please burn this article, it is so fabricated, and wolves woodnt need to eat rabbits.

    From Raph's blog about Adam Tingle's write up:

    I think I have told this story before, but the whole “dragons eating deer” example came from the design samples that my wife and I sent in as part of our job applications. We showed up on the first day and were taken aback when we were told that was how the game was going to work… So at least that much of the notion of “what the game was going to be” was set in 1995…

    That crazy resource system stuff, particularly some of the AI, did in fact work in the alpha test. It led to rabbits that had levelled up and were capable of taking out wolves — or advanced players. We found this intensely amusing, and quoted Monty Python at each other whenever it came up.

     

    And now, some exclusive never-seen-before footage of an elite guild raid against the most "foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you've ever set eyes on!": Killer Bunny Raid

     

    image "RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY! RUN AWAY~!!!" image


     

  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member

    P.S. WTG @Adam Tingle (author of the article) for his "nice articles" getting shoutouts on Raph's twitter and blog :)

  • VolarinVolarin Auraxis CityPosts: 38Member

    This thread is for big boys with fully matured willies and big bellies and stuff.

  • BartDaCatBartDaCat Renton, WAPosts: 819Member Uncommon

    Great articles.  I always love to see a great game get its due in the public eye, and UO definitely deserves continuous praise.

  • ste2000ste2000 londonPosts: 4,706Member Uncommon

    I think it is time to resurrect the UO2 project (I hope not made by EA).

    I believe the MMO market is now ready for something different from the WoW copycats.

  • WraithoneWraithone Salt Lake City, UTPosts: 3,593Member Uncommon

    UO was my first MMO. It was fun for its time, but I moved on to Asherons Call (One). AC1 was and still is a classic example of a fun game. But its graphics are LONG out dated, and I would not want to go back to its corpse runs and lost gear. 

  • darkwondererdarkwonderer Tulsa, OKPosts: 42Member

    There are many systems that could be implemented to help bring the risk in line with the reward for certain playstyles (thief/pk/griefer). Honestly, I would implement a level system ala WoD (atleast thats how it used to be) where you use skill points from leveling to purchase from any skill set you want. So you have levels and a complex open ended skill system. From there you put murder counts on a revolving 31 day cycle. Meaning they fall off on the same day of the following month. The more murder counts you have the higher the experience points you lose when you die. You tweak exp point loss to balance the riskvsreward on the pk side.

     

    There are also many systems that could work from a "bounty hunter" or self policing stand point.

  • DaddyDarkDaddyDark MoscowPosts: 138Member

    I love the article and the funniest moment -  Lord British being PKd lol. -))) It is something we would really like to do to some modern MMOs developers ))) lol

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