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Vinland patch coming tomorrow

QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 16,630Member Epic

Of all the stupid patch decisions I've seen in online games, I don't think I've ever seen one like this.  Ever.  For those who haven't played the game, or even have played it quite a bit but aren't high level, this will need some explanation.

Uncharted Waters Online originally launched in Japan in 2005, but the English language version didn't arrive until 2010.  We originally got an English translation of what Japan had at launch, and then updates to the Japanese version were released in the American version as soon as they were translated.  Translation is a lot simpler than new code, new artwork, and so forth, so we've been getting updates a lot faster than they were originally released, and catching up quite a bit.

Japan first got an "Aztec" update, which was released in the US as an "Aztec" expansion.  Then Japan got "Angkor", "Spice Islands", and "Circumnavigation" updates, which were released in the US as the "Angkor" expansion.  Combining multiple updates to the Japanese version into a single update to the American version was common, and the next several Japanese updates got released in the US as the "Inca" and "Ottoman" expansions.  So far so good.  That brings us to 2009 in the Japanese version, and about 5 months ago in the US version.

Then Koei decided to get cute.  The next expansion, "El Oriente", had "Zipang" (Japan), "Isla Formosa" (Taiwan), "Morning Calm" (Korea), and "Land of the Dragons" (China) components.  And they released components in different orders for different language versions of the game.  The Japanese version got Zipang first, the Chinese version got Isla Formosa first, and then Korean version got Morning Calm first.  All language versions got the other components to the expansion several months later.

The next expansion in Japan was "Tierra Americana", which released in Japan last year.  The first component of the expansion, "Atlantic", added the eastern coast of the US and Canada to the game.  So Netmarble decided to release that component before El Oriente.  Let the Americans and Canadians go to the areas where they live first, like Koei did before with Japan, Korea, and Taiwan.  And then we'll get El Oriente later.

That probably needs a moment to sink in.  Let me repeat, for emphasis:  Netmarble released the expansions out of order.  Imagine if you played some foreign language version of WoW, and in your version, Blizzard decided to release Cataclysm first, and Wrath of the Lich King later.  As you can imagine, that breaks a lot of things.  But that's basically what Netmarble decided to do.  I am completely serious about this.  I'm not making it up.  Really.

To be fair, this probably breaks less in UWO than it would break in a theme park game like WoW.  The components of El Oriente were designed to be released in any order and still work.  Whichever component you got first would increase the level cap from 65 to 70, and then you'd be able to do everything in that component while waiting for the others to be translated.

The trouble is that Tierra Americana was not meant to be released before El Oriente.  El Oriente raised the level cap from 65 to 70.  Tierra Americana assumes that the level cap is 70.  But releasing Tierra Americana before El Oriente means that the level cap is still only 65 in the American version.

So for example, the Atlantic update added the "Ironsides" ship to the game, which has level requirements of 69/65/70.  You can build the ship right now, and people have.  But you can't use it, because the level cap is 65/65/65.  Thus, the update added content that cannot yet be done.  But it's in the game.  To go back to the WoW comparison, imagine having Cataclysm but not Wrath of the Lich King--oh, and the level cap is still only 70.  So the high level Cataclysm content is still inaccessible to you.  You can do the low level stuff, but it kind of defeats the point of adding Cataclysm, don't you think?

More egregiously, a level cap of 65 means that port development is capped at 65k rather than 70k.  Many high level ships require port development above 65k in order to upgrade them.  So you can get a high level ship, but you can't upgrade it fully.  This means that the high level ship isn't necessarily any better than a lower level ship that can be fully upgraded.

But this all gets fixed when El Oriente releases.  It's been four months since the Atlantic patch.  At the rate that translations had been done in the past, that's about enough time for El Oriente.  And really, this is all old news.

But here's what I don't get.  There's a patch coming tonight.  And it's not El Oriente.  Instead, it's "Vinland", the second part of Tierra Americana.  Or perhaps rather, whatever portions of Vinland are doable without the increased level cap.  Which probably won't be all of it.

So what is Vinland?  Basically, it's Iceland, Greenland, and some other such northern stuff.  I could kind of understand releasing Atlantic before El Oriente, as it's basically the local area for the American version of the game.  So it is kind of analogous to what they did with the pieces of El Oriente in the Asian language versions of the game.  I disagree with that decision, but I can understand it.

But Vinland?  Really?  Does the game really have a large fanbase in Greenland that wanted to see their local region added to the game as soon as possible?

Vinland isn't really that big of an update.  I sure hope it didn't take Netmarble four months to translate it.  What I'm hoping is that it was being translated in parallel with El Oriente, and the guy translating Vinland simply happened to finish before the guy translating El Oriente, which is already mostly done.  Netmarble has already released some dungeons that were interspersed among El Oriente updates.

Am I optimistic that that's the case?  Not really.  I'm just hoping.  Even if they don't release El Oriente yet, though, they really need to raise the level cap to 70.  A later portion of Tierra Americana raises the level cap to 75.  So if El Oriente doesn't come soon, then Netmarble may well increase the level cap from 70 to 75, and then later increase it from 65 to 70.  Computers tend not to like contradictions like that.  Maybe it's in protest of stuff like this that the server has crashed three times in the last week.

Comments

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 16,630Member Epic

    Vinland is here.  Let's go over what it contains quickly.

    First off, it contains Vinland.  That is, Iceland, Greenland, maybe some new stuff in Newfoundland, and possibly some other land in that part of the world.

    There's a Vinland quest line that is about 14 quests long or so.  There's an early rank 14 geography quest in the line, which is quite a roadblock.  And it sure would be easier if you could pick up some of the gear from East Asia, most notably a Samo that the Korean ports sell.  But you can't, because the expansions were released out of order.

    Once you get past that roadblock, the rest of the quests should be more doable until the very last one, a rank 15 archaeology/unlock quest.  The Vinland line does offer some nice combat gear, too.  For starters, there's the Shining Golden Bow:

    http://uwodbmirror.ivyro.net/eg/main.php?id=00410700

    Which is the first bow to be added to the game that is any good.  It's more than double the attack power of the previous best.  Well, unless you count the several good bows that were added as part of El Oriente.  There's that missing expansion again.

    Next up is Silver Armor:

    http://uwodbmirror.ivyro.net/eg/main.php?id=00002410

    70 defense, 30 attack, but no skills.  Is that the best land battle armor in the game?  It's certainly in the conversation.

    And then there is Mjolnir, which comes from that rank 15 archaeology/unlock quest:

    http://uwodbmirror.ivyro.net/eg/main.php?id=00410800

    100 attack, 10 defense, 100 durability.  Whether it's better or worse than Excalibur depends on whether you prefer 10 defense or 3 swordplay.  It's about as hard to get as Excalibur, though, as rank 13 unlock is rather hard to come by.

    There are some scattered other quests added outside of the long Vinland quest chain, too.

    Next, there is a revamp of the land battle system.  The official announcement on the web page is in badly broken English, but I'll try to gather what I can.

    First up there is a new city, "Rome", with land battles in the colisseum.  I'm not sure if this is PVE, PVP, or both.  But it does seem to offer more organization than a simple mock battle.

    -----

    Then there are changes to land battles themselves.  The web site touts "faster ground battle".  I'm guessing that this means that Koei finally added some lag compensation code.  Before, the lag compensation code for land battles wasn't merely bad.  It was completely non-existant.  When you click to do anything, you'd have to wait for the input to travel from your computer to the server, then be processed and accepted by the server, and then for the server to send an update of the game world back to you before you'd see anything happen.  Most games have code built in to let you move immediately, and then rubber band you back if the server says that it's invalid.  That makes combat feel a lot smoother.

    Next, it looks like antidotes were made more useful.  The basic idea of the antidote is that if some mob uses some item that gives you a nasty status effect, you can use an antidote to clear it off.  The problem was that the status effect that you want to clear off would often disable the use of items, making antidote usable precisely when you didn't want to use it.  It sounds like antidote can now be used through at least some status effects that previously disabled it.

    There's also a "tolerance" to certain status effects, which I'm guessing means that they can't be chained against you.  A lot of games do something like that.  For example, getting stunned for 2 seconds is annoying, but having it 5 times in a row so that you're stunned for 10 seconds can be game-breaking.  A lot of games handle this by making it so that when you're stunned once, you either can't be stunned again for a while, or are more likely to resist it for a while, or have subsequent uses last increasingly shorter durations, or whatever.

    It also says "use of technique can be selected".  What I'm guessing this means is that you can disable techniques that you don't want.  Previously, the game picked which techs to offer from out of everything you had available.  Now it looks like you can disable the techs you don't want, so that when the game picks something to offer you, it will pick from among the subset that you actually do want.  That way, accidentally picking up a bad tech doesn't hurt you by cluttering the queue.

    The acquisition requirement on a number of land battle skills was reduced.  The site shows trap as requiring ecological research rank 3; previously it required rank 5.  I'm guessing that some other skills likewise had the requirement dropped from rank 5 to rank 3.

    I have no idea what "overall adjustment of ground battle" means.  But the other changes all sound good.  Probably not enough for land battles in UWO to be actually good.  Maybe not even enough for them to be mediocre.  But certainly less bad than they were before.

    -----

    The third major piece of the update is checks.  The old problem was that you can only carry 100 million ducats at a time.  If you wanted to buy something for 500m, you couldn't do it all in a single trade.  Thus, what would happen is that player A would have to give player B 100m in each of five separate trades, and player B would give player A the desired item on the last trade.  Or at least, player B was supposed to give player A the item on the last trade.  But sometimes player B would simply accept the 100m ducats from the first four trades, then log off and never give player A the item.

    Checks offer a way around this.  If you've got 500m in the bank, you can go to the bank and get them to issue you a check for 500m.  Then player A gives player B a 500m check, while player B gives player A the item in question.  Everything is exchanged simultaneously, so there's no opportunity for scamming.  Then player B deposits the check in the bank and has his 500m.

    There was also the problem that you could only have 1b or 2b or some such in the bank at a time.  Now you can get a check to clear a bunch of space, and then put more money in the bank again.  So now you can have effectively infinite money stored up.

    This is a rather roundabout way to increase the money caps.  A simple, direct increase would have been a lot cleaner from the players' perspective, though there might have been internal code reasons why that was difficult to do.  Or this might have just been Koei making things complicated for the sake of making things complicated, since they like to do that.  But it works.

    -----

    Three new ships were added.  One is the "Immigrant Bark".  Think Mayflower and you've got the basic idea.  The level requirements are 28/41/0, but in spite of such high levels, it's only a medium ship.  The ship is slow and fragile, and not especially big.  It does have a lot of choices available on ship skills, but looks pretty useless to me.  Maybe some trader will come along and explain that the new ship is awesome because it lets him get some particular combination of skills, and he doesn't need the ship to actually carry anything or go anywhere.

    The other ships are the Long Schooner and Commercial Long Schooner, which are adventuring and trading versions of the same thing.  They're very high vertical sails ships, and the Long Schooner is competitive with the Large Clipper for the title of fastest ship in the game.  Or at least it would be if you could upgrade it.  The level 45 schooners can only take two upgrades due to the level cap of 65.  I'd expect higher level ships to get fewer upgrades, not more.  And the new schooners desperately need upgrades, because if loaded up with six main full rigged sails, they'll end up with negative turn speed.  So you're going to need a bunch of painter ropes to make the ship usable.  And if you use up all of the available upgrades on painter ropes, then you can't add anything else, so the ship will lack speed, skills, and storm resistance.  And thus be pretty useless.  Oh look, releasing the expansions out of order just broke something else.  How predictable.

    -----

    They added a search function to the company shop.  It looks like you have to be at least 5th Knight or in a top 10 company to use it.  Of course, it's not hard for your guild to be top 10 if you move to Athens, Alexandria, Tunis, etc., but that kind of defeats the point of having a company shop if no one ever sees it.

    There's also a new emote and a few new clothing items.

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 16,630Member Epic

    One other thing I forgot to mention:  the patch also brought some changes to the item mall.  In particular, it shuffled the options in one of the treasure boxes.  The high end NC ships of "Lost Trident A" are gone from "Tender King A", but the Secrets of Shipbuilding accessory is back.

  • NortonGBNortonGB readingPosts: 279Member Uncommon

    "" Let me repeat, for emphasis:  Netmarble released the expansions out of order.  Imagine if you played some foreign language version of WoW, and in your version, Blizzard decided to release Cataclysm first, and Wrath of the Lich King later.  As you can imagine, that breaks a lot of things.  But that's basically what Netmarble decided to do.  I am completely serious about this.  I'm not making it up.  Really.

    To be fair, this probably breaks less in UWO than it would break in a theme park game like WoW.  The components of El Oriente were designed to be released in any order and still work.  Whichever component you got first would increase the level cap from 65 to 70, and then you'd be able to do everything in that component while waiting for the others to be translated.

    The trouble is that Tierra Americana was not meant to be released before El Oriente.  El Oriente raised the level cap from 65 to 70.  Tierra Americana assumes that the level cap is 70.  But releasing Tierra Americana before El Oriente means that the level cap is still only 65 in the American version." !

     

    This ridiculous situatiion and the fact that the devs / netmarble are not willing to fix tt or even communicate with their community about it is the reason I no longer play, quite frankly they don't deserve to retain any real populations.

    There is no proper testing of patches or the order they are released, the gambling cash shop didnt have the ships they said and no refunds were offered. A complete rip-off, only a fool would pay for it.

     

  • cagancagan new jersey, NJPosts: 299Member Uncommon

    It makes me sad that even Gordon gave up on this game. This was such a special game that is run down to the ground. The gpotato netmarble alliance was the worst thing that ever happened...

    The greedy lottery cash shop, events that u can only succeed with cash shop items, unbalanced ships/permits etc. destroyed this game...

    RIP charted with greed and bad management waters....

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 16,630Member Epic

    Now that I've messed with Vinland some:

    You can see Greenland and Iceland off in the distance, and get them as a geography discovery.  But you can't actually go there or land there.  And they're not the easiest discoveries to make, either.  Before Tierra Americana (and including El Oriente!) there were no geography discoveries in the entire game above rank 12.  Greenland is rank 14.  Some El Oriente gear would help here, but otherwise, good luck with that.

    Land battle doesn't feel much different.  If you don't know where to look to find the subtle differences, then the only thing you'd likely notice is the game spamming you about how you got a Roman coin.  So land battle is still terrible.

    Checks have a 5% fee to get them.  So if you want a 100m check, you pay 105m.  And you don't get the fee back when you deposit the check.  The update notes say you do, but they're wrong.  Or so says someone in my company.

    The Long Merchant Schooner can be upgraded 3 times.  It's not a "Commercial Long Schooner".  The official update notes got the name of the ship wrong entirely.  That takes some doing.  I'd assume that the Long Schooner is the same, in that it can get three upgrades now.  Is that enough to make the ships usable?  More or less.  More so for the merchant version than the adventuring version, I'd think, since traders didn't previously get such fast ships.  A Delphin storm sail would sure help here.

    The search function is rather bad.  It will only find items that have the exact name that you typed in.  If you want to find "Wooden Containers", then you have to type in "Wooden Containers" exactly.  If you type in "Wooden containers", it will find nothing.  If you type in "Wooden", it will find nothing.  The search function is perhaps an improvement over looking through 200 company shops manually.  But it still needs some major improvements.

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