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Full Transcript - Developer Debrief 1/05/19

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Minutes of Developer Debrief 1/05/19 - New Year Plans and The Gronch Event!
Please note that anything in () is my summation or attempting to summarize a visual part of the twitch stream. Most comments are 100% accurate. There are probably a few typos.
Involved in the chat:
Expo (E)
Owyn (O)
Clx ©

O: Hi again everyone. Our last dev debrief was on the 2nd of December and I said then we would make this a weekly occurrence.
E: Yes you did!
O: Things got a bit busy at that point. Holidays happened. I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I know I certainly did. I went back to Canada, spent some time with my family in the mountains. Did my best to disconnect from Outlands but it was impossible.
C: Did you manage to disconnect for any time at all?
O: I think I was forced out for few days. To my surprise, Outlands continued to operate without me micromanaging everything.
E: Some how, some way.
O: Some how, someway. Expo in particular took care of things over the Christmas break. So it was good to know that the shard was in good hands and I got some skiing in which was nice.
We are going to try to do this on a more regular basis but I’m not sure what that will amount too at this point. We really got our heads and hands deep into devolving content and figuring out the direction that Outlands goes in the new year and we have a lot of things that we are really excited about and hopefully we will touch on a few of those as we go through these devs debriefs.
C: So does it feel like Outlands has moved into a new phases?
O: Yeah I think so. We hit our two month anniversary on December 27th. Feels like a lifetime. We’ve hit a really nice patch of stability. The shard has been running really well. Segway from that into that the lag is gone, more or less. We do encounter some hiccups when the shard is online for many days at a time which is sort of a blessing and curse. We haven’t been patching as much as we used but also when the server runs for days at a time things start to hiccup a bit. Jaeden is are working on that. Every time the shard starts to lag we do a reboot and Jaeden gets a trace and timer dump and he works to analyze exactly what is going on in the brains of the operation. One big thing Jayden did just before the holidays was to rewrite the entire netcode structure for RunUO. This is when we saw the biggest decrease in lag. We triumphally announced that the lag was gone which, more or less, it has been.
We still average around 1600, 1650 players at a time which is really incredible. Especially moving into this second stage of game play where people aren’t always playing their 3 clients are aren’t always macroing a character and have moved into actual game content. I think the shard is more active than now ever. The shard has definitely moved on from the beginning stage and is now entering the real gameplay stage. Out main focus is endgame content and continuing to provide exciting things for a players to do and tackle.
C: From a player perspective doesn’t feel like there are any less people on the server. So even if numbers are down I think it's probably less people on 3 accounts. You still barely go walking into the woods without coming across people.
O: Yes we see that for sure. We see some dungeons have 80 people in them at a time. The activity is bustling. So we definitely peaked at 2069 players I think it was. There was never ever expectation that we would stay that high. That was definitely peak population. We may see those numbers again but right now we’re incredibly content with 1600+ players online all the time.
C: The unique IPs are probably quite similar anyway.
O: I think the unique IP count is quite high. Last time I checked it stayed around 1200 unique IPs connected. There is an incredibly large player base on UO Outlands. I think whay people see which is really interesting is, usually when you go to WBB on a regular bank and that’s where you’d see people and every other bank is dead but, when you log into UOO you go to any bank, short of South Preveilla which is this secret bank that no one uses, there are people everywhere.
X: You are mentioning the people everywhere and even I encounter it because sometimes I’m trying to record, you know, some sort of video or gif and sometimes I think no one is around and I get interrupted. Someone actually caught me doing treasure maps which is kinda funny. Regardless of where you go we still got so many people everywhere.
O: I notice that when I’m answering pages. I’ll pop up and say hi and a dozen people run by and salute or stop and say hi or bow at my feet. We aren’t alone here for sure.
C: Just on the subject on the lag. Was that down to the number of players more than anything else?
O: Yes absolutely. The structure of RUN UO was not equipped to handle the number of players we have. The fact of the matter is anyone who claims to have this number of players never has. We have real players online playing and base structure of RUN UO wasn’t equipped to handled it. So Jaeden, who is a professional system optimization expert jumped into the core structure of RUN UO and rewrote it from the ground up. There were three patchs that went in consecutively. On the third patch it was stable and nailed it and the lag was gone. So that was a pretty momentous occasion. It was one of those things we didn’t see until the population didn’t get to a certain point. The shard can run perfectly fine with 800, 900 players online. Around 1200 people online is when we started seeing connective issues. Right now, if you are pinging the shard through a command prompt the number you see there is essentially the number you will get in game. RunUO is so optimized there is no connectivity loss connecting from your client to the shard other than your actually connectivity. That’s why is people are jumping in chat and say “LAG”... the second they have any lag they hop in chat and say “LAG” and sometimes they don’t get any response because people aren’t experiencing any lag with them but it is something they are experiencing on a connectively basis.
C: It likely to be individual lag instead of server lag.
O: Exactly. That’s why we ask for trace routes. A lot of time you are on a shared connection or your kid is watching Dora the Explorer and they are sucking up your bandwidth. It has nothing to do with the shard. Earlier today I did a reboot because some players were lagging and the shard had been online for 3 days and that’s the second part of this issue we need to tackle. Similarly we see health bar lag start to happen around that point.
C: Would you consider doing daily....
O: I think that’s what this will result to that we do scheduled reboots every day or every other day. We avoid these issues. And then people can play their macros accounding or plan their game play accordingly.
(Chatter about Server Wars and how they don’t think it would work here)
O: One of the cool things we having going with Discord right now is that we have a Discord streamer bot that expo set up with a developer to get organize and now, instead of having a list of 15+ streamers, they are now moved into the category when they are streaming they are moved automatically.
E: Should I just quickly explain how to do that?
O: Sure
E: So this is to the streamers out there. I certain people who were already streaming and they were organizations I have already their URL. Basically, all you have to do is, when you start playing make sure within discord the user settings enable the game activity. Game activity will show that you are playing. You will probably have to rename it to UO Outlands. You change it to UO Outlands and then go into streamer mode and enable streamer mode. From there your name should turn purple within discord. Once you do that the bot will automatically pick you up and toss you into the streamer group. Once you get into the streamer group one of the functionally is to “gamify”. The more you stream, you will earn points and that will enable the bot to announce your stream in general chat. It will make a better looking accountment and, maybe we will have some unique item that is only for the streamers that can’t be traded or anything. Something really cool. Just help promote the shard. I enjoy seeing lots of people different streams. Those are always fun to watch. I’m going to have a forum post about this. I was supposed to already but I keep getting sidetracked. IF you have any questions about the discord bot just PM Expo and I’ll help you out.
C: Can we talk about the classic UO client?
(Technical issues)
O: Classic UO is a client that Jaeden has been working on with a group of people. It’s essentially an Orion rewrite in C Sharp. The reason they went to CSharp (from C++) is that many more people know CSharp. Jaeden has been spearheading this project for a while. He put a team together. It has now reached its Alpha release stage. Classic UO is available for playtesting. It isn’t super easy to set up yet but if you would like to try Classic UO then check out the Orion channel in discord and ask Jaeden or one of the other developers. (Crasho)
E: So they are sticking with the name “Classic UO”
O: I think they are sticking with the name for now.
C: I like it.
(Some chatter about the name)
O: Classic UO is the future for us. It’s the direction we want to push our player base. There has been a lot of concern, talk, about the assistance available that are basically cheat clients. I have all kinds of thoughts about it but I'll bite my tongue for the first time ever. Ultimately, we would like everyone on Classic UO so we can block everything else.
C: If it becomes playable in the future, why not?
O: For sure. They are using the community edition or razer and will tweak razon to make it behaving more like Steam in terms of the grid looting and the scripting language. It is definitely an alpha client. This is the first release. This is the start of a really exciting project. The speed at which they are devolving far exceeds what Jaeden could do with Orion on his own. This is one reason why Orion has been abandoned. The Orion client can officially be declared a dead project. No one was developing it other than Jaeden. It will shortly be blocked. We are really focusing on Classic UO as the future for UOO. I think it's exciting. It's really cool. It runs natively on linux and mac. It opens up an entire new player base. People don’t need to run WINE or whatever they are using to hop on a Mac.
C: Don’t expect it anytime soon but it is the way it's going to be going...
O: We don’t have a timeline right now. They are devolving it actively. The more feedback they get the better. Sooner changes will be made. Even now the custom status bar isn’t working. So that’s one exciting thing that’s in the works.
(Cross chatter about endgame content and PVP. Being careful not to reveal anything. They don’t have much to say in regards to the future of PVP. They are working actively on it in the background)

O: Two things – Shrine corruptions have been recoded again. Over the holidays there were quite a few issues that the staff onboard didn’t have control over. Meaning that people that were taking part weren’t rewarded adequately. It was frustrating for the people doing it. It was frustrated for the staff. It was really frustrated.
(It was frustrating. Deleting adds, people not getting tokens, etc.)
E: It was during Christmas and I remember having to sit there and explain to my Dad, since I took my laptop when I went to visit my family. (Expo had to explain his UO addiction to his family at Christmas. Ended well).
O: So hopefully (Shrines) are fixed. It’s been an ongoing project to get Shrine Corruptions fixed. The system is great. The people who are always playing and it always sees a huge turnout (40 or 50 people). But the way it was handled with estimated tokens and projected results and boss damage in relation to damage done to waves wasn’t straight forward. Hopefully there will be some more clarity for that so we stop getting angry messages from people who feel they wasted their time. I was kinda at my wits ends when I made that announcement in Discord (don’t do Shrines if you feel your time is being wasted). I didn’t have any other recourse. My hands were tied until Luthius recoded it. Hopefully being patched in tonight. (1/5/18).
The second part of that is that faction flashpoints will be introduced.
(references to what was visually playing in the Twitch stream).
O: Factions has been a huge success since we made the tweaks (20 vs 20 in progress on the twitch feed). The score is really close. People are actively completing. Really fun for a lot of people. We have some players who have got their order mount tokens. People are working towards their goals. For us this is the foundation of factions system. This is the start of a much larger system that will be rolled out and introduced as time goes on. The next step is the flash point system. This is basically a 15 minute king of the hill style event at random intervals which will happen between faction struggles. There is one zone fought over by different factions. Meaning that freedom faction guilds will not be treated as enemies while in the zones. Everyone is on their own. The locations are all in the wilderness or in dungeons areas so within that 50 tile radius you will be unable to recall or camp. They work similarly to how you control a point in a faction struggle but its much more “on your own”. If you die you don’t go to a base, you lose your things, you don’t respawn. It is much more field orientated.
C: It’s a very different type of combat.
O: At the end of 15 minutes the faction that is controlling the zone will early faction points and guild prestige. Right now we don’t have a score board for those events but you do get points and prestige. These will happen multiple times between struggles. That should a get a more dynamic PVP happening throughout the world. I think this is something that people have been craving.
E: The flashpoints completely different type of fighting. Still, pretty fasted paced.
C: From my understanding they are gonna be something that starts fighting that continues outside of the zone. Its gonna carry on further afield and for a greater period of time. They are not going to suddenly log off when there are a ton of enemies running around.
O: The faction struggles right now where you take point and get teleported to the base and that’s the end of it. The fighting doesn't continues. There have been people who just log in for faction struggles. Our goal is that you log in and stay logged in and continue to play so the world continues to evolve. Ideally these flash points get you out and about into areas you may not go usually or that you would wouldn’t log in for. You will be logged in for faction struggles and then go contest the flashpoint. They last for 15 minutes. They will be short and sweet.
(More chatter about the visual on the Twitch stream, faction struggle. Very close struggle. Guilds are decided which side they are fighting for. Don’t disrupt gameplay. AKF non-faction points/prestige are being cracked down on. It’s not personal. Some changes to factions will be coming in the next cycle of patches. Nothing immediately)
O: Something most likely patched in this evening: Arena Tournaments. There have been some questions about templates. I don’t have the answers yet. People should ask Luthius.
(TBD about some of the templates. Chatter about 20 extra points for 7x. 5x is the wrong era. Doesn’t work here. More references to the visual Twitch stream and the ended faction struggled. 21 v 22. Nice numbers for the struggle. Congrats “Not genesis”)
C: I’ve got some questions. (Forum questions, Discord PMs, Chat Q from the Twitch stream) Would there be a possibility to bring back the struggles only option? The trade off could be that you earn less prestige from the struggle.
O: Struggles only option is returning. It was something that was widely requested from people who don’t want to be killed at the bank all the time. Because there are players who run around for the sake of killing people. Struggles only option flag selection will be returning (probably) this evening.
C: SIR ARCH – Dungeons, when are the new dungeons likely to come out and what is the next event that you have planned?
O: Is now a good time, Expo, to throw up those graphics?
E: Sure
O: Ossuary 4, a brand new level will be added, which will extend one of our most popular dungeons. It is definitely a beginner dungeon and it misses that high end, high level traffic. I’ve made some modifications.
(References to visual stream on Twitch. New map displayed. Looks nice! One tile bridge, yikes.)
O: The next big dungeon is Cavernum (mid January). This will be a pretty massive patch. An event and dungeon release. Several events leading up to release. Cavernum is almost done. It is a massive 3 level dungeon. It will include a boss and mini-boss. I’m pretty excited about it. Snows are a difficult tile …
(References to visual stream on Twitch. New map looks amazing. Major dungeon release, Frozen lake. Combo of Hyloth and Destard. Breaks the mold of traditional linear dungeon set up. Discussion of upcoming events around the release of the dungeon. Doesn’t want to go into too much detail yet. Grunch battle tonight 1/5/19).
O: Holiday cloth and deco comes off the vendor next weekend. We will probably be patching the map so all the Christmas goes as well. That will be the intro of the Ossuary 4 and Cavernum. It may or may not be the introduction of the two dungeons.
(Visual reference to Twitch stream: Black Tea’s holiday contest. Awarded everyone total prize. What a guy! Higgs: discussion of Christmas Eve get togethers. Amazing contributor to the community)
O: Holiday hues are not limited edition. (May come back, may not. Not trying to be sinister).
(Holding off on some additional info. Expansion with Ossuary 4, Cavernum, etc. Other stuff. Doesn’t want to be misquoted. More information to come.)
C: Several questions about fishing.
O: I've been speaking to players. There are concerns about the loot (I think that’s what he said) with fishing, MIB, SOS. Very challenging but nothing like Treasure Maps which are very easy. That is very much Luthius’s baby. (Some balancing needs to happen). We have put it in front of Luithius and its just time for him to make the changes people are looking for.
C: Are there still any items undiscovered by players, rares, server birth rares?
O: All server birth rares have been found. I see they are selling for quite a high price. There will be another round.
C: So, were there 20?
O: Yes, there were 20 server birth rares. Nothings undiscovered.
E: They are on the wiki.
O: We are starting to build a collection of these cards. I like them too. They were a last minute addition in beta. I kinda geek out over it. The cards are something I’m a fan of. Black Tea suggested that we allow people to combine three cards to make a poster.
C: I like that. Good idea.
O: You’ll be able to put them on your wall. Which would be cool. That’s something I’ll work on. IF you want to put your map up... we will eventually release the method we have in mind for how to display your cards.
C: I miss the holiday bells from OSI. They are pretty pathetic items.
E: I like them.
C: That was the one rare I liked to collect.
E: Maybe next year.
(More talk about holiday rares and Halloween events)
O: We spent a lot of time tacjling server stability and lag and by the time Christmas rolled around Luthius put this event together (900 trees put together, well received after the toggle to turn it off was added). That event was sucessful. Congratulations to Generic Tamer.
C: 27 trees?! That’s some dedication.
O: His house is a tree farm.
(Talk about when Expo moved people's houses because of trees being in the middle of them. LOL). These trees are OK.
O: As for undiscovered areas, there aren’t any. The map has been well combed. I’m sure there are some nooks and cranny's but a lot of the map secrets were found quickly. Also found in Beta. A lot of people, that was there main reason to log in during beta to get map knowledge. I wanted to hold back on the map for a lot time but it became impossible. There was no point. We wanted to get content out and developed. My main concern was other shards stealing the map before we had a chance to release our shard and that didn’t happen. Crisis averted.
C: Its obviously not as desirable as you thought.
O: Yeah, the map is shit. Garbage map.
C: Do you additional house deco to be made available in the future? Paintings, rugs... you are missing out on rugs at the moment.
O: Both of those items are on the docket. Stay tuned. Yes, absolutely. There will be an injection of home deco coming shortly.
C: With regards to tweaks, changes, and nerfs, do staff ever make slight changes (PVP) without announcing in patch notes. (weapon hit ratio, etc.)
O: No, no we don’t. There actually haven’t been any combat related changes that I can think of off hand since we left beta. The numbers that we have on those spreadsheet are very transparent. That is the way things sit currently. I think that there are a few tweaks coming down the road but none of them will be stealth tweaks. I’m not a huge fan of stealth tweaks. I like to be as transparent as possible. There might have been one instances where we fixed a bug that someone thought was a stealth tweak that didn’t make it into patch notes but we were very transparent and forthcoming in chat when we were asked it once I had confirmation from Luthius that it was indeed a fix and not a tweak. That’s the way it ended up. There is a big difference between fixing bugs and nerfing things. I think a lot of people don’t really understand that. I really wavered on the active recall thing. I should have just turned off Discord and walked away because its definitely being gamed. I chickened out on it due to the backlash. I should have just stood my ground. The whole mechanic is worthless now. That was something that should have been done in the first week of the shard launching but we had our hands full with things that were much more pressing.
C: It’s only natural that you are going to react to things when Discord can very quickly make something that’s not a major issue into a crisis.
O: There are some loud people in Discord.
E: They are professionals at that.
C: If you remember, you’ve changed summoners a couple of times...
O: I forgot about that.
C: The reaction was hilarious.
O: Yeah...
E: Thanks for bringing that up...
C: People are still playing it.
O: Summoners are the number one template being played. If you look at events being played, it’s definitely summoners are number one. We have something in the works for summoners too. I’m not going to divulge any information... (jokes about it being a positive change follow). A lot of people have invested time in summoners, whatever that means. It’s basically a free template but they like to remind you that they built that template.
C: you made it sound like a threat.
O: It’s not a threat as much as Id like to strangle your daemons but there is something coming down the pipeline.
C: Any plans to address aspect pet level in the noob dungeon.
O: That will be addressed in the next patch. I don’t think you should be able to gain aspect gear/levels in the noob dungeon. If you want to play endgame content, why are you in the noob dungeon. We have asked players that. Literally shame people out of the noob dungeon. Basically saying “why are you playing in aspect gear in the noob dungeon” and they say “OK I’ll leave”...
C: Why can you even go to shelter island if you aren’t a new dungeon.
O: We wanted to let veterans welcome their friends. If you aren’t a new player, you can’t use the bank or shops so there’s no reason to be there. But we do notice that players are using the new player dungeon to level their aspect gear and train their pets. We are now jailing people. People have probably noticed they are jailed if they are AFK farming especially in the new player dungeon.
C: I still think you shouldn’t allow people who aren’t young
(Chat back and forth about new player dungeon and allowing veterans on the island).
C: Are there any plans to nerf 55 damage hally hits?
O: No
C: That’s one for Luthius. Address concerns you have to him.
O: Please. I can’t speak to mechanical questions in that regard. It’s not my realm to make statements in regards to existing mechanics. I simply am here to receive your feedback and present it to the man who makes the changes in that regard.
E: Any plans to make tinker traps work in PVP?
O: No, not right now. One thing we have discussed is to have a mechanical golem for tinkers and crafters so they can have some kind of method to do damage. But that is something that is far away. It’s not on the agenda right now. Something we might add in future.
C: Can we have repairable/rechargeable instruments or some kind of aspect instruments?
O: Yeah, we can. I actually added this to the bug tracker/request feature thing. I think that instruments should be repairable. It’s a main tool for a bard. Just as a dexer or a tamer can rez pets, instruments should be repairable. We have to work out the details on that but it’s being discussed. We are aware of. We’ve heard that comments and requests. There are a few issues surrounding durability and the master craft quality and enhanced durability from certain materials that isn’t translating properly. Additionally the achievement system would require him to really dig in and makes some changes to it. I know people are achieving things and they aren’t showing and that can be really frustrating. That is a big system that he really needs to dig into. It isn’t necessarily a priority but we are aware. Similarly with the storage shelves people are experiencing issues where they are adding items to the storage shelf and they aren’t appearing when they add them. They are there but they aren’t appearing. People withdrawing items and having issues with those. Loadouts not working correctly. So those are all things that are currently on the agenda for Luthius to get too. Luthius is balancing major bug fixes with major content releases. We brought on Vorspire to the development team. The development team now consist of Luthius, Vorspire and Jaeden. Vorspire is one of the most experienced and well respected developers in the UO community. I think he’s been around for 15 years. He’s an extremely talented coder. One main thing he’s working on right now is optimizing his patch server. He wrote our original patcher and now we need to make it faster. So that is an exciting addition and hopefully Vorspire after the holidays gets into the rhythm of knocking out bug fixs as well as aiding Luthius in content production.
C: The way I’m treating these new features that Luthius has created from the ground up is jst to treat it like early UO where the whole game is new and obviously everything needs fixes. It’s never been tried before. Never been used before. Never been abused before.
O: The expectation that everything will be perfect right out of the box is a high way. I think that UOO has had the illusion of perfection in terms of the outward imagery. It definitely looks like its more than a two or three man show. But the reality is that the ones doing the work are really few.
C: Yes. That’s Expo’s fault. He make it look so profession. You could actual believe it sa professional game studio.
E: Sorry. It’s my fault.
C: Taming a pets above 100.
O: Yes.
C: Isn't there something wrong when 90 – 100 pets are more efficient than 120.
O: I think that’s the perception. Whether there is any reality, I’m not sure. We have said we would address high level pets. That is definitely something that is on the agenda. We would like to give high end tamers something to work towards. For sure. Cavernam will see some high level pets. Particular white dragon that currently isn’t available. They will be making an appearance in Cavernam. There are some high level pets coming.
(Some other questions that should be directed to Luthius, a lot of questions that only he can answer).
C: Can resource maps be generated from the resource gathering skill the same way seeds are.
O: I understand this question. No. Someone paged about this earlier and I dropped the page into development chat. The intention of resource maps is that you can create a resource you can hunt for. It’s a multiple development concept. If you want to get the resources as a resource gather, then go gather resources. But if you want a guarantee stash than you need to collect that map from someone who collected it out in the world. The answer to that question is no at the moment.
C: Jack, can we please get a text recap of the highlights because Twitch is a bit of a struggle. Perhaps we can get someone to transcribe this. I could try next time, I’m not doing much. That’s it from the questions unless anyone has any..
Would you ever consider new house options? Possibly through player created through contest?
O: Yes, I think so. (pause) I will never add custom housing. I hate that system. I hate the way shards looks with the custom housing. It basically ends up with warehouses, teleporters, no doors, it makes the shard looks like garbage. That is not something I will entertain. With content expansions and other releases, we will definitely be seeing more houses.
C: Two more questions. We know Expo is working on the wiki, are there any subjects he isn’t actively working on to contribute?
E: Send me a message on discord. Try to format it it (in wiki formatting). If you know wiki formatting, it’s not hard. Just message me the information and I’ve gone through there and added a bunch that people have sent me. Eventually I’ll get there.
O: Any corrections that need to be made to the wiki so if you notice anything that’s incorrect drop Expo a line and he will add it, for sure. If you are looking at the wiki, you can see what pages are done so if you are interested in contributing too, hop on it!
C: Are there any plans to introduction faction kill points outside of struggles?
O: Yes. I think that is the overarching idea with Factions. There are a few new faction directives that we will add in the future. We will touch more on that when we have more confirmed information. But yes, there is more to factions coming down the line.
C: Are master crafted disguise kits names going to be fixed?
O: I dropped that into the bug tracker, yes it will be addressed.
C: Any plans on speeding up pets outside of combat?
O: This is a common question. Right now, no. There speed out of combat was never touched. It’s something we will assess but right now we don’t have any plans to change the speed at which pets move.
 
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