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State of the Shard - Fall/Winter 2018

Owyn

Administrator
Staff member
#1
Outlands is now a month old, and we are extremely thrilled with the way things are progressing. Since launching the shard on October 27th, we've hit 1880 players online and continue to grow everyday, with an average online player count around 1650 connected clients - which makes Outlands the largest freeshard in the world!

To say the shard has exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. After overcoming some major unexpected hurdles (such as debilitating lag, a web server which wasn't equipped to handle 50,000 visitors per hour, and a patch server which couldn't handle the sheer number of downloads), we are moving into fun and exciting territory where we can begin to work on rolling out new content and also look more critically at how the balance is looking.

We know that some of you are frustrated and angry about certain things, be it issues you are running into in the game, lack of a fixed schedule for patches/updates and also our plans moving forward. Please understand that all changes we are making are for the betterment of the shard. We do our best to communicate as much as possible and also to avoid lengthy downtime while we work to fix issues which arise. It has become evident that Discord is our main form of communication, so if you would like minute to minute updates, please join us in our Discord community and refer to the #announcements channel.

In an ideal world, we have a pipeline and schedule for most things, including content patches, up-time and downtime, so you can all schedule your gaming around us, however in the infancy of the project (online for only one month), scheduling in advance is difficult when we have issues which arise that we need to fix urgently. Please don't mistake frequent patches for interruptions to your game play as they serve only to increase up-time and performance, which is ultimately our goal.

We hit some stumbling blocks this week in terms of downtime and stability. Due to a bug with our Corrupted Shrine system, a major economic imbalance spilled itself onto the shard in the early morning hours. Once we became aware of it we made the critical decision to revert the shard. A few days later, we had numerous hours of downtime while we tackled a StackOverflow issue. To make up for it, all players were given an Alacrity Scroll which allows you to choose either a skillgain or loot buff for 6 hours. Thank you for your patience while we worked through these issues.

Community feedback was well heard in the form of some much needed class adjustments: Bards received an incredible buff in the form of our amazing new Bard Songs system, and Warriors now have the ability to control monster aggressions via a new parrying mechanic called Taunt.

Here is what is currently on our Development agenda:
  • Factions
    After trialing factions two weeks ago, we have since re-coded the system and will be re-introducing it shortly. The issue was that we had too many players taking part (a great problem to have) and the team balancing mechanic didn't work.
    To fix this issue, we have reworked how teams balance and introduced a new Freedom faction base. Freedom members will be held in the holding area until the start of the match and distributed as evenly as possible.
    Additionally, we have re-made all of the arenas which are more suitable to large numbers of players.

  • Introduction of Tournaments
    Our arena tournament system has been completed for many months, but we feel we are close to introducing it to the live shard. Tournaments will kick off shortly with many unique prizes and titles to be won.

  • Warrior Buff (introduced 11/28)
    Warriors have seen a buff through parrying in the form of a "Shield Taunt" which increases their aggro towards a creature for 20 seconds. For the next 20 seconds, the player's equipped shield receives a 100% bonus to it's AR value when determining damage reduction (only against creatures)



  • Bard Buff (introduced 11/28)
    We've introduced a unique system called "Barding Songs."

    Players may use barding skills to target the ground and activate a Barding Song that applies a bonus to nearby friendly players and creatures within 12 tiles
    Recipients of a barding song bonus do not need to stay within 12 tiles of the bard to maintain the bonus, however Barding Songs last for 5 minutes.
    A player's barding skill for determining song effectiveness is capped by their Musicianship skill (i.e. 70 Musicianship and 90 Provocation = effective 70 Provocation

  • Holiday Content 2018 (Release date: TBD)
    We had a very successful Thanksgiving event which saw the participation of over 1500 players! Stay tuned for a "turn in" event for those roast chickens which will reward you further.


    A holiday map patch will be rolling out shortly which will transform each town into a festive holiday scene.

    The Prevalian Merchant will be updated with holiday decor, two new Limited Edition Hues, and various other holiday themed items to give to your friends for the holiday season.


    (Shimmer Cardinal & Shimmer Evergreen - our Limited Edition holiday hues)

    A brand new, 3 level dungeon (Cavernam) will be released, with new mini boss & boss content.

And here is what is on our mind for the near future...
  • Adjustments to Tamer PvP
    The concerns related to tamer PvP & pet specials have been noted, including feedback from some of our more prominent tamer PKs. We will assess and implement changes as needed. Things like pet speed and special attacks will be evaluated.
  • Adjustments to the Murder System & Penalties for Reds
    We have been monitoring the statistics surrounding murderers & the cost of penalties, in relation to their population and ability to profit. We are eyeing changes to the Murder System which will (and always has been intended to) scale with the population of the shard. We know that PKing is fun and is a valid gameplay style, but without any blues to kill, the gameplay style wouldn't exist at all.
  • Continued Optimization & Reducing Downtime
    We have been reviewing our server performance in terms of latency and save times and continue to make strides to improve the gameplay experience for all players. This may potentially mean upcoming downtime and a server location move to improve connectivity, particularly for our very prominent European playerbase.
  • Bug Fixes & Patches
    It is our goal to get onto a much more steady and stable schedule in terms of patching and content releases. The shard is young (one month old yesterday), so we have been fixing things with urgency instead of any kind of reliable schedule. Subsequently, quick fixes often introduce other issues. Moving forward, our goal is to schedule patches with as much notice as possible to give players time to schedule their gameplay experience around us and work to release content which is as polished as possible!
  • Assistant Mitigation & Correction
    We will be blocking unofficial assistants which are using banned features (such as Target Closest) to the best of our ability. Players found to be using illegal assistants will be removed from the shard. Our ultimate goal is to move to an official Outlands client.


We are THRILLED to have such an incredible community to enjoy the content we are creating for you. Lets see if we can hit 2000 players...

Thank you, and please don’t stop letting us know how we can improve!

Here's to a wonderful holiday season!

The Outlands Team
 
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#4
Congrats on the success and 1 month online! Its been amazing so far and cannot wait to to see further months of development! Hands down, the most fun I have had in UO ever. Thank-you staff!
 
#6
Really solid launch and month so far. Just a few hiccups but you guys got the major lag problems sorted out early on which was the #1 issue. Our guild has been having a great time playing here.
 
#7
The adjustments to the murdering system is worrying. I feel they're penalized enough, and I don't even play a red. I was going to maybe have one. I see tons of people saying it isn't really worth it to go red and die.
I'm worried that it'll just continue to get worse and worse, where its basically, and I'm sorry for saying this, trammel.
 
#8
Owyn and team - I have been so impressed with the management of this shard. The professionalism from yourself and the staff has been beyond expectations, and the level of effort you put into keeping the shard updated and stable is unprecedented. This is the most fun I've had in UO in 20 years. Thanks for all you do to make this such an incredible shard!
 
#9
We're simply-having-a-wonderful-Outlands-time!

We're simply-having-a-wonderful-Outlands-time!

We're simply-having-a-wonderful-Outlands-time!
 
#17
Thank you guys for the experience of a live time, re-discovering UO has been a blast, with all the custom content you've done something here I didn't think I'd see again in a game...

I know it must be hard to communicate as frequently as you guys do, but I think one of the things I love the most is that you do give regular updates about what is currently happening and are transparent on the changes you make! Please keep up the great work!

One thing I'd love to understand at some point is the long term vision, which I can imagine has probably changed since launch, but for now I'm quite content seeing the vision for the near future in posts like these!!! As you say, only 1 month in!!!
 
#18
Looking good! To say the devs have exceeded our expectations would be an understatement. :eek:

One request: when you adjust tamer pvp, could you try to differentiate between those "prominent tamer PKs" and blue tamers just trying to defend themselves? The latter group kinda winds up getting screwed when you adjust for the former.
 
#20
People would have said that about half the features in Outlands. Luckily Owyn and Luthius are competent designers not afraid to tackle issues others shards have failed to address for the last decade plus.

Also, adjustments != penalties.
name one feature that ppl said it wont work.

there is no change other than trammel that would make ppl like you happy.

Its already easy to avoid pks and you still ask for more protection.

This is a full sandboxgame with core features that include full loot and pk. So dryloot and pking will happen only way to stop it is trammel.

UO rewards playerskill by a huge amount a good player can take a 2h old char and clear a dungeon full of avg players.