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Making a success of Outlands
#1
It's high time we had a successful, long-term replacement to the best UO era.  IPY and UOSA both succeeded in different ways, but when's the last time we saw a well populated, well managed t2a shard?

There's a few key things that this requires, most of which comes from the people that operate it, but as players we have a certain responsibility too. 

Players:

With very few exceptions, we're in our 30's and 40's.  If we're here in 2017, we're obviously very attached to this game. What we need to remember is that anyone taking on the responsibility of running a shard is basically putting themselves in for a world of pain. I've done it - it's not fun at all. Waking up every day to 50+ PM's in IRC/Discord, most of which are complaining or giving you shit. There is no doubt it's a second job, and often as demanding as your actual 'real' job. So let's consider that and try to make things as easy as we can on Owen and Luthius.

The same goes for disputes with other players in discord/forums - it's a massive turn off to people, especially the people UO shards struggle to attract these days - role players, monster bashers, etc. We just need to moderate ourselves if we want it to succeed.

The shard rule-set, etc:

I'm personally at a point where custom content is very welcome. I'm not at all interested in 'era accuracy' anymore. Previous attempts have shown it's very overrated.  Beyond having a mostly t2a based PvP system and the 'old UO' feel, I'm not wedded to any particular ideas or era. The custom map is a massive draw to me. The old map is too big, too ugly, and boring. I think the map Owen has built has to be used as a major way of attracting players, as should any custom content Luthius is working on.

My main concern with t2a is lack of end game content. My suggestion to fix this has been a skill cap of 80 before power scrolls, with a +15 scroll (for example) taking you to 95, with a cap of 100 per skill.  I'm told by Owen that Luthius has superior ideas to that - but regardless, the hardest thing to do in this era is to keep people involved once they've 7x'd their character, placed a house, etc. That's the main thing for the owners to address.


The admins:

My advice is not to get too engaged in the day to day BS. Don't worry about having to get involved in disputes between players - let them handle it, or appoint people to handle it. As soon as you get dragged into that, your energy is being wasted. You need to be free to work on the server. If that leads to players feeling you're aloof - never mind. People have been spoiled by free shards, having direct access to the developers. There was nothing of the sort on OSI and we managed.

The other thing is just preparing yourself for the long haul. The problem you now face in attracting players is the amount of previous shards that have failed. I've got a network of maybe 50 ex players. I will struggle to get a single one of them to play again, because they're fed up of seeing shard after shard fail, and their character/house/work down the drain. 

Have a donation shop - make some money out of the shard if you can. It'll make you feel less depressed when you come home from your real job to a ton of abuse from your hobby.
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#2
(04-17-2017, 04:46 PM)clx Wrote: My main concern with t2a is lack of end game content. My suggestion to fix this has been a skill cap of 80 before power scrolls, with a +15 scroll (for example) taking you to 95, with a cap of 100 per skill.

I disagree with making skill gain difficult. Ain't nobody got time for that. Most players have 7x'd a hundred times by now and building skill is the least fun part about the game. The most successful of the player run shards have had regular/easy skill gain. Nobody wants to play for 6 months to get GM Magery.

I think daily events are a must to keep people active, maybe have one for blue players that PK's aren't able to attend, and one for everyone, etc. AC did that well with the LoH spawns every 8 hours. UOT2A's capture the flag and duel type events for trophies were fun (random teams so large guilds can't coordinate and dominate all the time). I liked AC's town scroll mechanic as well, where you could spawn big monsters for groups out in the middle of nowhere, so it was less likely to get raided by PK's.

Things that anybody can do without a huge group, or having to go to the Balron room or whatever, where you're just gonna get PK'd as a solo player/small group. Make it a little harder for PK's rather than just hiding/ghosting in hot spots and sneak ganking.
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#3
(04-18-2017, 05:50 PM)Baphomet Wrote: I disagree with making skill gain difficult. Ain't nobody got time for that. Most players have 7x'd a hundred times by now and building skill is the least fun part about the game. The most successful of the player run shards have had regular/easy skill gain. Nobody wants to play for 6 months to get GM Magery.

We don't have any intentions of making skillgain painful. We're putting a tremendous amount of effort into endgame content to keep you playing well beyond being 100 in all of your skills. We understand that after 20 years of Ultima Online, you're not necessarily interested in the grind to 100. We want you to feel some sense of accomplishment, but don't want that to be a turn off, either.
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#4
I agree about (reasonably) fast skill gain - just because I've seen how much of a turn-off it is on past shards. That was just a quick suggestion on player retention past the first 2-3 months, when t2a shards tend to die off.
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#5
(04-17-2017, 04:46 PM)clx Wrote: What we need to remember is that anyone taking on the responsibility of running a shard is basically putting themselves in for a world of pain. I've done it - it's not fun at all. Waking up every day to 50+ PM's in IRC/Discord, most of which are complaining or giving you shit.

This has not been said enough. ALWAYS give thanks to the people hosting and developing the shard for you FOR FREE! Nothing ruins a server quicker than the lead dev saying fuck it because the vocal majority are toxic as shit.
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#6
(08-09-2017, 03:42 PM)Kilgu Wrote:
(04-17-2017, 04:46 PM)clx Wrote: What we need to remember is that anyone taking on the responsibility of running a shard is basically putting themselves in for a world of pain. I've done it - it's not fun at all. Waking up every day to 50+ PM's in IRC/Discord, most of which are complaining or giving you shit.

This has not been said enough. ALWAYS give thanks to the people hosting and developing the shard for you FOR FREE! Nothing ruins a server quicker than the lead dev saying fuck it because the vocal majority are toxic as shit.

Exactly what donations are for, which is fine. Shards get carried away with it though.
[Image: lBlHFLQ.png]
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#7
(04-17-2017, 04:46 PM)clx Wrote: My main concern with t2a is lack of end game content. My suggestion to fix this has been a skill cap of 80 before power scrolls, with a +15 scroll (for example) taking you to 95, with a cap of 100 per skill.  I'm told by Owen that Luthius has superior ideas to that - but regardless, the hardest thing to do in this era is to keep people involved once they've 7x'd their character, placed a house, etc. That's the main thing for the owners to address.

i want to pick up on this real quick.
back when i started in 2012 with 2 friends (uo vets), one of them was a pvm only guy. i believe he had 2 goals. get a sandstone with patio and raise one main pvm char, one swords mage and one bard.

once he finished his main char and had his sandstone he quit right after.
i believe the thought went something like "ok i have completed a char and got what i wanted and the game is beaten, i could now finish my other 2 chars but i just learnt from completing my main that the satisfaction of 7xgm only lasts for like 5mins sooo i guess its not worth continuing, too much investment".

i kind of understand this and i think theres a lot of other players that just outright quit when the main progression, "the story" so to speak is over.

theres another element, players will feel the most attached to their main char, at least i did, because you can relate best, you have the most memories with him.
you think back all the way to the very beginning of the shard as you went trough the whole struggle.


now to the point:

ive always felt the 700 skill cap was weird in uo.
dont get me wrong, i want there to be that 700 limit for combat skills but ive always asked myself why i need to raise 5 different toons just to have all the skills i need.
did EA make money per character? per account?
IF the skill cap only applied to 7 skills that affect combat, wether it be harmful or beneficial the game would not come to such a tremendous halt when players reached 7xGM.
it would also open up so many doors for roleplayers, thinking about this type of character: http://forums.uooutlands.com/showthread....761#pid761

im not against multi clienting but i believe the game would be a bit more involving (and the journey longer) if you could for example kill a dragon, gather his leather and just craft something, anywhere, anytime.
i personally wouldnt care a bit if that swords mage guy had itemid and gm blacksmithing on his char.. doesnt change the game for me.

youd have a statue/spell/ritual/whatever where you select your 7 active combat skills (skills that affect pvm and pvp). you could lower and raise the skills youve already learnt but only raise again to the max that you reached so far.
can only change skills once a day or similar.

pros:

-people could keep playing and start to try new combat templates without starting from scratch, i dont even know if i can be bothered to GM resist one more time after the 4 shards ive played lol.

-huge roleplay possibilities

-no sudden stop when 7xGM, macro itemid overnight and you still got something to improve on your char.


cons:

-your average miner may actually fight back now.. a big blow to 50/50 skill throwaway pks :p

-from an admin perspective: perhaps the town looks more empty? because the blacksmith guy is currently pvping somewhere and not standing on the crafting bonus square all day.. i dunno.


anyway.. it was just a thought and something i would personally try if i was billionare gamedev and were to throw UO2 on xbox arcade and PSN.
perhaps i forgot something on how this would affect the whole gameworld or something..

EDIT: someone on discord told me about aspect gear and that it gives players something to progress with after 7xGM. i didnt know about this but it seems like an exiting system for pvm/crafters. heres the info: http://forums.uooutlands.com/showthread.php?tid=43
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#8
I think starting off, one thing that has been done correctly and great here thats noticeable above some other shards is communication. Owen and Luth do a great job of communicating updates and changes that are coming down the pipe, I think that always helps with the player base to know that things are being actively looked at / worked on.

To help with the above and to help deal with the mass of toxic problems that can arise, I think its good to have a few helping hands about. Maybe select a couple of discord mods and counselors for in game pages. It always sucks when you go to page in and you see the message that no admins are online at this time or its hours before you receive any reply. Again might not can be fixed by the low level cns, but at least you know your page has been heard and someones looking into it, same for discord mods to help control / correct those in discord so the admins can focus. This community seems to have plenty of knowledgeable and mature people that can help with this.

Marketing. I think this will be easy, I mean by word of mouth alone look at how full the discord channel is.

Keep growing, where its the end game content, daily ctf's , those might not be needed right out the gate since being a custom world there will be plenty of great things to explore and will keep people involved fora while.

I like the above ideas / I dont mind a little bit harder skill gain so that everyone doesnt have a 7x gm in 2 days, and it does allow for some gains still, but I'm rambling now, so if I think of more I'll update. Big Grin. So far its been great and even in just beta been fun to learn play!
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