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User Communities via Ultima Online shards

Kartones
November 24, 2011
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User Communities via Ultima Online shards

Kartones

November 24, 2011
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  1. User Communities via
    Ultima Online Shards
    Kartones
    http://kartones.net/blogs/kartones/

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  2. This is nothing new
    • Ultima Online is 10+ years old
    • Graphics evolve, but not too much
    • Still in 2D 

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  3. This is nothing new
    • Emulated servers evolve
    – Sphere 0.99 R4 now, since 0.55
    – POL, RunUO… evolved too
    • Scripting skills/knowledge increase with time
    • Berks Worlds has been running for 6+ years
    • Some of us (players & admins) have been
    playing 5+ years

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  4. A user community is important
    • Forums
    – Since the beginning
    – Primary source. 3000-7000 daily visits
    – Some users only look at the forums!

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  5. A user community is important
    • Website
    – There was one, got broken and still no new (blog
    actually works as current website)
    – It is supposed to be under dev…“internal affairs” ;)
    – Some users demand it. Others say not needed
    – Gives a public, first look for newcomers
    – Difficult maintenance (news, content…). Staff
    usually focuses on forums and game server
    – Server needs to de-centralize forums 

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  6. A user community is important
    • Blog
    – Relatively new (march 2007)
    – Worse results than with the website. Only two of
    us post new contents, rest of the staff ignores it.
    – Player base doesn’t knows what is RSS. Bad habit
    of directly typing forum’s address.
    – Only staff & selected players can post. Anyone can
    comment. No problems of comment-trolls yet ;)
    – Tiny bunch of players do like it

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  7. A user community is important
    • Blog
    – Better impression of the server: Screenshots,
    Youtube videos, News, Server events,…
    – Better a blog than nothing (at least until website
    finally appears)

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  8. A user community is important
    • Wikipedia
    – Anybody can participate. Loosens staff work
    – Players like it (actually fill more content than staff)
    – Easy change tracking and notifications via RSS
    – No trolling yet either!
    – Lots of user content added by themselves which
    would be very hard for staff: guild lore, active
    guild member list, custom-made maps, logos,
    icons,…

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  9. A user community is important
    • Wikipedia
    – Still needs tons of man-hours of work: Too many
    years adding content without writing about it
    – Dozens of dungeons, hundreds of monsters,
    thousands of items. Nearly 99% of content
    missing, game mechanics at least 50% missing too

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  10. A user community is important
    • Events, Prizes, votations, advertising
    – It is an RPG (geek=1) 10 yers old (geek++) with
    overdated and hard gameplay (geek+2)
    – And yet, new people keeps entering :O
    – Mouth to mouth still nº1 source of new players
    – Lots of players are “family of”, “friend of”,
    “colleage of”, “girlfriend of”
    – Yes, we’ve got women! :D

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  11. A user community is important
    • Events, Prizes, votations, advertising
    – But sadly, player base slowly decreasing
    – Very difficult learning curve
    – Large part of the player base only wants rude PvP
    (Player vs Player), ruining roleplaying of others
    – Strict policies against cheating/bugging. Scares out
    any non 100% legal player
    – Old players grow tired of the game and watching
    their friends stop playing

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  12. What fresh/different stuff it has?
    • PvP & Roleplaying balance
    – PvPrs don’t see it. Eternal arguments with staff
    – RPG-like quests, pvp quests, tournaments,
    adventures… variety and mixture for all
    – Dungeons with “typical” RPG elements: Puzzles,
    secret rooms, hidden quests, traps, …
    – Tournament arena, Color Wars, Survivor event,
    horse-racing, ship-battles, …

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  13. What fresh/different stuff it has?
    • Thousands of new graphics
    – Hundreds of monsters & props, thousands of
    items, even new sounds and custom UI
    – Some of then haven’t yet been used (less but
    bigger updates)
    – World map & dungeons constantly expanding and
    being redone with better quality
    – Other graphics are substituted by better, newer
    versions

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  14. What fresh/different stuff it has?
    • Dozens of 100% new dungeons
    – Varied themes: Pirates, vampires, samurai,
    lizardmen, dark elfs, amazons,…
    – Quality of decoration improves with time
    – Complexity increasing too (traps, hidden rooms,
    no-map zones, puzzles, riddles,…)
    – Genuine and special monsters in each one
    – Just added: Interaction with scenery (very hard to
    accomplish in UO, where scenery is static)

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  15. What fresh/different stuff it has?
    • Quite varied monsters
    – Varying and getting upgraded as years flow
    – New monsters added regulary
    – Lot’s of them drop unique loots or special
    materials for crafting
    – Special behaviours (doppleganger/clone, random
    loot, polymorph…)
    – Some have special scripted reactions and actions

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  16. What fresh/different stuff it has?
    • Great players <-> Staff communication
    – Sometimes too much (becomes a problem). Many
    arguments, players forget “who is in charge”
    – Usually they end up agreeing with staff POV
    – They are always listened to, but get impatient
    quite fast
    – We try to avoid a dictatorial system… but is not
    always possible

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  17. It is a great sandbox
    • Quite interesting to study human psychology
    – At least teenager’s now (in the past we had lots of
    adults, now just a few remain)
    – All sort of stories: Love, hate, lies… Like real life
    – In the past, quite a variety of people, lots of
    comments, suggestions and ideas
    – Now it’s becoming like a school: Almost all are
    problems of bullying between players

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  18. It is a great sandbox
    • Quite interesting to study human psychology
    – Some pleople “live it”
    – … a few of them too much
    – Greed makes some otherwise good people do bad
    things (exploit bugs)
    – Being an artificial life, the dream of being rich or
    powerful corrupts people

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  19. It is a great sandbox
    • Allows creativity (staff) and fantasy (players)
    – Players can live fantasy book lifes and adventures
    – Sometimes we introduce wanted existing lore.
    Example: Drow (dark elfs)
    – But roleplaying players’ quality is decreasing:
    • In the past, complex alliances, balanced economy and
    concept of “honor”
    • Now a great part only want hack ’n slash gameplay and
    PvP fights

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  20. It is a great sandbox
    • Allows creativity (staff) and fantasy (players)
    – Being able to craft items and own a house
    becomes a creativity explosion. Players do
    incredible things just stacking simple items
    – We made a house/fortress decoration contest and
    the results were simply amazing
    – We have a Biographies & Tales subforum because
    some players write stories and lore around their
    characters

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  21. It is a great sandbox
    • Small actions make big changes
    – A small change in a weapon can unbalance all PvP
    – A small script bug can do from small nuisance (ex.
    make an object useless) to terrific things (allow
    players to become invincible, obtain “cheap
    money”)
    – Server has severe problems with economy system,
    because of past mistakes :(

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  22. It is a great sandbox
    • People doesn’t like rules
    – We’ve got a rule list almost as big as The Bible :)
    – And players are still capable of finding legal holes
    – Probably proximity between staff and players
    affected. In the past rules were less but much
    more severe and we had much fewer problems

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  23. Nothing is perfect
    • Staff has very limited time: Some are students,
    other work, other have children…
    • Limited knowledge: Scripting in Sphere is
    hard, limited and extremely bad (whoever
    designed it deserves a bad bad fate! }:( )
    • Only two of the staff members have
    programming skills. The rest learns by pure
    try-error-fix-try-error-fix …

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  24. Nothing is perfect
    • Yet, impressive things keep coming out from
    those who are less prepared
    • No further improvements to the server
    (development halted time ago)
    • There are better alternatives (RunUO is C# 2.0,
    multithreaded and much better), but we can’t
    take them (only I could then develop new
    contents). No content could be migrated
    either

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  25. Nothing is perfect
    • We don’t have latest UO features: Champions,
    custom-built houses, special skills…
    • Network protocol not optimized, hardware
    not correctly used… Not prepared for current
    age of videogaming and MMORPGs
    • Doesn’t works on Linux (a few players want to
    play from Linux) and won’t work because of
    custom client code

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  26. Nothing is perfect
    • Is getting old
    – Fewer and fewer people play UO
    – Graphics are too old
    – 3D mode is so bad it’s best to forget it exists :)
    – Client designed for Windows 98: Tons of
    compatibility and performance problems (eats 60-
    70% CPU even on a P4 3GHz!!!)

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  27. Nothing is perfect
    • Lots of security problems
    – Incredibly, there are hackers specialized in UO
    hacking
    – Some bugs cannot be fixed, so parts of game logic
    have to be re-made from scratch to avoid
    vulnerable logic
    – We have obfuscated code, third-party security
    monitoring tools, additional security server-side
    scripts… but nothing is enough

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  28. Anyway…
    • We will probably keep updating until nobody
    plays UO 
    • Wanna try? If you speak spanish, surf to:
    www.berksworlds.com

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