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Author Topic: UO turns 20 and Raph writes things  (Read 4642 times)
Tale
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on: September 28, 2017, 08:19:27 PM

Raph Koster decided to take questions about Ultima Online (which I am sorry I never played) for its 20th birthday.

The first one: how did UO push the genre forward? Raph answered in 4900 words.

Quote
But in the end, if you ask how it pushed the genre forward, I think the answer is that it did so by offering a dream, a dream that even today people compromise on and don’t offer. This idea of a true parallel world with its own life, its own ongoing history, one that doesn’t pander or make concessions for tutorials, bolted-on quests, pay-to-win gear schemes, or any of the other niceties of the business of games… the idea that “what if you just actually modeled another world, in as much detail as possible, and let players loose?”

That’s something that frankly, still isn’t really on offer. So to answer your question: Ultima Online pushed the genre forward by providing an early Camelot, a shining city on a hill that technology wasn’t really yet able to build. It was, and remains, aspirational. It started retreating away from its own lofty goals almost immediately upon launch, and nobody else has managed to make something quite like it.

On to question 2.

"The more we talk about less important things, the less we talk about more important things."
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Reply #1 on: September 29, 2017, 12:47:36 AM

man, I have some questions but theyre all really fucking mean

But i like Raph and liked SWG so he gets a pass.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 12:49:19 AM by schild »
Raph
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Reply #2 on: September 29, 2017, 01:30:53 AM

man, I have some questions but theyre all really fucking mean

But i like Raph and liked SWG so he gets a pass.

Ask away, :) Most of the answers to the mean questions are going to be "inexperience" "stubbornness" "money" and "time."
Merusk
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Reply #3 on: September 29, 2017, 05:45:28 AM

In less or more than 1,000 words?   DRILLING AND MANLINESS

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Reply #4 on: September 29, 2017, 09:28:07 AM

man, I have some questions but theyre all really fucking mean

But i like Raph and liked SWG so he gets a pass.

Ask away, :) Most of the answers to the mean questions are going to be "inexperience" "stubbornness" "money" and "time."
Most of the questions would be about the continued employment of half the cabal over there.  Ohhhhh, I see.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 09:32:29 AM by schild »
Slayerik
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Reply #5 on: September 29, 2017, 11:42:13 AM

I can still hear the music when that chest opened up in Beta. And the failure to connect messages that hurt every time.

As Raph stated, Dye tubs were really a huge part of the making the game great. It seems so simple, but that freedom to stand out and personalize your avatar was great. I had a friend that spend a ton of time on his outfits, housing decorations, etc. I personally was more of a function over fashion type, and would typically wear things I found off monsters or other players I killed. I saw my house as a place to pile up loot, and maybe gather up for an adventure.

I remember a thief guild on Atlantic, back in beta (I think) that went by the name "Trinsic Borrowers". They were dressed in all yellow, when you left Trinsic they would surround you so you would run out of stamina from pushing by them....and then rob you blind.

Recall runes. This was everything. Great runehouses providing a hotbed for PvP as well as commercial venues. Later they introduced runebooks, blessed so that you wouldn't lose your locations upon death, but early on I remember selling runebags with a stack of runes to great hunting sites. It was a constant seller - people would die in the dungeons from the PKs and they would need runes again. Or were just too lazy to mark their own from the runehouses. I sold bags of mage shop runes as well.

Housing. The freedom of it all. And the IDOCs. Oh, the IDOCs. With housing in UO, you could click on a sign and it would tell you the status of the building. Housing needed to be refreshed within like 3 or 4 weeks, and there were levels it would display when clicking on the sign. "Like New", "Slightly Worn", "Fairly Worn", "Greatly Worn", and IDOC: "In Danger of collapsing". These houses were going to fall within like 2 days, so any PvP guilds worth anything would make an appearance to claim the house's loot for their own. Individuals would show up to try and grab a chest and escape with the loot. Their were guilds devoted to checking all the houses on the shard, and working together to fight for and capture as much loot as possible. With all sorts of dirty tricks from murder, to monster luring/releasing. There were tricks to it, you could open gateways that allowed you to go through to any location you wanted...even if you were holding a giant heavy chest you could go through by macroing a macro to double click the gate. Many times fights would erupt before the house ever fell, with murders occuring and after 5 murders you became freely attackable and RED hued - no longer allowed to go in towns). The house would fall and all hell would break loose. Talk about an adrenaline rush!!! Chaos, controlled chaos if you were good, and escaping with loot and your life if you were better.

I miss that feeling of seeing reds appear in a dungeon I was in. Most the time, you could escape no problem. Smart players had a recall macro and a rune always handy. Sure, it disrupted your day...but you felt alive. You just had to be prepared mentally, and smart - take a minute to bank your gold, you can do it in 20 seconds. Sometimes, you could even manage to fight them, and even more rarely get the best of them...take their heads...and turn them in triumphantly for a small bounty....and more importantly, their loot. Playing at one time as an Anti-PK guild, we would occasionally catch them off guard with reinforcements at the ready. I'd say in the end, the bad guys won more often than not. But I got my licks in. I wasn't a wolf, but I wasn't a sheep either. It would be much later in my UO life that I would be the wolf.

I enjoyed faction PvP as well. Me and my cousin and sometimes another friend, we were on Council of Mages...the smallest faction on Atlantic. But we were smart. We had identical runebooks (one tile apart at all spots)...we knew how to flank popular spots and pick off stragglers and escape with our silver and points. 3 guys with experience (and on voice) could take on 6 guys in this game. You just had to be smart, and skilled obviously. There is no PvP in any game that matches up to what UO had. Period. Hell, I even still enjoyed it about a year ago on a freeshard.

I remember macroing at night, though against the rules....everyone would do it. We had a guild tower where I would always macro on the roof. Casting mage spells over and over for gains, from reagents I purchased from my time in the dungeons. I remember the pride I had when I finally because a Grandmaster Mage. I killed enough monsters to become Lord , and then on my paperdoll it displayed the Grandmaster Mage status.

And as always I have to speak of David Killmore. The first Red that ever PKed me. I was south of trinsic, farming some weak orc spawn, when his name came up. I didn't know what Corp Por meant. All I know was my screen went grey. And I was speaking OoooOoOooOO . I vowed to have my revenge on him, though I never saw him again. 20 Years later I remember this like it was yesterday. So many strong memories this game created, and for that I thank you again for your part in it, Raph.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 11:54:35 AM by Slayerik »

"I have more qualifications than Jesus and earn more than this whole board put together.  My ego is huge and my modesty non-existant." -Ironwood
Slayerik
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Reply #6 on: September 29, 2017, 11:48:24 AM

So, in hindsight, is there any system you would have left out/modified/or instated early on in UO?

and #2, Trammel...Any thoughts? lol

"I have more qualifications than Jesus and earn more than this whole board put together.  My ego is huge and my modesty non-existant." -Ironwood
Sky
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Reply #7 on: September 29, 2017, 01:38:53 PM

Best pvp thief gameplay ever. Not the TB nonsense, but real roleplayed, indepth stuff. My favorite targets were pk guilds, especially if there were battles in dungeon. Chaos from guys fighting each other, regular players, and monsters. Sneaking and hiding like crazy and not enough people took the detect hidden skill.

Always satisfying pursuing a mark for days and finally getting the house keys when they slip up.

I initially played a lot as a rp paladin type, but the amount of jackassery in the game dictated being a jackass...to the jackasses. Felt better than allowing them to dictate the game on their terms ('anti-pk'), and just massively fucking with them while still enjoying rp and interesting gameplay.

One scheme I had going for a while involved pretending to be an npc on the pirate island. Just so much weird and creative stuff you could get into.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2017, 01:41:49 PM by Sky »

HaemishM
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Reply #8 on: September 29, 2017, 02:19:56 PM

We offered players a Camelot. We immediately discovered players wanted to smear shit all over the walls, create giant penises out of whatever was available, rape, rob and kill their fellow players and anything else not given invulnerability while making the teabag emote over their corpses and generally be utter and complete cunts. So we dialed it back a little.

Slayerik
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Reply #9 on: September 29, 2017, 02:44:53 PM

Best pvp thief gameplay ever. Not the TB nonsense, but real roleplayed, indepth stuff. My favorite targets were pk guilds, especially if there were battles in dungeon. Chaos from guys fighting each other, regular players, and monsters. Sneaking and hiding like crazy and not enough people took the detect hidden skill.

Always satisfying pursuing a mark for days and finally getting the house keys when they slip up.

I initially played a lot as a rp paladin type, but the amount of jackassery in the game dictated being a jackass...to the jackasses. Felt better than allowing them to dictate the game on their terms ('anti-pk'), and just massively fucking with them while still enjoying rp and interesting gameplay.

One scheme I had going for a while involved pretending to be an npc on the pirate island. Just so much weird and creative stuff you could get into.

Nothing worse than a skilled thief. Fuck you guys.  why so serious?

"I have more qualifications than Jesus and earn more than this whole board put together.  My ego is huge and my modesty non-existant." -Ironwood
Reg
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Reply #10 on: September 29, 2017, 03:32:27 PM

Will there be charts appearing in this thread at some point?
Raph
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Reply #11 on: September 29, 2017, 04:12:03 PM

So, in hindsight, is there any system you would have left out/modified/or instated early on in UO?

and #2, Trammel...Any thoughts? lol

Lots! A lot of them around PvP.

Townstones, like guildstones but for player towns, with the ability to add a guard region, would have done a lot, in hindsight... and they kept slipping down the priority ladder. Not giving up on quests. Not giving up on the ecology, actually. Different allocation of skill points so that not every skill was "the same size." Obviously, we needed more space for housing.
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Reply #12 on: September 29, 2017, 04:22:22 PM

Will there be charts appearing in this thread at some point?
If you summon SB with that shit I am going to be quite cross with you.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

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Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Ginaz
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Reply #13 on: October 02, 2017, 02:02:15 AM

man, I have some questions but theyre all really fucking mean

But i like Raph and liked SWG so he gets a pass.

Do your questions involve twitch combat and how all the changes were for the better? Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

I'll pre order you SWTOR if you let me put my lightsaber in your sarlaac cave
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Ironwood
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Reply #14 on: October 02, 2017, 05:21:57 AM

Ouch.

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
Riggswolfe
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Reply #15 on: October 05, 2017, 11:51:48 AM

I still remember UO with very mixed emotions. I loved a lot of the simulation aspects it had and if I'd been an online RPer back then I'd probably have even better memories. However, I, and everyone I knew who played, quit because of the rampant PK issues. It got so bad that we were genuinely surprised if we were able to leave town and not get ganked within half an hour or less. (Many times it felt like I got ganked within mere minutes of crossing that border.)

If I fault you guys for anything, it's being naive about player psychology and not realizing what would happen with that total freedom.

"We live in a country, where John Lennon takes six bullets in the chest, Yoko Ono was standing right next to him and not one fucking bullet! Explain that to me! Explain that to me, God! Explain it to me, God!" - Denis Leary summing up my feelings about the nature of the universe.
DayDream
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Reply #16 on: October 07, 2017, 03:09:54 AM

UO was a litle too early for me, but I'm curious anyway.  So here's a question.

In my experience, the internet has changed over the years.  In some way only a little, in some ways quite a lot.

How do you think making something like UO would go today?  Anything in particular you would change, not because of any gameplay ideal but because of a different cultural ecology around the game?
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Reply #17 on: October 08, 2017, 07:30:53 PM

UO was a litle too early for me, but I'm curious anyway.  So here's a question.

In my experience, the internet has changed over the years.  In some way only a little, in some ways quite a lot.

How do you think making something like UO would go today?  Anything in particular you would change, not because of any gameplay ideal but because of a different cultural ecology around the game?

Back then, all the player types had to live in one game, because there only WAS one game of that size.

Now, if you get a diverse playerbase, it's by choice. I think you can still support diverse playerbases, but these days the audience is so large that niches can sustain huge games for loooooooooooong periods of time.

I'd absolutely do much much more stringent stuff around playerkilling.
Ironwood
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Reply #18 on: October 09, 2017, 03:42:03 AM

Like what ?

"Mr Soft Owl has Seen Some Shit." - Sun Tzu
WayAbvPar
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Reply #19 on: October 10, 2017, 08:24:47 PM

Making the world at least 100x bigger would have helped, for a start. If there were multiple good farming/hunting areas, PKs couldn't cover them all 24/7. There was really no 'wilderness'. Randomizing spawns would make it harder for them to target a rich area as well. Dungeons would still be lethal though. Maybe do the E:D solo/group/open model?

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Raph
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Reply #20 on: October 12, 2017, 03:12:23 PM

Making the world at least 100x bigger would have helped, for a start. If there were multiple good farming/hunting areas, PKs couldn't cover them all 24/7. There was really no 'wilderness'. Randomizing spawns would make it harder for them to target a rich area as well. Dungeons would still be lethal though. Maybe do the E:D solo/group/open model?

Hahahaha.

100x bigger. That would be a map of 1600 sq km. In 1997? I mean, Daggerfall did stuff at that scale, but it was all random. There would have been no way to ship UO at that size.

FWIW, the map was originally built for a population 100x SMALLER. That likely would also have made the game a lot friendlier...
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Reply #21 on: October 12, 2017, 09:28:02 PM

So what your saying is that you should have enforced strict population limits and queues?   Oh ho ho ho. Reallllly?

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
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WayAbvPar
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Reply #22 on: October 12, 2017, 09:28:28 PM

I was thinking more along the lines of how to design a reboot.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Gimfain
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Reply #23 on: October 13, 2017, 01:57:04 AM

Making the world at least 100x bigger would have helped, for a start. If there were multiple good farming/hunting areas, PKs couldn't cover them all 24/7. There was really no 'wilderness'. Randomizing spawns would make it harder for them to target a rich area as well. Dungeons would still be lethal though. Maybe do the E:D solo/group/open model?

Hahahaha.

100x bigger. That would be a map of 1600 sq km. In 1997? I mean, Daggerfall did stuff at that scale, but it was all random. There would have been no way to ship UO at that size.

FWIW, the map was originally built for a population 100x SMALLER. That likely would also have made the game a lot friendlier...
You guys hit something that keeps getting missed when people speak about PK, most games aren't big enough for the PK-rules they employ. Its much worse in themeparks that have an obvious path of progression which means high-level characters can camp one spot and everyone have to go through that spot to reach level-cap.

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Reply #24 on: October 13, 2017, 07:37:43 PM

I was thinking more along the lines of how to design a reboot.

Yes, this.

No Nerf, but I put a link to this very thread and I said that you all can guarantee for my purity. I even mentioned your case, and see if they can take a look at your lawn from a Michigan perspective.
Raph
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Reply #25 on: October 13, 2017, 07:57:54 PM

Ah, for a reboot, yes, no question, much bigger map. Also, ability for towns to be founded and declare their own PK rules and ban lists and blocks and the like. Dundee tried that out on his gray shard and it worked pretty well even at UO scale. I'd also revive the ecology stuff, we should easily have the CPU to model it properly now and achieve homeostasis, the science has progressed a lot.

That said, for the next one if I ever get to make it, I was thinking cartoony sci fi, with the ability to colonize planets. They start out wild including PK (frontier), and once you get the colony founded, you can set the planetary laws that remotely disable blasters. So each colony gets to decide. But each colony is only of moderate size -- probably 250 concurrent. But they are all linked into one seamless universe. And each planet has a unique map, unique resources, etc. Colonies can build up to be megalopolises, or not, as they choose. Can try to build little multiplanet empires, even.

Sinistar-style space combat in between. Retro arcadey for most systems. Smash TV for combat. Maybe even run in a browser. But full on MMO systems for social play, economics, space farming, etc. Maybe puzzle minigames for maintaining power plants and other stuff.

Anyone interested in something like that?
WayAbvPar
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Reply #26 on: October 14, 2017, 05:43:55 AM

If you are working on it, I will always give it a shot.

When speaking of the MMOG industry, the glass may be half full, but it's full of urine. HaemishM

Always wear clean underwear because you never know when a Tory Government is going to fuck you.- Ironwood

Who the hell taught you how to write? Fuck, that sentence is like internet transmitted face-attacking knives. Jesus. schild
Cheddar
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Reply #27 on: October 14, 2017, 08:09:10 AM

Absolutely.  Maybe not the cartoon bit, but this would be awesome.

No Nerf, but I put a link to this very thread and I said that you all can guarantee for my purity. I even mentioned your case, and see if they can take a look at your lawn from a Michigan perspective.
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Reply #28 on: October 14, 2017, 08:52:44 AM

this is very close to a game I've had in my head for years except without the smash tv combat because that combat is bad

and it wouldn't look like a cartoon because that would also be bad
Draegan
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Reply #29 on: October 14, 2017, 09:38:07 AM

What schild said.

I'd prefer Moba or ARPG controls.
Xanthippe
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Reply #30 on: October 14, 2017, 11:57:18 AM

I'd play it, especially if there's a way to play as a retired adventurer who merely trades or explores or collects things or whatever, or if I can stand in one place and rain down nukes.

I have no idea what smash TV combat is. If it depends on youthful reaction responses, I'll pass.

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Reply #31 on: October 14, 2017, 05:46:53 PM

smash tv is the original 4/8way shooter

it's very bad and very overrated through sunglasses of urza

here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4AapB7dW3HA
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 05:52:07 PM by schild »
Trippy
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Reply #32 on: October 14, 2017, 06:09:22 PM

Robotron: 2084 was the original twin stick shooter.
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Reply #33 on: October 15, 2017, 12:20:30 AM

my bad it was the same guy and theyre both hilariously overrated and feature bad gameplay

anyway smash tv was basically running man if it had a stroke that left it incapcitated and no sane person would make an mmog with that as the pvp

Teleku
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Reply #34 on: October 18, 2017, 09:26:26 PM

The idea sounds great Raph (well, except basing any sort of Combat off Smash TV  awesome, for real).  Go for it, the MMO scene needs something slightly original at this point.

"My great-grandfather did not travel across four thousand miles of the Atlantic Ocean to see this nation overrun by immigrants.  He did it because he killed a man back in Ireland. That's the rumor."
-Stephen Colbert
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