I’ve been mulling over the bones Runesabre has been throwing to the dogs, and my conclusion is finally, to quote the three wise men, WTF, man?

We all loved the idea of Siege Perilous when it came out. God damn, this was the hard core PVPer’s dream shard. No recall? No stat loss? That rumbling noise you heard that day was a thousand players yelling “I’m there, dude!”. And the removal of the NPC-based economy was a great touch – let’s see how a truly player-driven economy works.

Then the dev team decided to start screwing around with it. Wuh oh.

First off, it appears OSI is bound and determined to remove macroing, attended or otherwise, from the game entirely. That is the only explanation possible for the draconian tactics by the GMs and assorted hangers-on we’ve seen the past couple of weeks. They want to scare the shit out of you. They want you to not even think about macroing. In fact, they want you to log out when you go to the bathroom.

Why? Maybe UO uses too much bandwidth, I don’t know. It’s UO’s main expense… after all, when you pay your GMs $10/hour and your programmers not much more, the usage rate on those OC-3’s start looking mighty large.

Regardless, it seems the desire to eliminate macroing from the game drove the next changes in the game – the destruction of basic resource gathering tools during use (scissors, hatchets, etc.) which turned tinkers into demigods, followed by some new bizarro “time-as-a-resource” skill advancement system. I don’t fully understand it. I don’t think anyone fully understands it. I especially don’t think the dev team understands it. But basically, my take on it is that no matter how often you use a given skill that doesn’t require the expenditure of resources, it won’t raise more then .1 or .2 in a half hour or whatever time measurement is used.

OK. This is just fucked up. First off, there are so many things that this breaks, I can’t even list them all. Training dummies. I guess we are supposed to hack at training dummies for, oh, several months now just to get to 25 swords 25 tactics. Guild sparring is completely gone. In fact… the only thing this does is encourage (news flash) more macroing. I mean, if you’re going to have to do some tedious task for 12 hours to have any benefit from it, there’s no sense in just sitting there. Assuming the Gestapo or the little Nazi block warden players that run around summoning them don’t catch you and ban you.

While everyone was still trying to wrap their tiny brains around this paradigm shift, the dev team noticed that people macroed for stat game as well as skill gain… so they fucked stats up as well.

Up to this point, there wasn’t a whole lot of variety in the stats of an expert player. A mage had 100 STR, 100 INT and 25 DEX. A warrior had 100 STR, 100 DEX, and 25 DEX. There were some variations (among warriors who wanted to cast more than one ebolt, mainly) but basically this was the well known system everyone was comfortable with.

The dev team obviously knew this, because they set out to cripple anyone stupid enough to still have those stats. The warriors didn’t get quite as nerfed… they won’t hit as often, but hell, a grandmaster swordsman only hits one time out of ten anyway, it would be difficult to tell the difference. The mage on the other hand can just totally bend over and drop the soap, because at 25 dex their spells are going to cast 3X as slowly. C…o…r…p… P…o..(auugh). No, he wasn’t casting Blade Sprits, he was trying to heal you. It just looked that slow.

So of course, everyone will now have 75/75/75 stats. So much for variety or differentiation between play styles.

I guess I blinked when Siege Perilous was turned into Radical Test Center. What guarantee do we have that the dev team won’t get a hair up their ass and suddenly, say, require players to have 80 parrying to hold a shield. Or 50 alchemy to drink a potion. Or 50 camping to log out. Woe betide you who may actually have made a character before then.

The week after Siege was announced, everyone I knew was pumped about this new shard, including me. Now it’s just another example of OSI nose diving a perfectly good thing into the ground. I might make a character just to see exactly how impossible it is to be a miner, or a warrior, or whatever.

But I’m just stunned at how bright and shiny the dev team’s ivory tower is. They must have someone polishing it on a regular basis. Too bad they don’t listen to people who actually play the game, who might let them know what the word “tedium” means.

And of course, EQ has its own problems. Verant is busily nuking any part of the player economy that ever arises… anything that can possibly make a profit is hosed. They destroyed brewing, they destroyed pottery, smithing has always been worthless, there is just no motivation to do anything other than camp Cazic Thule or go hit up your buddies on the dev team to twink your character on Test Server. Woo. Fun.

Fun. Good word. You know, games used to be fun. I think.