Again as a surprise to many of you actually using the UO3D client, the client was judged sufficiently “done” enough to close the up-until-now-hyperactive UO3D Bug Report Board.

We would like to thank everyone who took the time to concisely report bugs during this beta period. Your input was invaluable to Ultima Online: Third Dawn.

Today’s lesson: tense is important. Your input was invaluable, mind you. But so’s the calendar, and, you know, there’s this thing called the financial quarter, and there’s this thing called UO3D that absolutely HAS to be on it, no matter how complete it may actually be. For as EA’s own 10K filing puts it,

In the near term,’s revenues to date have consisted primarily of revenues from sales of our online product Ultima Online, and we would be adversely affected if revenues from that product were to decline for any reason and not be replaced. We expect the online game market to become increasingly competitive, and it is possible that other producer’s current or future games could cause our revenue from Ultima Online to decline. In addition, popularity of Ultima Online could decline over time simply because of consumer preference for new game experiences.

We’ve seen this before, for god’s sake. When UO:R launched, the dev team pulled 24 hour days for weeks trying to get it ready for launch. They failed (mainly due to weather and other acts of god screwing up servers) and Origin wound up basically shipping empty boxes with “Upgrade to be patched in later” notes. Because they absolutely for god’s sake HAD TO GET IT OUT BY THE END OF THE QUARTER.

And they’re trying this time, too. Our spies within the Fortress of Solitude inform us that the next UO3D patch will fix all crashes, optimize the client to run well even on a Voodoo 2, does the dishes, kicks the dog, and kisses your wife goodnight. Will it work? Who knows. I know personally the pains of trying to kick out a complex product ABSOLUTELY POSITIVELY BY A CERTAIN DATE. Projects don’t work that way. Programs are hard to write. This is why most people don’t write them. This is why shipping dates get delayed. Which normally you’d think would be an option here. BEST CASE SCENARIO: UO:Third Dawn comes in JUUUUUUST under the wire. Worst case scenario? Hey, they include the 2D client!

But remember all those posts about the economy going wham that you get annoyed that I keep making? Well, you know, it’s not called EA-dot-com for nothing. And right now the only thing actually making MONEY for EA-dot-com is Ultima-dot-Online.

Are you rooting for the plucky ex-ranters-turned-coders? Or simply hoping OSI finally collapses into a messy heap? It’s coming to a head, and it’s by now probably more exciting than the actual game itself.