I suspect the CoB Dev Board isn’t Y2K compliant, because an honest-to-god informative post appeared, where Runesabre, UO’s lead programmer, took the time to answer some interesting questions. In case it scrolls off the board before you get there, it’s reproduced below.

1) From practical game experience, my vanquishing collection went from 4 in approx 18 months of playing, to over 60 in 3 additional months.Would you agree or disagree that the SOS has become a blight on the magic weapon market of UO?
1a) If you agree, what are you going to do about it?
1b) If you disagree, what function does dumping large amounts of gold and items into UO serve?

1) I have personally loathed the day the fishing changes were done. If you recall, I was the one that “nerfed” the original implementation within a week after its release. I am in favor and enforcement of reasonable Risk vs Reward. Treasure hunts were a good reward but I made sure that the risks and cooperation was pretty high as well. Fishing up free loot in the form of treasure maps and SoS’s do not represent any sort of risk yet they are nearly the same rewards as treasure hunts. That of course is where the players come in. My initial “nerfings” were not met with a very positive reaction and it was decided to relax the changes slightly. I still believe fishing is way too lucrative and does nothing but present a thorn in the economic side of UO.

2) What incentives do you plan to offer in the future for people not to own a house?
2) That seems to me like asking what incentives am I going to provide for players to stay as a newbie. Owning a house is one of the big goals players strive for just like they strive for being GM in skills. We have made adjustments to make owning multiple houses not necessary. That is why you can now place multiple vendors in one house ( as opposed to one vendor per house limits ), you can assign friends and co-owners who can have their own personal storage, and internal lockable doors.

3) What are your thoughts on gold sinks? If you like them, why don’t we have more of them in the game? If you dislike them, then why?

3) Of course I want gold sinks. Their time allocation has not arrived yet in the whole scheme of things.

4) What are your thoughts on starvation? I’m confident that eating could be done in such a manner that it wouldn’t be any more annoying than having to buy regs. Assuming you could, on a 1-10 scale, 10 being the highest, where would you put starvation as a priority.

4) I think Cooking has the potential to be just as fun and important to UO as Blacksmithing and Magery despite its current lack of luster. I have many ideas for Cooking but again its time has not been prioritized like so many other things we would like to do.

5) Do I actually have a Guaranteed Tower ™ waiting for me in these new lands, or is that just a myth? It sure seems like everyone says there’s going to be one there for each of them. What are you going to do for the highly disenchanted have-nots of housing after the “new land” patch?

5) Did someone say that everyone was going to have a tower? I am sure you realize that is a tad ludicrous and I doubt anyone seriously believes such a rumor. There will be significantly more housing, though, so those who have never had a chance to own a house can certainly expect their chances to be much much higher at owning one in the near future.

6) One of the worst things that can happen in UO, aside from being hacked, is to be scammed out of large sums of gold for a house. When, oh when, is secure house trading coming? Also, what about house swapping, as, with no gold sinks, it’s hard to get someone to give up a house when you don’t have a house already.

6) Its one of the top priorities.

7) You said many moons ago that stat advancement was troubling. What progress have you made on that front? Have you guys considered stat locks until you get a better solution? They can’t be anymore out of context than skill

7) If you work with skill locks enough you pretty much have stat control. You know which skills raise which stats so I don’t see stat locks being all that necessary. But, the real reason stat locks do not exist is it would go against the idea of if you want certain skills you get their associated stats. You can’t have everything just the way you want it. 🙂 You can’t gain snooping and avoid the dex or anatomy and avoid the int gains. If you want the skills you have to have the stats that go along with those skills.

8) You asked for input about hard-to-raise skills. After the input, what did you learn, and what potential solutions do you have?

8) Check out raising skills on Test Center right now. All skills that are non-difficulty based have been adjusted so that they raise both at low levels AND high levels. That was something I put in last night ( along with all the other latest developemts ) when Test Center went down a few times.

9) The basis for murder count decay timers was on the accepted fact that people macroed. Now that macroing is illegal, what are your thoughts on changing the decay concept, for those that were playing by the rules, then the rules changed?

9) The additional timers were put in because it was realized that 8 hours to wear off kills was not enough of a deterrant and not just for those with multiple accounts or those who macro.

10) What are your thoughts on purchasing skill training at high levels for certain skills? Not only would it curb macroing, but it would also act as a gold sink.

10) Its been brought up… as has been the side effect of “instant” characters by those who have more gold at their disposal than they will ever need. To stave off the abuse, the amount of gold it would cost would have to be so extreme that very few players would ever benefit.

11) Is beeswax a precursor to bow repair?

11) One of the designers is working on something related to beeswax but I forget what at the moment.

12) PvP balance is a touchy issue. From my perspective, you guys won’t touch PvP because it would be time consuming to balance it, and you guys don’t have time. Is this an accurate interpretation?

12) I would personally love to overhaul PvP in UO. Despite the fact its better than it has been in any time in the past, it pales to what I can envision PvP being. My goals are always for true, viable diversity as opposed to lots of choices but only a couple real true options for PvP. ( For instance, do I be a Tank Mage or a Dex Monkey? ). I want to see a lot more rock/paper/scissors related to PvP, I want to see all the weapons have their unique purposes depending on the situation, more choices and ramifications to using different types of armor ( leather armors could be more arrow repellant while plate tends to snuff magical ability for instance ). We have made a lot of tweaks here and there. One of the things that makes messing with PvP are all the side-effects one change can make. PvP is a web of interdependencies so there is rarely any true “I can fix/change this and bring everything into line” because in changing one thing you end up changing a lof of other things. Its come to where I believe you can’t make just a couple magical tweaks and make PvP more balanced like we have in the pasy and most likely it would just be only slightly different and overall more of the same. I would like to see PvP have a complete scale of choices and tactics but such an endeavor would require much more than a couple tweaks and hope things stay balanced. So yes, time is one of the big factors for holding PvP changes back.

13) What is your view of
balanced PvP system? One in which mages/archers/meleeers/tamers/bards/etc all have an equal chance of winning, or is it a group dynamic?

13) Pretty goes with #12.

14) Tamers have a few built-it checks on their targeting so that they don’t have to wait for the skill cycle to re-tame. How hard would it be to give this to bards?

14) No real thoughts.

15) The whole point to karma is as a role playing tool. It was stated as such back in the days of rep. However, to PvM and to have low karma are counter to each other. Any thoughts on a karma lock? Any thoughts on a “i kill monsters for pleasure” toggle so that we can kill for fame and not karma.

15) Karma is like stats… its not really an option you choose. If you kill monsters then you gain karma. If you do “bad” things you lose karma. What really needs to happen is more choices of “doing bad things” that will raise your fame but lower your karma that are equal to killing monsters. Perhaps more “good” creatures that still carry loot and such.

16) A looooooooong time ago, showing one’s title was turned off, as a way, if I remember right, to make being a dread lord tougher, as you couldn’t tell newbies from experienced players. UO is VASTLY different now, yet we still have this legacy hold over. Any thoughts of simply turning titles back on for all? If no, then why does one’s ability to cast EV determine if you show title or not. You -have- to be a mage to show title, wouldn’t you agree? If not, instruct me on how to show title without casting a spell.

16) Yes, just haven’t gotten around to it yet

17) When in the 12 month timeline are you guys going to fix the house placing code?

17) You can try it out right now on Test Center.

17b) Is a house with a basement that is placed by clicking the deed, clicking the land, and having a house appear an illegal house or not?

17b) We don’t have any houses with basements do we?

18) What are your views on the rare item market? Are you sympathtic to them, or do you want to put them out of business by making everything craftable. Where do you stand, on a 1-10 scale, 1 meaning you actually want to take some craftables out, 10 meaning you want every piece of art craftable.

18) Its not as cleancut as don’t touch anything considered rare or make it all available. Some things ( like silverware ) should be craftable and I would say its not fair that they would be left as rare ( hence they became craftable ). We do not go out of our way to purposely screw the rares market and are more attune to it now.

19) On a “rare” item note, can you PLEASE delete all “a scrolls” from the game when you fix this bug? I don’t want to hear this advertised as a rare item like no draw tiles. Heck, can you delete them too?

19) *chuckles* Personally I like the whole dynamics of things being considered “rare”. Which would you prefer time spent creating more gold sinks or time spent deleting “a scroll” items? 🙂 As with all things it boils down to time, priority and who is available to do the development.

20) As I’ve stated before, I think monster death will backfire, by putting more vermin in the dungeons than you can throw a stick at (see my attached pic, do you want to fight that?!?!?). How far along do you see a dungeon re-themeing taking place (if it’s on the horizon) and if it does come along, will we, the playerbase, get a say in how it goes. For example, despise used to be a pretty good dungeon, now it’s almost deserted. Is maximizing the playability of all dungeons a goal for you guys? (easy yes answer there).

20) Of course we want dungeons playable. Again, it comes down to … well you heard that before.