UO NEWS AND WHIRLED REPORT [Author: Arcadian Del Sol]

PAGE ONE: Sometimes you wanna go where every NPC knows your name

Fast on the heels of nothing else going on, EA-Austin announces another update to please the upper classes. If you are among the Ultima Aristocracy and own a house, you will soon be able to hire your very own bartender. Check this out:

The barkeeps will serve as a method for players to support and announce their own events and quests. The barkeeps will have the following properties:

Saying “news” to a barkeep will give a scenario hint, just like a town crier.

The “tip rumor” will be optional and customizeable by the player owner. Amounts of gold under 50 gold will cause the Barkeep to speak this rumor.

Amounts over 50 gold will be returned.

In addition to the one tip rumor, players can put 3 “oracle style”

rumors with keywords on the Barkeep. (oracle style rumors are spoken once certain keywords are said by the player. The rumor and linking keyword are added to the Barkeep by the player owner).

Now we have a solution to the question of what to do when you run out of cheap foreign labor from India. Why, you program a seer NPC to do the job for nothing. Holy Cow, indeed! But not to be entirely filled with HATE-HATE for EA, I have to admit that so far, there has been little in the way of controversy since the in-game support was relocated to a run down old motel somewhere in Asia. When was the last time you went a week without a “counselor story”? Maybe EA-India should consider hiring developers. That would nearly double the in-game holidays overnight. If you thought green mugs on Saint Patrick’s Day was cool, wait until next Ramidan.

PAGE TWO: Latest Update bombs. Players ask, “where’s the new duds?”

The “we’re full time employees, Biatch” ongoing content team has unleashed another distinctly hued orc upon the lands. Pictured at the top of this issue is the scarlet “bomber” (Sorry, I don’t have a Third Dawn picture, and no such pictures are known to exist). They are reported as having “extra regs and some gold”. A few are rumoring tales of special cloaks. I’m not sure if I’m excited about that or not. I suppose for Third Dawn users, it is something to get hyped about, but given that I prefer to use the “less broken” client, all my new orcs look like they were dipped in candy coating. Maybe in 4 or 5 months, when they figure out that most players still use the old client, we’ll find a way to allow that client to download new artwork. I tried to ask a few veteran players for their comments, but the cheer-leading “Hey! Ho! AO!” in the background made it difficult to follow.

PAGE THREE: Developer asks, “So what is wrong with treasure maps these days?” – reports indicate he drowned in a sea of feedback.

On the heels of the “Hey, anybody aware of any problems with factions?” announcement comes another “Darned if we have any ideas” post. This thread might have some good ideas, but when the first six didn’t address the NUMBER ONE PROBLEM, I gave up on it. All this “hey how about making it so when you decode it, you know the level” is just polishing the rails of a sinking ship. How about fixing the CONTENTS of these maps, first. Remove all level one maps for being a waste of resources. I don’t know anybody who doesn’t either place them as carpet or sell them for chump change on a vendor. Reports from the field are coming in, and it does appear that Grandmaster fisherman are in fact using level 1 maps. So to those FIVE PLAYERS, more power to ya. Enjoy that COWBOY HAT OF AGILITY, pard’ner. Five minutes later, when those fifty charges are gone, you’ll wonder why you ever put it on in the first place.

If you ask me (and no, they don’t), I have yet to see a pirate movie where they look at a tattered old map and say, “well Captain, by my best eye, that looks to be a level three map. I suggest we roster up a few additional hands before we go digging that booty.” No. You find a map, you follow the map, you deal with its “booty” when you get there. I hesitate to call this a dumb idea because well, read page four.

PAGE FOUR: From our “News of the Dumb” file – The final vestige of realism is removed as EA-Austin forces vendors to franchise.

I’m not sure if this was the stillborn brainchild of EA itself or if they have taken to listening to their customers again. Note to EA: if you can hear them, they are crybabies. Here’s the spic-and-span version:

NPC shopkeepers will no longer inflate the prices of their inventory

when their stock begins to run low, and prices of items will be consistent on all shopkeepers.

Shortly thereafter, they will all require that you get your very own Sam’s Club ID card in order to shop. Part of the “discovery” of Ultima Online is learning when the market was good for buying regs, and where you could find the best deals. Purchasing regs was a speculative market – and if you knew what you were doing, you could turn a handsome profit by buying low and selling high. Or, you could operate at a loss if you didn’t do your homework by studying the patterns and learning what vendors offered discount rates.

I guess in Korea, they aren’t comfortable with a free marketplace.

Or any attempts to simulate actual market fluctuation. What’s next? All vendors named “A mage: reagents”?

Add another pinch of “suck” to the big Ultima Online soup. On the one hand, EA-Austin is quick to agree that part of the problem with the UO economy is that there is too much gain and not enough pain. You don’t have to earn anything – you can make millions of gold from the safety of town. So why then, are they attempting to remove every last “hassle” and every little “annoyance” that players whine and bitch about? In chess, you have pieces to play with, and no amount of whining and bitching will change the way the game is played. While it is a challenge to master, it is that challenge that makes being a rated Grand Master so honored. You don’t rush out and change the game because of that challenge. On the other hand, if the game were easier maybe you’d sell more chess sets.


This week’s word Jumble: htis diae sukcs!