May 8th, 1998

In DD's latest posting to the Dev Team Board, I was appalled at the rather high-handed way he has brushed off the responses to his previous postings. Again, point your browser to to read the latest post 'So Let's Get Practical...'

To Designer Dragon, the problems players face in UO is of their own making and their own problem to fix. In his post he stated, "Ultima Online originally was designed for full-bore community policing. We made safe towns, and originally supplied no other tools whatsoever." He did mention that after those who tried to police Britannia were unable to discriminate the felons, OSI implemented the Notoriety system. Now DD admits that the Noto system will not curb criminal acts, as it is simply a tool to track the behavior.

The heart of the problem I see with this post is that DD and the Dev Team would like to simply wash their hands of us and our 'problems' in UO. In his post, he actually berates the players for constantly bringing these matters to their attention. 'Stop bringing these matters to Dad, as we don't want to be your parents,' are his own words in the post.

Designer Dragon and the Dev Team, you are not our parents, you are the administrators of a multi-player game engine, and like it or not, YOU are responsible for the problems faced in the game. OSI and the design team have the ability to address and correct these problems, but rather than do that, it seems they are more content to sit back and simply allow players to become frustrated and upset to the point that they cancel their accounts. Is this truly how you run your business? Anyone with experience in Marketing can tell you that despite the money spent on advertising, the largest source of name recognition is by word of mouth. And frankly, from the postings I have read here in the newsgroups, the word is very unpleasant.

So, as I said, you're absolutly right. Let us be practical, and face the unpleasant reality that OSI and the Dev Team cares not one whit for our problems and hardships faced in Ultima Online, and could care less if we stay or go. Thank you, Designer Dragon, for proving to me once and for all that the Virtues are truly dead, and especially in the hearts of Origin.

The following is a posting made by DD, and my response:

Raph Koster wrote:


I have to wonder if this is an willful misreading or what. :P We abandoned you to your own devices? No, quite the contrary--our first vision proved too idealistic (let the players run it all) so we started adding tools. The first version of the key tool--tracking mechanism called notoriety--was flawed. So we are revising it. Another tool players asked for was bounties. The first implementation of that was flawed too, but it is returning full force in the rep system. Stat loss for bad guys as a form of punishment is also getting expanded.

DD, the point I was trying to get across was that fact that NOWHERE in the Online Documentation, or in the 4-sheet fold-out manual does it tell a prospective player that 'gee whiz, you do know you have to police and maintain the game, don't you?' I personally do not want to hunt PKs, nor spend my time and energy roaming the lands to weed them out. That's NOT the premise that UO was presented with during the Alpha and Beta tests. More on that below.

Adding these things is not the action of a Dev Team "washing its hands of you" as you put it. Rather, they are the action of a dev team LISTENING. And the essays NOWHERE berate people for having problems. Rather, they argue in a rather academic and lofty way whether a paternalistic system is really the right thing long-term. They don't say "screw you, you're on your own" anywhere, and those who choose to see it that way are missing the point by miles.

DD, as the administrators of Ultima Online, like it or not, the task does fall to you to maintain the worlds. You should ask 3DO or Simutronics about the maintenance of a multiplayer system. In both Meridian 59 and Gemstone III, players are still called to point by the GameMasters. And your right, you do not say "screw you, you're on your own", but the sentiment comes across strongly in your posting. What is really boils down to is that you and the Dev Team of OSI want to turn over the game administration of UO to the players, but minus the tools that a GM would have. I'm still amazed at the 'Well, gosh, just because we designed it, created it, marketed it, sold it, and still charge you admission for it, you expect us to take care of it, too???' attitude.

So, if the players are to maintain UO, then why are they paying $9.95 a month to do so? Why then are there GMs and Counselors at all? And most importantly, if we, the players, are to make the judgement calls, why is there a Terms of Agreement within UO?

You cannot back away from your duties and responsibilities.

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