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February UO Newsletter E-mail
Saturday, 25 February 2006
This Ultima Online newsletter begins with some presentation from the new Producer, Aaron “Darkscribe” Cohen, and goes on giving informations about events and the new tokens to change name and gender.

New Year, New Team, New Producer, New Ideas

Have you ever wanted a job so bad that you’d literally beg for it, down on your knees, hands clasped in front of you, pleading in your eyes? Have you learned the true meaning of the phrase: “Be careful what you wish for?” I can honestly answer both questions with a hardy “yes-in-freakin’-deed.”

So here I am, the new producer of Ultima Online, after eight years of working for Electronic Arts in various ways, as a PR director, marketing director, E3 demo monkey, screenshot taker, the press tour guy, the ad copy guy, party thrower, ninja, press release scribe, Powerpoint giver, coffee runner, and once, voice actor. (I did a bad Sean Connery impersonation in the expansion pack for Command & Conquer: Tiberian Sun.)

It took me eight years, but I’m finally doing what I’ve always wanted to do, working with artistic and technical wizards to build worlds, or in this case, make a world better. I sit in meetings all day and marvel that we get paid to talk over and argue about topics ranging from world building to swing speed to immersion to how much treasure should a dragon drop when hit in the head.

And I’m not the only new face. There is a whole new Ultima Online Live Team that you’ll be getting to know over the next few years. We’re a mix of old guard and new blood, war weary vets and bright-eyed young recruits who can’t wait to jump into battle.

The new Live Team lead engineer is Randy Eichman, a seasoned game vet with one of the most impressive resumes imaginable. If you want to build a client-server game, Randy is one of the first guys you’d hire.

Our new Live Team lead designer is someone you already know, Tim “MrTact” Keating. Tim was a pure engineer mere weeks ago, but now he is officially the creative visionary for all things UO Live. He’ll still code here and there, but these days he’s mostly the official director of fun for UO.

We, a growing team, are deep into planning out the next two years, mapping out what we want to do and how we’re going to do it. We’ll be talking about our full plan for 2006 in upcoming website posts, newsletters and live town hall meetings. There are a couple things I can say about the near future:

  1. Pub 40, due out in April, will be chock full of PvP changes, fixes and perhaps a new feature or two. It is officially “The PvP Publish,” though some things we want to do could take multiple publishes. MrTact and the PvP Strike Team have been plotting for a few weeks now, and the plan they’ve put together is looking good. More news on that soon.

  2. Throughout the year, our goal, our guiding motto, the slogan that will be tattooed to our forearms, is this… “More reasons to log in, more often.” That means we’ll be alternating between a variety of projects each publish, sometimes introducing new features or content, sometimes addressing old concerns. Dramatically improving PvP definitely qualifies as a “reason to log in” as do a new series of in-game events that the Community Team is putting together with help from the GM and EM teams. Those will be coming very soon.

So, thanks for playing Ultima Online, thanks for staying with us, and thanks ahead of time for all the feedback and ideas you’re going to give us. We’ve got some big surprises in the works.

If you are wondering what happened to Lady Lu, she’s taken on a much bigger, more important role. She became a mother a few weeks ago to a beautiful, bouncing future UO player. She is an amazing producer and I hope I bring as much energy, discipline and smarts to the job that she did.

Cheers!

- Aaron “Darkscribe” Cohen

 

Strange and curious happenings in the world

Over the course of the next few weeks you will begin to notice small and mysterious changes in Sosaria. People will begin acting strangely and monsters will become allies. Odd buildings will appear seemingly out of nowhere and deserted ones will become populated once more. What is behind all of this? What kind of wizardry is being cast throughout the lands? These events are being fashioned by several members of the community, CRM, and QA teams. A couple times a week there will be a different small event happening on each shard (excluding Japanese shards) ranging anywhere from town invasions, new small dungeon crawls, odd characters and so on. These events can and will be what you expect and the farthest thing from it.

We have been conducting some of these events on the test center shards over the past few weeks with great success. Once all of the kinks have been worked out, we will be moving these events to the production shards.

One concern many citizens have voiced in the past was not knowing about the events, to alleviate this, we will try announcing the events in many different ways to see which one works the best without causing harm to the service. We will use the patch message, webpage, in game bulletin boards, town criers and more in theme techniques such as books and NPC’s building up to the event.

Here are a couple of highlights from the recent events on test center:

A mysterious new dungeon appeared outside of Britain.








A crazed mage named Sos Scrofa kept mumbling something about pigs.








And the evil Glacier wreaked havoc from the Britain Graveyards to East Britain.









This is just the beginning. Stay alert for info on events taking place on your shard very soon!

 

Local Town Hall Meeting

They’re Back! It’s a bit like the scene in Poltergeist where the little girl turns slowly and says “They’re Back…” only much less scary and with a lot fewer ghosts.

Join your favorite members of the Ultima Online Development, Community, Marketing, QA, and CRM teams on March 2nd for a good ol’ Town Hall meeting at the Redwood City EA Campus.

We will discuss the current state of UO with Darkscribe and get a demo of the new PVP changes that MrTact is working on. There will be pizza, beverages and a Q&A session for all to enjoy!

Go to uo.com/townhall.html for all the details!

 

Name and Gender Change Tokens - March 2nd!

Did you choose the wrong gender when rushing through the character creation process? Did you pick a silly name that you thought was cool at the time? Have you betrayed a friend in game and need to escape? Well your chance to easily rectify all of those is almost here!

Beginning March 2nd you will be able to purchase Name Change and Gender Change tokens from the uogamecodes.com online store for $19.99 each! But wait! Due to popular requests we are going to offer a Name and Gender Change Package for $34.99!

Please keep in mind that the 8th Anniversary Items will be going away in order to offer you the name and gender change tokens at uogamecodes.com.

Head over to the Gender Change and the Name Change pages on UO.com for all the details.

 

 

 

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