Well, it has been almost a month since I last spouted off about UO. During this month, I have logged in approximately… uhh… 3 times. Once to see if the keep on Hokuto was still standing (it is). Once on Atlantic to get a screenshot of my paperdoll for Ra. And once to check out Siege Perilous. Well, actually I had to log onto SP about 4 times because of all the crashing, but more about this later.

During this month, as no doubt you have discerned from my constant gloating and other section of the site, I have been blowing tons of time in the Asheron’s Call beta, which I have been enjoying a hell of a lot. Of course, I keep reading other sites about UO even when I’m too disgusted to play it, and so heard a lot more crap, which I kept thinking of commenting on, but (1) there was never enough material to make up a really substantial rant, and (2) I would just be parroting some other guy who got the news before me. Well, that’s what I do anyway. However, since J. had to go and plug my site as a rant site, I’ve decided that I should toss a bunch of worthless junk together and pretend it’s a rant. Then I can go back to reading Sluggy Freelance with a clear conscience.

Aside from the normal bits and pieces of UO that make it suck as a whole (various tales of GM abuse, counselors getting new powers that then get abused, stormtrooper anti-macroer mass bannings, etc.), the thing which most people were talking about was the new shard Siege Perilous. The SP saga has been very adequately covered by sites like Lum’s and Dr. TwisTer’s. In order to get my thoughts together on this one, let me summarize the history of this latest colossal fuckup real quickly (I’m sleepy)…

Good Stuff
OSI put up a "veteran shard", Siege Perilous, which had 1 character per account, no stat loss for reds, triple prices on all NPC goods, vendors don’t buy anything from you. Everyone was happy. People were reactivating accounts and moving to SP full time before it was even up. The first weekend, by all reports, was amazing… "UO the way it was meant to be" was a familiar expression.

Bad Stuff
The GM’s were out on a macro witch hunt like no one could believe. People were suspended and banned for going to the bathroom without logging out first (of course, this was according to them, but there are too many reports like this to ignore). As always, GM’s refuse to listed to anyone. FUCK YOU DATURA. I don’t even think Datura was on SP, but I feel good whenever I say that.
A really old and never fixed bug that allowed people to gain tinkering rapidly with almost no material investment became an issue, as everyone needed things that tinkers courld make, but no one could afford to buy it in a shop. Everyone’s tools began to break too quickly, which required them to jump through all sorts of hoops to replace their papier-maché chopping axes, hammers, shovels, sewing kits, whatever. Macro tinkers flourish even more.

Completely Retarded Stuff
In their continuing delusion that macroing is the source of all of UO’s problems (instead of the natural byproduct of the real issues), OSI implements a series of truly bizarre limitations, i.e. skills that do not take resources now use stamina or mana instead. Hide, lose 10 stamina. Use anatomy, lose 10 stamina. Besides that fact that this makes no fucking sense at all, it messes up gameplay a lot, since the fact that people are all newbies who are supposedly not macroing means that people have very little stamina to toss away while trying to figure out how to use the anatomy skill. Gaining lore skills become as tiring for the character as they were tiresome for the macroless player.
Also, completely out of the blue, it was announced that stats would have different effects on combat abilities. For instance, your fighter’s ability to swing a heavy object at something else and bash it were going to be affected by intelligence. Casting times for mages were going to be affected by dexterity. Health was going to be modified by intelligence and dexterity. No one asked for this, and it was unthinkable who would think these ideas made any sense at all.
The next day, after message boards everywhere are spammed with messages concerning OSI’s retarded approach, Runesabre announces that the stamina/mana drains will be removed. Instead, non-resource skills will now be limited to gaining based on time, therefore making the skills even more tedious to raise, more tiresome to deal with, and above all, more in need of macroing. Good idea.
Also bowing to the numerous caring observations that the ideas regarding stats and combat were thought up by some lobotomized fuckwit chimpanzee, the stat changes were removed as well. Players waited expectantly for the announcement that cooking skill would soon determine the damage of an energy bolt, and damage taken from weapons would be modified depending on what resolution your Windows desktop was set to.
One day, the SP players logged in to see an in-game survey which asked them their opinion on a shard wipe. This was immediately notable because the dev team had obviously put more effort into getting this stupid survey to work than they ever had put into fixing a real problem. The players had been told previously that the shard would not be wiped unless there was a really serious issue. At this time, the only real issues (besides the usual shitty support, loser players, and constant disconnects) were the tinkering thing (which should have been fixed years ago and could be handled now with a lowering of tinkering skills, pissing off only some of the players) and the fact that GM’s were macroer-hunting nazis. The poll results were 53% against a wipe, 47% for a wipe.
OSI decided to wipe the shard anyway.

I can’t really think of anything to say on the matter personally that I haven’t said a billion times before, or that every other rant site in the universe hasn’t gone on about. I feel sorta bad for the players who were tricked into playing on Siege Perilous, who were so excited at all of these really good ideas that were being implemented that they played like fiends, working hard to gain skill without macroing in a house. Players who re-activated their accounts to get in on the SP experience, whose entire guilds planned to move over to the great new shard. Players who were, not surprisingly, screwed hard by the support staff, seemingly randomly generated engine modifications, unannounced changes to the shard… all the things that make UO the experience it is today.

As far as people being lied to by the game administrators… come on! Siege Perilous is supposed to be a "veteran shard". A veteran of UO should know by then that he is going to always be lied to by the GM’s, the game will change up on him without warning, and nobody at the company feels accountable. Hey, how’s that good/evil system going? Can’t wait to get in and start playing with Necromancy. It should be really interesting by now, since it was announced way back when Everquest was coming… oh, not done yet? What a shock that is. Well, I’m sure it wasn’t just a marketing ploy played when OSI was soiling themselves at the prospect of the EQ release. I hear they’re going to make another announcement about it when Asheron’s Call goes public.

My own Siege Perilous experience consisted of logging in with a newbie before the shard was to be wiped (I knew about it at the time), running around like a moron, fighting a few skeletons, and losing connection 4 times in the space of 15 minutes. Wow do I miss UO.

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