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May 15, 2001

Opinions from Sage

Sage posted to the Ultima e-mail list of Yahoo!Groups what I felt was a compelling insider's view of why some coding events in UO's past were needed and enacted. He brings up PKing, stat loss, the "need" for Trammel, responsibility for one's actions, player justice, the "easy escape" of Recall, and much more related matters. The post is long, so we've posted it into the Freeborn Press message board, here. Feel free to make any relevant comments you wish into that post's thread. Below is the first few paragraphs, to hold you over while the message board loads:

Stat loss. Those two words strike fear into the heart of every PK in the game. To understand why stat loss was put into the game, you need to analyze the past of Ultima Online in an objective manner.

Originally, the ability to kill an opponent in UO was a way for the players to police themselves. It was a survival of the fittest plan, where those people who bothered you could be killed by you. However, you could also be killed by people you weren't bothering, or kill people who weren't bothering you. The system did not try to divine intent, which is impossible for a game to do.

Those who did not wish to be killed could stay in towns, which were basically safe areas. The problem, of course, was that towns were not very interesting places. Other than buying things from the NPC vendors, the only thing to do in town was bank. Even the bank was a paranoia zone, because while murdering was outlawed in towns, sneaky thieves could steal with very little worry of being caught. Players were more wide-eyed and paranoid than a mob stool pigeon on crack in the Sopranos house. At that time, you had to yell "guards" for a thief to be caught, unless an NPC noticed it and yelled for you. Thus many people created the macro "Vendor, buy, bank, guards!" Even towns weren't safety zones, and UO was basically a PvP world.

So what did a PvP world really mean? Basically, it boiled down to might makes right. As most of you know, in UO, might is equal to time. The time you invest in your character usually means your character will become better (usually being the operative word, since some people don't spend their time on character growth). Thus those with more time to spend in the world could pretty much beat on (gank / r0xx0r) those who spent less time in the world, or those just entering the world. This, of course, created some pretty severe problems. As the game matured, you started to whittle down your playerbase because new players could not join the game without spending a majority of the time looking at a screen with more black and white than the first season of Gilligan's Island. Some new players were tenacious and willing to stick it out, but many weren't. Even older players got tired of getting beat on because they could not exact retribution.

Posted by Nobody at May 15, 2001 5:18 PM

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