In This Issue
What We're Crafting
Ultima Online Live Development
State of the Service
by Anthony "SunSword" Castoro
Greetings! I'd like to take a few moments to tell you about what's in store for UO beyond the success of Ultima Online: Age of Shadows. First, I'll give you an update about Siege Perilous and Mugen. Then, we'll talk about Publish 18, which recently went live on all shards. I'll also introduce you to our newest team member, who will have a greeting in this newsletter as well. And finally, I'll give you a glimpse at the future of UO. Our long-term planning for the next two years is well underway, and I must say, we're extremely excited about the future of Ultima Online!
Regarding Siege Perilous and Mugen, it's likely those shards will have been updated with Age of Shadows by the time this letter reaches you. Due to the special rules on those shards, we felt it necessary to devote additional development time and testing before updating them. We do apologize for the delay, but we feel the extra time spent will be well worth it! Also worth noting, Siege Perilous will receive a substantial hardware upgrade before Age of Shadows is published to it.
The recent release of Publish 18 marks the beginning of a new, much more rapid update cycle for Ultima Online. It is the first in a new series of content updates, bug fixes, and game system revisions that will occur about every six weeks. Historically, we have done comprehensive publishes spaced very far apart, but shifting to more frequent and focused updates allows us to continuously improve Ultima Online in a more predictable way. This year will prove to be very exciting, as the UO Live Development team becomes even more interactive with and responsive to our community.
A detailed list of bugs fixed by Publish 18 can be found on the UO.COM Web site (here - link). Note that we don't list every bug fixed here, because some of them are exploitable, and we won't release information about them until after the fix for them is live on all shards. While we weren't able to address every bug in the game, we feel we've done a good job at addressing many important issues, as well as some minor irritations that were easy to fix. Our bug fixing efforts will be a significant focus in future publishes. If we weren't able to address a particular bug you were hoping we'd fix, please Let us know about it here. Other features in Publish 18 include some new wearable items and the AoS Launch Gift.
For Publish 19, we are planning on doing a lot more bug fixing, but there will be some cool features as well. There will be more updates on that in our next State of the Service Letter.
While we've done much of our high-level planning for the coming year, I've made it a policy to not discuss specifics of game design changes until we are mostly certain those changes will pass our Quality Assurance team's rigorous tests and actually be published. That said, our team does participate actively in community discussions about current game issues and upcoming game changes at the UO Stratics discussion forums. Expect to see many of the results of those discussions find their way into future publishes!
Finally, we have some changes within the team. First, please welcome Edgar Glowacki to the Live Development team. He is our newest client programmer and is quickly getting up to speed. Also, Tim "Alai" Schubert is in the process of transitioning to Associate Producer, but for now is splitting his time between being my right-hand and Lead Client Programmer. Also, Michael "Vex" Moore has taken on new responsibilities in managing the design team's work on the six week publishes, while Tom "Evocare" Chilton works on some more Longer-term plans for Ultima Online.
It promises to be an exciting and productive year for Ultima Online! We now have one of the tightest, most experienced development teams UO has ever seen, and we are dedicated wholeheartedly to improving and enhancing the service over the coming years.
Find out about all the events coming up on your shard!
Custom House Design Contest - Grand Prize Winner
They came, they designed, and they each left an impression in the minds of those that witnessed the artistry of their creations. What started as separate house design contests on 12 participating gaming sites and fansites, ended with 22 finalists representing the creative heart of the Ultima Online community. Choosing the grand prize winner was no easy task for the UO Development team, as each design was a true testament of the hard work and creative thought that was put into them. However, votes had to be cast and a winner chosen.
We are delighted to announce that the grand prize winner for the Custom House Design Contest is:
Sister Mary of the Sonoma shard, for her "Malas Mountain Village" entry (Design #7) from the UOWedding site!
Congratulations to Sister Mary! As the grand prize winner, she will receive the following:
We want to thank everyone that participated in the contest, especially the 12 hosting sites that did a wonderful job collecting, organizing, and voting on the many submissions they received. And we Look forward to bringing you more fun events and contests in the future!
UO Month at Select iGames Centers!
This summer, experience Ultima Online Like never before during "UO Month" at nine select iGames game centers across the U.S. and Canada, from July 14th through August 18th! Meet new friends and adventure in the wilds of Britannia together, or start up a new guild with people from your hometown. This is the perfect opportunity to forge new relationships and connect with the vast UO community! Keep your eye out for more information on http://www.uo.com.
New Advanced Character!
This month we will be introducing a new "Paladin" Advanced Character Template to the UO Power-Up services. Fight for the glory of Britannia™ with your new Paladin! UO Power-UP!
Grand Master Guides
GenCon 2003 and UO
We're going to GenCon! That's right; we'll be at this year's annual GenCon gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana, from July 24th to the 27th! Join us for three days of fast paced, two-on-two PvP tournament action and an after-hours player event at the Crown Plaza Hotel at 6PM on July 25th. Don't miss your chance to hang out with the UO Live team's Producer, Lead Designer, QA Lead, and several other key members from the UO Development team!
After-Hours Player Event
Join us from 6PM-11PM on Friday, July 25th in the Pennsylvania room at the Crown Plaza Hotel. A catwalk connects the two venues, so you'll never even have to go outside! Several members of the Development team will be on hand for a meet and greet, Q&A session, door prizes, and a "Future of UO" closing discussion, including: UO Live Producer Anthony "SunSword" Castoro, Lead Designer Micheal "Vex" Moore, Lead Content Designer Tom "Evocare" Chilton, along with many others. Chat with us, ask your most pressing UO questions, and then have a bite to eat at the after-hours player bash!
Two-on-two PvP tournament
Team up and battle it out against total strangers, bitter rivals, or even your best friends! Teams of two will face off every twenty minutes and duel to the death-virtual death, that is-and the winning teams from each day will go head-to-head with each other until only one team remains. Allies will then turn into adversaries as the winning pair will compete against each other and fight for ultimate supremacy and bragging rights! The runner-up in the PVP tournament will receive a UO t-shirt, copy of Age of Shadows, and six months of FREE UO Service! The grand prize winner will receive a UO t-shirt, a UO hat, copy of Age of Shadows, and a ONE YEAR FREE subscription to UO! We'll also be giving out plenty of goodies and swag, so stop by our booth at the 2003 GenCon gaming convention and say "Hi!" We'll see you there!
Visit www.gencon.com for all the news there is to know about GenCon 2003.
Player Event Anyone?
Need a place to host a player event or a meet and greet? Your local iGames center is the perfect place! Visit www.igames.org to find an iGames center in your area!
Do you have a hot tip, some cool advice, or a story that needs to be told? Send it to [email protected]. If we publish your entry, we will send you a 15-day FREE Game Time code!
This weeks Hot Tips from the team:
The new player quests can be both fun and profitable. When you complete our tutorial you'll not only be wiser in the ways of Britannia, you'll also have collected extra gold and loot along the way. - Sannio
Don't forget to insure your gear before adventuring into hazardous areas - Sannio
Want to start a new character but don't want to start over? Visit http://support.uo.com/advancedcharacter.html and you can choose from several Advanced Character templates that will help you get to where you want to be faster! - Evocare
Let your friend install Ultima Online using your Age of Shadows CD, then have your buddy go to www.uogamecodes.com and buy a Buddy Registration code. With this code, they can begin playing alongside you today! - Binky