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2000-10-26: Comments from Sage
Comments from Sage
Oct 26 2000 2:32PM
This was originally posted to Development at uo.com. 
I have written a few Comments from the Team in the past, but many people still do not know who I am, or what I hope to accomplish in the role of Lead Designer. I would like to go over what some of my beliefs are, and reveal a little about myself.
As a designer I feel strongly about discovery. While I want every player to understand their world, I don't want to reveal everything about the game. I don’t like changing important rules and things players need to know, but I believe the landscape should be littered with new discoveries. I feel it is important that fresh things be put into the game, and I believe that sometimes it is the “little things” that make the game rewarding and encourage social interaction. This is not to say that major systems should be ignored, certainly Ultima Online has its share of new “systems” with factions, veteran rewards, and a few things I won’t discuss yet, but we want to keep the world full of new and exciting things on an ongoing basis. Sometimes small things work better, such as glacial staves, monster nets, gargoyle’s pick-axe and slayer weapons. Have all the opposing forces on slayer weapons been discovered yet?
Just as I don't want to confuse people by making major rule changes without properly giving them the information, it is important that the game reacts as people expect. Therefore I feel it is in the best interests of the game that we focus much of our efforts on addressing bug fixes and correcting balance issues. We are committed to removing long-standing issues in the game while introducing as few new issues as humanly possible. For the game to continue to grow, it must have a stable foundation and feel like it has clear rules. Ultima Online needs this continuity.
I also believe in rewarding good behavior whenever possible, and that means defining good behavior. I feel it is very important for people to come away with a good feeling about their play experience and how they played. I also believe that the rewards you accumulate should be visible. These rewards should come from your peers as well as the game. In fact, I believe that peer rewards may hold more value to many players than in-game accolades.
Now, we come to a question not so much about my beliefs, but about two things that have been discussed in the past, necromancy and alchemy. Often I have people write in to ask about the status of these two items. I would like to state, for the record, that the current team has no intention of putting in necromancy or adding significantly to the extant alchemy skill. When looking at these objectives, we do not believe that these are the most important things that we as a team should be concentrating on. We have to look at what we can add to Britannia to make it the best experience possible, and these simply were not high on our list.
This brings me to the question of where the team wants to go in the future, if not there. I am always hesitant to discuss future plans, as I understand how difficult it can be to deliver on expectations. It is very important that the concentration of our efforts lie in the areas that are important to all of our players, or certainly the majority. We want to continue to build upon this world, and make it more interesting and better for everybody, and that means we have to be responsive to your feedback. We hope to continue concentrating on these efforts through Melantus and co. I honestly believe that the next few months will be the most exciting months ever in UO history, and I hope to see you at the World Faire.
Lead Designer, Ultima Online