UO Cataclysm shard – first impressions, suggestions and review

Cataclysm – oldschool sphere-like shard with no-skillcap and a lot of interesting features. My first impressions is positive, I like this shard, it feels very close to golden sphere era. But:

1) some territories doesn’t have animals/monsters (to the north from Britain for example). It feels like world is a bit abandoned. I was GM at certain shards and know that it isn’t really hard to make more life in the world  Hope you would fix it )
2) monsters a bit too harsh, but for no skillcap its ok I suppose.
3) some skills are pretty hard to raise. I tried mining/smelting for a while and didn’t get ANY raise at my 32.1 skill. Maybe a bit too harsh? 
4) I’m not big fun of too bright decoration of buildings. It ok to have colorful armours, its cool for sphere. But its nice to have UO cities as they are imho  But its very subjective.
5) low population  its huge and quite empty world. what I could say – you need more adverts, guys. Very good server and small population  Strange. I suppose you could create referral program or smf like this to fill shards with players.

So… It was fun. I’ll stay close to look at the upcomming updates  It seems this shard is the only one good no-skillcap server atm, can’t find anything better 

I’ll make more streams soon, also at my english speaking channel 

Long-term RPG progression system: Ancient Skill Scrolls

I wanna suggest pretty new end-game skill gain system, quite different from quite well-known ‘power scroll system’ ( http://www.uoguide.com/Power_Scrolls ). Thisi dea inspired by existing ‘Skill Scroll system’ ( http://www.cataclysmuo.com/features/scrolls ).

The most important feeling while you play MMORPG game – feeling of your character progress. Currently we got pretty interesting ‘skill scroll system’ which gives possibility to gain all battle GMs in no time. It’s fun to have it – so newbies could catch up with old players and go PvE/PvP almost right after they start to play. But we got a gap cause of it – not much feeling of RPG progression in long-term perspective.

But actully common ‘power scroll system’ which used at most modern shards isn’t really change anything. People get 120′ skills by macroing pretty fast and it still do not give certain feeling of progress. Macroing killing feeling of RPG in UO so I suggest different approach:

1) add possibility to gain skills past 100, up to 120. 
2) the only way to be able to raise skill after 100.0 – to get special Ancient Skill Scroll; it’s similar to http://www.cataclysmuo.com/features/scrolls , but gives only +0.1 skill per use.
3) This scroll could be found only at High lvl monsters (like dragons, deamons & etc) with quite low ratio, like 1:5; also could be found at treasure chests and some other activities
4) Make this scroll stealable/lootable for more fun 

What it would give us?

1) almost endless character progression (you would need 200 ancient scrolls to max one skill; it’s killing ~1000 dragons).
2) newbie friendly system stay the same (you get all 100 skills pretty fast with current ‘Skill Scroll system’). Difference between 100 and 120 skill efficency (spell damage & etc) not really much, you could kill all end-game monsters and be successful in PvP with 100 skill.
3) it motivates players to hunt in deep dungeons and give awesome feeling of true RPG game.

Answer to a discussion. Era is important. But we need do not sit at one place forever, server has to go forward or players would eventually quit. 

What it would change to Era battle system? Nothing actually. PvE/PvP mechanics would be the same. This suggestion wouldn’t influence much at game balance, but would return RPG feeling, feeling of character progression, back to UO. The only progression which most of servers have – filling your house with rares. It’s pretty dull and that’s why people quit UO to return sometime later to a new server, where they getting RPG feeling again.

There is no feeling of RPG character progression. Without it MMORPG becomes MMOsimulator and players loose their interest pretty fast to it

Answer to a discussion. Thanks for active discussion. Let’s continue brainstorm!

First, I wanna answer some questions, which people asked in-game and discord:

1) “Is it ok to make such endgame stuff; maybe after a while new players would complain that veterans are too strong to compete with them?” 

It’s totally normal for UO to have end-game goals. For example, even at OSI there is not only 120 system, but also veteran stat system which gives you +5 stats each 6 months, up to 260 ( http://www.uoguide.com/Stats ). So any new player @ OSI got 225 stats when he starts to play; with vet bonuses it could eventually become 260. 35 more stat points – it’s 15% more stat points. And it doesn’t influence much at game balance, everyone happy with it (even with this, quite unfair, way to get this bonus).

So yes, it’s good to have end-game goals; they wouldn’t ruin game balance if implemented correctly; veteran players wouldn’t have too big advantage over newcommers. And also note, that it’s really end-game goals; players would achive them after veeery looong time.

2) “What skills are available to go to 120?”

Battle skills, which already exit in ‘skill scroll system’:

Archery
Fencing
Mace Fighting
Parrying
Swordsmanship
Tactics
Wrestling

Anatomy
Healing

Evaluating Intelligence
Magery
Meditation
Resisting Spells

In future it would be interesting to add there more skills, but for now it’s enough (content for several years of playing for regular player).

3) “how would scaling these skills work?”

We need to take into consideration that we don’t have skillcap, so 100 vs 120 skill has to be not too much difference or it would make too big impact at game balance. So I suggest to start with careful numbers, like ~7% (5-10%) bonus for 120 skill. How it would influence game?

Example: right now Flamestrike do ~50 dmg; with 120 magery+eval could to do ~55 damage VS 100 resist; and VS 120 resist spells’ it would be ~52. Changing not much, but still good to have extra bonus; it’s good motivation to continue playing, right? 

Of course, this will take a lot of time if we are to balance all skills to scale up to 120. The good thing there – it could be made ‘on fly’; this isn’t hardcoded and devs could reassign it anytime if there would be balance problems. It will be a big project for sure, but it will help keep players motivated. It’s would be not just another macroing paradise, but actually true adventure. Hunting monsters in UO it’s not just ‘grinding’; there would be a lot of PvP action around grind, so its perfectly interesting gameplay and unique situations, not just repetition like in most other MMORPGs.

Answer to a discussion. No gap there. It’s such small influence to the gap which already exist – when if newbie would fight guy in Moon Rock armour and top artifact weapons XD And nobody complains. Why? Cause most important thing in UO – your playing skill and coordination between players. It’s what matters, not +- 5 damage from flamestrike. If you know how to play – you would kill Moon Rock guy beign with iron 

Also, note that it would take soooo long for people to gain this skills; years actually. Power Curve wouldn’t get high fast this way. 

And another very important thing – this would make server very unique place; the only place with real RPG progression, not afk-macro-sparrying nonsense.

Newbie dungeon suggestions (UO Cataclysm shard)

I’m big fun of newbie gameplay – it’s my favorite time of the game in UO. It’s very important to give new player right UO feeling – feeling of freedom, huge opportunities of your character and endless variations of gameplay situations. Its all together gives special, UO-only emotions.

In my stream ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=296jiSpko9k ) recently I played in newbie dungeon mostly. What could I say:

Atm newbie dungeon is too big and wealthy, where you could spend too much time. For example, skeleton archer there drop 50 arrows, loads of gold, but hits not too much… And you are totally safe there from other players.

Newbie dungeon has to be place, where newbie players receive their 1st skills and learn how to fight. Just learn; not really fight a lot. But currently it could replace hunting ground for a lot of time (up to 2000 skill summ atm – it’s almost ENDLESS amount for average player). It’s quite dull to stay in newbie dungeon there without any danger to meet PK or fight to another players, but its very seductively to be safe all the time…

I’m not hardcore guy and not PK (actully anti-PK), but interaction between players is the most important part of UO. Currently new players stuck @ newbie dungeon for quite a lot of time without need to make REAL adventures – go to far dungeons with some dangers. Having such wealthy safe place really demotivates to make steps to REAL UO world… “Why to take risks and go somewhere if I’m safe in newbie dugeon and got loads of gold?”. Risk VS reward concept became broken… So I’m sure that quite big amount of players getting bored from newbie dungeon but didn’t started their way into real UO world and… quit.

I suggest very simple way to fix this problem:

Divide newbie dungeon up to two parts by building a SINGLE wall 

So there would be first (1) part of newbie dungeon – with entrance from Brit bank. Leave it as it is now; maybe even add 3-4 skeleton around, so newbies would be able to get bone armour. It would make this dungeon not so interesting for ‘experienced’ newbies so players would go to 2-part…

And there would be second (2) part (entrance only from Brit grave). Then newbie players would have to make at least some steps out from guard zone to get there. Also adjest some stuff in 2-part:

1) Add teleporter to Brit bank at the far corner of this dungeon. So newbie player has to come inside through BG only, but after he finish his adventures – he wouldn’t need to go back through dangerous BG entrance. It’s good for newbies, so reds wouldn’t wait them back with loot  PK would be able to kill you only on your way there.. It would make interesting gameplay situations – when newbie players has to group and ask experienced players to lead them to newbie dungeon, while reds could try to get them 

2) Make it possible to go to there only up to 600 summ. skills (real) – its more then enough for new players. 1-part leave as it is (2000). So after a while, new players has to go to BG or other hunting places, not stay forever in newbie dungeon. I suggest make more stuff around Britain – trolls, ettings & ogres at the north from Brit Grave all along the forest up to mountains – perfect area for newbies, hard for PKs to catch people among the trees there.

Players ladder by skills amount (UO Cataclysm shard)

There is already implemented perfect tool to check players: world.cataclysmuo.com/#players

I suggest to add ladder by summ. of skills. It would give players good motivation to play. Competition – it’s very important part of MMORPG and no-skill-cap server is perfect place to make such competition happen 

Why ladder is fun?
1) its a competition —> new emotions: venturous hazard, gambler’s high, excitement
2) its a new goal for players – stay online and raise skills as long as possible
3) its good for casual and new players – to see their goals more clear 
4) it give possibility to watch over another players progress 
5) and finally its perfect motivation to achieve something

For example:
It would be great to see that my 1351 skills character at 4919 place.. After I play one day more he would become 4796. Its good stimul to continue playing, to have some competition with other players.

Other possible ladders:
1) Gold amount. The most wealthy players around.
2) Top PKers (do not count res-kills)
3) …. suggest your own in this topic 

Capcha ideas (UO Cataclysm shard)

One of the things which make me love this server is capcha. It’s quite unique and very important features of cataclysm. Macroses killed UO, so if we could make pleople play less unattended – its for the good. Suggestions:

1) There is a way to make capcha input more fun and less annoying when you gather resources. Make it give award 2 platinum if you typed it succesfully  Not much difference in economy, but makes server better place.

2) I also suggest add capcha to more activities – like crafting and some other stuff (animal taming & etc). It would make server more unique place – less affected by macroses. I would even suggest add capcha for all skills, but I understand that too much people would be against it  So lets just try to add some more activities for now?

Making LJ interesting: rare wood and special resources

The most boring thing in UO…. Yes. It is. Chapping wood. But some people actually like it. Me, for example. Very meditative.

The only problem – there is no rare/colored wood to chop @ Cataclysm. We got 26 unique Ores to mine… But not a single unique Wood to chop :p

I suggesting to add some. It could be something like:

Common – 0
Ash – 30
Pine – 40
Yew – 50
Oak – 60
Mohogany – 70
Ebony – 80
Frost – 85
Blood – 90
White – 95
Magic – 100

11 types of wood would make LJ, bowcraft and carpentry much more interesting stuff 🙂 Make it certain AR or DMG bonuses.

Also add special resources from chopping trees which could b used in carpenty, alchemy & other crafting – like bark, fungi, parasitic plants, bright amber & etc

Appeal to PKers, griefers and other respectable folk – killing macrosers @ Brit bank

It’s very good if there would be a lot of people near Brit bank – it makes server alive. I personally try to macro there all skills. But today my char was killed there just after I went to sleep and I was staying as invisible ghost for whole night. It’s totally ok, town killing is big and fun part of UO.. But I wanna make a suggestion – do not kill AFK characters in Brit bank if they do not have anything valuable in inventory. More people in Brit bank – more life at server  

Dear PKers, you make our life much interesting. But please could you consider this suggestion until there would be more peoples around.

Either way players would macro far-far away in their houses or other cities and Brit bank wouldn’t be so populated.

Thanks.

p.s.
At the same moment I could advice all people who create macroses to add there possibility to use bandages if hp goes low and say guards if someone attacked you, something like

Assistant.Macros.IfAction|4|0|is attacking you!
Assistant.Macros.SpeechAction|0|23|3|NLD|2|16|7|Guards
Assistant.Macros.EndIfAction

Move vendors out from vendor mall?

Lets discuss an idea – to move vendors from vendor mall. This idea came from discussion at our discord channel. Lets think through this idea – how it would influence gameplay…

There could be some options:

1) move them out of vendor mall back to players houses

Why to move:
it will be very good for activity on shard, players will open up gates at bank to their houses, more players will have to go into the world, to get more adventures around

Problems:
Having vendor mall is very comfortable.. If I wanna buy something – I use vendor search to find vendor name and buy stuff emideatelly.
Everything at one place, it’s good for economy and price competitions. So moving vendors to houses would make shopping not so comfortable. If we would move vendors to houses – it would be much harder to find location of the shop at vendor search; i’ts not easy to figure out coordinates… 

At most of shards vendors are around gates, cause near the gate there is small area with guard zones. so.. Maybe make guardzone around gates? Then there would be plenty of places for new vendor houses. Make this guardzones smaller, then at other shards, so it would be more thrilling. But if we would do so – it would be big step to casuality.

2) move vendor mall to another place. I suggest to move vendor mall to big tower to the left from West Brit bridge so people have to go there through Brit bridge 

Or just leave everything as it is… What do you think, guys? 

Minor suggestions

1) snooping training made my newbie character perma-grey, so now I can’t train skills near Brit bank. I suggest to make carma drop rate from snooping much more less severe or move border of permagrey a bit down… Actually in most servers in UO you can’t go permagrey by snooping at all.
2) add fletcher tools: to bowcraft NPC to sell and to tinker skill to craft
3) add thief NPC possibility to train players remove traps and begging (curently there is not NPC for this skills it seems).

Platinum for staying online — more people @ Brit bank and more reds @ Safe Zone 

How to make Brit bank more populated? So there would be always a lot of people and activity; new players who just entered server would be amazed by “life” at server. It’s important index of activity – 10 players at the Brit Bank could make more impression at newbie than 100 people online who hidden in their houses. I suggest this two steps to concentrate population:

1) Make Brit Bank zone the ONLY place, where you receive Platinum for staying online, except red chars.

2) There are some red characters around. Why not to encourage them to stay online @ The Safe Zone, to make it more alive place? Lets they would receive Platinum for doing so. Life of red character is hard, so it’s quite fair to give them some break at The Safe Zone; either way they would hide in their houses around wilderness to get their Platinum or just create alt chars to stay AFK at Brit bank…

So currently we got such system:

You receive 50 Platinum per 24 hours of online time. Your character can earn Platinum anywhere in the world, besides the Safe Zone, Vendor Mall, or Casino.

Make it like this:

You receive 50 Platinum per 24 hours of online time for staying near Bank of Britain. If your character is red (murder) – then you would receive Platinum for staying at The Safe Zone

I can’t wait to see more people around in one place 

Got a feedback from devs  

Klysmos, thanks for a feedback  It’s pretty cool to see devs reaction at players suggestion!

Although I agree with your recommendations and it is best to promote more activity at britain bank the big problem is players get regularly killed idling at the bank and this is the biggest deterrent of idling there. With the various other ways of obtaining platinum (the daily event, paragons, events, voting), the risk of dying (losing fame, pvp points, anything you forgot to bank) and small selection of rewards on the platinum stone, more needs to be done to attract idling at britain bank. I’ve seen various players idle there, get killed (sometimes many days in a row), then seemingly get discouraged from idling there and not continue doing so. So long as there is an easy ability to kill players at the bank, it will be difficult to maximize idlers.

Although I macro-all-night pretty often there, I was killed near bank while AFK only once. After that I used simple razor macro to call guards and healing macro to heal with bandages @ bank box  Maybe someone tried to kill me after that – I don’t know – but they didn’t succeed 

So if platinum for ‘online-time’ would be accessible only @ Brit bank —-> there would be more players with such razor macro —-> guards would be called much more often —-> griefer would be tired of dying often —-> balance would be restored… As it was @ UO in long-long time ago:

It works like this – if there are a small amount of players — griefer could kill AFKers very easy. If there are a lot of players — it’s become much harder, almost impossible 

As for now – maybe there could be added NPC-priest, who would patrol around Brit bank and sometimes heal/cure closest players?

Only allowing red players to get platinum for idling at the safe zone is a good idea to promote more reds to go there to idle. I think this should also be extended to karma gray characters as well, as otherwise they could be killed freely in britain.

Good point!

In addition to what has been recommended, we could also think about how to increase activity at the bank overall even for non-idlers. I’m open to suggestions on this as well as how to not make it so easy to kill idlers at the bank.

Another suggestions to motivate people stay @ Brit bank (and ‘safe zone’ for PK/greys):

— Add ‘rest bonus’ (like @ taverns in WoW). For example, every hour at Brit bank adds ~1.5 min to your next ‘powerhour’ (so it would be 30 minutes total for 24 hours bonus); Lore aspect also quite logical – Britain is the heart of the world and you recharge you power faster there. Or different approach – just give 5% bonus to skillgain near bank 
— Add random raffle-like ‘lottery’ event with exclusive rewards – if you stay near Brit bank, every hour (or 24 hours?) there is a _tiny_ chance to get reward to your bank account. There could be several interesting rewards: collectibles, like rare coins, golden bricks, jewelery; and the most valuable reward – soulbound deeds for increase storage space at bank 

I do not agree with LobisomeM attitude, patch was pretty awesome and already gathered a lot of player activities 

But actually I also like to have _wide_ possibilities (without much restrictions) in Ultima Online and feeling of danger _everywhere_ is pretty exiting. As I wrote there, maybe sometime later it would be ok to ‘turn on’ small loophole in PKing near Brit bank, for example, give possibility to cast minor spells at players there – like fireball or poison… But at current situation I support devs decision – now it’s very crucial to fill-in more peoples to the shard. 

And of course, stealing is still possible at the bank and it’s huge part of UO spirit. 

So I hope when there would be more players around and it would be harder to PK at the bank (cause people call guards and heal/cure each other) – some protection could be lifted.. Again, wanna suggest giving possibility to cast minor spells 1-3 circle.. It’s even pretty logical in LORE way – small magic could be annoticed by guards, at the same time powerful magic bring their attention immediatelly.

What could I say. Very good job, devs!  Shard became better and better with every new update! Cheers! 

Cataclysm shard motto

Currently we got motto: “The Premier Old School Shard”

IMHO we could try too figure out something more unique, what would stuck in mind for long time 🙂 For example, UO Renaissance got nice – History Perfected. You wouldn’t forget it after you hear/read it.

I suggest something like: UO Cataclysm – “Truly sandbox experience” or “Real sandbox experience”.. We need to brainstorm at it. After we would have an idea – it would be fun to put it to the header at the website.

The most powerful advantage of shard – cata is the only oldschool no-skillcap shard with classic ruleset (not trammel) and sphere spirit. We need to give it in short moto… Maybe something like: “Oldschool. Sandbox. Real.”

So for now I got 3 variants:
Truly sandbox experience
Real sandbox experience
Oldschool. Sandbox. Real

Hm.. it’s a bit soapy too. Let’s try to get a rhyme:

“Cataclysm – UO beyond your dream”. Hm… not bad.

Please suggest more variants, lets brainstorm this! 😀

Voting @ UO resources (UO Cataclysm shard)

Suggestion considering voting for server @ xtremetop100.com , uogateway.com & other sources.

Nowadays there isn’t much motivation to vote. Make it like this:

“You get 5 platinum per vote for voting for server there.”

It would make great sense to vote and bring more people to server 

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