Nostalgia vs Reality

With all this recent talk from diehard nostalgia blogs about UO, it makes you wonder what game they were and should be playing. I mean if you’re willing to pirate an IP, why are you not playing the legit client?

If you removed the trammel/felucca split from UO today, would the game be different? Would the PvE folks who were camped for 4 years somehow decide to come back? I loved UO, even with its faults. I made a LOT of money selling plots of land and characters. The latter was a time investment, the former was a clear limitation due to squatter’s rights. I’m sure I could have made a business of flipping houses on eBay.

UO had 95% of the game right. Sadly, that 5% remaining was a core concept of the game that failed in execution – murderers and consequence. There is a very, very good reason UO subs dropped like a rock when EQ came out. Probably related to the fact that EQ had only a smidgen of PvP compared to the massive push on PvE. EVE is a great example where even the PVP aspect is only consumed by a tiny (though vocal) minority.

This sort of bleeds into the WAR debate of what was done right vs what was done poorly. A lot was great but the portions that mattered were done poorly. SWTOR is the same, where the obvious investments actually had next to no long term appeal. The only themepark that has had any success in the subscription model is Trion and I’ll assume this is due to their business model of aiming for a small sub count. I mean if you’re aiming for a million, then you need to offer WoW. If you’re offering that, why would someone from WoW swap years of investment? Aim small and build rather than aiming big and tearing down.

Would UO have been better with consentual PvP? Griefing would have still happened certainly. With more punative costs to “murderers”? This would have potentially deterred most. If UO Forever, which is played by admittedly more hardcore players, is unable to contain their “murderer” problem, then what possible hope did the game ever have?

Nostalgia is one thing. Actually seeing the patch notes show that the core problem from 10 years ago still exists should be enough to finish the point.

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