Five on Friday - November 30, 2007

"Why is the weapon special Frenzied Whirlwind so much worse than regular Whirlwind? Is it bugged?"
It's not bugged - it's doing exactly what it's supposed to do, which is 3-5 Physical damage, twice (which goes up against Physical resist, which is why people are only seeing 1-2 damage.) However, for the mana cost, that seemed... slightly silly, so Wilki gave it a substantial boost (to 20-50 for two ticks) which should make it actually useful. (You should see this change in the next publish, usual caveats about QA applying.)


"Why was the Bag of Sending nerfed?"
The short answer is, to curb inflation. The longer answer involves some metaphors, so bear with me a moment.

UO's economy was designed on the "faucet/sink" model. Imagine a faucet that pours gold into the world. Now imagine various drains - "gold sinks" - that the gold flows away into. The goal of the system is for the level of gold in the world to remain approximately even, and that's done by adjusting the rate of the flow in and the size of the drains out.

In UO, the "faucets" are the various NPCs that give players gold - monsters you can loot, escorts or quests that give gold as a reward, etc. The drains are any NPC or system that takes gold away from players - the insurance system is a big one, as are player vendor fees. (Player-to-player trades are NOT sinks - moving the gold around within the world doesn't change the overall amount of money in it.)

The Bags of Sending were increasing the rate of flow of gold from monster loot - that faucet was pretty much cranked as wide as it would go. This has been overwhelming the drains and increasing the amount of money in the world, which lowers the actual value of gold - this is what economists mean by "inflation." Changing the Bags of Sending to make farming for gold less profitable will slow down that flow and hopefully slow down the rate of inflation - which will raise prices in the short run but lower them substantially in the long run, as the drains pull money out of the world and the actual value of gold goes up.

Now, MMO economics are far from an exact science, and the system will no doubt require further tweaking, but this is a step in the right direction.


"Why did you slow down the spawn rate in Felucca?"
First of all, let me apologize for not putting this in the patch notes - it was one of the ones that slipped by us. We actually didn't change the spawn rates themselves - what we did is fix a bug that was causing champ spawns to accelerate the spawn on the entire subserver. This was causing spawns that were much (up to 8x!) faster than intended, in any area that had a champ spawn.


"What's the current state of the Magincia invasion?"
The invasion is building to a final peak - the rifts that were once moongates will begin to throw off huge bursts of power, and finally the incredibly powerful beings commanding the invading forces will appear. The defenders will have one last shot to defeat them and save the city, and it won't be easy. The final battle will begin in the next 24 hours, and you'll only have two days to achieve victory, or else Magincia will be lost. Sharpen your swords, repair your armor, and gather your wits, because the last battle for Magincia is upon us!


"I hear some of my favorite devs aren't moving - what's going on?"
I'm going to miss CatHat something awful, myself - and I'm just as broken up that we're losing Wilki too. But I'm consoled by the fact that I still have TheGrimmOmen and Leurocian to keep me company, and the Master of Disaster hasn't run out of things to blow up yet. We're losing some great people, no doubt about it - but we're keeping some great ones, too, and I have every confidence that UO will come out of this move stronger and better than before.

What does this mean for you, in practical terms? A couple of things:

  • The next six weeks or so are going to be fairly slow, patch-wise. This is less for personnel reasons than because we have to back up, box up, and ship all the computers involved with making a patch clear across the country. We have quite a few lovely quality-of-life changes in the can, but you may or may not see them until January.
  • This does NOT mean you won't be getting your holiday gifts! Expect those to be given out between December 15th and January 15th.
  • We will be hiring - if you're interested in getting into the games industry, or if you're in it and want to be involved in UO, keep an eye our for job postings. I'll keep y'all updated when I have more specific details.
  • Other names of devs you might recognize who are staying on the project - SupreemEA the Master of Code and Prince of UI, Mesanna the Infinitely Wise, Stormwind the Ancient and Undying, and Serado, Lord of the Bugs.
  • The Five on Friday will be a little different for a while - see the next post for details.


The Five on Friday is going to be mutated for a while - here's the scoop:
Since the developers who help me research all y'all's questions are moving across the country over the next several weeks, the Five on Friday is going to change a bit. Some weeks I may do questions like always, some weeks it may be new documents added to the website, or historical tidbits that I've dug up, or whatever I can come up with to keep y'all entertained and informed. Suggestions for things you'd like to see that do NOT require someone to go digging through the game code are more than welcome at the usual place.

The FoF should return to its regular pattern mid-January-ish.


It's been a long, frantic week, but the end still came too fast. Ave atque vale, my departing friends. Don't be strangers now, y'hear?

- Jeremy

See Also