Five on Friday - August 15, 2008

"How do I get access to the Crystal and Shadow housing tiles? I can't find it on"

The Crystal and Shadow tiles are only accessible to players who have the 9th Anniversary box - which is very hard to find right now. Furthermore, the actual housing tile tool tells you to go get it on, but... it's not there! This is something we're actually working on - the message isn't lying to you, it's just early. At some point in the foreseeable future, you'll have a way to get access to those tiles without having to raid the back room at Gamestop.


"Why do I not get Compassion for doing escorts in New Haven?"

This was a change that went in as part of Publish 54 that was apparently unclear, as we've been getting a lot of bug reports on it - for the record, those escorts are not currently intended to give Compassion. This is actually consistent with the original design for Compassion, as the New Haven escorts are not particularly challenging (you can see the original design here.)


"Why did my bonded pack animal disappear after I logged off?"

QA has been getting bug reports on this, and wanted to bring it up. Pack animals do NOT auto-stable if they have items in them - bonded or not. In order for the animal to auto-stable, the packs must be completely empty. Otherwise, the pet will stay in the world, losing loyalty and eventually going wild, if it doesn't get killed first.


Thieves' Guild Bug Update

QA is still trying to find the cause of this bug - we haven't gotten a reproducible case yet. We are continuing to work on it, and please do continue sending in bug reports with as much info as you can - if we can find a common thread, we should be able to pin the bug down.


[insert question about the new plants here]

Since the new plants are Sakkarah's babies, she's collected the questions you've been asking about them and written up a comprehensive response. Enjoy!

Why can’t we cross-pollinate the plants?

"The plan had been to allow cross-pollination but, after looking into it, a number of factors made me decide against it. First, drafting the right cross-pollination chart for this many new plants would require a significant amount of time. But assuming we had delayed publishing these additions to draft that chart, we would then meet issue #2: Art. I actually took a stab at the chart, but aside from a handful of the new plants, there is no possible logical correlation between the existing plants and the new ones. By no stretch of the imagination would combining an existing plant to one of the new seeds result in another one of the new plants. In order to get that 5th generation, new art would be required which isn’t possible at the current time."

Why not make them a separate set of plants that can cross-pollinate within that set?

"This was a valid suggestion but the issue is the same. Many of the new plants have nothing in common with each other and no cross-pollination chart would make sense. I suspect this was one of the reasons they weren’t added in the first pass to begin with. Again, this is a case of new art required..."

Why don’t the plants self-pollinate to produce seeds?

"This was a design decision. While the code is complex (way more than just telling it new vs. old), it wouldn’t take too much time to allow the plants to produce seeds. However, since these plants cannot cross-pollinate or give resources, if we allow them to produce seeds the market will be flooded with the most desirable plants within 3 to 4 weeks. And in 2 months from now, only a handful of people will bother with the plants anymore and definitely nobody will be hunting the seeds as everyone and their brother will have tons in store already. By limiting their availability and randomizing the drop of the seeds, it will make the most desirable plants rarer and thus more valuable while also expanding the life span of this mini-game."

Rare seeds (bonsai) didn’t retain our attention too long. Why would these be any different?

"From the start, the interest in the bonsai, because of the art type, was doomed to have a limited life span. There was really only 1 new plant (the bonsai) which came in 4 slightly different shapes and colors, all meant mostly as indoor-type décor that you would place on a table. Its small size also didn’t allow for much creativity in use. The seeds for each bonsai were also uniquely labeled so you knew immediately which one of the bonsai you were getting, which isn’t the case with the new plants. Aside from the cocoa tree (fragrant seed), all 15 other plants will have the same seed name (peculiar seed). Most people will have less than 5 bonsai in their houses but will have an insane number of the other bigger decorative plants which can be used to shape original gardens. The new plants are mainly outdoors plants and I can promise you that in most cases, you will want way more than one of each type."

Are you saying I only have 1 chance out of 16 of getting the seed I need?

"Not quite, but each time will indeed be a dice roll. There are 12 different monsters that will spawn the seeds. The plants and monsters have been divided into 4 groups: Monster Group A, B, C and D each count 3 monsters, then we have Plant Group 1 to Plant Group 4 that each contains 4 new plants. All 12 monsters will spawn fragrant seeds, but monsters of Group A will also spawn the peculiar seeds from Plant Group 1, while monsters of Group B will also spawn the peculiar seeds from Plant Group 2 and so on. So basically, when hunting monsters from Group A, you have 1 chance out of 5 of getting a specific plant from Group 1. Ditto for any Monster Group and their matching Plant Group. Note that you will never get a Group 1 seed from a Group B monster, etc."

Which monsters do they drop on and what’s the drop rate?

"You will have to figure out which monsters they spawn on! But I can tell you they will spawn on 3 creatures that dwell in the Tokuno Islands, on 1 bug-type creature, on 1 creature found in Despise (among other places), on 1 swamp creature, on 1 undead, on 1 humanoid spellcaster, on 1 arachnid, on 1 karma sensitive creature in Ilshenar, on 1 a compact-sized creature and last but not least, on 1 creature that lurks in the Twisted Wealds. The drop rate is 50% chance there will be no seed, 15% chance of a fragrant seed and 35% chance of a random peculiar seed."

So now my crafter is forced to hunt?

"You can hunt them yourself or buy your seeds from hunters, except for the Cocoa Tree that will produce seeds and resources. Some of the monsters will be difficult for crafters, but some others will be reasonably accessible to less combat-oriented characters."

Why are we not getting some of the plants we wanted?

"The plants had been selected long before this was ever made public. But despite that, after reading the comments/wishes on the boards, I can assure you that the majority of gardeners will be very pleased with some of the new plants. That said, if you look at the Inside UO art files, you can see that a lot of plants (mainly trees) are in 2 pieces (bare tree, leaves). In order to give you such plants, we would need to make them into a deed or get new art. So for the purpose of gardening, these plants are excluded. Which means, sorry folks, there will be no pine tree. :P"

Why are these plants only available in plain colors?

"Because after testing what they would look like rehued same as the colored plants from the original set, I didn’t want to be held responsible for a worldwide eyesore epidemic."

Why are there no additional resources from these new plants aside from the Cocoa Pulp?

"Adding new plants wasn’t in the planning. Could there and should there be new resources? Absolutely! Adding them to the system isn’t overly complex and could possibly happen at some point in time. Some pretty cool ideas were thrown out there on the forums. But this honestly isn’t on the radar at the moment and you guys will understand better what we’re so busy with at the next Town Hall!"

So what are the new plants?

"I’m soooooooo NOT telling you! (yes, I’m a tease :D). But seriously, when gardening first came out, the most fun I had was eagerly waiting for my babies to make their entry in the world. Would it be a boy? A girl? Would it look like Mom or Dad? Whose eyes? Hair? You get the drift... The speculation is half the fun!"


Now Hiring!

We're looking for someone to be our new Associate Game Designer. Here's the job description and requirements:

  • Main responsibilities: Contribute significantly to game fiction, manage events, balance gameplay, and develop content using proprietary scripting tools.
  • Understanding and or knowledge of Ultima Online game mechanics, history, and community interaction a definite plus.
  • Experience as a Game Master, Counselor, Seer, or Event Moderator for Ultima Online a bonus.
  • 2+ years experience playing Ultima Online
  • Position requires dependable and relevant inputs to current state of the game, as well as contributing to future development of the game experience
  • Gives inputs to other members of the team to enhance gameplay for the current subscriber base
  • Due to the demanding scripting system surrounding Ultima Online, the designer must have expansive knowledge of scripting languages and have the ability to produce samples of work using similar tools.
  • Level editing experience and module creation using open source gaming engines (Infinity, Unreal 2.5 or 3, Doom, Source, Aurora Toolset).
  • Background or exposure to game development processes in the industry
  • Essential to have experience working in small teams of 4-6 people.
  • 3DS Max experience preferred
  • 2+ years in the game industry and/or gaming school preferred
  • Can demonstrate understanding of game design concepts to include flow, decision making, engaging storyline, and integration of art and sound

If you're interested in (and qualified for) this position, please send your resume to jdalberg AT ea DOT com and I'll put it in the right hands right away! Also please note, the position is in Fairfax, VA.


What's To Come:

There's been a bit of a change in the schedule. In order to make sure everything that is going in to Publish 55 is as good as it can be, we're delaying it by about two more weeks and rolling the content from Publish 56 in with it. This means that you do have an extra couple of weeks to finish up any Spring Cleaning you need to do, and we'll be giving more details out as we get the last kinks worked out. I've seen what is coming, and I can say with confidence that it's going to be worth the wait.


Town Hall News:

The Seattle Town Hall is much on our minds - will you be there? Check out the details here and please do RSVP.


Fansite News:

UOGuide has some news and links of interest:

UOGuide has achieved another milestone: 4,000 pages! We would like to thank the many members of the UO community who have contributed to UOGuide over the past year and a half that helped us get to where we are today. We would also like to invite all in the UO community to contribute as we begin our trek toward 5,000 pages!
For those visiting UOGuide, be sure to check out the following sections:
Spring Cleaning 2008 - Get details on the latest turn-ins
Royal Council Massacre - Get tips and walkthroughs for the latest events
Five on Friday - Check out our full archive of all the Five on Fridays, including the one you're reading right now!

KR players and modders, here's one for you!

Kingdom Reborn Modders Exchange now open!
With help from Zym Dragon and Dermott of LS, Illandril has completed work on Modders Exchange, a Subversion/Trac site for Kingdom Reborn modders and custom UI users. Modders Exchange aims to take what is already capable through and the various forums in the UO community, and expand upon it to make it much easier for KR mod authors to collaborate with each other, distribute their skins to other players, and get feedback in the form of bugs and enhancement requests from those who use their skin.
The Subversion end of things provides a version control system to make it easier for modders to work together on the same skin, for a single modder to keep track of their own previous work on a skin, and for mods in an untested state to be easily obtained by those willing to test before a zipped release is provided for the general population.
The Trac end of things provides bug, enhancement request, and other task tracking. If a non-modding player wants something added to a specific skin, they can open up a bug or enhancement about it; if a modder wants help from another modder to solve some problem, they can open up a task for them; if a modder wants to make a note for themselves to complete something, they can open up a task for themselves.
There is also a small wiki with various details to help users, a basic forum that can be used for discussion about KR mods, and a package download page where zipped releases of skins can be obtained.
Dermott of LS

Whispering Rose Radio's events:

'It's like a weekend in Vegas' with game shows, gambling, and weddings!! Join WRR for a jammed packed fun filled weekend which includes:
Friday - Aug. 15th - Tune into WRR and hear the wedding of DJ Ugly Johnny and DJ Bam Bam on the Pacific shard at 5pm PT, 8pm ET with DJ Bearfoot as officiator.
Friday - Aug. 15th - After the wedding join TorAnn, TorAnn and Dr. Lil for Shard Chatter Friday starting at 7pm PT, 10pm ET on WRR. Topics this week will be PVP and red characters, what peerless is your favorite and why, plus rares and the community. The weekly show finishes with the "You know you have been playing UO to long when..." segment where very comical endings are presented by UO listeners. Feel free to send yours in via the Whispering Rose Radio chat room (link on the website) or ICQ (ICQ numbers can be found on the website).
Saturday - Aug. 16th - Its time for the ever popular Brush LimpPaw show starting at 2pm PT, 5pm ET on WRR where listeners hear his Universal Outlook on current events as only he can deliver it.
Saturday - Aug. 16th - Deal or NO Deal 'UO Style' is back and ready to celebrate its 100th show by giving lucky players the opportunity to win gold on the shard of their choice (1/3 Siege). This special 100th show will include 5 - 500K door prizes along with a 1 Million door prize (must be present to win) plus 6 opportunities to win 10 Million!!! Join the fun on the Pacific shard starting at 3pm PT, 6pm ET. Click here for map of location and more details.
Saturday - Aug. 16th - After the WRR Deal or No Deal show (about 5:30pm PT, 8:30 ET) catch a ride to the Yew Park in Felucca where you can witness and hear the wedding of DJ Pantherbabe and Freak Show of Pacific with DJ Pastor Matthew officiating the ceremony.
Saturday - Aug. 16th - After the wedding its time for WRR Casino night starting at 7pm PT, 10pm ET on Pacific. Play games like Black Jack, Hi or Low, and everyone's favorite ... Lich Ball!! If you're not from Pacific no worries! DJ Sandman will exchange gold on your shard for gold on Pacific and transfer your winnings back to your home shard ... FREE!! Click here for map location and detail information.
Sunday - Aug. 17th - With over 4 years in business, the Pacific Auction House (located just East of the Luna Moongate) continues to bring you more fantastic AUCTION deals. Plan to get there early for best seating. Auction starts at 12pm PST, 3pm EST and is broadcasted live on WRRadio.
Have a fun weekend playing Ultima Online and tune into the live action broadcasting from WRR ~ see you all on the flip side.

And a few events on Pacific!

Must be summertime on the Pacific shard ... Love is in the air!!
Friday, August 15th - Ugly Johnny & Bam Bam joyfully invites everyone to share in their happiness as they unite in marriage at 5pm Pacific, 8pm Eastern in the Wedding Chapel located on Pacific in Luna, Malas. Click here for invitation and directions to chapel.
Saturday, August 16th - Wedding Bells Are Ringing ... Freak Show and Panther invites everyone to share in the celebration of their marriage at 5:30pm Pacific, 8:30pm Eastern at the Pacific Yew Park in Felucca. Reception will follow.
Click here for invitation and directions to Yew Park.

One from Asuka!

Britannia Bibliothek(=BB) offers an event promoting fund on Asuka shard.
BB offers "BB event-fund" to a group, who carries out lotteries or contests in events on Asuka shard, once a month.
- Awards total: 200K GP
- Supplementary prizes: a Horned runic sewing-kit and a clothing bless deed
- The group who receives this fund should post about the event on the event corner of EA Japan's official Website.
- The group should accept applications for the lotteries or contests publicly.
- The group should have objective, disinterested, cogent criteria for election.
- The group should apportion offered awards and supplementary prizes appropriately to winners.
For example: 1st winner - 100K GP and a horned runic kit, 2nd winner - 70K GP and a clothing bless deed, 3rd winner - 30K GP - etc.
See Britannia Bibliothek for further details!
Britannia Bibliothek:
Manager: athos


Have a good weekend, everyone!

- Jeremy

See Also