The troubling state of PvM in Ultima Online

Over the past few months, I've become increasingly concerned about the state of PvM in UO. Now this shouldn't be read as a UO-is-doomed post, but I believe there is a very real problem here, that has existed for a long time and at this stage has gotten incredibly bad. PvM is the essential core of UO, hence my deep concern.

To begin, PvM combat is completely broken and unbalanced, and that is not an exaggeration. A trend of power creep that truly began with AOS has rendered the overwhelming majority of PvM content as obsolete, gutting it of challenge and risk. What's more, what is presumably the toughest content in the game has been reduced to farm status using strategies that reduce these encounters to efficient but incredibly dull experiences. The Gauntlet and Shadowguard are prime examples. Scalis is mowed down three times a week at least with little fuss. EMs even struggle sometimes to create bosses that don't die within a minute of being exposed to the overwhelming damage output of players.

Just what PvM options are out there, and why exactly should they appeal to me? Consider the dungeons. Despise: weird and dumb. Wrong: pointless. Covetous: actually challenging on the the lower levels surprisingly, but still pointless. Destard: insanely pointless. Shame: a bit better balanced in monster strength, but... pointless. I could go on and on about the dungeons. Most peerless don't matter, what few do are boring grind-fests. Champ spawns still have some merit, incredibly, but the older ones are unbalanced. Minax captains were a pure misery grind before their recent loot adjustment. Overland the options are basically non-existent: random spawn with stats and strength configured, I assume, in the year 1997 wander around posing zero threat to anyone. A few areas like the brigand fort or the orc fort where once again completely impotent monsters spawn serving zero purpose. More and more I find myself looking at the PvM options with apathy as there is nothing that actually appeals to me. Most PvM is very boring at this point.

I could go on but I'm trying not to ramble too much here. Again this isn't meant to be a doom-and-gloom post, nor is this an I'm-leaving-UO post. I actually don't want to leave UO, but to be perfectly honest I'm having a harder time finding reasons to log in. The only thing that gets me logging in nowadays is roleplaying, but even a roleplay community needs a robust game to remain in good health.

Am I crazy? Is there something I'm not doing right? Have I misunderstood the reason for my lack of interest in the main activity of UO? Kyronix, if you happen to read this, I'd love to know your thoughts on this.

Comments

  • Two avenues by which to approach this.

    Systems: Liven things up by giving us a quest system worth using. Take those Heartwood kill quests and have them target bosses and such, instead of random earth elementals or whatever. Then have then award widgets that can be turned in for collections points wherever. Put some fun goodies on there, like... say... a talking dog pet that can't be lost (like the personal attendants) and which says sarcastic things when a player dies in the vicinity. All you're really doing here is overhauling existing systems.

    Balance: Make necromancer forms incompatible with chivalry. Give them a continuous karma drain effect and make chivalry more karma dependent if necessary. Or have chivalry spells burn the player like garlic or simply refuse to work while in necromancer forms.

    But...

    Have one of the bushido spells mimic the effect of consecrate weapon, so that a necro/bushido character doesn't have to be able to chain armor ignore to infinity just to get by against high resistance targets. Also add an on-hit healing effect to divine fury so that chiv/bushido characters can still stand in the pocket, but make the amount of healing fixed so that it can be individually tuned instead of just scaled to damage in an upward performance spiral.
  • RockRock Posts: 567
    (To avoid derailing this discussion, I expanded @Lord_Nythrax suggestion concerning Heartwood in a new thread. )
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • Uriah_HeepUriah_Heep Posts: 915
    You do realize that they can't just do that.  If they start on it, it will get turned into a completely different setup, just like tmaps and idocs did.  Be careful,

  • KyronixKyronix Posts: 951Dev
    This is, unfortunately, the challenge of dealing with such an elder game world but I think it's a good opportunity to underscore just how interconnected that very game world is.  Often times we'll hear something along the lines of, " *just* do this and it'll be great!" As we've pointed out multiple times, nothing is ever "just".  When you talk about the state of PvM you have to consider multiple systems that together form the basis of "PvM content".  How are you learning about the PvM opportunity?  What underlying systems are driving you during the process of completing the PvM encounter?  What is the basis of the fictional backstory that makes the encounter immersive and interesting? How are we tracking your progress, and ultimately giving you the reward you are after?  We have a patchwork implementation of systems that answer all these questions - but not a single streamlined one.  Once you add in starting to try to balance player power vs mob power vs the desirability of rewards we are left with even more restrictions on how we can manipulate the gears and levers of game play design. 


    @Uriah_Heep describes the dilemma pretty succintly- we are talking about complex systems that are interconnected and do not exist in a vacuum within the game world.  It's never a case of "just" doing anything.  There are multiple considerations that we have to factor in that often times players don't.  

    Thanks for the feedback!
  • Petra_FydePetra_Fyde Posts: 942
    I go everywhere in this game, and I do mean everywhere. Recently I've been hunting trapdoor spiders in Ter Mur, volcano elementals in Eodon, digging treasure maps on all facets. I can find a reason to visit every part of the game. Some of it is easy, some is less easy, some I can't do solo. I think there's only one template that can do everything truly solo, ie with one character. One person running 2 characters is not 'solo'. That's a sampire. A template I don't, won't, play and strongly feel should never have been possible. Chiv and Necro on one template is, to me, an abomination. If you're finding content too easy, put your sampire aside and play a more conventional template. Don't try to make the game more difficult for everyone else.
  • DerajDeraj Posts: 81
    Kyronix said:
    We have a patchwork implementation of systems that answer all these questions - but not a single streamlined one.  Once you add in starting to try to balance player power vs mob power vs the desirability of rewards we are left with even more restrictions on how we can manipulate the gears and levers of game play design. 
    Doesn't this strike you as a huge, glaring problem though? Naturally, I do agree and understand that there is incredible complexity at play, which is hard to even discuss on this forum without huge, endless walls of words (and believe me, I am doing my best to contain myself :D ). Yet, is it possible that it is actually this frankenstein amalgamation of systems designed by multiple iterations of dev teams over the course of twenty years without a single coherent, consistent vision that is the active constraint, the cause of so much imbalance?
  • Lol!  "deeply concerned" about monsters in UO?  *laughs hysterically*  Bigger things going on buddy, UO is just a diversion.  
  • KyronixKyronix Posts: 951Dev
    @Deraj - yes.  Huge glaring problem.  One we have been grappling with how to resolve.  Stay tuned ;)
  • KHANKHAN Posts: 394
    @Kyronix The cheaters/scripters/RMT people are the BIGGEST problem in UO! HOPEFULLY it is also "one we have been grappling with how to resolve". 
    If you sell UO items for R.L. $$$, you need to quit playing UO , and get a BETTER R.L. JOB!
  • RockRock Posts: 567
    @Kyronix said:
    @ Deraj - yes.  Huge glaring problem.  One we have been grappling with how to resolve.  Stay tuned ;)
    Well, a page 1 re-implementation comes to mind, designed coherently up front.  Unfortunately I get the feeling that EA has you on too short of a leash to actually rework everything.

    Nor is the problem just EA.  It goes back decades in UO culture, when a game the designers thought would have a two- or three-year lifetime just wouldn't die.  Plans were made early on for an Ultima Online II but Origin scrapped them sensing they already had a cash cow now.
    Rock (formerly Imperterritus VXt, Baja)
  • monkgamermonkgamer Posts: 100
    edited March 2020
    i think a lot of it is pointless regardless of challenge. even if its harder doesnt make it purposeful.

    i think them trying to make things challenging ruined the fun of uo. nerfing provocation and tamers and mages and creating monsters that are clearly built to not allow certain classes tp do.

    of course that just means people found a way around it all and now mostly only sampires and tamers can ve effective..foe the most part.

    id slow spawn times..get rid of annoying adds..and just look to make things more fun is what id do. also make everuthing recallable and markable..i hate they defy the unique travel system of uo by making it like wow..gotta walk everywhere. 

    i dont even find it very fun to kill a semi hard monster only tp be swarmed and cant even loot..cause the monster itself spawns so quick as well as pointless adds.

    the team was so gung ho on nerfing everybody and making monsters kill you faster they forgot to keep the fun. i remember shades mana dumping on me LOL insta death in brit graveyard. not so fun. they did fix that.



    i also hate luck. 


    but any ways..if the monsters got more challenging but the reward stayed the same it would still make places lime destard empty.

    i dont know the solution but its uo..in uo ya just make yer own fun.






  • Kyronix said:
    This is, unfortunately, the challenge of dealing with such an elder game world but I think it's a good opportunity to underscore just how interconnected that very game world is.
    Ok.

    Just point the Heartwood quests at Doom bosses and Peerless instead of trash mobs and let me earn points toward my magical talking dog. Or sell me a magical talking dog on the cash shop. Point is, I'm the crazy dog guy. He should say something sarcastic when other players die around him so that he's essentially a PG-rated PVP smacktalk bot, but he should say something extra sarcastic when his owner dies, then follow his ghost around saying "Ghost here! This guy got wrecked, you should have seen it! Come on buddy give them a liltte oOooOoo!"
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