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.