2023/24: Reflecting on the Past Year and Anticipating the Future
What an extraordinary and simultaneously demanding year 2023 turned out to be. Our dedication to UOAlive has reached new heights. We remain steadfast in upholding our Safe Space values, safeguarding our players' privacy, and ensuring the resilience of our commitment to running a UO server!
Last Year we made a list for 2023 On the Horizon: https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/on-the-horizon-2023.1231/|
This is a recap of some of the things we set out to do and accomplished from the list:
Detailed info on all the below can be found throughout our Wiki and Patch notes on UOAlive.com
- Successfully implemented a reward system (Sovereigns) for the UOAlive Team's time investment.
- UOReporters recognized and rewarded for their valuable contributions.
- Ensured more consistent rewards for individuals going above and beyond, including those reporting critical bug fixes, act in a way that benefits the community as a whole, and so many more individual achievements for the greater whole. Many of these can be exemplified by the work put in by groups such as: QTPI, Temp House, Tamers Inn, Magincia Rune Library, the former Void Homes, the UOAlive Community Center.
- Improved and enhanced the new player experience to make it more enjoyable and guided.
- Made content more accessible to middle-ground and casual players, avoiding unnecessary gating for hardcore players.
- Emphasized multiplayer aspects for events, encouraging group play and social interaction.
- Enhanced our reach via new launchers as well as embracing Mobile.
- Adding intrigue and depth to the game's narrative through self running instanced/open world quests.
- Introduced more storyline events run by GMs and Staff to provide diverse adventures.
- Worked on making the world of UOAlive feel more alive and dynamic.
- Collaborated with players to enhance and empower more player-run events, establishments, and roleplay.
- Added missing publishes from OSI to UOAlive.
- Introduced new creatures and dangers to different parts of the UOAlive world, providing purpose and magic.
- The Magical Carrot introduced a guilt free way to respec your pets and try new builds.
- Increased viability of low-end items in the player economy.
- Continued efforts to balance the in-game economy, with a focus on improvements.
- Easier access to sell and buy goods with the Vendor Search improvements
- Removal of bad actors for breaking server resource gathering rules.
- The Redesigned Magical Stone Exchange
- The addition of the Transmog Dressform
- The addition of cosmetic dye/items
- The addition of normal and holiday deco items
- Worked on increasing the viability and importance of crafters in the game.
- Added new tameables such as the Polar Bear, Murder Bear, Windrunner, Charlie, Wildfire Ostards, Mule, Battle Ostard and the subsequent Universal Barding changes, enhancing player options.
- Provided a significant boost to non-sampire melee builds over the year.
- Acknowledged the need for attention to bards, giving them more tools to really excel through the existing Holy Grail Quest items
- Additional adjustments to timings and mastery switching
- Enhanced off-meta builds such as the Undead Commander (Necroweaver & Hemomancer) and Summoner, promoting diversity in character builds.
- Introduced the new and refined IDOC (In Danger of Collapsing) experience.
- Implemented instanced loot and champion spawn changes to promote unity in team play.
- We have expanded our social media presence through official and player channels throughout the streaming and YouTube world.
- Empowering other creators (Trillium we are looking at you) for amazing social media efforts.
- The Great Britain Bake Off, The First UOAlive LGBTQ+ Wedding, Three Stone Tavern Regatta and Tavern-iversary, The House of Heros, The Abyss House Contest, The Thanksgiving Celebration, The Hanukkah Lighting, The Holiday Extravaganza, Moonglow Fashion Week, The Tamer Extravaganza, The Risen encounter, The Escape Room, The Hide & Seek event, and so many more.
- See an entire list here of past and current events: https://discord.com/channels/221645501806804993/1031010373354135612
- There is no way to fit all the things accomplished in this year into a numbered list, to quantify the time and effort and lines of code is impossible. So we just want to thank everyone who was involved for such amazing efforts! We don’t plan to stop anytime soon. Special thanks to those who helped behind the scenes in our most trying hours this year!
The icing on the cake was definitely the Harmony of Heroes Milestone https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/harmony-of-heroes-milestone.1537/.
It brought together so many of the above into a culmination of design and teamwork from the entire UOAlive team.
Growth and Community
While we are never here to focus on numbers, we do track the statistics of our server for our own knowledge of growth and improvements. This year we saw an unprecedented growth not only in concurrent players but overall active individual accounts and players new to Ultima Online. As well our Discord saw record breaking interaction from old players to new and values upheld for the Community Feel UOAlive fosters and is recognized for.
Going beyond mere statistics, we expanded the global events we delved into this year and drew upon their ties to the gaming realm. As a community committed to fostering a Safe Space, we are always looking to be expanding our reach to include a greater number of individuals than ever before, achieving this through a combination of inclusivity and the shared passion for gaming. To be able to share in our love for gaming and humanity is a true privilege we are able to share with UOAlive.
Investment and Unwavering Commitment to UOAlive
We also faced challenges, but through those challenges, were able to implement security features and privacy policies that not only protect our players information, but the health of the server. We invested in infrastructure that is in place for a minimum of the next 2 years ensuring everyone knows our commitment to UOAlive is unwavering.
Remember those who touched our virtual lives
We'd like to express our gratitude to those who have been a part of our journey, even if only for a while, acknowledging the transient nature of the MMO sphere. Thank you for the lasting impact you've made, and we genuinely hope your time at UOAlive was enjoyable. Whether you choose to return or move forward, our doors are always open, welcoming you back with open arms. While our primary focus is on enhancing the experiences of our active players in the dynamic world of online gaming, we wanted to take a moment to honor and appreciate those who, though they may have moved on, have left a meaningful mark on our hearts.
This years “On the Horizon” is going to look a little different than last years.
While we do have our “Overall Goals” such as the following:
Continued commitment to the Privacy and Security of our Members
- Whether it is through backend privacy practices or tweaks to our Privacy policies, we are here to protect your information and game time investments.
- We are really proud to say the one constant we have had for all these years of UOAlive is the transparent Server Rules, Safe Space Mission, and our proactive enforcement. And while it may not be for everyone, it has been the rock that has kept things tethered and we as a team cannot be more proud of what we accomplished in what can often be a Toxic gaming world.
- Designers, have a passion for UO and C#?: https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/passion-for-c-passion-for-community-passion-for-uo-uoalive-is-hiring.633/
- Reporters and EMs, have a passion for story and communication?: https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/a-community-effort-how-you-can-get-involved-in-uoalive.1011/
- We are going to be ways to continue to elevate those who work toward the greater whole of the community!
- One idea we have is taking a look at how the basic functions of Guilds work and giving bonuses/benefits for being a part of them beyond their basic functions now.
We are excited to offer a unique opportunity for our community members. We are seeking a talented individual(s) to compile all the custom additions from the past year's patch notes into a comprehensive forum topic for the Wiki Section.
You will be rewarded with In Game Sovereigns and a Special Discord Title:
The format we have in mind is similar to the detailed checklist found at UOAlive Quality of Life Changes https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/quality-of-life-changes-checklist-on-uoalive.529/. (but better)
Here's what we're looking for:
Organization by Categories: Arrange the additions by skills, pets, crafting, Quality of Life (QoL), and any other relevant sections.
Differentiation from OSI Changes: Clearly outline where we have introduced new features, Quality of Life improvements, and deviations from the standard OSI experience.
Recognizing that this is no small task, we are offering an enticing reward of 5000 in-game Sovereigns for your efforts.
If you are up for the challenge and excited to contribute to the community, please open a help ticket to express your interest. We look forward to seeing the fantastic result of your hard work that benefits the server and community.
Continued commitment to a balanced Economy
- The Surveyor Project has been an absolute success so far in terms of bringing gold out of the game while enhancing the community aspects of what players can do, from events, player run towns, and special projects: https://uoalive.com/forum/threads/surveyor-johns-special-services-your-handy-man-in-uoalive.1810/
- We will continue to monitor our very balanced economy and take actions to make sure we never go the OSI route of an unbalanced and unattainable economy for new players. We can celebrate the amazing time, commitment, and actions of others, while still understanding changes must be made going forward.
- Introducing the Chaos and Order Dragons (Story and Lore based)
- Undead Rams
- Fairy Dragons
- The Eowmu
- Giving 120 Taming meaning
- And much more!
- This system has been in the works and actually exists in the game, we just need to tweak it a bit better to really enhance the world versus inhibit it.
- We are super happy to report, initial statistics from our latest backend addition to the server, has been a huge success in not only nearly obliterating hitches, but reduced overall ping, simultaneously creating better connections across the board for most players by a factor of nearly 45% while maintaining safety measures! This was a huge breakthrough for UOAlive and it’s proprietary systems.
- We will continue to monitor the progress, but so far this latest update has far exceeded what we thought would just be a medium sized step in a larger process.(hence the very small patch note about it) Please continue to keep us updated on your own personal experiences in connection-issues as all information helps and lead us to this exponential adjustment to overall enhancements for your gameplay and experience on UOAlive.
- We have so much more planned for the overall backend of the game, specifically we wanted to extend a thank you to ServUO for the past years of groundwork, as we say our goodbyes and move forward on our own proprietary emulation. (This is part of what you felt from the above with the smoothness and currently 3 week uptime without interruptions as our first test)
- We will remain committed to modern functions in a smart way and only when it’s ready, utilizing the community and Test Center prior to deployment.
- We have not stopped working on UOAlive ID’s and a better UOAlive Launcher. We are just taking our time to make sure we get it right the first time, as it modernizes the way people will login to a game that has had a very old school method for many many many years. We want to make sure this experience is as smooth and stress free as possible!
- As with any game there will be bugs. We will continue to smash as many as we can with as little interruptions to your gameplay as we can manage.
- We will continue to tweak balance of in game skills, creatures, and mechanics to ensure the Live service of UOAlive is balanced for all players new and old.
Our biggest growth for UOAlive will be based on the basics of a Sandbox MMO: Story and enhancing the Narrative heading into 2024!
What does this mean for the team?
- Realistic Goals and Expectations
- New Partnerships
- And true industry standards/real life practices in our community
Our main focus this year will be on the EM(Event) team and how to breathe more life into the “Living breathing world” aspect of UOAlive. Weaving captivating narratives and bringing unexpected surprises to your UOAlive journey. From server-wide major storyline events to personal encounters in the world, The EM Team is here to add a touch of magic to your adventures, ensuring that every moment is memorable.
- A focus on the world you exist in everyday.
- Real consequences and impacts from choices in larger events.
- Re-visiting older events and continuing the story! (Luna anyone?)
- Small, individual sized events, in the world.
- Dynamic events such as the encounters system, to keep players on their toes and give reason to explore beyond hot spots.
- Making roleplay accessible to both active and non role players through a good story.
Ultimately, the most enduring memories are forged through the profound impact we make on each other's virtual lives. To this end, we are committed to furnishing the tools and narratives that will authentically propel these experiences, empowering both longstanding and new players to craft enduring nostalgia that will resonate for years to come.
See you again in 2025 to see how we did!
Signed: The Entire UOAlive Team
Disclaimer: All of the development points are subject to change, never happen, or just not have an "expected" date. We did want to share our thoughts though so you know where we are looking for the future of UOAlive.
This is a live service. That means balance changes and adjustments may need to happen throughout the year. Any and all items are open to be removed at any time from the server if they are deemed too powerful and throw things out of balance. As much as we can try not to have something slip in, it's easy enough to do. Players are here for fun, not for stress, and I think we all learned that these changes must be decisive and quick. No polls, no suggestions, if it is obviously impacting the server in a negative way, it will be removed, changed, or adjusted accordingly. We value feedback, but sometimes the white horse is just white.