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Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 3:10 pm
by Luth
If the purpose is not to show off the shard, the culmination of a decade of work on the server core and distro package, but instead to show off the ingenuity, dedication, and most importantly, the abundant free time of the staff, then I was greatly mistaken.

To follow your analogy, a shipwright is responsible for the vessel itself; polishing the brass and chrome, as you stated. He wouldn't bother himself with choosing the right captain for the ship, or crew, or passengers, or cargo. Perhaps you see what I'm getting at.

Unlike you, I've not played on a single player run shard where the staff didn't utterly ruin the experience in the name of "fun." (Oh look, an undefeatable deamon suddenly appeared to ruin our guild training session! How fun! Whats that? A new castle for the GM's roommate? How fun!) In fact, my favourite shards were the ones that were bug-free, had all the features I'd come to expect, and left me and my cohorts to our own devices to make the game fun. I don't have a single fond memory of staff interaction, but many, spanning the years, of creating our own goals and achieving them. That was, after all, what Richard Garriott had in mind when he created this virtual world platform (note that I did not call UO a game; in the strictest sense, it is not).

Now I certainly see the virtues of creating a personalized starting quest for every player which rewards him with a rainbow steed and shiny armour of the heavens (it's done wonders for WoW), but that is not UO. (Or, at least, not the UO I played. I hear you guys have Ninjas now?) I'm all for showing off the ship for what she is, a sturdy boat in much need of a new coat of paint, but I think I disagree with your focus. If UO has become the quest-centric, instant gratification game that all other MMOs are, then I'm glad I missed it, and I withdraw my support. While I would be happy to continue contributing scripts to Distro and working on the Core, I wouldn't be caught dead playing Dungeon Master.

Posted: Sat May 31, 2008 4:23 pm
by Austin
What im envisioning at this time is to upgrade that computer to have enough memory (currently only 768) to run the tech demo as it does now and the distro shard.

The distro is supposed to be similar to OSI but not exact. As it stands ive added little extra gimmicks and creative things to it just to make it a little more interesting.

Posted: Sun Jun 01, 2008 7:55 pm
by Yukiko
Ah, well there's my blind spot I guess because I have never played on OSI shards. I've only talked to those who have played OSI. So I gather up until EA/OSI added the necromancy, paladin, spellweaving and other AOS/ML items that POL Distro features were pretty much the same as OSI, ie. no special effect ore and no potions other than the "standard" ones? Sorry for straying off topic but I was curious.

It's your computer/effort Austin. I stand by my conviction that you will need staff if for no other reason than to assist players with questions.

Oh and as far as the reference by someone about "us" having ninjas, that was an addition by EA/OSI and as far as I can recall many people ridiculed it and I refuse to script anything to do with bull-shido and ninjitsu. I guess it's time to revive that old ninjas versus pirates thread again.

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 6:54 am
by Austin
The only reason I haven't considered elevated command levels is because I don't anticipate many (actually, if any) players regularly being on.

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 11:52 am
by Luth
I played OSI servers up until they introduced Trammel. That killed the game. Any social structure that had come to exist (by players, mind, not by staff and game rules) was destroyed and the game died. I went over to Stratics and, yes, it appears that what I'd heard of Ninjas, and what you just mentioned of Paladins and Necromancy and all that crap is true. I'm glad I missed it.

I'm all for people adding new content to their shards. I'm even all for people staffing their shards with dozens of Seers and GMs crafting events and quests for players. And hey, if people want ninjas in their dragon-game, go for it. It's just not my cup of tea. :) A good mmo is one that does not require staff intervention. Maybe thats just the programmer in me talking......

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 5:23 pm
by ncrsn
Player-run shard is an ideal solution to me, too. But I don't see how present distro would allow players to do that: it's pretty static platform. If players wipe a dungeon, how it affects spawns? If a forest is cut down, does it allow large buildings be build in it? If whatever happens, is it up to players' imagination to see the results, or is there scripts to really make the difference?

Posted: Mon Jun 02, 2008 8:45 pm
by Luth
Am I to understand that pol's distro does not have area respawning, and can forests can be permanently cut down? I know its been a long time since I worked on Distro, but thats a little hard to swallow.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 2:59 am
by ncrsn
The point is, there is nothing like that in the distro.

If there were, the idea would be wonderful! Not too many *really* player run shards exists! If POL's distro shard would be like that, with all unique atmosphere, dynamic systems, own ideas that no-one else has, I'd be all in.

At its current state it is not, and though I still support the idea on my own way, I'm afraid it does not do a difference comparing to shardless alternative. Unless its existance motivates people to participate scripting the distro and making it *our* own.

--

When it comes to choppable forests, no, it cannot be done without using items (multis) to build the forests. Statics are way too static even this day.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 3:22 pm
by Pierce
Luth wrote:I don't run a UO shard; I use POL for other games. So maybe I'm just ignorant, but what problems are so common that the shard requires full time staff to manage it?
I personally prefer people who know what they talk about. If you don't run a UO Shard, in my opinion you don't know what you are talking about :) Maybe you've experience, somewhere ago. But i think for an active Dev, you should run an active shard. That statement personally made me shiver. I thought that active people were choosen.

Posted: Tue Jun 03, 2008 7:31 pm
by Luth
Pierce wrote:I personally prefer people who know what they talk about. If you don't run a UO Shard, in my opinion you don't know what you are talking about :) Maybe you've experience, somewhere ago. But i think for an active Dev, you should run an active shard. That statement personally made me shiver. I thought that active people were choosen.
Let me illuminate. I:
am a commercial game developer,
played UO from early '98,
built my own shard on Sphere,
rebuilt my own shard on POL,
was on the distro team probably before you knew what UO was,
have played PR shards since I quit EA's abomination,
am a site administrator on the longest running UO bug site,
am a site administrator here,
am currently helping write the core server,
am currently writing a new MMO using the POL server, something which (I believe) has never been done,
don't know anything about ninjas or paladins in UO, and don't want to,
just booted up POL + distro, so I am technically currently running an active UO shard,
think you'd better educate yourself before you start accusing others of ignorance.


Who are you again?

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 6:19 am
by MontuZ
If Austin decided to host an official POL shard, it wouldn't slow down the development of the distro. If anything, it would speed it up. You get more work done when people report bugs and hand out suggestions. By people, I mean players. If you don't understand that concept and you host a shard, I don't think you'll get very far.

On another note; Who's going to staff? I'll donate some time each day. I'm usually doing something with my shard, but it's not hard to duel client and it'll make up for my lack of assistance with the distro.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 7:02 am
by ncrsn
Luth has the aura of making people to turn the discussion offtopic.

Which I can resist.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:02 am
by Austin
Keeping it on topic then:

Who would be interested in staffing it? Seems a lot of people are, which is groovy.

Posted: Wed Jun 04, 2008 8:24 pm
by Luth
ncrsn wrote:Luth has the aura of making people to turn the discussion offtopic.

Which I can resist.
Heh. What can I say; I'm controversial. :)

Here are some random thoughts. These shouldn't be considered accusations or reasons why this should not be done. Think instead "Discussion starters" or at least "My concerns to be addressed":

- The whole UO experience is too big for a low (starting) player population. 10 players spread out over all of Britannia and its multiple realms... one would never "accidentally" run into anyone. Perhaps artificially limiting the playable world boundaries to try and force population density, and expand them as the density rises. Perhaps a "Bring a friend to Britannia" reward might increase the rate at which the player base grows as well.

- If the players come to rely on staff in order to have fun, then the players will quit as the staff quit. And staff *always* quit. Players will come for the staff-player interaction, and not for "the game." However, if the player can come for "the game" and staff are optional, extra fun things that occasionally happen, then they'll continue to stay for "the game" and enjoy the staff as they come and go.

- Allowing anyone who wants to staff to be staff may be a mixed blessing. While I think that anyone who wants to contribute to Distro should be allowed, applauded, thanked, and treated to a round at the pub, its much different than allowing random staff to come and go all the time. For one thing, why sign up as a player on the shard when you can just as / nearly as easily become one of the staff? For another, and maybe I'm alone in these experiences, you have no idea who is going to be a good person to have on staff, or one who'll ruin the game experience for players because they think its "fun."

- Perhaps an in-game reward for adding to / fixing the Distro scripts. Providing incentive to helpers is always a good idea.

Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 1:27 am
by Yukiko
I think my issue with staff and their interaction InGame has become distorted. This is what I originally said regarding staff interaction:

"Well, I was thinking that if we want to attract players it might be a good idea to have staff to actively plan InGame events such as oh maybe quests or "holiday" or seasonal events. It's just my opinion ofcourse but I think that sort of thing attracts people."

and then later...

"We need a way to attract players that differs from the typical hack and slash type of servers that exist. Give them substance, storyline, a world where they can escape from "real life" into a world of fantasy. That is what originally attracted me to UO. Once the scene is set and the shard has a core set of players and a responsive involved staff then the story should take on a life of its own and develop with little guidance from the staff but it starts with a staff that cares about creating a place conducive to Role Play."

That clearly is not "creating a personalized starting quest for every player which rewards him with a rainbow steed and shiny armour of the heavens" as Luth seems to have found somewhere in my words. Nor did I say that UO should be a "quest-centric, instant gratification game [like] all other MMOs."

If you read the last sentence of my quote it's pretty clear that after the shard has been launched and it has enough players to sustain itself the staff will not have to be involved that much.

I do understand the dangers of actually having humans involved with overseeing the game. There's always the danger of staff having their pet players for whatever reason. I know on the shard I started playing on there were times when certain individuals were shown favouritism for various reasons, some because the staff thought they were good RPers to some for more prurient reasons. Unfortunately, there's always going to be the problem of favouritism where humans are concerned. That is not a legitimate reason to discount the need for supervision and oversight of players. I could make the argument that forums such as these do not need moderators since the forum software runs "flawlessly" and the SQL server seems to do just fine without human intervention but I see we do have moderators here. Just as forums need moderators and, I might add, new forum categories, ie. the rants and POL 98 areas which were not here in the early incarnation of the current boards, so does a shard need staff for the same reasons.

Luth, I understand that having, and forgive me for my pejorative here, idiots for staff can ruin game play. I gather you were a victim or know some who were victims of that sort of crap. It's unfortunate that things like that happen but it's also unfortunate that it has jaundiced your views as well.

What confuses me now is your apparent change of attitude regarding staff interaction. You seem to favour rewards from staff for bringing a new player to the shard. You said also that perhaps players should be given "an in-game reward for adding to / fixing the Distro scripts. Providing incentive to helpers is always a good idea."

These are certainly examples of direct InGame GM interaction with players and the last example would certainly be an Out of Character event. Not that I am opposed to either one if that's what the shard owner wants.

Maybe I misunderstood and you were just being sarcastic.

Anyway, it appears that the shard Austin intended was pretty much a simple "utility" shard which is perfectly fine. He's the one hosting it. I just misunderstood its purpose.

Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 4:00 pm
by Luth
Since I think most of your post was addressed to me, I'll see if I can't better explain myself.
Yukiko wrote:(...)"We need a way to attract players that differs from the typical hack and slash type of servers that exist. Give them substance, storyline, a world where they can escape from "real life" into a world of fantasy. That is what originally attracted me to UO. Once the scene is set and the shard has a core set of players and a responsive involved staff then the story should take on a life of its own and develop with little guidance from the staff but it starts with a staff that cares about creating a place conducive to Role Play."

That clearly is not "creating a personalized starting quest for every player which rewards him with a rainbow steed and shiny armour of the heavens" as Luth seems to have found somewhere in my words. Nor did I say that UO should be a "quest-centric, instant gratification game [like] all other MMOs."
I use exaggeration to illustrate a point. I guess the difference is that you want a storyline, a quest, a goal, something to role play. This was never, ever ever ever what I wanted from UO. This may be the crux of our disagreement. If I want story, I play a single player game where professional writers have crafted something immersive and exciting, not something (no insults intended) a couple of weekend-seers threw together over AIM. Additionally, I don't see UO as a real conduit of questing and story-driven play. Technically speaking, its missing the tools.

Yukiko wrote:I do understand the dangers of actually having humans involved with overseeing the game. There's always the danger of staff having their pet players for whatever reason. I know on the shard I started playing on there were times when certain individuals were shown favouritism for various reasons, some because the staff thought they were good RPers to some for more prurient reasons. Unfortunately, there's always going to be the problem of favouritism where humans are concerned. That is not a legitimate reason to discount the need for supervision and oversight of players. I could make the argument that forums such as these do not need moderators since the forum software runs "flawlessly" and the SQL server seems to do just fine without human intervention but I see we do have moderators here. Just as forums need moderators and, I might add, new forum categories, ie. the rants and POL 98 areas which were not here in the early incarnation of the current boards, so does a shard need staff for the same reasons.
As I said, I didn't play a single PRS where that didn't happen and, even when it didn't directly affect me, made me miss the (relatively) hands-off approach of OSI servers. The more control humans have over the actions of others, the worse it will be. Without getting too philosophical (or political), its our nature as humans. As per your analogy, these forums do not require a single solitary moderator in order to operate. What we need staff-oversight for is to enforce our arbitrary rules, thereby limiting your actions. Would you be imposing arbitrary rules on the player base? If not, then no staff are needed to maintain rules that are already enforced by the code running the game. To reference the analogy, if the only rule on the forums was "Dont type 'qwerty'" then we could put a word-filter into the system, screen for 'qwerty' and walk away.

Yukiko wrote:What confuses me now is your apparent change of attitude regarding staff interaction. You seem to favour rewards from staff for bringing a new player to the shard. You said also that perhaps players should be given "an in-game reward for adding to / fixing the Distro scripts. Providing incentive to helpers is always a good idea."

These are certainly examples of direct InGame GM interaction with players and the last example would certainly be an Out of Character event. Not that I am opposed to either one if that's what the shard owner wants.

Maybe I misunderstood and you were just being sarcastic.
You did misunderstand, but I wasn't being sarcastic. There's no reason such a system could not be automated, or at least not involve any in-game administration. I had just such a system built; if a player was the first to submit a bug, I would OK it, record it, and also give a command to POL to issue a suitable in-game reward the next time that character logs on. I dont see the character, so even I cant play favourites. As for "Out Of Character"... well, I never played a Character. I don't role play. So OOC never bothered me at all.
Yukiko wrote:Anyway, it appears that the shard Austin intended was pretty much a simple "utility" shard which is perfectly fine. He's the one hosting it. I just misunderstood its purpose.
It seems that a lot more people are taking the quest-centric / story-based side of things than the "Here's your world, go make something of it" approach that I enjoyed. Certainly, I will not override a group decision due to my own selfishness. If such a shard came to pass, I would not help staff it. But, then again, if my version of a shard came to pass, I wouldn't need to be on staff there, either. :D

Posted: Fri Jun 06, 2008 8:14 pm
by Yukiko
I appreciate your clarification Luth. And yes, most of that post was addressed or related to your responses to my opinions.

I am curious about how you automated the bug reporting system and how you'd automate the rewards for contribution of scripts and still have the actual rewardees, if there is such a word, remain anonymous but maybe we'll discuss that via PMs.

Also, I may have exaggerated or atleast overemphasized the idea of quests. I'd like to elaborate with an example of the type of quest I had in mind but I am guilty too many times already of going off-topic in this thread.

You do have some valid points regarding the need (or lack thereof) for moderation. Many things can be automated and where possible maybe should be but unfortunately not everything can be solved through scripts and it's those times when a player needs to seek the aid of a GM, a couple examples might be harassment or perhaps the hacking of a players account. These are extreme examples obviously and ofcourse, as you stated, a list of rules would need to be established. One would hope that the need for staff intervention would be minimal or nil and perhaps there would not be a great need for online staff.

Your point is well taken that too much involvement by staff in the "world" can, and most times does, spoil the environment if all you want to do is "play the game." You've got to know your audience, or in this case, playerbase. I know some people like or even want to be catered to by having special events and some just want to log in and go chop trees or hunt gargies alone or create their own "quest" of sorts with their friends. I've had all types on my shard over the years.

Well, enough of my off-topic antics.

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 2:58 pm
by Pierce
I'am sorry to rest of the community, but i had to answer this question.
Luth wrote: Who are you again?
I'am one of the smaller getting group of Pol users. Sorry that i only use it since about 5-9 years. I don't remember exactly . I could make a list like you did, but why? I wish you could give us some examples of your great work since you are dev. Just look into the bug or feature forum. You'll find a lot of things to show us what you are able to do.

Posted: Tue Jun 10, 2008 3:20 pm
by Luth
Yukiko:
Its true not everything can be solved automatically, but I think we both see the benefits of removing the human factor from much of the things that do need to be done. Of course anything that requires subjective decision-making must require human interference. Hacking of accounts, for example. (although, I would be hard pressed to say that even that couldn't be done via an automated system...)

I required only 3 GMs as active staff, but I had a lot of automated systems set up, and not a lot of rules to enforce. Its my personal opinion that every rule or law limits the freedom of those who it applies to. I don't like limitations. ;-) For example, harassment was confined to the use of a few choice words or phrases, which were screened for and logged to be reviewed should a complaint come in, otherwise I counted it as normal player-to-player relations and decided that it was not my place to interfere.

As long as the quest-staff were not forcing their quests upon unwilling players (happens more than you might think), then I have absolutely nothing against them. Lots of people like quests, so offering them as a bonus is great. However, like we established earlier, players relying on quests and staff-interference will likely quit as soon as the staff's time on the shard dropped.

I had a list of concerns a few posts up. I'd like very much to hear your input on them. Hear others' points of view is the only way to expand my own opinions. :)


Pierce:
You don't need to make a list. You don't have to prove yourself to me any more than I have to prove myself to you. 8) You called me out on my qualifications, and I responded in kind. Presently I'm writing a new mmo using the POL server, which has two points you should take from that:
1) I am not working with distro scripts or even many of the basic UO features, so I won't be fixing any distro scripts or basic UO features.
2) What I require is some additional functionality from the core (which will provide the end-users with additional tools to script with), and I require the core to be fast and bug free. Therefore I'll be working on optimizations and bug fixes when I come across them and as they are applicable.

Re:

Posted: Wed Mar 04, 2009 1:43 pm
by dkpat
Luth wrote: Presently I'm writing a new mmo using the POL server, which has two points you should take from that:
I have often thought about doing this.. I really like POL's organization and system for running. It just seems too UO based to do this to me.

Re: Official Distro Shard?

Posted: Tue Mar 10, 2009 6:34 pm
by Luth
Well, I can speak from experience in saying that POL is extremely flexible, allowing me to do things that many people thought impossible while still using a UO client. :D

Re: Official Distro Shard?

Posted: Wed Mar 11, 2009 6:35 am
by Sadahar
I guess with the UO:KR support your project will look nicer :P

Re: Official Distro Shard?

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 12:24 am
by JaceAce
I could run a distro shard at www.jaceace.com? where would i get the most current distro package?

Re: Official Distro Shard?

Posted: Sat Jun 06, 2009 7:14 am
by CWO

Re: Official Distro Shard?

Posted: Thu Jun 18, 2009 4:33 am
by JaceAce
Is there a currently an Official Distro Shard? or does Pol need an Official Distro Shard?