Longtime Ultima player fundamentally disappointed

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by tomprogers, Oct 7, 2018.

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  1. tomprogers

    tomprogers Avatar

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    Kickstarter backer here, quite displeased.

    SOTA reminds me of the recent Elder Scrolls Online, which was a cardboard imitation of the genuine article. Shroud of the Avatar is a run-of-the-mill MMO clone, thinly draped in Ultima IP. If you enjoyed Ultima IV, V, or VII, and hope SOTA will scratch that itch, look elsewhere.

    The gameplay here is nothing like the legacy titles. Instead of a handful of high-level quests that you have to investigate and resolve on your own in a sandbox world, SOTA leads you by the hand through a predictable series of escalating kill/fetch/talk quests. You might as well play any other grindtacular MMO. You'll speak with a hundred bland NPC quest-givers. You've done this before. It works exactly the same way. You shouldn't care.

    I've been a dedicated player of Asheron's Call, World of Warcraft, City of Heroes, Rift, and Guild Wars 2 (among others). That's not to say I hold these games as ideal. It's to establish the fact that I'm familiar with the genre and can say with authority that SOTA has very little to offer that you can't find in any mainstream MMO. You can hate those games but still agree with me that the gameplay mechanics and the content of SOTA are basically interchangeable with any competitor.

    Ultima V was the very first computer game I ever played, at 7 years old. It took me 20 years to beat without cheating. I played Ultima VII on-and-off when I was a teenager, though I think it also took me 5 or 6 years to complete. I grew up playing Ultima. I have a good sense of what is Ultima and what is not. I've also played a lot of other games. SOTA has almost nothing in common with those games.

    I'd say the combat in SOTA is a straight-up clone of the Guild Wars model (or whatever game pioneered that style). It's a standard "manage your cooldowns" experience. You've been here before. Same with the NPCs, the interminable crafting, etc. SOTA wasn't designed as an artwork, it was designed as a treadmill for people who are nostalgic for the legacy games.

    The "story" really doesn't enter into it. I'm sure Richard Garriot et al. have invested real effort in crafting an authentic Ultima plot. It doesn't matter: it's been diluted very thoroughly by the generic MMO million-minor-quest task tree. Imagine I invented a truly brilliant soup recipe, but then I watered it down to 30 parts-per-million. I'm basically serving a bowl of water with a single droplet of flavor. In SOTA, you're not going to experience the unique flavor you came here for.

    For a fraction of the cost, they could have made another top-down isometric game, the experience of which wasn't entirely controlled by the need to create an elongated treadmill.

    Hell, Realm of the Mad God is a better successor to the old Ultima games than SOTA. I'm going to go play it, for free.
     
  2. Spungwa

    Spungwa Avatar

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    I have no experience of any Ultima game, so have no comment on the rest of your post.
    I have not played guild wars, but the deck system and classless system in this game is like no other combat system i played in ANY MMO or RPG before.

    Have you talked to the adventure trainer about advanced techniques and fully understood all the options you have with deck. I'm thinking the fact you talk about managing cool downs you have not.

    I advise you do some googling for youtube videos on how the combat/deck system works in SOTA.


    Regards
    Spung
     
  3. Mingo Ebonmark

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    My personal opinion is that SotA is just badly presented and was slightly rushed to release. The skill system here offers so much freedom to be unique but you need to delve deeply into DECK building and deck alternating to be able to express yourself. The DECK system is not presented well and there is no effort in game or out to promote this system which is a big shame. The basic combat system that most players are exposed to in this game is indeed dull and run of the mill ordinary. The story and the lore honestly is vibrant but again is lacking presentation and polish and you need to dig deeply and patiently to find it.
     
  4. Spungwa

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    Also on the crafting side. It took me to write a spreadsheet with recursive code to understand the all the material options of what can be crafted for weapons and armour.

    Which turned out to be over 6k+ combinations with all different stats. Working out what you need for specific build and deck is not your normal run of the mill MMO crafting system.

    Consumables are the standard simple crafting system, gear is not.


    Regards
    Spung
     
  5. tomprogers

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    A layer of sophistication on top of the combat does not transform a thoroughly generic MMO into a worthy successor to an existing game whose gameplay patterns have nothing to do with the modern MMO treadmill.

    Perhaps you haven't already had your fill of generic MMO RPGs. Good news for you: there are half a dozen quality products out there all competing to be the first to pop that cherry. If you want to bestow that honor on the most recent Ultima incarnation, good for you.

    On the other hand, if you're well-versed in both Ultima and MMOs, and you want more of that unique Ultima flavor, then SOTA will disappoint you.
     
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  6. tomprogers

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    The deck stuff doesn't impact the bulk of my assessment. Ultima was a lot more than just a combat system. Innovation that is entirely restricted to combat has zero impact on how worthy SOTA is as a successor.
     
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  7. tomprogers

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    A dense crafting system does not turn a generic MMO into an Ultima game.

    I hate crafting, and always have. I love Ultima, and always have. These are entirely unrelated. You love crafting? Great: SOTA has something for you, just like every MMO on the market today. You love Ultima? Sorry, SOTA has nothing to offer, just like every MMO on the market today.

    My point is that SOTA is like every MMO on the market today.
     
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  8. Spungwa

    Spungwa Avatar

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    As i said, I'm not versed in Ultima, i CAN say i'm VERY versed in MMOs (especially sandbox, player economy ones as that's what i like, but played a few of the theme parks too), and as i said this combat system is like NOTHING I have played before in the last nearly 20 years that i'm unable to count on my hand and feet games I have played.

    So to your point, no there is not half a dozen (or even one i have found) that offer me what SOTA does/


    Regards
    Spung
     
  9. Spungwa

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    And my point is, whether it is Ultima enough for you or not, is for you to decide personally. So that point is completely valid from your point of view/

    But

    I'm saying, with i'm guessing much more knowledge of the game than you, that the above comment is not true.
     
  10. Mingo Ebonmark

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    I agree with you that this does not indeed satisfy the Ultima criteria in it's current state. However I wholeheartedly disagree that this mmo is the same as the other mmo's currently on offer in the market. Mixing those two observations together is very confusing.
     
  11. Tiki Pirate

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    Yep, good OP.

    I find the game unlike and Ultima games (I started at III) then played 2, 4-7. I also played UO very early and later.

    To compare this to ESO is a disservice to ESO, at least they got some lore in there and there are endless amounts of quests. ESO also manages to have dynamic scenes where the NPC' s react/or the town/ scene appears differently after the player completes quests etc.

    SOTA has a marvelous housing and deco system, but everything was made too expensive and exclusive for all but the few 1%ers IMO.

    Essentially unchecked greed deraileded this project. Too few players held too many deeds/power. Most newcommers were turned off by this and the many other problems which combined to create a not so good experience. Who wants an AMC Gremlin when there are Hondas and Toyotas at 2/3 the cost?

    It seems like the developers finally woke up to this and are striving to make the game more accessible to a wider audience and more polished. I hope they are successful.

    The ultra -positive echo chamber does no good in the end. All itireally does is create more exclusiont. Honesty is a virtue.

    Perhaps the forsaken virtues by both players and devs really were the root of all this games issues.

    I stick around and read the forums, get in the game on occasion still.
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2018
  12. majoria70

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    Of course if you have a picture in your mind this game will not match up to it. In the process of making this game bits and pieces of ideas and have formed this sandbox world as you see it now. By no means is it completed at this point. Imo the game will go through many shifts and changes to get it all together.

    Looking for a specific things in a game I understand and it is not a bad thing and this game at this point in time or even anytime may not be that for you. I truly don't think this game is done and it is Sota it's own world and to me who came loving UO and from other MMOs it is my virtual world not to compare to others but a young game full of potential going forward well imo and Richard Garriott says they plan to make it happen. If I can ever show you around the Sota world one day in the future let me know. I will be here.

    Leaving doesn't mean you can't come back. I'm not looking to keep jumping from game to game but interested in this world and what it beholds. We all have our own adventure and it's all good. Best regards.
     
  13. Nevyn Waldail

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    As an original UO player, I have been searching for the replacement and have played almost all the games above. From my experience I'd say if those were the games that satisfied you then you were in the wrong place to begin with. SOTA isn't about the quests, it wasn't what made UO. what does stand UO and SOTA apart is the freeform nature of it (skill system), you can do what it is you want to do. it is far from perfect, its empty for starters but the game should be built upon internally by the players not the developers, they provided the engine, we should provide the content. Isn't that what sandbox means?
     
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  14. Kara Brae

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    Ultima 4 was my first Ultima game and I loved it so much I went and got Ultima I-III and played them from beginning to end too. Ultima 5 was my favorite until Ultima 7 came out. I loved those Shadowlords! I played the Ultimas I - VII all the way through without cheating. I had reams and reams of squared paper taped together on which I mapped out all the dungeons step by step and square by square. I remember how some of the dungeon areas could only be reached by blinking to them and I remember casting blink, then taking a step, casting blink again, taking another step, all the while tracking where I was on the paper. I loved it and it gave me a great sense of satisfaction to solve all the puzzles. A few years ago I finally threw away all my old notes and maps in a bout of spring cleaning.

    Alas, I could never re-capture that Ultima feeling with any game. I purchased all the old Ultimas on gog.com so I could re-play them, but I only played Ultima IV for about an hour before giving up. It just wasn't fun any more. I don't have the patience any more to keep notes on everything I do and I have been spoiled by the ability to get instant help on the Internet. I tried to play Ultima VII again a few months ago, but only had an hour to play that day and never bothered to launch it again. I like Shroud of the Avatar, but the quests and the quest system have been disappointing. I still have hopes that better quests will follow, and I am currently playing the offline game and enjoying it.

    I hope you find a game that will give you that old Ultima feeling!
     
  15. majoria70

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    Not totally imo .Players can only do so much.

    Some basics are still missing such as achievement and task systems but are planned to have. UI and more quality of life improvements which are planned and more tools for us will make a huge difference as well as the quest rework and teleporting anywhere with ability to bind as you wish with some cost of course. I believe things like this are coming along with popular systems such as treasure hunting.
     
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  16. majoria70

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    Also perhaps Sota is not 'that' game that someone is hoping and wishing for but it does have it's bit of charm. I don't mean to harp on this but we do know things are not perfect but some things are really nice depending on your perspective and as mentioned. I waited so long for certain things and truly that was the very hardest part. It was crazy difficult or is that me lol. j/k.

    So for example for those who have a bit of patience we will find the diamond in the rough eventually in this game. Here is some community fun to share. Click on the link and one advertisement from twitch will come but then the video is there. The only time I've been able to get 8 players to sync a song with me and I cannot tell you how much that moment meant to me. So I just have to share a Sota moment. The bear is not dancing in this video but he was in a another song we did. Also to mention we did this at @Minerva s house and thanks so much to her.

    https://www.twitch.tv/videos/250106746
     
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  17. Daxxe Diggler

    Daxxe Diggler Bug Brigade - Bug Hunter

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    @tomprogers - I never played any of the original Ultima's, so I also cannot comment on your view's as SOTA being the successor to Ultima.

    However, I have also played all of those other games you listed (aside from Asheron's Call) as well as many others too (Everquest, EQ2, LOTRO, DDO, Pirates of the Burning Sea, Lineage, Lineage II, Eve Online, Archeage, Age of Conan... and probably at least a dozen others I can't remember right now). I disagree that SOTA doesn't offer anything that just about any of those others can offer.

    For one thing, most if not all of the other MMO's force you to choose a "class" or combat style and your character is stuck with that choice forever. SOTA on the other hand allows you to choose any skill set you want to learn, and mix and match any combination of skills you desire to bring into combat with you. You can constantly grow and progress your character to learn something new or get better at what you already know.

    So this game lets you experiment with any/everything and then hone in on what you like best without having to start over.

    Also, the deck system is very different than most if not all others too. You can either put in locked glyphs to always have specific skills available (albeit with cooldowns) or you can have unlocked slots where your selected array of skills will constantly flow into the empty slot(s) randomly as you use them. You can choose to lock or unlock any slot you want and even control which skills populate individual unlocked slots.

    You can combine unlocked glyphs to either "stack" skills to make them more powerful, or combine certain different skills to make an entirely new "Combo" skill. If you have the skill locked, you can also simply hold it down to "charge" it and stack it up too.

    You have the option to auto attack or free attack. Auto attack will constantly swing/hit whenever you are not using an active skill or spell... but free attack will let you "charge up" your weapon swings to be even stronger than average auto attacks. Free attack needs more effort on your part, but can give you more dps overall if you master it.

    The best part about the deck system is the fact that you can set up different hotbars for different playstyles (that automatically switch your gear when you equip them). So, you can be a tank with a heavy armor and defensive set of skills and a big two handed weapon, or you can switch over to a bow and light armor and a pet for ranged DPS, or you can switch over to a cloth armor set with magic damage spells to be a mage or another deck that is set to be a great healer in a party. Just learn the skills, train them up, then set up the deck with a hotkey and change to them whenever you want.

    Combat in SOTA is far different than any other game I've ever played!

    The next biggest difference for me is the housing system. A lot of those other games don't even have this. But SOTA has a system that is so customizable that none other can compare to it. If you have a lot you can either put on one of many different houses (or ships) available (some are even craftable) or you can leave the lot empty (unless it is a row low that requires a house) and simply decorate it with thousands of different items or even build your own structure through crafting things and stacking them up on top of each other. I've seen fabulous mazes, grand arenas, obstacle courses, gardens, or even a simple campground setting. The possibilities are really only limited by your imagination. So housing in SOTA gives you a unique way to express yourself and create the home of your dreams.

    There are also "Inns" available where if you don't own a lot you can rent space from other players (or live for free from some very generous players) and we have the ability to lock doors to everyone but the tenant. This makes housing available to anyone and not just the rich folks.

    Add to that our ability to also have a basement and/or a customized player made dungeon (new system currently being developed) on our own lots and land ownership becomes even more fantastic!

    I've played other games with housing and although some are pretty cool, they don't compare at all to SOTA.

    That's just a few big differences that set SOTA apart from other games and they will both keep me here for a very long time.
     
  18. Black Tortoise

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    I had a big, structured, thought-out rebuttal to most of what you were saying, then I read this:

    ...and thought lots more. I think youre on to something here. I can connect to this.

    This is hyperbole, plain an simple ;)

    I agree that SoTA hasnt yet lived up to general expectations for a spiritual successor to the Ultima games. I agree that it is in no way shape or form a UO-2 (which is where my heart was when I backed).

    But I disagree that SoTA is like all the other MMOs you mentioned. The quest system needs a lot of attention, thats for sure. Like many areas of the game, there is a lot to iterate on. But thats just it - they aim to iterate continuously. Every month is new content. I was really excited for the recent development of the player crafted dungeons - I think thats such a wonderful direction for this game. I think it helps to view this game 3, 6, and 12 months ahead from now, always. The dev team is small but dedicated, and with enough time everything will be more robust and rich. Its not perfect, and its not in a state where its fully satisfying, but I love its direction and general style. Theyre doing a lot of big things, and I love it for how different of an experience it is.

    I take breaks when I need to, sometimes for months. If you dont like the general style, thats another matter, and Id encourage you to take a very long break and check back in a year or so. If you like the style, but perhaps havent had the time to follow along with the development, and perhaps dont have a vision for things a few months from now, then Id say take a break for a release or two and check back in.

    FWIW I'm an ultima fanatic, and I still have a beefy account on an active freeshard. Ive been thinking of selling all my homes on there and hibernating, because SoTA is scratching my utima itch well enough that I dont play UO anymore (other than to refresh my houses). I was very active playing UO up until about a year ago, when my SOTA habit finally eclipsed my UO habit. All I can say is SoTA is just gonna get cooler over time, its a slow and steady pace.
     
  19. Black Tortoise

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    Crafting was always an Ultima-thing. I loved working as a baker in Britain in Ultima 7. I also was a farmer too. Ocassionally I'd fund my citizen-roleplay habits by slaying some dragons or looting some pirates, but mostly I crafted things around the cities and sold them to the NPCs.

    Also, the crafting system in UO was freaking cool. The way "item decay" worked in UO was brilliant, and crafting was so well integrated into the economy. Blacksmiths were some of the most popular folk on any shard, and no Tinker, Carpenter, Alchemist, or Tailor would be without customers.
     
  20. jschoice

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    @tomprogers - I completely understand your frustration with a game that you backed not living up to what you expected.

    I am also a kickstarter backer and a die hard Ultima fan. I started in UO and then went back and did the Ultima series. I have played just about every MMO since to some degree and I have dabbled in many single player RPGs. My perspective on SotA significantly differ from your view. I do have to preference my comments with the fact that I am closing in on 3500 hours played over two accounts with a total of 5 avatars. The story is actually pretty well done and has a lot of the Ultimalike qualities to it. The way the questing system is implemented does need a rework. As you remember the original ultima games required a lot of graphing out dungeons and writing our own notes to complete quests and solve the puzzles. That is a harder thing to sell today even with us old school gamers. Younger players are not use to those type of mechanics and us older gamers don't have the time to devote to that type of game play, but I think there is a happy medium out there that can be approved on in SotA.

    I also wonder how much time you have spent playing the game because when you say the combat system is similar to Guild Wars that is not at all the case. In the original guild wars most of your skills came from your primary class and in GW2 myour any of your skills are tied into your class and weapon choice. In SotA you can use any skills from any tree. Deck building, locking cards, stacking cards, combing cards for combos, dynamic decks, static decks, or hybrid decks are all systems I have not seen in any other MMO. There is no forcing a player into a class or limiting skill choices in SotA. This allows for lots of individualized options for a player to customize their deck. In many MMO's, not only do they force you to make a class choice, there is generally a sub class that is often optimal for end game content negating the other specs as a real option. WoW which some consider the pinnacle of MMOs has specs that are never played and down right useless. All five of my toons are completely different from the next and all hold their own in PvE and PvP.

    None of the games you mention have as detailed housing system as SotA which harkens back to UO. The attention to detail with every door being able to be opened and every light being able to be clicked on and off. As far as this only being available to the 1% elite backers is not true either. It will just take time to earn enough goal to purchase a deed and house in game which is the same for most MMO's. There is no pay to win features in the cash shop only cosmetic features and those can even purchased by spending in game gold on COTA's which can be used to by the items in game.

    I have never enjoyed crafting in any MMO and I always made money collecting mats and selling them to crafter. SotA is my first real interest in crafting and I am having a fun time with it. There is definitely room for improvement in the system but the core process is the best I have experienced.

    I am looking forward to each and every monthly release as I believe the Devs are on the right track. To the OP, I do hope you find what your looking for in a game.