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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 12:21 am 
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My friends and I have never played any of the Myst games before so we had no clue what to expect. When we first got into MOULa, our first thoughts were to meet up. We explored the hut a bit and clicked on the pillar outside which revealed a picture that led us to a desert. However, we were unable to see each other in the desert. It wasn't until later when we read up about finding the KI communicator and even later on how to invite each other. A very helpful veteran of the game going by Ro'Dant showed me how to invite, that I could only message others on my buddy list, the quests and the objectives.

I can't help but think Myst Online would be much bigger than it is today if these basic interface were clearer from the start. Figuring out the basic interface was a bit frustrating and felt like solving a mystery in itself (especially when trying to group up). My friends and I were lost for some time. Is it really necessary to have players find something as essential as the KI communicator rather than starting out with it? Even after obtaining the KI communicator, it was not obvious on how to group up for quests or what these quests even were. I had to find my buddy's DRC, go there, click on the hand in my book, walk right up to each of my buddies and invite them. In other MMOs, I would simply invite my buddies to a group from their name in my buddy list and proceed to meet up with them for certain quests. The quests and objectives itself were also not all that obvious. It was explained to me that the quests were actually these books and that the objectives were to collect these cloths which I find quite bizarre.

Overall, the introduction to Myst was quite confusing and at times frustrating. This game would be much more accessible to new players with a more straight forward group, quest and messaging interface. An introduction that helps explains things would also help. I see Myst as a pioneer in the non violent mystery MMO genre. I think this genre is largely untapped and has great potential to grow.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:14 am 
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Yep, those first few hours in MOULa can be a trial. Especially when you know that some of your pals are online at the same time. Most of your suggestions have been discussed here. But it's highly improbable that anything in the game will be changed in the foreseeable future.
However, there is an English manual available for the game which answers the most basic questions. It would probably help to link it on the Play tab of this site.

Oh, and a warm welcome to Uru.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 04, 2014 1:24 am 
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First of all: you're right, people who are unfamiliar with the Myst universe and its tropes and mechanics will be totally lost starting out in Uru, especially if they want to play it with friends. Specific examples of things that could be improved and ways to improve them are topics for another forum post, but rest assured: you're not alone in your thoughts.

However, as you stated, MOUL is a totally different formula than other MMOs, and that formula hasn't really been pioneered by any other game. With no other example to follow, Uru has had to blaze its own trail, and that hasn't always been easy. The game has been shut down, started back up, dropped by its publisher, shut down, and started back up again. Right now, it's an oddity in the gaming world. People such as myself definitely wish games like this were more mainstream, but they aren't. The mainstream is too busy with Call of Duty 97,227.

So, Uru is basically a perpetual work-in-progress. Right now, Cyan has so many other things to deal with, the whole "progress" part hasn't been happening at the rate mainstream gamers would expect. But things are happening. Fans are soon going to be able to create their own Ages, with the hopes of these being added to the official servers. Awesome volunteers are sacrificing their time to keep the servers up and running through massive service hiccups. The end hasn't yet been written.

Basically, if people like you and I--people who see the potential in this game--show their support, donate money, and show the world that games like these CAN be financially viable and CAN gain traction in the MMO world, we might be able to see Uru go from a side-project of a tiny company, to a powerful player in the gaming scene. So please, play the game through to the end. It might be unpolished at times. It might take some explaining from seasoned players to understand what's going on. But I bet when you're all done, you'll have been glad you saw it through. :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:30 am 
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Location: Hanging around with mermaids. And still looking for the elusive Funky Bahro.
I've never understood Cyan's (or was it Ubisoft's?) promotion of Myst Online. As I've said before, I missed out on Prologue and Until Uru because I didn't even know the game existed until late 2006!

So my understanding of Myst Online's early days is second-hand at best. I was always under the impression that Myst Online was originally promoted by having an actor go to conventions and talk about it. No media - electronic or print - was involved. Is this correct?

At least GameTap put together a trailer, although I don't know how much distribution it got. Also, I recall there were videos for beginner players posted on the Play tab at this site. Why were they taken down? Could Yeesha's opening message from the GameTap years be placed there?

(Personally, I'd like to see a new introductory message, perhaps Rand Miller as Atrus reading a letter to Yeesha: "To my daughter Yeesha, our desert bird: As you approach your 200th birthday...." If that doesn't get people's attention, I don't know what will!)

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Magical Mystery TOOO 643784
Institution TOOO 816645
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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 2:44 am 
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Ubisoft was in charge of promotion during Until Uru and Prologue, but I certainly don't remember seeing any advertisements for it. The only reason I heard about the game was because of the 2006 E3 announcement. GameTap did a much better job of promoting the game in my opinion, albeit mostly through their own proprietary Steam-ish game store. I'm not really convinced that a big Internet-wide advertising campaign would bring in the kind of players Uru needs, either. Most MMOs that go that route attract players just interesting in having a new “flavor of the week” MMO to play for a bit and then move on. Perhaps a return to regular episodic content updates and story would cause word-of-mouth to get Uru the attention it deserves.

And yes, the web site could use some work. I like that idea of putting Yeesha's opening message in the Play tab. Maybe the Guild of Greeters could get busy on a spoiler-free “noob” tutorial explaining what Relto is, where the story actually begins, and how to get your KI; this could then be put under the Play tab as well.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 09, 2014 10:46 am 
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Welcome to the Cavern . This confusion with finding the KI and getting started is the reason I mainly hang out in the most recently created hoods. I wish I had time to be there more. I have a few notes that I send to new explorers to help them get going in the right direction, and try to avoid spoiling anything.
Add me to buds if you like, and enjoy the journey.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 10, 2014 4:52 pm 
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MO:UL was a transition step for Myst players going from the Myst series standalone games to MMO’s. It was thought up and designed just as tech for MMO’s was becoming popular. When first released it was a standalone that only offered MMO play toward the end of the game once single player puzzles were solved.

As pointed out by others, we have had numerous discussions here of how to create a better opening to a game that now starts out as an MMO in a world where knowledge of how to play in an MMORPG is fairly common. How are scenarios like yours and your friends to work?

When Uru was released there were TV ads. Not many. But, being a Myst player and having played all the games up to Uru, I only needed to see the one ad. The next day I was out looking for Uru.

The adventure game popularity decreased as computer abilities grew and shooters and combat became more popular. Uru peaked at something like 50k players. Simply not enough to support it. A game in a similar position was Ryzom. The saga of both Uru and Ryzom are similar. But, Ryzom made the transition to fan owned and operated and seems to do reasonably well. Cyan Worlds, the owner of Uru, has tried to retain ownership and figure out how to allow fan operated servers for play. Over 6+ years Cyan has barely moved, from a players view.

The result is all your observations and suggestions are largely already known, discussed, and to some level accepted. But, not much has been visibly done with them. There are fans that are building server-side software and operating private servers. It is unclear to me whether the licensing for those servers is in place via legitimate Cyan blessed agreements, but I don’t keep on events here. The result of the questionable licensing status is that most of the work and fan created content is never discussed here, this forum. Here we only hear of things ‘almost’ ready to be added to the Cyan servers.

The process of going to fan supported has huge obstacles, mostly from time and resource constraints at Cyan. The Blender tools and platform for MOUL are unique and complicated to learn. They also mostly run on out dated software. That result has pushed some to re-build the MOUL world in Unreal, Unity, Cry, SL, and other modern platforms. But. Cyan licensing restricts using their content on any platform other than Plasma. So, all those efforts remain mostly underground and for private individual use.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 3:37 am 
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Location: Hanging around with mermaids. And still looking for the elusive Funky Bahro.
That's the other thing I don't understand: Why Plasma? I would think that after what happened with Havok, Cyan would've looked for a Win/Mac (and maybe Linux?) native engine. So, how did we end up with Plasma? Or is Plasma not what I think it is?

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KI numbers:
TOOO 24657
Magical Mystery TOOO 643784
Institution TOOO 816645
Karaoke TOOO 816776

~and featuring~

Murinna (the mermaid) 2484723
Mallina (the other mermaid) 3015052

Second Life: TOOO Fall


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 5:40 am 
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I will look at my plasma... not sure if it will make a difference...update...the blood doctor concurs my plasma is cool....btw I know what you are 'talking' about

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2014 4:07 pm 
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You're suggesting that they should have switched to a different display engine between 2003 and 2006?

Plasma is what they had, and they didn't have the manpower to rewrite the client from scratch. (And remodel the Ages from scratch, which would have been necessary.)

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 12, 2014 2:58 am 
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Myst Online: URU Live is known to have an - shall we say ... "inelegant" introduction, to say the least. This is in odd stark contrast to the original Myst's main selling point: accessibility - which has been a staple of the series. The Ki interface is unintuitive at best, and the multiple paths and age instancing mechanics at the get go confound new players. I can only imagine what judgment calls were responsible for this, but it has surely served as a barrier to entry on more than one occasion.

And the OP pretty much sums up the various issues. Unfortunately, as of now it is far too late to do anything about it, although open source efforts are looking to restructure the game's opening sequence to make it more sensible and intuitive.

There are plenty of reference materials available on this forum and abroad. Check the STICKY topics on this forum in the SPOILERS, HINTS, AND TIPS section for helpful manuals and the like. There's a handy "GETTING STARTED" guide, a thread that explains the mechanics of AGE INSTANCING and a handy dandy KI REFERENCE GUIDE for explaining all the Ki functions and controls.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 12:48 am 
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Ah someone who is new to this game who understands my frustration with Uru, not so much with its original concept but with its delivery.

Uru was built between 1998 and 2002 initially as an online-only MMO. In fact it was one of the first big name MMOs out there. However, Uru differed from the other batch of first generation MMOs with the idea that the world and story would be live, hence the name Uru Live.

The idea was that every time you would login something new would happen: live events, new areas, new puzzles. Characters were literally played in realtime by actors at Cyan and player's interactions with the characters would strongly affect the game's story arc, which was planned to span several years. The endgame in that sense would only be reached at the conclusion of Live, which never happened.

During Uru's development Cyan's previous publisher Broderbund got bought by Ubisoft (a company I loathe) which began making demands on Cyan which resulted in modified content that deviated from the initial vision. In 2002 the online game was remodeled to fit a single-player experience, changing much of the flow of the game for a separate single-player box version. This resulted in the various journeys in Uru and stopped Cyan from developing their initial concept of the Cleft and the Descent to the D'ni city being the beginning of the game. What we got was a boxed game that was very vague in story and was obviously made in a rush at the demand of the publisher to cater to the success of Myst and Riven. What transpired is that Uru's initial concept got muddied in the process, confusing new players and Myst vets at the same time.

Ubisoft never fully believed in the product, and it was because of this inherent fear of the unknown that they basically stunted its success rather than let it succeed or fail on its own merits. They barely marketed it compared to the media blitz Riven and Exile received. Furthermore, they cancelled the game in beta in February 2004 before it had even fully launched.

GameTap brought the game back in 2006 but Cyan, at this point having lost over half their staff, could not deliver as quickly as needed and the game was cancelled a year later. Many of Uru's initial problems caused by the publisher mixup were never fixed.

There are many threads that explain the problems herein, but rather than depress you, I'll link you to the fan projects that are rewriting Uru anew, adding new content and seeking to remedy its long existing problems, namely the time it takes to meet your friends in game.

Check out DIRT: Uru Live and The Intangibles

Ease of Access (time it takes to meet up with friends) addressed in this post

Here is a poster I made to promote the new effort:

Uru: Live Beyond Myst


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2014 5:29 pm 
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Very nicely explained, Yali! :)

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 11:19 am 
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Belkor wrote:
My friends and I have never played any of the Myst games before so we had no clue what to expect. When we first got into MOULa, our first thoughts were to meet up. We explored the hut a bit and clicked on the pillar outside which revealed a picture that led us to a desert. However, we were unable to see each other in the desert. It wasn't until later when we read up about finding the KI communicator and even later on how to invite each other. A very helpful veteran of the game going by Ro'Dant showed me how to invite, that I could only message others on my buddy list, the quests and the objectives.


I don't know if you and your friends are still playing, but a couple things I've found out when playing with another person:

1) It REALLY helps to be connected on Skype. So you can talk to each other even when you're not in the same age, or when one or the other crashes out.

2) Sharing ages: a friend and I have recently discovered that everyone should go into an age using their pillar first on their Relto. As soon as you've done that, someone can send an age invite and you can find each other in one person's instance. If you don't do this, i.e. if one person goes into an age and then invites the others, and they go via the Nexus, they're likely to get to the journey door at the end and discover they can't take the Bahro pillar. And you end up having to run through that age in that person's instance. We haven't experimented with this, but it may just be enough to touch the hand mark on the relevant pillar to open that pillar. Not sure, and I wouldn't risk it. I think this might be especially true for Gahreesen, where if you've got your KI you have the book on your book shelf. (I know when I did the LP with Sven I went via his Gahreesen pillar (I think) and I couldn't get the Bahro pillar when we went through the journey door.)

3) Finally, getting the island Relto page in a neighbourhood can be problematic. Again, I suggest you all do that independently, as we've discovered that if one person sees it in an age it tends to mysteriously disappear when the other person links in to get it. And I really don't remember that happening before. Because I know Sven and I got the Relto page at the same time and in the same place.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2014 2:35 pm 
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Good advice! But ONE thing I'd add....

lteyn63 wrote:
1) It REALLY helps to be connected on Skype. So you can talk to each other even when you're not in the same age, or when one or the other crashes out.


That's true about crashing.. but you can chat with people on your KI buddy list, when they are in different Ages.

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