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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 6:19 pm 
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You are about to embark on a long journey, friend. Welcome!

The purpose of this thread is to put forward and discuss suggestions for positive change for Uru's future.
Since the discussion is quite involved, this introduction will have our results so far at easy glance.

Although much has already been said, please don't feel intimidated, step right through and join the
debate. Happy New Year!

Axel

---------- Concrete Suggestions for Cyan----------

A Season One Post Mortem
It is felt that often communication is lacking. This furthers speculation, rumours, misunderstanding
and more often than not undue expectations and resulting disappointment. As a way to heal some
of those pains, we propose to you, Cyan, to write a Season One Post Mortem. Think of it as a project
post mortem only focusing on the design aspects, i.e. that is not to imply it shouldn't touch
technical issues if you felt them to be important, just bear in mind your audience will be non-technical
people. Specifically, we are interested to hear: What did you hope to achieve? What
were your challenges during Season One? What worked really well? What failed in your eyes?

Story elements should be made persistent.
While we can appreciate your artistic intent to prevent the cavern as 'real' as possible, it is felt that
too many players are left behind in terms of the way the story is presented. We have proposed several ways
to achieve this in-game, since we also feel that leaving this burden to the community alone is actually
hindering people to interact with the game.

Consequences should enrich the game experience, not lessen it.
This point is currently being fleshed out a little more. In essence, however, it is felt that rigid implementation
of the 'cavern is real' artistic attempt is often taking away from the game experience in unnecessary ways.

---------- More to follow as they emerge ----------

And here is my original post that started the discussion. Have fun :)


I have been involved with Uru since the second beta, which seems like an incredibly long time ago now. And so it was with a very heavy heart that I canceled my Uru account today.

I didn't want to leave without a farewell, and I thought I would at least provide some suggestions for a second season if it should get made. Most of the points aren't really new to the more seasoned fans here, but I felt like writing a final summary to just get it off my chest and maybe input something positive. Since I will shamelessly refer to all manner of game elements I post this in the spoiler forum. If an admin thinks this post is better suited somewhere else, please move it.

When I first heard about Uru, it was still called Mudpie and was pretty much just in its conceptual stage. Back then, the concept of an online Myst game seemed as much like a radical departure from the established line than it eventually turned out to be. Being a little worried about it, I asked a simple question:

What makes Myst Online fun?

I mean, what does the online concept add to a Myst game to make it more fun? Don't dismiss this off-hand by saying: It adds a social aspect. Think about it for a moment, if you will. Myst has up to that point been a fundamentally single player experience. The strength of the Myst games, and their particular, archeaological storytelling mechanism has been a deeply personal experience for many of us. Allowing us to play at our own pace, with many different motives and many different rewards.

At the time, Rand Miller gave a very convincing answer to that question, that despite my doubts, made me very excited about the project. He stated his vision for a kind of online game experience that would be very much like people enjoy TV today. If you think episodic content is a relatively new development, let me tell you that this had been outlined many years ago. Rand said that he envisioned people to come home, log in, and enjoy episodes of the game at their own pace, and follow a compelling storyline that simply would not end as long as people would enjoy being part of it.

That sounded great and it still does! However, unfortunately, through all manners of twists and turns, compromises, setbacks, technical limitations and whatnot, this vision could not be realised. I still think, the first major mishap was retrofitting Uru Prime to be a single player game. Yes, it eventually worked, but it was clearly not designed to be a single player story-driven puzzle game like the predecessors. It wasn't really a great single player game as a result. It turned out to be really thin on plot and upfront story, and thus, at least for me, wasn't really fun. There were all manner of triumphs in the game as well though, especially with PotS. I still think that the Kadish storyline and especially the Ahnonay cycle is the best storytelling and game design Cyan has ever shared with us in all these years.

So, why does Uru not work for me now? Why is it not fun?

I cannot complete the episodic content at my own pace.
I am a casual player, with only a few hours of Uru time to my week. I can only recall being part of one story event in the cavern, and this was basically a Cate lecture to a small crowd. Apart from that I barely even noticed any story going on at all. Now, you will probably say that I could read the forums and be on top of happenings in the cavern. But truly, I ask you honestly, is that good enough? I want to experience a game first hand. I do not want to be rushed. And I don't want to feel I am missing all the fun, if I don't hang out idly in the game on the off-chance I might experience a bit of plot.

The story is not compelling
This is, of course, a purely subjective assessment. But for me, the Uru story is very flat and unengaging. Beginning with Yeesha, who should provide me with a solid motivation to go forward on her journey, but really doesn't give me enough involvement to do so other than to eventually progress in a game.

The second major problem is, of course, that I hardly get to be involved with the story since. I could read the forums, I could lurk in the city. But really, very few things actually happen. The things that did happen turned out to be just waypoints in a meandering tale that, after all this time, really didn't lead up to much.

My final major turn-off was the introduction of the Bahro. I think what makes D'ni such an exciting fictional universe is that it is believable fantasy. Cyan did their job really well in creating a believable universe. There is very little conceit, and very few narrative conveniences. For lack of a better word, there is very little 'magic' in Myst. The Art yes, that is a major point of suspension of disbelief, but it is counter-balanced by a solid scientic approach to all things encountered in those fantastical ages. And now, onto the stage came the Bahro, oppressed yes, but virtually omniscient beings breaking all the previously established rules. I could feel for an oppressed slave-labor people misused by the D'ni. Very much so. Teledahn was a powerful environment to open my eyes to the true nature of D'ni. But why did Cyan feel they had to introduce such an immense fantastical, all-powerful element into the story at this point? At least to me, that shattered the fine balance, the delicate nature of their believable fantasy.

I think, they have painted themselves into a corner. Then again, I have no idea what they wanted to do with the story in the first place, and it is hard to see, when the tale hasn't been fully told.

There is not enough engaging content
This is, after all, the main issue. I know, and appreciate the reasons for Cyan not being able to produce more content when the economical situation does not allow for it. However, wasn't that forseeable at the very beginning? Even before Uru was actually released, many of us wondered, how development of content as time-consuming to create as full-blown Ages could ever stay ahead of the players consuming them. I never quite understood how Cyan meant to keep their playerbase entertained, and at least in my knowledge, they never really said.

Uru is very unlike other MMOs which mainly revolve around doling out a constant stream of mini-rewards to their players. Whether they are XP, gold, quests, items or whatever. However, that kind of content is relatively easy to create since they simply follow pre-set templates and are just done over and over again. WoW anyone? Uru's content is so much harder and more expensive to create, if it should actually satisfy us hungry crowds on a steady basis.

I think this is Uru's most fundamental problem, and it's not here because of the current situation. It was always there, it is a systematic problem inherent in the design. Although, I suppose we will not learn their intended solution, I am still very very interested to hear how they meant to tackle this issue. Because, if they actually could solve it, I think Rands initial vision could be realised after all. I still wish it could!

Uru is expensive outside of the US
Also a subjectice point, but probably important to players from around the world. Since to us, Gametap, is not part of the package, we have to pay full price for Uru. Now, up to this point this hasn't really been an issue. I wanted to do my part to to help realise the vision of Uru. However, since I found myself actually not spending any time with the game, save for those short bursts when somthing new came around, it became harder and harder to justify. What would have helped me to renew my faith in the project would be some kind of roadmap or vision of things to come. Some kind of statement of how the various issues the community has will be addressed. I know that many of you will feel differently, but to me the first season was not really a successful online game experience. If the second season would just be more of the same, I don't think the game could be sustained.

The final straw
So, what broke the bahro's back for me? Ironically, it was Ahnonay. Yup, the Age I was most looking forward to seeing again, the great triumph of Uru. In realising their original vision, Cyan of course, made the puzzle multiplayer, like I suspect it was originally meant to be. I had previously only logged in occasionally, actually fewer and fewer times, only seeing what was new, and making sure I got my sparly. And now, for the first time, I actually had to get somebody else to help me make progress, and what made it worse, I only had limited time to do so.

In the end, I think, that is very bad design and betrays the original promise of 'together or alone'. I simply did not have the time to make many online friends. And I much more enjoyed playing the game at my own pace. Now, I finally find I cannot progress in the time given to me, will miss this sparkly and therefore would have to wait another 12 months to get this one.

I know this is only a trivial element of the Uru experience, a mere trophy of vanity. But when there is so little other content around, this was keeping me happy for the time being. I did try to make it, but with so little time, especially this month, I didn't manage to complete it even with the ever so helpful community.

So, I am out for now. Now, for the positive part :)

What could be improved to make Uru more fun?

Make it more accessible to new players.
That is the key for any online game wishing to be successful. There needs to be an influx of new players. Just catering to a hardcore crowd of old-timers leads to a niche too small to sustain. I think, Uru as it is, it very unforgiving to new players. It is very complex, there is very little help and very little guidance in-game. Sure, there is a wealth of information on the forums. But if people should be enticed to pick up a subscription the game needs to work entirely on its own. There need to be more rewards, which are easier and more obvious to attain. At the most basic level, this could be KI messages telling new players what to do, and what to attempt. In-character and of course, optional to follow. The interface needs an overhaul. The KI is very hard to use for a completely new player.

Make episodes persistent
While the idea of having live actors sounded appealing, it is ultimately a failure and much too exclusive a means to convey the story. I think the episodes need to be persistent. I.e. the players should be able to play through them at their own pace. Yes, this will take away the idea of a living, breathing ongoing D'ni in a way, since people will be in different parts of the story at any given moment. But honestly, is that so much worse than the current situation where most players will not experience the story at all? Whether this is done through interactive NPCs (I have a feeling Cyan wants to avoid that at all costs) or mini-cutscenes like in the Bahro cave does not really matter. Just make sure every player has an equal chance to actually experience the story. For examples of what kind of devices and mechanisms can be used to present such a game, one only needs to look at the current crop of MMOs. Right now, I believe Lord of the Rings Online, Tabula Rasa and maybe Guildwars do a very fine job of presenting an ongoing storyline in a non-linear, yet persistent way.

Time-based puzzles are not fun!
Whoever thought it was a good idea to introduce puzzles which need to be solved in a given time-frame before the reward becomes unattainable should have their office donut rights revoked for a month. That is so 90s MMORPG. Look at the current games. Everyone can get all the content at their own pace and in their own time. Period. There is no excuse.

Multi-player content should be truly optional
This is probably the hardest pill to swallow, but everyone else is. If you look at the current successful MMOs you will find that more and more of the content, probably most of it, is opened up to single players. You may argue why play a multi-player game then? Well, for the social aspect, for the occasional challenge that needs other players. For the community. If you compare the current crop of big release MMOs to those of 5 years ago you will see this drastic development. Why? Because the market is expanding to casual players, who simply do not have the time to invest in required, involved and lengthy multi.player gameplay. What does this mean for Uru? Well, give single players a way to solve multi-player content, no matter how hard or time-consuming. It should be possible. Otherwise, the casual crowd will not stay.

Finally, and most importantly: Tell me a story
It could be that I have missed the finer points of the past episode's plot. However, I doubt it. For me, Uru's critical downfall compared to say, something like Riven, is that there is simply no engaing, exciting, emotionally involving story being told. In fact, I find it hard to decipher a coherent storyline in Uru at all. Raph Koster's (of UO fame) contention that players will make their own stories is as bogus today as it was back then. Yes, players will certainly make do, if nothing else is there, but they will not feel entertained. At least not in the way Rand's original vision of online episodic content promised. A couple of years ago MMOs only had a backstory and filler content. That was good enough. Today's MMOs tell as compelling stories as single player games do, maybe richer ones because of the social aspect and maybe because of the occasional role-playing that goes along the official material. Give me a tale and I will follow. Worked for TV, will work for games. Episodes, which I can explore at my own pace are the key.

And so, I close, parting for the moment, hopeing truely, the end has not yet been written!

P.S. If you read through this manifesto, I apologise sincerely for my verbosity, offer a virtual sparkly as compensation and would truly enjoy hearing your opinions on any of it.

Shorah,
Axel

Edited for typos (I bet there's more!)


Last edited by Axel on Tue Jan 01, 2008 10:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 7:49 pm 
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Axel, most people are going to say "we'll miss you online" or "too bad you have to go", but to me (and I think most) your online presence won't be missed. There's really no reason to sign on unless it's during those short 5 day episodes which discourages any kind of real community. I find the community on these boards and if you post here then I'll know you're around.

I agree with just about all your points of criticism. Everything needs work and it's not the game they promised it would be or would slowly become. On top of all that, there is no announcement of the state of the second season. I thought it was crazy for a new MMO to go on hiatus in their first year and it's a real slap in the face (especially to those overseas subscribers) to do it without a solid return date or even a contract for the next season.
If there is no second season, I think it will be announced as quietly as possible and GameTap would leave the game up as it is for as long as they can. It's not as if you'd know there were episodes going on if you signed on between them. They leave no trace of anything having happened except for a stray linking book every so often. A top priority should of been to chronicle what's been going on so a player know where to go and WHY they are going there. All the "story" that happened this year may just of well not ever happened because it didn't change anything (not really) and there's no reason for a new player to care as it didn't have anything to do with the ages that were being released. It was like a soap opera that was going on in the backround and now is going on outside of the city.

I can understand why the Ahnonay situation was enough to send you packing. After all the waiting for Yeesha, she appears a couple days into the episode in an area only accessable to players who figured out how to get there after a multiplayer puzzle. That was just cruel. It was probably done because if she appeared somewhere anyone could get to then it would probably overload the server. All this is tolerated and even defended because of the love for Myst, but it shouldn't be. I think loving Myst means fighting to keep the standards up not excusing everything that is dragging the good name through the dirt.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:11 pm 
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raistlin75 wrote:
I agree with just about all your points of criticism. Everything needs work and it's not the game they promised it would be or would slowly become. On top of all that, there is no announcement of the state of the second season. I thought it was crazy for a new MMO to go on hiatus in their first year and it's a real slap in the face (especially to those overseas subscribers) to do it without a solid return date or even a contract for the next season.
If there is no second season, I think it will be announced as quietly as possible and GameTap would leave the game up as it is for as long as they can. It's not as if you'd know there were episodes going on if you signed on between them. They leave no trace of anything having happened except for a stray linking book every so often. A top priority should of been to chronicle what's been going on so a player know where to go and WHY they are going there. All the "story" that happened this year may just of well not ever happened because it didn't change anything (not really) and there's no reason for a new player to care as it didn't have anything to do with the ages that were being released. It was like a soap opera that was going on in the backround and now is going on outside of the city.

I can understand why the Ahnonay situation was enough to send you packing. After all the waiting for Yeesha, she appears a couple days into the episode in an area only accessable to players who figured out how to get there after a multiplayer puzzle. That was just cruel. It was probably done because if she appeared somewhere anyone could get to then it would probably overload the server. All this is tolerated and even defended because of the love for Myst, but it shouldn't be. I think loving Myst means fighting to keep the standards up not excusing everything that is dragging the good name through the dirt.


I agree, it is definetly crazy to have a hiatus not even a full year into the game with no confirmation of a firm second season; especially we know they have been negotiating since what October. Also neither on the Game Tap webpage or Game Tap Explorer there is nothing about MOUL Season 2 coming soon in 2008. Alot of other games listed but no MOUL. Listen to The Cavern Today's Pod Cast with Ryan Miller, it really does not have too many positive tones for a Second Season. That makes me very suspecious of something not going well. We have been slapped in the face by this game before, what makes now any different.


Last edited by J'ffrey on Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 8:13 pm 
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Can't anyone get along with the game and accept it as it is?!

This is what I got to say: Cyan World gave us the best they could.And I think it was more than I hoped.We got both new and old style content.

AND,I think the pods journey was GRAET.I had great time figuring out the whole map thing.I felt like I'm actually doing something.So,for me,yes,the pods were one of the better things we got this year.

AND,jalak dador was a fun age too.Many people complained there is no puzzle in there.So? the spyroom has no puzzle.Teledahn's city office has no puzzle.The whole idea behind this age was very nice.

AND,minkata was amazing.Cyan Worlds really put some efforts and it came out to be a great age,with a great puzzle,a great age and a great music.

AND,the guild pubs and jalak were good too.Many interesting things in them.I like just coming over and run in them :wink: .

AND,the old ABM,TD and TPOTS content was great as allways.The changes were really refrashing.

AND,the gardens journey (delin and tsogal) really made me feel like prologe.I have never been there ( :lol: ) but I know they were ment to be released back than.

AND,the story was amazing too! I really wanted to be in-game when the bahros were in the cavern (though I saw one in the little time I was playing),or when weely died (I mean,I know you all sad for the death,but I still think it was a great move in the story) or when...when...there were many other good things,anyway.

(Off-topic: I just finished "sam and max: abe lincoln must die!". I still remember the: "don't smoke kids! unless your on fire,than it's natural"... :lol: )

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:06 pm 
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The stranger wrote:
Can't anyone get along with the game and accept it as it is?!


Well no. I suspect that the people playing it right now are the hard core of Cyan fans. Those that loved the earlier games, then got to like the idea of Uru (because it is the only promise of continuation of a beloved series), and stuck with it through the great and not so great times.

To simply accept it for what it is, is to accept that it is a severely flawed niche game, without any hope of financial success. Why should any of us, who truly love Cyan's creations accept that this is where it ends?

I am certain that all of us deeply wish Uru would succeed. And succeed mightily, so we can continue to enjoy the Myst and D'ni universe for years to come. Sure, we voice our concerns. I think most of us are simply frustrated and a little disappointed. But only because we care. If we didn't, we would go quietly and sign up to WoW or whatever else keeps us entertained.

Sadly, I agree with Rasitlin75's assessment that most likely, things will be kept very quiet, to continue to draw the last bits of revenue out of Uru. But I think it is exactly this hush-hush approach that lead to Uru's quirky first returning year. I mean really, why not have an open discussion about the roadmap, about the gameplay about the very nature of the game? It could only get better with the community's input.

I do not want to belittle the work that went into the new and the revamping of the old content. However, at least for me, very little of it was enjoyable or even close in spirit and nature to the original material.

Just one example: The non-interactive pod ages, whose only puzzle involved standing in place at the right spot at the right time, or alternatively standing there for hours to receive a floating donut. What is the purpose, nature and reasoning for the places, the activity or the reward? In Myst games, every environment tied into the story, and every puzzle was a story-telling vehicle. The rewards advanced the story-telling. Not with Uru. The design of these environments floats in the air as much as their in-game rewards do.

I can appreciate that this is what was possible with the given time and resources. However, that is not really a viable approach to create a successful, financially viable online game. Or, like I said before, at least one that is fun.

I have great respect for what Cyan has done and has attempted to do with Uru. It is an immense vision. However, I wish they would either take real steps to realise it, or failing that, would admit defeat honorably and turn their attention to something entirely new to entertain their fans and justly profit from their hard work again.

At the very least, I would hope for some kind of dialogue with the community. That has always been Cyan's strong point. I have never known another game company so closely attuned, and so friendly inclined towards their community. But with Uru there has never been much discussion. It was always just rushed forward. I remember back in the day, us few doubters were branded 'not to get it'. Well, I really wish I would, but I still don't.

I would like them to succeed. That is why I cannot accept Uru for what it is. Plain and simple.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:07 pm 
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The stranger wrote:
Can't anyone get along with the game and accept it as it is?!
This is what I got to say: Cyan World gave us the best they could.And I think it was more than I hoped.We got both new and old style content.


I have to admit there was some stuff I did like and some stuff I didn't. Myself and alot of other people I know in cavern have had to lower and keep lowering expectations all year since MOUL started. That has worn on some of the community all year. Some people are more vocal about it and some say nothing. Personally I did not have any complaints until Jalak and the episode after leading into the season finale with just the Spy Room and Guild Pubs. It is my opinion and I am entitled to it, I hate Jalak. If you like it than that's fine with me and I have no problem accepting your feelings towards it. Then we got hit with the superise announcement of the Season Finale and no confirmation for Season 2. I really was not too vocal until about that time. Alot of people I hang out with in the cavern don't sign on anymore due to the fact they have done everything and don't have time or want to use the game as a gloified chat room. Others have cancelled their accounts and have silently left. As what the game was advertised to be, I don't thnk it ended up as intended. What really struk my nerve was the last KI message from Laxman titled Farewell and the text in that message. He really didn't say anything in person just a message. I think now since there is no confirmation for a season 2 and the mostly dead silence from all parties involved people are getting frustrated. It really is kind of a slap in the face as Axel said to people in non-supported Game Tap countries with the no news becasue there is nothing new to share, but they are expected to keep paying full price in the event that there might be a Season 2 sometime in 2008. I could understand if if there was a definite confirmation paying fullprice, but not on just a posibility. That would definetly not sit well with me. It is tough for me too because the reason I subscribe to game tap is just for MOUL. The more time that goes by with no good news or a confirmation, the more posts we are going to see of this nature unfortunatly. We have been living under the hood of "Cautious Optmisim" now for 4-5 years and some people are plain getting tired of it. As Axel mentioned for the casual gamer, there is no record in game that gives any sort of incling that something has happened, except for some linking books and if you hunt someone down to ask them.


Last edited by J'ffrey on Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 9:15 pm 
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There's really no point in trying to convince someone to stay when they've made and expressed their decision as calmly and constructively as you have. Uru as it is isn't for everyone, and it seems that it isn't for you. I'm always sad to hear of someone leaving, but sometimes it's what people need to do.

While I choose to stick with Uru, I agree with many of your points, to one degree or another. I just believe that with time and effort (both on Cyan's and the community's part), Uru can become more. Call it "Cautious Optimism" ;)

There are lots of issues that deserve more consideration than some people give them (whichever side of the issue they're on): Uru's original failings, episodes, story vs. content, Cyan's limited output/difficult financial situation, story choices, international pricing, multi-player....and probably others. In the end there isn't a 100% objective "right" solution to any of these, but I just hope that everyone that considers leaving will think them through as much as you have.

Briefly, on the subject of your Ahnonay multi-player concerns, I sincerely hope you'll completely review all the threads on that subject, particularly the threads titled "From Support" and "Annoy Question". I, personally, support the multi-player aspects of Uru, and while others are just as entitled to dislike it as I am to like it, I hope that people will consider the overall benefits of multi-player before all-out condemning it; it IS possible to personally dislike something, but acknowledge that it has its place.

Keep an eye on Uru. Perhaps in the future things will get better. If you ever feel like giving Uru another chance, we'll be happy to see you again :)

.shorah,

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:15 pm 
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I'm afraid that I have to agree with almost all of your points :(

What really killed Uru for me was the switch to episodes. I've never been a big fan of the storyline, so if I missed events it didn't bother me much. I could always hear the latest from someone in the hood anyways.

Back in March, I was always stumbling upon dance parties, or "Pod Portal" parties. It was a very fun place to be, and I was logging into Uru for upwards of two hours every night.

Once the episodes started, the cavern became empty, there was no reason to log in. Even during episodes, there was no reason to log in because it was all about the storyline. There were no more spontaneous meeting and gatherings in the hoods, no more spontaneous "Hey everyone! Let's link to Delin and have a techno rave" invites. The only reason for logging on was to grab the sparklies and the new Ages. I still haven't completed Ahnonay because the cavern is always empty and I can't find anyone to finish it with me.

I hadn't logged onto Uru for over a month as of yesterday. My GameTap subscriptions ends in February, without any news of a second season I'm not sure whether it's worth it to renew. It seems that I haven't missed anything by not being in cavern for the past month, and everything that I'm doing with the Guild of Writers is happening on the forums, out of game.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:30 pm 
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I am in exactly the same boat you are Paradox, February is my decision time too. It is a superise hearing this from you. You have always been a huge supporter of this game especially with all the age creation stuff with Uru CC Ahra Pahts and PRPExplorer.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 10:43 pm 
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Keep in mind that Can changed to episodic form because people were complaining that "nothing ever happened".

I hope you decide to come back soon. If getting the sparkle would improve your outlook, you could always get someone to share the area where the sparkle is.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 29, 2007 11:56 pm 
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Whilyam wrote:
you could always get someone to share the area where the sparkle is.

I didn't know this was possible. How do I do this? 8)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 12:21 am 
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Whilyam wrote:
Keep in mind that Can changed to episodic form because people were complaining that "nothing ever happened".

I hope you decide to come back soon. If getting the sparkle would improve your outlook, you could always get someone to share the area where the sparkle is.


I know that's what the official reason was, but I suspect it was GameTap's idea to switch to episodes. They seem to like episodic games. I personally would prefer they go back to the way it was. ;)

And I'm hoping the sparklies repeat since my January one fell off the side of my Relto.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 1:40 am 
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Semplerfi said:
Quote:
I didn't know this was possible. How do I do this?


[spoiler]Somebody with the Myst book can share the book on their Relto bookshelf so you can get the December Sparkly.[/spoiler]

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:01 am 
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Axel, I must agree with many of the things you said. You have some legitimate complaints. My own expectations have had to undergo some significant adjustments this past year. I can rationalize Cyan's choices and make excuses for them as well as anybody, but it is impossible to deny that I have been disappointed with some of those choices, particularly regarding the "story." Mind, I do not think it was always a matter of choice for them. I do believe there have been sacrifices out of necessity.

Like [email protected], though, I am not leaving. What we do have of Uru is enough to keep me in the game. I can foresee a time when, if nothing new is ever added again, I will have "used Uru up," and I could lose interest and drift away, but that time is not yet, not for me. It is not even soon.

But I certainly disagree with you about Ahnonay. Like many others, I have enjoyed the multi-player features - rather to my surprise. Playing alone in new Ages is still my preference and will continue to be, because I like to figure out things for myself and do not want people thoughtlessly or accidentally spoiling my discoveries and problem solving by giving away the solutions or tinkering with "my" puzzles. But the best "fun" I have had in Uru this past year was with other people.

Also, I believe you are mistaken thinking that there was only a "limited time" to solve Ahnonay. There is nothing to stop anyone from solving Ahnonay right now, or next month, or next year. One of my avatars just completed it today. One is a long way from finishing it. One will probably never even start it.

Yes, there is a reward that is soon going away. This happened also in Gahreesen, Teledahn, Ercana, Kadish Tolesa, etc. Is this a reason for a new player not to complete those Ages? Were they "limited time" ages? Definitely not.

If you are talking about the Yeesha appearance, well, I too have criticisms of the way that was planned and carried out. I believe it was a mistake for that event to take place in a location many players had not yet reached, and I would bet Cyan agrees it was a mistake. It was probably not the way they originally intended to time things. But Ahnonay is still there to be solved; it has not been shut down simply because Yeesha has been and gone.

(Every player gets a private - or hood instanced? - K'veer. How healing it would be to have a hologram of Yeesha's appearance play to every player on that first linking in to K'veer!)

So good luck, and thank you for your very thoughtful critique. I share your hope that there will be reasons for all of us to remain - or to return - and that the ending has not been written.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 30, 2007 2:46 am 
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Kerryth wrote:
But I certainly disagree with you about Ahnonay. [ snip ] ... the best "fun" I have had in Uru this past year was with other people.


Now, don't get me wrong. I have no problem with multi-player content. I can readily agree that it can be much more rewarding and fun to do things together. Especially to accomplish something as a team. I played a lot of MMOs, and although the multi-player exclusive content is definitely on the decline in a lot of them, it will, and always should be a vital element to them.

What I took offense with, and what finally pushed me over the edge was that not only was Ahnonay now multi-player but it had both a timed sparklie and a one-off story element that would have been so rewarding but was barred from the majority of the player base. I think that is just wrong. It is offensive. It penalises players who simply cannot invest a lot of hours in the game, or have an established group of friends at their side. What adds insult to injury, is that apparently you cannot even finish the cycle together. Who came up with this? Who thought this would be fun?

I think you ultimately make my point for me, when you say that the age is still there and can always be solved. I agree. I just wished the Yeesha event would also be there as a reward for everyone when, and if they finally get there. As for they sparklies, they had always been placed in easily accessible places before that could be reached within a couple of hours of gameplay at the very most. Completely reasonable. To put it in Myst on the timer just frustrated me beyond the point of tolerance.

Most things in Uru are implemented in such an exclusive fashion. That is my main complaint, and the reason I think the current model cannot be successful. It excludes most people from participating and enjoying the content. It only caters to the hard core of fans.

I really do appreciate everybody's kind words and thoughtful input. The Myst community will always be heads & shoulders above the usual antagonistic Internet communities. On any other game forum this thread would have long since devolved into a mud slinging match. That is why I always want to be a part of this special group of people :)

The only thing that surprises me, is that apparently the apologetic also seem to have grown too weary to enter their rebuttals. Then again, maybe that is a good thing. When people can no longer deny the obvious, new beginnings can be made.

On that note, does anyone know what happened to Andrew Plotkin? http://www.eblong.com/ seems to be down. I think there was hardly anyone who had spent so much thought and energy on analysing and writing about Uru. It was always great to follow his diaries, especially since Andrew is quite the accomplished amateur game designer himself. There is much that can be learned from his take on interactive story-telling in my opinion. Would have loved to hear his take on the current state of things, and what could be done going forward.


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