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February 5th, 2014 at 10:28 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Community

Eighteen years ago, in February 1996, a community known as The Syndicate (www.LLTS.org) was formed. In that era, dial-up modems were still used by many people to connect to the internet. Speeds of 1200 baud were lightning fast. Computers that we gamed on had a small fraction of the power of your droid or iPhone. The colors you could display on your monitor, for most people, were limited to 256 different colors. If you were one of the fortunate few, you may have had a 3DFX graphics card with a couple megabytes of RAM on it, which was the ‘king’ of graphics back in the day.

The Syndicate community was founded with the hope, belief and dream that players would want to come together as a team of friends; who wanted to stick together for years; and who would be able to work through the challenges that often tear communities apart. Right from the beginning, the community faced big hurdles. Initial recruiting practices were abysmal with an applicant merely needing an email address to join. Sometimes they didn’t even need that because entire other guilds wholesale merged with The Syndicate. Those were challenging times but as player expectations were low back in those days, we were able to weather that storm. Now, 18 years later, we look back on those mistakes as opportunities we were fortunate to have as they helped shape us into what we are today.

We have watched as over 66,000,000 other communities have risen and fallen during that same time. We weathered the storms of criticism that you can’t be a “large” guild yet still be unified and friends. We have overcome the challenges of seeing entire gaming universes, that players dedicated years of their time to, get shut down and having to migrate communities of people to new worlds without falling apart.

While there are other successful, fun loving and friend focused communities in the online gaming space, The Syndicate is very proud of its unique achievements within the gaming and community space.

* We created the largest, single guild, annual conference known as SyndCon. This year will mark the 13th year we have held that event.

* We hold the Guinness World Record for the longest, continuously operating, online gaming community.

* We have a retention rate that is unrivaled in the online space. On average, we lose 1-2 people per year. That is a .08% loss rate or said another way, a 99.92% retention rate. That metric is key to us because our people are our reason for existing.

* We have our own studio that does strategy guide writing and game and hardware consulting and testing.

One of the more interesting things about this anniversary is that it is the harbinger of change in the MMORPG universe. As our move into our 19th year as a community, internally we are growing our future not just with friends and significant others of our members, but also from the children of our members as they are now turning 18 years old (which is a requirement to join). Internally that means we have a whole new set of expectations entering into our community. New members who have only known MMORPGs similar to WoW or EQ or UO or Rift are heading off to college and expressing their preferences and expectations and desires within the community.

Why does that matter? It matters because the MMOs of the past 18 years were created, in large part, by a community of developers who knew the world of BBS gaming via a modem… who played MUDs and MOOs… who, in the more senior levels, knew gaming before there were computers. We are just now reaching the point where the future programmers, designers, producers etc.. are heading off to college having never known a world without MMORPGS. Some of the core mechanics and concepts that shaped what “success” is in the MMORPG world are things they have never experienced, and that isn’t a bad thing. It means there is change coming to the MMO space.

Those new developers and new community members have a vision that grew up and evolved under a different set of circumstances than those that created Ultima Online.. or that created The Syndicate for that matter. The future of gaming and even of gaming communities is going to be evolving in the next few years. What “success” means to a game… what a “successful community” means in terms of the services it offers to its members… are all changing and evolving even though the future, key influencers don’t even realize who they are yet or how their vision is and will change things.

So while The Syndicate turning 18 years old may or may not be of interest to you, the idea that it is a harbinger of change coming to the MMO space is one we should all be watching eagerly over the next few years. There is a growing chorus within the online community that there is too much rehashing of the same ideas, same mechanics, and same ways to ‘win’ a game. Fresh ideas and the change they bring is an exciting thing to contemplate. Some of those fresh ideas are coming from old veterans of the industry such as EQ Next or Shroud of the Avatar or Star Citizen. However, from here forward, an increasing number of the fresh ideas will come from players who never lived in a world where Wing Commander was a single player game and that was all anyone knew. Where Utima 1 was a game where a “walkthrough” was not a website you sent your buddy to but was a conversation over lunch to try to compare notes and share your experiences. There are definitely some exciting times ahead as future developers start designing without many of the preconceived notions, born from a time before MMOs, that drive many of our current day gaming worlds.

Source: The Syndicate



December 19th, 2013 at 2:34 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Holidays

As a teacher, winter break is usually a great time in UO for me. I’ve been taming my heart out this week! I hope everybody has a safe and happy holiday season celebrating in Britannia and beyond. And, Santa, if you’re reading this, I could really use a 4.5 or higher greater dragon and a blaze cu sidhe. Thank you! 🙂



June 28th, 2013 at 3:11 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Decor & Architecture,UOCraft News

Happy summer, everybody!

I’ve been playing around with custom carpets in UO. They’re most awesome because they don’t use up any house lockdowns, and you can design them in any shape or size that you need. It’s tough, though, to visualize what you want when there are so many different pieces to consider. I found myself sketching out X’s and O’s and counting up the pieces so that I’d get it right when I went shopping. With those hassles in mind, I created the Custom Carpet Designer tool. You can lay out your carpet on a nice big grid (I hope 12×12 is enough for everybody!), and the tool will calculate how many of each piece you need. When you finish your design, you can hide the grid lines and take a screenshot of your masterpiece and then go shopping for the parts!

There are a few limitations that I may or may not get around to working on. The biggest one is that you can only use one style of center piece per rug design. On the bright side, once you get the layout you want, you can toggle between the different styles to see how that size of rug looks in each style. One trick to making sure the end piece count comes out right: once you pick up a piece, make sure you drop it in the “other” area – don’t drop it into the same area you grabbed it from. (So, if you grab it from the top selection of pieces, make sure you drop it in the bottom grid, or vice versa). If you accidentally grab the wrong piece and don’t want to use that piece, still continue to drop it in the opposite area, then pick it up again and put it in its original spot. Otherwise, if you drop it in the same spot from where it came, the counter will still count it and your end tally will be off. I plan to take a look at this and find a solution, but I’ve run out of time for now and wanted to let people use the tool in the meantime!

I hope this helps all of the deco maniacs of Britannia lay carpets in style!

http://www.uocraft.com/wp-content/themes/UOCraft_WordPress/carpets/carpets.html



March 2nd, 2013 at 8:01 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Taming

The one you’ve all been waiting for: the video tutorial on peace-taming greater dragons without honor or paralyze (complete with a “You are dead” blooper reel at the end). Enjoy!

Ultima Online: Peace Taming Greater Dragons from Shelly Hokanson on Vimeo.



March 1st, 2013 at 7:16 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Taming

Next up: a video tutorial on peace-taming rune beetles!

Ultima Online: Peace Taming Rune Beetles from Kitiara on Vimeo.



March 1st, 2013 at 2:21 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Taming

Ultima Online: Lead Taming Cu Sidhes without Paralyze or Peacemaking from Kitiara on Vimeo.

This video demonstrates lead taming cu sidhe elven dogs without the use of Paralyze spells or Peacemaking. I avoid using Paralyze because if the beast is paralyzed when it is tamed, it will suffer an additional 4% skill reduction as a penalty for paralysis. This doesn't matter much for pets that only train skills up to 100/GM (like cu sidhes), but for those that can have skills exceeding 100, that additional 4% penalty reduces the maximum that you can train those skills up to. So I avoid paralyze taming and stick with standard lead taming (as demonstrated here) or peace/lead taming for more aggressive beasts like greater dragons and rune beetles. Visit UOCraft.com for the Pet Power Calculator mentioned in the video.



March 1st, 2013 at 10:06 am
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Links,UOCraft News

I was having a “duh!” moment…

Please welcome Knuckleheads.dk to the Friends of UOCraft sidebar! Don’t ask why it took so long. Like I said…

They’ve got some fantastic crafting calculators (that I happen to use all the time) – particularly for suit building and imbuing… all the calculators I have dreamed of making. Alas, my loyalties (and free time) lie with the Pet Power Calculator! 🙂

So, do take advantage of the Knuckleheads.dk crafting calcs, and keep an eye out for Gilmour on the forums, who is a stand-up player as well.



February 20th, 2013 at 10:30 am
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Taming

Hi everybody,

The pet difficulty number for calculating control chance for the Dread Warhorse has been updated. (Early data when they first appeared was inaccurate). The Dread Warhorse’s control chance should now calculate properly in the Pet Control Chance calculator. Thanks to Brian for the heads-up!



January 3rd, 2013 at 4:31 pm
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Taming

Hi everybody –

I’ve fixed a bug that was setting the max HP for cu sidhes too high in the Pet Power Calculator. If you’ve rated a cu sidhe recently, you might want to rate it again, as its score might go up a couple ticks.

My apologies for the inconvenience, and thanks to Llewen and Charlie for alerting me to the problem.



December 24th, 2012 at 11:15 am
Posted By: Kitiara
Posted in: Holidays

Happy Merry Everything!

May you enjoy a festive, safe, and happy holiday season across Britannia and beyond!