Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Ultima Online Kingdom Reborn Beta Test

About a week ago, I got accepted into the closed beta test for Ultima Online : Kingdom Reborn, with a strong desire to help the game's makers test out the new client. Specifically, my own area of expertise with UO, which is ships and sailing. Tonight, the Non-Disclosure Agreement was lifted and I can talk about it.

Sadly, they made no improvements to this area. In fact, I think they simply copied the boat movement code from the standard 2D client and pasted it into Kingdom Reborn. I could literally do the same, cut and paste my old list of boat bugs from the last ten years into the KR bug reporting form.

They made the same mistakes that they made six years ago with their first attempt at a 3D client. The game runs painfully slowly, there are graphical glitches everywhere, the much trumpeted new UI is also frustratingly un-intuitive, and the new world map is like a rough sketch of the world offering no details and no functionality when sailing a ship.

It's still in beta, of course, so some improvements are surely expected. But it needs VAST improvement. Like another year's worth of development. So far, it's no better than the now defunct Third Dawn client, and actually runs with the kind of lag I've not seen since that client's early days. I'm going to stick around for awhile to see if it gets better, but I have serious doubt about that happening. It's a shame, it really is, that this is the best they can do - another major blunder and a tragic waste of resources in a ten year history of them.

No comments: