It is my position that automated events happen outside of the regular world and a lot of players do enjoy them; however, that alone is not a justification for anything. I've looked at this a lot of different ways: one of which being that they sort of fill in for our intentionally low staff levels which prohibit us from doing as many in game seer type scenarios. That being said though, the staff of UOSA has been very active lately in running unique shard events. For the most part, this has been much more uncommon on UOSA in the past.
For now, I'd like to say that yes, the events are a mechanic of the shard and yes, there was not an equivalent on OSI in 1999; however, they didn't have the capability of doing anything nearly as complex as these events during that time. I'd also like to add that I really did enjoy developing the events and actually have a few more in queue that I've been meaning to get out there, but completely lack any time to work on them.
To the other issues which generally involve policy such as Razor, Light Filters, accounts per person...
These are very hot subjects but here's the facts as I see them:
- Razor is the only program that we have available that comes close to what UOA was in era, a legitimate and common helper app that I and everyone I know used.
- Some features from Razor such as light filtering was only available in 1999 in other third party apps which OSI/EA forbid.
- To restrict Razor features, you must require Razor to connect to the shard.
- I don't use Razor, and do not want to be forced to use Razor.
- Forcing Razor is not era accurate.
- Razor causes my client to hang up.
On rules in general:
- OSI had a lot of rules.
- OSI did not enforce many of them whether for lack of human resources, inability to monitor, or that they just didn't care.
- We don't have all of the rules that OSI had.
- We are very serious about the rules we do have, and assess harsh penalty to violations of those rules.
- Philosophically, I do not believe in having unenforceable rules.
- I do not want to tie up our staff interfering in what would be considered normal game play in the respect that even though it may not have been permissible to do certain things on OSI, OSI did not enforce those rules, thereby making those actions era-accurate.
- Making rules which inspire undetectable circumvention are counterproductive.
On the account limits:
- Crafty individuals can find ways to circumvent any limitations we impose under our current system.
- We would love to find a way to put more accountability into account creation.
- We already spend quite a bit of time policing our current policy which is relatively liberal.
- I will not go into the details of how limitations can be skirted, but the bottom line is that I feel without a better accounting system, additional restrictions only serve to restrict those who would obey the rules willingly, and would actually create a further divide.
- The more difficult it is to open an account on UOSA, the less players will we will find in game.
There is and likely always will be a lot of work to do on UOSA.
I fully understand the frustration when players don't always get a response from me, but it would be easy for me to spend 30 hours a week in the forums alone. I've spent an hour this morning on this thread alone. Often the same topics pop up every week or two, and I've often comment on those topics time and time again; while these issues are valid, and I do care about them, I just can't spend my days in the forums. I do sometimes intentionally avoid reading these 10 page threads because i simply have other things which require my attention, and I know once I get into these issues it's going to be at the cost of making progress on the things I already have a plan to resolve.
On in-game interaction between players...
The real question here is, does the staff of Second Age's role include Social Services? Most people will answer this question immediately with either a Big Yes, or a Big No, because we have a variety of people here who all view the game very differently, and want the society of the shard to be a particular thing of their preference, which is a very good thing.
The players have shaped the in-game community and society of Second Age, and are therefore entirely responsible for the diversity and richness that it has become. I belive that staff interference in player association takes the responsibility from players to interact freely and build an in-game culture. Putting staff in a role of arbitrating personal interaction takes this accomplishment away from the players to an extent.
Be clear that I'm not saying that people going around throwing racial slurs at everyone they see creates richness and depth, but it's a side effect of the freedom of interaction that exists in Second Age. Much like the real world, if you call someone a name (be it racial, sexual or whatever), most likely higher beings will not appear in a puff of smoke and take away the person that offended you. But also much like the real word, although differing in mechanism, it's possible to remove yourself from the situation, or unlike the real word, even "ignore" that players speech.
I'm not saying that this is the final word on this issue, but just something I thought about. We do not at all appreciate the racism and profanity which seems to come from what really is a minority of players on the shard, however policing this isn't necessarily a natural response to the distain.
There's never a "final word" though (other than the obvious final words, like "no we won't add custom housing", usually players answer those types of threads sufficiently). This shard is a work in progress and new ideas pop up every day.
In closing, I'd like to mention that I am usually very reachable. If you feel an important thread is sitting in my blind spot, please bring it to my attention. There was a time when I was able to read every word printed in these forums, but it's just not possible anymore. It's all been a very slow progression towards correctness. I'd like to thank you all for your patience.
This post has been largely culled from other posts with the help and suggestion of Pristiq. Many issues are addressed here and it would be extremely disorganized to discuss them further in a single thread.