Should we rethink Vet Rewards?

Vet rewards have become a staple of UO. I find there is no fairer business model for MMOs than the subscription model. To that end, you need to incentivize players to remain subscribed. However, as the game nears its third decade, I question the impacts that this system has had in the long term for these reasons:

  1. The direct dispensing of items creates a culture of entitlement that cheapens the player's relationship with the world. It creates the expectation that you'll be given gifts without active participation in any content or the community or through any advancement of your character.
  2. Every item is a missed opportunity to create content where valuable items might be gained or crafted.
  3. The system creates a gap between new and old players which can, for the most part, only be mitigated by time. There is some ability to mitigate the gap via the trading/purchasing of rewards, but some shards might not have a great market in this regard. Further, the IDOC changes which made vet rewards disappear increase this gap. Even if this gap is more perceived than real, perceptions still matter.
  4. When not considered carefully, the system becomes a vector for items which are problematic in a few ways. First, to satisfy the expectation that each reward is "better" than the prior year's, the items may disrupt the game's meta irrevocably (shard shields). Second, the system continues the cynical design philosophy we see across many industries (airlines, ISPs, not to mention gaming) where "quality of life" and "convenience" are seen as add-ons to systems that are normalized as inherently inconvenient or littered with arbitrary service limitations. I feel that we should not treat game design the same way that airlines treat leg room and that quality of life improvements should be available to everyone.

These are just random thoughts, and I recognize the necessity/virtues of the system in the context of the subscription model, which I still think is much better than F2P. I hope as the teams works on NL they are considering the impact of such systems.

Comments

  • TheoTheo Posts: 179
    No they are fine. 

    If you don’t have shard shields you can purchase a transfer token.  

    Most of the vet stuff is deco or items for crafting and the like.  Nothing unbalancing.  They are gifts for paying for a long time.  If you don’t want to wait you can buy them from others for gold.  Honestly. Go get a few hundred hats and trade for any vet reward you want.  Take you like 3 days. 
  • Arnold7Arnold7 Posts: 1,334
    Current reward system like the UO store discriminates against newer players placing things they can really use, that most other players already have, well out of reach.  Not surprising since maintaining the existing player base and not adding to it has always been the sole focus of the game. I meet returning players but don’t know that I have ever met a newer player on my shard that is still playing.  Maybe NL will attract new players and provide them with the incentive to continue playing.  But the current model only provides disincentives to newer players without mentors that provide them with what the game has put out of their reach.  Sorry UO.
  • Lord_FrodoLord_Frodo Posts: 2,304
    Allow Account Aging at the same rate as Vets have paid $120 for one year of age.  This is Account Aging only no game time comes with this purchase.  Now all you have to do is get EA to go along with it or if the DEVs have access to the accounts, sell tokens in the UO Store for 6000 Sovereigns for 6 month age and make them sellable to other players.  
  • LilyGraceLilyGrace Posts: 796
    edited May 3
    Theo said:
    No they are fine. 

    If you don’t have shard shields you can purchase a transfer token.  

    Most of the vet stuff is deco or items for crafting and the like.  Nothing unbalancing.  They are gifts for paying for a long time.  If you don’t want to wait you can buy them from others for gold.  Honestly. Go get a few hundred hats and trade for any vet reward you want.  Take you like 3 days. 

    I disagree about the shard shields entirely. I'd rather much younger player accounts be able to, if not claim their own shard shields, be able to use tokens produced by vet owned shields vets. 

    Get rid of transfer tokens, produced by vet shields, being account bound. Let vets sell and trade tokens with others. 14 years is a crazy restriction IMO. Getting rid of account bound restriction on the tokens would allow for more spontaneous game play. 

    The store bought transfer tokens would still be valuable when you're looking to move goods around because of being able to transfer with 5 pack animals.
  • AmberWitchAmberWitch Posts: 667
    It's a gift. To thank and reward someone who has paid and played for specific amounts of time. It's a gift. A Gift. Not everything in life can be obtained without putting forth effort. Why should someone who's only paid/played 6 months get the same gifts as someone who has paid/played 20 years? Work it up like others did. I am thankful that someone is willing to reward those those that have paid/played consistently.

  • poppspopps Posts: 3,974
    edited May 3
    I have had enough of Vanity Mounts, Statuettes and the likes.

    Furthermore, a player who has maintained an account as active, paying the monthly subscription month after month, year after year, decade after decade, for 20, 25 and now soon 30 years, I think might be entitled to have a more sound and tangible "thank you" Veteran Reward then a vanity mount or some other statuette...

    Younger accounts ages need to wait to reach that active age year to claim their Veteran Rewards ?

    Not a problem, make those Rewards claimable only by the account that has reached the age but usable by any account.

    Then, Veteran players will be able to claim them for their friends if they wish so or, sell them if they want... I see nothing wrong in that, a player who has spent thousands of dollars or whatever currency they use in their country for the monthly subscription, should be able to have the option to sell a Veteran Reward in the game for in-game gold. It happens all the time for lower years like the crafting stations or other Veteran Rewards why couldn't it be the same for Veteran rewards 20+ or 25+ and soon 30 Years Veteran Rewards ?

    But they need to be Veteran Rewards that actually can have a use in the game, not mere Vanity items, we have already plenty of Vanity Mounts and Statuettes, I think.
  • LilyGraceLilyGrace Posts: 796
    I'm not talking about all vet rewards. I'm talking about shard shields in particular, that have a very heavy restriction placed on them. A restriction that creates an impediment to better spontaneous group participation in the game.

    An argument could be made that there's already another restriction placed on newer accounts that has them never able to catch up to the vet, if having them not be able to catch up to vets is important. That is, the number of rewards you're allowed to claim and accrue as time passes.

    It takes a player a year to get their first vet rewards. I think it's what, in the first year, 3 rewards? For each year up until year 6 you get an additional reward each year. At year six and beyond you get two rewards per year. That's a gift right there, no?

    So, a first year vet would have to decide, do I want a commodity deed box? An ethereal? A shard shield?  

    As it stands now, most vet rewards aren't account bound to begin with. You have to be a vet to claim them but then the item can be sold to and used by younger accounts. So, how is that restricting the younger player from being able to have what vets have anyway? Aside from the shard shields I think the only other account bound reward is vet soul stones. The store bought tokens can be sold and stones aren't account bound until claimed. And then there's what? A handful of vanity mounts that you have to be a certain age to ride?

    I don't get what it would hurt to let younger accounts claim shard shields. On the other hand, with UO's population so spread out and the numbers still dwindling, I see how allowing for more ease in inter-shard travel could help bring better group play to the game. It would also make it easier for vets to more readily help new and returning players to the game.

  • keven2002keven2002 Posts: 2,234
    It's a gift. To thank and reward someone who has paid and played for specific amounts of time. It's a gift. A Gift. Not everything in life can be obtained without putting forth effort. Why should someone who's only paid/played 6 months get the same gifts as someone who has paid/played 20 years? Work it up like others did. I am thankful that someone is willing to reward those those that have paid/played consistently.

    Agreed. It's a small carrot at the end of the stick to keep people subscribing in order to receive additional gifts. That said, as Lily said, anyone can use 90% of the vet rewards (both a 6month old acct and an EJ account) so even though those players haven't spent nearly the amount of money as many others have paid (are paying); they are still able to use them all.

    My opinion is that how the rewards are currently given is fine and I'm fine with everyone being able to use them. I'm also fine with the shard shields like they are. If they changed to maybe like 10 year reward thats fine but newbies shouldn't get them off the bat; that's an insult to the people who actually helped extend this game to almost 3 decades now.

    I do think the reward ideas have gotten to be pretty weak though over the past 5 years or so and we should get some better rewards (especially for people at 20+ years to choose). Perfect example is this year's greenhouse. It's a knock-off version of a garden shed that simply isn't anywhere near as good. The Dev team has gone to the same well a lot... some of those ideas were good like all the crafting stations (although I felt the mapmaking station was a waste given there is no reason to pickup a map pen once you GM carto and hence wouldn't need a station), but the all the reward clothing is pretty unoriginal. They all only add 3% phys resist... resists are no longer an issue and rather than pivoting and making something useful they just kept it going. I'd say the same about the statues because they introduce like 2-4 statues almost every year which are more options than vet picks you receive each year yet they keep cranking them out.
  • Petra_FydePetra_Fyde Posts: 1,382
    Shard shields aren't all that exclusive, almost every day there's a post somewhere in Discord asking for, or offering to transfer stuff for people who don't have shields. Most vets will help out when they can.
    As for the recent vet rewards, well the devs are probably running out of ideas. We could offer a few well thought out suggestions? Bearing in mind vet rewards are supposed to be nice, but not game changing. Nothing that gives anyone an advantage in combat. 
  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    I'm not against the concept of Vet rewards, I just think the list has become bloated, and also needs some rebalancing.

    Statues. There is even another page after this. These items could do with being in the game. They are pure deco, they don't really add anything, introduce them as a collectable as a 1 in 10,000 drop off the specific monster involved.

    It would just open up another avenue for the game, another reason to hunt, something else fun to do.

    When some useful Vet rewards are worth 150m, it forces the value of these items up, and a statue could never be worth 150m, but it could be worth a lot of fun time hunting and collecting this item ingame.







  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    edited May 3
    These Cloaks, have become pointless due to their stats becoming valueless over the years.
    Either - push their property value up in line with current ingame items, delete them, or being them into the game also. I accept some of the colours are nice, but again, against other items, you just cannot chose these.

    The Fishing Pole is cool - maybe this should be introduced as a Fishing quest reward - or put into the Misc section


  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    Ethereal mounts, do satisfy the vanity concept, and the useful concept. These should remain as Vet rewards.
  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    Dye Tubs. These are very cool, again, they satisfy the vanity, and useful concept. They could remain as Vet rewards, OR be brought into BoD rewards for crafting.


  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    House add-ons. Now this is where the Vet reward system absolutely slays.
    Very Vanity, Extremely useful, fantastic items in my opinion. Not over-powered, but can help for sure.
    This list in itself, makes the entire Vet reward system. In some ways, I'd like some of these to be more accessible, but that could dilute the Vet reward system.

  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    edited May 3
    And finally, we have a very eclectic mix of Miscellaneous. 

    The controversial one being Shard Shields. I believe they should exist as a reward, they are genuinely useful, players get great benefit from them. They should remain as a Vet reward, they should remain in the Store. I would possibly bring them down to a 10 year Vet reward. As Petra Fyde says, whilst they provide great benefits, they are also made very available by many players, to many players, this type of activity, brings players together to help each other.

    Soulstones are treated correctly.

    There is a lot here to unpack, but ultimately the point is, there is a lot here, and some amazing items.

    Personal favourites - the weapon engraving tool, the embroidery tool, the various craft stations, the spellbook straps and whilst I have never used an auction safe, these are insanely popular also.

    The portals are a must have, as is the Comm Deed Box. Again, this list is almost too good, and too big - but probably should remain, to give the variety of choice.


  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    edited May 3
    Ultimately, I agree with the opening post.

    I think Veteran rewards should be rethought, and rebalanced, and I have given suggestions.

    The issue for me is, that list is very bloated (I think I have proved that), and there are an insane amount of useful items in there, that players would like in the game.

    I think the fact there are less Vets being produced? {Drop off rate probably faster than growth rate} (Feel free to fact check me), and also, Vet rewards are being deleted with IDOCS means there are less and less of these nice items, which is a pity, again, I am all about redistributing, and dispersing them throughout the game, to make more items playable for. [And I do not question, or disagree with Vet rewards being deleted at IDOCS, I do not blame the Devs for making that decision].

    I do agree, that for the new player, their experience is made very hard in terms of obtaining items [The events are actually a critical winner here, over the past 3-4 years, I have geared up many new characters from these events]. This is why my mantra is - bring everything into the game, but disperse it well, and wisely, to encourage more players to actually play the content. After 25 odd years, us Vets sat here with everything, do not need to be obstructing them, is my belief. They should have something to play for, and an ability to catch up. It cannot be possible, to ask them to play for another 25 years.
  • PawainPawain Posts: 9,230
    Let vet rewards drop in IDOCs again. Statues are my favs.
    Focus on what you can do, not what you can't.
  • CookieCookie Posts: 1,330
    edited May 4
    Pawain said:
    Let vet rewards drop in IDOCs again. Statues are my favs.
    I actually think the whole IDOC system is questionable, so I understand them doing what they have done.

    I think right now, they have reached a certain point with IDOCS, which is probably as balanced as it can get.

    The Felucca fights can also be fun, they have made that part of the system well.

    The Trammel side, what can I say. :)
    {I guess what they should do Trammel side - is to introduce a ton of difficult stealth revealing Guardians - like they do for Treasure Hunting, that would spice it up a bit and at least make players earn it a little.}
  • PawainPawain Posts: 9,230
    If they would stick the Vet statues in them that would be fine.  Instead of barrels they fill those necro guys that grab stuff with stuff and when the barrels fall the mobs run around.  Easy to kill but you have to chase them and they spread out.
    Focus on what you can do, not what you can't.
  • CovenantXCovenantX Posts: 947
    Pawain said:
    Let vet rewards drop in IDOCs again. Statues are my favs.
       Agreed,   they made 'reasonable' and 'fair' changes to the idoc system, then removed some of the best items you could hope for when participating in idocing. 
     
       they also removed all stack-able items/commodities, which also shouldn't have been done (even though most of them were farmed by scripts, and not players themselves, so at least there's some logic to it, I guess)

     There are also too many vet rewards that are 'deco only' which, I do not think should exist anymore.

      Statuettes are fine, but they should have other functions.   there shouldn't be a different statue for llama ethy mounts & the deco version, they should be one and the same, just different functionality when locked down, vs when used while in your backpack.  this way, the statues aren't 'worthless', when compared to other desirable/useful items under the same year.
    There'd have to be other functions added to some of the statuettes that aren't or can't become mounts, to make them more than just vanity though. but it's do-able with some work.

     It also means, that statuettes for collectors, might become more expensive, but they'd be easier to find for sale.
    Remove or change casting focus & poison immunity it reduces the need for "Player Skill" it's garbage. rant2 Bring timing back and eliminate chance in pvp!
    ICQ# 478 633 659
  • keven2002keven2002 Posts: 2,234
    CovenantX said:
    There are also too many vet rewards that are 'deco only' which, I do not think should exist anymore.

      Statuettes are fine, but they should have other functions.   there shouldn't be a different statue for llama ethy mounts & the deco version, they should be one and the same, just different functionality when locked down, vs when used while in your backpack.  this way, the statues aren't 'worthless', when compared to other desirable/useful items under the same year.
    There'd have to be other functions added to some of the statuettes that aren't or can't become mounts, to make them more than just vanity though. but it's do-able with some work.

     It also means, that statuettes for collectors, might become more expensive, but they'd be easier to find for sale.
    Well said.

    Also something Cookie eluded to, that I agree with, is when a player can make 150-225m gold off a single vet reward (crafting stations / garden sheds / teleports /etc) that have functionality, there is simply no reason to pick a statue that does nothing or regular existing clothes (ie fire robe / ice white dress / etc) that do nothing. It truly is a wasted pick. Yet we get 3 new statues every year.

    My thought to make these things more worthwhile is to make the statues be something you can click to give a temporary (maybe 2 hours) slayer for that thing (mummy statue gives mummy slayer / trex statue gives trex slayer / etc). For the clothes, either make new art that will only be used for the vet reward pick (ie a new toga or royal gown etc) to make it unique and/or give it a small boost to one stat depending on what you pick. Boosts would be +5% in various things like LRC / LMC / armor resist / one stat (str / int / dex) / 2% casting focus. None of these things would be game changing since the robes/cloaks we have all come with more than a single property that I've already listed.

    Otherwise they should keep focused on functional items as vet reward. I think vet rewards can give a small advantage for things since players are able to lock them down in public houses for everyone to use (ie pilfering chalice / repair bench / dye tubs/ etc). 
    • Why not something like the woodworker's bench (in store item) for all other crafting skills? A one hour boost per day to the crafting skill + and extra 3-5% in exceptional making?
    • Items for more "free" storage: A steel safe that works like a garden shed / weapon rack that gives 125 or 250 free lockdowns in a house / resource box to allow ingots+wood+cloth+etc to count as one item in a house (technically they could make an "ingot box" for just smithing resources then piggyback off that idea for multiple other crafting rewards).
    • Something like an enchanted arcane circle where you don't need 6 people for a focus (or the mastery running). It will give you a 2 hour level 6 focus with just you on the circle (nothing is more annoying than waiting 10-15min for enough ppl for a focus).

  • RinerRiner Posts: 374
    keven2002 said:
    CovenantX said:
    There are also too many vet rewards that are 'deco only' which, I do not think should exist anymore.

      Statuettes are fine, but they should have other functions.   there shouldn't be a different statue for llama ethy mounts & the deco version, they should be one and the same, just different functionality when locked down, vs when used while in your backpack.  this way, the statues aren't 'worthless', when compared to other desirable/useful items under the same year.
    There'd have to be other functions added to some of the statuettes that aren't or can't become mounts, to make them more than just vanity though. but it's do-able with some work.

     It also means, that statuettes for collectors, might become more expensive, but they'd be easier to find for sale.
    Well said.

    Also something Cookie eluded to, that I agree with, is when a player can make 150-225m gold off a single vet reward (crafting stations / garden sheds / teleports /etc) that have functionality, there is simply no reason to pick a statue that does nothing or regular the idea of giving existing clothes (ie fire robe / ice white dress / etc) that do nothing. It truly is a wasted pick. Yet we get 3 new statues every year.

    My thought to make these things more worthwhile is to make the statues be something you can click to give a temporary (maybe 2 hours) slayer for that thing (mummy statue gives mummy slayer / trex statue gives trex slayer / etc). For the clothes, either make new art that will only be used for the vet reward pick (ie a new toga or royal gown etc) to make it unique and/or give it a small boost to one stat depending on what you pick. Boosts would be +5% in various things like LRC / LMC / armor resist / one stat (str / int / dex) / 2% casting focus. None of these things would be game changing since the robes/cloaks we have all come with more than a single property that I've already listed.

    Otherwise they should keep focused on functional items as vet reward. I think vet rewards can give a small advantage for things since players are able to lock them down in public houses for everyone to use (ie pilfering chalice / repair bench / dye tubs/ etc). 
    • Why not something like the woodworker's bench (in store item) for all other crafting skills? A one hour boost per day to the crafting skill + and extra 3-5% in exceptional making?
    • Items for more "free" storage: A steel safe that works like a garden shed / weapon rack that gives 125 or 250 free lockdowns in a house / resource box to allow ingots+wood+cloth+etc to count as one item in a house (technically they could make an "ingot box" for just smithing resources then piggyback off that idea for multiple other crafting rewards).
    • Something like an enchanted arcane circle where you don't need 6 people for a focus (or the mastery running). It will give you a 2 hour level 6 focus with just you on the circle (nothing is more annoying than waiting 10-15min for enough ppl for a focus).


    I'm going to start off by saying I do not think the way Vet Rewards are distributed should change. Nor should there be another avenue to obtaining them. They are after all intended as a reward for having played that long. Also, even though I would love to be able to get some, don't think their should be a change in shard shields. To  be honest I'm more of the belief that all rewards should be account locked, but be that as it is Veterans can still get a small gold influx from selling them.

    As for @keven2002 's suggestions I think they are great! I would really like to see the change to the statues so they feel like they have more worth. And I would really love to see his last three suggestions implemented. They are all great functional ideas which are not over powering.
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