OGPlanet is currently implementing the 2nd chapter of Gran Atlas onto GAMMA server tonight. The main update in this chapter is the Astronomy skill, and although I’m not exactly sure what benefits actually come with this skill, at least this may give players who prefer to sail a lot on the open ocean something to do. Greenland will also become available on the world map (Canada, the Northwest Passage, and the US West Coast, will be added to the world map in chapter 3 of Gran Atlas). Finally, several of the other dungeons may also receive updates similar to the ones in Egypt and Rome.
So things seem to be humming along in UWO universe. OGPlanet continues to launch events and issue the updates, and there still seems to be many players on the server. Perhaps the most significant issue in the past few months has been OGPlanet’s decision to drop GameGuard in favor of X-Trap. Unfortunately, while many players who were unable to play UWO due to GameGuard were now suddenly able to play, a whole bunch of other players (and at first the entire server) ended up being unable to play due to X-trap. OGPlanet seems to have fixed this issue for most people, but it’s too bad that UWO’s been having this sort of technical issue for so long. And although I understand the importance of having a strong and secure anti-hack program in order to deter cheating and other sorts of gaming nastiness, it should not have to be at the expense of losing valuable and loyal players.
Speaking of the player base, it was heartening today to see a whole bunch of players enjoying the Astronomy event celebrations. OGPlanet has definitely made an effort to hold as many player events as possible, and have been pretty generous with handing out various prizes for login rewards and with promoting their sailor bottle/captain chest feature. And while not everyone has been happy with the kinds of rewards or the kinds of events that have been going on, at least OGPlanet’s doing something to keep players interested in the game. And something – especially when compared to the latter days of Netmarble – is better than nothing.
On the other hand, I was a bit disappointed last week to find out that OGPlanet was selling Astro FS parts like the “Delphin Storm Sail” at 399 astros a piece. True, OGPlanet was making these parts directly available for purchase as opposed to players spending astros on sailors bottles, but as several other players pointed out, 399 astros (equal to about 20 US dollars) is a lot to ask of players for one FS ship part. It would’ve been better if OGPlanet had decided to sell the parts closer to 150 or 200 astros so that players may actually choose to buy the parts directly instead of gambling on multiple sailor’s bottles.
Overall, I’m quite pleased with the way OGPlanet has managed UWO’s GAMMA server. They may not have always made the best choices, but at least they are trying.
After finishing my charting of the Northeast Passage, I decided to take some breaks from playing UWO – especially during the first few weeks after X-trap was introduced. Taking breaks is never a bad thing when it comes to a game like UWO. Although there is so much to do in this game, most of those things require a certain amount of grinding (sometimes more and sometimes less). Grinding can be relaxing but it can also become quite tedious and boring. But the flip side to this is the feeling of accomplishment that comes from all the time and effort invested in grinding a particular skill.
I experienced such a sense of accomplishment a couple of weeks ago when I finally maxed out shipbuilding after over a month of near constant grinding. Shipbuilding is one of those skills that many UWO players consider to be one of the most difficult to grind because it takes SO MUCH time AND money to level. I discovered however that the grind becomes much easier one you have a shipwright’s saw, the “privateer” (i.e. “shipwright”) job, lots of extra ducats, and skill proficiency boosters. Much of SB grinding consists of sitting outside port while waiting for your ship to be finished, but I was able to handle most of this grind by playing other games or by going afk during the waiting periods.
Eventually, I reached level 16 (+2 from boosters), and am now able to build or mod just about any kind of ship in the game. My next skill grinding goals are casting and handicrafts, followed by sewing. Once I’m finished grinding all the basic production skills, I may decide to go for alchemy or take a break from grinding and try out some other feature in this game.
So…that’s what I’ve been doing in UWO for the past few months. I’m sorry I have not been able to blog more often or consistently, but in case anybody reading this blog was still wondering, I am still playing UWO (and enjoying it!!). I look forward to seeing the new changes that’ll be coming with Gran Atlas Chapter 2, and I hope that these changes (along with others) will help keep UWO going alive and well into the foreseeable future.