If I may be frank, I have to agree that there is a moderate decline in the player base since I have started. I understand many changes are made periodically, however there are a few things that I do not agree with, or cannot argue in the defense of Ultima. I am the only remaining person from the group of people I started this server with and at one point deleted my team because everyone else left for various reasons and grievances to other servers. I understand the staff are hard at work for the things that we do enjoy and I am very appreciative, but to be honest I rarely play as there just isn't much to keep us going outside of varying hunts with occasional new items. When I started there was on average 80+ players always on. Now there is barely over 40. Please know this is not an attack. Just simply my observations and personal experiences. Here is a list of things I do not agree with or have personally been opposed to in discussions:
1. The refusal to make certain changes based on the lack of source code. Honestly, while I understand the legality behind it, there are servers who have acquired it through other means and make otherwise impossible changes to level designs, weapon skins, create entirely new weapons. The selling points of some of these servers is that they will go out of their way to do the very things that the staff of this server outright refuse to do and silence people on it. If SEGA honestly cared what happened, then all of these servers would not exist without paying SEGA some sort of royalties. Clearly they let this game die in their eyes with the Dreamcast and they ignore the clear abuse of the copyright for this game.
2. Change to veteran status. The definition of veteran on Ultima is clearly different than what the definition actually is now. Not that this status means much on here anyways, for one reason or another, but Logging in one day to realize that the amount of time and money I have dedicated to this server means that I get what little bit I have taken away is a little irritating.
3. Ideas go ignored. I understand that not all ideas are good, fair, or possible based on the rules and guidelines set forth by the server and lack of source code. However, many good ideas just get lost and ignored all the time. This is not a cry for PGF to drop year round. I have made a post on that already, but it must be acknowledged that if not all, most other servers do make it a year round drop at a much more reasonable rate compared even to our Christmas drop rate during HH.
4. PGF and other 1 time a year drop items. These items should not be at a drop rate during 3-5 weeks of a year that it cost $250+ USD dollars. If it is going to be exclusive to Christmas, then compensate the drop rates accordingly to where they become more accessible and drop the actual cost of these items. At one point I know you could donate for things like STA or PGF, but now I do not think you can anymore. This is a clear cash grab and is not needed. You could ask for donations by other means. You already do to add hit or percents to weapons. You also took away the hit events that used to exist with older GMs.
5. Punishment is not consistent. I won't name anyone in particular, but certain people are still allowed to post and be toxic, but others have been banned for less. I may speak for myself, but punish equally and fairly. If you are going to ban someone for something, but let someone else stay because they do other things equally as toxic or unacceptable, but was not the exact same thing, then why punish players to begin with.
6. Criticism = Malice. Again I have to agree here. Constructive criticism and or a calling out for lack of consistency in punishment or timeliness for events just get people told to stop talking about it and posts get locked by admin. If you are going to be in charge of things, then take the constructive criticism. This is not in any way approval for being attacked, but there is a clear difference in a toxic player being a downright jerk for no reason, and players with legitimate concerns or issues. If you cannot handle it, then honestly find someone else who can. It isn't fair to silence the people voicing legitimate complaints just because the staff doesn't like what is being said or do not care.
7. Toxic player base and staff that back down. This point is more at the player base that all they do is live to complain rather than staff. Honestly just leave if you cannot handle a simple discussion. It completely dumbfounds that we can't get new items and ideas without someone crying. The overwhelming majority of players on here are grown adults. Let us please act as such. For the staff, if you say an item won't change then don't change it. You have the complete ability to reserve items to GMs only and have them test the items extensively before release. If you test them and think they are fine, then leave it at that. It really looks bad with r-78 locked posts saying Serene Swan won't change, then Larva says the same thing, and then not even a day or two later Larva changes his mind. That doesn't make it look any better on the GM who just had the top dog defend them just to turn around and pull the rug out from underneath them.
Again this is not a personal attack towards anyone or any group. Please do not read it as such. If you made it through all of this and still feel offended after I specified twice that this is merely an opinion based on observation and personal experience in the now 6 or 7 years I have been on this server and apart of the community, then honestly I don't care and you probably needed it. This isn't being toxic, this is just being honest. Thank you all who took the time to read this and did not take offense. I will not try to argue these points nor debate them. If you disagree, then I will simply agree to disagree with you and move on from there.