EA UXO Unveiling Event
In late August of 2003, Electronic Arts held a UXO (Ultima X, Odessey) unveiling. The game had been developed in secret for several years and for the first time, EA was acknowledging its existance. Invited to the event were various media sources (TV, Radio, magazines and alot of Gaming News Sites). In addition to them, a select group of guilds were invited to attend. The Syndicate was one of those few guilds selected to attend the event and Dragons attended for the guild.

EA paid for everything from the airfare to the hotel to the open bar on one night to the means etc.. for the 2 day event. Everyone stayed at the W hotel in downtown San Francisco and the event was held across the street at the Arts annex of the Moscone Center.

On hand for the meet and greet were all of the UXO development team including noteable UO names like Calandryll and Cynthe (who changed her game alias to Morgaine). Also the current UO producer Sunsword was also present along with the president of EA, and a large amount of the UXO staff and EA PR people.

Their philosophy inviting players and gaming news sites was simple: They wanted their feedback and reactions before everyone elses. All the magazine articles and news footage in the world will not make an MMORPG successful if the gamers and gaming news sites dislike it and blast it. Shadowbane is a good example of that. It had all the PR in the world but the players roasted it and ultimately it fell way short of what it was hyped to be and most players chose not to involve themselves with it and/or to close accounts within months of it going live. UXO did not wish to make the same mistake and involved gamers early on.

Build on the Unreal Warfare engine (one of the more advanced FPS engines of the time), UXO was designed to be a sister product to UO rather than a replacement. They were calling the unveiling a "pre alpha" showing but clearly the game was much further along than that. Despite our most valiant efforts, we couldnt crash either the server or the client during the 2 day event.

On the 2nd day, EA held a PvP contest. There were several rounds which lead to the finals where 4 people faced off. Dragons, the Syndicate GM, made it into the finals without a scratch from the semi-final rounds. The final round began and within 90seconds, all other 3 contestants lay dead and Dragons and The Syndicate had won the first ever PvP match in UXO. However one of the players wasnt set to PVP+ for part of the fight. It didnt matter since as soon as he went PVP+ he was killed but the losing players cried FOUL!! So EA decided to award two prizes and play a second final round. Again all 4 players lined up. And again, within 90 seconds, all other players lay dead and Dragons was again the winner. The 2nd place person in the final round was awarded a prize as well since Dragons had already won a prize from winning the first round.

And the conference concluded with everyone being given a very nice 9x12 "rendered" image from the game in a cardboard frame with the UXO logo on it that all of the developers signed.

The UXO event was a very well done affair. EA spared no expense and was genuinely interested in player feedback and ideas. UXO appeared to be very far along in its development and was given high praise by all who were present. The only flaw pointed out was the lack of pvp except for guildwars. That may be addressed by the 2nd expansion (they said the first expansion would contain housing and crafting skills). UXO was slated for release in Q1 of 2004.

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