Too late, didn't read version:
I found this post on another UO gaming site, I'm sharing it here.
Imagine a UO where UO:Renaissance never happened. Trammel is no longer a bad word because it never existed. People are incentivized to hunt reds, hunt thieves, do PvE for PvE only gear, and still has that classic heart pounding PvP intact. Kings and seige system with guilds controlling towns controlling things like tax rates and guard protection. Keeping community with a capital C and in the player's hands, not the developers.
Would you play a UO shard like that? I would.
Imagine a UO where UO:Renaissance never happened.
The same problems existed. They're not fantasy. This is perhaps... an alternate history exercise for you, but not an exercise in catapulting facts away when they're inconvenient.
It's 1999, and you've got massive problems with PKing and griefing. UO has no PvE endgame, and PvE games are beginning to launch and dominate the market.
You're the head honcho. You can do as you please.
Perhaps you choose to keep UO unique and different than all of the stuff that's being launched, worked on, and surely planned in the future. You see the success of EQ and understand that UO is what it is, and must play to its strengths to separate itself from the pack.
Be true to yourself, UO. What the cool kids are doing is irrelevant.
Perhaps you choose to find solutions by using and empowering the incredible community you already have, giving them true power over their own world to shape it as they please -- or have the bravery and dedication for.
Perhaps the core theme shouldn't move from Community -> to Locked Down Trammel Land, but from Community -> Community Empowered.
To fix the PK problem, you shy away from Trammel - understanding that the open, virtual world of UO is difficult to replicate and happens to be what its players love. UO is about community, it's about every single person within that community (no matter how they spend their time) - and it's about the melting pot that all of these players and playstyles create and exist within.
That's what UO is, that's what UO was, and that's what UO ought to be. That's what Ultima Online is best at.
Trammel, or a PK switch, is presented to you in the board room. You decide that "perhaps we'll be a bit more brave, attack this more.. UO style."
Player Justice has been attempted again and again, never working.. always failing. However, all of the systems implemented have revolved around punshing the bad guy. Why not reward the good guy?
You introduce Paladins - a fraternal order for the few, the brave, the bold... that would dare turn away evil from your world.
Why be a Paladin in such a harsh world dominated by reds? Well, for one, we'll incentivize it.
Paladins, while unable to participate in O/C or any other PvP combat outside of Red-vs-Blue, are provided strong incentive. Rewards for killing murderers.
Nothing neon, nothing overpowered, and certainly nothing that can be used against anyone but a murderer.. but strong incentives none the less.
The citizens of Britannia are provided tools and rewards for tracking down and killing murderers. For instance, perhaps an orb that acts as a live beacon, suggesting coordinates for crimes committed.
Your three point plan goes as such:
Incentivize Good Guys
Penalize Bad Guys
The third part being important, and quite largely overlooked in any player justice system when it should never be. Part of the red penalty can be a price to ressurrect at the Chaos Shrine, and an equal divide of this cost can be given to his or her victims, along with a classy little note from Lord British.
Hey, something that simple might just be better than nothing.
You're allowing the victim to know that the murderer was caught and dispatched, and providing them consolation in a tangible form that will ease their suffering as they're buying cool new stuff.
In the end, something like this is ultimately tweakable until you find just the right balance.
Want reds to concentrate more on the good guys instead of lashing out against newbies?
Introduce Dread Lords, with a way to shackle and trap Paladins in the depths of Hythloth, as well as a stacking damage buff for a string of Paladins killed - deflecting malicious intent toward the Paladins and away from the newbies of the world, for fear that their awesome damage buff will dissipate the second they kill a player other than a Paladin.
Not everyone PvPs of course, and not everyone is a crack PvPer. Keeping up with the reds is difficult, even with a full set of Paladin Armor.
For this, we introduce Detectives - a non-combat way for players to police the world, by collecting clues at crime scenes, piecing them together and turning them in to release NPC bounty hunters on murderers that would place them in Yew Jail.
Now, of course you can tune these systems until the activity of PKs in your world meets your desired goals. What are the Paladin rewards? How much do they cost? Are they blessed? How hard are clues to collect? How powerful are the NPC bounty hunters? What does Yew Jail look like?
But this only solves one problem. The picture is much larger than that when speaking about Classic UO.
There's no PvE endgame in classic UO. People are going to (and even back then, did) get bored and quit. Classic UO has, and has shown to, become little more than this pretty quickly:
Macro -> PvP (/PK/Grief) -> Tower -> Quit.
Now, of course this doesn't happen with some users. Some are totally content to play with what they have for years on end and never get bored.
That's fine, but 80% of your users will fall somewhere near this equation and WILL get bored of the same old after a very short period of time.
To begin, we need elder games. Both PvE, and PvP.
PvE endgame in UO circa 1999 consisted of EVing Lich Lords over and over, and nothing else. Doesn't cut it in 2010, sorry.
PvP endgame in UO circa 1999 consisted of a signup sheet and separate flagging system of orange (enemies) and green (friends), and nothing else. Doesn't cut it in 2010.
Introduce a PVE endgame of random overworld encounters, popup dungeons customized by player skill level, world bosses, achievement unlockable 5th levels to dungeons and even raids.
Nobody wants to have to spend 2 years raiding (or buying suits) to complete. The solution is to introduce PvE sets that have bonuses applied only to certain monsters and dungeon. Four levels of Hythloth Gold Plate - deadly to daemons and gargoyles, unconcerned with players. Not hued in any neon colour, but instead... let's take the hues from the oldschool platemail purchasable from vendors in 1997. Those oldschool, awesome metallic hues. Gold, Grey, Bronze, Rose, Blue-Black... and so on. In a classic world where these don't exist (or exist only rarely, dating back to 1997), these become prestige items based on appearance alone.
You no longer need crazy suits to compete in PvP, because PvE items have no bearing on player versus player combat. However, by its very nature, PvE requires rewards... otherwise, how many people would defeat difficult raids 'just for fun'? Not that many. Problem solved.
What about a PvP endgame?
Expand on O/C. Provide a fun, meaningful, factions-esque system of world domination. Introduce politics, Kings, Senates, taxes, elections that inspire a massive campaigning metagame with huge debates and, most important, PASSION on the forums and otherwise in and outside the game. Allow Kings ultimate control over their city. Everything from taxes to guard zones to rentable in-town taverns... put the control of the world in the hands of the players. That's what UO is about - and if they want it to be a certain way so badly, they have every opportunity to leave a meaningful mark on the entire game. Liven up these cities, inject real reasons for players to use them. Taxable marketplaces and campaigns, whatever.
Create a world at war, with all cities and towns under and Order or Chaos banner, with both sides fighting over the treasuries of the towns, and the power that holding that town means for their faction. Waxing and waning power based on what areas of the world you control, and what cities you hold.
Give the PvPers no items, but instead buffs based on area control as well as titles, points, and so on.
It's not classic UO exactly, but it's Classic UO+++.
Introduce a new evolution of the reputation that truly quantifies the impact of a player on the world. Feed a rabbit? +Compassion. Kill a PK? +Justice. Kill a player under 60 max skills? -Justice, -Compassion, -Honor.
It's also a great chance to implement multiple choice, classic Ultima-style quests. Track what happens during a quest. Sure, giving a beggar coins is +Compassion. But that beggar asks you to save his mangy little mutt of a friend from the rats that have cornered him in the sewer. How do you approach this?
Save the dog?
Save the dog, kill all of the rats?
Kill them with FIRE?
Kill them with POISON?
Tame the rats, save the dog?
Tame and feed the rats?
Do you feed the dog?
Reject payment from the beggar?
Demand double payment?
Steal from him?
Lead him out of town and kill him?
KILL THE DOG TOO?
Because MMORPGs can't stagnate. They must advance and move forward. All of these Classic UO Hardcores you see on the forums today? They wouldn't exist had the rulesets never deprived them of what they were enjoying. Had it always been like that for the last ten years, 99% of them would have moved on by now.
The point is that oldschool UO is fantastic, but it also isn't going to work long term in 2010/2011. It's not sustainable, and that's completely aside from the malicious and relentless griefing and PKing you're going to see.
So evolution is necessary, but I think all of these folk would come to realize that careful, directed evolution within the virtues of oldschool UO would give them new and better experiences, and more breadth to their world based on what they already loved about it.
Perhaps the concept is to simply evolve in the opposite direction that UO did, and see how that works... good or bad, but placing the choice in the hands of the community. Since community is what UO is all about. Let them shape their own world.