RPG Vault has conducted an interview with EA's Maria Hamilton and Jennifer Lane, in which the designers answer three pages of questions about the upcoming Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy expansion pack. An excerpt:
Q: Along with adding the elves, what additions and changes have you made to the human race and its abilities, and how did you choose and design them?
A: Because we felt elves should be different from humans in more than just appearance, we designed racial abilities. We felt it made sense that both humans and elves had some new perks with Mondain's Legacy.
As for how we went about choosing different abilities, basically we first decided that we didn't want racial abilities to take the form of a penalty or negative effect. So, humans wouldn't lose anything they already have.
Next, we considered the fictional natures of elves and humans, and determined that the greatest strength of humans is their flexibility. We thought it interesting that, in general, all humans are decent at doing almost anything they choose to try. Through skill template choices, human characters can become grandmasters, but additionally, they have an underlying basic competency in all skills. This led to the development of the Jack of All Trades ability, which confers skill points in every skill automatically without the use of player earned points. The benefits of this ability are perhaps more subtle than others we have introduced, but arguably quite powerful.
Humans also gain the ability to carry more weight, regenerate health more quickly, and gain more resources when using gathering skills.