WE CAN SAFELY ASSUME THERE IS ONLY ONE SUBJECT BEING DISCUSSED TODAY [Author: wirehead]

In case you actually have a life, the UO dev team announced their plan to “clean up Britannia”, aka reduce item counts on the shards, yesterday. This has been the stuff of rumors for weeks, and one of the most draconian solutions that was rumored, having items in houses decay, is the one Origin chose.

The basic impact of this? All items outside of locked down containers will be deleted from your house.

Gordon the Tyrant, posting on our message board and elsewhere, hinted that houses would see more storage/lockdown capability. Sunsword also stated:

The lockdown system is going to be revised to allow more secure containers and to allow you to lockdown generics.

I’m looking into the possibility of taking weight limits out of secure containers.

I just wanted to let you know that we aren’t just going to “turn on” item decay without making some changes to storage first.

Krelin, posting on the COB Dev Board, had this to say:

First, I’m not setting policy, or telling you what we’re going to do. (I haven’t been very involved with the item decay design & imp, but I do have some thoughts on it; especially as it effects server performance)

So, first let me give you my thoughts (again, just THOUGHTS πŸ™‚ on the hard limit idea: By hard limit, I assume that you mean don’t even allow someone to exceed the maximum number of items (whatever that limit is) per house. This essentially means that if I’m crafting away and I create that one item that exceeds to total limit of my house, I have no place to put it, even temporarily. I’m basically stuck with the item, or forced to leave it on the ground outside my house, until I can either get rid of some of the OTHER items in my house, or figure out what the heck to do with it. Remember the “limit” is still the same either way. The “hard limit” way just means that we impose an artificial boundary that can’t be exceeded no matter what. The “decay” way means that we give you a certain amount of storage that you can use no matter what, and if discard things on the floor of your house (or otherwise not “secured” whatever that term means), they eventually go away, just as things discarded on the ground outside your house eventually go away. I think the “decay” solution seems more realistic, less arbitrary, and more convenient. (again, I’m not telling you what’s going to happen, or what’s been implemented, as I don’t know for sure. These are just My Personal Opinions ™)

To your second point, yes. I know that the team considers a large portion of what is posted here, and it all factors into what we eventually design and implement.

To your third point, your assumption is wrong. Any item count reduction measures we take (and have taken recently) are design _primarily_ to enance the EXISTING service. Certainly we have an eye on the performance issues involved in bringing new land and new housing into the world, but that is secondary to the issues we are facing right now.

Just to give you an idea of the problem, there were approximately half as many objects (peak; and objects include a lot of things) in the world (for most shards) as of about May, than there are right now. We’ve nearly DOUBLED in about 5 months!!! That’s a lot of objects. A whole lot. And a lot of them have been created in the last few months, but the reality is that right now there aren’t enough “forces” at work to get rid of these objects or incentivise you to get rid of them, and so you store them (it’s human nature), ALL OF THEM. Note that this increase in objects does NOT coincide with a similarly dramatic increase in active players at peak times (more shards spread more players out, so that one shard’s peak is generally the same over the last few months). That means that the same number of players are accounting for twice as much junk. πŸ™‚

So what does all this mean to you? This means that each time the world “heartbeats” it processes a huge amount of data (not all of the items in the world on every heartbeat, but a portion of them). And as the data in the world grows steadily, the time required to “heartbeat” the world grows steadily. You perceive this as lag. Additionally, each object in the world must be backed up at some interval. The longer a backup takes, the more you will be “warped” if the world crashes. Also, longer backups mean longer downtimes (as the backups must be processed at startup). Finally, and perhaps most importantly, longer backups mean more LAG; because backup processes run on the same machines the world processes run on, backups suck CPU that could otherwise be used for cool monster AI and other useful features.

So, those are my thoughts on the situation. Again, this post is NOT intended to describe the solution to item count. I don’t know what the solution is. I just know what the problem is. πŸ™‚ Our goal is NOT to hurt you guys in any way. Our goal is to enhance your gameplay by making our service run better, longer, and more stably, while continuing to enhance overall gameplay. Certainly given infinite resources it would be much more fun to have a totally infinite world (and that was the original design for UO, I suspect). But the truth is, the world _should_ be finite, because the resources are.

Anyways, thanks for listening to my rant, and know that we’re listening to yours as well. πŸ™‚

On the player side, the responses have been… well… somewhat heated, as the impact of the proposed changes sunk in. Many guilds realized that shared housing would soon become useless for their member’s storage needs. Other players would be impacted as well, such as this one who writes:

this new patch for items to decay in houses that aren’t locked down, what about things you cant lock down??? Hanging herbs, furs etc., things we use to make our houses more pleasant environments. It’s going to drive me out of business as a bulk reg seller and interior decorator. I am in Australia so don’t hunt or pvp, I get my enjoyment in the game from other ways. I am not sure who to approach in UO but I have attached some pics of why its going to affect me, these are from jobs i have done in 2 different shards. Sure. let’s reduce items, but not this way! Well enough of my ranting, not too coherent hehehe but see the pics and if you could perhaps bring them to someone in UO’s attention as an example???

Another player writes on the Dev Board:

If I am reading this correctly, then it is true that items in locked down containers will decay. So this means we are going to be limited to 400 stones worth of stuff that we can keep in our house, plus 400 stones in the bank. Thats 8000 ingots total for a miner, 8000 regs for a mage, 800 blank scrolls for a scribe, 800 empty bottles for an alchy, and that means any of these chars cant have anything else. What if you have ALL of these types of chars. It absolutely isnt fair, I would rather play 4 hours a day and have 20 hours worth of backup then to have to play like this. Its just plain stupid. Calandryll posted yesturday that stackable items werent the problem, so why are we being penalized. We dont get credit for throwing them away, but if we dont toss them they will decay afterwards anyways. If another system is going to be implemented that will allow for no weight restrictions then I would assume that it would have been posted on the In Development with this junk. Why is there a weight limit anyways if items are the problem. My 60K ingots are worth more to me then 125 items worth of made armor, yet i can keep the 125 pieces of armor or a choice of 4000 ingots, its totally not fair.

I’ll keep you up to date on any developments, and keep emailing me and posting your thoughts on our message base (see link above). Your voices are being heard.

SUNSWORD’S CATAPULT [Author: lum]

Well, the other shoe has dropped. Items in houses that are not locked down will decay (a polite term for “going away”).

According to Origin’s update, items in locked down containers will not decay. However, the code that’s currently in place on Test Center is actually decaying items in containers, locked down or not.

Is there some reasonable, non-insane explanation why this is being implemented instead of some sort of housing maintenance? With the shortage of housing, almost every normal, non-l33t player is forced to rely on shared housing, whether with their guild or just with other friends. This update will punish them for playing by the rules.

Meanwhile, the crackheads who speculate in UO real estate and log on merely to click on their house sign continue to do their thing, laughing at those foolish enough to actually play the game in the manner which it was intended.

This stinks. Basically, unless you own a house of your own, your storage will be limited to what can fit in your bank. Good luck if you’re red. (Of course, reds are used to bending over and taking it from Origin anyway.)

So much for a persistent world.

WE’LL HAVE TO NUKE THE SHARD FROM ORBIT – IT’S THE ONLY WAY TO BE SURE [Author: wirehead]

Adrick comments on the new Stockpile Ticket System:

I am very upset about this ticket thing. I dont care if it’s a one time deal. I have never kept stuff for no other reason than I could – apparently OSI is now saying thank you to all those players who did by giving them free stuff – the best of which is newbie status on one item. So In other words thanks for hoarding – here is your prize go kill some people with the vanquishing sword and never risk losing it – just our way of thanking you for the long time warps, excessive lag when our severs are backing up etc etc. To the rest of you who didn’t hoard – well you just don’t get nothing at all – no stuffs for you.

Excuse me, those who hoard ought to lose 20% upon death and the rest of us who havent, don’t, don’t ever want to, consider it rude and selfish should have catapults to antihoard the shard and those who are destroying it.

I have not gotten this upset over something in UO since reputation – I cannot understand the mindset at OSI. If there are that many people who will quit if their rare death robes decay then UO is a scavenger hunt not Ultima Online and ought to be marketed as such.

Its time to simply say NO – you cant have all that stuff – give it back or be destroyed. Send out the catapults of house destruction. Sign me up to man one – Ill get you 10 min backups and less lag.

Adrick

PRINT THIS OUT AND LAUGH AT IT IN A YEAR [Author: wirehead]

From the COB UO2 devboard, where St. Twister is trying to impress everyone with his mad h00kupz:

“To be honest I’m not going to be posting exploits for the game.”

In other news, Dan Quayle was named Secretary of Education, Bill Clinton admitted he had a problem with “that whole truth thing”, Stevie “Killcreek” Case posed nude for Playboy, and a flourishing, vital community of players exists in Everquest.

WHY DOES EVERY EQ ZONE HAVE “RO” IN IT? [Author: wirehead]

Got word of this. I suspect the new zone is obscenely difficult, a la the Plane of Fear, so mere mortals will have to just wait for screenshots to ogle.

===

The test server has a new option where you can download the Temple of Solusek Ro the EverQuest team will be implementing in a week or so. Simply start up testeqgame.exe and grab the latest files, you’ll have to restart the patcher twice, then it will give you an option to download an update (the new zones). Download size appears to be about two or so megabytes.

Here’s the info included with the files:

September 28th, 4:00pm
———————-
Welcome to the optional EverQuest patch program. Currently, the files that make up The Temple of Solusek Ro have been made available. However, the Temple of Solusek Ro will not be accessible until later this week, at which time we will make an announcement on the Test server news.
– The EverQuest Team

THINGS THAT MAKE YOU GO HMMM [Author: wirehead]

Taking a break from posting revisionist versions of Ultima history, Dr. TwisTer posted the doc sent to smurfs about the new Trash-Ticket Barrels. Interesting line in it (emphasis mine):

Trash Barrels and Trash Cans will temporarily become ticket Barrels until the item decay changes are published.

Grab your anatomy, home-owners; Origin giveth and Origin taketh away.

GIMME SOME PHOENIX ARMOR TO GO! [Author: lum]

My S00perSpies sent me this, with word that it’s already in place on Test Center, and soon to be implemented on a shard near YOU!

OSI wants to reduce item count, so they are implementing a reward system. This might be a new feature, or it might be a ‘one week only’ type of deal. It is on TC now, and GL is mirrored there.

Each player gets a ‘ticket’ counter. It starts at 0. You gain tickets by dropping things into trash cans (I am using one in a house now). If you double-click the trash barrel, you get a menu, letting you pick some rewards, as follows.

10,000 – Hair Dye
10,000 – Facial Hair Dye
30,000 – Hair Change Deed
30,000 – Facial Hair Change Deed
100,000 – Singing Crystal Ball
100,000 – Furniture Dye Tub
100,000 – Phoenix Armor
100,000 – Miniature Statues
500,000 – Scroll of Blessing

The more you drop in, the more points you get. As a reference, a plate chest is worth about 100 points (it depends on item HP and such). You can’t drop stackable items in either.

YES, HE REALLY DID A THESIS ON UO [Author: wirehead]

Check out “Online migrations in a virtual gaming setting” by Christian Cardozo-Chandler of New Zealand. Pretty neat stuff… it’s rare that our little milieu is taken so seriously (well, outside of my Posting-Real-Soon-Now series of essays). Here’s an excerpt:

==
Ultima Online’s dynamic conflict (or virtual violence) system is more than just group interaction and demarcation of territories. While there can be conflict between guilds, conflict more often occurs at the individual level. In a society where there are little societal laws and enforcement measurements, violence occurs across the UO landscape. Having to deal with murderers, thieves, and monster spawns is something of daily occurrence. This situation is an integrated component to Ultima Online – the programming for Ultima Online provides the possibility for those to follow the path or fear and conflict, even in some cases master it. It does in ways provide a realistic comparison to that of realspace – for those to follow a relatively free decision-orientated path within certain parameters set by society.

An outcome of conflict is that it creates diversity. Social identity can arise from this conflict. The idea of being a β€˜red’ and the impacts of being a red or anti-pker creates a social identity. Groups form around this conflict to form guilds of player killers. As Jabri notes, when formed as a group, they demarcate the territory that they reside in. This is quite evident on the Siege Perilous shard with the ORCS – a guild that role-plays as a race of Orcs. They have marked a territory of their own, an AI Orc fort, and the surrounding landscape around them (located North West of the X-roads, north west of Britannia). All know that if they pass through this territory, they face a likely chance of meeting a red Orc. And one can expect it won’t be a healthy encounter for the traveler. Many will go around these red territories to ensure that they do not encounter any reds. So one can see that there is this social identity, group formation, and conflict as a source of migration/population mobility from player conflict.

FURTHER COMMENT ON DR. TWISTER/UO2 [Author: wirehead]

From our message board, Tal’Mah’Ra posts the following:

First off I have a good buddy who has worked on Electronic Arts projects across the board (He has been there a while). He doesnt play UO but he has played previous Ultima Games. Now… He is a Graphic Artist out here in Vancouver and he is working on UO2. (and I had no idea EA Canada had eployees working on the UO2 Project until about last week).

Anyway, S.O.P. for Origin is to basically tell their graphic artists next to nothing about the game or the environment. My friend knows the following:

His job is to draw 2 characters… one beheading the other.

That pretty much sums up about how much he knows about UO2, and he is WORKING on the project. Now from his conversations with other co workers who are hard at work on the project the current landmass ‘projected’ for UO2 is nothing more then concept right now. Though admitedly he (like every other GA team member) is not entirely in the know. There is nobody at his workplace who has done any work on the landmass.

I suspect if the picture is in fact an authentic picture of the UO2 landmass as St. TwiTster suggests then it is nothing more then concept art (of which 70% of which never sees the light of a consumers monitor).

Incidently given the standard ‘art to pilot video’ time frames from EA / OSI. And knowing that the current video is in the works… we can pretty much expect to see some form of a UO2 video clip floating around in less then 3 months.

TOMORROW HE POSTS UO2′S FIRST DUPE BUG [Author: wirehead]

Dr. TwisTer is certainly posting lots of UO2 info. The community consensus seems to be that it’s all faked (and badly faked at that).

I haven’t been able to get comment from Origin on whether or not the material in fact is legit. Rumor has it when you ask Calandryll about Dr. Twister, he replies “T2A? That’s an expansion for UO, isn’t it?”. Then he runs away.

However, I’ve been told that the material Twister is posting, while once accurate, is now old news. While interesting enough, they’re already about as accurate as those old UO maps and screenshots we saw back in ’96.

Needless to say, St. Twister’s drive for acceptance and love is going over like a lead balloon with the more respectable outlets. Don’t worry, Twisty, we still love you here at lum.xrgaming.net. Hell, I’ll even send you those T-shirt designs.