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Free Shards

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Smoot, Mar 25, 2015.

  1. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    From the ROC (emphasized for clarification):
    G. Advertising of player-run shards is prohibited.
    Additionally our forums are not designed to provide technical support for shard emulators and as such all discussions related to the building, maintaining, production and upkeep of them are prohibited.

    Obviously discussion of what is available on free shards compared to Broadsword UO is integral to maintaining the dwindling numbers that pay to play UO has left. If free shards arent discussed, how will Broadsword know how to make their game better or why people are seeking these alternatives?

    I respect the tos, and would never suggest a specific free shard by name or advertise it, or discuss the actual code of or process of setting one up, however i think we need more clarification of the "limits" of what is allowed to be discussed.

    Another option since according to Kirthag, "Stratics does not have any official status with Broadsword. That went away." is to actually promote free shards in order to unite the overall UO community, possibly having sub-forums for the most popular ones. This of course would destroy any of the last feeble relationship with the devs, but i dont see this as much of a loss considering their response time has been very low and aren't addressing player concerns on these forums anyway. A huge portion, possibly even a majority of UO players use freeshards as can be seen on the Ultima Online facebook group, where members are encouraged to post links to their shard. Allowing those thousands of players access to stratics might be worth considering at this point in the games life.
     
    #1 Smoot, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  2. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    Just speaking for myself, I won't use a free shard. If the official UO ever shuts down, I guess I'll be spending even more time in my RL garden than I do now. o_O
     
  3. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    I'm not sure if i would or not. If production got shut down i might, but till then i just have too much invested that the sub fee is worth it. I do think there is much we can learn from them tho, as i dont value any static content production has put out in recent years and just play for the live entertainment of EM events.
     
    #3 Smoot, Mar 25, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2015
  4. Zuckuss

    Zuckuss Order | Chaos
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    Don't name any by name nor allude to any specific one(s), nor provide any details whatsoever as to how to access one. Mentioning features you would like Broadsword to implement is not against our RoC. Whether or not those said features are on free shards is irrelevant.
     
    Athelas, Kirthag, Smoot and 1 other person like this.
  5. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    thankyou for the quick response.
     
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  6. cazador

    cazador Crazed Zealot
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    Some of the features that are on production shards were in fact on free shards first. Like the general chat/different form of imbuing..things like that. One of the cooler features I've seen that I would like to see on production shards I personally would think would be a huge boost even though myself specifically would probably never use it is the Evolving Dragons(pets) except more in depth, and less "free shardy" where you have tracking and you have to track a in Destard to find a dragons nest. Once you find it you have to slay the best guardians and steal a dragon egg. 120 taming 120 stealing real skill needed..and after 7 days the dragon hatches and goes through stages where you can then teach your pet new skills by feeding them with pet foods and fighting them to gain them. It would add hours and hours of gameplay..and eliminate some of the grind on finding top pets and let's you customize your pet how you desire. That's just a example , there could be many pets involved in the evo system. Dragons,Mares,Hiryus. It's a lot of coding and time but it would actually be a worthwhile system that could potentially add a lot to both facets. Pet scrolls in fel, pet food only in Ilsh, pet master quests NPC lost in the mountains of Ter Mur..I think everyone is tired of the same ole grind kill/loot tactics, and 1mil hp bosses.

    Customizable skill(s) could include
    -magery
    -necromancy
    -spiritspeak
    -healing
    -resist
    -meditation
    -focus
    -poisoning
    -tactics
    -wrestling
    -eval

    And just have a skill cap of 800..then you as the owner decide what you want your pet to be. Necro/Wrestle Dread Mares Mage/Nox hiryus..some serious combinations of skills and special moves



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
  7. Ezekiel Zane

    Ezekiel Zane Grand Inquisitor
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    The devs do pay attention and they do know what's going on on free shards. A prime example is vendor search. Existed for years on free shards and was asked for for years by players on EA servers.
     
  8. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    If that is true, Broadsword needs to remove the link from their site and provide their own forums.
    As a returning player this just seems confusing.


    I agree that the idea of free shards, as long as they are talked about in general, needs to be addressed in any real conversation about how to revive the game. Especially with a push to get on steam.
     
  9. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    Stratics is something of a bubble when it comes to free shards. While UO discussion on nearly any other corner of the internet will invariably include them in the most casual sense, they are seen here as illegal and evil and icky and perhaps morally wrong, due to long-running forum rules meant to build a relationship with EA/BS/devs. The view here, in other words, is sometimes warped. I wish this climate didn't exist, because frankly the freeshard devs and players are like our long, lost, estranged brothers and sisters in the great Ultima Fandom (or maybe we're the lost ones), but it's completely in the hands of the rule-makers of UO at the end of the day. Would be nice if the Ultima overlords would find ways to embrace things like freeshards rather than closing their ears and yelling "Banitbanitbanitbanit!"
     
  10. Captn Norrington

    Captn Norrington Trade Forum Administrator
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    Free shards cause UO to lose money by stealing players away from the subscription fee, In my opinion any fansite that would allow freeshards to have their own discussion area is not a true fansite. This is because the fansite would be supporting freeshards, thus supporting money being taken away from the real UO, thus causing UO to lose money and die sooner.
     
  11. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    Gotta disagree with you Cap. Free shards don't take money away from UO. Most of those players were lost to UO for other reasons. I can't say I've ever spoken with someone who said they cancelled their accounts so they could play free shards.

    Usually the free shard population is a group of players that have left the game and are reminded of the fun they used to have before (insert reason here). They play free shards because most of them are based on the old rules, or even some modified rulesets.

    I know many a thief and PK that have played free shards because of insurance being added. I was one of them. Sure I came back, but I think I am one of the rare few. I have my reasons for coming back, but the biggest one was my dislike for the turmoil around many of the free shards...la
     
  12. Captn Norrington

    Captn Norrington Trade Forum Administrator
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    I had not thought about that. Very fair point.
     
  13. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I disagree. Freeshards do not steal players from UO anymore than WoW does. UO is not losing money because players can play freeshards without subscription. UO is losing players or fading further into obscurity because it has two broken clients, gameplay which is outdated, flawed, and incomplete, and a few other things that I won't get into. UO is owned ultimately by one of the larger publishers in gaming. If one of the largest publishers in gaming is unable or unwilling to compete against people who build custom shards in their own spare time, then EA has no one but themselves to blame.

    If UO dies, it's the fault of EA or whoever is developing it at the time.
     
  14. DJAd

    DJAd Stratics Legend
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    If they listened to the player base and added some of the features that attract people to free shards there would be no free shards.

    If a few people working on a free shard manage to see there is demand for a "classic shard" and get it setup and attract players why can't Broadsword?
     
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  15. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    The problem EA/Broadsword has always stated as the issue for a "classic shard" is "what is classic?".
    I think what most people are missing from this question is what was the experience before as what it is now. Instead of focusing on what expansion was "classic", it needs to be looked at in terms of what was the difference in overall gameplay. What is the current iteration lacking that so many people are seeking out.

    I have recently been playing Rust. I have spoken to a few other former UO players in Rust, and we all agree it "feels" like classic UO. Why?
    the games aren't similar in almost any respect. Rust is an open world sandbox survival game. IMHO it is that open world sandbox that UO lost. A sense of danger lurking around every corner.

    UO was alive. It was fluid. There was a story arc playing out that we were all a part of. There was a huge surge back before KR came out. With the Inu the crone story arc. Players were engaged. They banded together. Everything feels like a grind now. Static, cookie cutter quests.

    Classic UO doesn't have to be a certain ruleset. It has to be getting back to the roots of the story arc, and getting out of this grind.
     
  16. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    Item dependence is what changed the game and the installation of insurance. I think you could get most players to agree that any "classic" shard would have to be pre publish 16. Now getting any more specific, I think you will have a wide range of opinions that will never be 100% agreeable...la
     
  17. It Lives

    It Lives Lore Master
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    A well fleshed out publish will help keep players. I will never use a free shard I am far to lazy to even look.
     
  18. It Lives

    It Lives Lore Master
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    no one liked losing their stuff to hordes of unstoppable scoundrels.
     
  19. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    And most players learned how to adapt. Some used piles of robes, while others kept only what they needed in their packs, some used trapped crates. It was the lazy or dumb ones who left goodies in their packs hoping they wouldn't run into a thief...la
     
  20. Picus at the office

    Picus at the office Certifiable
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    Save for the rune and matching house key nothing back in the day was end game to lose.
     
  21. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    Hordes? I'd argue that there is only one unstoppable scoundrel, and we all know who that is.
     
  22. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    Define a well fleshed out publish.

    And far too lazy to do a 5 second Google search? Wow. I'm surprised you have the energy to even post here.
     
  23. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    A lot of the folk I know who left to go to free shards didn't do it because of the sub price. They did it because they didn't like the changes in weapons/armor. They liked the housing changes I believe except the fact that many folk built ugly borg cubes... but they hated the changes to the simplicity of weapons/armor and I'm guessing skills. They got tired of having to "re-invent" their characters and their armor everytime there was a new expansion or class added. Many of them were "stuck in the past" and couldn't move forward or wouldn't move forward.

    They couldn't compete with anyone dressed in the newer armors and newer artifacts. Many of them tried to force silly rules on the RP community to keep it from moving forward with the times and when people refused to stay in the "dark ages" of UO .... they left to make their own.

    You saw it a lot after AoS first came out and the changes came in that many RP communities started to "demand" that the players wear "GM" only gear. No arties, no runics... etc... But that made things harder and harder to do you had to basically NEVER use your RP characters for PvE... only for RP because any character skill sets built around GM armor didn't work in regular gear and vise versa... so either you couldn't really PvE without a group of similarly dressed folk... or you couldn't RPPvP effectively without your regular gear since much of your "skill" was in your gear. The more changes that went into artifacts and armor and weapons the LARGER and LARGER that gap became and the harder it became to maintain folk in RP when the limits of GM armor kept them from enjoying more and more of the game. Eventually UO moved on from that era... but diehards to the "purity" of the simplicity of the old ways could not move on. They didn't want to adapt to the new changes. They didn't want to take on "new" skills. Ninjitsu, Bushido.... Spellweaving and such... By the time some of the leveling of the field between runic armor and armor and such you could get in a dungeon began to appear after KR and the Abyss and we gained imbuing and such the damage was already apparent and most of the old players who didn't want to lose the crafters and simplicity left.

    Now things are a lot more balanced you can find working armor in dungeons... without needing to have crafters who spent billions on supplies and did BoD's like robots to gather the runic kits needed to constantly be trying to build the "perfect" suit... Now you can finally pick and choose what you want... but I think it all came too late for many and now it's becoming so overly complicated again that we are in danger of losing more folk who miss the simplicity again... With the addition of Reforging and that stupid augment system no one actually uses it's making armor once again overly complicated.

    We ought to have stopped while we were ahead and instead of focusing on more additions focused on more aesthetic qualities... giving the ability to alter things into what we wanted rather than be forced to "find" the perfect look. Piecing together a bunch of miss matched stuff out of what you found with all types of missmatched armor pieces and hiding it under a robe that belongs on a mage not a warrior...

    Again EA/UO lost what held the community together... the ability to immerse yourself in the "Unreality" of UO and BE your character. To play through your character... Now it's all about "stuff"... and getting things. We've left and lost the magic that UO had. Many of those who left UO left to recapture that.
     
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  24. Arcus

    Arcus Grand Poobah
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    Not really. Often times we hear from the devs that "x feature is just not possible" when it is already implemented on free shards. Yes, I know freeshards use a different back end. Why EA/Mythic/Broadsword/whoever is next does not even try to use the mature server codebase is beyond me.
     
  25. It Lives

    It Lives Lore Master
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    Yes a lot of players did adapt for a time..and eventually so did the scripts/macro's used for stealing and all that adaption was for nothing. You could have items buried four cloaks and spell books deep and still lose your items. It was a farce and helped destroy the profession.
     
  26. drcossack

    drcossack Babbling Loonie
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    I tried a free shard years back, it was pre-ren. I hated it. The mechanics were completely different from UO at the time (I think during the time of SE), but what I really hated is that I had to work the char from the ground up - find training spots, gather regs, etc. On UO itself, if I want to make a char, I have (or can get) the gear/resources to do it freely, whatever template it might be.

    I've come back multiple times. The biggest surprises this time were all of the crafting changes, but bigger than that was how much my suit cost in insurance. It was anywhere 2700-3600 years back (and doubled if dying in pvm), now people can EASILY go over 10k in insurance.
     
  27. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    Well, I know nothing about thief macros that helped steal items unless you are talking about the ole steal last item/target macro and that was easy enough to take care of if you wanted to...la
     
  28. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    I got into quite a few beta tests for free shards, some I liked, others I loved (and yes, many I hated). Most of the shards I played had fast skill gain and allowed unattended macroing. Most players I knew could have a few character 7x GM in a few days to a couple of weeks.

    The thing about the "classic" free shards is that while they have rulesets that bring that classic feel, there are a lot of the new changes that are pretty cool, but because they are classic, they don't have them (remember what playing was like before skill locks :))...la
     
  29. It Lives

    It Lives Lore Master
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    Use your imagination. You know, well planned (content for everyone) and so forth....to lazy to list out a list.
     
  30. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    My last post was erroneously removed because I mentioned another game and it was misconstrued as the name of a free shard.
    It is this type of paranoia that really can hurt the chances of every having a real conversation about their impact.

    In order to understand the issue, you have to really identify what is missing. IMHO UO is lacking the open world, sandbox feel it used to have. UO used to be alive. It used to be fluid. There was an ongoing story arc that kept player engaged.

    When I go to uo.com I don't see the same community driven feel that it used to have. Even when it was UoHerald.com it felt more engaging than the current iteration that basically just details the latest changes.

    I don't think a "classic" shard is the answer. Recapturing that sense of community is way more important than any other single change in the game.
     
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  31. Kael

    Kael Certifiable
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    Look at it this way. People love the game and support it in one manner or another. Players on free shards are former UO vets that love the older era's. Their support of UO in the early years is what allowed these expansions to happen for players now.
     
  32. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    Remember when a player could ruin your GM magery by lighting campfires next to you?

    Just like people who played Darkfall (the game), or will play Shroud of the avatar (the game), or Shards (the game).
    They are all just trying to recapture what the essence of the game was to them.
     
  33. TheScoundrelRico

    TheScoundrelRico Stratics Legend
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    Yikes, I'm glad I don't...that would suck, lol...la
     
  34. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    Yes, they used to have the amazing passive skill gain system that let you learn skills by watching other players use them if you were standing close enough.

    This was immediately exploited by lighting campfires and making the other person's camping increase.
     
  35. flappy6

    flappy6 Sage
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    Can't you get hacked from using those free shards? Thought I heard that before, like they download a bad client with a hack that can copy your real UO password.
     
  36. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    The one I use you dont download a client. It uses the standard EA installation.
     
  37. The Craftsman

    The Craftsman Lore Master
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    You can get 7xGM a lot quicker on an EA production shard. Advanced token plus sots.

    A lot of the good free shards arent true replications of the 'classic' era ... they take the good things from todays UO such as skill locks and custom housing etc, and add them to a classic ruleset.
     
  38. Martell

    Martell Seasoned Veteran
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    No, but lots of people liked finding other peoples' stuff/corpse. A balance of risk vs. reward is key. There is no risk now.

    I also really liked pvping in an era where one didn't have to invest 200 mil just to have the basic artifacts needed to build a suit around. Part of the reason I like freeshards is that they're easy to get into (whether your a vet or new).
    Overly complex crafting and an over abundance of mods are a turn off to a lot of people.
     
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  39. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    They only further complicate things by having a different ruleset for PvE and PvP.
     
  40. Dot_Warner

    Dot_Warner Babbling Loonie
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    Welcome to Stratics?

    The devs have pretty much dumped the "ongoing story" aspect of UO off onto the EMs. While this allows each shard to have a unique history, which IS A GOOD THING, it can make the experience from shard to shard rather uneven.

    There have been starts of global arcs, but they have gaps where NOTHING HAPPENS that can last from months to years. An example, the Enchantment of the Royal Sea Part I from 2013 (this is the story that introduced the pointless Ararat encounter, and didn't bother to explain how/why the Shadowlords were "back")...where is part II?

    The latest example would be the portal in Doom. No movement on that since October. Its obviously part of the Time of Legends expansion, but without even minor events to focus attention on it, most people have forgotten it.

    We really need monthly event content that cycles through different things, some keyed off major holidays. One month its ToT, next its an invasion somewhere, etc.

    Not to burst your bubble, but that link is from the original uo.com, not uoherald.com. Uoherald.com was the sharp left turn of a site that stripped nearly all community away from UO's official website. It only got worse as the years wet by. While the current website is still a disgrace, not bothering with community at all (that's all been forced off to Facebook), we are allegedly getting a revamp of the site "Soon (tm)."
     
  41. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    Welcome back, actually. Trying to get my account merged with my old one, but seems there may be some issues.
    I was a shard reporter for LS for a bit and I ran UoSkins.com for a short while, (a site for Kindom Reborn UI skins)
    I started playing UO back in September of 1997, and played off and on. I have played 10 and a half of the 17 years UO has been out.
    My longest stretch was the past 5ish years I have been away.

    I am actually a proponent of AI based quest system for UO.

    The first link is, yes. The second link is to UoHerald. The original site was way more community based.
     
  42. Kirthag

    Kirthag Former Stratics Publisher
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    Now this is a "Free Shard" communique I can get into. :)

    So many features that have been created in the "Free Shards" would do so much good for Broadsword. Thinks like "rental units" where parts of the static housing in cities can actually be rented for gold to players (kinda like the New Mag Marketplace, but using actual buildings) with actual lockdown counts so deco can be done. I'd rent shop space near WBB!!! Forget Luna! :D

    I have to concur with Utilitron - that community stuff is being splintered far and wide in ways that is hurting the overall. We at Stratics (altho seeminly paranoid by many) do have a strong commitment to Ultima Online and the community that (thank you all!) still come to participate on our forums. We do have to consider what works not only for our own community, but how what we do will affect and is impact the developers as well as other websites that support fan groups of UO. I believe we are "all in this together" and so all the bickering and fighting is really counter productive and kinda frustrating to me and a lot of the other staff that, regardless of all the shortcomings, are still with us.

    ...meh - but i digress...

    What I've noticed about "Free Shards" is that they have very tight groups of players who are very community oriented and highly dedicated to their love of Sosaria. Now, if that essence, that "Spirit of Sosaria" if you will, can somehow find its way back to the Broadsword shards... hmm...... imagine the possibilities....
     
  43. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I can't blame Stratics for the rules. Stratics wants the devs to post here and I do too, so it's understandable. It's EA/BS's decision at the end of the day.

    Please don't make me want things.
     
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  44. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    Really no offense intended, but anytime I see a comment 'that is not possible' I take that to mean either: it would take longer than it is worth to do or the lack of coding ability.
     
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  45. Kirthag

    Kirthag Former Stratics Publisher
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    Or the resources are not available (money).
     
  46. Pandora_CoD

    Pandora_CoD Certifiable
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    All fixable with a classic shard and F2P limited access accounts. If you did that all of those free shard players would FLOCK back to Official Servers.
     
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  47. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    I tell clients it is not possible all the time. Typically it means "it's not possible".

    Free shards are just that: free. There is no accountability. If a new feature when implemented takes the server down for a week, it is 1 server. Not only that, but there is the idea of expecting a certain amount of bugs on an open source platform (eh Kirthag?).

    If there is a conflict in the code, there can be serious repercussions. If adding feature x breaks feature y and z, EA/BS is accountable. They are expected to have these issues worked out well before the feature hits the market. If the conflict is severe enough it may not be technically possible.
     
  48. Merlin

    Merlin The Enchanter
    Moderator Professional Campaign Patron UWF

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    I agree completely.

    Giving the old Sosarian cities some meaning would be far better than adding another area of unused open space. There is no reason why some of the NPC shops can't be combined to open up some space and give rise to a player run market place in each town. Have rentals or shop space available across each town (could be added to governor responsibilities to handle). Maybe give each town some special type of economic benefit of some sort. Might also give VvV a boost if there was vendors geared toward PvP items in each town. There is certainly a lot more you could do in the old Tram/Fel cities, compared to the bleak, uninhabited feeling many of them have now.
     
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  49. NuSair

    NuSair Babbling Loonie
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    I've worked in IT for over 25 years. As a programmer, tech support, hardware, software. I've done networks for fortune 500 companies and local dentist offices. Not possible is more of a lack of money, knowledge, or time aspect. It is rarely completely 'not possible'. It is like those people with the 100 LRC robes, pieces of armor with impossible resist, pets they aren't supposed to have. All those things are relatively easy to find/track. Everything should be in a database or can be put into one, then you just search it out. But, it has never been done.

    I have made it where I have because I have done things other people said were impossible. Speaking from over 25 years of experience- it's time, money, lack of knowledge (and I'll add one more) or lack of scope.
     
  50. utilitron

    utilitron Adventurer

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    In this interview with Citadel Studios, Draconi and Supreem talk briefly about the UO engine. 95% of it is a scripting language. So they are, in a sense, bound by that scripting language's limitations.