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Server Merges, A Discussion.

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Adolphus Wilhiem, Feb 3, 2012.

  1. I realize that this is going to be a wildly unpopular idea. However I love Ultima Online and I think that eventually the idea of a server merge will become less of a *hmmmm* and more of a *we need to find a way to cut costs to save this game*.

    There may come a time where the costs of server maintenance and just keeping 13 north American shards open becomes totally unprofitable and without a plan EA may release the dreaded 90 day notice email.

    I DO NOT want that to happen. As we reach our 15th year, I would very much like this year to be a year of renewal and growth.

    I write this so that in the future if the DEV team, producer or someone thinks they may be able to save the game through server merges that they may have this thread and the discussion herein pop up on a search of “Server Merge”.

    Please keep the “OMG if they do this Ill quit.” And other such stuff to a minimum. I think we ALL realize that this would be traumatic, but it may be a necessity in the future.

    -----

    My *FAKE* Patch Notes.

    To facilitate a lower cost basis and thereby extend the lifespan of Ultima Online we have decided that a Shard Merge is not only practical but a necessity. We currently have 13 North American Servers, we will be merging the servers down to *3* Servers for North America. This will have the benefit of spurring massive population growth and eliminating the ‘dead server’ effect on smaller servers as well as increasing the lifespan of Ultima Online by decreasing the server upkeep and costs related to maintaining such a large server count.

    The three servers will be called “Atlanticus” (EST) “Superior Bay” (CST) and “Redwood Valley” (PST).

    The Plan:

    These new servers will be populated with castle and keep plots prior to being opened to players so that these highly desirable pieces of real estate are not lost in the mad land rush.

    Housing will be turned off 30 days prior to the server merge, preventing any further housing to be built on the 13 original servers.

    Players will have an opportunity to “Redeed/Demolish” Their house (9x9 or larger) on the 13 Original Servers in exchange for a special token currency equal to their plot size area. (9x9=81 Tokens) (18x18=324 Tokens). Keeps will be given 400 Tokens, Castles 500 Tokens.

    These tokens will be used on the three new servers as currency for a modified version of the Magincia Lottery System, using these tokens instead of gold as a currency. These tokens will ONLY be used for currency for Castles and Keeps and special plots preplaced on the servers.

    After the 30 days is up, Atlanticus, Superior Bay, and Redwood Valley will open to free transfers, and transfers between the original 13 servers will be turned off. You will only be able to transfer TO one of the 3 new servers using the standard server transfer method.

    The 13 original servers will remain open for 60 days after the server merge date to allow a total of 90 days notice and then be closed, their characters auto transferred to one of the other three servers based on time zone. (Characters Auto-Moved by the server will only retain items in their bank and backpack).

    Upon Arrival to one of the new three servers you are greeted with a new world. The servers will have been decorated and have a much more aesthetically pleasing look to them. (Town Banks and towns in General)
    VERY LIMITED housing plots will be preplaced in Ilshenar and several other places and be able to be included in the token lottery.

    The 4th server.

    On the same day the 3 new servers open a 4th server will also be opened in the CST time zone, this will be a brand new server untouched other than the same special decoration. Server transfers to this server will be turned off for 1 year. This will give those with a desire to ‘start over’ from scratch a new place to do that.

    This will leave us with 4 Servers total for North America, a decrease of 9 servers, including the removal of Siege.

    Notes:

    This will have the benefit of a 69% decrease in server upkeep costs and related expenses.

    This will have a positive benefit upon the community of the game by increasing shard population and the lifespan of the game.

    This would also be a good time for currency revaluation. (But Ill leave that out of this discussion)

    :yell:
     
  2. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    Wasn't all the threads about this LOCKED? Didn't UO state that this will NEVER HAPPEN? IBTL
     
  3. Sept

    Sept Journeyman
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    I for one would welcome this, if it would infact extend the lifespan of UO. I believe it would be worth the stress and upheaval if the future of UO was at risk. The only problem I see is, why limit this to north American shards, others could also be clustered based on region.

    Maybe the start fresh shard could be pre AOS? *dodges flames*
     
  4. I see it as the difference between extending the viability and length of the game world, and scraping the bottom of the bucket long enough till all the water seeps out.

    I would rather have an Ultima Online with 4 full servers, than 2 high population servers, 9 empty ones, and 2 medium populations.

    I would also rather have UO be as profitable as possible so the game sticks around longer. Servers are expensive to run and maintain... especially empty ones.
     
  5. I do not play on the Japanese/Euro shards so I dont know anything about their server populations.

    I would expect if it was successful they would follow the example.
     
  6. Rupert Avery

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    Very good post :) i myself have thought about how it could work to merge.. It is easy for games like WOW that don't have houses....

    you bring up an excellent reason for doing it as well other than population and that is cost...

    I doubt they would ever do it because of low population as people can xfer back and forth as they please to what ever shard.. bust Cost it might happen...
     
  7. Carharrt

    Carharrt Guest

    There`ll never be server merges,already been stated.

    With history and houses...never gonna happen. Only thing I can see happening is shard hopping to be able to run with friends on different shards,like DAOC did. If ya have friends on LS and you play Atlantic,step thru a gate and blamo,sittin at the bank on LS.

    That I can see as a possibility. They will never merge shards tho,that will cause enough people to quit that it would end UO`s run and you`d see it close down for good just because of that.

    Merges wouldn`t save UO, it`d kill it.
     
  8. Come up with a way for people to take their houses and you win.

    If not its a dead thread.
     
  9. Plus you forgot 1 simple solution. Players could all go to one shard and populate it.

    You have to figure out why people want to stay where they are.


    When origin came out... I went. It was quite busy. Now it is quite ghost townish. Why didnt it increase in population? Why did it decrease in population? Why have people decided to stay?

    You could tell people shards X, Y and Z are closing on Jan 1st. They could move to another shard. That is simple. And that is how it would be done if they were to close shards... however there is no reason to close them.
     
  10. Gorbs

    Gorbs Sage
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    As shard population decreases it should be capable of consolidating the hardware they run on without losing shards. As hardware capabilities improve this is also true. I believe they've done this in the past. The only real benefit I see is that a fuller shard might keep more players from quitting.

    I appreciate your effort though. My bigger concern is not so much housing as it is consolidation or loss of characters.
     
  11. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    The devs (Stated in the VHoC ) did say they could cluster the shards but you wouldn't hear from them for a year and no bug fixes, content and such.

    So it is possible but the player base would not allow it because of personal needs in my opinion.

    On that note, yes many of these merger topics get locked so please keep it civil.
     
  12. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    Personally I'd rather see some sort of Fel like "Hub" joining several shards together. Say joining 4 to 6 shards. This "Hub" would be a new land without towns where you port in randomly and need to find a way to another shard. Random portals would be activated by gathering needed items. What you bring with you is what you have... nothing more. Once you get to where you are going you will once again have access to your bank box.

    Open warfare... travel at your own risk... the only thing safe is what's in your bank. Die there and escape but that will only allow you back to the shard you came in from.

    Keys to exit this area can NOT be taken from the area...

    Not that I'm a "huge" fan of "Fel" but having such a way to travel between shards would make the shards easier to "link".... in a why and give folk an easier way to change from one shard to another.



    But to totally "merge" shards I'm 100% against. I live on GL's. GL's is my home and I could care less the history of any other shard. I know the history of my shard and I work to preserve that history.

    The only thing that would make me want to "jump ship" and go to another shard would be if they made shards specific to playstyles.... However seeing how that has epically failed for other games I can't see that it would do much for UO.
     
  13. SugarSmacks

    SugarSmacks Guest

    First off, i do not believe the cost to run even a wildly unpopular server costs more than what that server is making back, so this is slightly pointless.

    Open a gate somewhere popular like Luna that works as a transfer token, no dont give people transfer tokens, you get to use the gate, one shot send your characters off where you go.

    I dont care if you had a castle, obviously your castle is on a dead shard, therefore the value of your property was worthless to begin with. Your castle wont be equal to any property on a popular shard. So drop your house and collect your gold.
     
  14. Raptor85

    Raptor85 Certifiable
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    yeah, i seriously dont see the hardware and bandwidth requirements for UO being all that high, it wouldn't surprise me if they were all already on virtual servers now after the last migration anyways.
     
  15. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    Ditto. The history of each shard is unique, and shard mergers would destroy that. I don't know how many would leave if it were to happen, but I think the number might be significant, which would not be good for UO or the folks who love it.
     
  16. Ashlynn_L

    Ashlynn_L Lore Master
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    In this proposal, a lot of players are going to lose houses and many others will be stuck with tiny plots. The cost of housing will increase dramatically pretty much pricing many people out of anything other than a 7x7. Player towns will be broken up and with the drop in storage available to players, items will be lost too. The end result is a lot of unhappy players (and some lucky ones which could breed resentment).

    Many unhappy players don't bother to post here, they just quit. So no, this is a terrible idea in my opinion.
     
  17. Cetric

    Cetric Grand Inquisitor
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    Regardless of houses or "shard history"... a server merge needs to take place to help build back population and community in uo. Just about everywhere you go but luna bank is a baron wasteland on most shards.
     
  18. sherkborg

    sherkborg Guest

    Appreciate the idea and thoughtfulness but I do disagree with the transfer terms and honestly if there was a mass merging.... just wipe. Theres no way to accommodate everyone, its just not possible. Thus wipe.


    Also if your on a server with no pop. Why dont you remake on atlantic? Its a full populated server and you wont regret it. I myself have moved and wont be looking back.
     
  19. pgib

    pgib Guest

    Create two trammel only shards, maybe three and there will be no need for any merge: people will pay to transfer.
     
  20. Zannette

    Zannette Guest

    I am personally against Server merger for a number of reasons:

    1. Housing
    2. Difference in server economies
    3. Server lore and history
    4. Some people enjoy playing on low population servers.

    After all that said I would like to see a completely new server what no one could transfer to or from. After playing UO for a while I would like the excitement of a new start.

    This is my personal opinion and I really don't care what you think about it :)

    Z
     
  21. Raptor85

    Raptor85 Certifiable
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    like siege?
     
  22. erosion is the answer plain and simply as a shards population shrinks so should its landmass on the flip side as it grows new lands (read more spots for castle and keep) should pop up. I also feel that smaller (origin in particular ) shards should open all lands to castle and keeps
     
  23. If I was told to move to another shard, I'd quit. I have no desire to start over from scratch again. After being here so many years, I'm seeking the remaining new avenues to conquer, I have absolutely no desire repeating the 95% areas of the game I've already mastered.
     
  24. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    There is no evidence, whatsoever, that the number of servers/shards is hurting UO or UO's profitability.

    The way to merge shards is simple. If you are on a shard you do not like anymore or unhappy with the population of, go to another one.

    Sometimes some of us clothe it in concerns about the health of the game but I guarantee you that if shard mergers were somehow the linchpin to the game's profitability or health, they would have already been done.

    At the end of the day this is a way we have to try and make other players go along with our preferences.

    -Galen's player
     
  25. AirmidCecht

    AirmidCecht twitch.tv/airmid
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    This. Character Transfer tokens even. And why discussion threads on merges tend to end up with dead horse emotes, which I am loathe to see.
     
  26. Zannette

    Zannette Guest

    Not the same rullset as Siege as i dont enjoy PVP.


    Z
     
  27. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
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    Raptor, I wouldn't be at all surprised if you proved to be right. We are already 'merged' in that several shards are housed in one physical space.

    We are currently, as you may be aware, running a project to find 10 year old and older houses. How do the various shard merger proposals take account of such things? Or is there an assumption that there can't be more than a dozen or so houses that old in total?
     
  28. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    UO is running off of blades according to some stuff that one of the server guys said last year. They are very cheap and very efficient, it's nothing like in the early days of UO when they required large Sun computers.

    The server migration to the new hardware was finished sometime last year.

    Those blades have already paid for themselves at this point, even on the lowest population shards. It's not like they are buying new ones ever year either.

    If they merged shards, they do not save any money on hardware since that hardware was already paid for - it's not like EA is going to immediately put the hardware from the closed shards up on eBay in hopes of getting $1,000 back to put into UO.

    UO's biggest cost is human resources. Hardware is not only a drop in the bucket, but all those new blades were probably paid for within a month or two of being deployed.

    Merging shards is not going to save any money.

    Even if we could pretend that EA would eBay the closed shards' hardware and could get a decent price (and they can't, eBay has thousands of blades up for sale at any one point), they would still lose many times that amount in lost revenue, and I'll explain why in the next post.
     
  29. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    I disagree. A great many devoted players tend to place tremendous value on their shard's history. In addition, larger population does not necessarily equate to true "community". Players who wish to build close communities still do so, even with the lower populations we've experienced over the course of time. I don't believe mergers need to take place. The potentially harmful effects of such a development are far too risky, in my opinion.
     
  30. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    If there is one way to guarantee an even lower population in UO, it's to **** with housing.

    UO players have tolerated a lot of things over the years.

    They will not tolerate losing homes.

    Telling somebody on a lower populated shard that they are going to lose a castle, keep, tower, 18x18, and that they have to move to a higher populated shard, where they will not have nearly as good of a location and probably nowhere near as big of a house is the biggest "**** you" that EA could ever unleash on the players.

    To say that there would be a lot of bitter and unhappy players, who are angry at EA and at the players who kept their housing would be the biggest understatement ever made about UO.

    Even before Tram, people would leave the game over lost homes or being frustrated with 7x7s. Doing something like that now would be the end of UO, because unlike before Tram, there is not a constant influx of new players replacing angry players who leave.

    I have a feeling that it would only take 15-25% of the players getting pissed and leaving to cause UO to become unprofitable. At which point, EA shuts UO down. And it wouldn't take many server closures/merges to affect 15%-20% of the population.

    If you **** with peoples' homes, most will leave, end of story.
     
  31. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    You cannot downplay how traumatic it would be and pretend like people wouldn't quit.

    The quickest way to reduce revenue in UO is to **** with peoples' housing.
     
  32. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    :danceb::cheerleader::danceb::cheerleader::danceb::cheerleader:
     
  33. Lady Storm

    Lady Storm Crazed Zealot
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    While i comend the OP for his brave and inventive post, I must point out a few facts he might have over looked.

    1. we have many Grandfathered accounts with very special houses (as petra pointed out many are landmarks) To converge shards might be better then merging. To converge shards is to make them linked as each facit is but this would be highly difficult if not impossible.

    2. History each shard is different I know this first hand as a settler on many of the shards when they opened them. Moving to merge would distroy this bit of history and would cause many to fleel UO.

    3. Walk any shard there are few you can go on and plop a castle on instantly, and as has been posted years ago there is a finite number of castle placements even if they opend malas to them we wouldnt have enough room for 2 shards to merge castle owners to 1 shard.

    Quite simply I have to agree with the Dev no merger of shards and that is the last word on this.
     
  34. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    mmmmmm best make a 5th server....Call it the The happy EM Event server.....bound to be a hit with the rares peeps that look down on the rest of the uo populous....ie....the other 4 new shards!!!! LOL then they can all live together on the same shard and attend every event together and swop things and buy things and sell things all on the same shard and have identical museums...and EM events are run twice a day on this shard!!! maybe just place 1818s with 12 floors all in a line along the same road....better still just make a special luna city bigger and have all 1818s inside of it but with 25 floors like a high rise luna city!!!!!...ohhhhhh bet they wetting themselves reading about the thought of it....

    yahhhh...off to work chuckling like a mad dog........
     
  35. temu

    temu Lore Keeper
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    lol...

    Anyway, well said, OP. I've always supported the idea of some type of shard merging. I think from a PvP standpoint it's wonderful. But then, I'm one of those guys who would be fine if everything was wiped except for my characters and my suits. However, I understand that people's houses and possessions are very important, and wiping anything out simply would not fly.

    It's a good discussion, and I like the idea of linking shards through non-housing facets/dungeons.
     
  36. Serine

    Serine Guest

    Please keep the “OMG if they do this Ill quit.” And other such stuff to a minimum. I think we ALL realize that this would be traumatic, but it may be a necessity in the future.


    1 and only reasonn = houses

    You can write 100000 lines about shards going to one it will never ever work , unless they some how get 100n % of say 2 servers too agree to be one ...............
     
  37. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Stratics has more posts that say "what I want is clearly the key to UO's survival and keep all contrary views out of my thread" than UO does unique players.

    -Galen's player
     
  38. Mirt

    Mirt Certifiable
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    I don't know if I would quit but merging servers and wiping the slate clean just doesn't make sense for a 15 year old game. If your telling people to start over why shouldn't they start over in a new game. It would cut the ties and while people would still play they would probably be less willing to keep their account active all the time. I know people that pvp are looking for this but I think there are more housing based players and this would drive many of them away for good. I do know that if I lost my home I would be one foot out the door, there are other gaming options out there and there is also the option of doing other things. I stay in UO for the community and as much as folks want to believe that this wouldn't change. Also folks telling you its a bad idea because people would quit is part of a discussion just because you don't like that fact doesn't change anything. If you want a discussion then you have to take the negative view points and address them but as they said the servers don't really cost that much anymore so why worry about it if its not for population and if its population your after there are options available to you in the form of transfer tokens. When you try and force folks to do the things that you want you make them angry and if they get angry enough and you cut one of the main primary bonds they have they will go. That will not help either profitability or population.
     
  39. Kylie Kinslayer

    Kylie Kinslayer Grand Inquisitor
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    I don't think that is a correct way to go about things honestly. Let's say IF this is something they would ever consider doing then they would need to hear the folks that would plan to quit. However, I have never seen anything remotely close to someone officially saying it COULD happen one day. Nothing but sheer speculation on the player base here, and that's fine, but no need to limit opposing opinions.

    Agreed
     
  40. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Sure there is.

    By doing so one ensures that only one's own views are heard.

    Looking over my Stratics career, my lack of willingness to just slam on someone until they leave the discussion, or define them in such a way that they simply have no space to get in in the first place, has been a major drawback.

    But oh well, too late to change tactics now.

    -Galen's player
     
  41. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    :lol: TY
     
  42. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    But it has been stated by UO offcially that this will never happen.
     
  43. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I really thought Ilshenar was going to be just that. At the time, the hints and the fiction really seemed to be leading us to believing that we could travel between shards.
    This. There are some huge MMOs coming out in the next few years. Cut peoples' ties to a game, and they'll start looking around. And if Kingdoms of Amalur does well, EA wants to make it into a huge MMO, and the single-player Amalur game is not only pretty damn sandboxy, but Curt Schilling was/is a huge UO fan.
     
  44. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    This. The servers aren't that expensive. Having a higher population would be great, but the merging of shards is too high a cost.
     
  45. Goldberg-Chessy

    Goldberg-Chessy Crazed Zealot
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    Upon only brief inspection a very long winded and poorly thought out bad idea.

    On a side note to all the "lets merge shards to create super communities" people -
    Does anyone not understand that a full shard means that a huge % of the population will be living out of a primary house that is on average around 12x12?
    Full shards = small houses. Good luck getting all your x-shard vets to drop their worthless 18x18's on a dead shard to move into a shiny new 12x12 in a high spawn area.

    What do you think keeps people hanging on for so long on all those pathetic dead shards?
    Housing(and psuedo-history for the silly,sentimental ones)
    You take away the worthless huge house and they will most assuredly quit.
     
  46. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    [discussion]

    Devs have stated that they have no plans to merge servers and that doing so would cause many more problems than they would solve starting with housing.

    [/discussion]
     
  47. yars

    yars Lore Keeper
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    as always this^^^^^
     
  48. Uvtha

    Uvtha Grand Poobah
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    I know I would live out of a 7x7 in a heart beat if it was on a new shard with the same rules as siege but with lots of peeps playing.

    Honestly I think that you should pay for storage, not size. Allowing people to have max storage in a tiny house would be nice.
     
  49. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    Just like that, huh?