Another EA game that has suffered similar population drops has found a unique solution to the population server problems... shared areas. Dark Age of Camelot has "clusters"... groups of servers (they function identically to shards) that are all separate... but share certain areas. For example, in UO, this would translate to dungeons and cities... areas where there is no housing. You can bounce back and forth between servers, but your name indicates which server you're from. They require unique character names, so this differentiation became necessary. Obviously, UO works a bit differently, and there's the problem of item duping and a more complex economy, so I don't know how that would work on the back end. But what it would basically mean at its heart is that you wouldn't give up your houses, anything like that... but non-housing areas could be made shared. For example, if you run through T2A - you'd actually be sharing the area with people from one, two, three, or even four other shards. This would increase the population on the areas that count, without having to move anyone or sacrifice anything like housing. If you run on Chesapeake, you could go to Despise and run shoulder-to-shoulder with someone on Atlantic. We already have language servers (as in the asian shards) that could be grouped together. Cross-shard trades would be greatly simplified... instead of brokers, you'd just meet in say-- Britain, by the bank. Not all cities need be shared, either. In DAoC, the only city that's shared is the capital city of each realm (the equivalent of Britain on UO) - It's primarily PvP areas and certain dungeon areas that are shared. It's a wild, out-there idea, but it has really breathed new life into Dark Age of Camelot PvP (there, it's called RvR, because of a variety of things that I won't bother explaining here. the PvP system there is very different. - think large-scale battles. With siege engines.) and might be something to think of to save UO. It would have to be carefully monitored to prevent item duping and abuse, but I think it could really, really help. It would certainly have unforseen effects on the economy, but hey... which is better... an altered economy and such, or no game at all?