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Solution for low population shards

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Thrakkar, Feb 26, 2012.

  1. Thrakkar

    Thrakkar Slightly Crazed
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    One can't do much about shards with low population:

    1.) Merge shards: Most of the players don't want this, just because housing space would be halved and also possible 14 chars would be cut down to 7. So this is no viable solution.

    2.) Get more new players: This would be up to ea/mythic, but I highly doubt, they would be able to aquire new players in great numbers. So this would also not be a realistic solution. (albeit the best, if this would work out)

    Let me present you solution Nr. 3:

    First and foremost, this idea assumes, that all shards of a region are in a (let's call it) shard pool (ideally all shards from the same data center). So we would have the european shard pool, the west american shard pool, etc...

    Second, and here's the actual idea, make shard gates. These would be some other-colored moongates. Upon entering, one can travel to any shard in the current shard pool. Just the character with backpack, bank & stables.
    Enter the gate.
    Select the shard.
    Loading screen appears.
    Disconnect from source shard.
    Copy char.
    Connect to destination shard.
    Loading screen disappears.
    Play.

    Of course the current character limitations would apply. So one would need a free slot a the destination.
    Or if you're really cool, you could allow a temporary char slot per shard, so people won't have to delete at least one char (which also wouldn't be that dramatic since soulstones can even be crafted nowadays)
     
  2. Arrgh

    Arrgh Sage
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    Do what? What skill can craft soulstones? I need about 5.
     
  3. Dermott of LS

    Dermott of LS UOEC Modder
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    ...

    They're not going to put up "shard gates" when they have Xfer tokens as a pay for use item on the UO Store.
     
  4. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    single-use soulstone fragments can be crafted by alchemists:

    Soulstone Fragment - UOGuide, the Ultima Online encyclopedia

    And Dermott is right, they won't do something like the cross-shard stuff since they make money from selling the transfer tokens.
     
  5. lupushor

    lupushor Guest

    Well, they just did, with the new vet rewards tokens. So who knows what they might do next?

    I am not a fan of shard-pool travel. Putting Atlantic and GL in same pool won't help low population shards.

    I'd say make twin-shards pairs. Like link Atlantic to Formosa, GL to Oceania, something like that. And maybe make a quest you have to follow to be able to travel each time.
     
  6. Lady Storm

    Lady Storm Crazed Zealot
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    I will give you this - you did think it out to a point.

    EA makes a good penny on the Transfer token biz... and not even the shields are biting into this market.
    While the shards are already in groups I remeber reading from the Dev some time ago that shards are not that easy to link...it's like having 2 monopoly boards next to each other ... they have the path that can touch but in all reality you cant just jump to the next board.

    Whats really holding back players from taking on a second shard is the houseing...

    Sorry to bring it up but its the truth. I dont know how many people have asked me how I got so many houses all over UO. When told they wish they had played back them so they too could have that other house so when ****shard got dull they could go play with a friend who is on ****shard.

    It's also why so many of us have 6/7 characters on a few shard lists and combining them would be utterly impossible.... For me that character list would need to be pages long. Not to mention the other problems.

    I aplaud your thinking but for it happening???? Take my word for it, EA would sooner see pigs fly then advertize UO, and as for linking shards..... They would sooner give you bigger bill for the transfer token.
     
  7. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    THIS
     
  8. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    Except: Those rewards are only for the oldest accounts of which there are not too many, they only go to one shard per reward, only the account which claimed it can use it, only get one token a month, and the biggest difference is that you can only transfer the character, no pets.

    This vet reward didn't really reduce the need for the transfer tokens they sell. Thus they wouldn't likely do something like you're proposing, as much as many would like it.
     
  9. Green Mouser

    Green Mouser Guest

    NOPE NOPE NOPE.

    Only 2 Solutions: Do nothing or Have a World gate
     
  10. Arrgh

    Arrgh Sage
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  11. Kael

    Kael Certifiable
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    Less people and community often leads to boredom and logging in less and less before quitting. Some kind of option about shard merging/shard gates would mean seeing more people just checking out other communities and other shards and hopefully prevent people from getting bored.

    Would the loss of revenue from character transfers not be compensated by more accounts remaining open??

    Need to compensate funds for Xfer tokens?? Set up another can't do without option at the store for people to buy
     
  12. Black Majick

    Black Majick Certifiable
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    I doubt EA makes as much money as people think they do on xfers..I buy mine from brokers or I buy for gold in game....20 dollars or 10 dollars? Easy choice there....
     
  13. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    Lol, except where do you think those tokens come from initially? They all come straight from EA and someone payed them for it. They're still making money regardless of whoever you're buying your tokens from, the only difference is who is giving the money to EA, you or the broker.
     
  14. Lady Storm

    Lady Storm Crazed Zealot
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    Exactly.
    EA makes money off the shard transfers .... even I still buy them and I have 4 accounts old enough to have shields ... they still are needed for the bigger loads I want to ship around. So dont fuss EA gets $$. Its why they wont even think of a way to link shards...

    There is a bright side if they are smart they will open up the accounts to more houseing. Think about it..... the second house will need things... vola transfer token sale!
     
  15. Majicthies

    Majicthies Guest

    or, how about 1 house per shard per account...used to be 1 per character so it is possible
     
  16. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
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    Maybe we can approach this from the angle of the problem;

    Make new content available to all shards on the "nexus" shard. Basically any expansions or new dungeons or area are not longer tied to a particular shard they are on a shared server. This would solve the population issues in a relative way. Just have to figure out how to solve the problem with trading items to protect the existing x sharding.

    This idea definately needs to be put in for PvP of some kind. CtF or whatever...
     
  17. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It'd be cool to have a second house on an account as long as it was on another shard, but it's still shuffling deck chairs around on the Titanic. You need more new and old players coming back.
     
  18. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    The solution for low pop shards is to increase the population. You can do this by:

    1. advertising

    2. Updating the download to where people don't fall asleep patching it up.

    3. Fix the bugs

    4. Do something with that mess they call acct management.

    5. Get the store stocked & functional with stuff that works when you pay for it.

    6. Police the chat, I wont let my kids and grandkids even watch me play because of the trash that is said.

    7. Lighten up the startup effort. 1k wont do it, neither will 100k. Let a starting mage start with a full LRC all 70s suit...a cheap one, maybe low durability. Let the warrior start with an all 70s with some SSI and maybe SR on it.

    These are just instant knee jerk thought from reading the title, Im sure I could come up with lots more if I thought on it.
     
  19. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Actually they were working on this for the EC last year, along with a revised new player area where a new player could be playing or doing the tutorial within a few minutes, while the rest of the client was downloading in the background. It sounded pretty cool and forward thinking actually.
     
  20. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    Seeing is believing...
     
  21. Theo_GL

    Theo_GL Grand Poobah
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    The easy way to consolidate is to open new shards and new shards only get the new content. You get free xfers of stuff/characters to the new shards. Eventually people will leave old shards and you can turn them off.

    It would be best to see them 'right sized' for population. If we had 1/3 as many shards - it would be more community.

    That being said - I like playing dead shards so as to not have to deal with the kids running around yew gate screaming in chat about how awesome we should all think they are because they play a video game.

    Honestly gen chat on GL is like sitting in the cafeteria in 5th grade at the geek table.
     
  22. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    So you're saying that paying customers will have to give up their existing homes and player towns/communities and move to a brand new shard to get new content and probably get a ****ty house and spot to boot.

    Good luck with that, UO players are attached to their houses.
     
  23. Theo_GL

    Theo_GL Grand Poobah
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    I have prime housing and lots of junk - but maybe at some point this game is less about the 'stuff' and more about playing/accomplishing things in game.

    I think this game is way too item based and as such the barrier to entry is enormous.

    I honestly think all shards should be wiped once/year of houses and all items besides rune books and spell books.

    From there people have to requip, rearmor, recraft, etc.

    Some of my BEST times playing this game was on new shards where I had nothing and had to build my character up from scratch - clawing and scraping with a friend or two to get the things i needed to advance my character/skills.
     
  24. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    Exactly, I think one spawns the other. Given nothing at start (1k gp, barf), we are poor and have to collect everything and anything to get anywhere, like the poor starving rioters. We are taught, by necessity, to be pack-rats from day one. Hard to break old habits that once served us well.
     
  25. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    Then delete all your chars and work new ones every year. I personally am down to one account...when they wipe it, I'm down to none,

    People I know that are devout players are demo'ing their houses and closing extra accounts. If they can't hold onto their existing player base, how do they expect to reach out to new players?

    They've relied on word of mouth for so long to advertise, when your talking to a friend about games, and admit you closed your UO accounts except one for sentimental reasons...what part of that is sposed to inspire someone else to want to play?
     
  26. olduofan

    olduofan Guest

    this is true i have done the same thing but did it about a year ago . I can not remember the last time i told anyone how fun is , i can say this i tell every gamer i meet how lame uo has become because of how complex it is to put armor suits together and now its all about items nothing more...
     
  27. Poo

    Poo The Grandest of the PooBah’s
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    its only about items if YOU want it to be about the items.

    i spend 0 gold on items.
    i train, i play, i have fun.

    instead of being spoon fed fun you have to go out and make your own fun.

    its like being married.
    it dosnt just happen.
    after years you need to work at it to keep it good and fun.

    hell, this game has gone on longer then 70% of marriages out there, haha, which is probably why a lot of people cant figure out how to play it!
     
  28. Flutter

    Flutter Always Present
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    So long as I get to keep my property exactly where they are I'm good with shard merges.
    ;)
     
  29. olduofan

    olduofan Guest

    true to a point.. if you want to solo a boss you need a lot of items... and as to marriage i wouldn't even know where to start on that lol ha.
     
  30. olduofan

    olduofan Guest


    i been in favor or merging shards for a long time here in the usa make it so we have like no more than 5 something like 2 east coast 1 mid 1 west 1 south.. I play pac i been thinking about moving to alt but it would cost far to much for all the transfers pac is died really boring ..
     
  31. lupushor

    lupushor Guest

    I agree with everyone here :)
     
  32. Kael

    Kael Certifiable
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    and you feel this post contributes anything??
     
  33. Goldberg-Chessy

    Goldberg-Chessy Crazed Zealot
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    I am sorry but there is absolutely no good way to merge current shards.

    Housing is and has always been an integral part of the playing experience. This is most important because pvpers and pvmers are equally attached to housing so it affects all players.

    The OP's idea does nothing to address this basic fact.

    Talking about the mechanics of a merge is a waste of time if the merge does not make sense for a huge majority of current players.

    All the players currently on low population shards have had the oppurtunity to move in the past and obviously havent so why would they now?

    All that being said I do believe that a small step in the right direction might be to somehow target vet players on low population shards and periodically offer them a free character xfer token to a selected, more popular destination shard.
    I think that some people would be surprised how much more they enjoy playing on the healthier shard and move on their own.
    Maybe you can also somehow offer these same players extra storage space in the smaller houses that they will be forced to move into on the new, busier shard.
    Will ofc not make up for the change in housing but may go a long way.

    Just my 2 cents & I am obviously a bit biased as I currently play on a very busy shard so I am quite comfortable as far as housing is concerned. But I will say that I moved from Chessy to Atlantic a bunch of years ago because I saw the writing on the wall.
    I have a lot of history on Chessy but I dont think it is a huge reason to die a slow death there. They are still great memories and that is quite enough for me.

    I think the people that are only attached to one shard because they have a history there are kinda part of the overall problem. IMO the history is the actual people you played with and the memories. Has nothing to do with the name of the shard or a couple of empty old buildings/towns.
     
  34. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    Not a good way to merge shards, damn near impossible to stop the bleeding of players from the game...

    Doesn't sound good honestly.
     
  35. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    To be honest, I'd be more worried about bringing in new players or bringing back players who left years ago.

    Players are all the time taking breaks and closing down accounts for a while - I know I've taken them. There will always be a certain amount of players who will leave for other games, due to real life stuff such as economic issues or just out of boredom. You can't do anything to stop those players, to be honest, because that's a short-term problem and if you tried to stop them from leaving the cost would be high and the return very low. You could burn a lot of developer resources just on trying to keep those people from leaving when the reasons they are leaving usually have nothing to do with the game or are because they need to step away from the game.

    This game is alive because there are enough new players and returning players to replace those players who leave. If those two group slow down, you're in trouble.
     
  36. Sevin0oo0

    Sevin0oo0 Guest

    Spoonfed: I think people crave direction and control, too many choices just makes them freeze up. If you give them the illusion of being in charge, they're happy. Being told narrows the choices, It helps them see the big picture vs letting them fail, fail in something they're paying for. When there is too much change and/or confusion, people run, frustrated and angry.
    Chances are, they don't know how. Think sheep
     
  37. Zyon Rockler

    Zyon Rockler Guest

    I think there is a simple solution but it would have to be done by building a new map. A larger map of Britain where it's basically copied but then chopped up and expanded on. Between cities you add more land, you create larger oceans and place within it some very large islands.

    During this process you connect all the current lands with one ocean. Such as, Tokuno. I would even connect Luna and Umbra rather than the Abyss being uncrossable I would add heavy fog or smoke on the borders, so that any landmass that has housing is connected.

    So, you could walk to an ocean, get on a boat and sail to any of the other land masses. Any of the new lands, I would have placed on a sub server to be connected by all shards. These lands you would not be able to trade or drop items but would be able to bank.

    You would need a bigger space because you would be trying to move, say 5 shards onto 1 so you want it to be 5x the size it is now.

    Then you just create insentives to move to this new shard. Once you've decided to move you will no longer be able to go into any other shard but there will be alot of perks if you made that decision. For example: 2 houses, extra character slots, extra room in the stable for pets, better overall Faction system, better champ layout, perhaps larger areas.

    Add in new content, move the EMS to the new shard, have a GM presence, become more involved in that community as well as Champion Spawns, Factions and even fishing trips. Perhaps, some kind of sceduling for Events that is constant.

    Make the new map much more beautiful. For example, an 18 x 18 water front with a small farm plot, a nice fence off to the side, waterways that carry boats. Beautiful trees and plants, weather affects and seasons. Not a whole new system but just enough to give it that extra detail.

    Like, instead of getting the message, It begins to rain, maybe you will hear the wind and thunder and see the lightning. This type of small detail would be enough of a draw even making the oceans a little rougher when it rains. They could even add puddaling on the ground but not every system would have to go that far. It would depend on the ease of creating the detail.

    My guess is, if the new shard never comes, populations will continue to increase on some shards but will force players to leave because even though they came seeking community they will find there is no where to live.
     
  38. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I still think the ultimate solution to low population shards is to grow the game in general. Focusing on keeping the remaining players around or taking the remaining players and bringing them together on fewer shards is just delaying the inevitable, because like I said, people have reasons to leave UO that have nothing to do with UO itself, and those reasons will never go away and you can't counteract them.

    What you can do is reach out to a new generation of players, as well as those players who left for other games a long time ago.
     
  39. Thrakkar

    Thrakkar Slightly Crazed
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    Interesting. When was I talking about merging shards? Did you even read my post?

    The only thing I said about merging shards is, that it is NOT a viable solution...

    And my idea doesn't affect housing in the slightest...

    *shakes head*

    Looks like this thread was hijacked and is all about merging shards. Please stay on topic, guys and girls...
     
  40. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    And your idea is nearly 10 years old. I remember some of the devs discussing Ilshenar as if it might be something close to what you described in your first post. There were a helluva lot of hints being dropped that could have been read that Ilshenar was going to be something like what you mentioned.

    Ilshenar - UOGuide, the Ultima Online encyclopedia

    The real-world explanation is that somebody at EA was thinking ahead and that they could make more money by charging people to move between shards :gee:

    I don't remember if something about Camelot got them thinking about it or what.
     
  41. Thrakkar

    Thrakkar Slightly Crazed
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    Even if it would be 10 years old, why would it matter?

    And as far as Ilshenar is concerned, this rather sounds like an "inter-shard" hub, where players from different shards can interact (but upon returning from Ilsh they get back to the very same shard they came from).

    Additionally, my suggestion would only allow transfer between shards in a specific region. Which would keep shard shields and transfer tokens still useful, if you want to transfer to a different region or with 5 packies within a region. They could even make it so, that you can only use a shard gate once per day per account.
     
  42. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It doesn't matter, I actually think it's a shame that they didn't go through with what it originally sounded like they were planning.

    I'm guessing it was their way of alleviating overcrowded shards - make it easy for people to pack up and move to lower-populated shards. Overcrowding was a huge issue back then.
     
  43. Arrgh

    Arrgh Sage
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    QFT :lol:
     
  44. SugarSmacks

    SugarSmacks Guest


    LOL "chat" was just a blatant ripoff from other games, it had no real purpose in ultima online except to say HEY WE GOT THAT TOO!

    Had i known when i bought this game 15 years ago that they would just make trammel and every shard after that trammel i probably would of never bought it, probably MANY people who already left feel this way. It is easy to criticize from trammel being that your opinion has no consequence, pretty much everything this game had gone against from the beginning.

    You are a prime example of what is wrong with this game.
     
  45. garillo

    garillo Journeyman

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    Wouldn't it be more viable to make the game free to play? Only to an extent of course i.e. no subscription= skill caps @ 100, no power scrolls, no house placement, no colored ore being mined, etc etc to be continued.....
    It's 2012. EA has a store up (that obviously needs some fixing, but it can be done) that is crucial for player success, with items like the forge tool, xfer tokens, etc and still charges a monthly fee for the mmorpg. It should be one or the other. Free to play games are the trend now and can bring a large player base, meaning more money to fix this donkey back up.
     
  46. And having an all blessed suit for a tamer with a super dragon, or a pop shot hide any peek archer, any better. You are the co gm of the biggest trammie guild in you. Most times they refuse to fight an would rather farm off shards. If you feel so strongly about it, dump your guild, delete your chars, AND LEAVE THE GAME. Because you and your guild are a prime example of what is wrong with this game.
     
  47. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    UO was at its peak well after Trammel and the majority of people who have ever played UO played after Trammel was implemented. Like it or not, UO probably would not be celebrating 15 years if it weren't for Trammel.
     
  48. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    It wouldn't be "free to play" because you and I would still be paying at least what we pay now, if not more. Given that it's EA, we would probably somehow end up paying more.

    Look at World of Warcraft's "free to play" crap versus UO's 14-day trial. I could run into the limitations of WOW's "free to play" crap well inside of 14-days.
     
  49. Zyon Rockler

    Zyon Rockler Guest

    I thought what I posted was the solution, although I could be wrong but putting a gate isn't really the answer in my opinion because it doesn't create more people and having a shard where everyone can meet up does not help to populate the other shards.

    So, to make shards more populated, you would want to put them together. For me, the problem with having a gate is that there is to much that is the same.

    Look at Trammel and Fel, that's 2 places that are the same. So, if you have 10 shards, that's 20 places that are identical. Putting a gate up in Brit, to go to Brit, does not make any sense.

    Then you have to look at all of the Ilshnars, all of the New Lands and all of the Oceans. If you combined all of this together, you will find that there is a massive amount of space.

    So, rather than having all of this space not being used, even with gates, there would be no way you could use all 10 oceans at once, for example. It would make more sense to create a larger land mass and remove all of the duplicates, so that everything is consolidated.

    So, let's say you take 20 shards and turn them into 3 very large shards and then you could add sub servers that would have different land mass on them.

    Now, idealy you would of created a sphere and then expanded that sphere to create more land masses but from what I can gather UO's Map is flat. So, to expand, you have to draw a completely new map.

    This brings us back to population. On a very populated shard the housing areas are to small to support very large homes for players. For example, if you took all of the players, currently, and gave them each an 18 x 18 and then land to place that on as well as allow for growth, you kind of get the idea that the current shards stop growth.

    Also, to bring in new players, they would rather have a massively, huge map with alot of different places rather than the choice of 40 places that are identical and not very large at all.

    It's as if Shard Trading and having 2,000 characters has become more important than the actual play board. So, even though you could place gates, I think it will just end up spreading ppl out more. Plus people are going to want to be with other people and they're going to want to be doing things. If you use gates, you're still going to be trying to cram everyone into that same existing space. That's just my opinion.