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THE ONLY THREAD ABOUT Shard Consolidations

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Deraj, Jun 1, 2015.

  1. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    Admin Note - this will be the only thread for shard/housing/dungeon mergers. Read Admin Post here: http://stratics.com/community/threa...ard-consolidations.341700/page-5#post-2554904




    Well ladies and gentlemen, whether you love it or hate it it's about time to crack open a fresh can of worms and talk about shard consolidation/merging! I am going to make a case as to why, and what I think would be a good plan to achieve it. Please take my argument into consideration, and tell me why it's the best/worst idea you've ever heard.

    There was once a time when I couldn't imagine ever being in favor of this, but this was before I saw just how depressingly dead some of the shards have gotten. This is bad for the game. Let's break down the pros and cons of merging shards:

    PROS
    1. Population - With less shards, the current pool of players will be less spread out, and more concentrated on fewer shards. That means higher populations.
    2. Economics - More players per shard means better economies. Shard divisions represent barriers that raise the cost, time and convenience of moving items to the players that want them. With higher populations, more people have direct access to each other through vendors, meaning more robust economies on remaining shards. Remaining shards benefit because they will have more players bringing their wares to the table. Win-win.
    3. Administration - Less shards are easier for the developers to manage. Means more attention for individual shards. It means when they do their meet & greet they can come to your shard more often. It means that governors can get more attention for their requests. I'm sure it means other things too that I can't think of off the top of my head or are secret dev things of which I am unaware.
    4. Community - The more people you put together on the same shards, the more activity and opportunity for that sweet, player-driven sandbox adventure you will find, and that only UO can provide!
    CONS
    1. Housing - This is a concern which I will not take lightly or dismiss. There is no good answer to it in my mind but I will attempt to offer an answer to it in my proposal. No matter what, some players who have a lot invested in their houses will leave; for them, the value of their house outweighs the value of higher populations - I say that without criticism.
    2. Shard History ("x shard is my home!") - This is a deceptive notion. I used to have this same idea about my original shard Napa Valley. But Napa is dead. What really makes a shard? It's not the historical pixels or even the written history - it's the people. People are what give a shard character, personality, and uniqueness. There is nothing unique about a dead shard. Don't cling to what once was.
    Here is the plan which I think would minimize the pain and offer everyone a fair chance to move forward:

    Step 1 - First, the devs must decide which shards stay, and which go. Without knowing population #s, I can only speculate that perhaps 5-6 shards (American, I make no comment or suggestion regarding Asian shards) would be appropriate, but for this I would trust the devs to find a reasonable balance between current UO population and an appropriate number of shards.

    Step 2 - Announce to the players that there will be a shard consolidation approximately one year from time of announcement, specifying the exact date of closing as well as which shards will remain and which will go. Announcement must show up in game as well. This will give players ample time and notice to make their arrangements. On day of announcement, disable house placing on all shards to be closed. Trial accounts will not be allowed to create characters on closing shards.

    Step 3 - Free unlimited shard transfers from all closing shards to any of the remaining shards. Shard transfers to closing shards are disabled.

    Step 4 - Once the shard is closed, save all remaining character data at the time of closing, and make these characters available to transfer post-closing from account management. This way, no character can be lost.

    Step 5 - Enjoy your improved MMO experience.

    Step 6 - Sort of an after-note. Allow shard transfer shields for closed shards to be redeemed for a different vet reward.

    Now I shall attempt to anticipate some arguments against:

    "If my shard closes then you can kiss my 20 accounts good bye!"
    How many accounts have we kissed good bye already because of this sentiment? UO nearly lost 5 accounts on my part, back in May 2012. I thought I'd try UO again and started playing Napa Valley. It was so dead, depressing and boring that I gave up and quit after only a week. I decided to give it one more try 8 months later and started completely fresh on Atlantic. The experience was radically different directly due to the higher population. How many new or returning players come back, see how dead their shard is (and consequently UO in their mind) and leave?

    "But I prefer the quiet nature of low population shards."
    For you, my friend, I'm afraid I have no good answer. I can only tell you that UO is a massive multiplayer online game, and it was meant to be played by massive numbers of people. UO's gameplay is primarily player-driven, but when there are few to no players, the game suffers.

    "I just got my 10 houses decorated just the way I want them!"
    I'm not going to pretend that giving up one's houses and foundation is a small thing to ask, for it truly is not, and I'm not going to pretend that such a proposal isn't basically asking you to make a sacrifice. But consider the possibility of playing on a shard with a more active community, more people to join your guild, more people to war with, more people to trade with. Sometimes, change is good.

    "If you love high pop shards so much, why don't you move to one yourself and leave the rest of us alone?"
    I'm not proposing this idea for the good of my gaming experience. I am proposing it for the good of the entire game in general. I honestly believe that fewer shards with higher populations will result in a better overall experience for everyone and help with player retention.


    --
    Well, what's it going to be, small-sharders? Tucking yourself away in your castle surrounded by dusty old pixels in a desolate and deserted land? Or living life on the edge and high-adventure surrounded by all the opportunities for friendship, rivalry and business that you could ever hope to have?
     
    #1 Deraj, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 3, 2015
  2. DJAd

    DJAd Stratics Legend
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    I wouldn't mind mergers myself but we have been told many a time it ain't gonna happen.
     
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  3. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    How do you think people would react if the dev team said they are closing the five non-Abyss shards with the largest populations and if you want to keep playing you need to pick one of the other 20 non-Abyss shards to play on? Why does it have to be that everyone has to migrate to shards that are already crowded? Why not spread out the masses and keep 20 shards alive with most having medium-sized crowds and maybe just 2 or 3 filling back up to the size the largest shards once had? How many of the people who play on Atlantic still have houses elsewhere and thus wouldn't have to relocate at all? They would just close down their Atlantic house and probably say, "Good riddance."
     
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  4. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Here's another idea to toss out there: Maybe for a year you can't do any new house placements on the 5 or 6 largest non-Abyss shards. You can trade the existing buildings, but nothing new can be placed. And if something falls, oh well. The vacant spot is unavailable for house placement. If you want to do any actual house placements during that year, you have to do it on one of the 20 other non-Abyss shards.
     
  5. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    he didnt say the largest pop shards. said the opposite.
     
  6. JoO

    JoO Seasoned Veteran
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    I think a positive effect could be achieved by having merged zones. 2 new areas 1 tram ruleset one fel. 5 regions us east and west, oceania, asia, Europe. Current housing would be unaffected while allowing access to a larger population for trade and activities.
     
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  7. Longtooths

    Longtooths Supreme Commander
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    1. Population – There are those that like the quieter shards and enjoy the spreading out. Therefore the concentration of players would be a con to them. Other cons would be claustrophobic spawns. Blackthorns comes to mind.

    2. Economics – More players does not always mean better economies. I would challenge your assertion that Shard divisions raise cost. There are people that make small fortunes by cross sharding from cheap shards back to populated shards. The people that do this would not be happy.

    3. It is my understanding that each base shard is the same and when altered it can simply be copied over to the next shard ad infinitum. You mention the benefit to governors, but you fail to mention all of the governors from the closed shards being out of a job. Im sure they would oppose the consolidation.

    4. Community – It’s easy to celebrate the good, but you have to also consider the consolidation of the bad. Imagine PvP global chat if everyone was on the same shard.



    To your CONS I would add EM events. If you consolidated shards, there would be less events and thus less rares.


    I'd have to ask, if you want to play on a more populated shard, why not move to one. For those that don't stay where you are. I don't see anything game ending in the way it is now, nor anything compelling enough to consolidate shards.
     
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  8. Thrakkar

    Thrakkar Slightly Crazed
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    IMHO this is crap. People from shards, which would close down, will feel discriminated against people from shards, which stay. First, because they can only pick left-over house spots AND they actually have to move. The others already have the best spots and don't need need even to lift a finger.
    The fairest solution definitely would be to create all new shards and having a transition period, where people can move. After that transition period, all old shards will be shut down for good.

    Btw, that would also mean, that most shard shields will get useless/deco-only (or all shard shields, if my solution would be implemented). Another reason for people going completely crazy... :gee:
     
  9. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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  10. Deaol

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    No.

    *inserts glacial horse for people to beat on*
     
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  11. Merlin

    Merlin The Enchanter
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    Let me first say... this is all theoretical. Something that would likely never happen, as stated by Messanna in the past. I do however feel that if there ever were to be shard mergers, the OP's ideas are a good starting point.

    No house placings for a year on largest shards = less new subscriptions = less revenue for UO = overall negative impact on game

    I think the reason for people going completely crazy here would be essentially resetting every shard in the game. This would mean game over for UO.

    I personally feel less rares would be a good thing. We have enough useless over priced pixel crack as it is. Not sure why we would continue adding more.
     
  12. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    In my post I speculated 5-6 remaining shards, but truth be told I cannot say if that is a good number or not. Maybe it would be better to keep 20 shards alive as you stated. The point I am trying to make more than anything is the virtue of the idea of shard consolidation. I would also arguing that keeping the highest to medium populated shards, and closing only the lowest pop shards would be more optimal in terms of grand total effort made to move by the playerbase.

    My proposed plan is meant to be down an actual deadline with a specific vision of progress. But simply turning off house placement and waiting for all the houses to disappear is an open-ended solution with no way of knowing how long it would take.

    I'm not sure what you mean by merged zones. Like an area accessible by multiple shards?

    More people doing Blackthorn's dungeon on a shard = more minax items in circulation = lower prices for blackthorn artifacts. But to address your actual point, I can respect someone's desire to play on a quieter shard. But there is a difference, I will argue, between a "quiet" shard, and a "dead" shard. You can have a shard without enough people to support a certain level of activity without the hustle and bustle of a shard like Atlantic. Shards that are dead, however, are bad for the game.

    Those same people are are selling their wares on the cheap shards can just as easily sell those same wares on higher population shards, make their wares more accessible to the end users, making more gold in the process while the end user saves by not having to pay the 15 year veteran middle-man.

    A governor of a population of zero is no governor, no matter how ornate his seat at the council meeting.

    I will concede this point, although I will add that I think this is more of a problem concerning chat.

    I see no reason, other than derpa-derp EA logic, why EMs would need to let go if the population hypothetically doesn't change. Same EMs for the same population. Just means more EMs per shard. Seems like that would make for more interesting events if you have multiple EMs working together more often. Also seems like it would be easier on cross-sharders to track and participate.

    I play on 3 shards. I play on Atlantic, a high-population shard. I play on Catskills, a shard I would characterize as "quiet" and Napa Valley still, a shard which is unarguably dead, so in this respect my bases are covered. But, this proposal isn't to improve my personal gaming experience, but rather the game as a whole. I am only playing the armchair dev and speculating on why I think that low-pop shards hurt this game, and what a solution which I think would have the lowest possible impact.
     
  13. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I suggest targeting low pop shards precisely because that would have the lowest impact. Making everyone bear the burden of shard consolidation would certainly seem more fair, but it doesn't make sense to make everyone do it just to make the few people on low-pop shards feel less bad about it. Don't get me wrong, I am not trying to paint a rosy picture here or suggest it would be tough for some. I am only suggesting that it is necessary.
     
  14. DJAd

    DJAd Stratics Legend
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    I think we only need 2 shards these days. One for daytime players and one for night time....
     
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  15. Old Vet Back Again

    Old Vet Back Again Slightly Crazed

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    There is a better way to consolidate player base.

    In this example I will use felucca based dungeons. Why can we not make felucca based dungeons on their own server? If they were on their own server it would consolidate those lurking in the dungeon with others from different shards. Player A from Catskills wants to go work despise, Player B from Pacific at that exact moment also wants to go work despise. Will they work together and split the scrolls? Will they decide to come back on their pvp toons and duke it out? Will they work together and another player from Origin comes in to raid? Will Player B leave and go work Destard instead?

    Leave everything as it is and just make dungeons and other areas (ishlenar, Ter Mur, t2a) all on one server. Reason I said those three faccets is because there is no housing, no housing = no argument against it. This would bring communities together, this would make players interact with each other AND it could allow for people to not have to build multiple toons on multiple shards.

    I mean think about it, Guild A from Atl is doing a dungeon hunt in the abyss. Player B from Lake Austin is there at the same time and sees how much fun Guild A is having. He might have just found himself a new guild and great new friends...

    I would love to go as far as creating a "new" luna in a sense. A town on a single server accessible by everyone. Shard shields are great, but only for those that have them. If a player comes back and is discouraged by a shard's low population, this would allow him to go to a city and interact/barter/trade or just simple bank sit...
     
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  16. kaio

    kaio Sage
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    I'm sure we need to open new shards, when the upcommin expansion hit the shelves hehe
     
  17. Keith of Sonoma

    Keith of Sonoma Certifiable

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    As long as Sonoma stays, I wouldn't oppose it. However, I suspect that the, in MY opinion, MASSIVE amount of people that would leave the game because they have lost castles and such would kill UO from a financial standpoint.
     
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  18. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    I think you should consolidate to Siege. *eats pie*
     
  19. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    In addition to discontinuing house placement on Atlantic and maybe one or two other large shards for a year, maybe also turn off new character creation and the ability to transfer to these shards. You could transfer away from them all way you want, but they would be closed to new growth in terms of population and housing and also closed to items being brought in from other shards. No shards would actually be closed and no one would lose anything at all. You would just be giving people a reason to consider playing, developing characters, and setting up shops to sell goods and make gold on other shards again.

    Edited to add: I would think that it would also not cost very much to turn off the ability to place new housing on a few shards. Just delete or disable all the house placement tools that exist on those shards. And turning off character creation on a few shards would probably just be a matter of updating a table somewhere, the same as turning off the ability to make transfers to a few shards.
     
    #19 Tina Small, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
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  20. Kirthag

    Kirthag Former Stratics Publisher
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    Looking at this issue for a long time from a more business aspect than community/player aspect. What would prompt EA/Broadsword to consolidate?

    1. hosting cost
    This is a non-issue as UO is in the cloudspace and thus, server cost is negligible. However, bandwidth could be an issue - if they are budgeting for certain bandwidth but not utilizing it, this could incur the thought to "condense" a bit. However, still, this will limit growth (expected with new release) as well as prevent current subscribers from logging on should there be a high peak. ​
    2. subscriptions
    As UO is a sub-based game, keeping and ultimately raising subscriptions is the primary focus. How does consolidation of shards affect this? Well, not good - first, a lot of players, especially those with multiple accounts, would most likely drop their secondary, tertiary and beyond accounts simply because there is "no need" for it - READ: the only reason they have those other accounts are for houses on multiple shards. Further, a player with the main character of each account on different shards, however some of those shards are now going poof. Then another player who has multiple accounts for the shard shields to jump from shard to shard collecting items in demand from the lesser pop shards to the more crowded ones. These are players that will not keep their multiple accounts should shards condense. Why bother? This will hurt the sub base and lower revenue. New subs wouldn't stay for longer than their initial payment for they would see the older subs departing. There might be an initial spike of "new subscribers", but that will quickly drop as interest wanes and these new players realize the inherit issues of the game.​
    3. game mechanics
    When Blizzard did it, it wasn't such an impact as there is no custom player housing, items are in banks and not locked on display all over the map - everything is instanced anyway - a totally different game mechanic which made the server-merges more feasible. Because UO is very item based and the items are tied to each server/shard, this makes a merge more volatile - databases will be compounded and item ids that are legitimately real would wind up being duplicated (each shard has its own database, meaning and item id of 1234 on GL might differ from an item with the id of 1234 on Napa). Database mergers are very challenging and costly, particularly old data. Justifying the cost of a merge would, again, turn to the question, "Would this raise subscriptions?"
    I could go on more with this, but I am not privy to the inner workings of the software - I've been through many mergers (professionally) of information and data and the cost is not always something a company wants to bear given the projected outcome.​
    4. public relations & marketing
    The spin machine could attempt to tout this as a "UO-revamped", but it all boils down to A) EA not really marketing this product at all and B) The word of mouth from very passionate and highly vocal players. It would be a nightmare to market this, as well as dealing with the current player base. Although last on the list (as pr & marketing always are), many businesses cite the press as a huge hurdle when doing consolidations. It would bring awareness for a time, particularly since UO hasn't had any real marketing in a decade (if not more), but would that awareness be good? Imagine...

    Venerable MMO Ultima Online Revamps - Grandparents Cry Out in Disdain!
    The First Successful MMO, Ultima Online, Finally Catches Up - Or Does It?
    Ultima Online Alienates Player Base with Consolidations - Dies Most Horrible Death
    An Corp - *Fizzle*
    Not being overtly cynical here, but have you seen how some of the gamer news outlets write? ​



    Do I think shard consolidation would work? Personally... I don't think it matters. My own perspective is instead of making a mountain out of a molehole, we, the players, should look at how WE present the game. Grass Roots efforts are always more successful as they have passionately dedicated people to the cause. If we want more players on our "less lively" shards - then we should do our utmost to bring more new players in. Experiments have happened - someone has brought WoW gamers into UO and just dropped them there to their own detriment. Others have "paid" for new players to come and try UO, without much success - for those players soon grew bored.

    We all know that UO is a very unique game. The graphics are not the best, the "latest tech" used in the EC clashes with the old-school feel of the game. The newer generations of gamers demand more quick-setup-toons rather than full on character development. Even more gamers are demanding Free-To-Play as they don't want to invest money or time into a game, they just want something to take their minds of things. UO is not for the casual gamer, which is the mentality of the younger generations. They bounce from game to game - something UO is not even adaptable to. Ultima Online needs more than mere shard mergers, what it needs is an overhaul of mechanics (which I think the Broadsword team is doing), quite possibly a new gaming engine, and graphics that appeal to the new generation of gamer.

    UO doesn't need to be 3D - keep the isometric viewpoint, but give the game a bit of reality with spattering blood and avenues to collect items into perpetuity. What I'd like to see is a diablo-esque graphics with housing and items. Of course, that would mean a whole new game....
     
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  21. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I have always been very skeptical of these kinds of ideas for "shared zones" so to speak, because they seem to add a layer of complexity to the game that shouldn't have to be there. Still, your idea does bring players together, similar to the way WoW battlegroups made it easier to get into PvP and PvE instances with other players.
     
  22. Bethany_lg

    Bethany_lg Journeyman
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    As someone who has recently done a mass exodus from a "dead" shard to Atlantic, I think the team needs to offer a one time opportunity to move if we are unhappy where we are. When i look at the time and effort and cost it took for me to relocate (at min 20 transfer tokens), most players can't be expected to "just move" if they are unhappy.
     
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  23. Poo

    Poo The Grandest of the PooBah’s
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    so, ive got 2 castles full of stuff.
    if youve ever met anyone who has been to my place they will tell you it would be impossible to pack and move.

    so with a shard consolidation i would have to give up my castles that i placed by myself 15 years ago and move into some thatched cottage on some other shard.
    how in any rational conversation is there anything even glancing off of fair?

    because you are lonely and want more people to listen to you rage in general chat you think all of us who are perfectly happy where we are move over to keep you company?
    i have shard shields.... if i wanted to come play with you ID ALREADY BE THERE!
    the simple fact that i still play where i do says I DONT WANT TO BE THERE!

    i honestly do not understand why this comes up every 2 weeks in uhall.
    if you want to play on a big shard go play on a big shard.
    if your happy where you are, stay.

    here is a random question for you;
    some people like to develop characters and have 7 fully developed/scrolled/suited characters on every shard in game.
    if you start deleting shards where are we gonna move these characters too?
    all my hard work over the years should just be deleted because you dont like to count to 24?
     
    #23 Poo, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2015
  24. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    As a role-player who's played on my shard since the day I first started playing UO.... I can say this if I had to pack up my 10+ houses on my shard and move to some other shard to play.... I'd quit.

    I'd be done. I give a rats about the history of any other shard. I know most the folk who play on my shard whether they role-play or not... I know all the good shops, who is decent to trade with.... buy from, sell to... etc... I've been the Governor of Yew since the day that went live. And YES I do care about my City... I give a rats about the city on another shard... it's not mine. And what about people with a lot of grandfathered homes on one account they would be F***ed.... NO.

    I'm sorry but for a lot of folk like me they too would quit. I'd rather go free-shard than be merged into some "unknown" shard where I just don't care. And I also have lived and loved the Role-play town of Newcastle .... It is where it is... if I had to "move" I designed the Banner for Newcastle Township... it was placed where it is ages ago... You think when I have to "merge" on some other shard I'm going to be able to have the town back??? No. I have a Castle and Keep in that town... as well as 6 other buildings. 4 other people have 5 more buildings in our town you think we are all going to be able to put down that many buildings all back where they ought to be in the same spot on some other shard? Hell no... It would KILL our town. So hell no I don't want to merge with some other group on some other shard.

    Now... if they decided to give everyone moving permits... which would pack up your house and everything in it and they totally revamped all the shards and then put together some choice shards that were designed and would be supportive of various playstyles.... such as a few pure PvP oriented shards perhaps it might even be pre-ren, PvM shards an Role-play shards.... perhaps I might be inclined to move. But that's never going to happen.

    And finally this discussion is silly since they have always maintained that it's NEVER going to happen. They aren't closing shards, they aren't merging shards, they aren't changing the shards... They maintain as they should that if you don't "like" your shard you can ALWAYS transfer if you want to be on a more "populated" shard..... or you can move to a lower population shard if you wanted.... or you can play on multiple shards if you want. But they won't merge shards. And you know what... I am glad that they stand behind that. I don't want the "experience" of being on an over populated shard like Atl. If I wanted that crap where I can't find a place to place a house and having a castle is totally out of the question without megga billions in gold then I'd live there. But I don't want that. I remember that crap from when I first started playing and all I could get was a tiny little 7x7 small tower which I grew out of the day I moved into it.... and the thing cost me 5 million in gold which at the time was EXTREMELY expensive... it took me almost a year to be able to afford to buy a home... Hell if I want to EVER go back to that.
     
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  25. BeaIank

    BeaIank Babbling Loonie
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    "Dead" shards like my home one, Legends, play very well with my 250 ms ping.
    On my shopping trips to atl, I find it much more difficult to move around because there are far more live objects that have to be sent, making the data package larger, increasingly my lag problem greatly.

    I like it quiet on my games too, with a small community that I know well and interact with, so larger population shards don't fit my play style.
    So yeah, mergers happen and there are no low population shards left, I guess my only option will be saying goodbye, since the lag problem and the lack of a small, family like community would greatly detract from my gaming experience.
     
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  26. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    i love how people are only thinking how this would effect themselves. how do you think it effects every player who comes back to the game, looks around at their shard and sees its empty, then figures its too hard to move and not fun playing there anymore so just quits again. Youve lost that player forever now.

    after this happens time and time again its a downward spiral of less players for that simple fact. all because active players, who realistically are so addicted they most likely wont quit no matter what changes have to be made cant be bothered for a slight adjustment.


    in a perfect world, my solution would be:

    automatically transfer inactive accounts to a random remaining shard.
    active accounts be given a choice of which remaining shard to go to, or random if the timer runs out.
    houses would be transferred automatically (full) and randoming placed on open plots in the remaining shards

    (please dont bring up "shard history," as history is lost all the time and is a normal thing in life)
    (its also perfectly natural to think about yourself first, not saying its a matter of greed, its just easy to miss out on the bigger picture that doesnt have anything to do with yourself personally)
     
    #26 Smoot, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  27. Merus

    Merus Babbling Loonie
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    Sorry, but your post contains a huge oxymoron... The inactive player who happens to return to a slow shard thinks it's too much bother to move shards so let's make all the active players on that shard do it? If moving shards to return to the game is too much bother when all they have is a pack and a bank box how can you use that to justify making all the folks who have houses do it for the benefit of those who would do it to return?
     
  28. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    yes, for alot of people spending RL $$ for a transfer token is just not something they would do for a game their just checking out again. like RTB players for instance.


    what would be peoples thoughts on JUST merging inactive accounts to higher pop shards?

    Just this would solve a huge problem, and to me is really the accounts that matter in this issue.

    The people who have active accounts and are happy on a dead shard really dont matter. Its the players we're losing who would return to the game otherwise if the shard werent dead.

    At the very least, i would provide all accounts 1 account bound transfer token per character. upon re-activation of an account, as well as a gift for active accounts.
     
    #28 Smoot, Jun 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  29. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
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    I am against mergers, but I am not opposed to consolidation.

    I would suggest all shards be closed and 3 or 4 new ones be opened. Old shards -including Atlantic- are shut down after 6 months or so. Everyone starts on a clean landscape. Everyone gets to xfer their characters to the new shards on the same day at the same hour. Bring whatever junk you want. All runes xferred are erased. Everyone gets an equal chance at placing a house.
     
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  30. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    Free one way, one time (well, seven technically) transfers to higher populated shards only would be a good solution IMO. Especially if they'd give a notice on shard selection (that you can turn off and only have to see once) that you've chosen a lower populated server and recommend a higher population one based off connection and region.

    Also possibly exclude Atlantic as a free transfer destination.
     
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  31. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    A lot of things I would like to respond to. I will try to do this post by post.

    I must disagree with this. These are short terms losses and I am thinking of long term gains. UO is a player-driven sandbox. The more robust the community, the more the game thrives. You make a point in this paragraph that others are making over and over in other posts (in their own special way), and that is that we're all chained to our subscriptions so we don't lose our fancy pixels. I am suggesting that UO is, or can be, more than just non-existent items in your non-existent house/bank box. My special memories of UO don't live in, nor can be represented by, UO items. They are memories of actual events, people and adventures. Honestly, I cherish my screenshots more than any pixel item I possess. My point is that, UO ought to be a game where people are subscribe and play more because it's an engaging experience, not because they need to re-sub every 3 months to refresh their house or log in to water their plants.

    You are probably right about this, and I may be foolish for not considering the technical implications, however I do not believe this detracts from my arguments on the virtues of consolidation.

    If you think that's bad, wait until UO opens the doors on Steam and gets a flood of negative reviews. This is speculation but my guess is that UO is going to have a mixed/negative overall score. UO has many problems and low-pop shards is only one of them.

    Couldn't agree more.
     
  32. Longtooths

    Longtooths Supreme Commander
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    You make the assumption that every inactive player made themselves so because they were unhappy with the dead shard they were on....this is patiently false. And again what do you do if they have characters already on the "active shards?"

    How would you like to go over seas and come back and see you've been moved to another shard without your permission?

    Didnt you just say,
     
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  33. Merus

    Merus Babbling Loonie
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    The biggest issue I see with this is the character slot limit. How do you merge characters when both the origination and the destination shard both have existing characters?
     
  34. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I addressed this in my original post. And hey, relax. We're just having a discussion.
     
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  35. Merus

    Merus Babbling Loonie
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    Wouldn't transferring some of the population off ATL to help populate some of the other shards produce the same effect?
     
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  36. Deraj

    Deraj Sage
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    I respect your opinion but this makes literally zero sense. Completely illogical.

    This is a forum where we have discussions about Ultima Online. There is nothing wrong with talking hypotheticals. To be so upset that there is even a discussion taking place.. are you really so afraid of the mere idea?
     
  37. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    Do you know anyone that wants to transfer off Atlantic?
     
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  38. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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    Oddly enough some are trading Atlantic for Siege.
     
  39. Merus

    Merus Babbling Loonie
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    Isn't the whole premise about forcing people who don't want to move to move?
     
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  40. Old Vet Back Again

    Old Vet Back Again Slightly Crazed

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    After reading everyone's posting about the OP's discussion it only brings me closer to feeling my idea (I'm sure it can be tweaked) is the best possible solution for all players to be happy. The people that like a quiet shard would still be able to keep it, the player with houses and items would be able to keep it, and the economy would be driven by stopping in a sense off shard farming allowing the gold inflation to catch back up with item prices.

    Now the items you get from said dungeon would go back with you to your home shard which you would then still be able to xfer to Atl for sale, but having 3/4/5/10/20 people farming the same thing would limit the amount of items being massively farmed by the same few players on dead shards...I remember when there was a line to farm swoop and people would get so angry if you cut in line...!
     
  41. Kirthag

    Kirthag Former Stratics Publisher
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    I actually agree with you, however that is not the reality. Now, if you want to talk about engaging experiences, the shards don't need to be merged for this. I believe that would be something for another thread though....


    If you do not consider the technical, the virtues are pointless. Is like a Science class with no labs....


    I believe the only reason it isn't on Steam is due to technical issues related to the the data stream as well as direct connections between Steam and Broadsword.


    I still think a new "central shard" where people can jump back and forth to via special gates for commerce, events, etc. would be a good idea. Make it voluntary. Keep item transfers to only the character, the character's bank, and one packy. No houses on this shard, but "rental spots" in cities and/or like the New Mag Marketplace where people would bid for a set time period.
     
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  42. Zuckuss

    Zuckuss Order | Chaos
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    The only "fair" way to do this would be to shut them all down and begin from scratch. Some shards are quiet and there is a market for that. People like quiet shards. I don't think the goal should be to create a lesser amount of crowded shards. In UO, history means a lot, and this is why I think this idea of "merging" shards could never fly.

    But sure, for arguments sake, let's put ATL on the chopping block.

    Stupid idea you say? You may be right OR perhaps removing that one shard is the best shot at all remaining shards getting that population boost that the lot of you seem to want. Remove the economic hub and watch the individual shard economies boom... that is until a new hub is established. It's the simplest, most efficient solution aside from doing nothing.

    It seems that this topic gets brought up at least once every two or three months. Well... there is mine. I see a lot of ATL folks frequently speaking on behalf of the mergers. How would shard mergers sound if it was Atlantic on the ax list?

    :popcorn:
     
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  43. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    im speaking about the players who went inactive when population was much higher and come back to much lower pop. the original reason for cancelling the sub had nothing to do with population.


    if my account were inactive for a significant portion of time (no house), during which time the population of my shard diminished greatly (lets say 2007 pop compared to 2015) Yes i would love it if Broadsword would transfer me to a higher population one automatically.

    Im making these "assumptions" off a significant amount of players who have icqed me over the past 2 years with problems because they have come back to the game, ask where everyone is, get told "everyones on atlantic" and become frustrated that they have just paid a sub fee, and now have to spend more $$ on transfer tokens.
     
  44. Scribbles

    Scribbles Babbling Loonie
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    Time and time again this conversation comes up. The only solution i see to solve a majority of the complaints here is this:

    1. No mergers
    2. No Shut downs

    The game simply focus' certain shards for certain things. The game would be able to take its limited staff and be able to focus on working on certain things for certain shards. The fact the game has to publish to 20+ shards and make sure each publish works on each of them is ridiculous with the staff numbers they have. Not to mention that certain shards have already taken a liking to certain styles of play, so not all publishes are in the best interest of each shard.

    I feel The game could make certain shards more attractive for certain players. This would cause the build up of like minded players finding each other to play with. With the advent of "shard shields" this process has already begun. We have seen the same players doing EM events on almost every shard. WE have seen small groups of pvpers move around to certain shards to find the fight. We have seen the RPers move and establish them selves closer to other RP community's. Rares collectors have taken started to band together and find homes closer together and only on certain shards.

    With all of that said, I severely doubt @Mesanna will ever take any action on the matter.
     
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  45. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    some one with a brain TY
     
  46. Old Vet Back Again

    Old Vet Back Again Slightly Crazed

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    Merge Regions not Shards! Why is no one addressing my point, it's the best of both worlds...
     
  47. Aurelius

    Aurelius Babbling Loonie
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    It's a reasonably argued point of view, far more so than the usual 'rants' about shard mergers, but it still strikes me as aiming time and effort at the wrong problem....

    I disagree with that pretty strongly. It makes no increase to the population of the game, it just makes certain ghettoes within the game more densely populated by levelling some others, and the core of the problem surely is the lack of population overall, not a level on any given shard?

    I still remain convinced the basic problem is total playing population, and getting that back to healthy levels across the whole game. Shard merging and shuffling would be expending a lot of time and energy in Broadsword covering over the problem instead of the absolutely vital requirement of resolving it.

    The main, central and overriding thing needed for the future 'good of the game' is more players, shard mergers does nothing practical towards that aim - rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, and chucking a few overboard, is not going to make any difference to anything except to those passengers being pissed off that their chair is gone....

    From my viewpoint, what would be good for the game is rules enforcement, sorting out all the gaping 'security holes' that allow the continued duping of items, resolving the utter absence of any worthwhile new player 'experience', incomprehensible systems, the balance between so many effectively useless skills and far fewer really important ones, overcomplicated equipment assembly (in making things, and building suits, and interlocking properties and skills over all your equipment), prompt and effective customer support in-and out of game.... sort out those, which are utterly fundamental, before tinkering with the rest, please. Make it a pleasant, engaging, and FUN way to spend time, and make it much more possible for new players to experience that from the start.

    Building a game that people actively want to play should be the only target in view. Do that and you can bring more people in. Nobody is going to be induced to come play UO because fewer shards with more people makes them go 'whoa, that was what held me back all these years'. People who have left UO have not all left because of graphics, or systems, or billing, or getting older, or real life issues, or other games or even combinations thereof - the real fundamental reason any people stop playing a game is it stops being enough fun to keep playing. Surely that has to be what any effort by the devs and Broadsword is directed at. Making a slowly declining game decline a bit more slowly by shuffling the players about is really not doing anything at all to solve the problem, and is more likely to shrink the playerbase then expand it.
     
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  48. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    Lets look at the Pros and Cons for the shard that is being shut down
    Pros: there are none, you just lost your home shard
    Cons: Everything is gone and you better hope that you have the Char Slots to move and you get to go to a shard you don't like or you would have been there already.

    Lets look at the Pros and Cons for the Shards that are staying
    Pros:
    All those houses you have been trying to sell now have multi buyers, let the bidding wars start.
    More people to listen to all your trash talk in Gen Chat.
    Jacked up prices because there are more buyers now.
    this list could go on forever.
    Cons: You will need to open more accounts to keep UO going because all the people that quit because they just lost their shard. Turn out the lights because UO is gone.

    Why does anybody think that forcing people to live somewhere that they don't want to is a good thing? Go ask the Japanese that were forced into concentration camps in the US if it was a good thing.

    Sometimes I wounder what the real motivation is when people come on here and make suggestions like this. Not selling enough goods on your over populated shard. More people to scam. More people to gank in Fel. How about getting more cash for those houses you own. Are these players from other games trying to get UO shut down. This would be like forcing everybody to move to a major city for the good of the nation. Let the riots begin.
     
  49. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    Not with my post?
     
  50. Ender

    Ender Crazed Zealot
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    LITERALLY comparing a video game to concentration camps... Wow.
     
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