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The Solution. Merging Shards Without Merging Shards.

Discussion in 'UHall' started by WarderDragon, Jun 14, 2010.

  1. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
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    There has been some discussion of late about the declining population of some servers and the potential need to merge shards together sometime in the not too distant future.

    The obvious benefit would be bringing players and resources together which will keep current players active and entertained. And the obvious flaw is housing. What are we going to do about all the old player towns and establishments that would be destroyed in such a merger? Several with a decade or more of history.

    The Solution? Merge the Servers. Don't merge the Facets.

    What do I mean? Take for instance the developers decided to fuse Baja and Chesapeake into one server. Ilshenar and the Lost Lands would be fused. So would the Stygian Abyss.

    But rather than fuse the housing landscapes togeather; they would leave them. So Baja-Chesapeake would have two Trammels, two Feluccas, two Tel Murs, and two Malases.

    No one would loose their housing. No one would loose their establishments or their villages or their prime real estate in Luna. There would remain an abundance of housing. And each pairing of servers would benefit from an increased pool of players to play with. To PvP with. To RP with.

    Thoughts?
     
  2. phantus

    phantus Stratics Legend
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    SA houses...
     
  3. Derium of ls

    Derium of ls Slightly Crazed
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    I think that so far it's the best idea we've heard on the issue. And it very well might be the best answer period.
     
  4. ATLPvPer

    ATLPvPer Journeyman
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    If there is two of everything, what is the point of merging the shards?
    Sure you can go to "Chessy Luna" to trade items from "Baja Luna".
    It just sounds like a glorified shard transfer token which where the two communities would still be seperate. People would argue over which Luna to combine into, which towns had the rights to what, PvP would be so scattered and scarce.

    I don't like the idea, tbh, it defeats the purpose of combining shards, which is to bring people together.
     
  5. Nh'bdy

    Nh'bdy Guest

    Make the shards fight! For our amusement! Mortal Kombat! Baahahahaha!
     
  6. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
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    Thats wonderful. But it doesn't solve the problem of people loosing their expensive real estate. Their castles. Their player run villages. It doesn't solve the problem of all the Seer Blessings that would get deleted.

    Ultima Online is a World Setting. It isn't World of Warcraft where each server is something static that can be forced together. If you just create a clean slate and force Baja and Chesapeake to merge then you destroy PRCs like PaxLair and the Kingdom of Dawn who both have just celebrated their 11th Anniversary.

    If you group the shards together without deleting someones landmass and history - like what I suggested above - you bring people together without loosing anything. It is the best of both words. A compromise between those who want more people to play with and those who don't want to loose their shards history.
     
  7. Jhym

    Jhym Guest

    They cannot merge shards. Players who are homed on one or more shards do not want to lose what they've gained, nor do most of them care about having others suddenly appear to somehow make their gameplay better.

    I find having high population servers in any game tends to get annoying, with people stepping on each other, queues to do straight forward quests and events, and unwieldy player towns and guilds. We have a good balance now of busy and not busy -- if I want to play with others I can find them, if I don't then I can do what I need to without being bothered by others.

    If folks aren't getting together for things, it is likely because the "event planners" aren't doing their job. Most player and towns and guilds have people who drive the event planning side of things, and if they have someone who doesn't know how or doesn't pay attention then the events either don't happen or otherwise fail. Players don't like spending a lot of effort on something that nobody really enjoys, so after a few failures they stop dealing with that player or guild and go play with someone else with better organization skills.

    There is no reason for EA to combine shards at this time, as the server farms they are running from shouldn't be dedicated to UO anyway (assuming EA properly combined all their sub farms when they were in the consolidation phase they had a few years ago.)

    The only reason to ever think of combining any shards would be if the two player bases were so intertwined that they were constantly cross sharding between the two. Which right now is 95% merchants.
     
  8. Tina Small

    Tina Small Stratics Legend
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    Your suggestion doesn't say what happens to all the characters you might have on those merged shards. What if the combined total of the characters you have on both shards pre-merger is too many to have on one shard after you do the merger? What happens to the excess characters? Do they just get deleted and all the skills they worked up, all the power scrolls and stat scrolls they used, all the recipes they learned, all the quests they completed (e.g., to donate to the library or to learn spellweaving spells), all the points they have accrued in the community collections are just wiped out??

    Proposals about merging shards need to address more than just housing and yet somehow they never do....
     
  9. Beer_Cayse

    Beer_Cayse Guest

    Ummm, you are aware that each shard is several servers, right? Or at least that's what I understand ... those areas where you cross with a bit of stop/start are called server lines for a reason.

    Way I understand it, land mass is 7 (sub)servers, dungeons 1, Tok/Ilshenar maybe 1, TerMur perhaps on that one or a separate one. Malas appears to be perhaps 2 as I cross server lines regularly when I am mining a certain part of the land near my house. In essence a shard being a server "cluster".

    I'd like to know if technology has improved where EA could perhaps place landmass in a larger server and eliminate server lines. This may not be hardware limits any more, but a software limit somehow - however it was hardware at one point.
     
  10. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Mythic has already stated several times that merging shards isn't going to happen. So can we stop with all the gloom and doom threads about it and how it should be done? :bdh::bdh::bdh:
     
  11. JC the Builder

    JC the Builder Crazed Zealot
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    I don't think it will be very fun having to deal with 5 Trammel and 5 Felucca facets on the same shard. This idea would never work.
     
  12. Yalp

    Yalp Guest

    If shards are combined it leaves little if any room for an influx of new players.. which hopefully will happen if EA ever decides to actually MARKET this game... that is where the focus should be!
     
  13. Llewen

    Llewen Grand Inquisitor
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    Exactly. I'm being serious, UO is a marketing dream. "The longest running MMO!" "The MMO that started it all!" "The most depth of game play of any MMO in existence!" "The MMO that every other MMO is measured by!" "Own and build your own custom house, from the ground up!"

    Really, they could successfully market UO, I have no idea why they haven't.
     
  14. Evlar

    Evlar Guest

    And I'm being serious...

    Because people seem to want something a bit snazzier in the graphics department. Doesn't it tell you something, when NetDragon are looking to jump into the void left because WoW isn't active in China at the moment... with a 3D version of none other than Ultima Online?

    Why would EA throw buckets of money at an aged looking game, when there's a Chinese company happy to buy into the rights and make something that will likely look better and more appealing to the "masses".

    For what it's worth, I like the isometric view in UO. For one thing, you can see what's behind you, without turning around ;)
     
  15. Martyna Zmuir

    Martyna Zmuir Crazed Zealot

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    Because EA doesn't care. They've tried to shut UO down before, and the continually gut the development team for their most sucessful MMO.

    Any sane company would gut the projects which aren't making money and haven't recouped their costs - i.e. the disaster that is Warhammer.

    13 years and the most immersion factor around is something to advertise. UO might pick up a few players if an add or three were placed, or god forbid it had a shelf presence...
     
  16. Apetul

    Apetul Rares Fest Host | LS April 2011
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    So.. my rune to Luna Bank.. still works? on what "luna"? hehe..
     
  17. shulginist

    shulginist Guest

    That was basically the same thing someone asked when I proposed the same thing last time we had this discussion.
     
  18. Schuyler Bain

    Schuyler Bain Lore Master
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    /agreed
     
  19. ChReuter

    ChReuter Guest

    Merging shards isn't really about making all players happy, it's about cost. This idea would still require more servers than I think they would want, if they came to the point where downsizing was a need. I'm fairly certain that shard mergers will happen, maybe not soon, but one day I see them as a necessary evil (although I don't really consider it evil tbh). Players will lose housing, and maybe even chars, but if that's what it takes to keep the game open for a bit longer than that's ok with me (Ok if I'm still playing that is, I'm sure you can figure out how much I'll care if I'm not)

    Really, I kinda like the idea of merging shards. Sorry I'm not sympathetic towards those that will lose out, I just like the idea of over populated shards. I enjoyed the game when it was jam packed with only two lands (Original Lands and T2A) I know some if not a majority will disagree with me but that's perfectly fine too =D
     
  20. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    I've suggested the same idea (shards linked through shared T2A and Ilshenar) before.

    You'd have to do some minor cosmetics (making sure that both shards' EM-specific additions are all transferred to the combined areas).

    Another thing about it is that a partial merger could retain BOTH sets of logins - that way, you'd still have all 5/6/7 slots on both, without removing characters.

    HOWEVER...

    You'd have to add a prefix to each guild title, that shows when you're in the combined areas.
    People couldn't join a guild or alliance from the other shard, but you could create the same structure on both sides.

    Travel from Shard to Shard wouldn't happen. Instead, if you wanted to have commerce between a merged Pacific-Napa (as an example), you'd have to have a place for characters to exchange items in the shared environment. Say, Lakeshire/Mireg, the Gargoyle city, or a Mistas reclaimed from the Juka. A character on account A from Pacific could pass a character on account B from Napa, like any other sort of normal trade, but the characters couldn't go visit each other's shard.

    Transfers between same-account characters would require finding a place to hide something, having someone hold the item until you switched characters, or maybe having a temporary space that one could rent that would be account-linked at the Gargoyle & Gypsy banks, that reverts back to the original placer's bank box if not claimed within an hour.
     
  21. ingsmsico

    ingsmsico Visitor

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    do you have any cyanide?
     
  22. lil debi

    lil debi Journeyman
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    Players leave a shard for a reason and if a shard is becoming empty the shard itself needs to take a close look as to why players are leaving quitting transferring. The questionable shard has issues interanlly to be addressed.
    Players do not wake up one day and decided to leave on the fly.


    Yalp mentioned better marketing. Uo is versitle and we have creativity out the yahoo..and Yes better marketing is one key.
     
  23. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    EA could cut costs by combining shard server setups in one building in a spot midway between where they were.

    Each current server setup has maintenence costs that could be gotten rid of by putting them in the same location. Maintenence, property taxes, utilities, and personnel costs for the other locations could then be eliminated.
     
  24. Assia Penryn

    Assia Penryn The Sleeping Dragon
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    Interesting idea, but I don't see much point to it. If folks are more interested in higher population, than they should move to a higher population shard. I moved to Atlantic for the larger RP community. With soulstones and transfer tokens able to be purchased with gold, it is very easy to move if you don't want to build another character or can't live without your items. Yes, you'll have to start fresh with housing, but if a higher population shard means a lot to you, you'll do it. It took me a bit to get a month when I first moved to Atlantic and while housing is tighter than most shards, its not impossible with patience. In fact, it actually generated nostalgia for me of the days when housing was sparse and even more exciting when I found a good one.
     
  25. Step 1: Link the shards via Moongate (when you see this happen, consider it a sign of the coming UO Apocalypse).

    Step 2: Open housing in new areas, but block housing to anyone character that resides on the existing shard.

    Step 3: Increase the character limit on each shard to 20.

    Step 4: Wait

    Step 5: Announce the closure of X, Y, and Z shards.

    Step 6: Wait again.

    Step 7: Close X, Y, and Z shards.

    Step 8: Lose players that don't want to move.

    Step 9: Repeat 1-8 as needed.

    Step 10: Close UO forever.

    Done.
     
  26. Nok

    Nok Lore Master
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    WarderDragon has an interesting idea.

    Several?! MANY times! Origin said no many times. EA said no many times. Mythic said no many times. Players have been asking about merges in one form or another since the game launched. They ask in emails, HOCs, interviews, and town halls... wherever they can. And for years the devs have patiently explained the multitude of reasons why it won't happen.

    It is not because they don't listen or care. Not because they are big meanies. Not because EA won't let them. Not because they don't want everyone to play together.

    Some of the reason include these... Ultima Online was not designed for merges to the server environment. Could it still be done? Yes, but the means wouldn't justify the end. Over the years UO's server environment has been optimized (thank you, you know who you are) to be as cost effective, efficient, and have the best performance possible within the constraints of the environment and infrastructure. This is one of the reasons why UO is profitable, and it is that profitability that despite the naysayers... keeps UO going coming up on nearly 14 years.

    Shard merges would be expensive in terms of development time and changes to the server environment... profitability from changes would be down the road. Would that return on investment come soon enough to justify changes in the player demographics of the game?

    *BING* Yes... ROI (Return On Investment).

    At what costs? Increased lag, higher ping times, higher customer dissatisfaction, less redundency, and what if catastrophe takes that single datacenter off the grid... wouldn't be pretty. Not necessary anyway... EA has their own and contracted co-located datacenters around the US and the world for the many games they distribute. UO's server & hosting needs are not a big hit on EA in the big picture.
     
  27. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
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    Best shard merger idea except...what would be the point?

    While this is the best shard merger idea, doesn't exactly sound like a shard merger. What this really sounds like is offering a gating service that will take you to another shard.
     
  28. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    Fundamentally flawed idea. Your idea only works if EA was idiotic enough to be currently having a 3rd party host the servers.

    Currently, the servers are all hosted on property already owned/leased by EA for actual work structures. They are already paying all those costs for the existing structures, for their employees to work in - and it gives them hand-on access to the servers in case of maintenance emergencies.

    If I'm not mistaken, the reason why the Central server farm was merged with the East Coast one, was because either the Central server farm was hosted by a 3rd party, or EA closed their facility in the Illinois area that was hosting them as part of a consolidation, and didn't want to incur the costs of a 3rd party hosting (and the resulting issues with trying to update/maintain said servers remotely or with a contractor, instead of using a person on a fixed salary). Most likely, it was the latter.

    If I'm not mistaken, the only hosted servers not on their own property the EA uses are for games that are self-contained on the players' end, that just use the servers to create the links between the instanced games.
     
  29. Basara

    Basara UO Forum Moderator
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    Are you offering to taste-test it, ingsmsico?
     
  30. Wouldn't this defeat the purpose of X-Shard transfer coins? EA/Mythic would be losing revenue on this idea.

    Two accounts from different shards meet at the common Lost Lands and transfer goods, then go back to their home shard with goods transferred. No need to the X-Shard transfer token. I can think if a few other minor downsides, but I certain would do this first.
     
  31. Kas Althume

    Kas Althume Crazed Zealot
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    At first they should delete all the houses from accounts that aren't being paid for (welcome back to UO houses) and then shorten the grace period. If your account isn't paid for 30 days your house should go into idoc mode. Good riddance to all those abusing the system.

    Once that is settled you might have a better number of legal houses and can start with "combining" shards without someone losing a house.

    When you combine the shards by merging the housing area, what you think EA will save? Probably nothing since they use virtual servers anyways (my guess).
    What about the unique item ids? They'd need to redo the IDs for a bazlillion of items / stacks.
     
  32. Zosimus

    Zosimus Grand Inquisitor
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    They may of said that but they also added copying a char to TC in UO which they have the same thing in warhammeronline. When they shut down servers ppl could copy chars or xfer them. So they may not merge but they may shut down servers one day and do the copying of chars.
     
  33. Yalp

    Yalp Guest

    OK.. then by committee vote we've decided your shard will be dropped... please pick up all your belongings and move... also we've decided to slow your computer down to 1/3 of normal speed to facilitate the lag-fest.


    :bdh:
    {I enjoy beating this topic about the head and neck.. even though dozens of times it's been stated by tptb there is no need/plan/reason to merge shards. }
     
  34. Splup

    Splup Guest

    We first need a working client that meets the needs of nowdays players. Before that I wouldnt spend many dimes on marketing...