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Merging shards, the only fair way to do it.

Discussion in 'UO Spiels N Rants' started by Woodsman, Jun 2, 2012.

  1. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    This was what Jeff Skalski said a few months ago:

    Jeff highlighted the only two ways to merge shards:

    Method A: Some people on some shards (the larger shards) get to keep their real estate while some people on other shards (smaller shards) lose it all.

    Method B: Nobody keeps their real estate and everybody has to start over on getting houses on new shards.

    For those who support shard mergers, which would you prefer? If you support Method A, what do you tell people who might lose houses that they've had for over 10 years and why they should lose their houses while people on another shard don't?

    Note: I'm not a supporter of shard mergers since I know too many people who would just walk away from UO if they lost their housing. Shard mergers are best in games like Warhammer or Camelot that require a large number of people to come together since the games are PvP/RvR-based, unlike UO where you don't need many people around you to be happy. I'm asking the question, because I see it brought up, but I never see the mechanisms discussed.
    Sauteed Onion likes this.
  2. Viper09

    Viper09 Grand Poobah
    Stratics Veteran

    May 16, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Method B is the ONLY fair option. I can't honestly support method A, too many people would lose their spot while the other side is all comfy cozy, losing absolutely nothing. Method A is just too unfair.

    Method B is unfair but at least it's unfair to both sides. But again it would run the risk forcing some people to quit. Real estate is the big problem with mergers for this game. A fair number of people just don't want to lose their house.

    I like the idea of shard mergers but that's only because I don't rely heavily on my housing spots, I like to move around a lot. But I do understand there are people who love their housing locations and don't want to give them up, so while I like the idea of merging I can't approve it.
  3. Paps

    Paps Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    Sep 24, 2009
    Likes Received:
    Just a thought here but house placement could be turned off on servers x,y,and z.Once enough houses fell to where nobody would actually lose their house/items a merge could be done.This however would not be easy and consume a LOT of labor hours,neither of which i think EA would be willing to deal with.Jus sayin.
  4. DJAd

    DJAd Stratics Legend
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Aug 17, 2007
    Likes Received:
    As it's been stated "But right now there are no plans, definitely in the near term, to do a server merge." so lets just forget about it for the time being.
  5. Sauteed Onion

    Sauteed Onion Lore Keeper
    Stratics Veteran

    Oct 23, 2011
    Likes Received:
    Hmm, server merges. This is a sensitive topic, with no "fair" option. Neither A or B is fair, if you really think about it. Think about all the Luna vendor houses on the shards in question. Look at the Makoto-Jima real estate. Some shards may be unpopulated to the point where these aren't in the multi hudred millions to billions. Anyhow, let's just take for examples sake (and only examples sake), say Sonoma, Lake Austin and Airang and it's been determined that the population cluster is so low on those that it is deemed they get "merged together" to form a new server that's called Mergetopia. Sonoma Lake Austin and Airang are given a 4 month notice, get ya stuff packed up on X Date we'll be taking your server offline and opening Mergetopia server. That server is only open for use for people who have had and maintained a house on those shards in question for the last year (at the minimum) for the first uh 2 days (or something reasonable).

    That STILL isn't fair but is more reasonable than option A, and is extremely similar to option B, but how do you begin to explain to Luna or even Yew gate home owners and Makoto-Jima home owners that they'll quiet possibly loose their home slot? This is what I believe Jeff and all previous Development Team members have gotten "stumped" on, but sooner or later someone is gonna have to take the bullet, but it definately should not be the players. If they do that, they'll have to make special modifications to the new server that those previous servers were merged from. Like add an upper layer to Luna. Or a sub level. Perhaps just expand the walls enough to guarantee they get their luna spot back. Perhaps destroy luna altogether on that new server, and give them a story of it's a different shard of the gem of immortality that was found and damaged, so there were great cataclysms that changed that "copy" of sosaria story line. Give them SOMETHING special if they are gonna get merged and everything they loved taken away, except for some items. And if they don't like their new server or whatever, give them complimentary 20 hour timer character transfer tokens that they can go the help menu and claim during the first month of the merger. I still think it's terrible that a merger would have to happen if at all, and sad it's a major topic for discussion these days because of the dwindling UO community, but it is often brought up. Just some Sauteed thoughts meow.
  6. Tazar

    Tazar Guest

    Method A would work for me since I play Atlantic - but it would not be fair at all to those forced to move. Method B would mean I'd close all accounts as fast as possible. There is no way I can rebuild anything even remotely close to what I have now on a clean shard with a land rush. Player run towns would all be destroyed. In addition, I've developed characters on most every shard... How could I move 14 or more characters to one shard? There's also too much history on all shards for me to even consider shard mergers as a valid option.
  7. Shadefox

    Shadefox Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Mar 2, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Method c: 2*fel 2*tram 2*malas etc... Everyone keeps the houses. Any other option and I (and probably many, many more will go away) I couldn't even begin to think what I have to do to get close to being where I am today if I lost my houses.

    Sent from my HTC Sensation Z710e using Tapatalk 2
  8. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    I would like to think that if populations got that low, rather than spend money on merging shards (and it would cost money in salaries), that they would make an attempt at bringing in new players and stopping the exodus of current players. Shard mergers are not going to stop people from leaving UO. If anything, as you pointed out, you get into people who lose very valuable housing spots, plus those people who are attached to their houses, and a lot of those players are liable to leave.

    I wanted to bring it up, because I see people throwing it out there as if it's a solution (although I think some troll with it), but they don't offer an actual solution. They've never sat down and thought about what would be involved from a developer point of view and from a player's point of view. I also think that some of the people who push the idea are not attached to their homes or believe they are safe being on a larger shard.
  9. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    That's another aspect I forgot - since we have up to 7 characters on a shard, and most of us over the years have developed them elsewhere, how do you tell people under Method A which characters they have to delete or transfer from a shard?

    You mentioned that with Method B, if you lost your houses, you would be closing accounts. I think most people who would lose houses they are attached to would leave. I know many people who can go a year without logging in, but they pay their accounts up to keep their houses on the off chance they return. UO is so unique in that aspect - it's crazy how attached some are.. I know many people for whom their in-game houses are kind of an escape from real life issues and worries. Taking that away would not only massively disrupt those people's lives, but it would scare the hell out of everybody else who doesn't lose their house, because most of us would be thinking that if it can happen to them, it can happen to us.
  10. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    There is the financial aspect. Some people claim that it would save money. We know the shards are on blades since the lead engineer mentioned they upgraded them to blades last year, and may even be virtualized to an extent which makes them extremely cheap to operate. Blades are cheap, and the blades have long since been paid for (probably within a few months of the upgrade last year) so you don't save any immediate money just closing them from a hardware perspective. The difference in software and support costs would be minimal as well. The team is already small, and the people they need for the current shards are still the same people they would need for 10 fewer shards.

    So say you close down the 10 least populated shards. You won't see any actual savings until the next hardware upgrade cycle, when you don't have to upgrade as many servers. That could be a few more years down the road.

    Let's talk the cost of actually implementing the merger.

    If you put 5 developers and Q&A people on a shard merger team as well as supervisors and other people who would be working on it, that's easily $20,000 a month. Easily. There's no way that a shard merger solution could be developed, tested, and implemented in a month, let alone 2-3 months, not to mention everybody else outside of that little team that would be involved.

    Honestly I couldn't even see a 5-man team doing the design, development, and Q&A, but if you could pull it off with a 5-man team, you're looking at $60,000 in costs if you could pull it off in 3 months.

    In our mythical 5-man 3-month shard merger project, you've spent more money on just the salaries than you would save in 5 years of hardware costs. And then factor in lost revenue from people who leave because they got pissed off over losing a house...

    If UO ever reaches that point where it might make sense, I think it'll be put on a timer, and EA won't spend tens of thousands of dollars on it shard mergers.
  11. Tazar

    Tazar Guest

    If it were just a house, I could easily move and rebuild it. That is not the issue for me. What I have are 11 houses with 8 - 18x18's, 2 - 18x17 and 1 - 18x16 all in a cluster that have been merged by illusions to look like one large house. The project started in 2003 and has been a work in progress ever since slowly watching for IDOC's or buying out neighbors.

    If I were forced to move, there is no way I could accomplish that again during a land rush. Considering the time spent rebuilding all 11 (with additional goza-mat floors) - just the rebuilding would take the better part of a year. The history would be lost. The town banner can not be moved... etc.

    I don't see shard mergers as a viable idea at all. Too many would be impacted negatively and the player base would further suffer. Part of what gives UO the feel of a living world is the history and too much would be lost.
    Woodsman likes this.
  12. lit2fly

    lit2fly Guest

    please tell me where your town is and I would like to pay a visit!!!!
  13. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
    VIP Stratics Veteran Supporter Alumni Campaign Benefactor Alumni

    Oct 21, 2008
    Likes Received:
    Woodsman likes this.
  14. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Holy crap that is amazing!!!

    I can see why you woulnd't be happy. That is incredible dedication.
  15. Tazar

    Tazar Guest

    It has grown quite a bit since that photo was taken 4 or more years ago. The town is on Atlantic just west of the lake in Malas. If you go to Luna out the south gate, there are links to all of the player run towns. 2x click the small statue on (I think) the 3rd statue east of the south Luna Gate. The sign should say "Falling Waters Fortress".

    Even after all this time - the house is still under construction...
  16. Tazar

    Tazar Guest

    That is incredible addiction... :p
  17. Luvmylace

    Luvmylace Sage
    Stratics Veteran

    May 14, 2008
    Likes Received:
    plain and simple ...lose my real estate ...quit the game
  18. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    There's the biggest problem with this whole thing, and the fans of shard mergers have never been able to counter it.

    If shard mergers result in fewer players, UO would be in even more trouble than it was before the merger. I've never heard of a shard merger scheme that would keep or increase the number of overall UO players currently playing.

    UO is not like Warhammer Online where you need a certain level of population to effectively play.
  19. lit2fly

    lit2fly Guest

    merge all the lands without player houses, e.g.... all the dungeons except SA, Ilshenar... create a central vendor mall accessible by all shards.... you can keep everyone happy.....
  20. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Originally it sounded like Ilshenar was going to be just that. Unfortunately EA probably makes decent money from shard transfer tokens, at least enough that they don't want to lose it.

    It would be awesome though. The merger fans would sort of get their wish - it would be up to them to sell their shards to potential residents. We could take part in bigger events easily, people could spread out more, maybe have houses on the lower populated shards.

    Would be good all around.
  21. Andrasta

    Andrasta Goodman's Rune Library
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend Blue Crane Society

    Mar 18, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I'm against merging shards because of what it would do to people like Tazar and established communities.

    Maybe they should give up some of that money from shard transfers and do a moongate to all shards or central mall as suggested above to keep the population spread out on all the servers and the game healthier.

    After all they won't be collecting money on shard tranfer tokens if everyone is on Atlantic.
  22. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    May 28, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I've started characters on Atlantic, it's to busy a place. I like the less crowded shards and would leave if forced into a zoo like Atlantic. They would have to keep a few low population shards or lose customers who would be no longer happy playing the game.

    If your preferences run to high population shards, consider the options of transfering your characters or starting fresh with new ones on such a shard.

    Some people can't stand having elbow room, others insist on having it and then some. :)
  23. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Kids, this is why we don't want shard mergers/transfers. I'll include quotes from the threads.

    BioWare is transferring people from servers to servers, asking some groups to go to some servers.

    Lots of confusion.


  24. Woodsman

    Woodsman Guest

    Now just imagine all of that - BioWare keeping everybody in the dark like they are with Star Wars, and adding houses, pets, thousands of items, etc. into the mix.

    I'm glad UO is not the only game under BioWare where major moves are made while keeping people in the dark.
  25. Setanta

    Setanta Adventurer
    Stratics Veteran

    May 15, 2008
    Likes Received:
    I have a number of grandfathered houses on my account. If one of those shards is merged and I had to replace my house there, I would stand a chance of losing all. Better to see if houses overlap any given location and retain the oldest.
  26. I'd have to agree with the many, lose my real estate (1 castle, 2 keeps right in front of it), I'd close my accounts (15 years) and be gone. I've paid more months then I've played sometimes just to keep my real estate.

    Going from what I have to barely fitting in the smallest house on a very populated shard would not be an equal trade for me.

    Besides, I like our small community on Lake Austin :D
  27. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Grand Inquisitor
    Governor Stratics Veteran Alumni

    May 26, 2008
    Likes Received:
    The fittingest way, *IF* there were ever to be shard mergers, would be to merge the low pop shards with another low pop shard. No way in hell they could merge one with Atl, and everyone lose all their property, and nowhere to put new. If they did merge, I would figure they would give everyone transfer tokens, and let em go to the shard of their choice.