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Feburary 01

Ye Smalle Patche – 03rd February 01 – nocturne
Changes to facet and town moongate travel
Latest Game Update :: Changes to facet and town moongate travel
The following changes will be implemented to inter-facet travel, and travel to new Third Dawn areas:

Existing game-created moongates (the moongates encircled by large rocks, near towns) will be altered to allow for more selective destinations, including that of facets. Players who are murderers will not be able to go to Trammel facet using this selection feature. The choices of selections will also include Ilshenar for those players who have the Third Dawn Client.
  • A menu will be presented when entering the gate.
  • Each page within the menu will represent a facet within UO. For example, page one of the menu will represent Trammel. An option will be available to switch pages easily.
  • Town areas to choose will appear on each page as possible destinations on that facet.
  • Note that the town closest to the gate will be it’s representing town, as the gates themselves are not actually within the town limits in many cases.
Moonstone functionality will not change. No new kinds of moonstones will be added.
Latest Game Update :: Spawn Changes
The way creatures spawn within UO has been changed to a more dynamic and reactionary system. The new spawning system will allow for better system control over how creatures spawn within UO, and will allow for better defined and detailed dynamic spawn changes. As a result of better control over the spawn system in UO, spawn behavior may alter. We will continue to watch the spawn rate, and make changes as necessary.
Karma Locking Latest Game Update :: Karma Locking
Players will be able to lock their karma. By locking karma, players will be able to control their character’s status titles better. Players who wish to appear as “evil” will be able to kill monsters without gaining both fame and karma. Players will still gain or lose fame, regardless of karma lock status. The important thing to remember about karma locking is that you can only prevent yourself from gaining karma, not losing it.

The karma lock will function in the following manner:
  • The first time a player goes “negative” in their karma rating, their karma will no longer be able to raise until they visit a shrine to be “cleansed”. New characters start at just above the zero karma setting, within the positive range. If players “cleanse themselves,” therefore “unlocking” their karma, and then do an action that generates any more negative karma, the karma will lock again and will not be able to raise karma until the player visits a shrine to be cleansed again.
  • If a player with positive karma chooses to lock their karma from raising any higher, they may go to the Chaos Shrine and speak the word “bal”. Doing so will lock their karma, and they will receive the message “You once again control your destiny”.
  • Players wishing to remove their karma lock may visit the virtue shrines and speak the following words of power for that shrine:
    • Compassion – “mu”
    • Honesty – “ahm”
    • Honor – “summ”
    • Humility – “lum”
    • Justice – “beh”
    • Sacrifice – “cah”
    • Spirituality – “om”
    • Valor – “ra”
  • Players who are having trouble raising karma may wish to visit a virtue shrine and speak the appropriate word of power to make sure their karma is not locked.
  • If a player has their karma locked, the action of “I honor thee” from other players will not cause the locked karma to raise. The karma must be unlocked for “I honor thee” to have an effect.
For those who don’t know, these “words of power” are the traditional Ultima mantras, introduced with the Virtues in Ultima IV. “Bal”, the mantra for Chaos, is entirely new.
Latest Game Update :: Fixes to the Faction System
Players not in factions will no longer be able to enter faction strongholds. This includes pets and hirelings of non-faction members. A bulletin board will be placed outside of the faction strongholds, to allow players to sign up to join the faction.

A problem with faction stones losing accurate records of the faction’s town guards and shopkeepers has been fixed.

A problem with faction hued items appearing on players who are not carrying a town sigil has been fixed.

A problem with faction voting has been corrected, so that faction members may only vote once per voting session.
Latest Game Update :: Various Fixes and Changes
[Added today] The in-game Help menu has been updated to provide expanded options and thus swifter support resolution for players. This updated version of the Help menu is currently available only with English-language game clients.

The issue of mongbats spawning improperly in the tutorial has been corrected.

A problem with armoires moving from their location improperly has been fixed.
Unlisted Changes –
More reagent shopkeepers have been seen hanging around the shops, as well as frosty white wolves on the Arctic Isle.

Armor Fixed – 14th February 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Armor dexterity penalty problem
A bug with dexterity penalties not appearing on certain types of armor has been fixed. This fix will be retroactive and apply to all currently existing armor.


Building a Better Beta – 01st February 01 – nocturne
Common Issues :: UO: Third Dawn Beta and UO.com –
Due to high demand for Ultima Online: Third Dawn Beta orders, the UO.com website is currently experiencing an increased volume of traffic which may affect load times in some areas of the website, including the beta order form. If you are experiencing delays loading the UO: Third Dawn beta signup form, we recommend waiting a few moments and trying again. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.
FYI :: Third Dawn Beta Status –
Orders for 20,000 CDs are still coming up for the Ultima Online: Third Dawn Beta Test! We experienced some technical difficulties and heavy load when opening the first group this morning, but have been optimizing the site to help alleviate the issues during groups two and three. The next opportunity to order a beta CD will open at 3:00PM CST. Stop by http://www.uo3d.com/beta for details and to order your CD!
Ah yes, fond memories of Trammel housing all over again. The official sign-up site was fine until the official hour, when it went down, taking uo.com with it, which is probably a good thing, otherwise the boards will be flooded with complaints.

45 mins of clicking back and forth latter, I finally reserved my copy of the beta disk. One would imagine it would be better all around if they did not need five pages to order one disk, and having to repeat the process if you have more than one account.

Anyway, Melantus posted a UO3D Beta FAQ here.

Holy Flaming Gargoyle, Batman! – 02nd February 01 – nocturne
Holy Flaming Gargoyle, Batman! A new breed of gargoyle – “a fiery gargoyle” – has been spotted in Hythloth. They radiate heat, can cast mage spells (1 – 7), reveal you if you’re invisible or hiding, and become “a charred corpse” when killed. They carry 200 to 300 gold, a few gems and a magic scroll. The gargoyles spotted so far are “blistering”, “blazing”, “burning”, “scalding”, “scorching”, “searing”, “smoldering”, “sweltering”, “fiery” and “flaming”. Seems they’ve been around for a while, avoiding notice by not carrying any good loot.

a white wolf Also, as of last patch, more reagent shopkeepers have been seen hanging around the shops, as well as frosty white wolves on the Arctic Isle.

Ye Smalle Patche – 03rd February 01 – nocturne
Patch February 01 – Changes to town moongates and facet travel; spawn changes; Karma Lock; fixes and changes to the Faction System; and other fixes and changes.

The L10N Roars – 03rd February 01 – nocturne
Ultima Online: Third Dawn I’ve been informed that Flaming Gargolyes have been around for a few months, and that they do not carry any funky loot, not even the pickaxes their stoned compatriots are famous for.

The “Test L10N” shard that you see on the log-in screen is not “Test Lion” in 1337. OSI does not use animal testing. OSI QA is not a bunch of baboons. L10N stands for localisation, with 10 letters between the “L” and the “N”.

If you live in the US or Canada (except Quebec, which no one considers Canadian anyway), and can come up with 5 reasons why you’d want to play UO3D (and no, there will not be more land for housing), ea.com wants to hear from you!
FYI :: Client Patch 2.0.7 –
We are targeting to release client patch 2.0.7 this evening. This patch contains additional localization files and will resolve text issues with shopkeepers and banking on the test shards.
Melantus posted a reply to a question regarding the rarity of the big fish
Nice feedback, becuase I went and talk to the designers about it. We took a close look and found a problem. The numbers were resulting in a answer that was precentage-wise off of the original plan.

Big fish will be harder to catch then a Message-in-Bottle once we make some changes, however they will be easier to catch then the current condition. My original statement that big fish were easier to catch was incorrect. Now, me saying above that they will be harder to catch then a MIB does not mean that we made it harder. Don’t think that you should have just stayed quiet on this. :) The correction to big fish will result in more catches then the current setup, but harder then a MIB. This correction is not in yet.

New Flooring Shopkeepers – 05th February 01 – nocturne
The following new shopkeepers, all selling flooring tiles, can be found on Test L10N.

Miner’s Guild Stonemason Shop Inventory Stonemasons, found in Miner’s Guilds, sell the following floor tiles – Bricks, Cobblestones, Flagstones, Grey slate tiles, Marble floors, Sandstone floors, Sandstone pavers, Stone pavers and Tile floors.
Carpenter Shop Woodworker Shop Inventory Woodworkers, found in Carpenter Shops, sell the following – Wooden boards, Wooden logs and Wooden planks.
Trade Skills :: Tailoring Rug Merchant Shop Inventory Rug Merchants, found in Tailor Shops, sell Carpets and Rugs.
Prices range from 6,000 to 12,000 gp. Between the three shopkeepers, there is a dazzling array of tiles, almost everything you have ever seen in the cities can be bought.

Floor tiles cannot be dropped on the ground, can only be placed in houses, and need to be locked-down.

Sage Advice – 07th February 01 – nocturne
Sage speaks out in Dev Team Comments, regarding the recent screw-ups additions.
Did that thing just summon a skeleton? One of our goals for introducing new monsters is to give them more personality than Professor Higgins eked out of Eliza Doolittle. Not every monster should react the same in a given situation, nor should every creature be evil. Situational danger is going to require people to change their tactics a little; similar to fighting the “mostly harmless” Valorite Elemental.
uo.com now has an official Faction Rankings page, with rankings by shard, guild and individual.

New In Testing – 08th February 01 – nocturne
Testing for Next Update :: Armor dexterity penalty problem
[140201] Certain armor types not giving dexterity penalty properly.
Moved from General Testing to Testing for Next Update :: Taxidermy Kits
a taxidermy kit [160301] Taxidermy Kits
Moved from General Testing to Testing for Next Update :: House Decoration Tool
an interior decorator [160301] Interior Decorator
Moved from General Testing to Testing for Next Update :: Hair Stylist NPC
Rares :: Hairstyling [160301] NPC Hairstylists
Testing for Next Update :: Item Identification Window
[160301] Item Identification Window
Testing for Next Update :: Player-Owned Vendor Changes
[160301] Player-Owned Vendor Changes
Testing for Next Update :: Good Creatures Attack Evil Karma
[160301] Information on “Good” creatures attacking “evil” karma.
Testing for Next Update :: Various Fixes And Changes
[160301] Various fixes and changes being added to Ultima Online.
Testing for Next Update :: Faction Trap Changes
[160301] Faction Trap Changes & [160301] Faction Trap Removal Tool
FYI :: Last Chance to Join Ultima Online: Third Dawn Beta –
Join us at 6:00 AM CST on Friday, February 8th for your final opportunity to grab an Ultima Online: Third Dawn beta CD! For the price of shipping and handling, you can own this limited edition, fully patchable version of the latest update to Ultima Online - and seize your opportunity to join us during our pre-launch beta period.

We’ve limited the amount of Beta CDs available and will accept orders only until these CDs run out. Once this final group of beta CDs has been ordered, you’ll have to wait for the Ultima Online: Third Dawn retail release to explore the new lands of Ilshenar, and all of the enhancements and updates that Third Dawn has to offer. Current customers will have an opportunity to upgrade to Ultima Online: Third Dawn at a reduced cost (plus shipping and handling) to be announced at a later date.

Be sure to visit http://www.uo3d.com/beta on Friday morning for your chance to join the elite ranks of Ultima Online beta testers!

And don’t forget – if you’re already a beta tester, or are planning to join us, drop by the Ultima Online store at http://www.uoshoppes.com/uostore to order your Official Ultima Online: Third Dawn Beta Tester t-shirt!

Web Comments – 09th February 01 – nocturne
Web Group Comments has a new post by Warhau, ten months after his last post.
Faction membership and kill points are also now indicated on MyUO paperdolls, character pages, and guild pages. Membership and rankings are updated daily.

Got Events ? – 10th February 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Join Us For Ultima Online Bi-Weekly Events –
Looking for a way to put a little excitement in your weeknight gameplay? Join us for Ultima Online Bi-Weekly Events! Beginning on Monday, February 12th, we’ll be hosting an event every weeknight on most Ultima Online shards.

Ranging from monster mashes to skill contests to PvP competitions, we’ve organized events to offer a little excitement for every playstyle. Each night, multiple events will run on two Ultima Online shards. While we want to make this fun for everyone, not all types of events will run every night. If you don’t find an event to your liking, we hope you’ll stop by the next week, or perhaps enjoy an event on another shard. To find information on specific events, visit your nearest in-game Town Crier on the shard’s scheduled day for details. Events will begin at approximately 7:00 PM local server time and continue over the next month.

A shard schedule is located at http://town.uo.com/bwevents.html, and we’ll be opening a separate topic on the Ultima Online Message Boards for your feedback on the events.

Please remember: Ultima Online Game Masters are not involved with these events and will be unable to provide you with any information about locations, schedules or event types. Please do not call Game Masters regarding these events.
Before you get all warm and fuzzy – Arirang, Balhae, Formosa, Oceania and AOL will not be receiving events.

Judging from this and the recent and proposed changes, it seems like OSI is finally deciding that listening to the players may be a good thing.

I wonder if all the new MMPOGs now in beta-testing have anything to do with it.

Shadowlord History – 12th February 01 – nocturne
Was wandering around Felucca when I came across a gang of Death Knights, the Faction Guards of the Shadowlords. Was particularly impressed when I noticed their names – “Agent of Faulinei”, “Agent of Cowardice”, etc.

For those who don’t know, and, lacking any other news today, I’ve decided to give a quick recant of U5 history.

The Shadowlords were released from the three remaining shards of Mondain’s Gem when the Avatar removed the Codex from the bottom of the Stygian Abyss. Removing the Codex from its proper place also resulted in a series of earthquakes and cataclysms, and, ultimately, in the creation of the Underworld. Lord British led a party of explorers into the new Underworld, and was subsequently imprisoned by the Shadowlords. The Shadowlords then proceeded to corrupt the regent, Lord Blackthorn, and Sosaria entered a new age of Darkness.

The Shadowlords themselves represent the opposing forces of the three Principles. Faulinei, Shadowlord of Falsehood, opposes Truth; Astaroth, Shadowlord of Hatred, opposes Love; and Nosfentor, the Shadowlord of Cowardice, Courage.

They were ultimately destroyed by the Avatar when their shards were recovered from the Underworld and cast into the flames of the Principles, at the Lycaeum, the Keep of Truth; Empath Abbey, the Keep of Love; and Serpent’s Hold, the Keep of Courage.

Bandages Get Real – 13th February 01 – nocturne
Testing for Next Update :: Bandage Creation Changes
[160301] Bandage Creation Changes – Changes to the weight and methods for cutting bandages. All pre-existing bandages will be “grandfathered” with these weight changes, so that they equal a 1 to 1 weight ratio compared to cloth.

Armor Fixed – 14th February 01 – nocturne
Latest Game Update :: Armor dexterity penalty problem
A bug with dexterity penalties not appearing on certain types of armor has been fixed. This fix will be retroactive and apply to all currently existing armor.

Events & Purple Bannings – 15th February 01 – nocturne
Calandryll posted to this thread about the purple item bannings that happened last night –
While working on a fix for the purple item bug we implemented logging to track those who were using the bug. We then investigated the accounts in question.

1. Only those that USED the bug were banned. And even then, they only got banned if they did it many times and/or had prior marks on their account.
2. Those who only did it a few times and had no prior marks were given a final warning…they were not banned.
3. We did not ban anyone simply for having the items who did not use the bug. However, these items are still considered illegal and those who have them should get rid of them.
4. The total number of individuals banned was under 200.

This bug was not harmless. It disrupted the faction system since those stealing the sigil were doing so to exploit to make the purple items rather than take over towns and generated support calls from players witnessing the exploiters. Not to mention the fact that using bugs is against the ToS of Ultima Online.
For those that really didn’t see it coming, remember that Tyrant told you so.

Calandryll also posted to OCR Comments, regarding the events.
FYI :: Events Schedule Update –
The event schedule has been modified to accommodate prime playing time for players on all affected shards. Events will begin at approximately 7:00 PM local server time on US shards, excluding Lake Superior, Siege Perilous, and Great Lakes. Events on these three shards will begin at 7:00 PM CST. European shard events will begin at 8:00 PM local server time, and Japanese events will begin at approximately 11:00 PM local server time.

Ilshenar in Next Update – 16th February 01 – nocturne
Testing for Next Update :: The Lands of Ilshenar
[160301] Ilshenar – How the lands of Ilshenar will exist. In order to travel to Ilshenar, you will need to be using the Third Dawn client. Regular clients (2D) will not be able to travel to Ilshenar.

On Events and Bannings – 16th February 01 – nocturne
Since I play on a Japanese shard and the town cryers were going “something something Dupre something something”, while I was doing the “step-step-lag-step-step-lag”, I posted to this thread asking if events will ever be in English, because if not, I’d rather just skip event days because the lag is simply ridiculous.

Eidolon, 1337 Event Designer, replied with “No, events on the Japanese shards will always be held in Japanese. Running events is hard.”
Calandryll posted some stuff regarding the Valentine Day Bannings on the website formerly known as Lum the Mad.

Melantus also started a new thread on the official boards, regarding the bannings.

As I understand it, the banned accounts included at least two faction commanders. Whether you think the bannings were just, warning was given, and before you say that the warnings were only on the boards and not on uo.com, well, if you knew how to create purple items, I’d say you’d know how to read the sites.

Back to your Regularly Scheduled IDOC – 17th February 01 – nocturne
FYI :: House Auto-Refresh Update –
Currently, the houses on Lake Superior, Drachenfels, and Europa are being refreshed automatically. On February 21st (local server time) we are planning on turning off the auto-refresh system. Right before the system is deactivated, all houses will be refreshed one last time and all condemned houses will be uncondemed. Once the system is deactivated, all houses will need to be refreshed at regular intervals (approximately at least once every 9 days) to avoid decay.
FYI :: Third Dawn Beta Ordering Closed –
The Ultima Online: Third Dawn Beta ordering form is now closed. We appreciate your interest in Ultima Online: Third Dawn. For the latest information on Ultima Online please visit http://www.uo3d.com.

Your Word of the Day – Statues – 19th February 01 – nocturne
 I heard a rumour about two weeks ago that these guys have been spawning. In the true tradition of investigative journalism, a little gold, some favours and a lot of luck later, I find out exactly where they spawn. I also find out that the Japanese have been on to this for months. (You want to learn stuff in UO, the Japs are Gods.) So I started to camp to find out exactly what spawns where and how.

The statues come in three flavours, 1-stone, 25-stone and the dreaded 255-stone, mostly 255. I have yet to see a 1-stone statue, the 25-stone statue acts like a normal rare (he’d be that guy on the surfboard to your left), and the 255-stoners, like all 255-stone items, cannot be removed from the box.

The very next day after I find out the location (which would be yesterday), some twink decides to post the info. to some bug site’s board. Next thing you know, the spawn location starts to look like Brit Bank on a weekend, with a bunch of twinks messing up the spawn.

Aside :: Now, while this site is an information page, I do not post spawn locations. Some would call that being selfish. I do not want to get my account banned for posting possible exploits, and I do not like competing with other people for spawns. Those of you complaining of 250 ping ought to know that I never ever get 250 ping on any shard at any hour, even on cable, which means that the most I get to a daily rare is seeing someone else pick it up. I had my share of them when no one but those that made a real effort to find out the locations camped them, it was hard then, especially on a 28.8, but it was still possible. If you call that selfish, make an effort to find out the spawns before you complain that those that do shouldn’t be rewarded for their time. Here’s a hint, if you want to be part of a community, give before you even consider expecting to receive. You might even enjoy questing for a particular spawn.

A few hours after the post, GMs started appearing at the spawn location deleting all the statues. All this without official word from O$I.

Mel, as of this morning, was still professing his ignorance. To stall for more time, he creates a diversion with the highly quotable “Bloodtiles are illegal to own.”, in a thead asking if statues are illegal to own. Mel’s a nice guy and he tries to do his job, but communications in that office is probably laggy.

So that’s the summary of my quest for statues. More info. as it turns up.
Melantus has posted, across several threads, that getting the statues is not bannable and that this spawn will be fixed. Something may be done to the statues already out there. Note, however, that GMs have been placing marks on accounts caught doing this.

Statuesque – 20th February 01 – nocturne
Got Statues?        Gotta Catch ’Em All!

Official Boards
We believe we have already fixed the bug. Currently we are watching the shards where it is active to see if the fix is working. At this time, we have seen no reports to the contrary.

– Calandryll
Manager of Community Services

Edited by Calandryll on 02/20/01 04:01 PM (server time).

Above.net – “Peering Whore” – 22nd February 01 – nocturne
UO Connectivity Board
Greetings,

I’d like to introduce myself to this community, as I haven’t made a public announcement regarding UO and our connectivity in years. I hope I have the time to make that fact change going forward.

I’m the Sr. Manager of Network Infrastructure for EA.com. I manage all our network infrastructure as well as datacenter decisions for EA.com domestically and internationally. Since UO is a very vital part of EA.com, a lot of the decisions I make day to day are guided by what is best for UO and it’s player community. Also, since EA.com is looking to expand its PSW (persistent state world) offerings, I also make decisions based on what is best for all new PSW’s to come, as well as our current games at www.ea.com.

Let me give you some background. I’ve been involved in building UO’s network presence from the very beginning. I was involved in building network connectivity when UO was within the networks of Epoch, Digex, Smartnap, GlobalCenter, IXC, Exodus, and now Above.net. The international datacenters and ISP’s as well, but I won’t go into more details on them here. You can point the blame for “who choose Above.net” to me. I’m fine with that. In a minute I’ll give you more information as to why Above.net was chosen in the first place.

I have also been intimately involved in every single move we’ve ever made with a UO shard. It’s perhaps the most difficult process I ever have to deal with. It’s extremely complex, not too mention nerve racking and stressful. Making the decision itself is the most painful part of it all. It’s not easy. I wish I could give you details on how circumstances exactly come about that requires us to move a shard, but there are so many I wouldn’t know where to start. But I can assure you of this. We have never made a decision to move a shard, including the recent moves of Great Lakes and Lake Superior, without taking into consideration how the move was going to affect our gamers. And the number one factor I take into consideration when devising our strategy on where the best place is to put a shard is this: How is the shard going to look for 90-95% of the players? The one, clear, unquestionable fact about online gaming I’ve learned from building and managing UO connectivity for over 3 years now is this: regardless of what we do, regardless of how much money we spend, regardless of what ISP we choose, we can not make everyone’s ping times sub-100ms with no packet loss. It’s a very painful fact; one I wish I could change. But I can’t. I don’t control that much of the Internet. As a matter of fact, no one does. But what I DO have and can present to you, is path we’ve been working on for years to try and decrease the percentage of those we can please from 5-10%, down to maybe just 1-2%. More on this in a minute.

Let’s talk a little about Above.net. Let’s start by looking at the list of ISP’s we’ve had in the US alone since we released UO in September of 1997. With every single one of them, we had complaints. Maybe the current players who are complaining about Above.net didn’t complain when a shard was with EPOCH, or when a shard was with Globalcenter, but we had complaints. Maybe those who complained when we were with EPOCH or with Globalcenter aren’t complaining now? I don’t know exactly how the statistics break down, but one thing I do know, is that for 3 years we’ve gotten traceroutes to the same shards, from hundreds of people, pointing out problems with connectivity. Yes, lots of them. A lot of times they look the same, which makes it easier for us to diagnose a problem as being with a particular ISP, sometimes our own, or with a particular exchange/peering point between our provider and your provider. When we move a shard, usually we get a whole new set of complaints and traceroutes, but the total numbers don’t necessarily go up. This leads me to believe, like I stated before, that it’s impossible to please everyone and there will always be a subset of our gamers that feel they aren’t connecting to us fast enough, or clean enough, to play our games.

What does this have to do with why we choose Above.net? Here’s a quick rundown on what’s important in choosing an ISP for UO. It’s not the same for choosing an ISP to deliver, say, just web traffic.
The ISP must have LOT’s of peering. Check out www.above.net for numbers on their peering sessions. The more peering session an ISP has, the far fewer transit providers our traffic has to cross to get to the end user. For example, if Above.net has peering with X ISP, then my traffic goes from Above.net to X ISP to you who subscribe to this ISP. If Above.net doesn’t have peering with the provider, then my traffic goes Above.net to transit provider to X ISP to you. One more player in the middle. One more place to have problems.
The ISP must provide me with graphs showing their capacity and peering information. Check out www.above.net/traffic. I don’t know of any other ISP in the world that provides this much information about its backbone to its customers, let alone to the public! It takes a lot of guts for an ISP to open itself up like this to scrutiny from the public, as well as it’s competitors. You would be surprise to know the number of ISP’s that either can’t provide me with this information, or simply refuse.
The ISP must have a relaxed peering policy. Above.net has an extensive peering list. I actually refer to them as, and pardon my expression, a “peering whore”. They’ll peer with anyone. Building an online gaming presence requires the ability to get our bits to as many end users as possible. Not just those on Sprints backbone, or UUNet’s. I have customers that come from every ISP in the world, as most of you can attest. I strive to please as many as I can, and the only way to do that is to have lots of paths to different ISP’s.
The ISP must have big, fat pipes, and be able to get new big, fat pipes as the need arises. Above.net is owned by MFN, which owns lots of fiber in metro areas, and trades those strands for long-haul links. This puts Above.net in a very powerful position to grow their pipes as the need arises.
Other criteria, like stringent SLA’s (Service Level Agreements) that guarantee me they will do everything possible to fix problems, address issues, etc.; a good service department to handle my needs and requests; and a good engineering team to help deal with the complexities of routing on the internet.

Lots of ISP’s call me for our business. We could have chosen anyone to do our hosting and be our ISP. We felt most comfortable with Above.net for all of the above reasons and others, and one more, very significant one. Since MFN owns Above.net, and MFN owns lots of fiber, I’m free to utilize this fiber to build a very important part of our infrastructure. It’s been our strategy for sometime now to build an infrastructure that isn’t reliant on any one ISP. It’s not because we lack confidence in Above.net’s ability to deliver our packets in the best possible way, but because we realize that regardless of which ISP we chose, no one is perfect and our needs and requirements to address the issues of as many of our gamers as possible may not be fulfilled by just one ISP. I’m not sure how familiar you are with PAIX, but it’s a very popular neutral site on the Internet that gives companies a common place to meet, cross-connect, and peer networks. For more information on PAIX, go here: http://www.paix.net/company_info/index.htm

EA.com has routers at PAIX, both on the east coast and west coast. It is our long term to goal to peer with as many people as would want to peer with us (we currently have over 30 peers), and buy more transit from Tier 1’s like Sprint, C&W, etc., over time as the we can. This would allow us to send traffic destined to these networks directly to the provider themselves, and not be so dependant on what or how our primary ISP wants to do it. I’m hesitant to give too much information as getting all this built takes a lot of resources and (unfortunately) time, and we’re a ways off from truly realizing the potential of controlling our own peering and routing, but as it becomes more of a reality, I truly hope you the gamer will see improved connectivity into our network.

I know there are current issues with peering between Above.net and ATT, Sprint, and a few other backbones. I deal with these issues on an almost daily basis, just like I have for years now, and not just with Above.net. Peering capacity is an issue every Tier 1 deals with on some level. I’m happy to say that I had a long call with the Director of Backbone Engineering for Above.net, and contrary to rumors on these boards, they and ATT are very close to increasing their capacity with one another. Neither side blames the other for having problems increasing capacity, and both sides have worked out a solution to the problem. Above.net has even given me the go ahead to publicly state here that this increase in peering capacity with ATT will happen within 1-2 weeks. For those of you on ATT’s backbone, look to have improvements very soon.

I know it’s been difficult adjusting to the GL and LS move. I know we’ve probably lost some very dedicated players of UO. That’s very difficult for us to deal with as we truly enjoy the community we’ve built and want to keep all our players. Please remember that we do take into consideration the gamer when making ISP choices, when moving shards (which I hope won’t happen again…), and when building our infrastructure.

I do lurk on these boards quite a bit. This is my first post, but I hope I can do more in the coming months to address your concerns, answer some of your questions, and give you news as to how we’re growing to better your connection to us.

Regards,

Ruben Cortez
Sr. Manager of Network Infrastructure
EA.com Online Operations

Got Events ? – 24th February 01 – nocturne
FYI :: Ultima Online Bi-Weekly Events Continue –
Miss the chance to join in on a weekly event? Or perhaps you enjoyed the last one and would like to join us again? We'll be continuing the Ultima Online bi-weekly events for the next two weeks, based on the same daily shard schedule. Thus, if your shard had an event scheduled for the first Monday, you'll have one again next Monday. The shard event schedule is located at http://town.uo.com/bwevents.html.

There is a problem communicating with OSI. – 25th February 01 – nocturne
wtf? X-posted to the UO Discussion Boards
“There is a problem communicating with OSI. Please restart Ultima Online and try again.”

A GM went through my houses and deleted all my statues and gold boxes (at least I think it was my gold boxes, one of the secures in one of my storage houses is now at 0 items). I’m not sure what else was deleted nor if he went through my bankboxes, and, right now, I’m not really in the mood to check.

For the record, this is the fifth time I’ve lost millions of gold in stuff due to bugs (summon horse-house loot – a witness called a GM who did nothing; lock-downs unlocking themselves and decaying; barrel return home – a GM said items do not disappear from bankboxes ever; true rares return home – a GM said too bad). This does not include losing stuff to “minor issues” like time-warps, disappearing secures or normal house looting.

The GM also moved a forge outside the house with the emptied secure. I’m not sure why, maybe he doesn’t want me to redeed and place a small marble. As a final touch, he changed my coloured house signs back to normal and turned them into this ugly guild sign. When I first logged in and saw the signs, you can sure as hell bet I thought I got hacked.

I’d be the first to admit statues, gold boxes and coloured signs are “undocumented features” (what OSI calls “issues”), and the over lock-down thing was my own fault (which is why I never called a GM), but goddamn it, I expect at least enough respect as a customer to get one word out of OSI. I felt violated to find my stuff disturbed, and I feel uneasy not knowing if I got a mark on my account.

Also, the feeling of being singled-out isn’t a pleasant one, particularly as I feel it may be because I’m not Japanese. As I said before, the Japanese have known about the statues for months, and word got out because they have got enough statues to last a lifetime. I’m sure you’ve noticed the pic at the top of the page, tell me the guys that did that had all had their stuff deleted.

For the squeaky clean among you, I don’t consider myself an exploiter. Never duped, no purple items, no extra rewards, not a single skill point from factions. I’m no more a bug abuser then the next rares collector. I’ve GM’d every skill I want to, excepting taming, lore and carp; killed every monster; can’t participate in quests or role-playing because I don’t speak Japanese. I’ve stopped x-trading in gold because you can’t be sure if any amount over a million is duped. The only thing I still do in-game is hunt, trade and sell rares, basically an information game. Rare-hunting is about the only thing in the game that is truly dynamic.

I want OSI to tell me eight out of ten gold boxes were deleted, or not a single one at all. If my house sign can’t be coloured, I don’t want to see a coloured sign ever again. Don’t suggest waiting for OSI to put it in, even with hair-stylists, there still isn’t a legit way to get true white hair. I’d like to know what is legal and what isn’t. Or, rather, which bug is bannable and which is ignored.

In three and a half years, I’ve yet to receive a satisfactory resolution to any problem. I’m cancelling all but one of my accounts. I will still update the site, as I feel a responsibility to our daily readers, which is why I’m keeping the last account to validate and research the news that is sent in. I will reactivate my accounts if I receive a record of the GM’s actions, justification of said actions (I’d really like to hear what reason he has for moving the forge) and either gold boxes to be freely available, all deleted, or my boxes back. I don’t expect to receive any word from OSI, but I’m not so unreasonable as not to give them a chance to right just this one of many many wrongs.

CC: Melantus, Calandryll, uoconcerns

Flame-Disclaimer :: Before you flame, my rant isn’t “exploiter bitching about being caught”. It is about the lack of explanation (or for that matter, a simple “I am going to do this.”), for an item that has never been declared illegal since it was introduced in Nov 99 (co-owner patch). I should not feel that I got hacked and need to have my forge moved outside in order to know it was the work of a GM with too much time. I should not have had my sign uncolored and changed when those of other houses were not. I should have been told what was deleted from my houses instead of having to stress over it. My rant is about communication and consistancy, and the injustice (or should I say Wrong) arising from the lack of both. Show your support by bumping this post if you want, but don’t flame unless you’re going to quietly accept the next time something screws you over.

Phat Faction Selling – 26th February 01 – nocturne
“Faction Town Trading”, where you could buy from NPCs in one faction-controlled town with low prices and sell to NPCs at another town to make phat profit, was fixed. NPCs in faction towns now buy items at normal prices, regardless of the prices they are selling at.

Ooh, ride me like a mare, you big boy! – 27th February 01 – nocturne
Check out the pic on this little gem.

The poor sod who listed the item basically stole the listing description and pic URL from celiasocelia, who, fuming with righteous anger, decided to do him a favour by updating the image for him.

In case you have any doubt, right-click on the image and check the URL, which links directly to celia’s AOL account.
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