In June 2011, I first started thinking about putting together a plan for a 'perfect' UO shard. Here we are not much more than a year later, and we've actually got a pretty good approximation of what I would consider perfect, launched and well populated. A real credit to all the ex-Europa people from various guilds that have been involved, and especially to Oz for taking on 95% of the coding burden.
We released on Saturday the 15th, and peaked at 178 clients online earlier tonight. With our 2 clients per IP limit, that's an impressive number to have online at once. 457 accounts have been created - again with a maximum of 2 per player. The shard looks busy and alive, people at every bank, and in all the dungeons.
A few things we're happy with:
- Increased insurance costs for murderers. This has been a big success so far. Only four players have dared to go red, and doing so has set them back hugely once they have suffered expensive early deaths. It'll be a while before mass PKing is a problem here. Has AoS, the hated era of UO purists, provided the best cure so far for the age-old "PK Problem" ?
- Increased mount costs. With NPC vendors charging 3000 per mount, it's been great to see Tamers in Moonglow selling mounts, often under-cutting each other in a bid to make sales. I've not seen this on any other free shards, and not on OSI UO since maybe 1999, it's great!
- A diverse range of skills and templates being developed. Someone is training almost every skill in UO currently, including the supposedly "useless in AOS" Stealing. Made relevant again by it's use on Redux in opening Ancient Chests and retrieving stealable artifacts.
- A really good mix of old friends and enemies of ours from Europa and Drach, as well as representatives of both the European and North American free shard communities, and even some players new to UO entirely.
A big thanks to everyone involved, and even more so to the players who have pointed out bugs and problems instead of exploiting them - Scolt especially. More updates to come.