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  • Old News: February 2001

    PGOH are invited to a wedding

    PGOH is here by invited to attend the wedding of Tobias Moore and Mistress Rose of LER. The blessed event is to take place on March 9th, 10pm eastern standard time at the Moonglow Telescope (trammel) on the Catskil shard. Gates from the the moongate and the bank to the spot of the wedding will be provided.

     Posted by Balandar
     Friday, February 23, 2001 10:41 PM EST

    EA Comments on Connectivity Issues

    Ruben Cortez, Sr. Manager of Network Infrastructure for EA.com, posted this article on the Ultima Online 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.


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

    You can read the complete article thread here.

     Posted by Balandar
     Thursday, February 22, 2001 6:37 PM EST

    PGoH Rules of Engagement updated


    Please keep in mind that some of these rules deal with role-play as well as actual engagement in combat. It is important and should be stressed greatly that highlighting and engagement is not just about PvP combat.

    There are many forms of engagement and degrees of feeling that guilds/peoples may hold towards one another. The RoE listed below are generally followed by all good role-play guilds. As a member of The Purple Guardians of Honor, you will be bound to them. Lastly, PGoH, the people who choose to interact in a capacity such as highlighting are looking to have fun just as much as we are. This is why we have sought one another out.

    I. Everyone role-plays differently. You may not like someone’s method of interacting but if they are maintaining a character, respect that. Respect of others is tantamount to any form of interaction whether in game or out. Keep this in mind and you have already succeeded where many fail.

    II. Remain in character as best as possible. Of course you may slip from your intended path from time to time. Use your judgment in role-play, but here are some guidelines on what to refrain from:

    i. Use of Kewl-Dewd terminology. We aren’t all going to speak in olde English but let’s try not to include modern language or slang whenever possible.

    ii. Do not openly discuss stats and skills in their raw values. Use the titles granted such as Journeyman or Master within the game. If you must tell someone the exact value use one of the methods granted by the Gods (whisper and party talk) or your Pigeon, Dragon, Familiar (or whatever role-play name you call ICQ).

    III. Know the guilds we highlight. This means Enemies, Neutrals and Allies. Not all highlighted guilds/peoples are “hostiles”. This means as a Purple Guardian of Honor you are required to check the skypage for new declarations and PGoH intentions towards other guilds. There is also a link that clearly shows guilds currently interacting with PGoH and the type of relationship held with them. Failure to know this is no excuse for improper action by accident. It is your obligation to keep up to date with happenings. There will be groups that we engage upon sight, some that we are distant to, and some that we embrace. Treat them accordingly.

    IV. Interaction with “enemies” may often result in combat. Be mindful that not all encounters must go this route, and that certain guilds will often opt for something other than straight combat. There may be taunts, jests and the like. Highlighting is to enhance game play, not to provide an excuse for mindless battle. Make sure there is reason behind your actions either through what the guild leaders have stated or as a result of your true play of roles with your character. Some may wish to take hostages or have a tribute paid for safe passage. Just be mindful of alternatives to combat and that these actions can be just as rich and rewarding as battle.

    V. When engaging the enemy, many guilds will offer or warn in some manner that they are about to attack. Don’t be blind to such warnings. As members of PGoH, you are expected to do this yourself, 'tis the honorable thing to do, but not all guilds will do so. It will take a small effort on your part to learn how certain guilds engage. Orcs are different than Pirates; Pirates are different from Undead; Undead are different from . . . well, you get it. If you are unsure of someone’s intent, then use extreme caution. Some examples of what PGoH members might say in a challenge of battle include, but are not restricted to:

    i. “Prepare yourself for battle.”

    ii. “You are trespassing upon our territory. State your intention or face the sword.”

    iii. “I don’t quite care for people like you. You had best remove yourself from my site before I must take action.”

    VI. If you trespass upon another guild’s lands and they are “enemies”, expect that you will be attacked on sight. While PGoH will issue challenges to anything other than what resembles a war party, other guilds, such as the Orc Clans, are very territorial. This means if you step on their lands expect aggression, though if you are quick and offer tribute you might be granted a moment to speak . . . or to flee.

    VII. Should you slay your opponent in combat you must adhere to the following:

    i. DO NOT LOOT --- DO NOT LOOT --- DO NOT LOOT!!!!

    ii. When it is safe to do so, resurrect them.

    VIII. Death of yourself should be treated in the following manner. There are absolutely no exceptions to this.

    i. Should you die, wait for resurrection from a fellow guild member or should the situation dictate, your attackers.

    ii. Upon resurrection you are to remain in a death robe for 20 minutes. You are not to block or interfere with any events going on until that 20 minute period has passed. Do not hold any weapon or spell book (except to heal yourself or remove yourself from the scene, then remove it). Note, if you leave the scene you must still wear your death robe. You are still the “walking dead” for that 20 minute period.

    iii. Should you have reason to dispute the action taken against you, remove yourself.

    IX. Tamers are not to use anything stronger than a drake in battle. (This means no dragons, wyrms or nightmares). When using a drake, you may use one and no more. There are no restrictions on lesser animals. Tamers are to acknowledge that with this restriction in place you may expect to not be attacked while in the company of such destructive beasts. This does not give you carte blanche to push things, though. If trespassing, you must remove yourself.

    X. We will end where we began. Respect others. We all play this for entertainment. Treat others with respect and you will get the same in return. (Remember, respect from some in role-play may not outwardly appear as such, but it is there nonetheless.) Should you feel you have been treated in a manner not fitting with standard RoE, please contact the Praetorian Prefect, the Senator of War, a Praetorian Officer, or the Emperor, in that order. If none are immediately available, then please relax and wait. There is never an extended amount of time without one of these people being available. Use of logs and screenshots are VERY helpful.

    Guild ROE


     Posted by Balandar
     Thursday, February 22, 2001 6:32 PM EST

    PGoH Festival of Hera


    Festival of Hera

    On Saturday, February 24th, please join the Purple Guardians of Honor (PGoH) as they provide tribute to Hera, the Goddess of Earth and Beasts, by hosting a day of grand contests and feats to honor the newest members of their Legion, the Heran Cohort.

    Time of Event*
    Title of Event
    Event Information
    12:00 noon
    Opening Ceremonies
    Location: Castle Olympus
    12:30 pm
    Poetry Contest
    Location: Castle Olympus
    Limited to 10 participants, 5 minutes each.
    Entry fee: 5,000 gold. Winner takes all!
    1:30 pm
    Vendor Romp
    Location: Castle Olympus
    Anyone that wishes to may try to sell anything by the “barter” system (similar to selling items near town banks). Vendors begin high and buyers must work the prices down to reasonable levels.
    2:00 pm
    Team PvP Tournament
    Location: Felucca (gates to be provided from Castle Olympus Trammel & Buccaneers Den Felucca to secret location)
    Teams: 1 Mage & 1 Warrior; 1 Tamer, 1 Hellhound & 1 Imp; or 1 Tamer & 2 Black bears.
    Rules: http://www.geocities.com/glenn_gang_green/pvp.html
    Entry Fee: 25,000 gold per participant; 50,000 gold per Tamer team. WINNER TAKES ALL!
    Games & Prizes
    Location: Castle Olympus
    For the time period between the end of the Tournament and the beginning of the Hunt, several small events shall take place. Games shall include “Best Impersonations of a Councilor, Seer or GM” and “Pass the Muffin”, with prizes distributed to the winners. An award for best costume shall be given. Door prizes shall be awarded. No entry fee required.
    6:00 pm
    Scavenger Hunt
    Location: Castle Olympus
    Teams of two people will be given one hour to collect 100 items on a prepared list (in book). Anyone returning after the time limit shall be disqualified. Maximum of 50 teams.
    Entry Fee: 5,000 gold per team. First place winner: 90% of entry fees. Second place winner: 10% of entry fees.
    7:30 pm
    Run Across Britannia
    Location: Castle Olympus (starting point)
    Participants shall arrive at the starting line naked, with only a check and 31 iron ore in their otherwise empty packs. Participants must have 100 strength. In exchange for the check, they will get a running outfit to maximize their weight.
    Entry fee: 5,000 gold, 31 iron ore. The victor will get all the ingots from the iron ore and half of the income; runner up will get the other half of income. 
    9:00 pm
    Induction Ceremony for the Cohort of Hera
    Location: Castle Olympus Great Hall
    Participants: PGoH Guild members only.
    9:30 pm
    Slay the Dragon
    Location: Castle Olympus Interior Courtyard
    All participants shall be naked with empty packs, and shall gather in the interior courtyard. A dragon will be released into their midst. The last person to remain alive in the courtyard wins. Participants may not use hiding skill or purchase items from vendors. Anyone leaving the area may not re-enter.
    Entry fee: None. Winner’s prize: 60,000 gold.

    *All times are Eastern Standard Time For additional information, please visit the guild skypage at http://www.pgoh.org/ or send a pigeon (ICQ) to the new Heran Centurion, Fisher, at 74417515, or the Legate of Morale, Siun Loresdottar, at 72692533.



     Posted by Balandar
     Thursday, February 22, 2001 6:01 PM EST

    Bandage Changes Added to In Testing

    Players can cut multiple bandages at once using the following manner:

    • Players place an amount of cloth in their backpack. The cloth must be in a player's backpack to be cut into bandages.
    • When scissors are used on the stack, it will be cut into a stack of bandages equaling the amount of cloth that was in the stack being cut.

    Bandages will weight equal to that amount of cloth. For example, one bandage will weigh exactly the same as one cloth and likewise one thousand bandages will weigh the same as one thousand cloth.

    All pre-existing bandages will be "grandfathered" with these weight changes, so that they equal a 1 to 1 weight ratio compared to cloth.


     Posted by Balandar
     Tuesday, February 13, 2001 6:02 PM EST

    Upcoming Bachelor/Bachelorette Auction to be Held in Nujel'm

    Hail and well met fellow travellers!

    For eons, the Guardians of Light have been the servants and protectors of the realm, offering aid and comfort to those most in need!

    In keeping with this tradition, the Guardians of Light in conjunction with the Purple Guardians of Honor, has arranged, for your pleasure and prosperity, the first annual Guardians of Light Bachelor / Bachelorette auction!!

    Indeed yes, a bevy of the most attractive and talented men and women from the Guardians of Light, baring their assets for your approval, admiration and, if one is so inclined, your ownership (at least temporarily).

    Have you a valorite mining area that needs working? House need redecorating? Is there a particular Balrog that has garnered your anger and attention? Or would you enjoy simply having one of these brazen and bounteous beauties parade about your house for your viewing enjoyment?

    No matter your want, no matter the difficulty of the task, these Guardians of Light/ Purple Guardians of Honor members are there to service that need!

    Come one, come all! Only once a year will you have the opportunity to actually purchase the talents and fealty of one of the oldest and most successful guilds on Catskills!

    The event will be hosted by Lord Galen Wilding (auctioning off the woman) and Lady Midnight Serene (auctioning off the men).

    Whether your need is hunting, weapons repair, sparring or anything else your wild imagination can summon, we have the man or woman to suit!!!

    The auction will be held on February 13 at Nujel'm Palace in Trammel. The festivities will begin at 8 p.m. Eastern. Don't be left out of this annual opportunity!!!

    Any Questions will be answered at joingol at hotmail.com

     Posted by Balandar
     Wednesday, February 7, 2001 10:56 AM EST

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