Greetings Ultima Online Testers,
This letter is especially addressed to those of you who gave up early in our testing process. We believe there were three major reasons for this: Stability, Patching, and Registration.
We feel that we are at a point where these issues have been resolved to a point that you will not be discouraged. Let us address them one by one:
The servers began by only staying up for a few minutes at a time. They now stay up an average of over 5 hours and regularly reach up time of 8 hours or more.
a. There is a new auto-patcher that you can download at the following sites which allows you to resume patching when it has been interrupted (among other cool things). You should download this if you are installing for the first time although we strongly reccomend it for everyone. It needs to replace your current uopatch.exe in your UO directory. The download is around 95K.
- Download from Origin. ftp://curly.owo.com/pub/uopatch.zip
- Download from Electronic Arts. ftp://ftp.ea.com/pub/patches/uopatch.zip
This is a zipped file, so you will need to unzip it and then copy the resultant file over the old version of uopatch.exe.
b. All 36 of the first set of patches (a total of 29 megs!) have been compressed into one large patch of 9 megs. So if you are starting with a fresh install you will get this one large patch instead of the 36 individual ones.
c. With certain motherboard chipsets that use bus mastering (not all), the RTPatch utility will run out of RAM and fail. For UO, this most commonly occurs with 16MB machines, but it can happen to anyone. Fortunately, there is a workaround! If you disable read-ahead optimization before patching, the unwanted operation which eats RAM is prevented.
To do this, go to your Control Panel, choose "System", click on the "Performance" tab, click on "File System", click on the "Hard Disk" tab and set the "read ahead optimization" slider bar to "none". NOTE: Make sure you set read-ahead back to "full" before playing, as UO and most other Windows'95 apps will run incredibly slow. In other words, after succesfully patching, quit out of UO and follow the above procedure a second time, except set read ahead to full.
This process is now seamless and robust. You should rarely, if ever, experience a busy signal as many of you have in the past. If you have lost your registration number there is now a universal one on the registration page at: http://ultima-registration.com/start.html
We need all of you to come back so we can truly stress test the servers. If you still have your CD but are not going to help us test, please give it to someone who will test. In addition because we are not seeing the peak numbers we require we are giving out a universal registration number that anyone can use, whether they registered for the beta test or not. This number is located on the registration web page at: https://ultima-registration.com/start.html. There are several places on the net where you can obtain copies of the Beta Test CD and in the near future we may be placing a zipped up version of the CD on the ftp sites.
We know those of you who paid to participate will feel cheated now that we are allowing anyone to play. We want all of you to know that those of you who have participated up to this time have been crucial to the completion of this product and we value the time you have invested with us. However we must test the full capacity of our servers and this is the only way we see that we can.
Please spread the word to those who might not see this announcement and encourage your friends to join us in Britannia.
Thank you for your time,
The Ultima Online Team
Friday, Sept 5