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2001-04 Newsletter

Ultima Online Newsletter: April 2001

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Ultima Online Newsletter - April 2001
Your source for Ultima Online News, Features, and Special Offers
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Contents:


>1 Ultima Online: Third Dawn Upgrade Offer
>2 New Maps Shipped
>3 Distributed Backup System
>4 New Titles Discovered
>5 New Event Team Announced
>6 iGames and Third Dawn
>7 Comments From the Team
>8 April Spotlights



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Introducing Ultima Online Third Dawn!
More players are discovering the world of Ultima Online: Third Dawn and the uncharted lands of Ilshenar every day, and there are still changes coming about all the time.
For those fans with active UO accounts who haven't tried Third Dawn yet, we're offering a special promotional upgrade version of UO: Third Dawn for a price of $9.95 plus shipping and handling ($4.95 for U.S. and Puerto Rico or $6.95 International)! This includes the final gold-mastered version of Third Dawn, the new retail version map of Britannia, the Lost Lands, and Ilshenar, and while supplies last, we’ll include a collector’s edition cloth map of Britannia and the Lost Lands.
This Third Dawn upgrade offer is available for a limited time, so sign up today!
Because UO: Third Dawn Alpha and Beta testers received fully-patching CD versions of Third Dawn, they will be given the opportunity to order the Ilshenar and cloth maps for $5.95, with shipping and handling paid by Origin Systems. Due to processing issues, this offer is not yet available, but will be available within the next couple weeks. Keep an eye on FYI for additional information!



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New Maps ShippedSome players who ordered the special upgrade version did not receive the complete paper map of Ilshenar and the Britannia and Lost Lands as promised, but received a map with only the Ilshenar lands visible. We would like to apologize for this, and will be shipping the dual-sided map of Britannia, the Lost Lands, and Ilshenar to all customers who have participated in the special upgrade offer, at no additional charge.The dual-sided map will be shipped to the address entered for the upgrade offer. Customers currently taking advantage of the Third Dawn upgrade offer will receive the dual-sided, retail version map.



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Distributed Backup System
Some of our biggest changes are the ones that aren’t readily apparent in game, but affect the infrastructure of Ultima Online.
The distributed backup system is one of those changes - and it’s a big one. As we’ve improved, tweaked, and expanded UO, there’s one thing that has stayed consistent, and that’s long backup times. Backing up all the data on a shard could take up to three hours, which meant that when the shards went down for maintenance, hours of playtime were lost.
For the first time since UO’s launch, our programmers have instituted a major change to the backup system, thanks to improvements in technology and months of work. The result of this change is stellar: backups have been reduced to between 5-15 minutes in most cases! This means shorter ‘time warps’ before server maintenance, less time lost bringing a shard back up after an unexpected downtime, and a more predictable maintenance schedule.
Please keep in mind that the ‘time warps’ will be significantly smaller, so players should treat all time played as time that will be saved!
This backup system has been released only to the AOL Legends and Atlantic shards at this point, but we will be working to continue activating this system on all remaining shards. We will announce a release schedule for the remaining shards at least 24 hours in advance of their activation.



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New Titles Discovered
Rumors abound of new titles bestowed upon players for their deeds in the land of Ilshenar! Details are scarce, and only time will tell what's left to be discovered…



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New Event Team Announced
A new breed of designer can be found on the UO Live team lately - the Event Designer. With the UO team larger than it has ever been since its launch, we now have the manpower to devote an entire section of the design team to creating new content and direction for events. Armed with knowledge of the code and the ability to make unprecedented code changes, Calandryll, Gromm, and Augur look to update the way events are seen and enjoyed in Ultima Online.
For more information, be sure to read Sage’s Comments from the Team of April 3rd, and Calandryll’s Comments from April 13th !



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iGames and Third Dawn
For those players who want to get away from their roommates, play with a faster Internet connection, or just experience a whole new meaning of the word “multiplayer”, iGames has affiliated gaming centers and Internet cafes all over the US and Canada.
Want to play Ultima Online with others in your hometown? EA and iGames are working together to form a game center guild program to bring Ultima Online players together on a quarterly basis at iGames centers to participate in special UO: Third Dawn events. To join the guild program, or to get information about leading a guild, gamers can sign up at the iGames website.
For more information and to find participating iGames centers, see the iGames UO: Third Dawn Launch Event.



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Comments From the Team
Want to hear from the people behind the game? We’ve updated a new Comments From the Team schedule, and players can read musings from the UO Live Team every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday !
Comments being posted this month include folks like Designers Sage, Vex, and Calandryll, Producers Runesabre and Stellerex, QA Engineer MrTact, and Network Operations Lead Jack Benny, among others.
Come see what’s on the team’s mind - now three times a week!



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April Spotlights
Join us in April as we spotlight more tales from the citizens of Britannia!
The schedule of April spotlights is:
April 13th: Glur’Kun, Blood Axe: Tale of the Blood Axe Tribe of Ilshenar
April 20th: Phoenix Rising: Spotlight on a Player Town
April 27th: First Prize: Tale of an Easter Competition
To read these tales and others, please visit the Spotlight section.

Thanks for your interest!