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Publish Notes from 2002-07-12 Housing Ownership Changes

Publish Notes from 2002-07-12 Housing Ownership Changes


House Ownership & Decay Changes

The following points summarize the system of player housing and house decay within Ultima Online after Publish 16. (Note that, for the purpose of this document, the term “active account” means one that is paid up – it has nothing to do with the amount of time logged or frequency of play.)

  • Players who owned multiple houses prior to Publish 16, regardless of whether the multiple houses are on different shards or all on the same shard, are allowed to maintain these houses, but they will need to be refreshed manually.
  • Acquiring a new house will put all other houses owned by that account on any shard into condemned status, meaning they cannot be refreshed and will decay within 5 days.
  • Players may opt to own only one house per account, setting that house as primary, and causing any other houses on that account to become condemned and decay. In exchange, the primary house will be automatically refreshed for as long as the account remains active. (See "Primary Houses" below for more details.)
  • Houses that are owned by inactive game accounts will be marked as condemned and will decay within 5 days. Note: Currently this only applies to accounts that are inactive at the time that the Publish 16 changes take effect. See "Primary Houses" and “Grandfathered Houses” below for more details.
  • Any player who places a new house (this includes upgrading an old house by redeeding it and replacing it with a new house), or has a house transferred to them will be automatically opted into this system.
  • If a player places a house, has a house traded to him, or sets a house to Primary, a one-week timer begins. During that time, he may not place another house, have another house traded to him, or set another house as Primary. However, that player can still give away any number of houses on any number of shards without restriction.
    • You can find out whether your timer is still active by double-clicking a house deed. If you still have a timer, it will say, "You must wait __ days to place a house." Otherwise, you'll just get the house placement tool, which you can then cancel.
  • Only a house's owner, co-owners, and friends will be able to see a house's current state of decay ("This house is slightly worn," "This house is somewhat worn," etc.) of a house, which will be done by single-clicking that house's sign.
  • The co-owner feature for houses will continue to exist, with all the rights and privileges they currently enjoy, although being a co-owner will no longer count against your house ownership status.

Housing states

Houses will be classified as one of three states: "Primary," "Grandfathered," or "Condemned." These states will be updated upon any placement or acquirement of a new house, and/or changes to the owning account's active/inactive status. Below is a more comprehensive breakdown of the housing refresh states.

Primary house

This house is owned by an active game account, and has been established by the player to be that account's primary house. The house refresh state on the house menu-gump of a primary house will be listed on the house sign as "Automatic." Primary houses will no longer display any decay stage, as the house will be automatically refreshed, and will no longer decay.

Note: setting a house as a primary house will automatically set all other houses owned by that account, on any shard, to a condemned state.

Currently, primary houses will still remain standing even if the owner’s account goes inactive, but there are plans in the future to change this. So currently, a player whose account goes inactive after Publish 16 will not lose his primary house, but we strongly recommend that players who value their homes keep their account active. See the section below entitled “Future Plans – Inactive Accounts and Housing” for more details.

Grandfathered house

This house is owned by an active game account, but has not been established by the player to be that account's primary house.

The house refresh state on the house menu-gump will be listed as "Grandfathered." Grandfathered houses will decay "as normal," proceeding through several decay steps lasting approximately 11 days. However, owners, co-owners and friends will be able to manually refresh this house and begin the decay cycle anew by opening and closing any of that house's doors.

Currently, grandfathered houses will still remain standing even if the owner's account goes inactive (provided they are still refreshed by friends or co-owners) but there are plans in the future to change this. So while at this time, an inactive owner does not necessarily mean the house will collapse, we strongly recommend that players who value their homes keep their account active. See the section below entitled "Future Plans - Inactive Accounts and Housing" for more details.

Condemned house

A condemned house cannot be refreshed, and will decay within 5 days. Houses will become condemned if a player places or acquires a newer house on any shard.

Note: The only way a condemned house will be un-condemned is if it is traded to another account. Re-deeding a more recently placed house will not uncondemn the previously placed house on the same account.

Implementation (or How will all this work?)

The changes to housing/house decay will occur in three phases.

Phase 1 (House Status Assessment)

This phase is in effect until all shards have been published with Publish 16 (including Siege Perilous and Mugen). All houses will be registered during this phase, and will show up as the following:

  • Houses on currently active accounts that are not condemned through normal means will be listed as “Grandfathered.” (Normal means refers to houses that have been condemned through the owner placing or acquiring another house.) The reason that they are shown as “Grandfathered” – even if they are the account owner’s only house – is that during this phase, the shards are not communicating with each other to share housing information between shards. So until Phase 2, when players can actually start declaring Primary houses, all houses are considered “grandfathered.” All grandfathered houses will be auto-refreshed until Phase 3.
  • Houses that are currently condemned through normal means, or that belong to an inactive account, will be marked as “Condemned.” The houses that have been condemned through normal means will be the only houses during this phase that will decay into full collapse. Houses that belong to inactive accounts, although their sign may say “condemned,” will be refreshed every day around noon Central time, and will not decay past the “slightly worn” stage.

Phase 2 (Establishing Ownership & Beginning Global House Rules)

This phase will begin approximately a week after all shards have received Publish 16 (give or take, depending on whether any issues arise). In this phase, we will begin tracking housing information on all shards, for all game accounts. From this point forward, placing a house or being transferred a house will condemn all of your houses, on all shards, except for the newest house.

During this stage, players will be able to set their house (or one of their houses) as a "Primary House." Primary houses will begin automatically refreshing, while all other (non-condemned) houses will need to be manually refreshed. Warning: Setting a house as a primary house will automatically set all other houses on that account, on all shards, as condemned.

During this phase, co-owners (or friends, if the co-owner list is empty) of ownerless houses will be given the option of claiming those houses as their own, provided they do not already own a house on any shard. This will work in the following manner:

  • If there are any characters on the ownerless house’s “co-owner” list, the system will not progress to the house's “friends” list, even if all co-owners pass on the option of claiming the house, or are on inactive accounts. In other words, friends will get the opportunity to try to claim the house ONLY if the co-owner list is completely empty.
  • To be offered the opportunity to claim an ownerless house, the co-owner or friend must access the house sign. Ownership of the house will be offered on a first-come, first-serve basis.
  • Only co-owners or friends who do not own another house will receive the opportunity to claim the house.
  • A co-owner or friend may sell, give away, or re-deed their other home, then return and be given the opportunity to claim the ownerless house, provided it has not already been claimed by another co-owner or friend.
  • A co-owner or friend who declines ownership of an offered home may return later and be given the option again, provided that Phase 2 is still in progress and the home has not been already claimed by another co-owner.
  • If a co-owner or friend accepts the house, they are now the owner of that house, and the house state should change to read “Automatic” (if the house sign does not immediately change, check back within a few hours, since there may be a delay in the database communication).

Phase 3 (New House Decay Rules Begin)

This final phase begins the new house decay rules. All Primary Houses will auto-refresh, Grandfathered houses will need to be manually refreshed, and Condemned houses will not be able to be refreshed and will decay within 5 days (as per the rules specified in the "housing states" section above).

10-day Grace Period: Once a player’s account goes inactive, there will be a 10-day grace period before the houses on that account are also marked as “inactive” (this is to prevent players from losing homes or being opted into the primary house system against their will due to a missed payment or billing error), and “inactive houses” will be marked as Condemned and decay within 5 days, except:

  • If the account is re-activated before the 10-day grace period ends, your house will return to its pre-grace period state. If you own multiple houses they will all return to their pre-grace period states.
  • If the account is re-activated after the 10-day grace period ends, you will be opted in to the one-house per account system and your house will become a Primary House (if it isn’t already). If you own multiple houses only your most recently collected house will become a Primary House, and all houses except for the newest will remain Condemned and continue decaying.