Ultima Online suspends housing decay, placement during 20th anniversary month due to Harvey


During this week’s Massively OP Podcast, Justin and I wondered whether any MMORPGs with ongoing in-game costs and timers might disable them because of Hurricane Harvey — specifically, we were thinking of how SOE famously and generously turned off all in-game maintenance fees and timers for Star Wars Galaxies during and after Katrina, ensuring that a catastrophe in real life that cost some players their real homes wouldn’t also result in a virtual disaster inside the virtual world.

Maybe Ultima Online was listening because Broadsword just announced that it’ll do effectively the same thing.

“We are turning off housing decay for the whole month of September starting today (9/1/2017) to try to help any of our players that are having to go through the disaster occuring in Texas at this time. Our hearts and prayers go out to you and your families.”

Unlike Star Wars Galaxies, which had in-game maintenance fees, Ultima Online ties housing ownership to ongoing sub fees, though certain grandfathered homes require actual login to keep up. As we noted on the podcast, following Katrina, SOE was reluctant to turn structure maintenance fees back on, causing considerable inflation to the in-game economy until it did. That shouldn’t be an issue in UO, but the downside — for everyone — is that these measures ensure nobody’s going to be doing much with the housing system all during a peak month that might otherwise have seen an influx of returning players thanks to the game’s 20th anniversary.

“Please be aware that during this time you will not be able to place a house, transfer a house, demolish a house or resize a house.”

Anybody know of other examples of MMORPGs changing things up for Harvey?


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