1997-08-12: Letter From Lord British

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Letter From Lord British

Greetings and salutations,

As of the writing of this message we have released for shipment all 25 thousand of the Beta test CD's. I know only about 1/2 of you have them now, but the rest should arrive within the next week or two. We staggered the release of the CDs so that we could slowly add load to the various parts of the game and fix them as they broke, rather than having way more than we could handle from the start. As some of you might have experienced, each time we double the number of people we've ever had online before, it takes us a day or two to fix the basic stability problem, much less address all the gameplay issues. Please bear with us as we ramp up to being able to support all of you simultaneously. No game in the world has even attempted the levels of massive multi-player interaction we hope to see here in a few days. We are excited and grateful to have you as a part of it, and we do appreciate your continued patience and support.

Of course we continue to fix hundreds of bugs every day, and though that will make the game much better, it also means that you beta testers can experience very long patch times as we fix certain kinds of problems. We will try to make the large ones, (over eight megs), happen no more than once a week, when they're necessary at all.

I know many of you who have yet to start the beta test have been worried about early players having an advantage over later ones by having more time to build up wealth and power. Well, to fix certain bugs we will have to restart the world. We hope to do this no more than once a week (again, when it's necessary at all). When we do, this will put everyone on the same level. We'll even try to warn you a day or two ahead, when possible, so that you can "go for broke" with your soon-to-be-doomed characters.

Additionally, we're going to try to mail you regularly like this, to keep you up to date with where we are, what we are up to, and what we'd like you to do. Our first order of business is to get the servers running smoothly with a large number of players. Next we will improve play balance and fix a lot of the fun factor stuff like quests, skills, usable items and magic. Finally, we will try to move into a mode where (we hope) the game will be virtually identical to the shipping product, with little incursion by the development team needed.

Please check our Beta Test Center on the web site (www.owo.com) daily for known bugs, and our plans to eradicate them, as well as information on special events, notice on character wipes or extended downtimes, and our new, daily Development Journal, where our designers let you know their most important tasks of the day.

Finally, think on this ... the deep ills of Britannia will be solved only when all the shards of reality are reunited.

Your obedient servant, - Lord British

Tuesday, August 12