Clean Up Britannia (1999)

When housing was first introduced, it was a decay free area. Anything placed inside a house was immune to decay. This was a god-send to players who previously were very confined in the amount of items they could store between their Backpack, Bank Box, and Boats. However, as time passed players kept on collecting items. Thousands of items could be stored in a 7x7 house with many times that in larger homes. The pack rat nature of some players were beginning to degrade Server performance. A recent bug with Jester Hats allowed them to be crafted without using any resources. A developer revealed that one player stored over 4,000 hats for no apparent reason.

In fall of 1999, it became clear to the developers that the game could not continue on its present course. The amount of storage in houses had to be limited in order to continue adding new features, such as the impending land expansion in Ultima Online: Renaissance. The solution to this problem was broken up into three phases

Phase I

The first phase debut in October 1999. Players were encourage to deposit unnecessary items into Trash Barrels. They would in turn receive tickets depending on the worth of the item. These tickets could then be exchanged for rewards. Stackable items such as Gold and Fish Steaks could not be redeemed. This phase lasted approximately two weeks. Any tickets left unspent were converted to gold coins on a 1 to 1 ratio.


Item Description Ticket Cost
Neon Hair Dye Dyes your hair "neon" colors not found on a normal Hair Dye. 10,000
Neon Beard Dye Dyes your beard "neon" colors. 10,000
Beard Growth & Sculpting Cream Allows you to change your beard style. 30,000
Hair Restyle Coupon Allows you to change your hair style. 30,000
Furniture Dye Tub

Furniture dye tub.png

Dyes furniture instead of clothing. All furniture dye tubs now state they are Veteran Rewards. 100,000
Monster Statuettes Makes noises for the creature it represents. You received one random statue when chosen, making getting a full set difficult without trading. Each of the statuettes later became available via other means such as Veteran Rewards. 100,000
Phoenix Armor

Phoenix armour set.gif

Ringmail armor which is blessed with a special hue. You received one random piece when chosen, making getting a full set difficult without trading. 100,000
Singing Ball

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Makes a wide range of sounds when walked near. 100,000
Item Bless Deed Used to bless a single non-container item. 500,000


In a Team Comment titled "A Ticket to the Future" Sunsword stated, "As of Friday, October 22, 1999, we have seen significant improvements on backup times, server restart times and CPU performance." It was later stated that phase one helped cut "backup times by almost 30%!"[1]

Phase II

This step was to introduce a new method of house storage. It consisted of two parts: Lock Downs and Secures. Lock downs allowed you to display and use items without them being stolen. Secures were similar to a bank box and used up Lock Down slots when placed. Houses would be allocated a specific number of Lock Down and Secure slots based on the size.

House Type Secures Lock Downs
All Small Houses (7x7) 3 425
Brick House 8 1,100
Large Patio Houses 8 1,100
L-Shape House 10 1,370
Tower 15 2119
Small Stone Keep 18 2,625
Castle 28 4,076

Phase III

The final phase was to simply turn on item decay in houses. Players were given plenty of warning when the switch was finally thrown on January 23, 2000. Any item not placed by an Interest Game Master, locked down, or inside a secure would decay. In addition, items on a boat deck would now decay. Overall, the Clean Up Britannia program achieved its purpose. "On the older shards, we’ve seen backup times drop by over 75%, and server start times have been cut by over 50%!"[2]

See Also