You can connect to test center by entering "test.uosecondage.com" as the server in razor. Same port, 2593.
These changes have been under discussion for quite some time. The initial decompilation of the OSI combat system by Batlin was done over 7 months ago which gave us the first glimpses of how the weapons on OSI worked. Since that time we have adapted a pre-T2A weapon system (actually encompassing some other systems as well) and shaped from that system a combat system that is believed to be accurate to the T2A era, post Feb 1999.
The test center combat has been going through constant revision over the last few weeks as we've refined our concept of what changes OSI made to weapons between mid 1998 and late Feb 1999. So if you were on test two weeks ago and were grossed out by what you saw, I encourage you to take another look. It's been a difficult process.
What is now on test center is the pre-T2A combat system straight from OSI code, with the addition of the following known mechanical changes:
11/10/98 - Patch
New Weapon Scale Changes
01/05/99 - Patch
Only items that you first pick up can be equipped.
02/02/99 - Patch
Mace weapons now cause stamina loss and extra damage to armor when they hit an opponent.
Your swing rate or firing rate with all weapons is now dependent on your current stamina, instead of your dexterity.
Damage for your blow is now assessed on your opponent on the start of the swing, instead of at the end. This change makes a fast connection less of an advantage in melee combat. This will apply to wrestling and attacks made by monsters as well.
Equipping a weapon now causes a short "prep time" before you can start swinging.
Being good at anatomy will give a bonus to the damage you do in combat.
02/26/99 - Patch
An exploit for getting slow weapons to hit faster has been fixed.
The patch of the most interest is of course the February 1999 "Insta-Hit" patch. There has been quite a bit of interpretation as to what "assessed at the start of the swing" and "prep-time" meant and much of the smashing our head against the wall related to these questions. The stated goal of this OSI patch was to balance combat towards those with slower connections, and i think the theory's we have enacted meet these goals. The overall changes to the OSI code were minimal (about 5 lines of code), and the changes are compatible with the changes made later to adapt the system to UO:R combat which was an important design consideration. Much testing was also done on current EA servers, to verify that some aspects of the pre-T2a combat code is still present in UO even 12 years later, especially with respect to the movement of items resetting swings, which was a point of much contention during development.
Overall, for the average player, the changes will not elicit much surprise, the combat for the average guy is pretty much the same with the most noticeable changes being present in archery. Archery mechanics did not change between mid 1998 and into 1999, so we are very confident that the way archery works on test center is absolutely authentic.
In addition to the swing changes, the proposed spell casting changes are active as well, notably:
No disturb on Equip/Use. This was added Jan 24, 2000 and should not be present here:
http://wiki.uosecondage.com/?title=Ultima_Online:_The_Second_Age_Patch_Notes_for_01/24/2000 wrote:"The bug involving the ability to “pre-cast” spells and then use or take items will be fixed."
Message on target while equipped fizzle
Removal of attack and tab throttles