Ultima Online was released twenty years ago today

ultimaonlineanniversary

I’ll never forget where I was when I heard that Lord British had been killed.

The character, Ultima creator Richard Garriott’s alter-ego and in-game avatar, burned to a crisp during a beta test of Ultima Online on August 9th, 1997. The game officially launched a month and a half later, twenty years ago today, and I loved it in a way that has kept me from loving any massively multiplayer RPG released since. It might not look like much now, but back then it looked like the future and I could only imagine the kind of worlds I’d be building an alternate online life in twenty years down the line. I can still only imagine them because the spirit of Ultima Online, at least what it meant to me, seemed to wither on the vine.

Trammel was my favourite place. Until the Renaissance expansion which brought it into existence, I’d been playing in Felucca, which was a den of thieves and killers. The new land, Trammel, mirrored Felucca geographically but it was an altogether different place in terms of social niceties. Simply put, players couldn’t kill one another unless they’d agreed to do so. That lent the world a chivalric sense and made Ultima a place of virtue, as I felt it should be, where combat was more likely to take the form of a polite (if fatal) duel rather than a brutal assault.

I built a house and I met people who became friends. In World of Warcraft, The Secret World and Guild Wars, the only other MMOs I’ve spent more than a few hours with, I levelled up and quested and killed all manner of monsters. In Ultima Online, I existed. It shaped my notion of what an online world should be, in the same way that Ultima VII shaped my notion of what an RPG world should. Fundamentally, I wanted the ordinary to sit side by side with the extraordinary, which meant that buying a house (not quite as fantastical a concept in 1997 as in 2017) was as exciting as hunting monsters.

The appeal is summarised beautifully by player Petra Fyde in our 2015 revisit and retrospective:

“[Ultima] endures because it is diverse, appealing to many different people with many different play types and makes no demands. Basically you do what you want, when you want, if you want. You don’t have to commit to hours online while undertaking a ‘raid’. You can log in for 10 minutes and still feel you’ve achieved something. It endures because players have ‘ownership’ of property, they have houses which they have built and furnished, they ‘live’ in UO. There’s a sense of presence here.”

You should also read about Alec’s adventures as UO’s worst ninja.

And where was I when I heard that Lord British had been killed? I was online, at a friend’s house, hardly able to believe that the creator of a game could be killed by a player within that game. It was science fiction. It was also the result of a rebooted server, oversights on the developer end and problems with lag, but I can’t remember being so immediately sold on the idea of a game as when I heard that Lord British had been assassinated during a public address.

Twenty years later, I still wish I’d been right there in the world to see it happen.

66 Comments

  1. Freud says:

    Old school Ultima games and their inventory management give me nightmares still. Bags and dragging and dropping stuff.

    I’m not a fan of the current gamepad adjusted inventory management in current role playing games, but it’s like heaven compared to what Ultima used to do.

    • Konservenknilch says:

      Those goddamn keys in Black Gate… at least in Exult they used the Serpent Isle key ring.

    • BradleyUffner says:

      I love that kind of inventory system. Games that don’t have it feel empty to me. It physically connects you with your character in a way that other systems don’t. To me, it is one of the key, defining, elements that made UO amazing.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        Same. There are some usability issues (eg, items getting hidden under other items), but it’s the only system that’s ever felt to me like actually having *stuff*. Being able to keep a bunch of dyeable pouches inside your backpack was so satisfying.

        And little touches like directly using a knife to cut up fish then using it on a fire, rather than yet another tedious crafting interface.

      • LexW1 says:

        I loved it too, very dearly. I think you could make a modern, mouse-driven game which had a similar UI and was totally playable, but you would have to make some effort in the design, and you would have to make inventory management an actual part of gameplay (so full-real-time gameplay probably, no turn-based or pausing-and-being-able-to-do-things). One might also consider going from 2D to 3D or at least some sort of fake-3D.

        But it could work, and it did give a sense of physicality to Ultima often absent in modern games (even heavily Ultima-inspired ones like D:OS).

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      Phasma Felis says:

      That’s not “old school Ultima”, ya whippersnapper. Ultima didn’t even have mouse support until VI. Everything before that did inventory as a text list.

  2. Nesty says:

    I have such fond memories of this game.

    It saddens me that there hasn’t been anything remotely close to giving the freedom and diversity that UO delivered all those years ago. There’s an untapped fortune waiting for a developer to get it right.

    Some random simple things off the top of my head that contributed to UO being amazing:

    No “world/global chat”, you can only hear what people are saying if they’re on screen. This made encounters with people more valuable/meaningful out in the wild, contributing to the immersion of being in the world. Funnily enough survival games such as DayZ and H1Z1 have come the closest to recapturing that nervous apprehension of encountering another player in the wild, not knowing if they’re going to become a good friend to adventure with over the course of the evening, or are just going to kill you for your stuff.

    No instancing – everyone existing in the same world and not segmented off from each other (discounting Trammel/Felucca – but I may argue this degraded aspects of the game!)

    The criminal system. You can do anything you want, wherever you want, but there are consequences. If you attack somebody in town the guards show up and kill you. If somebody dies out in the wild and you decide to pilfer their corpse, your character gets flagged as a criminal (grey) for a period of time, during which you are fair game for anyone to attack without repercussion. If you decide to become a murderer, eventually you are flagged ‘permanently’ as one, and will be killed on sight if you try to enter a main town and a player calls the guards – leading to a life as an outlaw living out in the wild (your murder count does reduce very slowly over time, meaning that if you decide to shun the life of crime, eventually at some point in the future your murderer flag drops, but we’re talking weeks of play time for a reformed criminal!)

    link to uo2.stratics.com
    link to uo.com

    Crafting and the economy was a huge success due to dropping everything when you die (if you were a melee character, you’d probably have to buy a new suit of armour that a blacksmith had crafted, who had been supplied materials by a miner). This may sound harsh in this day and age, but gear was mostly a less precious commodity and players would stock up in their bank several sets to get straight back into the action.

    The skills system – you had a total skill cap of 700% that you could apportion to about 50 unique skills (each capped at 100%). To increase proficiency in a skill required actually using it. Getting closer to 100% everything became much harder – an animal tamer would have to attempt to tame very scary beasts (drakes, bulls(!), hell hounds and eventually dragons and nightmares (true blacks woot)), a mage would have to attempt difficult spells (such as summoning an energy vortex, a vicious, fast moving elemental that would attack ANYBODY in its vicinity, even the caster!). A cartographer (treasure hunting!) would have to decipher rare high level treasure maps that were incredibly hard to obtain.

    I could go on all day (and I often do to the disdain of my friends)… but you get the gist. How much of this is rose tinted? I honestly don’t think that much given I’ve played extensively on free shards in recent years.

    • HeavyStorm says:

      There are at least two MMO out there trying to redo what uo did back when.

      The most commercially successful attempt is Albion Online, the one that is mimicking uo the most is Legends of Aria.

      But I have a secret hope that one day Star Citizen will be the modern uo. If you take a closer look you realize that many of the systems that made uo unique are there, like owning houses (ships) and sandboxing. The only thing that is missing thus far is actual player driven economy.

      • milligna says:

        Star Citizen as the modern UO? That’s absolutely hilarious. Chris Roberts is a glib con man interested only in pretending he’s a hotshot movie director. As if he or anyone he can retain for long enough on that sinking ship has got the design chops to be Raph Koster Mark II.

        • Unclepauly says:

          You,sir, are prejudiced. And a Good day!

          • Monty845 says:

            Last I heard, Star Citizen was using dynamic instancing. Dealing with lots of people in the same place is hard, but instancing guts the ability of players to generate their own emergent content, which was the very heart of what made UO special. If you are in the same place as another payer, at the same time, you will always encounter each other, and thus when what each player does effects every other player to some extent.

            Has that changed with Star Citizen? I haven’t heard a major commitment to allow unlimited battle sizes, and the tackle the incredible CS challenges that come with such an approach.

      • Nesty says:

        I tried Albion Online – it was a hollow shell of a game that seemed to only achieve about 10% of what UO did 20 years ago.

        Hadn’t heard of Legends of Aria before – will check it out, thanks!

    • onodera says:

      That’s very rose-tinted. There’s a reason why WoW went down the road of theme park experiences and almost everyone else followed. Not everyone is willing to live in a virtual world that is as punishing as UO.

      Yes, games like UO and DayZ may create the most intense experiences, but Plunkbat and WoW are much more accessible.

      • TillEulenspiegel says:

        This is kinda like saying that games like Counterstrike or Arma can’t succeed, because CoD is so popular.

        There’s room for both! Which is why it’s surprising that every attempt at anything UO-like has been so mediocre. I’ve always maintained that there’s been far too much focus on open PvP, and not nearly enough on making an interactive virtual world.

        UO itself had a ton of flaws of course, but it points to a path forward that MMOs have made only hesitating attempts to follow.

      • fenriz says:

        Heh yes, and the reason is not very flattering for gamers, man.

        something around “we turned into sissy girls”.

        • Unclepauly says:

          Ill subscribe to the sissy part. Some of the girls have always been tougher though.

      • Monty845 says:

        New leadership following the purchase of Origin by Electronic Arts was trying to expand the appeal of UO, and compete with the much more technologically advanced offerings of Everquest and Asheron’s Call.

        UO, during its early life, was compelling enough to attract everyone, who had to deal with the system as it was. But as competition emerged, EA moved abandoned what made UO special to pursue a larger customer base. But abandoning the core of what made UO special, while trying to compete against next gen MMOs was never going to end well.

    • Budikah says:

      I wish I had more to add other than that I feel the same.

      UO is sort of a rock in the ocean in my life. It was something solid during shitty times growing up. Often I’ll tell stories about it, but I try to tell people – it was a game, but you also “lived” there – you became a part of that small pocket universe and could do what you wanted.

      I do hope we see something similar in the future. I really enjoyed almost everything about UO. It’s a shame that nowadays it’s played almost exclusively with macros to high hell, but if it were a modern game – those would have to be built in anyways… so, it’s a bit of an “upgrade” I suppose but it does change how the game is played.

  3. cardigait says:

    I still remember fondly the Minoc mines, where i mined so much ore and sold many armours; the horrendous ping and connection i had at the time only allowed me a worked life, but i enjoed the game, the charts, the sellers spam at the bank, the ghost walks.
    Fond memories; only the first Wow and Atitd gave me similar pleasures in the mmorpg world.

  4. 1zz says:

    Unmatched by anything after it. Some of the best times I’ve ever had as a PC gamer were in UO.

    Open manly tears shed here :'(

    • Budikah says:

      I have “Stones” and a few other UO tracks in my music library and it popped on yesterday and I got a bit teary eyed and had to explain that one to my wife. Luckily she understands and finds it all immensely intriguing even though she hasn’t played anything like it herself and rarely touches games.

      UO was something special man. It still is. I often jest that when I’m old and senile I’d just like to be hooked up to a VR system and allowed to lay in a chair and play UO til I croak out.

      • 1zz says:

        So true, mate. It really was an amazing game and fantastic (more often than not brutal) community.

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    Iamblichos says:

    I have similar memories of Asheron’s Call, and similar sadness. A lot of things about the game were, frankly, broken. There were serious play imbalances, to the point where everyone of the same class always wore the same armor with the same weapon, for example. But AC felt like an open, living world in ways that modern MMOs do not. I still remember the sense of childlike wonder I had when I realized that I really could go ANYWHERE in the map… if there was a mountain, I could climb it. There was an insane amount of lore, thanks to Stormwaltz (Chris L’Etoile), and so many little easter eggs hidden around the landscape in weird, seemingly inaccessible places. It was my first, and nothing else will ever be quite the same.

    • deadlybydsgn says:

      @Asheron’s Call — Same here!

      It says something that I still feel a smidgen of pride for being on the server that defended the Shard of the Herald.

      I may not have played very long in retrospect (open beta through late 2001), but AC was my first and last true MMORPG. Sure, I played Guild Wars a few years later, but nothing has ever truly recaptured the wonder of experiencing AC as a new player. Even in the brokenness and awkwardness of a few of its systems, it did something truly special with its open world and monthly lore.

      In the end, I’m glad I played it. It’s a lot easier to nostalgically remember an MMORPG than it is to feel like I’m wasting my time still playing them.

      But let’s be honest… I’d still load it up occasionally if private servers existed. It would be nice to run around Dereth one more time.

  6. jeremyalexander says:

    I grew up with the Ultima series and each release was an event in my life up until Ultima 8, although I liked 9 more than many old school fans, but I hated every second of Ultima Online. The Ultima series was known for it’s fairy tale like stories and it’s great characters that grew and evolved over time. UO had none of that. I wandered around for a while getting beat up by rabbits because the system to get better at combat was beyond tedious. Finally I went from pub to pub taking my clothes off and dancing for money and goods, not exactly the way I pictured my brave knight in the new online world, but I had to make money and every player I met on the roads would just kill me for no reason. If there was a sense of community that developed over time, so what? What is it the community was supposed to be doing? Oddly this also started Garriott’s obsession with mutliplayer games that continues to this day. It’s sad because for a decade he was the champion of advancing the single player rpg genre, only to completely abandon it. I just never had fun playing UO.

    • Unclepauly says:

      “Life was hard so I used my body for easy money”

      And in the game?

  7. mpk says:

    and I loved it in a way that has kept me from loving any massively multiplayer RPG released since.

    The is pretty much how I feel after 5 years of hard EVE-ing (followed by another 3 or 4 years of relapses).

  8. Fachewachewa says:

    Never played it myself, but i’m glad it exists only for that video link to youtube.com

  9. elevown says:

    I only played UO a little – but played the single player games a ton. Amazing role-playing games. With some great music!

    link to youtube.com

    Best stones version I ever heard.

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    Neurotic says:

    Buying the Samurai Empire expansion in W.H. Smith’s remains an enduring memory for me.

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    zigguratvertigo says:

    It represented the siphoning of talent away from the single player games, which is why you mention Ultima 7 in your article rather than Ultimas 8 or 9. That’s what I remember it for. I’m wondering if history is repeating with Elder Scrolls Online. Time will tell.

    • LexW1 says:

      I’m not sure if ESO is siphoning talent, but it’s certainly ensuring they’re in no rush to make TESVI, and I’m not super-happy about that, much as I am supposed to love “when it’s done” and so on. Pretty sure that without ESO, they’d have been working solidly on TESVI since part-way through FO4 at the latest, and in fact they were still claiming not to have started as of quite recently.

      And that is because ESO makes $$$, bizarre as that might seem. They almost as admitted as much at one point.

      As for Ultima, well, it’s unfair to blame UO for U8’s problems, that’s just wrong. U8 came out in 1994. U0 didn’t start development until 1995, by all accounts. If anything, it might be a reaction to how badly U8 went down, with it’s strange hybrid single-character action JRPG/Ultima design (a design U9 also had, albeit with a different type of single-character JRPG being hybridized in).

      • ByrdWhyrm says:

        I believe ESO is made by an entirely different team (or set of teams) then the main Elder Scrolls games. I would think the only crossover between the two teams would be writers ensuring lore continuity between games. My assumption is that the Elder Scrolls team is pretty deep into development of TESVI, but Bethesda’s MO seems to be remaining silent about the existence of a game until the game is close to being released.

        • Janichsan says:

          Not only a separate team, it’s from a completely separate studio: ESO is from ZeniMax Online. Betheda’s only relation to that game is that it is published under their label.

        • LexW1 says:

          There is no “Elder Scrolls team”, though, in that sense. There’s the Bethesda Game Studios team – and BGS is allegedly releasing other games before TESVI, and they’ve specifically said, as recently as earlier this year, that they are not currently developing TESVI, so your belief that they are “deep in development” on it seems a tad fanciful, sadly.

      • deadlybydsgn says:

        Bethesda absolutely needs to drop their ragged game engine. They claim Creation is new, but anyone who’s played the previous games can tell you that bits of Gamebryo can still be felt in the bones of it.

        • Sirius1 says:

          A lot of people say that (“they need to drop the engine”) but I have mixed feelings about it. Consider that it is a mature engine. Few of the bugs that plague the ES or Fallout games are engine bugs, because it is so mature. Can you imagine the number of bugs a new engine programmed by Bethesda would have? I shudder at the thought.

          You can also thank the fact that they’ve kept the engine for the amazing amount of mods that are available for those games. Modding for the ES/Fallout games has stayed essentially unchanged since Morrowind. Anyone familiar with modding one of the games can quickly and easily make content for the others. And the modding itself is relatively painless. There’s no guarantee that a new engine would be anywhere near as mod friendly as the current one, though I’m sure Bethesda would make it one of their goals.

          But yes, with the caveats given above, it would still be nice to have a proper 64 bit multithreaded engine that would take advantage of modern hardware.

          • LexW1 says:

            If you’re not a modder, you might want to avoid claiming mod’ing has remained unchanged. The capacity to mod, and what you can mod has largely remained unchanged, but according to most modders, including those I know personally, mod’ing has become more difficult and time-consuming with each game, to the point where making a scripted character in FO4 takes literally 9-10x as long as it did in Oblivion. So “quickly and easily”? Hmmmm. Seems like an overstatement to me.

          • Sirius1 says:

            Yes, as games have progressed, graphics have become more detailed, and scripted behaviours have become more complex. What I meant is that the basic structure and behaviour of mods remains virtually unchanged – someone familiar with modding one of the games will have no trouble coming to grips modding one of the others, compared to modding a completely different game on another engine. I can say that with some authority since yes, I have done some modding for several of the games, as well as for non-Bethesda games.

  12. megaman001 says:

    It would not be hyperbole to say this game changed my life.

    • LexW1 says:

      I think it did for a lot of people. I’m somewhat surprised it didn’t for me, because my brother had it, and we played it a bit, but… it just didn’t really drag me in.

      I played EverQuest on a friend’s PC not long after its release in 1999, though, and that did change my life – I actually only played it heavily for a few months, but it was such an astonishing, eye-opening experience, a “virtual reality” in a sense I’d never witnessed before, that it blew my mind. I later played DAoC very very heavily, but wouldn’t even have thought have buying it without EQ.

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    DelrueOfDetroit says:

    I never played it myself but I had a cousin who did. This game felt like absolute magic when I watched him playing for the first time.

    I remember him hanging outside of a bank heckling other players while wearing a deer head and sitting on a massive wooden throne. It was pretty much the most fun thing I had ever seen at that point in my life.

  14. Dezmiatu says:

    I got in at a great time, new year’s day of 2000. I got six months to find my feet before Trinsic fell to the undead. The fallout of being trapped to live inside that undead-infested shithole, of learning through trial and error the power levels of undead (they were nearly all too strong for my lowly swordsman to handle) and the odd conversations had around the selfless mages opening portals to traffic people in and out made me love that city. When they opened up Trammel and housing, I was determined to live in the area. I miraculously wedged a villa in a small clearing of the jungles just east of the Lost Lands Vagina Cave.

    Still glad its been around for 20 years. I’ll never go back, but the time I spent there was all the MMO I’ll need in my lifetime.

  15. nasero says:

    I absolutely adored this game, easily some of the greatest moments of my life and I’m still friends with people I met in it back from it’s beta.

    We all played until the Trammel split, but even then we all came back occasionally to check in on our favorite game and virtual world.

    Unfortunately on my last time coming back I decided I wanted to try and get serious about the game again, ended up saving gold, getting a Keep, etc and then my account got hacked.

    When i contacted EA and the GM’s both support groups told me I need to “contact my local police station and there is nothing they could do”. That’s when I knew the game and community I loved was dead. R.I.P Ultima Online and all the rare items I collected since launch.

  16. poliovaccine says:

    It bums me out a little I never noticed Ultima VII when it was new, because on paper it sounds like the ultimate game (hence the name, I’m sure), but graphics and UI have come too far for me to ever go back and properly get on with it now. It isnt like with Morrowind, where I already experienced it when I was young so I can still, if not get with, at least get past the more antiquated elements – I never played any game with a UI like Ultima VII has, past or present. But I’m eager to check out anything that draws inspiration from that flowerpot philosophy. It’s that ability to “live in” the spaces, to pick up and move every stupid fork and to pick every flower, that keeps me playing Morrowind or New Vegas for years and years (Skyrim is the iffiest one just cus man do I ever hate snow). Mods help, but there would be no years and years of modding in the first place if people didnt feel like customizing and taking ownership of those worlds already.

    I hear Pillars of Eternity has some of that “everything is interactive and potentially useful” philosophy to it – is that true? Cus if it is, I’ll try it. Any other recommendations along those lines? Rimworld is another favorite, and I’m just starting to get into Starbound, so RPG-ness is really secondary to just having the philosophy of having a gameworld whose fidelity of detail is totally granular. For example, the instant Minecraft first won me over was when I realized water would flow according to (semi-)realistic physics of irrigation. Then when night fell and creatures came out and I realized I actually had a use for building a home base, I was in heaven haha. I mean I even build those in New Vegas, where I dont even really need em, just cus I like to. I have a mod that lets you pick up and place down/sit on any of the game’s many folding chairs, because it goes so well with the mod which lets you smoke cigarettes. This appeals to some distinct little part of my brain.

    It’s for those reasons that I read about Ultima, both Online and VII but I was always more of a single-player so especially VII, and I just feel like I’m reading a description of The Perfect Game… except I cant ever access it because I missed the timegate.

    • PineMaple says:

      “I hear Pillars of Eternity has some of that “everything is interactive and potentially useful” philosophy to it – is that true?”

      It’s not at all true. PoE was going more for replicating the Infinity Engine experience, not the Ultima “sim” style. Unfortunately there are really no RPGs in the same mold as U7 so if the graphics and UI are a deal breaker then you’re out of luck.

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        Waltorious says:

        Adam Smith keeps saying that Divinity: Original Sin and its sequel (which was just released) capture some of the Ultima VII spirit. I haven’t played any of those three games yet, however, so I can’t comment myself.

      • LexW1 says:

        D:OS and the superior sequel very much have the Ultima spirit in terms of the design of the non-combat gameplay. If it wasn’t for the dire writing of the original (allegedly fixed in the sequel), it could almost be mistaken for an Ultima game.

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      Aerothorn says:

      Yes, Pillars is (IMHO) a wonderful game, but is doing something completely different – at its best it tries to replicate a really high-quality, fairly scripted pen-and-paper role playing game. All the system design is focused on traditional RPG things (leveling, combat, skill use) and not on ‘living world’ stuff like physics and NPCs living their own lives.

  17. Budikah says:

    I feel like some of us ex-UO players need to form some sort of support group. The fact that this game carries more emotion to me than many more important things in my life has always stood out.

    I remember getting the box at the store before I had internet – we couldn’t afford to get an internet connection for a few months so I spent every day of my 4th grade life reading the guidebook over and over trying to decide what kind of character I wanted to make.

    I still remember my first hours in the game – me and another newbie found a bardiche on the ground and ran around Trinsic happy as clams, exploring this massive and detailed world with each other.

    I gotta stop typing now. Feelin’ too many feels for my simple one lane road of man emotions.

    • 1zz says:

      All about the feels with UO. Met so many good people and had so many adventures I just want to do it all again. But that can’t happen. Real life fucks it up.

      But the sweet memories and occasional trips on free servers just to see the sights again keep me happy.

    • MajesticXII says:

      My experience is 99% similar to yours.

      I kept reading magazines and the manual for months, thinking what I would eventually do and encounter once I finally played.

      I put a TON of money aside just to convince my parents to get an internet connection.

      Trinsic was always where I wanted to go so that was my starting point.

      Nothing can compare to the experience of that game.

      The art,music,gameplay,design choices were made to be remembered forever.

  18. racccoon says:

    I did it all many moons ago.
    These days I just keep making new chars for TRIAL accounts I think I have over twenty so far.
    EA hasn’t got the message……Release this bloody game FTP with thy shop! please.

  19. geldonyetich says:

    I maintain the most accurate account of oldschool Ultima Online should be titled, “The Unbearable Darkness of Ultima Online.” And it is.

    But I suppose that was written in 2004, and the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia only get rosier as time goes by. So we’ll look back at the time Lord British got ganked as a great milestone and memory in the golden age of fledgling multiplayer endeavors, instead of what it actually was: proof we cannot have nice things.

  20. GrumpyCatFace says:

    I missed the UO craze, but the way you describe it reminds me of the long-lost world of Star Wars Galaxies.

    That feeling of depth and potential can’t be replaced…

  21. Zerpherion says:

    I didn’t get a chance to play UO.

    But there is like 4 different games that similar to that.

    Shroud of the Avatar by Richard Garriott.
    Ultima Online Forever
    Legends of Aria
    EA Ultima Online

    Anyone recommend one?

    • jumpman says:

      UO:Renaissance is an amazing free server that does a great job replicating the pre-Trammel experience. Very active and large player base that shys away from the “pay-to-play” model.

      Check it out: link to uorenaissance.com

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    Risingson says:

    I didn’t try it but in my mind it’s the same think as Eve: you love it to death, but I prefer to stay away from this “survival of the fittest” games. I fucking hate competition.

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      Risingson says:

      I tried to edit but the screen zoomed and buttons disappeared while editing. Not that I don’t like competition, but the fact that people compete. I learnt to stay away from board games for the same reason: I don’t like certain attitudes in real life and I don’t like them to appear on a game.

  23. Captain Narol says:

    Nostalgic of UO should give a try to Stash :

    link to store.steampowered.com

    It’s an atypical new MMO, Free-To-Play and Single-Shard, which aims to bring back the magic of old-school back into MMOs :

    Turn-based combat, player-run economy, lots of crafting, housing, gathering, farming, etc…

  24. FroshKiller says:

    I have many pleasant memories of UO, particularly during the great land rush when the Lake Austin shard opened. Housing decay had been turned off after 9/11, so there was basically no available real estate on which to place a house on the other shards, which meant people typically had to pay real money to buy what few houses were for sale on popular shards.

    But with Lake Austin, everyone started from zero, and every plot was open. No one could buy gold to get started, because no one had earned gold yet.

    My friend and I figured out that the highest rate of return for time invested in crafting was making maps, but only if you could reliably buy all the cartography supplies as soon as the NPC vendors refreshed. The only way this even made sense was if you could lock down a vendor otherwise unreachable. We earned enough gold for a ship, which was not most players’ first purchase, and headed for the mapmaker in Ocllo. Since we were the ones who reached it first, we were able to get a head start.

    While I churned out maps, my friend trained up his Magery to the point that he could cast Mark and Recall. This enabled him to quickly hit the other mapmakers for supplies. I blocked other players from Recalling into the Ocllo shop by strategically placing llamas everywhere I saw another player cast Mark. They didn’t realize we weren’t macroing!

    My friend earned enough for a castle, and I earned enough for a keep, way ahead of most other players on the shard. It was glorious. We kept earning gold to finance a program that gifted ships to new players in order to drive up competition and keep other players from cornering the market as effectively as we had in the beginning.

  25. Electryc03 says:

    Pacific Server, Circle of Emerald Knights (CEK) I salute you! I miss this game, but I moved on. I tried to play this a year ago and little has changed with the game and I quickly got bored. My fond memories was my wife and I playing years ago. She skinned and made leather armor from a million goats (jest) so we could purchase a Tower Deed, that sadly could not find a single place to place it! It was fun avoiding PKer’s who would travel in gangs to kill players. It made it exciting, however too many butt hurt players complained and EA dumbed everything down, tampering enough with the game it got boring and led to me deserting the game. EA is too idiotic to bring back a team to make a single player RPG Ultima game. They can’t see the retro comeback to games through their rose colored FPS lenses.

  26. fenriz says:

    The world needs online simulations.

    It’s striking for example how an episode from the the tv show the big bang theory treats World of Warcraft, when the guys try to track down a guy who stole Sheldon’s “possessions”, like the ostrich and its “saddle”, as if it could be sold back, and they wait for their contact in a sort of secret “tavern where all the black market trade goes down”.

    It’s not just an excuse for a laugh and comedy situations, to me it’s a sign that subconsciously we need fictional virtual simulations with tons of freedom.

  27. harvb says:

    So nice to read all the positive comments on UO, it was a game where I formed friendships that have endured to this very day. It warms me to even see words like Trinsic mentioned again. It was fantastic and I don’t honestly know if anything will ever capture it’s very spirit again, mainly I’d guess because of nostalgia. I’d love to be wrong.

    I have Shroud of the Avatar a fair crack, which is suppose to be its spiritual successor and yes I know it’s still really open beta, but it just doesn’t have what it takes. It’s missing something.

    I miss Bone Dude and Plate Dude.

  28. jumpman says:

    Played for 3 years back in the late 90s – early 00s and never found another game that was quite as captivating as Ultima Online. So many fond memories… the monotonous grind of creating a tamer but then finally being rewarded by taming your first dragon, dungeon crawling until your armor breaks, PKing your first victim, stealing faction sigils, decorating your villa… the list goes on.

    Recently stumbled upon an amazing free server that sets out to replicate the pre-Trammel experience. I thought the itch was only temporary and could be easily scratched after jumping back into Brittania for few months. But alas, I’m hooked.

    If you’re interested, check it out: link to uorenaissance.com
    Yes we will use IRC, yes there is a UOAssist equivalent (Razor), and yes UO Auto Map (UOAM) still exists.

    Come play!

  29. Hard22 says:

    The only game that came close to what UO felt was Darkfall Online.

    Now you can play it in Rise of Agon, a community driven project.
    link to youtu.be