Posts Tagged ‘Ultima-Online’

The RPG Scrollbars: MMO Jails And Virtual Porridge

Backstage areas have always fascinated me. Behind the scenes in theatres, where all the glitz and glamour dies instantly the moment you step where the public isn’t meant to see – down lethal staircases and in filthy preparation rooms. The tunnels in places like Walt Disney World, where cast members travel to avoid ruining the magic, and tough security guards probably not wearing mouse ears emerge to haul off trouble-makers. And in games, especially online ones, there’s often parts that we’re just not meant to see, from developer tricks to places for the GM team to hang out.

Quite often, these include prisons. For the really naughty players to go.

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The RPG Scrollbars: Invasion – Azeroth (And Others)

As many hours as I’ve spent playing them over the years, MMORPGs always fill me with a touch of sadness for what they could have been. I’m thinking of the original optimistic dreams of people like Richard Garriott, talking of his world where players accidentally killing too many sheep would draw the wrath of a nearby, now hungry dragon, back in that innocent time before it was accepted that players would not only kill the sheep, but the dragon, and any other living creature within murder range. There’s many reasons why the modern theme park style ended up being dominant, but as stories from games like Eve regularly demonstrate, we definitely lost a lot in that philosophical and pragmatic shift towards PvE content and fixed interactions.

At least we’ve still got world events. I love world events.

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MMO Shards Online Brings New Ideas to the Genre

Shards Online [official site] isn’t quite an MMORPG, and I think that’s great. While it’ll still have that familiar structure, Shards focuses on letting players build their own, smaller worlds to exist in instead of giving them one giant one. A new trailer to announce Shards Online’s Steam Greenlight campaign shows there’s still the basics like combat and questing, but things quickly get much more interesting when custom servers and the modding tools used to shape them are demonstrated. There’s even a system to play as monsters much like a dungeon master would in a Dungeons and Dragons campaign. Nifty!

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18 Years Later, Why Are People Still Playing Ultima Online?

Later this year, Ultima Online [official site] will turn 18 years old. In the genre of MMOs, that makes the game positively ancient – and it’s even more remarkable when you consider that it’s still funded via a subscription model.

I’ve never played an Ultima game, much less one that’s nearly my age. I wanted to find out what the game is like to play today as a newcomer, and to ask people why they’ve continued visiting Britannia for nearly two decades.

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The Quests That Got Cancelled

It’s a great time for RPGs at the moment, with just about every name, flavour and celebrity from the old days finding a new lease of life through Kickstarter and a freshly hungry audience. Most series and creators though have had at least one game fall prey to development hell – sometimes with their ideas resurfacing in later titles, sometimes with everything simply lost to time. Their levels of completion vary dramatically, but here are some of the games we never got to play…

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“Theoretically”: Garriott On Ultima Comeback

Can they put the Ultimas on the Chrome Web Store thingy please

It’s no secret that Richard ‘King English’ Garriott is working on a spiritual sequel to Ultima, having left the series’ rights locked in an EA basement somewhere. It’s no secret because he’s said so, repeatedly. But what’s more surprising is that he apparently isn’t resigned to never getting them back – and he’s even talking about working with EA again. The lion and the lamb! Cats sleeping with dogs! THE END TIMES.

More specifically, he told Eurogamer that “We’ve had discussions at very high levels with Electronic Arts about access to the property [and]…a possible marketing and distribution relationships and things of this nature.”

Which is rather promising, presuming he’s not just making wild public declarations in the hope of changing minds. More below.
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How I Nearly Starred In Ultima Online 2

Better posture than I have in real life

This is by far the most egomaniacal RPS post I’ve ever written (and that’s even though I’ve found plenty of vague excuses to run pictures of my cat and my girlfriend here previously). But I can’t pass this one up. I can’t. Massively’s investigation into what the long-cancelled (OR IS IT?) (It is. That version of it, anyway). Ultima Online 2 would have been like turns up a key fact. The game would have contained just three playable races at launch, a step down from UO1. However! These races were to be bog-standard humans, the warrior-like Juka and the magical Meer. Man! That would have done so much good for RPS’ Google rank.

Now, you must call me The Magical Meer. The Magical Meer demands it.
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