Posts Tagged ‘Ultima’

The RPG Scrollbars: Just Go Along With It, Okay?

Spoiler alert, RPGs are kinda ridiculous. Most games are, of course. While the Mythbusters may have shown that carrying Doomguy’s loadout into battle isn’t as bad as it might sound, there’s a reason they’ve never done a follow-up about doing it after taking a few rockets to the face. Likewise, we can’t know the effect of glugging down fifty health potions a day, but it must mean a lot of pauses for the heroic knight to hurriedly get his armour off for a quick pee-break.

Like a lot of things, there’s a line here – on one side, things that are interesting to see a game justify, and on the other, things that are probably best handwaved. Where does that line lie?

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The RPG Scrollbars: Sacred Worlds

Most RPGs ask you to save the world, but not all of them offer a world worth saving. Honestly, there’s been quite a few where given the choice I’d have joined the evil overlord just to beat up all the potion vendors who wouldn’t even give me a discount before the final battle, and for the mere chance of stabbing the guard in Act 1 who wouldn’t let me into The Town Where The Actual Bloody Game Starts.

This week though, I’m interested in the other side of that – the worlds that become more than just a place to grind for loot and XP. The places that feel real. Beloved worlds, which don’t necessarily correlate with beloved games. I really enjoyed Skyrim for instance, but Skyrim as a world largely leaves me cold for reasons that have nothing to do with the Frostfall mod. That’s not the same as saying it’s bad, or any real quality judgement at all, simply that for me it never became a second home, more than a playground. Fallout New Vegas meanwhile, despite its problems, ticked all of the boxes. It was a world I could believe in, get immersed by, and not want to leave, which given the current political climate around the world is quite probably for the best.

Here are some of the most special worlds for me. How about you? Note, we’re talking entire worlds, as in the settings for whole games, not specific places like, say, Gold Saucer in Final Fantasy VII or FFXIV. Those are cool too, but… another week!

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Lost Magic Of Magic

Given a choice, I almost always play as a mage. Swords? Pah. Divine magic? Save it for Sunday School. Give me control over the elements, the power to reshape the very building blocks of the universe according to my every whim, and if at all possible, a cool hat. It’s an easy fantasy to indulge in almost any RPG out there.

I just wish it was a more satisfying one.

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The RPG Scrollbars: The Worst Parts Of RPGs, Vol I

Hmmm? Sorry, is there something in my teeth?

As wonderful as RPGs are, some tropes and cliches and just general bloody annoyances really do spoil the fun. Some of them might only crop up occasionally, others just won’t go away. Some, you might think, are just petty irritations. But no! All these incontrovertible sins must be destroyed at once! Here’s a few of my least favourite offenders. What others would you add to the cursed list?

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Rule Britannia: Every Ultima For The Price Of A Pint

That’s right – Ultima 1-9, plus the two Underworld games, for the price of a pint. And not one of those fancy craft ales that you’d sup in a tweedy pop-up bar that charges sixteen quid for a thimble filled with ‘paprika-spiced apple cinnamon wedges’ that taste like rancid Doritos. are currently offering the Ultima bundle for $7.14. That’s the price of a pint of Carling round these parts, with a pack of Transform-a-Snacks on the side. Ultima is far better for body and soul.

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Garriott On Shroud Of The Avatar, Why He Needs KS

Like so many role-playing pioneers before him, Richard Garriott has joined the boom-or-bust gold rush that is Kickstarter. However, unlike literally all of those same pioneers, Garriott’s kinda, you know, been to space. He also owned an actual, factual castle at one point. The fates, in other words, haven’t been unkind to his rather formidable fortune, and it stands to reason that he’s not in what mere mortals like ourselves would refer to as “dire straits.” So then, why all this Kickstarter¬†hoopla for Shroud of the Avatar? Moreover, how will its episodic structure work? And Garriott’s gone on about how the pseudo-MMO is actually single-player at heart, but how will the teeth of one puzzle piece interlock with the sawblade edges of another? Click past the break for Garriott’s best attempts at explaining some of his Ultima successor’s stickier issues.

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Beyond Britannia: Worlds Of Ultima Free At GOG

This is what heroism used to look like

Free RPGs of old! I hadn’t thought about the Worlds of Ultima games for a long time but they are now free on and seeing that made me hunger for a continuation. Rather than taking place in Britannia, land of vice and virtue, the short-lived spin-off series transports the Avatar to fantastical Vernian environments, namely a savage jungle empire and a Victorian era Mars. The second game, Martian Dreams, even had Freud and Tesla in it which earns an automatic +2 points out of arbitrary number of choice. I love this sort of thing in my RPGs but for now it’s enough that both games can be mine again for free and more of the same, old or new, would be very welcome. They are hither and thither.