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Ultima Online: The Making of a Classic Part 1

SBFordSBFord Associate Editor - News ManagerThe Land of AZPosts: 16,613MMORPG.COM Staff Uncommon

Ultima Online is considered one of the grand old dames of the MMO genre and has nearly reached its fifteenth anniversary. We have a comprehensive look at just how this classic MMO came into being and will present it to our readers in two parts. Check it out and then tell us your memories of UO in the comments.

In the dark times before Ultima Online tossed its illustrious hat into the realm of online role-playing, players only had MUDs, MUSHes, and D&D boards. Sony, 3DO, and Turbine would all work on their own projects, hoping to pip one another to the post of success, but Origin System's groundbreaking game showed the rest what was possible, and exactly how it could be achieved pointy hat and all.

Read more of Adam Tingle's Ultima Online: The Making of a Classic Part 1.


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Comments

  • kishekishe aitooPosts: 1,978Member Uncommon

    Tens of thousands people still play this game like...14-15 years later because there simply isnt a game out there that can compete with it gameplay wise...the list of features and things to do in this game is massive!

     

    It's amazing how over ten years old game can still have systems superior to modern competition

  • ColdrenColdren Nowhereville, TNPosts: 456Member Uncommon

    Excellent article, and kishe is right on the mark.

    There is NOTHING comparable on the market. There is so much depth and complexity in UO, I started playing this game at launch, and a few years off and on, and I still don't know how everything in this game works, or even where to get it. Documenation on where things are is still difficult to find, though there is Stratics and UO Guide, but even they have trouble keeping up.

    They are supposedly working on a new high-res makeover for their new client (EC - Enhanced Client) but I'm sure that will be a while coming. The new UI, baring the graphics, really helps make the game more playable.

    Hopefully someone will one day take up the gauntlent and match UO feature for feature in a new MMO. One can only dream! Look forward to the next part of the article!


  • VegettoVegetto WorcesterPosts: 841Member

    96-97, about when i first got the internet and started to mess around with PCs (i still had an Amiga prior to this). Think i was one of the first to have the internet in my school, which meant anyone, so the thought of an online game were foreign. The population that play this game now would have doubled the towns physical population lol.

    Good old days, when no one knew what the hell they were doing and i was labelled a "Whizz-kid" for knowing "the internet" haha.:

    "Yeh, he actually talks to people from around the world...like this guy - where's he from? - he's from America...that's him talking now...say hello back!"....simple times :D

    image

  • CeridithCeridith Toronto, ONPosts: 2,980Member

    I miss this game so much...

    I still have yet to play an MMO that actually captured creating an open virtual world where you could choose how you played the game as much as in UO. SWG was close... but that's obviously long gone.

    I tried to get back into UO last year... but I just couldn't stomach the item stat system they jammed into the game with Age of Shadows.

  • warbot7777warbot7777 Atlanta, GAPosts: 110Member

    UO is no doubt one of the best games of all time. I remember when I started playing it at 13. They did ruin it a bit when they released Trammel. That's when I switched to emulated servers.

  • OzmodanOzmodan Hilliard, OHPosts: 7,187Member Uncommon

    Trammel was one of the best things they added, it was the age of shadows that ruined the game where they bought into the customization of equipment from EQ.

    Great game, many fond memories of it.

  • punkrockpunkrock va, VAPosts: 1,777Member

    I rememberwhen i first got UO, it was 1997 and i was 13, going on 14. Sigh those were the days.

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    Reading this, you can really see how these guys had such a different take on MMO's compared to the Devs/Designers now.. "players could manipulate the world, how they could engage and feel like the experience was as life-like as possible."  To create a life like virtual world.....

    Nowadays its all about trying to find a proper theme and slap on the Lifeless/Static WoW Style mechanics, And try to railroad people as fast as they can to endgame because "my friends are all 50, or level 85 and i wanna play with them and thats where all the really fun content is!!!"

    I remember way back in 99, the first day  i started playing ultima online, I met up with my uncle and his friends (who actually introduced me to UO), they took me back to the log cabin they had setup ingame, Crafted some warrior armor a katana and a shield for me. Then we all headed out to hunt fire elementals at the fire dungeon... We all cooperated, looted, etc.. Once we got back to the cabin, we all tossed our loot into a bag on the floor sorted the junk split the gold and rolled for loot... We created those mechanics ourselve using the tools at hand in the game, a Cup of dice and a loot bag on the ground!

    You just dont see that level of cooperation/creativity allowed in games nowadays, Theres no social aspect to it, hanging out having fun DOING WHAT YOU WANT, its all about leveling climbing the gear ladder being MOAR L33T than that dude standing next to you...And all we can do is stand back and watch companies like blizzard suck the life out of MMO industry.. Its sad really, In all honesty even with all the MMOs out now, i still have sudden urges start playing uo again a 15 year old game!? Is the mmo industry really that stupied that they can clone WoW 100 times over because it had MASS APPEAL to the casual players? Yet a game that grandfathered them all cannot be cloned or remade properly once in 15 freaking years????

    // A bit  of a rant near the end but i think it warranted with the BS company's releasing nowadays...

  • Kuro1nKuro1n GothenburgPosts: 771Member

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC).

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC).




     

    Tibia was released in Dec 97, UO was Sept. 97

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    dbl post..

  • spankybusspankybus Orlando, FLPosts: 1,154Member Uncommon

    I can't help but wonder if the 2D client could run on a tablet PC. It would be absolutely badass to be able to play this game. On iOS and Droid tablets and would probably flood the servers with a host of new and returning players.

    Maybe this game is dated by PC standards...but it's fun as hell and perfect for portable gaming now....especially since its point and click.

    So many good memories of this game.

    Frank 'Spankybus' Mignone
    www.spankybus.com
    -3d Artist & Compositor
    -Writer
    -Professional Amature

  • mchattiemchattie Austin, TXPosts: 3Member

     

    Of the many games I played I remember the most about this game. Started when I was 13 years old in 97 and have played it off and on via free servers (some of the free servers by the way have maintained the best elements of the game before the updates and grew on that). 

    The one thing I don't understand is why more developers don't use what UO did to make their game better. UO didn't even have a quest system and yet there was still so much to do. (explore, treasure hunt, mine, chop wood, place your house/castle in the actual game world, sneak into a person house and rob them and murder them, have guild wars in towns, become a murderous Dread Lord and be unable to enter a town without someone calling the guards on you, opt to put a bounty on the head of someone who kills you, kill the player with a bounty on them and return their head for the gold, loot players corpses, hoard gear for when you die and get looted, and the list goes on...


  • Kuro1nKuro1n GothenburgPosts: 771Member



    Originally posted by kerigar




    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC). 

    Tibia was released in Dec 97, UO was Sept. 97




    Considering they celebrated their 15 year aniversary few days ago and after checking wikipedia + source I think not.

     

    EDIT: Why is the forum adding so much space in my post?

    EDIT2: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/loadNews/23308

  • LynxeyedLynxeyed Akron, OHPosts: 75Member

    Baja 97-09 Played the game from my late teens thru college into my late 20's with children. It was probably the best mmo I ever played. I only quite do to being laid off and having to liquidate my accounts to pay my morgage.

  • shakermaker0shakermaker0 SheffieldPosts: 194Member
    Ultima was magical.
  • The.HowitzerThe.Howitzer Chicago, ILPosts: 2Member

    I feel so passionately about UO whenever I think back on it.  I was on Great Lakes at release in 97'. Played the name 'DEATH' and made my first guild {KoV} Knights of Virtue.  I remember it so fondly even though I got my ass banned for being accused of uosing UOX (which I didn't).  Dread Lord days were epic and amazing indeed.  There will never be another game quite like it.

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    Originally posted by Kuro1n



    Originally posted by kerigar





    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC). 
    Tibia was released in Dec 97, UO was Sept. 97
    Considering they celebrated their 15 year aniversary few days ago and after checking wikipedia + source I think not.

    EDIT: Why is the forum adding so much space in my post?

    EDIT2: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/loadNews/23308

    UO is 15 years old.. i started in 98,99 the other guys i played with started in 97, UO is older than tibia..... By a few months.. Irregardless of the release dates, UO was the first to catch on, and grow and expand as it did.

  • sandboxluvsandboxluv MolmoPosts: 56Member

    I agree trammel was ok there was still tons of pvp to be had.  Personally after trammel was made I would sit in front of dungeon entrances ( because you could not port inside a Fel dungeon from tram) and wait for all the phat trammies with phat loot to come to the dungeon and steal their silver of vanq as they de-equiped to cast a last spell. 

    AOS is what ruined the game.  Most of my toons I played for years became shit after that came out. 


    All these crap wannabe sanbox games that come out saying they are in the same vien as UO are a joke(MO, DF) I find it funny a game from the 90's is far more sandbox than these sandbox light FPS deathmatch games.

  • Kuro1nKuro1n GothenburgPosts: 771Member

    Originally posted by kerigar

    Originally posted by Kuro1n








    Originally posted by kerigar














    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC). 
    Tibia was released in Dec 97, UO was Sept. 97

    Considering they celebrated their 15 year aniversary few days ago and after checking wikipedia + source I think not.

    EDIT: Why is the forum adding so much space in my post?

    EDIT2: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/loadNews/23308

    UO is 15 years old.. i started in 98,99 the other guys i played with started in 97, UO is older than tibia..... By a few months..

    Do you have any sources for your claims? 

    It states September 24 1997 by wikipedia for UO.

    It states Januari 1997 by wikipedia for Tibia, as well as that is what the newspost I linked from MMORPG.COMs tibia section that I assume you just skipped by.

  • sandboxluvsandboxluv MolmoPosts: 56Member

    Persinally I hate the new sandbox games we have with %5 of the features UO had back in the 90's,  Whenever someone says MO or DF is like UO I just want to smack them in the face with a shovel. 

    Why does a 15 year old game have more features than wannabe sandboxes made in the last few years?

    Games like DF and MO are sandbox light fps deathmatches.



     

  • shakermaker0shakermaker0 SheffieldPosts: 194Member

    Why are we discussing Tibia? It was released before, but so was Meridan, NeverWinter, and MUD. The point is UO was the first massive success, before the retention numbers peaked at 25,000 rather than 250,000. UO beat the compeititon in beta demand alone.

  • Kuro1nKuro1n GothenburgPosts: 771Member

    Originally posted by sandboxluv

    Persinally I haye the new sandbox games we have with %5 of the features UO had back in the 90's,  Whenever someone says MO or DF is like UO I just want to smack them in the face with a shovel. 

    Why does a 15 year old game have more features than wannabe sandboxes made in the last few years?

    Games like DF and MO are sandbox light fps deathmatches.

    It is because the majority of players dont enjoy it as well as the fact that its a lot harder to do a game with 3D instead of 2D. But yes I agree, neither DF or MO comes close to UO and it saddens me. : (

     

     


    Originally posted by shakermaker0

    Why are we discussing Tibia? It was released before, but so was Meridan, NeverWinter, and MUD. The point is UO was the first massive success, before the retention numbers peaked at 25,000 rather than 250,000. UO beat the compeititon in beta demand alone.

    I dont feel like discussing this anymore as I find it somewhat pointless especially if you disregard to read my first post, I was simply correcting the facts that MMORPG.COM themself have posted before.

     

  • kerigarkerigar Ottawa, ONPosts: 73Member

    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    Originally posted by kerigar


    Originally posted by Kuro1n


    Originally posted by kerigar

    Originally posted by Kuro1n

    I wish we had games like this still being made, however there is something that is incorrect here. Tibia was released before ultima online... Tibia was released in january of 1997 while ultima was released later that year (august IIRC). 
    Tibia was released in Dec 97, UO was Sept. 97

    Considering they celebrated their 15 year aniversary few days ago and after checking wikipedia + source I think not.

    EDIT: Why is the forum adding so much space in my post?

    EDIT2: http://www.mmorpg.com/gamelist.cfm/loadNews/23308

    UO is 15 years old.. i started in 98,99 the other guys i played with started in 97, UO is older than tibia..... By a few months..

    Do you have any sources for your claims? 

    It states September 24 1997 by wikipedia for UO.

    It states Januari 1997 by wikipedia for Tibia, as well as that is what the newspost I linked from MMORPG.COMs tibia section that I assume you just skipped by.

    You actually seem to be right, The Dec 24, '97  release date seems to be when it was released in the UK  my mistake! :)

  • StaticzeroStaticzero shrewsbury, PAPosts: 14Member

    I joined on Cheaspeake about 99 , Was my first MMO,  Went by Jerek and ran the guild CBM .  I met some great people i still game with to this day.  Lots of good times, I rather enjoyed the skill system no quests system, Age of shadows didnt put me off  II left about the time of SWG   was released.  Lots of great times from a zero quest style game with no levels.  

    One of the best death, loot, Crafting systems and skill system  Of any game on the market now.  I did try to go back. Just not the same with out the people thier form the old days.

    Glad it is still around, May go back to look at things from time to time..

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