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Ultima Online: The Making of a Classic Part 2



  • MustaphaMondMustaphaMond Somewhere, AZPosts: 339Member Uncommon

    Hail and well met to all of you fine UO vets... After reading so many of the responses here and in "part 1", I just wanted to say that I'm so glad that so many of us still have such deep feelings for this game. As a result, I can't resist putting this here for all of us who "had a dream and the heart and the will and the power" to move earth, carve stone, mold hill and channel stream in that very special place:


    What secrets we could tell, indeed.... image


    I know a lot of you probably feel nostalgic and sad, wanting to relive that magic. I can only respond by saying that so much of the magic was created by us, with the game providing a bewitching vehicle for accessing what was inside us.


    FWIW, I have been watching more and more ArcheAge videos and have found myself impressed with the open-ended feeling of the world and the fact that, for the first time in a long time, it feels like I am seeing a virtual world (not a flashy backdrop for a themepark's rails). If AA does indeed make it's way over here, and the world is as open and free-form as it appears, I invite all of you who are interested to come experience and explore that world with me. In other words, please remember my name and contact me here... I have made a mental note of many of you. I would be honored to create that magic again in a new world with people who know that games go much deeper than leet gear or reaching max level. Some will say that we wear rose-colored lenses and are sentimental fools in our nostalgia for what will never be again. But, you and I know better.... image


    With that, fare thee well, friends (and even you murderous reds)... Wherever your gaming adventures take you, I hope you seed that place with the special brand of creativity that we all can remember. That magic won't die if we keep it alive and show the new up-and-comers that games are much more than their ruleset and achieving "victory." They are, at times, portals to a whole new realm of thought, feeling, and expressivity. Good luck... and safe journies.


    Oh, and for any who didn't like "Stones" w/ lyrics (even though the song actually really does have lyrics):

  • MumboJumboMumboJumbo LondonPosts: 3,219Member Uncommon

    Originally posted by Garvon3

    Originally posted by MustaphaMond

    Originally posted by Garvon3

    Originally posted by maplestone

    Originally posted by Garvon3

    But... having them all together is what made Ultima Online great. You had all different play styles together in the same place. It was a simulated world. They just needed a better incentive system for NOT killing people.

    I can also honestly say that not a single PKer, thief or griefer provided me with one second of entertainment.   That was (and still is) the complete and utter antithesis of what an MMO is to me.  Cooperation, community, a shared sense of purpose of *all* players at the table - those to me are defining features of the pencil-and-paper culture I knew and wanted the first time I logged into UO.  PvP has no place in that.

    ( to be fair, there was a time when I was opposed to the idea of seperate PvP and PvE servers because I did appreciate the background news and "trade goods from distant lands" feel of having a PvP zone (Fel) that I never visited, but over the years I've slowly come around to the conclusion that the two playstyles, the two worldviews are simply incompatable - I now believe that the game should have been forked completely - not just two facets or two types of servers but take two copies of the codebase, give them to seperate teams and let two completely seperate games emerge )

    I have a different opinion. PKers gave me a sense of danger in the wilderness and a sense of immersion into the world. They were a part of the ecosystem. Danger is one of the things I liked about early MMOs. EverQuest also had a dangerous world. It forced communities to come together and made the whole game make sense. I was part of a guild that hunted player killers, never would have been able to be a "defender of innocents" if there were no PKers. I can understand how it can make some people unhappy, but I feel like someone who doesn't like anyone "interfering" or altering their gameplay, would be better suited in a different game, because thats not what UO was. It was a complete social ecosystem, not just a club of like minded individuals. Which, is how we both played the same game and have wildly different opinions.

    ^This... In fact, it was an actual intention of the devs that PK's (and the danger of getting PK'ed) would force blues to group together and seek strength in number. Garvon3 is, more or less, showing that much of what Raph Koster and the UO team intended with the PK system worked (for more, see his blog ... I can't find the specific article/video where he talks about it, sorry). In essence, the presence of Reds helped build community and create a dynamism where players could change the world (I've seen others mention this earlier in this thread and the "Part 1" thread... perhaps it was Garvon3 then too).


    That's not to say that the system wasn't broken in many respects (Koster admits this as well, citing examples of the in-game bulletin board/bounty system actually spawning a wave of murders as PKs competed to be the baddest Red on the block -- see the 43:00 minute mark of this GDCOnline talk). So, maplestone does have a point though Koster does talk a lot about why he personally favors open PvP versus a "switch" or no PvP at all around 17:00 - 22:00 HERE. But,even in that video, he explains why the PvP mechanic was broken because the MUD/MUSH/MOO-inspired devs had never dealt with such an enormous playerbase in their earlier experience. Still, I think Garvon3 has it right because the whole Red vs Blue dynamic brought the "unknown" into the mix in a way that contemporary games do not.


    For example, one of my most thrilling moments in game was when my guildmates staged a scenario in the graveyard just outside of Moonglow to test my mettle. I was young and naive, they kept suggesting to me that I visit Moonglow. One day, I finally did. I was exploring the graveyard when another blue approached. As I greeted them and we started to talk, a Red appeared, attacked the Blue and "shouted" 'DEFEND THE VIRTUOUS!' (I was part of a virtuous guild). In that brief second, I had a choice to either stand and fight or run away and let the "innocent" die....


    I stood and fought, almost dying several times (I was a novice and no match for anybody who knew what they were doing), but the Blue had enough time to hide and once they were safe, I disengaged and hid as well. But, I took the risk to break my stealth to say "Log and come back later, I am too weak to fight him!" to the now stealthed Blue before hoping I could hide again (which I managed to do, just barely). I was too dumb at the time to realize it was all staged, but at that moment I felt great about myself even though, in all honesty, I was lucky to have achieved a "stalemate" and I hadn't met an honorable death like I probably should have.


    Still, that guild (and playing in a game environment where Reds could, and did, appear like that ) created a deep sense of thrill and unimaginable opportunities for bravery and excitement. What is more, staged or not, it allowed my guildies (all RP'ers and much better gamers than I was) to gauge my heart as a player and ignore my obvious shortcomings in skill, RP'ing ability, and overall knowledge (I was maybe 15 at the time and they were all much more experienced gamers/RP'ers).


    The TL;DR moral of the story: With risk comes reward and when you create a virtual world without the dynamic risk that open PvP provides, you lose out on that sense of excitement and the unpredictability of playing against humans. Granted, I was ganked on occasion and died in dungeons at times (and had unscrupulous players loot my hard-earned bounty and chop my body into pieces for no other reason than to be jerks), but the reason UO stood out to me is that it allowed for the unexpected and you truly had a sense that something new was always waiting for you just around the next bend...


    For a few more thoughts on this, one last link to something by Raph Koster that examines BOTH sides of the pro-PK/anti-PK debate: did MMOs go so wrong...

    At least you got the chance^ with UO.

    Tons of the stories of UO come across as emergent. The best kind, and for that they owe a debt to pk'er gameplay. I could imagine a posse of player capturing a "red" and deciding to throw that player off a cliff... "throw 'em high"!

  • SysFailSysFail LondonPosts: 375Member

    "Ultima Online was your game; however you wished to play it."


    That's what made it great for me.

    Just think what could have been achieved with the UO name if EA didn't have their heads so far up their own arses and didn't continue to produce piles of uninteresting, high budget piles of dung. 

    Lord British needs to regain his throne and save us all from the dreary peices of crap, that are spewed out in the name of MMORPG's these days.

  • rrashintoastrrashintoast Metamora, MIPosts: 26Member Uncommon

    I'm playing UO as we speak, I have tried over 100 different MMORPGs...

    I always come back to UO, and always will, every other mmorpg is trash.  (Vindictus is alright I guess...)


    THEY ALL FAIL where UO Wins!    I Love PKing, and I Love when ppl quit the game, cus that means...

    IDOCS! (in danger of collapsing houses)

    MORE LOOT FOR ME,, so u kow what, I dont care who quits, cus that just means I am richer ^.^


    cheers ^.^

    *rides off on a llama*

    P.S.  In por yelm is bad, UOGamers Hybrid is where its at ;)


  • GorillaGorilla Posts: 2,231Member Uncommon

    From Raphs blog:-

    I was busy coding something and missed this altogether. Scott rushed into my office and said “Did you see? They killed Lord British!” At first I wasn’t sure if he meant in the game or not…


    That made me laugh.

  • VegettoVegetto WorcesterPosts: 841Member

    I wonder why no one has tried to emulated this in modern graphics.

    It's like, there's a template to work from, that's your design, copy it.

    I strongly oppose plagiarism in games, especially MMOs, but i think i can make certain allowances in this case lol.


  • SuraknarSuraknar Montreal, QCPosts: 841Member Uncommon

    Hail and Well met to all indeed!

    This was a great read, I read both parts back to back! I had good laughs and many fond memories here!

    UO still to this day remains the Favorite MMO Experience I ever have had, those 5 years playing it with my very best friends are going to be cherished forever.

    Ultima Online cause so many people to become passionate about it, and to express that passion in many different and creative ways.

    Albeit I enjoyed reading the History of UO, it is something that I am familiar with, one element that was of interest in part Ii was the mention of Foresight in relation to UO2 and also the ideas about Wng Commander Online, I was a fan of the Wing Commander Universe at the time as well (still am), and I remember within the first few days of experiencing Ultima, still newbie still fresh in it not fully immersed just amazed at the posibilities, going on to the Origin, UO and EA sites gathering as many contact email addresses I could find and shooting an email writen by myself and a close friends suggesting how great it would be to have a Wing Commander Online game some point in the future.

    Such was the impact on this genre, and the creativity it (using an LB word) spawned in us.

    Yet, how much things could have been different if there was a bit more of Foresight, this is I beleive a quality that few have and often they find themselves having to convince the majority around them, wich can be a very draining process.

    In either case here is to the foresight and that spark of Vision a few individuals had and were able to convince the Synical Financial Bureaucracy.

    Cheers to thee!

    And may the Virtues shine upon thine path forever!


    - Duke Suraknar -
    Order of the Silver Star, OSS

    ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard
  • HanseshadowHanseshadow Austin, TXPosts: 1Member

    I worked on UO from 2000 - 2005 (HanseOSI).


    UO did not reach 250,000 subscribers in 1999.  It was in the summer of 2000 for the UO:R release.  This was after Garriot left the company.  Raph Koster was no longer present, either.  Starr Long was working downstairs on UO2.


    I came from a strong MUD background and a heavily influenced fantasy RPG experience (played all the Ultimas and some of them multiple times).  The game was poorly coded and had tons of bugs.  We spent an entire year stabilizing the game with repeated bug fixes to make it playable.  Folks are nostalgic about it and it was a grand endevour, but little was ever told about how much effort was made to make it not crash.  Often.


    As well as how poorly thought the logic for game systems were that exploits were rampant and ruined gameplay for thousands of people.  I know I plugged so many exploits in the game that it seemed that was all I did.


    I do agree that EA has squandered the game and that it has taken them 15 years to put out a successful MMO, though. :)


  • VolarinVolarin Auraxis CityPosts: 38Member

    Originally posted by Volarin

    This thread is for big boys with fully matured willies and big bellies and stuff.


    LOL I am a funny guy.

  • RequiamerRequiamer ???Posts: 2,034Member

    Sorry i still haven't read the article and only react to the title, i know thats dump but whatever.

    So, wouldn't you have a lot more to talk about if it was: "Ultima Online: the destroying of a classic part 1231654"

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