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There are two distinct eras of Ultima Online development, pre and post Renaissance. Renaissance was an expansion that dramatically split the Ultima Online game world and community, forever changing the gameplay and development of the game.
Renaissance, also known as Trammel, was a consensual only environment ala EverQuest, only in old 2d graphics. The Trammel expansion was ignorantly piggybacked onto the original Ultima Online virtual world game design in a scheme to compete directly with the far superior consensual EverQuest. Trammel offered a less competitive easier set of game rules within the same Ultima Online game world, with no cost, disadvantage, consequence or limits for players that chose to take advantage of it. As can be expected, many players chose to play by the easier set of rules within the Trammel environment where they seemingly had "more to gain" and very little chance of loss. All new players would also be introduced and grow accustomed and familiar with playing in the Trammel game environment and have no reason to leave. A side effect of Trammel was that unattended macros and scripted robots were able to outperform actual players, running all day long, flourishing in the protective consensual only environment.
Of course, with much of the challenge removed from the game and little chance of loss, Ultima Online was not as worthwhile or rewarding to play. The focus of the game shifted from a competitive multiplayer online virtual world community to an online graphical chat room where the main competition involved collecting and trading virtual items and competing for the limited Non Player Character (NPC) content and monster spawns.
The performance of these two different eras is compared side by side in the above two graphs.