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Apart from the newness of the MMO category, apart from open world with free PVP... what made the game just *feel* right?
I've been thinking a lot about this lately as I've been looking at all the new games coming out and trying to find a similar product that fits my desire of a game that caters to both hardcore and casual players alike. UO pretty much summed up the market for selling a game that would bring in people who loved to PVP, people who loved to PVM, and people who just wanted to build houses, grow flowers, and craft. Of course, all that changed over the years as the game became more and more item based with no fear of ever losing anything. Since UO, no other game has been able to really bring that type of crowd into a world with no limitations.
I suppose I fit into a very rare breed of players. I loved all aspects of the game. I loved crafting. I actually enjoyed walking around the world (before trammel) and never knowing when someone would pop out and try to kill my miner. There was no safe zone, not even towns. Granted they were safer, but one wrong move like opening a trapped box could be the end of you. I enjoyed walking around a mountain mining, or spinning some wool to make cloth and then clothing.
On the other end, I also enjoyed spending time with my friends at EGY on Pacific and then going out for some PVP and PVM action, or having our tower attacked by NPKers from KGB. It was truly a game that catered to every play style and as much as people like to complain that there were loads of PKers running around, there were also whole guilds to hunt them down. It was more balanced than a lot of people like to admit.
Anyway, back to topic after a fit of nostalgia...
UO had a certain feel. It was the feel of being an unpolished product, I think. The graphics at the time were alright for what it was, but it had this certain ...what are the words I'm looking for... I mean, you could chop up bodies and turn people into jerky. You could, as stated, set trapped boxes all over town, you could rob people in the middle of a crowd... sometimes you got away, sometimes you didn't.
Even through the recreations, free shards that try to mimic the old game and new games coming out like Mortal that are heavily influenced, I have yet to see one that can pull off what UO pulled off in the beginning.
Mystic of The Fallen Lords (Pacific 98-01)
Mystic of Catskills (03 - 08)