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Dec 18, 2004

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» Is Ultima Online Dying? from Gameaholix - We're Gamers. We Know.
Terra Nova has posted an article giving reasons why Ultima Online may be dying. In the article, the author states why he thinks UO is in serious long-term trouble, and what can be done to possibly reverse the trend and rescue the game. [Read More]

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Comments

1.

UO is getting old in terms of its gameplay, presentation, and codebase. This doesn't mean it's less of a great game by any means -- heck, I still enjoy the original C64 version of Pirates -- but when put up against games like that World of Warcraft, it's just no contest in the eyes of a current consumer who's choosing a MMOG.

EA has tried several times to create a sequel to UO. To my knowledge, each has failed for a variety of reasons, though at the root, I believe, is the fact that EA upper management does not understand MMOG design, development, or deployment, nor how fundamentally these differ from boxed games. EA does many things well -- but developing and running MMOGs just isn't one of them.

How long will UO last? Who knows. It's not on any ascending path, and at some point will fall below a critical point needed for continued support. Given the current glut of similar games, EA will have to pull off quite a trick (and reverse years of managerial policy, to say nothing of their recently discussed problems in effectively managing development teams) to make (or re-make) UO viable.

Dan said: I have long suspected that the insistence on credit card payments is the reason why The Sims Online has not met projected subscription targets.

IMO, there are many reasons why TSO hasn't done well. I think being credit-card only is probably, oh, #187 on that list.

2.

>UO is getting old in terms of its gameplay,
>presentation, and codebase.

There is no reason for this to by itself be a weakness. It's reasonably common knowledge that (at least in terms of behaviour, if not actual code) the original EverQuest was essentially a derivative of DikuMud with a 3D graphical subset bolted on. Yes, UO's codebase is somewhat primitive, but the mapping system in particular is entirely workable and largely extensible, using as it does bitmap shading to generate height mapping (terrain elevation info) for the game.

The three dimensional element of MMORPGs should be exclusively aesthetic/modular in nature anyway, in my opinion. MMORPGs tend to both consist of large outdoor areas, and also to need areas of territory which can be added dynamically and quickly. It has been well demonstrated that BSP-based systems (those used for first person shooting games) do not handle either of these requirements well, despite attempts to develop reasonably successful workarounds for the former...I suspect that this had much to do with Ultima Odyssey's cancellation, as that game had intended to make use of the Unreal engine, something which I suspected on learning about it would not be terribly practical.

As I have said, the main problem is the requirement for creativity, and EA's noted extreme reluctance to engage in such. On hearing their slogan "Challenge Everything," at times I have been inclined to speculate that they should be charged with false advertising, since their customary behaviour is to such an extreme the opposite of this slogan that it defies description.

3.

"but when put up against games like that World of Warcraft, it's just no contest in the eyes of a current consumer who's choosing a MMOG."

Considering that Runescape, which is a largely-ignored-here java-based 3D copycat of UO seems to be doing *very* well would indicate UO will/has undergone a shift in the demographics/technographics of its player base. As long as EA can understand and adapt to that, they can come up on top. I do have to admit their track record has been less than stellar -to put it mildly- with two post-launch cancellations and some cancelled projects.

As I see it, they either adapt their thinking/marketing/model to keep up with the change in their playerbase, or adjust their technology/game to keep up with where their current players might be going. Adjusting both -although interesting to watch- would likely yield a model that doesn't match the playerbase expectations and adjusting none would certainly spell the end of my favorite game.

4.

UO started dieing when they fucked it up by adding Trammel.

5.

Additional comments over on Slashdot:

http://games.slashdot.org/games/04/12/18/1715237.shtml?tid=209

6.

Anres Ferraro mentioned runescape: Maybe UO's market has been overtaken by the shareware/free software?


Bleeding edge commercial: EQII and WoW ($50 retail, $15-$20 per month fee)

Mature technology: SWG, AC2 (Retail or DVD magazine, $10-$15 per month fee)

In danger of having shareware/free software take away its market: EQ1, UO (DVD magazine or downloadable, $10 per month fee)

Bleeding-edge shareware/free software: Runescape, Furcadia, etc. (Downloadable, $0-$5 per month fee)

Already had shareware/free take over, and open-source: MUDs... although some MUDs charge, the vast majority of MUDs are free. (Downloadable, $0 per month)

7.

My comments:

Firstly, just to clarify the numbers, while it did have its initial peak of 240K around April 2001, my chart clearly shows that UO actually rebounded in 2003 at reached a new peak of some 250K or more from March to June 2003, and this was confirmed by UO's producer himself ( http://www.uo.com/sept2003nl.html ). So while it's tempting to say the UO has been in decline for over 3 years now, it really has only been in decline for about 18 months.

Secondly, I think the current figure is probably closer to 170,000, not 165,000, and that's what my chart reflects.

Thirdly, I'm not sure where the figure of "the
game's population level has fallen by 32.25% in the last 28 months" comes from. April 2001 to September 2004 (the last data I have) would be 27.1% over 41 months. June 2003 to September 2004 would be 32.0% over 15 months, and May 2002 to September 2004 24.4% over 28 months.

Fourthly, before anyone old school fanboi tries to claim that it was Trammel (UO:R) that began the fall of UO, it was not. People who were working on UO at the time will tell you that they were rapidly losing many subscribers due to the unrestricted PvP, and that UO:R is what actually saved UO and allowed it to continue to grow. UO continued to do well until a confluence of events: the release of UO:3D (largely panned), the cancellation of the UO sequel OWO:O, and the beta test and subsequent release of Dark Age of Camelot.

Fifthly, it should be pointed out that something like half of UO's playerbase is now in Japan, so it is not surprising the the gameplay is changing to accomodate their play styles.

Finally, it's my personal opinion that there isn't much that can "save" UO at this point. The game was starting to look obsolete when they cancelled the first 3D sequel, and EA's short-sighted cancellation of the second 3D sequel (UXO) has only served to hurt the Ultima brand even further. Even a full-up 3D conversion of the game would not help it; the data shows that MMOGs, like most every other product in a capitalist market, has a limited life cycle. You can increase growth by expanding into new markets, but once a title is mature and consumers are familiar with it, there is very little you can do to get people to preferentially pick up a copy of UO off the shelf when you're up against a dozen other MMOG titles on that same shelf.

Bruce

8.

The Age of Shadows expansion is the albatross around UO's neck. The article doesn't convey how bad for UO Diablo-like mechanics are. The AoS changes are deeply hostile to crafting and PvP (even consensual PvP). Killing monsters for loot is the only behavior encouraged by the game mechanics.

Also, commitment to fiction and quests is at an all time low. In the past there have been either 4 full-time GMs and 70+ volunteers, or else 2 full-time developers devoted to fiction and quests. Now there is one full-time GM and 15 "event moderators" contracted for 10 hours/week each. They try hard, but they can't have the same reach without either more man-hours or developer-level abilities. UO once aspired to a virtual world, but most of those accounts lost since UO's peak are because EA is content to have a massively multiplayer whack-a-mole.

UO's age is an advantage rather than a hinderance. Since they've had so long to build new systems, no other MMOG supports the same diversity in game mechanics and play styles. EA needs but realize this is an advantage and fix the damage done by the Age of Shadows to non-PvM areas of the game.

Contrary to what people have said here, I think if EA is willing to take the necessary steps of mitigating some of the AoS mechanics, implementing a better 3D client, giving adequate resources to fiction and quests, and investing enough in marketing to convince consumers this isn't the same old UO, the game could experience considerable growth.

9.

-7 year veteran, and I havent enjoyed this game for years. Im keeping my account open, and even mingle with the regulars from time to time in hopes that there is a change. I dont want to be cattered to, but I dont want to be forgotten by the UO team either. I and a handful of other players are the last of the true veterans of the game, we dont want to continually be weeded out by the hands of those who have no clue how to run a MMORPG.

The best thing that could happen to turn this all around however (Which'll probably never, ever happen), is if Richard Garriot returned as the Lead.

-Rich

10.

Mike Rozak:

Already had shareware/free take over, and open-source: MUDs... although some MUDs charge, the vast majority of MUDs are free. (Downloadable, $0 per month)

Taking over is the wrong term. The existence of all those free text MUDs is a boon, not a bane, for the commercial text MUD market.

--matt

11.

I shall preface this with the fact that I am a 6 year vet who still plays the game.

1) UO just had another expansion this Fall. A new landmass was added along with new skills, items, rares, and a new landmass.

2) It is possible that UO would be well served with a 3D overhaul. But, what makes a good game? Is it pixel crack or is it good gameplay. I put forth that good gameplay trumps pixel crack in all ways, but it could be that my generation is not into the disposable nature that seems to dominate American life (or maybe I am just strange). I would still play MULE if I knew people to play with.

3) The death of UO has constantly been predicted. Here it is after 7 years. Perhaps it is not as strong as it once was, but the fact that a shard has yet to come down is a testiment to its longevity. EA has distribution problems, bug problems, etc. But, the game is still going.

4) The DEV team has gone to shorter publish schedules (approx. every 6 weeks) to add new content and fix more bugs. Supposedly, the teams are larger in the number of people than have ever worked on this game. Further, there are promised changes to crafting forthcoming in the next 2-3 publish cycles.

5) It would help if the person wrote this article did a bit more reasearch such as log into the game fairly recently. Then, he would have better information to use in his analysis.

Will UO die eventually? I expect so. Is it imminent? Seems doubtful because when it comes to the point where I can't sell my gold to a broker, EBay sales for UO have crapped out, shards are taken offline, or EA starts going after the freeshards (ala the Blizzard Battle Net suit), then it would be appropriate to sound the death knell. But, that time is not here as of yet.

12.

The main reason NOW that I and many others are quitting is because of the influx of people who just do not care about honor, manners, running up and stealing other people's monsters, using the most vulgar language, etc. etc. etc. There are rules against leading, for instance, but no help from a GM if someone repeatedly jumps someone else's spawn and refuses to stop, day after day, after day. It ruins the fun of the game completely and is very much like being stuck in rush hour traffic with foul-tempered, sarcastic, self-centered drivers all around who just plain don't care about anything but themselves. Why have our playtime like that as well!?
There is no honor within UO anymore except among the old-timers and they are all rapidly leaving. I think the management at UO cares at this point more about sucking up any last remaining profits while the ship goes down, than anything else.

13.

Point by point:
From what I've read, virtually everyone involved with the game's inception has left.

Dude, everyone involved with the game's inception has been gone for five years. This isn't uncommon - it takes castiron nerves to be on a Live team, and on many teams, 12-18 months is about how long you can take the pressure before you go crazy.

The game's live team seems to be attempting to change it into a large-scale clone of Diablo 2.

So copying the features of a successful game in the same field is a sign of failure? Someone should go tell Blizzard.

EA's "Return to Britannia," campaign last year did not instill confidence in me, and I'm sure possibly did not in some other users as well.

Winback programs are common as dirt, in not just MMOs but Internet services in general. Free trials are also common. Giving away the client for free in hopes of getting the monthly subscription fees is, again, standard. Even for the successful games, although you won't see it until the game's box sales slow a little.

EA are no longer directly selling UO CDs or any new expansion packs in Australia (as one example), which is the main reason why I myself am sadly no longer able to play the game. EA also seem to be attempting to gradually force all subscribers of their MMOGs to adopt credit card usage as a primary means of payment. Since I do not have a credit card, this means I am unable to play UO, and it also means I am unable to play The Sims Online, which is another game I wished to play. I have long suspected that the insistence on credit card payments is the reason why The Sims Online has not met projected subscription targets.

Credit card payments are a much larger issue abroad than they are here. In the US, everyone prefers to pay by credit card, and I doubt very much that the lack of alternatives hurt TSO too substantially here compared to the game's other issues. However, in other parts of the world, this is a much larger issue. Last I checked, the Asians prefer to pay via cell phones, and the Europeans like debit cards. So this may well be a bad business decision, but I don't think its a symptom of their impending demise.

There is some evidence to suggest that the game's current programmers are frustrated with the age/possible obsolescence in some respects of the game's codebase.

The codebase is eleven years old. It's now been worked on by a couple hundred different sets of hands. Saying that programmers are frustrated with it is kind of like saying 'grass is frequently green'.

Look, I'm not saying that the game's population isn't shrinking. It almost certainly is. And there are definitely design decisions they made that I wouldn't have. But overall, UO has just recently started to peak after 7 years in the field. I've been told it's easily earned EA more than $100 million profit over it's lifetime. Even at 160K customers, my quick math shows they'll earn $25 million gross this year.

True story: people at EA thought UO would be done in a year. After almost 8 years, UO is still big business.

14.

I played UO in 98, I play World of Warcraft now.

WoW is UO + diablo II + more. It hands down is a far better game then UO and I played UO religiously for a year

15.

One question I'm somewhat curious about, actually...Is it safe to assume that people here do *not* consider Diablo 2 itself as an actual MMORPG?
I read a couple of people prone to hyperbole over on www.diabloii.net at one point making comments that implied to me anyway that they thought it was. However, there are a couple of reasons why I myself never considered it such. The main one is that D2 has six character classes, and there can't be more than one representative of a given class within one *instance* of the game at a particular time...which to me definitely doesn't qualify as massive population wise. I think the reason why some confusion on that score developed in people's minds was because a fair number of people did play on Battlenet...and they assumed I think that the number of people playing a particular game in general was what constituted the "massive" definition...when I think it's actually defined by a large number of people actually being present in the single *instance* of the game, although of course MMOs themselves have different instances, in terms of servers. The territorial size of the game might have caused some of the confusion as well...I can remember times when it would take me around 8-9 days of 12 hour a day play of D2 to get up to Act 3. Crossing the desert around Lut Gholein almost literally required the assembly of a backpack! ;)

16.

< am sadly no longer able to play the game.>>

I don't think this is entirely right, if I may say so, although the point is nonetheless valid.

The CDs are definitely available in high street game shops -- on Saturday, for example, I saw a copy of Samurai Empire in an Electronics Boutique shop in Canberra (Australia).

But although the CDs are distributed in Australia, they are distributed in limited numbers.

If someone wanders into a game shop looking for a MMORPG to start playing, they are likely to find boxes for the latest releases, DAOC and EQ -- but UO is not a permanent presence on the shelves, and has not been for many years.

Cheers
Sir Harrok

17.

"The main one is that D2 has six character classes, and there can't be more than one representative of a given class within one *instance* of the game at a particular time...which to me definitely doesn't qualify as massive population wise."

This is false. In Diablo II, you can have a game full of the same class if you want. Characters in the game instance are not limited to one class per instance.

I do not consider Diablo II MMOG/MMORPG because of the limited amount of players you can interact with at a time.

18.

Yes, most people would say Diablo 2 is not a MMOG. You will seem some evangelist players try to put it forth as if it was, but the arguments as to why it is or isn't are varied. There's no set definition of a MMOG, but like art, I know it when I see it. :)

Bruce

19.

I was really disappointed that they cancelled Ultima X, purportedly to work on improvements to UO. Without anything to show for it, I wonder whether it was more to do with the fact that EA wants to kill off MMOG and remove every single trace and intellectual property of the old Origin.

20.

No, I think it was just managemnet incompetence. EA didn't get all the facts before making their decisions. Their decisions are logical on the surface but fatally flawed underneath.

EA's "official" reason was they felt they should concentrate on UO instead. This makes sense as a reason BEFORE you start spending millions on building a new MMOG, but not afterwards. Even a modicum of subscribers could have made UXO profitable, and having experienced the product, I think it could have been competitive. It wasn't going to beat WoW or EQII, but I'm sure it would have beat, say, Horizons.

One of the problems you have when a publisher develops their own titles is that developers become assets. So now they have to judge whether or not they could do better by putting those developers to work on other games, rather than the game they are currently working on. It's a lot easier to pull the plug on a project.

With UXO, the main issue was they closed the Austin studio (Origin). None of us have seen the numbers, although I honestly don't see how buying space and paying developers in Redwood Shores, CA is cheaper than paying them in Austin, TX. So let's just assume that, on paper, it made financial sense. The problem is that paper doesn't take into account the untangibles, such as the (admittedly tarnished) reputation of Origin, or the value of having a presence in Austin (which is a major hub of the industry). But the big problem was the vast majority of folks at Origin, who were working on UXO, didn't want to move. Most of them stayed and got jobs at NCSoft, etc. And having lost that much critical talent on the game, they couldn't finish it.

So it makes some sense, at that point, to cancel it. But again, why didn't anyone work this out before hand, figure out who would be willing to move and who wouldn't, and simply not close down the studio in the first place? If that homework wasn't done, then that's incompetence on the mangement's part. If cost was really an issue, surely they could have sold the Origin offices and moved all the developers into cheaper space. Did they REALLY save more than they would have if they had continued to operate the studio and produce a revenue-generating product? That just doesn't seem likely.

There was also some technical problems getting the game engine to work in a massively multiplayer environment. This problem would seem solvable, though, and if not, at the very least it would seem like you would want to recoup SOME of your investment on the project and reuse the assets, the maps, etc. and release some-sort of stand-alone single-player Ultima X. But EA seems to be a highly-structured, old-style management place which simply isn't agile enough to do something like that, because it would mean shuffling around budgets and money and responsibilities. But that's just speculation on my part.

Bruce

21.

>There was also some technical problems getting the game
>engine to work in a massively multiplayer environment.

Yes, I'm guessing those problems would have been next to insoluble. A BSP engine (the Unreal engine, which they were going to use for UXO, according to the site) basically makes a map of very limited area with a static block architectural skeleton. In the past it was traditional to simply use the block skeleton as the entire architecture for the given map, but in UT 2003 and 2004 Epic have added the capability to develop "static meshes" which are essentially three dimensional models of limited complexity which can be used as architectural/environmental elements (pillars, plants and so on) and which are less computationally expensive (often vastly less so) than attempting to accomplish the same effect with the BSP engine on its own.

One of the areas where BSP would have majorly fallen down would have been in the fact that MMORPGs seem to have as a requirement the entire world being accessible at once, with little or no lag time. Although the Unreal engine in particular made large innovations in the area of being able to "zone" off areas of a map, thus making limited outdoor areas possible, it would still not be possible to have a single area of much larger than a small town in MMORPG terms as a single BSP map. The only way also to get from one map to another is to teleport back and forth. This also would have wrought havoc with persistence, since the only way it would have been possible to maintain full cross-world persistence would have been to keep all maps in memory at once, which again would have been impossible.

The other problem with BSP is that although with the Unreal engine it's possible to add moving sections, one thing that most certainly is NOT possible is enlarging a map or adding to it on the fly, because not only would the new dimensions need to be put in, but there is a process somewhat analogous to compilation where the machine generates the static map.

FPS engines and MUDs/MMORPGs follow two very very different paradigms, from the point of view that with a text-based MUD, the environment is almost completely dynamic and fluid...New rooms can be added simply with a quick rehash of the database, or possibly even faster than that. (I haven't been an in-game wizard before, so I don't know if it's possible to *create* rooms actually in a still-running MUD...I know modification is possible)
BSP on the other hand is extremely static. Everything has a predefined location relative to everything else. With the exception of movers, everything in a loaded map that you can manipulate in the Unreal engine is an "actor"; a secondary three dimensional model contained within the static BSP frame but which does not have a direct relationship with it.

Before anyone responds to this post saying that UO's mul files are static too, yes, they are...but here's the difference. The only thing which generates differences in elevation in a UO map is differences in the terrain shading, in terms of colour...i.e., heightmapping. The information CAN be used to generate three dimensional models, which it is with Ultima Iris for example, but on its own it does *not* generate any three dimensional geometry...it's a 2d illusion, and presumably the part of the UO engine's code which deals with the isometric side of things has a set number of elevation levels which it is told to expect. With genuine 3D of course you'd be able to have as many stories/elevation levels as you like.

I have no idea, but on a wild guess I'm assuming that the 3D element of EQ/EQ2 (and possibly others) is largely aesthetic rather than truly structural in game engine terms. What I mean by that is that the server might generate metadata about a given area/object which is agnostic as far as a rendering system is concerned, and then the client picks up said metadata and either translates it into a 2D environment or an aesthetically 3D one, and in the case of the 3D one then makes calls to the relevant models for various objects.

With BSP on the other hand, 3D isn't just superficial eye candy, but is part of the actual structural guts of the environment. BSP attempts to be internally consistent and genuinely mimic a real environment to a degree which we can only really do with relatively small areas at once so far...Because MUDs/MMORPGs typically want much larger areas, want much more loose/fluid models of physics, and most especially need to be capable of dynamic extension/enlargement, they want environments which only *look* 3D, as opposed to environments which are actually *built* 3D. Because of that, (although it's good that they were willing to try something new) UXO's approach was probably doomed from the get-go.

22.

I think canceling UO2/OWO was a mistake, but canceling UXO was the best thing to do. Compared to UO, UXO brought two new things to the table - better 3D graphics and a very ambitious dynamic quest system. Neither of these things requires basic netcode, game mechanics, or fictional background that don't already exist in UO. Making a separate game for these things was an unnecessary duplication of effort. Virtue quests would be very much appreciated in UO and could bring back a lot of old-timers. 3D graphics without UO3Ds polygon budget of 2 polygons per model would make the game more appealing to a new audience. I find the explanation of focusing UXO's resources on UO a very credible one.

23.

I was very disappointed with the cancelation of Ultima X: Odyssey. The game seemed to be a return to the essential elements that made the ultima games stand out from other RPG's. I could scarcely believe they dropped production of it in favor of adding ninjas and samurai.
UO is well past it's prime both in content and delivery. It no longer looks more like an amatuer bargin bin title than a polished commercial pc game and that is undoubtedly why it no longer attracts new customers. Its lack of adherence to the core ultima dogma established by the single player titles serves only to alienate and discourage what should be its most faithful subscribers.

I'm not suprised the game is dying at all, only that it is taking so long to go.

24.

Petrus said:
"Because of that, UXO's approach was probably doomed from the get-go."

I am by no means an expert on the technical details, but I believe Lineage 2 is using a modified version of the Unreal engine. Were the NCSoft people just more capable/creative in using the technology?

25.

>I think canceling UO2/OWO was a mistake, but
>canceling UXO was the best thing to do. Compared
>to UO, UXO brought two new things to the table -
>better 3D graphics and a very ambitious dynamic
>quest system.

Unless you've actually played UXO, I don't think you can say this. As someone who actually did, I can tell you there was a lot more to UXO than that. Remember when everyone praised City of Heroes for its interesting, quick, tactical combat system? UXO had that. It would have been a strong selling point.

>Neither of these things requires basic netcode,
>game mechanics, or fictional background that
>don't already exist in UO. Making a separate
>game for these things was an unnecessary
>duplication of effort.

I disagree. Fan efforts notwithstanding, there's no way to directly translate UO's 2D experience to a 3D one without problems. Moreover, that would exclude some of your exisitng customers from enjoying the game, and furthermore, it does nothing to address the fundamental shortcomings of the engine itself. Sometimes, you just need to rewrite things from the ground up. This is especially true in the case of UO, which was written a long time ago by people with less experience. (Not a slam on any of the Origin folks; just a statement about the changing times.)

>I find the explanation of focusing UXO's
>resources on UO a very credible one.

But none of the work they did on UXO is going to ever be seen in UO. You aren't going to get UXO character models or graphics in UO, or a 3D-uprated version of UO, nor will they simply copy and paste the quest code, the combat code, etc.

Bruce

26.

>I disagree. Fan efforts notwithstanding, there's no way
>to directly translate UO's 2D experience to a 3D one
>without problems.

Bruce: http://ultimairis.sourceforge.net/portal/site.php. It apparently makes rather ingenious use of the mul files' heightmapping in order to generate true 3D terrain...Not sure how they've managed it, but if I was somebody high up at EA, I'd definitely be wanting to give the developers of this project jobs, since they seem to have done a substantially better job with this than UO's developers themselves have with the official 3D client. ;)

>I am by no means an expert on the technical details,
>but I believe Lineage 2 is using a modified version of
>the Unreal engine. Were the NCSoft people just more
>capable/creative in using the technology?

I'm guessing "modified" would be the operative word here. I'd also be interested to know whether or not Lineage 2 players experience load times between regions in the game, and how patchable game content is. If they have somehow overcome these problems, then it could be extremely interesting.

I'm starting to wonder whether there'd be a freeshard group I could get involved with somewhere...not so much to play on, but I'd love to bounce some ideas around with people who can actually implement them on a live server...apparently some of the pirate shards have reasonably large playerbases as well. Could be interesting, anywayz.

27.

I believe by 3D experience it is meant to chance the camera from an overhead isometric into a more first person perspective.

This will cause numerous problems as your line of sight suddenly becomes much longer. You either need claustrophobic clipping, or will have to start sending data for a much larger window. (Ie, a tower in the distance will have to be sent to the client much sooner than with a fixed overhead view)

The game play implications are wide spread. Consider wandering through a dungeon. The roofless overhead view lets you see around corners, whilst a fully closed 1st person view prohibits this.

Personally, I'd rather more MMORPGs went 2d.

- Braks Mumei

28.

At one time or another.
A role playing game such as UO will run
its course. The drive grows weak and
with that goes the ability to choose people
who want to make a difference.. but just have
people in charge who show up.
I myself have played MUDs for over 10 years
now and I have posted comments such as yours
on our webboards

29.

Bruce: http://ultimairis.sourceforge.net/portal/site.php. It apparently makes rather ingenious use of the mul files' heightmapping in order to generate true 3D terrain...Not sure how they've managed it, but if I was somebody high up at EA, I'd definitely be wanting to give the developers of this project jobs, since they seem to have done a substantially better job with this than UO's developers themselves have with the official 3D client. ;)
True 3D terrain from UO's heightmapping is old news :) I have at least two, perhaps three different map-editors for UO on my harddrive that offers a true 3D environment for editing the map/creating a new one.

I'm starting to wonder whether there'd be a freeshard group I could get involved with somewhere...not so much to play on, but I'd love to bounce some ideas around with people who can actually implement them on a live server...apparently some of the pirate shards have reasonably large playerbases as well. Could be interesting, anywayz.
Some of the largest player-run shards have between 500-1500 (max reported that I've heard of) players online at a time. Mine had a max of 20 or something, when it was open back in the year 2000 ;P

Personally I think that using player-run shards as "testing-grounds" for experimental features/theories is a great idea, and more developers should be doing that ;) heh.

I believe by 3D experience it is meant to chance the camera from an overhead isometric into a more first person perspective.
The same overhead isometric experience can be achieved using a 3D client, as shown by the Ultima Iris client.. Think of NWN (the modern game). Full 3D - overhead isometric view. Works nicely, in my opinion.

30.

I'm afraid I cannot offer much contribution to the technical talk that has gone on here, but I can offer input as someone that might be considered UO's target playerbase of years ago.

I began playing UO about a year before the release of UO:R and continued to play until summer 2002. What initially led me to UO was the RPG appeal and the fact that a few of my best friends played. Before that time I had not played an MMORPG or any MMO, for that matter. Now I can say that I have played other MMORPG's, and I can also say that I have not found one that compares to UO. What truly made UO great, in my opinion, was that you could do anything you wanted to! There were so many skills and so much depth to what you could do. If you wanted to spend your day crafting items you could, heck, you could spend your day drinking wine on a ship in the middle of the ocean if you really wanted to.

The UO that I began playing was completely different from the one that I left. When I first began it was the days of few mages. You logged on, grabbed a normal katana or broadsword, ran to the X-Roads and PK'd or got PK'd. No one bothered with armor and if you had a halbred or were a mage you dominated. It was crazy, chaotic fun. It was also frustrating.

The release of UO:R really didn't bother me. It provided for more housing and you could actually go out of town and do other things besides PVPing. While PVP suffered the rest of the aspects of the game flourished. And eventually the addition of factions bought back a lot of the PVP that had been lost. Also, and I doubt this was popular amongst the rest of you, but I lovedd the addition of the test center. I played a lot (A LOT) of UO on the normal shards, but the most fun I had was probably staying up all night on Fridays and Saturdays PVPing on the test center. It was a way to relive the chaos of the pre-UO:R PVPing.

After more and more changes where made to the game to make it more like Diablo II, I quit. One of my friends that still played after I quit convinced me to buy AoS. I played for one day, and quit. It was nothing like the game I started playing.

I currently play on a player-run shard which is a hybrid of UO:R (minus Trammel) with the addition of a select few new features. It has a large player base, it's updated very regularly, the staff is excellent and constantly has quest. It really it wonderful. Check it out and www.uogamers.com

PS: I found it to be very sad when they did away with Counsellors and Seers. I always found both to be extremely helpful.

31.

I'm a vet of 7 years now.. and the only thing that has made me stop playing was the introduction of AoS.. I was perfectly happy with the game when it was skill based.. hell even being connection based on pvp wasnt too bad to work around if you knew your character well enough even on a slow connection you could do fine, but when they made this into a pay to play diablo 2 clone.. that's when i had enough, i kept my account open for awhile to hopefully see some change to this but it never came, the reasoning for the population decline was largely due to this, alot of my friends that played only quit when aos was released.. if they want to bring back old players, switch it back to skill based play as opposed to item based and maybe just maybe they will see a small ray of hope. but even that would probably not be enough to bring the old community back.

32.

ok..i used to play uo and thought it was the greatest game.actually my whole family played and loved the game, we loved to pvp and were amazing at it. They have been putting more and more patches in that ruined the game since we have joined and once they came up with the stuff that is now uo and upped the price we quit. if they upped the price alot and left it the way it was i would still be playing now because that was just about the best game i have ever played for any system.i think that precasting and all that was fun but now the game just sucks. i quit about a year ago now and just came upon this website. if i was one of the people who ruined this game i would probably kill myself. like sean i also kept my account open to see changes but they just kept getting worse..

33.

ok..i used to play uo and thought it was the greatest game.actually my whole family played and loved the game, we loved to pvp and were amazing at it. They have been putting more and more patches in that ruined the game since we have joined and once they came up with the stuff that is now uo and upped the price we quit. if they upped the price alot and left it the way it was i would still be playing now because that was just about the best game i have ever played for any system.i think that precasting and all that was fun but now the game just sucks. i quit about a year ago now and just came upon this website. like sean i also kept my account open to see changes but they just kept getting worse..

34.

I can't say anything that hasn't been said. I am a veteran of the game by 7 years, and the UO of today is not the same as the UO of yesteryear. When UO-R came out, I played for a week or so after, then quit. When AOS came out, I played for a week or so, then quit. Now I have taken up trying to carve some fun from the oriental expansion. So far I've managed nearly a month. I think the only reason I keep going is old memories and my obession with Roleplaying.
The focus on items now, versus the focus on skills is the key leading factor of the games demise. With the addition of artifacts, minor artifacts, and soon, the Tokuno artifacts, the idea of killing nothing but dragons all night, then sitting at the bank all day hoping for an affordable artifact is becoming mainstay. Guilds will take on new members just to kill them looting purposes. Tricks and scams are becoming more mainstay. Gold brokering firms are becoming (In my opinion) more common, and whereas if you had 30,000 gold in the first years of UO, you were rich, now you have to have 30,000,000.
I believe the only ones who actually have fun in the game anymore, and care little about the artifacts and monster smashing, are the little town based RP guilds. If the game is to survive, I believe those groups are the ones that should be modeled after. Where social inter action, and friendly guild wars (maybe not so friendly) are commonplace, and trips to major cities are made only for reagents and scrolls. Those players will stay long after the item grabbers are gone, for the friends they make and the fun they have playing what once was a great game, and hopefully, has the option of reclaiming that title.


Also my last little idea for prolonging the longetivity of the game. To Remove the power of the tamer. If you could build a character in three days that can tame monsters that can beat all other odds, what's the point of playing with other players? The concept of teamwork is reduced to putting bandages on a wounded rune beetle and stating 'all kill'

A MMORPG that promotes solo play and detracts from the core Roleplaying basics will fall. Any RPG will. Let's hope UO learns this little lesson.

35.

I am an 8 year vet of UO and must agree with most that is said here. There is serious lack of understanding from UO Team as to what a player truly wants.

I am a strong believer that competition breeds interest, and UO used to be all about being better then everyone else. Unfortunately UO Team feels that its better to hand out candy and lots of it to everyone, thus placing everyone at same level.

Monster difficulty and loot ammount have been adjusted to ridiculous ammounts. A 5 day old player can become a GM and go kill dragons and other hard / mid-level creatures. Economy is going down the toilet as they completely ignore a need for effective gold sink. In fact insurance costs have been LOWERED while gold drops were DOUBLED.

On a side note... I believe UO success is directly tied to economic situation and Gold <-> RL conversion. Gold has dropped 75% in value ovr past year. First time ever there was such a steep and drastic decline. No wonder people who invested money into this game and selling out and quitting... I had 3 x-customers of mine offer me to buy their account last week... These are people who REALLY were into the game...

And finally game is too predictable and every nw content is reveled officially rather then letting players discover it. there are no surpirses, easter eggs or little things to discover that you can keep a secret from everyone else... Last time they did a surpirse was with green thorns. I had fun walking around all over and poking them into every terrain possible...

If I had a job of submitting ideas to the Devs I would be able to double subscription numbers in a year... But who am I ?

I think the only thing that can save the game is:

a) Balance

b) Challenge

c) Spontanuity

d) Gold sinks / serious gold drop adjustment

Thats all I will say, althought I could say much more...

36.

Its simple. Take all UO used to be and put it into World of Warcraft or better graphics with 3d engine housing and you would ...lag I guess but I would play it in a heartbeat. I miss UO.

37.

I believe that UO should have both a pre uor shard, without 'relics' or any of that crap, and also they should have a pre-AOS/LBR UOR shard, without being effected by any of the nancy pancy bullshit which is presently taking up the servers.

That means:
- Factions
- No BODs pre UOR
- A ton more awesome stuff.

I am not one to care too much, as I play a private shard, but I can guarantee you that if they made a pre-AOS/LBR shard, then their playerbase would increase a few thousand (unless they made more than one should, which would then give people the option to pick and choose). If not a few thousand, then ten thousand, and possibly more.

I have so many friends, and have met a few thousand (literally) people on private shards that want Pre-AOS, hence the reason they play private shards. I also believe that there are many people who still play EA-run shards, which would absolutely love to go back to pre-AOS, and the fact is that they enjoy UO so much they're willing to suffer to play it (AOS).

EA could do a lot more for this game then they're doing now. They're working on Trammel-type players. They're not focusing in the originals, all of the THOUSANDS UPON THOUSANDS of people who loved the game for what it originally was, and what it was even in UOR.

-Lorthic (AIM is Lorthicii)

38.

This game died when EA took over. T2a was a ok add on, but Aos killed the game. heck the first 2 weeks of Aos no one could move the lag killed all modem players and made some cable players wish they had something better. Ultima has no customer base help system


Ultimas ideal of helping you is to swing your request around till your fed up about no one answering your call/e-mail. Eveytime they publish a failed ideal they are never hesitint to post no game help for that day. You will never get live help or even get them to send u info where there offices are. This is because they know they have a failing system, not to mention would be shooting sin the news lol.

Now you can buy 85% made players, were is the fun in that? 75% of your skills u can not gain them on Land due to ultima placing a anti-macro detection. Well this ideal has lead to major scripting and forcing the oceans of brit to be filled with boats.

Lol Now ultima is item based, what is the purpose of playing the game. You can now just script out doom for 4 hours and have 30 million each week. Ultima ideal of making your game play better is to NERF Your hard earned skills to took time to make. You see first they give them to you then take it away.

My last subject here is bugs! Gota love ultima on this issue. When u report a bug on your player, you better hope someone else is having the same problem or you will get a comment like this. " Sorry this is not a issue". It's pretty funny when there is a bug that helps players they fix it in less then 48hrs, But if there is a bug that is hurting players you might as well forget it. This kinda bug will take them at a min 2 to 6 months to fix it.

Do you remmber there excuess to raise your game play cost$. It was said they are increasing your monthly charge for extra game help. Shame the only time you can get a gm to show up is if someone turns you in for something lol.

have fun with this one :)

39.

how i make shards please send me a message tellin me oh and if any viruss are send i can find ho it is and send it to them right back oh and i can get you find money if i tell the police so dont try it just tell me how to make shards on ultima online please and thank you

40.

What I really liked about Ultima Online was that you could play the role of a non-combatant in the game. How many MMORPG's can you do that in? Not many. Certainly not World of Warcraft. Combat can be fun, but when it's 100% of the game, it can get a little boring.

I ran a tavern back in the old days of UO, prior to UO:R. It was very fun. Of course, it also helped I was a seer, so probably half my customers showed up just to find out if anything was going on, or to try and complain about bugs and things, seeing my character as a direct link to the developers for some reason. Still, it was very entertaining.

I reactivated my account a year or so ago, but things have changed, and not for the better. Now you can't drink out of glasses that are "locked down". Food can be poisoned still, which means griefers can easily shut down a tavern. And generally, RP has gone into a steep decline. Most of the RP guilds appear to be non-Ultima race-oriented who rip off names from popular fantasy novels. Cooking, one of my favorite skills, is still useless and unnecessary except for 1-2 items that are of little importance. (Even WoW treats cooking with greater respect...) And you still can't craft blue translucent glasses, one of my favorite items in the game which have existed since beta. Apparently they've decided not to allow players to make anything that are "rares" to keep the market up.

I play World of Warcraft at the moment. It's no RPG, but it's a fun game. I'm sure I'll get bored with it, though, and probably move on to something else. But the only reason my UO account is active now is I got a house to consider.

41.

Well the main reason of the decline now, i feel is that the GameMasters are too involved trying to police and censor what people do in an ever changing environment, instead of fixing bugs and exploitations that allow some players to have extreme advantages over others. Im not talking about skill templates at all, im just talking about mainly bugs, and things that were not too well thought through before implementation. Why do you think no one from the AoS staff is still around?

42.

GameMasters do not fix bugs. Designers and Programmers do. There are several people who worked on Age Of Shadows still on the UO team (Designers, Programmers, and GameMasters a like). Might want to double check your facts.

43.

I am also a veteran UO player. I have played for just over 66 months . My game play experience began to change with release 16. If you remember, the warriors were all crying about how powerful the tamers, mages, and bards were. The majority of players were training in these areas. Dev team, in an effort to force players to deversify, nerfed magery and put a limit on how many pets you could use at one time. Magery took a hellova beating leaving only one or two spells that were lethal. Tamers found their pets were dying like flies from lesser monsters.
All you vets should remember when they took away the ability to own more than one house per shard. That really devestated the real estate market. Armor began to deteriorate with use ... safe places were taken away ... they did away with magic trees ... monster lock on remained after invisibility. I really thought at that release that they were trying to get rid of the veteran players. As before mentioned, up to release 16, it took months to gain skills and here we were with players 5 days old becoming Grandmasters.
Then came AoS, a terribly buggy release. It was so bad that we felt as if were were doing their beta testing live. In an effort to make a joke of it, were were offered pixel candy with messages like "I survived the release of AoS".
I still remember the lag. So bad that you were usually dead before you ever saw the monster that hit you. Our plees to go back to skill based game fell on deaf ears.
Now, its not who you are or what skills you have learned; its what you own and how much luck you can buy that makes you powerful. Jewelry add ons as high as 20 points make it easy to max out skill levels. UO is like a crap sandwich, the more bread you have the less crap you have to eat!

44.

There are plenty of free server to choose from these days, so UO is now more or less on the rebound. I mean just check out the influx of new player made servers. There is one for like every type of player. OSI's UO has been dead for a long time.

PLUG: Check out my pre publish 16 (before powerscrolls and the works) siege perilous clone server. http://www.darkshard.net/

45.

Not sure if "free" servers indicate a rebound so much as a transition to a different phase -- sort of an undead version of the original game.

I wonder where all the people accusing others of cheating for RMT come down on the question of these "free" servers. Is it cheating if I sell someone a sword rather than them having to grind for ten hours for it, but not cheating if I steal EA's intellectual property and put it up for my own use?

46.

Come on now.... You all love UO! I like to log in hang out in my house a bit sorting things, yelling at my neighbors, enhancing a bit of loot etc.. Then yeah I might load up on pots and hang at Yew gate a bit, sure, I might also log on to my Doom fighter and spend a couple hours trying to get another arti. Then again I might log into my thief, carefully logged out in a champ spawn location and sneak about. Heck I don't know, maybe I'll hang out at an IDOC fight for kicks. All I know is that if you play UO solo or as a team (on ventrilo or same doing spawns and such), and whether you are questing, RPing, PVPing, being a jerk, hording loot, decorating your max storage house, trying create a decent resist suit with LMC and LRC, trying to get over 1300 luck, running a faction or guild, you really cannot beat the freedom present in this game. I quit playing UO in 1998 because I played on a 14.4 modem and it was incredibly stupid to walk out of town and die, maybe that's what some of you posters are missing so much?(killing a slowpoke like me)... However I rejoined 3 years ago and with my cable modem I have been quite happy. frustrated at times, yes... But I could never turn my back on such an investment of time and effort on my part that rivals any other game I have ever played. How do you win UO? It's really up to you.. Doesn't anyone else love this game? I wouldn't compare UO to any other MMOG unless they also had a crafting system and customizable housing, along with PVP, questing, unique items etc... And to those of you who think artifacts have ruined the game, how come I haven't found an arti better than the 15%def 15%hit 13%reflect Spell channeling shield I pulled off of a blood elemental corpse? (Arties don't rule, they just look cool, and sell well on ebay).
I hope UO turns into the Simpsons of MMOG and allows me to happily enjoy it for years to come.
OK, now you guys can beat up on me
Sincerely,
Humble online gameplayer who happens to love UO dearly.

PS (Show me another MMOG that you can spend a day working on your begging, fishing, and cooking skills(and yes I know it's boring, that's not the point!).

47.

UO's last designer is leaving EA, supposedly going to Blizzard. The rumor is that there's only a skeleton crew left on EA's first and last surviving MMO. EA killed the latest UO2 again too.

R. I. P.

48.

Hey i do play UO but the only way i can is with UOG
Ultima Online Gateway
An with the people upgrading there UO Servers are getting a pain to goto because they are upgraded more then my client it an when i log on it gose to a black screen so i had to go an get AOS i dont like AOS at all but that was the only way i could play UO an its so gay i agree the worlds are bigger but still like u said doom an stuff it gonna be a bad verson of Diablo After more people see the changes an stuff there gonna choose Diablo over UO an theres only one good shard i have seen in the 5 years i have played an thats UoGamers It has a mim of 500+ ppl playing there shard an there are thousands of shards out there that are free so all i do is get a trail verson of a game for the client an i go an play UoGamers Just download UOG its free no cost nothing i beilve u can find it at www.runuo.com or www.uogateway.com

49.

Just announced today...

"Introducing Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy, the 7th exciting chapter in Ultima Online's rich and storied history. Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy includes groundbreaking new features, including: New Playable Race: Elves, Twisted New Enemies, New Dungeons, New Spellweaving Skill, New Quest System, Collections, Increased storage capacity and more... "

Ultima Online RIP you say? Not today I am afraid...

50.

Also announced today: http://boards.stratics.com/php-bin/uo/showflat.php?Cat=&Number=5884155&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=all&vc=1&what2=showflat&selv=&vwhich=>"Speedman" has left UO and EA (also at uo.stratics.com/news/DeveloperFeedback.shtml). Speedman was arguably one of the more popular developers, as was Oaks. With the two of them gone, who exactly is left to release the expansion pack?? And can you really call it an expansion pack when its just a download??

51.

I'm with you on the mass exodus at EA. There is definitely more to this than we are hearing... Offices moving to Florida is not enough, hell even I work remotely these days. That being said (and yes I saw that since your post Leurocian said his goodbyes as well!), I can't wait to play the new expansion. Come on man, Elves, you know that's cool. How many named 'Elvis' or 'Spock' do you think there will be in the first week?
You don't want to miss out on this, I know it's not pub 16 and all, but dang don't you want to check it out too?

Oh yeah.... "Just a download.." look at it like an environmentally friendly means of distributing software. Hey, maybe they are cutting costs, I don't mind not having to visit with the nerd at Electronics Boutique anyway...
(If you work at EB, I meant the other guy ;-) )

52.

Why would I play a teeny tiny 2D elf in a game that's been elf-free for 7 years when I can play a much better looking elf in WoW? Or in almost any other game for that matter?

The download thing just worries me because it seems like it'll be all too easy for whoever is left on the team after this exodus ends to just delay the expansion indefinitely. They don't have to meet any printing or shipping obligations, so I wouldn't be surprised if the "ship" date slips. A lot.

And the sheer number of devs leaving so fast is just scary. Three in as many weeks. The ship is going down.

53.

OK, Let's pretend you are a Canadian Roman Catholic and I am an American Protestant, let's say the year is 1692.

There is no way you are convincing me to change.

At the same time I have faith that I am right and that you are wrong (this implies that it would not matter if I were in fact wrong, as I would believe I was right).

If the ship is going down, I'll be with the band.

(*note - I am not religious at all, just like to make weird references)

Celebrate the Rebirth of UO!!

54.

Its everything everyone here has covered that brings UO down. My opinion is just as the next.
1.The game is all item based now and not skill based anymore
2.They need to lower their monthly rate back down to 9.99 instead of this 12.99 bullshit
3.They need to do something for the pvpers in the game and not the nub trammies who will only be around temperarily unlike the real UOers as my self whos been playing since the start in otherwards trammel?
4.They need to do more for factions to bring them back alive too
5.The biggest thing of all is they need to see what all of us are saying and take things serious because all they care about is themselves on how they want it to be and not on how Us the players want it to be
6. Another thing is there is far too much game gold in the game GET RID OF SOME OF IT
7.The fall of them will be their greed and no care for the customers but I as another feel they can be reborn.
My account is 96 mons old its gotta be the oldest in the game because of everyone whos quit ive played since the beggining and i do not want to be chased away from this game which was once #1 and has dropped to like #10,000. A few changes bring some old school stuff back odds and ends this game could be #1 again

55.

O and I almost forgot to cover GET RID OF THIS INSURRANCE SHIT IT TAKES THE POINT OF PVPing AWAY AND PVPing WILL BE THERE WELCOME HOME GIFT

56.

ultima online sucks ass. it wil never be # again. the gameplay sucks. people dont even fight on the regualar shards, they jsut sit at the bank and talk/trade dumb shit. it about lame artifacts. and 13 year old boys running around calling everone "newbs".

i had fun playing it at first, but it just got lame. i dont see how people can sit and play that game..and whats worse..well, more sad than anything else..is that people will actually buy houses and shit of ebay. HAHAHAHA paying real money to get fake game gold to purchase the "hat of the magi".lmao.

if youre gonna spend money on a game, at least do on one worth spending it on.

57.

I do not feel it is dead at all. Yes, there are some who wish everything was PvP again, and you could get killed by a 7xGM warrior when you just start your new miner in the caves of Minoc.. But why on earth would I want to play a game where I keep getting killed over and over again by more experienced players just because they can??

Maybe instilling some type of PvP rules in Tram that would allow for it if the person choses to be vulnerable to attacks, and not if they dont. That way a person can toggle their crafters (maybe) to be free from attack, yet their warriors can be free to duel all they want to.

I just worry for the new people who would get 'ganked' before they even had a chance to enjoy and get used to the game.

58.

Having played since 1998 through 2002 I was able to see alot of changes made to Ultima Online. Some of them beneficial and some of them detrimental. I am an avid Pre: UOR fan and I admit freely that I play so called "Pirate" shards, because I miss the style of game play involved with that period in UO's history. You have to figure there is a market of up to 20,000 players who use the FreeShards out there, of them roughly 40-60% of them play on fast paced PvP or OSI'99 clone shards. They do this because they miss the good 'ole days on OSI. I think EA should take heed of this, bring a server or two into play that is based on T2A code set for the game and same rules. I will bet you money that that shard is very well populated and will be successful.

Not that none of the changes made in the past few years arent cool. I just feel that they should give players the options out there that they want. I mean that is how to develop, produce, and market a viable product is it not? Make something people want and it will sell. Well there are alot of people who want Pre: UOR so make a shard for them and they may pay to play again...

59.

Anyone who has strong opinions about UO should definetly check out the free shards. There are over 300 of them now. And the variations are staggering. Every upgrade of UO is represented by people who feel it should have stopped there. And modified versions trying to be more Diablo, or more Tolkein, or more RPG or more PvP. Over 300 shards and none exactly alike. And free to play.

Personally, after checking nearly half of them, I found what I wanted. Adult run, very little PvP, lots of crafting additions, and way uncrowded. The wilderness is actually wilderness. I can build my little retirement ranch wherever I want.

If thats not for you then fine. Like I said I looked thru over a hundred to find it. If you feel that the games offers are slumping then reload UO, hit the upgrade exe in that same directory, and start visiting the free shards.

Gandalf Parker
--
Hey my wife loves me playing Ultima Online.
I get to pack-rat, try my hand at making things, visit other peoples
junk sales, kill & skin animals... all the things she hates me doing in
our garage.

60.

how do i get the game on my computer

61.

I played UO for 5 years (quit several years ago and last year of it was only messing around because of bad modem/phone connection).

The first year 98(?) was the most fun even with all the $%^^%$ lag becuase I made friends with people who had played since the Beta and dis alot of interesting things (remember when you could do Earthquake at the bank or when people could pull monsters out of dungeons thru gating ....).

Year after year I saw the people running the game get stupider and lazier and feed the #$%^%$ rares EBAY market mentality (and lets not forget their enabling the insta-PKers and the various Housing fiascos).

UO had such potential, but with the management cutting costs and emplying third string(4th??) programmers causing more bugs than they fixed etc.. inept redesign, poor priorities, useless DMs, etc..

Money wasted on UO2 and UXO that could have better been used enhancing the original game ...

I estimate poor decisions which drove away new and old players in disgust cost them 50000 customers over all the years I'd played (50k x $10 * 12 months * 5 years = $30 million dollars!!!).

I dont doubt they will try to milk it for a while yet, but as far as Im concerned, the real UO died of management stupidity years ago.

62.

hey everyone iv played UO since the AOS lanch and im sad that i never truly got to know the game in its peak glory but the person who got me into the game told me alot about it and told me stories of the fun he had and thats what got me started iv jest cancaled my account a few days ago because i jest cant take the Crap from EA anymore im a mid level solo player who can't put 40 plus hours in a week and dont have the time to make uber characters and go dooming and farm gold and such so im left in the dust as a mid level warrior with no guild if you dont got the gold the game is boaring because it seams all the game about is gold and items thats it nothing eles and if you dont 40 + hours a week you can have any of it basicly what EA is doing is Kicking the litte guy in the head thats what killing UO well along with alot of other things i am currently playing World Of Warcraft i dont know for how long its a good game but it lacks things that UO has i dont know where im going it go now probley jest join a freeshard i guess

63.

Hmmmmm..... interesting article I have stubled upon here. Will add my 2 cents (which isnt much at all).

Everything I post here, is purely my perspective of UO and games out there. I am in no way, shape or form speaking on the general well being or lack thereof UO. Only my humble perspective.

I am almost 39 now and not some 15 year old running through UO (though I really wish I was 15 again). I have been playing games since Pong was released to the world. Still got most of my old Intellivision and Atari 2600 games in storage. Been through the Apple 2E and Amiga years.

My 1st on-line game was Diablo 1. Didnt hang around long. Couldnt log into a public game without losing 50 ears. If any of you got a HUNTER-CCC ear. Give it back you crumb!

I left Diablo 1 and entered UO at T2A release. I was blown away. Literally! A dynamic world you could interact with, a skill based system and people everywhere! These are what made me fall in love with UO. Instead of just bumbing off trees, tables and other stuff in game. I could use it and interact with it. The world truely felt alive.

But UO had a serious drawback for me. I couldnt go out into wilderness and enjoy a good adventure with friends because I would get mana dumped on 6 steps outside of town. If I got lucky and ran the gauntlet to reach the wilderness, I got hosed bringing back a couple of 1000 in gold right before town. The player base itself ruined the experience for me, I am not against PvP, I am against TOO MUCH PvP. After getting hacked into little meatballs on an average of 3 times for every hour of game play, I was done.

Off to Dark Age of Camelot I went. 3 years of my life there at 50+ hours a week. Mythic ruined their own game. Watched them shoot themselves in the foot time after time. Game was balanced for PvP. They unbalanced it. Offical promisses of crafters making the best items in game went broken. 1 month after that promiss on their offical web page, their 1st expansion had far superior drops on monsters in expansion. They promissed a 2nd stage for spellcrafting and alchemy, then ignored that promiss. When I left, it was a long forgotten dream that even gamers forgot about. Next expansion put artifacts in that unhinged game play even more for PvP. Now one person running powered up artifacts could easily kill 8 others in PvP. In DAoC I learned level based systems SUCK ROYALLY! GGGRRRIIINNNDDD............. nothing else.

When leaving DAoC, I returned to UO hearing about Trammel, so I had to see it. Was great, now I could do my treasure chests without getting blown into pieces and watch my chest being looted by Mr. Anti-Social behaviour. But I found out after many chests, there was no sense in even looting the items. Now it was all total junk. Grab the scroll, reagents, gems and gold for money and leave the chest to rot. I used to hold one day sales and make 400 to 500K selling vanq weapons. Now I was pulling stuff out that was no better than what you could buy from npcs in town. LRC suits ruined the market for reagents. Then they increase the amount in the T chests? Gee thanks EA. I got a chest in house now that has 20K of each reg and no use for them. My treasure hunting days in begining couldnt be done due to rampant PKing. Now they are not worth doing at all due to being a garbage man hauling crap.

I sit here and see artifacts far superior to what I can spend months digging thru chests yet with S.I. anyone with mid level magery could earn one an hour.

Luna is the only town worth visiting for companionship. Gone are the friday nights of wading into Brit bank spam and feeling like I am a part of a community. Brit bank on Catskills is a ghost town. Heck all Brit a ghost town even on friday nights.

I am in game just till I find another game to move on to. Then I am gone.

The skill based system and interactive world got me hooked on UO. The merciless PKing ruined it.

When I came back, the curbed PKing got me hooked again. The item based game ruined it.

Maybe EA will get it right someday. But I have dealt with EA since Sega Master System days and learned that there is one game company out there that could ruin a wet dream. Its name is Electronic Arts.

So I am not holding my breath on them making UO great again.

If you enjoy UO, then have fun. I hope they improve the game for your sake if not mine.

Sincerely,
Bill
(Stepping Wolf 6xGM Treasure Hunter on Catskills)

64.

I've played uo since '98 and its of my opinion that the beginning of the end was when EA took over. I played during t2a,UO:R and pub16, but I quitted as soon as AoS was installed. Anyway ever since i quitted I've tried out a few Freeshards which to my suprise have been really good ones and I've had the luck to play vs old friends of mine and enjoy the era I used to love. UOR. Anyway if you wish to experience the fun of UO:R again as it used to be I would advice you to try out the freeshard Defiance : Worldwide. Its a serious freeshard with a large playerbase. The GM's are mature and take their jobs serious and to tell you the truth this freeshard is as close you can come to the real old OSI UO:R.

If you're interested, you can visit their homepage where you will get answers to all your questions.

www.Defianceuo.com

65.

Let's face it freeshards just arn't the same, they don't feel right. They should bring up a UOR and a Pre UOR shard. I'm sure most of the people from the freeshards would try it out again.

66.

Fascinating...Replace the UO name with SWG, and it's the same history. Details vary of course, but the arc is the same.

67.

give it up man, jeeze who cares that much to write that much about the game.

68.

It's been around 2 years since this article was written, and UO is far from dead. The new dev team has injected a lot of life into UO, just read anything about INU the crone and you'll be astounded by the reaction. There's also been some quests added that remind people of what is the Ultima in UO. There are still bugs, and things need to be balanced-- but that is the same as in any other MMORPG. The current dev team has really been communicating with people, in a positive way.

Also, if you want to try to relive current UO like it kidna was, why not play on Siege Perilous?

69.

I can remember being about 13 years old when UO:R came out, i wanted to play SO bad. Unfortunatly being 13 i had no source of steady income and no net connection. I bought a copy of the game anyway and poured over the manual, to the point of almost committing it to memory! I was hooked and i hadnt even played it yet! Anyway years passed and i eventually forgot about UO. About a year back i saw a copy of Lord Blackthorn's Revenge tucked away on a shelf at EB. Seeing the old UO logo rekindled those old memories, and since it was a mere 5 bucks i said what the heck, ill pick it up and give it a run. I liked it well enough to buy the eigth age pack when it came out and still play today.

I honostly must say that while i do enjoy playing, i hunger for the "good old days" that ive heard of but never experienced. When the streets of britain were packed with people hawking their wares and the wilderness was untaimed (a.k.a. unfilled with houses). I try to strictly roleplay my main character however i find myself in poor company. Every once in awhile someone will pick up and play along but it doesnt satisfy my need for social interaction im afraid.

Perhaps if things dont change soon i may find myself a "pirated" server to settle down on, one set in UO:R or earlier.

70.

Well what a site I've stumbled upon. Hmm let's see I believe the first free shard I ever played on was in 2000, an Australia shard - Fel only. That was my introduction to UO and it was a wonderful one at that. The game is immense and so much can be done...I was wowed - and HOOKED. After perhaps eight months of free sharding I took up an account on Oceania and played both. The whole trammel thing was terribly annoying on OSI....I was quite disappointed and quite mad and finally understood the whole 'Trammy scum' thing from seeing it with my own eyes. But anyhow that is getting offtrack. Don't want to anger those banksitters now.

Anyhow...yes I agree OSI shards have a different feel to them though the free shard I played on was also very dear to me. It was when they brought in the advanced character buy in system I just felt that pay to play UO had died and would never return (ofcourse I had seen alot along the journey that had angered me..to many wrong moves..no ear for the playerbase), and so as a last ditch effort I jumped on Siege Perilous - which was laggy from Australia though I couldn't believe I had played Oceania for so long after experiencing Siege. It was just what I was after. That too...slowly died over a couple of years and then AOS came....*boom* So many people left and I left a few months after that moronic release. Artifacts....*shudders*. And so I went back to free shards, slowly designing my own shard parallel to playing Siege which I still enjoy today - and still work on it..might even host it for us poor Aussies one of these days.

As far as I'm concerned UO, pay to play UO - is dead. Too many wrongs were done, too much time wasted on other features which dulled the game even more. Trammel and EQ were the worst things to ever have happened to gaming in my humble opinion. I play on a free shard that is at the UO:R stage, no bs, no trammel, a whole heap of improvements to what we know and love, so much player added content from cities to monsters, skills, quests and jesus there's just so much out there on the free shards who are run by old school passionate uo players and I will stay on mine and support the game we grew to love in the early days, not this 'race for how many artis/pretty steeds/wanky rewards/ugly custom housing' game that it is now. EA screwed it into the ground. RIP pay to play UO. It would take a magic wand to redeem it.

71.

"As of May 2006, UO had about 135,000 subscribers worldwide..."

It's still holding out. :)

72.

another reason that UO is probably going to die out is because of the UO free shards of UO Gateway. its simple, easy, and free! no credit card or anything like that. all you need is UO installed, go to www.uogateway.com and download.
and their all run by normal people. so if UO shuts down... UOGateway will still be up and running. so, if UO doesnt change certain things that their players dont like, they will probably be shuting down due to non-payment from their players.

73.

There are plenty of free server to choose from these days, so uo is now more or less on the rebound. I mean just check out the forex influx of new player made servers. There is one for like every type of player.OSI s uo has been dead for a long time.

74.

who cares if the uo main server is dieing? give evryone like me players on uor servers come check out my page server will be up forever and we will have new server for next UO game witch comes out next year some time

75.

they supposed to be making a better graphical client called ultima online kingdom reborn. even if they do change the graphics it still wont change the fact that the game sucks now. they said "we hope to get more subscribers when upgrading the graphics" but they should be thinking of the games gameplay other than the graphics. this game sucked every since they added the "artifacts". now everyone just wants to sit in the trammel bank selling them.

76.

Well i for one Play Ultima Online quite alot. The game maybe old but it is the best Online RPG ive ever played. The game may not have great 3D graphics but the game can be played on a 300Mhz Machine what do you expect from that? People that say they cant play the game anymore Must not Know you can download the game for free legally - and all you have to do is update it on a free shard. The game is getting a face lift within the year as well, do a search for Reborn Kingdom. Cmon what game is there besides Ultima, World of Warcraft? They sell that game at HOT TOPIC how trendy can you get ISH!

77.

I played Uo back in 1998 and had the most fun in a game ever! id play front 242 head hunter song and try to kill bad guys for there heads to sell the game was great cause it implemented alot of stuff that happends in real life so i played this game at a friend i was room mates with who owned the game and then i moved out after playing game for few months then 9 years go by... i create my toon Happy again put on front 242 head hunter and fell a trip of nostalgia kick in... from playing the game old school on free shard the guy that created uo was a genius he should be the one in charge of saving the earth from all the retards that exist today killing the planet

78.

Hey man, where do you live? Wake up! We live in the world, where internet is needed, where credit cards are needed! =D I think it is not too much difficult get credit card from your bank

79.

UO was the MMO that broke my cherry. From the moment I first logged in, to the day i quit, I was hooked.

I remember, before housing, when players would store items on boats and sail the seas attacking other players on boats in hopes of scoring some good loot.

I remember pre Tram... Those were the days.....

Now that reborn is in beta, and tomorrow's patch will be the inauguration(sp?) the first real open beta, i am reopening my accounts, I have to experience this.....

'Tis my destiny....

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