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Role Playing (Games)

Ultima Online Celebrates 10 Years 52

Posted by Zonk
from the stage-of-history dept.
The well known EA-run MMORPG Ultima Online is now celebrating its ten year anniversary. At the time, Gamespot referred to the game as a 'buggy, unplayable mess.' Here's to another ten years, UO. 'In recognition of the game's 10 year anniversary, EA has announced the "Return to Britannia" initiative. Past subscribers of the game can download the free Kingdom Reborn update through Ultima Online's Web site, and then play the game gratis until October 9. EA will also be hosting a number of events during this period, including a monster hunt where players can win loot such as an ankh pendant necklace, a map of Brittania, an Ultima Online commemorative sculpture, and a virtue armor set.' I think it's also worth pointing out that UO isn't the first big graphical game to hit ten years; that would be Meridian 59.
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Ultima Online Celebrates 10 Years

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  • 10 Years... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    And still waiting for that mac version. Boo!
    • by _Sprocket_ (42527)
      And oddly enough... for a short period of time... there was a Linux version. :P
      • by uolamer (957159) *
        Yes, unfortunately there is many 3rd party apps, virtually a must to play, that are all windows only ;( Also had to update in windows..
        • by _Sprocket_ (42527)

          Yes, unfortunately there is many 3rd party apps, virtually a must to play, that are all windows only ;( Also had to update in windows..

          Back when I was playing with the Linux client, I wasn't aware of the 3rd party apps (either they weren't around at that point or I wasn't aware of them). As for updates... you just went to the FTP server and downloaded the updated Linux binary. All the fun ended when the devs who created said binary (unofficially) left and the updates ended.

  • At the time, Gamespot referred to the game as a 'buggy, unplayable mess.' Here's to another ten years, UO.
    Couldn't have said it better myself, having played from 1998-2000!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      having played from 1998-2000!

      Noob!

      Ha, kidding. I remember being a part of the UO beta myself back in '97 - those were great times. Hell I was actually there when Lord British was assassinated - it was an impossible to control lag-a-thon (dial-up FTW!), but at that time it was an unparalleled experience.

      I went on to play UO after the beta for about a year before I called it quits. After being lag-killed for the 20th time or so I decided to give my hard-earned house (literally about 30 hours of tailoring skull caps) and my boat to my

      • by Fizzl (209397)

        (literally about 30 hours of tailoring skull caps)

        This was considered grind back then?
        Shit, it takes 30 hours of PvP grinding to get a pair of mittens in WoW.
        No idea what time frame EQ1 items should be put as I never had the time and will to get keys or do the planar progression.
        • Well UO was one of the first MMORPG's. Back then no one knew that if you made it more like a job you could sell millions and millions of copies. The developers simply didnt know any better and just tried to make the game "fun". Poor, poor bastards. ;)
      • by Faw (33935)
        I was in the beta too, payed for a while. Even though UO had better graphics for some reason I found "Legends of Kesmai" and "AirWarrior" more entertaining.
  • Pimps and Dragons (Score:4, Interesting)

    by klenwell (960296) <klenwell AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @01:07AM (#20764303) Homepage Journal
    It was Ultima Online that was the basis of one of the earliest and most entertaining articles I read on MMORPGs: "Pimps and Dragons" by Elizabeth Kolbert of The New Yorker. A quote from that article that still haunts me:

    "Playing a virtual-world game takes some getting used to," Garriott told me. "You have to realize that the world is what you make of it. Unfortunately, that means most likely you're going to have a relatively mediocre life."


    You can find a copy here:

    Pimps and Dragons [btinternet.com]
    • Interesting article. The part that I found most interesting is below.

      ...Vogel and Koster referred to themselves as "gamers," by which they seemed to mean not just that they liked to play computer games but that they didn't really see them as games.
      I wonder what she (the author) believed these "gamers" felt they were playing.
  • by losman (840619) * on Thursday September 27, 2007 @01:25AM (#20764427)
    *Corp Por*
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      GUARDS! VENDOR BUY ME A LLAMA!

      Most fun I had with my cloths on: Earthquake at Brit Bank, then call the guards.
      For each person standing there, one guard would materialize and whack you dead.

      Oh and duping using UoPlugIn - we used mules to carry away the gold :D
      • even better was to have a second friend do a second earthquake: for each person/guard you would get a another guard.. this could continue for quite a while.
    • by vertinox (846076)
      n00b!
      *Vas Flam*
      *Cor Por*

      Of course when everyone turned into melee Dexers in 2000 it was less likley they were wearing magic reflect.
  • by Nymz (905908)
    Nice move making the mention of Meridian59 at the end. I can't tell you how many posts I've seen where people claim Everquest or something was the first MMORPG. Which is pretty funny, especially since the term MMORPG was coined in order to describe Meridian59. Too bad they were unable to adequately describe a good reason to pay $5.95? a month for a game, when people were already paying $29.95 at the time for dial-up.
    • Re:MMORPG (Score:4, Informative)

      by Adambomb (118938) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @01:54AM (#20764553) Journal
      Let us not forget Muds [wikipedia.org]. PvP on MajorMUD's [wikipedia.org] was one of the primary reasons I'm able to type as well as I (for the most part) do. Some of the boards we played on had anywhere between 50 to 500 player peaks at the time, depending on how much exposure it had, and some were donation supported instead of subscription.

      I mean jebus, its still around today as well [majormud.com], and they have an actual market of people paying for a massively multiplayer text based game. Its definitely not shine, polish, and brand name thats keeping them around.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Adambomb (118938)
        Almost forgot. do not forget the near verbatim similarity between the original Everquest game mechanics and the Toril(/Sojourn/Sojourn3/etc) [torilmud.org] Used-to-be-Diku codebase. Aradune I'm glaring at you.
        • by toleraen (831634)
          You realize that the people who made Diku publicly stated they didn't believe the rumor that EQ stole code from them, right?
          • by Adambomb (118938)
            i meant specifically the modified diku codebase used by toril/sojourn over the past 15 years or so. Check it [torilmud.org] and compare and contrast.
    • Re: (Score:1, Offtopic)

      by Splab (574204)
      What about Command & Conquer? It might not be a MMO, but it sure as hell was a trend setter and they hit 12 years this month. They celebrated with giving away C & C 95 Gold for free here: http://www.commandandconquer.com/intel/default.aspx?id=61#NewsMain [commandandconquer.com] .
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by gravis777 (123605)
      My problem with the summery is it said Meridian59 was the first game to hit 10 years old, however, from the Wiki, the game was shut down in 2000, and rereleased with an updated rendering engine in 2002. As such, you cannot claim 10 years, as the first incarnation was killed after 5 years, and the rerelease has only been out 5 years, and there was a two year timespan between the two. Ultima Online has been online nonstop (with the exception of maybe a few server hiccups) for 10 years. That should be a better
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:42AM (#20764825)

    a monster hunt where players can win loot such as an ankh pendant necklace, a map of Brittania, an Ultima Online commemorative sculpture, and a virtue armor set.
    Dont get me wrong, I played uo from beta till 2004 or so.. thats like 7 years. The problem with uo is they went from a nice free form game (like eve online currently) and made it more like a collecting stupid fucking rares and equipment game (wow has since refined this technique). I blame entirely EA. They made it into a game about collecting and decorating your house.(not that i didnt pimp the illegal no draw tile i had)

    Its bittersweet because as much as people complained about OSI back in the day, they ran it LIGHT YEARS better than ea ever did. So grats i guess to the hollowed out shell of one of the best and most forward thinking games of all time. I still cannot build a house in any game since*.

    *POS and 0.0 stations are almost houses but not quite.
    • by Cozminsky (452030)
      EA, where games go to die.
    • Its bittersweet because as much as people complained about OSI back in the day, they ran it LIGHT YEARS better than ea ever did.

      EA purchased OSI years before UO was released - though the name on the door changed, the people inside running the game never did.

      The problem with uo is they went from a nice free form game (like eve online currently) and made it more like a collecting stupid fucking rares and equipment game (wow has since refined this technique). I blame entirely EA. They made it

    • by netsavior (627338)
      I have a house in Runescape(started in 1999, java/cross platform implementation pay version is $5/mo) with my own dungeon... It is instance housing, not world housing though (you have to go to your house through a portal, and friends can come in), so it has its weak points.
      Just saying Player owned housing is not unheard of.
      Also there are just not very many rares in runescape, it is largely about community and skill building, not l3wt collecting.
    • I blame entirely EA. They made it into a game about collecting and decorating your house.(not that i didnt pimp the illegal no draw tile i had)
      And Animal Crossing isn't?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:58AM (#20764911)
    People like to point out that other games came before UO, and that it isn't the "first" MMO.
    To those people, I remind you (cough) that UO was the first MMO to be a major success: to hit 100k subscribers, setting the standard for judging MMO success for years to come.

    It brought a world to life, introduced an entire generation to a new way of playing online, and opened the doors for games like EQ, DAOC and WOW.
    It brought joy to hundreds of thousands, and frustration, and angst and anger and every other emotion one could think of.
    It brought people together and foreshadowed the massive impact the internet could have on our social lives.

    Oh, and it was fun too! Between 97 and 99 for some, between 2000 and 2003 for others, and even in 2007 today.

    So, here's to the longest running, continuous, subscription based MMO - here's to another 10 years!

    For anyone who wants to see where UO is going, check out some screenshots of the new client:
    http://boards.stratics.com/php-bin/uo/showflat.php?Cat=&Board=uouhall&Number=7421553&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=31&fpart=all&what2=postlist [stratics.com]
    • by Psychochild (64124) <psychochild AT gmail DOT com> on Thursday September 27, 2007 @05:02AM (#20765515) Homepage
      To those people, I remind you (cough) that UO was the first MMO to be a major success[...]

      Of course, it all depends on how you define "major success". If we define it as the game that had over 1M subscribers in North America, then UO is merely a historic oddity compared to WoW.

      (Caveat: I run the company that currently owns Meridian 59.)

      While Meridian 59 didn't live up to its potential (IMNSHO), it was still a success. For a while, 3DO was only making significant income from two areas of the company: Meridian 59 and lawsuits. Considering that M59 began as a small garage development project, not a project from a large company using a long-cherished IP, it succeeded quite admirably.

      But, you can split hairs and try to define who was really "first" in what capacity. Even your highly qualified statement, "So, here's to the longest running, continuous, subscription based MMO[...]" doesn't describe UO because you forgot commercial text MUDs; I believe Gemstone is the game that matches that description. In the end, both M59 and UO influenced online games. M59 even influenced UO by going with a flat-rate monthly subscription model, which set the trend for the rest of the games you mention.

      Anyway, no need to put down other games to make UO seem better. It's nice to see games that reach the 10 year mark at any rate.

      Have fun,
      • Of course, it all depends on how you define "major success".

        I can do so easily, and without splitting hairs.

        It's a game that a significant number of people have ever heard of. When you mention UO, virtually everyone knows what you are talking about. When you mention Meridian 59... The answer is a resounding 'who?'. Etc... Etc...

        When you have to keep reminding people that you even exist, and your only mention on Slashdot is in a snarky article summary or comment when the actual article i

        • by toleraen (831634)

          When you mention Meridian 59... The answer is a resounding 'who?'. Etc... Etc...

          Really? Because when I mention M59 to my friends, they know exactly what I'm talking about, and what that game did for the genre. Just because you or your friends don't know the classics, or any history of the genre, doesn't mean the game was any less significant.

          Outside of gaming circles, who really knows much of anything about UO anyway? The only thing I've seen outside of gaming sites/news was the first ebayed character. [cnn.com] And hilariously, the article quickly goes from a UO story to an EQ story.

          By

          • by tgrigsby (164308)
            Just ignore him. Derek is used to taking snarky little potshots at people. I think his mother didn't hug him enough as a child or something.

        • So, why are you posting on Slashdot? More people know what Digg is, so shouldn't you be posting over there?
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Lord_Dweomer (648696)
        Yep, Gemstone and the rest of the MUDs are the real first MMORPGs. I still think Dragonrealms is one of the finest games I've ever played. I have never in my life seen so much effort put into masking the numbers from players to make them actually read whats going on and immerse them in the story. Combat was an absolute joy as was everything else. Great playerbase too.

        • by Durinthal (791855)
          And unfortunately, graphical MMORPGs still can't even remotely approach the level of detail that MUDs achieved years ago. I want to be able to hack off that goblin's arm and make him drop his sword, which I can then pick up and attack him with.
  • The game would not still exist if emulators like UOX, Sphere, and RunUO hadn't kept people interested long after they stopped paying their monthly fee.
    • by toleraen (831634)
      So you're saying the only reason UO has survived is because people stopped paying EA for upkeep of the game?
  • by Anonymous Coward
    MUDs have been running far longer (although admitedly this does not contradict the original article in any way). I play Discworld MUD and that's been running for 15 years for example.

    I wonder which MUD has been running the longest out of all the ones still going? There are hundreds so I'm not researching it but if anybody knows then that'd be an interesting addendum to the article.
  • by entmike (469980)
    I didn't realize this game was still around and recognized by EA. I was aware of the emulators and such, but had no idea that it was still being officially run. Everquest is coming up on a decade in a couple of years, too I believe.
  • vendor buy bank guards i ban thee
    • by Reapman (740286)
      Oh man I totally forgot about that... I loved UO back in the day, I mean sure if you think about MMO's now the game is/was laughable, but can't deny it was groundbreaking. I remember me and my buddy trying to build a house using crates, back when we did'nt realize crates would eventually vanish. We thought some thief was stealing our "walls", turns out we were just n00bs not knowing how things work :P

      UO, M59, EQ1, those days were fun, when nobody knew how to make a good MMO really because it never had bee
  • I'm sure (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gregg.Baker (1142539) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @02:48PM (#20772089)
    All three people still playing the game feel very proud of this fact.
  • "Return to Brittania"?

    That list of goodies is nice, but not gonna happen unless I get a Necklace of Pk Griefer Teenybopper Groups Slaughtering People By The Graveyard Die Now Pigs.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    I played from the day the game came out (1998 was it? to 1999). This game was really one of the first and best graphical MMORPG's to this day. Today's Online RPG's aren't fun as UO. I played Warcarft and FFXI... there are too restrictive....

    Back in the day players had MORE control over the world. That is what was fun. Not killing monsters together as a team (like in the World of Warcraft)... yawn..

    Until they fixed the so called "loop holes" in UO, you could

    Gate Monsters anywhere: Being a member of LLTS of o
  • by AdamTrace (255409) on Thursday September 27, 2007 @06:55PM (#20775801)
    "Trial requires the entry of a registration key provided below. A major credit card is required to validate your account but will not be charged during the trial period. Please note the credit card will be automatically charged at the end of the trial unless cancelled."

    I hate stuff like this. It preys on those of us who are too lazy to cancel our free subscriptions when the trial is up.

    I'd love to give it a shot, but I just don't trust myself.

    Adman

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