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Ultima Online Heads for 7th Birthday With Anniversary Edition 26

Thanks to Yahoo for reprinting an EA press release noting a special 7th Anniversary Edition of Ultima Online has been announced, featuring the game plus the "five [previously released] expansion packs... one of seven rare and powerful anniversary [in-game] gifts... and a collector's edition of the Ultima Online Fan Guide", as well as a "full version of the classic Ultima IX: Ascension." The official UO site has a picture of the box, and over at UO Stratics, they have clarification from UO's lead programmer, part of the California-transplanted Ultima Online team, that "the primary motivation to release the Anniversary Edition is to get UO back on store shelves until the [late 2004-due] expansion is complete. At the same time we were looking for ways to give players some value [also including 'an extra character slot'] that would complement the package."
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Ultima Online Heads for 7th Birthday With Anniversary Edition

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  • Ultima IX: Ascension (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:26PM (#9241211)
    Hahaha... More like surplus stock. ;)

    I never bought that game when it came out, despite being an Ultima fan. But about a year ago I got my hands on a copy and gave it a whirl (figuring PCs today had to be powerful enough to play it).

    What an amazing game. It wasn't nearly the game it should have been to end a series, but if you figure all the crap that the development team(s) went through to get that game into the shape is was at release, hats off to them.
    It is by far the most lush, detailed and beautiful world in 3D that had ever been made at the time, and in many, many ways even still today. I was floored at their landscape design, fitting everything into such a small area of land and making it feel like a continent packed with detail down the centimeter. No polygon in that game world was unused, it was amazing.

    The gameplay was good, the story was good, and when you play such an old game so later on, your expectations are naturally much lower, and I found myself absolutely loving this game from start to finish. The only thing I really didn't care for was the really bizarre cultural twist they put on the various towns in Britannia (Scara Brae is egyptian? What?!), but other than that it was much good fun.

    • by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:31PM (#9241295)
      "It is by far the most lush, detailed and beautiful world in 3D that had ever been made at the time,....I was floored at their landscape design, fitting everything into such a small area of land and making it feel like a continent packed with detail down the centimeter. No polygon in that game world was unused, it was amazing."

      I felt that way about Disneyworld, except that the broad tawny expanse of the Pluto guy-in-a-suit's back just cried out to have some sort of "Lion King 1 1/2" adbill plastered on it. There's still a few unused polygons there.

    • Thanks. You picked up on the one aspect of U:A that really turned out the way we hoped - the hand-sculpted continent. It's true - every single polygon on the entire landmass was tweaked into place in an attempt to make a smallish map feel like a huge one to the player and present, at the same time, all kinds of picturesque vistas. I'm truly saddened that the gameplay was clunky, erratic and buggy - that it was rushed out the door in a less-than-polished state. But the art team came through - and we did what
  • 7th anniversary? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Xoo ( 178947 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:34PM (#9241323) Journal
    I've never heard of a game celebrating it's *7th Anniversary*... I guess they figure UO will be much harder to milk any further 3 years from now...

    In all seriousness, UO was a great game that improved in some areas and worsened in others. I think releasing an edition with every expansion is a smart move to entice even more people to try out the game (or come back to it).

    I feel like we are lonnnng overdue for a sequal to UO :-)
  • by rmarll ( 161697 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:45PM (#9241477) Journal
    as well as a "full version of the classic Ultima IX: Ascension."

    Because no one in their fricking mind bought it the first time around.

    Yes, I bought it. I was out of my mind, I admit it. I thought Ultima 8 was ok too. In my defense though, it was also the only game I've ever returned since I started playing computer games.

    Even RG has admitted as much it being a less than stellar moment in the series. This is what happens when you get bought out by a publicly traded company.
    • I hear it's actually decent now that computers have advanced and patches have been released.

      Rob (I'd have to play through the previous ten games first, though. I'm pretty obsessive about playing through most games in order.)
    • Personally, I'm thrilled - I'm a game collector and want to have every Ultima here, and I only have U1-8, UUW1 and SE here.

      Of course, I'm pretty much aware that Ultima IX is garbage compared to just about any part of the series. Yet, when browsing the 500+ nitpicks about the game [members.aon.at], I suddenly had felt the need to get the game and see how bad things were in Britannia. The site probably had completely the opposite effect to me than what was intended =)

      I'm only hoping for a complete remake of the series, po

    • Christ, some of us actually bought the super deluxe humoungous Collector's Edition box.

      'Course, I haven't played it yet, I'm only through Ultima 1 to 6. Folks might have guessed that from my sig.

  • by Seumas ( 6865 ) on Monday May 24, 2004 @04:50PM (#9241535)
    I wonder how many players are still playing today and have been playing for the full seven years? I also wonder what type of people they are, in general. I've played a lot of MMORPGs in the last few years - hoping that each one would be the magic bullet that has the right mix of story, world, graphics, community, player-base-size, in-depth-play, imagination and compelling play that would keep my attention and not turn into a boring gold-hording click-fest.

    So far, after playing about two dozen MMORPGs, including A Tale In The Desert, Anarchy Online, Rubies of Eventide, Shadowbane, The Sims Online (ick), Neocron, City of Heroes, Planetside and Dark Ages of Camelot - none have held my interest for more than a month and very few have held my interest for more than one or two weeks.

  • ...as well as a "full version of the classic Ultima IX: Ascension."

    Sorry, but Ultima VI (I think - it's the one that included "THOU HAST LOST AN EIGHTH!") was the last Ultima sequel that can be considered "classic". Ultima VII and VIII were so buggy as to be unplayable - by the time Ultima IX came out, the series had already been more or less ruined beyond repair.

    I still miss the pre-Brittania time-travel and spaceships of Ultima II.

    • Re:Classic? (Score:3, Informative)

      by Wtcher ( 312395 )
      ...were so buggy? The only major bug in UVII: Black Gate at first release was the key bug, where you would lose a key whenever you went to sleep - but they quickly fixed that with a patch (I admit it was the first time I ever had to patch a game, though). I don't remember encountering any game-breaking bugs in UVIII either, aside from that game simply not being finished. In Serpent Isle, there was a room that you couldn't leave after entering - of course, that room was an easter egg anyway, so it did not at
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Ultima VII is an RPG benchmark.

      Richard Garriott's masterwork, easily. I still give it a whirl every now and again, 10 plus years on. [sourceforge.net] And I still find new and interesting content, conversations and books.

      Give me an RPG at least one tenth as ambitious and one eighth as interesting as Ultima VII and I'd be happy.
    • U9 isn't "classic", correct =)

      The one with the "thou hast lost an eighth" was U4. Not played much U5 or U6, don't know if they're there.

      Personally, I don't like U4 that much, but it's clearly one of the best in the series. It suffers from same problems as the NES-era RPGs, namely, you can't cram that Epic Stuff into such small space. Dialogues are rather... brief. I can only hope the U4 remakes some day flesh out complete (un U7 sense) dialogues for every NPC.

      As they say in nitpicking [members.aon.at], bugs don't coun

  • i dunno, i played UO from the time it launched to a few years later (around the time of the running-out-of-room-to-place-houses debacle started). i think the last expansion i played thru was Renaissance.

    this kinda makes me want to pick up this anniversary edition and play again, especially since i've completely given up on SWG now as much as it pains me to say that.

    i wonder if they intended something like this by including all the expansions and whatnot. anyone else thinkin of doing the same?
    • [$.02] I've had my account for the full seven years. I took a break for a year and half, but kept the account active. And I'm certainly going to buy the Anniversary Edition, if only to get that extra character slot. As with any ongoing game, some folks are going to be unhappy with content, graphics, playstyle, etc. I got sick of getting "ganked" and hung up my bow for a while. When I came back, I found a few like-minded folks to hang out with and now happily participate in a thriving online community.
    • Yeah, I'm thinking about it too. I started playing a few months after launch, and basically stopped when I got accepted into EQ beta 3. I was basically just logging in to my UO account to refresh my house, until I forgot one week and it decayed. So I canceled my account and just played EQ for a while.

      When I got tired of EQ (I really hated the way the game was stacked so heavily against solo play), I took a while off from MMOGs, but eventually went back to UO, rebuilt a couple of good characters, bough

"For a male and female to live continuously together is... biologically speaking, an extremely unnatural condition." -- Robert Briffault