This game is to this day my real golden year and a half of gaming. It was unlike anything else out there and for its age, it was truly most-expansive and complete kind of MMO RPG.
I started playing it in 2002 just when it was on the 3rd expansion and was probably the game’s all-time peak of quality. Half a year later the 4th one came out and the changes were drastic enough to make half the old community to quit.
This whole genre was a brand new experience for me and I capitalized on all its opportunities. You could have absolutely anything you could imagine in a game- houses, boats, mounts, plethora of crafting and combat skills and various hybrid combinations of the two, excellent dungeons and huge boss spawns, the list can go on and on. It was also one of the very few games that was skill point based rather than character levels, so you could virtually never ruin a character and could always rebuild it into anything else you wanted.
I started up a guild and we all had a pretty successful run over the year and a half that I played prior to moving on myself. Closer to my second half of playing UO I finally managed to organize a player-run town- several houses in the same area designed under the same guidelines and owned by a common group of players, which was one of the hardest feats to achieve in any game like this.
And so, this was the very beginning of my lovely guild. We held early meetings in one of the castles in the main city, Britain, Trammel.
Britain bank was the major social and commerce spot, always very crowded.
I even got lucky enough to catch the culminating official event for the 3rd expansion- Lord Blackthorn’s Revenge. We all collectively fought him and got to see the official iconic characters of the main story-
Past that I had a plethora of other adventures. At one point, tamers of my guild sold various mounts near the bank for very decent prices and made enough pocket change after a day. In fact, animal and monster taming system was extensive and fun. Some critters had pack stats, so the more you had with you, the more damage they did. You could train critters too and even bond them such that after they died, they would follow you as ghosts until you resurrected them. For early 2000s, what other game had even a portion of everything that UO offered?
The champion spawns were the meat of the game for the longest time and featured a final boss of bosses type as well. You would fight huge waves of monsters until the boss appeared, take him down, get a champ skull (that you needed to summon the final spawn) and lots of high-end items. The main sought items were skill point cap scrolls that allowed you to go past the standard 100 point cap, and they would come in increments of 5 until 120. Every character could have a grand total of 700 points, which typically entailed being Grandmaster in 7 skills or Legendary level (120) in any 5 and have a 6th supporting skill.
These typically took from 2 extremely skilled players to 10 or more depending on the spawn and its difficulty. Here is one of the power scrolls-
Here is how skill raising worked- per uses bases with certain time-caps until the next point could be earned, unless you really used the tits out of it.
You would typically set arrows up for skills you wanted raised and down for those you didn’t need. You could also lock skills at any desirable amount for some truly hybrid builds.
The last expansion that I played, The Age of Shadows, added a Sims-like ability to build completely custom houses instead of being stuck with stock designs. This opened up amazing heights for style and was the foundation of my player city.
Items could be stacked to create some really amazing mock-furnishings as well, so at one point I had a pool, a piano, and various other improv decor in my humble abode.
All in all, these were truly the best gaming days of my life thus far and I’m really glad that I can now share even if a tiny bit with the rest of you.