Memory Lane – Ultima Online

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.

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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.

1stOrderMeeting2UO

Britain bank was the major social and commerce spot, always very crowded.

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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-

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1stAttack

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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.

BaracoonUO
You would kill waves of monsters until the altar filled with skull candles and then the boss would finally spawn.
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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-

AnatPsUO

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.

3xGmUO

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.

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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.

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4 thoughts on “Memory Lane – Ultima Online

  1. Thankfully these days players are able to relive their Ultima Online experience on a variety of free shards that are run by former players. Depending on the era you loved the most about Ultima you can probably find a free server that is a pretty close match. At the moment I play on http://www.uorenaissance.com a reproduction of the 2000-2001 era of Ultima online.

  2. Pretty good, its a new server so still growing, but for the time frame its the best I have found before Origin went full tilt with the trammel (carebear) style of play where it was basically only player versus monster combat. At any given time you will find anywhere from 60 to 160 people playing. They also have some inventive technology they use to prevent people from running unattended profit macros which can be a big problem on other servers.

    • Gonna have to debate playing in uncomfortable environment (pre-Third Dawn/LBR) and with such a small player base. I’ll have to say that one of the key appeals for me was the huge player base that the official shards had and not sooooo much the engine that was used. AoS’ house customization was very awesome, but the rest of the changes not so much. Else, I really liked LBR for all its worth. If anyone managed a decent free shard with LBR system, but Fel rules for the 2 facets, I feel it would be the most complete UO experience.

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