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Image of Ultima Online - Review

Ultima Online one of the first MMOs ever, as it was released in September 1997. The game is quite probably the longest running MMO and the definitely the first hugely popular one. Like the rest of the games in the Ultima series, Ultima Online is set in the Ultima fantasy MMO universe. It has 9 expansion packs and many content updates. UO remains one of the most unique and content rich MMOs out there.

Pros: Enormous amounts of content. Regular updates. Massive game world. Solid player housing. Unique Skill based Progression.

Cons: Learning curve is huge. Dated graphics. PvP is item dependent. Declining playerbase.

Storyline:

There is no 'one true storyline' in UO. Instead you have occasional new quest-lines and events. Mostly you make your own content. Instead of trying to drag up lore that spans from 1997 I will instead quote from the UO forums:

'What I am basically getting at is whatever you do, whether or not you become a roleplayer or whatever, you have the ability to make your own story and add to the Sosarian universe, instead of following one linear path. I mean, would you rather be known as the 1,000,000,001 person to have killed the same quest boss over and over again, or would you rather be the famous mage who formed a group who was successful in defeating another powerful nemesis guild, or the guy who became faction commander of a certain faction and held sway over Felucca for a year or more? Or the guy who won that tournament and earned that famous unique shield that no one else has? Or the guy who solved the murder of a famous guild leader ? Or the guys who had a piece of blackrock (it was really black granite), one of eight players who had to protect this piece to prevent another guild from being able to cast Armageddon (they couldnt really, but it was a fun plot). We are given a world and are given the chance to make ourselves unique and stand out from others, to make our own story and our own fame. In Ultima Online, no two players are alike. How many level sixty clone Paladins or Mages do you see in games like WoW or EverQuest? Millions.' -WarderDragon

Features:

The most obvious shortcoming of Ultima Online is its graphics engine. Over its history the graphics have been updated somewhat, including support for a 3D client, but the game has not kept pace with the genre. UO is an old game that looks like an old game. The look of Ultima Online was great in 1997, but it is dated and unappealing in the 21st century. There's a distinct nostalgic/retro look to the game that some may find charming, but those unfamiliar with Ultima Online will be turned off at first glance, which is a shame because graphics are no substitute for gameplay, and UO has proven that it has the gameplay just by virtue of its longevity.

UO pioneered the MMO system. The designers wanted a world where you could could immerse yourself into. A world with not only hardy warriors bravely go to slay dragons but also simple blacksmiths making the tools for them to do that, or even the humble baker or fisherman. UO really is an entire virtual world with its own economy and political system, created solely by player interaction with very little dev input other than new patches. It's an expansive, immersive sandbox world enjoyed by thousands of players all over the world every day. It's an innovative and unmatched experience in the realm of massively multiplayer online role playing games. It's a world in which you can not only fight, craft, create, explore, and triumph...but a world in which you can live. And it's still so much more than that.

There is very little to actually say about this benchmark game other than we have a lot to thank it for. Without Ultima Online multi-player gaming may not have been quite the same ? and that includes both the good and bad aspects of online gaming. So pay respect to the mother of MMOs and give it a try today!



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