Ultima Online brought the world that Richard Garriott started a decade and a half prior to the Internet. While not the first massively multiplayer online role playing game, Ultima Online was one of the earliest success stories of the genre. This game brought this new genre to the forefront. UO put MMORPG’s in front of gamers in a big way. Not everything that was in Ultima Online staid though as some stuff was removed but did you, as a fan, notice it?
Ultima Online was an experiment of sorts for Origin. They had no idea that it was going to take off like it did. This was proven in the way expansion of the underlying hardware was handled (it was not as fast as it should have been). Players didn’t really care, they lined up in droves to play Ultima Online, lag and all.
What set UO apart from previous massively multiplayer online role playing games is hard to pinpoint. For one, there was Lord British, a gaming icon of the time amongst role playing game fans (think Miyamoto and action platform titles). Then there was the whole Ultima name, a name that still hasn’t been tarnished all that much- quite a feat for a series nearing 40 years old. Even switching developers many times, switching owners even could not hold Ultima Online down.
One thing that many probably never noticed was that there was supposed to be an eco-system in place in Ultima Online. The idea was to have everything connected. Kill too many rabbits, or other smaller animals, and large predators will have to turn desperate in their foraging. Build too many houses in an area and the smaller animal population could be without food and therefore not as many available to use as fodder to level up. This was quickly taken out as early adopters simply killed everything without prejudice. This caused the simulation to not even get started so it was removed by the developers.
Fans won’t let Ultima Online die as there are fan servers available to keep playing. That is quite intriguing as companies let online persistent worlds rot away, fans step in and revive them.
Are you an Ultima Online veteran? Want to see where it all started? Hit Ebay and find out.