Ultima Online (PC)
Release Date: September 30th, 1997
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Developer: Electronic Arts - Origin Systems
Posted: June 8th, 2006
Last Updated: October 25th, 2009
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Ultima Online is probably one of my favorite games. I've been playing it off and on ever since I got it in 2000. When I first got it I was so excited because I never played any game like it before (It being one of the first MMORPGs available). I was disappointed that I was going to have to pay for it. Instead I searched around and see if I could play for free, to my surprise there was lots of "free shards" at the time. These free shards ran one of many emulators available on the internet at the time. These emulators were of course very limited at the time, but in 2001 they really started getting more advanced. The main emulators at the time were POL and Sphere.
The old Ultima Online (pre Age of Shadows expansion) is a very fun, although at times very buggy. You can get a grasp of the combat, the merchanting, the crafting in a matter of a couple weeks if you try hard enough. There is still a lot of old-school server running old versions of POL and Sphere servers running with the 2.0.0 UO client, including mine. If you are going to start playing UO, you might want to try one of these servers. Or if you are a newer player and UO is losing fun for you, you might want to go back and play one of these shards.
The new Ultima Online in which the officials servers run, as well as some RunUO servers is much more complex. There is many new skills, thousands of new items, hundreds of new monsters. It's hard to keep track at certain times. Although if you played with OSI through all the years you wouldn't have any problems because you would have played through each of the new expansions (most likely). You will see blaring differences and contrasting of screenshots in on my images page. This is because I am showing both screenshots from the older expansions, emulation shards, and new screenshots.
It's hard to really describe what this game is like, it's different where ever you play. Each server has their own rules, scripts, custom systems, some even custom interfaces, items, and maps. UO is in fact a 2d (although there is a semi 3D client for newer emulated servers and official servers) MMORPG that players craft items, battle monsters, go on quests, kill other players just like any other MMORPG, but UO does get credit for being the first MMORPG. I mean, common, it was featured in the Guinness Book of World Records in 2000.
There has been lots of controversy about Ultima Online. Almost any game in the series directly before Ultima Online has been very buggy and almost unplayable to some, especially Ultima IX: Ascension. The first version of Ultima Online was also considered an unfinished product by some, even though they ran alpha and beta tests for players. Finally by around the second official expansion is when people say that they were at the point that the game should have been released on in the first place. Another thing that enraged players was the cancellation of UO:2 (Ultima Worlds Online: Origin). Although reports are sketchy it was scraped for further development of the original Ultima Online. Years later, history repeated and Ultima X was cancelled by Electronic Arts for the same reason. Although UO:2 was in early stages of development, Ultima X was almost a finished product by the screenshots of it (which looks absolutely amazing at the time).
Although I won't explain my entire playing experience on this main page I will give you an outline. I looked around and found a shard called Crystal Gate and I played for quite awhile until it was eventually taken down for an undetermined time. I then looked around and found a shard called Neverlands. And now I have been playing Neverlands on and off ever since. It's the only shard i've stayed with for the entire time. Keep in mind I have played about 20 other shards in between downtimes of Neverlands (which there was a lot of). Including even making my own shard and learning how to code in two different emulators: POL and RunUO.