Posted: June 8th, 2006
Last Updated: October 25th, 2009
POL stands for Penultima Online. POL was one of the first mainstream emulators for Ultima Online and quite popular in it's time, unfortunately it's popularity didn't last. Mainly because the developers were very slow at adding support for all the new UO expansions. In fact the current official release (POL095sp2) doesn't even have support for Lord Blackthrone's Revenge yet. Even though, a little late, POL96 promises to add a lot of the newer client and expansion support. There is currently a beta out for POL96 (May 19th, 2006) which can be found on the pol forums.
The downfall of POL can also be attributed to several other things like the release of RunUO which is considered the best UO emulator, and is also now the most popular. It runs off acclaimed Microsoft .net framework and works very stable and efficient. It also is programmed with C# (C Sharp), which is the up and comer new language that everybody seems to want to learn. I can't say I blame them, I love C#.
I have been using the POL emulator as early as 2002. Although while looking at the programming aspect I was certainly lost at the time. POL runs off a language called eScript, which isn't actually as hard as it looks. Then in 2005 I got back into the idea of seriously running a POL shard. I learned how to use eScript and began the journey. I ran my shard with a fellow named Necrocide and named the shard called NecroPVP. I ran the shard while Neverlands (another shard I was playing at the time) was down. The official top player count was 33 people, which is good for the type of shard I was running. It was a limited location PVP (player versus player) only shard.
Since then, the shard has been closed for a long time. It was later renamed to Catalyst NOW, and had a totally restructured concept. It used elements of both PVP and adventure/quest to make a totally unique Ultima Online experience. If you are wondering, yes it did run off of POL, which means it used old UO files and client. You can visit Catalyst NOW page for the rest of the information on it.
The official pol website can now be found here.