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Ultima online, watching paint dry for money.
Ultima Online Renaissance (Classic Game)
Member Name: ArtiFish
Ultima Online Renaissance (Classic Game)
Date: 05/09/01, updated on 07/09/01 (118 review reads)
Advantages: Life substitute, social, cheaper than renting 4 videos
Disadvantages: Life substitute, social dystopia, corrupting influence
Ultima online is a massive multiplayer fantasy 'role playing' game.
It provides a series of shards (servers) that play host to independant consensual playing arenas. Each shard is similar in the sense that the basic map is the same, the cities are in the same place and the underlying game system is identical.
The game has undergone some changes to the system, but these have been evolutionary for the most part and have improved the game. To start with there were 'honor' levels, the more bad things you killed, the higher your
honor level. The levels ranged from Great Lord to Dread lord. Dread lords were the scary low ping b*******s who just went around killing other players for sport.
An easy way to increase your skills (for americans initially and now for us brits) was unattended macro'ing where you would set up a repeated series of actions and then leave your machine connected and your character working away while you watched TV. This was seen as a BAD THING by the powers that be and they banned some people for it (I don't think they ever banned someone for killing another player, regardless of how malicious they were about it).
Each shard is unique due to the impact of player communities and activities.
I played on 2 shards during the times I played. The first was Catskills physically located in the United states. My connection to the shard was poor to average at the best of times. I think I made 3 characters during
The first was a warrior (Called Pro Zak), I ran round trying to avoid being killed by other players. After achieving a certain level of skill, I accidentally became branded neutral (I had done one too many 'wrong things' and became fair game
for the 'good' players to kill and loot).
The second was a bald gentleman named Cor Don Blue who wandered around and got involved in some of the player communities and events.
I met and communicated with a coup
le of people on catskills and that was nice, we formed a guild and were wiped out en mass on our first joint dungeon crawl. I bought a house and placed it in a good spot and that was that.
I stopped playing.
There are 4 PTs (Player Types). : Socialiser, Powergamer, explorer, hunter.
Socialisers play for the chatroom feature and the ability to cooperate with
other like minded individuals towards a common goal. They're frequently role
Powergamers want the highest stats, the biggest house, the most gold, the
Explorers want to sail round the world and see all there is to see, if
possible finding new hidden bits BECAUSE IT'S THERE!
Hunters want to kill stuff, monsters are sometimes hard to kill but the hardest target of all is another player.
The players themselves showed a pretty good cross section of internet users at the time. A fair number of nice genuine role players with a desire to interact. At about 3:30pm US central standard time the servers would
suddenly fill with a bunch of abusive sociopaths for a couple of hours and then it would go quiet again at about midnight.
The problems in UO are much like the problems in the real world:
There isn't enough land suitable for building houses on, so new people don't have much chance of getting a good spot unless they pay the current owner a lot of virtual (and sometimes REAL) money for it.
The economy is a little strange. Items spawn on the game run vendors at set times, the more items spawning the lower the price (between set limits). If one person buys 1 of those items from the stack, the whole stack goes up in price. There were 'shopping trips' for the big mages to buy ALL the spell ingredients as soon as they spawned. I did it myself. It's cheaper to jump round all the magic shops and buy all the ingredients at once than to buy them a little at a time at a much higher price. This means th
at starting players are scuppered because they can only afford a few of each reagent / ingredient and at lower skill levels your spells will fizzle more often which burns the reagents for no gain.
The Japanese shards were apparently a bit of a laugh. To start with there were 2 main factions, the native Japanese and the Gaiijin (foreigners). The Japanese were courteous, helpful and generally pleasant within their group but fairly hostile to the yanks + Gaiijin. (It's possible to bow and salute to other players with your character, the Japanese loved that) After a month or three there were quite a few guilds formed and then all hell broke loose as the mild mannered Japs turned into fierce lunatic guildmembers all trying to put their guild at the top of the killboards. I think that only a few hardcore loony yank guilds still exist on the Japanese servers and they only
go there to 'hone their skills' in team play battles.
The main draw of the game is to be part of a world that actually makes the news. It's one thing to hear about someone doing heroic stuff on the news in the real world and quite another to actually either be there or even report the news yourself however virtual the world may be. My grandmaster smith (unimaginatively called Worker) produced Plate suits and katanas. I sold a
few hundred sets of the stuff and used to be amazed when I saw other players wearing it. (a katana made by Worker as a description).
Now I've not played for a couple of years. There are 4 reasons for this:
1. I realised that after a days work, I was coming home to do a days virtual work for virtual pay.
2. While it's nice to meet people, the actual chat room style of socialising doesn't appeal to me. It's one thing to talk face to face but quite a different thing to type to some virtual avatar of someone half way round the world.
3. The economic model and the justice system are appalling. Raw mat
erials appear in the world at very high prices or players go and get them. (click, click, click, click, move, click, click, click... repeat until bored). Someone comes along and ruins your (the player's) day by killing them and the horse you rode in on, steals all of your hard earned crap and then wanders off to sell it. Is this a punishable offense? Nope. If your miner is also a blackbelt combat mage in full regalia you have some time to kill the offender. If you are unwary or unlucky, your blackbelt combat mage will get killed and you'll lose all the regalia and the time it takes to get resurrected and return.
4. There's no such thing as an honest UO player. If you are killed, it's likely that it was done by someone who has studied the reputation system to the extent that if you ever need a lawyer in UO to prove black was white, this would be your man. If only he hadn't killed you and taken everything you were carrying, somehow managed to do it in the middle of a crowded street in full sight of the city guard and for some reason, you're the one who loses reputation because of it. Now I know where microsoft recruit their legal representatives........
If you are unfortuante enough to die, most of the passing strangers won't help until your corpse decays and then they help themselves to anything your assailant didn't take. Picture a man falling down dead on Oxford street on a busy saturday afternoon and the passers by wait for the police to come, tag the body as dead and then every single person in the crowd strips what they can from the body. Clothes, wallet, shoes, jewelry down to the underwear (only because you can't remove underwear in UO) and then wanders off to put it in their bank.... It's like watching vultures. What's worse than that is finding yourself doing just the same thing.
Ultima online turns you into a sociopathic american teenager.
Don't do it kids.
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