Working As Intended: A tour of 19-year-old Ultima Online

Wanna feel old? Three years ago, I wrote a Second Wind piece for Massively-that-was on Ultima Online, which had recently been turned over to Broadsword and was celebrating its 16th birthday. “The ‘old things suck’ snobs can scoff all they want,” I concluded, “but feature for feature, UO surpasses far too many modern games to be ignored.”

Now the game has just turned 19, and I’m back in the grand-daddy of MMORPGs poking around for the readers who’ve requested another look and listen. I’d call it a third wind, but for me, it’s probably more like my 103rd wind, as I’ve gone back so many times I’ve lost count. This round, I’m going to give a little tour of some of my favorite features, like housing, runebooks, boats, and combat, plus talk about some basic mechanics and highlight cool community hot spots on Atlantic, then wind down with some opinions on UO’s place in the genre and the lessons we can learn from its long and glorious sandbox development history even here in 2016. Enjoy!

The MMORPG genre might be “working as intended,” but it can be so much more. Join Massively Overpowered Editor-in-Chief Bree Royce in her Working As Intended column for editorials about and meanderings through MMO design, ancient history, and wishful thinking. Armchair not included.
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