20-year-old Ultima Online is going free-to-play (kinda) and getting player-generated quests

In preparing tomorrow’s birthday piece for Ultima Online, I confidently wrote that Ultima Online was not going free-to-play because that’s what the devs always say, so stop asking. Turns out that’s not quite accurate, as during the game’s real-life 20th anniversary celebration yesterday, the Broadsword team announced that Ultima Online is getting a free-to-play mode.

The mode is called The Endless Journey, and according to players in attendance, players who take advantage of it will find it’s somewhat similar to the existing trial for the game, only it’s usable on existing accounts. You’ll have a (extremely) limited trial-only banking inventory with no access to your “real” bank, no access to housing placement, and several other limitations, including not being able to use ghosts to spy in certain high-PvP areas and being forbidden to multi-box. It is not clear how vendor purchases will affect freebie players.

It does seem players who decide to upgrade their accounts will still be expected to subscribe (and presumably purchase future expansions), just as the game is played right now, which makes it F2P only in the limited style of EVE Online. As one UOSS moderator put it, it looks like “the equivalent of a very limited F2P, but probably wouldn’t meet the standard definition of a ‘real’ F2P+purchases game,” chiefly because you can’t do much in the game without both a home and full bank access. (I tend to agree – it’s actually worse than the existing free trial accounts, only it also works on existing accounts.)

One strange quirk? If you sub up, drop a house, and then unsub, you won’t be able to log into that account until your house falls or you pay again. So if you take part in the popular method of subscribing for a month and letting your account lapse for three months before returning in order to keep your house, you can still do that, but you won’t be able to play on that account in the interim.

Ahead of the conversion, all accounts will be upgraded to the current latest expansion, 2015’s Stygian Abyss, and Mesanna apparently advised attendees not to pay to upgrade themselves since that is happening soon — suggesting the conversion is happening soon too.

The team is also apparently working on a virtue vs. vice update, a second go at ocean-going content, improved community collections, a player-generated quest system, and official forums (at least the third attempt at this too).

What’s next? #UOturns20

Опубліковано UOCraft.com 22 вересня 2017 р.

Source: UOSS, Facebook. Thanks, Flagg!
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22 Comments on "20-year-old Ultima Online is going free-to-play (kinda) and getting player-generated quests"

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Mick the Barbarian

What’s a “trial only banking inventory”?

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Richard Ganster

I haven’t logged into my account in 17 years or so. Do my characters still live?

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TotalCowage .

As long as you can recall the account details, yes. It may be a little fiddly to recover as it’s gone from UO.com to EA’s new Origin system, to Broadsword owning the rights now, and staffing levels aren’t the best these days, but the databases are all intact. Your home if any is likely long gone and looted, but anything in your bank should also still be there.

semugh
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semugh

omg fracking finally… looking forward to it!

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Jack Pipsam

A unlimited trial mode makes sense to me.

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Oleg Chebeneev

I dont see a point in this. They should just provide 14 days trial that gives access to all content and keep the sub model. Switching for real F2P now wont help UO to raise population, they will just loose money generated by sub.

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Armsbend

The only problem with a limited time sub these days is I play a lot of stuff so if my attention wanders even for a bit I may never log in for a while – and if I discover my time is up on a trial – its insta-delete. I think this is a common reaction.

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drelkag

Great news. I’ve really been thinking about jumping back in and it’d be nice to test without having to make new characters.

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CthulhuDawg

I wonder whatever happened to the fabled Steam release.

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Roger Melly

I often wonder before going free to play whether older games should try reducing the subscription fee first . I am not sure this free to play would make me want to play Ultima but if they had a subscription fee of say of 5 dollars I would probably give it a go .

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