Ultima Online’s 99th update preps free-to-play conversion, adds new official forums

Before the free-to-play conversion for Ultima Online launches this spring, Broadsword is hard at work updating the early game experience for the newbies and returnees they hope will flock to the 20-year-old isometric sandbox. Some of that work launches on the test server today in the form of publish 99.

For starters, a brand-new newbie-oriented area has been added to Britain in Trammel in a spot that I think is currently the artist’s guild or possibly that weird open space near the archways and steps (the patch hasn’t landed on TC1 as I type this). “This open space makes for the perfect meeting place and offers nearby access to essential city services such as a pub, stable master, and crafting stations,” says Broadsword.

Meanwhile, the studio has overhauled the town crier system; now, players will be able to access the town criers for actual shard information, new player quests, wiki entries, messages from elected player governors, and events from large guilds.

It’s a big day for forumgoers too, as Broadsword is launching brand-new official forums for the game (although they almost immediately capsized under the rush of players trying to log in earlier today, wheee). Vets will recall that UO boasted multiple attempts at official forums under EA over the years, none of which lasted into the current era. Ultima Online Stratics, run and crowdfunded by players, has served as the closest thing to central forums the game has had for the last several years.

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9 Comments on "Ultima Online’s 99th update preps free-to-play conversion, adds new official forums"

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Sevenwinds

I will give it a try. I have never tried UO. I went the Everquest route and it hooked me enough not to try other things during that time period.

kofteburger
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kofteburger

This is when the fun begins.

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Eboni

I’m going to give it a try! I may even sub down the line so I can get a house. Having a house in OU is one of MMO goals.

Also, are there still events and RP going on? I remember a little while back they were recruiting for volunteer event staff. If that’s the case, I’m will definitely stick around.

Polyanna
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Polyanna

How worth would it be for someone who never played this game (or any Ultima title, actually) to give it a look when it goes F2P? Is it possible to have any sort of meaningful and fun experience with it for a while, without having played it for decades and knowing it inside and out already? Is it populated enough that a brand new player going F2P only could have a good experience and find groups to do things with (assuming like most old school games a group is required for most things).

semugh
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semugh

my body is ready…

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Jack Pipsam

EA forums have always been odd. Like they’ve had a few different official ones for all the titles/origin/support, which they keep replacing with rebooted ones.
Currently the ‘EA Answers HQ’ site acts as the official forums which is really weird.

They rebooted the Sims forums after years of usage by its community. The Battlelog forums were HUGE for the Battlefield franchise, yet they totally ditched it and replaced with a random generic forum system.
And of course the closure of the Bioware Social Network.

Hopefully with devs in charge of this, they can keep it going without feeling the need to reboot it every four/five years.

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Loopy

I’m definitely going to check it out once it goes F2P. UO was my very first MMO and i’m super curious as to how the new player changes look like.