At 20 years old, Ultima Online is finally doing what its EA-backed handlers at Broadsword once said it would never do: It’s going free-to-play.
Game update 99, Endless Journey, should be live right now if all goes well with this morning’s patch, meaning new and returning players can jump right in without paying that monthly $13 subscription. They’ll have the same number skills, the same access to dungeon content, the same access to Felucca (PvP), and the same access to chat. On the other hand, they may eventually want to give that sub a go, since without it, they won’t accrue vet rewards, can’t place or co-own houses, can’t place vendors, can’t place auction safes, can’t farm champ spawns, and can’t participate fully in live GM events. They’re also limited to just two characters.
If you’re planning on coming back on an ancient account rather than a brand-new one, do note that your account may not be ready yet. “The transition for closed accounts to Endless Journey accounts has begun and will continue over the next 24 hours,” Broadsword said in its server-up message a few minutes ago. “We appreciate your patience as we work through this process. You will not be able to login until the account has been processed.”
If you didn’t already know that Ultima Online is planning to go free-to-play, you probably still wouldn’t be able to tell without reading between the lines of the latest dev update. But yep, this is happening – on Thursday.
“We anticipate Publish 99 will be going World Wide on April 5, 2018,” Broadsword says. “This update will be done manually, and not during regularly scheduled maintenance. […] Shards will be brought down at 10:30am ET. We anticipate the downtime will last approximately 3 hours.”
As we’ve previously covered, new and returning players will be able to jump in as part of the “Endless Journey” mode, sans subscription. They’ll have the same number skills, the same access to dungeon content, the same access to PvP Felucca, and the same access to chat. But they won’t accrue vet rewards, can’t place or co-own houses, can’t place vendors, can’t place auction safes, can’t farm champ spawns, and can’t participate fully in live GM events. They’re also limited to just two characters.
Not playing Sea of Thieves for its launch today? You can still get your pirate on in an MMORPG: RuneScape has rolled out the punny Pieces of Hate update.
“RuneScape returns to the high seas today, launching Pieces of Hate, the epic finale to one of the MMORPG’s longest running stories. The concluding voyage of the 13-year old pirate quest series challenges players as they dive into the depths of underwater expeditions, conquer sea monsters, and battle zombie pirates, and is released just two weeks after RuneScape introduced deep-sea fishing into the game for the first time.”
Jagex says the questline will ultimately upgrade players’ teleporting books and create a use for rum that isn’t just drinking it – although why you’d waste good rum like that, I have no idea. Just remember that you’ll need 68 fishing to actually deep-sea fish, and you’re going to need an assortment of decently leveled skills to actually take meaningful part in the new content too, including agility, thieving, firemaking, and construction.
It’s officially Sea of Thieves day; the game launched here in the US in the wee hours of this morning. During our awards rollout at the end of 2017, I called Sea of Thieves one of my most anticipated multiplayer games for 2018. At the time, I could easily imagine my MMORPG guildies, already fond of playing pirates, rolling into the game to crew a ship on the high seas.
But last year’s hype seems to have faded away over the last few months as a critical mass of gamers checked out the pre-launch version of the game and came away with more questions than answers about the game’s PvE content, its unchecked PvP, and maybe above all else, its downsized character creation system. It never was an MMO, but these revelations made it seem even less an MMO than a lot of folks had been led to believe after the E3 demos, subduing the buzz.
How about you? Are you playing Sea of Thieves? Are you waiting to see how it develops? Or have you given it a hard pass?
While there is no doubt that many — including Massively OP staffers — are excited about the March release of Sea of Thieves, there also has been some growing concern about the way the game is handling its PvP and the potential for abuse that exists.
While Rare is encouraging crews to squabble over treasure and ships, the question arises about whether or not the studio is really aware of the lengths that griefers will go to ruin an experience for others and break the expected gameplay loop. Wolfy’s Eyes, a gaming blog, wrote a terrific essay in which he expressed deep concern over the studio’s apparent naïveté regarding online griefers.
“In my opinion, the PvP in Sea of Thieves is great but also far too open,” he argued. “While I definitely feel that risk on the high seas should be inherent and that alliances between ships for shared gameplay such as the recently discussed skeleton forts should be tenuous at best, the fact remains that — as is often the case with sandbox PvP — all of the risk lies in the attacked and none with the attacker.”
Are you concerned about Sea of Thieves’ PvP scene? Do you see this title devolving into a griefing nightmare?
In Sea of Thieves, your character is a pirate roaming the high seas for boxes of treasure, but in real life you won’t need to exchange your own treasures for random in-game treasures. Design director Mike Chapman has stated that microtransactions are possible for the game post-launch, but loot boxes are definitely out of the question for future development. So you might drop a little coin to get a nice skin or cosmetic gear or whatever, but you won’t be looking at lootboxes no matter what.
Of course, if your computer can’t handle the game you probably won’t be looking at anything whatsoever, so you might want to check out the game’s system requirements before eagerly declaring that it’s a sailor’s life for you. The bare minimum specs still require a Windows 10 machine, so if you’ve stuck by an older operating system we’re sorry to inform you that Windows ME is no longer going to keep you in the game. Check out the chart to see if you need to upgrade, and if you refer to buying new hardware as “trimming up the mainsail” in the checkout line, the employees at the store likely won’t care.
Sea of Thieves’ closed beta for PC and Xbox One kicked off earlier today, and it’s not going that well. Or rather, it’s going so incredibly well with so many people rushing the high seas that bugs are swarming the decks.
“Pirates! We’re aware some players are getting a ‘too early’ error when attempting to launch the Sea of Thieves Closed Beta,” Rare tweeted early this morning. “We’re currently all hands on deck investigating and will provide updates ASAP.” A similar message was blasted out two hours ago on Twitter and an hour later on Reddit, suggesting the studio is still working on the problem. The game’s subreddit is a sea of bug reports and complaints that all boil down to this same issue too. But hey, no big deal, right – you didn’t take off work to beta an online game! Right, guys? Guys?
We’ve tucked the closed beta launch trailer down below, along with a quick roundup of all our coverage of the game since its announcement back in 2015; it’s a lot of content, both because we’re excited about this hybrid MMO-ish game and because Rare has been really consistent at delivering updates all along. We’re partial to our hands-on with the game back at E3 – that should give you something to flip through while you wait!
Pull out your ancient “I’m on a boat” and “you are a pirate” memes because Black Desert
is about to give you reason to venture out on the high seas, questing for a sailboat
in prep for the January 28th arrival of big baddie Vell.
“The scribes expect Vell ‘The Heart of the Sea’ to arrive very soon in Magorian waters. To prepare for this event, Adventurers are called to prepare themselves and do the quests required to rent an Old Bartali Sailboat. This fine vessel will not hold forever but is more than capable to engage this new upcoming threat.”
Have I mentioned that BDO patch notes are my favorite? Here’s why: “An increase in the polar bear population is expected after some cubs have been spotted hiding in boxes” and “the chance of gaining Knowledge when defeating Grass Hedgehogs have been increased.”
Also of note in this week’s minipatch is a change to drop rates, which grants those with high ecology knowledge better loot drop rates.
Here’s a round of good news, bad news for World of Warship
fans. While Wargaming’s naval battler is finally heading to Steam on November 15th
, it won’t allow players to use their Wargaming account to access it.
Wargaming said that this couldn’t be helped: “World of Warships wasn’t initially designed as a cross-platform project. That means that if you’ve played the game already you would want to keep using the original client. If you log in using Steam, you automatically create a new game account, which binds to your Steam account.”
Other than that, it sounds like full steam ahead for this client. The Steam and Wargaming versions will use the same servers and the same version of the game, allowing for even more hectic battles on the high seas. The team posted a FAQ on Steam to address some of the details of the coming launch.
. Thanks CapnLan!
Just about 20 years ago, my boyfriend and I were wandering through Media Play (heh) when he picked up this box for some new online subscription video game with a cheesy Hildebrandt cover. I was skeptical. He bought it anyway. The next morning, after I’d played all night and totally bogarted his new game, we figured we should probably get a second account. And so we did, in spite of being clueless teenagers who could barely afford one sub, let alone two.
That game was Ultima Online, and it’s the game that birthed the term MMORPG and quite literally dragged me into the realm of virtual worlds. Without it, I wouldn’t be right here where I am talking to you today, having married that dude in the interim. And as of yesterday, that game is 20 years old.
Last autumn, when the game was turning 19, I did a fairly in-depth video on the coolest parts of UO, the parts you can still play today, as I do frequently dive back in and am playing this month too! It’s Massively OP’s best-performing video to date, proving that the game is very much not dead and done. Pretty much everything in the video is still accurate, except for the part on the business model (spoiler: UO is kinda going free-to-play), so I’m going to include it below, but then I’ll recap some of the important bits from the last year and answer a few questions anybody reading is sure to have.
Battle on the high seas! Cannons firing, seas foaming, decks wet, local slang dialect nearly incomprehensible! If that all sounds like fun times to you, then you’ll want to get in on the naval arenas coming to ArcheAge
in the near future; the trailer for that update is available now just below, and it features everything you’d want from such a trailer. (So, boats shooting at one another, in other words.)
Teams of four will take on the battle, fighting not just the opposing team but the raging waters and neutral sea monsters. There’s no word on when this is coming out to the localized version of the game, but you can take a look at the trailer and get hyped for when it does arrive. You can even experience it in VR, if you have a friend nearby ready to spray your face with water repeatedly.
Nothing says Independence Day like gang warfare in the streets of Los Santos using guns painted like flags, am I right? Yep, Rockstar is following up GTA Online’s Gunrunning update with some July 4th content, new and old, including a new supercar, bonus earnings in the Dawn Raid adversary mode, and free digital t-shirts just for logging in.
“Raise the flag, put your hand on heart, and wipe that red, white and blue tear from your eye – a wave of Independence Day mayhem is erupting across San Andreas. Firework launchers, classic outfits, the Western Sovereign and the Liberator Monster Truck are all back through July 10, and 25% off their original price. Plus this year also brings patriotic new liveries for your Mobile Operation Center and Mk II weaponry to help you flaunt your love of country.”
But me, I’ll be on the yacht.
EverQuest II recently introduced a new feature with the release of GU103 back on May 10th called the Proving Grounds. That place is no joke. I can assure you that it is pretty aptly named; this little instance is all about showing you and your group what you are made of.
When this feature was first announced, I was pretty excited. Who doesn’t like new content, especially something with replayability? It sounded fun. Initially I had thought (hoped?) that the new Proving Grounds content would be a feature enjoyable by the majority of the population. What I learned — quite quickly — was that my hopes and reality were two very different things. And I learned that the hard way. Hard as in double-digit-death-counter hard. Instead of sinking my teeth into this content, it sunk its teeth into me! Now that’s not necessarily a problem. I enjoy a challenge, and I do so look forward to conquering this one and exacting some revenge. However, I just wish my first experiences with the Proving Grounds didn’t come with more disappointment and frustration than fun because I do think it’s a good idea filled with promise.