ultima online

Official Site: Ultima Online
Studio: Broadsword Entertainment/EA (formerly Mythic)
Launch Date: September 24, 1997
Genre: Isometric Fantasy Sandbox
Business Model: Subscription (Cash Shop)
Platform: PC

The Game Archaeologist: Earth and Beyond

Personally, I prefer science fiction over fantasy nine times out of ten, even though most of the MMOs that grace my desktop are fantasy games. Sci-fi has had an awfully difficult time making headway into the field of MMOs, with plenty of underperforming or canceled titles littering the way. I've heard it explained that the fantasy genre is easier for the common person to grasp because it uses elements of our past -- primarily the medieval period -- to provide a familiar baseline, whereas sci-fi's futuristic setting requires world-building from scratch.

Whatever the case may be, Earth & Beyond never really caught on the way that EVE Online did just a couple of years later, and its miniscule population was not enough for Electronic Arts to keep it running. But between 2002 and 2004, Earth & Beyond reached for the stars and gave its own spin on how a space-faring MMO could work. Let's take a look today at what made Earth & Beyond unique, what it gave the industry, and how it may help upcoming space MMOs avoid a similar fate.

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The Daily Grind: Do you use plugins for your main MMORPG?

As one of Massively OP's resident modding nuts, I am drawn to MMORPGs that offer plugin support and modding APIs. World of Warcraft's modding was a whole secondary game for me, not just playing with other people's work but cobbling together my own (pieces of junk that don't remotely compare to the pros' -- I know my limits!). Lord of the Rings Online, EverQuest II, and Ultima Online likewise helped feed my urges, as did classic Guild Wars and City of Heroes (though that was all unofficial).

Now, I have The Elder Scrolls Online's plugin community to keep me busy, and while it's no single-player modding folder monstrosity (hundreds of gigs of files across the three big TES games!), it's still fun!

But I was reminded the other day that there are some mods that are still pariahs in the MMORPG community when commenters joked that gearscore addons are worse than murder and slavery.

So, do you use plugins for your MMORPG? If not, is it because you have something against plugins or because the game doesn't properly support them?

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Massively Overthinking: Are MMOs designed for 'low-skill gamers'?

Ages ago on the MMORPG subreddit, a player made a bold statement: MMORPGs are designed for low-skill gamers.

"I remember being dazzled by EverQuest and Ultima as a child," he wrote, reminiscing about his memory of high difficulty old-school games. "I recently loaded up [Star Wars: The Old Republic] again, and I'm shocked. Piss easy. Everything. XP falling from the sky. Mobs dead in one GCD. Brainless. The same reason I quite every MMO. I never meet people, I never feel challenged. I just feel bored. 'Wait till endgame' isn't gonna cut it anymore. I'm over it. I'm done. I feel like I'm just hitting the 'Reward' button again and again and again, solitary and alone, like a stupid little rat in the cage." He then basically blames the perceived shift of the genre on people who don't want games to be "like a job": "The genre just seems to be fueled by mediocre, anti-social "consumers."

I wanted to pull this back out to see whether our staff and writers agree with the claims -- and whether we all have some advice for this fan, who concludes his rant by asking people to change his mind. Howsabout it, Overthinking fans?

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Perfect Ten: Terminology the MMORPG genre needs

MMOs, like any other hobby, have their own terminology. We have the term "newb" for new players, "noob" for players who aren't actually new but still make new player mistakes, and "n00b" if you want to sound like an insufferable weirdo from the aughts. But we also have a lot of terminology that just plain doesn't work any more for a variety of reasons, like "pay-to-win" and "hardcore" and so forth.

That does not, however, mean that we do not need our specialized terminology. Indeed, while some of our older vocabulary is not up to the tasks of modern games, I think a great deal could be accomplished just by adding some new words to our lexicon. So let's create some brand-new terms (or codify existing ones) so that we can, in fact, have shared words to describe scenarios that we encounter on a regular basis.

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Massively OP's guide to Valentine's Day around the MMORPG verse

Ready for sappy questlines, particle effects that look like hearts, and lots -- and I do mean lots -- of pink? Valentine's day has arrived in the real world and many of the pretend worlds inside MMORPGs (for some reason). And who are we to fuss when the events are all about candy and cheap romance? Nobody, that's who. Read on for our guide to Valentine's Day around the MMORPG verse!

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Ultima Online adds wedding package in time for Valentine's Day

Are wedding bells ringing for you and your virtual significant other? Ultima Online wants to whisk you away to the event of your dreams with its new wedding package in the store. This set includes all of the decorations and outfits needed to put on a memorable event, including (and this is quite important) a buffet table.

The wedding package is part of this week's Publish 96, which has gone live on the servers. The patch also increased the challenge (and rewards) of the Doom Gauntlet, just in case you were getting too comfortable being such an elite player.

The team said that there is much more to come with the next update: "We are well underway working on Publish 97. The major feature release for Pub 97 is the long-anticipated pet revamp. More details will be available as we move through the development process, up front I can tell you we have new creatures to tame, new ways to train and customize pets, and new viable options for pets beyond just a greater dragon!"

Source: Newsletter

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Tamriel Infinium: Four reasons Elder Scrolls Online's Homestead tops other MMO housing

Traditionally, in this Tamriel Infinium column, I have been extremely critical of The Elder Scrolls Online, and I promise you, I'm sure I'll lob criticism at the game in the future too. But I also like to give proper praise to video game developers when they do something extremely right, and that’s the case with Homestead.

My first MMO experience with housing was probably very similar to every other old-school MMO gamer's experience with housing: Ultima Online. But I didn’t really play UO for a very long time, only a month or so. My first real experience was in Star Wars Galaxies. Unfortunately, that game is shut down now, so I can’t show you just how powerful and creatively flexible that housing was. Since then, I’ve experienced housing in a number of different MMOs. I’ve seen EverQuest II, Lord of the Rings Online, WildStar, and of course, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

Although some of these housing systems have elements that I really like, I don’t think any of them reach the level that ESO reaches. And to help illustrate what I mean, I’ve compiled a list of four reasons that Homestead is better than those other MMO housing systems.

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Richard Garriott explains why Steam has been unkind to Shroud of the Avatar

Have you had a chance to pick up and read Richard Garriott's memoirs yet? Whether or not you have, you might want to check out this interview that the Shroud of the Avatar creator did on his life adventures to date.

Speaking of the in-development MMO, the interviewer pointed out some of the bad reviews that Shroud of the Avatar has garnered so far and asked if the project might not be going as hoped. Garriott replied by saying, "I don't think so at all. We've had naysayers since the beginning. But I think what you're seeing is a side effect from open development from day one [...] Everything was pretty hunky dory until we went up on Steam. Then we found a different type of customer who hadn't been with us from the beginning. They see that the game looks unfinished, unpolished, with only a few weapons and an obtuse UI and we get a backlash."

Garriott said that Shroud of the Avatar should officially launch by the middle of 2017.

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MMORPG developers, GDC organizers speak out against US 'Muslim ban'

You might want to keep politics out of gaming, but politics has a way of forcing itself in the door no matter what.

Multiple MMO developers and video game convention organizers have now spoken out against Friday's so-called "Muslim ban" and ensuing national and international crisis promulgated by the current U.S. government. The long-running Game Developers Conference (GDC) denounced the executive order in a tweet promising refunds for developers now barred from attending the late February event in San Francisco due to their nation of origin.

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The MOP Up: Players petition to 'revive' Ultima Online (January 29, 2017)

The MMO industry moves along at the speed of information, and sometimes we’re deluged with so much news here at Massively Overpowered that some of it gets backlogged. That’s why there’s The MOP Up: a weekly compilation of smaller MMO stories and videos that you won’t want to miss. Seen any good MMO news? Hit us up through our tips line!

This week we have stories and videos from Final Fantasy XIVPaladinsHeroes and GeneralsTroveUltima OnlineDark and Light Mobile, Line of Sight, Galactic Junk League, and Travia Returns, all waiting for you after the break!

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The Game Archaeologist: Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds

I confess that I have a particular fascination for MMOs that came into existence in the 1990s. It's not only the fact that I was oblivious to them at the time (er, wild college days?) but that practically each and every one of them were true pioneers in their own fashion. And while your standard MMO fan might think that there were only three such games in that decade (four, if they are gracious and include Meridian 59), the truth is that there were far more online games at the time, particularly if you looked over to the east.

Today we are going to look at one of the most important MMOs to emerge from that time period, Nexus: The Kingdom of the Winds. Its influence was primarily centered in the Korean gaming community while being vastly downplayed in North America. Still, here's a successful MMO that not only beat Ultima Online out of the door by a year but has since won a Guinness World Record for longevity!

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Ultima Online gets all doom and gloomy with its patch (and that's a good thing)

Doom! Doom everywhere!

That's the message of Ultima Online as it pushed out Publish 96 this week. Much of the patch was focused on adjusting doom artifacts, the doom reward system, and the doom dungeon. Many of the artifacts were increased in power and ability, and it looks as though they should be easier to attain through drops.

The team added a few additional resolution modes to the classic client, and both clients received a tile display upgrade from 18 to 24. Maybe your character's eyesight is improving?

Source: Patch notes

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Skyforge seeks player representatives for 'elder guardian' team

My.com announced today that it's once again seeking to fill out the ranks of Skyforge's Elder Guardians. The EGs are sort of a cross between EVE Online's council of stellar management, Star Wars Galaxies' old senate, and Ultima Online's counselor crew. Their mission? "To break down communication barriers between the developers and the community while assisting the community managers in Skyforge related issues and the forums."

"Elder Guardians are the bridge between players and the My.com Team. Elder Guardians can help mediate issues in-game, provide guidance, and help prevent conflicts from escalating. Additionally, the can help the My.com Team test bugs and provide player perspective insights about Skyforge. Elder Guardians are generally good individuals to go to for advice on game play and for questions. Elder Guardians have also a direct link to the Skyforge Team and have therefore the ability to alert the My.com about any critical issues that need immediate attention. You can recognize Elder Guardians by their [EG] tags within the game and within the forums by their forum title. This group of players will have no affiliation with My.com and will directly help the community team in the cause of everything Skyforge. Elder Guardians are normal players that express special interest in Skyforge and its Community."

My.com is hunting for such players among community leaders, Discorders, and forum participants; all you've got to do is fill out the form. The studio chooses from there.

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