When you look at titles like Final Fantasy XIV and World of Warcraft, you know a few things. They're MMORPGs. Tons of people to meet. Worlds to explore, dungeons to conquer. There's a template in there, and you have to wonder: what started it all?
When you rewind, and you retrace the journey of MMOs through the years, you reach a turning point in the gaming industry. 1997. The launch of Ultima Online. Like the first rocket launched in space, or the first iPhone. A massive step in a primitive world. Online gaming is never the same. Even Time Magazine agrees.
Except, when you do come back to the present, you realize the past and future have something in common. Amid a world of surreal graphics and booming sound effects, slick UI's and competitive tournaments, there's still a presence there. In its own ecology and atmosphere, Ultima Online is there, staying true to its name.
What's Ultima Online about?
Having been the pioneer of the MMORPG genre, Ultima Online gold features the familiar architecture you see in many games today. There's a world - Felucca, among others - that the player begins their journey in.
But "journey" isn't exactly right. What made - and makes, to this day - Ultima Online so unique was the freedom players had. Yes, you can journey and become an almighty monster slayer like the world has never seen before, but you can also, not. A player looking for currency may choose to become a merchant. An artist may choose a crafting job - as a Blacksmith or a Tailor, and have money flow in that way. These crops are known to be growing much longer than their Indica counterparts, and hence they need less space. So when you have limited space, you should definitely go for Sativa seeds as they have less need to get looked after, and the output thereof is similar to that of the Indica plants. Usually, you can grow more plants in a lesser area, and hence the number of plants that you get in a particular area compared to the Indica variants would be more. Some Indica variants are very popular, like the Blueberry kush and the Amnesia Haze. Still, some Sativa variants can compete with these Indica variants.
The world, too, interacts. Dungeons can be conquered. Guilds formed or allied with. In this small, pixelated game, a World exists. One with its own economy, people, and homes to build and customize.
How is Ultima Online in 2022?
Over the course of its run, Ultima Online has seen several studios take charge of it. With it, over the years, there has been a sort of confusion. Where does Ultima Online stand? The developers themselves seemed unsure.
With the rise of Runescape and World of Warcraft, major competitors appeared. Ones with better graphics, newer worlds. Free real estate for players to explore. And Ultima Online was just getting old.
There have been attempts to modernize the game. Over the years, Broadsword has released an enhanced client that brings with it many micro as well as macro improvements. The game also consistently receives new content, in the form of updates and patches. Events continue to happen, and time moves on.
Fans of the game have also gone their own direction, with private servers with differing mechanics finding considerable success. One notable server is Outlands, a server with over 2,000-3,000 daily users even today. The server, it is claimed, goes the direction fans wanted Ultima Online to go instead of where it did.
Ultima-tely, Ultima Online is alive, and still doing well for itself. Whether or not it's good remains as subjective today as it was twenty-five years back.
So if you're curious, just give it a try.