What is Ultima Online?
Ultima Online is one of the original MMORPGs, released back in 1997 by, now defunct, Origin Systems, Inc., or better known to it’s players as OSI. This game is actually the first of the MMO genre of it’s size and scale, bested on release date only by a few games, all of which were no where near as large or ambitious. In fact, at the time of UO’s release, it the genre was considered “Online Role Playing Game”.. The term “MMORPG” was not coined for several years later. All current MMOs have this wonderful game to thank, for it certainly paved the way and sparked the imagination of many game developers that something of this massive scale was actually popular(and you could make millions of dollars to boot).
The original game takes place in the world of Sosaria. After the gem of immortality is shattered into several “shards” ( as opposed to calling them servers ) by a venturing hero, Sosaria’s fate is left in the hands of each shard’s inhabitants! And that is it. That is part of what made the game so amazing. There weren’t a zillion quests you performed to reach “end game” where you then went on raids. Atleast not for the original game. You simply equipped a bow, a sword, or bought some reagents, and explored the land. Or you could mine all day and become a blacksmith. Or a tailor. Or a cook. Sound familiar? It should, and this is where the MMO that you currently play originally got it all from.
Players had housing they could place and form real guild areas. Alliances were formed, and it wasn’t done over a forum usually, but by an actual encounter in game. Encounters were actual encounters, and not bumping into someone you’ve seen in the global chat yakking their mouth off for the past 3 months. The game’s POV or point-of-view was 3rd person, but with everything 2d. This meant that when facing someone, they could quickly pop on your screen, and the suspense for PVP was exhilarating.
The game has seem several expansions and loads of free content added throughout the years, and is currently the longest running Online Role Playing Game. Quite an accomplishment seeing as how so many others have failed over the years. Since these numerous expansions, the world has seen many land expansions, monster, item, and complete combat system overhauls. In fact, logging into the game today, especially with the 3d client(still in fixed 3rd person) will not look very similar to the original.
Several private servers exist still today, almost always with older rulesets or versions.