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Ultima VI (filfre.net)
263 points by doppp on Apr 7, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 105 comments

Reminded me about another bit of info on Ultima 6 / Warren Spector:

Spector cites an amusing anecdote from Ultima 6’s in-house testing: "…on Ultima VI, which is kind of where I realized that all this improvisational stuff could really be magical. It was unplanned, kind of a bug. There was one puzzle where the Avatar and his party came up on one side of a portcullis and there was a lever on the other side of the portcullis that you had to flip to raise the portcullis and keep on making progress. I watched one of our testers, a guy named Mark Schaefgen, playing in that area. And he didn’t have the telekinesis spell, which was the way to get past that portcullis. I was sitting there rubbing my hands together going ‘oh ho ho, he’s screwed, he can’t do it.’

He had a character in his party named Sherry the Mouse. You can probably see where this is going. The portcullis was ‘simulated,’ and here the air quotes are around simulated, simulated enough that there was a gap at the bottom that was too small for a human to get through, but not too small for Sherry. He sent Sherry the Mouse under the portcullis, over to the lever, she flipped the lever, and then the rest of the party went through. And I fell on the floor. At that moment I just said to myself, ‘this is what games should do. We should start planning this, not having it happen as a bug.’ That was where I realized this was really powerful."

It was things like this that make the Ultima series stick in my head to this day. :)

I have my own Sherry the Mouse story. I realized that having a character that could skip portcullises would be useful, so I kept her. I had to make her tougher and I found a way to grind to raise her stats. I gave her a lightning wand (one of the few weapons she could carry), went to a village and found a dog walking around, and had her kill it. In order to get it to re spawn, I had to remove the dead dog body, but it was faster to just put it in my backpack. So I would have Sherry kill dogs until I ran out of room for the bodies in my inventory and then go far away to unload them, then go back and grind some more, shooting dogs with lightning. Once she was strong enough to hold a real weapon, I went to the cave of the giant ants and had her kill ants with a halberd until she was strong enough to wear plate mail armor. A mouse. With a halberd and plate mail armor. Probably my favorite gaming experience ever.

Many people have made fun of this, a quick google search and I found: http://img06.deviantart.net/9d4d/i/2014/014/6/b/sherry_the_m...

My own version: remember how the inventory system would allow you to drag damn near any item to any of the open "slots" on a character -- hands, feet, torso, etc? One day I noticed that someone in my party was super ineffectual in combat, which took a while to notice because combat was pretty chaotic when a party was involved. Eventually I investigated a bit and found that, for reasons that had probably made sense at some point, I had equipped one of that character's hands with a turkey leg, the other with a ham. So he was flailing around using meat as weapons.

I don't know why that was so enchanting, but I never forgot it.

In Ultima 6, there's a gypsy that the Avatar can pay to sleep with. There's also a sleeping potion that will put the Avatar to sleep and pass the player's control to another member of the party - such as Sherry the Mouse. Well, Doug The Eagle discovered you can combine these two facts in the exact manner you're now imagining: http://www.it-he.org/u6_main.php#13

He also discovered a great amount of weird, interesting, and downright perverse stuff you can do in the Ultima series, and a lot of other RPGs. I highly recommend checking out his whole site: http://www.it-he.org/front.php

That second link looks like it hasn't changed since 1996. I love it.

I'm still waiting for a -proper- 3D RPG, with realistic physics and terrain deformation, that you can use to solve quests and achieve goals your way, in non-scripted ways.

• Enemy boss in a building guarded by henchmen twice your character's level? Feel free to spend a day or two digging beneath the structure to make it collapse on itself.

• "Indestructible" doors and walls blocking the way? Gather the strongest weapons and just keep shelling the same spot; realistic physics should dictate that nothing is indestructible and something should give way even if it hadn't been scripted in. Of course, it could also cause a cave-in on the other side, making you lose your objective anyway. :)

The source of said anecdote: http://www.pcgamer.com/the-designers-of-dishonored-bioshock-...

I'd say it's worth a listen/read if you're into the genre

This paragraph resonated with me:

The complexity of the world model was such that Ultima VI became the first installment that would let the player get a job to earn money in lieu of the standard CRPG approach of killing monsters and taking their loot. You can buy a sack of grain from a local farmer, take the grain to a mill and grind it into flour, then sell the flour to a baker — or sneak into his bakery at night to bake your own bread using his oven. Even by the standards of today, the living world inside Ultima VI is a remarkable achievement — not to mention a godsend to those of us bored with killing monsters; you can be very successful in Ultima VI whilst doing very little killing at all.

I got into western RPGs only recently - I played only JRPGs on the SNES and then later consoles. My first western RPG was Mass Effect 2, and since then I played ME3, Dragon Age: Inquisition and Skyrim. When playing Skyrim, I realized that the wolf pelts I was accumulating by killing wolves as I walked the countryside could be smithed into leather armor! That leather armor would fetch considerably more money when sold than wolf pelts.

My first thought: I found a cheat to more money! My second thought: I found a business.

The menial tasks you can do in these games were a mistake in my opinion. For example, the overly complex UI in Ultima Underworld and Ultima VII was more or less just to facilitate the use of these items that you maybe spent 1% of your gaming time on (fishing, putting fuel into light sources, baking bread, selling them, yay! Who gives a crap). UW could have been a real forerunner if it had had a simple mouselook with streamlined combat and without the useless complexity.

Modern games have given up on that for which I am very grateful. Diablo and Black Isle games were the real forerunners in the KISS principle that revitalised the dying 2D RPGs.

The living world aspects of Ultimas VI and VII were what made them such a great draw for me as a child. Long before I was old enough to understand the "real" gameplay of these titles, I could appreciate the rich nature of their environments, and spent countless hours in them. They represented the gold standard that I held every CRPG to since.

When everyone was praising the depth of Morrowind, for example, I found its environment sterile and lacking in the kind of interactivity I had enjoyed in these games of my youth. Skyrim was the first modern CRPG to really surpass them.

(I do realize that the itch I'm describing is probably better satisfied with something like Minecraft, but I'm getting stubborn in my old age).

I recommend checking out Rune Factory 4 on the Nintendo 3DS. It has some pleasantly surprising dynamic world (well, a single town at least) for a console – let alone handheld – title.

It's definitely a different taste in what folks want out of their RPG. Being able to bake bread and stack crates is exciting as a "world of possibilities" sort of deal, but it's also narratively dissonant from going on a big adventure where you are the Hero. It sucks up a lot of time and once you're done, you've forgotten what the adventure was about - kind of proving the point Sid Meier took home from Covert Action.

However, at the time, again, it was definitely something new and different. Games in the 80's were more often conceived of as puzzles to solve, rather than worlds to explore: adding lots of surface detail was how Garriott perceived possibilities for immersion. A lot of games followed similar-yet-different paths of piling on stuff that made the games tedious in the early 90's. By the middle of the decade people were calling the whole genre dead, which is hyperbolic, of course, but reflective of the move towards streamlining and thinking about UX across the whole design, which left "traditional-looking" games out in the cold.

Yeah, the western RPG genre had become these "inventory management" or "taking notes" games. They made up for the lack of enhancing and balancing combat and developing AI with these gimmicks. Ultima series is one of the worst: you have to manage food, light sources, runes, mantras, finding spells, spell ingredients, spellcasting, moonstones, moongates, gems, two extra alphabets, mapping yourself, and so on and so on. When you start to think about it, it's like having a second job just to kill the bad guys.

As a kid I loved all of that though. I had enough time, skipping on homework while probably still learning more through games like Ultima :)

It's a matter of taste I guess. For me, that kind of details improve immersion, which is a big deal regardless of whether I spend more or less time in them. Better immersion is precisely one of the reasons why I prefer Ultima Underworld to Diablo (not really a RPG) or Fallout.

And yet, this is the very model which has made Eve Online such a sticky game. If subscriber count and total income is your only metric, I suppose it doesn't compare favorably to other examples such as WoW or MOBAs.

That said, its longevity and player retention I do think speak for itself. (Maybe the longevity more than the player rentention.)

> Modern games have given up on that for which I am very grateful.

Except Minecraft.

It wouldn't have killed them to throw in a few crates.

Then the game becomes a little too realistic and the lack of wolves creates a over-supply of beavers which in turn screw up the sources of water for the villages and then you are prosecuted for the death of a lot of cattle by dehydration but you get away with it by bribing the judge; so _now_ you can say you are definitely a business.

Or the villagers do the usual thing, and recruit a hero to go after the "bad guy."

OK - You must play Knights and Merchants.

Its a game from 1997 - and someone on HN linked to an updated version that is coming out/out now but... You need to play the original bugged 1997 game as the macro-economics are so much fun;

Y have to built a stone masons hut to get stone

Have to build a wood cutters hut to cut lumber

You have to build farms to get wheat

Have to build a farm for pigs


but you have to build out serfs who have to build the roads and then ferry all the goods back and forth between each business

the fun part happens when your little village reaches around 100 serfs and the AI fails and all your population starts starving to death because the serfs attempt to go to the Inn to get food/beer/wine (which you have to make that supply chain) but there is no food because the village is to big and your little serfs start going HNNNNGGGG and evaporating...

plus its multy-player and the challenge is fun when youre trying so hard to build your little village and the oponent comes in with lie ONE freaking soldier and can take out your whole village because you dont have enough resources to make weapons or armor or gold or you ran out of coal....

its a blast. frustrating, but fun, blast... give it a try


Sounds like Dwarf Fortress!

Similarly, in high school me and my friends discovered that the best combination of accounts for UO is to have a miner blacksmith and an adventurer of some sort. The miner spends time getting ore, making gear, and selling it to town merchants or other players.

You then use this money to fund your adventurer so he can buy good gear from other players who have better miner blackmiths than you do. Minerblacksmith characters were always the richest.

There was like a serious economy running on the servers I played. It was great.

Being a maxed miner battle mage was a blast.

You would be merrily mining away in some cave when some unsavory types would come along for the seemingly easy pickings from the poor miners in rags.

Little could they suspect that there was the best plate armor(forgot what it was called) under those rags.

Corp Por Corp Por!

Another way to get rich in UO was waiting for a rune shop to decay. The economy was amazing and unforgiving like that.

The sequel, VII, and VII part 2, are singular achievements in terms of world building. The level of detail that went into NPC schedules, interactions, etc, down to the fact that you can do mundane tasks with no bearing on the actual game like baking bread, were pretty damn cool. The recent Witcher game might come close, but I'm still jonesing for some RPGs on VII's level.

Somewhere on the road between Britain and Cove lies my fondest memory of gaming. Can't recall what it was specifically, either---the mysterious toolshed, the moonstones, the tiny one-room houses by Lock Lake, sundown and dinner at the inn---together it was unforgettable. Tseramed, too, out toward Yew and his little tale: "Youth is her's forever". The phantom mayor of Skara Brae, forsaking his afterlife. The bitter orphan in Paws' workhouse, etc.

Serpent Isle was stranger and "colder" than U7 part 1, but likewise memorable. Will always be able to recall the following:


...seems to somehow better convey the essence of Ultima than what was attempted in writing above: A strange, dreamlike, occasionally-haunting impression from the era when computers were less understood and more full of possibilities.

I remember playing U7 part 2, and got to the part where the Guardian just pops up across your screen and starts talking. Shit, that was scary and cool.

"Patience Avatar, I shall be with thee shortly!"

Amazing game. While on vacation last week, I was eating at a restaurant overlooking the deep blue ocean and the background music playing was the Ultima theme song. I seemed to be the only one who recognized it and right there and then, I proudly basked in a glorious solitary moment of radiant geekiness and nostalgia as I thought of shimano, iolo and all the rest of the characters that made up that amazing place called Britannia.

Shamino. Shimano is cycyling gear.

Iolo. Lord British. The Avatar. The Guardian.

U6, U7/1, U7/2 and UW2 were glorious worlds.

This is not a coincidence. No source but I once read an interview that confirms the name came from misreading the brand name.

Oops shamino. I was introduced to shamino before shimano !

That sounds bizarre, what restaurant was playing the Ultima theme song?

Quite bizarre! Yet cool.

It was on an island in an undisclosed location and was playing in one of the restaurants there.

Luckily, I shazamed it and here is the song:

Coral by Bonnie & Klein


You need to listen around minute 4:00 for the loop

  The creepy poster of a pole-dancing centaur hanging on 
  the Avatar’s wall back on Earth has provoked much comment 
  over the years…
Someone dug up the original art of that poster: http://ultimacodex.com/2015/10/remember-that-centaur-poster-...

Awesome, I'd totally forgotten about the Nagel.

Oh man I loved this game. This game may have single handedly set me on my career in software development. I'd played many many games before, but this one really opened my eyes to the possibilities that computers offered.

I just finished a recent playthrough, no more than six months ago! The game holds up really well. There are obvious shortcomings compared to modern games, it could be a hard slog for younger generations who are used to a more polished product, but if you are looking for a good bit of nostalgia U6 is hard to beat.

For comparison I also tried re-playing Bard's Tale 3 recently. I wasted many hours of my childhood with that game. Frankly, I'm amazed at how poor and awful of a game it was and I just I couldn't stick to it.

Since these articles on gaming history by Jimmy Maher consistently get voted up to the front page of HN, it may be worth mentioning that he has a Patreon where you can support his work here:


Really cool reads. I actually got stuck on a tangent reading about the story of Trip Hawkins


I hope people do support the author (I've almost convinced myself that I will support all the awesome content I come across the Internet if I do "make it" - so many good writers, webcomics, video creators... and I have a 50 dollars/month entertainment budget)

This is a strange way to implement an text editor.

And the graphical interface is not only _very_ different, but works poorly in tmux.

Thought it was a VI variant as well at first.

Have you tried Ultima Emacs?

>On the evening of February 9, 1990, with the project now in the final frenzy of testing, bug-swatting, and final-touch-adding, he left Origin’s offices to talk to some colleagues having a smoke just outside. When he opened the security door to return, a piece of the door’s apparatus — in fact, an eight-pound chunk of steel — fell off and smacked him in the head, opening up an ugly gash and knocking him out cold. His panicked colleagues, who at first thought he might be dead, rushed him to the emergency room. Once he had had his head stitched up, he set back to work.

Hah. That's how you are able to kill Lord British in Ultima VII. I had never understood the reference, until now.

the latest game in this series, Shroud of the Avatar (still in pre-release) is having a free play weekend this weekend. Even though it's not "released" yet, it's a full game, very playable and enjoyable.


Unless I'm mistaken, Shroud of the Avatar seems more in line with the Ultima Online experience which Is a totally different than the single player Ultimas. I could never get into Ultima Online. I would love another classic Ultima though. Any suggestions for games that would scratch that itch?

I'm assuming you've already played Ultima 7. You may also want to try Martian Dreams or Savage Empire if you haven't.

The following recommendation might be unpopular: Try the now-antique Final Fantasy 7 for an RPG with an impressive, if somewhat meandering storyline, and a world seen through the lens of childlike wonder. Definitely a non-Western RPG, but about the best in that genera.

Anyway, doubt there will ever be anything like the single player Ultimas again, due more to the nature of computing and game production having moved on from a early baroque age of wonder.

FF7 is an excellent JRPG, but for a different (and more modern) take on JRPGs, I recommend the Persona series, especially 4 (Golden if possible) and the latest 5. Persona 3 is excellent as well and similar in style to 4 and 5, but not quite as polished.

Persona blends building relationships (which helps with your Persona customization and hence dungeons) along with doing various day-to-day tasks such as studying, getting a part-time job, going on dates, and even minor things like taking care of a houseplant all of which help improve various stats. Some activities aren't available if you don't have a certain rank in a stat.

They provide an interesting exploration into various challenges in the modern world, but without coming across as heavy-handed.

I think the only real problem is that Persona 5 holds your hand for a very long time as it introduces the system so it's not until around the end of the first boss area that all the options open up which is about 6 hours into what can be a 100 hour game.

Yeah, U7 and U7 part 2 were my main jams as a kid. I remember also playing Martian Dreams And Savage Empire but they were in the U6 interface which In comparison was tortuous. Perhaps Im just spoiled. I did enjoy the U5 and U6 remakes but they tended to crash a lot making it hard to actually play through.

I still haven't ever tried the FF franchise games. I'll have to try that. Thanks for the rec.

I will always be thankful to FFVII for convincing my girlfriend of the time how great video games could be.

She went from rolling her eyes at my playstation time to getting her own that Christmas. We had many happy memories of playing games together, or even just watching one another work our way through single-player RPGs. Good times.

I've never played any Ultimas, but from TFA's description of a game that loves simulationism and exploring and world building to the point where it nearly ignores gameplay, it sounds exactly like my excellent experiences with Morrowind.

Thanks, Ill check that out.

uhm, playable on linux?

EDIT: wow - yep linux DL - fuck yes!

yeah, I play on linux on a $250 intel NUC (cheap mini computer resembling graphics laptop architecture). Of course it looks much better with discrete gpu.

Best game series ever with Ultima VI, VII, VIII and Online possible being the best games ever.

UO was the bet game ever made, invented the MMO - but the original 1997-ish release was so much fun and also (I think) invented the idea of PVP (aside from quake, that that was FPS rather than ISO, etc.. so a philosophical argument I guess)

The entire reason I am in computers and tech is because of Ultima 2 which I found on a floppy in the Apple lab at my school.... I then ran a BBS, setup a network and converted the drafting lab from actual pencil drawing to CAD.

Bards tale was a good franchise as well - where we competed to complete them and me and my best friend got into fisticuffs over the fucking cheat book he bought.

He is now a Senior Producer at EA.

UO was great back in the day as was Shadowbane. The whole safe places that MMO's became - and with good reason as more people liked that - disappointed me about the genre.

The player motivated politics and maneuvering and real threat to lose what you've worked hard for and the general scarcity of things in these types of games was unbelievable. Stealing, fighting for meaningful resources and guilds that existed to actually protect resources and players is just not possible in a game like WoW (was very good for different reasons though such as dungeon raiding) and derivatives where getting attacked and killed is meaningless.

That is an interesting comment...

WRT game philsophy, one might say WOW is combat focused (dungeon raids) where UO was much more personal-politcs focused (with the combat) and thus I think UO to be an 11 and wow an 8... regardless of how much $$ WOW has made... it is detracted by the fact that its massive, dedicated, userbase has never experienced original UO...

Indeed. WoW was great for that and I enjoyed it but there was always a piece missing.

The politics of games like UO and Shadowbane where a thief stealing a single valuable item from some folks farming for the guild could set off a huge war with backstabbing and deceit and alliances and everything else really made those games dramatic and fun.

Yeah you'd lose your stuff sometimes too and the most scary thing in the game was seeing a group of players from an aggressive guild descending on your farming and XP group. Everyone would scatter like buffalo being hunted by a group of lions.

It was hard to setup towns near valuable farming resources and there would be battles for dominance. All the different player personalities would take on different roles that appealed to them in a guild - some where the leaders who worked out deals and alliances; others were social butterflies who like to chat and farm; others liked to help harass enemies and some were mercenaries ready to work for whoever paid them. And other people enjoyed going solo as a thief and hated by all but other thieves.

It was a world only as good as the players could make it with what felt like real consequence to decisions and actions. Trust mattered.

I'll add that I don't think a game like that can ever really exist again. At least not with the dynamic those games had.

At the time there were no other options for people who wanted to play an MMO. You had to enter that world. So it was made up of all types of people but mainly you could break the community into 2 groups: Wolves and Sheep.

There were always plenty of sheep for the wolves to hunt for and terrorize and for the "hero wolves" to come in and protect. The relationships were real.

As soon as WoW came out anyone who preferred the sheep role (farming, socializing, building community, etc) had no reason to play a game they could be killed and have their spoils taken. It became a hassle when WoW gave them a peaceful world to coexist in. Where your enemy couldn't really hurt you or take anything you've worked for. A nice, safe space. The wolf types just became the hard core raiders competing to get eventual identical gear first and the sheep were the casual raiders and farmers and social butterflies.

>I'll add that I don't think a game like that can ever really exist again

I agree with this sentiment 100%

Shadowbane, that's a word I haven't heard in a while. I think these days EVE is the only one carrying on the torch of that sub-genre.

Yeah seriously going back a bit there on a rather obscure, buggy game. For all its flaws, which were many, the experience overall was exhilarating.

Never played EVE but yeah it's the only game I'm aware of that has these types of dynamics.

did you guys ever read that story, which I believe I found on HN, about the guy who live in SF and wa basically the EVE accountant and manager for an EVE sydicated where he didnt play the game, but just managed monies and logistics?

Ill have to find the link.

> the original 1997-ish release was so much fun

It was insanely laggy, when the servers were up at all. It probably was the best game ever made for a six month period, between when the servers finally got semi-stable and when they started releasing the expansions, which basically took all the fun out of the game. (What was the point of accumulating wealth and power once you could disable PVP to prevent yourself from getting randomly killed, and when there was now unlimited space for houses? Basically none.)

The time period between mid-closed Beta UO and roughly that Christmas was my all time favorite time period for gaming.

I agree with the latter half of your sentiment, but to the former, like I said, I was playing on the newest machines intel could build and I had an OC-48... so no lag. but after the housing insanity... it did go down hill.

I DLd the open version(which is incredible how that was reverse engineered in-and-of-itself) and it was literrally entirely populated with house and was no fun AT ALL.

but yeah, there was some where near a year where that game was amazing.

It is funny to think though, even though the game was revolutionary, how quickly it was grokked by people and play strategies were realized.

Fuck, look at twitch and how basically computer game culture has evolved!

there will be PHD level courses on this within 20 years.

PVP existed in MUDs long before UO was a thing.

I vaguely remember some UO developers showing up on rec.games.mud.* and asking a lot of questions.

one of my deepest historical tech regrets is that I never got into MUDs

I did, however, play Trade Wars and the PIT on BBSs in the 80s...

I recall smoking pot while playing trade wars in about 1991 or so... and I was trying to corner the market on grain, but instead of buying all the supply with my massive bank roll, I accidentally sold all my grain and screwed up my position on the galactic totem pole.

I had tons of notes related to Trade Wars and planning my moves.

I played some MUDs during university in the early 90s, but once I realized how much time I was spending on them, I decided I needed to stop for the sake of my grades. Of course, getting the original Civ game right before exams one year wasn't a good thing either from that perspective.

I got grounded for a month because I was calling the BBS in San Jose from Lake Tahoe, where I lived, to play those games... the phone bill was $926 dollars and my dad was so pissed that I ran up the long-distance bill that high.

I played a lot of Ultima VII and really loved it but got increasingly frustrated with one weird bug: every time I went to sleep (as in "I", not I), the screen went blank and there was no way of going forward.

In the end, after hitting a bunch of roadblocks, I found a way of robbing the bank, bought a ship and started exploring the world. Didn't even know what I was supposed to to at that point, but boy, was it fun.

I figured out that although the big ships had cannons, you had to leave them at the shore. The small rowboats would fit in an inventory slot - inventory was based on slots and weight, so a strong character could carry it. So my group of adventurers walked around in caves and forests with a rowboat in my backpack, and water obstacles were never a problem again.

Tangently related: I bought a copy of Ultima Online Charter Edition off of eBay recently to fill out my Ultima collection/shrine. I looked at the creator credits and was surprised to see only around 15 names.

Amazing to think that such a game that totally changed the world had so few people working on it. Any modern AAA title has a credit list to rival a summer blockbuster.

Ultima Underworld deserves special mention too.

So many hours playing VII and UO :) Good times.

So when UO came out I was working at intel, we had a game lab (building out and testing the celeron SIMD based machines as intel was goaling for sub $1,000 machine)

We had 6 UO accounts...

We used to be followed around by admins who were invisibe because they were studying how we were so successful at the game.

We did use macros - but it was really about the fact that we had an OC-48 and everyone else was on a 56K modem.... and our Hide skill was 100 - but we played on 6 machines all right next to eachother and we had mule accounts - and nefarious accounts...

So we had Snoop and Sneek our mules with hide of 100, then we had both Great Lord Phlux and Dread Lord Phlux (me) and same for Mym...

We would taunt great lords with our dread lord accounts and then chase them down with our great lord accounts and they would attack us and lose their status and become dastardly and they would lose their shit.

We found this great axe that was bugged. It could kill literally any character with one hit. The mods that were following us around wound up taking the weapon, we were pissed - but they deleted the weapon as it was so bugged that we massacred many a foe.

we were skilled at kiting dragons to the top of our castle, then trapping them in corners of the castl with chests such that we would train our characters on attacking them.

We built houses around the front of the castle to enclose it, then we only used runes to teleport in, but we blocked all the other spots with bags of flour such that you could not rune into the spots...

Draygor (our third member) got too stoned and got whacked by the japanese contingent that we were at war with and he failed to put his rune in the bank....

the japanese team runed into our courtyard, and hid until we opened the door with our castle butler and then attacked and they stole every loot we had in a massive store of chests in the castle....

we quite after that.

I have similar stories with UO... it was the best sandbox game every created. In many ways UO felt like an open world crossed between Minecraft and an Elder Scrolls game. Often even the bugs and quirks aided the whole experience too- often quickly exploited to pull off some crazy plan (like trapping a mod). In comparison, WoW and most MMORPGs feel like linear adventure games.

Game philosophy question: I wonder if the difference is between FPS and Isometric WRT how it plays on one mind.

in WOW being FPS, you are the being. in ISO youre mre omnisciently playing.

Think of Populous (not the shitty later versions, but the 80s version) -- even when you are playing as your personality, its easier to express and enjoy that personality at a macro level than a micro level.

The exception to this is that in any FPS, with PVP it is satisfying to conquer a foe directly... think Hitman sniping style... but that is quest based.

When you have an open world like UO that had no quests it much more free.

e.g. ever logged into a game you havent played in a while and been like "fuck I dont recall all these quests I was in process"? -- UO had none of that. UO was "forget damsels, gather loot and power" only and it was glorious.

the FPS genre needs to keep itself to "* Kill that guy without being killed/seen OR adventure*" like you say... but games like UO took game-thought to a new level and you were managing an empire if you could build it...

Now, with that said, I dont game much any more - so the modern version of UO would maybe be EVE, as I mentioned a guy had a full time income from managing an EVE army... thats next level cerebral.

Man, we are going to have Ghost-in-the-Shell future sooner than we planned.

(ALL gaming bleeds into reality... William Gibson and Neil Stephenson should get the Nobel prize in futurism)

Only in UO can you have a story like that :). I had a similar experience. Was this on Baja by chance?

Napa :-)

Another story:

Since we had all 6 accounts logged in, and right next to eachother, we would whack a guy in PVP but use our Snoop and Sneek hiding characters to grab the loot.

So if we got killed, your ghost would typically have to run back to your body - but typically the loot was gone obviously. - so we would move the Snoop and Sneek characters along the same path as our Dread Lords - and when we would whack a person with the dread lord, we would have Snoop and Sneek pickup the loot and hide.

Multiple times ppl killed our main character, attempted to loot us, knowing that we had just looted the ppl we killed but then found nothing of their friends loot on our body and were saying WTF... this is why admins followed us around. They didnt get how we were exploiting multiple accounts with such coordination.

Or if our dreadlord got whacked, we could quickly loot our own body, then hide, protecting our loot.

Snoop and Sneek, while skilled little rogues were master mages.

Recall when IN VAS FLAM was bugged and would insta-kill anyone? Yeah Snoop and Sneek have a vast kill roster with that bug.

So my story is I had a thief in occlo and I trained with a guild and we would steal from rich innocent mages. It happened that the Occlo mage shop was so crowded on that little island, it was hard for anybody to avoid us. We had the mages litterely sorrounded by thieves. I grew the character and learned some nice macros. And graduated to dungeons and stealing from lich kings and stealing from players fighting lich kings. My best take was a silver broadsword of vanquishing. The owner, not to happy, found me somehow and tried to fight my blue character in town. I called guards! And stole the rest of his stuff. Good times. I was also an Elder in UO and wow, that's a whole other story.

Similar situation. We had 5-6ms pings to the Lake Superior shard in an era when most people were on modems (IIRC at launch most people weren't even on 56k!). We sat next to each other and could see each other's screen while for other folks even IM was a novelty for team coordination.

When to others it looked like you were warping around and doing 5 things in an instant and you had great communication/coordination with your partners, you could do some serious damage.

VIII is meh. VII and Online I wholeheartedly agree with. Best cloth game maps ever.

.. and don't get me started on Ascension. Had really high hopes for that one :/ https://qkast.com/share?channel=19&moment=1491604242821

I started with VIII and really enjoyed it. UII was great too, UO was just awesome. Ascension was ...different... but still I prefer it over the RPGs these days.

Who here came thinking it's a new modern Vim alternative?



The projection they used is just super weird.

Faery Tale Adventure (an Amiga classic) also has a weird projection that mostly looks weird when applied to characters, which all look like they're leaning slightly to the left: https://youtu.be/E5_4DhXWdwo?t=1824

Easier to implement, less resource intensive than ISO projection titles with overlaps.

This was my jam for all of middle school. Thanks for posting this article!

I remember looking at the Ultima games at the time as something interesting that I'd like to spend time on, but I never got into them. I guess it's because I was always into faster gaming experiences.

I never thought that I would really be able to enjoy any RPG's, but recently I've started playing them. I'm currently working my way through Tales of Zestiria and having a geat time with it.

I would like to give the Ultima games a try. Which one should I start with? I'd like one that is somewhat easy to get in to.

Ultima 4 was the pinnacle of the series. It's also very different than most RPGs, it's about figuring out the virtues of the world and sticking to them. I'd suggest that one.

It's really not easy to get into, from a modern point of view.

I tried playing 4 & 5 a few years ago and gave up very quickly.

I don't know if this is true but a friend who worked at Origin regaled me with the story that the U6 box art's avatar model was Starr Long when he had a head of full, luscious hair.

Any Ex-Origin able to confirm?

How I miss my shard over 56k

I remember finding a casino in one of Ultima7 islands, I made so much gold out of the roulette that it became a problem stocking it and carrying it around Britannia.

This was an awesome awesome game. Unimaginable how I played that for so many hours on such a tiny tiny screen :)

Use glass sword on lord British

This brings back so many memories! Awesome Game!

The top game of my teenage life.

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