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Spouse Aggro!

I blog at www.spouseaggro.com, write for www.ablegamers.com, run www.mmovoices.ning.com and post all over the net. HOWDY!

Author: beauturkey

A quest turn in on a dark night.

Posted by beauturkey Friday February 27 2009 at 5:37PM
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The ghost pulsed with light. Slowly, like an afterimage, it shrunk. It started to form into a shape familiar to Rikoo.

A small head formed, two arms, two legs. Although it was still primarily transparent, he could see long hair falling out of the back of the skull, fingers forming on the hands.

And the face of a little girl began to take shape. It's eyes grew large, and they stared at the package. Her tiny mouth hung open, it looked as though she was in shock.

Her nimble glowing fingers slowly unwrapped the package. They were shaking, but still were careful as though the package was fragile. Rikoo felt a wave of sadness creeping over him, it seemed to flow from the ghost. He could only watch.



Within a minute the wrapping fell to the ground, and in the girl's hands was a small doll, old and brown. It was made of patchwork cloth, and was missing an arm. The girl's lip trembled. Tears began to fall down her face, sparkling like icicles. She stared at it in disbelief. Her eyes filled with tears and closed as she held the doll to her breast. A dull ache seemed to issue from her, and it was filling Rikoo up. He felt like he was floating, and soon he was crying himself.

The girl opened her eyes and looked at Rikoo, and came close to him. He felt terrified, but didn't budge. She reached up to her neck, and pulled a necklace out of her collar. She held it up in front of her face, and tried to smile, but her quivering mouth pulled the smile back. She held the necklace out to Rikoo. It swung there, silent and glowing.

He had to take it.

He couldn't refuse it.

He reached out and to his astonishment it felt solid, and fell into his hand with the same weight as many necklaces before. As he looked down at it, it began to grow gray, and a sparkling gem winked at him from the middle of the pendant.

He looked at the girl. She was backing away from him, and he stood to stop her. She had suffered for so long, it felt wrong to let her go. He held out his hand, and she attempted to smile again. She folded her hands around the doll, and slowly faded into the ground.

Rikoo shook. He had never felt such despair before. He had no idea who this girl was, but he felt as though he knew her deeply. He FELT it.

He didn't like it and sat there on the ground, looking at the necklace. It was dull metal, but the stone shone in the dark like it had been lit from a candle. A tear fell onto it, and smeared on the light.

"Shin Megami Tensei: Imagine". Longest. MMO Title. Ever.

Posted by beauturkey Thursday February 26 2009 at 10:17PM
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Yes, a great long title. What is it with Asian market MMO's and their weird titles? Look guys, just grab an American businessman and sit him down in front of your website and let him play the game a bit.

That's it. No more mistranslations or weird quest text.

Other than that, "Imagine" is a great game that I got into a while back. I noticed the similarities between it and Mabinogi, namely in the combat system. It's almost a turn-based system, but real time. I remember when Final Fantasy XII came out, tons of fanboys and girls were upset at the games departure from the actual turn based system in favor of a "real time turn based" system. This is how Imagine and Mabinogi feel, sort of. Kind of. A bit.

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It feels actiony and fast, but chunky. The hits hit HARD, the explosions and magic have nice effects. All in all, I am loving it. But it does take some getting used to. Which brings me to my main point: second tries have a way of making things clearer.

See, I go in circles. I get obsessed with different things at different times, switching  from game to game, character to character (save for a few favorites like Rikoo.) I loved the look of Imagine, and once I got the hang of it I loved the combat, but it didn't stick around past the next round of obsessions.

With my recent "playin' only free games" experiment, I had to go back and re-examine many of the free titles on my list. Luckily, I still had most loaded on an older machine, which conveniently is inside my new office space. Most of them patched up and allowed me into the game without a hitch, but some I am still working on.

But when I got into Imagine (this time around), the first thing I remembered was how nice looking it was and still is. I knew the character creation was limited at first, but I loved how my character felt young, solid and a little futuristic. The game made sense from the beginning, since I had played before, and I got through the tutorials easily while having more fun. The combat was flowing better, it made more sense. The world seemed a little deeper. This pointed out to me a possible weak point in a game: the beginning tutorial.

So much depends on those first few moments of an MMO. You know what people say about first impressions and how they can make all the difference. A game should be no different.

Imagine is already carrying you away with it's setting, (unique) it's look (a "more serious" Anime) and it's game-play (cool effects, nice combat.) It needs to step a step further into mystery and story and a few steps out of combat. Well, I should say that the combat intros are fine, but it should give you a better idea of who you are and why. You get some story at the beginning about the giant tower, end of the world demony type stuff, but you should "play" through a discovery of some more lore, perhaps you are introduced to some kind of "librarian" that shows you sample of demons and explains something about their language, their history? I just want MORE than the game currently shows you at the beginning.

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This reminds me of one of the main issues I had with Spellborn (this was before the new tutorial, but even with the tutorial it is still an issue) which was that immediately in the game I felt closer to the developers sense of humor rather than my sense of awe. The game is awesome looking, runs great and can really blow you away. And there from the first few levels are quests with pop culture references and jokes. Just because the game looks "cartoony (but still beautiful) " doesn't mean it cannot take itself more seriously.

Later in the game the world becomes much more serious, but in this new MMO market of "..if I don't like it within an hour, I'm going to delete it from my hard drive.." I think it is SO important to give the player a sense of the awe that the game can deliver, without having to wait until the "serious" levels. But, I understand that they want you to have a sense of accomplishment, and one way to do this is to have your surroundings become more epic and heroic looking as you become more epic and heroic.

Imagine is pretty "serious" from the beginning, but I would like it to take a step further.

But back to my original point: the perfect recipe for a "different" (if you don't enjoy it that much at first) MMO is to give it some time and return to it later. Give it a few patches, let it add on some story or some items. Let it simmer a bit. I am really enjoying Imagine now that I have an idea of who the hell I am, and why I want to tame half-naked ladies with giant wings (besides the obvious.)

Beau

Mabinogi's New Patch...more free stuff?

Posted by beauturkey Thursday February 26 2009 at 8:34AM
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http://mabinogi.nexon.net/

Today is patch day in the world of uhm..Aria (still learning all the "lore") and last night players were chomping at the bit. Not only are there two new races to play, the Elves and the Giants, and a new land to explore but some exciting news for poor people!

Free services!

Before, you could pay for a "re-birth" when you hit level 20 and re-roll your character as a child. Your skills stayed the same, but your level was reset. Essentially, it is a way to gain AP points (to "buy" new skills with) in that "Wow, I'm new and the AP points are coming at me like rain!" way. Players hit a slower climb at 20, rebirth themselves and gain the AP points faster.  That service, normally about 9 bucks or so, is now free, but you will still have to buy a premium card to change appearance.

Also, the extended services of larger inventory and battle field rezzes (by that jiggly Asian woman I told you about) will now be free, as well as all the other cool lil gifts that come with those services. Things like armor/clothes dye,potions, tons of things. Now free.

It doesn't take long (or many purchases of the Sims expansions) to know how these things work. They put out a great game and charge you for all this little, cool stuff.

That's why my argument has always been that they will never charge you for the best of the best coolest stuff, just the little stuff that helps you get there.

I raised 60k withing 3 nights by simply doing a part time job. A top-of-the-line outfit (chosen mostly because of looks, showing the difference between "younger" games like this and more "raider" type games like almost every pay to play MMO) would run me about 500k. Granted, I would never spend that, but 100k is considered a decent amount of cash. And I raised 60k happily while chopping down wheat and barley.

The game plan is brilliant, and I am hooked. My "wait to see" has worked, being that now I can re-birth myself and get all those coolest services for free. Also, that tells me that they will probably be putting some new stuff into the cash shop that is much more...tempting.

They know what they are doing.

Beau

Free to Play only for a month...can I do it?

Posted by beauturkey Wednesday February 25 2009 at 11:09AM
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Yes, yes I can.

My home game subs are running out soon (LOTRO, Station Access) and I have been messing around a LOT more with Mabinogi and a few other F2P games. Not only is the quality of some of these games up there with a "normal" MMO, but they are free to play to boot!

Now look, I know what you are thinking: "There is no way playing F2P games can equal the satisfaction I get out of "normal" mmo's."

For the moment, you are mostly right. But, the quality is increasing so fast that I predict that within 2 or 3 years that F2P will be the norm. The best way to present my argument is to just list off the pros and cons. I love lists, and will always jump at the chance to make one.

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1) Economy: Now now, I am not one to cite the horrible economy as a reason to want to stop paying for my gaming. After all, the economy hasn't really shown itself to me and the wife in many ways, and to many people. Yes, if we had 2 houses, 3 kids and 3 cars we might feel the sting. But we don't have kids (never want them) have one car and live close to work so I can ride my bike. (It's called exercise people.) Look at the numbers:

* 2 WoW subs: $30.00

* 1 Station Access: $33.00

* 1 LOTRO sub: $15.00

Do the math. That amount equals a bill. And add on top of that the (very simple, yes) activity of having to remember: "Ok, which one expires now, which card did we charge that one to?" It's just getting annoying. Granted, I love those games to the point of being a fanboy, but I am an explorer. I play some games for only a few hours a week, then move on to some other game to try something else out. And it's not that we cannot afford them. We can afford lot's of things . But I go back to one of my favorite terms: luxury items. I could afford to do drugs or to drink a lot, but I don't. I want to be able to work and pay my bills and I can't do that when I'm messed up. We could afford another car, but we could barely eat if we bought one.

And luxury items are one of those things in MMO's that people seem to think are needed to the point of being forced to have them, things like the best armor or the top stats. The proof that you do not need them is that I can play alongside someone in the best gear in the world, and have an incredible time in my crappy armor. Too much about the MMO world is based on luxury, and people thinking that luxury is necessity.

2) Time: I do not have time to play all these games all the time. I play a few hours a day, or less, depending. Some days I won't play at all and some days I'll play for 6 hours. I could never be a raider because that's too much like a JOB. I don't need another punch-in punch-out job, and I don't need more constraints on my time. (I hardly have any, but I want to keep it that way.)  With a subscription, the clock is ticking. If you don't play, you still get charged. That's where the Station Access is brilliant: they know that players cannot possibly play every game on the list that much, but players love the freedom.

3) Quality: This is the soft spot in the argument. Many many many (most) F2P games ARE crap. But let's compare some major points of both and see that there isn't that much difference.

a) Art Style: Some of the F2P games are just plain stupid looking. I HATE Anime. I hate the fact that every Anime cartoon you see (save for a few brilliant ones) looks the same, which is giant-eyed people that look not-at-all realistic, surrounded by cool looking backgrounds. So many of the F2P games are just that same annoying giant-mushroom-with-a-smiley-face style. But some are changing that. Look at Perfect World, or even Mabinogi in some areas. That "Imagine" MMO looks pretty cool, but you do tend to run into many big-headed monsters.

But honestly, how realistic are MMO's anyway? Vanguard looks amazing sometimes, and then sometimes in a few areas looks silly. EQ2 has it's beauty, but also has it's rough landscapes and it's (unless it's all the way up graphically) butt-ugliness. Do we really need to have photo-realistic characters to enjoy ourselves?

I say no way, that the game-play matters most. Look at browser based games, and how they can draw you in. Hell, look at WoW, with it's brilliantly simple yet loveable graphics.

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b) Quests: Go back to the olden days (I love saying that, as though 10 years ago was a long time ago.) UO had no quests. EQ, from what I remember, had very few. CoH had the same quest over and over. Even Vanguard and WoW, with their brilliant quests, aren't read and are just seen as "grinding" by so many players that it is a "normal" style of play. ("I am going to go grind some quests." ) So, how is a F2P game with it's "grind-fests" any different? In Mabinogi (my recent favorite) you can do what you want. There are a few major "story quests" but overall you can do anything. Reason enough to play, even without any "reason" besides playing.  I am a huge fan of incredible quests alongside incredible story, but I think I am more on the rare side. So many players see playing as a job, as a transport to just the higher levels. They don't read quest text, they don't pay attention to lore. In a way, their lack of attention to that stuff will allow more games like Mabinogi, with it's freedom, to become more popular.

c) System Compability: Some of these F2P games look amazing and yet would run on a pocket calculator. In fact, I have set up my art room again and moved an older machine into there. I can't run any pay games that well, so I will just have it as my F2P gaming machine. There is something in the water in those coding shops that makes the f2P games look great and run beautifully. Again, art style over textures res.

4) Experimentation: Think about it. If I reduce my subs for one month, I could save over 60 bucks. Again, I can afford that, but that's 60 bucks that could buy lizard grub, or dog food. Also, I am enjoying trying to adapt the Immersion Project (will write a new blog about that) into these games, which seemed impossible before. But so far, with a few tweaks, it seems to be working.

Now, question is, can I do this? We'll see. I love all those pay-to-play games. They are pay-to-play because they are good. But I think the time of subscriptions is coming to an end, and soon. Look at how many Asian market players there are using alternate payment plans. Those companies make millions and millions. For me, it's mainly about being able to decide when and if my money goes to the company. I might buy a game for 50 bucks and pay for one month of service, just to get stuck with a crappy game that I don't want to play. (I'm talking to you, Darkfall! hehe)  F2P is about freedom of choice and the ability to decide who gets your cash.

We'll see, though. I might be wrong. I think SOE and a few other companies have already been making moves towards a F2P system, and that can only be a good thing. All of the data that I have seen shows that most of these "cash-shop" type plans are just recieved as something new, not as something bad or good. People just keep playing what they want, and many pump money into the cash shop.

If you ask me, the ability to spend 10 bucks for a mount in EQ2 is brilliant. Those damn things have been WAAAAAAAAYYY over-priced since I started playing years ago.

Beau

Mabinogi: A great game wrapped in *gulp* ANIME.

Posted by beauturkey Sunday February 22 2009 at 9:22PM
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You know, playing UO again has brought up a lot of questions in my mind about the current systems that games use, and about graphics.

Much of the UO game-play is simple, yet complex. For example, you pick out what skill you want to work on and work on it. Sounds easy enough, but over time you find yourself picking out the oddest skills just to try out something new. It's fun, and soon you obsess.
A skill based system takes guts to put into your game, I think. Many gamers don't WANT that many choices, and that's fine. Many are fine with a limited, cookie cutter class system. I am a fan of it myself.

But sometimes it's fun to work out that inner chef that's just dying to get out. It feels good to farm a bit, to get a part-time job gathering eggs, just to turn around an hour later to go off and kill wolves.

All this is possible in a good skill based game. Granted, many of the skills require a lot of time to gain levels in, so if you are into high levels you are in for a long road. In many games that means a lot of grinding quests and mobs. Luckily, a game like Mabinogi provides other distractions that make it seem less like a typical free to play grindfest.

As you play, you gain experience in certain skills. You can learn anything from making a fire to melee combat. You have to earn AP points to spend on those skills, and as your character "ages" you have a harder time earning those AP. That's where games like this get the reputation of "forcing" players to spend real life money: from making the game much easier (depending) if you throw down pretty much the equivalent of a regular MMO subscription price.

I just had a conversation with a player that told me that the latest patch will make many of the items that you normally would pay for free. He told me that I would have had to buy these items normally if I had ever wanted to be truly powerful.  I told him I would probably stick to fluff pets!

But the cash shop DOES offer some very nice items. Every new account gets a sample of some of the items from the cash shop, and I used them up quickly. Basically you get extra storage space, resurrection feathers, things that aren't needed to play at all, but very very handy. One item allowed me to rez next to my body instead of at the graveyard. A jiggly Anime woman would appear when I died and ask me for a rez. Who am I to say no?

One popular item allows you to become "reborn." Essentially it resets your character (and appearance if you pay more) so that you can earn AP points easier. Also, you can add a new face or hairstyle and, I think, can re-adjust some skill points. According to some players, this item is a MUST HAVE for the extra AP points you can get. Essentially they are saying that the time saved is a must-have, not the item.

I see no issues with the cash shop, and in fact I wish all games would allow the choice. Many "normal" MMO players don't seem to understand that none of the free to play games (at least the 30 or so I have played) ever offer the very best items only in the cash shop. Do some of them offer some very NICE items? Sure. But you still cannot get away from needing in game cash to buy all the good armor and weapons, and that cannot be bought in a cash shop.

I have maintained that no cash shop game will ever just sell the best items in the cash shop. Not only do I think that the developers are smarter than that, but the years of Asian market free-to-play games has proven this. They know how to keep people hooked, and it ain't by selling the best gear in the game.

After you get into Mabinogi, you start to realize that is actually the type of game that so many players beg for when they talk about "open sandbox games" or "total freedom." Not only do you have freedom in how much you think the game is worth to you, but you have the choice of never seeing combat, or of doing nothing but murdering animals all day.

All I did during my play today was work for a church, gathering different types of items in exchange for items and XP. Between the hiring windows, I would go gather other items, chat with players and get to know the game.

And that brings me to something you should do as soon as you log in: get rid of the spam bots.

In every F2P game they seem to have no issues whatsoever with bots running scripts selling in game items or gold. Nine times out of ten there is no GM presence, and customer service is a joke. In fact, I have become so used to this that it just doesn't surprise me. Mabinogi is no different, being that when you roll into town you are happy to see all the players and then quickly realize that you cannot read a word they are saying because of the constant gold-selling spam.

Do this: go to your options and then to the chat area. There will be a "blacklist" area that you can add names to. Right click on the offending bot and hit "copy name." Then, go back to the black list area and ctrl-v the name into the blank. Accept it and they are on your blacklist, meaning they will not show up in your chat box anymore.

But you will still see their chat bubbles.

Don't worry, hit ctrl-n and names and chat bubbles go away. Voila! No more gold spam.

The gold spam is so prevalent in these games and so hard to avoid that I seriously think that these games are receiving some kind of kick-back from the whole process. It's pathetic. But, at least you can ignore it.

The combat in Mabinogi is....unique. Without going into too many details (I am lazy above all) you basically have moves that you make and that can be countered by mobs. You can do the same to mobs. Essentially, I go up to a mob, decide what kind of attack I want to make and that attack gets ready. I click on the mob again and hopefully the attack lands.

Now, there is a lot to it. It's gets pretty complex but still runs fluidly and looks great. Sometimes, it seems like you can get killed by the weakest of monsters. But I like the fact that you need to think first before jumping into combat. Sometimes a mob can catch you off guard and take away half your health within one or two hits. It can be frustrating, even as you get better at it, and I've yet to master any of it. I would like to go into much more detail but frankly I don't quite understand how to counter some moves and how to read what the enemy is thinking.

The combat is fun, though, and very rewarding. Smashing that mob for a critical feels really good. But thank Dog they have pets in this game.

And pets are one of the best features of Mabinogi. You can buy them on the market or get them from other places. I believe you can even tame them with music now. Essentially, they can level up and learn new skills. Some will heal you, some will fight better than others, and many of them will pick up dropped loot for you. All of them have inventory space to pack stuff into.

Horses were recently added to the game and they are not only beautifully done but handy as all get out. They can fight with you, act as just a mount, or transport you and a friend in a speedy speedy fashion. Pack stuff into their bag space, or use them to heal you. I am amazed at some of the handy features these pets have, stuff I have always wanted like the ability to actually name your pet and your pets ability to help you fight. (And die.)

And get this: you can play as your pet. Even just the role-play potential of this astounds me! Imagine an entire guild of only animals, running around the landscape smashing evil! (Or good, of course.)

You can give them commands, and the cash shop is always adding new ones. Some of the animations look like a cartoon, fluid and bright. I can't stand Anime, but I always gave Anime props for it's details. And robots. Lot's of robots.

The actual world is beautiful, but a little limited and has some odd effects. The glow effect can be overwhelming sometimes, and the view distance is...strange. You will look off into the distance and will see shadowy forms of far away buildings with the trees showing through, like an image behind smoky glass.

But the animations are fluid and fun. The attacks feel powerful and the customization options are awesome. Once in a while a character looks so good that it makes me want to get to that higher level just to look that cool. Then I realize that their look is more than likely the result of hours and hours and hours of game-play.

The weather system looks good and feels good, but could be turned up a notch or 4. Rain actually falls down at you, like in Ryzom.

I'm struck by a few things now that I am more familiar with the game. Just some points that I want to make in closing.

1) This kind of quality is only going to become more common. This is for free, and updated regularly. This type of game is the future of MMO's.

2) I wonder how many adults steer clear of games like this mainly because of the graphics? So many of the features in this game are often touted as what a real MMO should have, and here it is, for free. I am not sure I see the difference between playing WoW or Vanguard and playing this. After all, some games look more realistic than others, but the game-play should be the most important thing right? I understand that some feel that a game like this is "for children," but think about what you are saying: "My pretend world is for adults, that pretend world is for children."

3) Cash Shops are the future. Not only is it smarter to allow people choices, but it is smart because some people just cannot resist that latest fluff pet or XP potion. Many players would probably spend way more than a typical sub price per month. These games make millions. I just had a conversation with a player that told me he spent 100 dollars one month.

4) Playing this game after playing UO for a few evenings is a cool way to see how far games have come and how far they need to go. Also, it amazes me that (like I said in my UO post) more MMO's don't use some of the awesome ideas from UO to build on. Just SOME of them would be nice, like a skill based system, or fun, non-combat skills like cooking or gathering. Many games have some of these, but Mabinogi has a ton of skills I have never seen in an MMO before.

5) Ok, I am not THAT old, but what the hell is "...." ? I just asked Leala's guild and they reaffirmed what I thought: it is supposed to be a response someone gives you when they are just blankly staring at you, or looking at you like you are a total dumbass. I know it's an Anime kid thing, by holy crap do you have to answer with "..." after EVERY QUESTION?

Beau: "Hey man, how are you today?"

AnimeFan23: "..."

Beau: "Well, at least you didn't make one of those stupid emote kitty faces huh?"

AnimeFan23: "..."

Seriously, go try out this game. Go download it, take away the chat and the chat bubbles and forget the fact that it is so cartoony. Enjoy the game-play. And yes, try some role-play. This game is GREAT for it, but I haven't found anyone yet. To be honest I am a little scared of talking in character at anyone, being that a good deal of the players I have met have been under 15!

Well, I did meet one 20 year old. When I told him I was 34, he said "Holy crap, dude."

Go log in, enjoy. Give it a chance.

Beau

Remembering UO: My first MMO.

Posted by beauturkey Sunday February 22 2009 at 11:42AM
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February 22, 2009 | Filed in: Articles, MMO's

Funny thing, nostalgia. It makes you remember even BAD things as good things. Well, sometimes.

In the case of Ultima Online, there is some bad and some good. Either way, when I play it now (I just re-activated my old account after 7 years away!) I find it more charming than anything.
 

There's my character on his old horse, Poopy 2.

Charm can only get you so far, but if I force myself to push forward through the realization that games have evolved WAY past games like UO (in many ways, but not in some,) I can easily remember why I liked it.

I even remember going to the game store and seeing it on the shelf. I still get a thrill finding some new PC game box on the shelf at the local game store, and even today I can’t resist picking up a 5-20 dollar copy of anything MMO. It’s that feeling of opening a new box, seeing the manual (and not reading it) and loading the game. I love that feeling.

UO lured me in with it’s white box, it’s art and it’s promise of playing with hundreds of people, for real. Real people. Online. Like a little virtual world. Ever since I was a kid I was fascinated with worlds in miniature. I once built a X-mas tree out of popsicle sticks and placed it under our front porch (it was a huge wooden thing) for the bug society that lived under there. I’ve always loved miniature railroading, playing “mini men” table-top games.

And here was this game promising a life in a mini world, where pixels had a birth date, and interaction took on real meaning.

Leala took to it right away. I came home from work, and there she was, killing things and building up a fortune. In hindsight, our gaming styles were shaping up right then: Leala and her ability to do anything from grinding for hours to sitting in front of the bank for hours, me and my OCD version of exploring/role-playing/experimenting.

I decided to go back to the game and play it for a month (off and on) to see how it fares now. Easy enough, I thought.

Getting the old account information was easier than I thought, I checked old emails and reset the password. I charged the account for one month and I was done.

Downloading of the old 2-D client took less that 20 minutes or so? Loading it and patching it took much less time than the last time we did (on a dial up modem.)

There are many issues with the website, however.

The “MyUO” section never worked. Once.

I tried to email the customer service but when you go to “contact” you are lead to a community section only. I was only able to finally email the webmaster.
 

When you go to any of the choices, you always get lead to a community section. Not very helpful, at all.

As soon as I saw the old log in screen, I started to remember the music, the feelings about the game, everything. I remember when the first “better quality” version of the game came out and how we hated it. Luckily I had just opted to play the old 2-D client.

In game, I immediately tried to get familiar with the controls. Luckily, I had my old original cheat sheet that came with the game. I really like how many of the controls are so simple, and how the screen can be left with almost nothing on it. Simple and to the point. I clop-clop-clopped my horse until I found a road sign that said “Britain” so I zoomed my way into town.

Leala told me that she remembered everything like where the bank was and how to get to the newbie graveyard. I had a harder time, but eventually found the bank. Here’s where it got interesting. I opened my bank box (by saying “bank”) and was shocked to find a couple stacks of gold. I went to move one to look at any objects that might’ve been buried underneath, and then the stack of gold suddenly dropped to the ground. I snatched it up, tried to put it back in and it fell again, saying “That container is full.”

Turns out that somehow there were too many items in my bank, and when I removed the gold stack it wouldn’t let me put it back in. How did too many items get in there in the first place? So there I am, standing with a wad of cash in my hand, searching online for any bugs list or any mention of a bank bug. Of course, the website was no help at all, and I couldn’t contact a single person, but I finally found a list showing me that my bank was indeed over the limit by one.
 

Here I am, standing with a stack of gold in my hand. The bank was full, but it wasn't when I found it.

So, I had to drop the gold, quickly pulling out one item from my bank, then grabbed the gold and threw it back in. It was nice to see players around, but I didn’t want them snagging my cash!

Then I moved on to trying to figure out if the “boat key” in my backpack meant that I still had my boat. I remember that boat with such love. I could sail and sail forever, and I think I remember dolphins or fish swimming next to the boat? To this day I still have a fascination with boats in MMO’s.
 

A friendly player helping me figure out the boat situation.

I couldn’t get it to work, so I think that the boat was left out to rot. I was so disappointed.

Overall, the game runs great (you could probably run it on the iPhone..imagine THAT!) and still has many fun hours left in it. Me and Leala have been talking about what we remember, about combat and housing. She went much further than I did (as usual) and had a house and more gold. Her characters were basically void of anything when we logged them in, though.

I love seeing the old skill list, basically just a list of skills that you can choose to ignore or to work on. I think that this was the beginning of my love for ranged combat. (You can see my little crossbow in the pictures.) I have just downloaded it onto my older PC so I am going to spend my off-hours getting familar with the game again and seeing where it takes me.

It’s so charming to hear the old sounds and to see the old animations. We would spend hours playing, fighting over who gets to play next. Leala would sit all night in front of the bank, talking to her friends after a long adventure session. I would spend hours sailing and exploring, trying to avoid too much trouble.

The game still has players around it seems, and is still doing ok. That’s great to see. The advantage of having a game with such dated graphics is that you no longer have anything to prove. A game like UO has passed beyond the point of being on the forefront, but seems to be enjoying status as “Living Legend.” And rightfully so. There are things in UO that should be in every modern MMO: Open housing, skill based systems, mounts that you can name and that can die. I wonder why more games didn’t build on top of the great example of UO and just keep going?

Who knows. Many games took cues from the game, and many didn’t. But UO is still there, and is still charming as ever.

Now to work on getting a boat again. If I am lucky, I will be sailing before this subscription expires.

Beau Turkey