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News & Features Discussion  » Ultima Online: 12 Years and The Stygian Abyss

19 posts found

Managing Editor

Joined: 7/08/05
Posts: 6729

OP  8/24/09 1:03:15 PM#1's Garrett Fuller recently caught up with Ultima Online Development Manager Calvin Crowner to talk about the game's 12 year anniversary and the Stygian Abyss expansion.

MMOs have come and gone, what keeps Ultima Online still alive after 12 years of game play?

Kelvin Crowner:

I wish I could come up with a blanket answer for this question. It's a combination of things. Part of it is a community that is quite set on what to expect from the social elements, role-playing, and the simple hack and slash gameplay that Ultima Online offers. There are people that have their short-term forays into other games, and then find that for all the pretty graphics, the fundamental "game" under the graphics lacks what UO has to offer. Also, simply put, Ultima has been around so long that a lot of the things the game has iterated on; made mistakes on; and recovered from; has made it a stronger gameplay experience in the long run. Players are drawn to that.

Read 12 Years and The Stygian Abyss

Jon Wood
Managing Editor


Novice Member

Joined: 1/04/07
Posts: 310

8/24/09 4:40:17 PM#2

This was my first MMO.  I still feel it was EQ that got me hooked tho.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 4/16/05
Posts: 1504

8/24/09 5:20:53 PM#3
Originally posted by mmcguire2

This was my first MMO.  I still feel it was EQ that got me hooked tho.


How many adults are still playing in the sandbox they played in when they were toddlers?


Novice Member

Joined: 3/12/09
Posts: 384

8/24/09 6:55:38 PM#4
Originally posted by wjrasmussen
Originally posted by mmcguire2

This was my first MMO.  I still feel it was EQ that got me hooked tho.


How many adults are still playing in the sandbox they played in when they were toddlers?


hehe you would be surprised! That is why after 12 years it is still going, because old timers still play it.

Dont forget that as well as official p2p servers there are a number of very active free servers :)


its also interesting how much has happened over last 12 years, computers became like 100 times more powerfull, many epic gaming companies went bust, 9/11 and the fallout from it and yet UO keeps on going :)


Novice Member

Joined: 12/10/08
Posts: 3109

8/25/09 12:16:13 AM#5

The way I see it, you're buying three things in an MMORPG: a fun experience, a social network, and an illusion of progress and permanence to your actions and accomplishments.  A new game can offer more refined eye candy or a more intense story.  Social networks and community can rise and fall.  But there's an organic sense of history that only comes with years upon years of patches, tweaks and additions, of having lived through growing pains and cataclysmic upheavals.

Going to an aged MMORPG as a player is more like wandering the narrow, weathered streets of an historic city, surrounding you in an eclectic mix of the ancient and the modern with deeper and deeper layers as you explore.


Apprentice Member

Joined: 3/10/09
Posts: 150

So Erling Ellingsen Thinks He's the Queen?

8/25/09 1:24:20 AM#6

God, I loved UO

Shadowlord Sage

Napa Valley, UO, 1997.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/09/07
Posts: 35

8/25/09 2:13:46 AM#7
Originally posted by Shadowslady

God, I loved UO


 Me too. I'm honestly not sure if it's just nostalgia or because it was the first big time MMO, but in all the years since it launched, and all the mmos that came after it, I still haven't found one that was as fun as UO was ( heh, not even current UO sadly) in it's heyday.


Novice Member

Joined: 2/21/08
Posts: 68

8/25/09 7:18:46 AM#8

I still play it ;D

Playing: League of Legends!


Novice Member

Joined: 2/14/04
Posts: 29

8/25/09 7:49:10 AM#9

UO is the best MMO I can think of. No other MMO has survived this long. But I still think it's kinda sad that no one will pickup this awesome playstyle and mix it with new graphic..

Karaha Xfire Miniprofile

Novice Member

Joined: 6/16/04
Posts: 640

MMORPG-Player - Since 1997!
GM of Svea Ulvar

8/25/09 8:40:12 AM#10

I love UO :)


Novice Member

Joined: 8/30/08
Posts: 4889

8/25/09 10:22:50 AM#11

I have yet to find a game that has managed to keep me away from UO. The graphics are nicer in some of the newer games and even some had some near ideas for there combat systems. But none have been as fun or rewarding as playing UO. I take my breaks and I try other MMO's (Usually the ones touting to be the new UO) but I always come back lol.


Novice Member

Joined: 5/21/05
Posts: 386

SOE you broke my game!

8/25/09 2:58:58 PM#12

 darkfall online is the new UO


Novice Member

Joined: 8/01/09
Posts: 170

8/25/09 5:42:07 PM#13

UO was also my first MMO. To me it got ruined when Origin got sold to EA, that's when trammel got added, and then it deraild further from the original Ultima storyline adding samurais, a blackthorn that looked half human half cyborg (graphically), pottery and even architecture (and still they took away the large forge houses :( )


And Darkfall has similarities, skill system, open pvp, but it'll never rival to what UO was to the players in it's prime.

It's sad that not many MMO's have adopted the skill system, this whole X race can only be Y class has gotten old fast. I miss being able to be a fighter (tank) with enough magery to be able to teleport around or even heal myself.



Novice Member

Joined: 3/30/04
Posts: 1930

8/25/09 6:04:45 PM#14
Originally posted by Pedrob

And Darkfall has similarities, skill system, open pvp, but it'll never rival to what UO was to the players in it's prime.

It's sad that not many MMO's have adopted the skill system, this whole X race can only be Y class has gotten old fast. I miss being able to be a fighter (tank) with enough magery to be able to teleport around or even heal myself.


UO is still my favorite MMO game to this day.  The original UO, before Trammel, I mean.

To Pedrob, for me the skill system was not the reason I enjoyed the game.  It was the freedom the game provided.  The progression system was definitely part of this equation, but it was more than that.

UO was a world, not just a game.  This has yet to be accomplished or duplicated since.

There are no other games on the market that allowed you to set up your own shops, place your house wherever you can find a space big enough, be hired as a bodyguard, become a murderer, write books, loot everything a person was carrying, steal from others or shops, make interesting housing decorations, tame any animal in the game, and do hundreds of other things unique to UO.

"There is as yet insufficient data for a meaningful answer."


Novice Member

Joined: 11/06/08
Posts: 9

8/25/09 7:02:19 PM#15

I've been in and out of UO since 1997 and, though I don't enjoy it as much as years ago (mostly because I don't know anyone there to play with anymore), it still pulls me back again and again. No other MMO has the flexibility in crafting, where you can make almost everything you use. Housing is still the most awesome housing system of any MMO. UO tamers are still the best class for having pets of any MMO. They may not have the best graphics but they still have the best of some things. I still have all my pets and have to go back and visit them every so often for a few months. I can't think of any other game that has the staying power of UO... maybe diablo, but that's not an MMO. The other MMOs could learn a few things from good ol' UO. Take away the eye candy and then see how they compare. Too bad UO's graphics can't be brought up to today's standards because then it would truly blow away the competition. If you don't agree, then you haven't tamed four different types of dragon or built a castle and enjoyed the thousands of items you can store in it... yes, thousands. I get one small chest and about 15 or so decorative items in my small Lord of the Rings house. How does that compare? Sure, it looks nice, but I'd trade those nice looks for some decent storage space any day. And I have to pay "rent" on that useless house to boot! *sigh*


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Joined: 4/24/08
Posts: 21


8/26/09 2:57:21 AM#16
Originally posted by markfromindy
Originally posted by Shadowslady

God, I loved UO


 Me too. I'm honestly not sure if it's just nostalgia or because it was the first big time MMO, but in all the years since it launched, and all the mmos that came after it, I still haven't found one that was as fun as UO was ( heh, not even current UO sadly) in it's heyday.


I totally agree. UO was like a drug that took over me and alot of my RL friends years ago. So many good stories from UO, Ive played probably 90% of the mmo's to come out since UO & that game was fucking classic from beta on. I didnt like it that much once trammel and all that came out, thank god. If UO never changed I probably woudlnt have quit


Novice Member

Joined: 9/30/06
Posts: 53

8/27/09 11:26:05 AM#17

There is a server that is identical to the way we all remembered UO.  If anyone is interested let me know, I still go on OSI every now and then, but EA ruined UO.


Elite Member

Joined: 1/18/06
Posts: 2417

9/01/09 8:41:11 AM#18

I keep going back too. UO is still the most "worldly" of any game, by far. When you go into a dungeon and see a book, and try to see if you can read that book, or click on any number of things to see if they do something unusual, you know that game has something different. And without the quest driven style, players actually stop and talk sometimes. UO is still the best overall roleplay experience.

Once upon a time....


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Joined: 11/16/03
Posts: 3630

American by Birth
Biker by choice
Patriot forever

9/01/09 11:57:57 AM#19
Originally posted by Amaranthar

I keep going back too. UO is still the most "worldly" of any game, by far. When you go into a dungeon and see a book, and try to see if you can read that book, or click on any number of things to see if they do something unusual, you know that game has something different. And without the quest driven style, players actually stop and talk sometimes. UO is still the best overall roleplay experience.

I have gone back to UO like three times.  I could never get back the feeling I had when I first started playing in early 1998, when there was no Trammel.

I tried so hard, but it never came back.  The game has changed so many times, it didnt have that magic anymore.

Then when I saw that Samaurai theme, that really blew it for me.