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News & Features Discussion  » Ultima Online: AGDC Interview with Tim Cotton

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37 posts found
  Sauronas

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 187

9/24/09 8:52:16 PM#21

I just hopped on UO to check out the newest beta client and I have to admit I'm impressed.  You can actually set the framerate to 60! If only they would follow through with a UO2.... 

  nkryptik

Novice Member

Joined: 4/12/08
Posts: 36

9/24/09 11:28:38 PM#22

I saw a post with UO2 mentioned and I can still remember when those of us that played were really excited about it BUT!!! there was not a lot of hype built about it from the company it was more the fan base that were hyped.

This is the difference between today's online games and the games of yesteryear, now these companies go out and build hype over a game that no one has seen trying to make all the sales that they can to show the potential investors projected sales numbers.  If we look at UO for an example it was already past the brunt and the blows of it's launch and had proven it could be a success and if in fact UO2 had of gone into full production it would have sold just on the fact that the players knew the game and loved the game, not some guy wondering on TV if the camera guy is following him, or how big of a performer you could get to showcase your game in an advertisement, it would have sold on a track record with it's players and the word of mouth from person to person of the track record of the game and company.

What did UO have?

Ultima Online had it's fair share of bugs, glitches and hackers the same as every other game but the one of the big things that we had in UO that no other game really had was the advantage player trusted brokers.  Yes people who were almost gold farmers but with a twist.  Back in the day we had brokers that players trusted that we knew we could contact and trade our in-game money for everything from a house that was up for sale in the game to time codes. Yes time codes, no credit card no problem, cannot afford the cost this month coming, no problem, all you needed to do was trade so much of your in-game currency to a broker for a time code, so in fat you could actually never pay a cent to play this game and life was good.

Multiple Factions:  Ultima Online had a very unique PvP system not only did it have 4 factions player could join so you were at the risk of 3 other groups of people that could kill you and LOOT EVERYTHING you had on you at the time, it made this PvP system twisted by also having a good and evil offset so players could as well be members of Order lead by Lord British or Chaos lead by Lord Blackthorn, so when venturing out to do some mining, fishing, lumber jacking you did not know if around the next corner if there was not someone from one of the 3 other factions waiting for you or if you were order was there a chaos member waiting for you around the next corner.

1 Game Language: Everyone in this game were all of the basic human race and could understand what the other factions were saying and this made for when someone got you in an unfair match and you wanted to tell them where too sit you could do it and it worked the other way around as well if someone was after ticking you off and in a house you could call them out to fight, I can still remember the Role Players that would make those Orc guilds and role play till the cows came home you didin't need to be an Orc you just needed the gear to look like one the rest was your imagination.

In_Game GMs: This was my favorite especially the days I almost got banned for telling a GM where to stick it but damn it was sure nice to tell them straight out rather than never telling them at all, these players actually policed the game and were not something like a figment of imagination they were seen out and about running around in the game and letting everyone know that they were working.  It also gave a more personal feeling when a GM would *bow* and you could see them  and they would speak to you directly in-game instead of some  MSN wanna be messaging system or some website ticket system.

In-Game Events: If UO is remembered for nothing else in this industry it should be remembered for it's GM ran in-game events, yes live server events that were started by an actual Game Master not some scripted non-since and not some Customer Service Rep actual live Game Masters that could squelch, kick, ban and make sure these events were ran and done as fair as possible.

After all my years in the industry as either a player, a game journalist, a SEER for Ultima Online "Player assistants like a assist GM", Alpha / Beta testing If Electronic Arts decided tomorrow to do a Ultima Online 2 that was the full 3D deal with all the features that the original game had even the player housing I would probably camp out to but this and I have never camped out fro anything, but this is a game that to this day that gives every player everything they was from PvE, PvP, Fations, housing system, banks, mounts, taming, crafting and I could go on the only thing it is missing as it is right now is the fact that is is not a full 3D game.

 

Game companies really need to sit back and learn a lesson from what the long term games did right and what the closed or almost closed games did wrong and start giving us more of the what makes a game work by delivering and a lot less of the old build up all the hype and excitement and not deliver causing a lot of upset and bad feelings towards their companies.

  User Deleted
9/24/09 11:43:15 PM#23
Originally posted by alacres

Nice article, but I did want to respond to one of your comments. You said, "It is often puzzling why so many MMOs have tried the Everquest model of game design and not the Ultima model, when you look back on MMO history."  There's a simple enough explanation for that and it comes in three letters - WoW. Blizzard proved that the EQ model, if done "correctly", is the most popular and easily accessible model for the mmo genre, with it's appeal expanding to a very large demographic.


 

 

This was probably addressed later and I saw a minor comment about it (didn't read past the first page).

 

This is just another "silly" comment on these forums.

 

First off Ultima Online released in September of 1997...

 

EverQuest went live in I believe it was March of 1999.

 

WoW went live in 2004 (november) now oddly a LOT of MMO's came out between March of 1999 and Oct of 2004.

 

Which my perspective on the quote you quoted is.. talking about game design in general and I agree with the quote.  The actual "truth" of the comment is...

 

UO peaked at around 250,000 subs (last EA press release I remember) and that was oddly after Age of Shadows (hated that xpac).

 

While EQ peaked around 450,000 subs...

 

So between those two it was seen as the more successful.  That was in relative terms short term tho...

 

You hardly ever see anyone mention the fact that (to my knowledge) UO has never closed or merged a server.  EQ has gone through multiple mergers.

 

EA also signed with NetDragon (I think it was) to release UO into more markets... as a 12 year old MMO.  Most current MMO's are lucky to expand much at all (before mergers) let alone even think about being around for 12 years... and having never merged a server.

 

WoW only ensured a continuation of the same crap core game design that limits you on every level and has the same fatal flaws to this day (yes that's my opinon of the EQ core design for MMO's).  Which would be an entirely new wall of text.. so I'll stop.

  Suraknar

Apprentice Member

Joined: 12/26/07
Posts: 808

*Everyone dies, not everyone really fights*

9/25/09 12:14:50 AM#24

Nice Article, UO remains to this day my favorite MMORPG Experience, played it for 5 years back in the day and it has been unforgettable.

That being said, I am surprised that they called EVE the spiritual successor, i guess, it is following the Demise of SWG (pre-NGE of cource)...because SWG was the real Successor to UO in my opinion. many of us called it UO2 back then still.

Adn EVE, actually contains some EQ elements also in my opinion, but these are well hidden.

In either case, Sony insured the Iconic Death of SWG so, we may just accept EVE as the spiritual Successor, it has a Sandbox premise nevertheless.

 

- Duke Suraknar -
Order of the Silver Star, OSS


ESKA, Playing MMORPG's since Ultima Online 1997 - Order of the Silver Serpent, Atlantic Shard

  Sauronas

Novice Member

Joined: 9/14/09
Posts: 187

9/25/09 12:24:20 AM#25

"1 Game Language: Everyone in this game were all of the basic human race and could understand what the other factions were saying and this made for when someone got you in an unfair match and you wanted to tell them where too sit you could do it and it worked the other way around as well if someone was after ticking you off and in a house you could call them out to fight, I can still remember the Role Players that would make those Orc guilds and role play till the cows came home you didin't need to be an Orc you just needed the gear to look like one the rest was your imagination. "

With the new client you can choose between multiple faces/heads including other races.  Elf, Skeleton, and Orc. :D

 

  Scot

Elite Member

Joined: 10/10/03
Posts: 5232

9/25/09 1:35:47 AM#26

Had WoW chosen to model itself on UO rather than EQ we would now be all complaining how there was not enough theme park MMO’s.

Some will doubt it could have been as successful as a sandbox game and they would probably be right. But WoW sealed the direction MMO’s would go in till this day.

  bcrankshaw

Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/08
Posts: 555

9/25/09 3:29:39 AM#27

Good article

I still play UO ,it was my first MMO and even though I don't actively logon I still pay my subscription fees

The game is fun...it doens't have the graphics or exciting dungeons of a game like Vanguard for example but it is entertaining

I will be purchasing SA ...good to see a new expansion :)

"after the time of dice came the day of mice "

  Seilan

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/30/04
Posts: 804

"Blue, blue."

9/25/09 7:37:49 AM#28
Originally posted by Antarious
Originally posted by alacres

Nice article, but I did want to respond to one of your comments. You said, "It is often puzzling why so many MMOs have tried the Everquest model of game design and not the Ultima model, when you look back on MMO history."  There's a simple enough explanation for that and it comes in three letters - WoW. Blizzard proved that the EQ model, if done "correctly", is the most popular and easily accessible model for the mmo genre, with it's appeal expanding to a very large demographic.


 

 

This was probably addressed later and I saw a minor comment about it (didn't read past the first page).

 

This is just another "silly" comment on these forums.

 

First off Ultima Online released in September of 1997...

 

EverQuest went live in I believe it was March of 1999.

 

WoW went live in 2004 (november) now oddly a LOT of MMO's came out between March of 1999 and Oct of 2004.

 

Which my perspective on the quote you quoted is.. talking about game design in general and I agree with the quote.  The actual "truth" of the comment is...

 

UO peaked at around 250,000 subs (last EA press release I remember) and that was oddly after Age of Shadows (hated that xpac).

 

While EQ peaked around 450,000 subs...

 

So between those two it was seen as the more successful.  That was in relative terms short term tho...

 

You hardly ever see anyone mention the fact that (to my knowledge) UO has never closed or merged a server.  EQ has gone through multiple mergers.

 

EA also signed with NetDragon (I think it was) to release UO into more markets... as a 12 year old MMO.  Most current MMO's are lucky to expand much at all (before mergers) let alone even think about being around for 12 years... and having never merged a server.

 

WoW only ensured a continuation of the same crap core game design that limits you on every level and has the same fatal flaws to this day (yes that's my opinon of the EQ core design for MMO's).  Which would be an entirely new wall of text.. so I'll stop.

You're obviously not seeing my point. First of all, I know full well the release dates on all of these different games, and of course I know that Ultima Online was the first to reach large numbers.

Secondly, I wasn't talking about game design in my statement. I was merely stating which design was the most popular and no one can argue that it's the EQ model, by far. Sure, I'd love for every mainstream developer to live by the standards set by games like UO, but the reality is, it's not going to happen. Most mainstream developers are going to go with whatever is most profitable, and since the EQ/WoW model is so accessible to such a large playerbase, it will likely remain the champion in terms of popularity.
 

Also, the reason you never hear about server merges for UO in simple. UO is one of the few mmos that's ever sported non-instanced housing at such a grand scale. It simply wouldn't be feasible to try and merge servers because there would be way too many complications. It would be a CS nightmare to say the least. That said, there are many UO servers that could definitely benefit from a merge and I'm sure if it wasn't for the obvious complications involved, it would have already happened. I mean, as far as population goes, EQ still has about twice the subscription numbers of UO. But yeah, I'll agree that for a 12 year old game, UO is doing amazingly well. It seems to be a timeless game for many people, including myself.

Don't get me wrong, I completely agree with your opinion on game design. I honestly can't stomach games like WoW, or any other game that follows the same nauseating game formula (Old EQ is the ONLY one that I ever had any appreciation for, whatsoever), I'm just stating why I believe more mmo developers choose to copy the tired EQ/WoW model. It nets the most gain with the least amount of work. I'm just glad there are companies like Icarus Studios and Aventurine that attempt to break the mold and put the vision of the game before profit gains. Let's just hope we see more of that in the future.

 

 

 

  archer75

Novice Member

Joined: 1/16/06
Posts: 156

9/25/09 8:21:27 AM#29
Originally posted by nekollx

oldest MMO people remember?

 

What about The Realm?

I played the realm. Good times.

Tribes 2 is back!!!! http://www.tribesnext.com/
And from the makers of tribes: Fallen Empire: Legions http://www.instantaction.com/

  nekollx

Novice Member

Joined: 11/17/08
Posts: 573

9/25/09 12:28:22 PM#30
Originally posted by nkryptik

1 Game Language: Everyone in this game were all of the basic human race and could understand what the other factions were saying and this made for when someone got you in an unfair match and you wanted to tell them where too sit you could do it and it worked the other way around as well if someone was after ticking you off and in a house you could call them out to fight, I can still remember the Role Players that would make those Orc guilds and role play till the cows came home you didin't need to be an Orc you just needed the gear to look like one the rest was your imagination.

 

this is something i don't get:

how does human = one language. A simple look atthe TV would say otherwise.

hell id loves for elives to have different languages

  grimmbot

Apprentice Member

Joined: 2/12/04
Posts: 302

You would be surprised how few people care about what you have to say.

9/26/09 8:54:36 AM#31
Originally posted by alacres

Blizzard proved that the EQ model, if done "correctly", is the most popular and easily accessible model for the mmo genre, with it's appeal expanding to a very large demographic. In the end, most developers seem to care exclusively about the bottom line. They want to go with the path most profitable, regardless at how tired and uninspired it is. 

Luckily though, for those of us who won't settle for the tired and overly done, we still have games like UO, AC, and even newer titles that aspire to be more like the old in terms of open-endedness and freedom of choice, ala Fallen Earth. And there seems to be quite a few others on the way (Mortal Online, would be one example). 

 

EQ was the EQ model "done correctly". It dominated the big three (over UO and AC) because of its addiction model.

WoW is the EQ model with the Warcraft lore and Blizzard's reputation, that's all. It took off because it was based on Warcraft.

The EQ model is used today because it's proven to be more likely to keep people attached to their characters and paying monthly.

  jeddak

Novice Member

Joined: 3/14/05
Posts: 251

This too shall pass...

9/29/09 9:49:59 AM#32

I have lots of fond memories of the early days of UO from being robbed and murdered in my first 5 minutes in the game to the bugs, lag, ect. I used to lament about the pvp during those first few months (since I was busy trying to advance and death meant a virtual restart) but during the intervening years I have come to realize UO was the last true mmo where it really wasn't pvp vs nonpvp types but more pk's (player killers..murderers thieves ect) versus everyone else. Yes the world was a dangerous place but it made sense and seemed more based on a realistic working world that could have evolved into something very special. Except for folks like me. Yes the masses demanded a safer game and that's what followed. Origin made lots of mistakes but they had the right idea and I miss it. I am doubtful we will ever see it again so I'm glad I experienced it: warts and all.

UO,EQ (best mmo's). Been in lotro for almost 7 years mostly in pvp as a lovable spider: Mummy

  lestaticon

Novice Member

Joined: 12/30/05
Posts: 38

9/29/09 10:35:15 AM#33

I played the Realm and Meridian59 as well as lots of MUDS before UO came out. I remember seeing a story in a magazine about the upcoming release of UO (at that time) and was hooked. I still have my huge charter edition UO box with the cloth map, letter from lord british, awesome art print, etc. I was even a counselor in UO for a time on the LS shard.

I also remember all of the hype when EQ was announced and was going to be 3d. I was so surprised they went with a level based system. UO was pretty popular at the time and I felt it was taking a step back going to a level based system, so it kind of blew my mind. Then EQ was released and got popular. Since it was a "3d" game and took off, I think companies just jumped on that model after the fact and ignored what UO had achieved or brought to the table. The skill based system that UO refined is still awesome in my opinion.

 

  User Deleted
12/12/09 11:20:15 PM#34
Originally posted by bcrankshaw

Good article

I still play UO ,it was my first MMO and even though I don't actively logon I still pay my subscription fees

The game is fun...it doens't have the graphics or exciting dungeons of a game like Vanguard for example but it is entertaining

I will be purchasing SA ...good to see a new expansion :)

I still play too. Started playing in December 1997 and my sub is still active (with no lapses). As long as UO is alive, I'll be playing.

 

  Gylfi

Novice Member

Joined: 7/06/06
Posts: 681

12/13/09 8:47:46 AM#35

 I just wanted to make people realize one thing: 4 years ago, with more and more wonderful, original, mindboggling MMO's coming out, everyone assumed Ultima Online was going to disappear.

Now that MMO scenario turned out absolutely decadent and lacking of innovation, of actually worthy games, even Ultima Online thrives in prosperity.

It's a damn shame. There must be a roman saying that goes : "old generals are forced to come back when the young ones are all corrupted''

I would like the chance to talk to one of those developers, one of those who made tabula rasa, warhammer, age of conan, fallen earth and so many others, and tell them how much i despise them.

  bcrankshaw

Novice Member

Joined: 1/12/08
Posts: 555

12/14/09 3:58:43 AM#36

I also still play UO

I am  about to move from Europa to Atlantic as Europa is not really that populated

Thats one of the many benefits with UO ,you can purchase a Transfer Token and move to any server you want to with your character :)

"after the time of dice came the day of mice "

  marmoto

Apprentice Member

Joined: 7/21/09
Posts: 101

12/22/09 1:00:30 AM#37

 weird people not mentioning trammel...

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