Sunday, 11 September 2011

I blame Syl - Nostalgia strikes!

Right. This is all totally Syl's fault. She started it. She dug out ancient games, from the days when programming was limited to 612k of memory (well.. almost at least. Age of Conan is a tad more advanced, I think).

So ... I sort of caved and downloaded my very first MMO again. I thought I'd just play the two week free trial (linked here for your convenience). It turns out I was having so much fun in the trial that I reactivated my old account.

A really old account, apparently. If we believe the account management, it was created in 1998 (almost a year after UO started - but hey.. it was incredibly expensive in Germany back then. Mostly due to the phone bills. We used 56k modems back then.. and there was no cheap "flatrate" for phones back then).

Quite a few things changed. There have been several expansions that I missed - new skills were introduced (Ninjitsu and Bushido, Chivalry and Necromancy, Focus (mana regeneration for warriors), Imbuing (sort of like reforging) and possibly more), new champions added, new monsters, new lands, new housing styles. Oh yes.. and players can now choose to be one of three races: Humans (old), Elves (new and strange - my Ultima never had elves) and Gargoyles (very new yet a lot more sensible in an Ultima context).

Skill gain is different these days. Gone are the days of the bone knight wall - as I painfully found out when I recalled there. All alone in the middle of a dungeon is not good - especially when I can hardly remember what which spell does and how to run.

Dying is still the same, though. You loose pretty much everything. When you are ressurected (and none of this fancy "teleport you to the nearest healer" stuff - you run as a ghost until you find a shrine or a wandering healer) you have about 3 health and stand there in your white ghost robe. Surprisingly, the robe does not offer protection (or privacy, really, but that is another problem entirely). There are now "blessed" items that stay with you - and you can insure things - if you remember.

Anyway.. skill gain: Some things are still best done in a boat in 8x8 tiles large resource squares. Some are best done fighting something immortal (like a friend on the "you cannot attack friends" side).

Time for exhibit a, I suppose. Me, sparring with Jessica. Jessica is not actually a player (it's an old game - so far I have met four other players), but a little bunny-rabbit I managed to buy cheaply at the stable masters.

This is what the screen actually looks like. The large screen, that is. The game area is available in two sizes: 640x480 pixels and 800x600 pixels (displayed here). On my 1920x1440 pixel screen thats... not large. Leaves room for additional information, though.

Oh yes... the armour? Weeeeell... it's like this. There are matching sets around. Armour can also be dyed to actually look nice. This is more like a clown suit - admitted - but it has high mana regeneration. And if that means I need to wear an orc's chopped-off face - so be it!

But not all my time is spent leveling a new character. While good fun, it seems I was not very careful when I last logged off (back in 2004 or so). I left all my money in my house - and my house has since collapsed, been paved over and replaced.

So, the other half of my game time is spent with good, old-fashioned farming. With a dragon. On my side, that is.

The dead white wyrms have treasure. The live brown dragon and black-horse-of-firebreathing-and-spellcasting are my good buddies. They just love to pounce on anything that is held in place - inactive and unable to defend itself for 9 seconds - by my beautiful music *nodnod*.

I like fair fights... sometimes. Just not when I'm trying to earn money.

Good old times ...


  1. "from the days when programming was limited to 612k of memory"...Hey!, some of us had to make do with 48k! :)

    "While good fun, it seems I was not very careful when I last logged off (back in 2004 or so). I left all my money in my house - and my house has since collapsed, been paved over and replaced."

    I still have tears in my eyes from laughing at that, even in an ancient digital realm you can't escape the progress of civilisation lol

  2. Haha, awesome! I do not feel any guilt over showing people the light! =D

    The most important question of course: can you still morph yourself into a chicken??
    That was the secret reason to play UO back in the days, even if nobody would admit it.

  3. Yes, the polymorph spell is still in (and I had forgot about the chicken - I used to tame and train mine, on the dubious path to a grandmaster wrestling cock-fight champion). There is now also the option to use "animal form" as a ninja - the first two are cat and rat, then you get other ones later on. I think the first two even give a stealth bonus or something...

  4. A cat!! =O
    Now that's just awesum! <333