An Unpaid Review: Ultima Online
I was perusing Facebook and the lovely and talently geeky HellaHoldem had posted about a free trial to Ultima Online. Now Ultima and I go wayyy back. I played the original Ultima. With the blocky orcs and shit. I mean old school. I played up until Ultima VI or VII. I did not really enjoy Ultima Underworld but the rest were really fun. I had wanted to try Ultima Online for a while. I even downloaded a trial before but I had install issues which killed me. Luckily this time it was painless.
I created a character and logged in. In a stroke of good fortune Hella was on with her character. She wanted to help me get off to a good start so she opened up a teleporter and off we went to her house. She brought me up to the attic where she had a million chests full of equipment. At this point it got a little Mrs. Robbinson weird as she undresses down to some cute garters. New baby Ultima character taken advantage of by the experienced lady of Ultima.. I wish!! So she finally found some good gear for my guy including a kickass colored jester hat and I was off to playing.
One thing that is interesting about UO is it's lack of concrete class and spec definitions. Even in the older Ultima games you would choose to be a Paladin or a Mage and get certain abilities. In this MMO EVERYONE has access to every ability. If you want to spec all your points into Carpentry and Tailoring you can. Just do not leave the city mmkay? You can make interesting combination's by mixing Necromancy and Warrior skills and things like that. I had a good time initially trying out different concepts I found online.
The learning curve is a bit huge though. Figuring out how all the points mix and match together is a bit daunting. The UI itself has some interesting quirks and is not entirely intuitive. An example of this is if you accept a skills quest then you can not train other skills until you finish it. I was confused about why my Necromancer could not get a head start by training new skills for a while. A lot of right click context menus and weird mechanics make it a little hard to get used to.
I kind of got tired of Death Waffles the Necromance after a while and then tried a few more characters. The one that was easiest to play was Postal Waffles the Archer. He was very powerful in that he could keep kiting monsters while shooting them from range. I was sporting a bunch of cool gear and had like 8k in gold feeling good about myself when I decided to try the magic gates. These gates like in the Ultima games teleport you to different locations. Not remembering much of my Ultima lore from my youth I choose MAGINCIA! Here is where I ran into problems. I find myself in the middle of a group of nasty magicians who kicked my ass. The teleporter home was BROKEN so I could not escape Magincia and even if I could resurrect the bad ass magicians just blasted me again. In addition you needed to get your gear off your dead body OR YOU LOST IT. So Postal Waffles died. Permanently.
Eventually I retrieved his life with help from a tough ass Paladin riding some weird bug. My gear was however gone. I was able to restart the gear from scratch and got a good start again. I started taking on the Orcs in their caves and did pretty well against all but the Magician Orcs.
I wanted to experience different classes so I started an Assassin. Very tough to get to the strong assassin part because you need to build up poisons which is a slow process. So I never got a feel for how this type of character would play. I then got him stuck in an ant cave and he is perma-dead too.
Do you see a pattern here? It is REALLY easy to screw yourself bad in this game. Not very enjoyable after putting a lot of hours into a character. I also could not figure out some easy things like how to get a rune book or cast a spell on a runestone to lock down a teleport point for myself.
Overall I found myself getting a little bit bored. Killing a lot of the same monsters. I do want to try some more things in the game but I am not sure what to do next and where I can have some fun. Hella has not invited me to her attic again XD. Perhaps I will try a few more things to give it a chance. At the moment though I can not see subscribing to the game. I also found the interface to be a little sluggish. I like some of the concepts of the game but I need to see more fun things to sway me into paying for a subscription.