Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Let's start at the beginning. A very good place to start.

As I covered yesterday, I tend to get a bit overwhelmed by the size of my backlog. I'm in the mood again to get my MMO on but I'm not really sure where to go with it.

I've decided to hear the sound of music and to start at the beginning.


Actually deciding where the "beginning" of the MMO genre is a bit fraught. Obviously the old MUDs are probably the answer. Meridian and Avalon have better claims as the first graphical MMO. But I've played bits and pieces of those and they just aren't that fun for me. And since I'm not a museum, I'm going to concentrate on Ultima Online.

Granted, I never actually played Ultima Online. So it might suck. In fact it's old enough that I'm presuming it will suck. But as I mentioned in my post about dead MMOs, I have some regrets on not trying out certain games before they bit the dust. I suspect UO won't be biting the dust any time soon, but there's no time like the present.

I'm also going into the game relatively blind. Unlike Runescape, UO doesn't seem to have much of a presence on Twitch or social media, so they only gameplay I've ever seen is from years old grainy YouTube videos. I know there's no character levels, it's mostly a sandbox, PVP and PVE servers exist, and I've seen tales of the time Lord British got dunked on in his own game.

I'm also not that familiar with the Ultima series in general. I've owned the series on GOG for several years now but Akalabeth and Ultimas 1-3 are old enough that it's difficult for me to get into. The dungeon crawling reads less to me as a video game and more as tech demo curiosity. I've held out hope for some sort of fan recreation or "remaster" from EA, but it's pretty clear this series is dead in their eyes. I'm hesitant to get into any of the later Ultima games because I'm just not sure when they start getting into a playable state, and I'm rarely in the mood to install them all and find out. One day. Maybe.

(I did play a browser game called Lords of Ultima for a hot minute in college. Most notable for being the first, and one of the few times I've ever spent money on a microtransaction. But that game had little to do with the series from what I can tell.)

Looking into the near future, Everquest feels like the next candidate after UO. EQ I have significantly more experience with, both when it was the premiere MMO on the market and later on as more "legacy" title. But I've never actually gotten a character to max level. I think the last time I played with any sort of earnestness was right when mercenaries got released. According to Google that was nearly 8 years ago. With fewer social commitments for the holidays this year compared to usual, I might  have my hands full with some very old games.

But this is all getting ahead of myself. I'm still waiting on UO to finally stop updating. I understand there is decades of content here, but I was really expecting this to be a quicker process. I'm not sure what the publishing situation is for UO, but the launcher could stand to show a bit more hustle. I had to sign in with EA Origin account to play the game, and the Origin launcher updates much quicker than this.

Tonight's dinner is Thanksgiving-eve Spaghetti and handmade tomato sauce. Let's hope I can get some game in before I'm called away to my domestic duties.

4 comments:

  1. I played Ultima I though IV back when they were new, or at least new-ish. They were quite the thing back on my Apple II, but I could see them losing some charm relative to current offerings. Same with Wizardry.

    I also played Lords of Ultima for a bit. It had its charm I suppose. I never put down any money, but had some fun. It had nothing to do with the Ultima series though.

    As for UO, I've never been there myself and I fear at this point trying it might just prove that some games are products of their time rather than the timeless treasures we think they are.

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    1. What's funny is that I grew up with an Apple IIe both in our house and in my school. So I did play various games of the ilk back in the day, but I simply can't get into them now. I'm playing through the original Dragon Quest right now, and that's perfectly fine despite being simpler from a gameplay perspective. Maybe it's the line drawings instead of real graphics that are throwing me.

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  2. I tried Ultima Online right at the start of my MMORPG career, when I was trying out all the very few options available. It was interesting enough but I couldn't cope with the teeny-tiny little characters and the miniature world. EQ at that time was played almost universally in first-person and the disparity between that level of immersion and the alienating UO birds-eye view was just too great.

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    1. At first I enjoyed the birds-eye view. It made me nostalgic for Diablo. But it gets very tiny on a 4k screen when things actually start happening.

      I do feel more comfortable on a tab-targeting hotbar MMO nowadays.

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