Ultima Online is a massively multiplayer online game set in the Ultima universe (to a greater or lesser extent). It was developed and published by Origin in 1997 for the IBM-PC, in a time when the Internet just started to become popular.
The game is basically a huge online Britannia, where all kinds of players live their digital lives and do whatever they want... as long as it is allowed. It is constantly developed and new versions come into the stores every year.
Ultima Online was a huge success for Origin, essentially giving birth to the MMORPG.
The premise is that when the Stranger shattered Mondain's Gem of Immortality, each of the fragments of the gem held a perfect copy of Sosaria in them. In these many Britannias, the people, the players, interact on a daily basis, live their lives and have lots of fun. It is a huge multiverse with countless Britannias, where people act in this world, fight, trade and live.
Ultima Online was released in Setpember 24, 1997. Its original retail price was $64.95, and the monthly cost to play the game was $9.95.
Included with the game
With the first edition of the game came with these things:
Several expansions were released for Ultima Online, adding new features and areas to be explored:
- Ultima Online: The Second Age
- Ultima Online: Renaissance
- Ultima Online: Third Dawn
- Ultima Online: Lord Blackthorn's Revenge
- Ultima Online: Age of Shadows
- Ultima Online: Samurai Empire
- Ultima Online: Mondain's Legacy
- Ultima Online: Kingdom Reborn
- Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss
- Ultima Online: High Seas
- Ultima Online: Time of Legends
Ultima Online has had several special releases which were not expansions, but came with boxed or in-game extras.
- Ultima Online: Charter Edition (September 30, 1997) was available to pre-order from Origin Systems at the launch of Ultima Online and in small quantities alongside the standard retail box. It included a signed lithograph of the Ultima Online artwork by the Hilderbrandt brothers, a pewter pin badge bearing the Ultima Online logo and the box was signed by Richard Garriott. The Charter Edition also included the cloth map which was also a feature of the standard box.
- Ultima Online: 7th Anniversary (September 25, 2004) was a special release of the game to celebrate Ultima Online's seventh birthday. Like all of the items listed in this section, this release did not bring anything new to the game and is not an expansion, although it did include a more recently patched CD; the Age of Shadows was still the most current version at the time. This release was contained in a small cardboard box containing a triple-CD jewel case, featuring Ultima Online: Age of Shadows, but also included Ultima IX: Ascension install and play discs as a special bonus. A glossy booklet showing the history of Ultima Online expansions was included which contained historic art and an interview from the Ultima Online team and community leaders. Also included in the package a code for an in-game gift, one of which was Ultima Online's famous Hilderbrant print, an extra character slot (a total of six characters was now available) and 7 buddy registration codes.
- Ultima Online: Gold (July 18, 2005) was a special release sold by Wal-Mart and includes the same content as Ultima Online: Samurai Empire. This edition also comes with an Advanced Character token code, and quick-start manual.
- Ultima Online: The Eighth Age (September 25, 2005) was a boxed game CD with an array of in-game tokens. Though not bringing any new features, the release was to celebrate Ultima Online's eighth birthday. The box included a updated game CD (with more recent patches), a glossy booklet feauring an Atlas of Sosaria, in-game tokens for an anniversary gift (choice of 8), a character transfer, an advanced character and a 45-day free trial code. Also a time-limited blue soulstone was included.
- Ultima Online: 9th Anniversary Collection (October 31, 2006). Formerly known as "Eve of a New Age."
Fans of Ultima Online have reverse-engineered the game to produce server emulators of the original Electronic Arts servers. With the modern emulation server software available today, it is possible to customize most aspects of the game and support large numbers of concurrent players on a single server.
Several Tools exist to connect to these freeshards. The most notable are:
Known UO shard(server) emulators are:
- There was an hilarious scene during the Beta-test. A character called "Rainz" used a stolen firewall-scroll while Lord British gave an audience. Richard Garriott, who had forgotten to activate his "Lord British-invincibility" must have looked quite shocked, when his alter ego dropped dead on the spot. (See picture)
- Additional UO releases have included what many consider non-canon worlds and items into the Ultima universe, such as the Samurai-based Tokuno Islands.
- Lord British's throne is the top half of the Ultima Online logo.
- Lord British's throne is in the exact center of the main world map. For the curious, you can sit on the throne and use a sextant to find your coordinates.
- On rare occasions, casting the spell energy vortex will summon a purple llama instead of the cloud-like creature the spell is meant to summon. The purple llama is labeled in-game as "an energy vortex" and has the same powers as the creature the spell is named for.
- A monster called a slime existed in-game which is a small slithering blob. Some years ago on rare occasions, it was possible to encounter a slime that was renamed a "jwilson," which was purportedly named after magazine editor Johnny Wilson, who had given Ultima Online a bad review and thus earned a derisive place in the game by the developers. "Jwilsons" can still be seen today.
- Cows may be tipped by clicking on them numerous times.
- On some occasions, cows would be named "corey johns" and would turn into a blade spirit when clicked on multiple times.
- The first attempt at a multiplayer Ultima game was very different from Ultima Online. More details here: multi-player Ultima.
- Markoff, John. "The Ultimate Obsession; What Will People Pay to Enter His World?". The New York Times. 1997-10-20. Retrieved 2013-04-17.
- UOGuide - the main Ultima Online wiki
- UO Stratics - Fan site with news, information, and history
- The Notable Ultima- Ultima Online
- YouTube - Original Ultima Online Advertisement