Jim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO ColumnRoleCraft: A Look at Ultima Online RPJim Moreno's "RoleCraft" MMO Column - RSS 2.0
Prior to September of 1997, roleplayers spent their time in games like Dungeons and Dragons and Multi-User Dungeons (MUDs). AOL really had it going on with Neverwinter Nights, and along with two other games, The Realm Online and Meridian 59, had deftly created a new realm for roleplayers to interact in and with. However, it was in September of 1997 when the new computer gaming genre now known as MMORPGs hit the world stage with a game called Ultima Online.
As the year 2009 kicks off, MMORPGs are now perhaps the most popular computer gaming genre available. Possibly hundreds of MMORPGs are on the market, and probably a like number have come and gone since 1997. There is one that remains from that early era, one that still holds a wealth of roleplaying fun and potential among the plethora of vastly more popular MMORPGs, and one that will soon be getting a new expansion - Ultima Online.
So, what could possibly entice today's roleplayers to care anything about a game that's over ten years old? I'm glad you asked. Yes, WoW and Lotro and others do make for some excellent roleplaying fields upon which to play, but they also currently hinder roleplaying to some degree. As an ambassador for roleplaying, I feel it is a duty to show that MMORPG roleplaying did not start with WoW, which seems to be a major point of knowledge missed by a vast amount of roleplayers and roleplaying computer game makers today. In order to do that, I want to help expand minds by looking at history and future, and Ultima Online is just one of those games that has and still offers great roleplaying. If that's not enough, take these bullet points into account:
You can quickly travel anywhere you wish from the moment your character first goes live.
Roleplay an alchemist, lumberjack, healer, and other non-combat professions without ever once having to know anything about swinging a sword or casting a spell.
You can own your own business, complete with a building and NPC assistants.
Hair, clothes, armor, and weapons may all be dyed or crafted in the colors of your choosing.
Boats and ships!
Roleplay in an ancient Japanese-styled atmosphere available.
Actual roleplaying towns, inhabited by actual roleplayers. No smacktards allowed!
Elizabethan language is actually an acceptable manner of speech!
Gargoyles, coming soon. How cool is that?
Did you happen to set any New Years' resolutions in regards to your roleplaying game time? If not, here's one I suggest: try out Ultima Online, even if it's only the 14-day trial period. If you don't like it, hopefully you'll learn some new aspects of RP that you can take back to the game you do roleplay in.
Say you do like your time with UO, or are coming back to it, and want to know where to find current rolelpaying information. Where do you go? Again, glad you asked, that's why I'm here. I have just the websites you're looking for, so read on.
My first recommendation is to start with the lore of UO. Like WoW, UO first came to be known via a series of single-player computer games, which set down the lore and history for the MMORPG. Unlike WoW, which only had three major games before becoming a MMORPG, UO's history is spread through nine games. I would certainly wish that you would play all nine, since they are some of the best computer games ever made. Well, with maybe the exception of Ascension, but I'll not get into that here. Also note that they are much older games than Warcraft, and if you can find and acquire them all, count yourself fortunate. However, do not fret if none of that is possible or desired.