Ultima Online: A Day In The Life of One
|a game by||Origin Systems|
One evening after a long day at work, I anxiously entered Britannia with the goal of meeting up with my friends Chuck and Andy. You see, they had figured out how to do more than simply wander the world aimlessly searching for that missed rabbit, sheep, or some other helpless victim to gain valuable experience from. They had discovered how to mine for valuable ore and forge it into ingots, which could then be used to make practically anything.
I called Chuck on another line, found out where he was, and off I went. Off into an unexpected wild adventure that is.
"Where are you Chuck? How do I get there?"
"Just go west and around the water, you will find some hills, a hut, and a group of people, I'll be the one with the blue cape."
Yeah, right. I brought up the map and headed west, only west on the map is a little more like north, northwest on the screen. Chuck was referring to the screen, I, the map.
So off I went through the forest. On the way I encountered several other travelers, plenty of foliage and literally no animals. About thirty minutes and five phone calls to Chuck later, I finally arrived at the base of the hill and the hut, only no Chuck. Where the heck was he? I decided to cover the base of the hill. I went south and around back up north to find a group of people flying by.
"Man, I nearly ate it back there!"
"Yeah, that was pretty intense!"
"Let's get out of here fast!"
Of course I had to see what was going on. Forget Chuck and his stupid ore, what the heck was everyone freaking out about? On the map I could see sort of marina-type platforms to the west. I entered the area to find a complete ravage of blood, bones, garbage, broken barrels, and other waste. No one else in sight. "What the heck is this?" I thought. Like the idiot I am I kept going west, until I found the answer. In huge all caps text I saw, "LEAVE THY DOMAIN OR YE WILL NOT BE SPARED! THIS IS THY ONLY WARNING!" Then some freaky demonic warrior with a horned mask, riding a horse, bolted out of nowhere and came charging at me. What did I do? I ran like hell! I was out of there faster than a cat out of cold water.
In time I finally found Chuck and Andy around another set of hills quite a ways south of the first hills I encountered. After telling Chuck about my adventures, he asked if I had any money. He needed five gold for an ingot for Andy. Chuck had managed to talk the owner of the hut, another real person online, into selling an ingot for five gold. I gave the gold, got the ingot and passed it on to Andy. I asked Chuck what Andy was going to do with the ingot.
"He needs it to make a clock."
"I don't know, so he can tell the time."
And that was a day in the life of my character, ONE, in Ultima Online.
Since then I have gone fishing, had a couple of pet cats, crawled through caves, and met numerous other people online. So, what do I ultimately think of Ultima Online? To be honest with you, I'm still not sure. Only time will tell. Yes, it is extremely absorbing, impressive, and utterly amazing, considering how realistic it is and how many people are online at any given moment. The sense of fascination and wonder I get from simply exploring and meeting people has not worn off, but, I'm not sure how long it will last. You see, I'm exploring, but not really advancing. This is not a game like Diablo, in which there is plenty to build your character with. To this date, I have yet to find a training hall I can practice my fighting skills at, everything is always already in use. As far as dungeons, monsters are scarce, and when they do come about either you're no competition, or tons of others mob them, leaving you to watch. Forest animals? Come on, even when you do find any left, running around killing rabbits and chickens is not only a little lame in my book, but being a pet owner and lover of animals in general, it kind of goes against my idea of good role-playing. Role-playing is what this is about right?
Finally, the price of this game is my biggest complaint, and ultimately what may end it for me. The game goes for sixty bucks and service is $9.95 a month, first month free. That basically comes out to about $170 a year for the game. That's a little high in my book considering Diablo was only about $50 and battle.net is free. Yes, Ultima Online is a bit grander, but wouldn't, say three months free and five bucks a month thereafter be more fair, especially considering how much time it takes to develop your character compared to other games? Also, as great as UO is, there are a tons of other great games out there waiting to be played for only a one time fee.