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18 Years Later, Why Are People Still Playing Ultima Online?

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Longtooths, Jul 1, 2015.

  1. Longtooths

    Longtooths Supreme Commander
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    "Later this year, Ultima Online [official site] will turn 18 years old. In the genre of MMOs, that makes the game positively ancient – and it’s even more remarkable when you consider that it’s still funded via a subscription model.

    I’ve never played an Ultima game, much less one that’s nearly my age. I wanted to find out what the game is like to play today as a newcomer, and to ask people why they’ve continued visiting Britannia for nearly two decades.


    Digging into the game’s forums, I found myself talking to user “Petra Fyde”. Fyde has been playing since October 2000 when she succeeded in bugging one of her sons for a character on his account. Soon after this she got an account with her husband and has been playing ever since.

    ........."


    Read More at Article:
    http://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2015/06/30/ultima-online-retrospective/
     
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  2. Old Vet Back Again

    Old Vet Back Again Slightly Crazed

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    Great write up, good postive PR for UO. But the shame in it is; even a new player can feel the low population...

    He also talks about the complexities of learning the game mechanics, and he is absolutely right. I could not imagine starting this game as a brand new player and trying to learn how it works. I started playing January 1, 1998 and TBH I am still learning things today. It's a shame because I love the complexity and diversity this game has to offer, but I have also been through every expansion allowing me to apply the old knowledge with the new. Learning everything that is implemented today would be way to challenging...
     
  3. FrejaSP

    FrejaSP Queen of The Outlaws
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    Wish more young players would give it a try
     
  4. DJAd

    DJAd Stratics Legend
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    So does everyone. Trouble is how do young/new players get to findout about UO as its not really advertised any more.
     
  5. Zuckuss

    Zuckuss Order | Chaos
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    They do. We just have to be proactive about finding them before they get frustrated and leave. Try New Haven bank or mines. Watch general chat, watch help chat. Stop and ask people if they need help if they are running around wearing newbie clothes.

    We recruit a new or returning player at least every month and occasionally we have months where we get up to five or so. You can't expect them to find you. You gotta find them.
     
  6. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    At least when I started playing UO I bought UO:R which came with a very spiffy book on basic game function and everything. I wore the pages of that book pretty heavily. I later bought two Prima Guides on Ultima Online. They were awesome and I'll be honest I still use the AoS Prima Guide. It has still relevant information about which NPC's sell what where... Doing the Trade Deals it's been very helpful. Even the maps in it are moderately useful.

    Today there isn't really any help or guide. You are simply deposited in town with no knowledge at all. There is a "tiny" version of how to play if you use the EC but it's pretty useless. It takes HOURS of devotion to help a new player learn the ropes of UO. It's profoundly easier to teach someone that is returning than someone who's never set foot in the game.

    That's my 0.02 Cents on the matter.
     
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  7. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    im guessing cuase most old timers by now have quit drugs and UO is the next best thing? Highly addictive. instant gratification. can waste money on it or make money on it. if i were 20 again i def would not be playing UO.

    in all seriousness, i play UO because i dont have to "do" anything. no questing. no upkeep. i bang out top grade suit and template and it will last for years with no further effort required. excellent game for the casual gamer.
     
    #7 Smoot, Jul 1, 2015
    Last edited: Jul 1, 2015
  8. Gamer_Goblin

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    My daughter plays. She's 13... she plays on a freeshard though. I know it's taboo, but can't just ignore it. She likes this particular shard because she can insta GM 7 skills and there's no 720 cap so she can work on anything else as much as she wants... oh and there is a NPC she can fight called Chuck Norris. I keep trying to bring her over, but she refuses. I point out all the expansion she doesn't have access to, more housing space, plant systems... she just doesn't want to spend days grinding skills to level them and she also doesn't want to start off with the prospect of being capped at less than vets are capped at in stats/skill scrolls.

    Plus she thinks everyone that plays cheats and dups anyways. Mind you... she does this from her mom's house. Of course. <-- Public Disclaimer.
     
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  9. Seelendolch

    Seelendolch Adventurer

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    If you get her a mythic token and buy a nice suit/rings/bracelet, you can get most of her skills up around gm level to start with, idk if thats enough, but yeah. I have been playing now for about 3 weeks, and it hasnt felt too grindy to me, because a nice player gave me some gold and a nice suit and jewellery, got a mythic token too (i have a friend that plays and he said for a tamer i should buy one or it would take too long to train) and i dont feel gimped or anything, its been a blast!
     
  10. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    I came to UO Labor Day weekend of 2000 after running across the UO:Renaissance box at Walmarts and deciding to maybe take a break from another game I'd been playing since 1988 via GEnie Online Service. I installed UO, got into the crafting system and fell in love with the game, my first three characters being two crafters and the third their forager.

    I like the sandbox aspect of the game, and you can play and play never having to worry about 'winning the game' and it's ending. I've since expanded to 14 characters on Chesapeake and two on Siege, a shard where life has danger without the danger being ashats has had been true in Fel about 10 years back. The 'evil' folks on Siege have class and don't do the routine Fel became infamous for years back.

    I have left the game for breaks on several occasions and always come back, UO has just gotten into my blood and I'm hooked on the fun it gives me, there's something entertaining to do for just about any mood your in. Something I've never found in another game other than Gemstone which is the text adventure I came from back in 2000.

    The shards have gotten pretty low on players over the years but since I enjoy a medieval rural feel to the game I'm still pretty happy with Chessie and Siege's populations. Prodo Chessie with Trammel you see people around, on Siege, which is set up entirely PvP rules, you rarely see people but General Chat can be pretty active.

    With 18 years of additions to the game there is a lot of things to do once you hear about them nd learn how to do them. You won't get bored anytime soon if you choose to start playing UO. There are just to many skills you can learn and combine, change and vary. Your not locked to one specific character class in UO, particularly if you invest in items known as soulstones which let you store learned skills and free up the skill points for other skills. My main Siege character typically carries the four magery skills and four others vary as he does different things. He has the four Bard skills, the three Taming skills, Mining, Lumberjacking, Wrestling, Spellweaving and Alchemy which he swaps in and out. He can do eight skills by using imbued jewelry to add another 104 skill points to the 720 he normally has. Most use the imbued jewelry for combat bonus', I went the route of having that eighth skill, something I consider a good tradeoff given my crafting/gatherer play style which is leaning much more to gatherer since my return last December.

    Spend a few months exploring the UO game world and all you can do in it. You'll likely enjoy your time. :)
     
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  11. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
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    When I started in '01, the game was a lot simpler. It was almost refreshing, you pretty much didn't need anything to get started, a couple basic pieces of armor and you were out hunting Orcs and Ogres your first night. After a couple months, you were buying your first house, putting down furniture you had collected in your bank. Every town felt real and populated, even out of the way stops like Cove and Buccaneer's Den.

    Unfortunately, every attempt to bring a little more balance to the mechanics of the game has just made things more complex. And the more goals and achievements meant to keep veterans challenged become a barrier to the new or returning player. I don't know what the solution is, but I wax nostalgic for a little vanilla UO.
     
  12. Merlin

    Merlin The Enchanter
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    OMG! I Loved those Prima Guides. They were the best and helped out so much back in the day. Like you, mine had a lot of wear and tear on them from frequent use. I'd pay top dollar if they came out with one when Time of Legends comes out, but that's just a dream...

    Your second point is right on as well. Unless you get picked up at Brit or New Haven by someone who is friendly to helping out new players, I don't know what other chance a young player would have. I also don't know how any new player would survive on the lesser populated shards.
     
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  13. Yadd of Legends

    Yadd of Legends Certifiable
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    This. +1 +1 +1
     
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  14. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    I typically can help new players since I can play just about anytime during the day. I typically play Siege as Tanivar or Landreu with the guild title [LBSS] and can play Chesapeake with the guild title [GoS]. With one exception on Chessie all the members of the guilds are mine. I typically do low to medium level hunting and gathering as a solo player but I can help a new arrival to our lands learn a fair bit and craft just about anything they need.
     
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  15. CovenantX

    CovenantX Babbling Loonie
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    I play because of pvp, there are a few things I dislike.... (my sig)... other than that. best pvp in any game, E V E R.
     
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  16. Lord Gandalf

    Lord Gandalf Babbling Loonie
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    Strongly AGREE :)
     
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  17. CovenantX

    CovenantX Babbling Loonie
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    They removed the whole +5 skill pts/year for the first 4 years.

    Everyone has the same 720 skill, I do think you need to be active for 30 days for the addition +5 stats though... might be 6 months for the +5 stats... I can't remember it's been so long since I've created a new account.
     
  18. THP

    THP Stratics Legend
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    youve only got to see the graphics of new games compared to UO...new players are not going to pay 9.99... they can play far easier pick up and whack em ups aka diablo/wow and the ilk.....for less real money.

    new players hear about the events we have but have no chance of getting a drop....with vets running 5 accounts at each and every event,,,..so why bother they think....waste of time.... even i think this!!!

    new players see vets lording it killing many foes with uber suits they have paid 100s millions for and what looks to them killing easily without hassle were they struggle to take a ogre lord down for nada/crap loot.....its got to be very frustrating for a new player coming and playing with a players who have done this for 10 years plus

    new players going into pvp...really?? instant death then all the crap/smack talk after....think they leave instantly

    really dont know the answer....one would be free to play but no housing i guess ...then if they get hooked they would need pay for a account that can have a house....seems easy enough and if its free ...folks will come and try....then again ...trial accounts are free yet we only see the odd newbie....lol...even the word newb is enough to scare new players off yet everyone uses it...

    whats the answer....think us vets will just keep the game going....

    maybe if its advertiezed...maybe maybe...reads the rest of the thread
     
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  19. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    Trouble with allowing "free to play" folk about is there are already FAR too many "free" problems..... take a look at all the BS that has come into the game because of Free Trial accounts doing things like Spamming gold sales at every Haven bank... Dropping 100's and 1,000's of books all over the globe and back selling items... Gathering bods for the BoD bot farmers... changed the way we can get bods, Strip mining and lumberjacking operations done on Free Trial accounts gathering billions in cheap ores... taking up all the decent mining spots so real paid players don't get to mine there... they were abusing the "safety" of being "young" to loot IDOC's without any consequence. So... what you are saying is you want to quadripple the number of BS regulations a "normal" player would have to go through to accommodate the what 2 or 3 players who might play for 10 min before giving up if UO were "free" to play... Listen it already has a 15 day free trial... If they haven't figured out the love of UO in 15 days then they are never going to. Honestly thinking it'd bring more people is ludicrous. There are a million and one reasons why people don't play and why people who play "free" shards don't return and the 9.99 a month to 12.99 a month ISN'T one of them. It's the blatant use of cheats and hacks, the lack of customer support, the loss of friends and lovers, the age of the player and the getting married, the having of children, the insufficient time... the poor economy, the lag and bad servers, the fear of being stalked, the difficulty of getting started in game, lack of any real new player experience, the UGLY graphics from the 90's... the lack of DEV communication, the inability to get a response from GM's for weeks on end... the rudeness of other players, the fact that there are cheaters and scammers who go unpunished time and time again... etc... that has driven away a great many of "old" players who used to play UO... sent many to see free shards... and has left many with such bad memories that they wouldn't return if they were paid to. Not that I blame some for leaving... I've had folk tell me they were quitting for any number of reasons....

    The most common though is "My X (Spouse, Significant other).... says if I don't quit this game they are leaving!... Followed closely by... "I (paged a GM, tried to contact Customer Service, sent an email to Mesanna) etc..... and no one will help me, (Get my account restarted, get my account back, fix XYZ with my account) And I lost ABC and I just feel sick now when I think about logging in... And the third highest reason for quitting, My account was (Hacked, Banned, Stolen)..... and I just can't bring myself to play anymore.
     
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  20. temu

    temu Lore Keeper
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    Hey, the screenshot of the house in the Trinsic Jungle is my house! ^_-
     
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  21. Yadd of Legends

    Yadd of Legends Certifiable
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    Is that really the most common reason? Funny you should mention it, that was why I quit the first two times. She finally gave up, though, and I'm back :)
     
  22. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    From my experience with friends and other guildmates/alliance members and shard mates who have quit over the 15+ years I've played it is...


    The actual "lowest" reason I've ever heard is "I can't afford to play anymore". Which is usually only when "I've lost my job, I have to move, my ______ died and I can't afford to play anymore." Which is not really that they can't afford the 12.99 a month it's more often that they can't afford the cable/internet anymore.
     
  23. Gamer_Goblin

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    No offense intended, but this only solves like a 1/4th of the problem and even then it's not even ideal compared to what she has on a free shard. And, also, I fear you will find out quickly when you join an EM event just how much the other players have over you just because they have higher caps. I love the game though... and the official shards. Just saying the issue is there and you shouldn't pretend it's not.

    Taming training really needs to be looked at.

    I keep coming back for the exact opposite reason of my daughter. I enjoy grinding up Mining/Crafting profs while watching Netflix on the comp. There is just something satisfying in it. I also like to create new templates and stuff at work. The new gear system makes templates more fun too. I'm not a pro by anymeans, but it's just fun sitting there writing out character sheets and stuff.
     
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  24. Gamer_Goblin

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    There are some Prima UO guides on Ebay. Pretty well priced IMO. $17 for AoS.
     
  25. Seelendolch

    Seelendolch Adventurer

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    Oh, thats a bummer to hear. I have been to an EM event, I got a "replica" sword of the father, or something like that. I did feel a little lacking, but if i had taken a dragon instead of a bake kitsune (only pet that i had bonded at the time) i feel there would have been less of a difference. Then there were also people summoning creatures to attack too, so i guess you dont have to bring a tamer :)
     
  26. Flagg

    Flagg Sage

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    Advertising UO to people born in 90's is kinda like advertising Space Invaders and first Muds to you(or me) It'd be just echoes from world that moved on.
     
  27. Captn Norrington

    Captn Norrington Trade Forum Administrator
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    I have been playing another pretty well known game lately, it has a ton of players in their 20's, including most of my guild, and is free to play with an optional subscription. It has multiple millions of players. I was talking to my guildies in that game about an hour ago, they brought up the subject of "other games people play" so I mentioned UO. This is the conversation that followed:

    Me: I play a game called Ultima Online, (UO) it's been around about 18 years, theres an expansion coming out later this year too.

    Guildie #1: What's an Ultima?

    Me: It was the brand name of a bunch of games the creator made before the internet existed.

    Guildie #1: Is it free to play? I'm always looking for new games to chill in.

    Me: No, it's not free to play, but they do have a 14 day trial.

    Guildie #1: Nvm then, anything 18 years old can't be worth paying for, no offence.

    Guildie #2: Bro, that game sucks so bad, there's no players and everyone there is just old people trying to relive their gaming glory days.

    Guildie #3: I thought Ultima was a foot ointment?

    Guildie #2: Na, you prolly thinking of Goldbond Ultimate dude.

    Guildie #3: Oh, ya you right, my bad.


    So, there you have it, UO is more obscure than a foot ointment to young people apparently. *sigh*.
     
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  28. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    A game that's 18 years old and still going makes it likely there's a lot of content and it's got something that keeps the players it has interested. That alone should make it worth a visit to check it out. Particularly if you like a sandbox style game.

    Any details on why he felt it sucks so bad other than no players and old people? Certainly can't be for lack of content. We old farts act to grown up for him? :p
     
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  29. WarderDragon

    WarderDragon Babbling Loonie
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    I'm surprised UO hasn't tried to tap into that ironic, old school hipster thing going on lately in gaming. You see a lot of people getting into classic games, games with old school graphics appealing to a wider market, and so forth. I was at a house party a while back, and had to marvel at the old school NES hooked to the dudes flatscreen in his living room. (It was also my first experience with PBR, but that is another story.)

    UO will never attract the FPS, 40-man-raid-loving, I just boiked your mother crowd. And nor should it want to.
     
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  30. old gypsy

    old gypsy Grand Poobah
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    Nostalgia is the primary reason why I've hung on as long as I have. (That, and a few special folks on my own ever-shrinking shard.) Heck... I'm so old now, I'm probably out of touch with what young players might think/look for; although I do suspect modern eye candy is a major draw for most.
     
  31. Smoot

    Smoot Grand Poobah
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    that was not a normal event tho. most event bosses go down in 30 secs or less. while you still may have gotten looting rights with a bake, the lack of hp also means it may have died too fast for most EM boss fights.

    events arent really a great comparison for overall gameplay. you can sometimes get looting rights on a naked noob character, something that would obviously not be a real "template" (or lackthereof) for normal game content.
     
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  32. Seelendolch

    Seelendolch Adventurer

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    Ah, i see. Well i was able to get a cu sidhe today, gonna train it up, hope its good enough until i can level taming up some more :)
     
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  33. Lord Nabin

    Lord Nabin High Council Sage - Greater Sosaria
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    Why?

    It's fun

    :thumbup:

    Enough said
     
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  34. Arcanis

    Arcanis Adventurer
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    "Old UO ppl & Glory days" ...sad but true..heh

    but the game doesn't suck..its so old, it just smells that way..

    ( foot ointment...big LOL....dam whippersnappers! )

    * rocks in rocking chair on the porch* "...I remember a time when..."

    To answer the OP ,
    My time and memories invested here are measured in years... and its not easily tossed aside.
    I like my dated graphics, classic feel, freedom of playstyles, community, and simplicity...its relaxing.
    If I want I can fight something demanding and stay up with content and compete.


    Or if the mood suits me i can just wander around or...i can come up with the idea to hand engrave a bust statue with something Obviously silly and try to sell it at an old KFC auction for 35 mil, in the hopes that a rich ego will just buy it just because he can, because he has one of everything already and billions in the bank and nothing to spend it on.





    BTW, What did you do with that Statue Longtooth?...heh
    ******

    I have zero desire to play an " Up to date game" ive seen em, and you can keep em..
    too much going on...
    Heck, i get flustered at events with all the flapping dragon wings...
    where ya cant see what is going on ( the way all new games feel to me sadly..lol)
    ...keep your dang loot..i just want to see the battle..
    ..and dont get me started on them random flapping gargoyles...

    i think the devs should make bolas able to be used in tram..not to damage ppl..just to stop all the dam flapping..if even for a 10 sec duration..i dont mean flying movement flapping..i mean hovering flapping inside a building..

    Ever been to an auction or meeting where a gargy idiot just flaps away while ppl are bidding or trying to hold a convo.?

    ....BOLA!
    ***************
     
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  35. Victim of Siege

    Victim of Siege Crazed Zealot
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    Because I still haven't won, damnit!!
     
  36. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    I haven't either. There are still at least a dozen maybe shards that I don't have a tamer built on... I'm still working skills on some of my Great Lakes characters. I still have never gotten a Slither... not for lack of trying. So many things yet to do.
     
  37. Valura

    Valura Journeyman
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    Could not agree more!
     
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  38. Yadd of Legends

    Yadd of Legends Certifiable
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    :sad3:
     
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  39. Cyrah

    Cyrah Lore Keeper
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    Houses, houses, houses... and I still pay now because I read we can build walls and actual floors in keep, castles with the expansion. What worries me is when this expansion actually comes. I was told end of 2015 by a player. Is this so? :( If so that's way too long to pay for extra accounts.
     
  40. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    I prefer to play a game that is not designed around instant gratification, and challenges the gray matter between my ears. Lets not forget that it is still fun even after 18 years.
     
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  41. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    FLOORS, WALLS Guess you are privy to info we have not read. Those may be someones wish list.
     
  42. Tanivar

    Tanivar Crazed Zealot
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    Think it was Mesanna herself that posted this. I tossed a request for rounded floor and roof tiles to go with the rounded walls we have so we can build round towers.
     
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  43. Loren

    Loren Journeyman
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    I leave off and on. It is just fun to me. Sometimes relaxing. I think the low pop is just reflecting what the market wants. IMHO, as successful as it was, UO was always a niche product. Some old vets of the game I know say it started to die when they created Tram. I disagree, while intriguing and even stimulating for some, I do not think a majority of gamers out there liked the idea that they could be 'minding their own business' and suddenly get ganked and lose their pixels. I am no industry expert nor sociologist. The things about UO that I love, many of which haven't changed... ,many of the things we all love about it.. are things that have not changed. Companies cater to the majority. We are not it. I am glad what is left, is still here for me to enjoy. I completely agree with the need to help new players get the ropes. Again a conjecture, but I posit that most folks do not want to have to work very hard, to have fun. They want to click turn on, and go do stuff. UO is very much NOT like Call of Duty or even WoW. It IS very much like original Everquest. Ooh I went off on a tangent.

    As far as why I still play...personally, I never played that much of the content. I leveled a crafter, farmed some low level stuff. I am still at the stage where a great deal is new to me. I like the feeling that I am exploring and finding new things to do. Beyond that, it is the community, and the people that love it so much, they bend over backwards to keep people coming back and feel welcome. Another conjecture. If Stratics, or something like it did not exist, the game would be smaller, much much smaller in population, if not dead. I like to feel that I helped someone. If mats were not time or $$ consuming for me to get, I happily give away GM or Legendary made stuff. The short version :

    1. The core community of genuinely nice helpful players.
    2. The sandbox style
    3. The variations in characters actually feel different, very much so in playstyle. E.g., a Warrior vs a Mage. They feel and play very different. To me. I like that.
    4. Nostalgia
    5. On more than one occasion, I have had actual Dev team members, Bonnie once that I can remember, get in touch with me via email, and personally intervene to help fix or help me understand something I borked up in the game. Number of times that has happened with other gaming products = ZERO.
    6. I like that it is run by gamers that care, and a smaller tight knit team. I think the camaraderie and teamwork they have amongst themselves, carries over to the product.
    7. People put up with my angsty overanxious BS :)

    Loren
     
    #43 Loren, Aug 2, 2015
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2015
  44. Loren

    Loren Journeyman
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    +1 internets to you sire. Hmmm. I still have an Atari 2600 somewhere....no PBR though.
     
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  45. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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    How about PONG or Duck Shoot, LOL
     
  46. Loren

    Loren Journeyman
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  47. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
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  48. Mithryl Elves

    Mithryl Elves Elves Suck
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    I Quit again. I am however lurking the forums. This wont end well:(
     
  49. Loren

    Loren Journeyman
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    Come back to Sosaria. We have cookies bacon.
     
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  50. MalagAste

    MalagAste Belaern d'Zhaunil
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    Pong... I still remember my Dad bringing that yelllow and black thing home..

    Oh the hours my Brother and I played that. Never liked playing with my older sister as beatting her meant wanting some steel arm guards. Everytime she'd lose she'd pound you a couple times in the arm. My brother would win by cheating... either getting my younger sister to stand in front of my side of the tv or by pushing me...or pulling the console when the ball went my way. Siblings such fun. LOL
     
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