Hello all; some of you may remember me from way back when... I used to play as Aron Swordmaster for the [Sosarian Red Cross] between 2001 and 2003. A combination of factors led to my wandering onwards from these lands, some real life, some just related to perhaps needing a break from the game itself... Over the years, I played many more such games; I made it to level 70 in World of Warcraft before the mechanical, rote nature of raiding revealed itself and made me want to scream, but not before I'd grinded my way to 17th on my server for PvP... oh dear, why did I ever do that? I was there for the last days of Tabula Rasa, although not the earlier ones which in part is perhaps why it failed... a most disappointing end event it was too, but that's another story! I still have the odd few months here and there in City of Heroes, and my heroic super-cow goes from strength to strength there, although dressing up as the Bovine Avenger for a super hero themed party just made everyone think I was a furry...! And so it went, but I always remembered my time here as a period of much greater creativity and even companionship... there has always been a better sense of community and role-playing here, where you were not defined by your loot or the dungeons you'd raided. But there was also that sense of loss too, which I don't want to dwell too much upon due to it's real life nature; however just recently real life has seemed to offer the prospect of really turning around, and in doing so, banished some of the ghosts of the past for me. I felt rather more comfortable than I'd ever done about Ultima Online, and due to many weeks of shameless badgering from The Black Cobra, I finally gave in, and thought I would dip my toe back in once more... To say I'm confused is an understatement though! I spent the first 5 hours lost on Occlo, because when I left I gave away my entire gold (about 10 million in 2003 figures) and everything I owned of any worth, so I appeared butt-naked on an island with no moongate. I scrabbled together reagents plucked fresh from the ground, and set bears onto bears to get the money to buy a basic Level 4 spellbook, and then recalled out to the only rune I had, to the 18x18 I'd placed on opening day on Malas. I already knew what to expect, sadly, as the person I'd passed it onto had let it, and the museum of Ultima rares I'd built it into, collapse due to account expiration. I hope many of them were saved from the rubble, but I doubt I'll ever know now. And someone else owns a house in the same rough spot today; I appeared next to it, tried to say hello, but with no answer, it was time to move on. I then ran to the moongate in Luna, and recalled to Britain... and then back to Luna when I was told this was where the merchants lived now, not around Britain Moongate as it once was. I alas could find neither full spell book nor cheap runebook, so had to wait until Mr Cobra came online, to outfit me in a garishly mismatched set of armor and books; none of which makes any sense at the moment! What are all these strange values, and how on earth do I work out which to keep in a reasonable amount of time?! At some point I must sit down and wrestle with this. And also the new Enhanced client. I used to use Third Dawn, so the controls at first were not too daunting. But it's still a beta, so I was struggling with so much else! As you can see, before I'd even been outfitted, the Cobra and I ran to the unfolding GM event. Or do you call them EMs now? And I had no idea what was happening there either; Who are all these characters? I've got 6 years of Lore to catch up on! But I did at least remember, eventually, that you needed to be in combat mode when dead to be seen as a ghost! And what about those macros? I used to have ones set in Third Dawn which would use Last Object on Last Target, IE bandages on pets, but now it seems I need something more subtle? And did Vetinary always work on magical summons? It does now apparently! Thus I used a fire elemental and the cloth I'd put together in Occlo to smack around a Nightmare in Ileshenar and get my first true combat pet again... and then both of us promptly died to a Paragon Fire Elemental when I made the mistake of fighting a little with him straight away. Oh dear, those are rather stronger than expected aren't they? So I ran back, lured him away, and tamed a second... But still I have so much to learn! I'm not sure for how long I shall play this time; I did purchase Stygian Abyss, but I doubt it will be 2+ years as I did before... However it would be nice to achieve my dream then of at least getting and placing the old shape villa somewhere near Yew and settling down... the original Aron, in Ultima IV for the Sega was a Druid you see. I wonder if there is space for it these days? The lands seem much less crowded than they once were; But for now, it's great to be back, and to be able to wander around at my own pace! And I hope to see some of you again soon... for now though, I have a lot of reading to catch back up on!