It's without a doubt Ultima Online has seen its peak moments, notably prior to the Age of Shadows launch. But even since then, and since Electronic Arts has taken over the game, the game we once found ourselves addicted to has become a seemingly item-based whirlwind of confusion with a consistently falling player base. Please welcome my two examples: Dungeons and Dragons Online and Lord of the Rings Online. Both games were once subscription-based, monthly pay-to-play games just like Ultima Online is today. Dungeons and Dragons Online, to begin, hit a point where the game seemed to be on its last leg of life and was struggling to find a way to survive. That was when Turbine did something virtually unheard of in the MMORPG market; they made the game free to play. By doing so, the subscriber base skyrocketed and the game's revenue increased by over 500% through the addition of purchasable upgrades. To this day the game is still alive and is surviving thanks to the free-to-play modification Turbine made, and Turbine is making more money than ever off of the online title. [See Article on D&D Online's Survival] Lord of the Rings Online tried a similar feat when the game went free-to-play last year. Although it was arguably the #2-most subscribed MMORPG next to World of Warcraft, revenues were undoubtedly dwindling and Turbine wanted to try something new. So, they reviewed the success they had with D&D Online and tried it with LoTRO; since then, revenues from the game have more than tripled and the player base has increased drastically. I, myself, am now rejoining LoTRO due to the free-to-play change and am loving the concept. [See Article on LoTRO's Free-to-play Change] Of course when free-to-play changes come, the company still has to make money somehow. This is where things like 'booster packs', expansions, additional character slots, unique housing options, vet reward-style items for paying players and other things can create a revenue stream for Ultima Online.. similar to what D&D Online and LoTRO are doing. For $12.99 a month, Ultima Online is really not going to attract new players to the MMO market.. nor are they really going to attract experienced MMO players, because most of them have already played UO and have moved on in the past. Hate it or love it, by making this game free to play, there are a number of ways Electronic Arts can produce a revenue from it, and with the number of old (and new) players joining the game to see everything that's changed over the years due to its free status, many of them are likely to stay and spend money on purchasable options. I mean, really, for all of the former Ultima Online players out there like myself, most of you probably would be lying if you said you'd not come back if the game were free to play. And, once realizing the player base is increasing again and the housing market picks back up, old feelings will become new and this game very well may have a shot at surviving.