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[NEWS] We Build The World

Discussion in 'UO White Stag Inn' started by Bryelle Vaughn, Aug 26, 2011.

  1. Bryelle Vaughn

    Bryelle Vaughn Journeyman
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    We Build The World​


    When I was younger there was a set of books out that let you make decisions during the story. For every choice you made you had to jump to different page. Each page was different and there were 30 different outcomes per book. The beginning of the story was always a guideline while the middle and end were always up to you. Ultima Online is like that. Yes, the original construct was based on a game we all know and love but the truth of the matter is that the multiplayer aspect of it and the fact you have so many characters wandering Sosaria that were never incorporated into the original game. Thus you have the difference between Ultima Lore and Player Lore. Ultima Lore was what we started with. Player Lore is what we did with it.

    OES of Atlantic, Twilight Fellowship of Pacific, Magincia Trading Company of Baja….They all have some very pointed things in common. They are all player run communities and they all deviate from Ultima lore. At the beginning of 2010 deviations from Ultima Lore became recognized for their own merit. Town Banners were erected by Mesanna to pay homage to the characters and the lives created by none other than the players themselves.

    There are guilds that don't so much deviate as they do expand and explore. Sage of Pacific, Citizens of Avalon on Baja, Dawn of Baja, and several of those on Europa all take the lore and twist it somewhat. What is the point of paying a monthly fee for an online game if you don't have some say in how it gets portrayed. Let's take a look at The Twilight Fellowship for example. Yes, they basic structure of the Ultima Lore was there. But they also involve the pen and paper games as well as a thousand different other characters created over time. Intricate stories that challenge the backgrounds of the original cast of characters and fleshes them out is the backdrop for all future creations. A lot of time and effort went into the connections and the story lines without any assistance from the devs (as we like to call them). It was pure imagination.

    The order of the Ebon Skull and the Dark Tower have a very specific piece of Ultima Lore attached to them. They have the Well of Souls. That's where that stops. OES took over from there and a whole culture was born. Charnel Hill of Atlantic is one of those sites that, while commemorated with a town banner, exists completely in the minds of the players. And antagonist for the do gooder Light bringing guilds, the Lich loving mob are the exact opposite of everything Ultima stood for originally. And yet they too are revered and respected enough to erect a tome to in the middle of Umbra on their home shard. There is something to be said for being different it seems.

    Europa's extreme's take a slightly different turn. Many of the guilds there reject the fantasy aspects that make Ultima what it is and use a bare bones mentality. But the players who pay the fees enjoy it and as such are also respected. There are those that argue that Ultima has to be followed to the letter, that the islands and the people have to hold to the truths of the game. I would argue they completely miss the point of a MMO if they do that. They shaped the world and it is up to us as individuals to fill as we see fit. Not to form ourselves into a cookie cutter mold and blindly accept what we get handed.
     
  2. GalenKnighthawke

    GalenKnighthawke Grand Poobah
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    Assuming this piece was intended in part to provoke discussion, which it may not have been in which case I apologize, then I'll say that for my part I like to mostly stick to the lore.

    However, when you think about it, sticking to the lore gives you an awful lot of room.

    When I say sticking to the lore I mean following the broader situation we are given. There is a kingdom called Britannia, currently leader-less. There was a leader named British who invented a moral system which we, and more importantly the characters, can reasonably take to be an objective, enforceable moral system. The worlds we live on are shards of a magic gem that contains infinite copies of an "original world."

    And so forth.

    We really have a very broad outline to play with, when you think about it. Unlike as was the case with Star Wars Galaxies and is the case with Lord of the Rings Online, we aren't playing in a set environment. By contrast, no player can prevent the razing of the Shire or the fall of Mordor, no player can prevent the disaster at Hoth or the ultimate fall of the second Death Star. UO isn't like that; the closest thing we have is when certain events have to occur for meta-plot reasons (Dawn's death for example) but to me that isn't the same thing, simply because one is made up as we go and the other was set down long ago pursuant to a set of broader fictions that we had nothing to do with.

    For some, "following the lore" means following the single-player games, which I'd argue there's no specific reason we have to do: Fiction-wise our timelines broke from the single player games a long time ago. Since then we've been moving through a weird kind of parallel history where events in our worlds have parallels to "Ultima Prime" but don't always follow them exactly or even noticeably. The epic Warriors of Destiny storyline in UO, for example, broadly followed but also deviated substantially from the Ultima single player game it was named for and based off of.

    For others, "following the lore" means that your characters or guilds need to have some specific connection to the Ultima mythology. This is certainly not the case with Galen, who follows the Virtues but is in terms of religious faith a Christian. (I deliberately leave unexplained how he could have possibly heard of Christianity in Sosaria.) He carries a crucifix, says the Lord's Prayer, is fully aware of the degree to which he sometimes violates his own religious convictions, etc.

    I see the lore as backdrop, not as script. Your character may not have any particular reason to care about, say, Minax, unless and until her actions threaten the homestead. Your character may not give a crap about the Virtues. And finally there's every fictional reasons to think that the UO universe has a lot of connections to other worlds and other planes; one can play a character who was originally from the Forgotten Realms or Middle Earth or Krynn or even RL Earth and not break the lore one bit.

    To me, deviating the lore only means if you play the game pretending that the backdrop isn't there. No one prevents someone from doing this, of course! I've met many who so-deviate. They have fun with it; I only object when they start to poke their way into the fun of others' who would not so-deviate. Best in those cases for folks to ignore each other.

    I was on Europa for a good while; nothing I saw there actually 'broke' the lore in my estimation, I saw them as just interpreting things differently.

    So, surely, nothing prevents deviating from the lore (even "the lore" defined broadly as I do). But my feeling is that there is so much room, why not follow the comparatively few lines we're given?

    *shrugs*

    Just my thoughts.

    -Galen's player
     
  3. Bryelle Vaughn

    Bryelle Vaughn Journeyman
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    Galen,

    Thank you for your reply. I should be more specific in what I mean by "Deviating from the lore". To me, Deviating from the lore simply means a change in the interpretation. It does NOT mean completely ignoring everything The Ultima Universe has setup.While to me, expanding means taking the basics and running with it. Deviating: taking a different fork, Expanding: grabbing the tine and beating the ever pixel loving crap out of it.

    You are right when you say they, the programmers and writers, have given us quite a backdrop. There is a wide range of possibilities. The problem is when you have a set of people demanding that you roleplay a certain way or portray your character. For example, if you know *of* the virtues but your character chooses not to participate, then that is your choice and is a deviation from the standard in a way. It is not a deviation if you look at the anti-virtues.