1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Greetings Guest!!

    In order to combat SPAM on the forums, all users are required to have a minimum of 2 posts before they can submit links in any post or thread.

    Dismiss Notice

Why I Love UO [warning: long, with big pictures]

Discussion in 'UHall' started by Alouenikah, Apr 30, 2012.

  1. Alouenikah

    Alouenikah Caretaker of Sudiva
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    157
    Hi everybody!

    I did a post like this a few years ago, but it was incomplete and I was an obnoxious teenager at the time, so I'm going to do another one. There's been lots of negativity on the boards lately, and some of it has been founded. This post is not meant to invalidate anybody else's opinions.

    However. Let it be said now that I love UO. I've been playing since 2004 and I'm not quitting any time soon. I love the gameplay more than any other, I love the world more than any other, and I get better RP here than anywhere else on the internet. UO is amazing. It was a groundbreaking game back in 1997, and it remains unmatched in many ways. There's a lot of stuff around about what's wrong with the game. Here are my thoughts on what's right with it. Because, you know what? It's a damn good game.

    Here are some examples of why I love UO.

    [​IMG]


    1) The sheer goddamn size of the world.

    [​IMG]

    It is seriously huge. Run around it some day. When I first started playing, I was thirteen, I had never played a multiplayer game before, and I was totally dazzled by the size of it; I used to spend hours looping the Britannian continent and sailing all over to the dozens of little islands. And then there's Ilshenar, Malas, Tokuno, and now Ter Mur. Never make the world smaller, devs. Don't you dare do it. It is amazing just as it is.

    I've been playing for eight years, and exploring constantly is what I do. Sometimes, even now, I'll take a wrong turn and end up somewhere that I've never, ever been to. I'll discover little corners and weird mysteries that will make me stop and stare. Eight years, and I'm still discovering places. I still feel like the world has so much to show me. There is something magical about that.

    Here's the type of thing that I like. This is a little brick box in Terort Skitas, a dungeon that we'll be visiting later in the essay. It has no entry, there's no mobiles inside, and you could just run past it a thousand times without ever even noticing it.

    [​IMG]

    Then you happen to turn your circle of transparency on, and suddenly you see this.

    [​IMG]

    Never underestimate the little things like that.


    2) Custom housing.

    [​IMG]

    This one's a double-edged sword. On one hand, the dreaded Malas Box. On the other hand, player-built castles, manors and cottages. If anybody drops by Baja any time soon, please take a moment and visit the village of Kraggen-Cor near Wind. It's a masterpiece of player-made housing. If not, please remember: try to avoid an equilateral box shape; don't mix and match wall styles unless you really know what you're doing; if you learn how to make an arched roof, you'll feel like a better person; and finally, lava floor tiles are not your friend.

    Also: If in doubt, go classic.


    3) The variety of skills.

    [​IMG]

    This one's probably going to spark a derail in the comments. However, I love the sheer variety of skills available. Some, I've still never tried - I still need to train up a cook, or a fisherman, or a thief. But I love that I can RP a singing blacksmith with an army of bears, or a shepherd that brews explosive potions in his secret laboratory, or a gentle wandering healer who can break a troll's skull with her quarter staff. Templates are taking over nowadays and I agree that it's a problem, but the room for variety is there, and it makes roleplaying so much richer when you can back it up with in-game mechanics.

    3b) The Stealth Skill. I played UO for the first few years from Australia, on a connection of 16kps dial-up. At the time, I was playing on the obsolete 3D client. Being a ghost in this client didn't put the world in greyscale like it does in 2D, so I spent literally all of my time dead so that I could explore dungeons in peace. When I finally had the connection to play a stealth explorer, it was like the heavens had opened. It is my favourite skill.

    Combine with herding for maximum hilarity and zerg bunnies.


    4) Ilshenar dungeons.

    [​IMG]

    Ilshenar is actually a really creepy place. It's huge and empty, with - at the risk of bringing my own personal lore into the discussion - a real post-apocalyptic feel to it. Notice how there are no living humans at all, save for the wandering travellers (and why do they move around so much? What are they running from?) Notice how, with the exception of Montor and Mistas (both destroyed), the cities (also destroyed) have all been built deep underground, as if trying to escape something on the surface. Notice how, despite the reassurances that the people of Montor foresaw its destruction and all escaped, absolutely no records by survivors exist. That's not even getting into the plotline timeskip lunacy.

    Consequently, the Ilshenar dungeons are the creepiest dungeons by far for me. I think the difference between them and the Britannian dungeons is that they're all obviously man-made. Most of them are huge underground fortresses, but they have furniture and bookshelves and creature comforts. (Even the wisp dungeon has chairs. Why does the wisp dungeon have chairs?! Wisps don't have butts!) Obviously somebody lived here at some point, but they're sure as hell not living here anymore. The lowest level of Covetous has the same effect on me, but Ilshenar is a whole facet of this madness.

    I think Terort Skitas has to be my favourite dungeon of all time. (Technically Terort Skitas is the temple and the dungeon below it has no name, but I insist.) It represents everything I love about the Ilshenar dungeons. The top level is a rather cute underground castle, obviously built for comfortable living. It even has a classroom! There are monsters, but not many. It's a nice place. I could almost live here myself. I wonder why it's deserted?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    As you go down, it gets worse.

    [​IMG]

    And worse.

    [​IMG]

    And worse.

    [​IMG]

    And OH DEAR GOD

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    What the hell happened here? Nobody knows. Whatever it was, it was obviously horrible, much like what happened to the rest of Ilshenar. And that's why it is the creepiest facet with the best dungeons.


    5) Item variety.

    [​IMG]

    This sounds mysterious, so let me explain. It's not about having a million different possible qualities on a random longsword. That part of the game, I don't pay much attention to. It's about needing a chair for your loungeroom and being able to choose between Trinsic style, Vesper style, stone, plain wooden, stool, bench, footstool, throne, covered chair, broken chair, and so on and so on. It's about your character being hungry, and being able to feed them roast chicken, legs of lamb, cake, cookies, lettuce, gourds, lemons, sushi, wrapped candy, cheese pizza, plain bread, French bread, pixie legs, apples, pears, unicorn ribs, suckling pigs, lava fish pies and so on and so on.

    [​IMG]

    In most games, a chair is a chair. In most games, food is food. It's "food." It looks like a loaf of bread, you click on it, you regain health. But in UO, every single possible category of item has a thousand variants, all with their own name and graphic, all interactive, all adding to the incredible richness of the world and its environments.
    When UO was first created, there were no other MMORPGs. It had nobody to compete with. Back then, single-player games, for the most part, had no item variety to speak of, and very little environmental richness. The devs could have easily just created a generic fantasy world where all chairs used the same plain wood graphic and all "food" was just an apple; it would have saved them a lot of time and a lot of money and back then, people would have been so wowed by the multiplayer experience that they wouldn't even have noticed or cared. And yet, they didn't. They went one step beyond.


    6) Stories Left Untold

    [​IMG]

    I don't mean dangling plot threads left unresolved. Those annoy me. I'd like to know what happened to Melissa and Andrew after the Warriors of Destiny storyline, for example; I'd like to know what the hell was up with that alternate Moonglow that the blackrock detector opened, and if there are any others like it; I'd like to know what sort of temporal madness created New Haven and turned the old one into a pit of undead (I know the answer to both these questions is "Blackrock breaks the universe," but a canonical explanation and exploration would be great); and I want to know just what was in Trammel before British replicated Britannia into it. That's the official storyline, however. One thing I love about the actual world is just how much of it is left unexplained.

    This is something that UO does better than any other MMORPG. WoW's roleplayers, just to pick an example, are corralled (and strangled, in my opinion) by excessive, restrictive lore. They have some freedom, but for the most part they're bound to worldbuilding and story-telling that's been done by somebody else. Sosaria, on the other hand, is an amazingly rich and detailed world, beautifully designed, lovingly laid out, and - given its size and the age of the game - almost totally unbound by official fiction. What little we're given is just enough to provide a solid framework.

    I can't express what an amazing environment this is for roleplayers. Ask seven different communities about the history of, say, Britain, and you'll get seven fundamentally similar but wildly individual answers.

    My personal favourite example of this is the Dungeon [of the] Khaldun. This criminally under-visited dungeon is only found in the Felucca Lost Lands, near Papua. (A mirror of it was created in Trammel in 2008 for the Hallowe'en event, but is no longer accessible.) It's very hard for a stealther to manage, on account of the auto-detecting shadow fiends. (These goddamn things) :

    [​IMG]

    Khaldun has quite a bit of lore compared to some other places, centred around a team of archeologists who discovered the dungeon, dug up its treasures, and came to a sticky end. The whole story can be found on Stratics. However, there's much more to the dungeon that is left unspecified. It's obvious that it's very old, that it's very evil, and that it was either built by or used by the cult of a figure called Khal Ankur. Found inside it are the aforementioned shadow fiends (almost unique to the game, save for a single room in Ilshenar that I've never been able to explore because of them), the tentacles of the Harrower, and the five ancient liches. It's littered with wall carvings like this.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    And that's all we get. We know the place is ancient, we know it's cursed, we know there's something to do with a cult. And that's all. Who or what is Khal Ankur? We don't know. Who were these arcane demon-worshippers who once lived above ground in the Lost Lands? We don't know. The ancient liches, who are presumably the hooded quintet from the wall carvings, have names - Kaltivel, Baratoz, Almonjin, Maliel and Anshu - and weird titles (what sort of title for an unspeakably evil undead monster is "The Breath of Life?"), but who were they, and what do the titles mean? We don't know. We get the framework of some untold, probably horrifying and Lovecraftian story, and we can build on it if we wish.

    [​IMG]

    That's AWESOME.

    [​IMG]

    Seriously, I love Khaldun.


    ETA: I sat down to write a short list and I ended up with a thesis. Sorry! It will be split up into two parts for your convenience. Coming up next, in a few days: "Things I'd Like More Of"!
     
  2. Rupert Avery

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    68
    I really like this thread thank you :)
     
  3. PsychoKinetic

    PsychoKinetic Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    14
    Awesome post. Terort Skitas ( I thought I was the only one who knew about that place. ) is my favorite 'dungeon' as well. I love how its a calm beautiful relaxing place on the top levels and a true challenge in the depths.

    I made an attempt to question the balrons in this room to see what they were plotting down there but they were... uncooperative.

    TerortSkitas.jpg

    I too love UO. :cool:
     
    sablestorm, BeaIank and Alouenikah like this.
  4. virtualhabitat

    virtualhabitat Lore Keeper
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 24, 2011
    Messages:
    755
    Likes Received:
    642
    very cool. I too like all of the bizarre places and objects/architecture throughout the lands.

    My personal favorite thing in the game are all of the secret passages and hidden caves/dungeons. No matter where you are, there is usually a back door/secret passage leading out of or into somewhere nearby.

    I know people go on and on about graphics, but the prettiest 3D pictures in the world can't hold a candle to the layered depth inside the world of Sosaria.
     
  5. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2001
    Messages:
    30,889
    Likes Received:
    5,174
  6. Shelra

    Shelra Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2010
    Messages:
    440
    Likes Received:
    169
    There's a couple of things you've mentioned that I haven't heard of myself that I am now going to make a point to explore! Thank you for sharing this Alouenikah, and I look forward to Part 2! :)
     
  7. Ludes

    Ludes Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    2,382
    Likes Received:
    648
    Very well done! Really points out well what is unique and loved about this game.

    Though I must admit I was pretty sure I was the only one that explored like that. Glad I was wrong.
     
  8. Petra Fyde

    Petra Fyde Peerless Chatterbox
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2001
    Messages:
    30,889
    Likes Received:
    5,174
    There used to occasionally be a thread on Europa where people would post a remote location and ask others to guess where it was. Maybe we should do something like that. Where is it - and how would you get there without a rune. :D
    We would have to avoid shard specific EM and Seer locations.
     
  9. Alouenikah

    Alouenikah Caretaker of Sudiva
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jul 15, 2011
    Messages:
    427
    Likes Received:
    157
    Hi! I'm glad you all like my post. :] I hope that this thread at least reassures the devs that there are people left who genuinely love UO.

    Petra, it's funny you should say that, because I'm actually planning a player event in the next few weeks that'll be something along those lines. And thanks for clearing that up about the sorcerer's dungeon! I knew it had to have a name of some sort, but I was drawing a total blank.

    If anybody has a spare afternoon and a stealther (or a 70s suit, I guess), I wholly recommend going out and exploring the entire world. Not many people take the time to fully explore it, and it is seriously mind-boggling how large it is.

    Also, this thread doesn't have to be a one-man show. If there's anything that you, anonymous reader, love about UO that you'd like to make known, please post it! Let's get a circle of positivity going. :heart:
     
  10. Taylor

    Taylor Former Stratics CEO (2011-2014)
    Professional VIP Stratics Veteran Supporter Alumni Campaign Benefactor Alumni

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    8,023
    Likes Received:
    1,714
    Agreed. More ladies please.

    >.>
    <.<
     
    Nok and G.v.P like this.
  11. Alstadt

    Alstadt Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2003
    Messages:
    139
    Likes Received:
    6
    Great thesis :) Cant wait for part 2
     
  12. Cogniac

    Cogniac Grand Inquisitor
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    4,322
    Likes Received:
    164
    On Atlantic, one of the EM arcs used Ilshenar rather extensively a few years ago. There are still books and random items locked down in certain remote places that you can go and investigate.

    I'm just sad that we can't currently get into the ankh room, or the event dungeon beneath the Ethereal Fortress.
     
  13. Mirt

    Mirt Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,726
    Likes Received:
    286
    Great thread. I agree with you I love Ilsh it does look like something happened there. I love the open stories and would love to see some more on that. Your really right about Khaldun. I am thinking about going down there again now just to keep looking at things. Thank you.
     
  14. Rupert Avery

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2011
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    68

    I did a Hunt for Rupert event a couple times :)
     
  15. Lord Frodo

    Lord Frodo Grand Poobah
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Messages:
    5,814
    Likes Received:
    2,312
    Great post.
     
  16. Lord Nabin

    Lord Nabin High Council Sage - Greater Sosaria
    Professional Premium Stratics Veteran Supporter Glorious Lord ACW

    Joined:
    Sep 3, 2007
    Messages:
    4,081
    Likes Received:
    2,259
    Awesome Post! I really like these Positive spins on the game !!!
     
  17. DarkWolf

    DarkWolf Seasoned Veteran
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    May 12, 2008
    Messages:
    438
    Likes Received:
    44
    Awesome post! I'm going to have to go and have a tour of some of the places you mentioned. Thank you for posting this!
     
  18. startle

    startle Siege... Where the fun begins.
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Gilfane

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,279
    Likes Received:
    1,263
    Wonderful post! I too am blown away by the sheer size of Sosaria and always enjoy exploring. Looking forward to Part 2 !

    ;)
     
  19. startle

    startle Siege... Where the fun begins.
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Gilfane

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,279
    Likes Received:
    1,263
    Sure, why not!
    Here's one of many remote spots that makes UO so special. Imagine the pure enjoyment that went into creating this peaceful spot! ( Have you ever been here?)

    [​IMG]
     
    Rupert Avery likes this.
  20. Beldin Brightaxe

    Governor Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2004
    Messages:
    588
    Likes Received:
    207
    Ahh lad, yer always "radiating happiness" wherever yer go. It's a pleasure tae huv yer on Baja.

    An' this is a bryn post !

    Ah've been doing some wanderin' masal. Thae lands are a great place ter travel. Always something interesting tae see.
     
    Jade of Sonoma likes this.
  21. PsychoKinetic

    PsychoKinetic Journeyman
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    May 24, 2008
    Messages:
    252
    Likes Received:
    14

    Lol, Startle. I actually have a mouse pad and a coffee mug with a picture of my guild mate and I standing there at that altar. It is easily one of the most beautiful places in UO.

    Thank you for sharing.
     
  22. LordDrago

    LordDrago Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2004
    Messages:
    1,500
    Likes Received:
    393
    Great Post! :)
     
    Jade of Sonoma likes this.
  23. startle

    startle Siege... Where the fun begins.
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend Gilfane

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Messages:
    3,279
    Likes Received:
    1,263
    My pleasure, PK, I just had to post it..... That spot just makes me feel good, whenever I go there...
    :rolleyes:
     
  24. Jade of Sonoma

    Jade of Sonoma Babbling Loonie
    Stratics Veteran Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2004
    Messages:
    2,319
    Likes Received:
    166
    ALOUENKKAH ! Great post! Well written and beautifully illustrated. Yes! UO is unique! Am looking forward to reading more by you. :)
     
  25. Frarc

    Frarc Stratics Legend
    Stratics Veteran Alumni Stratics Legend

    Joined:
    Mar 18, 2003
    Messages:
    7,770
    Likes Received:
    1,132
    Its a little bit like the trubute a wrote for last years anniversary : Sosaria

    There is just so much different things to do to love this game. :)
     
  26. ACB1961

    ACB1961 Lore Keeper
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 8, 2008
    Messages:
    989
    Likes Received:
    7
    I've been seeing a lot of people quitting lately.

    I think they aren't seeing what we're seeing.

    I was bored all the time until I was about 13. My dad walked in and said "No one is ever going to be able to keep you entertained. You're going to have to do that for yourself." He was right. UO is like that. You can do the same things over and be bored, or you can really explore the worlds.

    I don't think there will ever be a richer game because of the varied amount of the content. Soo many people worked on it, I don't think anyone will ever explore it all. Not really if you factor in hidden things, easter eggs, that sort of thing.

    I can't imagine ever leaving by choice, this is beyond pixel rewards and graphics and killing people. This is my home.

    Have a Blessed Day!
     
  27. Nine Dark Moons

    Nine Dark Moons Certifiable
    Stratics Veteran

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,687
    Likes Received:
    43
    i love this post, it gives me a warm happy feeling *hugs Alouenika*
    it's great to see a positive post amidst all the doomsday ones of late.
    thanks for sharing these cool places - i've never seen some and it makes me feel like doing some exploring of my own!
     
    Jade of Sonoma, Mirt and LordDrago like this.