Human game playing behaviour has roots that very likely go back to the earliest mammals, and perhaps beyond that. Game playing serves more than one function, but the function that interests me the most is it's usefulness in developing and honing skills and tactics which can be used in contexts that are less safe and more significant in terms of “real life” consequences. In other words, what interests me most about games is what they can teach us about “real life”. I just finished watching a documentary on Ernest Thompson Seton. He was in many ways the founding father of the American environmental movement, and one of his primary motivations was his witness to the death throes of the American Wilderness. He was there, and he was part of the story, when the last wilderness in the West was “tamed”, and witnessed the slaughter of the last of the great wild predators of the American West, the grey wolf. It occurred to me as I was watching this documentary that there was a parallel between what happened with the American wilderness and what happened when Trammel was created. When Trammel was created Sosaria was made “safe”, the wolves were muzzled and held captive in Felucca, and unfortunately the realms of Ultima Online lost some of their romance and their beauty, and some of their usefulness as an example of human game playing behaviour. I find it interesting that so much effort has been made to restore and protect the wilderness of America, and in a similar way the devs have tried to restore the wildlands of Sosaria, but there is no going back, something was lost when Trammel was created that will never be restored, no matter what is done. A “classic shard” may be a worthwhile “conservation measure” but there is no returning to those mad, magical days when Ultima Online was young, dangerous and beautiful in a way that she will never be again.