Ultima Online Review

Role-playing all day, all night, in a huge world with thousands of other people. What more could a serious, and maybe even not-so-serious, RPG fan want? Ultima Online is the latest in the Ultima series created by Richard Garriot, aka. Lord British, many, many moons ago when RPGs were text-based. This incarnation exists entirely online in a rich real-time environment populated with thousands of other gamers.

This Ultima is a little different than the other versions you may be familiar with. Though the landscape is nearly the same there is no Avatar, no gargoyles and, seemingly no ultimate goal or storyline. Events in Ultima Online are completely generated by the players, though occasionally Origin has been known to seed a quest or two. The story goes that the Gem of Immortality has been shattered and each shard has produced a parallel universe. These universes serve as an explanation of the games servers. Currently a single server can hold about 2,000 people at once and everytime you play you must choose which server to play on. Your characters, however, can only exist on one server and cannot be transferred, so to play on a different server, if your favorite is full, means creating a new character.

Ultima Online is interesting because it allows players to completely choose their own paths within the game world. For example, if being a successful carpenter or tavern owner is your idea of fun, you can spend your entire online life making chairs and tending bar. If, however, you seek adventure and dungeon crawls and even all-out war, that too is certainly available. The world works on a complex real-world model where, say, if you kill too many rabbits, well, the bears that eat the rabbits may get mad and come after you. Subsequently, the angry bears may keep lumberjacks out of the woods, making the price of chairs soar to new heights.

Ultima Online is an extremely addicting game, especially since it is possible to become part of an online community. Player run guilds and towns, and even larger cities are becoming a common occurrence. Unfortunately though, as with many online games, technical problems tend to hinder gameplay. Complaints about bugs and rampant player killing are frequent on newsgroups and several web pages but Origin, for the most part, has been responsive to feedback, and updates the game via online patches. Customer service at Origin, however, seems to be notoriously bad and this is an issue that will definitely need fixing in the near future.

Ultima Online seems to be a game that will evolve over time, as long as player and company interest runs high. There are matters that still need to be ironed out, but for the most part, this is one of those games where “just a half hour” can turn, quite truthfully, into weeks and weeks of addiction.


Outstanding! Landscapes are rich and beautiful, with details such as books on shelves and monster animations.


There are some music and background noises, but you will probably turn them off to make the game run faster.


Completely addictive.

Replay Value

You might never stop playing!


The game comes with almost no documentation.

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