Ultima Online 2 rumors

I don’t know what to make of these rumors floating around about an Ultima Online 2.   All of the news entries about the rumors all start with a build-up about how Ultima Online was one of the first MMORPG’s and then say a sequel might be underway … and then they remind the reader that EA owns it all. That just about squashes it for me.  Realistically, EA will never, ever, see the light of reason and create a game that pays tribute to the original — ever.  I’m not being cynical here, I’m being real.  All of the nerdgasms and excited are for naught and the proof is in the track record of EA putting out games and sequels.  I would love a UO2, but I don’t want an EA McMMO that merely tries to capitalize on the namesake of UO while exhibiting none of the traits from the original.

As for Paul Barnett’s alleged participation, I’m also completely indifferent.  I like the guy as a person.  I got to hang out with him a little bit at E3 2008.  He’s smart, knows a good deal about video games, but unfortunately, in my opinion, falls victim to the reputation of the company.  All of the bitterness over WAR often gets thrown in Paul’s very public face.  Is he responsible for the hype or was he just doing his job?  The answer could be yes to both questions.  I don’t really know.  If he were on the alleged project then I would still be indifferent.  Paul’s a creative guy and a marketing guy, whether his job description says so or not.  I do not see how blaming one man, especially one in his position, for WAR is possible.  Personally, I have a very long list of who was responsible and Paul is near the bottom.

UO2 would be awesome, but if it happens it won’t be anything like the original.  EA would have to radically alter their modus operandi.  I do not see the epitome of corporate gaming woes being the one to turn things around.

  • Has EA ever released a sequel for any of their MMORPGs? I mean, wasn’t UO 2 originally set to “release” quite a few years ago? They had a new UO project in the works that was ultimately scrapped? It was called Ultima Worlds Online, or something like that. I highly doubt that they would try to bring that back to life now. Especially since it didn’t work then.

  • I would love to see a new UO MMO but as Tobold said in his post about it, I can easily see it being released as a quick and easy Flash browser game or a sub-standard F2P game. I want to see a UO sequel done properly with the time, attention and budget it deserves.

  • I am with Keen…I should be excited but I am not. There is no way the magic of UO can be recreated…it would merely be a pathetic attempt.

    The UO sequel was a very long time ago – I think when UO was still pretty active. I vaguely remember hearing that it was a total clusterf…and that it lacked a total concept. The cancellation was sold then to the public as “we dont want to compete with ourselves.”

    It was so long ago and the UO2 developed seemed so dumb that I dont think the failure back then is any evidence that it wouldnt work today. There are about a million other reasons though why it would fail!

  • I’m torn. Maybe it’s because I follow the MMO bloging community but EQ has proven that old hard MMOs still have a place. I just don’t think EA is the company to get behind that kind of project. They seem more bent on Dragon Age style RPGs with that sort of story but online to justify a monthly fee. While no one seems able to compete with WoW for all time king of MMOs subs EA and NCSoft are in a tight battle for king of the 3 month MMO.

  • I remember when PC Gamer put the first Ultima Online sequel on their magazine cover, only to have it canceled a few months later. Maybe EA should have Bioware make a decent single-player Ultima game, that could be cool.

  • I got excited for 1 second when I heard the rumor, then remembered who owned the rights to the Ultima name =(

    It’s like learning that the really hot girl that lives in the next door apartment has a really big dick =X

  • There are also rumors of Richard garriot doing something with his King British persona which i guess does not fall under the UO licences. As for the rest I agree with you.

    As for Paul Barnett I do not know him personally but I am not fond of him as a designer or as a person. On a few occasions he put his employees through public humiliation. He also has written essays on game management where he prefers inexperienced Yes Men over Veterans.

  • well wouldn’t this be Ultima Online 4 or 5? sense 2 has been “started” and never finished Multiable times. Plus these same rumors sufficed a year ago as well but it was reported that it was going to be a Korean company. The same one that did the free to play Galactica game.

    I love Ultima but no good can come of this. EA destroyed Ultima Online having them make a 2 no matter who they hire will only be a joke

  • I think the point behind this rumor actually servers it purpose, though. It’s a publicity stunt. Probably started by EA. It’s started an Ultima buzz again. It makes people take another look at a game they hold so dear. If they do make a UO 2, then I hope it succeeds. I doubt it will, but it would be nice. If it was anything close to the original I would be all over it.

    That said, it would fail before it started. Nothing will ever compare to the original feeling that Ultima Online gave me. Moreso because I was playing with a bunch of very close RL friends. It was my very first MMO and will FOREVER hold a place with me. I guess I’m kind of like Keen with DAoC when it comes to UO. I would definitely play a good sequel, but it would NEVER feel like the first.

  • McMMO! The consumption and digestion of Bioware has brought more awareness of the horrors for me. As usual, I enjoyed reading your post.

  • Kinda agree there, Keeno. UO2 was actually in early development around year 2000, but it got cancelled as UO1 generated enough money and a sequel would just compete with the original. A new UO would definitely be nice, but you would need the people of Origin, or like-minded, behind the project and no involvement from EA. Unfortunately I can’t see that ever happening.

    @wufiavelli

    Barnett is also known for pulling a joke on people…

  • I’m sure lots of players are angry with Paul B. but EA should absolutely adore him. He played a major role in Sham-WOWing 750K+ people to buy a pretty crappy game. Without him, EA wouldn’t have made nearly as much back on their investment.

  • What I find interesting is that there are so many people who complain about all the newer MMO’s out there and who are so fond/nostalgic for the older MMO’s of UO, EQ and AC.  Yet these same people continue to play the newer MMO’s like Rift or go back to playing WoW.
     
    My question to you all is WHY?  All three of the original MMO’s are still around and although they are not 100% like the old game we remember, they are still (IMO) better than the games being pushed out today.  Not only are they better (IMO) but if you really want to play the games of old you actually do have several options, a few of which are FREE!
     
    Currently Sony has added two new TLP (Time Locked Progression) servers to EQ.  Both of these new servers are currently set at EQ circa 1999.  You do get the new graphics though and new zones as well as the game being somewhat different than it was in 1999.  I think the biggest changes are that the power level of certain characters (Monks, Mages & Necros) are much stronger now than 1999.  Added to that are the fact that the solo classes who leveled much faster back in 1999 actually will level slower now if they continue to solo as XP is no longer divided between players in a group.  Each play now gets 100% xp from killing a mob in a group. 
     
    If you are looking for something as close as possible to the 1998-1999 era you have two options.  For UO fans you can play on the free shard, UOSecondAge.  This shard tries to recreate UO back after it’s first expansion in 1998.  It’s UO as you remember it.
     
    For you EQ fans, you can play the game I’m playing currently and hop on to Project1999, en EQEmulated server that first started to recreate the EQ experience from back in 1999.  As you already know from Keen’s posts, just this past week they introduced the Kunark expansion and everyone is having a blast there.
     
    If you really are nostalgic for these games of the past and feel that today’s games aren’t really providing the MMO experience you want, put your money where your mouth is and come play on them.  Sony has already taken notice of how popular P99 is to the point that I believe it was the reason they finally created  their TLP servers, which have been insanely popular.  Personally I refuse to play another McMMO that is just another theme park on rails.  I got my cleric to 50 in Rift but OMG getting from 40-50 was torture and I am just not up for grinding out instances for PvP and PvE gear rewards.

  • “EA would have to radically alter their modus operandi.”

    And there you have it. Do you really want a company that’s know for seedy hiring practices, a company that’s seemingly afloat based off the acquiring of the Sega sports team to relaunch an MMO?

    You’d be better off if a company that at least doesn’t cover their lies/bull like Atari jumped in instead.

  • I think a browser version of Ultima IV (or something similar) is much more likely. Considering they sent a bunch of cease and desist orders to U4 sites.

    UO2 would be a huge undertaking, and we probably would see a lot more job offerings.

  • I think a relaunch/polish of the original UO in a browser would be the way to go. I’d play it. (I know that’s not what they’re doing though.)

  • In regards to the progression servers, if an UO progression server was created how many current modern mmo gamers would go back and pay to play on it? Would it be worthy of a monthly fee to most of the players that want a UO style open MMO?

  • I would pay for a ‘fresh’ (read: new) supported UO “progression” (which is probably the wrong word. I’d go with “Classic”) server without really thinking twice.

  • To be 100% honest. There are to many non currency related alternatives to UO that are well run and contains communities of friends from back in the day. They also have large thriving populations. I would not go back to any EA run UO.

  • As far a Paul is concerned I hold no ill will to him. He did his job, he hyped the game. I think he will go down as the best MMO hyper of this decade. I believe he was told about alot of things that they intended to do to WAR and all of those ideas were cool, so he told us about them.

    This is why most developers don’t talk about game features until it is finalized… it can change. Paul told us about every idea, every possibility and we took it as gospil because we had never been given that level of information before.

    I wouldn’t write off a game because he was on it, but I sure as hell will be very cautious about believing what he says.

    PS EA sucks

  • @Damage Inc: We play the new games because the old games we love have changed so drastically that they’re not the same game anymore. I definitely know UO is nothing like it was when I played. It’s changed heavily for the worse. Why go back to a game I have so many fond memories of only for that idealized picture to be tarnished by the shell that it is now?

  • @ Damage Inc

    I think there probably 3 major reasons I have never gone back to any of the “old school” games like EQ and DAoC that I remember so fondly for any significant period of time (although I am currently playing EQ on Fippy Darkpaw).

    First – Keen’s chocolate cake analogy. These games are old. The graphics are sub-par (even for someone such as myself who does not put a lot of stock in graphics), the UI is often arcane and/or uncustomizable to any substanital degree, the combat is outdated and slow, and (somewhat suprisingly given their age and # of patches) the games are usually still riddled with bugs.

    Second – I can never get any of my friends I play with to give it a serious try. This is probably a symptom of the first reason I mentioned. This is especially true for folks who have played WoW and became accustomed to its UI, combat flow/mechanics and polish. If I can’t get my friends to play with me, its hard for a game to keep my interest for very long. I think this is one reason why every year or so I resub to DAoC or EQ or even EVE for a few months, get bored, and then cancel.

    Third – For me, these games typically represent concepts or ideals of certain fundamentals that I have come to accept should be present in any good MMORPG going forward. That does not mean that they are perfect or did not have problems that possibly kept me from playing them longer than I would have otherwise. For example, in EQ it took hours to find a group and accomplish anything. Once DAoC came out, I abandoned ship because of the better grouping/soloability/questing dynamics and the possiblity of PvP (which my understanding was for EQ at the time the choices were FFA or nothing at all). Notice, I’m not really complaining about how long it took to level or get to the cap…rather, I am talking about how long it took to put a group together, find a hunting spot and even START making progress. Then, once you started, it still took forever AND there was little reward often. The rewards for leveling in EQ were also few and far between. Sometimes you’ve got several levels between you and your next ability or upgrade (other than just plain stats of course). I guess the carrot just got too far away from me and I stopped caring as much.

    Examples like these are, I think, the primary reasons why folks want NEW games based on OLD concepts. The idea being to take what was great about the past MMORPGs we knew and loved and combine them with the polish, usability and some of the more recent gameplay mechanics that have evolved since then.

    Just my 2 coppers.

  • In a way I hope it never happens because of course I would try it and of course I’d be disgusted at what EA would create with UO2.

  • According to what I know from this, they closed those fan run Ultima IV “clones” because they intend to make a browser game based on Ultima IV and made by Bioware. It wouldn’t be a MMORPG though.

  • @Idunaz: yeah, you are right.
    A part of me CRAVES for a new Ultima Online game with modern graphics. But another part of me is utterly scared, because knowing the actual mindset of the developers and, worse, the publishers like EA, it would most likely into a sad “UO in Theme Park Land” version of that great game.

  • There’s no point to make one.

    1. Ultima is not a big license at all. Not many people played UO, and the Ultima franchise is about as viable as the Myst one is.

    2. Sandbox games have failed to gain large sub amounts. Only one that hasn’t is EVE, and if EVE were about ogres and elves instead of spaceships, it would have as well.

    3. Why in god’s name would you have to deal with people’s expectations for UO2? It would be like remaking Citizen Kane. No matter what you do a lot of people will be unhappy.

    I think we’ll see this quietly buried, hopefully before it reaches an alpha state.

  • Dblade: I disagree.

    A good sandbox game made by a good company and not another band of amateurs who try to force flawed concepts like first person view and PvP gankfests on their players would work just fine. I mean a quality game with polish and a lot of content, and not crap like MO or DFO. Eve is actually a good example, and it’s success has nothing to do with spaceships, to the opposite… it managed to succeed DESPITE having players play spaceships instead of chars (more chars playing options were patched in recently I think).

    The recent sandbox attempts didn’t fail because they were sandboxes. They failed because they sucked. They failed because the developers were too arrogant and ambitious but didn’t have what it takes to do so. A sandbox is not a poorly coded PvP gankfest with no other really viable play style.

  • @Dblade

    Appearently you know little about UO. Sure, the game didn’t have the amount of official servers and populations as that of WoW or even Rift, WAR and what not. But that was just the official servers. Because of a huge mistake by the distributors, everyone was allowed to make their own servers without fear of legal conflict. UO is probably the single online game with most private servers on the internet, even surpassing private WoW servers and CoD servers in numbers.

  • The Merovingnian

    EVE is a horrible example. There’s no sand in the box. It’s just endless circular PvP, and Darkfall’s is probably better even with all the flaws. UO probably has more content than EVE.

    As for the well made, well, EA. Good luck.

    Kim:

    It’s a game an entire generation never heard about and doesn’t really care about. By the time they actually develop it, the people who played and cared about the originals will be in their 40s or 50s.

    Good luck trying to convince them to stop playing their pirate servers and take a risk on an updated one.

  • @Keen and anyone else interested in a UO Classic shard.

    I’m sure you have all followed the UO devs over the last year discuss the idea of a classic shard. Their conclusion, ain’t gonna happen.

    Well, within the last two months there has been a player run F2P UO Classic shard launched, In Por Ylem 2. I have played since launch and its been amazing. The population and activity level is tremendous. The operators have a couple nice tweaks which promote player interaction, but the rule set is true to pre-UO:R combat. Just check it out, if your interested in the real UO, IMO the best MMO ever created.

    http://inporylem.com/

    I’m not an operator of IPY, just a dedicated player!

  • @JJ Robinson:
    I’ve noticed that UO shard has an item shop where you can buy “gold” with real money to be able to buy exclusive items in game in a special shop. I’m not sure about that. It’s one thing to run a free server with other people’s client and artwork, but when you start to try to earn money with other people’s work… there’s a limit that I think should not be passed. Yes, even for Electronic Arts. I actually wonder if EA are aware of that.

  • @JJ Robinson: How is that shard different from UO:The Second Age? I started playing on that one and I am actually having a lot of fun again. I am surprised I got back into it. You remember that part of charcater development is a lot of small things that people nowadays take for granted!

    @The Merovingian: LOL if there is such an item shop – it isnt about if there is a limit that should not be passed…it is more about whether EA can or will sue/throw some cease and desist letters around. I’d imagine they will be sensitive about the money thing…on the other hand…you run a free shard…you have a website for it with advertising and you make money from that…that seems tolerated? Just have to know where they draw the line!

  • @Mero: The item shop is used for decorative items only. There is little to no game play advantage to the item shop. I have not donated any money to the item shop and feel absolutely no disadvantage. The majority of ppl using the item shop do so to decorate their houses.

    @Argorius: This shard does not have the T2:A expansion lands in it, but the devs have talked about potential future expansions. The skill gain is almost like a real shard with various tweaks, like skill scrolls that drops off mobs and bonuses to fighting in dungeons. This is by far been the closest experience to a real old school UO shard that will ever exist. Trust me I’ve been looking for 10 years! LOL

    Try the IPY shard to experience an open world, engaging pvp and the ultimate housing system. Hit me up here on this post if your new and looking for some help.

  • I have to admit…the In Por Ylem shard is actually pretty cool. I thought at first it was a shard with an old rule set but man…it has tons of odd features (new to me)…you can become a citizen of a town and there are elections for Kings….Detectives…Pirates…Paladins…

    I play off hours but I see like 1900 people logged in and the towns are full.