Tuesday, November 29, 2011 | 38
Some people have accused me of being too negative.God forbid someone who runs a blog called "I Hate MMORPGs" would mostly reflect on the low points of the genre, but what can you do? As an objective Video-Game Historian™ I'd like to point out a MMORPG that I have many fond memories of. I think I'm getting too soft in my old age...
Ultima Online - The Original GangstaLegend tells of a MMORPG that was created before epics and elite mobs. Lord British said unto the internet, "let there be a game without restrictions or kid-gloves", and it was good. Ultima Online should take full credit (and blame) for the old and disgruntled veteran gamers who expect MMORPGs to be fun.
Home Ownership and EconomyIn Ultima Online you could own a house on any clear spot in the actual world. This type of direct ownership hasn't been duplicated or improved on by any game. Once the world was full of homes, good locations became income opportunities. This type of high-demand property enabled in-game brokers who got rich buying and selling property.
The free-market economy in Ultima Online would make Ron Paul proud. Upon finding a powerful item, you have numerous options on how to turn a hefty profit. You could use the item to earn money hunting monsters, place a vendor on your property to sell your wares to players who wandered past, or just sell it first hand to players hanging out in populated areas. Everything breaks eventually, so a salesman will always have a market.
Did I mention that there was an underground thieves guild relocating gold in all major cities? Yeah, awesome.
Player vs. PlayerUltima Online's Player vs. Player, if recreated today, would be more innovative than any current game on the market for one reason: It emphasizes player ability and tactical decisions over epic-gear and time-invested. Players who wanted to live outside the law could earn a decent living, but the repercussion of being an outlaw was incredibly harsh. This type of risk-reward system hasn't been reproduced or improved upon by any modern game.
Want to kill people, but don't like getting your hands dirty? Ultima Online was the game for you! A skilled tinker could craft traps that killed any unsuspecting and greedy treasure-hunter instantly. Hell, my mad-bomber killed hundreds of people before being tracked down and put to justice. Awesome.
Crafting wasn't awful!Crafting in Ultima Online was a career, and not an afterthought. A good blacksmith was always necessary to repair valuable weapons and armor before they permanently break, or create mid-high end gear for warring guilds and adventurers.
Instead of forcing carebears to delve into the wilderness and gain arbitrary levels so they could become master craftsmen, Ultima gave them the comfort of the city, and a healthy economy to run. Awesome.