When I was 13 years old I was discovering multiplayer games. That was in the end of the 90s and Internet was still very expensive and paid by the minute usually. You gotta dial up your 56k modem and occupy your families phone line. That made internet cafe’s popular and by the time a new sort was coming to our town, specialising on multiplayer and online gaming. This “PC-Arena” was where I discovered ultima online. Some PC-Arena regulars already started a guild and actively played this game and it hooked me instantly. I was blown from the idea of a fantasy world you could explore with thousands of people online. It was awesome and new to the time.
Also it’s pretty different from nowadays mmorpg’s, it was very complex and you were pretty much just thrown into the world without much of an tutorial teaching you the game mechanics. It is also the most complete playerdriven sandbox style with still unique features making it a world to live in and you’d see that people live in. PvP in uo was brutal, full loot, open pvp – you felt a rush of adrenaline when a red name, indicating a player killer, appeared on the screen. These were vicious individuals, having murdered at least 5 people and mostly being very skilled in pvp. And skill is needed for uo pvp, unlike other mmo’s you have a lot of possibilities and dont just press a key for the 5 main skills…
I will certainly login to uo and play a bit on atlantic, unfortunately the only populated server left and ping time is very viable in uo…you just cant run as fast as ppl with good pings.
While watching uo pvp vids, also check this song, by the epic uo parody song writer midas: Midas – r0xx0r http://www.digiphobia.com/ultimasongs/data/882jms.rm
And to have the full retro uo experience, ImaNewbie, fan made uo comics. There was a lot of fansites and fan productions around ultima online. Let alone the reverse engineering of the server software, resulting in a strong “freeshard” community with still a lot of servers running. If you want the real, 1998 uo all newbies hated so much, which was the best age of uo, try uosecondage.com and get pwned by pk’s.