Blackthorn gets revenge on Ultima Online
Another new add-on pack for the ancient online role-playing game
Ultima Online was the first big success in the massively multiplayer genre, launching way back in 1997 and going steadily ever since. Four years on there is still life in the old horse, and Electronic Arts seem determined to carry on flogging it as long as there's flesh on its bones. Enter the latest in a long line of add-on packs for the game, Lord Blackthorn's Revenge, which will add 30 exotic new creatures led by the hideously transformed Lord himself, who is now "half human and all evil". The new creatures are designed by Todd McFarlane, who was working on characters for Ultima Online 2 until the sequel was unexpectedly cancelled earlier this year. Whether this new add-on pack for the original game is a way of salvaging that work or features entirely new McFarlane characters isn't clear at this stage, but either way the result should be interesting. McFarlane Productions will also be creating a pair of limited edition Ultima Online comic books and a series of six action figures based on the new characters. The pack will also add a new land called Ilshenar, home to Blackthorn's castle, along with 30 new items to craft and a new storyline to take part in involving the evil Lord's attempts to destroy Britannia. Another big addition is a Virtue System which will reward players "based on their choices and behavior during the game". Origin COO Ben Noel promises that Blackthorn's revenge "is going to be extremely exciting for the thousands of players who are always seeking new content and challenging adventures". Certainly with 225,000 subscribers still taking part in the game, despite the arrival of Everquest, Asheron's Call, Anarchy Online and Dark Age of Camelot since its initial release, it looks like Ultima Online still has a lengthy future ahead of it. Look for the new pack emerging in February.