Ultima Online

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How to 'toilet' in space and other lessons from a remarkable life

Inside Richard Garriott's fascinating new Explore/Create memoir

When I first spoke to Richard Garriott, the creator of Ultima, five years ago, I accused him of being weird. He had just told me he owned "a dungeon filled with macabre items" to be fair; five vampire-hunting kits, three shrunken heads, two mummies, three skeletons in coffins, human hearts and a human foetus. That's weird, isn't it? But he just laughed. "You might call it weird," he said. "I call it fascinating."

Richard Garriott's Shroud of the Avatar is Ultima Online 2 in so many ways

It has promise but the pre-alpha isn't recommended for all.

When Ultima Online came out 17 years ago it blew my teenage mind. My medieval fantasy world was alive, inhabited by actual other people. I didn't care that I didn't have any idea what to do because it was so exciting! But Ultima Online was obtuse - making progress was an initiation, not a right. It was a reward in and of itself. And knowing that someone could come and kill you in a dungeon and loot everything you carried? Part of the magic.

EA BioWare announces Ultima Forever

EA BioWare announces Ultima Forever

Update: on PC and iPad "later this year".

Update: The official Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar press release has arrived. It will be a PC and iPad game, and be released later this year.

Ultima Forever will have "fully integrated" cross-platform play, and "rich and deep" RPG elements.

BioWare Mythic is developing the game. This must be the project Warhammer Online orator Paul Barnett is leading.

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The prospect of Ultima Online creator Richard Garriott leading a well-funded MMO project for NCsoft was mouth watering. But Tabula Rasa lasted just 15 months before NCsoft pulled the plug and Garriott walked away.

EA making a new Ultima Online?

Talkative EA bigwig Paul Barnett involved?

Question-marks - that's what hangs over EA's decision to stop people giving away Ultima IV for free; that's what hangs over BioWare-Mythic creative director Paul Barnett (formerly a Warhammer Online preacher) mentioning "secret projects"; that's what hangs over the mystery MMO an EA job posting exposed yesterday.

Mythic "committed" despite layoffs

Ultima, DAOC and WAR are safe, it says.

Mythic executive producer Jeff Hickman has moved to reassure players of the three MMOs that it operates - Warhammer Online, Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot - that it will continue to support them with customer service and new content.

Ultima Online doing better than new MMOs

"Tons more content" to come.

The lead designer of Ultima Online has boasted that the 12-year-old game is doing better than many more modern rivals, and still has plenty of new content to come in future.

Ultima Online welcoming old players back

Two free weeks to enjoy vintage MMO.

EA and Mythic are offering anyone who's ever played Ultima Online a chance to revisit the vintage MMORPG for free, with unlimited game time, between now and 16th October.

UO: Stygian Abyss beta sign-ups begin

UO: Stygian Abyss beta sign-ups begin

MMO's eighth expansion summer-bound.

Mythic is now accepting sign-ups for the Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss closed beta test.

Only current Ultima Online subscribers will be able to take part, and there are only a limited number of spots available. Head over to the official Ultima Online website to put your name down.

Mythic announced recently that Stygian Abyss will launch this summer. It's the eighth expansion for the long-running MMO and most notably adds a playable gargoyle race and enormous Stygian Abyss dungeon - the hardest the virtual world has ever seen, apparently.

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Ultima's Stygian Abyss expansion dated

Ultima's Stygian Abyss expansion dated

Gargoyle playable race this summer.

Mythic has announced that Ultima Online expansion Stygian Abyss will arrive this summer. The same add-on had been promised a release two years ago.

Stygian Abyss, the eighth expansion for the isometric MMO, adds the playable Gargoyle race that has unique Throwing, Imbuing and Mysticism skills. And there's the eponymous Stygian Abyss dungeon itself, which is the largest of any in Ultima Online, and home to the wickedly difficult Medusa, Primeval Lich and Stygian Dragon baddies.

The expansion also opens the Gargoyle homeland of Ter Mur for exploration, and introduces new areas where players can punch each other like rats.

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A million gold farmers in China

70 per cent of all trade is in WOW gold.

In a revealing profile of the gold-selling industry - the second in our four-part feature series on the trade in in-game currencies and services - the number of gold farmers in China is estimated at one million.

Ultima Online

Kingdom revisited.

It's always the maze that gets me. Though its appeal has waned somewhat after each subsequent visit, I still hold fond memories of meandering through a seemingly endless tangle of forest and shrubbery - darting past an ettin, a gargoyle, and perhaps less thrillingly, a mongbat - and finding myself at the entrance of a giant hedge labyrinth. Supposedly constructed by the wizard Relvinian with a view to getting daemons to do his laundry, it's a calming, floral little place whose only real perils are the odd troll-under-the-bridge and the nimbus of hellspawn living at its core. It's not tied to any particular quest I know of; it's just sitting there, waiting to be discovered.

It seems crazy, but Ultima Online was originally released ten years ago. Can the MMO really be so old? Can an MMO so old really still be around today? Well, it appears yes. While the developers were extremely cagey when we asked how many players are still on the servers, it’s certainly enough for EA to still take it seriously.

Ultima Online loses 15 trillion

EA sorts out naughty users.

Ultima Online's rulers have taken steps to sort out a large number of users who were using the MMORPG's cheque system to store enormous amounts of gold created by manipulating game-exploits.

Mythic to work on Ultima Online

Announcement promised soon.

Just weeks after EA announced its acquisition of MMO developer Mythic, it's been revealed that the studio will be helping out with Ultima Online.

Ultima X: Odyssey canned

Another MMORPG is scratched off release schedules.

Electronic Arts has ceased development of MMORPG Ultima X: Odyssey. In a note on the game's official website, producer David Yee cited the need to refocus resources on Ultima Online - including a forthcoming expansion and another, as-yet unannounced project - and said it was "the right move for the future of all things Ultima, including the community and the team."

Electronic Arts and its underlings Origin Systems have finally revealed what they've been concocting under the sheets at a press and fan conference in San Franciso yesterday. The big announcement was the long-awaited and - according to just about everybody - much needed new title to advance the Ultima franchise, Ultima X: Odyssey.

Ultima merchant goes pro

Another example of the BBC's obsession with reselling intangible MMORPG goods, anyone?

MMORPG fan Julian Dibbell is carving a new life for himself out of the online market for cash, weapons, armour, homes and other artefacts found in Ultima Online, BBC News Online reports this week. Apparently Julian set himself a goal of earning $1000 in three weeks, and having scraped it by a hair's breadth, he's now planning to support his wife and child by playing UO and flogging its wares.

Lord British is back

Richard Garriott talks about the demise of Origin and his return to the gaming industry

When Richard Garriott left Origin following the release of the