Monday, March 03, 2008

UO:KR -- What's old is, well, still old.

I guess it's fun that they kept Thopas around, but Ultima Online's new Kingdom Reborn update brings me right back to where I was when I was playing on a 333 MHz AMD K6. My Core 2 feels insanely sluggish and, in a grand irony, I'm only able to access those same portions of the UO world I was able to access a decade ago; there are *no*, count 'em, *no* new expansions built into the fancy new interface.

I just installed UO: Second Age again. Hopefully the old 2D client will be a little snappier. EA claimed it'd make the 2D clients obsolete/incompatible once 80% of the users went to KR. Hopefully they're keeping track of the number that switch to KR and back. Of course with the delay the expansion slated for summer 2007 has undergone, I don't see many major changes happening any time soon even if everyone had made the switch.

There are some nice additions to the new client, like a tool bar stolen straight from WoW [which I'm sure stole it from someone else], a quest log [ditto], and a world map with tons of spoilers, like dungeon locations. Was annoying that my house got nabbed by someone. Logging in had the unfortunate effect of popping me out in the middle of nowhere, mobs aggro'd.

In any event, here are the proverbial proofs of life.

... and, of course, your Resource Monitor on Vista + Kingdom Reborn. Memory-a-Plenty it ain't.

EDIT: You know, honestly, I feel pretty badly about my tone here. There is something neat (special?) about hearing that "You've entered Britain, here's the happy music" music that's hard to beat. It reminds me of when UO's Britain was bustling with players who weren't in UO for "character advancement" and were more interested in creating an enjoyable simulation, a MUSH even. It used to be that the fanciest armor was player-made, and people were proud to show off color-matching sets that could only be made by craftsmen intent enough to find, mine, or trade for a rainbow of ingots, and that's just one example. Players used to be proud to have made an item well enough that their name was inscribed onto it, and when you saw the person who'd made your gear in Britain, you'd give a quick bow.

That MUSH feel is likely gone from UO now, I think, and was certainly gone from Britain when I was there tonight, where I only saw two other characters during my quick visit when I used to see scores. Still, the potential UO had and, I suppose, has is incredible. It was, initially, a wonderfully designed game. Perhaps if they'd let me into the new expansion material without shelling out $30, which I'm more than a little loath to do, I'd know if it continues to be as wonderfully developed. I've got my doubts, and today's (yesterday's?) UO players are partially to blame. It's so much easier to run from one NPC with a question mark over their head to the next with a bright yellow "!" before teaming up with warlocks played by 13 year-old boys for hours to run through dungeons so linear they might as well have been set up by [the 32X's] Admiral Ackbar. *sigh* Ye olde halcyon times of yore.

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