Ultima Online Post-Mortem - 15 Years Later

The Game Developer's Conference is a collection of annual events that bring together the best and brightest minds in the game development community to share ideas with their peers. Every once in a while, GDC Vault releases some of those presentations for free to the general public, and this is one of those awesome times!

This time around, it's a video lecture from GDC Online, held in Austin last October. But it wasn't just any lecture, no sir. It's a post-mortem of sorts for the grand-daddy of our genre -- Ultima Online.

[Note: To access chapter selection, click the fullscreen button or check out the video on the GDC Vault website]

12 Games of Christmas: Ultima Online

UO is the grandaddy of the MMO industry and so the appropriate choice for the first of our 12 Games of Christmas.

Back in September, Ultima Online marked its 15th Anniversary. To celebrate this remarkable achievement, we asked one of its long-time players, Padric of Chesapeake,  to tell the story of the game and how it affected his life.

You can find Part Two of his recollection of just how much of an impact the game had on the gaming world and his own life, right here. For now, read on to be reminded of just how much games can affect our lives in ways that continue to surprise.


Back at the dawn of recorded history; well the early days of the internet, although there are many who will tell you that nothing of importance occurred before the ‘net, there was a man named Richard Garriott. In the mid '90s, gaming, for the most part, consisted of pencil and paper MUDs and Pong.

Garriott would change that forever.Screenshot


Ultima Online: A Player's Celebration Part 2

This is the final part of an article by a long time player of Ultima Online

UO is the first game of its kind to find wwide ranging success and paved the way for many of the games you play today -- including one that launched last night.

Read the first part of the article here.


Download Ultima IV for Free on Ultima Forever Site

To celebrate 30 years of the Ultima franchise and 14 years of Ultima Online, EA and BioWare Mythic have launched a new Ultima Forever site that lets you download the original PC version of Ultima IV: Quest of the Avatar for free! If you've never played this classic game, here's a brief description from the site:

"Released in 1985, Ultima IV was the first in the 'Age of Enlightenment' period of Ultima games. It truly was a step forward in gaming, as it focused not on defeating some generic evil force with traditional “hack & slash” gameplay, but offered a story-driven quest based on ethical dilemmas presented to the player in an attempt to achieve enlightenment."

If that's not enough Ultima for you, then you'll be happy to know that Ultima Underworld 1+2 is now available on GOG.com for $5.99. The package includes Ultima Underworld: The Stygian Abyss and Ultima Underworld II: Labyrinth of Worlds.

Ultima Online Devs Answer Questions in Video

Ultima Online Producer Cal Crowner and Associate Producer Bonnie Armstrong have chosen YouTube as their medium to answer questions from the game's community, and they cover a variety of topics in their latest Q&A video. Watch it below for details on their plans for the game.

Crowner also wrote a brief producer's update letter that discusses the Ter Mur story, enhanced client crashes, player abuse and additional High Seas content. It pairs well with the video, so be such to check it out for even more Ultima Online news.

UO Producer Unveils Distillery, Discusses Updates

It looks like players will soon get the chance to distill and distribute alcohol in Ultima Online. In his latest letter to the community, Producer Calvin Crowner unveiled the distillery, which will allow players to engrave and name their special brews. The team will reveal more information on Magincia's bazaar area in the coming weeks, so keep an eye out for details on the raised garden bed, gargoyle statues and a llama topiary, as well as a feature that will finally allow vendors to sell pets.

Crowner said the team is "centering many decisions this year around improving the Enhanced Client (removing the Beta Tag); increasing the frequency of small developer-lead events; and improving the transition of new and returning players to Ultima Online." Also, the next story arc will center on the origin of Ter Mur. The first events should kick off in June and run for six weeks.

Ultima Online Dev Diary Video Outlines 2011 Plans

BioWare Mythic has released a new Ultima Online Developer Diary that focuses on what the team will be working on this year. Producer Calvin Crowner, Associate Producer Bonnie Armstrong and Lead Engineer Erik Brinkman cover a variety of topics, including a new client art set, a new player adventure and the continued implementation of new quests.

In order to get new players into the game, Brinkman says that the team wants to get the initial download to less than 200 MB. In order to accomplish this task, they will be adding an area for new players that they can explore while the rest of the client downloads in the background.

Ultima Online turns 14 years old in September. Get more details on the plans for the game in 2011 by watching the video below!

New European Community Manager

BioMythic has a new European Community Manager for their MMO games: DAoC, WAR and UO:


My name is Kai Schober, also known as Sterntaler to some of the European players, and I am happy to restart an old job in a new environment so to speak.

I started as a German Community Manager for Dark Age of Camelot in 2002 shortly after the European release - at that time in Paris working for GOA, the former French distributor for Europe. In that position I have been around through all expansions - from Shrouded Isles to Labyrinth of the Minotaur - helping, playing, doing events, or presenting the game to the players and the media at conventions and other occasions.

The Syndicate Celebrates 15 Years of Gaming

The Syndicate is celebrating its 15th anniversary this month! According to the Guinness Book of World Records, The Syndicate is the oldest, continuously operated online gaming guild. Members of this group have played nearly every MMO imaginable, but they focus predominantly on Ultima Online and World of Warcraft.

While the members of the guild enjoy playing games, they are also accomplished testers and guide writers. The group is featured in the MMO documentary Second Skin and published a book that details the first 10 years of the organization. The Syndicate is also the first online gaming entity to trademark its name, logo and slogan.

Congratulations to The Syndicate for 15 years of gaming! So ZAM readers, how old are your various guilds?

Ultima Online Ustream Dev Chat Planned

If you're an Ultima Online player, you might want to clear your calendar tonight, Dec. 1, from 7-8 p.m. EST for a dev chat. Here's the announcement from the UO Herald:

Come join the Ultima Online development team this Wednesday, December 1st, for a UStream Live Webchat! We'll be kicking things off on the official BioWare Mythic Ustream channel at 7:00 PM EST/4:00 PM PST and going until 8:00 PM EST/5:00 PM PST, so be sure to sign up for a UStream account ahead of time to participate in the live chat! The UO Stratics team will be helping us answer your questions about the following topics:

  • Veteran Rewards
  • Live Story Arc Progress
  • Holiday Season Plans
  • Stygian Abyss update
  • High Seas Fixes
  • Fishing