Ultima Online is the brainchild of Richard Garriot, creator of the popular PC game series “Ultima”, which enjoyed a great deal of success in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s. It wasn’t until 1997 that the massively multiplayer online role playing game (MMORPG) known as Ultima Online would hit market shelves. But nobody quite knew the potential that this graphic-based role playing game had, and the impact that it would have in the near future on the entire world of gaming as we once knew it.
This was the first game to bring together tens of thousands of players from all over the world, and put them in a shared game world; and indeed this game was the first MMORPG to ever reach 100,000 – they claim to have peaked with an in-game virtual population of 250,000 people. With Ultima Online one player in Florida or California can interact with a player all the way in Japan or Australia, for example – and Origin, the original publishers of Ultima Online, established web servers to accommodate the worldwide fan base of Ultima Online. All of this was rather unheard of at the time, even in the age of the internet, and it would open the door for many more MMORPGs to follow; some of which have seen a greater amount of success than others, and some have even closed down their servers for good already, whereas Ultima Online has remained a popular game amongst fans for over 10 years now.
There have been a lot of bugs, exploits, cheats, and hacks throughout the years, and this is another factor that has turned away many gamers. Under the new ownership of Electronic Arts, they have attempted to address and fix as many of these issues as possible. While they haven’t been able to fix them all entirely, overall they have done an exceptional job in removing cheaters and hackers from their game.
Though there have been many expansion packs released since the original release, and despite the fact that developers have kept things exciting with new content and server specific quests, Ultima Online is now finding it difficult to compete with the numerous other MMORPGs on the market – the very games that Ultima Online helped pave the way for in the first place. This is due in part to the enhanced graphics seen in newer games, while Ultima Online for the most part has stuck to its roots. While this is a major turn-off to casual gamers, diehard gamers and Ultima fans take pride in the nostalgia and classic feel that Ultima Online still has to offer, even a decade after its release.