Archive for the “Ultima Online” Category

I have gotten a comment that this last bit may seem a bit negative and sarcastic. All I can say is… no kidding! It IS negative and sarcastic!

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I have been playing very little UO since I returned from my vacation in August. My time away from compulsive tailoring and running around doing stupid chores for the benefit of others (mostly the guys who loot my house next) has reinforced in my mind how incredibly stupid it all is. I have been in a couple of times, mostly to refresh my house, but have taken a couple of solo walkabouts to see what happens, and besides an occasional wimpy ogre or ettin or some PK’s who are now afraid to attack because of the reputation patch, almost nothing at all happens. In addition, I’m not really making the best use of my digital connection when playing UO, as I CL at least once an hour, and lag is still horrendous even on ISDN.

I’ll give it a little more time, but will not directly tell anyone in-game about my disappointment, or else I’ll be inviting some sort of “let’s cheer up Mu” event or chat which is designed to make me believe that somehow the sense of community is the real reason to play UO, it’s the players that matter, etc. etc. (Of course now someone will read this and it will happen anyway.) This is a valid tactic, and has worked on me before, but after you go through a lot of interesting experiences and belong to several communities throughout your life, it is amazing how easy it is to flow in and out of groups of people, as it should be; you leave a group, maybe keep in touch with one or two people, and move on. Barring this argument, the only reason to stay in UO is that there is no other game like it and it’s revolutionary, which is also true, but this cannot hide the fact that it is buggy, full of idiots, and most importantly, mind-numbingly BORING.

Of course, not everyone in the game is an idiot, and it does have its moments… damn what am I doing, trying to talk myself back into it? We’ll see.

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Although buggy beyond belief, overrun by murderous idiotic k3w1d0oDz and running on servers which have the processing power of a cheap wristwatch (they claim they are Suns, must be circa 1983 Suns), for some reason UO is extremely addictive and immersive. It’s inexplicable; I’ve been looted about 3 times, have to deal with morons every time I leave my one remaining secure house, have my friends constantly beg (or demand) money from me so they can waste it, and yet I still come back. There really is no other game currently on the market like UO, and the absurdist in me loves the interaction, even when it becomes utterly stupid (which is most of the time). The biggest problem with UO is not the bugs, the bad servers, the lag, or the unbalanced combat system, it’s the players. UO is designed to make money for Origin Systems Inc., and that money comes from players, many of whom simply wish to run around, act k3w1 and kill other players, loot their houses, and ruin their gaming experiences while enriching themselves. However, k3w1d0oDz have the same sort of money that serious gamers do (or at least their parents do), and so OSI looks the other way as the UO role-playing environment is systematically cut to pieces by their customer base.

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A bewildered, oddly pleased expression decorated Musashi’s face as he took inventory of his one remaining "secure" dwelling.  "Reagents still there… my weapons haven’t been moved to Kagero’s bank for ‘safekeeping’… my cloth is where I left it… the place isn’t looted clean… hmm…"  After only a week away from Sosaria, Musashi had fully expected to return to a looted and emptied house with some annoying graffiti scrawled on his signpost, or at least most of his belongings gone and a note from Kagero whining for more reagents right away.  After all, the other times he had been looted, it had seemed only one evening between a full and appointed home and an empty box in the woods; the lucky rogue of the week who took Musashi’s housekeys off of the somewhat absentminded Kagero certainly worked with all possible haste.  The shock of returning to his home and finding that it had not been burgularized left Musashi with only one logical conclusion to come to.

"Kagero is gone."

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"Slow business…" thought Musashi gloomily, having visited the Occlo tailor shop for the third time that day.  The proprietor Clyde, usually a reliable buyer of fine linens and cotton garments on this somewhat remote isle, semmed to be having problems finding captial.  "I cannot afford any more of that," he would say repeatedly.  Feeling badly for the poor merchant, Musashi was giving him a few complimentary shirts, gaining both the merchant’s gratitude and perhaps paving the way for good future business, when a young person in full plate approached.

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Such a dreary day, thought Musashi as he trudged along the streets of Magincia, another load of cloth weighing him down.  Even though his house had been broken into and looted by a vile thief while he was away tending to other business at a pleasure palace in Nujelm, he still needed a place to sew in peace and quiet, and so had taken to purchasing cloth in towns from his various suppliers, weaving them on the spot, and hauling the completed bolts of cloth back to his house where he could sew without the constant pressure of selling constantly, or the evil looks from his competitors.  There was an unspoken, deep rivalry amongst tailors, oh yes, and things might get ugly if any of them could actually fight.  (Actually, some could, which was another reason Mu was happy to take his leave of the shops when his business there was concluded.)

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"Hmm, lots of newbies here" thought Mu as he stood in front of the loom at the smaller of Britain’s two tailor shops, mindlessly passing shuttles of thread back and forth as his foot worked the pedals with the practiced ease of someone who has been doing this way too much.  Around the shop, an assortment of new citizens of the realm, obviously looking to earn some easy money, were wandering to and fro looking at the shop’s wares and trying to figure out how to proceed.  As they asked their questions ("How do I make cloth?… What should I sell?… Why isn’t there any thread in this shop?") Mu did his best to answer them, secure enough in his position in the market to be able to show some goodwill to these apprentices.

As he stood there, unconsciously passing the thread back and forth, a young, shabbily dressed man came up and stood near him.  "Hmm…" thought Mu; thieves sometimes liked to prey on those near the loom, and Mu kept a sharp eye on his pack.  However, he was somewhat startled to see the young man draw a rather cheap-looking dagger from its sheath and assume a combat stance.  "Wonder what he’s up to…" Mu thought, as the young man lunged at him.  Instinctively, Mu reacted by hurling a fist at the hapless attacker.

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Grimly, his muscles aching from the strain of continuous katana wielding, his face pale from the stress of being wounded and healed repeatedly in a short period of time, his breathing ragged and shallow, Musashi glared at his enemy.  Sorely wounded, his vile opponent had reduced Musashi to near-death several times; only his recent trip to Maegara’s Greater Heal potion vendor and comfortably margined expense account had saved him thus far, as evidenced by the assortment of bottles that lay strewn about the greenery they battled upon.  However, his supply was almost gone, and with each exchange of blows it was Musashi who fared the worse; unless he could receive some assistance, he feared he might not walk away from this conflict.

"Help!  Prithee, assist me against this vile creature!  Aaahhh…"

Sighing, Kagero turned around briefly from the tree where she was carving kindling, and without looking, slashed once with the skinning knife she was using to pare deadwood from the branches.  One slice into the neck of the surprised hind and the inoffensive woodland creature fell gurgling to the forest floor.

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"Now Mu, you have everything packed right?"

Musashi sighed.  How many times was his ridiculously overprotective mother going to go over his inventory?  Maybe he should have scheduled a different ship to the mainland of Sosaria… like a year later.

"I’m fine.  I have everything I’ll need.  I hear this is a rich and profitable place… surely my 100 gold coins, silly pathetic dagger and scant reagents will be enough for me."  Mu looked at his forlorn belongings and sighed.  These clothes he was being encouraged to wear, the short pants, short sleeved shirt and dopey shoes, were thought of as "typical Sosarian wear"; the more he thought about it, the more he thought he might as wear a big sign that said "Please Kill Me".

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