Combat is an intrinsic
part of Ultima Online. Whether between monsters or fellow Britannians,
battles ensue on a daily basis the strongest claim victory,
while the weak must wallow in defeat. And yet, this balance often
shifts, so that those once defeated can rise up victorious on the
battlefield. It takes skill, and sometimes a little luck, to outwit
But imagine if your success was dependent on special abilities
that allowed you to execute deadly attack moves, such as mortally
wound your adversary so that they couldn't heal themselves for
several moments, or an ability that would allow archers to shoot
arrows while on the move. And imagine if you could wield or craft
a weapon of ice or fire that could deal double the damage to
those that lacked the resistance to such elements. In Age of
Shadows, you'll be able to do exactly that... and much, much
more. Get ready for the future of combat!
Currently, Ultima Online supports four basic damage types:
Physical, Poison, Fire, and Energy. Age of Shadows expands on
these damage types, creating hundreds of new strategies for character
design and combat tactics. In addition to fully supporting all
damage types and resistances, a new damage class will debut in
Age of Shadows: Cold.
All creatures, players included, will gain four new resistance
attributes: Poison, Energy, Fire, and Cold. Non-human creatures
will have intrinsic resistances. For example, a Giant Ice Serpent
may be practically immune to cold damage, but be very vulnerable
to fire-based attacks. Humans (NPCs and players alike) will have
some natural resistances, but their armor will provide additional
resistance based on its type, the materials it is made from,
and its magical properties. The classic Armor Rating (AR) value
is transformed into Physical Resistance, and provides benefit
against Physical attacks.
Here is a breakdown of the damage classes in Age of Shadows:
New for Craftsmen
- Physical - This is the standard damage type done by melee
and ranged weapons.
- Energy - The Energy Bolt and lightning-based spells deliver
this jolt of electrical damage.
- Fire - Burning damage delivered classically by the Fire
Ball and Fire Field spells.
- Cold - This is freezing damage, deliverable by magical effects
like the Snow Elemental's deadly radiating cold.
- Poison - Toxins delivered by the assassin's blade, or by
magic spell are the classic ways to deal this insidious form
By making weapons from different materials, craftsmen will
gain the ability to create weapons that deliver part of their damage
as elemental effects. Armor will become more diverse as well; for
example, insulating leather armor will provide superior protection
versus energy and cold damage, but a heavy metal suit of platemail
will still be the best defense against physical damage.
the first time in years, Age of Shadows will bring completely
new combat tactics to Ultima Online in the form of weapon special
moves. Warriors will gain the ability to tap their Mana to perform
devastating maneuvers with their weapons that can have a variety
of unusual side-effects. (In a future spotlight here on the Age
of Shadows site, you'll read about new item properties that can
increase a warrior's mana, making these special attacks even
more effective!) Each weapon type in the game (i.e.: long sword,
spear, etc) will have a unique combination of a primary and a
secondary special move. Warriors who have reached Expert skill
level will be able to execute a weapon's primary special move.
Once he or she has reached Master status in a weapon skill, the
fighter may execute the secondary special move while wielding
weapons of that skill making them twice as deadly!
A new icon on the paperdoll will open a book that details each
special move available to the warrior, based on his or her skill
level and equipped weapon. Much like the icons in a spellbook,
these can be dragged from the book into the game window and double-clicked
to activate the special move, as well as configured in macros
for one-key activation. When activated, the special move icon
highlights red, indicating the character is ready to perform
the move. At the next opportunity, the special move is performed,
and the icon returns to its un-highlighted state.
There are 13 special combat moves in total. Each different type
of weapon in the game has a different combination of primary
and secondary special moves, making each weapon truly unique!
For all the details, have a look at the Special
There's a lot for Warriors, but don't think Wizards are being
left out! Several changes to magic spells in Age of Shadows
will assist Wizards on the battlefield by increasing the effectiveness
of many of their low-level spells, such as Weakness and Clumsy.
Wizards will also have more control over their powers in combat,
since the damage dealt with each of their magical attacks will
be, in general, less random. And to accommodate the new physical/elemental
damage system, some spells will undergo larger changes. These,
and various other spell changes, are listed below:
Armor - The reactive armor spell no longer reflects damage
back on an attacker. Instead, this spell increases the caster's
Physical Resistance and lowers his or her Elemental Resistances.
Also, this spell now has indefinite duration. Once cast, this
spell's effect continues until the mage casts it again. The second
casting of the spell cancels the effect.
Reflection - Magic Reflection no longer has the ability to
reflect spells back on their caster. Instead, it becomes a complement
to Reactive Armor. Magic Reflection grants the caster increased
elemental resistances at the cost of some of his physical resistance.
Just like Reactive Armor, this spell has indefinite duration
and casting it toggles the effect off and on for the caster.
and Arch Protection - These spells afford the battle wizard
complete security in casting other spells. While this protective
shield is toggled on, the mage cannot be disrupted while casting
spells. This freedom comes at a cost, however. While under its
effect, a character's physical resistance stat and magic resistance
skill are slightly reduced. Arch Protection only affects members
of the caster's party who are within a small radius at the time
Armor/Magic Reflection/Protection - These spells will also
be able to be used simultaneously. You'll no longer have to wait
for one to wear off before casting another protection spell.
In addition to dealing its damage in energy form, this spell
now affects the target instantly when cast. Previously, there
was always a short delay between the time the mage cast the spell
and the time the damage was done to the victim.
and Poison Field - These spells' power in the hands of a
Grandmaster Mage/Grandmaster Poisoner is increased. In the hands
of such a skilled user, they will always inflict Level 4 (or "deadly")
poison on their victims.
and Paralyze Field - The duration of these spells' freeze
effect will be slightly tweaked, to make them more effective
when cast by mages mastering the art of Evaluating Intelligence.
Drain - For a short time, the target of this spell loses
a potentially significant amount of mana. However, once the effect
is terminated the lost mana will be restored.
Vampire - This spell receives a significant change in power.
Wizards will also notice a change with their magic resistance skill,
as it will now play a significant factor in the defense against
spells like weaken, clumsy, feeblemind, curse, mana drain, paralyze,
paralyze field, mana vampire, and various necromancy spells. However,
rather than completely preventing these effects, the magic resistance
skill will scale the effects down.
Along with the special combat moves that will be introduced
in Age of Shadows, a new ability will be available that is sure
to ease the minds of Archers around Britannia: bows and crossbows
will become repairable. You'll no longer have to worry about
replacing your worn-out bows - a bowyer will be able to repair
them in the same manner as blacksmiths repair other weapons!
Archers will also be pleased to know that, just like other weapons,
their bows will be able to be imbued with special item properties.
More information on that will be released in a future spotlight
on New Items and Item Properties.
10 New Weapons
Double Bladed Staff
Combat Skill Changes
In addition to new damage types, new special abilities, new
weapons and weapon abilities, and new spells, we've made some
significant improvements to a basic combat skill, Parrying, as
well as adding a completely new skill, Battle Focus!
- Parrying with weapons - You will be able to parry hits using
a weapon. However, only half of your total Parry skill will
be considered when determining the percentage chance of blocking
the hit. For instance, if you have 100 in Parry and you're
using a weapon (but no shield), you can still block hits, but
the chance of that happening is based on your Parry skill at
50. So, the chance to block a hit with a weapon is half of
what it would be with a shield.
- Parry attack change - When a blow is parried, the action
will no longer absorb a flat amount of damage from the hit-it
will now completely block the hit. In other words, if you parry
a blow, it will be as if you were never hit at all. At 100
Parry, any equipped shield will have a 30% chance to block
- Parrying and special moves - Parry can prevent a special
move from being successful on a hit. If you successfully parry
a special move, you will not receive any damage, but the move
will still consume mana from the attacker.
- Battle Focus will regenerate both Stamina and Mana, albeit
more slowly than Meditation. This skill will not be affected
With new properties for weapons and armor and new opportunities
for epic battles, we feel it's important for players to use their
prized possessions without fear of losing them on the first day
out. In Age of Shadows, you will have the ability to choose to
keep certain items safe from being looted or stolen. Details on
this will be released in a future spotlight on New Items and Item
Stat-loss was added into Ultima Online years ago as one way
to protect homeowners in Felucca from falling prey to frequent
non-consensual PvP. But with the introduction of a vast new land
for housing - Malas - that follows the same ruleset as the Trammel
facet, homeowners will now have another choice as to where they
wish to live, eliminating the need for stat loss. Whether you
choose to adventure in the harsh and challenging environment
of Felucca, where murderers and criminals roam free, or the relative
safety of Trammel, Ilshenar or Malas, you'll be able to pick
the location that is right for you. Age of Shadows will let life
in Felucca return to its wild roots, and those that participate
in the struggle between good and evil, or the weak and the strong,
will be free and clear to follow their challenging lifestyle.
Felucca Dungeons and Lost Lands
With the sweeping changes to combat coming in Age of Shadows,
we decided to take another look at the rules in the Felucca dungeons
and Lost Lands servers. After Age of Shadows, the rules of combat
in these areas will be as follows:
- Players that die in the Felucca dungeons/Lost Lands servers
will lose any items that are not blessed or protected from
loss in some fashion (see item insurance above).
- Players who die in these areas will no longer be kicked
out of the dungeon, and will have no time limit imposed before
they can return.
- Ghosts will be able to enter these areas.
- Thieves will be able to steal any item they are eligible
to steal that are not blessed or protected from loss in some
fashion (see item insurance above).
New Status Window
status window in Age of Shadows has an entirely new look! With
a new design, complemented by colorful graphics, the status gump
will also introduce three new sections. Along with the familiar
statistics (Strength, Dexterity, Intelligence, Health, Stamina,
Mana, Max Stats, Weight, Gold, and Followers), the new status
gump will also show your Luck, Resistances, and Damage value
for your character, taking into account the weapon you currently
There's a lot of information here to absorb, and it's important
to note that there will be tons of other features introduced with
Age of Shadows that will have an effect on combat features
that we have yet to discuss, such as new item properties. There's
still a lot more to discover, so stay tuned!
- Luck - The higher this stat, the higher the quality of the
magic items you'll find as loot (we'll discuss this more when
we delve into the new magic item system).
- Resistances - Along with Physical Resistance (AR), you'll
also be able to have Fire Resistance, Cold Resistance, Poison
Resistance, and Energy Resistance.
- Damage - This tells you what your damage range is (against
zero physical resistance) while using whatever weapon you currently