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UO 6th Anniversary Memories
In our Spotlight today, we highlight the 6th anniversary of UO by sharing the memories of various players, who look back on their experiences in Ultima Online.

"I first learned about UO from some friends in another online community. Being an avid roleplayer and follower of the original Ultima series, talk of an online edition had sparked my interest. I first visited the UO website in August 1997, but an outdated computer prevented me from being eligible for beta testing. I returned to the site everyday with enthusiasm, waiting for the time when I would be able to re-immerse myself in the land of Britannia. Three months after beta and one new computer later, my moongate finally opened and this avatar stepped on to strange but familiar shores once more.

"I first arrived in Vesper. Nearby was another fellow standing by the water. I talked his ear off for several minutes before realizing it was an NPC. In the old days, they responded to their names and certain keywords-it was enough to fool me! My first encounter with other players was on the bridge leading to the Vesper Graveyard. The undead were on the rise there, and a small army with swords, horses & summoned daemons in tow were marching out to engage them in battle. I tagged along, a newbie fighting alongside more seasoned players in camaraderie. The Virtues of Britannia don't get much finer than that. It was good to be back! In time, this same newbie became a seasoned veteran in his own right and, to this day, continues the legacy from a bygone, but not forgotten, era in the golden age of Ultima Online."

Lord VonLunatic - Knights of the Asylum guild


"The Syndicate sprang up as a UO guild in early 1996, just in time to see UO's earliest form in action. UO began its life with a 'pre alpha' test. No one had made a game like UO before and the best connection speed most people had was 28.8kbps, so whether or not technology at the time could even handle the game had to be proven. As part of that test, I recall you would gain levels like in the single player games and pretty much just fought orcs and skeletons. The game of 'Knight Tag' (hitting a monster, running into town, letting the guards kill it, and looting the corpse) was popular, and the land was small and just encompassed the area around Britain. The Syndicate was there and had a lot of fun as part of the anti-PK team that would hunt down the anti-social players who killed others.

"Finally, the beta came and players rushed into the game. Lag was the largest issue faced, but it was brought under control and the world was explored. I recall when I first entered the beta, I talked to an NPC. He told me 'A lich with a magical bow is to the west.' Wow! A lich! And a magic bow! I felt sure I was going to find him and kill him and take that bow. After hours of searching, I never did find that lich, but I had a lot of fun trying.

"This was a whole new gaming experience unlike most players had ever seen before, and just exploring the seemingly infinite world was an adventure in and of itself. You didn't Recall anywhere in a single click. You didn't have awesome stats and super equipment. There was no bank to store your items in. And there was plenty of danger from monsters and other players to keep you on your toes. You could really feel alive during those early days. Everything was new. Everything was exciting. And everything was challenging.

"The beta ended, and then on Sept. 25th, 1997 the final version of UO went live. There were only a couple servers that went live on the first day and The Syndicate chose Atlantic as our home base and Vesper as our starting town. A great many adventures and many wondrous tales have come to pass in the six years since then. But despite the passage of so much time, UO continues to grow, and while the challenges are different, it remains as fun today as it was so many years ago. UO set the standard that other games seek to exceed, and as time has proven, that standard is very hard to meet."

Dragons - The Syndicate


"As I recall, it was three years ago in October when I met a mighty warrior in the cemetery on the outskirts of Britain. I was a fledgling swordswoman and he an advanced Grandmaster Mage. I was battling the horrible skeletons and was almost dead when he came along and saved my life with a few simple magic spells. We started chatting and found out we lived about twenty minutes from each other.

"The next night, we played again and met up in the Britain cemetery once more. We did this night after night for several months until we eventually started talking on the phone. He has a lovely Scottish accent, and as I continued to play, I could 'hear' his accent in the words he typed on the screen. We talked and played for hours, sometimes as long as the game would allow us to be online.

"A couple of months later, we finally decided to meet in person! What nervousness I experienced! But, because we already 'knew' each other so well from UO and on the phone, once we finally saw each other in person, all nervousness melted away and we felt as though we had known each other forever. A week later he proposed, and we're getting married in November.

We lived so close to each other, yet it was in a world many years ago and far away that we met. If not for the land of Britannia, we would have never known each other!

"Thanks Ultima Online, and keep going strong!"

-Christi of Atlantic

"When I first logged on to Ultima Online, I expected nothing special--fighting, magic, making money in general, and a lot of people speaking a lot of internet talk (FreGPplz! Com heer now! Deemons!1). After getting used to the controls, I realized I could do so much more than in any other online game. What other game allows you to make some potions while doing the Irish Jig with nothing but some shorts on?

"I decided to visit the Haven bank and, of course, there were a good 20-30 people there. I was expecting the classic buy/sell spam like in any other game. To my surprise, conversations were mature and people were actually roleplaying. Now that's the kind of game I like!

"I eventually ran into a bunch of weirdoes dubbed the 'Graveyard Guards' (who were not an official guild at the time). They wore red robes, skull helmets, and some of them wore red capes. We began talking and they mentioned that they were on their way to go fishing. I thought that it was going to be a lot of boring and repetitive clicking, but I couldn't have been more wrong! When we got to the sandy part of Haven, one of them brought out some chairs, some booze, and the fishing poles. We got drunk until we got sick! But we did get a lot of fish!

"Ultima Online has changed the way I look at games, and for the better."



"As I sit tonight in one of the many lively taverns in Britannia with a group of long-missed friends, I think about the world of Britannia as I remember it six very long years ago. I remember it as a world of more than murderers, monsters, and bringers of light--I remember when houses were pre-built and existed as no more than a few paces in width, length, and height excluding, of course, the great keeps and castles of wealthy guilds. Moreover, I recall how I could actually find a dozen or so areas to place my home. I also remember when the brilliance of a weapon or piece of armor donned by a Britannian was recognized by words such as 'might' or 'hardening' rather than by numbers as they are now.

"Six years ago, it took a great party of grandmaster mages and warriors to fell an ancient wyrm or balron; these days, all one needs is a wyrm of his own! Blacksmiths had only the traditional steel to work from-'verite,' 'valorite,' and even 'copper' were the words of a lunatic. None had the skill or cleverness to craft armor from a dragon--repeating crossbows, lances, and even scythes had not yet been fathomed. The art of meditation was undiscovered, along with the arcane arts of necromancy or chivalry. Gifts from the Gods known as 'veteran rewards' had not yet been seen on the face of Sosaria. The bankers of Britannia had not yet thought of--or needed--a system of converting gold into checks. Yew was still a beautiful wooded town; the swamp it has been cursed by today was beyond anyone's wildest imagination of things to come. A destination through a moongate could only be judged by the phase of the moon. Perhaps the greatest change that no one could have predicted, as I mentioned briefly, was the splitting of Sosaria into many facets; the evil-stricken facet of Felucca and cleansed lands of Trammel.

"Yet bards still sing as beautifully as ever, dragons still wander the depths of the darkest dungeons for brave warriors to battle, blacksmiths still bring hammer to glowing steel through the long hours of the night, and a great many laughs and wondrous adventures occur as they have ages before. Men still can't figure out how to wear brassieres or female armor, though for six years they have tried. And whilst the world has changed immensely, the strength and ingenuity of its people to adapt has not suffered, and it is for this very reason that order remains in the world.

"Tonight, I raise my glass to those brave and strong enough to make it through the darkest ages of Sosaria; it is to them we owe our lives.

With warm regards and spirit,"

-Neil the Second


"I began playing UO in February of 1999. I remember that quite vividly because I remember seeing Valentine's gifts scattered all about Vesper like colored rose-petals, from the Ironwood Inn all the way to the bank. I bet all of those people, including myself, regret throwing away all of those gifts now! I thought it was a really neat idea that OSI would give out holiday gifts like that, so I was hooked right away.

"I was the typical clueless newbie and quite a loner in the beginning. I made a warrior character and began fighting various animals east of Vesper. I remember having been killed numerous times by a bull and timber wolf. I remember being chased back into town by monsters, which the local denizens would kill for me. I remember my first foray to Cove, hunting deer for hides that I would sew into leather garments and then sell to the NPC vendors. I recall coming back from that trip only to be one-hit killed by another player just outside the Vesper city limits.

"After that episode, and several gruesome murders later outside of town, I decided my hard-earned skills from animals weren't enough. I met Oden, the Guildmaster of the POJ guild, in town and he outlined the way to greatness in UO. Grateful, I joined. I sparred with my new guildmates to maximize my skills, and we would go as a group to fend off the legions of murderers in the dungeons and countryside.

"During our many long, boring sparring sessions, I got to talking to a cute blond girl named SHALIMAR. A number of sparring sessions later, we had fallen in love. The next thing I knew, we were speaking on the telephone, and not long after that, we met in real life. (Fortunately, she only lived 300 miles away!). Neither of us was disappointed, as 4 years later we were married. We have a beautiful 2 year old daughter to show for our mutual UO experience.

"It was fitting, in a way, considering the day I started playing UO was when the Valentine's gifts had just come out. I didn't realize it at the time, but it was quite an omen for me."

-Gareth of Atlantic

"I began playing UO in Nov of '97 and my main character, archer-warrioress Glorious Rowena Redarm, has been around since almost the beginning. Rowena says this of the early days:

"Those were dark days indeed; we owned no houses--'twas yet a brave, new, unsettled world. We fought the terrible dragons of that mythical time, many warriors to a beast, and fair half of us met our demise. The great wyrms ate us at morn and belched at us with their fire at eventide! I remember one hunt in which no fewer than 30 of us, all in our finest arms, fought valorously against the wyrms of Despise cavern, where the Ogre Lords now dwell. It's not mere legend that this cave was once a home to dragons. I, myself, died that night at least three times. Warriors fell like cordwood left and right, while mages desperately cast and cast, and yet after several hours, the dragon we stalked still stood. Finally, one brazen soul ran out and drove his viking sword furiously into the blazing monster's chest. Victory at last! We dined on dragon steaks that night, drunken with pride of our battle prowess."

-Rowena Redarm of Great Lakes

In the last six years, the roads of Britannia have been trod by hundreds of thousands of men and women from around the world. And it is those people who make Ultima Online the world it is today, and who will shape the Ultima Online of tomorrow. We look forward to joining you in the future of Ultima Online!

Published: September 2003
Please Note: Some dates are estimates as exact dates were unavailable.
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