Kevin the Bold
Image by FilmNut via Flickr

Ever wanted to play a fantasy multiplayer game with a two dimensional graphics engine and horrible user interface, but were too cheap to lay out ten bucks for a subscription fee?

Well congratulations fatty, you can summon all the demons you want and dominate the tens of players still making chairs or bandages for hours on end and not pay a dime for it.  Join a fan created Ultima Online server (or shard) and crush all the monsters your heart desires.

Just follow these simple steps:

  • Download an old version of the game client.  (Apparently 3D graphics, even used in a two dimensional interface, “suck”)
  • Download Razor, a third party add-on which makes the shitty user interface almost bearable.
  • Download UO Automap, a map application, because the “X-Wing vs TIE Fighter” HUD isn’t really all that helpful.  Some dude who stopped supporting the application still wants PayPal donations of course.  I still want checks for all the hard work I put in at my last job.  Let’s see who gets theirs first.
  • Download some other UO helper program, EasyUO,  for more macro fun.  Mostly this game is about making macros and running them in conditions with less latency than the other guy.  I think.
  • Download a “Tree Hack” so that all trees appear as stumps, and don’t block your view in the shitty top-down interface.  Someone needs to make a “Penis Hack” for the “Tree Hack” IMO.

Once you’re done with all that, find a player-run shard.  “Shard” is a stupid UO fantasy term for server.  Apparently users were expected to learn to make macros, install third party applications, and learn specialized scripting languages, but they figured using a metaphor for “game server” was necessary to ease the learning curve or “immerse” people in the metagame features.

Player run servers are run by nerds even more epic than you.  They download broken, unfinished server ripoffs, spend countless hours tweaking game mechanics and populate their private versions of the world, and pay gobs of cash to have it hosted.  The main motivation for setting up a private server seems to be all about creating a game  popular enough to create a support forum which they can’t be kicked off of since they’re the admins/owners.

Mostly these forums seem to be filled with fights over who the biggest douchebag is, and whether or not other players who are better PvP‘ers are in fact human at all, of if they’re Russian.  In deeper UO circles, not only have players not experienced OpenGL or DirectX gaming, but their politics are also stuck in the early 90’s, where Russians are still real life bad guys.

So, anyway, you need to install all this shit, and configure it, and then find yourself a server to play on, like DefianceUO.com and then find their login and account creation instructions.  If you notice the noob documentation is a little scarce, it’s because you’re playing a 12 year old game on a 15 year old game client on a server sparsely populated with a fraction of the fringe of a player base which is measured in tens.  They’re not really expecting on welcoming any neophytes anytime soon.

Good luck in your adventures, be sure to tell your LARP buddies all about the free MMO alternatives so you can have a little more for the VFW rental fund for your next vampire war or Anime costume mixer or whatever you clowns do.