When I look back on my life as a gamer, there are two ages: Before Ultima Online and after Ultima Online. I've attempted to explain why Ultima Online was so incredible, and really, I've never been able to fully do it. It's something that other UO players totally get, in that there was just something so... magical about the first year of the game's existence. The concept of the mass-market MMORPG was still so new that no one really knew what to do. The chaos that ensued, in a world where you could do nearly anything, was remarkable.

Anyway, I could wax poetic over how amazing Ultima Online was for eternity, but that's not the point of this post. IGN scored some details on an upcoming free to play Ultima game titled, Ultima Forever: Quest for the Avatar.

IGN's Anthony Gallegos explains:

Ultima Forever is a throwback to classic Ultima games, with mechanics grounded in Ultima IV. Starting as either a fighter or a mage (a druid and paladin class are coming later), your hero sets out on a quest to become the Avatar, a person who embodies what are known as the eight Virtues. Using a Baldur's Gate-like isometric perspective, you'll guide your hero either alone or with friends through hours and hours of quests, battling it out with monsters and making hard choices until your character embodies the virtues and reaches the end-game dungeons. Once you beat it, becoming the Avatar, you then start a new game plus, playing through all the content again on an even harder setting.

My personal excitement doesn't stop there. The article makes comparisons to Diablo, but it's also going to be totally cross platform, allowing you to team up with players regardless of whether they're playing on their PC or iPad. It sounds like the free to play model is pretty sweet too, hinging entirely on cosmetic upgrades and boosts to get you through the game faster instead of ever hitting any sort of pay wall.

You can sign up for the closed beta on the Ultima Forever web site, which I've already done with the quickness. If I can, ahem, "PK scrubs at the Brit' x-roads" all day on my iPad, well, we may have ourselves a serious productivity problem around here at TouchArcade.

Corp Por!

[via IGN]

  • jchamplain

    Awesome! Thank you so much for posting this. I have got to get into that beta!!!

  • http://twitter.com/drelbs drelbs

    Seeing that title made me think you could have a rhythm/dancing game called "Ultima Fever!" :p

  • TomCrown

    I was going to sign up for the beta also till I saw the part about also having to sign up for EAs crap Origin service.

  • Briker Ed

    Why Origin. . . . whyyy?!?! D: I got extremely excited and now I'm extremely bummed.

  • Michael Smith

    Holy....!!!

    I'm both SUPER PUMPED over this and also a bit skeptical... For one, I share Eli's sentiments on UO... life before UO and life after are two completely different things.

    But Richard Garriot isn't a part of this, as far as I can tell, and that's kind of a big deal, since "Lord Brittish" pretty much IS Ultima. We'll have to wait and see how it turns out (and hope for the best!).

  • Michael Smith

    Oh and from the IGN article... "it's mostly finished. We're in the polished phase."

    That means it's not far off! :D

  • http://www.facebook.com/iammane Matthew Nemeth

    I KNEW there was a reason I bought Battlefield 3... It was so that I could sign up for this and use my ALREADY CREATED ORIGIN account. Awesome!! Good job Matt from the past lol...

  • http://www.facebook.com/zallman.shedlock Zallman Thoreau Shedlock

    Eli your enthusiasm for the original UO sounds very much like mine. I still have the pewter UO pin that came in my original game. I'm not sure if I have ever played a game again with the kind of passion I had for that.. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000474676350 Jaime Coston

    I am excited mostly for the fond memories like most here! as a launch UO player who played many years into it i have a soft spot for that game. No online game for me has seem to capture the same feel unfortunately, so color me tentatively excited! I realize that Lord British has nothing to do with this and we all can question the serviceability of EA and the Origin Online model, but I am going to remain optimistic!

  • alyfantis

    I am excited but my cynical nature says this is going to be more freemium crap. :(

  • http://twitter.com/RobotsVsWizards James

    I never went on to play UO but,
    Quest of the avatar on my  apple IIe and green screen was one of the first games I really got sucked into.
    Even with such simple mid 80s graphics i lost days as a kid to what felt like a living world.
    I cant wait to check this out!!

  • regkilla

    Signed up for beta testing!!! :D

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/42YS2N67LP6IDUKBZUUCMSZW7M Pray For Death

    Thanks for the heads-up, I just signed up for the beta (used my trial Old Republic account :D) 

  • http://twitter.com/Ja_Hillman Ja-On Hillman

    Unreal! Now to get into the beta!

  • xXOmegaLightXx

    What happens after you sign up?

  • Michael Moungos

    Ultima Online = Best game ever.

    I've never played a game since that has come close to replicate the feelings and awesomeness I got when I was playing UO :(

  • http://www.facebook.com/sean.connors.374 Sean Connors

    I would agree with many of you...  UO was the game that set the bar for me.  I distinctly remember the fun my friends and I had running around and raiding together... collecting reagents, decking out our guild house, stealing things from people as they operated their bank, teleporting to parts unknown and then having to run and run and run only to have some stooge steal my fish!

    So many great memories!

  • NPeart

    Richard Garriot is the man and to me he is by far the master of the online RPG's. I shouldn't be complaining when he's making a game, but I would prefer single player RPG, especially as iOS RPG's are so thin(quite numerous, but SUPER generic and thin). If Lord British made a spiritual successor for Ultima, it would be the Jesus of iOS games.

  • http://twitter.com/gidspor Kevin 'gidspor'

    I totally agree about UO.  Those of us that played understand how huge and industry changing it was.  I played the beta and 5 years before having to give up my addiction.  It's one big reason I went on to make games.  Lost Penguin iOS http://www.lostpenguin.com

    I signed up right away and am also hoping Lord British's next thing is a flavor of UO too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=525292933 Andrew Davenport

    Richard Garriott IS working on the "spriritual successor" to Ultima Online, it looks like this is why EA isn't giving him the rights to use the Ultima name.  Searchword for that Is portalarium and Ultimate RPG... no offense to EA, but his will be better.

  • Doctor U

    I was just notified through email about the beta. Very excited!

  • wingz

    I dont know what the @&$% this is but if its not on ipod theres no reason for me to look it.....

  • retrogamer

    I want that map featured in this article - how would one obtain this treasure?