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Ultima Online Journal One

O Brave New World, that has such People in it

I played in UO beta from July of '97 to Sept of that year. I didn't have any memorable characters during beta. I was mostly just learning the game, plus OSI did a character and world wipe just about every day. Unless you exploited one of a variety of bugs, you didn't really amount to much in the 24 hours you had to play. I did manage to get to 99% fencing with one character and even aquired a short war spear plus some mismatch studded and chain armor.

On the last couple days of beta I took up trade skills, something I had not really paid much attention to until then. I chose blacksmithy because a friend of mine made a tidy sum of gold with that trade. Again, as with my previous beta characters, I didn't raise the skill to any noticeable level, but I learned the basics. I enjoyed doing tradeskills and planned on starting a blacksmith once I got into release.

I was about a week late in getting UO release version, stores were sold out. When I finally bought a copy, I started on Great Lakes because I was told it was closest server to my location, mind you back in 1997 just about everyone was still on 33.6k modems so anything that lowered latency was a plus. Just a fun fact, one of the popular features of UO pre-beta was a page OSI put up that let users ping the server to test their connection. During the long wait, often times I'd play with the connection test page on the OSI site just to pass the time. Getting back to story though, I settled on a 50/50 miner blacksmith with 45 str in Vesper, his name was Great Miney, named after my beta smith The Great Miney.

It was around this time in Oct that UO was hit with the Grand Master in a day bug, I did not get to take part in it, because at the time I was at work, but I heard about it when I got home and I knew some people who benefited from it. OSI quickly set a precedent for future MMORPGS, by not reverting the game they've basically set the standard on what players can expect. There has been some exceptions, AC comes to mind, during a platinum pyreal dupe bug, Turbine was forced to revert, but overall I think we've seen developers suck up game altering bugs because players do not want to have their progress reversed. As for the GM in a day bug, I did not see it as that big a deal, mostly because I was naive and partly because I was more interested in playing than ranting about bugs or exploits. Just a quick note, while I don't want to get bogged down in a history of UO, I feel some areas of UO's past need to be explained to get a flavor of the world my character was living in

So Great Miney is created and enters the world of Britannia at the Inn outside Vesper. A place I was more than familiar with from beta. Surrounding me were countless other 'newbies' all milling and scampering about asking basic questions. It was here that I began to understand how different this world would be from beta. Because in Beta the UO community was a real community, literally 80% of the playerbase had at least heard of the other because we had been following the game since Pre-Alpha in early '96. It isn't hyperbole to say everyone at posted at LaWizard's Chatzone or hung out in #ultima on EFNET or one of the many orbiting irc servers. Again I'm getting off track (someday I may write an entire piece just on the UO Pre Beta Waiting), but it helps to explain why release version was so jarring to some people, the world was FULL of strangers. Strangers who didn't know how to open a backpack or what the heck a "Moongate" was. There was an innocence about this time, but it wasn't a comforting one, in the back of one's head you got the distinct impression that you were witnessing an alien race land on the White House lawn and proclaim that they "come in peace".

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