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Ultima Online Journal One

The Making of a Hero

I started with standard gear, shovels and a tool to make items out of ignots, I was actually rather excited because I started with a smith's hammer and not a tong. That meant I also had a weapon. I quickly banked my 100 gold. My memories are a bit fuzzy at this point, I don't think players had bank boxes at this point in UO's history, but instead we dumped gold on banker npcs to deposit it, and then said 'Balance' to see our income, and used words like 'withdraw 100'; to get 100 gold back. It could certainly be a bit nerve racking to dump gold on the npc because if he moved the gold would wind up on the floor for an unscruplous person to snatch. Actually unscruplous isn't totally correct, more to say an oppurtunist to take. So early on in UO's history the rights and wrong of normal society were not fully realized in the online world. Seeing 100 gold on the floor meant you took it, not because you were an evil person but because it was there for the taking. Once I had banked my money, I set off to the Covetous Mountains to get ore. Once I was there I quickly stripped naked to free a few stones of weight, I threw my newbie clothes on the ground, although I kept my little smiths apron for modesty's sake. They did decay, but I wouldn't have been surprised if someone happened along and took them, thinking they were worth something, even 3 years later in UO people still snag discarded death robes.

If I recall correctly I could carry 10 large ore at a time, meaning I could make 20 ignots on perfect smelts. Some miners had taken to leap frogging ore, meaning they'd mine 100 ore than drag it back to town to be smelted. Vesper was too long a way off, but I realized if there was a forge closer to the mountain, leap frogging ore would be beneficial. Its amazing how a simple task like clicking on a mountain and getting ore can be fun. Those first couple weeks of mining and smithing were extremly enjoyable, I would get home from college and immediantly start playing. Everything was new and exciting, even when I was attacked the first or second day of mining, by a PK whose name I can barely remember, but it had the word Thrash or Thrasher in it. He wasn't much of a pk, he appeared to be a cookie cutter 50/50 swords tactics guy, he had his newbie clothes on what looked like a long sword. My character had raised his dex and str several points and using my smiths hammer I easily beat him to death. That was the only pk encounter I would experience for awhile.

My mining was going up steadily, there wasn't a big secret to increasing that skill. Hit rock get skill gain, smelt ore get skill gain. Blacksmithy was a different issue, I got some advice from other blacksmiths, but I'm proud to say for the most part I mastered the art of skill gains on my own. These days were very different than UO is now. There wasn't "power hour" no skill locks and rate at which skills went up were affected by how many people in the world were using the skill. Plus we had that horrible learn by watching technique that made you gain skill in something by being around someone doing it. I wouldn't say I was a fixture at the Vesper forge, as I mostly kept to myself, repairing some items and occasionally making an item for someone. But mostly I churned out whatever item I needed to raise skill. I got to about 60 or 60 blacksmithy in Vesper, but was still a journeyman miner because my mining was around 61. It was about this time I was churning out chain coifs when I heard two people talking at the Vesper market area about two forges placed near the Britain mines. After having run repeatedly from Covetous to Vesper Forge, I decided doing it the hard way was for the birds and set out for Britian.

The game is Afoot

I can't remember how I got to Britian, either by moongate or walking, but it was most likely uneventful since I can't remember it. My memories of Britian are plentiful and colorful. For instance my first character in beta started in Britain. I got my beta-cd in the mail, quickly installed it, then logged in with default alchemist with default skill pts. At which point I was completely lost in the big city. Later on my forays into Britian were both adventerous and fraught with peril. The problem of thievery was a major issue on the streets of britian in Beta. I lost many of my items, though worthles as they were, being stolen from even in an online world makes you feel somewhat violated. Regardless, I was plenty familiar with the layout of Britian, I knew where the bank was, mage tower, and main blacksmithy near the graveyard. In beta that outdoor forge was surrounded by a fence, so many people crowded around it you could literally get stuck in the crowd and trapped. Luckily that fence was removed and the forge was no longer a tourist trap. The britain graveyard is another infamous locale from UO's history. At this point in time there weren't any skeletons or zombies that spawned there, but there were plenty of rowdy players, they weren't quite PKs but you weren't safe just standing around them either. The graveyard would also eventually become the place for wanton slaughters right before backups, because the server would always lose an hour or two of progress when it saved and restarted.

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