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Ultima Online developer diary reveals plans for 2011


Ultima Online is still chugging along quietly, and this developer diary for the oft-forgot MMO classic reveals plans to update it. New high resolution graphics (although they don't appear to be shown in game), a new starter area, and plans for an expansive player town all appear to be on the agenda. We haven't played Ultima Online in quite a long while, but for those that still do, we're sure this news will be welcomed with open arms.

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Ultima Online first Hall of Fame member in Game Developers Choice Online Awards

Last May, the organizers of behind the Game Developers Conference announced that the GDC Online event in Austin, Texas would be host to the first annual Game Developers Choice Online Awards on October 7. Today two of the awards were announced, including the first game named to its Hall of Fame.

That game is Ultima Online, the fantasy MMO developed by Origin Systems and lead by Richard "Lord British" Garriott. While not the first MMO, Ultima Online made the new game genre popular to the masses when it launched back in 1997 and is still running even today.

Also, Dr. Richard A. Bartle was named as the Games Developers Choice Online Awards' first winner of its Online Game Legend Award. Dr. Bartle is the co-creator of the first MUD (Multi User Dungeon) back in 1978. The text-based game was the first step toward the modern MMO games.

Ultima franchise gets new Lords of Ultima browser-based strategy game

Long time PC gaming fans know the Ultima franchise as a RPG game series, either in its classic single player form or in the long running MMO Ultima Online, both created by Richard "Lord British" Garriott. Two attempts at a sequel to the latter MMO game have been canceled. However today publisher Electronic Arts has finally released the first new official Ultima game since 1999's Ultima IX: Ascension.

However instead of a complex RPG game, the newly launched Lords of Ultima title is a browser-based free-to-play strategy game. Developed by EA Phenomic (the folks behind another free-to-play game Battleforge) this new game lets folks build a city in the Ultima universe and interact with other players online. The game is already available as an open beta and is apparently very popular in its first day; we tried to sign in and were unable to get into a game because the servers were too busy. There's no word yet on when the game will officially launch nor how it will generate revenues.

Mythic sticks to its guns following EA's newest layoffs


Mythic Entertainment has reportedly suffered through yet another massive amount of layoffs as part of the plan by its owner Electronic Arts to cut its work force by another 1,500 team members. Fans have already express their worries that Mythic will no longer actively support their MMO game projects, particularly their most recent game Warhammer Online.

Not so, according to Mythic's executive producer Jeff Hickman. In a post on the official Warhammer Online web site he states that the game and the two others under Mythic's wing (Ultima Online and Dark Age of Camelot) are still alive and well and that Mythic will "continue to improve our games with an exciting schedule of patches, live events and new content." In particular, Hickman states that Warhammer Online's recent "Endless Trial" program has brought in "a flood of new players" to the game. The big question? Will those efforts be enough to get people to sign up for the game?

Ultima Online welcomes back former players for free trial

We've seen these kinds of promotions before and today we have word of year another "Welcome Back" deal for former players of Ultima Online. The 12 year old fantasy MMO from Electronic Arts is now allowing former players in good standing to reactivate their old accounts and play the game for free for a limited time.

Naturally EA wants these folks to check the game out now since they just released the new expansion pack Stygian Abyss earlier this month. Previous players can sign in and play Ultima Online from now until October 17. New players can also still check the game out for free via the standard 14 day trial period.

Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss expansion launches


As previously announced, the latest commercial expansion pack for Electronic Arts' long running MMO Ultima Online has now been released and is available via download on the game's web site. Stygian Abyss, developed by EA's Mythic Entertainment studio, adds a new playable race, the Gargoyle, to the game alongside more quests, monsters and more new features and content for $29.99.

Our sister site Massively has a new chat with the game's producer Calvin Crowner today as he talks about their just released expansion. He avoids being pinned down on whether or not Stygian Abyss will be the last expansion for the MMO or whether an all new Ultima Online title might be coming in the future.

Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss to launch September 8


Players for the long running Ultima Online MMO have been waiting for years for an all new expansion to the game (not counting the graphical revamp that was released in 2008). Today, Electronic Arts announced that Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss will launch via digital download on September 8 for $29.99

As we have mentioned before the new expansion will add the the Gargoyle playable race to the game along with new quests, locations, monsters and more. Current subscribers will be able to try out the expansion in an open beta beginning on Friday. Also, from the day the expansion launches until September 29 players will be able to get access to a number of special in-game items. These include a "multi-use Alteration Token to transform current characters into Gargoyles, an exclusive gargoyle craftable pet, and decorative Stygian Abyss mob boss statues."

Mythic releases old Ultima Online expansion for free


As developer Mythic Entertainment and publisher Electronic Arts prepare for the launch of the next Ultima Online expansion this fall they have gone ahead and made the last of their major expansions available for free. Mondain's Legacy, first released in 2005 is now free for all current subscribers to the game along with all of the previous expansion packs to the long running MMO. It's also available as part of Ultima Online's 14 day trial.

Mondain's Legacy added a new playable race to the game, the elves, along with other new content. Ultima Online's first new expansion in four years, Stygian Abyss, is due for release later this summer.

New Ultima Online game in development . . . in China

Fans of Ultima Online have been waiting (and waiting) for a proper sequel to the first successful MMO game for years. In fact two attempts at sequels were canceled by publisher Electronic Arts after they were first announced. Now EA has announced that they plan to release a new Ultima Online game. However this game isn't for the US market but for the growing Asian online game business.

EA is teaming up with China-based NetDragon to bring the new Ultima Onlie game to China, Hong Kong, Macau and India. Mythic Entertainment, who has taken over development of Ultima Online here in the US, will also work on the new Asian version of the game. Details about the game as well as a release date have not been announced.

Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss beta sign-ups begin


Last September we first reported on Electronic Arts' plans for Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss, the next expansion pack for the 10 year old MMO fantasy game.Today EA has announced that they are taking sign-ups to beta test the expansion. Naturally you will need to be a subscriber for the game to take part in the test. Other qualifications include "computer system specs, previous testing experience, community involvement and other criteria".

Just a reminder: Stygian Abyss will be released this summer via digital download only and will add the new playable race, the Gargoyle, to Ultima Online. New quests, monsters and other new content will be added via the expansion as well.
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