Online Video Game Addiction example - Ultima Online - MMORPG

Ultima Online Video Game Addiction!

Ultima Online was one of the first MMORPGs, or so I heard. It was also my first MMORPG addiction!

When I first got into that in 2003, it seemed great! I discovered that by pure luck, and that was the best MMORPG experience I had to date

I played Ultima Online on shard and sphere servers that emulated the real servers and were free. At that point I had a lot of time and was looking for something to do with that. UO offered a good bang for a buck for a poor high school student.

Free Ultima Online servers were numerous and the population spread rather thinly. I would estimate my server had between 100-200 players. This left the huge world of ultima online for me to explore. It had many dungeons and danger, and I really enjoyed making my own gear just to lose it to some high level monster. 

UO had outdated graphics - 2D sprites, but it left the game to focus on more important things, like gameplay. 

I loved to explore the game world and pick up all available skills. From killing chickens to get meat and feathers to roasting them and cooking food. I also did a lot of mining, blacksmithing and logging. The promise of making it big in the game world based on honest labor appealed to me.

UO had a lot of skills and I spent a lot of time mining and logging. This was a kind of a pyramid scheme where new players would cut wood for the old players to level archery. Back then it seemed normal.

Altogether I had 4 episodes video game addiction with UO ranging from a week to 4 weeks. I never made it big and was wandering around like a noob. There’s the noob online comicwhich ridicules MMORPGs and rather accurately depicts some experiences from those early days.

Ever since I quit UO, I’ve been looking for the same experience in a different package: unrestricted PVP, large world, crafting system. This led me to play Horizons, Darkfall, Shadowbane and World of Warcraft.

UO had my first encounter with buying online items. Someone offered me a 2 story sandstone mansion for 10$ US. I was outraged at the thought of buying something on a free server. I wish I bought that mansion and saved myself weeks of hardcore grinding, because I ended up buying a single room box from all that wood and ore income!


Lessons learned

I learned that the first MMORPG experiences are powerful. In the past 7 years I tried to recapture UO and Shadowbane experiences and was looking for them in different packages.

I also realized the importance of planning a character, otherwise you would end up like the noob - good at nothing, randomly going through the world. 


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