Game Development Reference
could pickpocket players and run off with their loot. If players were
being pickpocketed and were in a town, they could call the computer AI
guards to put the players in their place. Players could also join groups of
other players that would hunt down the evil characters.
Skills and crafting: Another key selling point that many of today
MMOs still haven
t been able to replicate with success is the skills and
crafting systems. Ultima Online had a wide ranging skills-based system,
allowing the players to choose from a large selection of skills, ensuring
that no two players are exactly the same. Perhaps your player will create
magic, create traps, or be skilled at fishing. Along with the action-based
skills is also a number of crafting skills, allowing the players to make a
variety of objects to both use and sell. The players could make their own
musical instruments and play them if they had the right skills (much to
the annoyance of other players nearby).
In-game events: MMO games should be taking place in evolving worlds,
where the player feels that the game is a living entity. Ultima created
in-game events such as invasions, quests, and player meetings to give the
game a real-world feel.
Even with the high costs of Internet access and poor connection speeds, Ultima
proved a major hit, especially when you take into account that people were
paying a monthly subscription to access the game. With dial-up access it was
common to find the connection dropping out at the most inappropriate times
(for example, when in a battle with other characters). This would lead to finding
your character dead, but the game had so much depth that these problems didn
put people off from playing it.
You can find out more information about UltimaOnline at http://www.uoherald.com/.
The Internet Evolves
Not long after the release of Ultima Online, the popularity of the Internet and
the growing competition in the telecom industry began to drive major changes
to the pricing model. The first of these changes were the charges from the
Internet providers, moving from per minute charges to a flat fee rate. These