Ultima Online Articles RSS Feed | GameSkinny.com Ultima Online RSS Feed on GameSkinny.com https://www.gameskinny.com/ en Launch Media Network The absolute best video game crafting systems https://www.gameskinny.com/9t6l4/the-absolute-best-video-game-crafting-systems https://www.gameskinny.com/9t6l4/the-absolute-best-video-game-crafting-systems Tue, 27 Sep 2016 06:00:01 -0400 Ty Arthur


Even though these games all have interesting crafting systems that are fun to play with, I feel like we haven't really found the definitive crafting experience yet, as all of them – even crafting focused games like Minecraft – certainly have flaws or could be improved in one aspect or another.


What's your favorite crafting system, and what game do you think should have made our list? What changes would you like to see to upcoming crafting options to make the perfect system? Sound off in the comments below!


Dead Rising 2


This game is as ridiculous as they come, but its combo weapon options offer more fun than just about any other game's crafting system in existence.


Glue a bunch of nails to boxing gloves and get up and close and personal with the zombie horde, strap chainsaws to a boat oar for long reach grinding mayhem, or even make your own personal light saber by combining diamonds and a flashlight.


Electric zombie wheel chair of doom? Cuddly teddy bear AK-47 sentry? Lawnmower headbutting death mask? YES PLEASE! 




Out on both PC and mobile devices -- and now consoles as well, Terreria is essentially Minecraft but in a 2D side scrolling format and with more of a combat focus.  There's an absolute ton to do and more crafting elements to discover no matter how far you go.


You can tear up the landscape in search of materials for building a house (got to keep out the monsters at night!), craft weapons and armor to assault those creatures directly, and build items to keep you alive as you explore the depths of the world's cavern system.


Ultima Online


Going in a different direction than Guild Wars 2, this senior citizen of the MMORPG world had a truly innovative crafting system for its time, with many of its individual pieces hacked apart and used in later games.


What stood out in the earlier days of Ultima Online was how an actual economy was created, and how you could essentially play the game as a merchant while ignoring killing things in the wilderness altogether.


Groups of merchants banded together - totally independent of any gameplay mechanics - to create guilds and stabilize prices so everyone thrived. It was a wonder to behold before other MMORPGs arrived and ended Ultima's heyday.


Guild Wars 2


MMORPGs basically require some kind of crafting system so that players have reasons to stay engaged for long play sessions over extended periods of time. Each entry has provided different takes on crafting special gear, making items to sell through the in-game economy, etc.


One of my personal favorites is Guild Wars 2, which allows players to master two different crafting styles simultaneously and switch them out anytime they please to try something different.


What really got me hooked when I hit character level 80 was cooking, and I spent months trying out every pattern I could think of to hit cooking level 400. Having sought-after items to sell through the Black Lion Trading Company makes the whole system self-sustaining, as I'm selling my creations to earn money to make more creations or buy upgraded gear.


Ark: Survival Evolved


There are some balance and mechanics issues to be worked out as the game is still in early access (although that hasn't stopped the developer from releasing paid DLC...) but on the whole Ark is sort of an awe-inspiring experience. 


You start with literally nothing - just your fists. From there you've got to dodge killer dinos, avoid other murderous players, and survive the elements while figuring out how to craft EVERYTHING from scratch through trial and error.


I really mean everything: you'll go from cloth pants and stone clubs to metal armor to full buildings and eventually all the way up to rocket launchers. Add in the fact that you can tame and ride dinosaurs, and there's a ton of fun with crafting to be had here.


The Sandbox Evolution 


For this fun little mobile experiment, the entire game IS the crafting system, but this interpretation is significantly different from Minecraft or Terraria. Basically you are all the almighty god of existence, bringing down your finger of creation to craft any sort of level you can imagine using all sorts of pixel tools.


Mix together different elements to get everything from sand to acid to electricity, then populate your level with pre-built enemies and obstacles.


The only downside is the micro-transaction scheme. Unless you are willing to put in a whole lot of play time to unlock new elements, you'll end up spending money to buy specific building blocks and put together that perfect level.


Vagrant Story


A very polarizing game, for some Vagrant Story was the pinnacle of the PS1 RPG experience, and and for others the game has landed in the trash heap of history where it belonged.


However you feel about the game's difficulty and odd combat, it did have insanely in-depth crafting - and it had to, since there were no shops or merchants of any kind.


All your equipment was crafted by hand and you needed to have a horde of different options available for taking on various enemy types, especially those bosses that probably inspired the annoying difficulty of games like Dark Souls.


From brewing alchemical potions in the Witcher series to crafting-as-the-game from Minecraft, nowadays it seems like most games try to shoehorn in a crafting system of some kind, to varying degrees of success. 


Not all of them succeed at making crafting a truly critical or useful system. While Neverwinter Nights 2 for instance was a huge step up from its predecessor in terms of both story and visuals, one way it didn't satisfy was by having a crafting system that didn't feel worth the investment.


Those were feats and skill points you could have put elsewhere, and with the high requirements for making anything useful, it always seemed like you were putting more into the crafting system than you were ever getting out of it.


Here we're going to look at seven games with stellar, in-depth crafting that all approach the system from different directions.

The Community Divide: Modern MMO Communities Are Different, Not Worse https://www.gameskinny.com/gpk8j/the-community-divide-modern-mmo-communities-are-different-not-worse https://www.gameskinny.com/gpk8j/the-community-divide-modern-mmo-communities-are-different-not-worse Fri, 19 Aug 2016 07:00:01 -0400 Eliot Lefebvre

If you've played MMOs as long as I have and been around the games for a while, you hear a refrain over and over: the games just aren't as social as they used to be. People don't talk any more, everything is about instant gratification, people just want to play the game solo and no one wants to team up for things any more.

This isn't just rose-tinted glasses, either. It's kind of true. MMOs definitely have a very different emphasis on community than they did back at the turn of the century, when the genre was still finding its sea legs. Heck, it's even changed within given games; back in the day, I'd have to shout for groups when playing World of Warcraft and leveling. Now, questing pretty much never requires me to group up with another player; I only have to join a party when I actually want to or I feel the urge to do a dungeon, which is also easy to reach at this point.

So there's no space to argue that things haven't changed. But have they changed for the worse, or is this just... different?

You no longer need the community

Let's be clear about something right off -- in the first MMOs, we had a term for people who didn't engage with the community at all, and that term was "former player." It wasn't just something that was detrimental, it was something that actively shut you out of the game. I started playing in Final Fantasy XI, and if you acquired a reputation as a toxic and unpleasant person, you just wouldn't be invited into parties any more, and that would be it for your time in the game. There was no content you could complete solo, no options for leveling solo, little to be done except beg and plead or find people who didn't yet know you by reputation.

As a result, everyone who was in a given game was part of the community. You had to be. It also meant that you had to put up with a lot of people you otherwise wouldn't give the time of day. Sure, Dale's a racist jerk, but he's a good tank and he likes you, so you should stay on Dale's good side. Your personal distaste for Dale doesn't enter the equation. The community needs to be respected.

This is no longer the case. I can play World of Warcraft without forcing myself to get invested in the community, and in fact I can get invested in communities that are entirely separate from one another. The larger WoW community is mostly just united by its shared game of choice; within that community is a lot of smaller subgroups. There are certain things you can say are true about the majority of players, but very few of them come down to personal taste outside of certain content that is or is not well-loved. And that's a pretty big difference.

Different communities exist as contemporaries

My main game, at this point, is Final Fantasy XIV. I'm a part of the roleplaying community there, I'm part of the high-end non-raid community, I'm part of the housing community. I have friends that are part of the roleplaying community and also part of the raid community, or the ultra-casual community, or part of the PvP community, and so on. There are, in other words, a lot of different little communities that all exist simultaneously.

When World of Warcraft exploded in popularity, one of the things that quickly happened was that the game got too big for a single community umbrella to cover everything. This was unusual; when you were dealing with games that had smaller populations and were built to handle smaller populations, you could reasonably expect that everyone playing your game was cut from a similar cloth. Heck, if you were playing Ultima Online in 1997, you had a gaming PC with a reliable online connection; two decades ago, that was a very dedicated hobbyist setup, not something that you could get for a discount at dozens of big-box stores.

The result is that unlike classic MMOs, modern games have lots of different communities running at the same time. The communities still work like the communities used to work, of course; they're based around social need. You can't be part of the roleplaying community if you have no one to roleplay with, after all, and if you acquire a nasty reputation within that community, people won't want to be around you any longer. But even so, there are parts of the game that just aren't subject to the community any longer.

The game is much more accessible

There will never come a point in Star Wars: The Old Republic where the community can prevent you from doing dungeons. It's not possible. I don't mean just that most of them have solo modes now; I mean that I can always hop on, queue up in the group finder, be matched with a group, and get dropped into the content. That's a pretty big change, and it's the sort of thing that can easily lead to a feeling that the whole thing is much more fire-and-forget now. After all, if you can just hop into content from anywhere, instantly, you no longer need to talk with people, slowly work your way through things, work together... you just go and forget about it.

Except -- and I say this as someone on multiple sides of this community gulf -- the difference is not between "do content slowly" and "do content quickly." Because that "slow" method was the sort of thing that could, and did, eat up entire days of time.

People talk about how certain dungeons in WoW used to feel large, and that's entirely true, but Blackrock Depths was a dungeon that I never saw in its entirety. It was so sprawling that it was, functionally, an entirely new zone that could only be explored with a group, filled with no clear path and misunderstandings about where to go next. It was exhausting. Every death meant a long run back, every misunderstanding meant a death, and it was very easy to sign up for a group at noon and have to log off for dinner hours later without having accomplished any of your goals.

For a lot of players, this was death to any dreams of playing an MMO. If you didn't have hours of free time, you just... wouldn't see any of this. That got you kicked out of the culture, which meant you couldn't do anything more. The community was stronger and singular, but it was also far more insular and mercenary at the same time; you either played the way the community did, or you just didn't play.

And herein comes a big chunk of the divide. The people who played the game back in the day see all of these people playing and not being part of the community, wondering why this is necessary, because the people who used to play in the older games were part of the community and enjoyed it. It's easy to miss that this is a self-selected bias, that by definition the people who thought things were just fine were the people not locked out by the time investments necessary.

That's not even getting into the sheer simplicity of mechanics when the main challenge was "getting people together and make it through to the end," like the fights in WoW where your healer either cleansed a debuff or the party died, and that was it. We sure as heck don't see that any more.

Everything evolves

I'm not going to say that the old days of MMOs were horrible, because they weren't. They fostered a love of the genre in me that's lasted to this day, making up nearly half of my life and having an enormous impact on my career. Clearly, those games were doing a lot of things right. But they were also doing a lot of things wrong, and over the years, accepted design consensus has steadily changed to the point where things like group finders are expected, not unusual.

And I think it's a good thing. I no longer need to be a part of a community just because I need to get content done; I can be a part of a community because I want to be. If I spend five hours in dungeons in a game, it's because I've done lots of dungeons on a given day and I'm having fun. I spend less time fussing around and calling people and more time actually doing things.

It's easy to miss all of this if you're in one of those communities. If you always were perfectly happy with the old way of doing things, the fact that you no longer need the community feels slightly off. But it also means that more people get to enjoy the game and experience what it has to offer. Some things have been lost in the exchange, but ultimately, it means more people can have fun, and that's a positive thing if you really love the game.

Sure, it means that casual grouping is less necessary than it was before. There's a mid-tier range of content that largely doesn't exist any longer. But I think that, ultimately, some of that comes down to how you cultivate the communities you are part of. There's no longer an endless pool of people to draw from who have to be part of a given community, but that change means the people who do want to be there are going to be there for a long time.

Transparency: GTA V Will Never be Considered an MMO Even Though it is One https://www.gameskinny.com/p5sfs/transparency-gta-v-will-never-be-considered-an-mmo-even-though-it-is-one https://www.gameskinny.com/p5sfs/transparency-gta-v-will-never-be-considered-an-mmo-even-though-it-is-one Fri, 17 Apr 2015 12:55:24 -0400 Larry Everett

I find it interesting that there is really even an argument over which games are and aren’t MMOs, but I completely understand why the argument exists. When you see a label on a game, you expect certain things to be in the game. This unfortunate baggage causes some games to be excluded from a genre where the players of that genre would totally love the game. But some games take on a label they clearly shouldn’t have because they want to appeal to an audience that will drive up their player numbers.

Grand Theft Auto V runs into a weird situation where the game falls under multiple genres. We heard sandbox, shooter, RPG, and many other labels being thrown around for the game, but the most contested label appears to be MMO. To be clear, Rockstar does not label their game an MMO. The contention exists in the minds of the fans.

What is an MMO?

It might seems to be silly to ask to define an MMO, but would you believe that there really hasn’t been a consensus on what constitutes an MMO? In fact, even the creators of the genre cannot agree on what makes an MMO. Of course, some correct themselves when talk about MMOs and say that what they really mean in MMORPG, not just MMO. Of course, MMORPG has different expectations than say an MMOFPS or an MMORTS. Regardless, clarify that they mean MMORPG is a cop-out that doesn’t help to define what an MMO is. And even the term MMORPG has a wide breadth of meanings.

You’d think that first game to coin the term would define the genre, right? I mean, MOBAs have been defined by DOTA and FPSs have been defined by Wolfenstein. MMOs should be defined by the game that first coined that term. That would be World of Warcraft, right? No? EverQuest? It’s gotta be EverQuest. No? Even though it’s clear that these two games were the most popular games of their genre in their time, the game that actually coined the term was Ultima Online. An isometric game that by most standards does not resemble either one of the aforementioned games.

What’s even more interesting is that Ultima Online was hardly the first game to utilize the mechanics we find in the MMO genre. If we want to be nit-picky, we could say that MUD1, which was launched in 1980, was actually the first MMO. But I don’t think it’s fair to go back that far because the game was text, and in no tangible way resembles the MMOs we play today. However, Meridian 59 which launched in 1995 utilized the internet make a cooperative roleplaying game.

If we were to use Ultima Online as the standard by which all MMOs or even MMORPGs were judged, then the scope would be extremely narrow, and wouldn’t even include the popular MMOs like World of Warcraft or EverQuest and it most certainly wouldn’t include Grand Theft Auto V. Ultima Online was completely open with players being able to place houses, start battles, or explore anywhere in the game. This clearly isn’t the case with WoW, yet it sets the standard for most MMORPGs.

GTA V is an MMO

If we encapsulate any game that considers itself an MMO and the fans, for the most part, concur that the game is, in fact, an MMO, then GTA V is an MMO and a fairly open MMO at that. Of course, the single-player games for GTA are sandboxes, so it’s only natural that the online version comes close to fulfilling that label, too.

The online portion of GTA V starts you off in the same place that many MMOs do: the character creator. Although this character creator is a bit odd by having you pick your grandparents and parents, it’s still a character creator. You get to choose your looks, stats, and everything else.

After that, you start the tutorial. This quick quest leads you on a tour of the basic game mechanics of GTA Online -- not dissimilar to nearly every other MMO out there. It is slightly uncommon because you play the tutorial by yourself for the most part, but to be fair, that’s not unheard of for an MMO.

Next you’re dropped in Los Santos with a bunch of other players. Here you can find player running a multitude of tasks from robbing stores, killing random NPCs, running heists, racing, to playing deathmatch PvP. All things that you would find anyone in MMOs doing.

Personally, I would define this as an MMO no question. But why the contradiction from some players?

Here’s the catch

The game did not release on PC first like nearly every other MMO in existence, but that not the main issue. Main players, even developers, call the Los Santos you’re dropped in a lobby. And it kind of is because many of the group activities take place in instances separate from the open world part of the game. Secondly, you can create your own personal Los Santos lobby, only inviting your friends -- or no one -- if you wish. No MMO in existence allows that.

The other problem is persistence. Unfortunately, there is next to know persistence and that has to do with the number of instances in the game. Champions Online had a similar system and is scolded by the MMO community for not really being an MMO, but most famously, Guild Wars 1 had this problem, and even the creators of the game don’t consider GW1 an MMO.

That being said, I still like to consider the game an MMO, especially since there is no other game like it, and many MMO players would love to play this game. Many fans of single-player games have said, “I would love to play this game online with my friends.” For me, GTA V does just that. It takes the things that people love about the franchise and puts it into a game that I can play with my friends. That’s enough for me to call it an MMO.

World's First MMO to Be Restarted This Weekend by Museum https://www.gameskinny.com/dvbj4/worlds-first-mmo-to-be-restarted-this-weekend-by-museum https://www.gameskinny.com/dvbj4/worlds-first-mmo-to-be-restarted-this-weekend-by-museum Fri, 26 Sep 2014 08:54:32 -0400 mchiu

With all of the buzz about the Videogame Museum History Museum breaking ground in January, it seems like it is not the first of its kind. Over in Oakland, California, there is also The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment, or simply known as "The M.A.D.E.".

Massively (Joystiq's MMO blog) reports that this weekend, The M.A.D.E. is planning to ressurect Habitat, which it claims to be the world's first MMO. According to a press release from M.A.D.E.:

"The Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (The MADE) will be spending Sunday, September 28th, attempting to resurrect the world's first massively multiplayer online game, Habitat. The project seeks to relaunch the Habitat server on original Stratus Technologies hardware from 1989, and to allow users on the Internet to connect to the game server for free using a Commodore 64 emulator. The MADE is the first videogame museum to attempt such a relaunch. In fact, there has never been an attempt to relaunch a 28 year old, dead MMO before, primarily because MMO's are mostly a phenomenon that has existed only over the last 15 years."

What Was Habitat?

The virtual world was created by Lucasfilm Games, and was launched in 1985, running on the Commodore 64's Q-Link platform. The Q-Link was an AOL type of service for the Commodore 64 computers. Back then, the game was accessible only on nights and weekends. 

The server running the game was a Stratus server, running its own Stratus VOS operating system, and was considered to be an extremely advanced piece of hardware at the time. The server could handle 10,000 concurrent connections, though I am not sure if the Q-Link itself could handle 10,000 concurrent dial-up connections.

The game itself was a virtual world where players could interact with the environment, as well as chat with each other. Players could even be robbed and killed in the game. On the Q-Link service, the game's name was changed to Club Carribe, and it mainly just removed science fiction elements out of the game, but otherwise, Habitat and Club Carribe were identical.

Why Preserve This Game?

The most obvious reason to preserve Habitat is simply because it was the first MMO that the world had ever seen. More importantly though, it serves as the basis of all MMOs today. The game was the first to introduce online avatars, in-game costumes and accessories, pie menus, and the general concept of an online world. 

Games such as Ultima Online, World of Warcraft, Everquest, etc. all have commonalities with Habitat, and it is important to preserve the heritage of video games. Simply making a reference note, or showing a picture, or even a demo of the game would not do it any justice, as with any other video game. In order to fully appreciate the game, it must be in a playable format in order to truly and fully expeience it.

Who's Behind This Project?

Fujitsu is the current holder of the rights to Habitat, and has been working closely with The M.A.D.E. to get this project moving smoothly. Additionally, Stratus has donated a server to The M.A.D.E. that is fully configured with the Stratus VOS on it. Most importantly, the two former Lucasfilm employees who created the game, Chip Morninstar and Randy Farmer, are also involved in recompiling the C64 code, and getting it up and running on the Stratus server.

This weekend, The M.A.D.E. will be hosting a party to get all of the people above, and a chatroom full of C64 geeks together to get Habitat up and running again. Since C64 machines are very rare, and they probably won't be hosting a bank of phone lines for dial-up connections, the game will be accessible through C64 emulators through the Internet.

Hopefully, they can get this working, and I know that I am pretty excited about trying out this piece of video game history!

The Alphabet Soup of Video Games https://www.gameskinny.com/h60wk/the-alphabet-soup-of-video-games https://www.gameskinny.com/h60wk/the-alphabet-soup-of-video-games Fri, 18 Apr 2014 10:53:19 -0400 Proto Foe


Z is for The Legend of Zelda.


Y is for Yuna, summoner and beauty of Final Fantasy X.


X is for Xenosaga.


W is for Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War.


V is for Vagrant Story.


U is for Ultima Online.


T is for Titanfall.


S is for Super Mario Bros. 


S is for Super Mario Bros. Well, maybe not this one.


R is for Resident Evil.


Q is for Quake.


P is for Phantasy Star Online.


O is for Otacon of Metal Gear Solid fame. He will follow Snake in to any situation... From the safety of a plane.


N is for Duke Nukem.


M is for Mass Effect


L is for Lost Odyssey.


K is for Kingdom Hearts.


J is for JC Denton of the Deus Ex universe.


I is for Ikaruga.


H is for .Hack 


G is for Goat Simulator.


F is for Final Fantasy. Yes, even those ones.


E is for The Elder Scolls.


D is for Dark Souls.


C is for Cortana. The faithful companion of Halo's Master Chief.


B is for Bravely Default.


A is for Alone in the Dark. 


A is for Alone in the Dark. Okay, not this one!


The Alphabet Soup of Video Games tastes different to everyone. Here is my mix, I hope it tastes good to you.