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RPGBacktrack #100 Special

JCServantJCServant Certified PolygameistRPGamer Staff
edited June 2013 in Miscellaneous Gaming

As most of you know, we are quickly closing in on episode #100 of the RPGBactrack. I know we're going to b talking about one of the defining games in RPG history on the show, but I don't believe Mike has see fit to announce that yet.

However, we are going to have a doozie of an episode, and you're invited to the party!! You're welcome to record a 2-5 minute MP3 talking about your favorite RPG of all time and send it to me. Make sure to organize your thoughts ahead of time with some bullet points, and mention the system, release date, devleoper, publisher, etc. You can download Audacity for free to record and email it to jcservant at cyberlightcomics dot com! Those who do will be eligible to win a prize!!

At RPGBacktrack, we are all about retrogaming...and we want to make sure that this show represents just that. On top of what Mike has planned for the panel to talk about, I have dedicated myself to talk about one of those lost RPG gems by diving right into it. I'm going to be blogging about my experience right here on this thread before talking about it on the show, to help organize my thoughts about this behemoth of a game, as well as sharing those insights a bit early for those loyal listeners who also keep an eye on the forums.

Before I begin doing so, I'm wondering, can anyone guess this historic game that I'm diving into? I'll give you a few clues. Before Morrowind or Grand Theft Auto, this game really did a great job of representing open world gameplay. It's huge! It's so open ended that it doesn't really have defined classes. Similar to Elder Scrolls games, There are over 50 skills that you level up, and how you do so defines your role in the world. Aside from adventuring, you can gather materials, make your own weapons and buy your own house. You can even buy your own house and set up NPCs to sell the leet lewt you find and make! Finally, this game was made before the turn of the millennium.

Let me know your best guess! I'll be blogging about my epic journey soon!
Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!


  • TG BarighmTG Barighm Member Full Members
    edited June 2013
    Need another clue. Was the game released in North America on a console we likely owned?
  • 7thCircle7thCircle Proofer of the Realm RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2013
    I haven't played an Ultima game, but it sounds like what I've read about the series. Specifically, I had friends who played Ultima Online in college and that description sounds just like how they described UO. If I needed another clue, it would be is it an MMO?
    The lesson here is that dreams inevitably lead to hideous implosions.
  • smacdsmacd Full Members
    edited June 2013
    Game sounds like an early MMO, maybe Ultima Online or EverQuest, but the description doesn't quite match. My guess would be an Ultima series game. I'll say Ultima 7.
  • JCServantJCServant Certified Polygameist RPGamer Staff
    edited June 2013
    7th got it! See? Y'all didn't need any silly clues! I'm totally going super old skool for episode 100 of RPGBacktrack! :)

    Summary: UO Online is the longest running MMO...but it's not only that...it's one of the deepest. It has a huge skill system, player housing, and an economy that is very, very player driven. It's got a crafting system with dependencies on dependencies. In a world of streamlining MMOs (See WoW), UO stands as a bastion of complexity. While its no longer the popular choice, its still getting updated on a regular basis...and outside of WoW, it's one of the few MMO's still charging a monthly fee. What is it about this world of UO that keeps a strong enough crowd paying to make it worth the time and effort for Bioware/Mythic to not just keep the servers running, but actually adding content to is nearly 16 years after release? I being a multi-month journey to find out for myself.

    Day 1: With my wife's help, I made my first character. It's interesting...there are 50 some skills to choose from and really no restrictions. Not knowing anything about the game, though, some clearly look more useful than others. Begging? LOL. Eventually any skill can be raised to 100 pts through practice, or 120 with a special item. No character can have more than 700 pts total. So, it becomes pretty apparent that if one wants to engage in making stuff, gathering stuff AND killing stuff, one is going to need alts...and lots of them!

    The tutorial area takes less than 20 minutes to get through. I'm using the enhanced client, which gives me prettier 2.5D graphics than the original client from 15+ years ago (which many ppl still use). There's no short cuts here. To pick up a sort, you have to talk over to it first...your character won't auto walk and then pick it up. If you want to equip a new shield, you have to unequip the old one first...the game won't do that for ya either.

    After dispatching some skeletons, I'm unceremoniously thrust into New Haven with 1,000 gold and some very basic gear from the tutorial. 1,000 gold sounds like a lot, but my wife informs me that's like a $1 bill here.

    There are trainers that can raise skills up to 40%. It's relatively cheap and super fast. From what I understand, the next 60% takes a LOT longer. Again, there are no shortcuts...to pay the guy, I have to open my inventory, click on my gold, type in the amount and move it over to him.

    With basic training complete in swordsmanship, tactics, bushido and something else I can't remember, I go out to slaughter creatures, wanting to give the combat more of a try. There are no level indicators on the monsters outside of town. The only way to tell if I'm stronger than something is good ol' trial and error. Thankfully, there are no dragons right outside of newbie town. I kill some goats. With some help from a friend, I find out that I can skin the goat (open inventory, click on knife, click on monster corpse, pick up leather chunks, put in my inventory, click on scissors, click on leather chunks...they become leather strips). The monsters also have some gold. I work my way slowly up to 2,000gp

    I go back in town with all this leather looking for place to sell it. The vendors here are MUCH pickier than WoW or other games. They only buy those things they generally sell. So the weapon master doesn't want my leather or the shield I found. How rude!!! It's clear that the game is super deep, with systems within systems. I

    A guild leader, who is also the governor of this town, stands on the pier near the water. Certainly, the way to learn how this archaic, deep and very complicated way is to join a guild, right? I even saw a survey on the UO Stratics website saying that 70% of current UO players would love to see new players over things like new content and upgrades to the client. Certainly this man will welcome me to his posse with open arms!!

    Not so much.

    I'm basically told that I need to hunt with them over a period of time so they can get to know me....whatever that means. Unfortunately, I have no clue what I'm doing, so I don't feel like hunting with these experts is a great use of my time. I'm nearly encumbered to the point of not being able to move and I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do with all this leet lewt I got from killing goats, pigs and the occasional bear.

    It's late...tomorrow is another day.... I have no doubt that I've only take the first step in a cross country trip. I better have good shoes on.
    Co-Host on RPGBacktrack. Follow me on Twitter and sub to my blog if you would like!
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