Thursday, June 28, 2007

Ultima Online : Kingdom Stillborn

The beta test for Ultima Online : Kingdom Reborn has ended already, and EA is releasing it to the public for free (of course you have to have a paid Ultima Online account to use it). Being free does not excuse the horror that is this unfinished mess, with the new client being far from polished or in some cases, far from playable.

The performance is slow and laggy, the screen and environment full of unsightly glitches, the chat window is uncontrollable and ugly, and the in-game map still has the appearance of something drawn in crayon.

I could go into specifics about all of that but why bother. I've tested it and sent in my bugs and hoped for the best. In fairness, the large patches have been coming regularly and have been addressing some of the issues. But it will take a good year of such patches to make this client as smooth and appealing as the old 2D one.

I really, really, wanted to like Ultima Online again. Even when I realized that Kingdom Reborn would not include an ocean reborn, I still was hopeful that the new graphics and user interface would entice me back to the world of Sosaria. Alas, such was not the case as the current leadership at EA has decided to repeat the mistakes of the old Ultima Online : Third Dawn client from six years ago. That's all Kingdom Reborn is right now - a rehash of the Third Dawn client with some nice user interface options.

I'll probably stick around until Pirates of the Burning Sea comes out. And next week, on Saturday July 7, I will attend the UO Town Hall meeting here in Columbus and ask some really, really tough questions about this mess. That should make for an interesting blog entry.

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