The Begining of Ultima online
As far as online games go, Ultima Online is considered the granddaddy of Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). Back in 1997, before the days of voice chat, in the dark age of dial up, Ultima Online (UO) was paving the way for a whole new genre of entertainment, bringing together people from around the world into one (actually several but I’ll talk about that later) persistent world and letting them engage in conversation, trade and even player vs player combat…many for the first time ever!
A Very Brief History
Based on the epic role-playing game series of Ultima, created by Richard Garriott and Origin Systems, UO brought to life the world of Sosaria, along with much of its lore and legendary characters such as Lord British, Lord Blackthorn, Exodus, Dupre, Iolo, Minax, and more.
Players could take part in storyline events or completely ignore them and live in a virtual world of endless possibilities. UO was designed as a “sandbox” style game with no real set of rules or objectives. This has made the game extremely unique, even compared to modern-day MMORPGs, where there is typically a “final level” or “end” to the game. There is no such thing as “the end” in Ultima Online, as many people STILL play to this day, 18 years later, on the official servers or on free shards.
What are Official Servers and Free Shards?
The official servers of Ultima Online, run by Origin Systems, Electronic Arts, and now by Mythic Broadsword are a subscription based model, which means you must pay a monthly fee to play, and support both the Classic and Kingdom Reborn client. The KR client completely changed how UO looks and feels, which I will let you research on your own, as this guide shows only the Classic client.
As the number of subscribers has dwindled on the official pay servers, UO hobbyists continued to support the development of the game and created free servers that emulated their favorite era of gameplay.
The freeshards are run independently of the official servers. They were created to emulate specific eras and rule sets of UO. Some custom shards are under constant development, adding new content often, while others stay true to the original game mechanics, tailoring to the “old school” days of PvP in the Renaissance(UOR) and The Second Age(T2A). There are now hundreds of shards to choose from, Take a look at this list of the top free Ultima Online shards and start playing!
Let’s Connect to Ultima Online!
To play on the freeshards you can follow this easy guide or go to the specific shard website for detailed information. I will provide a walk through on how to connect to the Ultima Online, UO Evolution free shard I have been playing on for almost 5 years.
Step 1 – Download the UO Evolution Client With all the unique features available, downloading the custom client is essential to viewing the new custom graphics, mounts, monsters, hues/colors, landscapes and more. Download and unzip the files somewhere you’ll remember for later.
Step 2 – Download Microsoft .Net Framework. Most new computers already have this software installed. This software is required to run properly.
Step 3 – Download Razor or UOSteam or AssistUO
These programs are “assistants” for Ultima Online, allowing you to automate certain tasks and enter server information to play on free shards.
Step 4 – Connect the Client to the Shard
Open Razor/UO Steam/AssistUO (as administrator) and set the Client Options to the directory you installed to earlier and then the Server/Shard to play.uoevolution.com and the port to 2593
Step 5 – Log In and Play!
Create a new account by entering your preferred Account Name and Password. Select the server UO Evolution. Customize your character’s appearance and clothing. Selecting a Human or Elf to play is suggested as Gargoyle’s are not fully implemented and have restrictions. Select the type of character you would like to play. This will set your skills according to what you pick. If you want to be really adventurous, click Advanced and pick your own.
There is no skill cap on UO Evolution so you can pick whatever you like. Regardless of where you select, you will begin in Britain on UO Evolution. Your character has now been created and you are playing Ultima Online!
Congratulations! You have a vast new world in front of you where you can do and be anything. This can be a little daunting, but with the help of our friendly community of players and online guides, you will be on your feet in no time!
YouTube Videos of UO Evolution
UO Evolution Wiki
UO Evolution Forums
UO Evolution Facebook