Ultima Online

Some time ago Marissa (Marion’s niece and my gaming-friend) were discussing the games we placed in the past. And so I told her about the first real online game I ever played: Ultima Online.
As I played this game a very long time, there were many stories and facts to tell about it. Ultima Online is based on the old standalone games series of Ultima.

By all the details I told Marissa she got curious about the game. So I did the only thing I could do to show her really the old game and that was re-activating one of my old accounts (this account was created in 2001). I showed her around in the game (one has to love fast Internet connections and screen sharing :P). And yes, the graphics are not like modern games as Everquest II or even Grand Theft Auto V. But Marissa was impressed by how detailed the game was. And even I forgot about that.
Running into a dungeon made me realize how hard this game is compared with modern games.

To keep the story short: The Ultima Online-virus got hold of Marissa… and I have to admit, I was captured by it as well again. And now my 3 old accounts are active again. Dimrost picked up his swords again (Dimrost was my main character). Marissa felt in love with Femke, the elven paladin archer on the oldest account (extremely effective and deadly when played well). Sadly Dimrost and Femke are on the same account, so they cannot be play together (you can only play one character of an account at the same time). But on one of the other accounts there is a necromancer called Lucifera who can team up nicely with Dimrost. And yes, they rock and die a lot… as said, this games is so much harder as many of the other games we played together.
The crafters have picked up their jobs again… mining, lumberjacking, carpeting, tailoring, alchemy, tinkering, blacksmithing and more.

We have placed three houses close to each other on the location where I had in the past my house. So it is almost a small village. One house a dedicated as meeting place and the other two are for crafting and storage. For now the three house are kinda empty, but that will change over time. Decorating houses is a real art in Ultima Online.

There has been many changes to the game during the years that I was away. New lands and dungeons were added. Existing dungeons where changed and updated. New races and professions were added. New monsters are roaming the lands. There are new animals to be tamed (one of my main characters is a tamer).

It also nice to show Marissa all the places through the lands, the secret passages and places to see…. And of course the places were not to go (at least not alone). Marissa was in for an surprise when she ran into the dungeon Hyloth and found herself surround by dragons, an occasion her character did not survive. Luckily I could free the place with my tamer and her white wyrm so Marissa could collect the items from the corpse of her character.

It was nice to see that people still meet at the bank of Britain to chat and have fun together. It was a real surprise that some of the old guilds are still around.

The game has not lost its magic and it feels good to be back again.

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Today Marion arrived back home again from her holiday on Hawaii. And of course I am very happy to have her here with me again.
The idea was to visit my mother today (who lives on the other side of the country). But Marion was suffering a lot of the jet-lag. It would have been irresponsible to let her drive that long distance while she was so tired.

After we spent some time together, Marion crawled into my bed and took some hours sleep to rest. Meanwhile she was asleep I finished off some work (I was working from home). After she waked up again, she still did’t felt capable of driving to Haaksbergen (which is very understandable btw). It would be better to go there tomorrow.
But Marion also did not feel after staying all evening at home. So I came up with the idea to go to a movie and that idea she liked. Just this week a new movie was released that I was very interested in… “Sucker Punch”. After a little persuasion from my side, Marion agreed to go to that movie.

The main story is about a young girl (Baby Doll) who is locked away in a mental asylum by her wicked stepfather where she will undergo a lobotomy in 5 days time. Faced with unimaginable odds, she retreats to fantastical world in her imagination where she and four other female inmates at the asylum plot to escape the facility. The lines between reality and fantasy blur as Baby Doll and her companions battle various creatures and enemies to retrieve the 5 items they need that will allow them to break free from their captors before it’s too late…

I really liked the movie. The actors did play very well and the special effects were great.And yet after the movie I heard some younger guys complain that the movie was awful.
While Marion and I walked relaxed to KFC (when we go for a movie at Pathe Amsterdam Arena, we always go to KFC) we disused this.
We came to the conclusion that some of those that complained about the movie didn’t see the underlaying story. They came for an exciting some kind of horror movie…. and that they didn’t get. For us (and yes, this is open for everyone to have an own interpretation on) is about fighting when there seems to be no hope, trust, love and courage. And in the end it was all about sacrifice.

This made me think back of an online game I used play called Ultima Online. Marion really liked when I told her about the text below (and when I showed her later home the exact words):

“As many long-time fans of Ultima Online will tell you, one of the most unique features of its gaming world is the fact that they center around philosophical morality issues. These issues, as designed by Richard “Lord British” Garriott, many years ago consist of three Principles – Truth, Love, and Courage. Derived from those Principles Lord British came up with 8 Virtues in which he wanted his players to learn and understand. From Truth we gain Honesty. Love leads to Compassion. And from Courage grows Valor. By combining Truth and Love we get a better understanding of Justice. Love and Courage combined is Sacrifice. Truth and Courage is Honor. All three principles together brings us Spirituality. And the lack of all three brings pride, the opposite of which is Humility. This philosophy has come to be known as the Codex of Ultimate Wisdom.”

It seems to me that the movie Sucker Punch is also around these Principles and Virtues of the game “Ultima Online” (who said games where only about violence, slaughtering and death?).

As so often in real life, even when it seems there is no way out… there is always a solution, but one just has to see it. And that is very nice rephrased is the last lines of the movie:

You got all the weapons you need!!! Now fight!!!

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