UO goes to China (again)

 Posted by (Visited 6790 times)  Game talk  Tagged with: ,
Jul 242009

EA to redesign Ultima for China, sez the news.

Of course, we have been here before, sort of. Some anecdotes:

  • During the early days of UO, when PKing was rampant, we notice a major issue in servers hosted along the Pacific Rim — much higher rates of PKing, harassment complaints, etc. We dig in, and it turns out that we were seeing lots of warfare and animosity between players from Asia and players from the US.
  • Hong Kong servers suffered for a while from triad gang wars being imported into UO. Guilds would form that matched the gangs, and the streets of Britain would run with simulated real-life blood.
  • Years later, I visit China, and I am surprised that anyone even knows who I am, since China never officially got a UO release. I was told that UO servers running either pirated servers or gray shard servers probably hit as many as 400,000 players across China.

The article I have read on this doesn’t offer a lot of details, but I think there is a fair amount of potential for this project.

  11 Responses to “UO goes to China (again)”

  1. UO got me into MMORPGs. I never played it because I got EQ first but the stories I used to read about UO always intrigued me. I loved the one about some one killing Lord British 🙂

  2. I hope they do it justice, and I hope they bring it over to America eventually. I’d like to revisit Britannia.

    There was an element of intercontinental griefing reported on Baja, but I never saw any of it in the RP community. We had members from Asia in the Golden Knights (logging in from Hong Kong and Singapore, if memory serves), and while there were communications issues and time zone conflicts, they were welcomed into the guild without reservation.

    I think the availability of real-time translation would have helped ease tensions in the olden days. Or it would have made it possible to fan a mild tiff into a raging feud. Maybe both.

  3. I played UOGamers for a good 3 or 4 years. There was a TON of Asian players on that shard. The Asians that played always came with huge numbers, well organized. And the shard was never dead, at any time of day, because as the US/Europeans were going to bed, the Asians would be just waking up.

    The big pull of UOGamers? NO TRAMMEL. Otherwise, the rules were very close to the post-renaissance, factions era. That’s the only difference. I hear this is what’s hot in Asia, and since Asia seems to be the fore-runner in MMO trends, hopefully we’ll be seeing a non-Trammel post-1990’s version of UO soon. I’ve been waiting for this.

  4. Yes, a single non-Trammel shard would be good. It would take the heat off the vast majority of players with no interest in PvP.

  5. The point I apparently didn’t make is that Asian players are more attracted to PvP. Which is one reason games like Lineage do so well, and games like World of Warcraft aren’t even operating in China. Hopefully, the asian interest in PvP with consequences (which was what UO was all about) will spark some American interest in it too, enough to get a new title made.

    What kind of MMOs would be made if the vast majority of players did like PvP? Like, you know, the asian market.

  6. I was playing UO before Trammel. The PK aspect really helped to gel some of the community. Its sad that they would “upgrade” UO to China and just keep UO the same here. I guess there are too many players in the U.S. that still like the classic feel.

    Games like Guild Wars have a huge Asian market due to its tournament style PvP. Asians do have the ability to work out a strategy, but don’t have the stamina like some of the players in the U.S. I have yet to hear of a U.S. player dying from an all night MMO binge like I see in Asian countries.

  7. I’m not sure about pegging Asian players as all liking PvP, or any particular aspect of games.

    Did D+D ever make it to these markets? I don’t know, just something I wonder about as far as roleplay and other aspects besides games of conquest. But then, I’d think they’ve had loads of single player games that centered around puzzles as well as monsters.

    The Asian markets, I was once told by a Korean that the reason kids there play computer games so much is that there’s really nothing else to do. If this is true, and if all they have to play are games of conquest, well…that’s kind of sad, if it’s the case.

    Of the Chinese who played WoW before, it would be interesting to see if they mostly played PvP servers.

    More questions here than comments.

  8. I’m just talking about the popularity of games like Lineage, which are completely PvP-centric.

  9. The point I apparently didn’t make is that Asian players are more attracted to PvP. Which is one reason games like Lineage do so well, and games like World of Warcraft aren’t even operating in China.

    Wow is not currently operating in china because of legal issues in the goverment changes to online games, but should soon return.


    EaseNet will be permitted to test the 3D game internally at the same time as WoW’s developer, Blizzard Entertainment, is making content revisions, due to concerns over the size of the data transfer and tens of millions of gamers affected, said the report.

    Back to the subject, I dont know how the new laws there will affect how UO is released there, but I had the most fun in pre-trammel days also, played it since beta, and was part of a community that played on the test server.

  10. “Asian” lumps together a bewildering array of vastly different cultures. Heck, even “China” lumps together a bewildering array of vastly different cultures. Generalizations serve poorly.

    It’s true that some games in the Japanese and Korean markets have done very well with open PvP. It’s also true that many of the same games have done well with little or no character customization. They’re essentially massive arena games with persistance. They’re RPGs to about the same extent as Gauntlet.

    I can’t see any variation of New UO that will gain any significant traction in the US market without the functional equivilent of Trammel. Watching Warhammer and Conan slipping into irrelevance should be sufficient demonstration of the fate awaiting PvP-centric titles. It’s a niche market. It can be a fun niche, unquestionably, but it isn’t mainstream and no amount of wishful thinking or designer blandishment will make it so.

  11. Maybe Warhammer and Conan are just the same old WoW in shiny new packaging. UO’s a different game. PvP-centric games haven’t been successful in the US markets because there hasn’t been any good ones since UO. The people who would play a good PvP game already played WoW and don’t want to be tricked into playing it again (see Warhammer and Conan), and they also don’t want to have to settle for an inferior product (see Darkfall).

    A shiny new version of UO might be just thing the to crack open the US PvP market. And when I say shiny and new, I don’t mean Kingdom Reborn. I mean a new game, new map, new everything, just the same rules and functionality as UO. Asking too much? Maybe. But I’m asking.

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