Friday, August 18, 2006

Remembering Ultima Online Philippines: The Filipino Shard

If there is one thing that I cannot forget is my drive in 2003 of putting up this Online Game which was introduced to my by my best friend in 2001, Ultima Online. For me, this was the very first online game that really caught my fancy, most of the time spending long hours, and not shutting down my computers just to make my characters strong, mostly merchant developed ones. Unlike most typical players who would wander out, adventure and fight off monsters, my approach to the game was more of a business minded one. Why shouldn’t it be considering that most games can be looked upon as business related rather than fantasy and adventuring people?

My role here was to make the game totally interesting. I get to play God in a way, trying to balance good and evil. I will admit, I was after justice in all aspects, becoming a game that most people wanted to make a real true to life game where the people such as robbers, murderers and slayers would exist equally with the common players who would just want to fight off Non-Playing Characters (NPC’s). The game proper was really amazing, creating monsters with powers that can totally annihilate anyone with one blow, magic and other combat related skills. Anyone can practically mold their characters as legends in their own right.

There is nothing much to argue other than maintaining such a game, considering server hosting, scripting and other expenses are the main reasons for my closing it down some time ago. Players as well were inclined to try out new games that offered high graphics, something that attracted and lured out players one by one. Dwindling numbers, conflicts of interests, the game was made popular by the players and not by the Game Masters as some would claim. Playing God in the game was not even an enjoying moment, especially when you see people arguing and cursing each other, it was just simply a game that many had really taken by heart. That alone is a testimony that such a game gets the better of most RPG addicts. It simply means a lot to them when they get into the game.

Free gaming will not last long. Maintenance requirements are a reality and to keep a shard up is no big joke. The problem is, most of us are accustomed to freebies and this will simply reach a point where most people will consider stopping and just lean towards other game related sites that offer better qualities and so. But seeing this, having seen the article I wrote about Ultima Online Philippines in Manila Bulletin, the interview I had on television through Knowledge Power, the original site, forums, and the times I have had with the players online, as always, I treasure such experiences. I have no regrets of trying to put up that game despite the odds and the hardships, but facing reality with the manner on how to maintain such a game online requires funds, something that most people did not understand then, but do now.