***So apparently IPY3 has been (I don’t want to say canceled) because from what I understand it’s being wrapped up into something called UO An Corp. It seems like another free shard and I’m wondering if all the work done will be saved and put into their shard or what. Either way, guess I’ll hold off for now about playing UO again… sad day.***
Ten plus years ago (because I can’t honestly remember) when I started to play UO, it filled a void that I didn’t even know I had. This was my first jaunt into the MMO universe and it was glorious. Unlike most people who generally disliked or hated the later expansions, I accepted most with open arms. It was more land to run around and find adventure; what’s not to like?
The main pull was that there wasn’t the (now common) quest hub system. You spawned with some stats and skills of your choosing and then were plopped in a town of your choice. Then, once again, you had another choice. You weren’t really directed in a direction, you just picked one. You fight with your skills and you got better with them and stronger in general. Started as a fighter, but changed your mind? Totally fine, just start casting magic and Bob’s your uncle! There was such freedom that people that play modern MMO’s can’t fully appreciate. There was a greater evil and you were just part of the world at large and you made your own story.
Ten years ago, In Por Ylem’s first shard went up and now in 2014 they are going to be launching the third iteration of IPY and I’m kind of excited! So I sought out one of the creators to get answers to some lingering questions in my brain cage.
The Videogame Backlog: What originally gave you guys the idea to start the IPY shard?
In Por Ylem’s Az: Originally, In Por Ylem was created because I felt the server software available had finally come to a point where something like this was possible.
I had actually argued with people in the UO community (even the developers) for quite some time about the virtues of a classic shard. Believe it or not, at one point people laughed at the suggestion that classic UO would be popular. After arguing until I was blue in the face, hosting petitions with thousands of names, and running websites more or less dedicated to the topic… I decided to just do it myself. I knew it’d be popular… but I honestly didn’t expect it to be as popular as it was.
TVGBL: How many people work on IPY currently?
Az: Currently a total of six. Probably more soon.
TVGBL: What does IPY3 bring to the table that improves over the last two iterations?
Az: Oh my. Everything. First of all, dedicated coding and regular updates will be something people enjoy seeing right off the bat.
As far as actual game systems, IPY 3 gives every single UO fan a reason to log in. On top of all of the stuff we had for IPY 1 and 2, we’ve added hundreds of achievements, an incredible variety of rewards, a partial revamp of the faction PvP system, an arena system with leagues for different UO eras, and a custom dungeon building system, etc.
TVGBL: What improvement are you most excited about?
Az: I’m excited to see what people end up creating in the dungeon building system, and I think the arena system will keep players logging in and competing for a long time. I’m also excited about the idea of adding more achievements over time and seeing players enjoy that. However, there’s no doubt that what I’m excited most about is something everyone will be introduced to in the spring.
TVGBL: On a side note, do players still experience the lag that the original UO had where your horse would continue running, but you’d be logged off, or was that just the internet connection back then?
Az: How much lag you experience typically depends on your physical distance from the game server, but in general lag in online gaming is really nothing like it was a decade and a half ago.
TVGBL: I see on the IPY site that you’ve had around 2200 people online at one time. Is this something you’d like to see happen more often and grow or would you like to keep it more close knit? Do you see those being mutually exclusive?
Az: The more the merrier, you know. Everyone is going to have more fun if there are more people to fight, talk to, adventure with. I’d be ecstatic to see IPY 3 be as popular as IPY 1 and 2 were. Those are some pretty big shoes to fill, though.
TVGBL: Would you say that IPY is welcoming to new people or would a person who logs on for the first time be picked clean of the cloak they were born with?
Az: I suppose that depends. Ultima Online can be a challenging game to master. You could log in and get picked clean, or log in and find people really helpful. It’s tough to tell, but the community is usually pretty good to new players. Or, better than you might expect, anyway.
TVGBL: Could a person thrive as pure PvE, PvP, or crafting in IPY3?
Az: You can certainly do anything you like in Ultima Online. All of those are perfectly viable options for playing.
TVGBL: What would you say to someone that has never known the joy of UO before?
Az: UO was the greatest experience a person could possibly have in online gaming. Get a time machine.
Or play IPY.
TVGBL: Anything else you’d like to add?
Az: January 10th. 🙂
I just want to thank In Por Ylem’s Az for taking the time to answer some questions for me. Answering questions for a site such as mine just continues to reaffirm the fact that these guys are all about community and doing/creating something you love. Head on over to IPY’s site and take a look around… although as of typing this there is mainly a countdown clock and a description of what they’ll be adding in IPY3. Also, make sure you give them some love on their Facebook page since people of the internetz like that sort of thing.
I wish them the best of luck with the launch of IPY3’s shard in eight days. I plan on being there even if I haven’t decided what I’m going to do. Although I may try my hand at being a rogue type this go around. Will I be seeing any of our readers on the shard?