As I’m sure everyone knows, September 2012 is when Ultima Online has it's 15th year anniversary. For all of those players that were not around for the beta or started playing all those many years ago, there was a world before “online”. I’ve told my own story many of time and looking back all those years ago, it's still amazing to me to talk about growing up in a world without half of the innovations we have today. Even if some existed, many didn’t have them in their homes yet... like microwave ovens. I started off with a Commodore-64. Many of my games were far from formal box sets found in computer stores. Little things for fun, when you couldn’t sleep in the middle of the night. Simple, far from beautiful graphics. And then my very first box set came... Ultima 4.
This was a game, if I remember correctly, that was more in black and white. Still, it was an adventure game. Magic, fighting, monsters, exploration, dungeons, puzzles to be solved. Countless hours spent in a computer generated world and I can't thank those creative minds enough. Even though this was the 4th of a long history of Ultima, I followed from 4 to 5, to 6, to Ultima 7... that still remains to be my favorite. This was a world of you and a long collection of Non-Player-Characters. Not “online”. What was online? Ultima was about “virtue”... I was quite taken aback when, years later, an online Ultima came out and this world was ruled by criminals. Murderers with the fastest computers... what was the same staff thinking? That’s why I stayed away. I’m quite sure, as a life-long Ultima fan, I was far from alone.
So, after Tram came to be... I started playing. I chose Atlantic, highly populated and sometimes difficult for a new player to get their feet firmly planted in this game world. A big problem being a housing shortage. It took cleverness and the use of vendors... and renting a space in a mall, with vendors owned by many different people. People still ask me how I made the Red & Purple Mini Mall? It was all about ammunition! Arrows and bolts. This fueled my efforts with mages and fighters. As my vendors flourished, rather then blow every single coin, I worked hard to add more vendors to my small collection. Before long, I had a room in a castle full of smart dressed Red & Purple vendors. It was not long after that the staff locked up housing after 9/11. A small marble shop was now 5 million gold. Hard to believe... and now you can't even give one away. :-)
Still... how did we go from a small marble shop to a large mall that eventually became a town? A new question and one worthy of our own origin story. To answer THIS... I went from ammo to a rather odd specialty item, “Savage Kin Paint”. This was still in a world without suits that let you cast spells with out regs... and I hadn’t a pet that could stand up to savages. It may not be commonly know, but savages will destroy any pet that started off evil. To say, like dragons, mares and the like. Unicorns... and our giant dogs, good. The dogs actually do best because they are so powerful. The savages spawn little “apple like” berries, blue in color. Making bags of regs ready, I would camp the spawn for hours, collecting berries in the same bag... dropping the bag off as I picked up the next regs bag. Hundreds upon hundreds of berries. Then, with help of my Cook, turned the berries into paint. The paint would sell for 5k per unit, back then. It's more now. This paint turns your character white... but has other more magical properties.
In collecting the, then new, Power Scrolls, that help you boost various skills, one of the spawns will turn your character into a rat man. Needless to say, you loose your mount, become slow, and it makes the hunt even more challenging. The paint... prevents this! So, being this was a specialty, even from a collection of vendors selling just about everything, it was the hottest seller. All those hours upon hours, the paint would fly off the vendor. Even at 5k per unit, so much paint sold it easily paid for the current mall building. It's true the mall and my own house have a large collection of rares and oddities collected over the years and money has been made doing so much more then paint, but the Savage Kin Paint is what made the big Red & Purple Mini Mall.
Like I tell everyone... find what sells, stock it and sell even more. You win. Shoppers win. Our community wins. What's better then that?
So that’s a little story of success and advice. No matter your limitations and effort, you can get someplace in a community that spans the world as we play in a world without boarders and unlimited possibilities. Unfortunately the pay doesn’t exist in real USD... but return is still unlimited.
11th anniversary to the Red & Purple... And happy 15th UO!