Over fifteen years ago Ultima Online left its mark on MMOs forever. Now here we are in 2013 and EA's Mythic Studio is set to launch Ultima Forever onto Mobile devices and eventually the PC. I demo we saw had the game on an iPad and in a word it looked addictive. The game is designed as a co-op MMO allowing up to four player dungeons. Ultima Forever really does look to change mobile gaming forever. Here is what we learned at GDC.
The demo we saw began with a tap movement system which also has smartpath to get around the dungeons and outside areas. You can interact with a lot of objects in the game. There are levers, traps, and gates. As you go through a dungeon there are checkpoints which allow you to respawn so you don't have to go back to the beginning. The interface moved very well on the iPad and the look of the game is beautiful. The hand painted tiles stand out on the screen and it is easy to get around.
Next we watched the combat which was easy to learn. Tap targeting is there for your basic attacks and each player gets five abilities on the side of the screen to use. The game will launch with two classes: warrior and mage. However they do plan to add all of the classic Ultima classes into the game such as Druid, Bard, Ranger, and Paladin. The warrior was all melee with attacks to the front, flanks, and even a backstab. The mage is the glass cannon of ranged damage. There were a variety of spell icons on the screen.
The game is focused around finding different types of keys. The bronze keys you can find almost anywhere from defeating monsters or smashing open barrels. These are used for basic loot repairs and can be grouped together to get the next level of key. Silver keys can be found through adventuring but are also available in the cash store. The silver keys offer better loot options. The last are the Gold keys which are for purchase and can help you in all manner of ways. They unlock cosmetic rewards, time rewards, and many other top level enhancements. These keys are tied to a loot system of Common, Uncommon, Rare, and Epic loot. Don't make the mistake of thinking this is a grind system, it is not even close. All of the game play we saw looked fun and keys were easily accessible.