The futility in it all
"Are you beginning to see the futility? Why do you struggle so if you cannot win? Your quest is pointless, you cannot and will not win. Think about it Avatar..."
These are the words that I could not forget when I finished Ultima IX Ascension two weeks ago - the game I, and so many others have anticipated for more than 5 years. The game that was once the initial motivating factor for creating this site, that helped me to keep up the whole thing all the time at least up until earlier this year.
Well... The saga comes to an end eventually, we all knew this. The only remaining question was *how* it would be done. Would it really be the immersive, living, breathing world Richard Garriott was talking about (and still is)? Is it really an epic roleplaying game with a twisted and intriguing non-linear storyline with hundreds of well developed characters to interact with and countless sideplots and of great replayability value? Does it really tie up all the loose ends and inconsistencies of previous Ultimas? Will there really be the level of world interaction like we saw the last time in Ultima VII - a game released almost 8 years ago?
Yes, I knew several originally planned features had been sacrificed over the long period this game was in development. I thought I was prepared...
How greatly mistaken and naive I was.
Not even one of these elementary features that had been praised over and over again by the game creators actually made it into the final product. None of the issues that had been debated for years, not a single bit of the feedback they wanted and received from us, the fans and supporters, has been considered. Instead we got a hideous linear storyline thrown at us that we have seen in at least 3 of its predecessors already (and there it was only one part of plot), black and white cliches probably supposed to attract 3rd graders, a limited number of lifeless NPC's, always the same repetitive and tedious tasks eventually culminating in a truly horrible end sequence.
Yes, I see and appreciate its outstanding and beautiful graphics, the wonderful musical score, I like watching the sun go down and the stars and moons move during the nights - there it is indeed shining. But is it that what Ultima is all about? Isn't that just a mere shell, like that of a colorful fruit that is of little use without the core within?
It is truly a shame to see the once most successful, longest-running roleplaying game series ever come to an end like this. Where a positive and rewarding experience would have been appropriate it just leaves depression and frustration.
And once again I'm wondering what I should do with this site. I really wanted to come back this time and extend it greatly, I wanted to cover more than just the history of the Realm from Ultima V (as it is now), maybe add some sort of timeline, bring back the Martial Arts stuff and add a couple of more sections dealing with magics, virtues and so on... I even made my peace with the fact that Ultima IX doesn't support true music anymore and wanted to put at least some of the tunes in the Bard's Library. But quite frankly, I don't even see me playing the game as a whole again anytime soon, much less dedicate my valuable spare time to something that seems so obsolete now...