Ultima Online Free Shards Reviews by Archon

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To understand why custom Ultima Online free servers are so successful one just has to look back over the many time periods to understand it’s not necessarily about the money but more of personal preference. Each of the Ultima Online eras have catered to different play styles and gave birth to new templates and play styles. The pay-to-play sites have locked themselves into a modern way to play, which is not as popular as the original format and has lost much of the essence of the older era game play.

The Free Shards are a very popular alternative to the paysites because of the custom script additions and specific era. This article is to enlighten people about each era and let them decide what to search for in a free shard.

There are many Ultima Online Toplist Sites and it seems there are about 10 professional custom shards that dominate the top spots on most lists. I visited and played on these sites and have selected my favorite shard from each era

When one talks about role playing games or mmorpg games, they are sure to have played or heard about Ultima Online. There have been many changes and time eras throughout Ultima Online with the player versus player combat experience being intensified around the Second Age. The Second Age is a time period of a few years, after Dread Lord Days and before AOS, but it’s impact is everlasting.

Pre T2A 1997

The early years, the Dread Lord Days. As the name suggests the Dread Lord Days of Ultima Online were filled with “Dread Lords” that hued red. These were players that killed other player characters becoming feared throughout the land. The game consisted of mostly powerful mages and dexers that would hunt their prey in packs. The era was limited to less skills until the birth of the Second Age.

The Second Age(T2A)

The Second Age was the birth of the instant death weapon strikes. This created devasting combinations of large weapons and powerful magic. Explosion, Energy bolt, Hally Weapon hit would kill most players. Anatomy and Meditation were added to give the game more diversity. Archery, Dexers and Mages all coexisted in a well balanced time era of Ultima Online.

Favorite in this era: – UO Second Age, runner up was UO Forever
Second Age is the most accurate emulation of the UO T2A era online today. There are no giveaways. This is a no frills, build your character from the ground up shard

Add your review of UO Second Age here>>

Content ****
Staff ***
Population *****
Community ***
Custom *
Period accurate *****
Connection ***

Renaissance Era(R)

Ultima Online Renaissance gave birth to new lands, which were really a mirror image of the old lands. They would be split up with Felucca with the old ruleset and Trammel with the new, often referred to as carebear lands. PvP during this era remained decent but it was a step backwards for the SecondAge fans of the instant hit. Trammel doubled the world size, spreading the population increasingly thin.

Favorite in this era: – UO Renaissance, with UO Lost lands running a close second

Renaissance is an accurate representation of the original era, based on era PVP mechanics, without the influences of Trammel

Add your review of UO Renaissance here>>

Content ****
Staff ***
Population *****
Community ***
Custom *
Period accurate *****
Connection ***

Third Dawn Era(3D)

Third Dawn would then come out, showing there ability to stay with the times Ultima Online released new lands Ilshenar. The client could then be played in both 2d or 3d. The 3d client was different but the polished timeless look of the 2d remained a staple of the game. Lord Blackthorn’s Revenge would give rise to players constant need for tougher monsters as the artificial intelligence boost proved a good move.

Favorite in this era: No shards with any real population was found

Age of Shadows(AOS)

With an ever growing population and less housing space available UO came out with Age of Shadows in which users could place more houses on Malas. The much anticipated release of the Paladin and Necromancer class would also come to fruition giving more diversity within the genre. With it came more item based dependency than ever as evident by item insurance. Resistance as well would become more specialized into 5 categories rather than one general in the previous eras.

Favorite in this era: – Pestilent
There was not many true AOS shards to compare in this catagory, this seemed to be the most populated and had staff

Content ***
Staff **
Population **
Community ***
Custom **
Period accurate ***
Connection **

Samurai Empire(SE)

Mages began to dominate even more than the SecondAge. The Samurai Expansion was born with two new classes, Samurai and Ninja along with new exploreable lands, Tokuno Islands. Deathstrike would add more effective combinations for player versus player combat. Shortly after Mondain’s Legacy was released, adding a new playable race, Elves with spellweaving ability. Weapons could again be worn when casting spells. Nearly eight years earlier the same principle could be applied to Dread Lord Days. Kingdom Reborn came out and is still being polished.

Favorite in this era: – UO Evolution
There were not many shards that had content for the Samurai Empire so I went with the shard that produces the most content for this era. UO Evolution has developed a lot of custom content including a Karate Belt system, Blackbelt Dungeon and custom bosses, very unique

Add your review of UO Evolution here>>

Content *****
Staff *****
Population ****
Community ****
Custom *****
Period accurate ***
Connection *****

Read Comments and Reviews

UOE Comments on UO Central
UOE Comments on JoinUO
UOE Comments on Top 100 Arena
UOE Comments on UO Evolution

Mondains Legacy Era (ML)

Favorite in this era: – Allure of the Unknown
There were not many shards that had content for the Mondain’s Legacy era. This shard had a low population, but it looks like there is a lot of nice content and effort to create a fun enviroment

Content ***
Staff ****
Population *
Community **
Custom ***
Period accurate ***
Connection ***

Stygian Abyss Era (SA)

Stygian Abyss which came out out in 2009 features a new playable race, Gargoyles and improved upon the Kingdom Reborn expansion. Whichever time period you most enjoyed there have certainly been many changes to Ultima Online. No other game to date has been so dynamic and willing to explore possible avenues of growth. Whether it’s going from a 2d mmorpg game to a 3d client, or listening to it’s playerbase, (Trammel), Ultima Online free servers offer an alternative to the game they once loved.

Favorite in this era: TBA, there are several in this catagory that will be reviewed

There are several shards leading the development of this era and had all of the SA, underworld, and Ter Mur content, plus a lot of custom scripts that complimented all of the expected encounters

Content *****
Staff *
Population *
Community *
Custom ***
Period accurate *****
Connection ***

High Seas (HS)

Favorite in this era: – Pandora
This shard seems to be taking the lead on the development of the High Seas content, but many of the custom systems were not complete, but A+ for effort

Add your review of Pandora here>>

Content *****
Staff *
Population **
Community *
Custom *****
Period accurate ***
Connection ****

Customs Era Shards

Custom Shards have incorporated many of the exceptional aspects from each era and create a new play style completely diferent than many players have ever experienced. UO Evolution has been the leader for the last 6 years and continues to impress.

Favorite in this era: – UO Evolution

Add your review of UO Evolution here>>

Content *****
Staff *****
Population ****
Community ****
Custom *****
Period accurate ***
Connection *****

Read Comments and Reviews

UOE Comments on UO Central
UOE Comments on JoinUO
UOE Comments on Top 100 Arena
UOE Comments on UO Evolution