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Third Dawn was closer to 3d than the current client, but not much.  The devs at Origin lacked the... erm... testicular fortitude to do a complete revamp of the client, a la SOE and Everquest, and allowed themselves to be bullied by a very small, but very vocal subset of the player base, and as a result, tried to compromise by making a client that more or less used the existing sprites, without actually increasing the resolution of the existing assets.   Of course, the allowed themselves to be bullied into carrying Win95 support long after Microsoft dropped it... and Win98.  And they'll do the same with XP.

 

But no, UO has never had anything close to a true 3D client.  Just crippled hybrids.  The new EC isn't bad, but they really, and I do mean really, need to clean up the assets... the more modern the hardware, the more it looks like 8bit software.  And I don't mean that in a kind, or nostalgic, way.

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Well, Everquest really doesn't compare at all. If it should be compared to anything, it would be Lineage, as it had a similar setup as Ultima Online, but NCSoft didn't write completely new clients, they (correctly) released a sequel. Creating a new game would also allow the creators to completely escape limitations of the first game and constraints of established communities.

 

But if they don't do something amazing, I am afraid the Ultima franchise will continue its course to the grave, Making a new client for UO will not stop this decline, other than a very temporary boost.to subscribers.

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I use Everquest as the comparison because they are similar in age, went through the same client debate at roughly the same time, and, most importantly, they shared the same Western audience (Lineage was always far more attractive to the Asian market than it was to the US/Euro market, and NCSoft has always acknowledged that the vast majority of the Lineage sub base was not just Asian, but primarily Korean) and they are both still alive, albeit EQ gets far more dev love than UO does.

 

I do agree, though, that something drastic needs to happen - even an engine running at idle still runs out of gas eventually.

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