Ultima Online Free To Play Patch, Endless Journey, Now Live

Earlier today, on April 5, 2018 Publish 99 for Ultima Online went live worldwide. The new update comes with a host of features, the most notable of which is Endless Journey -- a free to play account tier for the previously subscription-only MMORPG.

Ultima Online was first released in 1997 and is credited with bringing the MMORPG genre to the mainstream. The game required a subscription to access and has undergone significant updates since its release.

New and returning players taking advantage of Endless Journey will have access to all Ultima Online expansions through Stygian Abyss. Additional expansions can be purchased individually.

While Endless Journey imposes no restrictions on character progression, it does come with a few glaring issues. First and foremost, free players will not be able to access their bank storage. Additionally, free players will not be able to place, own, or co-own a house. These two restricts will severely limit the ability of free players to accumulate and store items. Unless they are eased in some way, these restrictions will limit the appeal of Endless Journey severely.

For a full list of restrictions and other information on Endless Journey and the rest of the features included in Publish 99, check out the official link below:

Further Reading: Publish 99 Notes

  • ivan_

    How gimped are you if you don't have house/bank access in Ultima? I dont think I've ever played an MMO where bank space was completely closed off behind paywall.

    • Zariarn

      Star Wars the Old Republic has this same restriction.

      • Djon mayer

        that's why nobody plays it

        • Zariarn

          I'm sure that no bank access isn't the reason why someone wouldn't play a MMORPG.

          • lulSock

            It's also the hotbar lockouts, the content lockouts(and removal of passes to get around them), currency caps, tradeskill lockouts, etc. that kill any chance of SWTOR being a played f2p mmo. They need to just change it to what it is, an unlimited free trial.

          • Zariarn

            I can't speak for the publisher but it appears to be working as intended. I don't think they intended for it to be a F2P game. It's what you call a hybrid. They're not the only company to do stuff like this. Lord of the Rings online, Everquest 1 and 2, and Dungeons and Dragons online are also hybrids. They have a subscription option that limit certain things, including the things you mentioned.

            Some games are more friendly than others with their F2P options. Those that are extra friendly tend to have p2w or borderline p2w elements. Star Wars the Old Republic isn't one of those games. Subscription is the best option with that game.

          • lulSock

            The problem is that with the games you mentioned, they can still potentially be played completely free including end game. This is not the case for SWTOR where they have removed the passes to do so. This has left end game in the game in a barely functioning status. As someone that still plays the game and frequents the boards the primary complaint is lack of people to do content with. So no, it's not working as intended or else the games numbers would be fantastic and they wouldn't have had to merge virtually all of their servers into one. Yes, the game is getting an expansion, but that is hardly the sign of life as plenty of dead games were still getting major updates/expansions up until they were closed.

            The f2p options on the games you mentioned can still be bought into without a sub fee, this cannot be done on swtor. You either sub or get the first half of the game, that's it. Even if you invest in the expansion you dont get all the content. In EQ 1 & 2 they removed gear limitations so you can get the best gear, and can raid on f2p if you have the expansion there no longer major restrictions involved because it was shown to be harming the game, this has kept solid player retention for both games. LOTRO has always had a system where you can just buy the expansion and play, the only thing additional you pay for is quest packs that can be earned with points from just played (can be a bit of a grind). Same thing for Dungeons and Dragons. In fact all three are the reverse of SWTOR in which they just have minor bonuses that dont harshly impact the gameplay experience. You cant even play through all the expansion content with a sub in the games you mentioned without a purchase of the content. SWTOR focuses 100% on the sub fee, and as a result their f2p model is reminiscent of the unlimited free trials of old. I really suggest re-evaluating the matrix of these games and their models as they have drastically evolved since they were launched, most dont even have half of the restrictions that SWTOR has.

          • Zariarn

            LOTRO, DDO, EVE, and EQ 1 and 2 has content blocked behind paywall. Quest and such is blocked in higher end zones. Either by sub or purchase, a paywall is a paywall. They're not F2P like that of something like ARC games, Trion Worlds, and/or Aeria games.

            And referring to my comment, the game is working as intended to not be a F2P game. It was converted that way purposely. Grant it, they're probably not getting the amount of people playing as they want, it's still intended to be viewed a subscription game with a limited F2P option. Final Fantasy 14 uses a similar system. You really can't do much past level 30 in FF14.

            I think SWTOR should re-evaluate their model and expanded the F2P options.

            I like LOTRO option to where it gives people a chance to grind out their coins so that they can reach more content. But truthfully, to really enjoy the game without a grind, you want to subscribe or purchase content.

          • lulSock

            Which would be fine if SWTOR actually had content to purchase, if you buy the expansion you only get the story but you dont get the end game unless you are subbed unlike EQ2, DDO, LOTRO, etc where if you have the content you have the content regardless of your payment model. That's the major flaw to their system, you absolutely HAVE to sub which people have stated time and time again they just don't want to do for SWTOR. The key problem is that they are marketing SWTOR as f2p, in doing so they open themselves up to this criticism from players/those looking to join. FF14 doesn't market themselves as a F2P game, they state themselves to be a P2P game with unlimited free trial. That is why in my first post I referred to SWTOR's "f2p model" as just that an unlimited free trial. The point to a freemium business model is to have all of your content able to be bought into a la carte without required a sub fee. In the long run the sub will always be more convenient, but there are those that just dont want to pay a sub, but are willing to dish out tons of cash for what they want out of a game.

            Basically SWTOR is a TV magazine add where you can only subscribe to a month's supply, they give you a free copy just so you can see the product, while the rest of the market is a paper stand where you can just buy the copy you want with no strings attached. There is a reason why the TV adds are vanishing. The same can be said for the freemium p2p centralized games, they are borderline dead and have evolved to something else, a model where you do not need to a sub fee and just buy what you are looking for. This is the system SWTOR needs, but I doubt EA will ever convert to something like this. They need to stem the bleeding of their wounded company from the lootbox fiasco that not only hit their stock, but hit all their titles across the board.

          • Zariarn

            I was under the impression that it was marketed as a sub and not a F2P game. In that case, I see your point. I agree that they should change their presentation and business model.

    • TianlanSha

      I never played the game, I don't know how this bank restriction will affect me, I also don't know what houses are for and I don't like housing in games so at this point it doesn't really bother me.

  • Zariarn

    Remo, you gonna do a first look for F2P?