Lording it up

Recently, while skimming through the pages of Facebook, I saw a link to a game which caught my attention. It’s not a Facebook game, although it did try and insist that I bombarded each and every one of my friends with news, like when I’d built a new windmill. I soon put pay to that, however and settled down to play Lord of Ultima. Lord of Ultima is set in the already established Ultima universe (a long running series of RPGS featuring Lord British), it’s best described as a bit like online Settlers. It’s been just shy of a week now, as you read this my seven days of protection is just ending and, judging from the other cities on the map, there’s a chance that my week’s worth of hard graft and occasional clicking may be under threat…

What captured my imagination as I played the game was that it reminded me a lot of the old Play-By-Mail games I used to take part in when I was at school. KJC Games, which still exists now on the interweb and runs Play-By-Email versions of most of its games, was a driving force in my love of strategy gaming. I’d play a game, whether it was Quest (a very in-depth RPG), It’s A Crime (think Mafia Wars on Facebook but with laser printed turn reports) or Monster Island (a survival RPG of the highest order – you had to invent your equipment). I used to sit and religiously fill out my turn card and mail it off, usually once a week, and wait for the results of my actions in the post a few days later. Lord of Ultima is a lot like that as things take time. I’m not waiting for my crops to grow. I’m waiting for armies to recruit, I’m waiting for them to travel to the dungeon I’ve chosen, and I’m waiting for them to come back. I’m putting in my orders and waiting.

So what have I been up to?

Day 1

When you first start Lord of Ultima you’re given, as with every game nowadays, a tutorial. This one is given by a posh bird with her hair done in curly bun things like Princess Leia. She basically spent a good half hour or so explaining what buildings I could build and where things would be most effective. It may come as a shock, but you’ll get a better result from your woodcutters if you put them near a wood. She also helped me upgrade my town hall a few times, unlocking new buildings and soldier types along the way. Once the tutorial was done, I was on my own. Able to set buildings upgrading, or building as I saw fit. So I did, until the times they were taking to build because silly (hours rather than minutes and seconds) and I set a few going before I logged off.

Day 2

What should have been another successful building day was hampered by the fact that I forgot I had to verify my email, so could not actually access the site (at all – not even to be told I hadn’t verified myself).

Day 3

Still not verified. And then I remembered. Result. Back to the building. The plus point of not logging on for nearly two days was I had a ton of resources to build with. Things were set upgrading and left. I also decided that I should send a few soldiers out to a nearby dungeon to see what I could find. A two hour round trip netted me a healthy haul of resources I could plough into my various building projects. Just before I finished for the day I noticed a Dragon on the world map. Can’t resist a Dragon, me, so I called forth my troops and set them out…

Day 4

Logging on today my first thought is for my brave, bearded beserkers. The men I sent to tackle the Dragon – have they returned? Have I defeated the foe? Is my force decimated? I sent something like 90 soldiers out to tackle the Dragon and I counted each and every one back. The Dragon was defeated (although it will show up again later in the week when a similar fate will befall it) and I was better off by a mystical item which, in the first instance, gave me more resources to play with (although later rewards include items which reduce build times – bloody handy for the higher level buildings).

Day 5

As the week is drawing to a close, I’m acutely aware that my protected status is due to expire. I set to work increasing the size of my army. I’ve reached a point where I could, if I wanted to, build a castle. The castle lets everyone on the map know that you’re a potentially hostile force – I’m not sure I want to commit to this just yet. Let’s see how my first days of unprotected status go first, and then I’ll make a decision. But while I’m weighing up the pros and cons it doesn’t hurt to assemble a massive army now, does it? I’ll break them in with a few raids on the surrounding dungeons and, oh look, it’s that Dragon again . To arms, boys.

Day 6

The day before the protection falls. I’ve reached my build limit for the level my Town Hall is at. I need to upgrade my Town Hall but that requires a whopping 60,000 wood and 60,000 rock. I have approximately 25000 of each and am pulling in about 1500 an hour. Allowing for the build time for my Town Hall it’s going to take an absolute age to upgrade… and by that time I’ll be open to attack and sitting, unable to build anything further. Has that time I couldn’t log in, due to my inability to read the instructions and, to a lesser extent, the voracity of Hotmail’s Spam Filter, cost me dearly. My strategy hangs by a knife edge…

Day 7

Today. Now. Who knows. The protection drops as of this morning. I’ve recruited as many soldiers as I can. I’m prepared for anything, I just don’t know how well.

Guess we’ll find out…







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