Electronic Arts, EA Mythic discuss online plans for 07

Gaming giant gives a glimpse of what it has in store for Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Warhammer Online.

Last week, at the Fairfax, Virginia, headquarters of EA Mythic, publisher Electronic Arts outlined the future plans for its three primary massively multiplayer games--Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Warhammer Online--in a lengthy presentation that revealed a new look for Ultima, a new direction for Camelot, and two new combatant nations for Warhammer.

The presentation began with EA's plans for an updated Ultima Online with Kingdom Reborn--an upgrade for the existing 2D game that will offer a brand-new 3D graphics engine for the entire game, as well as an updated interface with keyboard "hotkey" shortcuts. Interestingly, the Kingdom Reborn upgrade will be free for all subscribers and will, for the time being, also be optional. Players with low-end computer systems should have time to upgrade their systems since the "legacy" game should be supported for "some time."

In addition, Ultima Online will grow even further with the release of a new expansion pack, Ultima Online: Stygian Abyss. The new expansion, which will require the 3D upgrade from Kingdom Reborn, will introduce a new continent to explore, as well as a brand-new playable race, the gargoyles, which are a breed of mysterious and powerful creatures of a stoic demeanor who possess the power to easily shape stone. The expansion will also offer new quests, content, and the largest dungeon to appear in Ultima Online yet.

According to producer Aaron Cohen, these updates will represent "the largest investment EA has made in UO since the game launched." Cohen also noted that Kingdom Reborn will launch "this spring," while the Stygian Abyss expansion will launch "this summer."

The floor was then given to EA Mythic staff to discuss the studio's plans for Dark Age of Camelot, including the upcoming release of the 2006 expansion pack, Labyrinth of the Minotaur, in Europe in February. For 2007, the studio will apparently focus on delivering the best experience for the game's loyal following of regular players, who enjoy the game for its competitive player-versus-player content.

The coming year should bring upgrades to the live game, including tweaks to the game's outer "frontier" zones where PVP takes place to improve performance and ease of use; additional account services to let players manage, split, and share their accounts and their characters' inventory space; and a shift in focus from expansion packs to in-game "campaigns." Previously, the studio had maintained the game with regular updates but saved its largest content additions for retail expansion packs; it will now be abandoning the expansion packs in favor of adding free "campaign" updates every six months, which will include new areas to explore, new quests to undertake, and new story arcs that add new content to the game every two weeks.

The first campaign will be "A Dragon's Revenge," a six-month story arc that will see the ancient dragons of each of the game's three realms rise up and lay siege to the world. EA Mythic producer Walt Yarbrough assured European representatives on hand that the new content, which is usually made available to European players sometime after it launches in the US, will be designed to not allow "spoilers" from US players to ruin any surprises for players overseas.

EA Mythic's final presentation of the day focused on Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, the competition-focused massively multiplayer game based on Games Workshop's Warhammer fantasy universe. During the presentation, senior producer Jeff Hickman and EA Mythic's ebullient Englishman, creative director Paul Barnett, took the wraps off the human Empire and Chaos factions, which will be two of the six playable factions in the upcoming game.

Look for more details on Warhammer Online, plus a video interview and exclusive high-definition game footage of PVP battles, in GameSpot's preview coverage today.

Got a news tip or want to contact us directly? Email news@gamespot.com

Did you enjoy this article?

Sign In to Upvote

31 comments
creepster32000
creepster32000

ive played ultima 4 years now goin from 2d to forced 3d is total bs plus i havent heard jack on this for a long time no new images no videos an no news all points to CANNED R.I.P. UO

Rikstah
Rikstah

30th comment? THIS IS GAMESPOT!

Alcotamaysees
Alcotamaysees

That's cool how they're still supporting these old games.

apsalar
apsalar

WAR looks amaizing, cant wait...... t

Lonelynight
Lonelynight

cjcr_alexandru Will any of those 3 games be free to play? ------------------------------------------------------------------ LOL its EA what do you think

uberjannie
uberjannie

cjcr_alexandru : no... Anyways, good news for Ultima Online, i will play UO again *cheers*

AndrewP
AndrewP

Please stay tuned for GameSpot's preview coverage of Warhammer Online, coming a little later this evening. Thanks.

comthitnuong
comthitnuong

wait warhammer online...isn't that the game that that editor who left here is working on?

Dysantic
Dysantic

Ultima Online is dead... EA killed it and now they are trying to milk it for everything they can. I can only wait and see how they destry UO more by putting in new graphics and most likely a worse interface.

gozalo
gozalo

"So, what kind of in-game streaming ads is EA gonna put in Warhammer Online?" i was wondering that myself

audioust
audioust

cant wait for daoc updates!

Zilor
Zilor

The only thing that turns me off at all about Warhmmer is that it like most MMOGs doesn't seem to be trying anything new at all in the actual gameplay. Aside that everything else about it seems really great, I'll likely play WoW and Warhammer. In fact, since the styles are so simmilar there is a good chacne that people who bought WoW will look at the Warhammer box and pick it up because it will seem fammiliar.

ShiroRX
ShiroRX

"Can warhammer online really stadn a chance against WoW? I don't think so...Blizzard will probs counter it's launch with the second expansion" Lol Warhammer is due out by the end of this year, gl to blizzard getting another xpac out. Why does it need to stand against WoW? WAR is for people who like to pvp, simple as that. It has some pve, but the main focus of the game revolves totally around fighting and crushing the opposing army. You won't be taking trips into some instance and doing run after run. WAR wants people who want to pvp. If you don't like pvp, it will definitely not be a game for you. And in the pvp (rvr) game, Warhammer will have warcraft beat. Lets say Warcraft is 50% pve 50% pvp, Warhammer would be more like 20% pve 80% pvp (Probably a little more pvp lol).

Buck_Hotep
Buck_Hotep

Warhammer Online... I cant believe its actually happening. Now if they can release the Dwarf Slayers for the expansion...

anarchicgoth
anarchicgoth

hmmm I like Warhammer but people are too addicted to WOW!

blacktorn
blacktorn

Can warhammer online really stadn a chance against WoW? I don't think so...Blizzard will probs counter it's launch with the second expansion

gerrad2003
gerrad2003

i'd like to see ultima online 2 instead of a graphic upgrade

ShiroRX
ShiroRX

"So, what kind of in-game streaming ads is EA gonna put in Warhammer Online?" this site is just crawling with hateful people isn't it?

ShiroRX
ShiroRX

too bad they don't have the in depth report on WARs progress. The Empire and Chaos lands/classes look amazing, so does the current path of the games RvR system. When you see Empire and Chaos any thoughts in your head that the game looked too similar to WoW will vanish (even tho they copied games workshop's ideas to make warcraft lol :p). To be this right on nearly a year till the game is out is...surprising to say the least for an mmo. Keep up the good work Mythic.

the_real_VIP
the_real_VIP

So, what kind of in-game streaming ads is EA gonna put in Warhammer Online?

Deanoslade
Deanoslade

More MMOs to waste my life on... yay.

Icekxg
Icekxg

Warhammer looks cool and I actually want to try out the Ultima Reborn

Doolum
Doolum

Sounds nice all these stuffs.

Dantes_Monkey
Dantes_Monkey

warhammer...wonder if it will have some RTS elements

santiagochile
santiagochile

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]

santiagochile
santiagochile

[This message was deleted at the request of a moderator or administrator]