Ultima Online is grilling, chilling, and still thriving all these years later

Ultima Online key art.
(Image credit: Origin Systems)

Classic MMO Ultima Online's scribe-and-abacus-driven official servers were pushed to their limits on July 7 to host a celebratory Summer Solstice cookout boasting games, prizes, and "a nice cold root beer drink". 

The awkwardly penned notice on the official site lists some of the games available in more detail. The one that jumps out at me as most emblematic of Ultima Online's age is the dunk tank, offering a chance to dunk an event moderator of your choice, back when people knew mods as people rather than faceless Twitter accounts (but had a bone to pick with them either way).

Archived streams of the event contained some surprises for me, chief among them being the demand. The event was broken up into two time slots, morning and evening, ensuring everyone got a chance to try a hand at some of the festivities. Rewards for participating included consumable barbecue and beverages, as well as commemorative tokens and random loot drops. 

Ultima Online still boasts an active official and unofficial events community—just the other day, the Siege Perilous server featured a choreographed rock concert where community favorite Lord Galois busted out some sick MIDI lute riffs, and Reddit users on the InsaneUO server have reported sightings of infamous monarch Lord British attacking random players and then letting people rifle through his inventory. 

While I'm too young to have ever got into Ultima Online, it's really great to see one of PC gaming's earliest MMO communities continue to thrive like this, both with and without official support. Cheers to another successful barbecue, and here's to many more. 

Nova Smith
Contributing Writer

Nova Smith is a freelance writer based out of Alberta, Canada. Nova's grab bag of non-gaming interests and passions includes Japanese mecha anime, miniature painting, as well as history, literature, and classical music. Nova also moonlights as a bureaucrat and amateur historian.