Ultima Online for Newbys
"How to get started without getting completely frustrated" ;-)
By Beren Adchamion
:: Introduction ::
This is intended to be step-by-step guide for someone who just purchased the game and has no idea what to do first. I will not go into detail about game basics, such as how to move or open your backpack, and will assume that you have familiarized yourself with the info on Ultima Online's official page at http://www.owo.com. I also recommend that you look over "UOSS" at http://uoss.stratics.com/ for tons of useful info. They have good maps of the towns, and the entire continent, and it's helpful to have a map of the town you are in on your browser behind UO (or printed) while you are playing the game. These pages will tell you how to create a strong character in the least amount of time, and without using any separate "macro" programs. The MAIN character you will be creating will be a classic "Battlemage"... able to attack with spell, sword, and bow... which should serve you well in the months to come. If you are saying to yourself "But I don't want to be a mage", then shame on you! ;-). But seriously, even if you don't want to use magery a lot, it is absolutely necessary to be able to cast Recall and Greater Heal spells, so start your character as a Battlemage and just don't concentrate on magery so much as the character develops. Note: any instructions here marked "advanced" is something that you don't have to do now, but may want to keep in mind for later on.... I suggest that you print out this text and follow it exactly.
:: Getting Started ::
1. Pop in the CD and use the largest install size (this will help reduce lag). After setting up your account and after the intro plays, a chest will open with buttons inside it. Hit "enter britannia". Fill out the name, password, and check the "remember password" box, then hit "character select".
2. Next you will see a list of Shards (UO servers). The Eldarin Corin play on the NAPA VALLEY shard, click it.
3. Next screen, hit the "create character" button. Fill in a name for your main character (You CANNOT change your characters name later, so pick a good one ;-). Fill out the password box (and write it down). Slide the "strength" slider-bar all the way to the max of 45. (This lowers your other 2 "Stats" to 10 but that's ok.) Don't worry about the character templates because you will "customizing" your skills next.
4. Next screen, click on the "skill 1" button and pick Magery, click "skill 2" and pick Tactics, for "skill 3" pick whatever you think looks interesting. Slide the "skill 3" bar down to ZERO. This will give Magery and Tactics the maximum of 50 each. (OK, If you really must, you can set the sliders to a Magery of 50, Tactics of 49, and "skill 3" to ONE point. IMPORTANT: Resist the urge to set skill #3 any higher then one.) NOTE: For other options of skills to pick, and more detail about "why" these skills, see the END of this text, under "Main Character Options".
5. Next screen, choose your character's appearance (No bearded ladies please ;-).
6. Next screen, Click the "city" button and pick the city you want to start in. I suggest "Britain: The Cat's Lair Tavern", which is the normal meeting place for the Eldarin Corin. Britain is the largest city and you may get lost a bit at first, but it also has every kind of shop. Alternatively, Trinsic is a good place to train due to its large number of practice dummies.
7. Look over the "basic actions" screens that follow. Then hit start!
That's all for the setup menus. Next you will see yourself standing just outside the tavern that you just picked. Enter the tavern and have a seat. Familiarize yourself with the various screens at your disposal: alt-P=paperdoll, alt-B=backpack, alt-T=status, alt-R=radar, alt-K=skills, alt-J=journal, alt-S=spellbook, alt-C (or tab)=combat mode (these buttons are called "macros".) Most screens can also be minimized. Put the scrolls you have into your spellbook.
Now it's time to set up some macros...
Hit alt-O (for options). If you will be using ICQ to communicate with your friends, turn the "full screen" option off. If you have a slow comp, turn "music" off to reduce lag, also turn music off if you experience getting booted when the music changes, such as when going into battle mode. Now turn the "Noto Query" button on and make sure it is always on whenever you play.
Click the "macros" button and set up the following macros, using the "F#" buttons on the top of your keyboard:
F1 = cast spell: Recall ...and... use skill: hiding (This is your "get me out of here quick" button. but you won't be able to use it until you learn the Recall spell).
F2 = all names (displays the name of everyone on the screen, including monsters and animals).
F3 = use skill: hiding.
F4 = yell: GUARDS! (use this when someone tries to steal from you in town).
F9 = last spell (hitting this by accident in town could be disastrous so be careful).
F10 = last skill (so you don't have to put up the skill screen every time).
F11 = last object (use for repetitive actions).
F12 = last object ...and... last skill (used for "macroing").
F5 to F8 = reserved for your most commonly used spells. (Perhaps Fireball, Lightning, Cure, and Greater Heal, to start with.)
Put a piece of masking tape above the "F" buttons and label the buttons "Recall", "Names", "hide", etc.
Go ahead and make more macros if you want to, using combinations like alt-Z and control-Z. Just don't use any keys already taken up by the default macros. Some macros that you will need later are... say: bank, say: merchant sell, say: merchant buy. Some that are useful for normal conversation are... say: Greetings, say: Thank You, say: Are there any murderers around? etc.
I suggest that you now hit the "log out" button on your paperdoll so that your macros will save, because you will lose them if you get booted. Besides, you are going to create another character next. Always log out inside an inn or tavern, and not standing beside an exterior wall.
Note: Watch out for thieves, they will almost always be wearing a gray robe and their name will usually be gray when you hit the "all names" macro, and are especially thick around the banks. If you see a message that says "You see so-and-so peeking into whoever's belongings", then hit the "GUARDS!" macro. The best defense is never allow anyone that you don't know to stand beside you.
:: The Cash Character ::
Next you are going to make a working-class character that will make money for your Battlemage. Here you have a lot of options, and I will give you the more profitable choices.
Carpenter: Do everything the same as you did when creating the Battlemage, except for skills pick Lumberjacking = 50 and Carpentry = 50. Go out and chop some trees. The area west of Britain to the mountains is a guarded zone and you will be safe from attack.
When you have some logs, use the carpentry tool on them and make a wooden shield. Keep chopping and making shields until you can't carry any more. Note: Burn the kindling scraps to increase your stats. Go back to town and sell the shields to a provisioner of armorer. Then go immediately to the bank ( say "bank" to open your bank box) and deposit all the gold. Repeat until you get bored. Note: Buy spare carpentry tools at the tinker shop.
Bowyer: Lumberjacking = 50 and Bowyering = 50. Same as a carpenter except you make bows and sell them at the provisioner or bow shop.
Blacksmith: Mining = 50 and Blacksmithing = 50. Go to the mountains and mine for ore, take the ore to a forge and smelt it into ingots, use the smith's hammer on the ingots to make armor. Sell at the provisioners or armor shop. The Backsmith is the most profitable character type.
Tailoring: Tailoring = 50. Go to the tailor shop, buy some cloth, make some clothes, sell it at the same place.
Thief: Snooping = 50 and Stealing = 50. Stand beside the bank with your bank box open and steal something from people that walk up beside you and put it in the bank box before the guards kill you, then go to the healer and get resurrected.
Note: You will need a player whom you trust to hold the cash so you can transfer it from your cash character to your Battlemage.
:: Macroing the Battlemage ::
"Macroing" is a process to increase your character's stats and skills while you are away from your computer. First, put all your worldly goods in the bank besides your weapons and spellbook. (Always keep your spellbook in your backpack). Note: any items that you started the game with cannot be stolen or lost when you die, so they are safe to keep in your backpack.
Find a practice dummy that is not being used. (Behind Lord British's castle is a nice quiet practice field.) Open your stat screen, skills screen, and backpack. Pick the skill "spirit speaking" from the skill list (this will raise your intelligence) and double-click on the dummy (with no weapon in your hand). Now, tape down the "F12" key and your character should hit the dummy repeatedly while practicing spirit speaking. Go watch TV, go to work, sleep, or whatever for 4 hours or more.
When you return your character will still be punching and spirit speaking, as long as you didn't lose the connection. Check your dexterity on the stat screen. If your dexterity is no longer going down when you hit the dummy, then it's time to arm a weapon and do more macroing with that weapon and spirit speaking. In another 4 hours or so, switch the skill to practice "Hiding" instead of spirit speaking and switch weapons again.
The maximum you can get your weapons skills up to by hitting the dummy is 25 and you will know you are at maximum when your dexterity no longer goes down. Macro with each of the four weapon types (Wrestling: bare handed... Swordsmanship: sword... Fencing: knife... Mace fighting: club) until they are all at their maximum. Note: The way UO works is that your skills that you do not use will go down over time, however, a skill can never go lower than what it was when you created the character. That is why you have to do your macroing before you start to practice other skills, such as Magery. NEW: The latest patch changed it so your starting skills WILL degrade lower than what you started with, so cast a spell whenever you check the screen. (Ideally every half hour or so). Watch that your Magery does not degrade too much. If you have the time, it won't hurt to macro hiding until it is up in the 90's... it is a very useful skill. You should be able to get your stats to around 75/75/65 or so by macroing.
Advanced: If you wish to use a macroing program such as "EZ Macro" or "UO Assist", then there are many more skills you can practice while away from the computer. Arms Lore is a good example. I highly recommend "UO Assist" for much more than just the macro feature.
:: Further Character Development ::
After you are done macroing, practice skills that cannot be practiced by macroing. While you are playing, get into the habit of practicing a skill constantly. Hit the "F10" key every 5 to 10 seconds while doing whatever other action you are engaged in. Some skills will benefit your stats a lot and others not at all. Look at the "Stratics" site to see how skills and stats interact with each other.
By now you should have some cash transferred to your Battlemage from your cash character. Start buying spells to fill your spell book up to the 4th or 5th circle, and stock up on reagents when you find them at a good price. Get a Halberd (assuming your primary weapon skill is going to be swordsmanship) and a full set of bone armor. (One of the EC members should have spare bone armor to give you.)
Start practicing spell casting. You have to cast 4 different first circle spells before you can attempt to cast second circle... cast 4 second circle before casting third circle, etc. With your 50 magery you can cast 4th circle easily, so get your character casting 4th circle right away. Make sure you have Recall and Greater Heal spells in your spellbook, and get a Recall Rune for a safe haven (a PC mage has to mark the rune for you) and try out the "F1" button. To increase your magery skill quickly, the rule of thumb is to practice casting spells from the highest circle you can, as long as you are having a success rate of 20% or better with that circle. Practice casting spells a lot. Your magery skill will improve very slowly, this is normal.
Camping and Cooking: These 2 skills will further increase all of your stats considerably (if your stats are still low after macroing). At the tavern, buy 10 sacks of flour and an empty glass pitcher. Go to a water troth (usually near a stable) and fill the pitcher. Use your knife on the nearby trees to get kindling. Open a bag of flour and use the water on the flour to make bread dough. Put some kindling on the ground and light it. Use the dough on the fire to make bread. Your success rate will be dismal at first but keep at it. Make lots of fires and make lots of bread. Note on Food: You will always be more successful at everything you do if you have a full stomach, so always keep a pile of food in your pack and eat often. Put some bread in the bank and sell any extra at a tavern or bakery.
Archery: Get a bow and arrows and shoot at the practice targets. Retrieve the arrows and shoot some more, until your archery skill is 24 or so.
Hunting: Now that you are armed and armored, you can go out and hunt some of the small furry animals. Put all your gold and things you won't be needing in the bank. Go out into the woods and tackle any animal besides grizzly bears. Don't try to fight any monsters at this point except for mongbats. Use your halberd, bow or offensive spells such as Fireball or Lightning. (Make sure you are not in a guarded area when casting offensive spells.) If you use your knife on the dead animals, you will get meat to cook later, Furs which are useless, feathers that you can make arrows with, or hides which you can use your sewing kit on to make leather goods to sell. Keep your stat screen minimized while fighting and if your health falls below half, retreat temporarily and cast Greater Heal on yourself or drink a Greater Heal potion.
Note on Player-Killers: Now that you are outside the guarded area you must watch for murderers. They will kill you quickly and without warning. Use your "All Name" macro constantly and if you see a player with a Red (sometimes grey) Name, you have 3 options… Run, Hide, or Recall. I suggest that you keep your weapon in your backpack when not actually using it so you can be ready to Recall quickly. If you do get killed, which is bound to happen at times, Do Not choose to "resurrect with penalties". Instead, choose to play as a ghost and run back to town to the healer's building and he will fix you up. Of course, you will lose all your stuff, so keep extra gold, armor, and weapons in the bank. If you were killed by a monster and not a PK, you might be able to go back to your body and retrieve your stuff, assuming that another player has not found your body in the meantime.
Other Skills: If you want to raise your Strength, try Mining, Blacksmithing, Mace Fighting , Lumberjacking, Carpentry, and Arms Lore.
To raise Dexterity, try Hiding, Muicianship, Tailoring, and Fishing
To raise Intelligence, try Magery, Evaluating Intelligence, Animal Lore, Item ID, and Spirit speaking.
To raise all the stats, try Camping, Arms Lore, Tailoring, Tinkering, Healing, Herding, and Cooking,
Note that in UO there is a Skill cap and a Stat cap, so if you try to be a "jack of all trades", you will indeed end up being a "master of none".
The Skills that I actually find the most useful for my Battlemage, (ignoring skills that are just useful for increasing your stats) (Of course, the skills that YOU find most useful may differ), in order of importance:
1. Magery (Useful and also fun)
2. Tactics (Automatically used when you fight)
3. Swordsmanship (You could decide to concentrate on Fencing or Mace instead)
4. Archery (Attacking from a distance)
5. Hiding (It's nice to be invisible ;-)
6. Tailoring (Using the hides I get while hunting)
7. Cooking (Using the meat I get while hunting)
8. Inscription (To make spells for my friends)
9. Alchemy (To make night-sight potions)
10. Spell Resistance (For defense against spells)
:: Sparing ::
The best way to get your weapon skills and tactics to a high level is by getting a sparing partner and attacking each other. What you need is a full set of bone armor, a practice weapon, and plenty of food. You either have to have a partner in the same guild as you, or that does not care about his notoriety initiate the attack, (or if your partner has a gray or red name, you can initiate the attack). Members of the same guild can attack each other freely. It's best to spar in a house outside the town limits. Keep hitting each other until one of you is close to dead, then back away, eat some food, and either cast Heal on yourself or just wait for your health to go back up. One of you can practice Archery, just don't bring any arrows, and you can use a shield if you want to improve your Parrying (Personally I always use 2-handed weapons when fighting and never use a shield). Don't forget to practice a skill, such as Arms Lore, while you are sparing. Before long your weapon and tactics skills will be in the 90's. You are now ready to go out and kick ass on some nasty monsters.
:: Item Checklist for Hunting ::
Weapons: A close-in weapon and a heavy crossbow and bolts.
Armor: A full set of bone armor plus a gorget.
Spellbook: This should never leave your backpack.
Reagents: Keep them organized in a secondary backpack.
Recall Rune(s): To a safe spot, be able to find it easily.
2 Recall Scrolls: In case you run short of Reagents, be able to find them easily.
Greater Heal Potions: For when low on health.
Greater Cure Potions: Cures poison and paralysis.
Night Sight Potions: So you can see.
Lesser Poison Potion: Drink it if about to be attacked by Energy Vortex or Poison Elemental.
Greater Explosion Potions: Useful, but be careful not to blow yourself up.
Food: Enough to last the trip.
Flour Bags: Used to block the movement of monsters.
Misc. Items: Knife, 2 Sewing Kits, Mortar and Pestle, Empty potion bottles, Any tools you will need.
:: Notoriety ::
As far as I understand the new Notoriety system:
~Things that will help your Notoriety:
Giving gold, raw fish steaks, or items that they want, to a blue NPC.
~Things that will hurt your Notoriety:
Attacking anything with a blue name.
Attacking a tame animal.
Attacking any cat, dog, horse, or cow.
Ordering a pet or summoned creature to attack anything with a blue name.
Letting your Energy Vortex, Blade Spirit, or Field Spell harm anything with a blue name.
Summoning a Demon.
Casting any beneficial spell on anything with a red name.
:: Main Character Options ::
This section will explore further options when creating your main character, and will give some explanation about the stats/skills that you should pick.
First an explanation about picking the starting stats: 45 strength/ 10 dexterity/ 10 intelligence. The main reason is that strength is the hardest stat to get to increase. Even starting with 45 strength, by the time your character is well developed and approaching the stat cap, you will probably wish he had more strength and less dexterity. Another reason is that strength determines health which determines survivability. Always pick 45 strength, no matter what the character will be.
Skills: The MOST IMPORTANT thing about picking starting skills is that you give THE FIRST TWO skills 50 points each and the Third skill ZERO points. One reason for this is "It is better to be good at 2 skills than mediocre at 3". More Reasons: ~Skills are harder to increase at higher levels, so it benefits you to start 2 of the skills as high as possible. ~You can pay a NPC to train you up to a skill level of 26 in Any Skill, so obviously putting any starting skill at less than 27 is a complete waste of points. (Although in most cases I do not recommend that you pay a NPC to train you, for the simple reason that any skill gain this way DOES NOT raise your stats like it would by practicing the skill.)
OK so your Main Character (the one that will be going out to fight monsters) needs to pick two skills. With the Battlemage above, I chose Magery/ Tactics, but there are other possibilities. Magery I find indispensible and in my opinion every Main Character should start with 50 magery. Another reason is that Magery is the most time consuming and costly skill to increase of all the skills. Tactics is a skill that can be increased by sparing with a sparing partner, so if you are willing to put a little more time into sparing before going out hunting, consider the following starting skill choices:
Magery/ Inscription : Inscribing goes hand-in-hand with Magery. You can sell the scrolls you make to NPC mages and PCs. If you can get to the point where you can inscribe 8th circle spells, it is extremely profitable.
Magery/ Alchemy : There is always a demand for Greater Heal and Greater Cure potions. If you get good at it, Greater Poison and Greater Explosion sell for a lot of gold.
Magery/ Resisting Spells : Resisting Spells is very useful when fighting magic-using monsters and Player-Killers.
If you are really dead-set against using any magic (you will be sorry later), then I suggest any combination of the following: Any one weapon skill (Sword, Mace, Fencing, Archery), Tactics, Resisting Spells, Alchemy ...... Maybe Hiding, Animal Taming, a combination of Bard skills, Tailoring...... A non-magic user should definitely get good at Alchemy, because you will need many Greater Heal potions. There is ONE advantage to not being a magic user, which is that you can put all those intelligence stats into your strength instead. If you want to have a combination fighting character/ cash character, instead of having two seperate characters, then there are many skill combinations too numerous to go into here.
Written by Beren Adchamion