Origin’s Ultima Online, first released on September 25, 1997, is one of the most important games of the modern era. It marks a critical turning point from stand-alone single-player products to massively multiplayer online games, or MMOs, a genre that seems destined for dominance. Although Ultima Online was knocked from its throne by Sony’s EverQuest in 1999, which was itself conquered by Blizzard’s World of Warcraft (also known as WoW) in 2004, these and all later massively multiplayer online role-playing games, or MMORPGs, owe a massive debt to Origin’s
pioneering game. It was Ultima Online that established the model and proved the viability of the MMORPG. Origin certainly didn’t do everything right, but the painful lessons they learned proved invaluable for all subsequent MMORPG developers.