What is Ultima Online?
For those of you not familiar with the game, it is one of the grandfathers of the MMO genre.
 
It launched in the late 90s, and continues to exist in commercial today, albeit in a form unrecognizable to players of the original game.
 
Ultima Online is remembered most for it’s early years, which were characterized by total player freedom (some would say chaos). Murderers were rampant, thieves littered the streets, and looting victims for everything they had was a lucrative occupation. Excitement and risk permeated everything. It’s crafting, player vendor and free world housing systems continue to have virtually no equal.
 
It truly felt like a living, breathing alternate fantasy world.
 
Crafting additions and changes.
There’s a good bit to the system, so I’ll just touch on some of the key stuff.
 
Rel Por makes it so magic weapons no longer drop as loot. Rather, “artifacts” with traditional magic weapon properties drop (e.g., artifact of vanquishing, artifact of silver), which then must be applied to the weapon by a crafter with sufficient skill. No more useless supremely accurate butcher knives of power.
 
Player crafters have always been the key supplier of most weapons and armor to the world; now they’re the suppliers of the magic stuff, too.
 
 
Five unique cities to join – the basis of PvP system, player politics and choices.
This is a big topic and branches into a lot of different aspects of Rel Por.
First, players can join as citizens to one of these five cities. This gives them access to the bonuses of the cities and other perks such as lower prices at vendors.
 
There are weekly elections in each city voted in by their citizens to elect a leader for the city and the militia. These leaders get to choose bonuses for their city that essentially customize each one and make them a bit unique. The bonuses are small things like increased skill gain certain skills like magery, blacksmithing or taming. There’s also stuff like bonuses to gathering resources or the gold that drops from monsters or decreased restock timers on vendors. Militia leaders will select from bonuses that alter the defenses of cities or the effectiveness on attacks, such as additional damage when breaking down opposition doors.
 
Players that become citizens can also decide to join the militia of their city.  That’ll sign you up for the war with the other 4 cities in the world.
 
captureBesides being able to fight opposing militia members, there’s a perpetual “capture the flag” type of system to encourage and facilitate fights. Each city has a stronghold base where a hero is located. Opposing militias can break down the doors and steal them to their city stronghold; then, they’ve got to bring them back to their city on foot to capture them.
 
When a city has captured other heroes it gives an additional boost to the bonuses that the city leader has picked.
 
There’s also a “world war” that takes place where a small island called Vorshun opens up periodically. It’s got capture points scattered amongst the island; cities have to capture and defend the locations to gain points. All five cities are fighting over the 8 points on the island against each other at once. Whoever has the most points at the end wins.  Citizens and militia can join and they are provided all the resources they need to fight in it, so it’s just straight forward no-risk PvP fun.
 
 
Combat changes – the good.. with the good.
The core is mostly T2A style combat; tank mages exist and are frequently top of the food chain. There’s a twist though; Rel Por has combined in flavors of UO:R mages like the scribe mage, stun mage, nox mage and so forth. It’s kind of a blend of both worlds so no matter what you feel more comfortable with, you’re viable.
 
On top of that there’s some abilities for melee players to use to give them some more burst damage and control of poisoned weapons, but they’re triggered rather than what those just random swings were in UO:R.
What is Rel Por?
Rel Por is a new take on “classic era” Ultima Online. The core elements of oldschool UO are intact: crafting, housing, dungeons, guilds, player killers, thieves.
 
There’s also a whole body of new material to fix the things about UO that are broken or don’t hold up today.
 
You can check out more elaborate descriptions of those features throughout the Rel Por site, but below I’ll try to briefly touch on some of the improvements.
 
A new custom map – small, intimate, interactive.
Let’s face it, the old map of Britannia is just too big for current populations that play Ultima. This map has been designed to localize the player base in a fluid and unique environment.
 
One of the most quintessentially awesome MMO experiences is running into a fellow traveler in the middle of no where. The roads and the transportation system virtually force that. More on the transport in a bit.
 
Not only was the old map too big, but there were too many dungeons at all times. Rel Por opens only a small number of these dungeons at a time and players are responsible for both closing them down and choosing which dungeons will open next.
 
Here’s a link to the map: 
Rel Por Map
 
Transport changes to get players interacting.
Mounts do exist on the server but they function almost exclusively as transport from city to city. You can’t use them to do anything else really; you can’t cast on them, you can’t use your weapons on them and you even get knocked off your mount if something even attacks you on one. Taking it further — you can’t even take them off of roads. If you try to run off a road the horse just simply knocks you off after a few tiles.
 
There’s also changes with runes and recalling or gating around the world to get people moving around.
Recall doesn’t require any magery skill, and neither does mark. Players are all going to spawn with two runes on them that are blessed and they can’t trade.
 
One can just be marked anywhere like usual. Most people will probably use this to mark their house location.
 
The other can only be marked to binding stones which are just located in cities or a handful of points of interest like role play zones (eg. orc fortress, undead crypt).
 
And that’s it. There aren’t any other runes. Basically with the world being so small and horses being used on the roads, everyone’s going to be running around the map and bumping into each other again.
 
 
Bounty boards and player killer consequences.
Player killers, murderers, are an inherent part of what make Ultima Online great. They’re tension, excitement and risk, but they’re out of control if they’re not facing significant risk themselves. Old Ultima’s penalties were extremely harsh on player killers, and most current shards are far too lenient.
 
Rel Por’s isn’t just a “good balance” in the middle of these, but a whole new take to fix it. Basically, each time someone kills someone they take a count and a gold bounty is added to their head. The victims can add more gold, too. The amount of gold on the PK’s head determines how long their penalty is when they’re killed and have their heads turned in.
 
When a murderer has their head turned in they become “shamed” and they are hued pink instead of red. Essentially they can do everything in the game as before except one big thing — they can’t attack blue or innocent players anymore.
 
There’s also an option for them to forego this shamed status and become outcasts, but that’s basically the hardcore nuclear option. If they die and get their heads turned in while they’re this way, there character suffers permanent skill loss and basically has to make their character again.

 

In closing… 
There’s a great deal of stuff that should be mentioned like new houses, role playing support, but at this point you’re probably either interested or you’re not.

Here’s some links you might be interested in if you’re thinking about it:
How to Play on Rel Por: http://relporuo.com/information-directory/how-to-play/
Rel Por Community Forums: http://www.relporuo.com/forums