Ultima Online was one of the first open world MMOs I spent a lot of time on. Other avid, early MMOGamers over the age of 25 can probably relate. I remember discovering the vast world and game complexities with such awe. To this day I still play because I appreciate how much you can do in that game.
One thing that game still has going for it is its taming system. The only game I know of that came close to matching its complexities was Pre-CU Star Wars Galaxies. Each creature has a set of stats and characteristics. For example, a giant beetle may have wrestling, magery, and poisoning. This means that it fights hand to hand, can cast certain spells, and can poison an enemy. It may not be a pack animal though, so it fights better alone.
This taming system drew me into making what I was convinced would be my best character ever: A mage/tamer who rode a beautiful unicorn. As a little girl, I loved unicorns, so discovering that they were in the game and served as viable mounts of female characters made me very happy. I worked hard to acquire this creature. This meant spending countless hours taming lesser creatures and working my way up the ladder. Let’s just say that my tamer was a good friend to the entire polar bear population of ice island.
Finally, I had enough skill to try for a unicorn. If I recall correctly, sometimes taming a creature and failing could make them angry, so I did a lot of running away from them only to come back and try again. This went on for several hours one night, but I was determined. All my hard work paid off when I successfully tamed a unicorn and triumphantly rode it back to the town of Skara Brae.
Proud of my endeavor, I began to show off my unicorn to the people loitering about the bank and stables. Keep in mind I was probably 14 years old.
Me: “look my unicorn”
Me: ” finally got it”
Me: “it likes me”
Them: “That’s great…” [Meanwhile they are brandishing their much more powerful and rare tamed creatures such as Snow Wyrms]
Me: “yep how do i name it”
This is where it got bad. A guy told me to follow him close to the stables so he could show me how to control my newly tamed unicorn. I trusted him.
Him: “You have to release it to name it.”
Me: “huh? will i get her back?”
Him: “Yes, just click release. You have to tame it while it is named for you.”
Me: “oooh k” [Right clicks the creature and clicks release.]
Game: “A Unicorn decides it is better off without a master!” [Loud neighing]
Him: [Begins to attack the creature lightly] “Oh no!”
Game: “A guard appears.” [An NPC guard teleports to the unicorn and a giant lightning strike can be seen. The unicorn falls dead at my feet.]
Me: “he killed her”
Him: “Looks like your unicorn had rabies… sorry.”
Me: “u killed her”
Him: [Proceeds to carve the unicorn and remove two ribs from it, setting them on the ground.]
Him: [Then rides off on his horse, disappearing from my screen.]
Me: [Left with the unicorn corpse and its carved ribs at my feet.]
Me: [Holds back tears IRL.]
And now we know what conditioned me to be so terrible to the GM in Anarchy Online about The Shopkeep.