UO is very unique game in different ways. One of them – official servers are worst than private ones… Why? Cause master of UO brand – Electronic Arts – did everything to kill official UO. Last nail to the coffin was trammel and insurance.
But at OSI there is Siege Perilous server. It’s pretty fine place cause it has oldschool rules, but it got very low population. The problem is – even at SP there are loads of _dull_ stuff, like house teleporters and access to the bank from houses. It’s killing game, people sit in their homes all the time…
So yeah, private servers in UO are better for now.
Answer to discussion. Of course, there are several reasons. Another major one, except tramm/insur, is – wide spreaded macroses and bots which destroyed ‘character development RPG-element’ and ruined economics. When I started to play at 1999, most of players gained their battle skills at real fights or at ‘bonewall’. The only afk tool was uoloop and people got banned for it a lot. But after a while, loads of macro/bots appeared and made character advancing totally nonsense. Alsmost everyone used this stuff and game become quite dull; not MMORPG, but MMO-simulator. So people went to other MMORPG, like EQ, AC – where was real RPG progression. Actually it still biggest problem @ private servers – macroses broken initial idea of UO developers, broken the game meaning – making your character stronger by raising skills while you have adventures.
Considering trammel/insur – it is still the main reasons why people eventually quitted UO. I played pre-AoS and after that. I saw how my friends (..and enemies) quit UO after trammel appeared, one by one. And I quit too eventually – and went to play @ private shards till 2004, when I started to play Siege Perilous and still come back there sometimes.
It’s hard to explain how it was before and how it became later, after tramm/insur. I just can not imagine person who played before it, would like ‘new’ UO version. It’s weird.
Sad, that at golden age of UO there wasn’t much videos around. It would be much easier to show it, then trying to describe this feel of real, true UO.