Lord of Ultima was a free-to-play, browser-based, massively multiplayer real-time strategy (MMORTS) video game by Electronic Arts. The game started a beta test on April 20, 2010 and was developed by EA Phenomic. While it is, technically, part of the Ultima series of games, there was very little actual connection to the other games in the series.
The game was a 2D strategy game similar to Evony. Though the game was nominally free, players could purchase "Funds" for real-world money, providing the game with its revenue stream. The "Funds" could be used for three types of enhancements: improved user-interface features through the purchase of "ministers" which reduce micro-management of resources; "artifacts" which provide increased resources and can speed completion of commands; and protection from player attacks.
EA announced that all servers would be turned off on May 12, 2014. On March 1, 2014 EA no longer offered support through their official LOU forum. User reports suggest most servers had already been turned off as of March 5, 2014 well in advance of the May 12th closure, prompting anger among remaining players who were told days earlier by EA to spend their remaining funds as no refund would be issued. A number of websites had urged players to seek refunds via PayPal for recently bought game funds.
Lord of Ultima shut down on May 12, 2014 at 07:00 UTC.
In Lord of Ultima, game-play primarily revolved around collecting resources to develop cities and armies and then battle against each other for power and prestige.
Players started off with a single city, which was protected from attack for seven days. A player could choose to settle inactive cities or create new cites after the required prerequisites have been met. A player can also build a castle enabling them to conquer other cities with castles and vice versa. It was a common mistake for new players to "castle their first city", resulting in their elimination. Players without castles could raid dungeons (PvE battles) but cannot plunder other players' cities. Joining an alliance was crucial in this game for both protection and economic support.
The objective of the game was to attain the title "Lord of Ultima", which can only be done with the support of an alliance.
Several third party tools were commonly used to support the player. City planning tools help to design a city layout by displaying the potential resource gain per hour. City design was crucial for the player to rank highly on the in-game leaderboards.
According to GameRankings, PC Gamer magazine in the UK gave it a score of 75%, and Game Vortex awarded it 82%.
MMOHut cited the game's positive points as an "original strategy script", and the fact that "city layouts take thought." It criticised Lord of Ultima's "slow paced gameplay" and "very weak connection with the Ultima franchise."
IT Reviews concluded: "Ultimately... this browser-based strategy affair proved rather too slow paced for our liking." However, the reviewer noted that: "If you're the sort of player who can happily dip in and out of a game very casually, it's worth checking out. There's considerable depth in the town planning, a decent guild system, and after all, it's free to play."
The game was based on building cities as said above, this includes constructing buildings, creating military units, and conquering other territories. There are over 30 different structures that can be built: Resource Generators (Iron Mine, Stone Quarry, Woodcutters Hut, Farm, Townhouse), Resource Processing Buildings (Sawmill, Stonemason, Mill, Foundry), Cottages, Warehouses, Trade Structures (Marketplace and Harbor), Military Structures (City Guard House, Barracks, Training Ground, Stable, Moonglow Tower, Trinsic Temple, Workshop, Shipyard, Castle), City Walls, Defensive Towers (Lookout, Ranger, Pitfall Trap, Guardian, Barricade, Templar, Arcane Trap, Ballista and Camouflage Trap) and Palaces. Defensive towers can only be built on City Walls. The Harbor and Shipyard can only be built on Water. A city can only have one castle, and once built, a castle can not be destroyed or removed. A castle allows one to attack other cities and conquer other castled cities, but in turn opens up your city to be conquered. A player can not be completely defeated as long as they have one uncastled city. A player must belong to an alliance and have a castle in their city in order to build a palace. Each structure starts at level 1 and can be upgraded to level 10 using resources.
There were five resources used to build structures and units: Wood, Stone, Iron, Food and Gold. Buildings only use Wood and Stone, Units can use Wood, Stone, Iron and Gold to build and must have food to be kept in the city. Each city had a limited amount of storage for Wood, Stone, Iron and Food, the amount of gold you can have is unlimited and is shared among all the player's cities.
To Recruit units a city must have either a City Guard House or a Barracks and another military structure. A City Guard House allows the player to recruit City Guards. A Barracks will give space to recruit other units. Training Grounds will let you recruit Berserkers, Rangers and Guardians. Stables let you recruit Scouts, Crossbowmen and Knights. Moonglow Towers let you recruit Mages and Warlocks. Trinsic Temples let you recruit Templars, Paladins and Barons. Shipyards let you recruit Sloops, Frigates and War Galleons. Workshops would let you recruit Ballistas, Rams and Catapults. Each unit had different strengths, weaknesses and abilities. Barons would allow a player to create a new city or conquer an existing castled city. Scouts can show what units and structures are in a city. War Galleons, Rams and Catapults can destroy structures in a city.
A Level 10 Moonglow tower also gave the player the ability to "purify" resources. Wood turns into Darkwood, Stone into Runestone, Iron into Veritium and Food into Trueseed. These purified resources could be used to research improvements to units, structures and the player's Title. A Players title dictated how many cities they can control, the maximum amount was 1,000 cities.
Cities were arranged on continents in the game, arranged in a grid-layout.
To become Lord of Ultima and win the game a player must belong to an alliance that controls Level 10 Palaces in all Eight Virtues simultaneously: Compassion, Honesty, Honor, Humility, Justice, Sacrifice, Spirituality and Valor. Palaces could be destroyed by other players. Each virtue provided a bonus to every player in the alliance for a specific thing (Compassion increases Construction speed in all cities, and the travel speed of infantry and cavalry units).