Origin Systems recently announced that an expansion pack to the largely popular online role-playing game Ultima Online is in production. Tentatively titled Age of Shadows, the expansion pack will add a bevy of new features to the game.
Most welcome to long-time players will undoubtedly be the release of a 'House Design Tool,' accessible to anyone that owns a house. This tool will allow players to either construct their own dream houses from the ground up, or modify their already-built home with new structures, presumably to include such embellishments as arches and pillars, spatial elements which may include such things as carpet or different floor styles, and new textures for other areas of the house.
Players who simply can't find enough available space for their own houses needn't fret, however; an entirely new realm of darkness will also be opened, bringing with it two new character professions, the long overdue Paladin and Necromancer. While players explore the new land with these professions, they will also have the opportunity to use a new and upgraded magic system, offering new spells and more powerful magic items. New techniques in the combat system will also be available, and more weapons will allow the player to more easily dispatch the loads of new monsters that will undoubtedly be running wild in the new land.
Age of Shadows is currently slated for release in early 2003. Keep watching RPGamer for more news on this title as it breaks.