Electronic Arts has unveiled the newest expansion for its long-running MMORPG, Ultima Online. Ultima Online: Samurai Empire is set in the Tokuno Islands, a land whose ties to the series go back to the very first Ultima title, when it was known as the Land of the Feudal Lords. The new continent incorporates a wide variety of terrains, and boasts a major city, three new locations for player housing, two large dungeons, and three Virtue shrines.
Ultima Online: Samurai Empire offers a number of Japanese-flavored additions to the series. New monsters such as the Lady of the Snow are drawn from Japanese folklore, while new housing and landscaping options include tea houses, pagodas, sand gardens, and rock gardens. The expansion's two new professions, the Samurai and the Ninja, are also drawn from the culture.
Samurai are warriors trained in the art of Bushido. They specialize in powerful melee abilities such as Whirlwind, which increases their powers in proportion to the number of enemies they face, and Lightning Strike, a ferocious attack with a 50 percent hit bonus.
The Ninja is a stealth-based class. Its practitioners employ skills such as Smoke Bomb, which causes them to disappear, and Animal Form, which enables them to take on the form of seemingly harmless creatures such as a wolf or serpent.
Ultima Online: Samurai Empire is scheduled for release in November of this year. RPGamer will bring you more information about this title as it becomes available.