Ultimate Baseball Online 2006

Since I never write anything meaningful on here, I thought I’ll clue you in on this game I’ve been playing.

h3. UBO

Several years ago, not sure how long, I read in a game preview in PC Gamer magazine about a massively online baseball game. So I tried it, and it had the bugs you come to expect from beta or even final MMO games. However, it was fun. Unfortunately, one of the patches made it that I couldn’t login. I asked for help but after a few days I kinda abandoned it.

h3. UBO 2006

It’s been years but I was reminded of it just last sunday. I searched for the website and found it to be still alive. It’s been too long since I played the old version (which is refered to as UBO1 for veterans), but it’s definitely playable. There are still bugs for certain, but a recent patch (just a few days ago actually) fixed speed, which was a problem because veterans already had 80-99 speed. 99 is still fast, but unlike before when even 50 was fast.

h3. Hitting

Hitting is always a main part of any baseball game, simulation or arcade. Most people play for HR, but there are those that love small ball too. This game makes HR pretty realistic, not everyone can hit it at will, but there are those that do pretty well. Only one player has 100 and the second closest has around 50.

The hitting is with the mouse and there’s a slider to set your power, or lack-there-of. This slider lets you go from bunting to a power swing. As you expect, a power swing is harder to use, and it’s emulated with a smaller target to swing with. You have to follow a circle with your swing target in order to get a hit. If you’re on top of the circle, ground ball, if above, fly ball.

h3. Pitching

Pitching is not as fun for some people, mostly because of big penalties to experience points when you give up HRs. Luckyly, HRs are not hit often, especially by Rookies. Minor or Major level pitchers facing those level hitters are not as lucky. However, having said that, it’s really not that bad. Most games do not involve HRs, so everyone usually gets some experience points.

The pitching is much like a golf game or in MVP Baseball by EA Sports. You choose a pitch and this semi-circle power bar sets the power and accuracy of your pitch. And several pitch types are available, enough for a big choice. Fastball is the most dominating, so the other pitches aren’t much a factor for good hitters.

h3. Fielding

I really like the fielding in this game, but some bugs do hinder it a little. You catch by pressing and holding the left mouse button. The right mouse button waves, and is useful to call the AI to throw you the ball. Making double plays and so forth gives experience points also. The bugs involve catching pop-up foul balls. The game doesn’t consider that an actual out even though it calls it an out. Other than that the fielding is pretty good, for humans. The AI, which takes any position humans don’t occupy except the pitcher, can’t seem to catch a ball laying on the ground sometimes. Also, they tend to react too slowly to catch a ball rolling towards them but not directly at them.

h3. Other Thoughts

The game does require at least 3 players on each side and one player playing pitcher before it’s allowed to start. However, once the game starts up, players can leave and there might be less than 3 players per team left. If one player is left on a team, they have to abide by a mandatory rule that the game is over. This as you might expect is from a result of players cheating playing 1 versus however many players to gain experience.

h3. Conclusions

This game is certainly fun, depite a few small bugs. I would still call this game a beta because of the bugs, but it’s definitely still playable. The bugs don’t happen that often to make the game frustrating. I highly recommend it.