Ultima IX nitpicks in New Magincia

“Could you tell me how to find New Magincia?”

Here you’ll find inaccuracies in Britannia’s goat capital New Magincia, its corresponding dungeon Hythloth, the neighbouring isle of Buccaneer’s Den, and the Gargoyle city of Ambrosia in Ultima IX. This part of the game really makes you cry. Thanks to the tiny game world, you just don’t believe them when they say a journey from Buccaneer’s Den to New Magincia was such a huge problem. The isles are seperated by only a few meters, for Jesus Christ’s sake! The pirate village was designed as clichéd as possible, and you have to shake your head when you see the odd transparent domed buildings in New Magincia. Ambrosia looks quite pretty, though the recycled False Prophet story is sleep inducing.

Ignorance of predecessors

  • It’s most strange that the Avatar forgot how to sail a ship. After all, he had no problems maneuvering in Ultima IV, V, VI, and VII. (Could this be the fault of the head injury he suffered in Pagan?)
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • Man, how could I ignore such a dumb inaccuracy for so long? The Avatar asks:

    “What is the book of Prophecy?”

    (Once again, you have to mention the head injury in Pagan.)
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • In Ascension, the lack of NPCs has driven the Baths and the House of Games, both well-known establishments in Buccaneer’s Den from Ultima VII, out of business.
    (by Artic Blaze Dragon)
  • What happened to the sheep? New Magincia was once famous for its great sheep population. They have all become goats in Ultima Ascension! Possible explanations:
    • The isle was originally supposed to be Sutek’s Isle and renamed later in development to maintain Ultima continuity.
    • The UA developers liked goats more than sheep.
    • The eight Columns. Nuff said.

    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: A tunnel between Buccaneer’s Den and New Magincia? Let’s just take a look at the map of Ultima V for that matter: The distance between the two isles equals a quarter of Britannia’s width. Building that tunnel, especially without our world’s modern technical means, certainly took centuries!

    (To spare the designers’ honor, I must also mention that you got to Hythloth from within Lord British’s Castle in Ultima IV, and that there were secret underground tunnels between Buccaneer’s Den and the sewers beneath Lord British’s Castle in Ultima VII.)

    (by Hacki Dragon)

    The patch also tells us about those tunnels (in Ultima VI). The guild searched for them, and doing so they discovered the underground connection to New Magincia.

  • All of a sudden, Hythloth is the dungeon that opposes Humility, and the Stygian Abyss the one that opposes Spirituality. In former Ultimas, Hythloth was the dungeon opposing Spirituality! There was no dungeon opposing Humility; the Stygian Abyss was not connected to a Virtue.

    The reason for the change? It’s good for an easy plot to have the dungeon of Pride directly next to the city of Humility - OR - it’s good for an easy plot to have the Isle of the Avatar last on the list of places to visit in the game.

    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: Why didn’t the designers put a single line about King Draxinusom of the Gargoyles in the game? You know, the one who sought the way of peace between the races together with Lord British at the end of Ultima VI, who upheld the old Virtues of the Gargoyles facing the new philosophy of the Fellowship in Ultima VII, and who led Britannia in Underworld II when Lord British was trapped in the Blackrock Dome...
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    In the dialogue patch, King Draxinusom is granted the honor he is entitled to. Vasagralem mentions his predecessor at the beginning.

  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: I don’t like two things about Queen Zhah:
    1. All we learned about the Gargoyles so far pointed towards the fact that there are no female Gargoyles.
    2. “Zhah” doesn’t sound gargish!

    (by Hacki Dragon)

    Everything corrected in the patch: The queen is now just a male guard. The egg belongs to a winged one. Wislem is the leader of the Gargoyles. And there is a new, gargish name, too.

  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: A “Valkadesh” did already appear in Ultima VI. Unfortunately, it never becomes clear whether it’s the same one in Ultima IX. Very strange.
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    In the patch, that gargoyle is renamed.

  • The Gargoyles have been honoring Control, Passion, and Diligence for centuries - We get the information from the journal and directly from the game in Ambrosia. But where are the precious statues of Mondain, Minax and Exodus, which symbolized those three principles in Ultima VI and 7? Destroyed by the Guardian?
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • Hythloth had once been the canalization of Magincia? Are you kidding me? In Ultima IV, Magincia was far away from Hythloth! Actually, the dungeon was on the other side of Britannia!
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: So, the Gargoyles once again fear that the Avatar might be the False Prophet. Must be some bizarre logic:
    1. At the end of Ultima VI, the Avatar proved that he was not the False Prophet who would destroy the Gargoyle race, didn’t he?
    2. In Naxatilor’s prophesies, it is said that the stranger would come with band of warriors to extinguish the Gargoyles. Yet in Ascension, the Avatar is always travelling alone.

    (by Hacki Dragon)

    In the patch, the gargoyles believe that the affair with the False Prophet isn’t over yet, because several events in Britannia remind one of the prophecy (e.g. the stolen Codex).

  • In his journal, the Avatar complains about Samhayne bribing him with the Codex, and it seems there is no other choice for him as to accept Samhayne’s offer.
    Why not just say “thanks” and take the Codex? That would be no theft, because the Avatar would just return the Codex to its rightful owner (the kingdom of Britannia), since Samhayne apparently stole it.
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: It’s strange that the Gargoyles gave their city such a name. Why didn’t they think of something gargish?
    (by JTG Dragon)

    In the patch, Ambrosia is called “Baltergres”.

  • An inaccuracy for the list of favourites: Why do the Gargoyles represent Pride? Their philosophy differs from the humans’ set of believes; they should abandon Singularity, not Humility, because Humility is none of their virtues.
    (by Artic Blaze Dragon)

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Technical shortcomings

  • The Avatar experiences an awkward situation when he meets Samhayne the first time. The Codex is lying on the desk in front of him all the time, but Samhayne has to tell him what book it is! Is he too distracted because he talks to Samhayne? Or does he not recognize the Codex because he saw it so rarely closed? There is a certain amount of attention you should expect from Britannia’s hero.
    (Explanation number three: a certain theory (by Tribun Dragon)
  • The domed buildings in New Magincia only attract voyeurs and are not very realistic.
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • It was always strange that swamp boots could save you from poison, but in Hythloth, they now even save you when you swim in the dirty mud! Do the designers also believe that you don’t get wet when taking a bath with rubber boots?
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • Blackthorn plunges a dagger into Raven’s hand. When you see her the next time, she isn’t even wounded.
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • How comes the Avatar suddenly appears within the dome of Ambrosia? I’d like to add it’s also strange that the stupid Gargoyles just stand around there and don’t notice the “False Prophet” appearing out of the blue from nowhere.
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • The marooned sailor in Ambrosia continues trading as if nothing had happened after the destruction of the dome!
    (by Wolron)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: Raven and the Avatar talk about possible future plans and think of “retiring to a small island near Buccaneer’s Den.
    Bad news for the two lovers - Thanks to the outstanding work of the Ascension worldbuilders, there are no small islands near Buccaneer’s Den!
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    That’s been erased in the patch.

  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: Raven speaks - Attention, nitpickers!

    “As for where we go next, I’d suggest we look into Trinsic or Valoria. They’re both easy to get to from here.”

    That sentence is complete nonsense, because no Britannian town other than Valoria is harder to get to from Buccaneer’s Den. (except of Yew)
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    The patch makers have addressed this flaw, too.

  • A brilliant nitpick:
    It’s about the cover of the Codex. As we know from previous Ultimas (e.g. the ending of Ultima VI), there is a Codex symbol on the Codex. That’s probably why it is called “Codex symbol”.
    However, the developers of Ascension couldn’t just put up with this, so they replaced the Codex in the cutscene at Samhayne’s with a bible - Yes, hard to believe, but there is an ornamented cross on the Codex now! A cross! Come on! I figure this is one of the worst technical shortcomings in the whole Ultima series.
    (The item, by the way, has a correct in-game image.)
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • The Avatar appears without his backpack in all video cutscenes, with only one exception: the one with Samhayne, where the backpack - what a surprise - plays a major role.
    A cheap trick by the designers.
    (by Dino the Dark Dragon)
  • If you check the Hythloth entrance before you meditate at the shrine (and get to Ambrosia), you’ll see that it’s blocked. What’s so special about it? When you leave Hythloth later on, the entrance is suddenly open, and nobody tells us that it has opened, what has happened, and how this is possible...
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • When you finish Despise, you get a cutscene in which Raven throws a dagger to Blackthorn’s head, and it spins further away. As Blackie withdraws, we clearly see he does not have the dagger in his hand, but, as they are at Samhayne’s place, he pierces Raven’s hand, with her own dagger that was spinning away... How is that possible?
    (by Miguel Nollet)
  • In Ultima IX, you need docks to land with a ship; of course, this is more realistic than in Ultima VI and 7, but why then have the vessels no skiffs like in Ultima V and VI?
    (Because Raven would sail you to New Magincia and the Avatar would not have to walk through the tunnel - and because you would be able to move freely in Britannia like in previous Ultimas.)
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • It’s true, the great sky boots work in Ambrosia only... How lucky for the designers, because otherwise, the Avatar would fly around everywhere in Britannia afterwards!
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: I don’t know what the designers thought to themselves when they named a Gargoyle “Noname” - did they have no time to think about a real name?
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    This is fixed in the patch.

  • The Shrines of the 8 Virtues lie destroyed, the runes are lost; dishonor, lies, and injustice spread everywhere, but the real amount of moral decay becomes evident in Buccaneer’s Den when you see, deeply shocked, Gwenno working as a prostitute!!!
    (Just a joke. In fact, the designers happened to use the same 3D model for just these two people...)
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • The city of New Magincia is based on the virtue of Humility. When you arrive in the city of Magincia, soft panpipes blow across the ocean waves in a humble lullaby. Now this is the music that is played before cleansing the shrine, so Pride is blanketing New Magincia. Follow me on this one. New Magincia is full of Pride, the antithesis of Humility on which the city is based, and humble music is playing. So, after retrieving the rune, cleansing the shrine and restoring Humility to New Magincia, what music is played? Triumphant horns and cymbals, proud music to hail the Savior of Britannia! Huzzah!
    (by Rick Sanford)

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General problems

  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: Katrina and the Avatar haven’t met for twenty years - what a reunion could have been celebrated! But instead, they immediately go over to business...

    “Oh, you are back, Avatar.”

    “I need the Sigil of Humility, Katrina!”

    “OK, but you must do something about the wolves and vultures here.”

    (by Hacki Dragon)

    The dialogue is slightly better in the patch...

  • Only the most humble person can make the Shrine of Humility rise from the waters... I could not believe that this in the end just meant the Avatar must be placed on a certain rock. Is the Avatar really the most humble person in whole Britannia? In whole Britannia? According to Ascension’s ideology: yes.
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • All of the old Avatar companions have made their way into a dungeon to explore the origin of the Columns (well, except of Dupre) - only Katrina didn’t! It’s certainly no excuse that she couldn’t find the Hythloth entrance - She could have explored a different dungeon, right?
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • You have to wonder why Samhayne never took a look into the Codex himself.

    (Yes, according to UA, he would not have been able to read it without the lenses. However, Samhayne acts as if the Codex’s only use for him was trading it for a rather small favor. Why doesn’t he search for the lenses?)

    (by Mimu)
  • How in the world was the marooned sailor supposed to get through the watertight dome?
    (by JBO Dragon)
  • How did wolves migrate to New Magincia? They can’t swim! (Well, due to an apparent bug in UA, some wolves can swim... but who cares?)
    (by Wolron)
  • You’ve got to wonder why there are so many pirates and lawless roaming the streets of Buccaneer’s Den. Samhayne is supposedly the leader of the town, and he probably wouldn’t want cutthroats and rogues terrorize the neighborhood. After all, he’s benevolent and kind and nice, isn’t he?
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • When the Avatar is captured by Blackthorn after Samhayne’s treason, it doesn’t occur to good old Blackie that he could strip the Avatar of the runes of Compassion and Humility. After all, he could undo everything the Avatar has achieved so far by corrupting the runes again, while letting our favorite hero sweat it out in prison, right?
    (by Kensai Dragon)
  • How did the Wyrmguard actually get into Hythloth? (Similar problem like in the case of Destard)
    (by Tribun Dragon)
  • This inaccuracy has been corrected in the dialogue patch: Katrina says she is “humbler than anyone else”. This statement can never be humble. (See also Ultima VI, where Katrina reacts reserved when you ask her if she is the most humble person in New Magincia!) Yes, I know, as we are told later on, Katrina was being slightly influenced by the Column, but I don’t think the designers thought about that when they let Katrina speak that line.
    (by Hacki Dragon)

    In the patch, it seems the Avatar wonders why Katrina demands a favor in return.

  • The Column of Hythloth causes the sailors of Buccaneer’s Den some trouble? Moonglow is much closer to the Column; why don’t they have similar problems there? Britain, too, is not very far away from the Column. By the way, great luck for Raven and the Avatar that nothing happened to them while sailing to Buccaneer’s Den! Imagine there suddenly pops up a black “game over” screen reading “The Avatar’s ship was swallowed by a whirlpool. Better luck next time.”
    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • Huge plot holes can be found when Blackthorn captures the Avatar.

    Let’s reconstruct it: Blackthorn wants to capture the Avatar just as the Avatar is leaving Despise. Raven stops Blackthorn to take the Avatar to Samhayne later on; he’s got an offer for the Avatar, which involves the Avatar disabling the Column of Hythloth in order to get the Codex. All of that had been ordered to Samhayne by Blackthorn, as we will learn at a later point in the game.

    1. What interest could Blackthorn or the Guardian have in a shrine-cleansing? Let’s continue: the Avatar does the job and then wants to claim the Codex. Here he is captured; it was a trap; Blackthorn and Samhayne had planned everything.
    2. When Raven rescued the Avatar at Despise, she already talked of a possible deal with Samhayne. This means that Blackthorn had already discussed the issue with Samhayne; a nice trap had been prepared in Buccaneer’s Den. Despite of that, Blackthorn already wanted to capture the Avatar at Despise! It gets worse.
    3. Raven always knew about Blackthorn’s deal with Samhayne (which you learn during the sequence in Buccaneer’s Den or later in Moonglow), and nevertheless, she intervened at Despise!

    All in all, this is an amazing thread of the plot (oh yeah, very amazing), but unfortunately, it’s also completely illogical. Who in the world worked this out?

    And if you now think Samhayne originally wanted to have a different deal with the Avatar and was bribed by Blackthorn after Raven rescued the Avatar, then you must wonder: why all this fuss? Instead of waiting for the Avatar doing the job, Blackthorn could instantly ambush the hero at Samhayne’s house.

    And if you now think Blackthorn did not talk to Samhayne until the assignment had been delivered to the Avatar, then you must wonder: Where did good Samhayne get the Codex from?

    And if you now think Samhayne had in fact already owned the Codex before those events, then you must wonder: if Samhayne really was such a good guy as it turns out later, then why didn’t he return the Codex to its rightful owner, the kingdom of Britannia?

    One or two cutscenes from the original plot had to be used here. An indicator for this is that two different cutscenes are shown one after the other without any break in between (first the one with the trap at Samhayne, then the other one with the Avatar being thrown into the cell).

    (by Hacki Dragon)
  • The thing with Raven’s hand injury gets worse if you take into account that the injury of Blackthorn’s eye, which was caused by a knife as well, has not yet healed. (Blackthorn’s even capable of casting spells, after all.)
    (by Tribun Dragon)

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Name des Betreibers: Christian Hackl
Wohnort: Kapfenberg

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