Ultima Online: Third Dawn

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Ultima Online: Third Dawn
Ultima Online: Third Dawn box art
Release date: March 27, 2001
Developer: Origin Systems
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Website: www.uo.com/thirddawn/

Ultima Online: Third Dawn, also known as UO3D, is Ultima Online's third expansion. Electronic Arts sponsored a launch party for the expansion on April 6, 2001. In addition to the introduction of a 3D client, enhancements included the following: a new land mass; several new dungeons; numerous new creatures; several new armors e.g., samurai, ninja; as well as four new weapons.


Initially, the new land mass, Ilshenar, was accessible only via the new 3D client. The new land mass was intended as an adventure-only area, housing cannot be placed there. The Ilshenar addition was 10% larger than the previous play-area increase, namely, the Lost Lands, which were introduced by Ultima Online: The Second Age. At first, the spells Recall, Mark, and Gate Travel were disabled, which forced players to enter and exit Ilshenar by one of eight moongates. While the ability to Recall out of Ilshenar currently functions in most areas, there are several areas where the prohibition remains.

Among the additions were: the Races, Juka and Meer. Dunegons: Blood; Ratman Mines; Ancient Citadel; etc. Peerless, Paragon, and facet-specific artifacts.

3D client

The Third Dawn 3D client rendered all monsters, characters, and terrain (with the exception of buildings) in 3D. It still, however, maintained the use of 2D artwork for objects. While it had an option to zoom in, it did not allow for any rotation due to the 2D artwork that remained incorporated. The view within the Third Dawn 3D client was isometric with movement limited to the eight directions. The client interface was redone, with the centerpiece being a 3D paper doll that mimics in-game actions and can be viewed from any direction. The new animation system permitted the addition of specific animations and particle-based effects to each spell cast.

Some 3D client features:

  • The mouse wheel allowed a player to zoom in and zoom out
  • The game window size could be resized. However, even at the most increased setting, zoomed out all the way, no additional view of the land is provided so as to prevent anyone having an advantage.

The Third Dawn 3D Client was replaced by the Kingdom Reborn client, which was released on June 27, 2007.

Beta testing

Third Dawn reportedly entered beta testing in December 2000. Beta testing was closed on March 19, 2001.

History and discovery of Third Dawn name

The following is taken from Internet Archive - LumTheMad.net


'''Saturday, October 14, 2000 - 11:29 AM [Filed by Lum]'''

Get used to that. Based on about a dozen domain names purchased by Origin last week, along with numerous hints and announcements by OSI employees, it's safe to say that we now know at least the name of the next phase of UO. Here's a copy of the conclusions posted by [http://web.archive.org/web/20010302010506/http://uo.goa.com/ Mind (Internet Archive)] to the "Ultima" mailing list.

I along with everyone else have heard rumblings of the new client for months; as we get closer to the World's Faire demo we can hopefully expect more concrete information.

Everybody is talking about Ultima-Nexus on the UWOoOOoo mailing list but strangely nobody is talking about Ultima Online: Third Dawn.

So I'll do it. :)

On October 4th, Origin Systems Inc. registered the following domain names:


On March 30th, Jack Heistand, Senior Vice President/General Manager of
Origin, declared in an e-mail sent to his employees and published by Lum: "Rick Hall will become the producer of an exciting new sku, which will be the most powerful new UO release to date."

On May 18th, Kirk "RuneSabre" Black, just after he left the UO Live team, declared: "My future is firmly with UO. Of course I can't give you details of what the future of UO I will help bring about are, but, I can assure you its going to be very cool!".

On May 30th, Gordon "Tyrant" Walton, Vice President of Online Services and Operations of Origin, declared in an interview given to Jinx: "More people are working on it now than there were at the peak of UO:Renaissance."

On October 11th, Paul "Sage" Sage declared: "I honestly believe that the next few months will be the most exciting months ever in UO history".

A lot of rumors were floating around the fan sites since April. It looks like we will soon know the truth.
I can be wrong, but I'm pretty sure that:

* A new extension to UO will be announced soon (before November 11th).
* It will be named Ultima Online: Third Dawn
* It will included a 3D client (hence the acronym UO:3D)
* A demo of this 3D client will be shown at the UO World Faire
* RuneSabre leads the project (if not as the producer as the lead programmer)
* It will be out before April 2001

The only real news here is the name of the extension. But by putting together all the informations released or leaked I think we get a better idea of what's going on.

The future of UO is slowly taking shape... :)