The concept of Time in Sosaria is much the same as on Earth. Each day is divided into 24 hours, although daylight lasts much longer, roughly 18 hours per day, from 6 AM until midnight. In terms of time comparison, one Sosarian day equates to two Earth hours, or twelve Sosarian days in one Earth day.
However, for simplicity's sake, almost without exception, when events, item effects or other time periods are mentioned, even by NPC's, they typically refer to Earth time. For example, an NPC Escort might say you must wait five minutes before being able to undertake the quest to escort them, they really mean five Earth minutes.
Generally, few if any players pay any attention to Sosarian time. This is only exacerbated by the fact that most everyone wears items imparting Night Sight abilities, so the passing of days and nights goes unnoticed by them.
Time in Sosaria also mimics Earth in another fashion, namely timezones. It may be night time in one portion of Sosaria while it is daylight elsewhere. The time changes slightly if you cross a Server line as each region has its own time of day.
Finding out the time of day can be done by using a Clock, Holiday Timepiece, Sundial, Grandfather Clock, or just asking any NPC by saying their name and the word time. Using timepieces will give you the exact time, while an NPC will merely tell you the last hour that has passed, even though it could be just a minute until the next hour.
Knowing the time of day was helpful in the early days of Ultima Online as it governed the progression of phases of the moons Trammel and Felucca. This, in turn, would determine where a particular Moongate would take you. This is partly why the Holiday Timepiece was considered such a useful Holiday 1999 gift and was highly prized. These days, you can choose to take any moongate to pretty much any other one at will.
Here are some facts relating to time in Ultima Online:
- Time in Britannia passes quickly compared to our Earth time.
- In 2 Earth hours an entire Britannian day will have passed.
- Twelve Britannian days makes one Earth day.
- Just as on Earth, a Britannian year has twelve months.
- Each Britannian month, however, consists of 73 days.
- This makes a Britannian year last 876 Britannian days, which is 73 Earth days.
- One Earth year equals five Britannian years.
- The release date of Ultima Online was in the Britannian year 289.