Well, I finished Ultima IV yesterday, but I won't talk about that here. I played an excessive number of hours--probably like 4 or 5--to get to the end of the game. That's the thing about video games; when you feel close to the conclusion it's hard to quit 9especially on a Sunday...) But for this blog I will talk only about the first half, which was very boring. The first thing I needed to do was recruit Geoffrey and raise his stats, which was accomplished in fairly short order. To my annoyance, Geoffrey can't use any magic weapons so he was stuck with a crossbow. This, despite the fact that he is a fighter, makes Geoffrey among the worst party members, because the magic weapons are so good.
I also discovered to my joy that if all my mystic robes are readied, then I could find another 8 sets of them in Empath Abbey! Moreover, I can go to the shop and sell them all for 4500 gold apiece! With this newfound source of infinite cash, in Buccaneer's Den I outfitted my party with the best ranged weapons they can have: Magic wands for my wizard, bard and druid, magic bows for the ranger, paladin, and tinker, and a crossbow for the fighter. The shepherd was stuck with her stupid sling. Once everyone was fifth level and well outfitted, I made a treck to Paws and bought enough reagents to mix up 99 of the most important spells: cure, heal, dispel, light. As it turned out, camping (which I had forgotten that I could do) obviated the need for Heal, whereas buying 99 torches eliminated the need for Light spells. I also discovered that the abyss had no strange winds, which meant there was no worry for the torch supply. Anyway, mixing up the spells was boring and gave my fingers some repetitive motion fatigue--mixing up 99 Cures, for example, requires 99 repititions of the sequence C-B-C-Return.
After all that, I decided my party could use some better stats, so I headed to Covetous to raise strength and dexterity using orbs hidden in the dungeons. What did I discover? Two things:
1) The orbs in Covetous are a real pain to get to because the Z-Down spell does not work a lot of times, and there are three screens of monsters before you reach it.
2) The orb vanishes after each use so you have to find it multiple times.
I also tried Destard for strength orb-ing, but again I met with failure due simply to the nuisance of getting there and the fact that they can only be used once.
Anyway, at this point my party had such good weapons that most enemies were destroyed simply by standing there and hitting A and up, raining a barrage of magic arrows, crossbow bolts, and wand blasts on the heads of my foes, most of whom died before even reaching me. In Moonglow I took final stock, made sure I had everything I needed, and set sail for the abyss! I also backed up the game files in case things went badly. As it turned out I didn't need to worry.
I will write the second part sometime tonight. I will also create my Ultima V character and try to get to the nearest town, but I am considering yesterday's many hours of play to count for today's.