Ultima Online: Samurai Empire Previews

Three more previews of Electronic Arts' newly announced Ultima Online: Samurai Empire expansion have hit the web. The first is at HomeLan Fed:
For the Ninja, it will be a stealth fighter class, with the character trained in Ninjitsu. The revealed abilities for the Ninja are designed to augment it's stealth abilities, and includes a Mirror Image ability that causes multiple mirror images to appear in order to cause confusion, a Smoke Bomb ability to allow the Ninja to make a quick getaway, and an (animal form) ability that will let the Ninja take an animal form for sneaking around. As with the Samurai, there are more abilities to be introduced, and all features are still open to being changed depending on how balancing goes.

The new professions will in turn fight more than 15 new monsters introduced in SE, which like the professions, are based in Japanese culture. Users can take on the Hai Riyo, a dragon that can be ridden if you can get past its tough nature, or the beautify and deadly Fan Dancer. Even the undead are getting in on the action, as the Lady of the Snow will be sure to haunt the daring, along with another unannounced undead monster.

The second is at GameSpy:
The Takuno Islands consists of one large new city where players will begin their Asian adventures, two large new dungeons, three new virtue shrines and many different terrain types including frozen tundra, mountain, jungles deserts and even an active volcano. It's also from these islands that the next phase in the ever evolving storyline of Ultima Online will begin. According to the game's fiction, Lord British has long since vanished, and his nemesis, the tyrannical Lord Blackthorn, has at last been defeated. Now the forces of Order and Chaos lie in a precarious balance, each looking for an advantage to tip the balance their way. Unfortunately for the people of Britannia, it seems that just such a way has been found in the Takuno Islands.

And the third is at IGN PC:
Last but not least is a new tileset for player housing, which can be used in current UO areas, with the purchase of the expansion pack. You can build castles, temples, pagodas, farms and tea houses in addition to a humble home. Flooring, walls, doors, stairs, and roofs all get the Far East treatment. Then there's rock gardens, sand gardens, and more items to be announced. You can start out with a small unit and eventually upgrade it, instead of starting out whole-hog.