BioWare - Previews @ Joystiq, MMORPG.com
But my alarm bells started ringing when I saw that only two classes were available in the game: Fighter and Mage. Character class in the middle Ultima games (IV, V, VI) was intrinsically tied to its Virtue system, which was equally connected to the game's geography, as well as individuals. Eight classes, eight virtues, eight towns, eight dungeons, eight recruitable characters. For example, a Bard was associated with Compassion and the town of Cove, with Iolo joining your bard.
The entire point of Ultima IV was to have your character embody those virtues, by either being or recruiting that class, by acting according to the virtue (for Compassion, donating to the poor), understanding the town of Cove in order to learn about the symbols of Compassion, and in proceeding to the associated nearby dungeon to cleanse the evil from the area. That formal symmetry gave Ultima IV power. It wasn't just "collect the seven runes to save the universe!" as so many games had, it was a structure that gave both the game and its world structure. In an interview with MMORPG.com, creative director Paul Barnett suggested that there would be more classes to tie into those virtues, although they might lie behind a paywall.
Moving on to the MMORPG.com preview:
The story itself is quite literally a reboot on Ultima IV. It begins 21 years after that title ended, with Lady British now on the thrown in place of her father Lord British. This makes sense given that the lead designer is no longer Garriott, but Kate Flack who’s been handling UO now for some time. It’ll sport the same isometric view we’ve come to know and love, and have all the cool stuff we remember from Ultima IV like hot air balloons, sea travel, and more. Paul says many on the team liken it to Baldur’s Gate with Friends in a lot of ways, getting back to BioWare’s roots in that way.