But if I played Morrowind I could play Ultima 6 and 7 since I just have to apply that Open World sandbox mentality to Ultima's 6 and 7.
But I doubt I could play Ultima 5, thats games looks way too much, even for me.
the Hythloth orbs are of course the worst for companions, since getting any of them to level 7, let alone 8, is almost invariably tedious. however, only about half of the classes truly benefit from increasing all 3 stats.
Covetous' orbs are as perfect for Fighters and Shepherds as Deceit's are pointless, etc.
what's more, you don't exactly want to be toying with Hythloth until you can manage Resurrect, which is the perfect solution to (a) maxing out Stats without (b) having to level everyone to 6+ (4+ for Fighter/Shepherd as noted).
- someone whose hit points are exactly the amount removed by the Orb will survive (if they weren't Poisoned at the time), which on Level 1 of Hythloth (but sadly only for those with 600 or more HP in the first place) makes for absurdly easy departure and Holing up aboveground, and otherwise is a risk kept in check by Heal spells or happening to have a healing fountain nearby.
- my last playthrough had all 7 companioins at level 5 or 6 (Iolo managed 7 before the Abyss and Shamino qualified for 7 while down there) without any sheer grinding (though i understand considering "oops, journeyed/slashed across the mainland and then remembered something and had to journey/slash all the way back" grinding...)
- figuring out Gate and Resurrect (and having the modicum of patience to harvest Mandrake) takes care of essentially every problem other than, say, irreconcilable differences with the morality system.