Originally posted 2012 Oct 09 03:34 -0400 GMT by Tim Chappell on the UO Herald:
Choosing winners from the Atlantic shard was extremely tough. We had received 22 entries from the shard and enjoyed every one!
We hope you enjoy our top 5 winning selections:
The Kindness of Friends & Strangers.
There has been so many memorable moments in my years of playing Ultima Online that it is difficult to pick only one.
Foremost in my mind are the friends and just random people that I have met. These people really enhance the experience of this world we call Sosaria.
During the Earth Year 1998, my goal was to place my first house. Placing even a small house on the Atlantic shard was almost impossible back in the old days before the Trammel/Felucca split.
I was siting up one night waiting for a large forge house to collapse. A large forge spot was large enough for almost any home. I was chatting with a few people there at the time, not really knowing what to expect, because I had never really done a house camping before. Nor, did I didn't expect all the mayhem that was to follow due to hidden and red people.
A very long night rolled around to 7:30 in the morning. The house finally dropped shortly afterward, and to my surprise people came seemingly out of nowhere.
I wasn't concerned about any of the items that people were hurriedly gathering up. I was more focused on trying to place my new house once the items and people were cleared from the area.
A group of reds arrived and started killing everyone to clear the area to get it for themselves. A tremendous battle ensued with people still picking through the fallen belongings.
Later that morning, a few of my friends started to wake up and I asked for assistance. I informed them of my situation; that I was in the midst of an ongoing battle without any support.
Luckily, the spot was well known and many had runes marked for that location, and within minutes 20, members from the Lost Order of Akalabeth (LOA) guild and a few others poured through the gates and cleared the area of hostiles so that I could place my house.
I took a deep breath and clicked the deed, and there appeared a house. Sadly for me it was not my dream home. Someone hidden in the house just south of the spot had taken my hard earned placement spot; I was crushed.
Even with the unexpected and impressive support from my friends, our efforts were for nought. All night I had stayed awake hoping for a home.
The guy that had place his house on my spot asked me why I wanted it so much for so many people to show up.
I responded that they came to help me place my first house.
He looked at me thoughfully and to my surprise took me to a little house north of Vesper and handed it over to me.
He said to me with a smile, "There is your first house."
I guess my memorable moment wasn't so much a "moment" as it was a period of time. My sister had been working in Sweden for a couple of years as an interior designer. I didn't get to see her much, but we would talk on Skype and such now and again. Not too often, she was really busy out there.
Then she was diagnosed with cancer. Work was put on hold, and she had a lot more online time. Online especially because insurance woes wouldn't let her return to the United States and she wasn't really close to many people out there. I managed to get out there once, but only for a little while. I'm not filthy rich, I have a family and a job, I couldn't jet off to Europe for long periods of time.
We talked a lot more on Skype and all, but she needed a distraction and we needed something else to talk about besides hospital trips and chemotherapy and such. So I reactivated a couple of old Ultima Online accounts, had her download the client, and passed her the information for one.
Now she is totally not a gamer at all, so it took her a little while to get the hang of what was going on. She did get the hang of it though, especially when she realized she could have a house and design/decorate it however she liked. There was some complaining about not being able to get objects to sit exactly where she wanted, but once she got into the groove we had some very tastefully decorated UO homes.
It gave her something to do that wasn't too physically demanding. Sometimes after chemo or surgery her hands were really shaky and her reactions were slow, and she couldn't really handle anything like combat. But stuff like house decoration and growing plants gave her things to do that she could handle.
There isn't really any climactic ending to this story. She got really really sick for a while, to where she did have to quit playing or doing much of anything, then thankfully she finally got better. She's back to work now. She's not on a lot, but she keeps the account paid up, and every now and then logs on to move all the furniture around in her UO house. Even if I don't see her online, I stop by her house every now and then and see everything moved into different places.
Well, I guess I could start from the beginning. I started playing UO right around Age of Shadows along with a good real life friend. I named my first character Miximus, He named his character Norman. Well, now it was time to start training. I think we killed 8 billion Ettins over a couple weeks time. It took awhile but finally we were trained warriors! Now it was time to move on, we needed money for better suits. We ended up getting in the leather business. We farmed leather from lizard men, drakes, and dragons every night. There was a tailor who would buy every piece we got, every week we would meet up at Umbra bank and sell our goods to him. We ended up making a pretty good living doing this. Ok, so we had trained warriors, a job, and money, now we needed a place to live. This brings me to one of my most memorable moments. My buddy and I shared a home at first, it was in Felucca. Now keep in mind this is a real life friend. Well, He was logging in one day. I assume he recalled to the house and bam, there were 4 reds there waiting for him. He managed to get into the house safely. He could have recalled from inside the house to a safe area, but we were still noobs and were not completely hip on the whole process yet. Well, I got a phone call. It was my buddy, he was freaking out. He starts yelling into the phone “Dude, you gotta log in quick”. Ok I say, what’s going on? “There’s Reds everywhere and they are trying to burn the house down and get me”. Oh damn I said. Ok I am logging in now, be there in a few to help ya. “Hurry man, they are taunting me and calling me out”, “I think they are gonna get in and kill me”. Ok, so at this point he is in a frantic yell. I manage to get logged in, I was at a bank, can’t remember which one. I ask him, ok where they at? I am getting ready to recall in, have the door ready to open. “They are in the front of house, be quick so they don’t kill ya”. Now I am panicking, we have never PVP’ed before. Four people against two noobs, this should be interesting. Ok, here we go I tell him, I hit sacred journey. Bam, I am at the house and see the red names pop up. When I got there and seen the characters, I almost lost it. They where NPC reds! This whole time he thought they were real and trying to burn him outa the house. We had a huge laugh out of this for weeks every time we saw a group of brigands.
You know what's weird about life? The way the stupidest most random little decisions turn out to be the most important.
It's years ago and I'm walking through Trinsic at about three in the morning for some reason. To my surprise, someone else is up this late and hanging around Trinsic, specifically a girl in a red dress. Not having anything better to do, I say hello and we begin to chat. After a minute or two she asks if I want to go sit in the tavern. There's something odd about the way she's talking, but whatever, I say yes.
After another minute or two sitting in the tavern it dawns on me: This girl is roleplaying or something. Either that or she's got deep mental issues, because she's seriously talking to the NPC tavernkeeper before buying a bottle of wine. But whatever, I can play along. So we sit there chitchatting for a while about, you know, the issues of the day. Orcish rights and whether drow should be allowed to adopt, or something. I don't remember really, it was a long time ago. I just smiled and nodded and chimed in where I could, because listening to this girl go on about the price of tea in China (or the price of mandrake in Moonglow) was a lot more oddly entertaining than anything else I was going to do at three in the morning on a Thursday.
Then I get a little party invite message from her at the bottom of my screen. She says hello in an out-of-character sort of way, we chat like that for a minute or two, and then she gets to the point. She explains that her character is secretly a vampire, and that she'd like to lay the bite on me. In all my life this was the one time I had ever looked at my screen and literally said the word "LOL" out loud.
And then a little mental conversation with myself takes place. I say to myself, you know, silly as it is... why not? It's three AM, it's the internet, who's gonna know? Then I say back to myself, you'll know, and what's more you'll know that there's at least a 75% chance that this is a man. Not that there's anything wrong with that, it's just not my cup of tea and the idea sort of kills the mood for me.
What to do? Yes or no? Little did I know tis would turn out to be one of those stupid random decisions that ends up being really important.
As it turns out, my little vampire friend was in fact a real live female.
Our daughter is three years old now.
I occasionally let her walk my tamer around in circles with a dragon following. Her mother snickers when I tell her to look out for vampires.
It had to have been late when I finally walked into Moonglow. I wouldn't have imagined that I'd log into UO that day at all, but the Red Cross had already turned away my friend and I in our attempt to give blood, and one can only watch the same thing on television for so many hours before needing to do something, anything else. What I saw in Moonglow violated everything I knew about the game.
There are two ironclad laws in Ultima Online. One is that if you spin around in place for long enough while standing at the bank, eventually others will start spinning as well. The other rule is that if you place an object on the ground for any purpose other than disposing of it, someone will run by and pick it up. Put down a chair and sit in it? Someone will run by and grab it. Spell your name on the ground in fish steaks? Someone will come along and pick them up just to be a nuisance. Build a little tower out of discarded furniture for no reason? Someone else will walk up and disassemble it just as pointlessly.
So I was quite surprised to see a massive torchlit American flag decorating the grassy field between the Scholar's Inn and the Second Defense Armory, built from dyed pieces of cut cloth and bandages. Or rather, I was surprised that no one had come along to dye it green and cart away random pieces of it. It stayed there, quite intact, surrounded by chattering people, for several hours at least, until I finally decided it was time for bed.
To my knowledge the only time in fifteen years the second ironclad law of Ultima Online was ever broken was that particular night, September eleventh, eleven years ago.
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