Name: Alex Ronalds
Character Name: Rivan of SAS
Shard: Sonoma/Siege Perilous
There isn’t much that Alex Ronalds hasn’t done in Ultima Online. Having joined the game during the 1997 beta test, he conquered dungeons alongside Lord British, founded an infamous PvP guild, supported player-run cities, and helped launch Siege Perilous’ community. Now, Ronalds works to collect UO history, ensuring it doesn’t turn to digital dust.
Experiencing Ultima Online’s open, frenetic, and downright deadly beta test further endeared Ronalds to the game, and each time he visited Britannia, he knew he was part of something special.
“Aries and I started the Sinners Among Saints (“SAS”) on the Atlantic server during the beta of the game,” Ronalds recalled. “A couple lonely fisherman on the docks of Trinsic, we soon learned it was easier to steal other people’s boats than it was to purchase our own. The early version of the game lacked balance, and was full of bugs. Due to a lack of spawn at the time, sometimes the only interactions one could find were interactions with other people.
“We would lure unsuspecting fishermen onto our boat, sail them out of guard range, and then we’d attack them and take their gear. This worked a couple of times early on, but all the fisherman started to no longer trust us because of our ‘dishonorable’ and ‘dastardly’ titles, and we had to find new ways to find victims.”
Ronalds’ pastime of “borrowing” boats led to one of his most memorable experiences in the game. On September 23, 1997—the final night of UO’s beta test—Ronalds set sail with his guildmates Aries and Zordax to explore Ice Island, also known as Dagger Isle, in Britannia’s chilly northern region.
As the SAS members steered the ship toward the island’s coast, a stranger appeared, and the group let out a collective gasp.
“Lord British randomly appeared in front of us as we pulled our boat to the shore of Ice Island and took us on a dungeon run through Deceit,” Ronalds said. “I remember staying up until 2 a.m. in the morning to keep playing with him, and then not being able to sleep on a school night since I was giddy with such excitement.”
Read more of Alex Ronalds’ story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Melancholy, Malice, and Peril in Ultima Online!