Name: Christiane Loiseau
Character Name: Bishop
Whereas many Ultima Online players purchased in-game homes with plans to convert them into shops, community centers, or simply personal storage bins, Christiane Loiseau was on a mission to purchase a castle in hopes of reaching a goal she was unable to accomplish in her real life.
In addition to being the most desirable and rarest homes in all of UO, castles allowed players to store more than four thousand items across two stories, fifteen balconies, and a spacious courtyard. It was as close to a digital dream home as a person could get.
Even if such a spacious lot could be located, the price of the deed for a castle (at the time) was well over 800,000 gold pieces. To purchase an already-placed castle was out of the question for Loiseau, with players paying between $5,000-$10,000 on eBay.
Then Loiseau saw an opportunity.
In December 2004, a new server opened, and with it, plenty of open real estate. The server, called “Origin” (named after Origin Systems, Inc.) was launched to coincide with the release of the game’s latest expansion, Ultima Online: Samurai Empire.
As a bonus, only players who purchased the expansion could create new characters on the server for its first month of its existence. Using this advantage, Loiseau created her character, Bishop, on day one, and went about collecting gold.
“It was difficult for me to make all this money because I was working alone,” Loiseau said. “I didn’t know the game well enough to know where to go that would provide the biggest and quickest return.” Plus, I’m not a hero in battle…my preferred play style has always been, and still is, decorating.”
But even on the blank slate of the Origin server, Loiseau saw that land was filling up fast and as each day passed, more and more homes dotted the landscape.
“I did what I knew to do,” Loiseau said. “And that was killing solen workers (giant ant-like creatures) in the ant quest tunnel. It didn’t pay much, but I did this boring job every day.”
Read more of Christiane Loiseau’s story in Chapter 3: Community Service.