Name: Elizabeth Butler
Character Name: El
Shard: Lake Austin
Ultima Online allowed Elizabeth Butler to live a normal life, one where her multiple sclerosis couldn’t slow her down. It was through the game that Butler experienced more than most players, joining the UO Stratics news website as a shard reporter for the Lake Austin server. But embedding herself in the community was just the first step in her budding UO journalism career.
Not only did Stratics cover official game updates from Origin Systems, but each of the game’s 20-plus servers had their own “shard reporters” who covered events, interviewed members of their respective communities, and even reviewed player-run establishments. These articles were posted on the site as thoroughly-researched and well-written journalism.
With the birth of the Lake Austin server, so to was another shard reporter job created, and Butler believed she knew the right person for the job.
“I heard about Stratics in the game, as it was the place people went to for information and to chat with other players,” Butler said. “I was very hesitant to apply, but I volunteered and was brought on as a shard reporter in 2005.”
Due to her IT background, Butler was able to understand the technical side of the responsibilities, including basic HTML knowledge, as fluently as the jargon associated with the game.
“Stratics looked to hire creative individuals who had a track record of being socially active on the shards they applied to report for,” Butler explained. “And who could present the shards in well-written articles that were both entertaining and informative.”
As part of her application, Butler was asked to review a player-run establishment on the Lake Austin shard. Several days after submitting the article, she was hired by Joe “Crazy Joe” Harden, a staple of the Stratics community.
Dubbed as “El of LA,” Butler went to work embedding herself even deeper into the community.
Read more of Elizabeth Butler’s story in Chapter 4: For the Love of the Game.