Character Name: Obsidian
Role: Event Moderator
When Obsidian logged into Ultima Online, he discovered a magical world where a player’s decisions would define them in front of an entire community. It was when he met a Seer in disguise that the value of story really hit home, and the encounter spurred Obsidian to take a leap of faith when UO’s developers sought new Event Moderators in 2015.
Whereas most early adopters of the game followed its development via gaming periodicals or early internet forums, Obsidian was able to see Ultima Online in action in late 1997, and it was love at first sight.
“I headed over to a friends’ house with the intention of owning them in GoldenEye for the Nintendo 64,” Obsidian remembered. “But upon arriving, I saw my friend Jim’s older brother Dave in front of the computer playing UO. Needless to say, we didn’t play much GoldenEye that night, as I was completely awestruck by UO, and everything it had to offer in just a few hours of watching Dave run around and play.”
While Obsidian had experienced online gaming through titles such as Diablo, Quake, and Doom, he recognized what he saw on Dave’s computer screen as the future—thousands of strangers playing together simultaneously.
Joining the Pacific server in order to game with his pal, Jim, Obsidian pursued the path of the knight in shining armor, fighting for the greater good at every opportunity. However, he was horrified—or maybe he was delighted—to learn that not every interaction within UO was black or white.
“I would do everything I could to help other players out, but sometimes found myself on the wrong side of the table … whether giving gold to the unscrupulous beggar or defending someone who was in the wrong,” Obsidian explained. “These kinds of ‘for or against’ actions put me in a tough spot sometimes. Although I was under the impression that I was doing good and helping out, I may not have been some of the time. This led to problems and conflicts with some players early on … either them trying to kill me, or vice versa. I always did my best to act with the best intentions.”
Realizing that the game’s emergent gameplay could lead to unpredictable situations and tough decisions, Obsidian created a new character specifically to operate within the game’s social gray areas.
“Demeter” was originally created as a thief, but as Obsidian struggled to be successful at snooping and stealing early on, over time he transitioned the character into an assassin. In doing so, Obsidian found joy in creating a story around his avatar, giving the character three-dimensional qualities.
As the years went by, Obsidian’s love for UO grew as he continued developing his character, mastering the game’s mechanics, making new friends, and adventuring to every corner of Britannia. However, it was meeting a character named “Ben Kahns” that changed Obsidian’s destiny.
Read more of Event Moderator Obsidian’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Melancholy, Malice, and Peril in Ultima Online!