Name: Jacob Oliver
Character Name: Freyr of Grimr
With his long hair, all-black clothing, and love of heavy industrial music, Jacob Oliver always felt like an outsider as a teen. Unfortunately, that feeling didn’t go away even in his own home. Desperate to connect with his father, Oliver never imagined that Ultima Online would be the catalyst that united the pair and solidified their relationship.
“I had an idea,” Oliver revealed, “I would tell my dad about Ultima Online and maybe he would be interested enough to play and I could get him to pay for the subscription on my account. It was $10 or $15 a month at the time, and the concept of this sort of subscription was foreign to me, so I didn’t expect him to pay it.”
Planting the seed in his dad’s mind, Oliver went back to his adventure games. He was shocked when days later, his dad came through the door with his own copy of The Second Age. Not only would Oliver’s father pay for his subscription, but he’d play alongside his son.
Rick joined his son on the Pacific shard as “Recardo,” and suddenly, the two had something in common. As the father-son duo braved Britannia together, their conversations opened up, and Oliver felt like he could talk about all the things he’d been longing to share.
“During the gameplay we could chat to one another about things outside of UO: current events, politics, philosophical discussions, and more,” Oliver said. “He learned a lot more about my actual interests and what knowledge I had on various subjects. This was a way for him to learn that I was still a teen boy, not a weirdo or a freak. I wanted a relationship with my parents, so sharing this experience with him was a tremendous help in my life.
“The more time we spent together, the more we spoke, so the more we learned. I saw things in my father that I hadn’t understood before. Growing up, I saw him as all-knowing and all-powerful, but these conversations made me realize he had flaws. But it wasn’t just shortcomings or negative sounding things … he also had things that brought him joy. It wasn’t really a concept I connected with my father. Sure, I knew he collected baseball cards before, and played chess, but now I understood that he liked things the same way that I and everyone else liked things. Once I understood all of these basic human characteristics in my father, he seemed more like a person, and I felt I could connect with him.”
Read more of Jacob Oliver’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Melancholy, Malice, and Peril in Ultima Online!