Karen “Kazola” Kazmierczak

Karen-KazmierczakName: Karen Kazmierczak
Character Name: Kazola
Shard: Great Lakes

Lacking the fighting abilities to take down Ultima Online’s toughest monsters, and without the roleplaying abilities to become a legendary storyteller, Karen Kazmierczak was determined to leave her mark on the Great Lakes server. Little did she know it would be through founding the game’s most famous player-run establishment, Kazola’s Treetop Keg and Winery, that her dreams would come true.

Regardless of what time Kazmierczak would log in to the game, she’d find her home virtually hopping.

“People would drop in and there would almost always be someone there during the evening hours,” she said. “If there was a Seer event, you would probably see 50 to 100 show up.”

You’d be hard pressed to find 100 simultaneous players at any other location in the game, yet there they were, gathered in the Yew forest drinking, being merry, anticipating adventure, and preparing for inevitable combat.

Just as with any other good watering hole, you never know who might stroll through the door. Luckily for Kazmierczak, Kazola’s didn’t disappoint in that regard.

“I remember a person named Neb Snahk who visited the tavern and spent some time there,”  Kazmierczak recalls. “He asked several questions about the tavern and hinted that he may have some investor friends. I later found out that this person was a Seer who had heard about the place.”

Unknown to Kazmierczak, Ultima Online’s Game Masters had started a program to recognize player-run establishments across the game that encouraged community play. Seers were dispersed across the shards to find the best and brightest for consideration in being blessed with special items.

Neb Snahk reported his findings back to his overseers and soon, a fireplace appeared inside the tavern as well as courtyard outside the doors, complete with seating and a fountain. It’s possible that Kazola’s Tavern was the first player-run venue in all of Ultima Online to receive such blessings.

Read more of Karen Kazmierczak’s story in Chapter 3: Community Service.

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