Name: Kevin Evringham
Character Name: Aragorn
Ultima Online offered Kevin Evringham an experience unlike anything he’d seen previously. Finding the game’s social aspects just as interesting as the advertised roleplaying, crafting, and player versus player combat, Evringham couldn’t help but put his in-game actions beneath a microscope in an effort to study the larger consequences.
During one of his exploratory walkabouts in the swamps north of Trinsic, Evringham found himself felled at the hands of a Player Killer named “Iceblight.” With nothing to lose, Evringham accepted Iceblight’s offer of a resurrection and spent the next few minutes chatting with his attacker. Suddenly, the pair had become unlikely friends.
“Iceblight gave me free pickings from his massive stash of vanquishing and power items,” Evringham said. “He just wanted to play the game, not run around and grief-murder people, and I just happened to be nearby at the time.
“Here was a person I had never met, but through both of us just trying to enjoy this world that had been created, we became in-game and out-of-game friends. We even talked on the phone and video-chatted. He was looking for a friend, and so was I.”
Inspired by the way Iceblight handled himself, Evringham’s own moral code became more defined inside the game.
“I had many situations where I was the sole decider, or the sole recipient, of a character’s life or death decision,” he explained. “I had to consider not only the enjoyment or sadness of the fight, but also how it would impact the other party—if I was the aggressor—and what it might mean to their participation in the game. Do I let the miner go, or do I kill him for his hundred or so ingots? Do I run from the incoming red on my screen, or do I stand and fight? Do I defend the nearby red who is helping us stop other, more murderous reds, when unknown blues show up and attack the friendly red? Do I save that character fighting five orcs, or stay hidden and loot their corpse when they die?
“These options happened hundreds or thousands of times, providing a test bed to determine where my personal and individual character’s morals would lie, how I would want their reputation to develop, and how those decisions reflected my personal beliefs interacting with other people in the real world.”
Read more of Kevin Evringham’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Melancholy, Malice, and Peril in Ultima Online!