Name: Shane McVey
Character Name: Abigor
Shard: UO: An Corp (Freeshard)
Shane McVey grew up playing Ultima Online alongside his dad throughout the late ’90s. But once his father left Sosaria to pursue other online worlds, a young McVey braved Britannia through the freeshard community, experimenting with new and interesting takes on the game he loved so much. These experiences would eventually lead McVey to launch his own freeshard in 2014, called UO An Corp.
As a 6-year-old in Nevada, Shane McVey had a spot on the floor where he sat, watching his father play UO for hours on end. Observing his dad adventure across Britannia in 1997 served as a McVey’s primer on both the game’s mechanics and fantastic possibilities. When McVey turned eight, he logged on for the first time.
Finally deemed “old enough” to join in on the virtual adventure, McVey and his father played UO into the early hours of the morning. Together they tackled the challenging Champion Spawns, which forced players to face some of the game’s toughest monsters. Survivors of these spawns were poised to collect big money and rare weapons.
“My father and I ended up forming a deep bond over the game,” McVey said. “For my formative years, UO was a major part of my life. The social aspect has always intrigued me. Young as I was, I was forced to grow up and be more mature than my actual age so as not to embarrass my dad.”
The father/son duo spent five years exploring and fighting on the Napa Valley shard until the release of competing MMO World of Warcraft grabbed the senior McVey’s attention.
Finding himself missing UO, but unable to afford the subscription cost on his own, McVey learned of the many player-run servers available online. These servers, which shared the basic core world as the Origin version of the game, were operated by players who wanted to put their own spin on the UO.
“There has been a lot of jumping around,” McVey said. “Which is how the freeshard community seems to thrive. It’s just a constant cycle of rebirth and relaunch. Few shards have any serious staying power. They shoot up like a rocket during launch, reaching great heights before running out of fuel and descending rapidly.”
Read more of Shane McVey’s story in Braving Britannia: Tales of Life, Love, and Adventure in Ultima Online.