Name: Valerie Massey
Character Name: Counselor Pann
Serving as a full time caregiver for an ailing grandmother, and battling constant depression in the process, Valerie Massey longed for an escape. When internet lines arrived at her home, Massey found that freedom in the digital world of Ultima Online. What she didn’t realize at the time, is that the game would change absolutely everything about her life for the better.
Enjoying her newfound sense of community, Massey would go on to write for UO Stratics and ultimately joined the volunteer team as “Counselor Pann,” a moniker borrowed from Peter Pan in her then-favorite movie, Hook.
Massey said she was excited for the opportunity to not only help others, but to continue meeting new and exciting people from around the world.
“I had nothing but time,” Massey explained. “Playing UO gave me something to look forward to and be excited about at a time in my life where those things were in very short supply. Becoming a counselor added an extra layer to that, a sense of purpose and accomplishment, camaraderie, and excitement.”
Reporting for duty as Counselor Pann on the Chesapeake server, Massey said she was elated when she was given the iconic blue robe that came with the role.
“It felt so special and elite, and I’d never felt special and elite in my life before,” Massey said. “I was always the little chubby kid who was the last one picked for the kickball team. The internet, and UO in particular, gave me opportunities to bring my personality into the forefront rather than my looks.”
Read more of Valerie Massey’s story in Chapter 4: For the Love of the Game.