Last December, The Golden Brew Tavern, a virtual player-run alehouse on the Baja shard of Ultima Online, decayed away into memory after nearly 12 years in continuous existence. The Brew is mentioned in books on community building and the history of MMOs, academic symposiums, and other places that we never expected to end up.
Retrospectives were composed, memorials were planned. The event coordinators on the Baja Shard named things after us (including their website). It was a touching tribute, the best funeral we could hope for.
So naturally, we decided to spoil it by not being dead after all.
My wife, Kita Talith (her game name), started it all by waxing nostalgic over the message board posts (which I did as well). But then she decided to reactivate her account to wander around a bit and reminisce.
And then she ran into an old friend, James the Animal Tamer. And he greeted her effusively and gifted her generously. And with that endowment in hand, she had an idea…
We’re back. We rebuilt near the original Trammel location, just a few screens north along the coastline. We contacted Joshua Rowen, founder of the Golden Knights, and secured his blessing to make Kita guild leader. And now we’re plotting our grand reopening… but though not officially launched, we’re already drawing in a small legion of roleplayers.
Why go back to UO, a game with hopelessly outdated graphics, a multitude of “loose-end” bugs, and server populations that are laughable next to juggernauts like World of Warcraft? One word: community. UO has always had it. WoW hasn’t — at least, not in the same sense.
I can’t describe the difference. But from the moment I first logged in, I knew — I was home.
Shout out to Leyf and any of the other Golden Knights of old who might stumble across this. We’d love to have you back, even for just a visit. Leyf was instrumental in keeping the Brew running for as long as it did. And I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention Ursula, who came up with the original idea for the Golden Brew and grew it from nothing into something very special and timeless.
And thanks to our new friends and acquaintances, who have been enthusiastically spring-cleaning their dusty old gear and gold from their vaults and dumping it on us… but more importantly, have been sharing their tales, trials, tribulations and triumphs. Those stories and those friendships are what makes the Golden Brew fizz.