Why We Game

A gamer's story of triumph over adversity at SOE Live.

After returning from a convention like SOE Live, I imagine that it is customary to talk about your personal highlight of the show – I can only imagine due to it being my first, I’m so naïve.

There are a lot of things that stand out; interviewing John Smedley, Matt Higby, Tramell Ray Isaac and others. Chatting with Margaret Krohn – yes, she’s just as ridiculously nice in person -- and finally getting to meet a bunch of folks who I only previously knew through email. Add to all that, making new friends, having a good time at the Pool Party and so on.

Yet for me, the memory that raises the hair on my neck began at the costume judging contest. I stood behind the judges, taking pictures on my dying iPhone – I was plagued by tech issues all week – when a noble lady dressed as a caster was brought near the judging circle in a wheelchair. With the help of a friend, in obvious pain but showing supreme determination, she stood up and walked forward to be seen by the judges.

After speaking for a little while, smiling and generally enjoying the moment even though it was obvious she was in agony, she thanked the judges and turned. At this point I was waiting for the wheelchair to be brought over to her, but no, she had refused it; she wanted to make her own way, like any other contestant.

Later I spotted the brave caster who I later learned was named Veturika, a cleric -- because it transpires that resurrecting rangers is her calling. I stopped by just to introduce myself to her and her guild mates and we talked briefly. What I discovered was a story that does not just belong to the tapestry of culture that is SOE Live, it utterly defines it.

Veturika is a former member of the emergency services – a cleric in both worlds – who was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. She was forced to give up her life-saving work as her condition inhibited her ability to perform her duties and the pain it caused was, and still is, constant and intense.

The doctors gave her between two to five years to live. In bone shrilling pain, unable to work and with a bleak future, a friend who understood what she was going through gave her something to help with the pain, a new game called EverQuest.

“I thank God and Sony everyday for giving me EverQuest. I would not listen to what the doctors told me, as I had three daughters all raised at the time, but nine grandchildren I had hoped to see grow up.

I was forced to give up my firefighting and paramedic work because being out there on the scene was too dangerous, not only to others but to myself.  So to survive life and feel useful, I would play anywhere from 10 to 18 hours a day. It was the people behind the toons that hung in there with me each day and never let me give up.”

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It was an honor meeting her.
# Feb 04 2013 at 4:40 PM Rating: Decent
I was one of the judges at the table when she came up. To try and explain what we felt at that moment with her - it's really hard to put into words. We knew there was someone truly special standing in front of us. And as a result we were compelled to do something special for her. I am so proud that SOE was able to award her the Spirit of the Games award because she represented the wonderful things these games bring out in all of us. I don't think I've ever had such a feeling of honor meeting someone unexpectedly.
It was an honor meeting her.
# Mar 20 2013 at 12:32 AM Rating: Decent
3 posts
I was the one that truly felt honored by meeting all of you. Thank you Adam.
# Nov 29 2012 at 4:32 AM Rating: Good
48 posts
A truely inspiring story. I wish you all the best and hopefully you will continue to confound the doctors estimates and enjoy EQ.
Linxye - Antonius Bayle

Officer of Wind of Tranquility
# Oct 29 2012 at 9:07 PM Rating: Decent
I am the Beastlord standing next to Dreek. I was grouped with Vet on one of our late night adventures when she asked if I was going to Sony Live I said probally not she said oh I wish you would go I want to meet you. For some reason that I didn't understand at the time that was all it took. I asked my son to try EQ again (I created a monster he plays alot now) He is the one who got me started 13 years ago. We looked at the SOE LIVE site and booked the hotel and bought the passes. My only regret is that my husbands work schedule did not allow for him to attend with us. I normally don't just say ok I'll do that when someone suggests something but that is the special power Vet has to know her is to love her and her happiness has become important to me. At the dinner when we were on stage cause she even convinced me I had to dress up LOL she was tearing up and saying I don't deserve this. I told her yes you do you are awesome and you inspired these people. She hid her face in her cloak, she has no idea how wonderful she is and that adds to her charm. The MC gave me to mike and it was hard to talk thru the tears but I meant every word I said Vet is the most wonderful person I have had the privilege to know. There are others that are high on my list Baky you are very special and sweet guy. You gave Vet a very special weekend and Dreek you are so kind and wonderful to drive all that way to spend a few hours. Everyone can see from the smile on Vet's face she was thrilled I saw that smile alot in 3 days. Thank you also to Sony for making her feel like the special lady she is and to all those we met at SOE LIVE you rock!!
# Oct 28 2012 at 1:59 PM Rating: Decent
28 posts
I think it is great that Sony did something nice for this lady who is an inspiration to us all. I hope they take a moment to think about how many stories like this are out there among the playerbase.
# Oct 29 2012 at 12:34 PM Rating: Decent
I give thousand of kiss to her, She's an awesome person, who teach us greatness.
# Oct 25 2012 at 2:18 PM Rating: Decent
it is an honor to share a server with you.
# Oct 25 2012 at 1:51 PM Rating: Decent
To this awesome person:)
Best wishes past present and future
# Oct 25 2012 at 8:04 AM Rating: Decent
633 posts
Happy Birthday Veturika and all the other Vet's in your cast of characters.
# Oct 25 2012 at 5:20 AM Rating: Decent
94 posts
All the Best :)
# Oct 25 2012 at 12:40 AM Rating: Good
65 posts
Great story, very inspiring.
one last thing...
# Oct 24 2012 at 11:00 PM Rating: Decent
19 posts
Loves ya Vet. a.k.a. ~Baky
# Oct 24 2012 at 10:47 PM Rating: Good
Today is also Vet's Birthday. This has been a special week for her.
Thank you Everyone for sharing your love and a big THANK YOU to Sony for your wonderful gift to Veturika. I would also like to thank you Jarimor for sharing this moment with online friends.
I cried at Sony Live! I cried saying bye to Vet at the airport and now I am starting again.

See you in game Vet! Keep on Healing! .... and res'n Smiley: lol
Amazing story
# Oct 24 2012 at 10:25 PM Rating: Decent
To those in Veturika's Guild that helped her get to SoE Live, To those that are simply guilded with her and To the People at SoE that have ensured that Veturika never has to pay to play in our Amazing world, Congratulations. It's an amazing story, for an amazing woman.

Jarimor, I want to commend you especially for writing such a great post as well. People sometimes forget that there are Real people on the other side of the screens when they are chatting with them but this type of story shows without a doubt that we are all real on the other side and we do matter.
Friendship Heals, Adventure Stimulates
# Oct 24 2012 at 8:16 PM Rating: Decent
87 posts
This story underscores two important strengths of online gaming for everyone, and especially for people like my special needs sons who otherwise could not enjoy running, swimming, snowball fights ( we live in a hot area ), and all the things none of us can do, like jump off of cliffs and fly on griffins or ride on leaping lizards.

Strength #1: Like books, online gaming nurtures one's imagination. It draws one in with sights, sounds, music, and interaction. It lets you write your own story with you as the protagonist ( or antagonist, if that's your thing.)

Strength #2: Despite some non-gamers misconceived notions, on-line gaming allows one an even wider circle of friends and more opportunities for social interaction. We have friends from all over the country in our guild, and our adult daughter going to college up north can play on-line with her little brothers, which is *way* better than just a phone call. My boys love it, and I see it helping them.

Sony, and the all the people who play the game as a caring community, do more good than they know.
"Contradictions do not exist. Whenever you think that you are facing a contradiction, check your premises. You will find that one of them is wrong. "
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
# Oct 24 2012 at 7:58 PM Rating: Decent
171 posts
My love to this woman. Truly a heartwarming story. Kind of at a loss for words other than I hope things stay good for her, for as long as possible.

I relate, in a way. I'm not in horrible pain or anything, but I certainly live a stressful life. I think many people in this game do in some way shape or form. We all have a story. Some more heart wrenching than others, but there's one thing that we all have in common, we share this game, or another game, or our love of making art or writing stories, anything that we can use as an escape, that's exactly what we do with it. This isn't limited to EQ, or video games in general. As far back as paper/pen D&D, or simply drawing or writing as I said. We have to deal with our problems out in the real world, but when we sit down, with our eyes fixed on that screen, or that canvas, or that paper, and it bleeds into our minds... That pain dissipates. Even if only for a moment. There's no time to worry about bills or medical issues or war etc when there's a gnoll swinging a sword at your face. For that fleeting moment, you're gone from this world. And when you eventually log off, or put the brush or pen down, and the real world floods back in, you can always look forward to that escape later on.

People don't know it, or at least acknowledge it much, but stress kills, and it does so FAST. That escape is life saving. I'm certain she is doing so well now, and outlived expectations, because she CAN escape, she isn't focused on it, lying there worrying. She sits down, is engrossed in those pixels and what is going on behind them, and the stress fades. And when that stress fades, so to does the detrimental effects that come with it. It is more life saving than most people realize.

So my heart goes out to you Veturika, fellow EQer. :) And also to the wonderful people in your guild etc that helped you and continue to help you. If you're reading this, and you ever want another friend, I'm at 'Test.Rainbowdash'. May be on a different server but I'm still more than happy to talk to you and be yet another companion in this virtual world. =D

Also, serious props to Sony for the perma-gold account thing. It's always amazing to see, even a large company, giving up cash (which most people assume is all a company cares about) to ensure a struggling, loyal, and loving member of their community...their family.. is happy in any way they can. :)
# Oct 25 2012 at 12:00 AM Rating: Decent
Great story. MikuRBD really hit it on the head with that post. This game, and this site for that matter, is bigger than just a game. That's why so many of us are lifers I think.

I wish I could have been there....
# Oct 24 2012 at 7:42 PM Rating: Decent
This is an awesome story but not a surprising one. I have been a member of the EQ/EQ2 part of the family since beta in 1999 and have seen how we all come together the most recent, Ribbitt and all the server/GMs/Guides/players did to make his final days happy ones.

I too hope to go to Fan Fair (now SOE Live) one day and if it is His will, I will. Until then bless you Veturika, what a wonderful and uplifting spirit you have, thank you.

90 Fury
Advent of Valor
Awesome Sauce
# Oct 24 2012 at 7:37 PM Rating: Decent
2,533 posts
Dreek -- all i can say is that is simply awesome what you guys did.

# Oct 24 2012 at 6:58 PM Rating: Decent
19 posts
She has been an inspiration and a great friend, I have never met anyone as loyal to her friends, selfless and not a mean bone in her body. It was well worth the trip to meet her.
# Oct 24 2012 at 6:55 PM Rating: Decent
14 posts
I rarely post, even less do I cry.
A grand salute from the Dwarf...
# Oct 24 2012 at 5:01 PM Rating: Good
Indeed, people like Veturika are why I have gone to innumerable Fan Faires and have played in online games since 1999... players like this are a driving reason why I work in the industry now. These social worlds allow us to interact and form deep relationships with people that we'd never even meet else.

My fondest salute to Veturika and all of our family at SOE Live.
We are honored to walk this life with you.
# Oct 24 2012 at 3:37 PM Rating: Excellent
Special Snowflake
6,786 posts
Being at the banquet when this happened... nothing like watching 1k people wipe their eyes and give a standing ovation her strength.

Dang, I'm crying again.
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Cook Ten Rats
# Oct 24 2012 at 6:10 PM Rating: Decent
53 posts
/raises her hand as one of the ones who was crying heartily while hearing her story at SoE Live.

otherwise known as Dawne in that thing folks refer to as 'real life'
Mistress Artisan Crystilla The Persistent Serving Wench, The Hand of Serilis
Phoenix Ascending / Erollisi Marr server
it is true
# Oct 24 2012 at 2:40 PM Rating: Good
244 posts
I read the story and have to totally agree that majority of EQ ppl are just like a big family. As a disabled vet. EQ has been the help to get me through the years and the ppl I have met are great in both keeping me company, talking if needed, hack those mobs, or even finish a hard quest.
hang in there Veturika and thanks Order of Ancient Dragons for being the close friends that you are.
Mulila Forestwarden
110th season RANGER

aaror-95th lvl cleric
tahnorma-110th lvl shammy
kutekittie 93rd lvl beastlord
darkmulila 81st lvl necromancer
and a few other classes like druid, enchanter, magician, and rogue
Torvonnilous forever =)

"never turn down a good fight and always help friends in need =)"
it is true
# Oct 25 2012 at 2:20 PM Rating: Decent
It is an honor to share a server with you.
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