It is with a heavy heart that I pass on the news that Odin has started his new journey to Valhalla. For the last two months, he was hospitalized with breathing problems. On May 20th, he decided he wanted to go home and in the early hours with his son beside him, he took his last breath and joined his beloved Freya.
As many of you know, it was Freya who played Ultima Online when it came out. Odin started the server for friends and family but opened it up to the public. It was never a huge server but it had enough people coming and going, and those who stayed became his new friends and family. It was a basic server based on the Sanctuary scripts as Odin preferred the technical side of running the server and relied on scripters to add content although he could do simple fixes for existing scripts. It wasn’t until I joined the staff that I ripped open Valhalla to add more content and the tools for GMs to help players and add their own quests. Odin gave me free reign but I always discussed with staff what something should be or do but nothing was ever straight-forward. Odin enjoyed having a bit of randomness and not just have something do what was needed. We all remember the time Joram, having gotten his new mirror buff, ended up in that 1% category that the buff failed and blew everyone up at the gardens. It was the little things like that that made the shard have a bit of a personality… and Odin loved all of it, even suggesting to add little things here and there, such as blowing up if you failed while making explosion potions. After Freya’s passing, Lady Skadi kept the shard true to what Freya would have wanted it to be then updating new maps when we switched over to Mondain’s Legacy so there were more houses available and the shard had a more personable look. And then Lord Volund showed up and gave the shard life. He took those tools available and scattered questgivers all over the maps along with bringing the towns to life and adding in dozens upon dozens of new monsters to fight. And Buri… we all know he was the soul of the shard, keeping all those pages answered and making sure things got fixed and tested whenever a problem arose. Yes, every time some paged about a problem, he would go test it to determine if it was working as intended or there was a problem.
You may not have seen Odin around as often, but he was a constant presence on the shard. Believe it or not, Odin was constantly on… and active. You may have thought of him as simply owning the server but he kept his avatar logged on. He would come around in the evening and check what was going on, say hello to the GMs who were on then go sit at his favorite spot. So yes, even if you never saw him, he was always around and closer than you think. If you hung out at the gardens, you were probably beside him… he was always sitting on the bench to the left of the gate. He was there for weddings and for special events and for every new year’s eve party. He didn’t just run the shard but also played and enjoyed completing quests or partaking in a garden raid.
On Jan 18th, 2023, Valhalla Lost had been running continuously for 20 years. It went by with little fanfare as many players had moved on with their lives. But then a resurgence came back. The shard was full of life again with old and new players. Before Odin passed, I sent him a screenshot of the online list. Sadly, he didn’t respond but I know he saw it and it would have made him happy. Odin never cared how many people were on but he knew everyone who was on and enjoying the shard that he had worked on for so many years. He would have known the names in the screenshot. During the pandemic when things were slow, he thought it might be time to close the shard. But players kept trickling in and he couldn’t bring himself to close down what he and Freya had built up together.
On behalf of the staff, I would like to thank everyone for playing on the shard and those who helped out. We had amazing game masters over the years and many of them enjoyed interacting with the players, let it be throwing raids at the gardens, setting up map quests to find, being silly or just hanging out and chatting. We had our fun times. We had our quarrels. But in the end, we all came together as family. As for the future of Valhalla Lost, it will stay up until Odin’s family takes it down. That’s not to say it’ll shut down permanently. We’re looking at options for another host to continue on his legacy, even if it’s simply kept up as a home-away-from-home for old players to enjoy from time-to-time. Hopefully, we’ll be able to take over the domain. And Volund needs a home too.