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Death leaves online friends, guilds in limbo

Discussion in 'UO Legends' started by Deltadawn, Mar 16, 2009.

  1. Deltadawn

    Deltadawn Visitor
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    When her father collapsed and died in the middle of a quest in the online game, Melissa Spangenberg embarked on a quest of her own: to let her father's gaming friends know that he hadn't just decided to desert them. (AP Photo)



    NEW YORK (AP) -- When Jerald Spangenberg collapsed and died in the middle of a quest in an online game, his daughter embarked on a quest of her own: to let her father's gaming friends know that he hadn't just decided to desert them.

    It wasn't easy, because she didn't have her father's "World of Warcraft" password and the game's publisher couldn't help her. Eventually, Melissa Allen Spangenberg reached her father's friends by asking around online for the "guild" he belonged to.

    One of them, Chuck Pagoria in Morgantown, Ky., heard about Spangenberg's death three weeks later. Pagoria had put his absence down to an argument among the gamers that night.

    "I figured he probably just needed some time to cool off," Pagoria said. "I was kind of extremely shocked and blown away when I heard the reason that he hadn't been back. Nobody had any way of finding this out."
    With online social networks becoming ever more important in our lives, they're also becoming an important element in our deaths. Spangenberg, who died suddenly from an abdominal aneurysm at 57, was unprepared, but others are leaving detailed instructions. There's even a tiny industry that has sprung up to help people wrap up their online contacts after their deaths.

    When Robert Bryant's father died last year, he left his son a little black USB flash drive in a drawer in his home office in Lawton, Okla. It was underneath a cup his son had once given him for his birthday. The drive contained a list of contacts for his son to notify, including the administrator of an online group he had been in.

    "It was kind of creepy because I was telling all these people that my dad was dead," Bryant said. "It did help me out quite a bit, though, because it allowed me to clear up a lot of that stuff and I had time to help my mom with whatever she needed."

    David Eagleman, a neuroscientist at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, has had plenty of time to think about the issue.

    "I work in the world's largest medical center, and what you see here every day is people showing up in ambulances who didn't expect that just five minutes earlier," he said. "If you suddenly die or go into a coma, there can be a lot of things that are only in your head in terms of where things are stored, where your passwords are."

    He set up a site called Deathswitch, where people can set up e-mails that will be sent out automatically if they don't check in at intervals they specify, like once a week. For $20 per year, members can create up to 30 e-mails with attachments like video files.

    It's not really a profit-making venture, and Eagleman isn't sure about how many members it has -- "probably close to a thousand." Nor does he know what's in the e-mails that have been created. Until they're sent out, they're encrypted so that only their creators can read them.

    If Deathswitch sounds morbid, there's an alternative site: Slightly Morbid. It also sends e-mail when a member dies, but doesn't rely on them logging in periodically while they're alive. Instead, members have to give trusted friends or family the information needed to log in to the site and start the notification process if something should happen.

    The site was created by Mike and Pamela Potter in Colorado Springs, Colo. They also run a business that makes software for online games. Pamela said they realized the need for a service like this when one of their online friends, who had volunteered a lot of time helping their customers on a Web message board, suddenly disappeared.

    He wasn't dead: Three months later, he came back from his summer vacation, which he'd spent without Internet access. By then, the Potters had already had Slightlymorbid.com up and running for two weeks.

    A third site with a similar concept plans to launch in April. Legacy Locker will charge $30 per year. It will require a copy of a death certificate before releasing information.

    Peter Vogel, in Tampa, Fla., was never able to reach all of his stepson Nathan's online friends after the boy died last year at age 13 during an epileptic seizure.

    A few years earlier, someone had hacked into one of the boy's accounts, so Vogel, a computer administrator, taught Nathan to choose passwords that couldn't be easily guessed. He also taught the boy not to write passwords down, so Nathan left no trail to follow.

    Vogel himself has a trusted friend who knows all his important login information. As he points out, having access to a person's e-mail account is the most important thing, because many Web site passwords can be retrieved through e-mail.

    Vogel joked that he hoped the only reason his friend would be called on to use his access within "the next hundred years or so" would be if Vogel forgets his own passwords.


    But, he said, "as Nathan has proven, anything can happen any time, even if you're only 13."
     
  2. eolsunder

    eolsunder Guest

    A good story and gives some helpful hints..

    But really, if you pass away, is it THAT important to let your online gaming friends know? Its a game!

    Now, real life friends sure. Someone that you've played with for 8 years.. sure. Relatives sure.. But taking weeks to hunt down contact names so you can email a fellow guild member to say "oh, by the way so and so wasn't on lately, he died." seems a bit much.

    I'm sure they will be sorry and for a few days go "oh did you hear about xmortisdeathdealer? he died in real life" oh thats sad.. nice guy.. who wants to do peerless..
     
  3. Uriah Heep

    Uriah Heep Crazed Zealot
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    Actually in some cases, people do become quite attached, to the point of being considered friends in RL, even tho they may never have met. So don't discount completely the value of an online friendship (read what was done for Lady Pheonix).
    What's the difference in say, a good chat, a good conversation over Vent, while ya playing UO or Poker or dominoes, and sitting across the table from someone doin the same?

    Long term online friends are a treasure, and shouldn't be discounted lightly.\

    Just my thoughts...
     
  4. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
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    Friends are friends no matter what the medium of communication.
     
  5. MageCruella

    MageCruella Journeyman
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    I agree with Uriah and Maplestone and expect we will hear from more. Life does happen, our gaming community is aging and many have been friends for 10 years or even more. We have shared babies, grandchildren and lifes ups and downs. It is sometimes harder to be far away from those you hold dear.
     
  6. DevilsOwn

    DevilsOwn Stratics Legend
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    I sometimes look things up with this computer, you know, actually get useful real life information, but the majority of my computer time, since my girls were very little, is spent playing games. At first there was no such thing as online so it was the King's Quest series from Sierra :) and then we got hooked up and found the Trivia Room on AOL and spent years chatting and having fun with folks there.

    Later on there was ImagiNation, Legends of Kesmai and Realm, finally landing here in the world of UO. Point is, all along the way the object was to play, to have fun, and the people I've met were, naturally, there for the same reason. While we were having fun we came to know one another and while some friends remained ingame friends others were invited into our real lives, and us into theirs. Even if never meeting face-to-face those friends have become as lasting and as dear as any friend out here in front of the monitor.
     
  7. Honestly it really depends on how much of a friend they are weather I'm indifferent about an online friends death or not. Like this quote...

    "I'm sure they will be sorry and for a few days go "oh did you hear about xmortisdeathdealer? he died in real life" oh thats sad.. nice guy.. who wants to do peerless.." from Eolsunder, and even then I think I would handle it a little more delicately as well.

    For example when I heard about Darlene (Lady Phoenix), it brought me to tears cause she was like a 2nd mother to me (Giving me advise, helping to get me out of a bad mood, etc..)...I can't tell you how many times I was up all night on AIM or in game just talking with Lady Phoenix the same way you would talk with any real life friend face to face.

    Some people are a little too disconnected from the games they play giving that whole thing of "It's just a game" go a little to far that they will not give a **** about the Pixels they are interacting with. IE Hackers/Griefers/Etc...

    Because it's true, at the end of the day, it is just pixels....but the people behind those pixels are real. The funny thing is....real people have the capability of becoming real friends eh?

    The only time I use the term "It's just a game" is when I see myself getting to angered over dieing or whatnot. Or letting the griefers get to me and all that good stuff. I just get up and walk away "It's just a game, calm down man, it's just a game."

    I will always cherish the friends I make in games that I play. I haven't played EverQuest in 4 years now but I am still in contact with a lot of the people I use to play with, and consider them true friends.
     
  8. Lady Arwen

    Lady Arwen Lore Keeper
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    Yes I totally agree, freinds are friends no matter if their online or not. As said before, I dont really see the difference between a chat with someone, a good vent conversation or a conversation face to face. The people behind the pixels are real people and can become very close friends. I consider alot of my friends ingame like family to me. I go to them when I need some advice, or when Im angry, and they help me. Just as they come to me too. Alot of the people online I have come to know and love very dearly, and they are as family to me. And it would sadden me greatly if something were to happen to them.. and I would definatly want to know. Some of my friends that I met online dont even play anymore, but we call eachother and talk all the time, just as any friends would.
     
  9. Red Soldier

    Red Soldier Guest

    I would have to agree with the rest in saying it may be a game but the friendships are still real. I quit uo over 3 years ago, and believe it or not i had friends there some of which i still talk to on the phone internet and the likes. so i had the pleasure of playing wow with till it got boring. the pixels are pixels but the quality in a friend will always be there. i like tov used to spend hours talkin to pheonix even after i quit uo we would talk about anything and everything just as 2 friends would. some players from the game i have met outside the game had cook outs with and the sorts 4 of them are even going to attend my rl wedding. so you say its just a game? nah i say your wrong its more then a game and some of us(myself included) treasure all the playing time we have spent building and developing new friendships.
     
  10. Vyal

    Vyal Guest

    People who treasure online friendships enough to pay 20$ a month so incase they die their friends in the game can be notified are the same people who go insane get a automatic gun drive down the road and start shooting people and when they get caught say it was becuase of a video game.

    If all you have in the world is a online game becuase you want to spend 12 hours a day collecting gold and making friends in the game I feel really bad for you.
     
  11. kelmo

    kelmo Old and in the way
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  12. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
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    I wuv stratics ignore lists :)
     
  13. Vyal

    Vyal Guest

    for all you idiots out there (KELMO)
    The article wasn't about having friends in games it was about sites that people pay for so that incase they die people in games can be notified and none of your posts even come close to touching on the subject.
     
  14. Damia TMC

    Damia TMC Sage
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    How sad that your time spent in uo did not include any lasting friendships, you have no idea what you missed.

    My guildmates are like family to me. Yes I have a real life family I spend time with, and rl friends as well, but my online friends are just as real to me as the ones I am with face to face. A few of my online friends I have met in rl, and several more I talk on the phone with. These are not pixels, these are real people and the relationships are very real too, as is the sadness when one passes away. I still talk to the ones who have quit uo on a regular basis. Lady Phoenix was a real person, as real as they get, and it's a shame you didn't get to know her personally the way a lot of us did. You might think differently about this subject.

    I can't imagine anyone being able to play this game and not make friends. I think leaving behind a way to contact those people you know online if you die is a great idea. Several people have just disappeared, and we always wonder what happened to them. So you may think it's strange to make lasting friendships in a game, I sure don't.

    ::hugs to my online friends:::
     
  15. People pay a makeup artist to slap some paint on your face when you die to either be put in the ground or burned, so it's not the stupidest thing you could pay for honestly.
     
  16. MageCruella

    MageCruella Journeyman
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    Dear, it is 20$ per year rather than per month. The article also recognizes the value of online friends and does not promote one specific site. People can handle the issue any way they wish..and if they wish. The point of online friendship is more than valid, as shown by the group linking arms in this post. Love you guys!
     
  17. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
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    However, I don't see any value added to such a service as described in the original post when a stratics accountname/password and instructions can be left with other personal papers.
     
  18. The site is free for one person being notified.
     
  19. twoburntfouryou

    twoburntfouryou Journeyman
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    Okay this is just another way for someone to make money via the internet rolleyes: And I myself will never understand anyone that would pay for this service. If your really that close with your internet friends leave a will letting your RL family and friends know who you may want them to inform.
     
  20. Its free to notify one person. And its not really setup to notify Internet friends, though you could use it for that.

    I think its a cool service in an electronic world. Have you ever tried to find someone's passwords after they died in the middle of stacks of paperwork etc in their home? Not everyone is very organized and could use the help of a service like this.
     
  21. twoburntfouryou

    twoburntfouryou Journeyman
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    Well yes I have had someone very close to me die and I can assure you that the last thing on my mind at the time was trying to find passwords :confused:
     
  22. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
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    Not to be morbid, but using myself as an example, I keep a checklist of contacts - online and real world - included with my will, checked over at the end of Dec each year, just a little easy-to-follow checklist ( I lost a close friend when I was younger and one of the most paralyzing moments was realizing I had absolutely no idea who to tell ... fortunately others took care of it, but it left me with a fear of leaving someone else in the same state )
     
  23. Omnicron

    Omnicron Stratics Legend
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    QFT, why do you think I still lurk on these forums?
     
  24. Maplestone

    Maplestone Crazed Zealot
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    :)

    .
     
  25. Lord Cuda

    Lord Cuda Sage
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    Your not lurking my good man. Your stalking! :scholar:
     
  26. Omnicron

    Omnicron Stratics Legend
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    Only you Cuda. I might come back and do some trammie type stuff? You up to showing me around?
     
  27. Lord Cuda

    Lord Cuda Sage
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    Not I good sir. I hang around Malas now. Red healers in tram skeer me :eek:
     
  28. Omnicron

    Omnicron Stratics Legend
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    I dont get why they coded it so red healers appear in trammel. I mean they need to fix that so you can come back to trammel and not worry about their evil ways.
     
  29. Lord Cuda

    Lord Cuda Sage
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    They never Rezz me. Just stand there taunting me like I was some kind of Inferior tamer without any hope in the world good sir. It makes me sad irl:sad4:
     
  30. Omnicron

    Omnicron Stratics Legend
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    Duh, your not evil. Thats why they laugh at you hehe. *cough inane banter cough*