A Digital Dethroning

Summary: A programmer adds a powerful avatar to rule over the online game he created. He did not expect to be deposed.

Thrones of Eternia was among the earliest online roleplaying games, notable only as a gaming history footnote. The user interface was rudimentary, and most of the graphics were simple 8 bit sprites recolored from the same pallet. Despite these flaws, it was largely the work of a single man.

Adam Sharp was a programmer by day, and a tabletop gamer by night. He began translating his homebrew fantasy campaign into an online campaign, based on a handful of independent campaigns he developed. While time consuming, he steadily made progress towards the end.

Adam unveiled Thrones of Eternia when few were online, and even fewer used the internet for gaming. He created a unique avatar for himself, God-Emperor Abraxas of Eternia himself. He was armed with armor and weapons orders of magnitude more powerful than anything else available to players. With those, he smited griefers and players that dared disrupt his paradise.

Yet unlike Abraxas, Adam was only human. The God-Emperor was immune from all direct damage, but a clever player found an exploit. In game, poisons would inflict slow, gradual damage. Some high-level ones acted fast, in direct proportion to the target's health. Using a low-level weapon to inject Abraxas, the poison ripped past Abraxas' invulnerability.

Ironically, God-Emperor Abraxas left a corpse, like all other characters in the game. The assassin, a mid-level rogue named Draco, looted the body like a dead bandit. At home, Adam stared at the screen in disbelief. He re-entered the game, but he did not ban Draco. Instead, he closed his earlier loophole.

Adam set out a challenge, boldly proclaiming as the reborn Abraxas: to any whom could defeat him, they would earn similar loot. Those who could achieve such a lofty feat would be hailed as the new gods of Eternia. Out of character, Adam rapidly used what he learned to debug the game. While it would fade with the coming of larger multiplayer games, it nevertheless retains a cult following to this day.