Thirty Six... I can't help but think this year is another turning point year in my life. I have spend exactly 36% of my life behind the wheel of Gaiscioch today, the day I turn 36.
What does this year have in store? Growth within the family is a guarantee but what about the other long term goals I've set in motion. The home buyers plan has eluded me so far each year I try to set it in motion, due to some random expense eating up the old nest egg. The new addition to our family plan has been eluding me for years as the time and situation is not right yet. My business is on the verge of booming as it has been for years. Will this be the year that all these plans go in motion and the stars align. Well I can't be for certain but with a little luck and a lot of hard work I'm sure that when it's time, nothing can stop it from happening.
Whatever the result this year I wanted to say thank you to the 6,587 people that have shared this adventure so far with me. You guys have given me more than purpose, more than family, more than just simple memories. You've given me passion, and your friendship. I can never tell you all how grateful I am to be able to share my days with you all. In life and in game. Thank you all for making this a wondrous adventure.
Many of you may not know this about me, but I started off hating MMORPG's and vowed to never play them after losing a lot of my top talent to Everquest back in 2000. I couldn't keep Web Developers because a stupid game was more important to them than paying their bills. I could never let something like that happen to me. Now granted, I'm a child of the internet, quite possibly one of the first.
My dad was a network architect for Tandem Computers. I grew up sleeping on server room floors and crimping and dragging cables. I had a shared email account which we had to use Pine (telnet style email) at 3 where I wrote a gentleman my dad worked with in Australia. I thought he was actually from the future. I saw the internet in it's infancy and like me it grew. In 1993 I got asked to beta test NCSA's mosaic. Within 3 weeks i taught myself how to build a website, 6 months later in September of 1993, I launched Football Central my first website and the first sport oriented website on the internet (As documented by the New York Times). I partnered with a guy who ran a CERN server out of San Diego. I built and maintained his website, he gave me free web hosting. In high school I published an article where I prophesied that within the next 10 years every business in the world would have a website. Even McDonalds. People laughed at me and told me I was retarded that computers are for geeks and nobody cares about stuff like that.
I was big into Gopher, WAIS, Telnet chat groups, IRC, and all that jazz. I missed out on the whole BBS era as I didn't have a modem. While most the world was entering the 14.4 days I was on ISDN. I remember downloading 3MB games and it taking most of the night. So yeah, I realized the potential MMO's bring to the table, but I never envisioned what happened next.
Dark Age of Camelot. A game that gave me the opportunity to tell the stories I grew up with. I already had a taste of running multiplayer roleplay session with my Vampire: The Masquerade Redemption storytelling campaign success and thought I'd give it a try. What happened next changed my life forever.
I realized I wasn't "Playing" a game. People see me talking about MMO's and they think oh he's just a gamer. What a fool. Let me tell you something that my Grandfather taught me, and my father reinforced. "It's all about who you know". Gaming didn't waste my time here on earth. It didn't fill my free time with empty space. It gave me connections to men and women the world over. Because of gaming I have met some of the most fascinating people in the world personally. I've got musicians, artists, politicians, business owners, teachers, linguists, poets, lawyers, stock brokers, and just about every profession in my retinue of contacts.
My dad once explained to me that as a child he had 4 friends, he had to worry only about the kids in the neighborhood. My generation now has thousands of friends and has to worry about the whole world. I've seen the internet make the world a smaller place, and with that I've met fascinating people from around the globe. In my life I have played football with Jerry Rice, Deion Sanders, JJ Stokes, and Terrell Owens. I have met Mike Ditka, Ed Too Tall Jones, Peter Shae, and Jordan Belfort at my companies business conferences. I've hung out with Jeremy Soule, Scott Hartsman, Paul Sage, Hal Hanlin, Marc Jacobs, Lindsey Stirling, Jennifer Tilly and James Cameron. I have built websites for SONY, HP, Agilent, Centerbeam, Oracle, Siebel, EO Products, Writer/Director Jim Kouf, Trance Artist Robert Miles, Actress Gillian Anderson, Future F1 Racer Alexander Rossi, INDYCar driver JR Hildebrand, and Stuntman Brett Smrz.
But all these cool experiences that would make most people's lifetimes don't even begin to compare to the people I have met here in Gaiscioch. I've met some the brightest people in the world here and have been able to expand my understanding past the borders I was born into. There is no corner of the world that is out of reach. I never expected Gaiscioch to become this important in my life. I never expected to fall in love with community. But here we are. All because I'm not a guy to turn people away or a person that gives up when things get difficult. We've grown from 500 in DAOC to 5,000 in Guild Wars 2, and now we stand on the brink of 7,000 in Elder Scrolls Online. Every day of my life for the past 12.58 years I am ever grateful of you guys and the experiences and memories you have all brought to my life. The laughter, the kinship, the fun times, and the hard times. I may just be the luckiest man alive to have such an amazing family, loving wife, creative daughter, awesome rabbit, and the worlds largest extended family. I can never thank you guys enough. Thank you all. I look forward to the next 36%.
Benjamin Foley aka Foghladha