Evony has a bit of a reputation in the broader MMORPG community as being a bit of a lark thanks to a now-ancient and long-memed marketing ploy (Play Now, My Lord) that tried to entice players to what is essential a strategy game using titillating characters. So you might be as surprised as we are (and our tipster was!) by this story, which ends in tragedy for one gamer and her friends but nevertheless demonstrates the power of community even in the oddest of games.
According to the UK media, when 36-year-old Lauren Black stopped communicating suddenly with friends in Evony, they raised the alarm; her game buddy in Israel called Scottish police, and apparently her dog walker later discovered that she had passed away. Police are now investigating her death as “unexplained.” She’s survived by two children and her parents, who suggested she’d been suffering from long COVID.
“Lauren and I have spoken every day for the last four years, so for her not to answer my messages or log onto the game was very worrying to me and other online family members,” her Israeli friend Eyal Elhadad says.
“After not being able to get in contact for almost two days I had no choice but to call the police in Scotland and also her dog walker. I pleaded with them to check on her as we were all so worried. I just wanted to know she was okay. […] I was devastated when I found out she had died. I couldn’t believe it, I still can’t. At the moment there are hundreds of people around the world crying over her passing. The outpouring of love I have seen has been incredible.”
We’ve seen a few stories like this over the years with happier endings; in 2018, VR gamers helped out a fellow player who collapsed visibly while playing, and in 2020, a seizure victim was saved by the quick thinking of a Texas gamer who convinced UK authorities to intervene from across the pond. Our condolences to Black’s family and friends as well as the broader Evony community.