He was from Quebec, Canada; she was a thousand miles away in Fort Worth, Texas. Yet, in the world of Lineage, they were inseparable; best friends, hunting partners and more.
Septonian was new to Lineage. He had just joined a "blood pledge," the Lineage equivalent of a guild, but still needed help finding his way around the game. This was where Flippage came in: the older and wiser player. Septonian told me, "I befriended Flip because she was a pretty high level comparatively, and seemed to know a lot about the game ... so, I thought she could be my mentor. We hung around a lot ... She was what I considered 'leet' back then ... and as you know ... we're all attracted to people of power."
Originally, Septonian hadn't even known that his companion was female. But it wasn't long into their friendship before he finally popped the question - "A/S/L?" - and found out that the male mage he was hunting with was a girl in real life.
"If we were a pair in-game," Septonian decided, "we could try being one outside the game, too." Septonian made the first move: He started to flirt with Flippage. His attraction to Flippage grew when a popular Lineage fansite, Lineage Compendium, opened up a "real-life pictures" section. "[She] posted some pictures of herself on there and sent me some. The girl was pretty hot, you know."
Flippage was a wonderful mentor to Septonian, sharing her wealth as well as her knowledge. "[Flippage] shared some of her wealth with someone in need ... no +7 weapons obviously, but when you're a lowbie, every little bit helps! And it's the thought that matters ... knowing that there are people out there who are 'better' than you, and would sacrifice some of their wealth to help you out, that's cool."
Yet, this wasn't enough for Septonian. A month or two into the relationship, Septonian betrayed Flippage; with the help of a friend, Septonian logged into her account while she was offline and stripped the characters of all of their items.
A brutal hacking, a friendship and partnership betrayed. But let's step back a second and review some missing pieces.
First off, there's Flippage's real story: Flippage, a male in the real world, had started his career in Lineage as a male mage. At the end of beta, he quit for about a year, and his friends and pledgemates counted him among the lost "beta hoppers." When Flippage reappeared a year later as a very convincing female, no one was really sure who was behind the avatar the second time around. He was such a good actor, everyone forgot about the Flippage-that-was.
In truth, Flippage never intended his ruse to become so large and intricate. When he came back to Lineage and decided to adopt a new persona, he never expected to become involved in a relationship.
To anyone who has ever witnessed an average male gamer's attempt at emulating female behavior, the fact that Flippage managed to keep up the ruse for months is amazing. Flippage was a high-profile player and consorted with numerous guys and gals who never saw through his disguise. I've always considered myself a fairly good judge of the fake vs. the female, but Flippage, who was a member of my blood pledge and a close friend, had me fooled.