Meet the Team: Alexis Kassan


Once a week our writers will give you a glimpse into their lives, to let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better. Click here to read more Meet the Team.

What do you do for Massively?
My task is to write a column on in-game economics and crafting. Though I do not cover news about economics, I tend to analyze the aftermath of changes. I analyze a range of games, usually those I play. They include City of Heroes/City of Villains, World of Warcraft, Lord of the Rings Online, Age of Conan, Runescape, and sometimes EVE Online (though I don't play that one much).

What's your favorite MMO?
I have a long-standing affection for Ultima Online: Renaissance. It was my first MMO (thanks to my then-SO) and drew me in. It also relied on a less structured group mentality for conquering larger challenges, which I thought was fascinating. And there was no end. Because there was no "leveling up" type of dynamic, you could train skills and stats to respec your character and take on enemies without having to worry so much about reaching the endgame content.

One other aspect of UO that I enjoyed was the in-game housing. OK, so there was limited real estate... and housing was terribly expensive... but that housing was worthwhile to hold on to. You could set up crafting stations like forges and anvils in your home. That's something I miss in some of the current MMOs that have housing. The functionality seems to be limited to storage and a place to teleport to.%Gallery-33889%
What games are you playing now and what are your characters?
The whole gamut. In WoW my main is a Troll Warrior but I have alts of Tauren Druid (whom I just respecced to Balance from Restoration and am enjoying much more), an Undead Warlock, an Orc Hunter, and a little Blood Elf Mage. Since the mandatory respeccing I've been favoring the Druid.

In CoH I tend to play Scrappers most. My first character, and probably my favorite, is a Broadsword/Invulnerability Scrapper who pals around with one of my husband's characters. She's not the one I play most often though. That would be my Ice/Ice Blaster. Tons of fun... except for the constant debt.

LotRO usually sees me playing a Hobbit hunter. I've also been enjoying playing an Elf Champion. The Dwarf Guardian is mostly there just to boil leather for the other two, sad as that may sound.

In general, my first character in any MMO is something with a large metal weapon, if at all possible. It's been similar in AoC and I made it so in Runescape. A little-known fact is that I have never reached end-game in any leveling-based game I have played. My main in WoW is still just level 61 and really has no chance of reaching 70 by the time Wrath of the Lich King hits. My main in LotRO is level 21 and hasn't touched most of the Epic quest content mainly because I solo 95+% of the time.

Why do you like MMOs so much?
MMOs are a chance to relieve some of the tension and frustration that we experience in our daily lives. It also provides a different sense of accomplishment than what I do all day. Because I work in a service industry, I don't "make" anything really. That's part of why I focus so much on crafting. It's nice to see that something was created, even if it's just a small icon comprised of pixels representing an entry in a database somewhere.

... Plus, I just really like hitting things with a big axe.

What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
Much of what I'm proudest of involves maxing out crafting skills. I had a 7xGM character with four craft skills in UO. Perhaps the most interesting crafting and economics-related thing that happened to me was finding a phenomenal deal on a [Recipe: Savory Deviate Delight] in WoW. It was listed on the AH for 40 silver. My guess is that the seller meant to put it up for 40 gold instead, but it worked out for me.

What's the most terrible, drama-filled, awful thing to happen to you in an MMO?
Probably the most dramatic thing was in UO. My boyfriend and I played it together and wanted to have an in-game marriage. In UO, there was a game dynamic by which new players were considered "young." This status went away when you gained sufficient skill points.

The night before the in-game wedding, I was out in the middle of the woods somewhere and got killed by a Dire Wolf. I freaked. Ended up calling my boyfriend at 2 a.m. to have him get online and rez me. And... lost my young status. Oh the irony!

If you had 10 more hours to play every week, what would you spend them doing?
I'd be leveling alts but only so as to progress them along profession chains. The perfect example of this is AoC where you cannot make anything until level 40 and then must increase in tiers over the course of the remaining 40 levels. Similarly, I am working towards hitting level 35 on a few of my alts to be able to train the next rank of my professions.

When you're not playing MMOs, what do you do?
Outside of Massively, I work in marketing and am also taking one course per semester online in Statistics. I've recently been kept busy with wedding planning, a new dog, and playing around on Xbox 360 too. Those guitar games a terribly addicting.
This article was originally published on Massively.