What do you do for Massively.com?
You probably know me as the opinionated guy who writes the Anti-Aliased column here on Massively, which covers the culture and dynamics of both developers and players in the MMO industry. Past that, I'm also one of the blogging staff, so you'll see a news post from me every now and then.
What's your favorite MMO?
That's a really, really hard question, as I jump around from MMO to MMO and never really stay in one place for too long. I really enjoy most of the MMOs I step into, even the ones I may not stick around in. But... if you're making me answer the question... it's a tie between The Matrix Online and World of Warcraft.
What games are you playing now, and what are your characters?
Currently, my main game is World of Warcraft, where I have a 71 human female paladin on the Ravenholt RPPvP server. Her game name is simply Sephare, but her full name is Sephare Azureveil. She's a former member of the Scarlet Crusade, now a staunch member of the Argent Dawn and adamant follower of Highlord Tirion Fordring. She's also a officer with the Twilight Empire guild, probably my favorite guild out of any of the games I've ever played.
Past that, I usually always keep my Final Fantasy XI character alive. She's Deltina, the Mithra Dark Knight / Warrior, and is located on the Bahamut server. Other than that, you can always catch me on Second Life as Seraphina Reymont.
Why do you like MMOs so much?
I love the idea of a shared world with a shared storyline and the thought of having an impact on people on a server-wide scale. There's just something so much cooler about adventuring with your friends and doing things as a group. You get to have your own unique experience each and every time you step into the game. It may not be all different (as every World of Warcraft player does the same raids and such) but your experience in how you handle those situations will be different each time. That's what amazes me.
What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
All of my best accomplishments easily come from The Matrix Online where I played the evil Lady Return, a twisted follower of the Merovingian.
At one point in MxO, I got to be the disciple of a rogue vampire named Invalesco, a character controlled by a developer. He promised his followers that those who were diligent and brought him certain gang medals as tribute, he would elevate them into the ranks of vampire programs. I ended up collecting all of the medals and coming to him, where he began to turn me into a vampire via an incredibly cool set of effects.
But, another player who worked for Zion, Fenshire, busted in the doors of the church with agents in tow to stop me and Invalesco. He had alerted Agent Gray, the lead agent program, of what was happening, and Gray stepped in to blow us all away. Needless to say, we had a huge gun battle where we covered Invalesco as he ran through the city streets. Invalesco escaped, and we all hit different hardlines and jacked out of the system to avoid the wrath of Agent Gray.
The next day I log into the game and pick up the in-game newspaper, The Sentinel. There, on the front page, in the main story was my name listed with a few others. Apparently our actions caught the eye of the machines, and we were now "redpill terrorists." It was completely amazing. No other MMO has come even close to something so jaw droppingly amazing.
I have stories about kidnappings, torture by agents, bribery, gun battles to end all gun battles, near fatal total system shutdowns, being chased by a developer controlled "smart" agent, and even a "whodunnit" type murder mystery that occured on a Zion hovercraft. They all sound totally unbelievable, but they all really happened in that game thanks to a bunch of awesome developers who were just as interested in the Matrix world as we were. Roleplaying: it works!
What's the most terrible, drama-filled, awful thing to happen to you in an MMO?
All of my notoriety in The Matrix Online lead to some really, really horrible things happening to me. Where as I was roleplaying and having a good time, others were taking what I was doing very seriously. Inside of the game, I was pretty cruel and mouthy, but I was a very nice person outside of the game. Most people, like my "arch-rival" Fenshire, knew that I kept my in-game problems in-game. But some people didn't know that, and others wanted to capitalize on it.
Through out-of-game mudslinging, misunderstandings, and some people wishing to sieze control of the large guild that I had built, I lost leadership of my faction and ended up being outcast from the main social community. Unfortunately with Matrix, if you aren't in the community, the game is not fun in the least. And when people think you're a giant you-know-what, it gets even worse.
Needless to say, I left the game in a foul mood not because I was losing a character or something, but because many good friends of mine had chosen to believe the rumors and break off their relationships with me. It really hurt, but (luckily) nothing that bad has ever happened to me again.
If you had 10 more hours to play every week, what would you spend them doing?
Probably grinding more in World of Warcraft. I'm a storyteller, not a leveling machine. When I get time to play, I do quests really casually and kill very slowly. This causes my guild to get really far ahead of me, and I usually end up playing catch-up. But, because they're so cool, they take me on runs through new content anyway. So, with those 10 hours, I'd probably be out leveling with their aid.
When you're not playing MMOs, what do you do?
Well, I'm just about to graduate from the University of Pittsburgh with a bachelor's in psychology. Finally a student no more!
Beyond that, some of you may know me as OctalBlack from the Passively Multiplayer Online Game (PMOG). I'm the developer who's controlling the game's new live characters and live events, as well as working on the lore of the game and overall game balance. I love my job and the entire community of PMOG, especially as it gives me the chance to see online game development from both the perspective of player and developer.