Executive producer Zach Brown, host Evan Lewis, and guild leader Alan Nauman joined me in a chat about the site, the guild, and the future of the community they are building. If you missed the first part of the conversation, be sure to read that first, then jump past the cut for the rest.
Massively: Since I have your attention, Alan, perhaps as guild leader you can tell me a little bit about the guild associated with MER.
Alan Nauman: We debate the genesis of it. I'm sure Zach can relate a story of him and Brooks [former host, now a BioWare employee] sitting around saying, "Gee, I'd love to make a guild for our community down the road." And I think that it was mentioned on a podcast many, many moons ago -- probably in the episode 20s. Basically, it's a chance -- kind of like what AEI is to the Instance podcast -- for this amazing community that we're so lucky to be a part of to come together in this game we've been eagerly anticipating for so long, to quest together and do missions together and do storylines together. We can just continue that dialogue from the forums into the game.
As for what the guild has turned into... I find it interesting that there are a lot of people in our guild now (maybe 10%) who have no idea what Mos Eisley Radio is. There are people there because their friends are there, and there are relationships and people whom they've gotten to know in-game. They've heard that MERC's a great place to be. In fact, a lot of our growth on the forums has been because we are now accepting applications, and the way you apply is on the forums. If you go to that thread on our forums, there are a lot of people that only have one or two posts because they are trying to join MERC. They may have never listened to an episode of Alan Shot First or Mos Eisley Radio or Ossus Academy. And that's cool.
It's not all about hits for the podcasts; it's not all so we can somehow have this geek fame. It's because we really enjoy one another's company. And the best way we can do that is in a game that we all care about: Star Wars: The Old Republic.
One podcast that isn't exactly represented in this group is Sunny's Dinner, but maybe one of you can tell us about how the folks on that show came on board.
Zach Brown: We had Sunny's Diner on the Mos Eisley Radio podcast about episode 60 -- after the second Fan Site Summit, wasn't it?
Alan: Yes, it might have been the week right after it.
Evan Lewis: I believe it was because it fell right after the big explosion from other site regarding who was invited and who was not.
Zach: I had been a fan of those podcasters for a while. We had them on as guests, and the episode went super smoothly. Afterwards, we hit it off and became friends. We made a bunch of jokes... I know there was a running joke between us about the Taco Bell scene in Demolition Man.
Evan: At one point it, you, me, Leo [a friend of the show], Sunny, and I think Rad [Radicool, co-host of Sunny's Diner] -- four out of the five of us were talking about the Minnesota accent. It was just a great time.
Zach: Sunny pointed out that years ago (back in 2009), he sent this thing that he made that we put at the beginning of one of our episodes. It was him acting as a wholesale lightsaber salesman, a commercial spot, and they had all these extra lightsabers and all the reasons you'd want to buy a lightsaber. I had completely forgotten about that because it happened so long ago. He brought it up, saying, "Just to let you know, that was me." I was like, "Oh my goodness!"
We started talking and getting to know each other. I was like, "This is a great podcast. This is the kind of content I'm looking for on Mos Eisley Radio, stuff that I can count on, that our listeners will like." I will never have to worry or question whether the level of quality is going to be there. I want people to come to our site, and whenever they listen to something, watch something, or read something, I want them to walk away excited or feeling like that was worth their time, even if that means I have less stuff on my site. I'd rather have less material if the material we have makes a bigger impact.
So I asked them. I presented the idea, and we talked. We came to a mutual agreement. It worked out for them. As a larger site, we could offer some things that they were looking for that they didn't necessarily want to put the work into getting. In return, we get a great piece of quality content that consistently releases on our website now.
Let's spin things around here a bit: Tell me about the future of MER. Where do you see it heading?
Zach: I would say the future, first and foremost, is to see of the same consistent quality content. I know I've said that a lot. I want to create more video content for our site. I'm not opposed to adding more material to our site, whether it be through articles, video podcasts, audio podcasts, flash games... I'm actually in the process of working on a flash game for the site that will fit the theme of Mos Eisley.
It's kind of weird because we picked Mos Eisley Radio a long time ago not realizing that Mos Eisley was not going to be around at all during The Old Republic. But you just got to kind of run with it at this point and be like, "Who cares?"
I know that Alan is working really hard on the guild side of things; we are trying to work with people on our server to coordinate events. I would personally like to see some sort of guild rival/bounty kind of thing or have some sort of open-world races. Everyone gets a speeder, and we set up a course. We want to help coordinate things with our server and get more involved with our server.
Alan: That course would have to go through Outlaw's Den so that we can have sand people shooting at the racers.
Zach: Definitely. These are just ideas that we've been kicking around. We've got other little things but nothing too ground-breaking.
Evan: We certainly have a lot of plans and a lot of ideas in the works.
Zach: It's one of those thing that when we find more time, we will definitely make it happen. It really is right now that I want to focus on the game for a little bit so that I feel I know what I'm talking about.
Thank you, Zach, Alan, and Evan for taking the time to talk to me about Mos Eisley Radio. I'm not just saying this: It's a real pleasure talking to all of you every time. I believe I will see Alan again at the Guild Summit, and I look forward to hearing more incredible things from Mos Eisley Radio.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your weekly guide to the vast galaxy of Star Wars: The Old Republic, currently in production by BioWare. If you have comments or suggestions for the column, send a transmission to firstname.lastname@example.org. Now strap yourself in, kid -- we gotta make the jump to hyperspace!