What's your favorite MMO?
That's like asking a bibliophile what their favorite book is. I can't even really narrow it down, because I love so many MMOs for different reasons. The unstructured sandbox of EVE is awesome, because you never know what's going to happen next. CoH is fun for role-playing and the crack-like addictiveness of character and base creation. (Soon to add mission creation to that mix!) I like the ease-of-access of WoW, the gateway drug of MMOs. WoW has sucked in many friends of mine who would never have played an MMO otherwise. EverQuest will always have a place in my heart for being my first ever MMO. I like LotRO's graphics and lore, I like the gritty feel of WAR, I like the dialogue trees and look of AoC, I like the ability to create in Second Life.... I could go on, but I really feel almost all of them have something to recommend them; it comes down to what scratches your personal itch best at the time.
What games are you playing now, and what are your characters?
Currently, I'm playing City of Heroes, World of WarCraft, EVE Online, EverQuest II, and Warhammer Online, although I play the first three the most. I've got an Emp/Dark Defender in CoH who has a back-story based off of Lorne from Angel, despite being named for a 1933 short story that was turned into a French "comic" by Jean-Claude Forest in 1955. In WoW, I have a L70 Rogue main, who I played in the beta. I just started leveling her on live last night, amusingly. In EVE, I'm a Minmatar carebear who is currently spending a lot of time docked because my corp is war decced right now. Beyond that, I've got a Ratonga Assassin and a Fae Monk in EQ2, and a Witch Elf in WAR that I've slowly been working on.
Why do you like MMOs so much?
That would be a tie between playing with others and the overall mutability of the worlds. Sure, I could play multi-player over Xbox live and get my friend fix, but there's something about logging into a persistent world where time has passed and things have changed while you were away. Maybe it's a small change like someone new joined your guild, or someone sent you a silly gift, or a big one like the opening of an expansion area, but there are changes and new experiences to be found there. I also have a fantastic group of MMO friends I've gained over the years that I'd miss terribly.
What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
I think it has to be being an officer in a good-sized WoW guild for the last three or four years. We may all butt heads with each other occasionally, but we've stuck together and made it through. I can honestly say it's the best guild I've ever been a part of, and I'm glad to call them my guild-mates and friends. (Even that ornery guy who writes that one column here.) If I had to pick a second, it would have been the honor of being one of the first TaxiBots when TaxiBots 1 and 2 originally started the first ever Paragon Taxi Service garage. (For the record, I was TaxiBot 7 on Virtue and yes, I still play her occasionally.)
What's the most terrible, drama-filled, awful thing to happen to you in an MMO?
I think the hardest thing I've ever had to deal with is watching friends - even real-life friends - fracture over raiding. That's not even just one incidence. It has happened in every MMO I've played from EverQuest to WoW. I've been on both sides of the split, and it's not fun on either side. Even if the parting is mature and amiable, you miss seeing them in chat; you miss their presence. Of course when the split is bad, they're really, really bad. Sad, really.
If you had 10 more hours to play every week, what would you spend them doing?
As I've landed the First Impressions spot, I'll get to game in lots of games I haven't tried out yet. I'm pretty psyched about that. I'd probably split the time between my WoW guild and my CoH supergroup, as I've got great friends in both spots that I'd love to spend more time with.
When you're not playing MMOs, what do you do?
Right now I'm pursuing a degree in technical writing and picking up different certifications along the way, so that's eating the lion's share of my time. I really love the arts, so I catch as many plays, concerts and gallery exhibits as I can. (I just saw Clive Barker's History of the Devil and The Phantom of the Opera last week.) When I'm not there, you can usually catch me reading books and comics, hanging out with friends, or on Xbox live. I figure I'll sleep when I'm dead.