This travel through hyperspace cannot be compared to anything else. Not many people get an opportunity to work on something they love professionally, like my writing about Star Wars: The Old Republic. With Massively as we know it coming to an end, it's time to say goodbye to this passenger.
Before I actually say my final farewell to Massively, I'd like to leave you, fans of Massively and the Hyperspace Beacon, with a list of things that I've learned from writing this column.
You will not enjoy everything that you do
Oftentimes, we are told to do what you enjoy; money will come later. Although this is partially true, there will always be aspects that you will not enjoy. I have not enjoyed every part of playing Star Wars: The Old Republic (I know, cry me a river) but the good outweighed the bad.
There will always be someone that's better than you
In all aspects of writing and playing games, there is someone who is better than I am. Justin Olivetti is funnier than I am, Eliot Lefebvre writes faster than I do, Jef Reahard spits out news better than I do, and Bree Royce is clearly better at editing than I am. Mike Foster games better than I do, Anatoli Ingram engages the audience better than I do, MJ Guthrie streams better than I do, and Brendan Drain is clearly just smarter than I am. Although you might not see what you're good at, if you're doing your best, then know that someone sees it, even if he or she doesn't tell you all the time.
Understand that developers are people, too
One of the hardest things that I had to wrap my head around was this idea that there are actual real people who make these games that I play. I have met some developers who do not put their hearts and souls into a project, but those are few and far between. Most developers love what they are doing, and most are hyper-excited about what they are doing. Even if they are introverted and don't sound excited, deep down they are.
Critique with kindness and respect
Leading off the idea that developers are people and they love what they do: I understand that many times their souls are bared in these projects. As I've pointed out multiple times in the last nearly five years, I do not like everything that SWTOR has done, but I have respect for the jobs of the developer and the community manager who continue to bring me this great game.
Have a confidant
Of course, I have family members who love me and encourage me, but they don't always understand or sympathize with the struggles of doing what I do. Luckily, I've had a friend who has been with me, literally since the beginning of this journey through games journalism. He actually edited my submission to get this job, but the most important thing is that he's been a sounding board for me when I need to bounce ideas.
Respect your audience
There are far too many writers who don't appreciate the community they write for. But the best have a rapport with the audience. I don't know my audience personally, but I do respect them and try to understand what they are really saying even if it's articulated with a string of vitriol.
Know your limits
I wish I were always able to judge my limits well, but it's not always possible. But understand that you are human and there will things that you just will not be able to do. It's hard to admit that you can't do everything, but I believe that if you understand your limits, you will be able to stretch yourself without hurting yourself.
Even though Massively might be going away, for the time being, I am not. I still have my own site at HyperspaceBeacon.com. I dish out weekly content over there, and I would love if all of you came by to visit. I don't just talk about SWTOR; I talk a lot about Star Wars itself, too. I also still run The Republic every week, where we do talk specifically about SWTOR.
Although I'm not really done talking about SWTOR, I do want to give a shout out to the team over at BioWare for making this game, some of whom have become friends (despite my criticizing their work). The Community Team that I came to know (Eric Musco, Tait Watson, Courtney Woods, Sean Dahlberg, Donna Prior, Joveth Gonzalez, David Bass, and Stephen Reid), the devs (James Ohlen, Gabe Amatangelo, Blaine Christine, Jesse Sky, Bruce Maclean, Corey Butler, and of course, the doctors, Greg Zeschuk and Ray Muzyka) have made this column possible in the first place.
But most of all, I want to thank the people who have read my column over the years, and I hope that you continue to read my other work on other sites. Regardless, I'm still in and a part of the SWTOR community, and I will do my best to absorb all I can from the game itself to better inform you.
Lastly, I want to say that Star Wars: The Old Republic is actually in good state right now. I will complain about its PvP, but PvP alone doesn't make an MMO. However, PvE is still wonderful, and casual PvP is great. And did I mention that it's Star Wars and has lightsabers. As much as I'd like to say that isn't a draw, it totally is.
It has been a good time serving you. I hope to see you again on other sites. May the Force be with you, always.
The Hyperspace Beacon by Larry Everett is your biweekly guide to the vast galaxy of BioWare's Star Wars: The Old Republic. 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!