Some time ago, I was offered the chance to interview our very own EM Bennu. Many of you know him from the events he hosts on our shard. For those of you who can’t make it to the events often or for those of you who just want to know more about our beloved event moderator, I present it to you now.
JW: When did you start playing UO?
EM Bennu: I purchased the original UO Box, the one with the cloth map and pin back in late 1997. I was a hardcore player of both Ultima Underworld, and Ultima the False Prophet when I was younger. I came across a copy of Ultima Online with the signature cloth map and immediately grabbed it. To be honest at that point in time the “online” game concept was a very foreign idea… Once I started playing, it was and still is absolutely amazing.
JW: What made you decide to become an Event Moderator?
EM Bennu: I am an author by trade, spinning words and tales is both a talent and a passion. When you write a book, (even in this era of eBooks) it takes weeks, months or even years to get proper feedback for your ideas and plots. As an EM, feedback is instantaneous and brutally honest.
The very idea of being able to DM (Dungeon Master) for up to 200 people at one time is thoroughly amazing to me and I love every second of it.
JW: What do you like about the Atlantic shard?
EM Bennu: Atlantic is my special little flower, and I love it to pieces; from its beautiful petals, to its sharp little thorns. Atlantic is large, and it is like the central hub for virtually everything. There is a vibrant Roleplaying Community, a very active PvP community, and also a very large “average Joe” population as well. It is this mix that truly makes Atlantic unique and special.
JW: Is there anyone who was like a role model or mentor for you?
EM Bennu: Being so steeped in Ultima lore as I was as a child I would have to say that Richard Garriott was very much a role model and certainly a passive mentor. I soaked up Ultima lore and the games like nursery rhymes as a kid.
JW: What has been your favorite event (that you have run) so far?
EM Bennu: For certain I would have to say the whole “Addie” string of events, especially the last few with the Time Lord and Addie interacting. That whole plot line means a lot to me and I will cherish it for a very long time… the players made that plot work, much more than I did. There were a large portion of players that “adopted” Addie and fostered him into the man he is now. It was an amazing thing to watch and an amazing paradigm to interact with.
The biggest challenge with that plotline was to not let anyone down as far as story was concerned. I had given so much control over his future to the players that when it came time for me to take the reins in again I was worried I would leave people disappointed. Thankfully, I think everyone ended up happy and satisfied with the ending… and it made sense!
JW: What are your favorite types of events to run?
EM Bennu: It is no secret that I love quite a bit of story, roleplaying, plot and fiction in my events. I see that as a MAJOR part of my job as an EM, the plot, the story and the fiction is just as important to me as the monsters or the loot… if not more important.
My favorite types of events are plot driven fiction events that are totally based off of player interaction. Meaning that it is the players that decide what happens not me. It doesn’t happen very often when the EM and the players feed off each other, bouncing ideas and interaction back and forth to create a story of mutual creation… but when it does happen it is pure magic.
JW: What have you found to be your biggest challenge when running an event?
EM Bennu: The biggest challenge when running an event is when things just don’t work out as planned. There have been a few events that had great plans and intentions… but once they were rolled out they just didn’t work out for a variety of reasons. I have had monsters that were way too powerful and killed everyone. I have had monsters that were way too weak, and the event lasted 20 minutes. I have also had an event that for whatever reason players just didn’t interact and thought they were watching a movie that would progress without their input…
Being an EM is very much like being a juggler at the circus, the rest of the show is great, but if you drop a ball everyone notices.
JW: What are your event plans for the future?
EM Bennu: I have quite a few plans coming up revolving mostly around Danica Amandine, her sister and the Knights of the Crux Ansata as a whole. EM Promethium is also taking the first steps in starting up the evil side of things with the Crux’s sister group.
The Live event arc is also starting to ramp up, which should be loads of fun!
JW: I understand that you are a fan of Ultima lore and the Ultima games, does this help when you are creating events to run?
EM Bennu: Yes, I very much see the Ultima fiction as a canvas. We are not allowed to mess with too much ‘doctrine’ but it is nice to at least have things make sense in the framework of the world provided.
JW: Who is your favorite Ultima character (so far)?
EM Bennu: I am very fond of the Knights of the Crux Ansata fiction and just about anything from Ultima Underworld I. However, if I had to pick just a single character from Ultima fiction…
JW: Who do you think was the greatest villain (so far)?
EM Bennu: Hmmmm.
Mondain, Minax and Exodus were pretty bad. But Guardian was an amazingly rough guy, he was kinda a ‘grown up villain’ and decimated worlds.
JW: When you are not busy being an EM, do you enjoy other aspects of the game, such as hunting, pvp, or crafting?
EM Bennu: Yes, I used to be a Red PK… ages ago. I was also a very major crafter at one point in time, which I loved. Mostly now though I enjoy hunting minor stuff that people would call boring, dread spiders and the like. The most fun I have in game as a player is the same type of thing I enjoy while EMing, player interaction, role playing and stories.
JW: What would be your greatest UO wish?
EM Bennu: From a game wide standpoint: I wish people would interact more with one another. I really miss the days of crowding around Britain Forge to get armor repaired. I don’t like it when players try and be their own island, purely self sufficient so that they never have to talk, interact, depend on or trust anyone else. I think it takes something out of the world.
From an EM standpoint: I really wish people would give us more feedback that is constructive. I get lonely, and my email box is always open…
JW: Do you have any advice for anyone interested in becoming an EM?
EM Bennu: Talk to Mesanna, be honest about your intentions and be willing to commit, don’t join on a whim… and make sure you know what you are getting into. Being an EM is a great thing, but it is not for everyone.
JW: Is there anything you want to say to the people who are reading this?
EM Bennu: I hope that for the most part people really enjoy the EM events on Atlantic; I really do see Atlantic as “My Server”, just as a player would see Atlantic as “My World”. I care about what happens here on Atlantic and I do my best. I hope that it is enough and that players really enjoy what I do here for them.
In the end, being an EM isn’t really about me at all. It is about you, it is about each and every player that comes to the event, the story is for you, the interaction is for you to interact… don’t be shy!
That sums up my awesome interview with EM Bennu. He had one more interesting note to add, “today (8/9/2011) is the 1 year anniversary of the day I was robed. “
Thank you for the interview and for everything you do for us on Atlantic and elsewhere, Bennu! Happy 1st Anniversary, and hopefully there will be many more!