Six Questions and Answers to give an insight to:
Elder Event Moderator, Ultima Online
When you first started what impression did you have about doing events, is it harder or easier than you expected? Did you get nervous and do you still get nervous?
The first events on Great Lakes were chaotic. While most EMs, including myself, have prior experience running player events, the large number of people at an EM event was something we weren’t prepared for. I remember looking at the Counselor Hall packed with over a hundred people and needing a moment to hyperventilate. I’m comfortable with that aspect now. Some of the other aspects remain a challenge. After over a hundred and thirty weekly events, there are just some times when I have no inspiration and yet still need to write an event.
What is it like working with the EM team and Mesanna?
Pick any hour of the day and chances are Mesanna is doing something to make this game better. She provides support and aid to every EM in addition to her other duties as associate producer. I also have an incredible partner, Elizabella, whose EMing style and events complement mine perfectly. They are both a lot of fun to work with.
The three of us have had some very amusing brainstorming sessions in Green Acres.
It has also been great working with the entire team. We are all very passionate about Ultima, but we each have our own way of approaching EMing. There are the mad scientists who come up with new tricks and event mechanics. The lore masters who debate the finer points of 14 years of UO plot and 30 years of overall Ultima plot. The optimists who provide a kind ear when things go wrong.
What do you think about the structure of the program?
I think the structure works very well. We are allowed a great deal of freedom and flexibility to write and run events. Each EM spends a lot of time getting to know a shard and its players. This allows that shard to become a second home.
Can you describe the training you have to go through to become a EM?
Training to become an EM was very different when the program started. The documentation wasn’t as good as the handbook we have now, so our first week was spent trying to figure out how our powers worked. Then we were tested and sent out into the world, bright-eyed and naive. We actually learned how to be EMs by doing events.
Three years later, new EMs have the initial power practice and testing, but training doesn’t end there. They must then shadow several events and learn from established EMs. These shadow EMs still learn by doing events, but with more guidance.
If someone wanted to join the program, what would be the first thing you would say to them?
You need to love doing events. You need to love doing events even when you come home tired from your day job. You need to love doing events even when you are sick and huddled in a blanket. If this is the case, you’ll fit right in and should e-mail Mesanna.
Would you like to have a little more control over the player base at events?
There are some minor powers I would love to have to make events run more smoothly. That said, I don’t want to become a warden at events. Players shouldn’t have to play “Malachi, may I?” to get through an event.
What is your favorite part of the GL community?
My spies. For almost three years, I’ve gotten to watch GL’s Royal Spies work to save the world each and every week.
What is one thing you would to see improve between your community and the EM team?
I like constructive feedback and would like to see more of it. I want to know what parts of events you liked and which parts you didn’t enjoy. This helps us write better events. We do want to know what you think.
On the flip side, I dislike destructive criticism. I don’t enjoy being a punching bag, and insults don’t lead to better events. Nor do they lead to more prizes. The players and EMs aren’t opposing forces. I believe we want the same things.