Community Spotlight: Havohej
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Welcome to the first Community Spotlight of 2009! In this regular feature we highlight a community member who has stood out from the crowd. This month we've picked Havohej!
Havohej is well known for his participation both in game and on the forums. He is also the author of the rather good Defias blog, and has recently started writing for MMORPG.com as a PotBS game correspondent.
What drew you to Pirates originally?
I was never a big fan of the genre until the Pirates of the Caribbean movies. The Johnny Depp's performance was very entertaining and I enjoyed the character progression of Will Turner. When I initially saw the BETA announcement for Pirates of the Burning Sea I kept my eye out for the Live announcement and later the free trial announcement. When I found out via the forums that it was a loss-based PvP game similar to EVE-Online (though not as harsh), my mind was made up to join PotBS as long as the graphics and playability were good - and they are.
What inspired you to start blogging about Pirates?
I blame flashfresh, from EVE-Online. His blog is what got me into blogging about my EVE-O experiences and after a year of blogging about EVE, I was so used to sharing my fun and opinions with the internet that stopping really didn't cross my mind. And then I saw that there didn't seem to be anyone else talking about the game, at least not in the blogosphere. EVE has dozens of player blogs, most of which sort of orbit around the Blogfather of EVE-Online, CrazyKinux, and I guess you could say I hope that maybe if my own blog were to become known in the Pirates community then maybe other blogs might sprout up.
What is your favorite aspect of Pirates?
It's hard to nail it down to one thing, for me. The artwork is good, especially the backdrops in open sea battle instances. The writing is great, I enjoy the RP story arc and missions like "The Hermit's Secret" and "Business and Pleasure" were thoroughly entertaining. At the end of the day, though, I'm a PvPer and the ship-based combat is the most fun I've had in a video game since playing DOOM way back in the day.
What do you think is the biggest challenge players face in Pirates?
It's easy to just say learning curve, but that's not really so steep... especially if a new player just reads the forum. Right now, I think the biggest challenges are faced by individual players who are either just starting out and having gotten into a society yet or simply choose not to be a part of a society. Since most societies have organized their economies in-house by now, it can be very difficult to find what you need for an affordable price via the auction houses until you're level 45 or so and are able to do the dailies every day to finance your other activities.
You recently started writing for MMORPG.com. How did that come about?
I got pretty lucky with that, actually! A few months ago, MMORPG.com placed an ad on their site announcing that they were looking for Game Correspondents for several MMO games that they didn't yet have coverage for. They already had the big names like WoW, WAR and EVE taken care, but they wanted to be able to offer a "real" look into more games to attract as many readers as possible. A large portion of the MMO market are adult gamers now, and we know the difference between a packaged press announcement distributed by a game company and an actual story. For the first month or so after I saw it, I didn't bother submitting an application but as I continued to look around on their forums and others, I was seeing that if there was anything written about Pirates of the Burning Sea it was either written by FLS in a press release, or it was written by players who quit for whatever reason early after release and tended to be the same complaints reposted ad nauseum. No wonder the didn't seem to be getting many new players! So, bolstered by comments I'd received on my blog complimenting my writing, I sent an e-mail to MMORPG.com with a few writing samples and after a bit of back-and-forth correspondence with their GC Coordinator and a couple of trial articles, I got the gig!
Do you have any advice for someone who wants to become a writer?
In short: know your intended audience. I know I don't have to stress spelling and grammar to anyone who is already interested in writing, but I've read a lot of things by people who seemed to be writing for their own enjoyment rather than for their intended readers. Now there's nothing wrong with that, but if you're writing for yourself and not for your audience, then you can't get upset when you're not attracting readers. The stuff I write on my blog is mostly for my own enjoyment, while my articles for MMORPG.com are for the information and entertainment of the gaming community at large. I think the difference in styles is subtle but noticeable. The way I express myself is basically the same, but on my blog I tend to write things like, "this was so cool, I had a lot of fun, this game is so great," while things I write for MMORPG.com are more along the lines of, "this is how the feature works and this is *why* I think it's a good (or bad) thing."
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