Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces


Posted by Randolph Carter on March 9, 2009

MMO community connection:


Chapter 1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

I’m Karen, but in game I’m known as Jaye. It’s the character I played the most in EQ, and even though I’ve played under different character names in different games, people still usually call me Jaye.

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

My blog is Journeys With Jaye, and I do a couple of shows over at I’ve been a co-host with Troy on Voyages of Vanguard and Equal Perspectives, and I’m currently co-hosting Darren’s show Shut Up We’re Talking. In addition, I recently started up a new podcast with my co-host Shay, called A View From the Top.

Please take a minute and describe what your blog/podcast is about.

I originally started Journeys With Jaye as a way to preserve game stories, screenshots, and experiences. A lot of the great screenshots and posts from EQ were rapidly disappearing, so I wanted to make sure I could preserve my MMO memories going forward. More recently, I’ve included game commentary in my entries.

As for podcasting, I have had a lot of fun doing the Vanguard and EQ2 themed shows with Troy. Darren’s show is a panel discussion of general MMO topics, with a focus on the blogging community. And my new show focuses on the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

I was born in Norristown, PA, but I grew up in Hamden CT.

Where do you live now?

I currently live in Franklin, MA.

Your level (age) is somewhere in the range of (pick one): 10-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90


What do you do for a living?

I am a stay-at-home mom

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?

I don’t think I’d reroll at all.

List five random things most people don’t know about you.

  • I’m left handed
  • I’m addicted to cilantro
  • Echoing Openedge, I don’t like Twitter/Facebook/Myspace/etc
  • I sorta, kinda, got escorted from the bleachers at a Red Sox game.
  • Echoing the Gaming Granny, most people I know don’t even know I play/blog/podcast about MMOs.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I am married with two children – a 3 year old boy and a soon-to-be 5 year old girl.

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I played lots of board games with my family – Sorry!, Parcheesi, Chutes and Ladders, Uno, Master Mind, Trivial Pursuit, Monopoly, Boggle, I Vant to Bite Your Finger (my brother and I used to compete to see who could get more bites)

I also played cards with my Grandfather – Pinochle, Poker, No Peek Poker (Acey Deucy Baseball!), Black Jack, Slap Jack, Pound Jack (A variation created by my brother and I), Crazy Eights.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

Every sport under the sun – Basketball, Baseball/Softball, Football, Kickball, Street Hockey, Bike Riding, Pickle, Wiffle Ball, heck, we used to make up our own sports based on whatever was around at the time.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

I wanted to be but I never found the right crowd to hang with. I even had one of those Dungeons and Dragons red box sets, just waiting to be played. Still do, somewhere.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

I read a lot of fantasy novels – C.S. Lewis, and Tolkien. I also read Paul R. Fisher, Terry Brooks, Peter Dickson, Robin McKinley, T.H. White.

I also loved the Choose Your Own Adventure series, as well as Nancy Drew, the Bobsey Twins, and the Time Machine Series.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I think I always had an interest in fantasy, so it probably made a game like EQ that much more appealing.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

I don’t remember how old I was, but the first platform was the Atari 2600, which we got for Christmas. (Hi-5 Santa!)

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

I played a little, but I never really got into coin-op games. I usually watched my brother play.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

My first video game that I remember playing was Pong. But the first one that made an impression on me was probably Kings Quest, a PC game. Something about the animation, and the whole idea of exploring a world, having adventures, etc.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Atari 2600. In our household, we also had a Playstation, but I never used it. (True story!)

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I still want to know why there are parts of the Atari 2600’s Night Driver that are physically and geometrically impossible to traverse!

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?

I played GlobalMUSH while in college. I was lucky enough to be friends with the person who ran the server, so I got to be a wizard. It was mostly a glorified chat room, although I had fun writing and creating some of the areas in the world.

What was your first MMO experience?

My first MMO was Everquest, and I started in the spring of 1999. What an amazing experience. Everquest had that “What is this all about?” feel to it. No one really knew what it actually *was* all about. We were armed with only a flimsy game manual that was somewhat inaccurate, and mainly filled with deity lore, and we were then dropped into the middle of this wonderful, blank slate.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

Ack, my first MMO resume! Nerd points to me!

  • Everquest – 1999-2004. Main was Jaye Wizziefingers, level 69 Ranger
  • WoW – 2005-2006. Main was Jeenie, level 60 Priest
  • Everquest 2 – On and off from 2005-today. Main originally was Erika Prexian, level 80 monk. It’s now Riske, level 80 swashbuckler.
  • Vanguard 2007-2008. Main was Jaye, level 50 Ranger

I’ve putzed around in Wizard 101, Fusion Fall, and Free Realms as well. I play those when the weather is lousy and the kids are bored.

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

My current MMO of choice is EQ2.

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

I’ve spent the most time playing Everquest. I was there for about 5 years.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

I reached the level cap in all of them, depending on how you look at it. I was level capped in Everquest through GoD, one level shy of reaching that cap before I left. I was capped in WoW when I left the game. Same for Vanguard. And both of my EQ2 toons are at the current level cap.

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

It hasn’t been made yet. I think we’re about 10 years away from it.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

I’m very interested in what the 38 Studios project “Copernicus” will be about. They seem to have a great team and a laser like focus on what they have in mind for their game. Usually it seems like MMOs are long on ideas and short on execution, but that doesn’t seem to be the case with 38 Studios, which is very exciting.

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

I have too many to list. I guess I’ll just share my first memorable experience. My first toon was a troll, and I ran her out of town into the swamp. I died a few times and started doing the newb wall walk, till I found an entrance. I zoned through, saw a group at the zone in (it was Guk btw), wearing really cool bronze and patchwork armor, did a /wave and a /dance, but got no reply. I decided to check things out, but about 10 feet in, I got smacked by a frog, ran like hell for the zone, and totally trained that group I just saw in all that hot armor.

Chapter 4: Preferences

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent gaming? How about now?

I will take the 5th on how much time I played at my peak. Currently, I play about 2-3 hours a night.

When during the week are your regular play times?

I might pop on during the day while I eat lunch or sip a cup of coffee, but I’m mainly on at night from 8ish-11ish EST, depending on the kids.

Generally speaking, are you more of a social creature in MMOs (grouping to quest, joining guilds, etc.) or something of a lone wolf?

I’m definitely a social player in MMOs.

Have you made any lasting friendships through your MMO experience? Please explain.

I’ve had the fortune of making several long friendships. I currently am guilded with some people who I have been gaming with for almost a decade. The neat thing is seeing an old face suddenly send a tell saying they tracked down the guild and want to come play. And I’m thankful for the new friendships I’ve made as well. I’m sure that 10 years later, I’ll be looking back fondly on the friendships that I’m making right now.

Before logging into a game, do you already have a course of action planned out in your head, or do you just sort of do whatever you feel like once in game?

A lot of what I do revolves around the guild. We have set raid and guild event nights, but we also have off nights. I try to have some kind of plan in mind for off nights, but it doesn’t always work out that way. 🙂

When playing MMOs do you tend to just play one at a time or do you take more of the smorgasbord approach?

I am definitely a monogamous gamer

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console or tabletop games?


Are you something of an altoholic?

I’m surrounded by them in guild, but I’m definitely not one of them.

Do you find yourself multitasking while gaming (perhaps watching TV, talking on the phone, out of game instant messaging, playing another game, or even listening to a podcast)?

I used to multitask a lot in EQ, but I find that it’s nearly impossible to do that in EQ2. Too much button mashing.

Do you find yourself having much MMO discussion off-line, perhaps with friends or family?

I don’t talk about MMOs with my real life friends and family. I often talk about gaming offline with other gamers and my podcasting peers.

Have you ever felt that you game too much? If so, how did you cope with that?

I probably gamed too much before the kids were born. But now, I make sure I balance gaming and kids. There’s a part of me that misses the more hardcore, long play sessions of the good old days, but I know it’s not an option for me.

Since you started playing MMOs, have you ever taken a break from the genre? If so, please explain.

I actually have never taken an MMO break since I started in 1999. I guess that makes me a DecaMMOr. Or something.

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