Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

One shot: Kelly

Posted by Randolph Carter on September 11, 2009

MMO community connection:

Geekoric: Geek Girl See, Geek Girl Do

(un)Enlightened English

Would you mind explaining what your site (un)Enlightened English is about and why you came to create it?

I actually work as a tutor at a college in NYC and have been for about three years now. As such, I work with an extremely diverse group of students–most of which are English as Second Language students. I love my job and I love the excitement that someone has when they finally understand something, so I made a random post to a social networking group that my colleagues and I use. While discussing what I had written with my husband, I said “This would be an awesome blog post.” Next thing I knew, we were coming up with blog names (Enlightened English was too pretentious, which is why the parenthetical prefix was inserted!) and he bought the domain name.

So, you’re questing down in the bowels of a dungeon deep inside a goblin keep and come upon the bodies of several freshly hung humans, several of which are still writhing and apparently alive. What would Ariwyn do? What would Kelly the grammar enthusiast do?

Well Kelly would be writhing that you chose hung instead of hanged! But Ariwyn—my gaming self—is always a Lawful Good person, so she would definitely save them all, heal them and then go find the evil-doer who put them there in the first place!

As someone who takes a particular interest in the English language do you find yourself ever analyzing and proof reading quest text?

Oh God, yes. I’ve noticed grammatical errors in quest text before. One time, while playing Warhammer Online, I noticed that the text in the box didn’t match with the text in the NPC’s talk bubble–the box used an exclamation point while the talk bubble used a question mark! For shame! I even took the time to report it. However, being an English junkie is more than just looking at grammar all the time. I’ve enjoyed several of the novels that go along with given MMOs and sometimes they have managed to change my perception of a game. There’s some pretty awesome gaming-based literature out there.

As a gamer and someone who is also pursuing a career in education, do you see potential for video games to be used in an educational environment?

Oh definitely. Some schools are already using games like Civilization as an educational tool for history, but I think we can also use gaming to improve language usage everywhere. If we can create a game where players type and communicate to NPCs, students will still be in an environment they enjoy while having the benefit of practicing appropriate language usage. The more you write in a particular way, the more apt you are to integrate that into your life. While in MMOs we socialize with one another by using terms like “ftw,” “g2g” and the like, interaction with an NPC could help reduce those terms from a student’s academic vocabulary. The options become more and more limitless with each gaming advancement.

What was your introduction to MMOs and what was that experience like?

Well, I played Tibia once or twice, but wasn’t too amazed by it or anything. My first “real” in-depth experience was when Guild Wars was released. My husband (then boyfriend) had me play it and I loved it. I had always enjoyed console games before then, but somewhere throughout my life my inner gamer-geek was hidden through my interests in dance, cheerleading, and all those other girly things. I played an Elementalist/Monk and it was pretty much over from there–I was hooked on gaming. There were other added benefits of MMOs that other games couldn’t provide as well. My husband has to travel for business sometimes and with an MMO, we can do something together while we’re apart. It seemed like a logical thing to start doing!

Can you recall that first MMO “wow!” moment?

Hmm. It’s hard to say. I definitely remember my first “Wow…” moment of disbelief though! I was playing FFXI and died and saw “Level Down” flash across my screen. I turned to my husband and said “What is that a debuff or something?” Ha! Little did I know that you can ACTUALLY level down in FFXI! Not quite a “wow!” but definitely a “wow…” moment!

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

WAY too much time! I would get home from class and play with my husband for about 5-6 hours a night on weeknights and on weekends–forget it. 12 hours or more? My husband and I co-GMed a couple of guilds, so we needed to be available to our guildmates and officers. Now I only play an hour or two a night. Graduate school can cut back on your gaming when you’re trying to graduate with a 4.0!

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

I play non-MMO games, primarily RTS games and my SNES emulator. I think the SNES had some really great games, and I love the nostalgia I experience while playing it. I tend to not play RTS games very well though and prefer being able to build up a city than immediately going to war.

When did you first start blogging? Would you mind taking us up to present with all of your projects?

I actually haven’t been blogging for too long. I started towards the end of March and then “released” my site with a public announcement on April 1st. Blogging isn’t the only thing I’ve done though. I used to be the Content Lead for Warhammer Alliance, where I established how content is organized, presented and structured on the site. I am a bit of a “noob” on the scene though, because those are really the only web-based projects that I have set up.

Do you see blogging as just a hobby or perhaps something more?

“Something more,” without a doubt. Given my blog’s content, I can make it into a business with advertising revenue or even into a book when I have enough posts to compile. Not only is there the business possibilities, but I also get to HELP people. That’s a great feeling. I love seeing that I’m getting 250+ visitors a day from all over the world and knowing that I helped them in some way. I’ll never meet them or know them, but in a way, they’ll know me.

Would you care to share a particularly memorable moment from your blogging past?

I think everyone gets into those little arguments with a random commenter, but one time someone noticed a guest author made a typographical error that slipped my proofreading. I approved the comment and made the change, but my blog was being remodeled and—I don’t know, I must have screwed something up—it needed to be re-done from an older copy. So the person’s comment was deleted (along with my correction of the error). The person got pretty mad, making snarky remarks about integrity and all. So my husband actually emailed her explaining the situation and she responded in such a positive light. She was concerned because many sites do not have that kind of honesty and whatever else and she was about to pass my site off as one of those. It’s very important to me that people feel they can trust me and my work. I always fess up to mistakes, approve comments, and whatever else.

You wake up to a world where you are the head of a company developing an MMO. You have unlimited funds and resources available to you. Please describe the kind of game you would make.

My main study in English is fantastical literature (think fantasy) and the Arthurian Tradition. I would like to make a game somewhat based in the Medieval British Isles in the Arthurian Tradition. The things that would make this different from Dark Age of Camelot is that I would remain rooted in history and literature—making the game of educational use as well. I’m not sure if you’ve ever played The Guild or The Guild 2, but I imagine that some players could focus on “professions” instead of necessarily going out and killing stuff. All the players would be human, and depending on the time the game takes place, warriors could be fighting off the Saxon invasion etc. So definitely a lot of possibilities—those who want to fight, can. Those who want to trade and be merchants, can. Plus that time period is amazingly interesting.

One Response to “One shot: Kelly”

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