December 10, 2018

Member Behind The Mic #7 with Terra(OD)

Terra was kinda enough to answer some questions I gave her. So please take the time to read them and yell feed back at her.


(Xayj) When did you realize that you were a “gamer”?

(Terra) I first discovered the joys of playing people when I convinced some adorably naive girl and her boy-toy to eat an apple from this guy’s tree. Man was that guy ever mad, personally I think he overreacted a bit but it made for a pretty entertaining ordeal nonetheless.

Oh, sorry, you were referring to video games. “Gamer” is a pretty loose concept to define me. I play games, sure, both for fun and educational purposes, and the occasional casual game can be pretty relaxing on occasion. But in truth its more about the people for me. I enjoy the kind of interactions and struggles it puts people through, I like to see the kind of social structures and in-game patriotism that games inspire people to put together and follow. I like being a part of that structure. For me games are just a platform in which my real interests are built upon.
And those are interests I’ve always had, so I suppose you could say I’ve been a “gamer” for as long as I can remember, although the form in which the games are played have changed many times.

(Xayj) At what point of your life were you introduced to online gaming and how?

(Terra) Diablo 1, classic, was my first online game. A birthday present from when I was around 10. My father is the kind of guy who always likes to have the neatest and most modern of gadgets available, so computers and electronics were a familiar feature of our household.

(Xayj) When did you first become a member of your first clan and what clan was it?

(Terra) My very first Clan was a Diablo Clan called Warriors of Mystic Gods (WMG). Joined it about a couple years after I started playing the game. The clan reached about 30 members in size at its peak, which was a pretty good size for Clans back then.

Those were easier times, back before floodbots and loadbots had been invented. Turns out you could still load a Clan’s channel up though by going to the Diablo Trade channel and telling everyone that free gear was being given away at some poor Clan’s main channel. Filled up a channel pretty fast, and they all came with their own unique spam message.

I suppose there wasn’t a time in gaming before trolls and assholes existed.

(Xayj) At what point did you realize you wanted to climb the ranks in your clan(s) to make them better, and what drove you to do so?

(Terra) It’s never really been about the ranks. Not really. Higher ranks are convenient because it allows me to do more without having to go through someone else, and in the case of OD it presented a pretty tantalizing challenge for a while. But I never needed rank to help the Clan, you can see examples of what I’ve done or changed in OD in every category rank I was a part of.
People often attribute rank to power, authority, and prestige, but for the most part its just a title. If you recruit then you will have followers. If you have a good, sound idea and communicate it well, then you can change the Clan. If people trust you then you will have influence. An Enlisted member can do those things almost as easily as any General, the only reason you don’t see it as often is because the Enlisted who do that usually become Generals before long.

I never had a realization that I wanted to climb the ranks, I had a realization that I wanted to make a difference, I saw things in OD that I felt could be better and I wanted to make them better. It was other people that gave me the ranks along the way.

Of course, that might seem like cheap talk coming from someone who has already made Commander. But I can tell you from experience that the more someone’s priorities are focused on the rank itself, the less likely they are to reach the higher ranks, because those kinds of people are focusing their efforts in the wrong direction. The people who are promoted are those who value the community, not those who value their rank.

(Xayj) Did you feel early on and still feel now that gaming communities look down upon women as lessers to their male counterparts?

(Terra) No. Why? Is there someone that has been? axmirp.jpg

Girl gamers have often garnered more attention than their guy counterparts, especially in the earlier days of gaming when the ratio was so much more extreme and simply being a girl in a game would drown you in a sea of shallow adulation. If anything that put girl gamers on a pedestal, depicting them as objects of affection. Nowadays girl gamers are a lot more mainstream, and thankfully the days of excessive fawning seem to be mostly behind us.
But in terms of men treating women as lesser, in my experience no more so than life in general. You’ll always get those who make crude jokes or inappropriate remarks, but those happen in or out of gaming. In fact if anything I’d say the online world is more tolerable of equality, historically much of the reasons women are regarded as lesser than men is because of our less imposing physical traits or because of culturally dominated regions that favored men. Neither of which hold much precedence online. If you lose to someone in a game then its because they were a better player, their gender is irrelevant.

That said I’ve never been the kind of person that is easy to look down on, so perhaps other girl gamers have had a harder time of it and I’ve just been the exception.

(Xayj) Did online gaming directly influence your career path in life in anyway? As you now work in the gaming industry.

(Terra) Yes. Turns out there are some remarkable similarities between running the kind of Clans I’m used to being a part of and what is involved in running a team that is building a game. Being good at the former has had the fortune of making me good at the latter. Going to school for Game Design revealed those similarities and my aptitude for them. Without online gaming I would probably have never had that aptitude to begin with.

(Xayj) Do you think being a admin of such a long standing community such as Overdosed Gaming could ever be used on a resume in any way shape or form? Or do you think that people would laugh at your attempt to include it?

(Terra) Maybe not a resume specifically, but I would say it is certainly applicable to mention in an interview if the skills of Administration are related to the job you are having. Not only can it be used, but I can say that it has been used. I mentioned it during my interview when I was first hired as a sub-contracted CSR, and I don’t think Aerineth would mind me saying that he mentioned his Admin work in OD during his interview as an assistant management role for the college help program he works on.

Many years ago maybe people would have laughed, many years ago maybe it would have been silly. But things have changed a lot in the last decade and a half. We are a world of gamers now. Whether it is mmorpgs or shooter games, consoles or PC, candy crush or Clash of Clans, most everyone in the world is either a gamer in some form or at the very least is familiar with the concept.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whether your experience comes from online or the real world, dealing with people is dealing with people, problem-solving is problem-solving, handling disputes is handling disputes. And being able to organize events, meetings, and work alongside others, are skills that all businesses will appreciate, and gaming is enough of a mainstream part of society that people accept experience in that field as readily as anywhere else.

I’d still call it a Community as opposed to a Clan, and focus more on the administrative aspects than the gaming aspects, as its more professional. But my participation in OD is a large part of why I got the job that I have now. Don’t underestimate the value of the skills we learn here, its more relevant to life than people think.

(Xayj) Recently in a post titled “Moving Up In The World” you said “I suppose at this point in their lives this is when most members and Commanders tend to phase out of the Clan life and focus on their budding new careers.
But in my case actually the opposite will happen. My job is handled entirely by remote, including most of the conference meetings the development team holds, I can do all the work from my home computer even while interacting with OD at the same time. Additionally I can rearrange my work hours during the day however I like, I can work 4 hours in the morning and 4 hours in the evening, split them up into 2 hour segments each if I want, even work in the middle of the night if I choose. That maximum flexibility, and being done with school now, means my availability for OD will be more, not less, at least at this period of time.”

How do you feel about some of your fellow commanders and their lack of activity in the public eye of the community compared to you and the time you spend with the members? Do you think that a commander that can no longer dedicate their time should make the call to step away? Or do you think it’s enough to contribute behind the scenes and attend meetings?

(Terra) Kind of sounds to me like this is a question you would prefer to answer.
It’s true that not all of our current Commanders are as active as they used to be, but this is not an unusual phenomenon. All Commanders who have ever been eventually get to a point where their activity diminishes, and they become less involved over time as the priorities of their life take a greater hold. You could call it the life cycle of Commanders, although it isn’t really unique to Commanders as it happens to members of all other ranks too.
It used to be worse, really. For many years before my time in OD, Commanders who eventually phased out of OD altogether would be left on the website, no longer being around or involved with OD but never being removed because Commanders were beyond reproach. (Except by particularly ardent and passionate Officers)

Our Commanders are not that bad, they aren’t at that point yet. They are still involved with OD, and still contribute in valuable ways to the betterment of the Community. OD is still much better off for having them here. Perhaps they will eventually phase out, or perhaps they will suddenly bounce back to renewed activity. It’s happened before. That will be up to them. If they ever get to the point where their peers feel that their involvement with OD has diminished to the point that it no longer justifies their rank, then those of us in our esteemed ranks of today are capable and willing to work it out. Until then, though, I say we ought to make the most of their experience and wisdom while we still can.

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