TownCrier Interview Sessions with GM Necios
By Oubar, TownCrier Correspondent
28 Jastatos 5117 // October 28, 2017 - via correspondence
Necios is a GameMaster (GM) who has recently been making some noise in Icemule Trace. Since that's the beloved home of TownCrier Correspondent Oubar, he decided to approach Necios and request an interview. What follows is the result of that effort. Necios was open and approachable, and the results were illuminating. [Please note, as GMs don't really 'exist' in an IC aspect, this interview is solely out of character (OOC)]
|"You can never have enough glitter." ~ GM Necios|
You see GameMaster Necios Seres the Precious. He appears to be a Paradis Pirate. He is pretty dang tiny for a halfling. He appears to be in his second childhood. He has bright blue eyes and pale skin. He has very short, tangled blue-black hair held in place with some gel. He has a scruffy face, a super cute nose and a pair of eyebrows on fleek. A small white tag attached to his foot reads "QC complete!" He has one hand constantly on his hip. You can hardly recognize him covered in all that glitter! He has a strikingly detailed tattoo of the great mountain Aenatumgana on his left forearm, a treacherous thundersnowstorm tattoo on his right arm, an oversized animated grinning skull tattoo on his shapely right calf muscle, and a shifting triquetra tattoo on the back of his neck. Brilliant rainbow-hued sparks of light swirl lazily around him. He is in good shape. He is holding your lost rat or kitten in his right hand. He is wearing a pair of black hipster glasses with a torn grey eyepatch underneath, a glowing crystalline prism, a squirming vibrating undulating glowing coupon for whatever you want, a purple big ugly kobold badge, a shiny gold star, a shaggy black dragon-shaped goat pin, a lost soul, a ginormous dictionary attached to a bright orange strap, a freakish typo, a sparkling gold Planeteer ring emblazoned with a tiny blue water symbol, a sparkling Pennant Chase baton, some office backpacks, a pair of amazing yellow trousers, a polished silver anklet from Icemule Trace, and some shimmering rainbow socks.
What's your real name? (First Name Only please)
- Come to SimuCon and find out!
Where are you located in real life?
- Just outside of Blacksburg, VA. (Go Hokies!)
How old are you (approximately, if that's what you'd prefer)?
- I'll turn 35 in November.
What do you do in real life?
- I'm a PhD candidate at Virginia Tech working on my dissertation. I study educational psychology and learning sciences. I'm focusing on the Virginia state sex education curriculum and whether or not it is effective as-is. Most days, though, I just GM and procrastinate. ;)
What's your favorite song in the whole world?
- The world moves on, another day, another drama, drama... (Just kidding, but I don't really do "favorites" of anything. People tend to like my playlists, though.)
Who's your favorite author?
- Mary Oliver comes to mind.
What's your favorite book?
- I thought about it for a while, and I like these: the annual Best American Short Stories series, Auntie Mame, A Prayer for Owen Meany, Drown, El Llano en Llamas (The Burning Plain), and Bless Me, Ultima.
Who would you say is your hero, and why?
- A combination of Thor (for the hammer and associated powers), Captain America (for the fortitude and resolve), and the Black Widow (for the superhuman agility and finesse). Those heroes can do anything and still have the same struggles we mere mortals face. Sorry if you were expecting me to say my first grade teacher or something...
If you could meet someone in person and talk to them one on one for half an hour, who would you pick, and why?
- Barack Obama, because how did he deal with all the things? Actually, any President dead or alive would be a suitable answer for this question.
What's your favorite piece of gear you've ever owned in-game (if it's a signature piece that might out you, feel free to skip this one)?
- My dhu kitten. I got it for about 100k long before they became cool (and very updated). Now very valuable, but priceless to me.
What's something in the game that you feel is horribly underappreciated? This can be a type of gear, a class, a spell, a hunting area, etc...
- People who've learned Fire Spirit (111) and focused Web (118), especially Clerics and Empaths, should use those spells more. I feel like there is this expectation out there that those professions in particular should be exclusively casting warding spells. But if you run out of mana mid-hunt and have some spell aiming skill, you can use an assortment of wands! Amaooozing!
When/How did you start playing GemStone? What drew you to it?
- I started in 1996. I vaguely remember finding it through the "AOL Member's Choice" portal, or keyword: awesome things, or something. Heh. That bright white background with black text drew me in and I was hooked! I think my first turnip farmer act was following someone into the Catacombs and getting killed, then screaming in all caps that I didn't know what was going on. Somehow I figured it out, though!
Who was your main character, and what level did you/he attain?
- My main character since '96 is [CENSORED!] and [she or he] is still alive and kicking at level 100 - actually, more like level 160 in experience.
What is your favorite part of playing GemStone?
- The magic (and associated messaging) has always been my favorite part. Never been a big weapon user or collector of heavy armor. I also like doing AG tasks; nothing beats that saturated feeling.
Do you still actively play aside from your GM role/duties?
- I play about an hour or two a week if I'm lucky.
When/How did you start on the path to your current role?
- I became a GameHost in 2010, and I served in that role for almost two years. Then I became a GameMaster and worked for almost a year before I had to leave staff due to a pretty serious family emergency. I returned in February of this year.
What is your official title these days?
- I'm an Assistant GameMaster, and I've recently been appointed to the Subscriptions team. I will be working some with Icemule Trace in the coming days (though we no longer serve as "gurus" so don't get excited). I'm also a QCer, so I frequently check things over before they go live. Somehow I also earned the role of the BADNAME committee chair, so when decisions need to be made on names that fall into grey areas, I make sure that several GMs weigh in before an approval or rejection is made.
Can you give us a summary of what that title/role entails? What are your responsibilities?
- Woops, I gave all that in the previous question. Though I also do a lot of customer service: Sadie scrolls, assists/referrals, bug fixes, merchanting, finding lost kittens...
How long have you been in that position?
- I have been a QCer since I returned to staff. I was on the Events team from February or March until just a couple weeks ago.
What's the thing you like most about your current role?
- It's a tie between QCing and assists/referrals. I have a condition called surface dyslexia (but I play a text-based game... go figure, right?) so typos and grammar errors really jump out at me. Also, most of the time, players are enthralled by having a GM standing in front of them, and I love to goof off for them while figuring out where their runestaff went or why their morphing container/forehead gem is stuck or whatever else.
What's the most frustrating thing about your current role?
- I have a hard time coming up with original ideas for stories and such. I'm much better at embellishing an existing idea. Consequently, moving forward with Icemule Trace duties will be a personal challenge.
Are GMs volunteers, or paid employees (or both)? Are there other 'benefits' aside from monetary?
- Wonderful Wyrom has already answered this question on multiple occasions. The best benefit, though, is being a GM. It's like playing the game from the other side, and it's extremely rewarding in that capacity.
What's your favorite event to be a part of these days? Why?
- Any event that I run. ;) My favorite kind of merchanting is tattoos.
Give us three things that you feel like most players would be surprised to realize.
- Constructive criticism and a kind tone go a long way, so count to 10 (or 100 or 1000) before you post.
- Someone is always listening if you have a new idea or suggestion, even if they don't respond.
- You can never have enough glitter.
Give us a teaser (if you can) for something that's definitely coming that people will be excited about.
- There's something stirring in the air in Icemule Trace (besides snow).
What's the best thing about GemStone?
- The best graphics processor is always and forever your imagination.
What's the worst thing about GemStone?
- New players often don't have the patience we did 20 years ago to figure the game out.
How would you sell someone who had never heard of GS (or MUDs in general) on starting to play?
- It's like The Elder Scrolls, but as a book. And the book talks to you, and you talk back, and you can write your own character, and the game helps you do that.
What do you think is the most common mistake made by players?
- NOT REGISTERING AND MARKING EVERYTHING YOU OWN!!! Registering is especially important as it creates an EXACT RECORD of the item. No digging through logs or asking the janitor (most of the time)!
What's one thing that you think every player should do at least once?
- Serve as an officer for a CHE or MHO.