Host Forum (log)
GameMaster Zyllah hosted alive in-game forum on Saturday, June 12th at 9pm eastern time to let players know more about what is required and what it is really like.
A large table ringed with comfortable chairs occupies the center of the room. Bookcases line one wall, filled with tomes of all shapes and sizes. The floor is covered with a plush deep burgundy carpet. The cheery fire in a small hearth at one end of the chamber provides warmth. You also see a large banner, an exit portal and an iron-bound oak door.
Obvious exits: none
In the Common language, it reads:
*~* WELCOME TO THE GEMSTONE IV HOST FORUM! *~*
Zyllah says, "Okay, I think we'll go ahead and get started."
Zyllah says, "With me tonight are GameMaster Wyrom, the Host Training Instructor, and GameHost Valyrka, who has been with the Host Program almost four years now."
Zyllah says, "This coming September will mark my tenth year with the Host Program."
Zyllah says, "It's difficult to pinpoint exactly why I have stayed with the Hosts this long, but a lot of it is that I genuinely enjoy helping people, and I genuinely enjoy working with the Hosts as a team."
Zyllah says, "I'd say that the desire to help people is probably the most important quality a Host needs."
Zyllah says, "If you're not a people person, or if you don't have a lot of patience when dealing with people then Hosting isn't for you."
Zyllah says, "Other qualities that we look for in potential Hosts are:"
Zyllah says, "Ability to type correctly and with decent speed."
Zyllah says, "(You don't have to be a speed demon, but you shouldn't take all day to hunt and peck out a sentence.)"
Zyllah says, "A good communicator, which includes the ability to be a good listener and to clearly provide information and instructions."
Zyllah says, "A pleasant manner when dealing with players, including those who are upset about their situation."
Zyllah says, "A solid understanding of basic game mechanics and at least some of the various extra game systems such as the profession guilds and artisan skills."
Zyllah says, "A decent writer/reporter, because Hosts write up a log report of every single assist they take."
Zyllah says, "And being a team player, able and willing to follow established procedures and rules."
Zyllah says, "All of those qualities are equally important, though each individual Host is stronger in some than others."
Zyllah exclaims, "If you decide to fill out the Host application that is your first opportunity to prove to us that you have the above qualities. So make the most of that opportunity!"
Zyllah says, "I'd guess that almost half of all Host applications we get are eliminated upon first read-through because the applicant doesn't do their best in presenting themselves on the application."
Zyllah says, "Treat the Host app as if you're applying for your dream job."
Zyllah says, "Two other important criteria are: having a demonstrated history of following GemStone Policy, and posting respectfully to players and staff on the Forums, even when complaining about game issues."
Zyllah says, "If you have a single vulgarity warning on your record from 2001, but no problems since then, it's not going to be held against you."
Zyllah says, "We all make mistakes. The important part is if you learned from your mistakes or not."
Zyllah says, "Recent warnings within the last two years can count against you, depending on their severity, so it's probably a good idea to let a bit more time pass before putting in your application so that you can prove you've been able to keep a clean record since then."
Zyllah asks, "The major critical question you need to ask yourself when deciding to apply or not is: Do you really have the time available to dedicate to Hosting?"
Zyllah says, "From just looking at the application and seeing it's 6 hours a week, it may not seem to be that big of a deal and you can squeeze it in."
Zyllah says, "But in almost every Host trainee class we usually have at least one person who quits because they realize that it's more than they had bargained for."
Zyllah says, "This creates a lot of problems on our end because that person took up a training slot that could have gone to someone else, and we wasted a great deal of our time on everything involved in getting that person set up and trained."
Zyllah says, "The requirements for being a Host are to work three two-hour shifts every week."
Zyllah says, "We also have two required Host meetings each month, held on a weekday in the evening."
Zyllah says, "You need to keep in mind that these shifts are every week, week in and week out."
Zyllah says, "So you want to make sure you have the time available not just right now, but for the foreseeable future."
Zyllah says, "During training the stress on your time can be more onerous because we have classes that must be attended and trainees have to adapt their schedule to work with their trainers on training shifts."
Zyllah says, "On average it takes about four months to go from taking the first training class to being a cleared Host."
Zyllah says, "Now I don't mean to make it sound like it's all drudgery."
Zyllah says, "On our current team of Hosts all but the two newest members have been with the program for at least two years. A few of them are coming up on their four year anniversary."
Zyllah says, "So you can see that many of our Hosts very much enjoy their role in GemStone and are still having fun even after a few years of service."
Zyllah exclaims, "We had one Host, Genorah, who was with us until late last year who served as a Host for nine years!"
Zyllah says, "She set a record."
Zyllah says, "It feels good to be a contributing member of the GemStone community and it feels good when you can make things a bit better for your fellow players by helping them on their assists."
Zyllah says, "We usually only have one training group per year, occasionally we'll do two."
Zyllah says, "So applying to be a Host means needing to have some patience with the process."
Zyllah says, "If you have the bad luck of putting in your application only a couple months after the most recent training group it will be quite some time before your application is considered for the next one."
Zyllah says, "The new application system on the website is pretty neat, and you have the ability to go back in and update your application at any time."
Zyllah says, "If you applied six months or more ago I highly encourage you to update it, even if it's just adding a note to let us know that you're still interested."
Zyllah says, "If you have applied in the past with the old system then you will definitely want to do a new application."
Zyllah says, "Hosts are volunteers, there is no pay. So if you're thinking of making a little spending money while helping out fellow players, you're out of luck."
Zyllah says, "Hosts do get a free playing account for the duration of time that they serve as Hosts though, so that's a nice benefit."
Zyllah says, "Hosts are given a special Hosting account, just like GMs. All Host business, including rolling up your Host character, is done on that account."
Zyllah says, "Well I think that covers most of the basics I wanted to touch on tonight. I'm going to pass things over to GM Wyrom for a moment."
Zyllah smiles at Wyrom.
Wyrom exclaims, "Hello everyone, I'm Wyrom, and I have been on the Hosting Team now for just over three years. I have worked with a good amount of players since joining the team, and there might even be a good chance I've even helped one of you!"
Wyrom says, "What I would like to talk about today is my experience as a GameHost."
Wyrom says, "I found it very rewarding and satisfying to help out in the game that has kept my attention for many, many years."
Wyrom says, "Personally, it puts a smile on my face knowing that I was able to assist with the player-base with any questions, problems, concerns and dilemmas that were tossed my way."
Wyrom says, "For me? I love problem solving. It piques my interest to have a challenging question or situation."
Wyrom says, "But hosting isn't about knowing all the answers or being able to solve everything that is thrown at you."
Wyrom says, "The best trait you can possess as a GameHost is to listen to the player's concern."
Wyrom says, "The key is to gather information and to help identify the problem."
Wyrom says, "As Zyllah mentioned, one thing to keep in mind is, hosting is a 6 hour a week commitment, split between three shifts. While it can seem like that is a large time investment, speaking directly of my own opinion, the time usually flies."
Wyrom says, "Hosting can be a great GemStone IV experience, especially if you enjoy helping others and diving right into problem solving."
Wyrom says, "It can even help strengthen your customer service abilities, for those who's job background is in that field."
Zyllah says, "Next I'd like to introduce you to GameHost Valyrka. She's joining us tonight to give a first hand perspective of what Hosting is like from someone who actually is a Host right now."
Valyrka says, "Hi there and welcome. I am Game Host Valyrka and I have been part of the host program for almost four years. I had not even realized that it had been that long until I looked back. Wow, time flies."
Valyrka says, "I was asked to participate tonight to give some insight and thoughts about the host program. I am told I cannot give out any super secrets."
Valyrka says, "And I guess I cannot say that GM Wyrom over there likes to wear pink tiaras."
Valyrka says, "Being a Host has been a great experience for me. I have a natural desire to help people so being a Host seemed like the place to be."
Valyrka says, "As with any job there are ups and downs, good moments and frustrating ones."
Valyrka says, "It is a great feeling when I solve a problem for a player or can help them with an issue."
Valyrka says, "I love being able to NPC events. It is one of my favorite things to do."
Valyrka says, "We are asked to help out GM's by NPCing quite a bit."
Valyrka says, "As a Host, you also have the opportunity to train in weddings. Being a Wedding Coordinator is a lot of fun and really lets me be creative."
Valyrka says, "One of the things that can sometimes get me down is when a player has an issue and there is nothing I can do to help them. Being the bearer of bad news is never fun."
Valyrka says, "Believe me, none of us like to have to say, "I am sorry, but your super weapon of doom is not able to be recovered, or I do not have any information I can give you."."
Valyrka says, "It is a horrible feeling for us too, but it does come with the territory and it is one thing I really had to learn to deal with."
Valyrka says, "The last thing I would like to let you know is that we are a team. We work closely together, and help each other whenever we can."
Valyrka says, "When something happens that is frustrating we can vent a bit to each other and we can discuss mistakes we made so we can better help the players."
Valyrka says, "As an aside, while this meeting was happening, a host was unsure of something and a GM and several hosts were assisting them."
Valyrka says, "We are really a team."
Valyrka says, "We trust each other. There is nothing better than knowing that there is a Host or a GM there to watch your back and give you a hand."
Valyrka says, "If you feel this may be something for you, you will work hard, you will get frustrated but you will have fun, you will laugh, and you will be part of a close family who cares for each other."
Zyllah says, "Thanks, Valyrka."
Zyllah says, "Before we get to the Q&A portion, we thought it would be fun to do a little skit for you to give an idea of how a typical assist might go."
Zyllah says, "Wyrom is going to be the assisting player and Valyrka will be the Host answering the assist."
Zyllah exclaims, "So I now present to you the Not For Primetime Host Players!"
Wyrom places an assist about losing his vultite dagger.
GameHost Valyrka poofs in to answer Wyrom's assist!
Valyrka says, "Hi there Wyrom, I am GH Valyrka and I understand you have a lost item."
Wyrom flails his arms about.
Valyrka asks, "Can you give me an exact description of the dagger?"
Wyrom exclaims, "Just a vultite dagger! I can never find alterers!"
Valyrka says, "Easy enough to remember at least."
Valyrka asks, "Do you remember if you registered it?"
Wyrom exclaims, "Yes! I use the REGISTER command all the time!"
Valyrka lets out a cheer!
Valyrka says, "Excellent."
Valyrka asks, "Do you remember when you lost the dagger?"
Wyrom exclaims, "Like, five minutes before I assisted? Maybe ten? I'm not sure! NOT LONG!"
A pained expression crosses Wyrom's face.
Valyrka nods to Wyrom.
Valyrka says, "I am going to set you up with a referral to speak to a GM. I cannot guarantee that anything can be done, but they may have more information for you than is available to me. Give me just a few moments."
Valyrka nods to Wyrom.
(Valyrka begins writing up the referral.)
Valyrka smiles as she notices something.
Valyrka says, "Wyrom."
Wyrom asks, "Yes?"
Valyrka says, "I think I might have located the dagger for you."
Wyrom asks, "Wonderful! Where?"
Valyrka attempts to hum a merry little tune.
Valyrka says, "It is right under your nose so to speak."
Wyrom looks confused.
(Valyrka points to Wyrom's chest.)
Valyrka says, "Take a look."
You see GameMaster Wyrom Malvagio.
He appears to be a Zombie.
He is average height and appears to be time-worn. He has lifeless black eyes and rotting skin. He has short, tufts of grey-brown hair in several spots barely covering his scalp. He has a morbid face. The skin around his jaw is completely peeled back exposing the bone.
He is in good shape.
He has a vultite dagger stuck in his chest.
He is holding your 10x weapon in his right hand.
He is wearing a glowing ebony crystal orb, a lost item, a festering grotesque wound, a pulsating blackened heart, and a tattered and torn prison uniform marked with the number three on the back.
Wyrom grits his teeth and slowly pulls a vultite dagger from his chest.
Wyrom says, "Oh my..."
Wyrom blushes a nice shade of pink.
Valyrka lets out a cheer!
Valyrka exclaims, "Yay! Mystery solved!"
Valyrka beams happily at Wyrom!
Wyrom exclaims, "Thank you so much, though I'm pretty embarrassed now!"
Valyrka says, "Aww don't be."
Valyrka asks, "Is there anything else I can help with tonight?"
Wyrom exclaims, "That was it, thanks! Off to get revenge!"
Valyrka lets out a cheer!
Valyrka says, "I am glad we found your dagger, you have a great evening."
Valyrka waves to Wyrom.
Wyrom waves to Valyrka.
(Valyrka poofs out.)
Sweeping his arm outward, Wyrom bows low in a grand fashion.
Zyllah says, "That was taken from an actual assist too."
Zyllah says, "Now that we've tried to give you a general overview of the Host Program, we'll open up to take your questions."
Zyllah says, "When asking your question you can address it to any of us, so please mention by name who you are asking."
Person asks, "This is for any of you, how much mechanical knowledge do you have to have?"
Zyllah says, "Well we like Hosts to at least know the basics. What all those letters and numbers mean in the combat formulas. How armor works, what combat maneuvers are. Those sorts of things. We don't expect everyone to be experts. And as Valyrka said, we help each other out with things we don't know."
Zyllah says, "And knowing how and where to get the correct info is just as important as actually knowing info."
Person says, "How much knowledge is expecting in programming."
Zyllah says, "That's easy. None. Hosts don't do any coding at all. Only GMs, and not even all GMs."
Zyllah says, "Hosts do have a set of commands they have to learn that help them do their jobs. But that's pretty easy."
Person asks, "This is to any. Is it required to use Stormfront? I use Wizard FE as the font is easier to read. Would it be Wizard compatible?"
Zyllah says, "I use the Wizard, so it's fine. But you should be familiar with SF enough to help players who might have having problems with it."
Person asks, "1) If you're interested in becoming a GameMaster do you have to start as a host? 2) Do hosts do QC, design areas, or anything else like that?"
Zyllah says, "The answer to number 1 is no, you don't need to be a Host first to become a GM."
Zyllah says, "You should apply to the Host program because you'd really like to spend time working as a Host."
Zyllah says, "If you don't think it's really your thing, and you're doing it purely as a stepping stone, then it's better to just apply directly for a GM position."
Zyllah says, "On the other hand, being a Host first does make being a GM much easier. Wyrom just went through GM training and can confirm that."
Zyllah grins at Wyrom.
Wyrom says, "Indeed."
Zyllah says, "For number 2, Hosts don't do any designs or building or anything."
Person says, "Perhaps Hosting is not the best way to go for me... I have a knack for coming up with messaging and finding typos, although I have worked customer service and do not mind it."
Zyllah says, "Sounds like maybe applying to a QC position would be best. They love people who want to be QCers when they have openings."
Person asks, "Where is the application?"
Zyllah says, "It takes a special kind of person to be that detail oriented."
Zyllah says, "On the website."
Zyllah says, "And I don't tell people exactly where, because you should be able to find it yourself if you want to be on staff."
Person says, "I was wondering when the next selection for host mite be."
Zyllah says, "I can't say exactly how soon, but the reason we're holding this forum now is because we're going to start the process of bringing in our next class."
Zyllah says, "But the wheels turn slowly sometimes."
Person asks, "We were asked to bring in unknown characters here, and I can understand why, but on our applications would it be in our best interests to name our characters who may be known for helping others? As part of the resume' so to speak? Or best to keep it anonymous?"
Zyllah says, "I think the app asks for your main character. So yeah, being recognized helps."
Zyllah says, "I don't mean you have to be known to staff to be chosen."
Zyllah says, "The two most recent hosts who joined the team play characters known mostly just to their friends."
Zyllah says, "But if you've made positive contributions to the game then yes that helps."
Person says, "You mentioned relating on the forums as well, I don't post often and don't really complain... I was concerned there."
Zyllah says, "That's no problem. That remark was mostly pointed to the idea that if you insult other players or staff on the forums then you won't be a good candidate."
Wyrom says, "I'd like to mention that it is good to be familiar with the forums, though."
Zyllah nods to Wyrom.
Zyllah says, "Yeah."
Person says, "I have a pair of questions for anyone. Is a particular OS suggested? For example is windows suggested over mac or linux for Hosts. Are there hardware/software requirements?"
Zyllah says, "Nope. As long as you can run any of the FE's to access the game you're fine."
Zyllah says, "Oh you know, one thing that I didn't think to mention, but your question made me think of it."
Zyllah says, "Hosts are not allowed to run third party apps, such as Psinet. For some people that's a consideration. So worth mentioning."
Person interjects, "That means even on their playing characters, I guess."
Zyllah says, "Yep."
Person asks, "What are the time requirements?"
Zyllah says, "Three two hour shifts each week, and two meetings per month."
Person asks, "On that, how are they distributed? I'm west coast, they try to fit it in according to zone I assume for prime time?"
Zyllah says, "We have a set shift schedule that already has pre-determined shift times. During training you have to work into your trainer's shift schedule. We try to match you up as good as we can for times that work for you. Once cleared then you can choose any open shift slot. If you change jobs or get a new work schedule then you can request to change your shift slots."
Person says, "I see, so once set it's static."
Person says, "How long on average is the training."
Zyllah says, "It's static, but changeable."
Zyllah says, "On average four months."
Person asks, "My current job sometimes has unexpected overtime, how will that impact scheduling?"
Zyllah says, "Well it depends on how often it happens."
Person says, "Its not often, but it does occur."
Zyllah says, "If it's pretty regular, you'd need to sign up for shifts where that wouldn't be an issue. If it's an occasional thing and you miss all or part of a shift you can just make up your time later on. Same thing goes for if you take vacation or get sick or whatever."
Person asks, "On the account we're given to operate under, are we able to create a personal character on it or is it all business?"
Person says, "No, it's strictly Host business."
Person asks, "What does the four months of training involve?"
Zyllah says, "We start out with training classes. Usually two per week, and that lasts about 3-4 weeks, depending on scheduling."
Zyllah says, "Then once classes are done each trainee is assigned to Hosts or program GMs who do the hands on shift training. That lasts usually for at least three months."
Zyllah says, "Each trainee progresses at their own rate at that point."
Person says, "So basically training is based upon your rate of understanding the new knowledge an ability to use it properly."
Zyllah says, "Pretty much yeah. We also like to make sure that trainees get experience with a wide variety of assist types, so they feel fully prepared to go out on their own."
Person says, "How about signing up for events like ebons." [Ed note: THERE IS NO S IN EBON GATE!!!!] My primary character trys to go regularly."
Zyllah says, "You can still attend as always."
Person says, "Is there any restrictions for the primary account as far as events an raffles an such."
Zyllah says, "As a Host you don't have any restrictions on you, unlike being a GM. You can still participate in everything you would as a normal player. The only exception to that is if you're helping out as an NPC for an event you might be limited to some degree so that there's no issues of inside knowledge or favoritism."
Zyllah says, "But since you choose to NPC or not, that's up to you."
Person says, "As you say with npc's an weddings that is voluntary."
Zyllah asks, "Does anyone else have a question?"
Zyllah exclaims, "Looks like we're done then. I'd like to thank all of you for attending tonight!"
Wyrom exclaims, "You guys have been great!"
Zyllah exclaims, "And if you think this is for you, go fill out the application!"
Person asks, "How many hosts are you looking to hire right now?"
Zyllah says, "We don't give out that info."
Person asks, "Where should we watch for response to an application?"
Zyllah says, "On the application site, but don't expect to see anything for a while."
Person says, "Guess i should update mine know that i understand more."
Wyrom exclaims, "Yes, get them updated!"