Saturday, September 28, 2013

Fanterview: Amy

Name: Amy (aka Amerikatt)

What do you do for work in real life?
Mild-mannered secretary

What is your favorite food?
Amy -- Italian cuisine (especially Chicken Marsala)
Amerikatt -- Fish sticks and Mice-A-Roni (rodent-shaped pasta!) with Boysenberry Sauce

Favorite movies?
Those in glorious black and white!  I particularly like the 4 with Lauren Bacall/Humphrey Bogart and the 8 with Katharine Hepburn/Spencer Tracy, as well as Cary Grant movies.  I also enjoy screwball comedies, like “Bringing Up Baby” (Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, and “Baby” -- a cheetah!)  For more “modern” titles, I liked the original “Star Wars” trilogy and the “Indiana Jones” movies.

What boundaries do you think MWM can push with their first MMO project?
I believe that MWM can help increase the immersion and fun factors by focusing on aspects of game design which help promote camaraderie and social development.  For instance, development and support of social areas, such as supergroup bases (although a personal lair would also be appreciated) and missions/in-game events which allow the players to feel as though they are having an impact on their environment.

From a personal perspective, I would also like to see more activities which interact with my characters, such as fighting an evil/misguided twin or holding a dying double from another dimension or just having an NPC run up to my character and compliment her (and say something nice about her in General/NPC Chat.)  Maybe something neat like going into The First National Bank of Titan City and, rather than facing a Supervillain(ess) for the umpteenth time, have the bank president congratulate my character on being the millionth customer and then giving her a nice prize (like a blue/rare permanent device) or maybe get a toaster (or other green/common limited use device) for opening a Christmas Club account.  Things which are fun but not combat-oriented (and which, as non-tradeable, would dissuade and curtail ebil marketers from hoarding and then unleashing them upon the auction house at ten-figure prices.)

Why do you think people should support the Kickstarter campaign for MWM’s first MMO project?
City of Titans” is very much a community project.  The people who are developing this MMOG are volunteering their time and energies, many of them working on this project after long, arduous hours at their day jobs.  Thus, it behooves those of us who would take advantage of the fruits of their labors to contribute actively to this effort by giving what we can -- even if it’s only financially.  If we have an investment in the development of this game -- either through technical expertise or financial support -- we will likely derive immensely more pleasure from the finished product.

What is it that attracts you to the Superhero genre?
The Superhero genre reflects the desire within ourselves to excel, to be better and more than we are in real life.  Thus, we live vicariously through the exploits of larger-than-life entities who embrace the best in ourselves, the morals and principles which we espouse, and thus find ourselves transported to a place where we may for a time distance ourselves from the negative issues which permeate the real world.

What is your favorite super power and why?
Healing.  At the very core of Amerikatt’s psyche is the desire to help other sentient beings, and she is at her best when she is serving in a support capacity.  Although she has, in times past, been possessed of great fighting abilities (augmented by purple and high-grade rare enhancers), those have always been a secondary consideration to her divinely-inspired healing abilities (among those her Tier IV area-of-effect Incarnate healing power.)

What do you think defines a hero (or a villain?)
Heroism is not the absence of fear, but, rather, the ability to overcome that fear in order to go beyond one’s normal capacity and help others who are in dire straits.  Real-world examples are not only firefighters, police officers, and soldiers, but blood, marrow, and transplant donors.

If you had them, do you think having super powers would be a blessing or a burden?
I suppose that would depend on the nature of the super power(s), whether such could be turned off, and whether I would be physically altered to reflect that power.  As in all things, a balance should be struck, and I would very much like to do good yet still retain my anonymity.

Have you witnessed any acts of heroism lately that have inspired you?
Probably the greatest acts of heroism of which I am aware came in the aftermath of the events of September 11, 2001.  However, that in no way diminishes the heroism of people -- in and out of uniform -- before and after that time.

What kind of content engages you in video games?
Fun and immersive things, such as badge hunting or admiring the depth of detail in a zone environment.  I have probably spent more time (75-80%+) socializing and enjoying the non-combat aspects of online gaming than I have in “bashing” things.  Combat is a means to an end, but is not the end itself (not even in 'endgame.')

How do you like stories to progress in a game (i.e. cutscenes, battles, mission text, etc.) and why?
I really enjoy a richly characterized and deeply detailed backstory in games (as in literature), and believe that these must be at the core of an immersive environment, thus facilitating the creation of secondary elements, such as NPCs, mission-givers, and the missions themselves.  The more familiar that a storyteller is with the people and places in a given milieu, the more faithfully they may expound upon that information and will actually have story/mission ideas suggested by the characters themselves!

I also like the idea of having missions which may be played as standalone, yet could also be incorporated into a larger story arc (not necessarily publicized as such, but, perhaps, as part of a similarly-themed group of missions which help the players -- if not the characters themselves -- see a larger part of “the greater picture.”)

Cutscenes can be lots of fun (especially if a player character is referenced in the balloon text), but they should be skippable if the player so desires.  I think that they should be used sparingly so as not to dilute their dramatic impact, and they should only occur at a time and place when the player character is within proximity to the NPCs (that is, how can I know what an NPC is plotting if s/he’s in a secret sub-volcanic lair halfway across the world?)

What sort of missions in games do you enjoy the most?
Fun missions and missions which impact my character(s) personally.  My favorite mission in City of Heroes was the one in which Amerikatt got to fight her misguided doppelganger (who was dressed in the opposite color combination.)  Likewise, the most poignant was when Protean murdered a great number of interdimensional twins of Amerikatt’s sidekick, which spurred my other character to avenge the death of the twin who died in her arms.

Do you ever play player generated content?
Holy cats! I sure do!

I have found that there are some exceptionally creative people in the player community and that their commitment to crafting quality entertainment rivals (or even exceeds) that of the professional developers of a particular game.  City of Heroes had incredibly fun (and replayable) missions from people like Ascendant and famous guest mission-makers!

What is your favorite quote and why?
"The only thing that is necessary for evil to triumph is for men of good will to do nothing." -- Edmund Burke

This is not only quite apropos to the superhero genre, but is also a reminder to all of us that we can have an effect upon the world around us by the decisions that we make.  "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" is a similar sentiment.  Perhaps that is why, after wading through countless media stories of humanity’s inconsideration of one another, we are reassured when we hear or read about a kindness shown to a stranger or the personal dignity shown by a destitute person who returns a large sum of money they found.

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