WES LOCHER RECENTLY published the ebook Braving Britannia, about the seminal MMO Ultima Online, which he played obsessively for 5 years. Unlike maximum videogame books, which consciousness on recreation design or gameplay strategies, Braving Britannia is an oral record, accumulating fond recollections from dozens of gamers.
“I turned into constantly curious about the people you will meet, the random humans you’ll run into during the game,” Locher says in Episode 353 of the Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy podcast. “I usually thought, what do these humans do after they leave this journey we’ve shared? Who are they in the back of the screen, and what do they prefer about this sport that has affected me a lot?”
As more and more of our lives occur in virtual areas, it becomes increasingly critical to catalog and contextualize those studies. Locher’s recommendation for aspiring videogame folklorists is to discover the players’ lives outdoor the sport and inside it.
“Don’t just get in, ask them 20 questions, and get out,” he says. “Understand where they got here from, how they grew up, what their life became like outside of the sport, and what struggles they were having. All of that emotion informs their existence tale, after which goes into the game.”
While e-book-length journalism about video games continues to be exceedingly rare, Locher points to Galaxies ordinary James Crosby and Empires of Eve by Andrew Groen as proof of a growing trend. Another principal determines in this place is David L. Craddock, who has written entire books committed to Diablo, Quake, and Shovel Knight. “He does remarkable interviews,” Locher says. “He writes compellingly and thrillingly. I possibly absolutely ripped him off after I wrote my ebook. He turned into the form of my guiding light.”
Locher is simply getting began when it comes to chronicling the arena of Ultima Online. He is trying to find out new stories to encompass in a coming near sequel to Braving Britannia.
“The sport has been walking for twenty years,” he says. “There are so many stories to be informed. There were loads of thousands of players all through its records, and people are nonetheless obsessed on it.”
Listen to the complete interview with Wes Locher in Episode 353 of Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy (above). And test out some highlights from the dialogue under.
Wes Locher on publishing:
“I talked to multiple book publishers—I became looking to move the conventional path, to peer if any individual should post it, maybe get it into stores, that sort of thing. Some area of expertise publishers work, especially with videogames, and it wasn’t that no one wanted it. Some humans desired it to be modified into something that wouldn’t be the fine way to provide it. And there had been other people who had their ideas. For instance, I submitted it to 1 writer who wrote lower back and stated, ‘Have you idea approximately writing a book approximately Minecraft as a substitute?’ And I said, ‘No, I haven’t,’ in which case they were no longer fascinated. … So I stated I’d simply launch the ebook myself, after which moreover I’ll get to preserve all of the money from it.”
Wes Locher on players behaving badly:
“A lot of the early reports with the sport were crowd manipulate, extra or much less. There’s a certain humorous anecdote from Raph Koster in the e-book wherein he says that it simply sort of has become chaos within 10 minutes of beginning the game. Everybody just straight away started killing each other. Nobody turned into doing the quests; no person changed into having the adventures; it the just natural pandemonium. And then Starr Long tells a thrilling anecdote approximately how the first gamers he watched that entered the sport right away began a prostitution ring. So you may plan all you want, and you can try to supply gamers this particular experience, but on the cease of the day, they’re going to do regardless of the heck they want to do.”
Wes Locher on cultural differences:
“All around the sector, simultaneously, the town of Trinsic went underneath attack, and gamers had been supposed to reveal up and combat the coolest fight and keep the day, however regardless of what passed off, their fiction turned into that they would lose. … The Americans got here in guns blazing; everybody’s fighting, everyone needs the personal glory. Unfortunately, no one’s working collectively at all, so the metropolis becomes overrun fantastically speedy, and the event changed over after just a couple of hours. Whereas in Japan, whilst the precise identical wave of monsters hit, they have been very organized and disciplined. They had the and crafters there to fix weapons and offer new ones, and they honestly held off the invasion because they knew what they were doing. And then the UK model of the same occasion, the players shrugged their shoulders and said, ‘Eh,’ and just let the city locating.”
Wes Locher on the network:
“We all need to be part of a network, we need to be popular and discover folks who are like us, and Ultima Online changed into the form of the beginning of that. It turned into an area where you didn’t need to go out and combat in a dungeon; you didn’t need to exit and rescue the innkeeper’s daughter. You ought to spend all your time simply putting out with your pals, whether or not that became in your private home or a financial institution in one of the most important cities, or you may sit around and knit clothes in case you wanted to. So it truly was the first new release of a sport that can help you do what you wanted to do, and in doing so, you were capable of locating folks that shared commonplace hobbies. There’s a cause that we form guilds and shape clans and form groups in those games because we want to have those relationships and share those experiences with other humans.”