I felt like a tremendous success as a writer. So I took the obvious next step: In the late summer of 2000, I quit my stifling bourgeois job to make my living solely through my skill with a pen.

Note: Kids, don't try this at home. Never, ever believe your own hype. Especially when you have no health insurance, and you are living in a group house where you regularly find yourself relieving yourself in the back yard because the water is turned off for non-payment. Again. This is harder on the setters than the pointers, if you catch my drift.

Today, there are many gaming reporters who have no other means of support. Some of the most successful are exclusively web reporters. However, if I had done five minutes of research, I would have discovered that at the time of my grand experiment, most of them still had their day jobs, or a nest egg carefully hatched from years at very nice day jobs. If they didn't have a job or savings, they were married to people with jobs and health insurance.

I didn't know enough to care. Click-through advertising paid the hosting bills. I swore a lot. The editor I worked for was 17 years old, and it didn't matter; if anyone knew, they didn't care. All that mattered was the quality of the ideas, anyway. Boy, girl, fat, thin, dweeb, stud, disabled, jock - could you type fast enough to keep up with the conversation? Were you funny? Could you stand above the crowd? It was the brilliance of the internet and the potential and hope it gave to all of us who were there.

image

The trouble is potential doesn't buy dog kibble. The site hosting bills got paid, but mine didn't. My only income was from print media, and yet most of the work I was doing went online.

By failing to treat what I was doing as a serious business, I cost myself a lot of cash. I made a lot of long distance calls to interview sources without keeping track of the money they were costing. (In hindsight, I should not have called Waggaworld in Canada, or at least I should have asked them to call me.) Before long, my long distance service got turned off along with the water. I needed a story lead I could chase down in person without spending any money.

My best case scenario involved an MMOG company in my local calling area of Northern Virginia, and to my surprise, there was such an animal - Mythic Entertainment. Sony Online Entertainment they were not. I emailed the "Media" address and got a gentleman named Matt Firor. I emailed the "Jobs" address and got Hiring Manager Matt Firor. When I called the producer's phone number and he answered, I started to suspect this was not a big outfit.

The nature of gaming news on the web was changing around this time. Pure ranting had reached a point of diminishing returns, both because reader expectations were higher, and the common themes had been done to death. Developers rarely spoke to anyone but the most widely-known sites, so it was hard to get in touch with anyone directly. We who were not mainstream enough to be "serious" but no longer niche enough to rely on swearing alone had to find a balance between the bile and real reporting.

Dark Age of Camelot was the first game I previewed with a hybrid approach. The people at Mythic had clearly played everything available in the genre and were looking for "evolution, not revolution." They were refreshingly free of the rock star attitude that failed to deliver anything but fake tits at E3, and they took nothing seriously but game production. There were fewer than 20 employees at the company, a staggeringly low number, even for the time.

It was after my "Camelot: Revisited" article in 2001 that Mythic offered me a job. The job didn't have a title when I interviewed, but they wanted someone to do grassroots marketing, manage the web media, process feedback, communicate the news and act as a liaison to the players.

RELATED CONTENT
Comments on