I’m warning you, the below may ruin your day.

Around two years ago I was fortunate enough to meet David and Trisha Creekmore. Trisha and David were players of Warhammer Online, exemplifying the phrase “the couple who plays together stays together” in every possible way. They not only played video games together, they celebrated life together, travelling the world with their daughters, sharing new experiences that every family should, but all as quickly as possible.

You see, Trisha has cancer.

She’s been fighting this particular epic mob for some time now, always facing this terrible disease with  grace and digni…

No…wait…

Actually she was usually screaming “EFF YOU CANCER” while getting on a plane to some far off place like an African Safari or southeast Asia or god only knows where. This is what impressed me the most about Trisha. She’s never shown that she felt bad for herself and she never tolerated anyone feeling bad for her (quite the contrary; she doesn’t want anyone to pity her, something I still respect to this day). She grasps life by the short hairs and told it to hold on for dear life because this was going to be one hell of a ride.

We’re talking about a woman who was so loved by the Warhammer Community (and any other game she played) that they raliied, in game, by the hundreds when she was suffering through chemo to show their support. As the Community Manager, I received dozens of messages about this Community event and how so many people were rallying around “Tinkerhell” as Trisha was known in the Community. We were so inspired by this epic level of Community supporting Community that we added a special dye into the game (much to the chagrin of Games Workshop, but hey, it was an official Citadel color, and for an amazing cause so…NYAH) along with some special “Tink” themed NPCs to sell them.

A few weeks following all of this, Trisha and David came by the Mythic studio as part of her Year of Surprises. Trisha and David both seemed immediately comfortable and at home at the studio. Not once did discussion of cancer or chemo or any of the RL stuff she was going through come up. Nope…we talked about gaming, about their family, about their travels and about other general nerdish stuff. We laughed, we did a tour of the studio, we grabbed lunch and then we came back to the studio to bid the Creekmores adieu. But not before Carrie Gouskos, the producer of WAR, and I got to sign the most epic autographs ever.

Like many in the Community, I’ve kept in touch with Trisha on Facebook and followed their exploits on David’s blog; It’s a Creekmore World. I watched along in amazement as they’ve fought this terrible disease and celebrated life every step of the way. Through it all, Trisha has never lost her sense of humor nor her amazing ability to spit in the eye of cancer. Also, there’s some pretty amazing pictures of David in a tutu while on African safari. Yes, you read that right.

It’s been up and down. Trisha has been in and out of the hospital at various points throughout the last few years, but she’s always rallied and went on to her next amazing adventure.

This morning I read that Trisha entered hospice care.

I won’t lie. This hit like a ton of bricks. I’m not close friends by any definition of the word to the Creekmores, but I’ve always felt a connection and relation to their escapes through the common string of us all being gamers. Thanks to Facebook, I’ve been able to vicariously live their adventures and to occasionally chat with Trisha in the comments of her posts or photos. I feel the bond that we all feel with each other as humans, gamers, parents, husbands and wives; one of shared experiences.

I know Trisha doesn’t want any pity. I know that she’s an intensely proud woman who has fought every day of her life for the last 8 years. I would never say anything to diminish that. What I will say is this as she prepares to embark on her next great adventure;

You rock Tinkerhell. You inspire me Tinkerhell.

If you’re on Twitter, do me a favor. Tweet something awesome and supportive (but not pitying) to @creekmoreworld with the hashtag #pinkfortink. Show Trisha the love that we all did 2 years ago.

To David, Trisha and the rest of your family; Thank you for sharing your adventures with all of us. It’s been amazing to read along and to share a warm smile with everyone who frequents your blog.

Also, boobs.

By now everyone has read about the ill advised pissing contest one Ocean Marketing got into with the good fellows over at Penny Arcade. If you haven’t, go ahead and Google “I Wwebsite as on the internet”, I’ll wait.

Done?

  • First question: How could you work PR in the gaming industry and not know who Mike Krahulik is?
  • Second question: How could you work PR in any industry and not know how to properly formulate a coherent sentence?
  • Third, and possibly the most important, question: Why, just why?!?!
There’s a few lessons I hope we’ve all learned from this entire thing:
  •  Know the Mayor of Boston? Awesome! We know the internet. Literally. The whole internet: No matter how big of a deal you think you are in your particular neck of the woods, the internet is full of people who sit in dark rooms with Photoshop preloaded and Reddit/4chan on their bookmarks bar.In this line of work, there’s a danger of buying  into your own hype. I try to keep myself humble by reminding myself of the following on a daily basis: “If you’re going to believe everyone who tells you that you’re a rockstar, you better be prepared to believe everyone that tells you you’re an asshole.” (gratuitously paraphrased from something Sanya told me once at a kids birthday party). Never believe that you’re above reproach or that for one minute you’re any different from the people (nee; players) you represent/are speaking to. The minute you think you’re untouchable, the internet will unleash its full Pedobear-y wrath upon you and grind you into a fine powder to be sprinkled liberally over that helping of humble pie that’s now sitting in front of you.
  • The minute you become bigger than the product you represent, you cease to be effective: Does anyone know what product Ocean Marketing, Excuse me, Ocean Strategy, Excuse me…wait, where did they go? (way to not understand how Twitter works Paul).The Avenger Controller is actually a pretty badass gaming peripheral. It’s made for folks who have a difficult time using a standard console controller and it’s various buttons, and from what I’ve read about it, it’s very much so desired by gamers with disabilities. This thing was invented by a teacher using rubber bands and popsicle sticks! He’s like a MacGuyver for nerds!Point is, this really cool product has been completely overshadowed by the unfortunate behavior of Paul.Which is why this didn’t surprise anyone at all last night:

  • Your words have an affect on everyone around you: As part of my responsibilities at work, I run a class on the do’s and don’ts of public interaction as a representative of a studio. We cover everything from forum interaction to emails/private messages to Facebook, Twitter or whatever social media tool you choose to use. Every time I teach this course, I always perform a little exercise where I have the attendees look at each other. I then remind them that the words they say can have an impact on not only their jobs, but the jobs of everyone around them. Anything you say publicly, especially as game developers, has an impact on your Community, your game, and consequently, your studios success.

    Yes, your words effect your coworkers, your product, your game…and your family. It’s hard to support a family in this industry. The hours can be challenging, the work can be stressful, your wife might have to put up with countless memes references with her only response being a confused look…where was I? Oh, yeah…The last thing you want to do is to jeopardize your ability to provide for your family, which I believe Paul realized a bit too late.

    “…If you can please accept my apology and anything you can do to help if not me my son and wife please do. I have apologized to Dave and apologized to you what else can I do please tell me so I can make things good. I obviously care or I would not be emailing you.”

  • There is no such thing as privacy on the internet…ever: Your random ramblings, rantings and angry emails are never guaranteed to be private, or stay private, no matter how locked down your privacy settings are, no matter how carefully you choose who to friend…also, you should probably check the cc; recipients. If one of them has an @kotaku.com email address, you should probably err on the side of caution. JUST SAYIN.

Hi there.

So there’s the blog thing that I toyed with for awhile, and then I didn’t do anything with it. I suppose some explanation is required or, at least, expected.

As many of you know (and if you didn’t, read the description of the blog) I am a Community Manager. I spend most of my day speaking publicly, my words and actions representing a studio. For people like me, a blog, or any type of public venue whereby you express opinion for that matter, can often times be considered a liability. There’s inherent risk in allowing myself to speak candidly about current events, my day to day interactions or the frelling traffic that I sit in every frelling day for upwards of an hour…but I digress.

As Community Managers, we spend so much of our time speaking for others, digesting the feedback and reporting it, and managing the messaging that often times our own voices and id becomes…distant. It’s a willing sacrifice that we make to pursue the career that we love but there are times that it wears on you. The times that you want, very much, to troll someone back, to snap, to just pound the keyboard with reckless abandon are always (or at least they should be ;)) brought into perspective by the fact that you still need to put food on the table and a roof over the head of you and your family, where applicable.

There are however moments of Catharsis.

From time to time, I will pop open a notepad file and type…I will type all of the things that are frustrating me. I type every snarky, mean, nasty, vitriolic response that I have ever wanted to type to someone who has the temerity to judge me on a personal level. I type a message to the person who *just* *doesn’t* *get* *it* and kindly ask them to please OH DEAR GOD LEARN TO READ THE WORDS THAT ARE COMING OUT OF MY MOUTH AUUUUUGHAUUUUUUGHAUUUUUGH….

After I have returned to breathing at normal levels and my keyboard has stopped smoking I take a step back.

And I get perspective.

It’s cleansing to allow yourself these brief respites into madness, necessary in some ways.

And since I can’t drink, I quit smoking and I’m not eating red meat anymore, you should all count yourselves lucky I’m not pulling a Jay and Silent Bob…

I'm looking at you Magnolia-Fan

What was I talking about?

Oh…I haven’t blogged in awhile because I got really busy, took a new job, moved across country, got really busy again and generally have been doing other things than allowing myself the time to put figurative pen to figurative paper.

We’ll see if this sticks.

This post may seem entirely ironic coming from me, but it’s truth is (in my eyes) inarguable.

The recent influx of media fueled interruptions has really got me shaking my head and pulling a Picard facepalm here. As I watch the Facebook links and catch up on TDS on Hulu, I’m saddened and baffled that people think that what we are sensationalizing is acceptable behavior by todays societal norms.

Kanye West’s recent outburst at the VMA’s, Congressman Joe Wilson’s outburst during the President of the United States’ speech, The countless angry and rather vociferous outbursts at the numerous “Town Hall” meetings across our fair country and the almost inconceivable fear fueled babble coming out of the “Washington Tea Party” is building up to what promises to be the embolism of embolisms in my frontal lobe.

At what point did we decide that the mindless yawing that is produced on “teh intarwebz” is acceptable behavior for polite society? When did we decide that telling an elected official of Jewish heritage that President Obama is the equivalent of a modern day Hitler was acceptable for a public venue?

Through this cacophony of impoliteness of tactlessness I have come to one conclusion: as an intarwebz professional, I have only myself to blame. I have politely stood by and born the brunt of all of the slings and arrows of the internet population, smiling all along, politely responding and at times, acquiescing to their demands and ultimatums. By my reactions and responses to said behavior I have validated it and furthered its perpetuation throughout society.

That being said, I would like to apologize, to the world, for helping to unleash this recent wave of abrupt behavior. While I cannot promise to cease or desist in my efforts to further legitimize this mindset, it is my job to do so, I am deeply sympathetic for the behavior of certain denizens of the internet bleeding into every day society.

There is a time and a place for brutal honesty, I agree. There is a time and a place to call someone out, on this I also agree. However, there is also a time and place for tact and dignity, which seems to be lacking in today’s beleaguered public discourse.

*DISCLAIMER: This is not a political rant. I don’t care about your politics, I don’t want to know your opinion on Health Care,  just like I doubt you give two shakes of a lamb’s tail about mine. This is a rant on the degrading of politeness in our society, nothing more.

So evidently someone found my little corner of the intarwebz.

I guess I need to post a disclaimer about things I write here. This is my personal blog, not my “industry” blog where I gossip about so and so and give my readers juicy inside information. This blog is simply the ramblings of a thirtysomething father of two who happens to work in the gaming industry. Ok, so that’s not 100% true, there will be some observations about industry stuff, but that’s it.

Really.

I swear.

Also, as much as I love my community, I won’t answer any game specific questions, nor will I address “PLZ FIX THIS NAU” responses here. I love you all, but I need some “me” time.

The community I represent has seen a recent decline in the number of bloggers it has. This is a monumentally sad thing for me as I’ve always seen blogs as an extension of the “real” player base, not the vocal minority you find on message boards. Generally speaking, and I realize there are exceptions, bloggers are the average every day folks who play on a relatively “normal” (all things are relative) schedule. Thus, their views and opinions can often give insight into the actual pulse of the player base.

It saddens me to see certain people basically give up on a game, saddens me even more if there is a chance I helped contribute to it, but I can understand frustration. I love the game I work on, and I know deep in the bottom of my heart that we have a lot of new and exciting things happening, but I also know that gamers, especially MMO gamers, can be a fickle bunch, as well they have the right to be. In today’s market there is little margin for error when it comes to pleasing your subscribers. Rarely will lightning strike twice, as it has for CCP/EVE lately, and what was once considered normal attrition is now super hyped and sensationalized as if to make it seem that a game is failing when in all reality its doing well and making money. But I digress…

What’s the future to hold for our blogging community? Well, my golden lining voice is telling me that “they’ll be baaaack”, sooner rather than later. Why? Because I’ve rarely seen such a supportive and tight knit group of bloggers before and I can’t imagine that if we, as a company, give them good reason to come back that they wouldn’t.

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