|DOUBLEGOLD vs. MAGGIE THE JACKCAT
...the First Lady of Asheron's Call
Maggie was one of the first people we wanted to
interview for the site, based on her zeal for the game and her professional touch.
Maggie took time out of her busy schedule (real life + website + AC + job = one busy
lady!) to answer some of our questions relating to her life, her interests and of course,
a good dose of Asheron's Call.
Lets take a look at our interview with Maggie the Jackcat...
DOUBLEGOLD : Was AC your first experience with
an online MMORPG? If not, tell us about your previous experience.
MAGGIE THE JACKCAT: No. My first online
MMORPG was Ultima Online. I used
to play Backgammon and Chess on the Zone
way back when with a friend of mine. He told me about this cool new online game and we
both signed up. I played for about a year and a half before leaving. Although there were a
lot of things I liked about the game, it eventually stopped being fun for me. It was just
a little too much like work sometimes! The skill decay was a drag for a casual player and
the PK situation at the time was pretty bad.
DG: Did you take part in AC Beta and if so, please
tell us about your first character and how the experience was.
MAGGIE: Yes! I started in Beta 0. I
had signed up on the web somewhere. Frankly, I didn't have a clue how I managed to get in.
I finally decided it was because my computer system was so god-awful and they needed to
test the low end. My first character was absolutely pitiful. I got LOST in the Tutorial
dungeon (in those days, you entered the game already inside the dungeon and there were no
helpful big green arrows pointing the way). White rats were everywhere; they squeaked and
squeaked and jumped at you worse than sticky, and wouldn't go away!! I hacked dutifully
away at them with my practice sword, thinking to myself, "I just don't really get
this game." I was eventually rescued (PITIFUL), and led to the surface... where it
was *raining*! I could hardly believe it! My world changed forever as I was overtaken by
the wonders of Dereth.
Beta was just as fun as you may have heard. Everything was new and
waiting to be discovered. I tried to play a mage, but had to give it up because I didn't
have the patience to figure out the spells. "Taper Rotation" was a term that was
guarded with the utmost secrecy. Level 25 players were "High Level." The end of
the world was both awesome and hilarious as PK altars appeared in the center of towns and
a comet of fearsome destruction blazed through the sky. Beta was like the first heady rush
of a new love affair. I still love the game, but now it's a deeper, more complex love,
with a richer appreciation of its depths, along with an acknowledgement of its flaws.
DG: From what I understand, the infamous Ned
Cleversun was your first vassal. How did this union come about?
MAGGIE: During one of the Beta
phases they did an "Invite a friend" thing. I invited my friend Ned Cleversun.
Since I had already been playing a while and knew the game better, he became my vassal. I
taught him everything he knows. ;-)
1130 deaths and counting...
DG: Let us in on a secret. does Ned intentionally go
out of his way to get killed? Or is it just natural talent?
MAGGIE: He is a talented fellow, isn't
he? I had my suspicions about this one, but just to clarify things, I asked him! He said
that although he doesn't necessarily go out of his way to get killed, his play style is
such that he often finds himself in situations where an outcome of death is more likely.
He goes for the high risk/high reward strategy. He prefers hunting on the surface where
it's easier to recover his (many) corpses. He rarely fights in dungeons unless he knows
them extremely well. He is an Umbris killing machine.
DG: Tell us about your site. How long have you been
running it, what's the best part about running it? What's the worst?
MAGGIE: I've been running the site for
well over a year now. It really did start as a compilation of spread sheets I had put
together for my vassal. The best part about the site is that I've gotten to meet so many
people because of it. I love the letters I get and how people generously contribute to it,
wanting to be a part of it. The AC community is really top notch. I don't think you'll
find a nicer group of people anywhere on the web. I enjoy the work of it as well. I've
always done the site for my own personal pleasure. I work long hours in a stressful job.
When I play AC or work on the site, it helps me to mentally separate from the stresses of
The worst? My biggest problems have come from people lifting content
from the site. And even worse, when they behave badly when they're called on it. Sometimes
*very* badly!! ;-) Another negative is that I occasionally feel pressure from all the mail
I get, asking for this feature, or that feature, a missing quest, and so forth. I've
occasionally felt obligated, for example, to stay up late to get a patch page out. Then I
am dead tired the next day at work. And cranky! That's always my cue to take a break for a
few days. I don't want to spoil my fun by getting a negative attitude, or feeling that I
*have* to work on the site.
DG: The worst part about running our site is
cleaning whiskey off of Stryker's keyboard.
DG: If you could change one thing about AC, what
would it be?
MAGGIE: The chat interface.
DG: I've read your letters section an noticed how
certain readers are somewhat enamored with you. How does it feel to be an AC sex symbol?
MAGGIE: There's a certain sly humor
to the idea that Maggie the Jackcat is considered a sex symbol. My vassal and I have had a
long running joke about how darn good-looking we are. Maggie is incredibly sexy in her
sleek purple yoroi leggings, swinging her powerful sword. Ned Cleversun in a matty coat?
*swoon* You may have already caught the underlying slyness to the joke. It's simply that
everyone... EVERYONE in the game looks *exactly* the same (excluding faces, of course).
Maggie is attractive, not because of her physical characteristics (which are completely
indistinguishable from any other female character in the game), but for her more
substantive qualities: intelligence, humor, kindness. All sex symbols should be so lucky.
DG: How are those wonderful purple yoroi leggings
MAGGIE: I've still got them! These
days, however, I'm wearing a pair of plate legging in an attractive shade of deep purple.
I outgrew the AL of the Yoroi, but just couldn't part with them. I'm a sentimental fool!
DG: What do you seen in the future for AC in terms of
player base, storylines and updates in light of these new games coming out? Will it
MAGGIE: Sure it will. My guess is it will
still survive after AC2 (if that's what the next game turns out to be) comes out also.
Even though you'll read these gloom and doom posts on various message boards, all about
how AC has declined, the end is near, the sky is falling, it's obvious that the game is as
healthy and vigorous and as strong as ever, and attracting new players every day. I know
this because they write to me all the time!
DG: How did you come to make the contacts that you
have now? Did you meet people through gameplay, or did you directly contact them in an
effort to learn more?
MAGGIE: Both, actually. I met quite
a few people in the normal manner before my web site was very popular. They've remained
in-game friends who will helped me gather info when a new patch rolls around. Many people
write to me, asking if they can help, or they just send stuff they find on their own.
Sometimes I'll hang out in the Hub the day after patch day where people go to be seen.
What good is it, after all, being the first guy on the server to get the cool new quest
item if no one sees you wielding it? I'll @tell people and grill them for data. Many times
they're nice enough to pose for a screenshot and to answer questions for me.
DG: One of your pages best sections in my opinion is the Runway. If
you had to rate one, who would you say had the BEST looking outfit out of all your runway
members. They're all good I know, but if you had to pick one.
MAGGIE: Well of course, it's me!!
;-) Hee hee. Everyone loves the Runway! I promise, I'll try to get back to updating it
regularly. I actually had someone approach me once, asking to do an Interview about the
stupidest things people wore on the Runway. I had to decline. I think the Runway's success
comes in part from the approach I take to the section. People are *very* proud of their
outfits. They've worked hard for their loot. Often a prized piece will have a great story
behind it -- the first time they killed an Olthoi, a treasured gift from their Patron.
They'll build their whole outfit around that one piece. On the Runway, I try to be very
careful to respect the players and respect the genuine affection they have for their
characters and their armor. I may poke gentle fun, but I will never make fun. What you see
on the Runway is people enjoying the game.
DG: I've supplied an image of my AC character Elhajah al-Haj. Now is there any doubt in your mind that he is
the sexiest man in Dereth?
MAGGIE: There's no doubt in my mind
that *you* think he's sexiest man in Dereth. (j/k!) He's a fine looking fellow, indeed.
But in my eyes no one is as attractive as my wonderful vassal, Ned Cleversun.
DG: Dayyum, shot down!!
DG: Who would win in a fight between Ken Troop and
Brad McQuaid (EQ lead dev)?
MAGGIE: In a battle of wit and
words, I'd give it to Troop, hands down. He's got wicked parentheticals. In a real fight?
I don't have a clue. What levels are they? ;-)
DG: I'm not sure, but knowing McQuaid he
probably can't fight for himself and will run to Jeff Butler for help.
DG: How much does running the website dig into your
real life time? We know you don't get much time to play AC these days, but does the site
afford you much free time in your home?
MAGGIE: I try to only work on the
web site, or play AC for that matter, a few nights a week, as a way to keep it both
balanced with my other life duties and do-able long term. When I first started playing the
game I spent *way* too much time in Dereth and played almost every day. I've always tended
to be somewhat obsessive when I pick up new hobbies or interests. Usually by this time,
I'd be on to the next best thing. AC has really had some longevity for me and has held my
interest a remarkably long time.
I've also made some very deliberate decisions about the site which
have enabled me to keep it manageable and maintainable. It's not a news site which would
require daily attention. There are no boards (too time consuming, too much of a headache,
and a need for constant vigilance). I have no staff to manage, only a loose network of
generous contributors. The site is directly controlled by me alone. No conflicts to manage
or solve because my opinion is the only one that matters! ;-)
The hardest decision I made about the site was to decide that I
didn't have to answer all the email I get. I tried for months to keep up with it and it
just got to be a constant stress. The Inbox got more full every day. One friend finally
wrote to me, in response to this terribly apologetic email I had sent, sorry for the
length of time it had taken me to respond to her. She said, "if it's a choice between
writing to me, or updating your site, then please, update the site." So that's the
choice I've made. I know I run the risk of offending some of my visitors, but it was the
only way I could retain my sanity! I try to always recognize my contributors, and express
my deep appreciation for the letters and screenshots, and to get everything they send me
up on the site eventually, even if the delay is sometimes lengthy.
DG: Will theJackcat.com be around when AC2 hits the
MAGGIE: If I'm still having fun,
it's quite likely to be.
DG: Some questions more directed at you personally.
What's your favorite movie?
MAGGIE: I'm a big movie person. I could
never pick just one. Here's a few favorites: Casablanca, Lawrence of Arabia, An Affair to
Remember (Deborah Kerr version), Roman Holiday, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Star
DG: Favorite foods?
MAGGIE: Chocolate, Coca Cola, Good
steak cooked rare to medium rare, Potatoes (any form), black bean soup, roasted
vegetables, crab cakes, tuna on the grill, plums, Captain Crunch.
DG: Tell us your most warm and fuzzy memory of AC?
MAGGIE: I've got lots and lots of
warm and fuzzy AC memories: the first time Ned Cleversun and I went hunting together,
corpse rescues, quest adventures with various Allegiances. One of my very favorite fun
nights ever was the time Danier took Ned
Cleversun and me PK-ing.
DG: What's the official word on CoD?
MAGGIE: No official comment.
DG: Finally, tell us something about yourself that no
one would believe in a million years.
MAGGIE: I could tell you... but
then I'd have to kill you. ;)
DG: Nevermind then...
Our thanks again to Maggie for her wonderful interview, and for being very very
patient with us when we feared for sure she was going to call the police on us.
Maggie is one of those great people who make Asheron's Call one of the best community
oriented games out there, and even though myself and Stryker have left the game for
more... anarchic worlds, we still hold very fond memories of the game and will definitely
be here for the AC players in a news oriented fashion. For more information on
Maggie, visit her kick ass, fabulous site here.
(fenris - june 12, 2001)