In honor of Everquest's tenth anniversary, WarCry will be featuring several days' worth of interviews and a screenshot retrospective.
Today, WarCry begins with an interview with Lydia Pope, who has been with Everquest from the beginning. In her role as Community Manager, she has the inside track for great anecdotes. Lydia will be featured prominently in this week's celebration.
We've heard it said that you are the 'grand old dame' of SOE and EverQuest. First off, what do you think of the title?
Is that what someone called me? I'm not sure I want any title referring to me as being an old dame, though I suppose it's true in some regard. There are others that have considered me the SOE Historian - that title I think I'm more comfortable with. :)
Secondly, give us what you suspect are the reasons behind the glorious title.
Well, I guess people might give me that title because I have been around EQ and the company since back in the day when it was still Verant. It became SOE in 2000. I first was connected with the company during the days of Tanarus, being in beta in 1998. I got into EverQuest in the first phase of the original beta back in 1998, and, I started working on EQ in May of 1999. There are many people in the company that have been here longer than I have though. I know most people in the company and who to talk to for what. I also know the history of projects and even when I don't know the exact answer someone is looking for, I usually know where to find it. Just the other day someone told me that they use to tell people, "Just call Lydia I'm sure she knows..." and I did! I have my own archives of various projects, lore, and random information. I never throw anything away; keeping most of my email, old documents, old pictures, etc. I also have a really good memory!
Tell us a bit about your background with the EverQuest community and SOE. How have your duties changed over the years?
Over the past 10 years, I have worked in various positions in the company including, Game Master, Senior Game Master, Lead Game Master, Quest & Events Master, and Game Designer and Community Relations Manager. I have worked on many of our games including EverQuest, EverQuest II, EverQuest Online Adventures, PlanetSide, Tanarus and a little bit for Star Wars Galaxies and Vanguard. As a community manager, I have helped out in some aspects on all of our games, as does everyone in our department.
How involved are you with the website and its continually changing content?
See all the content over there changing? That's me doing the changing! Getting back to that historian title, I've also been referred to as a lore guru. While I won't pretend to know everything there is to know about the lore of the huge world that is Norrath, I do know a lot. I also collect every resource I can possibly get my hands on. Having worked as a designer on the game in the past, I have oodles upon oodles of documentation. I actually created the Player Nexus on the EQPlayers website so that I can have a place to start storing all the information that I have in folders and in my head!
So you've been there from the start hmmm? What do you think of the game today as compared to 10 years ago?
I think the game world of EverQuest (across all the games) has become so vast; it has become more of a lifestyle rather than a game. Each year as the world grows with new areas and new content, the world expands into something that cannot be compared to. The community for each of the EverQuest worlds grows stronger and closer together. The lore of the game gets even deeper and more intriguing each day. I think the "game" is like one of those bunnies that just keeps going, and going, and will continue to go for quite some time.
Any favorite in-game memories?
My favorite in-game memory for my play characters was acquiring my Flowing Black Robe for my wizard back in beta. I drooled over them for so long and the day I finally got one, I was nearly in tears! In general, I think my favorite memory was the Bloody Kithicor battle. I was GM on The Rathe at the time and Alan "Brenlo" Crosby was a guide on the server. The whole series itself was very complex and lore-driven. It was great portraying some of the characters and watching the players enjoy the series. The final battle took place in the Kithicor Forest. I got to portray Innoruuk! In this event, Innoruuk cast spells that basically killed everyone. Unfortunately, due to unforeseen reasons, it also killed the server! The funny thing is when people returned to the game, they created roleplay reasons of why the server crashed. Behind the scenes, we were cleaning up things for a few days. I'm just glad that the community was able to enjoy the event. It's one of those events that if you were there, you'll never forget it.
Any favorite 'forum moments'?
*smiles with an evil grin* Shortly after I took over as Community Manager for EQ, I created my special area on the forums called The Torture Chamber, but I didn't make a post right away. Community members started creating threads in the there with all sorts of conspiracy theories and display of fear. The torture had commenced!
In your estimation, what have been the best community events over the years?
Actually, one of my favorite events was back when I was a GM on The Rathe. The server population there was full of role-players, to my delight! This was back in 1999. A series of role-play events ended in a Guild War between dark and light. Several people left their guilds to choose a side and then one of the biggest battles in EverQuest history took place in the Commonlands with Zatozia the Torturess right there in the middle there to enjoy the bloodshed.
What is the most satisfying part of your job?
What makes me feel good at the end of the day is seeing people enjoy content, activities or news I provided for them in-game or out-of-game. I must admit, it's also fun having people bow down to me at Fan Faires!
What's the best prank that an SOE-ite has played on another?
During people's birthday's people like to fill up each others cubes or offices with various toys, balloons, streamers, etc. However, Jason "Pex" Ryan and I once baby-proofed Aimee "Ashlanne" Rekoske's cubicle one time. We cut up those long pool noodles and fastened them to the edges of her desk and walls. She left it like that for days. The funny thing is, she actually bumped into one of the walls of her cubed that same day. No fret though, the pool noodles came to the rescue! She kept the noodles on her desk for a while. Even though she doesn't have them there anymore, they still linger around the office. Ashlanne has a bit of a problem with standing and walking correctly. *ducks from a pool noodle*