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Trisha Lacey's Blog

Obstacles are inefficient, follow your intuition, free your inner soul and break away from tradition…Let’s get it started in here!

-Black Eyed Peas


So this week, I have been busy living my real life and haven’t had a lot of time for WoW.  But today at lunch, I had a great conversation with Chris J. Fox (one of my main partners in crime at work and the one that got me started on WoW) about different online games and what makes them successful.  He actually has a ton of thoughts about it, but I won’t go into that here, as he needs to start his own blog and go into all that himself. 

What I do want to mention though is we got onto the topic of how some online games, when they start running out of new content, instead of rapidly innovating new things to keep people engaged they just tweak the mobs, making them impossible to kill by yourself.


This was something that was really interesting to me in the sense of community, as it seems to me that these games are trying to force community by making it impossible to be successful otherwise. (There was more conversation that lead to this conclusion, but hey, there is only so much I can type).  In the MMORPG realm, it is definitely known that the community aspect is part of what keeps people engaged.  What really struck me though, is that the way they are going about it just isn’t a successful model.  Instead, it makes people feel pissed off because they can’t be successful on their own, and they feel forced to try and find groups to do stuff. 


One of the great things about WoW is that it creates an environment where, for the most part, I can do everything by myself to get to the top levels, but if I do want to group and do things faster or more easily, the opportunities are there.  I was actually quite resistant to talking to other players and grouping when I first started playing WoW because of a previous experience in online gaming that culminated in a wedding at an underground waterfall and lot’s of standing around “chatting” without a lot of actually running around killing stuff, but that is a different story. 


Nevertheless, with the way WoW has set it up, I can group, and socially interact with people, just as much as I am comfortable with.  Right now, I just form quest groups that are short term just to complete one or 2 quests.  Eventually, I might join a guild so I can do some of the higher level content (I mean damn, there are some instances that need 40 people at one time to complete!). Regardless, it definitely benefits me because I can do higher level content and level up much faster than I could on my own.


So anyway, I have been in my role for not quite a year now, and I have learned a ton by getting out there and talking to people about community.  One of the things I have heard more than once is that people worry that Microsoft is trying to “make” (ie force) community, or “do things” to the community and what have you.  Man, you guys really do think we are evil, don’t you?! J


In reality though, I feel the same way about the developer community as WoW seems to feel about its player’s communities.  It isn’t something to control or manage, instead it is something to enable, support and promote.  I want to help enable opportunities for community collaboration to occur.  I want to make sure to provide funding in the areas that I can to help the community be easily successful.  Additionally, and this is where the marketing comes in, I want to make sure that the awesome things that are going on in the community are promoted so that other people can discover and benefit from them as well.


Basically, I want to help make sure developers have the knowledge they need to be successful in their jobs, because let’s face it, no one wants to suck at their job.  The awesome developer community around MS is definitely one of the best resources to success.  So with that – if you aren’t part of a User Group, or haven’t been to a meeting in a while – get back out there!  You can find a list of UGs here.  If you have never been to a CodeCamp, you are definitely missing out and should plan to attend the next one.  You can find a list of upcoming camps here:  There are lots of awesome things going on out there that you can get involved in, but of course, only if you want to. J


So now, I am about an hour away from the end of this fiscal year (which should explain my reflective post).  I came into this role a few months into the fiscal year, and since my predecessor had left the company suddenly, I really did get thrown in.  I basically spent the first 2 months of my job going around asking people what I was supposed to be doing.


Going into this next year, I feel like I finally have a clue.  I don’t know about you guys, but I feel more excited about my life and my job than I ever have.  I think the next 12 months are going to be awesome.


So with that, I am going to go out tonight and do some real life grouping with some of my best girlfriends.  We are going to start out at a show, something called Iron Composer which I have heard is awesome and then hopefully go out and shake our groove things until the sun comes up.  I plan to spend some time on WoW this weekend, as I miss Ravindra.  I am also probably going to spend some time over on Duskwood, where Alexander & Julian, along with a bunch of the Developer Evangelists and other cool softies play.  I just can’t stand to miss out on the community! ;)


I hope you all have a fabulous holiday weekend and I will talk to you next week.


PS – One final note – I want to give a special shout out to Jason Olson – congrats on your new job, and welcome!


Posted on Friday, June 30, 2006 1:22 PM | Back to top

Comments on this post: It's the end, but it is also the beginning

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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Thanks Trisha :). That shout out just made me smile :). Also hearing about "a bunch of the Developer Evangelists and other cool softies play"(ing) on Duskwood really makes me want to start up WoW again. Geez! I just bought Titan Quest :).

Although I have a strong feeling that I won't have that much time for gaming as I come up to speed with my new job for the first few months!

Hey, you work on campus? If so, what building? I would love to drop by and at least say hi once I'm working on campus.
Left by Jason Olson on Jun 30, 2006 2:09 PM

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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Hey, looks like you're kickin' ass at MS - congrats!

I've (so far) avoided the WoW bug, unlike just about every one of my coworkers...

Anywho, just thought I would say hi!
Left by Ryan Miller on Jul 04, 2006 9:55 AM

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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Hey... don't forget me... I'm on Duskwood too... although I'm not a softie (yet?)

Look for an undead Warrior named Gaarrgghh
and that'll be me. (Still in the low levels, but working on it...)
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 07, 2006 5:35 AM

# re: This is the end... My only friend, the end...
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I saw your first post a couple weeks back and read part of it and thought, "That's cool, someone adding some interesting gaming content to mix things up a bit here on GWB." I'm not a gamer at all. I keep saying I'm too busy for any of that. I don't even own a television. (But I do have a nice high definition projector set up for movies.)

Anyway, from this post I find out that you're way into evangelism at MS! That's cool. Maybe you know Tim Heuer out in Phoenix. I work quite a bit with him and Scott Cate to put together events in the Phoenix area. I agree with what you say about Code Camp -- if you haven't been out to one, definitely go check it out. Present a session on something you love, and drink in that great community atmosphere. It's like Woodstock, just for geeks instead of hippies. We had so much fun with our last one in May that we're planning another for October, and hope to have them every 6 months.

Nice to hear about your experiences and passion for community. Maybe I'll meet you at a conference sometime.
Left by Lorin Thwaits on Jul 07, 2006 12:32 PM

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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Jason - There's always time for gaming. ;) And yes, I am on campus, just look me up in ye olde address book and set up some time for lunch or something. I would love to get together!

Ryan - Wow, long time no talk. I hope you are doing well. You should send me an email and we will go hang out! You can send it to my hotmail if you remember what it is. :)

Chris - Have you joined the GWB guild yet? If not, get to joining. :) I will be over there eventually to play.

Lorin - Silly, silly. We have already met, you obviously just don't remember. Tsk, tsk. Ask Tim who I am. :)

Left by tlacey on Jul 07, 2006 12:42 PM

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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Hmmm... Maybe it was at the White Lotus during the last PDC... BTW that was quite a cool event. What an excellent ice sculpture! Took me back to being a kid again how it has a built-in krazy straw. And the great sushi, wow.
Left by Lorin Thwaits on Jul 08, 2006 12:43 AM

# re: It's the end, but it is also the beginning
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I sent it to an addy that I think is still yours... mine's ryanbmiller at hotmail dot com.
Left by Ryan Miller on Jul 12, 2006 5:47 AM

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