And just when you thought I’d forgotten… Ta da! I’m back with another fabulous interview! When I was at Arkship in February, I had the pleasure of meeting a lot of the Carbine folks. They are some of the most awesome people you’d ever hope to hang out with. Troy Hewitt is no exception and I was impressed with his enthusiasm and genuine interest in what the players think and want. Having a responsive production team is so going to be the icing on the cake that is Wildstar!
About Troy Hewitt
After 7 years of real-world community building for the YMCA, Troy Hewitt transitioned to games, accumulating over 10 years of experience in online community building around MMOs. Currently Troy serves as the Community Director and Producer at Carbine Studios working on WildStar!
Read on for Troy’s Starshine interview!
Maer: How long have you worked for Carbine?
Troy: This January will be my five year anniversary here at Carbine! They hired me early in the development process because they were committed to the idea of building a healthy community early in the process. Being imbedded in the production side of things was incredibly educational for me, but community building is my one true love.
Maer: That is so cool. What I saw of production team made me wish I could work at Carbine just to hang out. So, where did you work before joining the Wildstar team?
Troy: I worked with a great group of people in Seattle at a studio called Flying Lab Software. We published a game called Pirates of the Burning Sea, where I coordinated communications and events as the Community Director.
Maer: Titles don’t always tell us about the job, so what exactly do you do?
Troy: Well, as the Community Director/Producer, I do a lot. Fortunately, I have a team of people who are much smarter than I am, so they help make sure we get things done. My role is evolving all of the time, giving me opportunities to work with people across the globe in support of WildStar. I serve as the conduit to our partners in Korea, making sure they’ve got the latest information on the progress we make each milestone.
Maer: Exciting stuff! What inspires you when you’re in creative mode?
Troy: I do my best work when I’m able to collaborate with a group of excited, fun and interesting people. The bulk of my creative efforts are spent working with groups, and I find I prefer collaborating with people over solitary creative efforts. That said, there’s nothing like a nice bottle of wine and some familiar music to help get the creative wheels turning.
Maer: Indeed. What is your favorite thing about your job?
Troy: Interacting with fans, hands down. It energizes me!
Maer: I’ve seen you in action, so I totally believe that! With such a busy schedule, how much game time do you get?
Troy: Not nearly enough. My day consists of meetings scheduled over meetings while I’m in meetings, but I try to get in the game as often as possible.
Maer: Troy, how did you get into working for MMOs?
Troy: My background is human services, having worked at the YMCA for 7 years. I was also an avid gamer, playing a lot of Ultima Online. I remember there being a big community scandal, and I was watching how their community manager at the time handled the communication when it dawned on me: I could do that!
So, I applied for a community gig working on MxO, and before I knew it, I was a legit community manager.
Maer: I love that you started as a gamer because I think qualified gamers do a better job working for MMO companies, than the suits who might never play. Do you still play other games?
Troy: I do, but I tend to stick to consoles and games on my iPad when I’m not at work. That, and Animal Crossing. I’ve got a serious addiction to that game.
Maer: What do you do when you’re not working or gaming?
Troy: I’ve recently leveled up my real life cooking skills, so I spend quite a bit of time cooking with friends.
Maer: Another favorite past-time of mine. The eating part, not the cooking part. Let me know if you ever need beta testers for your new recipes. :) And speaking of food, if you were a fruit or vegetable what would it be and why?
Troy: Wow, that’s a tough one. Is coffee bean a fruit? No? Ok, then I choose durian. Mostly because I smell like someone tried to put out a hair fire with gasoline, but I’m sweet.
Maer: LOL. Yep, you’re a sweetie. Now the tough question: which is better, DC or Marvel and why?
Troy: Marvel! I still have thousands of comic books in my garage, and 99.9999% of them are Marvel. As a kid, DC struck me as a little silly. I’m a huge fan of the New Mutants, especially. I haven’t read comics in years, but this question has inspired me. Which is great, because I really needed more things to spend my money on. So, thanks for that.
Maer: Anytime. :) What is your most memorable community moment as a player in an MMO?
Troy: My most memorable community moment was in Ultima Online, where we had a ton of people working together to create a player-run storyline. It would take me a long time to explain what we were doing, so instead I’ll sum it up by saying that a group of awesome storytellers took over our shard and we had a hell of a lot of fun with it.
Maer: Troy, thanks so much for this awesome interview. Do you have anything you’d like to add?
Troy: Rowsdower power!
Maer: Ah yes, Canadian horror at it’s _______ (you can fill in the blank here, dear reader.)