A Few Questions for James Nichols on the Community Team James Nichols is taking on the role of one of the community managers for Ultima Online, Dark Age of Camelot and Warhammer. First of all James, welcome to UO Stratics! It is one of the main sources of information that the community of UO players use to discuss all things Ultima. We also appreciate the communication and feedback we get from the developers when they post on the main forums. This is a motley bunch though, wary of new faces without a little bit of background information. So c’mon and have a seat at the Salty Dog and don’t mind the blaring lights shining on you from above. This is not an interrogation at all. *winks* Let’s start by asking what your specific title is and your duties with this new community team: James: Ahoy! Currently I’m the Community Forums Manager here at Mythic, though that’s far from descriptive about my current responsibilities. My duties broadly encompass facilitating all the community needs across our three brands. We’re still figuring out all the details but it’s an exciting and new challenge and we’re looking to make some new approaches towards old practices to support these unique and thriving communities. Secondly, and we may as well get this out in the open straight away, do you play Ultima Online or have you in the past and if so what is your take on this older mmo? James: I have, Airmid showed me the ropes in fact! Though I would say I’m far from an experienced player. I’m familiar with the game and have met many fans at Town Halls and have more friends than I can count on my hands and feet that have dedicated many years and still talk about their (mis)adventures! Ultima is a rock-solid game and universe that has been around for nearly 30 years with UO making up 1/3 of that lifespan. It’s a unique game unlike really any other currently played by a large audience and I look forward to learning more about its nooks, crannies, and chicken escaping escapades in the coming weeks. What is your background with EA Mythic? James: I’ve been at Mythic for over two years now arriving here after two years at Sigil Games Online. I was hired on to work on WAR but through that experience I’ve gotten to learn a lot about our legacy through Dark Age and Ultima. With all the recent changes, and there is much we’re sure you cannot discuss yet, what do you hope to accomplish with the UO community? James: We want to ensure you guys continue to receive the attention you’ve come to expect through new features on the Herald and developer interaction. UO is fortunate to have a great, dedicated team that remains committed to its community and has been a part of it for a decade. (I should also note that this dedication makes it a lot easier to get myself into gear for working with UO). Who will be taking on the role of the main line of communication between the UO player base and the dev team? James: Andy, myself, and the dev team will all be working closely together to ensure the same (if not better) level of communication you’ve come to know! Cal mentioned in his Producer’s Letter that there are some great things to highlight for UO including an increase in subscriptions. Without getting into actual numbers, can you share with us percentage wise the increase you are seeing? James: Is “Up” a percentage? I don’t actually have those numbers so you’re asking the wrong guy, but the community continues to grow as more players come back (and even bring their friends) to check out what’s new. Stygian Abyss brought new energy and excitement, coupled with live events it seems like it’s a happening time in Brittania! Finally, are there any thoughts you would like to personally share with the UO players as this community team takes on Ultima Online? James: Any tips for a level 5 paladin? Needless to say I’m excited to be getting involved in this timeless game, and while we may not know each other yet I look forward to changing that overtime. I might look like an ogre but I’m a big softie – and hugs are free! Thanks James for answering a few questions for the UO community and we hope to hear from you often on the forums. We also hope to have a Part II with Andy Belford up for the players soon!