As a special mid-month treat for you all, we in the blog-scene were able to line up an interview with Mythic’s creative director Paul Barnett. If you’ve followed the game for any length of time, you’ve probably heard a lot from him as he’s become one of, if not the, most recognizable face for Warhammer Online. And guess what, Paul wants you to blog!

The folks at Mythic have been involved in the community more than any other major label game company we’ve seen in some time. Due to time constraints we had to conduct this interview via email. Let’s see what Paul has to say…

Raegn: Does the Warhammer team read anything from the WAR blog scene? If so, is it possible to name who (individuals or departments) and if they have any favorites.

Paul: We have a six-page long list of WAR-blogs that we keep an eye on regularly. Obviously, the Community Team monitors these things more closely than anyone else, but we all have favorites that we tend to check out at least a couple times a week. As for listing them, that would be a little unfair as the reasons that one might be read more often than another are usually somewhat arbitrary and are rarely an indication that the quality of other sites is lacking. I will say that we tend to read sites that are dedicated to WAR far more often than more general sites and, obviously, sites that update regularly get the most attention.

Personally, I like sites that don’t try to ignore the other WAR blogs and instead make an effort to capture the overall moods and attitudes of the fans from all over. Try to capture the “zeitgeist”, as it were, and don’t worry too much about constantly focusing on personal opinion and “exclusive” rants.

Raegn: What role does Mythic see blogs playing in the world of the gamer and the larger gaming industry? What value do you feel they have?

Paul: Primarily, they act as a means of condensing information and ideas from a VAST array of sources and present them much more concisely and conveniently. In addition, they act as an important advocacy mechanism for the players. While we try to maintain a good relationship with our fans, both in terms of praise and in terms of criticism and concerns, it’s always important for there to be neutral third parties that can help to make sure we’re doing our jobs properly. They champion the hobby, act as a sort of soul.

Raegn: Do you feel that blogs play a more important role in information flow without official forums and will their role/import change should official forums ever come to be?

Paul: Again, for us, the blogs are more about telling US what the fans think than they are about telling the fans what WE think. From that standpoint, I think the two are largely autonomous.

Raegn: What can an aspiring blogger do to get their blog noticed by Mythic?

Paul: Write regularly about things that matter to the community. Have a pro-active voice and aim for ways to make a contribution rather than ways to throw stones. Become a resource for us to use and rely upon. Be critical AND constructive. Most importantly, be about WAR. I won’t read a blog that requires me to wade through ten posts about games I’ve never heard of in order to read something about WAR. If I want general gaming news and blogs, I already have a full list that I consult. Don’t assume that if I post a reply its not me!

Raegn: How does Mythic envision the Warhammer community growing over the next year and what of interest have you seen arise from the community so far?

Paul: Hopefully, the community will continue to expand and new, interesting voices will appear. Diversity of opinion is important.

Raegn: As creative director, what type of community content is most important to you?

Paul: To be honest, I like to hear considerate presentations of what people LIKE in the game. I realize that people are far less likely to enjoy something and then blog about it than they are to find a problem and decide to voice an opinion, but it’s just as important for us to know what we’re doing RIGHT as it is for us to know what needs fixing.

Raegn: Related to that, do you have any favorite blogs and why?

Paul: As I mentioned about, we all like different blogs for different reasons. It would be unfair to offer a partial list that would necessarily exclude a lot of great sites.

Raegn: What’s the most important community outlet that Mythic looks at when considering changes to the game?

Paul: To be honest, all of them are vital. We use different sources of feedback for all sorts of things. I do read the greenskin a lot though and yours J

Raegn: Unrelated to blogging, can you tell us something about Mythic’s development process we haven’t heard about before?

Paul: We don’t use the scrumm system. We have design training workshops and we have taken down some of our posters to replace them with new ones. The price of pop (or sodas to you yanks) hasn’t changed since we launched DAoC.

Raegn: Can you give us any new clues as to exciting things players can look forward to in WAR’s future?

Paul: Yes. But then evil marketing try to kill me.

Thanks Paul! I appreciate you taking the time to talk with me and, on behalf of the larger WAR community, I’d like to thank you for all of your time and effort interacting with us, informing us, and encouraging us. Keep up the great work!

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