Here is an interview I did with one of the top Ministry of War players whom I encountered over on the GOA forums. Hopefully he can give us an insight on what it takes to be a top Online Stratey Gamer!
OSG1: What online strategy games are you playing, or have you played in the past?
Erissar: Oh… I have a list of games that I was “crazy” about it. Travian, Ikariam, Ogame, Heroes of War and Magic.
Now I play two games – Ministry of War and God of Axion.
OSG1: I understand you’re one of the top Ministry of War players. Which server do you play on and what is your rank?
Erissar: I play on the Russian Assassin (No. 2). I’m one of the top Rome player. And in top 20 of best PvP players on server.
OSG1: Can you describe when you first started playing the game, and how you got to where you are now?
Erissar: Well I’m very crazy about strategy games and I like very complicated games that requires some economical skills to rule your empire. I buy some computer-related magazines and in one of them I met the advertisement about the Ministry of War. Also I’m very crazy about Roman Empire and all stuff connected with it so I gladly joined the game on the Rome side.
From the first minutes of playing I was gathering roman people to form an alliance. So with my alliance we started to conquer the world. My alliance was one of the most stable and disciplined alliances on that time. We were fighting on four sides – against three other nations and also versus rival Roman alliances. That was a hard time. Than finally I managed to make a Coalition of Alliances and bring Rome Empire to unity. This action had a very fast feedback – other nation lost all their armies in four days and they had no troops to fight our “red wave”. So now out nation takes the leading role in this server.
OSG1: What does it take to do so well in Ministry of War?
Erissar: Hmmm. First it requires serious and systematic attitude to the game process. If you want to have just have fun for killing foes – you won’t be top player. And of course – a lot of game time. My “secret weapon” was teaching my wife to play. So that’s how I had a lot of game time.
OSG1: I understand you met your wife in an online game?
Erissar: Yeah, that’s funny story. I was a clan leader in Lineage 2 game. We were holding the capital castle in the game (Aden) and having the strongest alliance on the server. And my future wife was in confronting alliance and she was trying to kill me all the time we’ve met (including making a screenshot on my bony on the ground). Well, mostly I was killed when we were outnumbered. But, thing change – and we’re not willing to kill each other… sometimes
OSG1: What other games do you play / have you played?
Erissar: If you mean non-online games – I can’t even remember how many games I’ve played. If it’s about online games – Lineage 2, World of Warcraft, Eve Online, UFO Online, Allods Online, World of Tanks and some others.
OSG1: That’s cool. I actually played Allods for about 15 levels. I thought they had a really unique style based on Soviet architecture.
Erissar: I’ve played Allods little more I’ve reached final level and constructed my own ship. Our team was traveling around the world hunting for demons and enemy ships to kill. About architecture – yes. Nival made a stake on two periods of Slavonic people and architecture what was at that periods – ancient old architecture with castles, fortresses, brave warriors with swords and all mythology connected to it + elves and stuff Very interesting move. Another, opposite side – really Soviet architecture with “hello” from communism. Heavy industry, machinery and soviet spirit (like mailboxes, militia officers, advertisement table and other stuff) was well implemented there. I really was having some nostalgia walking around the streets of Nezebgrad.
OSG1: Can you talk a little about the genre in the Russian-speaking world and how it might differ from the West?
Erissar: Russian-speaking players differs from European and US players very much. Players from the West don’t feel so much hate to foes and are very friendly. Russian-speaking players like brother-killing wars, chaos, lots of corpses and ruins. And that may happen between closest friends which were building one big Empire together yesterday. And today it’s slaughter. I may be wrong, but that’s my life experience.
OSG1: That’s interesting, though I think you will probably find some warmongers from any country. One of the things I like the most about the genre is that you do get to interact with people from so many different countries. What do you find interesting about the genre?
Erissar: Strategy games gives all tools to player to feel like Emperor, Caesar or anyone else. Building you empire, planning your resources, recruiting troops and having war – this is a long period that requires a lot of skills from player. And if player is one of the best – his Empire looks like a small masterpiece, because everything there has it’s own role and purpose.
OSG1: What game feature would you like to see more of in a browser based strategy games?
Erissar: More complicated economy and resource depending chain of production. And more real-time fights like in Ministry of War when not only numbers play main role in combat.
OSG1: What game feature would you like to see less of in a browser based strategy games?
Erissar: Hard to say… maybe it’s going out of some realistic lines of the game when it’s pretending to be historical or looking like it. If we have swords, catapults and archers and we say that we are Greece (or any other) we can’t have dragons!
OSG1: Could you tell a story about the most strategic thing you did in a game?
Erissar: Well, most strategic thing was in Travian when top 40 alliances were involved in total war. We were counted as “defense supporting” alliance and out troops were the best in protecting our “offense” players from our allies. But that was until we uncovered our “true face” and during all night we were smashing cities of our enemies. Everything was so perfectly planned (every hour, minute and even second) so next morning top players from enemy alliances were out of top 100. And that was a turning point in that war. We won it and there was no confrontation until the end of the server.
OSG1: What do you do when you’re not playing?
Erissar: If you’re asking about free-time – I’m airsoft player. This is my hobby and I’m also crazy about it. Like in games or other aspects of my life I have serious attitude to my hobby and my airsoft team is the best in our region and we were invited on very complicated and serious games and competition. Some day I want to visit US and see the level of US airsoft players.
OSG1: This last one is just for me, but what would you most want to see in a blog about online strategy games?
Erissar: I’m very fond of some “designers diaries” or some reveling info about game-making process. It’s very nice to see articles or sometimes have a video about “how it’s made and why”.
OSG1: Haha, okay. Will do. Thanks again!
So there you have it. Think you’re a better OSG strategist, or have an interesting story to tell, let me know, as I am looking to do more interviews with elite players over the coming months.