Powerful Women: Lady Gamers of Elyria – Vye

This is the second article in a series of interviews with women in the CoE community

Powerful Women: Lady Gamers of Elyria – Vye

Victoria M. Xildithas

That’s right, Constant Readers, I kept you waiting for so long on the start of these interviews, I had to make it up to you in a double feature with Vye from Soulbound Studios, and she even gave me a sweet sneak peek to help me make it up to you all. So, without any more fuss, here are the words of the woman herself:

VMX: Before we get too much into it, I really want to thank you for taking the time to talk with me - and by extension, the readers. Yours was the earliest and most-demanded interview.

We <3 you.

Vye: I'm flattered to have been thought of. There are a lot of stellar ladies in the community!

VMX: This is true (and I have a ton of interviews to do!) For those who are, somehow, not familiar with you, tell us about yourself. Will you tell us, in detail, about your work at Soulbound, and what you're doing in the Chronicles of Elyria community that you want everyone keeping their eyes on?

Vye: Where to begin? There are so many options... I've been a pretty big nerd for most of my life. I've always been around computers since my dad is a technophile and always was on the forefront of home electronics. I had an IBM with DOS 1.0 installed on it since I was two years old. My older sisters weren't so interested in it, but I played games on it pretty often. Simple stuff like Frogger or Dig Dug since those were the hot, new games! At least for the home PC market, anyway.

VMX: Oh Frogger - endless hours of highway fun.

Vye: We got a Nintendo when I was young and I could beat Super Mario Bros. without dying, without taking any warps, and pausing to collect so many extra lives that the index overflowed on the tile map and I had a number of lives equal to something that resembled a toilet bowl. My interest in games continued through console generations and expanded back into PC games with the advent of Windows 95! King’s Quest, Myst, Doom and more were among my favorites.

VMX: That's some serious skill.

Vye: We had a modem, and I started dialing in to BBS's, chatting in the teleconferences, and playing MajorMUD or Legend of the Red Dragon online. My first interaction with an MMO was watching my friend play Ultima Online, but my first real taste was with EverQuest. I was hooked on MMORPGs right away, and I played any I could get my hands on. At one point, there was a moment where I'd played all the MMOs in existence.

VMX: How many was that at the time? And when did you go to school?!

Vye: It was about 16 at that time. I've played well over two-dozen MMOs to date.

More than just playing, I enjoyed deconstructing the games I played - particularly MMOs - and liked to understand what they were all about since it's a blend of technology and sociology and psychiatry in a way. At one point, I realized that working in games could be a career and found out about DigiPen Institute of Technology in Washington State. So, I went there, got a B.S. in Computer Science, and began my career as a game developer!

After graduating, working on an MMO was an obvious desire, and I got to work on one early on: Marvel Super Hero Squad Online. It was an all-ages MMO aimed at parents and their kids to enjoy Marvel Comics together and have fun. Not really the genre I typically play, but there was a lot to learn there about online games. I've had a variety of positions both in and out of games, and I've learned a lot about a lot.

Amusingly, I never worked professionally as a programmer, despite my degree. I was so organized and responsible during school that essentially everyone agreed I'd make a great producer, so I pursued that exclusively after graduation.

VMX: It's great to have a producer who really understands the programming side, though, I expect.

Vye: Oh yes, knowing how to program has been invaluable in my career. I'm a jack-of-all-trades so I have spent time learning almost everything related to the craft of game making. I find that I can speak to all disciplines equally well and represent them well when I need to. I'd followed Chronicles of Elyria just a little before I applied for the job. Impressed by the quality of the community and the vision, it was an easy choice to come here and try something new and dangerous, but with amazing rewards at the end of the adventure!

VMX: Ha - if you want to BE heroic, you have to DO something heroic?

Vye: Exactly - there's no reward without risk.

What I do at Soulbound is Produce, which is an ill-defined way of saying that I do a lot of work without having any direct and obvious output.

The Producer’s role can change a lot depending on the team because it's a facilitation role. Here, I've got my hands in every pie and am a key decision maker next to Caspian. I try to ensure that everyone on the team knows what we're doing and what they are responsible for delivering. I run a lot of meetings, including our sprint planning, review, retrospective, and stand-ups.

Since it's a start-up company, I also wear a variety of hats - perfect for my jack-of-all-trades skillset. I obviously am a representative of Soulbound and CoE in the community. I've answered support emails, reached out to the press, helped to get us booths at PAX, worked with vendors, building maintenance, A/V crews, and curated a lot of content that has been posted to the website. A lot of my work as an individual has found its way to the community by way of words or images or help.

VMX: So, you've got a high-level project management and tracking role, at the least, along with being - perhaps - the lubrication between teams? In addition to assisting with external communications and content?

Vye: I also have some HR responsibilities, manage contractors, oversee our awesome community team, and sometimes moonlight as a designer when Words are needed (names of things, lore, world building stuff, etc.) since I am a writer by hobby.

I also enable Caspian's pun addiction and dazzle the team with my deep and bizarre knowledges of random trivia.

VMX: Absolutely essential for team morale, I'm sure. That is a lot of hats...When do you sleep?

Vye: I generally do a good job with work-life balance :smiley:

VMX: That's excellent to hear, and something I think a lot of professionals struggle with: Any tips?

Vye: I'm not sure I'm in a great position to give advice about work-life balance for other professionals since my technique is "work really, really effectively and prioritize realistically," and mostly is successful because I'm terrible at surrender.

VMX: I think that's two darned good tips for the price of one: Work and prioritize effectively & Never give up. I can get behind that.

Vye: Also, if the shit hits the fan, I'll just work more and totally destroy my work-life balance. It's the last line of defense.

VMX: Yep. Been there, done that. Nose to the grindstone times.

Vye: In the past, I've worked for 36 hours or more straight. No sleep, no breaks. My record is 51 1/2 hours awake, with at least 46 of those being actual work time

VMX: Sounds like a killer deadline was upon you.

Vye: That was my freshman year at DigiPen. It was the end of the year and our project had to be done, so I did what needed to be done. It was an experience.

By the way, my Freshman game at DigiPen was called Haxsys and it was amazing.

VMX: Well it may experience a resurgence after this is published

Vye: Shout out to my team: Kommunist Ketchup (you had to be there).

VMX: Shout-out will certainly be included.

Can I assume that you're not going to put in all this work without actually playing the game at this point? It's one of the things I love about the Soulbound Studios team - I feel sure the game will come because you guys want to play it as much as we do.

Vye: Like most of the other members of the team here, this kind of game is what I've been hoping the MMORPG genre would produce. Early MMOs had more potential to be an online table-top RPG than modern ones. Nowadays it's just nose-ring task-lists and there's almost no benefit to other players existing on the server with you. I play a lot of table-top RPGs and I very much enjoy role-playing and making my own stories through my actions. I definitely have ideas for what character(s) I will play in Elyria....

VMX: Good, because that's the next question: Are you willing to share what sorts of things you're looking forward to doing with your character(s) in CoE?

Vye: I'm afraid I can't reveal anything. I have Plans, but they are most effective if kept totally secret.

VMX: Ahh, yes, shrouded in mystery. I can't say I'm surprised, but I had to try, you know.

Vye: Of course.

VMX: Well, let's move on to the 'women in gaming' bit then. There can be lots of controversial discussion surrounding the topic of women in gaming, what’s your take on what it’s like to be a female gamer and professional in what is often called a ‘man’s market’?

Vye: I don't know whether I'm a typical case. Certainly, the creepy, uncomfortable, and inappropriate stories get a lot of notice but I imagine there are a significant group of women that share experiences more like mine. Namely, I've never had any real problems gaming, gaming online, going to shows or meeting people I’ve first met online, etc. I've never cared to hide my real-life gender online either. I really haven't experienced the terrible things that other women talk about.

VMX: I'm in a similar boat, although I have read and observed that phenomenon. But, I think we're both assertive and intelligent, and probably tend to give off a vibe of 'just don't go there.' OR we nip it in the bud, OR simply choose communities where that might be less of an issue.

That having been said, I'm grateful to hear about your experience - my hope is to be able to highlight a more positive, solution-focused side to that discussion.

Vye: Indeed, in gaming communities, I really don't ever put myself into situations that would get out of control and make me uncomfortable. I have a good sense of myself and what I am capable of, and I am perceptive about other people. I live a pretty banal existence because nothing really happens that I haven't anticipated in some way.

Professionally it's a little different, but my physical attributes come into play there. I'm short, 5'2", and have a babyface so I'm frequently mistaken as younger than I really am. In the past, bosses have assumed that I was "just starting my career," and weren't listening to me when I said I wanted more responsibility or chance for promotion.

I've certainly found myself in the situation where I was the one expected to take meeting notes in a group of peers, or been asked to do office manager or secretarial work over more professional, producery things. It's disheartening but it doesn't change reality though. I just have to find the right path forward and cast off the ones that don't work. It's not always easy, but it's always something I have control of.

VMX: I think that's a great reminder about much actual control we have - not just as women, but as people in this modern world - over our sphere, who we spend our time with, and what outlets we have for our professional and personal growth.

Vye: I've met people in person from online games. I've gone LARPing. I've done online competitive play with voice chat. I've put myself out there, but it just hasn't been terrible for me. About the worst I got was when a guy was trash talking me after a Halo match because I had killed him a bunch of times in a row. When I responded, he started calling me a 12-year-old and I just said, "The reason my voice is high-pitched is because I'm a woman, not a kid," at which point I got a friend request from him.

Indeed, we are not in control of the world and what happens, but we are in control of how we react to everything.

Hey, that's a good message for CoE players. It's going to be the same in Elyria!

VMX: I'm really glad to hear affirmation of positive experiences. And I couldn't agree more about choosing our responses.

We're coming to my last few questions, and I'm a little torn on what order they should be in, but...

Is there anything else you’d like to tell my Constant Readers that we haven’t already covered? Here’s the place for shameless self-promotion or recruitment if you like.

Vye: Well, I don't want to jinx it, but I mentioned that I'm a writer by hobby, and I am hoping to publish my first novel soon-ish. I'll be looking for some test readers in the next couple months. If anyone is interested in reading a draft of my young-adult, high-adventure, steampunk-sci-fi-fantasy novel The Deivorous Temeration of Vilor, they should shoot me a message on Discord. Only serious applicants, please.

VMX: Sign me up. Seriously.

Vye: Sweet.

VMX: You'll probably have a ton of readers!!

So, here's my final question, and I know this might be a bit difficult with the recent State of Elyria drop, the information on the jousting research, the opening of the Soul Chamber, AND the information coming out of PAX, but again...have to try:

Are there any sneak peaks or surprises you can tell us about?

Vye: Sneak peeks or surprises, you ask? Hmm, let me think. I hope all your readers know that we do try to be as transparent as possible, so news rarely percolates internally that doesn't get almost immediately shared with the community. Surprises are in short supply. Sneak peeks, though, I might be able to do.

VMX: It certainly seems that way to me, I feel like there's already tons of information, and I just can't wait for the reality so I can have it in my hands, but the community always loves even as much as a picture they haven't seen before.

Vye: We've not yet revealed the full concept art for the four discoverable tribes publicly. But, for your dear readers, you may share this treat with them!

VMX: That is awesome! I thank you from the bottom of my heart, and I’m sure the Elyrians will love it. That's everything I have - and certainly plenty of your time. I really do thank you for taking the time out of what I know is a very busy schedule.

There you have it, Constant Readers. Tell me what you think of that sneak peek. And make sure to let Vye know you can’t wait to read her novel. Keep your eyes peeled for more interviews with great women gamers of Elyria, and as always: If you can’t be good, be good at it.

Read the rest of the series! Check out my interviews with:

Gammea Countess of Tarsis in the Kingdom of Nirath & co-founder of Heraldo de Elyria

Eltanin, Countess of Dore of the Kingdom of Tryggr

Kitlandria, Editor in Chief of the Bordweall Chronicles

9/8/2017 8:05:06 PM #1

awesome read thank you! and love the extra concept art :). Everquest was my first mmo as well...oh those were fun days

"Diplomacy is the velvet glove that cloaks the fist of power"

9/8/2017 8:55:26 PM #2

Thank you so much for reading! I'm glad you enjoyed it.

9/8/2017 11:04:50 PM #3

Is that her, legit?

9/8/2017 11:23:13 PM #4

Great read! I always enjoy your work, Victoria.

9/9/2017 12:49:27 AM #5

Posted By HolyAvengerOne at 7:04 PM - Fri Sep 08 2017

Is that her, legit?

Are you asking if those are actually the words of Vye from Soulbound Studios? :-)

If so, yes - she proofread this article prior to its publication. :-) I was honored to have the chance to chat with her, and thank the team (Kaizen and Serpentius especially), for their help in setting up the interview, and their support for the project as a whole :-)

9/9/2017 12:50:33 AM #6

Posted By Rheika at 7:23 PM - Fri Sep 08 2017

Great read! I always enjoy your work, Victoria.

Thanks so much, Rheika - the feeling is mutual!

9/9/2017 12:04:17 PM #7

Simply great interview!

Duke of Lyrhia

9/9/2017 4:47:27 PM #8

The more I learn about this game and the people who work on it, the more eager I am for the game to come out.

9/9/2017 5:50:19 PM #9

(edited cause it sounded dumb)I'm a guy with a baby face so I understand how its a struggle to get recognized when I tell my superiors I want more work, I want to rise up the company ranks. Although nothing as special as Vye, its really good to hear more of how it works to work at SBS and produce. AND 51 1/2 hours. I could never do that, how did you manage, well you did and that is awesome!

Thanks Victoria for bringing this to us!

One more note, I only noticed three of the tribes. I can't figure out which one is the fourth of the discover able ones lol

When I am lost, I know I have traveled the farthest. Sayeth the guy jeff. 49F48A =FC

9/9/2017 9:58:47 PM #10

Posted By Cinaust at 12:47 PM - Sat Sep 09 2017

The more I learn about this game and the people who work on it, the more eager I am for the game to come out.

I'm in the same boat, Cinaust - interview projects like this just keep fueling my hype train. There are SO many talented, creative people weaving stories together and working to build the environment: I just can't wait to see it all come together one day.

9/9/2017 10:07:08 PM #11

Posted By Varhukan at 1:50 PM - Sat Sep 09 2017

Thanks Victoria for bringing this to us!

One more note, I only noticed three of the tribes. I can't figure out which one is the fourth of the discover able ones lol

You're very welcome, Varhukan - honestly, I love doing this stuff as much as some you love reading it <3

And also, I want to point out that this project is absolutely NOT possible without help:

Ollobik, Bombastus, and all the scribes at VMI have worked on the format, the graphics, and made sure all my punctuation is correct.

Soulbound Studios' Kaizen, Serpentius, and Vye have been patient, generous, and generally awesome with support and helpful ideas.

And definitely not least, the ladies who have already been interviewed (and there are a few backlogged), have been encouraging, patient, and a joy to interview.

So I'm thanking them, too!

On the Tribes: They're all there ;-)

9/12/2017 7:53:41 PM #12

Posted By Varhukan at 10:50 AM - Sat Sep 09 2017

One more note, I only noticed three of the tribes. I can't figure out which one is the fourth of the discover able ones lol

It's probably the Owem (end of first row) that you've mistaken for the Neran (first on the 2nd row) :)

9/12/2017 8:14:22 PM #13

Fantastic article and can't wait for the next one. Good job!

9/13/2017 2:30:57 AM #14

Very nice work, Victoria. :)

Sha'harizi County - Capital City of Ah'wena - Countess Aria - Kitlandria!

9/15/2017 2:08:15 PM #15

Love this article! Great interview! The attitude toward women the team has and the community has is one of the reasons I enjoy this community and support this game so much :) you can definitely put me down as a test reader as well I've been running low on books!

Log in to post