5 Questions with: Haeravon

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With all of the hype surrounding the recent release of the trailer for FALLOUT 4, I decided it was time to start getting myself back into the mindset of an open-world, first person RPG. I had recently been on a racing game kick, and with my anticipation for FO4 being kicked into overdrive, I grabbed my copy of FO3 and went to work.

Typically, after grinding a game for a few hours, I like to grab a FAQ and see everything I've missed. You can call me a cheater if you must, but I still get loads of enjoyment by playing with a handy-to-reference guide.

With that in mind, I looked up a guy who, to me, is the authority on guides. I've never seen an author with a more complete guide than Haeravon. I decided to look him up on Facebook and annoy him until he agreed to participate in 5 QUESTIONS. I had always respected him as being authoritative, but after our late-night conversation, I can add the words "accommodating" and "friendly" to the list of adverbs that we can use when discussing Haeravon.

1. How long have you been writing gaming guides/FAQ's?

The oldest file I still have is from the first version of my first FAQ-a guide for Icewind Dale. It's dated to March 7, 2010, so I've been at this over five years now. Of course, that's the date the guide was finished, I have no idea when I actually started writing it, but early 2010 seems like a safe call.

2. How much of a grind is it to write these massive FAQ's?

Depends on the game. Being the genius I am, I decided to make huge RPGs my niche, so in my case, it's quite a grind. Fortunately, I like grinding in some games, and quite a few of my guides include tips on how/when/where to grind. If I have to suffer, so does everybody else. That's not even the tedious part, though. Branching quests and alternate solutions that require you to keep hard saves and reload-perhaps replaying dozens of hours of story just to see how things play out. That's a much more significant time sink.

3. Is this your full-time gig? If not, what's your day job?

It's pretty much my full time job, now that I do contract work for gamerguides.com. I can only do this thanks to my girlfriend, who has a fancier college degree and a "real" job. She brings in the money, I do the housework, the male-female dynamic in 2015, folks. She's also a pretty hardcore gamer, though, so it all works out.

4. What is your favorite video game ever?

BALDUR'S GATE 2. Especially--if I can dilute the question somewhat--by adding that together with the first BALDUR'S GATE game, the two make perhaps the best RPG experience in gaming. But if I had to choose, BALDUR'S GATE 2 is the better of the two. Irenicus is a great villain, the combat is deep and strategic (especially the spells), and the story is fantastic. A Dungeons and Dragons CRPG action at its very finest.

5. Out of all the hundreds of people writing these, what did you see yourself doing differently to justify the time to put these together?

Heh. Writing somewhat competently, for one. Secondly, trying to add a bit of humor into the mix. It's a very amateur thing, guide-writing Most people with decent writing skills probably do something more productive (or at least, lucrative) with their time. There's no "FAQ-writing" school out there, just people with their games and some program to type the guide up with. As you can imagine, quality varies wildly, and the finer points of organization aren't always readily apparent to new authors.

On a more technical note, I enjoy taking readers on an adventure through the game, step-by-step, in an "ideal chronological order". Go to places and complete quests as they're convenient, see and do as much as you possibly can while trying to be somewhat logical and economic about it. Throw a few jokes in and let cook for a few dozen hours, and you've got a guide that's hopefully a good companion which will help you get the most out of your game.

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