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Robert Lashley: The Way I See It

By Robert Lashley on March 07, 2015 | Columns | Comments

The Way I See It

I don’t consider myself a journalist. I write about video games and sometimes technology. When I think of journalists I envision the likes of Barbra Walters, Ed Bradley, Tom Brokaw, Walter Cronkite, and Edward R. Murrow. Women and men of great stature that have made lasting contributions to society through their craft. I write and make videos about games.

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I’m not telling you that to be entirely dismissive of what I do. I’m trying to frame your perspective. If I write a great piece at best I may expose a shady business practice; or I might possibly shed light on a legitimate business practice that is not commonly understood. I may even be able through my actions to make our hobby a more welcoming and inclusive place. But nothing I do with this platform will ever topple an evil regime. The closest I’ll ever consider myself getting to a journalist is your local sports reporter.

I do believe I have responsibilities to you. If I have done my job at the end of the 5 minutes it takes you to read my musings I’ll have either given you something to think about or informed you about something you didn’t already know. You may have started off visiting MMORPG to learn about MMOs, but over the past two years we have also opened up to RPGs. For most of us on staff this just made sense. A lot of you that play MMOs also play RPGs. We have access to developers. Why not use that access to provide you services on both? I think it was a smart move and one I hope you enjoy.

Part of our responsibility with that access is to be straight with you. I never want to be part of the hype machine as I see it. I hate the hype machine. I try to avoid it like the plague. There are a lot of games in development that I’m interested in. There are very few that I highly anticipate. It takes a lot to get my pulse raised and pre alpha video and flashy screen shots don’t do it. It is marketing and PR companies’ jobs to overpromise on a product while the developers under deliver. It’s our job in the games media to cut through the salesmanship and give you the truth.

There are three types of items I write for the site. Each are a little bit different. My columns, like this one, are where I get to express my views and I’m provided the editorial latitude to talk with you on a topic du jour. The bulk of my writing for the site would fall into these columns. I also conduct some of the interviews. The most recent one I conducted was with the team behind Sword Coast Legends. For the record this is one of the games I am truly looking forward to, I’m not sure how well it’s going to work but the concepts are promising and I am a bit of a D&D nut.  I will ask biting questions but I’m never going to ask, “Why does your game suck?” I may ask, “Why do you think your game doesn’t resonate with its target audience.” Or, “Why did you cut feature X?” The final bit is news. I do this the least and I view it as very little opinion and primarily just facts.

Social media lately is a flutter how traditional games media is slowing down. YouTube and Twitch are elevating certain gamers to celebrity status. Some developers in turn are using that cultural status to have video creators and streamers promote and evaluate their games. Some of these cultural celebs are doing a fantastic job. They have gained access to developers that was typically reserved for sites such as Gamasutra, Polygon, Kotaku, and more specialized sites like MMORPG. While it remains to be seen if this trend will sustain itself we do recognize it and embrace it. I believe the more information that is out there the better off everyone is.

The way I see it my goal is to enlighten and entertain you. I’m going to continue to ramble to you about topics of importance to me, in the hopes they are also important to you. I’m also going continue to cut through the hype and give you honest opinions of games. That doesn’t mean I won’t be positive about some of them, it just means don’t expect me to gush about them, ever. Maybe I’ll even save you some money along the way by keeping you from buying a bad games, or at least have you come up even by highlighting a good game that may have snuck by you. Because of that I encourage, no I implore you, call me to the carpet if you think I’m being less than 100% honest with you. We owe each other that.

Robert Lashley / Rob is a Staff Writer and jack of all trades for MMORPG.com. When he isn’t blinding people with the glare from his head in front of a camera you can chase him down on Twitter, PSN, XBL, and Nintendo @rant_on_rob.