Pinned SNN Interview #02: Cassandra Vandales (Part One)

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    • SNN Interview #02: Cassandra Vandales (Part One)

      First, let me thank everyone for their feedback and kind words regarding my first interview. I am glad that so many people had the opportunity to learn about pinky and enjoyed the conversation. Just an aside, commenting is what lets me know people are reading and taking an interest so don't be afraid to chime in!

      This week's interview is one that I actually did partially simultaneously with the pinky interview. However, unlike the pinky interview (where I planned out a good number of questions in advance), this interview was more informal and questions were asked as they came to me. Even so, I think the finished product turned out well and gives some interesting insight into someone that every player in .org should know.

      Cassandra Vandales is one of the Board Administrators of OGame .org and one of the most recognizable faces in OGame .org. I was lucky enough to be able to speak to her over the course of two days and received so much content that I felt it would be too overwhelming to include it all in one week. This is why I have decided to split the interview into TWO parts! In Part One, Cass and I discuss why she decided to join OGame to begin with, the origins of JeB (including her take on the infamous situation that saw a major split occur within the alliance), the players she has most enjoyed watching over the years, her take on the introduction of 'pay to play' elements in the game (plus the one addition she would remove if she could), along with the occasional banter!

      I hope you enjoy this interview and I am working diligently to score an interview with a player that has fallen a bit on the wayside as of late that I think everyone has wanted to know more about since the merge. If that doesn't happen in time, there is certainly no shortage of other great interview possibilities so stay tuned!

      KEY:
      Spidey - The guy asking the questions
      Cass - A real girl
      Spidey: You have been part of the .org OGame world since the very beginning, so much so that your name is essentially synonymous with the English universes, but before I get into your extensive OGame history let me ask a basic question. Before you discovered this crazy game, what were you doing?

      Cass: I was at university, studying History, Prehistory and English, and due to a personal reason I was quite glad to have discovered the game. I also worked parttime in a little shop and drove to Austria frequently ^^

      Spidey: Very cool! This leads to the obvious follow-up...how did you come to discover OGame?

      Cass: Through my university mates in May 2004. Yes, May. I started on a German Universe, 17 - one of those that doesn't exist anymore due to a merge. A shame. :D A few of my friends there had an alliance and so I joined them. I've been playing along for a while.

      Spidey: What alliance were you in there?

      Cass: Historian alliance :P We later joined the more famous "Imperium". What we loved was roleplaying on the boards and in-game too. It was one of the top alliances, for a while even #1!

      Spidey: Were you ever focused on being a top player in-game or was it always more the social aspect that intrigued you?

      Cass: I received a #10 account on OGame.de and played well with it but, to be honest, it has always been the social aspect. I've never been much of a gamer, though I can play if I want to (I am just way too lazy there), but I like chatting, I like talking to people and helping them if possible.

      Spidey: Ahh, I never knew you had a top ten account!

      Cass: Yes, that was on the German OGame :D

      Spidey: So after having so much fun in .de, what made you interested in joining the .org servers?

      Cass: Lean back, that is a longer story :D

      A few years ago, in 2001 or 2002 I think, I joined a Star Wars Forum named JediBites. I met a few very cool guys there (Wraith02 might ring a bell). So we had a very nice community there, a lot of fun, and then I discovered more or less by accident that there is also an English version of OGame.

      I had been playing the German version for quite some time and was curious, so I registered at the forums and started answering questions. A few of the Star Wars forum members came with me and in Universe 1 I founded the alliance JediBites. JeB. There were a few people there who would later form Mara.Dim and who had their battles with Wraith and partly me. My interest was to show people I like the game and, as I then wasn't allowed to play there as a German, I stuck to forums.

      Actually, I originally found out about .org on the .de forums when someone asked a question about it.

      Spidey: This brings up a piece of OGame history that many may not know, particularly concerning the hostility between Mara.DIM and JeB, that being the dislike between Wraith02 (of JeB) and TheMasterChief (of Mara). Can you give your take on that major situation?

      Cass: That has to do with the Star Wars forums. Ryan (TMC) was an Admin there, someone the creator of the forums really trusted. But they got a little irritated when she had her coming out, and I still don't know why they went so far to delete the entire forums (TMC and a few others) and put up porn pics. They really destroyed the forums, and I was really, really angry. So was Wraith - and as he is an entire different person than me - I guess they had a different sort of bickering that added up over time. I also think it might have something to do with JeB never really being the biggest raider alliance.

      Spidey: Ahh, that transitions perfectly into my next question! JeB is one of the oldest alliances in .org but, to my knowledge, it was never one of the top alliances despite the history behind the name; was this due to the social focus on the alliance or were there other problems that kept JeB from the top?

      Cass: I think it might be because of us being more lenient and seeing everything more as fun than being an overall competition. I handed the alliance over to Wraith back then who has done well but it has always been more fun to be social and talking, less because of big crashes. Though - JeB members do raid when there is an opportunity :P

      Spidey: haha no doubt!

      Now, you've been around to see nearly every top player come through .org, are there any that stood out as particularly entertaining to watch?


      Cass: Graf Zahl is one of those I dearly miss, he was not only entertaining but really good to talk to. Then there are a few very old ones of Uni 1 - for example Aral and his drunk stunt with that moon. Kudos also to Swirl, some of those who were great raiders way before the major changes came. I also admit I find Deneb entertaining, even though I have to warn him every so often :D

      Oh and DanCake, in my opinion one of the best players we have ever had.

      Spidey: Totally agree there and Deneb is quite the personality indeed.

      Cass: Personality he has ^^ He is pretty nice too.

      Spidey: So, focusing a bit on in-game for now, what is your favorite part of actually playing the game?

      Cass: Reaching goals I set for myself. I have always raided but never too much (though I think there is a Hall of Fame of mine somewhere in the archives, ages old), but it is always nice to see that I made another step to world domination :D

      Spidey: So would you consider yourself a raider, miner, turtle, or...fleet crasher!...? lol

      Cass: Mostly miner with certain raiding tendencies...that sounds like an illness, doesnt it?

      Spidey: lol *takes mental note to raid Cass one day*

      Cass: *makes mental note to ban spidey...* Oh wait, I once did that for sure :P

      Spidey: True! ...alright, back to the questions. There was a time when OGame was free of any 'pay to play' elements but over time aspects such as Commander, Officers, and the Merchant came around. Many have felt these changes negatively effected the playing experience of the game by giving some an 'unfair advantage'. Did you see these changes as a problem or a natural progression to try to keep people from older universes interested in the game?

      Cass: Those who knew me then know that at that time I was everything but happy, especially concerning the way it was presented. If you stalk through my board posts from that time you'll see. I plain didn't like the idea of it. When it was presented it literally ruined my birthday.

      Well, I personally think it didn't have that much of an impact on the gameplay as such, not as much as I feared anyway, but that doesn't mean I am the biggest fan. I have always used Commander but never the other officers. I do notice, though, that there are less players but its hard to pinpoint reasons for that.

      Spidey: Do you think the quick output of new universes may have aided in the decline? Certainly some great players became spread out when that happened but, then again, maybe they never would have played to begin with without having a fresh universe to join?

      Cass: It might be. The thing is I know why new universes were added - to give people a chance to start fresh, so that they can achieve more. I once talked to the responsibles about that. It is one of these balancing acts - on the one hand, more universes mean that players are spread out (hence the mergers), on the other hand, it is unlikely someone will join the older universes because of the rank gap.

      Spidey: Too true...looking back, was there a particular change in OGame that you would prevent from happening if you had a chance?

      Cass: My problem is that I always know both sides >_> but if I have to pick one then maybe the instant building of everything, especially defences and such. Still - the Dark Matter bought and also the usage of all these things are not really low...

      Spidey: And it is possible to mine Dark Matter, albeit incredibly slowly and without any guarantee of getting any.

      Cass: Yes, from an economic point of view it is understandable.

      Spidey: To end Part One I have a bit of a hard hitting question for you. You've been a member of JeB since the day you started in English OGame, have you ever considered joining another alliance just to be a part of something different for a while?

      Cass: No, never actually :) JeB was my foundation and the leader there has become one of my best real life friends.
      This wraps up Part One of my interview with Cassandra Vandales. Look out for Part Two where we change focus onto her time as a staff member for OGame .org. Highlights include the strange way she came to be on the staff, her in person meeting with the one responsible for creating OGame, the point where the staff had their biggest shake-up, her take on the classic RoLUE/Mara.DIM war threads, and how the recent universe mergers effected the staff!
    • man don't take too long to put the second part of the interview please .
      its nice to see that behind the name and the title and the bans and warnings and all that ... there is a real person with feeling's
      the interview is irreproachable thanks for changing the color of the letters :beer:
      there is only one thing i don't agree with cassandra and that concerns this little bit here -> Cass: Personality he has ^^He is pretty nicetoo.
      but opinions hare what they are and we all have the right to have one .

      thanks for sharing a bit of your live with all of us cassandra :thumbsup:
    • There are a lot of good players out there worth interviewing, no doubt, just a matter of what interesting questions I can think to ask. There are some players I simply know so little about that it'd be tough to work out an interesting interview unless they are willing to set aside a good chunk of time so I can learn about them as we go. Players like pinky I've been able to learn a few things about since the merge and Cass I've known forever so I already had an idea about the most interesting topics to discuss. With someone I've never had any interaction with and know very little about it just gets a lot more difficult.

      Not saying I won't take into account who people want to see interviewed, if enough people are like "hey, track down Graf Zahl and interview him" then I'd give it a shot, but for right now I'm talking with people I already have ideas in mind for. Granted I can understand how an interview with someone like Cass may not be of interest to everyone as she isn't known for blowing up fleets and terrorizing the universe, but I think variety is important too. If all I did was interview top fleeters then you'd get pretty bored of that. Plus, Cass is one of the most important people to ever play OGame, without her a lot of situations would have gone a lot worse than they did over the years, just because a lot of her contributions have gone on behind the scenes doesn't make them any less important!
    • i agree with what you say . way don't you talk to some of the older staff from the forum and ask them to help you whit some of the questions ? they have info in many tings that we "the public" never now about, and they can put the right questions (because they already now the answer) :ninja:
    • Interesting interview Spidey, well written too.

      SpideyNightDelight wrote:

      Not saying I won't take into account who people want to see interviewed, if enough people are like "hey, track down Graf Zahl and interview him" then I'd give it a shot, but for right now I'm talking with people I already have ideas in mind for. Granted I can understand how an interview with someone like Cass may not be of interest to everyone as she isn't known for blowing up fleets and terrorizing the universe, but I think variety is important too. If all I did was interview top fleeters then you'd get pretty bored of that. Plus, Cass is one of the most important people to ever play OGame, without her a lot of situations would have gone a lot worse than they did over the years, just because a lot of her contributions have gone on behind the scenes doesn't make them any less important!


      I think this is important too - it's one thing to simply interview popular names but for sure there are a lot of people in this universe who have perhaps become a part of the furniture and would have interesting stories to tell on rivalries etc. If you can keep them interesting like you did this one I'd be looking to come back and read a lot more of them, that's for sure.

      Also - if at any time it's on your radar, I can facilitate contact with Graf as he doesn't come here anymore.