Pinned SNN Interview #02B: Cassandra Vandales (Part Two)

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    • SNN Interview #02B: Cassandra Vandales (Part Two)

      The first half of my interview with Cassandra focused on her background, her time spent in-game, and a few alliance related issues. In the second half of the interview I focus fully on her time as a staff member and pick her brain for information on a lot of issues that few outside of her would know. We cover topics such as how she became a staff member, her visit to OGame Headquarters, some difficult changes to deal with throughout .orgs history, why she stepped away from OGame for a while, some of the biggest tests she faced as a staff member, before ending with some of her favorite memories.

      I hope you all enjoy the second part of this interview as Cass was generous enough to spare a good portion of time to field my questions! Beyond that she is someone worthy of a lot of respect and I hope that this interview will help people realize that the OGame staff are simply every day people just trying to help out.

      Next week I'll be taking a slightly surprising turn and be featuring an interview with an up-coming talent in Universe One. We'll be discussing what its like trying to make it in such an old universe and how the universe looks from the perspective of someone who has yet to see the top. Who is this person? You'll have to check in next week to find out!

      Spidey - The guy asking the questions
      Cass - The mother hen of OGame .org
      Spidey: When did you start as a member of the OGame staff?

      Cass: In October 2004 as a Super Moderator straight away.

      Spidey: And how did that come about?

      Cass: A funny story actually. As I mentioned in Part One, I was on the German version of OGame, then I moved over to .org. I couldn't play as a German (there was a rule then about it lol) so I started helping out on the forums; quickly catching the eye of the responsibles back then. People will hardly remember them - Banshee, Ringkeeper... Anyway, I was asked if I would like to join the team via Skype conversation. Banshee didn't believe I was (and still am!) a female lol...and there I was, suddenly an SMod ^^

      Spidey: So what you're telling me is that you became SMod because you were the only real girl playing OGame at the time?

      Cass: Haha lol - naaaa. Because I had the highest post count already and all were helpful posts.

      Spidey: Uh huh, a likely story!

      Now, I happen to know from a past conversation that you had the opportunity to go to GameForge headquarters and meet the minds behind the game, tell us a little about that experience.

      Cass: Yeah, the first time was at the end of 2005 when I briefly supported the German team as Board Administrator. Yes, I met the creator (Legor aka Alexander Rösner), which indeed remained the only time. He is a nice guy but we never really talked.

      I know most of the current minds behind OGame though, like weteha (who has also become a real life friend), RF_WDA, and many others. They are all nice people. The headquarters I saw back then was the old one, they moved a while after. They are pretty generous though - GF has grown a lot in the past years, it has become more anonymous.

      Spidey: Were you lucky enough to see the vats where they produce all of the Dark Matter or do you not have enough security clearance?

      Cass: Back then there wasnt any DM ^^

      Spidey: Damn, I guess the mystery continues then! Getting back on track, you started as an SMod, were you ever a Game Operator of any sort? And if so, in which universes?

      Cass: Nope, I never joined the orange ranks. I know the tools though :P In .de there was a project where there were only Admins, no real separation between GO and mod.

      Spidey: Any particular reason why you never wanted to be a GO?

      Cass: I am more the kind who likes forums, communications and such, less the banning and hunting side.

      Spidey: So, regarding your earlier comment, are you saying those who were Moderators were also Game Operators back in the day?

      Cass: Oh, no :D that was only on .de and only on Admin level.

      Spidey: Ahh ok! I'm assuming being handed an SMod position without even being a Mod first must have come with a considerable learning curve, tell me a little about your experiences back then.

      Cass: Back then it was a little different than today. We didnt have much of a COMA - they had chosen one but Slyngel was extremely inactive so we never received much news. I had one or two mods then to look after, I mostly spent my time answering questions and transitioning stuff from .de to .org.

      The BA then also became more and more inactive...It was a strange time, we didn't get any updates or such at all because the COMA (who wasnt called that back then) was not there. It got all better though when RF_WDA joined as leader beginning in February of '05.

      Spidey: For those who may not know, a group which includes me honestly lol, what is a COMA?

      Cass: A COMA, or community manager, is now someone who works for Gameforge in Karlsruhe (very few externals exist) and who are the link between the team and GF. Many of them also participate actively in the community if time allows but they have many in-house tasks as well to do. Back then, as there weren't so many things, it was a bit more community work.

      Spidey: At some point things began to become more active in .org and that must have led to some significant changes on the staff side, when did these sorts of changes start and what are your memories of them?

      Cass: When RF_WDA took over, someone who was then a student and worked part time for GF (later he entirely started there and formed the community management), changed the staff positions a little. I became Board Administrator, which was really nice, and then a few more staff people came in; some of which are long forgotten, some who are still known. Bibob, for example, or Wraith.

      One of the major things was the introduction of a second universe which was a bit rocky as it simply made problems, but yeah. The first two years were amazing, .org grew and grew, the admin staff was pretty cool (and very German), then those who were really players starting on .org slowly rose ranks. I do not remember much of 2005 and 2006 - my brain blanked out a little as it was a hard time for me personally.

      Spidey: That brings me to another question I wanted to ask, I recall you stepping away from OGame for a while at one point, was this due to burn out or some other reason?

      Cass: You mean my 1 1/2 year break?

      Spidey: Yes

      Cass: Well, one of my reasons was that I got married that year and had to plan a lot there. But yes, I needed a break. I showed burn out tendencies so I said good bye and didn't intend to ever come back.

      Spidey: And why did you eventually come back?

      Cass: Borg asked me to and eventually I gave in. Much more stable and again filled with energy. Also my other BA position was gone so I had time.

      Spidey: You mentioned the word stable which I find very interesting as I've noticed a lot of Moderators and Game Operators have a very hard time remaining stable. How have you managed to keep sane for all these years?

      Cass: It might be that I have always been a patient person, I love helping and I love the community. Also a few bad things in my life might have helped, plus I teach kids - often isn't so different from BAing.

      Spidey: Now yourself and the rest of the staff have certainly been tested in a lot of ways and one of the most memorable time periods (for me at least) was the RoLUE/Mara.DIM war. Can you give some memories from your end of that chaotic time?

      Cass: Haha - well, RoLUE and Mara have always had some trolls and some people who liked to test authority. Now I am pretty lenient, and I tend to prefer sending a personal message than always warning, but it was really hard. It was like looking after a bag of fleas ^^ Still, it was funny somehow!

      Spidey: Would you mind talking about one of the biggest 'tests' you faced in terms of dealing with players as a staff member?

      Cass: There were a few of these, and one of them was someone who has just returned, Airhead. I cannot say too much due to the data protection thing but he was the first OGame-wide banned player back then lol. But times have changed...

      Then, of course, the officer crisis. The forums were a madhouse, so was IRC, and we stood in the middle. That was for sure the hardest task for us as we understood why players were upset but at the same time I knew that it was needed, maybe, and was not too happy about them myself. I remember that time period well to this day.

      Spidey: I've been focusing a lot on the negatives it seems, perhaps too much, so lets change course here. What are some of your best memories of being a part of the OGame family?

      Cass: My best memory is one from the start. I lost my mum Christmas 2004 and I will never forget what happened then. Someone must have talked about that to the players and it spread, I received many e-mails with condolences. .Org kept me focused during that time, it gave me something to do and noone ever made fun of that, so thanks again .org.

      Spidey: It is amazing how a place that can breed so much negativity at times can be so incredibly great too.

      Cass: Those are the reasons why I keep coming back. There are many amazing people here, and I count in many of those who I had to ban even. I think that many forget that everyone here are simply other people and you can talk well with many of them.

      Spidey: That is an excellent way of looking at things. This next question interests me a lot because it involves one of the biggest events to happen in the past few years. When it was announced that the merge was happening how did the staff react? After all, this likely meant a lot of people losing positions.

      Cass: To be honest, most of the staff likes the merging idea. The reason is that we are always a little low on staff, especially GOs, so no one is really unhappy. We also knew that a merge was needed.

      Spidey: So it all went relatively smoothly?

      Cass: Yes, luckily, though it is a lot of work for admins. Ever thought of joining as GO? ^^

      Spidey: lol no, wouldn't have enough time to deal with it, I'd instantly be hated for laziness haha

      Cass: :P I can always try

      Spidey: I'll be honest, I don't have an actual outro question lol, so do you have any story that you'd like to share that I didn't think to ask about? Maybe some shoutouts or memories of players past?

      Cass: Well, I have seen a lot on .org and such but I really want to thank the players; especially those who like discussing with me. Many players have come and gone, I remember lots of them, and I still miss plenty who were around then. One of my memories is, for example, one of the first April first jokes that went so well - where we created an entire forum and played around.

      The debates via PM and forums with many players or the long chats on IRC which used to be more frequent are all things I have enjoyed. Also - I like more people than some might imagine. For example I like Deneb as a person a lot but I guess those I love most are Wraith02 and bibob who are close friends and even attended my wedding. Many others have already left, a shame...

      Spidey: Well, that about wraps it up. This has been a fun conversation and one that I personally learned a few new facts from. I thank you for taking the time to do this!

      Cass: Sure, no problem :)
    • wooow, been waiting for part 2 and its finally here.. and im also waiting for your future interviews..
      Im really interested as a new player in this uni, how the big players did it in the past its time to read..
    • Wasn't cassandra going to be involved in a star trek game or something similar? what happened to that? is that why she came back to ba'ing ?

      btw - cute pic for Cass ;)

      Three great forces rule the world:
      stupidity, fear and greed

      Proud past member of
      The Pint Triling Naked Reindeer of the Apocalypse [Naked] (
      Polaris) and Wahnsinn (#1 alliance uni39/44)

      sleeping member of
      Legends (#1 alliance betelgeuse)
    • VIRIATO wrote:

      man you have made me wait for part 2 for too long ... but it was all i expected to be . thanks
      and thank you too cassandra vandales :beer:
      I finally understand why so many people who produce videos or blogs only do so once a week. On one hand, I'd like to share a lot of this stuff as soon as I have it ready but there is no way I could keep churning out content at a quick rate nor would people read so many interviews in such a short time period. I think the one week schedule I've decided for myself will give me time to catch up with some cool people and keep me from finding this to be too big a time waster to be worth doing.

      If you only knew some of the potential interviews I'm trying to line up you would realize they'll be more than worth the wait (everyone keep your fingers crossed!)

      Also, not to whore attention away from the interview here (though thats totally what I'm about to do), if anyone is good with Photoshop and would be interested in making me a Spidey News Network sig then I'd totally use it. Just saying, you'd be super cool and everyone would be jealous of how awesome you are every time they saw it. If somehow a matching avatar came with it too, that'd be pretty sweet.

      But yeah, interviews take a good couple of hours to conduct, proofread, and format so I apologize in advance if you develop an addiction that I can only feed once a week haha

      The post was edited 1 time, last by SpideyNightDelight ().

    • i think its better when you release one every week,
      because personally i would just give up to read them all if you continously post them day by day, plus you would run out of members fast to interview doing that...
      And waiting for days on end for a new interview just makes everything much more exicting..
    • Nice interviews spidey, keep it up :)

      Wasn't cassandra going to be involved in a star trek game or something similar? what happened to that? is that why she came back to ba'ing ?

      that is where both me and cass went to after leaving here, yes.

      the development stage of Star Trek - Infinite Space went on for around a year before the "higher ups" decided that the external developers were not progressing on time, and that the costs were becoming too high. The project was put on hold at the end of October 2011, just before the mass redundancies of over 100 employees in November 2011 (which included myself and half the internal Star Trek team..) between Gameforge, and the newly acquired company Frogster (which was renamed to Gameforge Berlin and I hear was recently closed). The overall Star Trek project was silently cancelled by Gameforge a year later, with the reason given that they could not agree any co-publishing deals to keep the game alive.

      The sky is not the limit it is only the genesis of dreams.
    • Awesome interview. spidey.

      Hope to see more. ;)

      I had the honor to be chosen by Cass and Wraith to be the first Mod on the Star Trek Infinite Space boards.

      Was a sad day to learn it was cancelled year later then. :(

      Back to Cass topic, from my perspective, she has always been a solid rock and soul of the whole team.
      She is a great person and someone who is very understanding and caring that the entire team totally respects.

      To teamlers and players, she is always a sweetheart. She will always strive for respect to and for fairness for players rights.
      She is my favorite BA and I always look forward to work and chat with her.

      A real honor to be able to call her and wraith a friend.

      Thanks for posting this interview, spidey. :)