Hello and welcome to the online portfolio of Ethan Macfie – or Isarii, as I’m sometimes known on the internet.
I’ve been writing about MMORPGs since June of 2013, when I started as a writer and community manager for Tamriel Foundry, which grew to become the premier fan site for The Elder Scrolls Online with a registered member count of over 47,000 individuals. An accountant by trade, my experiences at Tamriel Foundry awakened an inner need for a creative outlet, and I’ve been hooked ever since.
I’m currently based out of Portland, Oregon and do most of my writing as a freelance journalist for MMOGames.com, where I enjoy the pleasure of sharing my work with the site’s community.
Interested in my work? Here are a few samples from around the web. I’ve included a contact form at the bottom for business inquiries.
When an opinion or idea is worth exploring, this is how I get it out there.
An analysis of the failure of MMO quests to live up to their literary predecessors, and an exploration of the way RuneScape managed to get the formula right.
The personal story of a friendship from The Elder Scrolls Online that grew into a real life bond when I moved cross-country, eventually landing me in their wedding party. This piece explores the way MMO players create a sprawling social network that spans the globe.
This article takes a look at what I call the “Massive Identity Crisis”, or how the modern MMO paradigm has shifted away from the features that originally set the genre apart, moving from the persistent worlds and massive communities unique to MMOs in favor of segregating players into small-group instances using community-circumventing group finders in a way that makes modern MMOs more reminiscent of games like Diablo than of the games that made the genre great.
Getting the answers to the most important questions.
Shortly before this interview took place, I had written a couple of articles exploring the problems with quest design in the MMORPG genre. When I discovered Saga of Lucimia, I realized the game was possibly the only MMO doing basically exactly what I had suggested. I got in touch and sent the game’s Executive Producer some questions about how their game is handling quest design.
After watching one of Crowfall‘s promotional videos covering the topic of the game’s social systems design, I had some questions for the two presenters. Thankfully, they had some answers as well.
I had a lot of questions following the announcement of Intrepid Studios’ new project Ashes of Creation. The team had just released one of their first developer blogs outlining the title’s innovative node system, so I struck a balance between general MMO questions and exploring the nodes that make up the core of the game’s world design.
Game Overviews & Reviews
An often exhaustive look into what a game has to offer.
The Albion Online entry to my long-running series of MMO game overviews, this behemoth article paints a comprehensive picture of the game based on research and a week of play during the title’s closed beta, aggregating information and analysis of every major game feature into one big resource for prospective players.
Written following the close of Crowfall‘s successful kickstarter drive, this piece pulls together all of the information released during the game’s path to funding and became the definitive resource for players interested in the crowdfunded title.
For something less exhaustive and probably more in line with a typical review, check out this piece on GameSpace.com. This is part of the site’s one hour review series that takes a quick look into early access titles to see what they have to offer.
When a concept or activity needs explaining, these posts sets out to answer a singular question – “how”.
The first article I ever wrote (don’t judge too harshly!), this piece provided an early overview of the planned character customization systems in the (at the time) upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG.
One of the most popular articles on my site, this guide to fishing from ArcheAge‘s N.A. localization alpha has stayed relevant as evergreen content, providing a great starting resource to players looking to get their feet wet in the game’s fishing system.
An overview of the journey to unlock the retribution paladin’s hidden artifact skin in World of Warcraft: Legion that reviews the design behind the process.
Need to get the word out quickly? These news posts were all written quickly when time came at a premium.
A quick summary of the initial announcement that The Elder Scrolls Online was getting its first expansion..
When Elite: Dangerous announced its first expansion season, this post broke the news with everything players needed to know about pricing, what features were coming, and what exactly an expansion season was.
A tongue-in-cheek news piece reporting on a fix to a bug that was popular in the Guild Wars 2 community.
Not all of my content is written!
Sometimes I step out from behind the keyboard to guest on podcasts around the web. Most of these can be found on the dedicated podcast section of this site here.
Want to collaborate or reach out to me about business opportunities? Get in touch using the form below!