Portfolio

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 43,000 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 engaged 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.

 

Editorial

When an opinion or idea is worth exploring, this is how I get it out there.

MMOGames | Why MMOs Should Move Past the Trinity

The topic of the trinity is one of the oldest debates we have in the MMO community, and while opinions on it are ubiquitous, I don’t think the subject is ever approached with quite enough respect for the complexity of the issue. Focusing on the roles themselves misses the point entirely; the trinity is fundamentally an approach to encounter design, and that is how I choose to address it.

MMOGames | How MMO Quests Get it All Wrong

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 it right.

The Errant Penman | The Massive Identity Crisis

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.

 

Interviews

Asking and answering the important questions.

MMOGames | Interview: Questing in Saga of Lucimia

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.

MMOGames | Crowfall Social Systems Interview with Thomas Blair & Raph Koster

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.

Ten Ton Hammer | A Crowfall Discussion

In this article on Ten Ton Hammer, I play the role of interviewee instead of interviewer. TTH features editor Lewis Burnell interviewed me for a discussion about the highly anticipated upcoming MMORPG Crowfall. In the piece we talk about the game, the genre, and what we want for Crowfall‘s future.

 

Game Overviews

Exhaustive looks into everything a game has to offer, these overviews are lengthy, but extremely thorough.

The Errant Penman | Hobo Gamer: Albion Online

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.

The Errant Penman | Hobo Gamer: Crowfall

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.

Tamriel Foundry | ESO: Isarii’s Comprehensive Review

In some ways the precursor to my Hobo Gamer series, this comprehensive review of The Elder Scrolls Online was born as the result of months of testing participation on the game’s exclusive persistent beta server. Written specifically for the benefit of the game’s fan site community, the article set out to address the majority of concerns circulating at the time as well as an introduction to the game’s many systems.

 

Guides

When a concept or activity needs explaining, a guide sets out to answer a singular question – “how”.

Tamriel Foundry | Build-A-Build Workshop

The first article I ever wrote, this piece provided an early overview of the planned character customization systems in the (at the time) upcoming The Elder Scrolls Online MMORPG.

Tamriel Foundry | Skill Overview – Melee Weapons

After other members of the Tamriel Foundry team visited PAX Prime and Eurogamer Expo, I reported on the information they brought back with a guide to the game’s melee weapon abilities.

The Errant Penman | Social Net Working in ArcheAge: An Intro Guide to Fishing

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.

 

News

Need to get the word out quickly? These news posts were all written quickly when time came at a premium.

Tamriel Foundry | The Elder Scrolls Online Has a Release Date

This post announced the big news that a release date had finally been set for The Elder Scrolls Online on the game’s premier fan site.

MMO-Central | Elite: Dangerous Announces Horizons Expansion Season

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.

MMO-Central | Guild Wars 2 Bans Quaggan Dancing

A tongue-in-cheek news piece reporting on a fix to a bug that was popular in the Guild Wars 2 community.

 

Opportunities

Want to collaborate or reach out to me about business opportunities? Get in touch using the form below!