This episode of the Member Herding blog is record setting in that it weighs in at 6 pages. But it's six pages of interesting material and I just couldn't bring myself to cut any of it out. So what I'm going to do is minimize my intro and my responses. Also, you might notice the new MH image, created by our very own GIO Community member born4this. Thanks Dean! Let me just say that this person was selected, not just for his contributions to the website, but also for his latest rise to fame as the GIO Community Frag Fest Coordinator. He needs no introduction. He is...

GIO Name: eyros2k

GIO Rank: Veteran Member - Level 13

Gaming Experience (Years playing): 17+. I know my family had picked up an NES when I was around 4, and I recall playing the Mario/Duckhunt combo cartridge quite a bit... but it wasn't until... I think it was my 6th birthday when I was given a Sega Genesis that things kicked into gear. The following year my family made a cross-country move, and one thing I will never forget is having my dad unpack the TV and the Genesis before anything else, literally the first items out of the truck.

(How long have you been a gamer? Since the beginning...)

Last Game Completed: I'm not a big achievement hunter, so I don't feel compelled to go for 100% on anything... with the exception of Modern Warfare and its sequel. The most recent single-player portion of a game finished though, Call of Duty: Black Ops.

Currently Playing: Black Ops, Enslaved, Fallout New Vegas, Fable 3 (about a 95/2/2/1 split at the moment, sadly)

Origin of GIO Profile Name: Eyros was my first jab at a fantasy character name, when my girlfriend and I started playing EQOA on PS2. It felt right, a good fit for the elf bard, and I liked keeping the first letter of my own name. It wasn't until weeks later that I became aware of its extreme similarity to a certain Greek mythology figure, and then I decided to run with it for good.

Five Randomly Generated Questions + 1 Bonus question

1. How are you enjoying your newly discovered and self-claimed position as the GIO Frag-Fest Coordinator, and how are you enjoying all of the attention? Do you have big plans for the future of this little endeavor?

I enjoy this sort of thing a lot, getting people together for gaming events has been my deal for as long as I can remember. Counter-Strike LANs, Hot-Seat games of Heroes III, DDR at the arcade, geez, even getting friends over to take turns on XBAND Killer Instinct... it's always been something. We were constantly playing stuff on our own, but it usually wasn't until I spoke up that we got together. In that same way, the GIO community shows a strong interest in getting together to game, but it's been troublesome getting everyone together in the past.  I'm super happy with how the inaugural event turned out, and can only hope the popularity of the idea sticks. And kudos to you again for being the one to spark the initiative. As for the attention, heh, ask me again in a few weeks. It's nice to hear all the attaboys now, but it's always easy in the beginning right? I fear the wrath of the "why can't be play such and such instead" crowd... As for the future of the events, I have grand ideas of things expanding... but it's far too early to go down that road. We'll just have to see how the next few events pan out.

 [SAINT: Even I was surprised by the response. I think it's a wonderful opportunity and you're the perfect person to be in charge. I hope you get all the fame and recognition you deserve and more; and I look forward to seeing what the future holds. I'll help out however I can, even if I'm not the greatest player.]

2. Imagine if you the Holiday Christmas Party for work, you drew Donkey Kong's name for the secret Santa gift exchange. What do you get him? One of your 90 year-old co-workers asks, "What are video games and why do you play them?" How do you respond?

The only correct answer is a bunch bananas right? And a jigsaw puzzle I guess, everyone loves a two-fer present. And to the old-timer I say... "What are you doing here, didn't you retire 25 years ago?" if I'm in a good mood. The more likely response would be "It's the 21st century, adapt to technology or GET OUT!" or the ol' standby "You are waaay past Last Day - any Sandman in the house?" If you were hoping for the intellectual answer to that question, you'll have to present another scenario... the elderly tend to bring out the worst in me :P

 [SAINT: There are never any wrong answers. There is always something to be learned by reading the person's response. For example, we all now know you don't like old people...heh heh. As far as DK, I would get him a new tie with little Mario's all over it.]

3. Where do you see the video game industry in five years? Ten years?

Seeing the direction of the current console generation, taking in all the milestones of the past decade, it makes it that much more difficult for me to take a guess at what the future holds. I see free-to-play and Facebook games and all that low development cost/low upkeep nonsense continuing to clog the internet. On that same page, I see a continued push for more digital distribution and probably more half-baked games with lots of DLC. Perhaps I am focusing too much on the bad trends...

As an individual, I respect the initiative to advance technology, and hope that's where we're headed. Of course innovation can happen within any medium, any hardware configuration... but the more we focus on advancement of base technology, the sooner the farfetched possibilities become reality. All I know for sure is, there will be 27 more handhelds from Nintendo by 2020.

 [SAINT: A fair assessment, I'm sure. Especially the Nintendo handheld prediction. I agree with the rest of your comments. I should've asked what your thoughts about On Live...]

4. Is space really the final frontier or will we ever go to infinity and beyond?

Let's see, immediate response to the first part of that question, yes. I feel we give humanity far too much credit. I won't even pretend to be a novice on the topic of interstellar travel... but from where I am standing, to believe we have the ability to venture out beyond our own galaxy requires a certain amount of imagination that I apparently don't possess. I tend to break things down into components, and as far as this topic goes; the distances and time involved sure seem to present some problems... then you consider the notions of light speed travel and cryonics or whatever sci-fi you're into... I can't help but think about how feeble the human body is. *shrug* Get used to the moon astronauts, cuz you're never goin' anywhere else. Not in a million years!

 [SAINT: An interesting perspective and not one I expected but one that I am intrigued by. Most gamers (a completely unsubstantiated assessment) seem to believe in technology and sci-fi and all that hoopla, it's refreshing to see a view that goes against the flow. Somehow, I think that fits your personality.]

5. You have one of the most thorough and interesting profiles of anyone I have ever met on Game Informer. It warrants a few questions on your thoughts - How much gas does WarCraft still have in the tank? Give a Black Ops noob like myself a few pointers, including your weapon load out and perk selection. Would you rather have the top score or an amazing kill to death ratio? Can the next Call of Duty outdo MW2 and/or Black Ops?

World of Warcraft? Although I personally try to keep my distance from it, I still have a window into the fanbase. More than a few of my friends continue to play, and attending Blizzcon was a good snapshot of it as well. The game is still going strong, and has no signs of slowing down, sadly. This is a hot topic for me... I feel strongly that the endless carrot-on-a-stick framework of MMOs is a horrible blemish on the face of gaming. The heart of the issue is that the vast majority of players continue to play year after year for one thing, the escapism factor. This is a pitfall topic, I know, but a simple fact of how it applies to those who escape into gaming is, infinite replay value or not, all other video games have an end. There is no end of the road quitting point with WoW, it's always "I can't wait until the next raid" "the next patch" "next expansion". Between the root escapism, and players always pining for the next best thing I find it near impossible to not draw comparison to other life sucking/destroying addictions - drugs, alcohol, whatever. Every fan will argue it's not addictive, insisting they can manage and if someone else can't that's their problem. Is the game itself truly at fault, or are those adversely affected just weak minded statistics? Who knows... but just as I will state for the record that I believe drugs and alcohol are destructive, so are MMOs. Surely some can manage these "recreational activities", but many, many more than a negligible minority, will not. I imagine this was not the road you wanted me to go down with that question, but there's my official statement :/

[SAINT: Honesty is always the road I want people to take when answering the questions and that's what you did. I applaud that response. I'm not an MMO player, but I have battled the online addiction fight before so I can relate to your comment. Brilliant response.]

Black Ops pointers: Success in shooters always starts with the same two elements - twitch reflex, and map knowledge. I haven't always been a console FPS player... it took me several months to become comfortable with aiming on a gamepad, and every game has its own little learning curve for aiming, but for CoD as a whole what really helped me out with that was the introductory mission on the original Modern Warfare "FNG", and again later MW2s "The Pit". Improving on your previous best time speaks volumes about your ability to acquire targets and move around with confidence. If you bang your head on this sort of exercise for too long, of course it becomes more muscle memory... so just try running these practice missions 5 or 6 times before a session of online play. I used to do this as a sort of "stretch before you begin" thing while playing MW2 for most of my career.

Combat Training: In CT you can still practice your twitch reflex like with training missions, but you will also be forced to also think about defending yourself. How you're moving around the map, line of sight, grenades and equipment, whether to reload or switch to sidearm... this is great because it presents the situations more like what you'd really encounter online, but the instinctual reaction to this setting is to be overly cautious... and if you're too tense, you're going to have trouble training yourself to aim the way you want. When going into CT, just tell yourself that is what you're there for, training? Instead of going in with the mindset of "ok I need to get this many kills" just focus on taking in map knowledge - understanding the flow of the map you choose. Just move around and find all those alternate paths, try and hop walls and stuff. As you become more acquainted with the layout of a map, your situational awareness lets you know where your attention should be; when you're able to relax, and where to check your corners, so to say. You can do this in a local round without any bots even, but I think this can be counter-productive for many players.

Class loadouts: I love building classes. So many useful utilitarian combinations, this is why I grind toward prestige 9 just to unlock all the extra class slots. But if I had to pick a few good archetypes for a newbie...

Rushing SMG: AK74u with grip & dual mags, Python with speed reloader, concussion grenades, Semtex and claymore with perks of Lightweight, Warlord, and Marathon. The role of this class is pretty self explanatory, get to the enemy quick and hit em hard. Super easy to handle weapons and high mobility - requires map knowledge to use to the fullest. Easily interchangeable with stealth setup - Switch grip for silencer, lightweight for ghost and claymore for motion sensor and you've got a potent lurker class.

Defensive Rifleman: GALIL with dual mags, CZ75 with extended mags, nova gas, frag grenade and claymore with perks of Hardline, Hardened and Second Chance. Defend an objective from a point of cover, and rack up killstreaks in the process. Use hardened to fire from behind your own cover, and second chance to give your team a chance to keep you and that killstreak (which you'll earn sooner from Hardline) alive. Try switching your GALIL attachment to extended mags and CZ75 to fully-automatic, along with your first perk to Scavenger for more shock and awe.

Self Sustaining: M16 with suppressor and dual mags, Strela-3, concussion grenades, tomahawk, and motion sensor with perks of Ghost, Warlord and Marathon. Make them play on your terms with this setup. The running Ghost with a suppressed weapon keeps you off radar allowing you to skulk around anywhere. Engage from some obscure corner of the map, or dead in the middle - if you keep your head on a swivel and you movements quick and point to point (with the help of Marathon), you'll be tough to track. If motion sensors or footstep sounds concern you, then go for Ninja as perk 3 to be completely invisible. The Strela-3 as your secondary makes sure you aren't caught with your pants down when an unexpected Cobra, Huey or Hind show up - and Warlord gives you a more formidable primary weapon as well as extra grenades, so you won't miss having a secondary. This is the most versatile class setup in my opinion, and is always my first custom class.

Other: Sniper, LMG and Shotgun classes have their place, but I feel for new guys looking to get a grip on things it should stick to SMG and AR. Lastly I want to add an important note on anti-aircraft classes... don't be drawn in by the standard LMG/Launcher idea. Attempting to bring down any aircraft with anything other than launchers really is a fool's errand and will absolutely end in your own death. Pick anything else besides an LMG, to retain the mobility that will benefit you as you move to and from cover to take shots on helicopters.

[SAINT: Great tips. Hopefully I can implement them before our next battle.]

Top score or K/D: Like I mentioned before, I'm grinding away to 9th prestige, so I'm all about score... but if balanced correctly this can also mean the best K/D as well. My favorite modes are Domination and CTF, lots of chances for bonus XP when playing the objective. I never played CTF in MW or MW2 at all, there was no incentive. But now in Black Ops, not only are you playing CTF to unlock Marathon Pro, the XP is just awesome! A bonus for picking up enemy flag, a bonus for any kills while holding the flag, bonus for killing anyone who has picked up your flag, bonus for returning your flag... I regularly collect all of these in succession, and man does it feel sweet. Same story with Domination, almost all high skill players will say hold two flags so we can spawn trap them, But they have it all wrong. If you manage to capture the third flag, then play roving defense between the two flags you're closest too, you'll rack up those Defense bonuses on every kill. Huge XP for yourself for the bonuses, manage to stay alive and you're getting streaks and high K/D anyway, and the game ends sooner, yielding your match bonus quicker, netting you more XP per minute. I'm getting excited just typing all this, I've barely played since last weekend, I'm gonna be all over it tonight.

[SAINT: Interesting philosophy. I just shoot. I haven't thought about offense / defense just yet.]

Next CoD Expectations: Call of Duty has done an amazing job at tuning the experience with each and every release. Lots of people think the franchise has gone up and down, but I see a plain as day straight line - the games getting better from year to year with the single exception of WaW. I will not try and cover up the fact that I was a hard sell for Black Ops, though. I enjoy the hell out of Modern Warfare because of the setting, and the toys that allows you to use. All that said, with MW3 the popular guess for the next release, I am quite excited. I want to believe that the series will continue the trend each release being better than the last, but the complications with Infinity Ward cast a long and dark shadow on the whole thing... so, hoping for the best, expecting the... well, there's no way it will be anything less than an 8, so I'm still excited.

 [SAINT: The shoes to fill keep getting bigger. My fear is one day they won't hit the mark. Then what?]


Mray901 asks, "If you could pick any game to be a Game Informer cover (granted, it has to be a game that doesn't exist yet) what would it be?"

This particular question brings a big smile to my face, because all the dead franchises that I wish to see a sequel from - are already in work! Diablo III is my one true desire in life, and the reboot of Deus Ex is excellent news. I've never done the whole "blueprint your dream game" fantasy... but something comes to mind as I type this. It's been a while since I watched it, but I remember during the first half of I Am Legend being absolutely enthralled. The usual "last man alive" format involves some catastrophe that destroys not only most structures, but all infrastructures as well. Not only are buildings crumbled and in flames, electricity is gone, running water, you know. Explaining all the intricacies of this idea would take awhile, I'll just say... imagine Fallout 3, but stuff isn't wrecked, there are no (or are there?) NPCs, and the name of the game is equal parts survival and just personal satisfaction - mental health I guess you could say. The survival aspect alone would not be enough, but imagine if you had this massive open world... you've got houses, apartments, high-rise businesses all still intact and uninhabited... you can claim any of them and call it home. Then you wake up, set out, you find yourself rummaging for sustenance through some other nice place, you find... whatever, a statue that you would love to have in your own place. Hopefully you have the means to transport it. Heh, I'm sure this sounds crazy, but I can totally see it in my head. Anyway let's just pretend I said Elder Scrolls V, until that gets officially confirmed... then I revert back to my previous answer.

[SAINT: That game sounds awesome. I am Legend is one of my favorite movies and I think I see your vision, or at least a bit of it.]

A special thanks to eyros2k for spending some time with us while divulging a few details about his gaming personality. To read more about eyros2k, view his GIO profile here.