Friday, September 21, 2007

Neither Perfect nor a Saint

A comprehensive guide to any Harvest Moon game cannot be completed in a few weeks or even a month, especially if one does all the research as well as the writing personally. When I first began to write guides for publication on IGN, I included my email address as a matter of course, feeling that I wished to be 'accessible' to fellow fans of Harvest Moon if they had questions about the game.

Other guide writers as well as people at IGN advised me to remove my email address from my guides. I have been advised to delete emails unread if they did not ask questions that were NOT covered in the guide or to simply respond with a terse link to my guide page.

Instead, I tried always to answer all emails, even if the writer asked questions that are answered very clearly in my guides. Not one day passes even now without at least 20 new emails from people with game questions. I have counted more than 50 emails on some days.

I believe in courtesy and kindness, but I am growing weary of people who assume that my time is worthless and who are too lazy to read the guide. Instead of looking at the guide, they basically ask me to write a little personal mini-guide that answers all their questions. It would take me far more time to do that than it would take them to look up the answer in one of the guides that took me six months to write.

I still want to be accessible to players with game questions. I know what it is like to be 'stuck' somewhere, having tried everything I could think of doing without having any success in unlocking the next stage in a game. I enjoy the camaraderie of the gaming community and especially enjoy correspondence with other players who love Harvest Moon as much as I do.

So I shan't stop answering emails but I am going to ask for a little consideration from people who write them. Can you PLEASE write the name of the game you are playing in the Subject Title of your email? If you have written to me before, can you copy the correspondence into the body of your email so I can refer to it myself quickly? I can't be expected to guess which game you are playing or to remember every aspect of YOUR game when I am trying to write new guides of my own as well as answering emails from countless other players.

Especially where Harvest Moon games are concerned, it is extremely important that you give me the name of the specific game you are playing. There are many Harvest Moon games, and some of them feature the same characters as other Harvest Moon games. Every game is different, however. The method of making Butter in 'A Wonderful Life' is quite different from the method of making Butter in 'Rune Factory' or 'Friends of Mineral Town'. The method of obtaining a Yarn Maker in 'Friends of Mineral Town' is slightly different from the requirements of 'Harvest Moon DS'. I want to help you, but you have to help me a little.

If I were a Saint, would I patiently answer the same questions again and again without making any complaint? I thought about that, and although I always feel a little guilty when I am less than good-humoured with some one, I believe that I am right to point out these flaws in internet communication. After all, I am not the only person who writes guides and answers questions about games. For the sake of every one who is willing to correspond with other players, there should be a few common courtesies.

There are people who send emails without addressing the person to whom they are sent. They barge ahead with their questions without a greeting. They never thank the person for responding or for giving them the information they so desperately sought. 'Reply ASAP' they command, as if I am nothing more than a Harvest Moon answering machine who spits out answers to their questions.

Few people bother with proper etiquette in correspondence now but I have to say that I genuinely am touched by the players who write to me to thank me for the work I have done on my guides or who tell me that my guides have made all the difference in their enjoyment of the game. It is those emails that inspire me to continue.

And for the rest, please take a moment simply to try to understand that I can help you better if you help me. I created this website primarily to provide links to all my guides. The guides are here. Look at the right side of the page and you will find links to every guide I have written. These little posts are incidental. 'Harvest Moon Forever' was created to provide you with links to the actual guides.


Mountain Gnome said...

Dear Freyashawk

I would like to thank you for all your work on the guides that you have done. I have emailed you before, and was really pleased to get such a quick reply for help on Innocent Life!

I am currently playing Harvest Moon Boy and Girl on the PSP. I don't know if you have written a guide for HM: Back to nature or HM: Back to nature for Girls, but so far I have not found one. If you do have a guide I can use, please let me know where I can find it.

Once again, THANKS for your Blog and Guides, they are superb!

kind regards
Shaggy the Mountain Gnome

Freyashawk said...

Dear Shaggy,

It is very kind of you to express your appreciation of my guide work. Actually, Harvest Moon Boy and Girl is next on my list, but it will be a few more days before I can put down Rune Factory. If you can wait, however, I will let you know when a guide is available.

As far as 'Back to Nature' is concerned, alas, I never covered it, but I believe it is quite similar to FoMT and MFoMT in its essentials. It was a fabulous game in its day, and FoMT and MFoMT were created as versions for the handheld platforms.

I believe there were some good 'fan' guides for 'Back to Nature' as well. I'll try to find one for you if I can.

Freyashawk said...

P.S. Did you notice that I made changes to the Innocent Life Guides to make certain that players would understand that the Fisherman's home was no simple 'tent' but a proper 'yurt'?

Mountain Gnome said...

Dear Freyashawk

Thanks for your comments! I eagerly await your guide to Boy and Girl! I will have a look at the FoMT guides as well.

No I had not noticed that you had changed the Innocent Life guides, I still have my original guide that I printed out when I first found it, but I will certainly go and look now!

Thanks again!

Shaggy the Mountain Gnome

Vaughn sweet heart said...

i love vaughn
i thik your a saint
your so pacint and kind i think its the fans that are the problum.
im not even alude to emil but when
i wright coment i will be sure to wright
like this=hi its Vaughns sweet heart.hope you are great by