Angel Cordoso: Greetings Vulpine, and welcome to Amber castle :)
Vulpine Eldrich: Thank you for having me!
Angel Cordoso: Have a seat :)
Vulpine Eldrich: Oh, thanks again. So, to our readers, I'm in a gray stone castle, sitting in a dark red couch, next to a very handsome and muscular King... the King of Amber. If I might start my questions, why the name of Amber? What does it mean to you and the others in your kingdom?
Angel Cordoso: The name Amber comes from a fantasy series written by Roger Zelazny, which I find is very relevant to Second Life. In the series, Amber is the 'real world', and all other worlds (like our Earth) are 'shadows' of Amber. The Princes and Princesses of Amber 'walk through shadow', manipulating reality as they go, very much like Second Life itself! In addition, it is also just a nice name. I wanted something simple and pretty.
Vulpine Eldrich: And you definitely chose one. So who from the series is your role model, as King of Amber?
Angel Cordoso: Actually, they are all fairly dreadful individuals :) They are in some sense my counter-role models, as they are solely interested in power at any cost. The main character, Corwin, is slightly better than the rest but not much ... it was more the concept of the place that I liked.
Vulpine Eldrich: So what sort of positive traits and role models do you follow as King?
Angel Cordoso: I have ideals for how to act. My first principal is that I believe diplomacy is the key to solving all problems. It doesn't always work, but it is always worth it to try to get people to fix their problems through mutual understanding.
Vulpine Eldrich: Has that failed for you, and if so, how did you handle it then?
Angel Cordoso: No it doesn't always work. Sometimes people just aren't getting along and there is nothing to be done about it. I don't banish in my Kingdom, so in the past, techniques I've used have included spending my vacation time trying to amicably split a line into two, and when absolutely necessary, pruning people who just can't play nicely in the Kingdom.
Vulpine Eldrich: Always a painful job, I'm sure. And what other principals have you followed?
Angel Cordoso: My second principal is to try to be as honest and straightforward as possible. I have found that many of the so-called 'dramas' in the game happen when people got caught in lies or underhanded deals.
Vulpine Eldrich: So how do you find new people for Amber? What sort of personality, or place, or thing, do you use as a guide?
Angel Cordoso: At this point, I don't actively recruit as much as manage who is around. That said, a lot of people have heard of Amber, or have been in Amber at some point, and I get more than the occasional IM asking if I'd be interested in having a line in my kingdom. At that point, depending on the size of the line, the requirements, the personalities, etc., I'll work with my directs to find the person a proper home. I used to be more 'they are acres, just take them', but now I am much more interested in getting to know the people a little better first to get an idea of whether they'd be a good fit or not.
Vulpine Eldrich: Why the change in attitude?
Angel Cordoso: Short term gains in acres at any cost invariably cause big troubles later on. Too many conflicting personalities can only co-exist for so long before you get some sort of breakdown.
Vulpine Eldrich: That sounds like the voice of experience to me. Speaking of experience, how did you get started in Tiny Empires?
Angel Cordoso: Ah, the way most people who get highly obsessed do, I think. :) My girlfriend at the time mentioned it to me in passing one day, and I expressed an interest. I instantly got addicted to it and have been playing ever since, even if at perhaps a less fevered pitch. I got my HUD February 18th of last year, so it has been a year and 10 days now.
Vulpine Eldrich: And how long did it take for you to decide you wanted to be a King?
Angel Cordoso: Not for several months. I initially wanted to support my liege and my liege's liege; I had no intention of ascending. Eventually circumstances changed and I thought I'd give it a shot myself. I ascended on the 28th of July of last year.
Vulpine Eldrich: What in particular happened to change your mind, and when you did, did you have enough to ascend immediately, or did you have to work at it?
Angel Cordoso: When I changed my mind, I don't remember if I had enough to ascend or not, but in any case I wanted to make sure I ascended with more than the bare minimum. I ascended with 37,000 acres, which was #35 at the time (there were half as many kingdoms then, of course). I think it was a gradual progress, and I had some dissatisfaction with Kingdom at the time, and no one else was ascending, so I figured it would have to be me!
Vulpine Eldrich: So did you have a group of people- friends- under you who were encouraging you to ascend?
Angel Cordoso: I did yes, a couple in particular, that were very supportive. Also, when I made my plans public, it turned out that most of the people under me were loyal and wanted to come along. We made a stop on the way to becoming Amber in Devonshire for 3 weeks, and in that time there was very little movement away. It was very rewarding to see that people were really excited about this new Kingdom.
Vulpine Eldrich: I can imagine! So you ascended, became King, and found out by experience what it was all about. Did you have any particular real life or second life talents, skills, or experience that proved useful?
Angel Cordoso: I think my strongest suits are diplomacy and an even temper. I try to understand all sides of a story when there is a conflict, and to try to resolve it as best I can that way. I also try to show my appreciation as much as possible without being an acre slave driver. These are things I try to bring from how I am in RL into the game. Aside from that, I am not royalty in RL, nor even a politician!
Vulpine Eldrich: Yes, I did notice your commitment to honesty earlier... but be that as it may. I assume this Palace we're in is Amber's central meeting point in Second Life? What sort of facilities do you have for subjects in Amber?
Angel Cordoso: Anyone is welcome to come here at any time, although this location is still fairly new. There is a Greedy table upstairs, and the Sim is free for exploration. Most of the services I provide are virtual, though - I put together an Amber Business Directory, for advertising SL builders/clubs/shops/etc., and am about to put together a RL directory for people looking for RL jobs in these hard economic times. Also, I've created a Helper that you can wear that provides answers to riddles and a welcome pack, amongst other things.
Vulpine Eldrich: An impressive list! How busy does all of this keep you? How many hours a week go into managing Amber, in one form or another?
Angel Cordoso: Many! Most of the time I am online, I am doing something related to Amber, even if I am no longer actively recruiting. Warning to anyone wanting to ascend: being a Monarch is a full-time job (on top of your other full time jobs...) So yes, it is a busy schedule of several hours a day doing something Amber-related, most days of the week.
Vulpine Eldrich: A good warning! Have you ever found yourself wishing you could relinquish the responsibilities and go back to being a Prince?
Angel Cordoso: Anyone who tells you otherwise is probably lying :) Yes, but then I think of all the people I would disappoint if I did (although I'd probably make a lot of other people very happy! But I am not as interested in pleasing them.) Also, there is still a lot of fun to be had, so I should be around for a bit longer I'd say!
Vulpine Eldrich: Are there any particular plans in your TE and Amber's future, besides keeping things going and active?
Angel Cordoso: Well, getting back in the top 10 would be nice. It means absolutely nothing, but it's a nice goal to have. We are at #11 right now, which is a great place to be because it keeps the excitement level high and gives a great goal to achieve. But other than that, just keep on playing is all that's on the agenda :)
Vulpine Eldrich: And playing usually means having fun, which I suspect is also on the agenda! What about game development in general- any new features or changes that you'd like to see in the rules?
Angel Cordoso: One thing I'd like to see is a way to have proper treaties between Kingdoms. Many kingdoms have no bribe/no sabo treaties with other Kingdoms, but there's no way to enforce them and they cause drama when some subject breaks the treaty, willingly or by accident. It would be nice if you could have a set number of Kingdoms where their names wouldn’t show up for bribes or sabotage, similar to the way that you can't bribe in-Kingdom any more.
Vulpine Eldrich: So more ways and options to form inter-kingdom alliances.
Angel Cordoso: Yes, exactly. From there you can imagine interesting concepts of merging Kingdoms and such, but I'd be happy with that to start.
Vulpine Eldrich: A good idea, and it could open a new level of play. But before getting to the lofty peak of monarch options, you have to start at the bottom. What would your first piece of advice be to someone just starting Tiny Empires- or maybe just considering whether or not they should?
Angel Cordoso: Well, first thing is to get your friends playing early on. Getting subjects early is a real key to becoming a good player.
Angel Cordoso: Once you have your base, go out and hit the friends list! You never know who is out there. But very important - let people know exactly what the game is about. Otherwise, you are just going to get a lot of 7 acre subjects that aren't going to play anyway. So yes, tell everyone about it, but be upfront and clear too, about just what you are getting them into :)
Vulpine Eldrich: A very good idea! Well, I suppose that's most of the questions I wanted to ask. Was there anything else that I missed that you think needs to be added?
Angel Cordoso: No, you were very thorough I think ... it was a pleasure meeting you and I hope you got a good feel of what Amber is about!
Vulpine Eldrich: Thank you... one more question, though perhaps it's slightly personal... am I imagining it, or are your eyes truly colored Amber?
Angel Cordoso: They are indeed, and it is on purpose :)
Vulpine Eldrich: Very good indeed! Well thank you so much for your time, and have a great evening :)
Angel Cordoso: You too