I Choose To Serve

As of 05.18.09, we’ve officially launched the Home Community Volunteer program. We will be announcing our first group of volunteers shortly, and will edit this thread to include a list of all of their usernames.The answers to all of your other burning questions are below. Please read this entire FAQ before posing any questions regarding this program.”
–Locust_Star

 

That’s how it started.

Hard to realize the Home Community Volunteer program is three years old, isn’t it? On one hand, Home itself still feels so young — and yet, conversely, so much has happened in the last thirty-six months that it feels like an eternity of time has passed by.

Rewind the accumulated memories of your time in Home. The parties. The milestones. Friends both past and present. The moments of surprising poignancy, and the shared laughter with people who might be thousands of miles away. People whom you will never meet in person.

People who are, nonetheless, quite real.

This article is not a meditation on the HCV program itself. Rather, this is a bit of personal introspection. For three years, I’ve served as a volunteer to a community that exists electronically. In that time, Home has grown and changed considerably. Some friends are gone. Others have arisen. I co-founded GamerIndepth and HOMEinformer, and I serve as the podcast editor for HomeStation — a truly outstanding publication which I wish had been around during the early days of Home.

But through it all, I’ve been an HCV.

Gamers, in general, have been trained to have short attention spans: acquire, consume and move on. There’s always a hot new game right around the corner. Home, on the other hand, grows and evolves like a coral reef; whereas games are fun diversions for weeks or possibly even months, Home has been an integral part of my life for years.

It’s not hard to see why. Those of you who know me also know what I face on a daily basis. What I will continue to face for the rest of my life. That said, no one gets out of here alive — and perhaps the most accurate measurement of the “value” of someone’s life is what they do for other people. Tony Robbins once pointed out that one of the core universal human needs is the need to give beyond oneself — to create something or help someone else. This certainly drives me, and Home is the perfect opportunity to fulfill that.

Because Home isn’t a game.

Yes, Home is a platform for games as well as a social network for gamers. And yes, it would actually be quite fun if Home itself turned into more of a game. Prior to Home I was involved in Final Fantasy XI, which was more of an MMO than a social game, and it was insanely fun. But Home does something I’ve never seen on a game console before: it lets you live inside a video game.

Isn’t that one of our collective fantasies, as gamers? To live inside a video game world? From the old Captain N kids’ series to the latest TRON  film, the idea of living inside of virtual reality is something that most people idly wonder about. We live it. No, granted, Home isn’t the Matrix. We’re a long way from something akin to a Star Trek holodeck. But there’s no question that the rudiments are there, in Home, for us to enjoy.

That said, Home’s a little light on the handholding. How many of you emerged into the daylight of Central Plaza for the first time, fumbling with the interface, wondering how the heck to assimilate this new experience? It can be a daunting proposition; you keep waiting for the pop-up to appear onscreen, telling you where to go next. Some people, I think, are still waiting for that!

To me, that’s been the fun of serving as a community volunteer: those moments when you help someone. To you it may be only a matter of answering a question for the umpteenth time, but to that user it can dramatically affect their entire perception of the Home experience.

Norse has written that Home is a mirror: what you get out of it is a direct reflection of what you put into it. I think he’s right. A lot of my time and energy has gone into Home over the last three years, and I can certainly say I’ve derived a hell of a lot of fun out of it as a result. Some advice, for what it’s worth:

1. Don’t get so caught up in what you personally wish Home was that you miss out on all the awesome stuff Home already is.

2. Not everyone is going to agree with you, and friends will come and go. Enjoy the good times and don’t dwell on the bad.

3. Sony cares, and they’re committed to continuously improving Home. 

Whew. I’m not good at writing this sort of stuff. It’s hard to hit nine-hundred words! I will say this, though: sometimes the greatest reward is in helping someone else, and you don’t have to be an HCV to do that. The Home community is an incredibly committed group of users. That said, I’ve had an absolute blast these last three years, and it’s been a ridiculous amount of fun to work with fellow volunteers past and present. If the opportunity presents itself for you to become an HCV, I highly recommend it. And my sincere thanks to Home Community Management for giving me the opportunity to have this much fun. The last thousand days have been much brighter because of you.

May 19th, 2012 by | 13 comments
Jersquall is a retired Home Community Volunteer, co-founder of Club HOMEinformer, and podcast commentator for HomeStation Magazine. His views expressed in HSM are his own.

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13 Responses to “I Choose To Serve”

  1. Burbie52 says:

    Nice article Jersquall! I love helping people in Home and do so as often as I run into one that needs it. Be it giving advice on reward hunting or helping them work through something more technical I go my best to help make their Home experience a good one. I congratulate the HCV program on this milestone and hope to see it reach another one next year and the years to come. I think the idea for this was a great one, and it showed me that Sony really does care, for if they didn’t they would have never made the HCV what is is today.

  2. Sophronia says:

    Happy Anniversary! ^__^

  3. Dlyrius says:

    I totally “GET” that whole warm fuzzy feeling you spoke about when you help someone even though you have answered the same question 400 times that day. People may think I am little miss helpful, but in all honesty, I do it selfish reasons, I dig that warm fuzzy feeling I get when I teach someone how to dance for the first time, or share their excitement over wearing new clothes I helped them find.

    I am asked all the time “What can I do to repay your kindness?”, my answer is always the same… Next time you see someone who needs help HELP THEM! It is that simple :)

    My philosophy is simple, if I have a chance to help someone who is frustrated or confused, I may just be steering them down a path that will improve the community rather than having them becoming bitter and taking a darker course.

    Happy Anniversary HCV! I hope to join your ranks one day, and until I do, I will keep on doing what I am doing do cuz it ROCKS!

  4. DaMiGiSan says:

    Happy Anniversary to US & May we even become stronger in the coming months ahead!!!

  5. ted2112 says:

    I loved Final Fantasy XI and really get what you mean about “living inside a video game world” and I agree, this is a gaming collective fantasy until we do get a holodeck. Great read!

  6. Dr_Do-Little says:

    Dont say your not good at writing this kind of stuff. Great article. As always you find the right words. I love to help newcomers at novus, even if sometimes ansewring the same old question is kinda “irritating”. Now if only Canadian could enter the program…. we have a good rep for that you know ;)

  7. Olivia_Allin says:

    Never asking for thanks
    In their three-year back story
    The HCV’s service
    Never motivated by glory

    Acting as guides
    Helping with needed direction
    Spending free time
    Answering every posed question

    Humbly they serve
    Never pounding their chest
    In my opinion
    They are the best of the best

    PlayStation on
    Controller in hand
    They roam all the spaces
    In our virtual land

    Vigilant to respond
    When their duty calls
    If only to answer
    “Do you know GlassWalls?”

    Three years and still going
    They should be very proud of this
    And the ones I know personally
    Are the pride of my friends list

    So whatever you’re doing
    Salt shooting, rave dancing, curling a gnome
    Give thanks to the HCV’s for making
    Home feel like Home

  8. Jersquall says:

    Olivia, That was very nice. Thank you!

  9. GoodBytes says:

    Interesting article. To me the HCV program is a status symbol for people to feel more important than others in Home. I support equality in Home where there are two parties -- SCE staff and PSN users. HCVs break that balance by giving some PSN users an advantage over others. I’m not saying HCVs do a bad job, what I am saying is that if they are so willing to serve then why do they need a title? We dont have a HCV program in SCEE thankfully, our community is willing to assist others without the need for an official title or be rewarded with free content.

  10. Jersquall says:

    Hello, Goodbytes

    Actually, I started helping out others who were interested in Home on the U.S. Home forums August of 2007. As you know this was even before the Home public Beta and way before the HCV program so yes, I agree and I have said ”You do not have to be a HCV in title to help.”
    Correct, You do not have a HCV program. Yet. But with fresh minds and new idea’s Hopefully you guys will get one someday. I can also state that the few content pieces we have recieved to show to the Home community in no way makes up for 3 years of HCV service. We use it to inform and give preview when asked. I believe Home users, SCEA and third party developers have been more than satisfied with our doing that.

    http://community.us.playstation.com/thread/4696042

    Enjoy your week, GoodBytes!

  11. oldcatsrock says:

    Wow I can’t believe I missed this one. Very well sais Jers.

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