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Getting to know the Alpha Ambassadors

If you’ve been a member of the Xbox Ambassadors Program for a while, then you probably know who the Alphas are. You might have had a one-to-one interaction with an Alpha, who took you under his or her wing as you first entered the Program. You might have seen an Alpha working to provide important information during an Ambassadors-hosted event. You might have reached out in the Xbox Ambassadors Support Forums, looking for help, and received a hand from an Alpha, noted in the forums by their specific badging: a half-laurel, emblematic of the Xbox Ambassadors Program, with a winged-A as the centerpiece.

The Alphas are all this and more, in addition to being members of your very own community, Ambassadors. At the end of the day, the Alphas are what Community Manager Mister Discord describes as “…my eyes and ears when I’m not around… they’re an extension of my visibility of the program so I can make sure everyone’s being heard and listened to.” The Alphas’ ultimate goal is to benefit the community in whatever ways they can. They share Discord’s hope “to make sure that every Ambassador is having fun [and] is able to give back to the community in the way that fits them.”

So where did the Alpha Program come from? The concept of an Alpha has been around for about two years, and according to Miss Mauvelous, who acts as the Ambassadors team lead, was created to “identify community leaders within the Ambassadors” that are enthusiastic about acting as “the ear to ground for what’s happening [with] the Ambassadors.” Today, the Program is proud to have 11 Alphas.

We’d like to share some fun facts about three of our Alphas with you today, but in the future, we’ll be providing other updates about our Alphas. And while the Xbox Ambassadors Team isn’t currently looking to select more Alphas, there’s a chance we’ll be taking applications in the future as the Program continues to grow!

Alpha Q&As:

bowski477

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

Got my first Xbox 360 in 2007. I was a transfer over[…]
My first game on [Xbox] 360 was BioShock.

2. What’s your best Achievement story?

The day I triumphantly completed Call of Duty: World at War on Veteran difficulty and that Achievement popped, I felt like I was crossing a marathon finish line.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

All that really matters to me is fun. I like to escape the real world and fall into a game that’s engaging, a story that pulls me in, or just something that’s mindless that has a good MP. If it’s fun, then I’m happy.

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

I can’t seem to stop playing Far Cry Primal. I have a crazy backlog of games I haven’t even touched yet because I’ve become so entranced by the primal world of Far Cry.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

To me, I always felt like my position was to set an example for other Ambassadors and be a source of information for them. I want all Ambassadors to be the best of the best, and as an Alpha, I feel like that’s part of our position.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

The most important part of XA to me is the sense of community. The idea of gamers helping gamers was something that always made sense to me, and I jumped at the chance to get involved. The things that I’ve learned and the friends I’ve made as a result of being a part of this program are invaluable.

RandyAU93

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

I purchased the Original Xbox in early 2002, maybe within six months of launch, with “Halo: Combat Evolved” being one of my first games. I got the opportunity to beta-test Xbox Live and have been online since before Day One.

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

Hmmm … the first full game that I completed 100% would be “Call of Duty 2.” I had started playing it on the normal level, and got maybe halfway through it, then started playing something else (as I often do). I returned to it later and saw that most of the achievements required Veteran difficulty. So I restarted and played through the entire game at that difficulty and popped all the achievements. It took some effort, but that final pop was oh so worth it!

3. What do you look for in a good game?

I want the game to be entertaining. It doesn’t have to be pushing the most polygons or be part of a multi-million-selling franchise. A good story will keep me involved, too. “Halo” was just such a game, releasing in an era when first-person shooters were mainly all about “shoot anything that moves.” “Halo” provided a compelling story that was well-told and wrapped it into an amazing game.
I also like originality. I first saw “Hand of Fate” when one of my fellow Alphas streamed it at launch. I liked the concept so much I bought it then and there!

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

I have a number of go-to titles on Xbox One and Xbox 360. I just recently started “LEGO Dimensions” (I do enjoy the toys-to-life games) and “Rocket League,” but I also enjoy some of the free-to-play titles. Looking forward to “Quantum Break” when it launches, since it was one of the first Xbox One games I pre-ordered when the console was announced in 2013.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

Frankly, it was an honor to be promoted to join the Alphas. It’s a position I take very seriously. It gives me the chance to help not just our community, but my fellow Ambassadors. I can be their advocate to the [Xbox Ambassadors] Program team, just as I can help get the word out from the team to the Ambassadors at-large.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

It really is helping users get things back in order and, where possible, evangelizing the Xbox brand. Sometimes users get unintentionally bad advice from retailers, and the last thing I want is for that to reflect on the brand itself. If I can fix things, it’s a great feeling. My overall favorite time to help out is during Christmas, because it’s no fun when the new present doesn’t work right. I’ve had several satisfying chats from relieved parents and grandparents (and would-be Santas) after the new console got up and running at last.

WPAK

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

My first Xbox console was the Xbox 360. I played it at a friend’s and at my little brother’s, and I was sold. The first game was “Need for Speed: Most Wanted.”

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

For me the most memorable one was “Test Drive Unlimited.” It was the first game I fully completed the 100% that had a lot of content and online multiplayer Achievements.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

A good game for me is a game that keeps me interested for a long time, due to its story and challenges. Basically, I need to keep enjoying it to be coming back for more.

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

As usual I’m playing several games and alternating between them, currently “The Witcher 3,” “Forza Horizon 2” and “Ori and the Blind Forest.” Got way too many games I want to somewhat finish at the moment.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

I feel kind of honored. I joined the program because I like to help out other people, and apparently I somehow stood out doing something I like, which you could see as a confirmation that I’m doing something right. Being an Alpha allows me to try and help out in a wider scale, too, trying to help shape the program and help it grow… It allows us Ambassadors to help out other users even better.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

I like to assist people with their issues so they can enjoy the Xbox product as much as possible, like I do. The best feeling is when you help people solve the issue they are experiencing, and they are happy and grateful. That causes a fuzzy feeling, that’s the best thing.

Note: This is a series meant to spotlight the important work the Xbox Ambassadors Alphas do as well as to provide information on the Program and share fun facts about the current Alphas. We’ll be updating the blog with more of these over the next few months to ensure we give each of our Alphas the recognition they deserve!

We chatted with some of our Alphas – the Ambassadors responsible for guiding our new community members and providing Community Manager Mister Discord with important information and sentiment related to the Program – back in April, and here’s what they had to share with us about their experiences as gamers, Xbox Ambassadors and Alphas!

Alpha Q&As:

GT: D3ATH PRONE
GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

My first Xbox Console was the original Xbox [console]. If I remember correctly, I got it back in 2003 or 2004. The first game I got for it is a very well-known game by EA called “Need for Speed: Underground.” Oh, the memories!

2. What’s your best Achievement story?

My best Achievement story has to be the “Standing Here Beside Myself” Achievement from “Gears of War 2,” which you could only unlock by winning three games of Wingman (Doubles) in Matchmaking. Not the easiest task when you aren’t the best at games at that point in time.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

What I look for is a game with a good story. Graphics are nice and everything, but if it doesn’t have a good story, I won’t be able to play it through to the end.

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

The games I am currently playing are: “Halo 5,” “Halo: The Master Chief Collection,” “Ori and the Blind Forest DE” and kicking it old school in some “Red Dead Redemption.”

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

To me being an Alpha is both an honor and a privilege. I get to watch the Program grow. I get to help new Ambassadors just starting out find their comfort zone. I get to share the knowledge I have gained during my 3+ years as an Ambassador. I get to be a mentor to someone, just like it was with me when I joined.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

The most exciting part of being involved in this Program for me is meeting all sorts of amazing people. Getting to talk to other Ambassadors from all walks of life, all different countries. We are all here to do one thing: help this amazing community of gamers that we love.

GT: Scrtch

GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

I bought an original Xbox [console] as soon as it came out.  I had “Halo” and “Oddworld” and a third game that escapes my mind at the moment.

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

I literally spent 4.5 hours trying to get the “Mile High Club” Achievement in “Call of Duty 4.”  I played until I fell asleep and was unsuccessful.  That night as I slept, I could hear the words “Tango Down in section 1 Alpha” echoing in my ears, taunting me.  I didn’t get much sleep that night.  The following day when I came home from work, I decided I wanted, no, needed to try again.  I booted up the game and ran through the level first try, no problems.  Just needed a break, I guess.  Interestingly enough, to this day I’ll never forget “Tango down in Section 1 Alpha” after stabbing the first enemy you come to in the little closet or bathroom.  Like, what is “Section 1 Alpha?”  Anyway, I sometimes say I’m going there if I head into the bathroom, but no one ever knows what I’m talking about.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

That’s a toss up between a really good story and gameplay.  Kind of depends on the type of game because I’ll play just about anything.  Even “Hannah Montana”… because the story was good, not for easy Achievements.

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

I finished “Quantum Break” recently, and I need to get back into “The Division” and “Far Cry 4.”  I played the heck out of “Rocket League.”  “Far Cry Primal” is probably next on the list.  I have a backlog that seems to be larger than the entire Library of some older consoles.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

I think of an Alpha Ambassador as a community leader.  Someone with integrity, someone with a sense of responsibility to improve the Program and set an example for others to follow.  Being a leader and bringing people together and working as a team to shape the future of the Ambassadors Program by their own vision and interpreting the vision of the community.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

Making memories, making a difference and making friends.  Not in any sort of order.

GT: NorthernZoot
GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

I started out on an original Xbox [console], “Crystal Edition.” It was a semi-clear-cased Xbox that came with the games “Fable” and “Crimson Skies.” Those were the first two games I played on the Xbox.

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

If I’m not mistaken (and it’s been so long ago that I might be), my first 100% completed game was “Assassin’s Creed.” I remember spending so much time gathering up the collectibles. I was never really big on going after Achievements or increasing my Gamerscore in the beginning. It took me many years before I hit 10,000G. But once I reached it, it was like someone flipped a switch and suddenly I found myself going after Achievements a little more. It only took me a few months to reach 20,000G. Now I’m almost at 80,000G, and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

In a word, “Entertainment.” Can the game keep my attention for more than a few hours? This is best achieved by a balance of great storytelling and great gameplay. If a game lacks in either of these areas, it might not be enough to hold my attention. If a game has fantastic gameplay, but the story is poor (or even non-existent), I sometimes find myself asking why I’m doing something. On the other side, if the story is great, but the gameplay is boring or repetitive, I feel like I’m just playing a game I don’t enjoy, just to find out how the story ends. It has to be a balance to keep me coming back for more.

4. What game(s) are you currently playing?

Currently, I’ve been playing a fair bit of “Tom Clancy’s The Division” and will soon be diving into “Quantum Break” for the first time. I do take part in weekly play dates though, where we play all kinds of different titles, so I try to mix it up a lot.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

Being an Alpha means being a leader in the community, FOR the community. We are teachers and mentors. At times we are a sounding board for thoughts and ideas from within the community. We moderate and maintain order when necessary [in order] to keep the community a fun and safe place. We encourage collaboration and teamwork. We lead, not by commanding obedience of rules, but by being the example of what a great community member should be.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

Being part of the program has been incredibly rewarding for me, and I’m honoured to be a part of it. I have always been the person to lend a hand and help those who may need it. This Program has given me, and many others like me, the tools and support to help others even more. The Xbox Community has been very kind to me over the years, and I’m proud to say that I am able to pay that kindness forward to others. And as I see the Program grow and evolve over the years, I’m excited to see where it leads and what future community leaders will bring.  Happy Gaming!

Note: This is a series meant to spotlight the important work the Xbox Ambassadors Alphas do as well as to provide information on the Program and share fun facts about the current Alphas. We’ll be updating the blog with more of these over the next few months to ensure we give each of our Alphas the recognition they deserve!

We chatted with some of our Alphas – the Ambassadors responsible for guiding our new community members and providing Community Manager Mister Discord with important information and sentiment related to the Program – back in April, and here’s what they had to share with us about their experiences as gamers, Xbox Ambassadors and Alphas!

Alpha Q&As:

GT: maxen
GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

I started playing on the original Xbox, pouring time into games like “Burnout.” But it wasn’t until the Xbox 360 and signing up for Xbox Live (even though I remained Silver for years) that I really started getting into console gaming. My first Xbox 360 game – and later my first 1,000 Gamerscore completion – was “Need for Speed: Most Wanted” (the good one from 2005).

2. What’s your best Achievement story?

My best Achievement story may be finally finishing all the DiRT games – One through “Showdown” – with 100 percent Gamerscore. I started the original DiRT soon after its 2007 release, and finally on New Year’s Eve 2015 got my last Achievement – six or seven years after the penultimate one was earned. I then went on to finish “DiRT 3,” “DiRT: Showdown” and “DiRT 2,” in that order. Now that “DiRT Rally” is out on Xbox One, I intend to complete that one to 100 percent, too.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

What I look for can really vary between days. Overall, I’d say I look for a compelling narrative or great racing, but sometimes I’m in the mood for a good but simple puzzle game, or a complex puzzle game. Sometimes I want to go track-racing and compete for the best lap times, and other times I just want to drift at an impossible angle.

4. What game(s) are you playing at the time of this interview?

I am currently playing “DiRT Rally,” which is incredibly brutal but I am greatly enjoying it so far, and I have just started out on “Quantum Break,” too. I also started “Contrast” recently to get me over 100,000 Gamerscore, and I enjoyed the puzzle-platforming on offer and fully intend to go back and finish it. I’m also playing “TrackMania Turbo”… the backlog, it is real and it is growing. Send help.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

Being an Alpha is my opportunity to help Ambassadors and the Program itself. It means to communicate the intentions of the Staff and the Program to Ambassadors, but also to represent the interest of all Ambassadors back to the Staff and make voices heard, whether those voices are positive or negative. While all Ambassadors are directly responsible for the success of our Program, being an Alpha affords the responsibility of supporting it in its growth.

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

I stumbled onto the Xbox Ambassadors website years ago and didn’t know what to expect. I’m now involved with it daily, and the way it has grown – to now include Twitch streams and other community elements – means I can get involved even if I’m not able to take a chat or assist in the Forums that day. It’s exciting that we get to help the Xbox community-at-large but are also able to build our own strong Ambassadors community, and over the years I have become good friends with many of my fellow Ambassadors.

GT: Judge

GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

My first Xbox console was the Xbox 360. I still remember the first game I received when I opened it on Christmas Day; it was “Need for Speed: Carbon.” The first MS published game I probably played was “Gears of War,” which to this day is one of my fondest memories since I got to play through the whole game co-op with my younger brother.

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

I am pretty addicted to “Fallout” and “Darksiders 2,” so getting the full Gamerscore (including DLC) on both of those games was a very proud moment for me. And, oh ya, also embracing the “Hannah Montana” 1000 Gamerscore on my profile.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

I generally like to venture through a game with a great story. I loved games such as “Bioshock,” “Darksiders” and “Singularity” for this reason. A good story trumps all for me!

4. What game(s) are you playing at the time of this interview?

Right now I am totally immersed in “Fallout 4,” which I love not only because I love Fallout, but because the game takes place in Massachusetts… It’s awesome seeing a lot of landmarks and towns that [I’ve travelled] to in real life.

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

Being the best version of an Ambassador you can be in order to help and mentor fellow Ambassadors. I still remember when I first became an Ambassador back in 2009, and I had a lot of great mentors that, at the time, made me really passionate about the community and made me feel welcomed. They helped mold me into the community-loving Ambassador I am today, and I hope to help inspire and guide fellow Ambassadors so they feel as welcomed as I did back in 2009!

6. What’s the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

Being around likeminded people who enjoy helping out each other and the Xbox community as a whole!

GT: Kiesey
GamerPic

1. What was your first Xbox console? First Microsoft or third-party published game?

I bought an Xbox 360 console in December 2005. “Gears of War” [was my first title] – I loved it then and still do today. It is one of my favorite series to date.

2. What’s your best Achievement story? Think in terms of difficulty or enjoyment!

For me, it was getting that final Achievement in “Gears 1” multiplayer and finishing the game with a good friend of mine.

3. What do you look for in a good game?

A game that has a great storyline, great multiplayer campaign and multiplayer online. I love to play with friends.

4. What game(s) are you playing at the time of this interview?

I am currently playing “Gears UE” and getting ready for the Gears 4 Beta. I am also playing “The Division,” “Rocket League,” “Unravel” and “Minecraft” on Xbox One, as well as Minecraft story mode..

5. In your own words, what does it mean to you to be an Alpha?

I think being an Alpha means being a community leader. It means being there for each other and for all the Ambassadors and community members when they need help or are just looking for someone to game with. We are a bridge between the Xbox Community and Xbox Support.

6. What’ the most important (or exciting!) part of being involved in a program like the Xbox Ambassadors?

It is being able to talk and game with people that have the same interests/passions as you do. Ambassadors love to game, and they love to help the Xbox Community. I have never been a part of something like this before I joined the Xbox Community, and I have loved every minute of it since.

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