At last, our look back at five years of WoW personality interviews rolls around to the duo everyone’s been asking about: Hexu and Davidian, the British soldier blinded in Iraq and his redoubtable “guide dog” guildmate who steered him through full participation in current raid content. Their story exploded across the internet after we interviewed Davidian here on WoW Insider, and Blizzard recognized the dynamic duo with in-game helms with flavor text alluding to their inspiring bond of friendship.
Hexu and Davidian are both still playing World of Warcraft — but the duo is together no more. As of the new year, the ever-energetic Hexu has been raiding on a new rogue, Dirtypawz, in Unqualified on Stormrage (EU). “I know!” he replies to my unspoken exclamation of surprise and sadness. “It was just that people were only raid logging, and it got boring — but it was all amicable and cool. I still speak to people in Die Safe. I just wanted to do more than raid three nights a week.” Hexu/Dirtypawz says a “very nice bloke” named Vatic is serving as his current raiding “guide dog” helper. “The people in the guild are all nice people,” he adds, “and there [are] always things going on.”
We’ll visit with Hexu/Dirtypawz next month about how he’s settling in and dig into his tips for the many sight-disabled players who’ve written to us during the past year trying to reach him for advice.
Meanwhile, Davidian reports that the year since we interviewed him has been packed with recognition and encouragement. “The publicity was just unreal,” he says. “Even to this day, I get people coming to our server just to say how much the story inspired them and restored there faith in the gaming community. The biggest thing of all, though, was the fact that it made its way to Blizzard, and myself and Ben got signed copies of the collectors edition of Cataclysm signed by at least 50 members of the Blizzard team, and [we] received in-game pets also. Then to top it off, having in-game items with our names on them was just outstanding — I mean, to be immortal in a game that we love to play is just, well words couldn’t possibly describe it.”
All good people connecting to play a game that’s close to our hearts … Keep reading for more updates about people who love World of Warcraft, from our interviews during 2012.
Click the bold, linked introductory text of each paragraph to read the original interview with these WoW personalities.
Booming support for autism research Support from WoW players helped nudge an autism research project from well-known druid blogger Lissanna (aka autism researcher Dr. Elisabeth Whyte) over $5,000. “We will be working hard at getting this project moving next semester,” she notes. “I am currently working hard at writing grants to fund the project long-term. I am always truly amazed by the generosity and awesomeness of the WoW community.” Follow Lissanna at Restokin and the Team Waffle podcast.
Sequel in the works We liked what Rachel Gold, author of a YA novel about a WoW-playing transgender teen, had to say so much that we invited her back to talk about transgender issues as a guest Drama Mama. She did a fantastic job, and we can’t wait to read more from her, including the upcoming sequel to Being Emily. Rachel’s also just signed a deal for a romantic paranormal/urban fantasy novel to come out in 2013, featuring demons (some of them, good guys) and witches fighting for power in modern San Francisco.
Putting the “war” in Warcraft The battle between the Horde and the Alliance continues on the shoulders of world PvP advocate Gug. “Gug has been busy,” reports the indefatigable orc, “assassinating the Alliance leaders, camping Stormwind, fighting in the Krasarang Wilds, slaughtering Alliance on all levels… But the real focus I’m ashamed to admit has been Pet Battles. Still convinced these addictive things were secretly created to keep Gug’s axe from hewing Alliance skulls. Singing Cricket, Gug is coming for you!” Find Gug at Horde Strike Force.
WoW Insider’s published authors WoW Insider’s published authors keep turning out interesting reads. Scott Andrews is doing heroic raiding with his guild on his feral druid and working on an update of The Guild Leader’s Handbook, as well as working on a science fiction novel and co-leading two sci-fi/fantasy workshops in the Philadelphia area. Matt Rossi has switched back to a DPS orc in game; outside the game, he’s putting together a third collection for publication and pounding away at three novels in progress. Find Matt at Once I Noticed I Was On Fire I Decided to Relax and Enjoy the Fall, and check out Bottled Demon for a cool read.
Update on the updater Predictable, Wowhead’s Perculia has stayed busy making updates on patch 5.1 and now patch 5.2 content. “Our biggest feature was integrating Item Upgrades into the site, including the popular Item Comparison tool,” she says, “and I’m particularly proud of our Brawler’s Guild and 5.1 Battle Pet guides.” Follow Perculia on Twitter at @perculia.
How to Priest Veiled of HowToPriest.com has moved to a new guild with a lighter raiding schedule. “Running HowToPriest.com is time consuming,” she explains, “and the three-day schedule in my new guild accommodates that nicely. … Currently we are working on a donor rank for the site that will have a few perks. February will be our two-year anniversary, as well, so we are going to be doing some giveaways for that.” Find Veiled at HowToPriest.com and @HowToPriest on Twitter.
The newlyweds After marrying in a WoW-themed wedding during 2012, WoW player Amanda has parted ways with her new husband — but only in game. “My husband is now playing Eve since he wasn’t enjoying the expansion,” she explains. “He is busy being a pirate and blowing up stuff in space and I am busy being overwhelmed with how much there is to do in Mists.” But guess what else they’ve been up to? “A few days after your article was posted about our wedding,” she writes, “we found out that I am pregnant with our first. We will be welcoming our new little addition in the beginning of May. So our gears are changing to prepare and get ready for the new addition to our family.” Find Amanda at Deviant Art.
Queuing up Blizzard’s new, firmer stance on premade battleground groups has pushed changes on premade team organizers like Rathamus. “The Rath Strat AV’s (and all 40-man BG premades) have been a little more difficult to assemble due to the removal of some of the automation that made it easier to queue larger groups, and I seldom run them unless there is interest,” he reports. “I have been very busy maintaining the World of Warcraft Public Vent server, which is nearing its sixth year online supporting raiders, PUGs, arena teams, [and] premades [for both] Horde and Alliance. I have also joined forces with Tiny, who created the mesh networking premade/LFM addon called oQueue, which is taking the premade community by storm and helping to create, organize, support, and maintain its communications needs.”
Home’s where the boom is Pathosìs of realm-hopping (and now happily settled) Bless the Martyr has switched mains to a resto/boomkin druid. “Bless the Martyr is plugging away at heroic bosses,” she reports, “and we’re actually doing considerably well given half our raiders being in the Northeast when Sandy hit. Thankfully they were all okay.”
Keeping his feet on the ground Gilran and his all-dwarf guild are continuing their explorations in Pandaria. “I am mostly roleplaying with some PvP now and then,” he notes. “I have lost my interest in raiding in the early Cataclysm; never got back to it ever since. As for PvP, I mostly do the WPvP rather than battlegrounds and arenas.”
All dressed up The amazing WoW dress collection of Asukachan (now Asuka) is going strong. “Pandaria is offering a lot of exotic Asian designs, which I am eager to get my troll paws on,” he writes. “So far, I’ve added five new dresses to the collection.” Asuka will also be emceeing the grand finals of the University Star League Starcraft Tournament in Sweden.
No stress Although Cantafrond has moved on from Swords for Everyone, the guild for players with social anxieties, he say the guild is still active and recruiting. “In game, I’ve been responsible for a horrifying number of (usually) accidental deaths as I level my disc priest to 90,” he writes. “Outside of WoW, I’m in the process of starting up a blog to discuss and explore the social aspects of online gaming and interaction, specifically in the realm of MMOs. We’ll also be touching on other issues like mental health and social anxiety and their relation to video games and gaming in general.” Find him on Twitter at @cantafrond.
Booking it Aussie librarian Ellen Forsyth hasn’t been playing WoW lately because she’s been in Timor Leste for three months, where she says the internet connection isn’t fast enough for online games. “It is not fast enough for quite a few other things as well,” she notes wryly, “but it works well for email, which is great. I am looking forward to playing WoW again.” In-game talks for librarians will begin later this spring with “some exciting people who are doing research in WoW.” Find Ellen on Twitter at @EllenForsyth.
Anytime, anywhere Anytime Anywhere Messenger Service has been busy since Mists opened. “We’ve gotten new recruits, been threatened with arrest for interfering with the war and [are] busy exploring Pandaria,” says GM Derscha Kettlebomb. “We’ve moved to a new headquarters in Booty Bay.” The holiday season was especially busy, as AAMS sponsored a cross-faction Secret Santa program for the realm. Find the cross-faction messengers at AAMS.
Inside The Insiders WoW Insider’s meet-and-greet guild, The Insiders on Zangarmarsh (US-Horde), run weekly fun runs of previous raid tiers plus LFRs for Mists raids. “We are also planning to start normal mode MoP raiding after the holidays,” announces Kijani. “We still have an open door policy, so if anyone wishes to join The Insiders, all they need to do is ask. The same goes for raiding with us; the only thing that will prevent us from taking someone to a raid is game limitations — if you can get in the door, you can come play.” The Insiders runs guild dungeon groups throughout the week plus guild LFRs on Saturday for anyone who’s interested in getting gear and learning fights without “funsuckers.” Find Kijani on Twitter at @edgesumariajr.
Over the edge Charitable high-rise rapeller McChoppy is still finding time for WoW while graduating from college, starting a job search, continuing to work on a children’s book about a particularly pompous moose, spending time with his daughter and baby boy — and signing up to go Over the Edge again in June 2013. “Time for another falling achievement!” he exclaims.
The biggest “little” guild “After your article broke, gnomes from all over the World of Warcraft traveled to Wyrmrest Accord to join our ranks,” reports the all-gnome Gnomeregan Forever’s GM Forbidra. “In fact, we received another surge of applicants this week after Crithto posted a nice compliment in one of our threads. We are now over 250 gnomes strong and thriving!” For Gnomeregan!
Hodor! “I’ve been playing WoW a decent amount since MoP,” reported Game of Thrones actor Kristian Nairn before the holidays. “I’m very extremely impressed with the expansion so far, although I have yet to get into the daily grind. Still as the stage of leveling my toon and QQing when I get to 90 in BGs because I have no gear, then leveling something else. Having been to and met a lot of the people behind the game when I made it to Blizzard last year (shout-out to Crithto <3). Saw some amazing things, and it made me very excited for the future of the game, meeting such talented and passionate people.” Kristian wrapped filming for Season 3 of Game of Thrones last year; look for him soon in an episode of BBC America’s Ripper Street.
Brain power North Carolina State University’s Dr. Jason Allaire is currently using StarCraft 2 to develop maps that are designed to assess and improve cognitive functioning in people of all ages. “We are also developing a new measure that is designed to assess MMO, FPS, and RTS knowledge,” he says. Check out Dr. Allaire’s research at Gains Through Gaming.
Still leveling “After 15 Minutes of Fame, we got a hell lot of new players joining our guild, trying to find what they couldn’t before!” wrote Colosia, GM of The Leveling Agony of Xavius (EU-Horde). “We deeply appreciate each of them and we hope we have them for a long, long time. And we even started raiding! We thought why let people that love us leave us for raiding when we can just expand our activities and start doing it? We have stable group, full guild of happy faces and social chats so much that you can’t read them all!” The guild also created a sister guild in Guild Wars 2. Join the fun on Facebook or at The Leveling Agony.
A beastly guild The all-druid guild Druids of the Beast is pushing into Mogu’Shan Vaults on beast power to push for the timed challenge modes, reports the guild’s Monsterbaby. “[They] have proven to be very tricky, being only druids, due to the limitations of buffs and cooldowns,” she notes. “Overall, we find the expansion very nice for druids, with the new extended talent trees and abilities and balanced damage, despite [missing] out a lot without other class buffs.”
A sweet whiff of yesterday Nostalgia-minded movie-makers Order of Watchers are more active than ever, reports the guild’s Larenon. “Our raid and PvP group is also making nice progress in our own pace, so I can say all is well here, and Mists of Pandaria is the best thing that has happened to WoW in a long time,” he says. “As for new guild movies, we are not making a big one right now, but around Christmas, there just might be a short movie, which we shot during our seventh birthday this August.” Keep your eyes on the guild’s website at Order of Watchers.
The craft of crafting Master craftsman Daen of Daen’s Crafting Emporium is not only still providing some of the best crafting service in Azeroth, but he says he fully intends to keep running the emporium until the game itself ends — “just so everyone knows.” Find out what Daen can craft for you at Daen’s Crafting Emporium.
Working IRL After being featured here, Sevrin’s movie on WoW addiction, IRL, managed to reach more than 1 million viewers worldwide and earning him recognition at film festivals and on TV, radio, and websites. “Also I have since graduated from university (with quite a good degree),” he adds, “which is in stark contrast to my WoW-playing days, where I was almost thrown out of university! I play very casually now and log on occasionally, as I am busy working on more films (also some WoW machinima stuff for the future).” Find him on YouTube (IRL), at AnthonyRosner.com, and on Twitter at @antronoid.
70-year-old raid GM keeps pushing 25s 70-year-old raider and GM Marthazon has stayed busy with ongoing recruiting for Spartans, now one of only about three guilds on her realm still focused on 25-man raids. She was floored by the international media attention after our interview. “The publicity was amazing from your article — you have a very large following,” she writes. “I heard from so many players — and it was wonderful to find that being older and playing WoW is not as rare as might be thought. One of the more amusing things to have come from the publicity was a phone interview with a Chinese newspaper. The reporter spoke some English, while my Chinese was limited to weh (I’m hoping the meaning was “hello”). We talked as best we could.”
A stealthy success It’s been an up and down year for the all-rogue RP/PvP guild Vile Thorn of Defias Brotherhood (EU). “We did suffer from the pre-MoP lull when activity on the server and in RP circles died,” says GM Arli. “Unfortunately, the current state of rogues in PvP means many of our members get to 90 and then take a break out of pure frustration. We are RP/PvP, but without the PvP, we lose half of what makes us Vile Thorn. So we are concentrating a bit more on the roleplay side of things and still sticking to our weekly IC guild meet and RP-themed event.” Rogues interested in the group should stop by Vile Thorn.
Volunteering in-game and out The charity-focused members of The Bearers of Light on Moon Guard (US-Alliance) celebrated their fifth anniversary in April with a realm-wide party. During their Random Acts of Kindness Month, they promoted daily in-game generosity along with real-world service such as volunteering in soup kitchens and community fundraisers. They capped the month with an adoption and donation to Heifer International, an organization that provides farm animals to families in parts of the world that need them. Find the good-hearted guildies at The Bearers of Light.
Five years of WoW personalities
Where are they now? Catch up with five years’ worth of the people we’ve interviewed in 15 Minutes of Fame.
“I never thought of playing WoW like that!” — and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones’ Hodor (Kristian Nairn) … a blind ex-serviceman and the guildmates who keep him raiding as a regular … and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid’s DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to email@example.com.