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15 Minutes of Fame: The Pi Guy

15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Sorry, no typos in the headline. It's not the pie meme that's the topic of today's 15 Minutes of Fame. (You'll have to turn elsewhere for your just desserts.) We really do mean pi -- you know, 3.14159 ... We're not quite sure how pi and WoW go together. And frankly, neither are players on US Llane, where the mysterious Pi Guy holds court in Trade. "He's in Trade chat spamming pi and other fascinating formulas, like how 99.9 = 1," writes our tipster, "which makes sense after he shows you the steps ... which he does. He's got top-of-the-line gear, which in itself is a nice thing. But on top of that, he's a math genius. A very mysterious math genius."

We suppose community fascinations have formed up around more bizarre memes than pi. But a mysterious mathematician lurking in Trade? How could we allow this stone to remain unturned? Without further delay, we offer up for your consideration the curious tale of Gauss, the Pi Guy.

Main character Gauss
Guild Three Score
Server Llane
WoWstyle Started playing WoW the day Llane launched; longtime fan of Warcraft; GM of Three Score, one Llane's top raiding guilds; enjoys world PvP

15 Minutes of Fame: Ok, Gauss: math. Tell us a little about your background. Where are all these numbers coming from?

Gauss: Mathematics has always been my thing, since I was young. I believe everyone has their thing; math just ended up being mine. Everyone always says it doesn't fit who I am (whatever that means), but I just think I wouldn't be the same. I went to school for it, got my degree and now get to show other people my talents. I have been everything from a private tutor to now teaching college and university students all the fun math that everyone loves to hate. "Why are there corners on a circle, again?" is my favorite thing to confuse people with.

How did your Pi battlecry tradition get its start?

When I was grinding my way to High Warlord. (Yes, I was one of those crazy people. How else was a DPS warrior supposed to get gear?) Anyways, I used to yell random things that everyone else would say -- you know, all the standard things -- when I decided to do something original when someone died or I had been my usual PvP target dummy. I have a tattoo of pi, from a lost bet when I was in university, so I have always been the pi guy. So then I would start yelling pi when I was killing people in BGs -- all 255 characters that Blizzard would allow me to post. This started to make me very recognizable and utterly hated by Alliance. They didn't even know it was pi, in the first place.

When the High Warlord run was over, pi needed to live on. I posted it randomly in guild chat or would throw it about when I killed random Alliance running around ... 'til the day I posted it in Trade as a celebration of my Gauss' Emporium Shard Empire. (During BC, I basically owned the Auction House enchanting mats and had an empire that ran out of Boomstick Imports. Ya, I don't play on an RP server, but everyone needs a shop.) People went nuts. Some called me a spammer, some cheered, some randomly whispered me asking if it was pi. It became this iconic thing that people would start whispering me (for), asking for it randomly when they saw me, when I logged on or at any random point you can think of. Pi crit Trade, and it wasn't leaving.

Just pi? Any other math facts?

It has evolved since then, and I created other math macros on request. Fibonacci sequence, primes, e^x, Pythagorean triples, .9999... = 1 proof ... among others.

I think, though, pi is what everyone wants. I have been /ignored and reported, but anyone on Llane knows nothing can spark more conversation than pi.

Why do you think players find this so interesting?

I honestly don't know why it has caught on how it has or how people find it so interesting. It after all is only pi. Maybe people love how it sparks endless conversations or how it can instantly stop whatever is going on at the moment. It really is a mystery to me. Maybe people should be this motivated about seeing pi in school.

(After I post it in Trade), of course then arguments start about math -- and if some of the crazy things I put up actually make sense, the point is to make people notice, right? Sure, people think it's spam, but then I have never put anything up unless people asked for it. Covered in the ToS, in that regard. So now everyone on the server seems to know me, whether they have me on /ignore or not. It still adds a little more and is fun at times. I call the followers "The Gauss Nation" and even started a blog a few months back to make people laugh and of course to explain my exploits.

Never thought it would become the trademark it has, but it definitely was what inspired the Gauss Nation. So no matter if it's silly or bothersome, it has made Llane special in that regard.

What's the most unexpected reaction you've gotten to your math exploits?

Reactions have been plenty. Been called a spammer, reported, told I ruined the game, been cheered, been idolized and even asked to help with homework. Really anything you could imagine has happened. The biggest unexpected reaction has had to be this following I have developed. Completely insane, but a lot of fun at the same time. Math has magical powers, apparently.
You seem like the type of guy who likes to get involved in his realm community. What else are you involved in on Llane?

I am extremely involved in the realm community. I have tried to help people out in any way I can -- I guess you could say kinda like a thank you. I run For The Horde for anyone of any level Friday through Sunday (did this with a level 1 once; was epic). My quest to get every Horde a Black War Bear will go on 'til it is accomplished. Try to run a group at least once a week for people to see all the past content, classic through BC. These are always a blast because you just never know what is going to happen.

I know some people never get to be a part of certain things because they were not around or someone just wasn't crazy enough to try something. I feel like I can help out in that regard. I will try anything once, and if it was fun, I would gladly do it over and over.

[Thanks, Flappy!]

"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" - neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and group raiding in person every week ... Catch it all on 15 Minutes of Fame.


Filed under: Virtual selves, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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