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15 Minutes of Fame: Cutting up with WoW Insider regular Brian Cutaia

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Time flies when you're having fun -- and somehow it's been two whole years since we last profiled a reader favorite from the hallowed halls of the WoW Insider comments. Time to remedy that!

So who's the latest man of the hour? Why, commenter extraordinaire Brian Cutaia, of course! He's already a prolific commenter, and he's well on his way to becoming a prolific guest writer, too. Cutaia (rhymes with "papaya") is also a vocal member of <It came from the Blog>. The only point in the WoW Insider landscape that his acerbic commentary and wry witticisms seem to be absent is Twitter. (A new frontier for Cutaia? Stranger things have happened ...) Join us today in discovering why this WoW Insider community regular is so soundly appreciated by both readers and staffers alike.

15 Minutes of Fame: 'Fess up, Mr. Cutaia -- who's your main?

Brian Cutaia: My main character is a protection paladin named Cutaia (obviously, I'm super-creative at naming things), leader of <The Censored Linguists> on Bronzebeard (US-A). The guild was originally called <The Cunning Linguists>, but an appearance on Around Azeroth quickly led to a forced name change by Blizzard. We're a fairly casual social guild that still enjoys progressing. We have a tabard ... but it's pink because it makes me laugh.

What's your WoWstyle -- raider, casual, PvP, RP ...?

All of the above, really. I have a bit of an obsessive-compulsive, completist nature, so I tend to participate in every aspect of the game to some extent. I absolutely love raiding, but have also spent a good chunk of time doing some of the less hardcore achievement-hunting and what-not.

I PvP when I feel like getting destroyed by Cyclone's Horde, but haven't really RPed since an extremely misguided half-attempt when I first started playing. This was on my first character, a human paladin by the name of Plainview. I made him look like Daniel Day Lewis, created a guild called <There Will Be Blood> and occasionally /yelled "I'VE ABANDONED MY BOY!" or "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE!" Nobody really seemed to get it, though, so I eventually abandoned that idea. Of course, this was on a regular server, which probably didn't help much.

I've always wanted to try rolling an alt on an RP realm, but I have this overwhelming desire to RP a crazy guy who thinks he's an avatar in some video game from the future. Something tells me that wouldn't be very well received, though, so I'll probably never do it. You're welcome, Feathermoon (US).

How'd you come to first play WoW? Have you been a big MMO player in the past?

My only experience with MMOs prior to WoW was a few weeks of playing the original EverQuest. After killing hundreds of rats for minute amounts of experience and swimming awkwardly in the town's pool for an hour trying to level my swimming skill, I quickly grew bored. I did, however, rather enjoy creating huge piles of my own corpses on the ground below the wood elf city of Kelethin.

It wasn't until years later that I decided to give the genre another try, when my wife assured me that World of Warcraft was actually pretty cool. Many days of /played later, and I can safely say I agree with her.

What about other video games? Are you a big gamer offline?

I've always been a huge fan of video games, but most of my button mashing was done on consoles prior to WoW. I own a plethora of game systems and games ranging from the Atari 2600 to all three current gen consoles.

As I said, though, I have a tendency to bring my personal style of OCD into my gaming. In WoW, this translates into a lot of list-making, researching and grinding reputations or achievements. Back when I was using controllers instead of keyboards, I still managed to spend an exorbitant amount of time finishing games to 100 percent. Particularly of note, I once made some incredibly fancy hand-drawn maps of the entire game of Super Metroid, just so I could get myself that elusive under-two-hour, 100 percent speed run.

I simply don't have the ability to play other games alongside WoW if I want to continue having free time for anything else in my life. I do make the occasional exception, though.

How long have you been a WoW Insider regular?

I started regularly reading and commenting on wow.com articles in May of 2009. You'd be hard pressed to find those older comments, though, because your oft-reviled comment system chose to display my AIM screen name for a while instead of my WoW Insider user name. Way back in the day when I helped incite an epic rap battle, I was still being shown as impurezero.

I've posted quite a lot of thoughts since then, but don't think I fully realized the extent of my visibility on this site until very recently. While testing out the patch 4.0 PTR recently, a random person whispered me to ask, "Are you the Cutaia who comments on WoW Insider?" It was a very weird moment for me, but I suppose there are worse things one could be known for ...

What are your favorite features or regular columns?

To be perfectly honest, I used to love [1.Local] before it was retired. I'm a big fan of user interaction on sites like this, so I enjoyed seeing insightful and funny contributions from the readers showcased each week. These days, I still get that fix from the guest poster program, The Queue, Around Azeroth and the discussions sparked by Breakfast Topics.

As far as the columnists themselves, anything by Fox Van Allen, Anne Stickney, Christian Belt, Grandpappy Frostheim or Robin Torres is usually a must-read in my book. Bonus points are always given if Holisky is inspired to /facepalm anywhere in an article's comment thread.

Internet comments can certainly be an ... adventure. What keeps you coming back to the WoW Insider comments for more?

I guess I'm just a glutton for punishment. ;)

In all seriousness, though, I've found the community here to be rather enjoyable overall. The WoW Insider readers have always struck me as being a fairly intelligent bunch. "FIRST!" posts, whining or general inanity tend to get shot down pretty quickly, so when I scroll to the comments on this site, I know I'm going to find a good amount of well-thought-out responses or clever jokes.

There are a wide variety of personalities here, so it's fairly easy for someone new to jump in and start discussing this hobby we all share. I know that certain folks take issue with the comment rating system, but overall, I think it does a pretty decent job of highlighting the stuff that's going to be most interesting to read. We've all been downrated and lived to tell the tale, so I don't see it as being a big problem.

What other WoW websites and resources do you follow regularly?

Not many, really. I've always liked the one-stop-shop format and the conversational style WoW Insider presents things in. I, of course, occasionally head over to MMO-Champion to see some cool screenshots of datamined items. Sprinkle in a little Wowhead and WoWWiki for my fix of information overload, and I'm set.

So now we're seeing the (cutaia) name popping up in guest posts, too. What's inspired that?

I've always loved to write, so I figured I might as well just combine that with my love of WoW. Those guest posts are like a Reese's Peanut Butter Cup of my love. (It occurs to me moments after finishing that sentence that those words should have never been written. I apologize for any nightmares my candy-based simile may cause, but I won't be accepting any bills from therapists.)

And when you're not playing, reading about or writing about WoW, what are you doing? What are your hobbies? What do you do for a living?

I'm currently the billing department for a fledgling wound care supply company. I know. Exciting stuff, right? We're quickly growing, though, which means you'll probably continue to see my name slowly disappearing from the comment sections here as I end up with more and more to do during my workday. Fortunately, I've come up with a solution for quick and easy WoW Insider commenting, so that I can still maintain a presence here:

Outside of work and WoW, I have my wife and 8-month-old daughter to keep me busy most of the time. On the increasingly rare occasions when I do have some time to spend on other hobbies, I enjoy writing, photography, recording music, making movies ... basically anything that has to do with creating something artistic. I also try to take at least one road trip a year.

Have you ever met up with any in-game friends in real life?

Actually, yes. An in-game friend on my server -- who heard about us from our ad in The Classifieds -- once invited my wife and I to a party comprised of members of a Colorado guild on Hyjal (US). Also, two of my veteran guildies live in town, so we've become good friends with them outside of the game as well. Drunken games of Rock Band 2, Bandu and Apples to Apples are a somewhat common occurrence after the Saturday night raids wrap up. There are also a few other folks that will apparently be making it to future events, so I'm looking forward to putting faces to the avatars.

It really is a small world.

Any chance we'll be seeing (cutaia) at BlizzCon 2010?

That's so kind of you to offer! What's that? You weren't? ... Oh, never mind. In that case, probably not. As much as I'd love to be there, I wasn't able to secure any tickets, so I'm out of luck. I'll tell you what, though -- if I can find some reason to drive to Anaheim next month, maybe I'll head to the WoW Insider meetup. What do you say? Disneyland, anyone?

What's ahead for Cataclysm -- any specific plans?

Definitely. I'll start off by trying out the worgen and goblin starting zones, followed by a trip down memory lane, re-experiencing the old world through new eyes on my main. Meanwhile, leveling and gearing up for progression will be another priority. As far as the guild goes, I'm actually rather excited about the new guild perks and achievements, so I'm hoping the Linguists can continue to grow. I'm hoping to fill up with fun, interesting people who will also have an interest in snatching up all those cool rewards. As far as I can tell, Cataclysm is going to be an incredibly fun time to play World of Warcraft.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players, from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to an Olympic medalist and a quadriplegic raider. Know someone else we should feature? Email lisa@wow.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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