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.
That George P. Burdell sure gets around. Since the entirely fictitious Georgia Tech student was created in 1927 as a joke, Burdell has appeared on student rosters in enough classes to receive several degrees. He's been listed on the flight crew of a B-17 bomber in World War II, gotten married, served on Mad magazine's board of directors and even led the online polls for a short while for Time's 2001 Person of the Year award. He was reportedly listed for some time as a production assistant on the South Park website.
So the fact that Mr. Burdell has shown up as a death knight in Azeroth should be no surprise at all, right? This week, 15 Minutes of Fame visits with not only the player behind the character (not the only Burdell to appear in Azeroth, to be sure), but also the man behind the myth -- and it's all after the break.
The character behind ... well, no man
Mr. Burdell, we understand that you have a history of playing pranks on your fellow adventurers. Care to share any recent episodes from within your guild?
I'm still most fond of arranging for furniture deliveries to my dearest friends -- both actual friends and, well, "special friends." It's been rumored that I've managed to furnish the entire city of Stormwind. Really, now, wouldn't you agree that those empty houses needed a good delivery or three? Humans. Ridiculous.
I've been working most recently on a sweet set of warm little homes in Surwich. Those humans sure need a lot of furniture -- and I'm just the orc for the job.
As a death knight, you've had a lifetime (or is that an unlifetime?) of experience. Can you fill us in on your former life in Azeroth?
Lok'tar! Blood and thunder! I've carried the banner of the Horde my entire lifetime and more. My name has been listed on the flight crew of bombers in a campaign in Blade's Edge Mountains. I repeated that quest some 12 times, in fact. Some Alliance scum inevitably recognized my name, however, and I was pulled from the rosters ... Most likely because they couldn't afford to put someone as illustrious as myself at risk.
But fresh times are upon us now. The lands are shaking. Our leaders seem ... strange. Changed. I know not what my leaders want from me or even who they are. More and more, I find myself asking, "What would Warchief Garrosh do?"
For such a traditionally elusive personality, how have you adjusted to meeting others face-to-face in Azeroth?
Reports of my reclusive nature have been highly exaggerated. In fact, I publicly announced my engagement to a lovely young human girl named Ramona Cartwright some years ago. Our wedding anniversary was reported on A Thunder Bluff Home Companion just a few years ago.
How do your guildmates handle the constant barrage of badassery borne of your presence?
I am venerated, of course. We orcs revere our elderly and honor our ancestors. I'm a noted official alumnus of Orgrimmar Tech, even though my name remains on the active student rolls ever since my graduation. I was admitted to OT's LOK'TAR Society, the school's oldest secret society. And I'm proud to say, every level 1 orc from the Valley of Trials goes through orientation when he arrives at Orgrimmar -- a process that includes learning about my lengthy credentials and background. For the Horde!
The man behind the character
Main character Burdell
Realm Bladefist (US-H)
15 Minutes of Fame: What inspired you to name your character George P. Burdell? Were you simply uninspired and fishing about for a quick naming solution, or was the name something you planned ahead of time?
When I first rolled this toon, about 12:45 a.m. after the release of Wrath, I named him Aneas. Well, at a glance, it looked like "Anus." And when that joke got old, I decided to change his name. Our current GM shot down several name ideas, but he thought my Burdell idea was good, but only if I made the toon a total badass. I agreed that George would not play this game without being a badass. To date, George has lots of achievements and items most players will never get (three legendaries, swift Horde wolf, He Feeds on Your Tears, both ICC drakes, the Immortal, Battlemaster, Jenkins and so on.
Have any other players in game recognized the name and gotten the joke?
I have had a few people recognize the name, but our server is on the west coast, and a large part of the population is from the west coast. George hangs around the Atlantic coast mostly these days. A few times, I have seen in trade chat: "PAGING GEORGE P. BURDELL. WILL GEORGE P. BURDELL PLEASE REPORT TO THE BOSTON COLLEGE POLICE DEPARTMENT?" -- which is a reference to a time where someone tricked the BC stadium people to put a message paging George on their JumboTron for a good 20 minutes.
Do you roleplay the character in game?
Nah, I never roleplay. Since I know a few guildies in real life it would be ... weird to pretend to be someone else.
How long have you been a Georgia Tech fan? When did you graduate?
I have been a Georgia Tech fan most of my life. I was a student from 2003 to 2005 and graduated with a degree in biomedical engineering. The other alums I play with are Migados and Skirtaado.
What's the most important thing that fellow residents of Azeroth should know about Burdell?
I guess the one thing I would like you to make sure you put in is that George P. Burdell was in the band. He plays the saxophone -- and all saxophones, except the one from Delaware, are awesome.
"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 email@example.com.