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15 Minutes of Fame: Air Superiority Squadron's Tenj takes ganking to the skies

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.

Brace yourselves for nerdrage in the comments today -- for as they say, "PvP happens." Today, 15 Minutes of Fame covers (gasp!) actual world PvP on a PvP realm. Meet Tenj, master of the skies, leader of the Air Superiority Squadron on Twisting Nether (US-A), and renowned Azerothian aerial combat specialist. Tenj and his group of aerial assassins are in the business of bounties, plucking Horde players right out of the skies in fulfillment of their mercenary assignments. Tenj, an intrepid night elf boomkin, is known not only for his aerial antics but for rustling up world PvP in general -- and for responding to it all, enthusiastic cheering and nerdraging ranting alike, with a "Meep, meep!" more reminiscent of the hapless Roadrunner than a bounty-hunting boomkin.

If you thought dozens of flight-form druids flapping down to silently surround ground-bound newbies was creepy, after reading about Tenj and his crew, you'll definitely never feel safe around druids again.

Main character Tenj
Guild Air Superiority Squadron
Realm Twisting Nether (US-A)

15 Minutes of Fame: Let's take it from the top. How did the Air Superiority Squadron get started with its bounty-hunting focus?

Tenj: Tenj was created initially for one purpose: Typhooning players off their flying mounts to their deaths. The ASS was just a one-man guild for Tenj because I thought it was funny. (I'm also military, so I have a thing for acronyms.) As Tenj's reputation built up, friends started asking to hunt down specific players. One thing led to another and people got word that Tenj was for hire, and this started to attract some pretty skilled players that wanted to join in and here we are!

"Meep, meep" -- what's the story behind your catchphrase?

It's the Roadrunner's catchphrase! The way I like to think of it is that you never catch the Roadrunner. Everyone else is a coyote falling to their deaths ... The way the people that don't like me prefer to think of it is that I always run away ... I receive a lot of whispers, most consist of raging, threats (yeah, death threats), trolling, or fandom. So instead of possibly being trolled, etc., I just meep!

How does the bounty system work?

Usually, someone approaches me regarding a bounty and I'll only "meep" at them, so they talk to another guildie. I think of it as a screening. We ask them why they want the person ganked/camped, and if it's a pretty good reason, i.e. ninja looting or being a douche, we do it for cheap or free. Kinda like the A-Team. If it's not a great reason, then we'll ask for at least 2000g depending on what they want. We'll ask for half up front as a deposit.

What's the most anyone has paid you for a target?

12,000g for a guild to be camped for two weeks -- see the Sin guild bounty, above. video. We camped them for weeks and got a lot of footage.

Wow! Where does all the payment money go?

It usually is split among participants of the hunt or to me. I use the gold to sponsor skilled players that want to join us.

Have there been any particular players or groups who've been especially difficult targets to take down?

Trade chat trolls ... because they stay unflagged in cities most of the time.

Even on a PvP realm, where unanticipated PvP is supposedly the accepted form of play, I bet you still get plenty of players who cry foul when they get targeted. How do you handle that? What's your take?

They often don't understand my "meeps" ... I enjoy the bounty hunting and world PvP because it's fun and unique! It's a game, and people need to not get so attached to their digital egos.

What about getting reported? Have you ever had trouble with GMs over your bounty hunting?

Not once.

So what's the general atmosphere and attitude toward world PvP on your realm, then?

Found this, some stuff from Wrath -- but man ... was good times.

Tell us more about your focus on "air superiority."

I've always loved world PvP. Flying mounts changed the game. What makes us effective is that now they can't avoid us by staying in the air or flying away. Originally, it started out as Typhooning players off their mounts, but that was fixed. I had already been experimenting with killing moving targets in flight and eventually perfected it (see video at top of post).

There are some very interesting stories behind some of the bounties... Grinak, orc rogue, (previously known as Majawh the night elf rogue; name change on faction transfer) put the hit on himself. Of course, when he approached me about the hit, he was on an alt.

Adamaris (belf mage) is a heavy RPer. I was hunting for her and found out she was in Zangarmarsh. She was with a night elf druid, and they were in voice comm together. I had asked in general chat if anyone had seen her, and her nelf friend tipped her off and returned to Shattrath, where the video starts. She then informed me that she would be waiting for me in Halaa with her guild. And so they decided to fight the Air Superiority Squadron ... on a floating island.

What do you do when you're not playing WoW?

I'm in the military; I PvP IRL. That's kinda where all the acronyms come from ... Also explains some of the military features of the guild like call signs, rank acronyms, tactics, etc.

Some of the acronyms we have: FUC-Q (Fighting Unit, Close-Quarters) for our ground fighters; ASSHAT (ASS Hispeed Airborne Terminator) for rogues with Killing Spree; "dropping the hammer," used to refer to Starfalling/Hurricaning the Wintergrasp vendor right after the Horde win the battle (TN is a Horde-dominant server, and WG control was maintained by Horde 90% of the time). The Starfall splash plus a secret weapon we used to up our damage could wipe out 10+ enemies during Starfall/Hurricane.

What about arena, rated battlegrounds and other PvP? Does Air Superiority Squadron do much there?

Arenas can be fun, but they're very time-consuming. I'd much rather be doing world PvP! I've gotten a gladiator title on another character, and I'm happy enough with that.

ASS is the only highly rated RBG team on the server as of right now, with our highest player in the 2,800s. It keeps us in top shape for bounty hunting as well. People know that we can back up what we say we can do.

How big is the guild? Does everyone participate in the bounty hunting, or is there a smaller subset that focuses there?

The core of the guild is roughly 30 players. Participation is by availability at the time the target has left a safe area.

How much of your playtime do bounties and world PvP take up? Do you also raid, play alts ...?

The most time-consuming part of bounty hunting is finding the target or waiting for them to leave a safe area. At other times, we usually do RBGs.

How does being a druid with flight form factor into your tactics? Can non-druids effectively contribute to the team, too?

... will dodge the question a little to avoid the nerfbat.

Non-druids definitely are the bulk of the guild, and they help the ground fighting. Usually, I will shake them up in the air and the ground guys will finish them off if they try to land to avoid death (my damage in the air can usually kill players in one pass). Shake and bake!

Can you share any details about your deadly technique?

The harder I hit my buttons, the harder I crit!

See more of Tenj and the Air Superiority Squadron in action at their YouTube channel.

"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@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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