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15 Minutes of Fame: Come one, come all to the astounding Traveling Museum of Debris

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.

Back in October, we profiled triple-threat collector Drrum's coordinated armor, pet, and mount collections, meticulously assembled and screenshot in complementary in-game settings. Last week, we chatted with collector Moonjade of Twisting Nether (US-A), who focuses on items somehow linked to game lore. This week, we complete our trifecta of collectors with an interview with a player who's assembled an actual in-game museum -- yup, curator-led tours and all -- of unusual gray items and assorted oddities. Now, we get crazy emails all the time here at WoW Insider about all sorts of weird things that've been found in game ... but man, I've never even heard of some of this stuff!

Pestle, who's also GM of Infinite Asylum on The Scryers (US-A), manages the massive, multi-bank collection via Riplington E. Winchester III, the museum's intrepid gnomish curator character. The list of random items that she sent me is so long that there's literally no reader-friendly way to display it here (let alone the fact that it would take days to slap Wowhead links on all of it); we'll stream it for you in paragraph form just after the jump. For a visual idea of the scope of this massive collection, click through the gallery below before joining us to chat with its curator after the break.



Even a mere sampling of the Traveling Debris Gallery takes paragraphs to accomplish, but I hesitate to shorten the sample lest you not appreciate the sheer enormity of this collection.

Animal parts and skulls Golden Vendorfish, Shark Bait, Mysterious Unhatched Egg, Crusty Chicken Foot, Large Snail Shell, Dragon Femur, Black Dragon Claw, Polished Skull, Trophy Raptor Skull, Pristine Raptor Skull, Drowned Rat, Corroded Skull, Ancient Hero's Skull, Expired Voodoo Power Core, Lifeless Skull, Humanoid Skull, Broken Skull, Brittle Skull, Old Skull, Masticated Skull, Dissolved Skull, Small Bat Skull, Adventurer's Skull, Ruined Bear Skull, Velociraptor Skull ...

Feathers, feathers, feathers Sericeous Down, Silky Plumage, Molted Feather, Ragged Down, Brilliant Feather, Tickling Feather, Tribal Raptor Feathers, Ironfeather, Sparkly Raptor War Feather, Long Tail Feather, Jet Black Feather, Ruffled Feather, Elder Raptor Feathers, Undamaged Hippogryph Feather, Plucked Feather, Blood-Soaked Raptor War Feather ...

Rocks, keys and more A Very Pretty Rock, A Pretty Rock, Deformed Ocellus, Keening Stone, Interesting Rock, Shiny Polished Stone, Tinted Rock, Shattered Stone, Piece of Coral, Colorful Rock, Banded Stone, Pet Rock, Rock, Dry Salt Lick, Jagged Piece of Stone, Very Unlucky Rock, Flint and Tinder, Primitive Rock Tool, Black Stone, Shiny Pebble, Smooth Stone Chip, Pretty Pebble, Glimmering Stone Chip, Scintillating Stone Shard, Prismatic Stone Chip, Lead Ore, Dry Hardened Barnacle, Shattered Rock Fragments, Dead Barnacle, Small Pebble, Cracked Stone Shard, Lifeless Stone, Rock Chip, Pry Stone ...

Keys and glass Corroded Keys, Tower Key, Bent House Key, Set of Rusty Keys, Worthless Piece of Green Glass, Worthless Piece of Red Glass, Worthless Piece of White Glass, Worthless Piece of Orange Glass, Worthless Piece of Violet Glass ...

Assorted oddities Elegant Writing Tool, The Big Big Book o' Beards, Goblin Gentleman's Magazine, Wildhammer Book of Verse, Red Ash, Troll Sweat, Voo Juice, Flask of Mojo, Nippy Cologne, Fine Sand, Course Snuff, Spoiled Reagents, Chiming Stress Balls, Reddish Mud, Extinguished Torch, Flickering Torch, Olaf's Amazing Handkerchief, Empty Barrel, Hefty Barrel, Mind-Soothing Bauble, Intricate Bauble, Broken I.W.I.N. Button, Broken U.L.O.S.E Button, Coffin Drops, Tail Comb, Destroyed Magic Item, Cracked Pottery, Empty Rum Bottle, 7th Place Fishing Trophy, Symbol of Divinity, Dark Iron Scraps, Claw File, Empty Hip Flask, Fantasy Portrait, Aboriginal Carvings, Broken Whale Statue, Whale Statue, New Age Painting, Cat Figurine, Silver Statuette, Broken Spyglass, Carved Ivory Bone, Melted Candle, A Jack-o'-Lantern, Vial of Tears, Pheromone Sample, Insect Nociceptor Sample, Stuffed Shark Head, Rag Doll, Porcelain Bell, Broken Electro-Lantern, A Gold Tooth, Eau de Taurene, Gold-Capped Troll Tusk ...

More weird stuff Nubless Pacifier, Hangman's Noose, Shiny Dinglehopper, Flores' Lost Seal of Approval, Bent Spoon, Crude Eating Utensils, Brass Button, Semi-Precious Blue Stone, Broken Timepiece, Rusty Butcher's Knife, Stormhammer Head, Ultrasafe Bullet Machine, Large Bear Bone, Motorized Bone Saw, Ruined Hardtack, Cracked Dragonmaw Helmet, Rusted Lock, Broken Lock, Checked Handkerchief, Folded Handkerchief, Tusk Warmer, Torn Sail, Pocket Lint, Scratching Stick, Brain Coral, Sludge, Glue Material, Everfrost Powder, Runic Crystal, Green Sparkly, Crystalline Tear of Loyalty, Solid Gold Coin, Empty Tobacco Pouch, Sack of Grain, Empty Wallet ...

... and remember: That's not everything.

Characters Pestle (main), Riplington (museum curator)
Guild Infinite Asylum
Realm The Scryers (US-A)

15 Minutes of Fame: My god -- I'm exhausted just from reading a list of your museum items. How did you become interested in collecting things?

Pestle/Riplington: The gray collecting started out as a simple joke. I had acquired a guild bank of six tabs and planned to sell it. I decided it would be hilarious if I were to fill the guild tabs up with gray skulls entirely, before selling it off to someone. Well, I ended up finding the collecting extremely enjoyable and didn't actually carry out that plan.

I started collecting any gray skulls, keys, and coins I could get. Soon, I began branching out to all gray items, and I wanted to have a way to display my collection for others to enjoy, so I created the Traveling Museum of Debris. Riplington the gnome was born, and he became the curator for this museum. Each bank tab of the guild was considered a museum display hall. Once I developed a large enough collection for touring, I began to offer RP tours into the museum. Many people enjoyed the tours, as all they had to do was join the guild with a character and we would have a nice RP session in guild chat about the museum exploration. I would provide detailed explanations of where the item(s) had been acquired and their history. People typically enjoyed it very much.

"Enjoyed"? Why past tense?

When the guild reputation system was released, this pretty much killed the ability to offer tours, as people weren't very inclined to make a new, unguilded character to take a tour -- and they certainly weren't about to drop their guild reputation just to visit. But I've kept it going, as I absolutely love it. It keeps me occupied when I get bored of content or just want to relax.

Currently, I have 12 bank tabs featured in the museum, but I also have several other guild banks for storing the less unique gray items. I couldn't tell you an exact count, but it's thousands at least.

What specific types of things do you collect?

I collect anything that is of gray item value. Specifically, I'm looking for the more unique or interesting gray items that have some story to them or seem to have an interesting fit in the lore. I collect everything except the gray armor sets, not because I don't want them but because there are just so many armor sets, there's just not enough room!

But if Blizzard ever makes armor sets so they can be stored in a different way, I will happily go stalking down every last bit of them to add to my ultimate gray item collection. I do have about 20 sets, but I can't possibly get them all, due to space limitations.

Typically, I try to just get one of every gray item, but there are some types of grays that I will collect as many as I can get:
  • Keys I don't know why, but I love gray keys and have over a hundred so far.
  • Skulls My original fascination with this collection; I have hundreds of them.
  • Solid gold coins I love this gray item because it's a virtual manifestation of the currency in the game, and that strikes me as quite awesome for an RP server. I have about a 100 of them thus far.
What makes an item worth collecting? What are the criteria for being part of your collection?

When I look for gray items, I look for several qualities. Do I already have this item? If so, is it a skull, key or solid gold coin? What is the vendor price of this item? The higher vendor price the gray is, the more I'm likely to collect multiples. Is there flavor text to the gray item, or did it come from an awesome quest chain or rare mob? I love collecting the gray items that have their own little story behind them. It makes them more valuable to me.

How much time and focus does collecting take up in relation to the rest of your play time?

I'm not a raider or a PVPer. My WoW time is spent doing a few different things. I manage and run my guild, Infinite Asylum, and have for over three years. I am obsessed with the economics side of the game and spend a large portion of my time playing the market on a well-known yet anonymous bank toon.

My collecting is constant. I advertise on whatever character I'm on for my gray item search and am always willing to talk shop when someone has a gray item they think I might want. Sometimes if I'm seeking a gray item that's incredibly hard to find, I'll spend hours, if not days, farming for it. Collecting takes up a good portion of my play time -- I'd say about 30-40%. I check the AH for gray items every day, usually, and keep a good inventory of things that I'm still in search of.

How do you involve your collections in your roleplaying in game?

Well, I turned my collection into the Traveling Museum of Debris, in which I would travel from city base to city base on Riplington E. Winchester III, the great gnomish curator, taking this traveling museum around and offering tours throughout the cities. I would invite people into the guild so they could explore the many halls (guild tabs) of the museum and get an intricate, interactive RP session in guild chat, if they wished to inquire about any items.

It also started up on the Horde side for a while but has since moved back to just Alliance, given the troubling times of post-Cataclysm. It was a lot of fun! Sadly, it doesn't happen nearly as often as before, given the guild reputation situation.

Do you have a favorite item?

Oh my, that's extremely hard to say. I'd have to say there's not one single favorite, but of all the gray items, my favorite types are the skulls, the keys, and the solid gold coins. I also do like the Sack of Grain, which states "you're so not eating this." That quest chain always amused me, and I have quite a few of them now, at 25g apiece vendor. I also love the Porcelain Bell, because they're 100g apiece and so rare, and the Silver Statuette is beautiful for flavor text, at 15g vendor. I also love the Worthless Piece of Colored Glass sets. I have all five colors.

What item are you most proud to have obtained?

This would have to be the Stuffed Shark Head. When it first came out, I was super-excited and spent ages trying to find it, to no avail. Finally, one day I met up with a possible seller, and they were so impressed with my museum and its popularity that they donated the shark head free of charge. It's been one of my favorites ever since.

What item was most difficult to obtain?

Oh, that's incredibly tough to answer. I'd have to say the Flores' Lost Seal of Approval, just because it took a crazy amount of time to obtain without paying more than vendor prices, which I never do.

Anything in particular that still eludes you?

Ancient Coin. I've yet to find it or see it. So hopefully, I'll get it soon!

What items are at the top of your list to get next?

I'm currently working on gathering up all of the new Patch 4.2 gray items, because there are some definite awesome ones!

Sounds like you'll be busy! How long have you been playing World of Warcraft, anyway?

I've been playing WoW for over four years now. I started playing MMOs with Diablo 2 and then Guild Wars and finally got into WoW to be able to spend more time with my brother and friends when I moved.

Do you collect anything in real life?

In real life, I collect dragon figurines/art and bladed weaponry. I also collect weird coins from all over the world. I also have a vast collection of micro-sized Play-Doh/clay sculptures that my children have made me over the years.

Interested in a tour? Make a character on The Scryers (US-A), then look for Pestle or Riplington to request a tour of the astounding Traveling Museum of Debris.

"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: RP, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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