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15 Minutes of Fame Followup: Coming to terms with a self-confessed WoW addiction

It's been just over a year and a half since student filmmaker Anthony Rosner released IRL, a short film documenting the inexorable slide into the throes of a World of Warcraft fixation that nearly derailed his life. His tale of falling head first into Azeroth only to triumphantly fight his way back to a thriving lifestyle and university degree has garnered more than a million views via YouTube, film festivals, TV, and the internet. This month, Rosner has released IRL 2.0: In Moderation, a retelling of his experience that brings viewers back to the place where it all started: Azeroth –- in more moderate doses.

Rosner's creative light shines more brightly than ever here on the far side of his journey through a hobby that for some players can become a suffocating influence. The skills and experience Rosner acquired in film school sparkle in this more polished presentation. Since WoW players will be checking out IRL 2.0 this week as it makes the rounds on the internet, we reopened our conversation with Rosner to find out what's changed since we last touched base and how he and Azeroth have finally managed to come to terms.

15 Minutes of Fame Followup Coming to terms with a selfconfessed WoW addictionMain character Tyrien (formerly Sevrin), blood elf protection paladin
Guild Zenith
Realm Draenor (EU-Horde)

WoW Insider: Tell us about your latest experiences in Azeroth -- your WoW 2.0, if you will. how are you taking things this time around?

Anthony Rosner: Well currently I play on and off. There isn't any specific routine to how I play. I do log on to kill Kael'thas each week! But a lot of the time, I tend to do pet battles, the occasional raid with my guild and do things like LFR, etc.

What do you think about the changes that have come to the game since you were in it so deeply? Do you think the structure of the game and its features today make it easier to play on a more casual basis now, to drink deeply but quickly and without getting sucked down the rabbit hole?

I think the changes are great. Things like LFR, they allow me to see the content. It is a shame that LFR does sort of overlook the challenge and mechanics of the boss fights, which is understandable, but I am glad LFR is there. Especially if you don't want to raid hardcore, you can still get gear and keep your character relevant for whatever the latest content is.

Also, the extra content outside of raiding is great too. I do have a soft spot for the pet battles; it lets me play the game differently whilst still letting me have fun.
15 Minutes of Fame Followup Coming to terms with a selfconfessed WoW addiction
How do you keep things in balance? Do you find the voice of experience constantly whispering in one ear -- is maintaining balance still a constant struggle -- or do you find that having integrated gaming into the rest of your life comes more naturally now?

Part of what I have done is to just accept that I enjoy gaming. That sounds very strange, but I think in the past, I sort of put a cloak over myself and hid away from what I enjoyed. Just confronting that alone has allowed me to just let gaming be part of my life. It doesn't have to be some secret, and it doesn't need to be my entire life.

There are things I like to focus my efforts on such as keeping fit, making sure I have fun away from my computer, and working. Warcraft resets each week, so I don't feel the need to be online all the time like I used to.

And the main thing I have done is not hold any form of responsibility in the game, like running a guild or being an officer or raid leader. In fact, I joined a casual guild on my old server, but when they realised who I was, they asked if I wanted to be raid leader. Before having time to think about it, I was made raid leader. I wasn't very happy with it. I tried a few raids, but I didn't enjoy it, so I decided to leave and go my own way!
15 Minutes of Fame Followup Coming to terms with a selfconfessed WoW addiction
Still, I'll bet you've heard some eye-opening stories from game-addicted players who've seen IRL and then written to you.

I've [heard from] girls who have been worried about their boyfriends paying more attention to their games than them, and that has always been quite touching, trying to help them get their relationships back. There was one girl who was pregnant, but her boyfriend was playing Star Wars:The Old Republic all the time and didn't seem like he would be responsible for his kid; in the end, I think they worked it out, though.

But a lot of the comments have been from people who could relate to my story. Either they thanked me for helping them realise their own issues or just acknowledged the message and happily went about their gaming, as they had their life in balance.

Did you choose your new realm and guild specifically with an eye toward evoking a different feeling and pursuing a different playstyle than last time?

Well, my server was pretty dead, and I wanted to move away from it. It felt weird playing there, seeing old faces, so I wanted a change of scenery. I just picked whatever happened to be the most popular PvE server and went with that one; there really wasn't much else behind it.
15 Minutes of Fame Followup Coming to terms with a selfconfessed WoW addiction
Ever talk or play with any of your former guildmates?

Yeah, actually, one of my old guildmates was on another dying server and, coincidentally, his guild moved to the same server I moved to. He told me about his guild and how they were relaxed and chilled out about raiding, which sounded good to me, so I joined and have been there since! I am also still in contact with some people from WoW, some who I met up with as recently as last week, but quite a lot of my old guildmates have vanished, moreso now I moved servers.

So what's going on in your life right now, now that you've graduated? What are you working on?

Well, currently I do freelance film work, mainly covering different events, but I am eagerly applying to jobs all the time in the film industry trying to find a more reliable job. It's been tough a lot of my friends from university have been in the same situation as me and are struggling to find work. It's partially the reason why I felt that I could play Warcraft occasionally, as it doesn't clash with any commitments -- although generally speaking, everything else comes first before gaming.

Also, I have plans for a new documentary that takes the story away from me and looks at other gamers around the world.
15 Minutes of Fame Followup Coming to terms with a selfconfessed WoW addiction
What's next for you, Anthony?

Well, I am off to BlizzCon in November, which I am super-excited about, as it will be my first time there so I wanted to release IRL 2.0 before I set out there in case people wanted to meet up who had seen the film. And then I am looking at making a bigger documentary, something which tackles the sorts of issues that I think gamers tend to face such as violence in video games and generally how gamers are portrayed. Other than that, keeping up with my personal fitness and job hunting, whilst carrying on with my freelance work in the meantime!

And what about poor old Sevrin, your original paladin we watched you unsuccessfully struggling to delete so many times? Have you finally deleted him, or do you think he'll be able to rest quietly and safely in peace now that you've moved on?

Well, Sevrin he hasn't been deleted -- I renamed him to Tyrien (I do enjoy playing protection paladin too much!). But I wanted to get away from that identity. I don't feel like Sevrin anymore -- I find it weird if people call me Sevrin -- so I generally try to get away from that. I don't even have his name reserved on my old server anymore, so I wanted to just let it go.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) and a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to lisa@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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