The annual "Where are they now?" roundups for 15 Minutes of Fame are a high point of my year as a feature writer. It's rare to get a built-in opportunity to re-open the conversation with someone I've interviewed, and it's always intriguing to learn where these passionate, involved players and people are headed today. Not everyone's answers make print, of course; the pool of past subjects after six years is much larger than we could reasonably follow, and not everyone is still doing something related to WoW. So far, limiting coverage to those who reply to an email inquiry seems to keep things to a manageable roar.
The downside of compiling a yearly update is all the time I lose wandering down the side streets of Memory Lane. This year, I finally realized that if revisiting all those articles was so interesting to me, it probably would be to you too. So today, I'm curating some of my favorite 15 Minutes of Fame interviews for your perusal. There are many more I couldn't include due to space constraints, but you'll discover a little something for everyone here. As we push off from the shore of a new year, I think you'll find the creativity and passion with which they weave the World of Warcraft into their lives to be positively energizing and inspiring.
Inside the game
The world of gaming So many people from the gaming community at large play WoW. Over the years, we've talked with Sulka Haro, James Wallis, Alice Taylor, Frag Dolls Valkyrie, John Hopson, Jane McGonigal, Nick Yee and Liz Danforth.
Playing 10-man strict Remember when "10-man strict" was a thing?
Disabled players find a refuge in Azeroth The stories behind these articles are so inspiring I'm just going to link the entire category for you. Caution: You may find you have something in your eye as you read these articles. Keep a box of tissues nearby.
The WoW community We've interviewed so many personalities from the WoW community that I wasn't able to come up with a fair way to include them all here. What was slightly more unusual were the two so-called "anti-community" members we interviewed: a botter and a young guy who plays on a private server.
Eight years in Azeroth This long-time player, GM and blogger has some of the most astute observations and analysis of WoW's evolution you can read.
- Noor the pacifist Our very first interview for 15 Minutes of Fame (and one that earned a virtual avalanche of Diggs -- remember Digg?) was Noor the pacifist, the player who leveled all the way to the end of the game without killing anything or anyone. (And then did it again.)
- The melee hunter Noor wasn't the only one blazing the paths of nonconformist play.
- King of the Gurubashi Arena Here's yet another early example of a guy who's found out what he enjoys doing most in game -- and then goes for it.
- Fashion FTW By the time we talked to a player who loved nothing more than playing dress-up, readers seemed to be beginning to realize that it's truly okay to enjoy Azeroth any way you happen to like it.
- 10-boxing Karazhan We broke down this multiboxer's Karazhan strategies and then followed up with a broader perspective of the multiboxing experience.
- The untalented player Here's another unique twist on nonconformist play: no talent points.
- PvP on an imbalanced PvP realm Ouch.
- The Pi Guy Here's a guy who makes trade chat worth listening to -- really.
- Their own communities Proudmoore's GLBT guilds are widely welcomed today as one more type of special interest guilds, although their existence used to be considered controversial. Even a guild of women, by women and for women has ruffled commenters.
- Blind raiding These players can see just fine -- but they don't look at any strats before they raid.
- The third faction When neither Horde or Alliance is quite right.
- The exclusively "X" groups If there's a guild exclusively composed of one particular class or race, we've interviewed them here. (And if you belong to a type we haven't, email me!)
- The craftsman Players who devote themselves to crafting and their professions still exist in today's Azeroth.
- Grandma the progression raid leader Yep, she's 70 years old, and she'll kick your butt in game. Mainstream news across the world picked up Marthazon's story!
- "Guide dog" player steers blind teammate This is another incredible story that went viral all over the internet.
- Capping it off This guys caps his entire roster of 90s every week.
- Full up This player's filled an entire account -- all 50 slots -- with characters at level 85+.
WoW from the ivory tower
Our interviews with academic researchers whose studies relate to World of Warcraft have developed a devoted following with some readers.
- WoW from the ivory tower
- Anthropologist digs into WoW
- Philosophically speaking
- More anthropology in WoW
- Can WoW improve your brain power?
- Librarians who play WoW
- WoW and storytelling
And then there's the whole idea of using WoW as an educational tool.
Winners and achievers
These competitive players like to run hard and fast.
- Speed demon This guy ran his own challenge modes long before they were an actual thing. (And after they were, we interviewed some challenge mode leaders, too.)
- Solo healing Naxx-10 Yes, this was a big deal.
- The achievements guy He's all about racking up the points.
- The Ironman Challenge Hardmode leveling, here we come.
- World champion gladiator Venruki's at the top of the PvP heap.
- World-ranked brawler Here's a guy who's figured out the arcane secrets of besting the Brawlers Guild.
Well-known outside WoW
Readers always want to hear about celebrities and people they know from the world away from Azeroth.
- Movie special effects wizard Steve Preeg (Lord of the Rings, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, TRON).
- Authors Catherynne M. Valente, Caitlin R. Kiernan and Clay and Susan Griffith
- Two favorite dancers from So You Think You Can Dance
- Singer Lights
- MMA fighter Jens Pulver
- KC Royals pitcher Kyle Davies
- Aron Eisenberg ("Nog," Star Trek: Deep Space Nine)
- Michele Boyd (The Guild)
- Olympic swimmer Megan Jendrick
- Actress Michele Morrow
- Author Cory Doctorow
- Musician David Arkenstone
- Kristian Nairn ("Hodor," Game of Thrones)
- Drew Curtis of Fark.com
- Internet and MIT Media Lab superman Joi Ito
- Olympic hurdler Aries Merritt
- Gaming's singing angel Malukah
- Firebrand football player Chris Kluwe
- Models Adrianne Curry and Pamela Horton
- Artist Michael Whelan
The WoW-loving lifestyle
- Lean and mean with WoW Getting fit while playing WoW? This guy did it first. (But this guy might have done it best.)
- Around the world with Warcraft Vacation or business may have prompted you to take WoW on the road with you, but you've never seen it done quite like this.
- First responders Nobody gets your wacky schedule and work-related stress more than fellow firefighters, police officers, emergency medics and military personnel.
- The glorious Lego Booty Bay Those of you who went to BlizzCon 2011 got to the see this in person at the WoW Insider meetup.
- The furry fandom What's a furry? We found out.
- The standup comedian This funny guy uses WoW and other video games in his comedy routines.
- Custom WoW action figures Awesome custom WoW action figures! And if you like that, we've got more on custom minis.
- A WoW love story True love begins in Azeroth -- yep, it's as sweet as it sounds.
- Druid on the decks Remember DJ Aspeth? Anyone know what happened to her?
- Mr. Big This guy had so much fun setting up WoW on a big, BIG screen.
- Live action! Yep, we talked with some LARPers too. (You have to admit that it sounds like fun.)
- When WoW meets religion Here's one of our most thought-provoking interviews, a feature with a WoW-playing pastor.
- Looking good These women make gaming-themed cosmetics that we just love.
- Ultimate guild meetup This group organizes the RL meetups you wish your guild could do.
- The collectors From beautiful armor and creatures to fascinating grey items to lore and legendary items, WoW players love to collect things.
- Part(icles) of Azeroth Even CERN physicists play WoW.
- The SFF copyeditor She's stealthed through the pages of many of your favorite sci-fi and fantasy authors -- what an eye for the most fantastic parts of Azeroth!
- Pub crawl We've interviewed not one but two game-related pub owners.
- The counselor We'd say people who play WoW probably have a better understanding of other people who play WoW.
- The progressives Politics plus gaming? For this group, absolutely! (And more from the gaming politician whose campaign opponent learned a thing or two about slamming gamers and gaming.)
- The zookeeper A real-life zookeeper catalogs Azeroth's wildlife.
Send us your tips and requests
Okay, my fingers are worn out from linking. Now it's your turn! Is there someone who's somehow involved with the World of Warcraft that you'd like to read more about? It could be someone in particular, or it could be a type of player or playstyle you're interested in seeing represented. Send me your suggestions and requests (including contact information, if you have it) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to email@example.com.