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Filed under: Interviews

15 Minutes of Fame: Road to BlizzCon cosplay -- the grind to perfection

There's simply something about Amanda. When we first spied her making the rounds with her stunning green-eyed paladin at BlizzCon 2010, we found ourselves captivated. Yet Amanda wasn't a finalist in 2010. She didn't draw crowds by displaying huge swaths of bare skin, parading up and down the promenade in front of the convention center. Not a seamstress, she doesn't even craft all of her costumes' parts and pieces personally by hand.

What Amanda Wisley does is cosplay with heart. The die-hard fan outsources her imagination to create costumes that exemplify the spirit she sees in the game she loves. This WoW lover loves to bring her visions to life, sharing them over long hours walking the convention floor and grounds to visit with other fans. But while this year's BlizzCon will see her buried inside a full fur suit as a pandaren monk, will her hopes of participating in Blizzard's official costume contest get buried as well?

In an upsetting discovery made long after tickets had been purchased and her costume was in progress, Amanda learned early last month that she'd not been lucky enough to snag one of the coveted sign-ups for the costume contest. She's been assured that she's high on the waiting list -- but after months of preparation, a successful race for BlizzCon tickets, booking air travel and accommodations, and of course all the expenses of creating her costume itself, will she get her shot at walking across the BlizzCon stage?

Take a look at the emotional highs and lows of this determined cosplayer's road to BlizzCon 2013 as her costume and itinerary laboriously come together.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: The rainbow world of TradeChat's Panser

Panser
The trademark pink hair of video blogger Panser of TradeChat and WoW Insider's weekly news recap should be declared a valid form of crowd control. Less enlightened viewers seem to find themselves sheeped in her v-log comments on a regular basis, bleating about her eye-popping pink coif, the peaches-and-cream looks that propelled her to the finals in the Maxim Gamer Girl competition, and (oh dear, guys, don't get out much, eh?) her gender.

But it's Panser's bona fides as a gamer, not her pink hair, that make her updates one of the liveliest, most informed sources of WoW, League of Legends and gaming news on the web. A lifelong gamer with five active level 90 WoW characters and what she refers to as a "small problem with alts," Panser crunches through the weekly WoW news like a bag of Skittles, full of fun and flavor. Ready for a peek over the TradeChat rainbow?

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Fantasy character artist explodes onto WoW community scene

15 Minutes of Fame Fantasy character artist explodes onto WoW community art scene
If you're headed to BlizzCon next month, will you be lucky enough to be wearing a coveted custom name badge by Noxychu? Her whimsical character portraits have become all the rage this year, and Noxychu has even turned out badges for the entire Blizzard community manager staff. As staff artist for Wowhead and well-known WoW "Twitterati," the unassuming Brit has long since had to pause taking on new commissions, and her newfound popularity promises great things post-BlizzCon.

WoW Insider: Everyone wants a Noxychu! I'm betting most readers will recognize your name from the artwork you do for Wowhead. Tell us what you do there and how you got started.

Noxychu: I'm not sure I have a proper title; I guess just "artist" covers it. I make logos for the various ZAM websites, and I illustrate the occasional contest and guide. I got started with Wowhead by volunteering, I made some badge art for them in 2008, and then after that the occasional Warcraft-themed web comic. And they were bloody awful. I really loved making them, and they were weekly for a while. Unfortunately I'm a terrible at writing scripts, and I have been unable to find a consistently funny writer that is willing to put up with me to try and get the Wowhead web comic back to regular updates.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Shooting Azeroth in all its HD glory

15 Minutes of Fame Screenshot photographer shoots Azeroth in all its HD glory
WoW wallpaper sites come, and WoW wallpaper sites go. You can always download a fresh look for your screen directly from Blizzard. But as satisfying as it is to set a novel desktop wallpaper that truly delights, I enjoy the process of poking around to find wallpapers from people who are passionate about WoW -- like WoWScapes, the passion project of a former raider and amateur photographer who's become fascinated with taking and sharing high-quality screenshots that showcase the striking beauty of Azeroth.

WoWScapes creator Jeremy (aka Rotted of Sen'jin-US) specializes in bringing eye-popping images to players who don't have the hardware or haven't slowed down enough to savor Azeroth's splendor. "In a way, I feel sorry for people who use low-end hardware and cannot thoroughly enjoy the beauty this game displays," he notes. "So with that being said, I have turned many heads and had many people say, 'Is that really what WoW looks like on max settings? All this time, I have been playing and have never seen blades of grass on the ground or bark on the trees.' It's responses like this that make me happy about sharing my 'photos.'"

Jeremy is currently adding two screenshots per week to WoWScapes. "I never had intentions to make money off of the website," he says. "It is strictly something I enjoy doing in my free time -- usually while my wife is raiding. Every wallpaper is free to download."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Road to BlizzCon cosplay -- prologue

15 Minutes of Fame Road to BlizzCon cosplay, part 1
We first met Amanda Wisley at BlizzCon 2010 as a perky, green-eyed blood elf paladin in full Judgement. Who could forget those eyes? Though she wasn't selected as a finalist in the Blizzard costume contest, her popular paladin attracted crowds of gawkers and fans anxious to be photographed with her off the main convention floor. We chatted with her several times over the course of the weekend, and I encouraged her to get in touch with me if she ever found herself preparing for another run at major BlizzCon cosplay.

Amanda didn't attend BlizzCon in 2011, but she contacted me this summer as her preparations for an trip to Anaheim and an attempt at the 2013 BlizzCon costume contest got into full swing. What has transpired in the weeks since then is an astonishing patchwork of dastardly deadlines, agonizing anticipation, bitter disappointments, and unwavering persistence and hope.

Will Amanda's custom-made pandaran monk be ready in time for November? Will she nab a coveted spot among the first 100 registrants for the BlizzCon costume contest? In the face of purchased tickets and completed travel plans, how will she adapt to roadblocks and disappointments along the way? We'll meet the intrepid cosplayer this week, share the ups and downs of her preparations as we get closer to the convention, and finally join her behind the scenes at BlizzCon itself in November.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

How do we define 'melee friendly'?

How do we define 'melee friendly' nowadays
This week, we got a special treat - Blizzard released a video with Encounter Developer Ion Hazzikostas (who is seriously my secret crush over at Blizz - my trapper keeper is full of little hearts drawn around his name), Production Director J. Allen Brack and Game Director Tom Chilton (they're dreamy too, but Ion's my fave) and it's got a cornucopia of interesting information in it for you all. However, one line of the interview, summed up by our Adam Koebel, caught my eye immediately.

They realize raids need to be more melee friendly in the future and they are working on it, but they feel that Siege of Orgrimmar is one of the most melee friendly raids in recent memory.

When I first saw this line, I chuckled bitterly to myself. Siege is melee friendly? This got me to wondering how we define melee friendly. Is it just the ability for melee players to contribute solid DPS? Because by that standard, Siege has some good fights for melee - the Fallen Protectors, Sha of Pride, Galakras and even Spoils of Pandaria are certainly fights where melee DPS can contribute a good deal of positive damage to an encounter. Phase 1 Garrosh is a place where melee with good cleave potential absolutely shines. So by that standard, a case could absolutely be made that Siege is melee friendly.

Now, in terms of melee staying alive without making the healers hate every single one of them that the raid brings to the party? Siege of Orgrimmar continues in a grand tradition of blowing up the melee. By that standard, SoO is absolutely not melee friendly.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

15 Minutes of Fame: So an Irish tauren walked into a pub ...

15 Minutes of Fame An Irish tauren went into a pub
How does Battlefield Barrens and the Siege of Orgrimmar relate to 12th-century Irish history? You'd have to ask Allen Tatman, energetic GM of Ná Clan Cáilte on Blackwater Raiders (US-Horde) and owner of Paddy Malone's Irish Pub in Jefferson City, Mo. The enthusiastic WoW fan has managed to cross-pollinate his Irish heritage with his passion for World of Warcraft and his Irish-flavored business. His enthusiasm has lured patrons and employees alike to Azeroth and steered fascinated Americans to Ireland on his guided Wylde Irish Tours. His imaginings about his tauren character have evolved into a full-fledged novel, and he's already toying with ideas for a prequel.

But back to the connections between Siege of Orgrimmar and Irish history -- how does that all work? We'll let Allen Tatman tell the tale amidst his own (something for which the Irish are renowned, after all).

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Fitness Plus WoW: Companies seek new ways to market to the gaming community

The worlds of fitness and gaming haven't always been thought of as a natural fit. But with gaming now solidly dug into the adult demographic, we can crunch contentedly on our Cheetos without fear of silly stereotypes. We're not shocked to be called in with an alt to fill in for the off tank, who's dialing back for a couple of weeks before running in his next 10K. We're not surprised to learn that a guildmate is a high school soccer player, a 45-year-old yoga teacher, or an active duty soldier who whips out beastly chin-up sets alongside beastly DPS.

Being a fit gamer may no longer be an eyebrow-raising novelty, but gamers haven't exactly become a prime target for fitness company marketing. Yet fitness and gaming have gone hand in hand so long for one WoW player that he's managed to nab a sponsorship from a fitness company anxious to tap into the gaming community. Bodybuilder and WoW player Bajheera of Darkspear (US) is pumped up at the prospect of connecting with his growing YouTube audience about not only gaming but fitness as well. "Merging fitness and gaming on the channel is natural for me," he explained to WoW Insider. "I am definitely encouraging gamers to get active and interested in fitness and am doing my best to encourage fitness-related companies like my sponsor Cellucor ... to reach out to gamers looking to incorporate fitness into their lives. So I am definitely interested in cross-promotion and have been making an effort to bring the fitness and gaming together."

Bajheera reports that the twist is building a surprisingly positive response. "[The company] is excited about what they've seen so far and are planning on marketing campaigns/products intended for gamers," he notes. Will we see this sort of cross-genre marketing more frequently in the future? Bajheera spots us through some insights.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

School's in session at in-game Lore-ytime with Lessons in Lore

School is in session! No, we're not trying to plant the seeds of pre-Halloween nightmares featuring Darkmaster Gandling in your poor, Scholomance-addled brain. We're actually inviting you to come learn about the lore of Azeroth right inside the game itself. With comedy. Yes, it's a thing!

Gather 'round with other lore fans at weekly Lore-ytime sessions by Lessons in Lore, a wry retelling of some of WoW's great stories created by a spunky husband-wife team on Earthen Ring (US-Horde). The team earned their chops with their irreverent and frequently musical presentations at Dragon Con, but you might recognize Chad and Megan more readily as NPCs: Warden Chadrick and Watcher Megana on the Timeless Isle.

Watcher Megana says:


Can you believe this place? There's so much to learn and discover! I'm going to fill up books and books with all my findings here.

But it's just so much information, I don't know how anyone could possibly read through it all. Chadrik thought we could write it up as a song, but that's silly...right?


Players click:

A song?


Watcher Megana replies:


Yes! A song about the lore and all the lessons we can learn from it all. Sounds exciting, doesn't it?

But...we're still working on it. Chadrik seems easily distracted lately. Is there something on my tabard?

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

A day in the life of Blizzard Historian Sean Copeland

A day in the life of Blizzard Historian Sean Copeland
If you've spent any time at all on the Timeless Isle, you may have noted and even completed the daily lore quiz from NPC Senior Historian Evelyna, a member of the Timewalkers who is accompanied by Historian Llore and Historian Ju'pa. What you may not have known is that these NPCs represent three invaluable members of the Blizzard Creative Development team: Senior Historian Evelyn Fredericksen, Historian Justin Parker, and Historian Sean Copeland. Together, the three represent a powerhouse of encyclopedic knowledge from each of Blizzard's franchises.

That's all well and good, but what exactly does a Historian at Blizzard do with their day? What does being a Historian entail, and what do they do with all that knowledge they've crammed in their brains? The folks over at Blizzard Entertainment were kind enough to let us find out. Read on as we pick the brain of Historian Sean Copeland about lore, historians, and the unusual job of keeping track of all things Blizzard.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

Ability Powered gnome builds resource node for disabled gamers

Ability Powered gnome builds resource node for disabled gamers
Sometimes the news tips themselves hit the nail right on the head:

She's known by many on our realm as Short but her character is Azraela. She has been guild leader of Quel'Dorei's Realm first level 25 guild since she founded it in BC.

Why I'd like to nominate her has nothing to do with guild leading though. She's disabled like others you have covered before, and like past stories, it doesn't stop her from raiding, PvP, or any other part of the game.

What impresses me about Short is her concern for other disabled gamers. She recently started a YouTube channel called AbilityPowered where she covers tips on making WoW highly accessible. I asked her about it one day and found out since she started raiding not only is she disabled but she had raid-led colorblind, deaf and hearing-impaired raiders. She said she's had to adjust raiding assignments to make anyone with impairments more successful for years and is hoping it'll help other gamers do the same. I think she's pretty special.


Promising lead? After checking out Ability Powered Gaming, we'd have to agree -– this is one inspiration-powered lady. A resource node for disabled gamers that's matter-of-factly sprung from a welcoming guild intended for one and all ... Meet crusader for disabled gamers, community leader, and Ability-Powered gnome Short/Azraela.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

WoW Insider talks 5.4 with 3D artist Fanny Vergne-Vicente

WoW Insider talks 54 with 3D artist Fanny VergneVicente
Patch 5.4 is here, and those that aren't gallivanting around the Timeless Isle have likely already taken their first steps into the Siege of Orgrimmar. The boss fights are exciting enough on their own, not to mention the awesome loot waiting to be found in the depths of the newest raid. But what many players don't think so much about is the raid itself. I'm not talking about the bosses or the mechanics of the encounter, but the actual bits and pieces that make up the space in which we're destroying all those new bad guys.

We've had plenty of developer interviews leading up to patch 5.4, but Blizzard was kind enough to give us an interview of a different sort. 3D artist Fanny Vergne-Vicente is one of the many artists at Blizzard that helped put together the Siege of Orgrimmar raid from the ground up, designing textures for everything you'll see while you're merrily murdering Garrosh -- the walls, floors, spikes, and everything else that makes the encounter come to life. We had a brief chat with Fanny about just what a 3D artist at Blizzard does, and what it was like bringing the Siege of Orgrimmar to life.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

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.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Player sweeps all three Stranglethorn Fishing winning spots in one day

Hunter sweeps all three Stranglethorn Fishing winning spots in one day
Relatively few WoW players will ever experience the alignment of timing and luck required to nab a win at the Stranglethorn Fishing Extravaganza. Contestants vie for only three prize-winning places that award a handful of coveted items including unique fishing trinkets and baubles and an experience-boosting account-bound ring. The weekly tournament tests anglers' efficiency and resolve with a race to the turn-in in neutral Booty Bay. Particularly on a PvP realm, a win can be less about catching 40 Speckled Tastyfish than surviving the combat on the way to turn them in.

So it was a great surprise to everyone involved when early this summer, Nirad of The Underbog (US-PvP) snagged not only first place in the tourney but also second place and then third as well -- all in a single day. "The contest wasn't a ghost town event," Nirad says. "I was killed once and had to avoid seven or eight Horde. I fished around Yojamba Isle and Grom' gol Base Camp, as well as inland. I set my hearthstone to the inn and teleported in all three times. I stealthed to hand in the quests all three times, as there were 5 or 6 horde immediately around the NPC you hand in the quests to. Later I heard that a number of Horde were also at the entrance to the tunnel heading into the city to keep people from running in."

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

TradeChat interviews Dave Kosak

Panser of TradeChat has posted the video of her interview with WoW Lead Quest Designer Dave Kosak about what's to come in patch 5.4. Covered topics include things to look forward to on the Timeless Isle, Wrathion's legendary quest line (including some discussion on the legendary cloaks themselves), the Siege of Orgrimmar raid, flex raiding, proving grounds, and the much-anticipated noodle cart scenario. You can watch it embedded above or head on over to TradeChat's Youtube channel to check it out there. September 10th is only two weeks away, folks!


Filed under: Interviews, Mists of Pandaria

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