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Where Are They Now? 2012 personalities, including the blind player and his 'guide dog'

Where Are They Now The last year in WoW personalities
At last, our look back at five years of WoW personality interviews rolls around to the duo everyone's been asking about: Hexu and Davidian, the British soldier blinded in Iraq and his redoubtable "guide dog" guildmate who steered him through full participation in current raid content. Their story exploded across the internet after we interviewed Davidian here on WoW Insider, and Blizzard recognized the dynamic duo with in-game helms with flavor text alluding to their inspiring bond of friendship.

Hexu and Davidian are both still playing World of Warcraft -- but the duo is together no more. As of the new year, the ever-energetic Hexu has been raiding on a new rogue, Dirtypawz, in Unqualified on Stormrage (EU). "I know!" he replies to my unspoken exclamation of surprise and sadness. "It was just that people were only raid logging, and it got boring -- but it was all amicable and cool. I still speak to people in Die Safe. I just wanted to do more than raid three nights a week." Hexu/Dirtypawz says a "very nice bloke" named Vatic is serving as his current raiding "guide dog" helper. "The people in the guild are all nice people," he adds, "and there [are] always things going on."

We'll visit with Hexu/Dirtypawz next month about how he's settling in and dig into his tips for the many sight-disabled players who've written to us during the past year trying to reach him for advice.

Meanwhile, Davidian reports that the year since we interviewed him has been packed with recognition and encouragement. "The publicity was just unreal," he says. "Even to this day, I get people coming to our server just to say how much the story inspired them and restored their faith in the gaming community. The biggest thing of all, though, was the fact that it made its way to Blizzard, and myself and Ben got signed copies of the collectors edition of Cataclysm signed by at least 50 members of the Blizzard team, and [we] received in-game pets also. Then to top it off, having in-game items with our names on them was just outstanding -- I mean, to be immortal in a game that we love to play is just, well words couldn't possibly describe it."

All good people connecting to play a game that's close to our hearts ... Keep reading for more updates about people who love World of Warcraft, from our interviews during 2012.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Trade skill crusader brings back customer service and sweat equity to crafting

Vial of the Sands
WoW players today tend to consider the deterioration of the in-game community in terms of relatively recent influences like the Dungeon Finder and then the Raid Finder. We sometimes forget that design tweaks and new systems have been chipping away at the paradigm of Azeroth as a place to forge ongoing personal relationships for years now. Take a gander at the beginning of this analysis I wrote on the death of the Azerothian salesman all the way back in the hyper-modern era of The Burning Crusade circa 2007:

Forget the endless debate over hardcore versus casual -- there's another moniker that we here at Insider Trader hold dear: salesman. What's that? You don't know any salesmen in WoW these days? You're not alone. Times have changed since craftspeople toiled to build reputations as the go-to traders on their servers ... when Ironforge was the hub of civilization, where a few elite enchanters held court over the entire server with coveted formulae from such exotic locales as Stratholme and Scholomance.

It's a brave new world in today's Outland. Most enchanters don't enchant for the general public at all, unless you provide mats and a tip. And in any profession, with so many other players on the servers who have the same patterns (even rare patterns are generally available from more than one player) and so many easy ways to make money (hello, daily quests!), there's little reason to hang around town to build a regular clientele. Components provided or created by other professions are readily available on the Auction House -- there's no need to seek out and nurture relationships with another player from a complementary profession.

Have the conveniences Blizzard has developed for today's crafters meant the death of the salesman?

Most WoW players would agree that convenience and self-service is the way of today's game. But for one stubborn tradesman on Sentinels (US), life as an Azerothian salesman is anything but obsolete. Daen, a dedicated craftsman and proprietor of Daen's Crafting Emporium, single-handedly maintains what may be one of World of Warcraft's last remaining bastions of personal craftsmanship and trade skill service -- with a twist. This proprietor not only aims to provide personal service, but he does it at no charge, with the insistence that customers devote sweat equity to their mutual creations as well.

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Filed under: Economy, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

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