Hard Core Brother: The Interview

My brother (known as Grimx in WoW) plays MMOs a lot. He is the one that got me into them, introducing me to Asheron’s Call way back when. He recently became the first player on the Doomhammer server to reach level 70, accomplishing the feat in just a few days. It is a play style I don’t understand, with motivations I personally can’t figure out. I decided to ask him some questions and the end result is this interview. I hope it is of some interest.

Ethic: Tell me about your history of playing multiplayer online games.

’95-’99: NannyMUD
’99-’00: Gemstone III
’00-’02: Asheron’s Call, Leafcull Server, GM of “The Lords of Leafcull”
’02-’02: Anarchy Online
’02-’03: Asheron’s Call 2, Leafcull Server, GM of “Clan Integris”
’03-’03: Earth and Beyond, Planetside, Gemstone III
’03-’04: Final Fantasy XI, Bismarck Server, GM of “Kupo Emperium”
’04-Current: World of Warcraft, Hellscream/Dalvengyr/Doomhammer
Server(s), original member and later officer of Immortalis (R.I.P.),
currently with Juggernaut.

Ethic: What has been your favorite of them to play?

Grimx: Without a doubt, World of Warcraft.

Ethic: How long have you been playing WoW?

Grimx: I started with Closed Beta back in July of ’04, so 2.5 years now!

Ethic: What is your /played?

Grimx: Right around 160 days on Grim, maybe a combined total of 40-50 days on my other 4 level 60’s.

Ethic: If I did my math correctly only considering retail, that is over 6.5 hours of gaming each and every day including weekends.

Grimx: I know I play about 6-7 hours per night, and then anywhere from 8-16 hours per day on the weekends.

Ethic: How did you get from 60 to 70? Groups? Solo? Quests? Grinding?

Grimx: Solo grinding quests, with the occasional assistance on group quests from a warlock guildmate, Ripe (the 2nd person to hit 70). I was already fluent with the content (was in beta), had the right class with the right gear (Full Tier 3), got ahead of the pack quickly enough (never had competition for spawns) and never looked back. Took 4 days of vacation, loaded up on Code Red, neglected sleep, and viola! Level 70 in 3 days.

Ethic: How long did it take you to go from 60 to 70? What is your main character?

Grimx: 65 hours over 3 days (Tuesday 12:15 AM until Friday 3:15 AM). My main character is an Undead Rogue.

Ethic: How much time did you sleep during that stretch?

Grimx: 10 hours (2 + 6 + 2). I overslept on the 6 hour nap =/

Ethic: What motivates you in MMOs?

Grimx: To be the best and be among the best, plain and simple.

Ethic: In that case, please define what you feel makes you the “best”?

Grimx: Quite a few categories would have to be considered, I think. The top of the list would be being a knowledgeable and experienced player. I want people to be able to ask me anything about everything! Being the “model” raider with the best attendance, best gear, best attitude, strategic contributions, etc. In the case of the expansion, the first person to 70, the first group to go through the instances, the person most “progressed” with the available solo and group content.

Ethic: What do you like most about MMOs?

Grimx: Character development and having something to show for the time that you put into the game. It’s for this reason that I typically avoid first person shooters and RTS’s.

Ethic: In a case like WoW, where you can leave no real permanent structure (so far), what is it that you have to show what you have accomplished? If it is just levels, that is only temporary as everyone will catch up sooner or later. There is nothing in WoW that you can leave behind like a house. Do you get any special titles or any one-of-a-kind items? Or is it simply the knowledge inside that you did something?

Grimx: My character and my reputation. I dont know exactly what people would say about me if you were to ask them, but I am 100% confident that it would be something positive. I always treat people how I’d want them to treat me, no matter what. My gear is a reflection of my time and dedication to raiding. There are special titles in the game, as well as legendary items (only 1 legendary item that rogues can use and it isn’t all that great), but I have neither.

Ethic: What did you do when you hit 70?

Grimx: Trained my new skills and then slept for maybe 6 hours.

Ethic: What do you plan to do now that you hit the new level cap?

Grimx: Well, hitting 70 is only the beginning of things, in my world. I’ve already exhausted all of the “solo” quests in the expansion, and am
probably the only one on our server (at the time of this interview) who can currently claim that. Now it’s finishing up group quests, 5-man
dungeons, 10-man instances, and soon 25-man raid zones.

Ethic: You say 70 is the “beginning” and yet you have exhausted all the solo content. How many of these group quests and dungeons are left to do? What will you do when they are all done?

Grimx: The end of solo content is the beginning of group content. The end of group content is the beginning of raid content. By the time the raid content is exhausted, another expansion should be out, or at the very least, a new raid zone should be released. I don’t yet know the extent of group content as I am waiting for a few more people to catch up so I can really start hammering them out.

Ethic: Was it worth it?

Grimx: Would I do it again in the next expansion? You better believe it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I loved the attention I got from peers and even complete strangers.

Ethic: Any idea how close you were to first on all the American servers? Any way to tell? Did the devs confirm it or anything?

Grimx: I don’t think I was the first US player to hit 70, as I recall reading a post by someone who claimed to hit 70 a few hours before I did. Back when the game first came out, there was a website that monitored/tracked progress to 60 across all servers, but I don’t remember the URL, and am not aware of any site that did it for TBC.

Ethic: What do you find to be the most fun thing about WoW?

Grimx: Gameplay mechanics, classes, raid environment/progression, items/gear, graphics, the list goes on.

Ethic: Just pick one thing you like the most about playing WoW.

Grimx: Raiding, but only with the right people. Doing a smaller raid zone (ZG, AQ20, even MC) with a pick-up group can be quite frustrating.

Ethic: How many characters do you have and what are their levels/classes/races?

Grimx: 70 Rogue, 60 Warrior, 60 Hunter, 60 Mage, 60 Warlock (Alliance), 40 Shaman, 42 Druid.

Ethic: Can you rank the classes in order of how much fun you have with them?

Grimx: Same order :) I haven’t decided what class I want to get to 70 next. If I had a horde warlock that would be my #2 choice.

Ethic: If you could improve one thing about WoW, what would it be?

Grimx: The rogue class. We’re definitely in need of some improvements, as several other classes are on par with our DPS, bring utility to a raid, and have much greater survivability.

Ethic: Any ideas to expand on this? What improvements? What kind of utility? More lock picking or stealthing needed in quests/raids?

Grimx: They need to either improve upon the one thing we bring to a raid (more DPS), or give us utilities (like abilities/spells/functions) that benefit the raid group. The suppression room in BWL is a perfect example of what NOT to do ever again. Hunters got a neat new ability that can temporarily redirect the threat generated from their attacks to a target raid member. That’d be a perfect ability for rogues!

Ethic: How do you think playing WoW (or any MMO) has affected your social and personal life?

Grimx: I think it’s safe to say that I am so devoted to my time in WoW, that I intentionally avoid having either.

Ethic: Do you regret playing it as much as you have?

Grimx: Absolutely not!

Ethic: Do you think you are addicted to WoW?

Grimx: Think? I know!

Ethic: Any upcoming MMOs that you plan to check out?

Grimx: I don’t think anything on the horizon can hold a candle to WoW, so it’s very doubtful that I’ll be going anywhere anytime soon!

Ethic: Talk a bit about your other hobbies and activities.

Grimx: Motorcycles, Movies, Computers.

Ethic: What kind of job do you have and is it full time?

Grimx: I have a full time job as a Network Engineer.

– Ethic

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I own this little MMO gaming blog but I hardly ever write on it any more. I'm more of a bloglord or something. Thankfully I have several minions to keep things rolling along.

19 thoughts on “Hard Core Brother: The Interview”

  1. Weak sauce! I just shit in a litter box and I’ve been playing for ten days and elven nights straight all while reading these blogs at the same time. Let’s see if you can top that, Grimx! How I miss those days… Not!

    After reading the interview my reaction was yikes! I can relate with Grimx. I used to power game in EQ, first to max level, server first this and server first that. Looking back on it now, it was silly and not worth the lack of sleep and huge globs of time investment, but still not much regret, alright maybe just a little-blowing off a wild backpack traverse across Europe is something I won’t ever forgive myself for.

    Great interview. Your bro should pick up a ktr blogger’s hat and fill the hardcore niche; a welcome addition to the ktr smorgasbord.

  2. Very interesting interview. The dedication (or addiction one could say) that it takes to get to where he is is amazing. Lots of discipline and time.

    It be interesting to get more of these interviews, both from other WoW players and also other MMOs, Maybe we’d see a patern, a type of play or even players.

  3. Interesting at how your brother has no problem spending 6+ hours per day playing WOW without getting bored. Here is a thought. What if he spent the same amount of time per day practicing any real world activity? He would be a full blown pro by now. I know people that are going to med school and don’t spend 6 hours per day studying.

    I’m not sure what it is about MMO’s that allow us to log on, and then look at the clock and say OMG, it’s been 10 hours and I haven’t even eaten breakfast yet!

  4. Well, I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that medicine and its practice are considerably harder than playing WoW. ;)

    In any case, the line between addiction and dedication is well-drawn by social acceptance. Once gaming becomes less of a niche-ish, cliqueish and socially shunned activity, that will change and people who dedicate 6+ hours to gaming won’t be viewed any different than those who spend 6+ hours playing tennis, writing, planting trees or clubbing seals.

    Gaming still has to get there, but I think it will eventually.

  5. I think your brother is a bit sad…. and I have to say, it is nothing like tennis, or writing or anything because when it is all said and done, blizzard can turn the switch off and you have nothing to show for it.

    I find it difficult to comprehend the people who think doing something on one server out of hundres makes them special… I doubt the vast majority of people on the server even know the name of the first 70.

  6. Krones: I’ve “looked back” at previous MMO’s I’ve played and I find it hard to regret any of them, having made so many friends and created so many fond memories.

    Wolfgangdoom: I’ve already spent time becoming a pro at what I do for a living, so that takes care of my needs. Now I am busy being a pro at what I do for fun, and that takes care of my wants. What else is there? =P

    Heartless: What crash? The day I stop playing WoW will be the day I no longer enjoy playing it. If I am no longer enjoying it, there is no addiction to feed =P

    Winter: What exactly would I have after a lifetime of tennis? Sore knees? I don’t pretend to think that what I did was special to anyone but myself. I set myself a goal (not an easy one) and accomplished it. That’s one thing I see in MMO gaming – as soon as you reach a goal, another presents itself.

  7. Grim…. you’ve gotten worse since we last spoke… hehe. Glad to see you’re still having fun with WoW. And really, that’s what it’s all about… having fun.

    And if you can get ~6hrs/day fun for the price of $15/month… more power to ya. I left WoW just before the expansion, dunno if I’ll be back any time soon but will drop in and say hi if I do.

  8. Hmm, you’re missing what is a major difference between playing tennis and warcraft – in tennis being ‘the best’ is actually meaningfull. Aside from any prizes being associated with tennis competition (and anyone who spent as much time playing tennis as you have on warcraft would stand a decent chance of making something of themselves in any field) it’s about actual ability and skill.
    Apart from the knowledgability, thing there is nothing in warcraft that you can become the best of that isn’t just a case of you being the guy who spent the most time and who was willing to sacrifice the most of your RL for.

    Give me other reasons, that you have fun, that you like the people and I’ll accept them, but any desire to be ‘the best’ at warcraft is like trying to be the best at watching TV.

  9. “actual ability and skill”

    Is there no actual ability involved in playing WoW then?

  10. Hey Frank nice to hear from you!

    Being “the best” at tennis is meaningful…to those who care about tennis.
    It’s all relative if you ask me.

    There is most definately ability and skill in WoW – I see it (and the lack of it) every day.

    I most definately have fun playing and enjoy hanging around the people in my guild, but I guess I thought that would be assumed.

  11. My son hit level 70 in about 8 days. I was out of town working at the time but my daughter said that he wasn’t sleeping a night, getting up for school and then taking a short nap when he got back home.

    When I asked him why on earth would he do that, he gave a similar response – to be the best aka the first in his guild to hit 70 and then attuned for all the instances.

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