Interview with Epic Advice

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There’s a new Warcraft side to the community. It’s not really a Wiki. It’s not a directory. It’s not a news site or a blog. It’s nothing like those.

Welcome to Epic Advice! The premise is simple.

You ask questions and you receive answers from other players who might know. It’s entirely peer driven. There isn’t a single “authority” that has all the answers. Everyone pools their knowledge into answering questions. Sometimes it can be much more straightforward than browsing forums or wading through database sites to get a simple answer.

I managed to catch the team behind Epic Advice in a brief email interview to shed further light on their unique project.

So before we get on to talking about Epic Advice, I’m sure the community would love to hear more about you guys. Why don’t you introduce yourselves?

Corey: Introductions always seem so boring.  I’m Corey – I own my own web development company, and do a lot of freelance programming/system administration.

Aaron: My name is Aaron, I work for an international association as their lead web developer developing and managing about 7 websites. I also work with Corey on the side, doing programming and design work.

I’m guessing you guys play WoW as well. What kind of characters do you play and what do you do in game?

Corey: I started playing WoW shortly after the beta, raided molten core with my friends, saw naxx at level 60, wrote the original PallyPower – and find it awesome that they still use my "buff grid", although my code was horrible and the new guy maintains it better. I did it all again towards the end of Burning Crusade. I haven’t been playing during WoTLK, I started my own company and needed all the time I could find. I hope that someday I can make enough money to pay myself to play this game again.   I played many characters, but the best fun I ever had was being a 39 feral tauren druid pvp twink named ‘Cowbellie’. She eventually became quite the DPS cat.

Aaron: Many old school priests probably know me best by my priest, Jesta. I used to write a lot of shadow priest articles, before shadow priests were truly embraced. I am currently one of the GMs of a guild on Lightning’s Blade (US) called Untamed, we’ve cleared everything but Heroic Anub’arak, which were hoping to get this weekend! I also was the author of "VampWatch", which was a popular shadowpriest mod used to track how much mana restoration you were causing (back before Replenishment existed). Currently I am raiding on a DK named Jadra in my guild.

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What exactly is Epic Advice about? It’s slipped under the radar for a while. When did it launch even?

Corey: You cheated – thats two questions.  :)

Epic Advice is about World of Warcraft.  It is a Question and Answer site, a knowledge exchange as it seems to have been dubbed.  We hope to provide the community with a place to help ask and answer questions about World of Warcraft, from the early leveling process, to the cutting edge raiding instances.

It launched about 24 hours before you found us- It seems you’ve scooped everyone on this one.  It hasn’t really been under the radar for long.  We had been talking about the concept of doing a ‘Stack Overflow’ for WoW, have been playing with the idea of writing our own software to handle it.  An opportunity occurred when Stack Exchange hit its beta.  We could launch the site using their engine to see if it was something that the players even want us to work on.

Aaron: Yeah we launched on the night of the 6th, sorta told a few friends who told more friends, and um, this is where we are now. EpicAdvice’s goal is to try to create a centralized location to find answers about the game itself, and hopefully organize it so you can find what you need. The rest of it, corey seems to have summed up perfectly.

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Who came up with the idea and how did the team get formed?

Corey: I can’t remember which of us mentioned it first, but I remember being instantly in love with the idea.  I’d also like to say that the team has not fully formed yet.  We will need more moderators, and hope to find a few good ones during this beta phase.

Aaron: I’ve known Corey for a long time, we’ve been friends for like, 8 years? Over the past year and a half or so, we’ve been doing work together and just advancing ourselves as programmers. We have a lot of pow-wows brainstorming web-application ideas and this happened to be one of them. I have a passion for WoW, just like I have a passion for programming, and this was the perfect project to get involved with to play off both sides of what I enjoy doing.

Where did the inspiration behind the site come from?

Corey: The amount of time we spend on Stack Overflow basically started the concept rolling.

Aaron: Couldn’t of said it better. Also the fact that the WoW forums are so unorganized and hard to find information in, which is the same problem that plagues a lot of programming forums. Since the release of StackOverflow, its been a lot easier to find programming related material. So, we took that concept and decided it would be an amazing fit for WoW.

The WoW forums generally aren’t known to be the best place to go to for help or advice without some guy coming along with a smartass remark. How do you plan to control trolls and the like?

Corey: Well, the cop-out answer is "we don’t".  The idea behind the site is that the community will reward the positive, and punish the negative on its own.  This site isn’t really for me to control, it is for the community to control.  I just want to lay down a few basic rules and let the community decide from there.  You build up reputation by providing good questions, or good answers.  Hopefully the trolls and flames will get ignored or downvoted, while the informative and well-thought gain good reputation.  We are not here to flame, we are here to answer and ask questions.

Aaron: He’s nailed it on the head, its up to the community to "down-vote" those trolls, which will cause them to lose reputation, and in-turn, lose privileges they may have on the site. It self-polices itself pretty well, and we will look hard at the system rules we have in place to see if we could tweak it more to fight the trolls. But for the time being, I think the community will police itself just fine.

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What the current plans for the site? What kind of features can we look forward to in the future?

Corey: Right now – We are in a very early concept beta.  We aren’t sure we are going to stick to the current engine behind the site – there are a few features we want to add that may not be possible within the Stack Exchange system, but we want to start asking/answering questions now to build up a good user base and community.

As far as what kind of features we plan on implementing.  Thats where we want some of your input.   There is already a question on epic advice about just that.  Perhaps you should sign in and post an answer.  We can also be reached via e-mail: team@epicadvice.com

Aaron: We also have some amazing ideas written up in our todo list for new features to implement, its just a matter of time before we can get to them. We both have real jobs, this is just a hobby right now more or less. We want to make it as easy as possible to talk, show, link and organize answers as possible. A rough "item linking" system is already in place (thanks WoWhead!), but we’d also like for people to be able to link characters from the armory, spell ranks, tag a question with a specific "patch version" and so forth.

There are a ton of ideas we have floating around and we will take the best approach possible to try to implement them.

Bonus stuff with Corey:

Favourite drink: Coffee (mountain dew a close second)

Favourite movie: Too many to mention.

If you had a million dollars, the first thing you would do is: Laugh

If you weren’t doing your current job, you would be a: WoW Player

Top 3 sites you frequent the most for fun:

1: Stack Overflow (http://stackoverflow.com/users/91914/gnarf – its my crossword puzzle collection)
2:
XKCD
3: this space intentionally left blank

Your personal hero is: Underdog

Warcraft is like: Crack?

Any shoutouts? They know who they are.

Thanks for your time guys!

So if you have any burning questions or the desire to help, head over to Epic Advice! You may wish to check out the FAQ before doing anything.

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About Matticus

Matticus is the founder of World of Matticus and Plus Heal. Read more of his columns at WoW Insider. League of Legends player. Caffeine enthusiast.