Every week, Matt gets a chance to sit down with a WoW Blogger chosen by his Worg Pup. Find out a little more about your favourite bloggers as he tries to get to know them a little more!
To kick off this weekly feature, Kestrel of Kestrel’s Aerie was awesome enough to set aside some time in his schedule to answer a few questions.
I noticed you have an affinity for birds. Where did it come from?
The answer to this question dovetails (like that?) with the answer to the second. So let me explain…
Several years ago, I read a fantastic Mercedes Lackey series, “Bardic Voices.” Among the titles are The Lark and the Wren and The Robin and the Kestrel. Searching for a new character name when Asheron’s Call II was released (I’d gone by Earendil, from The Silmarillion, for many, many years), “Kestrel” fit perfectly: Back in my role-playing days (Shadows of Yserbius, on the ImagiNation Network, nÃƒÂ© The Sierra Network), I fancied myself a bardic type–never mind that I can’t play the lute or mandolin, nor can I carry a tune. See the next answer for the rest!
What’s the background behind your character’s names? (Kestrel, Osprey, Talonis)
When it came time to name alts (and yes, I’m an altoholic–explains 4, almost 5, level 70s on one server!), I stuck with the birds of prey theme. Currently, my characters include Kestrel, Osprey, Talonis (from Talon, which is always taken as a character name, but is the name of Talonis’ hunter pet), Sparverius (from the Latin for hawk), Owlhawk, Falken (German origin), Falconer, Raptor. Oh…and Earendil is my little-used Dranei Paladin.
What’s a typical day in the life of Kestrel like?
Pretty dull! Weekdays, I get up just before 6:30, get ready for work, eat a bowl of cereal while Auctioneer Advanced is performing my daily scan of the AH. Usually, I have time to do a daily quest, and I also review the Aerie for new comments, as well as check the feed reader and Blog Azeroth very quickly. I’m a human resources manager in a call center, so I generally have time during the day to catch up on blogs (sometimes, even my own if there aren’t too many interruptions).
I go home for lunch each day, so I’ll log into the game, check on auctions, maybe hit another daily. After work, my wife and I generally have dinner fairly soon after I get home (and after I spend a little bit on my bike exerciser; in nicer weather, we go for a walk or bike ride 3 or 4 times a week). We usually watch a travel show or cooking program from the DVR while eating.
Then, it’s up to the computer room and an evening of WoW. I may delay my login if I have an article I want to finish for the blog, and I generally have Google Reader open on my second monitor to peruse on longer gryphon flights.
Most people around your age tend to not care about video games and consider them a waste of time. How did you get into gaming and WoW?
For the uninformed, I’m in my mid-50s. That already may be TMI for some people. *grin*
When I was a young captain in the Air Force in the mid-70s, I was an instructor for Minuteman missile crews. The computer that operated our simulators was a DEC PDP-11 minicomputer. In the observation cab, we had small 11″ monitors, and a couple of the more enterprising technicians had installed a game called “Dungeon” (I think). It was a very simple maze-like layout with typographic characters–letters and symbols–representing characters, monsters (this was before the term “mob” entered the lexicon) and treasure. I was hooked.
This was also about the time I started playing D&D 2ed with co-workers. Then one day, a coworker brought an Atari brochure into the office. Within a year, I was the very proud (and much poorer) owner of an Atari 800–still the most comfortable keyboard I have ever used, including the classic IBM Selectric.
From there, it was an easy evolution to cassette- and 5.25″-floppy disc-based games. A few years later (1986, to be precise) I upgraded to my first IBM-compatible PC (and I splurged on a huge 30MB hard drive!). “Bard’s Tale” and the D&D Gold Box collection, King’s Quest, Ultima IV, and my favorite, the Wizardry series. Time passed, I discovered The Sierra Network and Shadows of Yserbius. Eventually I got involved in Asheron’s Call, a teeny bit of EverQuest, and so on, culminating with World of Warcraft.
Your long lost cousin happens to find your blog and manages to get in touch with you. To your amazement, you find out he works at Blizzard as a lead designer. As a birthday present, he allows you to include another playable race in the game. What would you choose and why?
Oh my… what a great question! There are so many reasonable possibilities. Unfortunately, I’m not a lore master by any stretch–I never played the Warcraft series, or even Diablo. So whatever I say may make zero sense from a lore standpoint. But let me throw out a few ideas, then I’ll settle on my #1 choice. What about Arrakoa? And if you put them on the Alliance side, maybe Ogres on the Horde side? Of course, one could argue for Murlocs on the Horde side, to balance out Gnomes? Or how about an elemental race? Scratch that…no one wants to see eleventy-seven variations on Thing as a character name. But the romantic in me would probably go for High Elves (I completely lost it the first time the High Elf female in Allerian Outpost haughtily informs you she’s NOT a Blood Elf). And how about this: High Elves on both sides of the conflict, Horde and Alliance? If nothing else, the lorefiends would have a field day!
You have your own Guild. Tell us about them and the direction you are steering them.
Originally, the guild was just four of us who left Icecrown and our (large raiding) guild there because we had a lot of problems logging in to the realm. We picked up a few other friends who entered the game, but we have always been rather small and close-knit. Unfortunately, we lost several members a couple months ago who wanted to progress faster than the guild was currently moving. That’s how I inherited the GM mantle. Right now, we’re trying to get everyone (almost everyone in the guild has at least one 70) through the Outland 5-man instances. Several of us just finished off the Gronns this week, so we can start doing Ogri’La dailies, and we want to get everyone else who’d like to, through that. We have a couple druids (my two remaining co-founders) who want to get their epic flight form, so Heroic Sethekk is definitely coming up in the near term. And, I’d like to help everyone get attuned for Karazhan. We may have to pug it or join with another guild to get into Kara itself, but by ourselves, we can at least finish the attunements. And at some point, I expect we’ll have to address the question of whether to expand our membership.
What’s the most important piece of advice you can give to a new and aspiring GM?
Just so you understand, this isn’t my first stint at being a GM. I was a realm GM for a couple years in Shadows of Yserbius (at that time, if not the largest, one of the largest online guilds in the world), and in Asheron’s Call II and Horizons, I was the #2 person in one of the largest guilds in both games (we moved from AC2 to Horizons). So I’m not exactly a rookie.
Thus, the one thing I would tell any GM is, “You can’t do it all.” Don’t even try. Have trusted lieutenants, delegate responsibility AND authority. But don’t forget that YOU are the Guild LEADER. When a tough call has to be made, discipline, or /gkick, then the GM has to be the one to make the call. But being a GM isn’t a power trip: /gquit is even easier to do than /gkick.
Seeing as you are clearly a bird enthusiast, do you have any ethical objections to the use of Gryphons by the Alliance for their day to day purposes?
Another great question. Having done the Hinterlands quests and having become acquainted with some of the Gryphon elders, I think they appreciate the service they do for the Alliance. After all, I’ve never seen a tether on one of them; they can leave any time, or simply drop us in the Twisting Nether if they liked. However, I think we, as riders, should have the opportunity to maybe slip them a tasty treat occasionally. Then, they might be persuaded to take a more direct route once in awhile. After all, have you SEEN the route they fly from Shattrath to, say Area 52??
Tell us more about your blog like the background and history and your future plans and goals for it:
Like so many of us, I caught the blogging bug after reading BigRedKitty in WoW Insider, then checking out his blog. I went from there to several others–Vonya’s Egotistical Priest, since Osprey was in his mid- to late-60s and about to really get into the healing business, as well as Kirk’s Priestly Endeavors.
And as I read their blogrolls, my horizons expanded quickly. The one thing I didn’t see too much of at the time (early August) were blogs by non-raiding types, yet I know that raiders make up a relatively small part of the WoW population. So I thought I could help to fill that void. I’m not sure I’ve met that precise aim, but my readership is growing, so something is working! My biggest problem is finding the time to do all I want to do with the blog: I’d rather play! (But that’s about the only thing I prefer to writing, so I hope I can find more balance between the two going forward).
While I’ve been playing since beta, I really am a pretty casual player, in terms of what content I’ve experienced. But I am getting more experience, and I feel pretty confident in my expertise in some areas. So I expect to post some “how-to” articles in the future. I also want to get back to reviewing UI add-ons. But I’ll still keep the stories, the rants, and the shout-outs to exceptional bloggers in the mix.
Where do you see yourself in 10 months in WoW?
Oh, maybe 1/3 of the way to level 71? But on about 6 characters. *laugh* I hope by the end of this year, I’ll have downed all the bosses in Kara. I’d also like to complete all the Heroic Outland instances. But one thing I’m sure of: I’ll be logging into Wrath of the Lich King on Day 1!
Most cliche’d excuse in the game:
“Sorry…I hit the wrong button.”
Fear. I hate Hate HATE being Feared!
First thing you do in the morning:
Take a shower. THEN I log into WoW.
Blogging is like:
Eating chocolate – all the flavors are good!
I like to play WoW in my:
Sweatpants and quilted flannel shirt.
Most hated zone:
Oh… tough one; I like ’em all. Swamp of Sorrows.
Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rockies, Denver Broncos, or Denver Nuggets?
Avalanche! Take that, Matt! 😉 (Dodgers, Rams, Lakers in case anyone’s curious)
5 things that annoy you in WoW:
1. Trade channel spam (i.e., non-trade chat; it’s the new General channel!)
2. Duels in Iron Forge
3. Roundabout Gryphon rides (fly in a STRAIGHT line, dammit!)
5. The UI–SO hard to simply move or resize elements.
Matt needs to:
Send more people to Kestrel’s Aerie!
Thanks for taking the time to sit down and answer my questions. Shout outs to?
BRK for opening my eyes to blogging, and to the BM spec. Vonya and Kirk for the blogging inspiration and the encouragement to keep growing my Priest. Galadria, Pelides and Mania for the blogging encouragement. Phaelia and Matticus for their friendship through this blogventure. Phaelia and Valenna for kick-starting Blog Azeroth.