Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces

One shot: Samueltempus

Posted by Randolph Carter on July 16, 2009

MMO community connection:

Slice and Dice

Please take a minute and describe what your blog is about.

Slice and Dice is mainly focused on PVE Roguery and being the leader of a semi-casual raiding guild, though I have been known to branch out occasionally. For instance, when I was testing the Wrath beta, my content shifted to my Paladin, and then back to the Rogue at launch. I have recently looked into PvP related Roguery as well, however PvE is definitely more my niche.

What was your first MMO and what was that experience like?

World of Warcraft is the only MMO that I’ve ever played. Originally, I thought the idea of an MMO was pretty dumb, and that as a console RPG player I’d never play one. Then one fateful day, my brother was visiting the Mrs. and I, and I he was listening into a Vent conversation of a guild Kara run, and I was hooked. I went out and got the game the next day, and I’ve been addicted ever since.

For all it’s flaws, WoW is a well written game, based in a universe that I was already very familiar with. I’ve played every RTS that Blizzard has ever made, and though I’m a huge fan of Starcraft and DIablo, the Warcraft games were always my favorite.

Can you recall that first MMO “Wow!” moment?

When I started playing, other than my brother dropping off 4 Netherweave bags, I was left alone to level, and given little to no instruction as to what to do. A few days after I had started playing I kept hearing about this VC place I was going to be taken to. I had found Ironforge, and Loch Modan, but didn’t know how to get anywhere else.

It’s silly, but my first “Wow!” moment was the Tram ride to Stormwind. I can remember going through the tunnel, and halfway through looking up and seeing into the water, thinking “now that’s pretty cool.” I’ve since been “Wowed” many times over, through triumph, exploration and many times, defeat. That tram ride, and the numerous runs through The Deadmines, I mean VC, was just as epic to me as the first time I stepped into a raid. To this day, I run every guilded Rogue through VC when they “come of age.”

At your peak, how much time per week would you say you spent gaming? How about now?

Too much my wife would say, but at peak times, I’ve put in 60+ hours a week (80+ according to the wife that edited). I can do that without too much of an issue during the summer, as I’m a teacher. During the school year, I game much less.

How exactly did you end up focusing on the rogue class?

My brother used to call a Gnome Rogue his main, and that’s what I decided to level. I’ve been hooked ever since. I like the stealth nature of the rogue class, and the amount of control you have in any given situation. A lot of people think that it’s just faceroll to control a fight, but in fact there’s a lot of thinking involved with picking apart a situation to skew it in your favor. I’ve leveled a lot of alts, and from a control standpoint, the Rogue excels beyond all others.

Have you ever experienced burnout in WoW? If so, how have you dealt with that?

There was a point at the end of TBC that my guild was falling apart, my brother stopped playing and we were just doing what we could to stay afloat. That was the closest I’ve come to completely burning out and quitting WoW. Fortunately, I had some good officers that helped me pull it together, and the fact that my wife was not only playing but enjoying and excelling at the game helped too. She’s since become an Officer herself, and nearly as addicted I (small fib, but mainly true).

Do you tend to supplement your MMO gaming with other PC, console, or tabletop games?

Wow keeps me away from some very good console games. However, when I find the time, My PS3 and Wii get some love too. I’ve gotten away from the RPGs recently and play a variety of other games. Here’s what I’ve most recently played:

PS3:

  • Metal Gear Solid 4
  • Warhawk, Killzone 2
  • Bioshock
  • Resident Evil 4
  • Dead Space
  • NCAA
  • And when I get to it Infamous

Wii:

  • WiiFit
  • Metroid Prime 3
  • Punch Out!!!
  • And plethora of old school stuff for the Virtual Console

I’m also still playing Starcraft and Diablo II getting ready for the next chapter in both series.

When did you first start blogging? Please take us up to present with all of your projects.

Slice and Sice originally started at blogspot.com as a way for me to get information out to my second raid group that was progressing through Karazhan. When the raiding died down and the guild began to crumble, I stopped. Nearing the Wrath Launch, Phaelia (so sad that she’s not blogging anymore), wrote a post about blogging and it rekindled my writing flame.

I setup a WordPress account and got to work. Initially, I did some posts about what was going on in game with me, and talked about my time in beta. Once I started writing more about my class, more people got interested in what I had to say. I’m not the most popular blogger out there but I’ve done what I can to try to help people that are playing the Rogue class, as well as provide some insight into guild leadership.

Do you have a schedule or some sort of routine you try and follow when blogging?

I try to write at least once a week, and when I have the opportunity, as often as I can. As far as a routine, I don’t really have one. Sometimes I’ll write ideas out by hand before I type the posts. It’s amazing what a good fountain pen coupled with a legal pad and some coffee will do. It’s a tad old fashioned, but I feel like I get my best work done that way. Admittedly though, the majority of my posts are written on the spot, and sometimes on a complete whim.

Would you say there is some grind involved in blogging? If so, what is it and how do you cope with it?

I don’t really consider it much of one. Admittedly writing a long post can drag on forever and feel like a grind. However that’s generally preferred over writer’s block, even though it can be annoying in its own right. Honestly, as long as you enjoy writing and you have things to write about, it’s not bad at all.

By contrast, what do you find pleasurable about blogging?

I love comments. I love reading that people have found my posts entertaining, but I’m even happier when they tell me that I was helpful to them. I started writing to help my guild, but more recently have been able to help some of the Rogue community with issues they have. I also enjoy other people replying to comments on my site to help people as well.

Would you care to share a particularly memorable moment from your days of blogging?

One day I got an email from a reader of my blog. He’d stumbled on it while looking for tips on how to level a Rogue, and kept checking on the blog and reading up. It seemed that his current guild had kicked him out becuase he couldn’t make their raids and they had been transitioning to a more hardcore raiding type guild. He had been reading about our guild, Bucklers of Swash, and asked if we were still looking for members.

I told him that we were, but I didn’t want him to transfer servers without getting to know us a little first. He rolled an alt on Mug’thol, and we invited him into our raid to read chat as we were doing some of our first Ulduar progression. Long story short, he decided to transfer over, and now he’s one of our core members. It’s one of the coolest things that has ever happened because of the blog.

Have you ever considered branching into podcasting?

Yes. I have all of the equipment to do a high quality podcast. I really don’t know what I’d ramble about for 15-20 minutes though, or if I could do one often enough to make it worthwhile. When BigRedKitty was doing his podcasts, they were my favorite. I had them on my ipod, and even listened to them in the car. I don’t know that I could put out anything that’s nearly as entertaining.

Are you pleased with where your blog is in the MMO blogosphere?

Yes. Six months ago I was relatively unheard of, and while I’m not pulling in massive numbers every day, I get solid traffic daily. I feel that what I’m doing has meaning, and I enjoy the time I spend writing. I feel like an accepted, respected member of the blogging community, whether people agree with me or not. In fact, some of my favorite commentary on my site is when people disagree with me. It allows me to either refine or review my own opinions. I think I’ve learned more that way than I’ve passed on to others.

If you had a chance to do it all over again, would you do anything different?

I don’t know that there’s a lot that I would have done different. If anything, finding a focus and sticking with it sooner than I did would be the only change I could think of. I’d also get someone to proof my work. Maybe I should get the Mrs. on that from now on.

In the game, I don’t think I’d change a thing. I like what I play, and being a member of the Alliance, even if my battlegroup can’t consistently win certain BG’s, or if the Horde has defended Wintergrasp at least 10 times as many as the Alliance has. I will admit that I prefer the Horde Mtn Dew Game fuel though. It’s significantly more tasty.

What advice would you give someone who wanted to try their hand at blogging?

  • Be original, and be yourself. No one wants to read something that’s been covered 15 times already.
  • Find your niche and stick with it. If you’re all over the place, you have a hard time attracting a reader base.
  • Set aside a time to work on your craft. If you only work on your project when you have the time, it’s much easier to brush it aside.
  • Be patient, and keep at it. It takes a while to get a successful blog up and running.
  • Don’t promise anything. You’d be surprised how often you can’t keep them.

Can you picture a future where you will hang up your keyboard and no longer blog?

I’ve thought about it occasionally, though never seriously. I usually feel this way when I can’t come up with a topic to write about, and then I either get involved in some in-game shenanigans or I get a brief (and fleeting) stroke of genius. I’ll probably play and blog about World of Warcraft until the game dies out. Hopefully, that’s not any time soon. Although, I’ll always be a gamer, so perhaps I’d create a new blog based on what I’m doing post-WoW

You wake up to a world where you are the head of a company developing an MMO. You have unlimited funds and resources available to you. Please describe the kind of game you would make.

I would make a horrible game designer, because I’d create games that are exactly like the ones I play today. Despite my lack of originality in format, there’s a book I’ve been slowly writing over the years (and I mean slowly) that I’d probably base my game on. I think it would make an interesting MMO.

Without getting into too much detail, it’s set in a post-apocalyptic environment about a 1000 years after the downfall of the previous society. The denizens of the world don’t remember much about the society that existed back then, and the protagonist works on unraveling what happened. It would be interesting to see a game based in that world, and what would happen as the players started to reverse-engineer anything they could find of the old civilization. Maybe I should get back to writing that…

Anyway, if I were smart, I’d follow the Blizzard model in creating the game so that while innovative, it would run well on a majority of the current users computers, and run exceptionally well on high end machines.

Alas, I’m not a game designer, and my book is nowhere near done, so for the time being, it’s a moot point. Maybe someday I’ll finish the book, and hopefully still be blogging to get the word out about it. Who knows….

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3 Responses to “One shot: Samueltempus”

  1. pitrelli said

    Nice one Sam :)

    Although Ive stopped playing WoW now, I can say Sams blog is one of the best resources I know for all things Rogue craft. He has some great write ups and interesting spec models to boot. Also for some nice reading keep out his guild stories.

  2. Hamacus said

    Three cheers to Sam! I am a long time WoW friend and in a guild with the writer of the fine blog
    “Forever a Noob”….shhhhh don’t tell him but I check Sam’s site first. Love the insights on the Combat Rouge which I always prefered. Have to say I have branched out to the other two trees and I am growing to love those as well. Keep up the good work!

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