Grinding to Valhalla

Interviewing the gamer with a thousand faces


Posted by Randolph Carter on April 21, 2009

MMO community connection:

A High Latency Life

Chapter1: Introduction

What is your name (your online persona/alter-ego, what have you)?

My Birthname is Christopher Cavelle.  My real life longest standing nickname is River, and most of my toons in the various games follow some sort of naming scheme that has River, or Rivs in it. My current toons are Rivs in WAR, and Rivzok in WoW. Most people just call me Rivs though and that’s just fine.

What is your connection to the gaming/blogging/podcasting community (your chance to plug yourself here)?

I run a website Way of the Chosen.  I also have a personal blog, Chaotic Ramblings.  I use to have a WoW blog but I shut that down.  I just felt like everyone else was doing a better job at saying what I had to say.

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

On my gaming blog it concentrates on the Warhammer Online game, with special focus on Chosen, and that class.

Where were you born? Where did you grow up?

Born and bred in Illinois. I grew up in Tinley Park, Illinois a south burb of Chicago.

Where do you live now? In the Town right next door to Tinley Park, called Orland Park, IL

Your level (age) is somewhere in the range of (pick one): 10-20, 21-30, 31-40, 41-50, 51-60, 61-70, 71-80, 81-90

I’m 36

What do you do for a living?

I’m a Network Administrator

If you could reroll your career, what would you be?


List five random things most people don’t know about you.

  • I really would like to make my own brand of whiskey.
  • Some people just know me as River, they don’t know my real name.
  • I use to bounce at bars for a living, I’m like Patrick Swayze just uglier.
  • I’m the Ice Cream Eating Champion of Tinley Park. I won an eating contest.  I go to defend my title in July.
  • There was a time in my life when I didn’t want anything to do with computers.

Feel free to discuss any family you have here.

I have a small family: mom, dad, one brother, several nieces, and nephews though.  My brother is a busy guy.

Chapter 2: Origins

What kind of games (if any) did you play as a child before you got into video gaming? Did you play with family, friends or was it more of a solo activity?

I remember playing Atari 2600, games like Combat with my brother and Pitfall. Then I moved to the Commodore 64 some of the biggest games I played were the Bards Tale and Gold Box Series.

What other hobbies and/or activities did you have as a child (sports, music, etc)?

Football, Wrestling, Track. I loved GIJOE and Transformers.

Were you ever exposed to pen and paper role playing games? What was that experience like?

Yes I played several D&D, Star Frontiers and Marvel Role Playing to name a few.

Did you read much as a child? If so, what did you like to read (books, comic books, etc?) Please list some favorite authors, titles, etc.

Yes I read religiously, too many titles to list.  JRR Tolkien was the king. RA Salvatore is one of my favs as well.

Would you say that any of these games or books had an effect on your later appreciation of computer gaming and ultimately MMOs? Please explain.

I think a lot of the RA Salvatore books and a lot of games. Also the Bards Tale and Gold Box series, or D&D computer games really influenced me to go into MMOs.

How were you fist introduced to video games? How old were you? What was the platform?

I remember I think I was 7 or 8 when I first saw Pong on the Atari 2600, and I was like Whoa.  The rest is history.

Did you ever play coin-op games at the arcade? What was that experience like?

Dear god yes, I remember just living in the arcade. But some of my fondest memories comes from Street Fighter 2, me and my friends would just go at it all day, and I loved it.

What was the first video game you can remember playing that really made an impression on you? Please explain.

So many for so many reasons. Bards Tale because it was like entering another world where I controlled these people and solved puzzles. Then Street Fighter, because I got to go toe to toe with people, and I am a bit of a competitor.

What gaming consoles have you owned in the past?

Atari 2600, Intellivision, Playstation, Xbox, Dreamcast. Sega Genesis.

Feel free to share a story related to your gaming experience as a child.

I remember ditching school, and playing Combat on my 2600 with my brother for hours.

Chapter 3: Online

Were you ever exposed to MUDs?


What was your first MMO experience?

2002 was the year. I was playing Aliens vs Predator 2 like crazy. I was part of a Clan called Hell’s Elite Legions. They were starting a new chapter for a game called Dark Ages of Camelot. Since I just recently got laid off, I had A LOT of time on my hands, so they needed healers and I decided to start a cleric.

If possible, list all the MMOs you’ve played extensively.

  • Dark Ages of Camelot – Cleric 50
  • World of Warcraft – Mage 80
  • Warhammer Online – Chosen 40.

What is your current MMO of choice, or perhaps, what are your current MMOs of choice?

World of Warcraft and Warhammer Online

Which MMO have you spent the most time playing? How long would you say that has been?

World of Warcraft since beta in 2004.

Have you reached level cap in any MMO? If so, which ones?

Yes DAOC, WoW, and WAR

Loki taps you on the shoulder one day to inform you that you have fallen victim to one of his elaborate pranks. The world you’ve been inhabiting of countless MMOs to choose from and play has merely been a dream. In reality only one MMO exists. After laughing at you for a bit he decides to take pity on you and allows you to choose which MMO will remain. Which one would you choose and why?

Hmmm. Tough question. I would like WAR to stay because I love the Lore, and the RvR aspect of it.

Are there any MMOs currently in development that you are particularly interested in? Please explain.

Star Trek Online – I want to be a Klingon, and Captain a Bird of Prey – KAPLAH!

And Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. – Evil Sith Lord…hello!

Feel free to share an interesting or amusing anecdote related to your MMO gaming experience.

So many, One of my personal favorites was after a raid in World of Warcraft where I was playing my Alliance Mage. Usually Mages open a portal to main city, usually Ironforge. Well players just assume Mages would teleport them where they want to go. So I worked things out with my Mage brethren. We opened our portals all to Darnassus. They all clicked on them. All the mages heard on vent was, “Damn Mages!” It was great…So the lesson here is always look before you click. Heck some of my guildies still look before they click one of my portals.

Chapter 4: Preferences

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

During Peak I would say 40-50 hours a week, usually these days around 20 hours.

When during the week are your regular play times?

Sunday through Wednesday, weekends are hit and miss depending on my social calendar.

Generally speaking, are you more of a social creature in MMOs (grouping to quest, joining guilds, etc.) or something of a lone wolf?

More of a lone wolf, but I have made friends in the MMO community.

Have you made any lasting friendships through your MMO experience? Please explain.

Yes some of my old guildies who have been gaming with me since 2002 are good friends of mine now.

Before logging into a game, do you already have a course of action planned out in your head, or do you just sort of do whatever you feel like once in game?

I would say it’s more of a guideline. Ok I need to run this dungeon, or I need to get some of these type of points, or farm these crafting mats. If something pops up where I’m needed, or sounds like fun. I go.

When playing MMOs do you tend to just play one at a time or do you take more of the smorgasbord approach?

Usually one at a time, but now a days it seems like I’m playing two. So I don’t know how long I can keep that up.

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

Not really, I’m a dabbler in that regards, I may play something else for a little bit to check it out…but it’s always back to MMO’s

Are you something of an altoholic? No not really.

Use to be, unabashedly. Then I had all these mediocre toons running around, when others would have awesome toons. So I decided just to work one toon at a time.

Do you find yourself multitasking while gaming (perhaps watching TV, talking on the phone, out of game instant messaging, playing another game, or even listening to a podcast)?

No I wish I had that kind of brain power. LOL! But I do listen to my mp3 player when grinding.

Do you find yourself having much MMO discussion off-line, perhaps with friends or family?

All the time, I do write a blog ya know. But it’s great when people come up to me and go…”Oh you play that, or this.” Finding out people who are active in MMO’s that you never knew before. It’s exciting.

Have you ever felt that you game too much? If so, how did you cope with that?

Yes I feel I do game too much sometimes, then again I’m a single guy, no kids, a lot of free time. It’s better then being addicted to something else say crack…but crack is probably cheaper. I may have to reconsider….just kidding.

Since you started playing MMOs, have you ever taken a break from the genre? If so, please explain.

No, I love the genre.

2 Responses to “River”

  1. […] River […]

  2. […] I think my addiction in learning about others started with Grinding to Valhalla, a favorite site of mine where the creator Randolph Carter interviewed bloggers and writers. Read a little about yours truly here. […]

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