Interview: Claudian

Folks, today I am joined by none other than Claudian, the Game Master Manager here at Feenix.

Today we delve into the deep murky waters of Claudian’s mind and discover what lurks beneath…

Brace yourselves, the longest interview ever is coming.

Clodagh: How did you get involved in the Feenix project?

Claudian: I began playing on Warsong in June 2010, on my warrior who I still actively play to this day. In early July, when I was very much in love with the server, it’s community and the project as a whole, I sent a private email to Feenixes offering my help as a GM, because I not only wanted to continue playing, I also wanted to help other players and ensure that the server continued to grow. However, prior to that I had never been a GM on anyone elses server before, and never on any server as large as Warsong (which was the only server at the time). I had made a few local servers to test some commands, turning myself into a murloc and dancing in front of Thrall, whilst the Ragnaros I spawned was taking care of the guards outside, but I digress.

Later in July I got a reply and to my surprise, Feenixes had offered me an interview, which I happily accepted. I spent a couple of hours talking to her and then she offered me a spot on the GM team. I quickly rose through the ranks, becoming a senior game master in a fairly short amount of time… GMs came and went, but I stayed, happily helping people in my spare time while still enjoying battlegrounds and raiding on my warrior as a part of the community.

Now, it’s unfortunate, but every happy story has to have a sad twist, and mine is no different. In January 2011 I moved in with my father to take care of him full time, as he was suffering terminal, untreatable cancer. At the time I had been promoted to management level within Feenix and was the most senior game master. I continued doing my duties within Feenix for a few months until mid July, at which point I discussed the situation with Feenixes and decided it was best if I leave in order to take care of my father full time. He passed away August 24th 2011.

Fast forward to November 2011 and I had began playing on my warrior again. I had still been in touch with Feenixes over the time I was no longer part of the staff team. We spoke on a fairly regular basis and we had begun talking about my return to the staff team. In January 2012 I returned to the staff team, where I took up the role of “Game Master Manager”, and as they say, the rest is history.

Clodagh: Tell me a bit about your WoW History

Claudian: I didn’t always have an interest in WoW. In fact, at first I hated it. I thought the idea of a subscription was terrible and I thought it would never catch on so it wasn’t worth my time or money… Oh, naive young Claudian. I got my first experience with MMOs in a game called Silkroad Online, which I played for several years. I believe it was in early 2007 I began playing World of Warcraft, but was a complete noob at the game, as it was nothing like the game I was used to.

I have a couple of screenshots actually, from the very first time I played WoW. The first is of my friend being completely in awe of a boar, and the second is me trying to tell him how to use spells (He’s a warrior /facepalm). I edited my name out as it’s the same as my warrior on Warsong..

As you can see, I wasn’t the greatest player… Anyway, I then played on and off until late TBC when I stopped playing Silkroad Online and picked up WoW as the game I wanted to dedicate most of my time to. I continued playing until late Wrath of the Lich King, raiding in the realm #1 guild (Live to Tell, Terenas EU) on my druid and paladin, I then moved onto Feenix and never really looked back. I tried Cataclysm for a couple of months and got 2 characters to 85 but I wasn’t impressed and didn’t enjoy the game like I used to.

Clodagh: What is your role exactly and what kinds of things do you do on a day-to-day basis?

Claudian: My day generally begins around 7am, when my puppy jumps on my head to wake me up. I then turn on the TV to watch some news and get out my laptop to start work.

I would then check our staff chat for any messages that may be important for the upcoming day and act on those if necessary by informing GMs of any issues or important information that was sent to me overnight, as well as checking with the other management staff for important information. I’ll then normally head on over to the forum and check the staff sections for anything that may be relevant to my work, and if all is well, I’ll get out of bed and head on into the kitchen to make breakfast. Much like Sideways, my day would be ruined if I didn’t eat breakfast, and I never skip it.

Once breakfast is done I take my dog for a walk and we usually stay out for an hour or more, then when I get back home I attend any meetings that have been arranged. After that my day isn’t set into a routine. I do what is needed and when. I review all GM applications and forward any tester or developer applications to the correct people so that they can review them. After that I will log into the game and check all servers for ticket counts (and shout at GMs if there is a large backlog 😛 ), then I review and respond to any outstanding ban appeals.

The rest of the day I will spend talking to our game masters, answering any questions or concerns they may have and discussing staff related matters with them, but I won’t bore you with the details of that.

In the evening I spend my time arranging interviews, speaking with applicants and generally getting to know them better before I carry out the interview, which is normally a day after the initial conversation, or at whatever time is suitable for them. In addition to that, I also spend some time checking the GM assignments, making sure that we have a balanced number of staff on each server, making sure that the forum is moderated well and doing any prep work that may be required for the next day.

Then I head to be around 1am, and that is generally a normal day for me.

Clodagh: What do you love and what do you hate about your role?

Claudian: The first part is an easy one – I love that I am helping people every day, and not just one or two, but thousands. It’s very pleasing to know that the work I put into recruiting and training new GMs will directly help the members of our community and it is partially due to the work that our game masters do, and the time they dedicate to our project that makes us the largest and most progressed 1.12.1 and 2.4.3 projects in existence.

The aspect of my job that I hate isn’t as simple. Part of my job involves handling ban appeals, and it’s always disheartening for me to have to deny an appeal. Regardless of the reason, it’s never a good thing to have to say no to someone who has made an appeal, when they’re simply looking for help. Obviously there are the few people that arguably deserve to be removed from our servers and it’s less upsetting to deny those appeals, but the majority of people who post appeals have simply made a bad decision, regret their actions and want to be forgiven, and it’s my job to review their appeal and either reduce their suspension, unlock their account, or in many cases, just tell them no, and that’s not something I enjoy doing.

But if I had to chose the absolute worst part of my job, the part that I hate, would be seeing a small minority of our playerbase disrespecting our game masters, and not appreciating the work they do. For example a short while ago a player wanted a refund for an item in game but was told no because he didn’t have any proof that he had the item and therefore didn’t meet the criteria for a refund. He gave the GM who answered the ticket a real hard time, to a point where the GM came to me and was clearly very upset about the situation and actually left the staff team shortly after, just because of this one individual who thought he was entitled to something that goes against our policies. Perhaps what people don’t understand, is that our game masters are volunteers who spend their free time moderating the chat channels, the forum and answering tickets in order to help the thousands of players we see every day and they do not deserve to be treated in such a way. It is not just depressing to see them treated with such disrespect, but also rather upsetting for me and the rest of the administration team.

Clodagh: What’s the craziest ticket you’ve ever received?

Claudian: There have been quite a few odd ones over the years. I actually dealt with one recently where the guy was claiming to be Jay Wilson (Game Director @ Blizzard), who said he would shut our server down unless we provided him with a level 60 account, an Ashbringer and full tier 3. Of course there have been others, such as…

….and we’ve even had people open tickets about hostage situations!

Clodagh: What’s the strangest problem you’ve ever had to deal with?

Claudian: Strangest problem was probably when two people were disputing ownership of an account. They both knew the information for it and both claimed to have made it, so I didn’t know who to give access to, so I banned the account until they could decide who the rightful owner was. A week later they both contacted me and said they agreed to share it (Which I’m sure you know, is not something we support). I unbanned the account and left them to it. Shortly after one of them contacted me saying that the other had deleted all of the gear from the character and stolen the gold and other BoE items. And that’s exactly the reason why we don’t support account sharing.

Claudian: Have you ever caught people ERPing?

Claudian: Haha, not personally no. Nor would I like to. A former GM did once though, and I believe he is still having nightmares to this day.

Clodagh: What’s your favourite GM form (do I even need to ask?) ?

Claudian: Pretty sure you already know the answer to this one – Murlocs! Murky and Lurky to be more specific. My love of murlocs is fairly well known, and it isn’t restricted to feenix either. I have a large murloc poster above my desk, and a few years ago I spent $400 on the Murky pet for my retail account. I was even thinking of getting a Murky tattoo but decided against it.

Clodagh: Who’s your favourite staff member? (if you had to choose)

Claudian: Favourite staff member… Hmm. That’s a hard question to answer. If I had to chose my overall favourite it would be Feenixes. She gave me a chance to become a GM and has been very supportive of me over the past 2 years. She’s more of a friend than a colleague now. If I had to chose my favourite GM then that would be even harder. That would be like asking a father who their favourite child is, and although he may have a favourite, he never lets the children know. 😉

Quickfire Round

Clodagh: From where do you hail?

Claudian: I live in a small village in England.

Clodagh: What was your favourite subject at high school?

Claudian: I’ve always loved cooking and computers, so it would come down to I.T or Food Technology… Probably I.T.

Clodagh: foood mmm. Can you cook?

Claudian: I can! And not just toast, either!

Clodagh: Vicious lies. What’s your favourite food?

Claudian: Lasagna. You can put pretty much anything in it and it still tastes great.

Clodagh: (This question’s from Kira) Can you swim, and if so do you like any water-related sports?

Claudian: I can swim and I did quite a lot when I was in school, but I don’t now mainly due to being lazy, and I don’t really like any sport. I watch football occasionally but that’s about it.

Clodagh: But you’re English – that means that you have to support a soccer team?

Claudian: Football 😛 , and yeah, Liverpool. Only because my mother does though and she kind of forced me and my sister into supporting them.

Clodagh: Hey in Ireland, we have a different meaning of “football” – it’s still soccer… Have you ever broken a bone?

Claudian: Luckily no, but I dislocated my shoulder when I was younger.

Clodagh: Ouch, how’d you manage that?

Claudian: Well I enjoy cycling and I did it a lot more when I was younger. One day my wheel had a fight with a rock and lost – I went over the handlebars and dislocated my shoulder when it slammed into a different rock. It was incredibly painful and I had to push my bike home, which was 2 miles away.

Clodagh: Jesus, that sounds nasty :S

Claudian: It was!

Clodagh: We all know about Murky, but do you have any pets irl?

Claudian: Yes, I have a Jack Russell puppy named Lucy. She’s just over 7 months old.

Clodagh: You’re out walking and you find a lost and abandoned kitten with a broken paw. What do you do?

Claudian: I’d take it to the nearest vet or animal shelter, even if that meant walking miles. I know some people would leave it to suffer, but I couldn’t do that.

Clodagh: You have a bit of a soft spot for animals then?

Claudian: Yeah, I’m a big animal lover. I’ve had pets since I was very young and wanted to be a vet at one point in my life.

Clodagh: What’s the last book you read?

Claudian: I used to read a lot but I don’t have time any more, so the last book I read was in school, and was probably Of Mice and Men as that is the only one I can remember off the top of my head.

Clodagh: What was the last film you watched?

Claudian: The Dark Knight Rises, which is fantastic.

Clodagh: What other hobbies do you enjoy, aside from gaming?

Claudian: I’m a fairly typical geek. When I’m not gaming or working I am normally doing other things on the computer. I enjoy watching documentaries on You Tube or on TV and I enjoy learning about things, even if it’s about psycho murderers, or seeing how laptop screens are made. When I do manage to get out of the house, I like to keep fit and do quite a lot of walking and running. It’s good to get away some times and clear my head and is a good way to spend time with Lucy so she gets something out of it too.

Clodagh: Tell me then, what is something you’ve learned in the last week?

Claudian: I watched a documentary last night about a man who poisoned his neighbours by lacing their coke bottles with thallium. I learned that different compounds of thallium can turn coke a much lighter colour, so he had to use a very specific compound. It was far more interesting the way they told it on TV, haha.

Clodagh: Remind me not to go for a drink with you!

Claudian: Oh don’t worry. The worst you’d get with me is a little flunitrazepam 😛

Clodagh: googles :O If you could have only one superpower, what would it be?

Claudian: It has to be invisibility. Anyone who says different just hasn’t put enough thought into it!

Clodagh: What would you do with your superpower, aside from the usual stuff like going into girls locker rooms?

Claudian: Oh, I’d have much grander plans. Just think of the possibilities! You could walk into a bank and walk out a millionaire, walk into a supermarket and walk out with enough food for a year, you could avoid those awkward conversations with ex girlfriends (or boyfriends!) or friends that you haven’t seen for years, you could stroll into a brewery, get more drunk than you ever have before, then walk out and nobody would know a thing. Invisibility is the best super power!

Clodagh: Yeah that sounds like fun, although I’m still reverting back to the locker rooms. You totally couldn’t avoid that.

Claudian: Maybe, but who would know 😀

Clodagh: Famous person you’d most like to spend an evening with?

Claudian: Oh, that’s a tough question. There are quite a few names but I’d be afraid of meeting them and then end the night hating them. If I had to chose it would be Nathan Fillion as he’s a brilliant actor and stars in one of my favourite TV shows.

Clodagh: Blondes or brunettes?

Claudian: Are redheads not an option?

Clodagh: Of course not, that’s just silly.

Claudian: Oh, in that case, brunettes.

Clodagh: Which famous lady would you most like to go on a date with then?

Claudian: Ideally Stana Katic, but if she was unavailable, I guess Mila Kunis would be good too!

Clodagh: Where would you bring her?

Claudian: I’d let her decide. If it was just up to me, I’d take her to a nice restaurant, but the evening wouldn’t just be about me.

Clodagh: The best part of waking up is?

Claudian: Breakfast!

Clodagh: and what did you have for breakfast this morning?

Claudian: I was pretty lazy this morning, so I had cold fried chicken left over from last night with buttered toast, coffee and fresh pink grapefruit juice.

Clodagh: That’s as weird as Sideways breakfast man – what is it with you Feenix staff’s eating habits?!

Claudian: It’s in our job description! In fact, I have it on good authority that Athairne consumes people’s hopes and dreams for breakfast!

Clodagh: If you knew the world was ending in 2012, what would you do differently?

Claudian: I’d stop exercising. Why waste the effort? I’d also start eating anything I felt like. Ice cream for breakfast, breakfast for dinner. I’d maybe take up smoking just to try it, as I never have before, and I’d make more of an effort to get out of the house and spend time with friends and family, though I wouldn’t stop working as I enjoy what I do a lot.

Clodagh: That sounds like what I’d do – but I’d replace ice cream with bacon.

Claudian: Why not have both?

Clodagh: Oh god, you’re a genius as well. Claudian, thank you so much for taking the time out to chat to me today. Have you any last words for my readers?

Claudian: I just want to thank the community for being awesome, for supporting the project and for helping make us the best 1.12.1 and 2.4.3 servers in existence. We wouldn’t be here without you guys, so thank you for that.