The Ladies of World of Warcraft
A few years ago, the more prominent World of Warcraft content creators were males (with a few exceptions). Today, there are quite a few ladies who have gotten some attention for their creations dedicated to World of Warcraft. I had a chance to sit down at a virtual round table with Raven Sylphe, Sharm, Rawrbug, Cryssy and Letomi and talk to these “Ladies of WoW”.
Candace: There are so many other games out there to work on. Granted, WoW is one of the most popular games but why did you say “I am going to do something with World of Warcraft”?
Raven: I think the fact that there were already so many tools available when I started is my biggest reason. I had actually wanted to make Halo machinima for a few years before I discovered WoW machinima. However, it’s really expensive to make Halo machinima, plus I never knew enough people to really make it work. But I messed around with WoW machinima for about a year, before I finally decided to actually start making videos. I also grew a passion for WoW during the time so it just felt right.
Rawrbug: WoW has introduced me to great people. Not only have I made amazing friends, I have opened doors of opportunity and worked with some very popular people in the community. In the game aspect itself, WoW is just a really well built game. It has great mechanics and it’s based on some really intricate lore that most people would find really interesting if they took the time to learn about it.
Sharm: It wasn’t ever really a thought-out or planned decision to start doing WoW songs – I just made up The Trade Channel song one day and found it enjoyable, so I started to make more.
Letomi: I wanted to make music about something I enjoyed and knew a lot about. As much fun as Halo, or even Starcraft, is to play, there isn’t nearly as much material to work with. I mean, Halo songs would consist of, “oooh baby, another head shot, I’m so pro” and Starcraft would be, “I know the build order, I can see your invisible units, neener neener neener.” With WoW, there’s so much to work with. Talent trees, raids, pvp, gear, gems, enchants, etc.
Cryssy: Up until I started parody songs, World of Warcraft was one of the only games I played heavily besides DDR. World of Warcraft is probably one of the easiest games to apply these kinds of artistic methods to. It’s got a lot of content, a forever-going story line and almost everything in it is easy to elaborate on or make fun of. The fundamental part of parody writing, or writing in general is just about finding a topic you are passionate about and letting your mind go to work. Anything in WoW is feasible to write about, it’s just how you write it and how well it turns out.
Candace:How long have you been playing WoW? Do you have any level 80s? What is your “main” class?
Raven: I have been playing WoW for about three or four years now. At the moment, my ‘main’ class is a hunter, but I plan on switching for a worgen druid when Cata is released.
Rawrbug: I have played for 3 years. I have 3 80s; Shaman, Priest, and Hunter. My main is Priest.
Sharm: I’ve been playing WoW since Vanilla. I currently have an 80 warlock which is my main, an 80 holy priest which is my main alt, an 80 hunter, an 80 tank druid and an 80 mage. I think I need to get out more.
Candace: Yes, more Priests! One of my two mains is a Priest. Great class to play.
Letomi: I’ve been playing WoW for a little over a year, so I still consider myself a newbie. I have 2 level 80s, one DK and one Shaman. I really love my shammy though, she’s my best geared and such. I’m the stereotypical girl gamer; I play a healer. I’m working on tanking and dpsing, but I’m really proud of my healing.
Cryssy: I have been playing WoW for 3 years. I started in 2007 when BC came out, and only had one character – my restoration Druid. At the current moment in time I have 10 level 80′s (2 are Rogues) and a level 70 Hunter. I also have a 60 Warlock and 45 Priest on different servers. My main classes are my Holy Paladin, Discipline Priest and Balance Druid.
Candace: Did the class you play as your main have any impact on what you write, sing or blog/vlog about?
Raven: No, not really. When I first started, my main was a Blood Elf death knight (as seen in some of my earlier videos), but for the last year my main has been a Draenei hunter. I don’t really think either has affected any of my machinima, or my ideas behind my machinima.
Rawrbug: Yes and no. Yes, because since I’ve started to main my priest, WoW has been really fun for me and I got back into my “healing roots” from previous MMOs which inspired me to start making YouTube videos. No, because I have rarely vlogged about Priest as a main focus.
Sharm: Not really, it was more about my experiences in WoW. It’s fun to write about humourous things that other people may be able to relate with.
Letomi: In my case, not particularly. I chose my DK as my YouTube avatar and name, and my first Ode To -Class- song was to my DK. I did end up writing a little love song to my Shammy later. But the reason I chose my DK over my Shaman is actually related to my music. Aside from being prettier with a better name (at the time I started making music, my Shaman was a troll by the name of Cpnplanet. Moon Guard made me change her name though), my DK is very much a dps character and… let’s face it, most WoW players are in a dps class. They’ll be able to relate to my music better, and the tanks and healers can look on and laugh.
Cryssy: For the song WarLock, it definitely did. As soon as my Warlock hit level 80 I was so passionate about gearing her out and playing her as my main. I actually initially applied to Scripted Encounter as a warlock, did half of my trial as a lock and then switched over to my holy Paladin since it was a guaranteed spot. For my vLogs, generally it’s what people ask of me – I definitely enjoy being able to keep my viewers happy. When I write songs and sing them, it usually happens like this – 1. Turn on iPod, 2. Listen to music, 3. “Hey, that’d make a fun song.” (Example: “Ass Cheeks on My White Tee” converted to “Epics on my Eighty”). This is usually how most songs go, if there is a specific song I want to parody and it’s a difficult song (like “Sleazy” by Ke$ha) then it takes a bit more time to come up with an idea.
Sharm: I chose to sing about WoW because I hope that I can make people laugh when they hear the lyrics, and that they can perhaps relate to a similar situation that has happened to themselves during their time in the game. There’s so many different emotions that can be experienced during gameplay; frustration, bewilderment, hearty laughs and devastating moments. I like to draw on the humour of all of these through the medium of music.
Letomi: Parodies are a pretty easy bridge into music. I love making music, and parodies are great for getting your name and voice out there- they’re relatable, funny, and fun. Straight up making WoW music takes time. You have to make lyrics, music, and get people to listen
Cryssy: I actually create machinima. For my two recent songs “Epic” and “Operation Gnomeregan”, I did the machinima. What made me decide to do parodies for WoW was my undying love for music and singing. I can literally lean on the back of the piano and listen to someone play for hours while balling my eyes out because it sounds so beautiful. The person who initially got me inspired to sing parodies was Sharm. (laughs)
Candace: Are you three trying to promote your singing this way? Is there something else you are doing with singing or is this just for fun?
Sharm: I’ve always sung on a serious level since the age of 14. WoW was the perfect catalyst for me to recognise that I would like to share my voice with others. I’ve never set myself up for anything more than having a good time with my music. That’s the main thing for me and if anything more were to come my way in terms of a contract I would have to seriously consider whether my passion would be in danger of becoming more like ‘work’. I have to remember that the vast majority of my viewers on Youtube subscribed to me for my WoW parodies, and if I were to change that genre there would be no guarantee’s that I would maintain such a wonderful following.
Letomi: I’m not really trying to promote myself this way but rather have a lot of fun and learn about making and mixing music. My dream job is to be an audio engineer in a successful recording studio. I don’t have much equipment at home, but I have a microphone and a mixing program on my computer so I do all my own mixing and I hope for critique on my videos. I do listen when people tell me that the vocals are mixed too low or too high, or if the sound quality seems bad. These are always things I look into, even if it was a stylistic choice, and my goal is to improve.
Cryssy: I think that it’s safe to say yes, I am promoting my singing. I personally think it’s great so many lovely individuals are in this community, and they’re all very talented. Everyone creates the content so that they can gain recognition for it, and gain a fan base. I personally would like singing to be apart of my career in the future since it’s such a large part of my life.
Candace: Some of you “cross over” into other forms of content creation like vlogging. Both Rawrbug and Cryssy have vlogs on channels on YouTube. Why did you choose to blog on video instead of writing?
Rawrbug: I’ve been told I write well; however, I much prefer to vocalize and vlog. I am a huge “hand user,” meaning I move my hands around a lot when I talk. To me, body language and tone of voice help engage your viewer much more than just reading.
Cryssy: I chose to blog on video to get over my stage fright. I am personally a very shy individual, and I only have the ability to mutter a few words infront of an audience comfortably – let alone belt out Ave Maria in G Major. I think stepping out of my comfort zone into things like vlogging has significantly improved my self esteem and social skills, and has brought me one step closer to being a confident performer.
Candace: Rawrbug, your vlog channel is getting fairly popular. Are you planning on making something out of this like trying to host a show or maybe creating an internet video show like the shows on Revision 3?
Rawrbug: Oh man, great question! I would love to host a show. It’s just as much of a dream as being a voice actress. Lately, Machinima has been my “dream” place to host/co-host, but I’d also fall head over heels for a chance to host on G4 or another gaming show, rather it is online or on tv.
Candace: Raven, I’ve talked to you before and your story on how you create machinima and the support of your family is awesome. Would you share that with us?
Raven: Well I first discovered WoW machinima when I found Oxhorn’s video, “Roflmao,” and then I found Nyhm, Gigi, Red Eye, Zharkan, and so many others. I personally saw another art form, another medium to create with, so I just went with it. I downloaded trial after trial of sony vegas and WoW model viewer and started creating. It wasn’t until a year later that I actually released my first video, the very popular “Ninja Raiders.” I feel that this video was definitely the one that got my ‘career’ going.
And yes, my family has been awesome with their support. My mom’s side is very artistic, my mom and all of her sisters, sister-in-law, and brothers-in-law do art in some form, from painting, to drawing, to writing, to wood furniture, and even bead work. They are very accepting of all art forms, and they saw it as art just as I did. My dad’s family, however, isn’t very artistic, I’m the only one on that side that is an artist. But my family has been great, my mom and dad have been my greatest support, and they’re really proud of what I’ve done. After “Ninja Raiders” became so popular, my dad sent the link to everyone he knew, family, coworkers, friends, he was so proud of what I did. I love my family, without them I wouldn’t have been able to do any of this.
Candace: Obviously, you like the arts a lot and this is a medium for you. What made you say “this is my medium for now” and not choose another medium to create with?
Raven: Art is my life’s passion. Without it in some form, I would go insane. Even though I am doing WoW machinima, I am still playing with other mediums. I still paint. I still draw. I still write. Machinima is just another outlet for those crazy churning urges to create. Though right now, it is my biggest passion. It’s so very open and quite a bit different than just painting or drawing. I’m working with 3d models in a 3d world that is just so massive you can do anything with it.
Candace: How has World of Warcraft impacted all of you or driven you to keep creating what you create?
Raven: I have always been a huge fan of fantasy worlds, in books, movies, and now video games. Sword and sorcery worlds have always been my favorite. And WoW is exactly that. It’s also got a great story, great lore, wonderful characters, and gorgeous settings. It just gets my mind flowing with ideas, ever since I started playing. I could easily say that I do this because others do, but that’s definitely not the whole reason. I love the community, but I love the world even more. And having the ability to create with it, is amazing.
Rawrbug: Like I previously stated, WoW has opened a lot of doors for me and lead me in a great direction. As the game unfolds and the content develops, I get more and more ideas for how to keep my viewers engaged, and to share a viewpoint they might not normally see.
Sharm: WoW is something that I will always play so I’m constantly running into ideas for new songs. As long as I play WoW, the songs’ll keep on coming!
Letomi: I’ve actually found this community to be very open and supportive. If you create a good impression on others and give everyone your best, you’ll find that you’ve made some great friends who want to involve you and help you become better.
Cryssy: World of Warcraft has played less and less of a part in my drive to create what I create. I generally only log on for song ideas, to record in game footage, or to get knowledge for my vLogs. I’ve become extremely busy with work, school and other things and haven’t had the time to play. Cataclysm was very inspirational video creation wise though, as it provided new and more beautiful sceneries to utilise that haven’t been previously used in machinima.
Candace: Have you ever gotten any jokes or insults based on what you do and your gender?
Raven: I have gotten quite a few comments about being a female who play WoW, not so much on my machinima, but on the fact that I play the game. I’ve gotten quite a few comments stating things like “women who play WoW are attention whores.” None of that is true.
Most of the girls I’ve met who do WoW machinima or just play the game are beautiful women who do it for the fun and to be part of a great community, or are like me, and like to be able to express their artistic love and talent with others who do the same. Yes, there are some that do it just for the attention, but not all are like that.
Rawrbug: I could spend an hour on this. To keep it short, yes, many times. I still do. Comments on my youtube channel prove this over and over. My outlook on it is simple, though; for there to be light, there must be darkness for it to shine through.
Sharm: When people troll about my being a female, their intelligence never seems to span beyond the kitchen, boobs or sammich jokes. Well at least I know how to make a sammich in a kitchen and I get to look at my boobs everyday.
Candace: I think Sharm just won the internet.
Letomi: A couple times, but I respond to both with a joke myself. I got a comment on Like the A6 that read, “THIS IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST SHIT IVE EVER HEARD U SHOULD BE SMACKED”. I could’ve deleted it, true, but it’s still up with my response, “Ugh, finally. I was wondering when you’d show up. Did you know I’ve waited over 100 comments for you to get here?Yeah. So unprofessional. Everyone gets a caps lock, poor spelling comment in the first 50, what took you so long? And God, would it kill you to hit the dislike button? I know, I shouldn’t, but I do keep track of that number and I know you didn’t push it.” I also like to troll Trade in WoW with a good, ol’ fashioned “Please, girls don’t play WoW”, wait for some girls to show up and say “I’m a girl and I play WoW” or “I play WoW and I have a vagina”, to wish I respond, “Sorry, typo, I meant to write ‘Girls don’t play WoW well’.” I guess, the responses I usually get to that comment have pretty much desensitized me to hateful responses.
Candace: Since I play on the same server as you, I can agree first hand with your epic trolling of the Trade channel. It’s always hilarious to watch you do that. (laughing)
Cryssy: I think this is pretty agreeable among all female WoW content producers. Yes, we get hate being of what we do and because we are female. Eventually you learn to deal with it and ignore the hateful comments, sometimes you even learn to laugh at them.
Candace: I know each of you get quite a bit of attention from rabid fans on Facebook to crazies on YouTube comments. How do you deal with that?
Raven: Well trolls I have had plenty of, and they are easily dealt with. The block button is my best friend. But rabid fans, not so much. I guess I’m not famous enough yet.
Rawrbug: From “your vids suck, get off the internet,” “you’re so ugly and fat,” to “I WANNA BANG YOU,” I’ve seen it all. If they catch me in the wrong mood, I typically flip the b*%&$ switch on. Other times, I try to see where they are coming from, respond politely, and they tend to take a 180. I actually have a vlog coming up on this.
Sharm: I never expected to receive the amount of attention I do! It’s sometimes very overwhelming but always sweet to receive fanmail and in-game whispers. People take the time to write very kind and constructive comments to me everyday on Youtube and Facebook – so it would be unfair for me to ignore anyone who comes to my server to say ‘hello’ or write me lovely messages!
Letomi: I actually had a fan on facebook ask me, if I broke up with my current boyfriend, if I would consider dating him. Creepy. I think I was pretty clear when I told him I didn’t consider dating people from the internet as a personal policy and that I was completely devoted to my boyfriend. Mostly, I try to let these guys know that I’m out there to make music, not to meet guys.
Cryssy: I don’t really have rabid fans, and if I did I’d welcome them with open arms. I try my best to stay in contact with each and every one of them, and treat them as a friend. I believe that a strong relationship between your fans is every bit as important as the quality of the media you put out.
Candace: What are you working on for the near future since the new expansion is about ready to come out? Any hints?
Raven: Well with the new expansion coming out, and having gotten the chance to actually look at some of the new areas, I am definetly going to steam ahead on writing the script for my machinima series, The Silverborn: Fall of the Order. I’ve talked about it a bit on youtube and twitter, though not told too much except to close friends and family. When I get working on the machinima part itself, each episode is going to be posted on Machinima Realm’s youtube channel.
I also have a few collaborations I’m working on right now, music videos for parodies and a cover song. Those should be out soon.
Rawrbug: I have a lot planned out. I have a lore video for Machinima Realm on Deathwing coming up this next week, some hunter videos, some landscape viewing, and much, much more. Throughout December my channel will be very, very active.
Sharm: I have a list of all the projects I’m working on at the moment (I have to write them down because I have a similar memory to Dory from “Finding Nemo”). I can’t really say too much about any of them because they’re group projects and I don’t want to let the cat out of the bag – but there are about 5 new projects coming out hopefully before Christmas!
Letomi: Lots more music in the works. The all girls parody is almost done, and 3 more parodies are in the works. I’m really excited. Then, probably, a break while I get my 80s to 85 and level myself a troll druid.
Cryssy: I’m in the writing stages of a secret parody… that’s all I’ll say other than it’s going to be epic!
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