Community Spotlight: Stone

wow challenges1. What got you into Warcraft (how you got introduced to the game)?

I went to a friend’s house for a party and we all ended up sleeping over. During the night he showed us this pretty awesome game, which turned out to be Warcraft 2. Eventually everyone passed out due to massive alcohol consumption (not me, as I didn’t drink back then), so I ended up pulling an all-nighter playing Warcraft 2. I immediately bought it the next day. While I wasn’t really a huge fan of War3 compared to War2, it still kept me hooked enough to stay in the loop. When I heard that the “Adventures of Thrall” RPG had been cancelled in favour of an MMORPG, I knew it was going to be pretty good. Everything that Blizzard did had been gold. I was able to snag a copy of WoW during my lunch break the day of it’s release and haven’t really looked back since then. I struggle to imagine how my life would have turned out without WoW; it would have been far, far different.

2. How often do you raid in WoW & what game mechanic do you like the most / least about the game?

I raid regularly with Phalanx of Nod. For me raiding is where you get to participate in the dealing the final blow, bringing down our mightiest of enemies, and then watching the awesome cinematic unfold. It’s easy to pick out my least favourite (this is proper spelling since I’m Canadian, eh) mechanic as it impacts us right now in the Coven fight. RNG is both good and bad. When you’ve done the fight perfectly and then RNG happens causing your team to wipe, that feels really bad. Frustrating. Good Mechanic: as much as I dislike adds in boss fights, I really like how they’ve been utilized to artificially augment boss health pools (similar to shields). Those boss fights sometimes require double (or more!) the boss’ actual health.

3. Other then Blizzard games, what are some of your other hobby’s?

Hockey. I used to coach it, ref it and play as a goaltender. Perhaps I’ve taken one too many pucks to the head. This evolved into hockey simulations; which I’ve written my own using primarily php and mysql, with a little javascript thrown in there. My sim is actually just over fourteen years old; I started programming it in November 2004, just around the same time that WoW came out. Besides that, I’m an avid “astro-nut”. There was a time where I nearly went into astrophysics & quantum mechanics, however, I’ve settled for keeping myself up to date with the latest and greatest papers online. I also really enjoy “podcasting”. As much as I’ve learned a TON from people like Leeta, Pat Krane, Belle and Epic Insanity, I don’t consider myself a “podcaster” as others do. I like talking about WoW; I love to hear about others adventures in the Challenges and I like putting the spotlight on folks that normally wouldn’t get it. I record our show, separate the audio, do a small amount of editing and stick everything up online.

4. WoW Challenges is a very interesting concept, for those of us that may not know what that entails, can you please elaborate?

WoW Challenges is a site that encourages you to put a little challenge in your leveling. There are many challenges available, some more challenging than others, but overall, the core concept of most of these challenges is “Do not die, wear minimal gear, no health potions, no help” among some other rules. The other challenges we have are all derivative of the “Iron Challenge” that most people have heard of from back in Wrath days. There are several challenges we offer, which we track via the Blizzard API: – Iron Challenge: the original leveling challenge. We’ve had to change a few rules to accommodate changes that have happened in WoW, but overall, it’s still very difficult to do. – Blood Thirsty: similar to Iron, just kill your way up to max level. – Pacifist: similar to Iron, but NO KILLING at all. We do account for “proximity kills” but that’s a whole other story! – Tin: Basically an Iron-Lite challenge to get your feet wet and let you plot your course for when you’re ready to take on the Iron Challenge. – Iron Teams: We were able to finally get a Teams challenge going. If anyone on your team dies or breaks a rule, the whole team is done. While not as challenging as going solo, Teams is still a lot of fun and can be difficult.

5. How did you come up with the idea for the WoW Challenges?

This is a long story, but I’ll keep it short. The original website for tracking the Iron Challenge suddenly “went missing” and we discovered that it had gone up for auction. The community that had formed around the site and the challenge had kept things alive and I certainly wasn’t about to let the website fall into the abyss of parked / advertisement domains. We snagged the website from the auction and then had a real good look at what we could do with it. There was already a Pacifist challenge (level to max without killing), so we thought adding an opposing challenge (level to max by pretty much only killing) would be a great thing to add. Instead of putting these up on the original site, we created our own, using the Iron challenge as the central focus and creating new leveling challenges for the future.

6. How often do you play games (not just Warcraft) and what are some of your favorites?

I try to play daily. Playing games keeps my mind fresh so I’m not sitting on the couch all day. I do play other games so I don’t get burned out on WoW (that would make me pretty sad). Lately I’ve been playing PUBG (I hate this game but I love it too), Sims4, Minecraft and Overwatch. It’s really a very cool thing to see Blizzard doing Overwatch League; I try to watch it as much as I can to help contribute to it’s success. I’m going to make a mention for two of my old school favorite games that really got me hooked into PC gaming: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Star Control 2 You can find StarCon2 by googling “The Ur-Quan Masters”. The original programmers released the code to the community to keep it alive. They’re both great games!

7. You have an awesome community around you! What is the best thing about interacting with in the community?

I really enjoy hearing our own community helping each other with leveling tips and dangers to avoid. Overall, this is a personal challenge, so we’re always trying to help others with our knowledge and experience as best we can without breaking any of the rules or doing something that’s against the spirit of the challenge. I personally love hearing folks tell me that without WoW Challenges they would have been un-subbed from WoW. Either due to burn-out or “content lull” (although Legion has been nonstop), I can understand the need to want to stay somewhere familiar but try something different. I’m really happy that we can provide another avenue for folks to continue enjoying WoW.

8. With a new expansion on it’s way, what are you looking forward to most I’m “Battle For Azeroth”?

It’s evident that we’re going to be dealing with the Void, either indirectly or directly, however, I’m really looking forward to seeing what new chapters will be unfolding after nearly 25 years of Warcraft stories have been pretty much wrapped up with the ending cinematic of the Antorus raid. I’m also really looking forward to seeing more really great cut scenes. Legion really knocked my socks off, especially the ending Antorus cinematic. I know that Terran Gregory and crew will wow (pun intended) us even more in BfA.

9. With the return to the factional divide in “Battle For Azeroth”, Horde or Alliance?

I’m pretty much bifactional; over the course of the years I’ve played pretty much equal time between Horde and Alliance. My main is currently Alliance. That being said, I will pick a side. When I first joined WoW, I rolled an Undead Rogue (which I still have her) and then met Lady Sylvanas in Undercity for the first time. FOR THE HORDE!

10. So, the final question, where can people find you on the Internet?

People can find me on the Twitters: @Stonegrasp.

If you are interested in podcasts, I co-host two: WoW Challenges Podcast: –
twitter: @WoWChallenges
twitch: (we record live on Saturday nights at 7pm Eastern).
Adventures in Azeroth Podcast: – 
twitter: @AdvAzeroth
twitch: (we record monthly on Friday nights at 10pm Eastern).