Michael B. Duff

Lubbock's answer to a question no one asked

Duff: Podcasters eventually turn away from game and return to real life

Duff: Podcasters eventually turn away from game and return to real life

When does a group of game players become a community? And how do you recover when gaming becomes your life?

This is the story of a community built around the game World of Warcraft, about a group of podcasters who made a guild for their fans, and about how they’ve come full circle.

World of Warcraft is blessed with an unusually active and diverse podcasting community. If you want straight facts with a minimum of fuss, you can visit Starman and Renata at World of Warcast. If you want hardcore PVP and raiding advice (with a permanent Explicit tag) check out Alachia’s WoWcast. And if you’d rather laugh than take notes, check out the loveable lushes at TavernCast.

All of these podcasts are available through iTunes, and their respective home pages can be found by copying the name of the podcast into a Google search.

There are a dozen other great Warcraft podcasts out there, but those were my three favorites. These are the podcasts that convinced me to buy the game and join a guild. The guild was called The Pod People, a giant, friendly group run by and for fans of these podcasts. At its height, it had more than 400 members.

The Pod People were a family guild, in the best sense of that word.

There was no cursing allowed in the guild chat and the age of the members ranged from 12 to 60. The Pod People were proud of their status as a “casual” guild. While some hardcore guilds implement strict attendance and performance standards, The Pod People were strictly there to have fun.

But for all their protests about being casual, The Pod People were an extremely active guild, and together, these podcasters devoted an extraordinary amount of time to their game.

Beyond the normal time sink of the game itself, these folks were managing a guild of hundreds.

Managing a guild may not sound like much to the uninitiated, but imagine trying to organize a church group, a bowling league, a parents’ organization or a small business with 400 people in it. Now imagine the members are in different states, different countries and different time zones, scattered all over the world.

Think on this for a while and you’ll see why young managers want to put guild leadership on their resumes.

For years these folks devoted themselves to Warcraft. Now, in their Oct. 7 podcast, three of the TavernCast regulars reveal that they’ve quit the game.

After spending countless hours praising Warcraft, they spend their latest podcast complaining about it and comparing it to an addictive drug.

They don’t hate the game, and they don’t say they’ll be gone forever, but for now they’ve walked away from it, and we can all learn from their experience.

Check this space next week to hear about one cast member who turned himself into a Warcraft addict, and how he found his way back.

Written by Michael B. Duff

October 19, 2007 at 14:10

Posted in Columns, Games, Warcraft

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