Behind every successful star stands a savvy, creative, inspired producer. In the case of TV and video game producer Jace Hall (The Jace Hall Show), that producer is Todd Roy. Todd pretty much epitomizes today's casual yet completely gung-ho WoW player -- only he does it from a perspective that includes rubbing elbows with some of the most well known figures in gaming and geekdom today. We talked to Todd about finding time for WoW while working a Hollywood-paced schedule, cracking up over Stan Lee's infectious laugh and whether or not Olivia Munn really is that hot in person ... All after the break.
Guild <Black Brigade>
Realm US Uldum-H
15 Minutes of Fame: Jace tells us you're a "HUGE" WoW player. What's your in-game flavor -- raiding, casual leveling, altaholic, PvP, Arena gladiator, RPer ...?
Todd Roy: I've been playing for over five years now. When I first started, I had no idea what an MMORPG was. I remember when I hit level 5 and left Death Knell to go to Brill, I thought, "This game is huge." When I found Undercity, my mind was blown. And when I randomly hopped on the zeppelins to Org ... I was hooked.
That first month of discovery was one of the best gaming experiences I've ever had. When I think back to those early levels when no one had a clue, I get a kick out it. We would form groups to go into instances, but no one thought about group composition: it might be me, a rogue and three mages ... and I would just spam fear! God, it was awesome. But eventually, we people started getting a clue, and progression was made. But those early days ... fun stuff, long before terms like tanks, DPS or GearScore were even known.
I was heavy in raiding when the level cap was only 60, because that was all there was to do. Eventually, Alterac Valley battleground was released and you could PvP for days and days (literally). Some of the most PvP fun I had was just fighting near Southshore, when you would have 100s of players just swarming each faction's town to get honor kills. (Anyone remember how pissed you would get if someone in your group got you a dishonorable kill?)
I only have one level 80 character. Tried to level some other characters, but by the time I hit level 10, I just couldn't do it. As for roleplaying, I would only do that when I was drunk. I would insist on singing my spells for everyone on our Vent channel. WoW + booze = fun.
So you're definitely an old-school player.
Over five years now. I really don't want to type /played -- that will just lead to tears.
What about other games, past and present?
I played Warcraft II and III but stopped the online play because I got tired of getting killed by 12-year-olds who were faster, smarter than me. Played Star Wars Battlefront but stopped when I got tired of getting yelled at by 12-year-olds who were faster, smarter than me. Did most of the big FPS-type games, but because I lack basic hand/eye coordination skills, I would get frustrated. That is why WoW was such a great match for me. As a priest, I can just randomly mash keys and get by most of the time.
Surely your schedule must be pretty crazy in terms of giving you time to devote to WoW. How do you even find time to play?
It is pretty crazy. The number of projects we have going on at HD FILMS, including The Jace Hall Show, takes up all of my time. I'm lucky to get on once a week, and than "real" players just laugh at my GearScore when I try to get into an ICC-25 PUG.
Jace and I both do a bit of everything: filming, editing, directing, coming up with some of the concepts, getting talent on board and for me, being in the show from time to time now. The structure of the show's production is very unstructured, which is something I think Jace and I have always been comfortable with. We try to plan things out as much as possible (the Stan Lee episode, or Felicia Day light saber battle, for example), but often times, that doesn't work out. Sometimes, we may just run into somebody and have an opportunity to include them in the show (the Logan Huffman segment and Seth MacFarlane episode were unexpected). So we just have to go with the flow and/or improve our way through those segments.
Because of that, this show is really constructed in the edit. I try to keep the show grounded, plausible, but still have a light, whimsical, fun tone. I will then take what I think is a perfect edit, show it to Jace, and he will proceed to crap all over it, explain why I have failed at life, make fun of my pecs and tell me I am giving him "tears." Then for the next 10 hours (not kidding), we will fight, demonstrating some of the most horrible behaviors humans can have toward each other, all so we can make our dumbass internet show as awesome as possible.
And somehow, this process actually works. Season 3 of The Jace Hall Show is really the best ever, and being on IGN.com has exposed us to a lot of folks that really get and appreciate all the small, game-centric details we put in the show. But the process to get it there ... has yet to be easy. One thing we will be doing soon is sharing this editing fun with fans of the show live through a web stream. So when we start doing more episodes of The Jace Hall Show, you will have that to look forward, too.
Question: If the premise of The Jace Hall Show is the relationship between Hollywood and gaming, who's in charge between this couple and where's the relationship heading?
I think the relationship is heading toward marriage. All the indicators are there. :P
On the gaming side, I got to hang out with Chris Metzen and Jeff Kaplan for a while and that was something. And Randy Pitchford (CEO of Gearbox) was a lot of fun; he really is a "dude" making awesome games.
On the Hollywood side, I got a kick out of getting to know Olivia Munn. She's super-sharp and looks even better in person. Felicia Day is awesome and has endured our nonsense more often then I think she thought she would. We just have a way of pulling people back in! I laughed the hardest when Tom Green started yelling at Jace because he couldn't play Pac-Man worth the shit or when Stan Lee couldn't stop laughing at wrecking Jace's comic book. (Stan's laugh is highly infectious; just watch episode 2 of season 3.) There have been a lot of cool folks.
What's coming up on the show that's hot?
We are launching a new Jace Hall Show website that will finally put into one place everything we have ever filmed, plus there are lots of other goodies there. We will be releasing a followup music video to the I Play W.O.W. song called You Got Pwnd! Stay tuned for that.
So tell us, Todd: Who's the better WoW player, you or Jace?
I play WoW better. But if Jace ever really played, his personality would force him to be the best player ever in the history of WoW -- and he would succeed at it, too. Which is why I think he tends to steer clear of WoW for the most part. Me, I play a shadow priest, so being the best player ever is already out of the question from the git-go, which is fine, 'cause I just like to get on and have some fun once in a while!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- neither did we, until we talked with these players. From an Oscar-winning 3-D effects director to a rising pop singer ... from a quadriplegic player to a bunch of guys who get together for dinner and raiding in person every week.