You probably know Michele Boyd as "Riley" of The Guild, the so-called "stupid tall hot girl" who's into FPS and is a ranked Halo player. Now, get to know Michele as a WoW player and gamer in her own right. Does she game with her cast-mates from The Guild? What's she playing right now? What about work? After all that, does she ever feel "gamed" out? WoW.com's 15 Minutes of Fame gives you an inside view with this exclusive interview with Michele, chatting about how she blends The Guild (the show) with her guild (in game).
15 Minutes of Fame: First on everyone's minds -- what's your WoWstyle, Michele?
Michele Boyd: I play on Zangarmarsh. I actually started out on Dark Iron, a PvP server -- but I gotta say, I enjoy not worrying about getting ganked every five minutes. Trying to level your way through Stranglethorn when you're watching your back for rogues upped the stress level quite a bit!
l like the competitive nature of the quests and getting the best loot/gear. It's fun in raids when you're competing over who's top of the DPS meter, but the friendly atmosphere of a guild means you're genuinely happy for people when they win rolls on a best-in-slot piece of gear. Unless they beat you.
I started out playing text-based MUDs when I was in high school and kept playing those all the way through college. I would try my hand at Doom or Diablo, but I kept going back to the RPG games, although I never did try out EverQuest. Same reason I refuse to try out Dragon Age; I just know I'll sequester myself for the next five months, and I can't afford to do that! A boyfriend got me into WoW, although I'm fairly certain he regretted the decision, as I then took over his computer for hours at a time playing. ;)
We know your schedule must be non-traditional, to say the least. Are you able to play on a fairly regular basis, or do you game more in bursts around the filming season?
What's awesome about having a max-level character is there's no longer that constant "one more level" mentality. The entire mindset of the game changes and is a lot more friendly for my schedule. I can log on, do a daily quest and a random dungeon and then log back off if I want to. Right now I'm attempting to have at least one night off a week for gaming so I can raid with the guild online. I gotta down Lich King before Cataclysm comes out! :D
How does your work in The Guild interact with your gaming? Do you ever find yourself playing sometimes "for work," in order to keep up with what players are doing and thinking and feeling these days, so that you can bring that to The Guild?
Well, I did feel a bit more inclination to pay more attention to my Xbox when I was in "Riley" mode! A lot of my friends are connected with the gaming industry, so I get the chance to hear about new expansions or betas, when they're feeling generous. I don't have a console gaming background (unless we're counting my early, early years of Nintendo), so I did feel like there were a whole lot of games I needed to "catch up" on, but I keep going back to WoW! I'm still waiting for my invitation to Blizzard; a friend keeps sending screenshots of his Spectral Tiger mount to me, and I kinda hate him for it. ;)
Do you game with any of your castmates from The Guild? Who's the biggest addict of the bunch?
I see castmates on occasionally, but I'm probably the most consistent player on WoW from The Guild right now. I doubt I'm the biggest gamer overall, though, I think Felicia still holds that title. :)
Like Ghostcrawler (lead systems designer) at Blizzard, you come from a pure science background – in your case, neuroscience. We know you've talked in other interviews about making your living doing something you can be passionate about and truly enjoy. In retrospect, would you say the decision to leave science and move into the creative field has lived up to its promise?
Oh god, absolutely! I'm still so happy to have tried out science and explored everything that it had to offer me, but I'm still so grateful that I was able to switch to acting and pursue something that makes me so much more satisfied. I'm surrounded by so many people who are trying to pursue a dream, and it's so inspiring. Plus I'm lucky, my parents were nothing but supportive (at least to my face ;) ), and that has meant a lot more to me than I thought it would.
What's the reaction to your role in The Guild been like from your non-gaming friends and fans? Do you feel the whole topic of gaming is still deep, deep "niche," or is it something you've found there's a genuine interest in seeing more of?
My non-gamer friends just see how much I enjoy working on The Guild and are happy for me in that respect. They still don't get why I would enjoy sitting in front of a computer and talking to people on headphones. ;) I think there's been a lot more mainstream acceptance of gamers in general, but there's still the (misconception) that if you enjoy video games, you're still not entirely "normal," which I find slightly annoying. I don't see much difference in choosing an interactive activity to relax and enjoy over sitting in front of a movie for hours at a time, yet one has a stigma attached to it that the other does not. With The Guild, Felicia's great with dialogue in that even if you don't game, you still get a good portion of the jokes. I think that's helped get more non-gamers to at least enjoy the gaming world in a peripheral sense, if nothing else.
So what games are you playing these days?
WoW, naturally. From what I've seen of the Cataclysm expansion, it's going to be epic. There are a lot of achievements to get through before that comes out and the level grind starts all over again! I still don't have a PS3, so for consoles, it's whatever I can get on XBox. I have so many games to get through! And now a Halo: Reach beta! So much fun. I just finished Arkham Asylum and Assassins Creed 2, currently playing BioShock 2 and eventually I want to get Mass Effect, which I still haven't tried.
I'll be guest starring on an episode of How I Met Your Mother, which aired Monday, May 10, that I'm super-excited about. It's one of my very favorite shows on TV, so getting to work on it and meet the cast was awesome. Season 4 of The Guild is going to start shooting this month, yay! I also am involved with a sci-fi comedy webseries SOLO The Series and The Waste, a post-apocolyptic webseries in pre-production. But I always want more to work on, that's the beauty of being in this business. Also looking forward to Comic-Con this year, should be so much fun!
We know, we know. Thanks for talking with us, Michele – we're sure we'll be seeing you onscreen soon!
"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.