For all the flak gaming gets over its notoriously time-sucking qualities, World of Warcraft seems to make a surprisingly good lifestyle fit for professional athletes. Olympic swimmer Megan Jendrick takes refuge in a nice, anonymous PUG raid after a hard day in the pool. MMA fighter Jens Pulver pounds a whole roster of characters after a day in the octagon. And squeezing in Icecrown Citadel in lonely hotel rooms on the road is the perfect downtime release for Kansas City Royals pitcher Kyle Davies.
Opening the 2009 season as the No. 3 starter, Davies is well known for his work ethic. Despite a contract guaranteeing him some $1.3 million this year, he chooses to spend the off-season toiling away on his dad's construction crew. And despite a hectic road schedule that limits raiding opportunities to PUGs, Davies has managed to clear ICC with both his mains and is chipping his way through hard modes. We caught him in between game dates for a quick run-down of how he and his teammates let off steam in the World of Warcraft.
Main character Kruussh
Guild <got hacked>
Realm Blackrock (US-H)
15 Minutes of Fame: What's your WoWstyle, Kyle: hardcore raider, casual raider, PvP, RP, arena gladiator ...?
Kyle Davies: I'm a casual raider because of my work schedule, meaning I usually pug out 10-mans and join 25-man PUGs. I would love to join a guild but I cant be consistent on when and what times I will be able to play. I've tried arena, but never really got into PvP.
I have my own guild of three friends and our alts, named <Got Hacked>. Reason being because I fell for a phishing scheme about 4 months ago, LOL.
How did you first get started playing WoW? Have you always been a gamer?
A baseball friend of mine was playing WoW and since I have always been a gamer, I tried it out. Now I'm hooked. That was about a year ago. I have six toons now and three 80s.
You can list Kruussh as my main ... I quested all the way to 80 with him so I got to see most of BC and vanilla. I still go back and do those things because I'm more of an achievement junkie than anything else. I just can't seem to be able to catch Old Crafty in Org. The thing has eluded me for a year now. Any suggestions?
Ugh ... time ... persistence ... luck ... I can't imagine you have that much consistent time to farm things like that. With such a seasonal lifestyle, do you find that your WoW playing ebbs and flows around training and game seasons? Or are you able to keep some sort of consistency going?
I usually have time when we are in hotels on the road to get a good chunk of WoW in. You know it takes a while to run through some of the more difficult raids in the game. I have that time on the road, but usually ends up with some late nights.
Does anyone else in your family play? Do you play with any teammates?
There are two other players on my team that play the game pretty hardcore like me, and we try to keep our identities unknown. Its a good release, playing a live game where no one knows who you are.
Trade chat can really heat up in the middle of an eventful sports season. Have you ever gotten into a trade chat flame war over baseball?
No trade chat wars yet, but they can be very entertaining.
What have you been doing in game most recently?
I'm working on my ICC-10 progression. Both my mains are Kingslayers, so just working on hard modes now. But it is very difficult to pug those with good players since most of the good players are in guilds and run with them.
Any plans for Cataclysm?
No plans for Cataclysm yet, I'm just having fun right now playing the more challenging stuff in this latest patch.
We'll let you get back to it, then. Thanks for grabbing a few minutes to talk with us, Kyle, and good luck both in ICC and on the mound!
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with these players. These WoW players from all walks of life range from Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Aron "Nog" Eisenberg to Olympic medalist Megan Jendrick ... from a quadriplegic player to a player who's racked up every achievement in the game.