But then came BlizzCon. Angryorc charged the convention head on, fully open with his identity, and fans adored him. "I signed autographs, Lisa," he marveled. "Many. How crazy is that? Totally floored by all the support. People telling you they use Twitter specifically to read your stuff or that your jokes have inspired them to come back to play WoW is very, very humbling. It's lit a fire in me to go even harder, to be funnier -- how the hell do I do that?"
With more than 12,000 Twitter followers, he seems to be managing quite well. Here's our interview of the man behind the orc -- and a short interview with the orc himself, as well.
Guild Twisted Empire
Realm Kul'tiras (US-Horde)
WoW Insider: From a mysterious character on Twitter to a guy signing autographs in the center of a convention attended by tens of thousands of WoW fans -- it's been something of a journey for you this fall, hasn't it?
Angryorc: Meeting people [at BlizzCon] was both thrilling and humbling. I signed autographs, took photos, and listened to a stream of people tell me I was awesome and funny. Now who wouldn't love that? I have seen myself always as an idiot spewing jokes on Twitter. Love it or hate it, I'm not going to shut up. But listening to people say how much my jokes make their day and how they are only on Twitter because of me just blew my mind. Epic!
Were you nervous about unmasking yourself as Angryorc? Did you worry that you wouldn't meet people's expectations?
The "official" unveiling was to be Saturday at the Blizzpro meetup, and that's what I had prepared myself for. What I had not prepared for were two unveilings that happened before that.
On Thursday night, I was at the Hilton lobby bar. BlizzCon week, the Hilton bar is packed with con-goers, podcasters, community folk, etc. It's truly the place to be. So it;s my first time there, and I'm thrilled to see all the people whose work I admire and who I am truly fans of. I'm hanging out with guildies, and I see over on the other side of the bar Jules Scott (@julesrpg) from the Tauren Think Tank sitting with a bunch of people. I love the show, so I slid over to where she was and with hand extended, I quietly say "Hi, Jules? Nice to meet you. I'm Angryorc."
She screamed, " OH MY GAWD, YOU ARE ANGRYORC!!!!" and suddenly at least 30 people instantly whip their heads around and are staring at me. What followed was a blur of introductions, handshakes and hugs from a stream of people from the community. It was awesome and in one fell swoop made me recognizable to half the bar easier than I ever could. It was so fun!
The other unveiling event was Friday at the opening ceremony. I was walking to my seat before it began, and a guildie hollered that they had seen Scott Johnson. I interact with Scott quite a bit on Twitter, so I got up and went over to meet him. It was great to say hi, and we quickly chatted before he asked to take a photo. Great idea!
Only after we had chatted and I was walking back to my seat did it dawn on me, "I wonder if he is going to share that?" Within minutes, he had Instagram'ed and tweeted our photo, unknowingly outing me. Not the way I had planned it, but it ended up being pretty cool, nonetheless.
Tell us about the creation of Angryorc. Where did Angryorc first appear?
Angryorc was born a year ago last September in a fit of boredom where I was trying to entertain a coworker. I had zero Twitter experience, but after an hour on there, I saw that people could be anything they wanted, so I thought he would get a kick reading tweets from the point of view of a big, stupid orc. We were both huge WoW fans, and I have always played an orc warrior, so I picked the class that I knew. (Wow, if my main was a gnome mage, this would be a very different account!)
The Twitter thing happened as fast as a warrior Whirlwind! When I started the account, it was for some laughs with a bud. What I did not realize at the time was nobody else was doing it! At least not well. All the feedback I got was positive, and followers came quickly. I still didn't have a clue what I was doing, but people were liking what I was putting out there. I quickly got motivated.
Within two days of starting the account, I had CMs Zarhym and Nethaera following me and liking my stuff. ... More folks I recognized from the community started following me, and tons and tons of regular Warcraft players as well. Everyone was commenting that the jokes were funny and they could relate to what AngryOrc was saying. It was then I realized I had unknowingly filled a void that at least some people had been looking for. I was incredibly lucky.
So how did you handle your growing popularity once it hit the wall of your own identity?
Once the popularity of the account grew, I started to get offers to guest on podcasts. I had never listened to a WoW podcast until I started to be asked to appear on them. In every case, although I was very very flattered, I always refused. I felt (and still feel) that once I open my mouth, a part of the character will be lost. Angryorc is a yelling but lovable buffoon, and I'm a soft-spoken Canadian. Let's just keep them separate.
Twizz from Twizzcast asked me to be on his show, and like the rest, I said thanks but no thanks, citing my reservations just like I did with everyone else. What Twizz did differently was immediately say, "OK, no voice, but I want you on my show, and you can do whatever you feel comfortable doing to be a part of it." That was big for me. It allowed me to be part of what they were doing at Twizzcast yet maintain the anonymity I wanted. It was the perfect situation for me.
I still feel totally unprepared for the support and the amount of kudos that Angryorc gets. Why do people love him? Because he is one of them. Angryorc started as an in-game character, smashing Alliance and speaking the orcish way (ME SMASH YOU. ME HATE ALL DA TINGS. ZUG ZUG), but the character has since evolved into a regular guy making the same observations many casual Warcraft players see and think when they are in game: How do I get along in my guild? LFR nightmares. Balancing a productive in game life with a productive real life. My most successful tweets are the ones where someone reads it and thinks, "Hey, this came up in guild chat last week. It's like he is in my head!" I get a huge kick out of that type of feedback.
In game, I make fun of myself more than I do my friends and playing partners. I brought that to the Twitter account. Podcasters and forum posters and the bulk of large community folks are the elite. The top of the game. The .01%. I decided very early that I would make jokes reflective of me, Mr. Average Warcraft Player.
People connect with that because they see that I'm one of them. I'm not farming heroic raids or getting world first anything. I'm just a dude that loves World of Warcraft. I goof off and mess up in raids and don't know squat about the other classes. I am truly one of them.
I also love to read what my followers are doing and interact with them. If you are paying attention to me and taking interest in what I have to say, then I owe it to you to do likewise. Someone telling me that "you following me back absolutely made my day" is one of my biggest thrills now that I am a "Twitter celeb" (I can't believe I just referred to myself as that), and if I can @ reply someone who is having a crappy day and make them smile, that perks me up more than anything. I guess deep down, Angryorc is not very angry at all.
Can we peel the mask back just a bit from the man behind Angryorc? When you're not being so angry, what do you do?
I'm an IT professional, and though my Twitter count does not reflect this, I'm busy as hell in real life. I write at night and queue up tweets to go out throughout the day.
The ironic thing is that since I have shifted my focus to Twitter, I do not have as much time for WoW as I used to. I basically prefer to tell jokes about a game rather than play that game. How messed up is that?
An interview with Angryorc
WoW Insider: We can see on Twitter that you're apparently good buddies with the Sha of Happiness. An angry orc ... happiness ... How does that work?
Angryorc: SHA OF HAPPINESS BUGS THE CRAP OUTTA ME!! [Gregg adds: Me 'n' Sha started about the same time, and although our accounts take very different paths, we are still connected by having Twitter as our common medium. Sha has become a great friend, and it's impossible not to respect everything she does in the community. One time she was on a rant on her personal Facebook about something, and from my personal Facebook, I posted pics of kittens and puppies to cheer her up. Now tell me how backwards is that?]
I HAVE BEEN THIS MAD EVER SINCE THEY CANCELLED GOLDEN GIRLS! I'M MAD BECAUSE PLATE PANTS CAUSE CHAFING.
@Umbaar asks: [Have you] ever considered italics?
ITALICS IS THE FONT OF THE RANGED, THE FONT OF THE CLOTHIE, THE FONT OF THE BLOOD ELF. NEXT QUESTION.
@SkodLife asks: Do you have problems with being rage-starved? If yes, how do you quickly get a full rage bar again?
IF YOU'RE HAPPY AND YOU KNOW IT, YOU WILL GET RAGE-STARVED AND YER DPS WILL BE CRAP, YO. THAT WHICH DOES NOT KILL YOU GIVES YOU RAGE.
@Bezlo asked: did [you] support Vol'jin or Basic Campfire for war chief?
ME. ALWAYS ME. I WILL NOT SHADDUP UNTIL I HAVE THE HEAD SEAT AT THE TABLE. I'M AT THE KIDDIE TABLE NOW, BUT THE HEAD TABLE IS IN SIGHT. I WILL USE VOL'JIN'S FACE TO PUT OUT THE BASIC CAMPFIRE IF I HAVE TO.
@Marathal asks: any tips of cooking Gnome? Best Baked or Broiled?
GNOMES ARE LIKE TEA BAGS. THEY ARE BEST IN BOILING HOT WATER.
For more gems of wisdom and delight from Angryorc, follow him on Twitter.
"I never thought of playing WoW like that!" -- and neither did we, until we talked with Game of Thrones' Hodor (Kristian Nairn) or a 70-year-old grandma who tops her raid's DPS charts as its legendary-wielding GM. Send your nominations to firstname.lastname@example.org.