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15 Minutes of Fame: When the guild family is literally all family


15 Minutes of Fame is's look at World of Warcraft personalities of all shapes and sizes -- from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, from the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Looking for group? Not in this family. We've featured players before who share playtime with family members, but we're not sure that we've ever visited with anyone who actively plays WoW with every member of her immediate family ... and then some. First, there was Fizzcrank (US-A) player Artio and her husband Anomoly. Then Artio's 59-year-old mother decided to investigate what the couple was up to all the time. Hooked, she brought Artio's father into the fold. The oldest sister followed suit. Look who's playing now: Artio and her husband, her mother, her father, her two brothers, her two sisters, two spouses, Artio's two brothers-in-law and four grandchildren ... Not to mention the "extended family" of real-life friends.

Does this family run its own groups and 10-man raids? Of course! "My dad loves his pala-tank and becomes quite obsessive about gearing him with the best pre-ICC gear he can find, while my mother's hunter is doing more damage to the wildlife than Nesingwary," Artio reports. "It's a wonderful feeling to have three generations of WoW players together tackling anything from old-school content to newer heroics." Follow us past the break to meet this WoW-playing family.

Main character Artio
Guild <Thunderstruck> on Alliance, <Amoeba Lords> on Horde
Realm Fizzcrank (US)

15 Minutes of Fame: Let's start unravelling this knot of WoW-playing family members. Have you and your husband always played WoW together?

Artio: I actually started playing WoW because I had a friend who played. This was about six months after the game arrived in stores, and I might have had a eensy, weensy little crush on him, so WoW was a way to build a relationship. Six years later, we're married and still playing together. I don't think I could actually survive most encounters as DPS without him, and he certainly wouldn't survive without me there to tell him to get his little dwarfy butt out of the green cloud ... and the fire ... and the void zones.

Did you play another MMO before WoW?

I actually grew up playing EverQuest. My oldest brother and his wife got my sister and I addicted and we used to have LAN parties on weekends.

What's your playstyle?

Oh, goodness, PvE! PVP gives me hives. I started my very first character on a PvP server and as soon as I stepped one foot into Ashenvale, I was ganked repeatedly by a horrible, horrible shaman. I logged off that day and haven't set foot on a PvP server since. I do BGs every once in a while when I'm suckered into helping a family member who wants to try one or needs some help getting honor for items or gear, but I always go kicking, screaming and holding onto door jambs for dear life.

How did your mom and dad get started playing?

Mike and I went home for a visit about a year and a half ago on Thanksgiving. As we were having dinner one night, my father looked up and said that Mama was interested in learning about "that game we were always on." Since my mother hadn't played a video game since Pong, we were a bit shocked, to say the least. But, we went back to her house, got her started on a trial account with a human mage (probably not the best choice for a first character, but hindsight and all that) and began the process of teaching a newbie how not to die. It was a bit rough at first, but she was always willing to ask questions (repeatedly) until she got it right.

My father didn't start playing until a few months later. I remember being on the phone with my mother when she turned to Papa and said, "You ready to join us in Azeroth now?" The sigh that came from the other end of the line was epic, but he agreed to join. He's now the one that does all the research on gear and continues to help my mother become the most efficient DPS she can be.

What do they most enjoy doing in game?

I asked my mother this and she says, "Killing". It becomes a problem a lot of times because we have widely varying schedules and getting the right number of people on characters that are the right level to raid can be hard, so they really enjoy just going into 5-mans and slaughtering as many mobs as possible. I think it's a power trip thing.

Who else in your extended family plays now?

Alright class, everyone ready to make the <Thunderstruck/Amoeba> family tree? OK! Mama, Papa, Mike and me. My oldest brother, his wife and his three children. My oldest sister and her son. My youngest brother. My youngest sister. My husband's brother. I think that's everyone that is blood-related.

What are everyone's ages?

My mother and father are both almost in their 60s. My siblings range from the oldest in his early 40s to me at 25. The youngest are between 10 and 18.

And how far apart do all of you live?

My husband and I live about 6 and a half hours away from the rest of the family, while my oldest sister lives about three hours away. Mike's brother lives another two hours. Needless to say, its hard to get everyone together for LAN parties on the weekends. We do all go home at Easter and Thanksgiving, and then we usually have some sort of raid planned. About 10-15 people all shoved into one room. It's hot, smelly and a whole lotta fun.
Do you ever log in to Vent and/or the game just to chat, not actually playing at all?

We do it all the time. Usually, if I'm home, Vent is on in the background just in case someone else logs in. We use WoW mostly as our main communication format at this point. Group runs move slowly because I usually can't get them to shut up long enough to listen to the boss strat. :D

Is your guild strictly family members, or does it also include personal friends or even players you've met in game?

Our family has a very wide criteria for who counts as family. Our personal friends are family, so in that respect our guild is just us. We really don't have any in-game friends in the guild. Our ultimate goal has never been end-game raiding or strong PvP, so players who don't know us personally usually don't really fit. We haven't even begun approaching Wrath raids yet because we don't want to start until everyone is 80 and comfortable with going.

What things do you do as a guild group?

We do a lot of group runs. Friday nights are group runs for 5-mans. It doesn't matter if it's old school, BC or Wrath -- we'll do it. Sundays are raid nights. Usually someone will come to me and request a specific dungeon, but if not, I have a box on my desk that has every dungeon in the game in it, and one will be pulled at random. Its a great time to be together and accomplish a goal. Even little things, like downing a boss that we're way overpowered for, is a wonderful feeling.

What's been the most unexpected pleasure to come from gaming as a family?

The willingness to help each other. A lot of times we will drop everything and run to help another family member. When we all started hitting 60, we had a rotation of who was getting epic flying. From there on out, whoever's turn it was, was inundated with all our extra gold. That way we made sure that everyone had a main with fast flying.

Do you find that disagreements in game become a little more rancorous between family members than between unrelated players?

Defiantly. They're family, so you don't mind letting them know what you really think. My favorite phrase has been "I can't heal stupid." Family knows exactly where to find that bruise that they can dig their fingers into, but they also know how to keep your going if you're feeling bad about things. We're mean and insulting, but we're also loving and have a tendency to get over fights quickly. And of course, Mama is always there to step in and shut us down if things get too bad.

Just don't get us started on the "Varian's a jerk/Thrall's a savage" debate.
We understand that WoW turned out to be a big positive when your mom broke her arm.

This is a quote from her: "I shattered my left arm between my elbow and shoulder and messed up my radial nerve really badly. So I had no movement from my wrist down. Being off work, I had all day to play WoW. And one of my kids was usually on to play with or go and quest together on difficult ones. Since it was my left arm and that is the one that I use to throw all my spells and heals, it was just a few days before I had my fingers back on my speed pad and was trying to punch the buttons. (The doctor said four to six months to get movement back and I was back to work in four, due to a big part from using the number pad to punch the keys in the game.) My kids were on Vent, so I had lots of family support and sympathy on a daily basis. It is still great to get on and talk with the kids without paying the high phone bills."

Does everyone plan on playing Cataclysm? That's a lot of expansions to purchase!

Of course! We're making plans already. Some of us have already pre-ordered and some of are budgeting for it, but we will all have it eventually. Its too much fun to play together, so if a person can't afford it or is having trouble getting it, one of us will step in and help. And charge interest of course, they are, after all, family.

"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.

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