Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Quick Hits: WoW Insider Show

There's been a lot of talk recently about synergy. Jim gets all hot when an IRC works in synergy with a live podcast. Stompalina has been doing a great job of linking up Rawrcast with other podcasts, even running dual-sponsored contests which is a very cool idea. Alachia has recently explored in-depth the interconnectedness of the meta-verse and how fulfilling our lives can be when considering the meaningful shared experiences with others that we all go through in-game. Mike Schramm and the Turpster have both been on How I WoW and both Patrick Beja and Shawn Coons have been on the WoW Insider Show. Patrick of course also appears on The Instance doing a mods segment and in his own podcasts, including a French-language WoW podcast.

There's just something so intrinsically "good" about this level of collaboration. And since Turpster couldn't be there for last Wednesday's episode of the WoW Insider Show his shoes were ably filled by Mr. Beja who was thanked several times by Mike for being a last-minute replacement. And filling out the third chair this time around was Chase Christian who writes the Rogue column Encrypted Text over at WoW Insider.

I was pleased to get this "different" lineup for WoW Insider. While we've pretty much been holding off on reviewing shows until their "regular" hosts are all there WoW Insider is always pretty much the same thing. You might get Michael Sacco hating on Blood Elves or BRK spouting off 10,000-words-per-minute (a typical audio book is 150-160 words per minute) on the new spirit beast or Turpster talking about all the women he's had, but Schramm drives this train and he's a very capable conductor.

What I like about Mike is his cool demeanor. He does seem to have a good time during the show (even if I sometimes think it is becoming old hat to him). When I say that I realize there's certainly a difference between what I hear and the intent so... it sounds like it's very easy for Mike to host and he's very comfortable moving the conversation along to where it needs to be for the show's sake. A criticism that comes up here is that I think he's sometimes a little too quick to put a halt to silliness because you never really can tell where some of those conversations will go but that's a reach on my part.

About 14-15 minutes into the show Mike touched on a topic that has been getting a lot of podcast speculation and blog inches as of late - how much longer is everyone going to care about WoW? It's weird that this topic is coming up so much at this time. Maybe cabin fever? Spring is almost here but winter won't let go just yet? It's almost as if everyone wants to move on from WoW and are just waiting for the mass exodus so they don't end up like those folks who left for Warhammer and have subsequently come crawling back to WoW.

The show overall was well-done. I like how the emails were casually brought up during the first half hour of the show to sort of direct the flow of the conversation rather than a dedicated email segment. For a multi-host show this is a nice way to do it and it seemed fairly unique when you listen to as many podcasts as we do.

There was some nice interplay between Patrick and Chase, with Patrick saying he hates rogues at one point and accusing them of ninja'ing loot in PUGs and then switching servers. Here is where Mike is at his best when he then deadpans back "Chase, are you in favor of ninja'ing loot and running from server to server?" After that setup Chase's answer made me laugh out loud (especially since my main is a hunter): "I'm not sure if Patrick knows I don't play a hunter, so..."

I don't think the WoW Insider Show is ever going to get very heavily into deeply controversial or adult-themed topics because they know their audience is the typical WoW/WI superfan. There are consequences to saying or writing the wrong thing at WoW Insider and so they can't be overly brash or cuss or get away with comments that other podcasts can get away with. So while it's interesting to hear them operate with some restrictions it does take some "weight" out of the podcast for me as an experienced gamer who can handle hearing adult language and content without my head exploding.

Summary: It's a great resource for WoW information in a non-offensive environment, just like the site. This podcast was the first WoW-related I listened to and helped bring me from casual to "medium-core" to steal from the Proudmoore Pansies guys.


  1. Ha Pete - you were called out for your spelling! Wouldn't be the first time!

  2. I already edited it but it figures you were behind this, you with your wannabe pro-wrestler name.

    Ap, we have to submit our pieces to Jimbo here and he "proofreads" them, and then he sends back saying "it's fine, post it." Little did we know he's been making small changes here or there for weeks and seeing if we'll notice or just post it. Like Melissa's interview the other day he put five extras of the word "on" in there randomly that she didn't notice until she posted.

    You'll get yours, Surge! Count on it!

  3. Just because you fail at the mini-game doesn't mean you should go after me. And let me cut you off before you start sounding like Toothy and tell me "it isn't a minigame if you're the only one playing." You should be more responsible about what you post, end of story.

  4. It's not a minigame if you're the only one playing. What you are doing is actually mean. I read that thing 20 times before I sent to you. Then the guy's only comment is about my spelling which you changed and then you laugh about it.

    This blog is supposedly an experiment in honesty so I honestly think what you're doing is mean-spirited. You're trolling your own blog! It's not going to make us better writers it's going to make us resentful.

  5. Speak for yourself Pete, I'm with Jim on this.

    How come I noticed when he tried to mess with me?

    I don't know if you're actually being serious here or not but if so try to take a breath. You're being as obnoxious as Jim (and Ap, for that matter).

    It's funny though, admit it. It's even funnier that you were busted by a reader and not one of us or Jim. You're just being a baby, quite frankly.

  6. Hey guys, just discovered you and delighted to see you have added our podcast :) Hope you enjoy it! No Tempeste in episode 16 and with the lack of oestrogen, the boys were a little naughty! She was back in 17 which we recorded last night breathing fire with a couple of uncharacteristic rants! I'll be sure to spread the word of your terrific site next week in episode 18! Cheers from down under, Wemb.
    Bind On Equip.

  7. Thanks Wemb! Glad you like the site we're having fun with it so far! We need to do some catching up on BoE before we write about you but I love how you guys and Rawrcast are getting together and promoting each others' shows and the contest that's just what this is all about.

  8. WoW Insider Show is kinda hit or miss. Well, like WoW Insider itself.

    Sometimes there are some ridiculously dumb posts on WoW Insider. Sometimes there are gems of great analysis and insightful information.

    But let's get back to podcast. I don't listen WoW podcasts to get the news, I am mostly interested about discussion and analysis (and some comedy value). Comedy value in WIS is usually covered by Turpster. As for discussion... it depends on hosts

    When BRK talks about hunter changes, it's usually interesting and informative. But when Mike and BRK recently tried to talk about mana regeneration nerf... well, it was clear that they had no idea wtf are they talking about. Not only they failed to discuss the change, their facts were wrong.

    I like when the show hosts don't try to mention all the news I've already heard on several other podcasts and read on WI and MMO Champion, but try to focus on something they actually can give an insight about.

    -- Aleaf, level 60 druid of Arcanist Belt @ Anachronos EU (hi TB, I know you're reading this :D)

  9. WoW Insider's audio quality is absolutely horrible. Some of the guests are great, because they're eloquent and know what they're talking about. Others are... well... they're mouth-pieces. Like Schramm himself. Big voice, lots of opinions, very hit or miss if what they're saying is actually true. The podcast, like the site, should always be taken with a grain of salt and recognition that there is better sources for information out there.

    However, the show is worth listening to for the more eloquent, informed members of the team like Chase Christian and Michael Sacco.