About Redbeard

Redbeard has been playing MMOs since September 2009, when Souldat's wife invited him to try out WoW, as she and Souldat were going to restart their subscriptions that Fall and they felt he'd enjoy the game.

MMO Beginnings:  World of Warcraft

While he'd played his share of RPGs over the years -both tabletop and computer- Redbeard had never played an MMO before.  Therefore, he created his first character, a Priest, expecting the humble Blood Elf to behave much like the Clerics he was used to playing in D&D.  One game session was all it took for him to realize that Priests were, well, squishy.  Souldat patiently watched Red struggle along, and suggested that maybe the playing style of a Paladin was what Red was searching for.

Thus, Quintalan was born.

Q started life as a Holy Spec Paladin and leveled as such until he reached Northrend and dual specced to Retribution.  However, after several disastrous incidents in Northrend 5-man instances which led Dr. Quint the Medicine Man to hang up his Healer hat and focus on DPS.

Quintalan and his commander, Lady Liadrin


When Cataclysm dropped, Red decided to focus on two new characters --one in each faction-- and shuttled Quintalan off to semi-retirement.  The new Horde toon, the Sindorei Mage Nevelanthana, was conceived as Quintalan's younger sister.  Tomakan, the Draenei Paladin, was linked to Q (from a RP perspective) as a fellow veteran of the Shattered Sun Offensive on Quel'Danas.  While Tom wasn't Red's first foray into the Alliance side, it became his main once he joined Souldat in an Alliance guild and Q's and Neve's old Horde guild broke up.

Tomakan (sketch by Vidyala)

At the end of Cataclysm, Red leveled a Worgen Warlock, Adelwulf, via Battlegrounds to explore PvP a bit more thoroughly.  Red managed to level Adelwulf up to the mid-70s before being a Rogue's punching bag finally wore Red down enough to send Adelwulf to an early retirement.

Mist of Pandaria dropped, and Red began the cycle anew with a Kaldorei Rogue, Azshandra. While everybody else rushed to L90, Red plugged away with Az, leveling via BGs, until she finally reached Pandaria and began the leveling cycle via the traditional questing method. As Az finally reached max level, Red looked around and realized that just about the entire guild had faded away. Well, to be fair, almost the entire Ysera-US server had faded away, and Red realized that playing in a dead world wasn't a lot of fun. Therefore, when Warlords of Draenor was announced, Red took that as his cue to end his subscription to WoW and move on.

Broadening the Horizons:  LOTRO and Age of Conan

While WoW might have been the most visible MMO Red played, it was by no means the only one.

Sometime in 2010, Red began tinkering around with free-to-play (F2P) MMOs, beginning with Lord of the Rings Online.  The gameplay was similar enough to WoW that Red was able to pick up the game fairly easily, and he enjoyed exploring parts of Middle-earth that he'd only read about in Tolkien's books.  He has an Elven Champion, Aranandor, and frequently hangs around Breeland.  However, Red's LOTRO activity declined over the years and he only logs in to hang around Bree a bit and listen to the band that plays on Gladden-US on Fridays at 5 PM EST.

Not too long after Age of Conan went F2P, Red signed up to explore Hyborea.  A fan of Robert E. Howard's short stories, he found the material faithful to the books yet not overbearingly so.  The gameplay was different enough from WoW and LOTRO that he found it a refreshing counterpoint to the standard WoW clone MMO.  Whereas WoW's focus is solo questing leading to endgame raiding, AoC is firmly in the "you have to group up to survive the leveling process" camp.  Red's Cimmerian Barbarian, Kavaan, climbed toward max level but petered out somewhere in the mid-50s, still pretty far from max level as the solo grind wore Red's interest down.

The Best Starship There Is:  Star Trek Online & Star Wars: The Old Republic

Red likes both the Star Wars and Star Trek universes, so it is no surprise that he began exploring both MMOs.

If he'd have his preference, Red would have wanted to explore the world of the original Star Trek, but Next Generation will do well enough.  He created a Vulcan Science Officer, Salaak, and got into the mid-20s before his interest in the game waned. He enjoyed the questing that he'd done, but he only has time for one dominant MMO, and Star Trek just wasn't going to be it. He still logs in to hang around Starfleet and fly a ship around, but does little else.

Red began playing Star Wars: The Old Republic before the game went Free to Play, when there was a "free weekend" encouraging people to try the game out. He really enjoyed the storylines and the gameplay, subscribed, and has remained subscribed ever since. He has dropped off of the current content --he's stuck somewhere in Knights of the Fallen Empire-- but he truly loves the original Vanilla SWTOR content and can be found on several servers. If you see a toon around from the Duskfighter Legacy, that's Red.

Everybody is Beautiful: Guild Wars 2

A blogger friend of Red's had been needling him to try GW2 for a while, and he finally relented and bought the game after a couple of try-outs. As he snarkily noted, it certainly seems that every NPC and toon in GW2 is impeccably dressed and perfectly groomed, no matter what their profession is. But GW2 seriously scratches the exploration itch that Red has, constantly encouraging him to see what's over the next hill. After one day where he accidentally played for 20 hours straight --everybody else in the house was away for the weekend-- he realized he had to dial it back or he'd be in real trouble physically. That led to GW2 being replaced by...

That Crazy Dunmer: Elder Scrolls Online

Red began playing ESO about 5 years ago on a lark, loved the gameplay and the story, and has been poking around it ever since. He created a Dunmer Nightblade evoking his old Azshandra Rogue, and was off to the races. He got her through the content up to what was then current expac (Summerset), and then.... He kind of sat on her. It wasn't a matter of losing interest, but while he was considering whether or not to subscribe to the game something came up that changed everything. That something was....

The Return of the King: WoW Classic and TBC Classic

Yes, when Red heard of an official resurrection of Vanilla WoW in the form of WoW Classic, he dropped everything. He truly enjoyed the Old World and resented Blizzard's destruction of it in Cataclysm, and here was his chance to play the game as it was originally intended.

True to his word, on Release Day Red was online, creating a Classic version of Azshandra the Rogue, and romping through Teldrassil with hundreds of his closest friends. Sure, the initial enthusiasm among the community gradually tempered off, but Red loved so much of WoW Classic he's not sure where to begin to describe it. He eventually set aside his aversion to joining guilds and not only joined a guild but also began raiding, something he'd never done before.

While he enjoyed Classic, his experiences in TBC Classic have been less enjoyable. People have brought their Retail mentality to TBC Classic, and Red found that grating on his nerves. That rush to max level to then get raid ready to then rush through the content ran counter to everything that Red enjoyed about Classic, and he did what he could to minimally satisfy his raiding requirements while enjoying the game at his own pace.

Unfortunately, real life intervened in his raiding career and Red had to resign from his progression raiding slot so that he could focus on those real life issues. That doesn't mean that Red retired, oh not at all! He just can't be seen on his main raiding toon very much as he pokes around Classic Azeroth on one of his other toons at his own pace, enjoying the vast virtual world that we all call home.

Red in Real Life

In real life Red really does have red hair and a beard --although the beard is now more gray than red-- and is married to a redhead with three redheaded kids.  (Gotta love genetics!)  He's one of those people who have waaaay too many hobbies, ranging from gardening to home brewing to speaker building to electronics to woodworking to.... Well, you get the idea. You know you've got it bad when you go to an open night at a local astronomer's club and instead of just simply enjoying the views through their telescopes, you spend time trying to figure out how to build your own telescope. (No, Red hasn't built a scope yet, but the urge is still there, lurking.)

Red and his wife met while they were attending the University of Dayton, and they both cheer on the Dayton Flyers in all sports. He's a college basketball junkie, and he kind of tends to get distracted easily if there's a game on the television (which, in his household, is very frequently the case). He also cheers for his hometown NFL team, the Cincinnati Bengals, and is shocked as just about anybody else that the Bengals suddenly "got gud" last year and made it to the Super Bowl. But those years of watching defeat after defeat taught Red a lot about humility and persistence.

Red is eternally grateful for all of the friends and acquaintances he's made throughout this long journey in MMOs, from his fellow bloggers to guildies to acquaintances who have come and gone. He had plenty of time to contemplate this while he spent his Thanksgiving week in the hospital with congestive heart failure, and he wanted to make it known just how much he is grateful to you all. You've made it all worthwhile, and make life worth living.