Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Keelhaul: Farewell to a great blogger and mogger


I was a bit sad to see that Keelhaul, the Mogfather, of DEAzeroth is calling it quits.  After the transmog competition here on Dath'remar, my guildies and readers who DIDN'T already know who he was, heard all about how excited I was that WoW Factor judges were coming, and was excited at the thought of seeing Keelhaul in game and wondering what he would say about outfits.  Alas, he was busy and couldn't come, but that doesn't mean I couldn't admire from afar!

Writing about someone that I only know from reading his blog, from other people's blogs, listening to WoW Factor shows and reading articles makes you wonder what the real person is like, but I will say that I was a huge admirer when I read about the things he had done.

Image courtesy of DEAzeroth

He was written about in various online publications because he made a lot of money (as in hit the Gold cap) from selling transmog gear.  He seemed to be primarily into weapons, but realised that armor was something that would also be a great money spinner when 4.3 hit.  He did a lot of research in WoWRoleplaygear's site about armour sets, and started amassing a collection of items.
"My focus was to simply identify which armor sets had the potential to visually differentiate players from their peers."
- Keelhaul, as featured in WoWInsider "The Man who gave away 1,000,000 gold"
In 45 days he made 1 million gold, and then he started trying to give it away.  He was banned 4 times for giving away his gold!
"It first started with 400k to a single player, which got me insta-banned because Blizzard customer service thought I was a gold seller, yes. The next step was to give away 100k to 100 players, but that got me banned again as well. And at that point, it was like well, I think there's only one way through this and that's to just give it away 1,000g at a time to different players and just endure the bans until I had reached 1M."
- Keelhaul, as featured in WoWInsider "The Man who gave away 1,000,000 gold"
He hosted a number of transmog competitions, giving away his gold, and then he created WoW Factor with Noelani and Ironyca of WoWRoleplaygear (OK, am I the last one to figure out those two were a couple???) and were joined by Elvine who does the TwitchTV livestreams.  They hosted a number of events on a various US servers, which huge success, massive turnouts (and blog coverage) which really, make the WoW population feel more like a community.

Image courtesy of WoWroleplaygear

He even tells everyone his secrets.  Here on The Power Word: Gold hatchery he made a number of posts about what he sold at the AH and the prices - a how to guide basically for each type of armour class.  It's pretty interesting, but for someone like me who is a hoarder, not a seller, these gold guides are useless.  I really need to learn to let go.

Mog Madness logo designed by Tome of the Ancient
But he is human, after all.  He is prone to weaknesses, anger, frustration like anyone else.  He is a father, a husband and has a business to run.  The Amateur Azerothian (JD) wrote last month that he was disappointed that Keelhaul had said some rather dismissive things about Mog Madness, the bloggy transmoggy event that JD, Effraeti and Tome of the Ancient ran over a few weeks.  The offending quote seemed to be a slight against Mog Madness, a dismissive comment, which could be taken as being offensive or perhaps just misunderstood (Insult, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder).  I remember when I read JD's post, and then had a peep at the livestream, that it wasn't REALLY a slight, but it could be taken as such.  After all these things are live, you don't have time to think before stuff comes out of your mouth.  I didn't think that someone who would give money back to the community, spend lots of time doing things like WoW Factor would be so demeaning and nasty.  I thought it was a misunderstanding.  Anyway, the whole thing caused such a furor, with Ironyca trying to defuse and explain the whole thing... but Keelhaul himself came and replied himself with a post that I think, put the whole thing back in perspective.  And reading what he wrote, it seemed like he was the more like a normal person, and less like an elitist, which is what I was hoping he would be.
...an interaction I’d had a few days earlier in trade chat where as I was announcing the upcoming WoW Factor show, someone was spouting off on me about the Simon Cowell of Azeroth. To be quite frank, I thought they were referring to me. I mean I modeled The WoW Factor and much of the way I promote it and bankroll it with Cowell and the X-Factor in mind, so I bit on the troll’s trolling and that’s when Mog Madness got mentioned... I came away thinking the two contests were completely different. But in my mind I was also burying that trade troll because I really didn’t appreciate the bashing I got... so somebody said something in the livestream feed that triggered my interaction that had happened in trade and a bit of my frustration spilled over into the commentary. That’s why it probably sounds like a few moments of passionate ranting and then... I trailed off because my spider sense started to tingle, and I knew I was out of line because my beef wasn’t with Mog Madness or the format, it was with the troll that got under my skin.
- excerpts from Keelhaul's reply to JD's post "What Did He Say?"
So that cleared the air.  JD was happy, and he even said as such.
But the important thing is recognizing mistakes happen.  When they do, this is how you resolve them as far as I’m concerned.
- JD in his post "Look Who Popped By"
So, what will happen to the WoW Factor now that Keelhaul is leaving?  Nothing.  His legacy and his passion lives on.  He has told people to go out there and get involved, be part of the big community.  Hell, even the Blizzard employees know who he is - I think there is a certain number of them who specifically unban his account when he does his big gold donations.There are people he has inspired to take up his torch and go around giving back to the community in similar events all around the World of Warcraft.  Look at our own server.  Vishii and Squalli certainly did that, inspired by the Mogfather himself.
Blizzard maintains the WoW Factor is the next community spotlight to be placed on the blog. PC Gamer has an article already written, and maintains they're just awaiting the green light to release it in their magazine.
And I can say I know Keelhaul via six degrees of separation (fanboy talking!!!).  After all, I do have one toon on Proudmoore (his home server), I have been visited by Ironyca who is part of the WoW Factor team, AND I did manage to win a transmog competition sponsored by people who were inspired by Keelhaul, right?

Remind me to turn names off next time when I want to take pics...

So Keelhaul, farewell, and thank you for your inspiration and I wish you all the luck for the future.  Without you, maybe I wouldn't be so into transmogrification.  There certainly would not have been a WoW factor.  And of course, then I wouldn't have won my 100k either :) Can't forget that now, can I? /grin

(I should be glad Keelhaul wasn't there at our Dath'remar comp.  He would have trashed my choice of weapon for the winning prize!  I think the Mace + offhand is much better)

5 comments:

  1. I can understand, running these events must take an enormous amount of time. I really hope WoW Factor Events continue, my visit to one was one of the best times I've had in game.

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  2. In your next life you should be a diplomat. The thing is any time someone does anything it always invites the unwanted guest of criticism . We all need to remember that we all have good intentions. Lovely post.

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  3. Just got word about this, grats again on your big win and thanks for helping carry the torch!

    -Keel

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  4. Oh and your winning outfit vs. Mace/OH, I like 'em both equally. :)

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  5. @Keelhaul - TY for visiting! :D It is a great honour, and thanks for the comments on my weapons, it makes me feel a better :)

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I hope these comments work! Not sure why people can't comment lately, it makes me sad :(