Zilea interviews Serrenia

Zilea

Hey, Serennia, it’s been a long time since we’ve really talked. You’ve been pretty much MIA for close to a year. Where have you been and how have things been?

Serennia

I really couldn’t provide an elaborate enough answer to that short of writing as novel but I’ll attempt to answer that with some sort of brevity. In short, ever since moving out from home and my father subsequently passing away, followed by my mother being diagnosed with cancer and having to go through treatment for that, things have been pretty up and down. In the last year, I spent part of it in California as some of you might have read in Bodi’s little articles (although that’s about as much truth as there is to them), but now I’m back in Texas where things have settled down for the most part.

During life, sometimes things just click on when or how you need to prioritize things and things clicked for the most part with me. I had to put my future ahead of everything else and in doing so, I pretty much dropped MMO’s and GameRiot cold turkey. Since doing so, I’ve gotten most of my biggest obstacles straightened out and plan to continue down this path. That isn’t to say I’ve stopped gaming entirely or won’t play another MMO (or WoW even), but for now, they come 2nd to everything else.

Are you doing ok? Do you at least have a roof over your head? Despite what a lot of people say most of the community on Gameriot and WoM really was concerned with your well-being.

I’m talking to you on AIM, arn’t I? But in all seriousness, things have been fine for the last 4-5 months. Jessica (Relm from GameRiot) helped me get situated in a nice place that’s really worked out well. Likewise, I do feel bad for how things ended with WoM and GameRiot in general. I started out with a pretty bright flare for writing and held that through my entire career with WoM but in the last couple months, I let other things get in the way of my obligations as a staff writer and produced less than stellar blogs. I don’t hold anything against Ming for the way he handled things, since he, like anyone else, has someone else he has to answer to and when there are complaints or noticeable drops in page views, something needs to be changed.

I’m glad everything has worked out for you. While on the blogging topic, you provided strong insight as a WoM writer and even though you feel like your later days were lacking, I know very well firsthand how hard it can be to write good content months after months of doing it. That’s part of the reason why WoM introduces writers at a very high rate with such high turnover. The new guys come in with good content but many of them can’t keep it going for very long.

I noticed in our brief conversations recently that you have been keeping up with WoM on at least a weekly basis. You probably even heard about Bodi getting “fired” or leaving the scene entirely. He was your staff co-worker for the WOM team, which you wrote on for about a year. How do you feel about these rumors and how do you feel about his writing that he provided then and now?

I didn’t really check GR or WoM on a weekly basis. I only read certain blogs when someone called attention to it or was linked to me on AIM/MSN. When Bodi was first about to join the team, Ming discussed his potential with me and what he would bring to the table. This was the original, humble, Bodi looking for a place to make his mark and actually get his name out there. Ming and I discussed it like we did all staff acquisitions back then before hiring him (such as aNNa, Zilea, and Azael).

I liked the idea of bringing him on as a writer to fill the daytime gaps and to appeal to the casual audience because he’s just that, a casual. I really feel that over the months Bodi really let eFame get to him, however. Following my departure and a few new staff changes at WoM, Bodi eventually took over as the leader of the staff there and that’s apparently when his ego became absolutely out-of-control. Since then, as has been proven by sources other than myself, he has lied, exaggerated, extorted, and manipulated people to try to make himself look better or in an attempt to overshadow his flaws as a writer and PR marketer.

As far as his writing goes, his blogs were hugely hit and miss. Some of his original video blogs were nice, entertaining, and even humorous at some points, yet others were very boring, blase, and predictable. He never really “fit in” with the competitive arena community for obvious reasons (mostly because he couldn’t get gladiator without someone else playing his account), so anytime he attempted to discuss serious game mechanics or strategies, it honestly felt like he was talking out of his ass. Overall, I think he helped WoM in the grand scheme of things in terms of publicity, but didn’t contribute more than Jasi did in terms of rich content.Bodi talks all the time about google analytics and I’d just like to add that almost all of me and Ming’s articles yielded more unique pageviews than Bodi’s, even right before the end of my time writing on the blog. I know this because I had access to the same analytics that he does.

When we talk about somebody like Bodi, some people claim that the audience really doesn’t like his writing, whether that be because of his content, his overall writing style or just because he isn’t one of the “big name” players in the scene. How would you compare and differentiate Bodi and Jasi when it comes to WoM?

Bodi is the type of person who plays Mr. Nice Guy when you’re of use to him. Whether it be when he was new and still trying to make friends with the GR audience, or when he tries to mingle with the LAN players because people want to read what they have to say more than someone with a bad haircut ordering some cheap alcohol while recording his blog. He’ll basically use you until you’re no longer an asset then kick you to the curb. While some people may say that this is common practice in the business world, let’s try to keep some semblance of realization that we’re still inevitably talking about WoW here.

Jasi on the other hand, while sometimes dishing out extremely repetitive or even straight MMOchamp copy/paste blogs, at least DID play on a gladiator-capable team back when arena wasn’t a complete joke. Jasi is a talented writer when he wants to be, and was an above-average priest when he played on Ner’zhul (BG9), but burnout hit him pretty hard and his talented writing soon deterioated into Menismyforte video reviews and microsoft clipboard blogs. Furthermore, to be completely honest, I’d actually trust Jasi far more as a person than I’d trust Bodi. Jasi was flexibile with day swapping, willing to help out with blog outlines, formatting, and HTML editting, while Bodi is basically just a lazy ass that only cared about his own time slots and blogs.

That’s pretty descriptive. I know you have more to say on Bodi but let me move on to some other questions first.

Speaking about WOM in general, a lot of people do think the staff has bloated and the quality has gone down a little bit, what are you current thoughts on the WOM staff, the content, and the writing direction? WOM used to be very “exclusive”, how do you feel about everything?

I’m sure I’ll get flamed for this but I still think the best WoM roster of all time was when it was just Ming, Jasi, and myself. Three writers is pretty much the sweet spot so that you can get a couple different perspectives on things in WoW yet still have some sort of expectations for what to see in each coming article, especially when you’d see the same writer two or three times a week. When you have such a large “roster” especially when made up of primarily LAN competitiors, you don’t get to see much variety in writing or get the pleasure to read about many different aspects of the game. Now I know that the majority of the GR audience is (or at least was) visiting for articles regarding arena, but if you look at the articles with the most likes over the last couple years, surprisingly most of them were not arena related at all.

This is nothing against the current and past writers at all, nor a knock against their ability to put up entertaining blogs, just stating my opinion that I think ever since the acquisition of Bodi and aNNa (and all subsequent writers), that both the originality and overall audience of readers has deteriorated. Then, when you consider the fact that Bodi hated most of the new writers and talked **** about them behind their back all the time (especially Azael and Pookz), then you can maybe understand why I also consider the Jasi era still the best time to be reading WoM. Even with our digs at each other back and forth, most of it was done for entertainment purposes and we could put on our professional face on a whim for the next article in line.

I agree that WoM was fantastic to read during that time period. Let’s move on to Bodi.

The first thing I noticed months ago after reading the articles (here and here) by Bodi about his interaction with you was that he was being a good samaritan and was trying to help you out. It looked like he was even trying to help you find a job. Was this really the case?

No, he was basically just trying to get closer to Natalie (I can’t remember what fake name he gave her in his blog). It was actually pretty sad at times. He would spend pretty much all day flirting with her on facebook and AIM and then use me as an excuse to have lunch together on Sunday to meet up with her. All of this while he was supposedly engaged to his fiance who, by the way, is getting married in secrecy because her parents forbode her from dating Bodi and would not support a relationship between them (for several reasons including ethnicity). As far as I know to this day, they still don’t know about them being together and the couple was planning to only tell them years after their clandestine marriage.

In the end, Bodi DID give some suggestions on things to do in order to find a potential job or career but they were really just underlying reasons to support his alterior motive of getting to spend more time with Natalie; at least that’s the way it strongly came across as to me.

I heard about that rumor before. I’m just curious, did they ever actually date?

Not to my knowledge, but he would fabricate some creepy ass lies to seem like he really wanted to get close to her. He always asked me about her hobbies, what she does all day, and even mentioned that he was looking to “experiment” with a 3-way relationship potentially and was very elaborate on the details of this in a pretty creepy way. I think in the end he mentioned he was kidding about some of it, but I don’t think it’s particularly normal to joke about 3-waying with your “fiance” and another girl that’s almost 10 years younger than you.

Wow… that must have been extremely awkward to be discussing that with Bodi.

Talking about Bodi, let’s dig deeper. Without being too specific because people can always read about the history if they want, the perception was given that you were never well-kept, never showered and were basically a homeless slob.  I understand most of this pertains into the private sphere and you are entitled to not talk about it. However, let’s talk about Bodi’s portrayal of you. Was he incorrect and/or lying? Are there things you want to talk about here right now? This is pretty much your chance to clear things up because there has been so much stuff said about you in this regard.

If I had to guess, I would say that about 95% of his story was fabricated like everything else in his life. Some of it was partly due to Natalie’s mother not understanding things fully (although she was extremely nice I’ll admit), but a lot of it was just pure unadultured bull**** that he made up for hits. I don’t have the specifics of it in front of me nor do I recall exactly what was talked about, but let’s just put it this way: I showered daily, washed my clothes every few days, and vacuumed/washed the bedroom/restroom each week.

Furthermore, the room already had clothes in the closet that I never touched from whoever else was in this prior. Some of these clothes were either dirty or had been in there a while and Natalie’s mother assumed they were mine for some reason (including some extra small size undergarmets…) and Bodi used these statements and exaggerated on top of them to earn his desired drama from the article.

I mean really, both of the times I met up with Bodi there, it honestly felt like he just woke up from a night in the subway and walked over to the place we were having food at. The first time we met for dinner he gave us a restaurant to meet at that wasn’t even open on Sundays and when we finally went to some seafood place nearby, I had the pleasure of talking to him for about an hour when he had some sort of meat lodged between his two front teeth that I really didn’t have the stomach to tell him to remove. On the plus side, though, he bought me a free beer mix that I haven’t tried before but I don’t think he actually paid for that dinner; Natalie’s mother stole the bill at the end and covered it all from what I remember. Just like she did for the 2nd time we met up, as well.

Finally, he always went on and on about all of the connections that he had and how he possessed phone numbers for pretty much everyone that’s ever mattered in the internet world. He even said he could call up Tom Chilton anytime he wanted and get a round of beers with him or something, but in all honesty, I don’t think the address book on his phone extends much further than his whale he calls a girlfriend, some of his relatives, and of course, Natalie.

I remember having a conversation with Bodi where he mentioned stuff about making 80 grand a year, having a lot of connections, etc as well but I never doubted it because I don’t really know him really well so it is hard for me to comment.

I’m probably being a little redundant about this but let me just ask you this: what is the truth about Bodi? What is the guy really like? You mentioned bits and pieces, is there anything else?

I don’t think I could hold a conversation for more than 5 minutes with Bodi without him bragging about his ridiculously amazing test scores (that I’m not even sure are true), how he got accepted to MIT, and pretty much how much more superior he is than you. He may be a decent writer and friendly guy when there’s something in it for him, but he’s also the type of person that won’t hesitate to stab you in the back if the oppurtunity presents itself.

A very easy example is when we first met up for dinner: Before any conversation even started, I politely requested that none of it be documented anywhere, specifically in his blogs. Then at the end of that dinner, he wanted to take a picture and I further mentioned to him not to post it anywhere if we did and he agreed to it all. The next time we met up, I called him out on that and why he lied to me about it, and after literally getting pissed off and swearing at me in front of Natalie and her mother, he eventually came up with some bull**** reasoning behind it and said that he wouldn’t write about it anymore since he had better things to do anyway. As we all know, that was also a lie.

Wherever Bodi ends up going, I really hope people just take caution in dealing with him. He’s a really shady character and will say or do whatever it takes to get people to believe him. If his fiance’s parents are reading this by some chance… well… let’s just say your daughter could do much better than this I hope. I’ll leave it at that.

That’s pretty strange that he would make that promise and break it so easily.

What is next for Serennia? Do you have any intention of returning to WoW? Is the WoW community going to be seeing and/or hearing from you at all in the future or are you pretty much out of the picture?

At the moment, the only game I’m playing really is HoN. I’m playing on a competitive team right now and we’ve been trying to quality for the Honcast Invitational Tournament. I won’t say playername or team name to avoid further attention (wanted or unwanted), but we’ve gotten fairly close to winning one of the Honcast Qualifiers and hopefully we can improve our game and have even better results in the future. HoN is an easy game to play while still maintaining a busy schedule because it doesn’t require the same ridiculous time investment that MMORPG’s generally do, so it’s been a good fit for me in that regard.

Will I ever play WoW again? I certainly wouldn’t rule it out. I’d like to see how Cataclysm evolves before release and more feedback from eventual beta testers about it, but ever since leaving WoW and trying out Aion on Zikel server for a short stint before quitting when everyone else did last winter, I’m not entirely sure about getting involved in another MMORPG at least until I get absolutely everything straightened out and the path for my future is paved away.

Thanks for your time, are there any final things you want to add? Perhaps to the WoM community?

As far as any final things I wanted to say here, I would just like to take a moment to apologize to anyone that I’ve had any sort of run-ins with over the last couple of years. I was still at a point where I was finding my place in life and not fully disciplined on taking appropriate measures to attain a real career, but rather immediate gratification. If I could make amends for anyone that I’ve upset or disappointed over the years (including my deceased father), I would do so in a heartbeat, but since that oppurtunity may not present itself, I hope my sincere apologies will suffice until then.

Additionally, I wanted to mention that there have been some humorous yet also annoying people that apparently either try to impersonate me or are mistaken for me in a few different games now that have been brought to my attention (sometimes on numerous occasions). I am not Serennia on SC2 beta, I am not Mortred on Lumiel Aion server (although I went along with a pretty elaborate trolling attempt on this one), and I am not Serennia on Earthen Ring WoW server, and I am not Amingo on HoN. That is all.

All credit to World of Ming and Zilea.

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