Ikenna "Enshadowed" and I sat down to chat today with the notable World of Warcraft (WoW) gamer, Thomas "Flyn" Kogler. Flyn goes by the alias "Saori" on Anook and is a native of Austria. Flyn is widely known throughout the WoW competitive PvP scene for his success at various tournaments and his 10,000 gold duel challenges!

@Nikeagogo: Hey there Flyn! Ike and I would like to thank you for having a chat with us today here on Anook. First and foremost, can you tell the Anook community a little about yourself as a gamer?

@saori: Hey, glad to be here. Well, firstly I've been playing games for a long time now, starting when I was roughly 8 years old with the old Sega mega drive system. I would often play with my brothers; we'd play Mario Kart a lot and I'd always try to beat them. My first real PC game was Starcraft and since then it is the only platform I'm really interested in. I've been a pretty hardcore gamer; I was a "professional" player for about a year with WoW, traveling to a few different countries such as the US where I met a lot of different people due to that.

@Enshadowed: Most in the gaming world, specifically WoW, recognize you as Flyn; however on Anook you go by the alias Saori. Any reason in particular you changed it?

@saori: I was actually originally Saori, but on WoW I originally played Alliance on Stormscale. This was back when you could only have characters of 1 faction on 1 realm, so I got a new account and changed to Horde. I couldn't take my own name because my Rogue was still on the realm, but i was probably going to use a new name for that character anyway because it was a male character and Saori was a name for my female Rogue. I never really intended to get "well known" as Flyn, it just happened that way.

Interesting, nobody has ever pronounced it correctly, it's been wrongly pronounced since the beginning but it's just kinda stuck now.

@Nikeagogo: What would you say was the most exciting period of your WoW career?

@saori: The most exciting time was at the start. I had always been confident that I would be able to play Mage pretty well even though I had never really played it before (I had played a few different classes and managed to play them to a good level (Gladiator level)). I was bored of my Rogue and my Warrior from The Burning Crusade (TBC) and I rolled a Mage at the start of Wrath of the Lich King (WotLK). I only really played 2v2 with a German guy "naviz" since I didn't know many people on Horde side that well and I wasn't that confident in my English back then. The Tournament Realm came up and I played around on it mostly for fun, then I kinda just randomly met people (Stgeorge and Raeli) and we decided to run Rogue-Mage-Priest (RMP) together and we did really well getting into the top 8 and qualifying for the Blizzard Regionals. All of us except Raeli were new to the classes we were playing so it was a surprise that we did as well as we did initially. After that we got invited to an online tournament by Electronic Sports League (ESL) and we managed to knock out one of the favourites in the opening week; ironically that team also contained my 2 future teammates, and everything kicked on from there.

Ultimately it was a pretty fast and sudden "rise to fame", so to speak.

@Enshadowed: How about the most stressful?

@saori: Well, the most stressful was definitely the time I went to Major League Gaming (MLG) Raleigh in the US. Due to the way that MLG decided what teams were going to be invited to the event I never really expected to go. The week that we were going to MLG I had 3 tests for school so I was in the middle of studying a lot, which meant the time that I could have spent practicing wasn't really as much as we'd of liked before a major tournament but there was nothing I could really do about that. As the week went on and I had finally finished the tests in about 1 days time it was decided that I would fly to London and Ryan (Hydra) and I would stay at Chris' (Kalimist) house to practice. I literally went to my parents and said "Mom, Dad...I'm flying to London tomorrow to practice before flying to the US." Needless to say they were somewhat surprised considering there had been no discussion about this and suddenly in 1 day it was decided.

So I'd say that was the most stressful. I went from doing 3 exams, studying hard for that, flying to the UK for the first time, flying to the US for the first time and meeting tons of people I'd never really met/spoken to before. But I did enjoy the time there and I liked a lot of the people I met.

Also, during the first Blizzard Regionals, our team got through to the Upper Bracket finals, (there was 5-6 RMPs at the Tournament) and we were pretty confident that we could beat them all in a mirror (and we ended up winning 2 mirror matches to get to the finals, in the Upper Bracket Finals, we played against a WLD (Ocelote (now a LoL professional), Inflame and Kae)) and to be honest, we didn't play our best. Although we had never lost to them in a series before, we ended up losing, I put it down to nerves mostly. Anyway, we got knocked down into the Lower Bracket final where we had to come up against x6stences' PHD (Paladin, Hunter, Death Knight), which was very strong in that season and pretty difficult for RMP to beat. So anyway, I don't know why it was the case but when we went to play the game between them, for some reason we were given the computers to use that x6 had used last and I don't know what the exact issue was, but our Priest (Stgeorge's) keyboard was stuck on a different language setting (Spanish) and because of that (and because we weren't given the time to change things, because of time constraints, the event was already behind schedule) we were basically playing the first 2 games with a Healer who was basically using his spell book...so needlessly to say we had no chance at all, especially since he was the main target, he couldn't really run away and use spells at the same time.

So after the first 2 games, because it was 2-0, we were allowed to make some changes, which included fixing our keyboard, but because we were 2-0 down, we weren't really too confident in going 3-0 with a Priest so we made a mistake and tried to change to a different healing class (Paladin) which our Healer had never played before bar about 20-30 mins, it was stronger against that comp, but due to no practice, we ended up losing. All in all I was pretty disappointed in Blizzard because we were never really given a proper opportunity to get to Blizzcon because of that.

I'm not saying we would have won, x6 were a very good team and their comp was very strong against ours, but we had beaten them before - I just felt like having spent all that time qualifying for the event, getting to the finals that we should have been given a proper chance to show whether we were good enough to be there.

@Nikeagogo: On your Anook profile I can see that you currently have a few level 90s. Do you still play actively?

@saori: I started playing again at the beginning of Mists of Pandaria (MoP), although I had switched my main from Mage to Paladin (which was one of my mains during Vanilla and I played it a bit in TBC). I generally get bored of playing the same class after awhile. I also leveled up a Shaman (pretty much completely switched to a healing role in MoP), saying that I have gone ahead and leveled my Mage to 90 now for next season, although I can't say I enjoy the play style of the class at the moment. I thought I'd give it a try anyway since some old friends asked me to play with them.

My Shaman and Mage are a bit too far behind in gear for me to do much on them this season (since unfortunately gear has become too important in the game (in my opinion)). My Paladin is my "main" right now, but I plan on playing all 3 next season. I am also somewhat considering playing a Boomkin as well but I haven't even gotten around to leveling that yet.

@Enshadowed: What is your opinion on Mists of Pandaria?

@saori: Well, firstly I think Cataclysm was 2 steps backwards from WotLK - it had a few good changes in it and some good implemented features, but ultimately I think it wasn't a successful expansion, at least not in PvP. I think MoP is a step forward from Cataclysm, but we're still not at WotLK's level yet. I think there are some major issues with the game that the developers seem to want to continue pushing onto the community in hopes that they'll change their minds. I don't like the fact that Casters and Healers barely cast at all anymore (this was what I meant by not enjoying Mage play style right now), DPS classes can do ridiculous amount of healing, healers can sometimes do ridiculous amounts of damage (use as Paladins before the nerf to Denounce and Druids when they use Heart of the Wild).

It seems that they've gone away from balancing the game around 3v3, which is generally considered the "competitive bracket", so every class needs a big heal, every class needs to be able to do damage, every class needs instant CC or big instant damage. Everything is instant, I feel this is a big mistake. I think that since the end of WotLK the "skill floor" (which my definition is "the lowest skill level a player needs to be successful") has gotten a lot lower. I don't think players need to be as good as before in order to do well.

Not to say WotLK was the holy grail, it too had it's problems, it too had forgiving classes (in certain seasons) and forgiving comps, but these were isolated cases, whereas it seems to be the design goal in MoP.

I also want to point out that I think the community is much worse now than previously, I think there is less emphasis now on being competitive for fun/competition. Nowadays it seems people are more interested in getting titles and things like that because they are under the assumption that this proves they are a good player, I don't really understand this attitude. People pay money to transfer to dead/meaningless battle groups in order to obtain titles which have no real value whatsoever, rather than playing in the most competitive environment and testing themselves against better teams, I don't really understand this attitude, it makes no sense to me.

@Nikeagogo: What games do you play the most; which are you most passionate about these days?

@saori: I'm mostly passionate about MMOs. I generally will try out most MMOs when they come out in the hopes of finding a good new one to consume my free time with; from Aion Beta, SWTOR Beta, TERA Beta to eagarly waiting some other future releases (the new reboot of the Final Fantasy 14 MMO, Elder Scrolls Online, Blade and Soul etc). Other than MMOs I do play some other games a bit, I played Starcraft 2 for awhile; played Masters League for a few seasons but I really don't enjoy playing a game for huge amounts of time (the amount of time you need to play to get good/continue being good at SC2). I played some Diablo 3 but like many others I found it wasn't anywhere near as good as Diablo 2. I recently started playing some Assassin's Creed 3, Path of the Exile, Far Cry 3 and some CS:GO. I'll also play a few games of Battlefield 3 every now and then.

@Enshadowed: Do you still game with anyone that you used to play WoW competitively with (Notably: Hydra, Kalimist, etc.)?

@saori: I had played with a few of them, but mostly on AT (www.Arena-Tournament.com), but other than that, not really since I wasn't really playing WoW much since the end of WotLK up until the start of MoP.

However, the reason I started leveling my Mage again a few weeks ago has a lot to do with playing with some former teammates, so I'll be playing with them a lot more next season.

@Nikeagogo: Lastly, you recently joined the Anook community (and we are very happy to have you); any thoughts on it so far?

@saori: It seems like an interesting idea, hence why I originally decided to join. I really like the design of the site, I think it's been well designed from the beginning which is surprising since most sites usually are poorly designed from the beginning and generally that's a large reason they don't become popular. I think website design is more important than the actual content of the site, even YouTube and Facebook wouldn't of been popular had they had bad designs.

I think the site definitely has potential, although it might be very difficult to "make it big", I think it's something that was worth trying, and I hope it does become really successful.

@Enshadowed: Shoutouts?

@saori: I'd just like to shout-out to my old teammates and my old Sponsor "Team Dignitas", since it was because of their help and support that I was able to experience a lot of things that I probably wouldn't of been able at this stage in my life.

Also shoutout to all my friends Homerzy, Karll, Onur, Soramak, Ryan, Chris etc.

Especially big thanks to Nicole who has been helping me an unreasonable amount throughout my WoW Career.

Thanks to Flyn for the interview! Follow him on Anook at the link below!