Can you tell us a little about yourself and what you do? What are your favorite video games?
I am Hunter Leigh, Head of Esports for the Golden State Warriors. I oversee Golden Guardians and Warriors Gaming Squad, and my main job is to be the glue between the mothership of GSW and all our Esports operations. With two kids under 3, I don’t have as much time as I used to to play games, but my favorite games are WoW, LoL, and historically JRPGs like CHRONO Trigger. Have you played WoW? If so, what class do you play?
I started playing WoW during TBC and first level capped in Wrath. I have dipped in and out over the years, with a long break between early Cataclysm and Legion. I play a Blood Elf Prot Pally renamed recently after my second daughter. I love tanking, but play so casually now that I wouldn’t subject randoms to it. Golden Guardians is also part of League of Legends and Super Smash Bros. Melee, what do you think makes WoW stand out from these other games?
The sheer breadth of WoW is incomparable. There are three distinct esports scenes, the game itself is both deep and broad, and the openness of the scene for org participation is unrivaled. So many people focus on what WoW isn’t anymore that they don’t see what WoW still is. What do you think are the strengths of WoW?
The community. When we expanded into PvP with The Move initially, we expected that particular fanbase to be passionate. What we learned as an org was how big hearted and warm the broader WoW community continues to be. This is a community that cares, that supports, and especially in these times that advocates and pushes for things to be better. As we have run charity events, WoW has always punched above its weight, and that is inspiring to be a part of. This is an expansion into and in support of the WoW community.
For an org with broad content goals, the space to make content within every aspect of the game is the major appeal. The development cycle of WoW creates peaks and valleys that we can fill with content. There is an appetite in the community for fun and engaging content that helps bridge the time between patches, and we can solve that in a number of interesting ways. Why has Golden Guardians expanded further into WoW?
On the back of our Smash expansion we were looking for similar spaces that could support the four pillars of our initiative: great people, team up content, unique events, and community support.
We thought the right opportunity within WoW was within the live PvE space, as the time between Races was long and the MDI structure left a ton of room for PvE content. We think the combination of skills of these two teams and our two casters will create a bunch of unique and fun content within the flow of the live game everyone is playing at home. You announced the GG WoW squad earlier, what do you hope each of them will bring to Golden Guardians?
Their differences are their strengths. Tettles and Dratnos personify the tone we want for this expansion, fun and light hearted but with analysis and criticism where appropriate. Esports should be fun and these two have always kept the fun flowing even in the tensest competitive moments.
For Ambition and Incarnation, they are a contrast of styles. Ambition is more polished, more try-hard, and I know they will be pushing for Rank 1 or 1st place every time. Incarnation are far more laid back, more even keel, and more jocular in style. Don’t let them fool you, they want to win, but they are going to do it their unique way and with a lot of laughs along the way.
The whole will be greater than the sum of these parts and it’s the combination of them that will produce the best content. You've decided to sign multiple MDI teams. What do you like about the MDI?
We actually pursued both teams even before the Great Push was announced and long before the new MDI format or their participation in it was going on. We pursued them as streamers and live key teams, and their MDI participation is a fun bonus of the recent changes.
MDI should showcase the best of 5 man content, and as someone who enjoyed pushing heroic dungeons hard in Wrath, I love the idea of the M+ system and Esports around it. Building a healthy MDI has been a challenge for Blizzard, but the recent changes are definitely a big step in the right direction. What kind of content are you looking to create? What will make your content unique?
Our Smash content is a great example of what we hope to make here. We think the PvE space is ripe with fun and experimental content that will both showcase high end play, but also explore silly and fun takes on dungeons and WoW in general. We want to push these teams to odd and interesting edges, and to test their skills in strange ways. I don’t want to be too prescriptive, we will be iterating all the time to keep things fresh, and one of the things I love about this group is that they all have an eye for content and a loud voice in what we are going to make. What do you hope to accomplish throughout the WoW community by bringing your content?
We are launching a big awareness campaign that I want to be one of the biggest aspects of what we do. These questions came towards the end of the interview but I hope this message will be in the forefront of people’s minds.
We are very cognizant of the context of this expansion, of the lawsuit and horrible allegations about the culture at Blizzard and the behavior of senior leaders. We aren’t expanding in support of THAT, or of Blizzard the company, and we are going to use our platforms to support the BetterABK movement, the employees at Blizzard working to make the company better, and the WoW community pushing hard to hold Blizzard’s feet to the fire.
We will have quarterly charity events and an ongoing Vault awareness campaign that we hope will keep pressure on and not let folks forget that there is more work to do. We hope to do that in a fun and engaging way, be a destination for new voices, fresh content and lots of laughs. This is a content expansion, and we are going to make awesome content for the competitive PvE community.Where will we be able to find Guardian Guardians WoW?
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