When Fierydemise stashed his theoretical daggers in permanent storage last month, my first thought was: “Holy crap. How did it take him this long?”
A pillar of our rogue community for the past five years, FD has been a tireless defender of truth, justice and extensive mathematical rigor dating back to at least 2010, when in his very first official WoW forum post he assailed server faction balance as “absurd.” Trying to keep up with FD — or to top him in a theorycrafting debate — was like running a marathon: You had to be prepared to match him stride for stride until one of you dropped. And it was probably gonna be you who dropped.
My own history with FD began in September 2012, when he appeared in WoW’s official rogue forum out of the blue with a guide on how to play a combat rogue in Mists of Pandaria. Our exchange in that thread is pretty much how most of our conversations went back then: I questioned his sources, he defended his diligence, and we eventually worked out a compromise.
In the years since, I learned there’s no need to question FD’s sources. As he grew from rogue spec guide writer to all-around rogue class expert to one of the leading minds in WoW theorycrafting, what gave FD his strength (and his influence) was an unforgiving dedication to accuracy and rigor, and an unwavering desire to correct errors and ensure rogue players had the best information at their fingertips.
Fierydemise (right) with fellow Shadowcraft developer Tamen at PAX Prime in 2015. (Image via Tamen on Twitter)
All of that led him to team up with Haileaus, Paryah and me to create Ravenholdt back in 2014 — and for him to take the reins of Shadowcraft, the rogue class’s most venerable optimization tool, a little over a year later, following in the footsteps of Aldriana and Pathal. Fierydemise hasn’t just been a big part of the conversation among rogue players for years; he’s created the conversation, framed it, led it. Sometimes quite literally, as in the case of one of his greatest achievements, the establishment and growth of our Discord channel. He’s also, as it happens, just a genuinely good human being, with a level of empathy and personal connection that I think many folks tend to assume can’t exist in the deeply analytical mind of a theorycrafter. But it can. In most, it very much does. FD is a shining example.
But a person can’t volunteer their time and their energy to a passion forever, and for FD, the time finally came last month. That it took him this long to reach that point is a testament not just to his own sense of dedication, but also his commitment to the rogue class, the people who play it, and the people who help make our community thrive — not just the leaders you see writing guides or posting blogs or streaming or tweeting, but those who work quietly and behind the scenes as well. FD wouldn’t leave unless he was confident there were quality folks to carry the torch. That’s how quality he is.
But hey, don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few WoW (and rogue) community leaders, both past and present, who wanted to share their own thanks and recollections about one of WoW theorycrafting’s great minds, and one of the rogue class’s greatest, period. I’ll add to this collection as more submissions come in.
Aeriwen, longtime WoW rogue guide writer and theorycrafter
I can’t recall when I first met Fiery. The years have been so many. But with a bit of sleuthing, the earliest interaction that I’ve found between us seems to have been a debate. That seems appropriate. Fiery has been an invaluable leader in our community. His careful commitment to accuracy and due diligence has carried this community for a decade. He leaves big shoes to fill, but he laid behind him a well trodden path for others to follow. It has been a honor to work with him. He has been a wonderful friend and colleague these many years. I do not have to wish him the best because I am certain that he will succeed in his next endeavor. It is in his nature to excel.
Calligraphy, Wowhead developer and recovering monk theorycrafter
FieryDemise always asked me some pretty tough questions, and presented theorycrafting in a way I hadn’t really thought of. I tend to look at things from a more practical standpoint, whereas he really pushed things into a more theoretical standpoint. I’m not as involved with rogue, but I appreciate these types of challenging questions, and that he’s one of those very rare people who will listen to the “other” view without being condescending, even when he disagrees.
Celestalon, a.k.a. Chadd Nervig, Technical Game Designer, WoW
Thanks for all the contributions you made to the community, FD!
Mystler, rogue theorycrafter and Shadowcraft developer
With your “retirement” post offical, I just want to use the opportunity to thank you for all you’ve done. Personally, when I look back at the last few years, I’ve always been a silent listener in Ravenholdt IRC and later Discord. One who has mostly consumed information from trusted people in order to get better, with some “private TC” alongside. It was not until I read your ShadowCraft call for help that I woke up and finally decided to put my passion for the class to good use. I am so happy you welcomed me with open arms and got me started, which helped a lot to overcome my anxiety to work with and for the community.
I can understand your interests have shifted and with another “Thank you” I just want to wish you all the best! 🙂
The original (and most adorable) Ravenholdt logo, designed by Fierydemise.
Paryah, Ravenholdt co-founder and rogue journalist
Fierydemise. What can I say? Ebullient, brilliant, passionate. We share a love of rogues and classic science fiction. I have loved working with him and will miss him keenly. Salute, FD, you made this community what it is. Whoever gets to work with you in the future is truly fortunate. Best to you.
Pathal, a.k.a. Pins, former rogue theorcrafting leader and Shadowcraft wizard
Out of all the people I worked with on Shadowcraft, no one managed to put up with my shenanigans and idiocy like Fierydemise. He was my sounding board and filter to the rest of the community, and I know all too well how demanding both that position and designing the engine is. Lay back, crack open a beer, and take a breath. You’ve earned it.
Vigilate, veteran top-end rogue raider and PvE streamer
Fiery, I’m sad to see you quit. I remember the first time we chatted was back sometime in mid-late Cata. At the time, I was just looking for people to chat PvE Rogue stuff with, but I ended up finding something more as the past few years have folded out. I’ll always look fondly upon the “OG Ravenholdt” from the MoP days. It was a close knit community, and you were one of the people that made it great.
Responses on Twitter to Fierydemise’s Farewell Message
From Current and Former Community Leaders
Selections From WoW Players