Esports writer and founder of Esports News UK, Dom Sacco, has turned his hand to fiction writing and has published a book about his World of Warcraft RP Outlaw Rogue. I had the immense pleasure of getting to chat to him about his book, his rogue, WoW, and…stuff. After the interview check out the links to find out how you can get a free copy of his book for your very own rogue reading pleasure.

Lets get those pesky WoW form questions out of the way:

How long have you been playing Wold of Warcraft?

I started playing World of Warcraft back in the summer of 2005. My first character was a night elf rogue called Bluestreak on the EU Thunderhorn server (shout out to The Northern Terror)! I tried a few other classes but none gave me the same unique feeling that being a rogue does, so I’ve never properly played another class since.

I’ll confess. I wasn’t originally a Warcraft fan before I played WoW. I actually wanted to play Final Fantasy XI Online at the time, but my old laptop couldn’t run it, so I opted for WoW instead and luckily ended up with the better game!

What is your favorite expansion?

I’m going to be annoying and contrary here and say original vanilla WoW. I had a bit of a break between The Burning Crusade and The Frozen Throne, and came back to play on and off after that, but for me, nothing compares to those original guild runs in Molten Core, killing Ragnaros for the first time and grinding pvp for the Grand Marshal’s Longsword.

If I had to choose an expansion though, it’d be Legion. That really got me back into the game, gave us the outlaw rogue spec and I first tried RP at the tail end of the expansion. I really liked the little things in Legion like artifact weapons, the class halls, mounts and mage tower challenges.

Obviously RP is a huge part of your WoW identity, but what is your WoW game?

I’ve kind of gone through it all in different stages. I used to love raiding and pvp back in vanilla and TBC (as I had the time to do so)! Then as I got older, I moved more towards RP and collecting transmog gear and little sparkly things that catch my eye, for example particular mounts like Lucid Nightmare or rare weapons like Shadowfang. 

As a rogue, are you diehard Outlaw or do you switch specs?

Diehard outlaw, for my sins! Though in Classic, if I had time to raid I’d have to switch to daggers just so I could use Perdition’s Blade (that damn drop eluded me during the entirety of vanilla, grr).

How do you like the current state of rogue in game?

I haven’t raided or played pvp for a while, so it’s hard for me to say, but I adore the rogue playstyle and I think with a few tweaks Blizzard could make it even better in terms of the class fantasy. I’d love to see a greater emphasis on lockpicking and pickpocketing and deception, whether that’s stealth bonuses or unique disguises.

What did you think of the reimagining of Combat to Outlaw? How did that affect your character’s identity? How do you like the way Outlaw plays vs Combat?

I was kind of lucky, because I played combat for the most part during vanilla, up until level 60. When I returned to the game a while later, I switched to Assassination and it was okay, but deep down I can’t deny my inner dual-wielding swordfighter!

Are you looking forward to Shadowlands? Do you have a Covenant picked out? What aspect of the game are you looking forward to most?

Yes and no. It’s a new WoW expansion, so I’ll play it, but I was left disappointed after Battle for Azeroth. Before it launched, I genuinely thought it’d be the best yet: Kul Tiras and Zandalar, a huge war erupting between Sylvanas and Anduin, the Battle for Lordaeron, the whole seafaring style, and the pre-expansion book by Christie Golden, Before the Storm was great. For me it had all the hallmarks of a top expansion. But then once we got into it, the war just didn’t get going for me, we had Warfronts and Island Expeditions… the night elves and forsaken still don’t have new homes. The CGI shorts were nice, but it all felt very underwhelming to me.

So I am looking forward to Shadowlands, I think some of the ideas are nice (like the Tower of the Damned), but I’m not going to get my hopes up this time. And the lore is kind of all over the place too, so I’m not holding my breath.

As for the covenants, it has to be the Venthyr (Revendreth) for me! That dark gothic style, and the rogue ability Slaughter sounds cool too.

It sounds like pickpocketing is going to become meaningful in Shadowlands. It could be a good time to be a rogue.

Ah I missed this! I haven’t been following all the Shadowlands updates that closely but I’m sure I will as the release date approaches.

I just searched for info online and found a post on Ravenholdt, the idea of pickpocketing to find ingredients that augment Crimson Vial sounds interesting!

Naariel’s awesome cover.

The amazing Naariel did your cover. I absolutely love her style. She painted my rogue for my BlizzCon badge a few years ago – I still get compliments on that. It looks like she nailed Phoenix. Those Cataclysm Phoenix shoulders – how appropriate – and the Outlaw Artifact Weapons. Love those! What drew you to her style?

Thank you! Naariel’s work is amazing, absolutely. I first saw her art on the WoW subreddit (I think it was this image) and I love her ability to capture a character’s personality through a single piece of art. I saw that she had painted a few other rogue types too and so I just had to get a commission made! She’s been really cool and supportive of the book too, and I appreciate that. 

I checked out your Blizzcon badge and I’m not surprised you get regular compliments on it! Looks awesome.

Doesn’t it though! Her latest piece is a rogue too. She does us so well! I was drawn to her work for exactly the same reason as you. Every piece is a person. 

100%. And ah, I just checked that new piece out! Love it. The world needs more rogues – even gnome rogues (I can’t believe I just said that). 

The corvid imagery in the background is wonderful – we at Ravenholdt have a certain appreciation for corvids. There is avian imagery in both Blood Elf and Rogue lore. Phoenix is named for a bird, ironically a bird somewhat associated with the Sunwell, so her connection to her culture comes through her name rather than through magic. Were the ravens (I’m claiming them as ravens) on the cover something that you talked over with Naariel, or did she come up with them? How do you see them tying in to who Phoenix is?

I can’t take credit for that! One of my former RP guilds, The Rookery, had its setting beside a (yep, you guessed it) rookery. My character had her own crow companion and there were some brilliant storylines there. 

So when I had that artwork commissioned by Naariel a while back, I wanted it to also capture an essence of the guild I was in at the time. I told Naariel about this and she worked her magic. I was so happy with the end result, I had it blown up and framed. It made sense for me to use it as the book’s cover too. I like that the picture forever encapsulates part of Phoenix and her history. The brunt of the book’s setting is before she looks like that, but I like how it leads up to that, as her backstory.

So in the book she’s turning into who she is on the cover. That’s so fun. You are making me want to write my own backstory. But…speaking of turning… let’s talk about the title, Turning Red. Phoenix is a redhead. That’s basic. Red evokes the temper and the blackouts alluded to in the description. The phrase “seeing red” refers to anger, so “turning red” could be becoming angry. Her blackouts are referred to as “the red mist” by another character. And also Bloodlust. Blood is red…and leads us to Blood Elves, turning into a Blood Elf, as most inhabitants of Silvermoon did. Also red alludes to the Horde. Turning red as opposed to turning blue. So becoming a member of the horde, picking a race, a faction, and a class, deciding who you are. The book is a story of becoming, it’s the origin story of a person who does in fact end up on the red side. Horde and Blood Elves are broader story strokes than you approach in the book, but was there some of that in mind when you picked the title?

Absolutely. I’m a sucker for puns and you’ve hit the nail on the head with all of that. I think also, for me, the title was also based around the fact that some of her friends call her ‘Red’ as a nickname. 

At the start of the book, she’s this quiet, insular type but grows in confidence throughout the story. I don’t want to give too much away to anyone interested in reading it, but when she finds herself becoming part of a gang, she is conflicted with the idea of theft, of breaking the law, but also wants to be accepted by them, to make friends. Because of this, the gang attempts to ‘turn’ her a bit, to loosen her morals, to move out of the white and into the grey, so to speak. Throughout the book, they are turning ‘Red’, turning her to their cause. So there were a few puns in there and that was the book title I eventually settled on, out of all the other ideas I had.

You wrote this book and you get to make up your story and your world, but as a fan fic writer your character exists in a world that someone else created and is continuing to create. You do put a disclaimer in your book for the lore nerds, acknowledging that you’ve taken a few liberties, but in game, you still have to play by the writers’ rules. Do you find your character being forced into uncharacteristic choices by the game? Does that pull you out of character or can you rationalize it?

Luckily, it’s not too bad. I thought the very same thing when I first started roleplaying in WoW. But the beauty of RPing in WoW is that you can go OOC (out of character) whenever you like, pretty much.

So if I’m doing a quest to kill 10 dinosaurs in Zandalar, for example, that is not something Phoenix would do in-character. There’s a cool add-on most RPers will use called TRP (Total RolePlay), and there’s an option there you can use to signal to other players that you are in-character or out-of-character.

So while questing and pvping and generally playing the game, I will be out of character. If I’m at a guild event or I want to engage in some casual RP in Booty Bay’s Salty Sailor Tavern, for example, I might want to go in-character, and move around and talk to others in chat as Phoenix would.

In recent years the lore of WoW has gone in some crazy directions, so that does break the immersion a bit for the world that Phoenix is in, in my mind, but it’s not too bad. You can find the right guild for you, you can all pretend that some of the in-game events haven’t happened if you like, but when engaging in open, casual RP, it’s generally accepted that the current events of the game are canon.

I’m glad you mentioned the “kill 10 dinosaurs” type of quest. I really dislike those. I’m beginning to think I may be a RPer at heart because I always do them grudgingly while thinking “I would not do this…” Stealing eggs, stomping marmots, I actively hate that quest. But then you have to think about the quest designers’ job; they must provide quests, must they all be meaningful? There is no way that they can keep everyone occupied for a reasonable amount of time with nothing but pithy, meaningful quests so I guess they are the “and then some time passed” filler mechanic. 

I agree and honestly, part of me likes the easy ‘hunt x items’ or ‘kill x mobs’ type of quests now and then. WoW is like comfort food gaming for me, questing can be relaxing and easy going (unless you have War Mode turned on)! But yeah, I couldn’t RP it and it’s not what my character would do, so I switch off, in a way.

I don’t blame the devs for adding those kinds of quests. It’s part of the bread and butter of classic WoW gameplay. But, also a reminder that this style of gameplay is a little outdated now. What I would do for a proper overhaul or sequel to WoW…

Maybe you are an RPer at heart! Why not give it a go? See what you think. If you hate it, at least you tried it! Paryah looks like she’d fit into a guild like Vile Thorn.

Interestingly, I too saw Vile Thorn advertising back in the day – actually I think we plugged them in our newsletter here on Ravenholdt. I’d have applied except I’m not on EU servers.

It’s really cool that RPers have add-ons to signal each other. One of my personal barriers to trying RP is that I am not a fast typer. I think ooh, that dude helped me, I should thank him…and I’ll be cool and do it in an emote, and by the time I have it out he’s gone. Or someone emotes at me and I don’t see it until after I’ve hearthed or whatever. Is there an add-on to make you pay attention to people interacting with you or to whip out emotes appropriately quickly?

That is one of the great challenges of RP, in my opinion. I’m a pretty fast typer, but at busy RP events with 15 or 20 people there, I struggle to keep up with what’s going on, as the chat can move fast.

Again, it ties back into finding the right group of people for you. I’ve RPed with players that are slow typers and I actually like it, as it gives you time to pause, think and properly connect with their characters, as well as time to think up a response for your character to make too.

Why did you feel the need to specify that Phoenix was different because she had no magic? Do you feel that high/blood elves are defined by their magic? Obviously the Sunwell is central to High elf culture, but not all high elves were magi. Do you see all high elf rogues, hunters, warriors as different in this way, or is Phoenix’s lack of connection to the Sunwell more personal, more unique?

That’s a great question. I think from my experience RPing and following WoW lore, there’s an acceptance that blood elves like magic, they rely on the Sunwell, it’s part of their culture.

I’d say Phoenix’s lack of a connection is more unique, I’d like to think so anyway. I also wanted a clear explanation for Phoenix going down the path of a rogue, not just because she isn’t adept with magic but because of her background, her personality and the situations she finds herself in. 

Also, in the book’s blurb, I’m a bit sly, because I don’t explicitly say that she has no magic, but that she has ‘never had an affinity for magic’. She doesn’t particularly like it or rely on it as much as other high elves or blood elves might. This also leaves the door open for her to change her stance in the future.

Ah ha, so one of these days you might try Subtlety with our cunning Shadow Magic?

Perhaps! People have differing views on magic and stealth and so on, in RP terms, too. Some RPers believe the ability to actually vanish or turn invisible is overpowered in RP terms and frown upon it, for others, they accept that your character may be able to ‘enter stealth’ and turn semi-invisible in character.

I tried to take a different approach to this topic in the book, during Phoenix’s training, as she learns to get comfortable in the shadows (see Chapter XIII: The Sinking Night).

As a writer there is a connection between you and your character, and as a player there is a connection between you and your character. How does the player connection translate to the writer connection? Does knowing the character as a player help write her? Or does it make it more of a challenge?

It’s interesting as they’re both intrinsically linked. To me, Phoenix didn’t really feel like her own character until I started roleplaying, then I added her backstory, which eventually became my book. And when I’m roleplaying, it’s like I’m writing her story as I play. There’s nothing quite like it and to anyone reading, if you haven’t RPed before, I really recommend giving it a go.

There’s a term that’s used in roleplaying called ‘bleed’, where your own player emotions may cross over into your character’s, or vice versa. If Phoenix feels angry with another elf in-game, that can crossover into how I’m feeling. If a character close to Phoenix dies, for example, then I as a player know I will never be able to RP with them again, and that might make me feel sad as a player too, as well as Phoenix.

I know it sounds a bit weird, you’ll just have to trust me on this! RP can get quite personal, emotive and feel very ‘real’ at times. For the most part it’s fun and the two are easily kept separate, but crossover can happen.

Oh I trust you, I’m one step more geeky: I’m a LARPer! Did I just admit that in public?

Oh! There you go – so you are an RPer at heart! I know a few people who LARP but I’m not that familiar with it as I’ve never done it myself. Sounds like a lot of fun, honestly. I would be up for trying it in the future. 

If you’re a LARPer, then you might find that RPing in WoW comes easy to you!

Do you equate her “rogue” tendencies to her blackouts? If so, why do you feel that her connection to her class needs to be something that is beyond her control? Do you see class, or even the need to be an adventurer, as something that is somehow undesirable and thus needs a cleansing explanation?

Interesting question – I hadn’t really thought about this before. It’s explained in the book why she has the blackouts and I don’t want to give too much away, but it’s related to the story, not so much her progression into the rogue archetype.

I think regardless of the blackouts, Phoenix would still be an adventurer because of what happens to her early on, with her mother being kidnapped, she is forced into a new life and meets her gang seemingly by chance. I see what you’re saying about rogues somehow being undesirable, but that stereotype, of the poor thief/assassin working in the shadows, is what makes it great in its own way, in my opinion.

You mentioned earlier that Phoenix has to be turned from white to gray by her compatriots, that she has to become ok with breaking the law. That is such an interesting observation. We are heroes, we are the good guys, but, as rogues, we have some rather sly tendencies – pickpocketing, lock breaking – and coming to a place as a character where you can do immoral things for moral reasons and be good with it can be tough. I still feel bad about the number of residents of Suramar whose lunch I stole. Do other classes have to deal with this kind of conflict, do you think?

Haha, I want to say don’t feel bad about stealing their lunch, but embrace it, though I think that’d make me a hypocrite if I said that! One of the things I adore about rogues, in general, is this conflict. I think other classes may have their own conflicts too, like demon hunters and void elves in general, but I find the rogue’s most interesting.

I’ve read lots of rogue and assassin books, like The Night Angel trilogy by Brent Weeks, and I love the inner conflict that a lot of them have. Yes they steal, they pick locks, they can break the law – or break other people’s bones – for coin. But in general, a lot of them also have this charming, alluring side that for me no other WoW class has. There’s something very Robin Hood about the medieval rogue archetype, doing something for the greater good, or taking the law into their own hands, which I find impossible not to love. 

I think, for me, Phoenix isn’t at that level yet. She’s not really a loveable rogue type, not in Turning Red anyway (though the goblin boss of her gang, Trixie, probably is). Phoenix is still figuring out her own morals, her desires, her goals. But for the next part and beyond, I have some more dashing stories and adventures in mind for her in the future.

I guess this kind of leads into my next question. As characters in a game we are defined, we are all divided into boxes, predominantly race, class, spec, and faction. Some things are very story driven: race, faction. Others are really not. As a writer writing a character for an audience that may not include people who care so much about these boxes, how do you translate things like Class and Spec into your world? Your description calls the book “the story of a hot-headed high elf outlaw rogue.” Does Phoenix know she is an Outlaw Rogue?

Hah, good question. She does in the time of retail WoW, but certainly not in the book I wrote, as that’s her backstory. 

In terms of translating class and spec into the book, I tried my best to simplify things and make it easy for even a non-WoW player to understand what is going on and how each character differs from the next.

I’m a big advocate of the mantra ‘show, don’t tell’. I never actually state in the book (outside the blurb) that Phoenix is becoming a rogue, I show the reader how she might be. I never once state that Falkor, the mute, disfigured elf boy in her group is a mage/healer, but I demonstrate how he’s able, with focus, to heal wounds, or call on other powers. A lot of the minor characters are rogue-ish types, some might call them pirates, or smugglers, but I don’t explicitly use those nouns. Fictional characters, like people, can be complex. I’d like to let the reader decide what they think of my characters and which boxes they fall into.

You mentioned Christie Golden earlier. Her WoW novels are amazing and must-reads for anyone with an interest in not just WoW lore, but also in Azeroth as a place to live, a place to be from. I have been very interested in how she deals with class/spec when writing her characters. I wrote a piece for Ravenholdt a million years ago – I don’t think anyone actually read it – about how she wrote rogue characters in the Warcraft movie prequel, Warcraft: Durotan and how I, as a rogue player, was actually able to point out abilities that the characters were using. For me, that was fascinating. But writing something like, “…and then she Shadowstepped behind her target, and, making sure she had five combo points, …” would be super boring. There needs to be a happy medium, so I like that there is a certain amount of ambiguity. When I recognize something it really does make me sit up straight, though

Now I feel bad I haven’t read that novel you mentioned (*quickly adds it to my list of books to read*). 

Yeah, that’s the mark of a good writer, absolutely. Getting that balance right between mystery, ambiguity and also clarity. Making the reader understand what is happening without explicitly saying it (it’s that ‘show, don’t tell’ thing again). 

I didn’t think too much about specific in-game moves and abilities when writing this novel, as for large parts of it Phoenix is still learning to fight. But now you’ve mentioned it, thinking back to some of the combat scenes in the book, I had a few gouge and cheap shot and sinister strikes in there, for sure. Don’t forget the slice and dice and eviscerates, too. Oh, and lots of sprints. I’m going to bear this more closely in mind for the next book, which should have even more swashbuckling in it.

Also, I’d be keen to read your piece on those rogue abilities in the book.

You also specify in your description that she is a High Elf which makes sense since this story takes place before the destruction of the Sunwell. Presumably Phoenix becomes a Blood Elf when Kael’thas decrees their name change, or does she not? Does she remain a High Elf? Does she share in the addiction to the Sunwell even though her connection is unusually absent?

She is technically a blood elf in retail WoW, though mainly through the limitations of needing to select an allegiance when you create a character. In RP terms however, I see her as more of an outsider, a mercenary. Neither horde nor alliance, but neutral. She only cares about gold and glory in WoW’s current timeline, and will choose sides based on who’s paying. Phoenix doesn’t like her own race and I tried to cover some of the reasons why in her backstory.

And in the book you’re right, she’s still a high elf: Silvermoon hasn’t fallen yet. I’d really love to write about her experiences during the scourge’s invasion of Quel’Thalas. I have a few ideas about that and would love to explore them further. I am hoping to write more sequels and also short stories about Phoenix’s adventures, especially if there are readers out there that would like to see them. 

I would love to see those stories from a player perspective. In official Blizzard publications most of the characters tend to be the movers and shakers – and appropriately so. Getting to see the player take on those events would be fascinating, after all, these games are really all about us, the (slightly flawed) Champions of Azeroth.

Yeah, 100%. I liked what they did when they allowed us to reenact the fall of Silvermoon from our character’s perspective, but I want more. I want a longer, bloodier battle. Why not allow us to properly reenact other major events from Warcraft history? Let us be part of the scourge, riding with Arthas, or an orc breaking through the dark portal, raiding human settlements, or one of the human mages fighting back the trolls. Make them pvp, or large-scale brawls like the Battle of Lordaeron. I don’t know about you, but I’d play the hell out of that kind of thing.

Also, I am getting a little tired of the same old faces in current retail WoW. They’re great, but there’s only so many times they can save (or try to destroy) Azeroth, surely. I think Blizzard should try and introduce new characters into the lore. Why not find some interesting players or new characters and closely integrate them more into WoW and move the storyline forward that way? Look at Zappy Boi (sorry, Zekhan) and how well he was received.

Lets talk about WoW lore. In Legion we as rogues got to meet, work with, and hang out with a few rather high profile people. Obviously all of this happens far past the novel, but what does Phoenix think of some of the rogues she’s met and worked with? Any she might still meet up with for wine and poetry? Lord Ravenholdt, Mathias Shaw, Lilian Voss, Arli Sunblade, Fleet Admiral Tethys, Garona…

I absolutely loved the rogue class storyline in Legion, acquiring the rapier weapons and mount and working with those big names. For me, I would have done those quests out of character, so Phoenix wouldn’t have met any of those rogues you mentioned – except for Arli of course! 

Phoenix? Yeah, I remember Nix. Joined us with a bit of experience under her belt – always good to get the recruits that already know you stab with the pointy end, if y’know what I mean. Pretty good at her job too, was with us a while and fitted in well but ultimately, the Thorn way of life wasn’t for her. Not so keen on the discipline, we have to work as a unit and her … ah… independent spirit struggled with the ‘JFDI’ side of being a Thorn

Arli Sunblade, Vile Thorn

I have a lot of respect for Arli and Vile Thorn, they were the first guild I RPed with and they gave me the confidence to grow my character. I’ll never forget my times with the guild of assassins and thank them for the opportunity.

When Phoenix joined Vile Thorn, she was looking for work and they helped hone her assassination skills. They also helped me develop Phoenix’s identity and realise she’s an adventurer, a scoundrel, a treasure hunter, but not an assassin. 

Sadly I’m not in touch with them anymore, but I hope I left the door open if they ever wanted to RP again. Phoenix is a fiery character and doesn’t really like following rules (neither do I – see that ‘bleed’ I mentioned earlier?), for that reason I choose to play her casually nowadays, mainly as a lone wolf, sometimes taking part as a guest in other external guild RP events.

What does Phoenix think of Arli? Deadly, charming, but too much bravado for her. She fears him and Vile Thorn, but would never admit it. Plus, he’s a fellow elf, so never really had a chance of getting on her good side 😉 

Some of the other amazing rogues Phoenix has met on her adventures include Ash, Crow, Val, War, Ziggy and Ginx.

That’s really interesting. So as players there are characters we interact with but as characters we may not want to be that…high falutin’. So as an RPer, you play through the story out of character and then come back afterwards and make your own story. 

Yeah, I expect many do, but some don’t. I tried to RP the burning of Teldrassil questline when it came out near the start of BFA, but it just didn’t feel right. None of our characters were really sold on burning it, so it didn’t work. I was glad I tried it, but wouldn’t RP a quest like that again. It’s best to make your own events in my opinion, like D&D.

I think it’s amazingly neat that you have written this novel based on your RP character. For the uninitiated, can you talk a bit about RP. What is the draw? If a person is interested, how might they get started in RP?

For me, there’s nothing quite like it. RPing is like taking part in an interactive story, that you write as you go, and shape collaboratively with your friends or guildies or others. 

The best way to know what RP is like is to just try it. Argent Dawn is a bustling EU server full of all types of RP players. Always liked the idea of being a priest and following the church of holy light? Want to be a goblin smuggler? A tauren drug addict that writes and performs poetry to fund his habit? Okay so the last one is a bit extreme! But my point is you can try whatever you like.

You can follow Phoenix on Twitter!

I was lucky because I saw Vile Thorn advertising on the WoW forums and loved the idea of a rogue-only guild. I applied and got in and I learnt to RP through them. So have a look around the forums, ask communities on reddit and reach out to players on social media to try and find what is right for you. If you don’t like it, don’t give up right away, you might just need to find the right group of players for you. 

There are all sorts of mods out there that help with the RP experience, TRP is the main one, but have a look around and find what’s right for you. 

I will say, try to make your character believable. It’s tempting to fall into the ‘Mary Sue’ trap and make your character someone who’s god-like, maybe the best friend of Anduin and the killer of Deathwing. But try to make your character more believable, with their own struggles and strengths and weaknesses. 

Most importantly, have fun! It’s just a game.

Never were wiser words spoken! I know that there are people who started out as RP players who are now writing for WoW. Any thoughts about going in that direction, or is this fiction gig pure hobby?

Definitely a hobby for now, this book has been a super fun project for me to do in my spare time over the past 2 years. I’ve thought about writing for games or shows in the past and I’m not sure I’d like to work for a developer or giant producer. But, never say never.

Would you like to see more rogue oriented stories from Blizzard? If you got to pick a rogue character for them to write a short story about, who would it be?

Of course! I like Lilian Voss and Garona, but honestly I would love to see some new faces developed by Blizzard at this point. I think the game needs it.

You write for a living, but not about sneaking through the shadows, you write about esports. What do you enjoy about esports? What led you into writing about it for a profession?

Being an esports journalist certainly feels like I’m sneaking through the shadows sometimes!

Esports is fantastic. I love the competitiveness of it, the flashy plays, the underdog stories, watching top talent play off against one another, for me there is so much to get excited about. I’m mainly a watcher of League of Legends esports but will tune into anything if it holds my interest.

I got into it as a profession after growing up reading hundreds of games magazines over the years. I did work experience at Nintendo Official Magazine back in the day, studied journalism at university and after working in this field for several years, decided to set up my own website (Esports News UK). That led to my role at the British Esports Association. So, I worked hard, got a bit lucky and kept relentlessly pursuing my passions. And now here I am, writing 120,000 words about elven rogues making friends with runaway orcs, as you do.

As you do. So…final and most important question: Saurfang or Sylvanas?

I’m going to annoy some with my answer, but… Sylvanas! I have to be honest, I like her character and earlier backstory, so I have that connection to her. I wasn’t a huge fan of how things panned out in BFA, with this conflicted and devious undead elf trying to take the horde in a new direction. But I love her lore and background. Yeah she’s not your typical horde leader, but I never really liked typical. So my horde head says Saurfang, but my heart says Sylvanas.

Clever belf. That is the correct answer.

To learn more about Dom and Turning Red, including how to download your free copy (FREE COPY!), check out his website: Dominic Sacco

To learn more about what he does as an esports writer, check out Esports News UK and British Esports Association.

If you would like to commission a character portrait from Naariel or just check out more of her terrific work, check out Naariel and her ArtStation.

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If you’d like to hear a reading from the novel as well as a Q&A with the man himself, check out the Book Launch on You Tube: