When World of Warcraft first launched in late 2004, the world of podcasting was still in its infancy. One of the podcast pioneers of those early days was the cartoonist Scott Johnson, whose weekly ExtraLife Radio show soon found itself inundated with so much World of Warcraft talk that, at the beginning of 2006, he decided to launch a new podcast dedicated entirely to WoW: The Instance.
The World of Warcraft community would never be the same. Keeping to a weekly schedule for over 10 years now, The Instance has tracked every bit of news and rumor about the game through five expansions and, for Scott, a decade of drawing comics, producing audio entertainment, and growing his Frogpants Studios into a juggernaut of Internet entertainment.
In early 2007, Scott and his podcasting cohorts decided to close their casual guild The Legion of Cain (named for their devotion to Dean Cain) and start fresh with the Horde, chartering a guild called Alea Iacta Est on Earthen Ring-US. What happened next was remarkable.
We figured most of our listeners wouldn’t want to leave their current guilds and join a new one with us, but AIE started growing faster than we could count, and it just kept growing. We had to create an application system to track everyone who wanted to join, and within a couple of years, we’d received over 10,000 applications. – Scott Johnson
Alea Iacta Est would go on to claim its place as the largest guild in the World of Warcraft, and it now operates as eleven sister guilds in WoW, and has a presence in numerous other multiplayer games. The growth of interest in face-to-face meetups for the guild led Scott to start organizing a yearly gathering called Nerdtacular, which went from a few dozen people going to see a movie together in 2007 to a full-blown convention in recent years.
Scott credits the people he’s met along the way.
What’s so special about the World of Warcraft community is the constant sense that we’re all in it together. There's nothing quite like having a stranger in line at a coffee shop notice that your wallet has a Horde symbol stitched into it, or grinning when people understand your Barrens chat reference in a crowded restaurant. I’ve had chance encounters like those lead to lifelong friendships, and it's hard to think of any other aspect of pop culture and entertainment where this happens so frequently. I really value it. –Scott Johnson
We’re very happy to shine the Community Spotlight on Scott Johnson. If you’re looking for a podcast to listen to, or maybe even some new players to call friends, he’s probably got you covered on:
And don’t forget to obey Henry!