Interview: Esfand

Time for another interview! I recently had a chat with Esfand a.k.a. The Ret Bull, a man on a quest to spread righteousness across Azeroth. For most WoW players and Classic fans, Esfand is a familiar face. While currently prepping for Battle for Azeroth (which he streams live on Twitch), Esfand is a true Classic fan. The man even got DMCA’d for using private server footage on Youtube. Did it stop him? nope! Besides his own stream (which is growing fast!), you can also find him on the podcast ClassiCast. Alongside StaySafe and TipsOut where they talk about all things classic. Besides that, BFA is coming out next week and with the recent Diablo news, upcoming Blizzcon might be a good one! Let’s dive in shall we?

Hey Esfand, thanks for doing this interview with us. First of all, how are you doing?

Hey I’m doing great! Streaming and everything seems to be going really well. I’m really busy nowadays, but it’s good overall.

How, where and when did you get started making content?

I had just graduated and was recovering from surgery a little over a year ago, so I was playing a lot of videos games. I thought to myself, if I’m sitting here playing games I should really be making videos or something to at least stay fresh. So I started making Vanilla WoW YouTubes videos, showing off some ret paladin gameplay, because no one was really doing that and it was going really well. People were really enjoying my videos so I eventually thought to myself… maybe I should start streaming, and here we are.

I noticed more and more youtubers spending more time on streaming (you, Asmongold and Stay Safe for example). Is there a reason for this and does it impact your Youtube channel?

Yeah that’s definitely true. There’s a few reasons for that, whether it’s demonetization issues or just the general return on investment of YouTube vs twitch (for us in particular), but the biggest thing for me personally is the restriction on Vanilla WoW YouTube content, due to DMCA restriction on private server videos.

I see you have been going strong in retail for a while now on your streams. Are you looking forward to Battle for Azeroth (BfA)?

Yes! I’m actually really enjoying the prepatch and hopefully BFA is going to be good too. A lot of long time retail players have complained about it, but I really like a lot of the changes they made in regards to the GCD etc. and people are excited for WoW right now. I think the huge growth it’s had on Twitch lately helps to show that people will always want WoW to be good. Even if they think the last expansion sucked, people will always come back to hopefully play the game that they used to love

Any special plans when it comes to content once BfA is released?

I would like to go hard in BFA and do some Mythic raiding, I played pretty casually coming in at the end of Legion. I’d also like to push for Gladiator before Classic comes out.

How are you liking the recent changes for your class? (retribution paladin)

I love it! I think the way the class is playing is really fun, setting up combos with your own buffs, debuffs… Timing is a huge factor in how you play the class, it’s totally different yet still reminds me of Vanilla Paladin in that way.

How do you manage a community which is rapidly growing such as yours? (grats btw!)

Haha thank you! It’s been pretty crazy to see how fast I’ve been growing, but there’s a lot of good people who like to watch my content so thankfully there’s really not much I have to worry about… I probably should add a few more mods though haha.

Alongside Stay Safe and Tips Out you host the podcast ClassiCast. How are things going so far, and what is next for the show?

It’s been going great! We’ve started doing them live and then posting them on my YouTube channel as opposed to just pre recording them every time, and that’s been going really well. As of right now we’re just going to keep doing our thing and putting out the best Classic WoW podcast that we can! It’s crazy to think that an idea that Staysafe and I had to do a podcast back around the end of last year and then kind of came to fruition when Tips came along a couple months later, has grown into something that’s been as successful as it is!

Any idea what you guys will do with ClassiCast once Classic gets released?

Yeah I think once Classic comes out we’ll still be going with it, talking about things relevant to the current content in the game at that time. Inevitably we’re going to rehash some “old” topics once Classic comes out, but I think that’s fine because it’s going to be relevant to what’s going on at that time, and it’ll be to a bigger audience of people.

You are one of the lucky ones who will be attending Blizzcon this year. Can we expect some Blizzcon IRL streams?

Oh yes. BlizzCon is going to be an absolute blast. I’ve never been before and since I was little, it’s basically been like a bucket list item typeof thing for me. I’ll try to IRL as much as they can, people seem to really like my IRL stuff. Maybe do some videos. it’s going to be a good time for sure!

What are your expectations when it comes to Classic news during Blizzcon? *slowly puts on a tinfoil hat

I would not be surprised… in fact I except to hear something about a WoW Classic testing period (alpha/beta) to be released sometime after BlizzCon with maybe even a playable demo on the expo floor. I think the hype of this BlizzCon is going to be very focussed on Classic, I wouldn’t be surprised if they really try to push the nostalgia thing and maybe talk about a Warcraft 3 Remastered. They announced that they are working on multiple Diablo projects recently, maybe Diablo 4 or a Diablo 2 remastered? Whatever happens, it’s going to be exciting for sure!

Patch 1.12 will be the base for Classic. What are your views on this?

Yeah I think that’s fine. It would’ve been cool to do a 1.1 true progressive, but I think 1.12 is probably in the best interest of the game. Something that’s really important to note, is that even though the base game is going to be based off of 1.12, it’s really important for them to do progressive content release, and even progressive itemization on the regular timeline. By that I mean new items added in MC in 1.5 patch, BWL added in 1.6, ZG added in 1.7, and so on… I’d be really surprised if they didn’t do that. So surprised that I don’t really talk about it much, but it is a question that I get often enough that’s worth bringing up.

“I started my WoW account on November 29th 2004 and I’ve been a Ret Paladin from the beginning”

I am not even gonna ask what class you will be playing on Classic. Or are you gonna surprise all of us and suddenly roll a Undead Warlock?

Haha nope! Human Ret Paladin all the way! I might make an alt or if I do Classic again after this next time around try a different class. But I started my WoW account on November 29th 2004 and I’ve been a Ret Paladin from the beginning haha.

Anything “special” planned for the near future (pre-BfA) ?

Haha, I’m just trying to practice and learn everything I can so I can push it when BFA comes out.

We always like to end our interviews with some tips for our readers. Are there any tips and pointers you want to give to (starting) content creators out there?

I feel like most of the people I know who’ve “made it” it just kind of happened organically. Not to say that grinding and working your way up isn’t possible, but I think the most important thing is that you become a person of interest in some way. Whether it’s being a top ranked player in whatever game you play or, making good YouTube videos, or something like that. That will give people exposure to your stream. Now once they get to your stream, you have to be entertaining and put out good content in order to be able to keep that viewership.

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About Syff

Founder of Angry-Mob.com, keeping your game community up-to-date with articles, guides, interviews & more! Besides Angry-Mob I currently am employed as a Sharepoint developer and multimedia advisor. You can find all my projects on my portfolio: https://Rokbock.nl