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This all started during the World of Warcraft alpha period. I was working the graveyard shift and with nothing to do, ended up spending way too much time in the Blizzard forums. I remember reading all the negative posts so frequent in public forums. Why was everyone so mean? It was clear that we had a passion for games, but so much of that passionate energy was being squandered in flame posts. So, I decided to be a positive force in the community. I wrote a bunch of song parodies about WoW and a few short stories. It was fun! Then one evening I happened across a petition post, “Blizzard, we want a plush Murloc!” After reading all those posts and seeing all the views, I thought, "I could do that." So, I did. I started by looking at the Murloc image and studying it's geometry. Then, I had to deconstruct the creature and look at it from a raw material stand point. What pieces could I put together to make a thing look like this? I actually started by making an origami model of a Murloc. Sort of a carpenter’s trick, "Measure twice, cut once." After that, I made a pattern and cut out my pieces. What's interesting about sewing is that you work inside out. So, not only did I have to take two dimensional pieces of cloth and make them 3-D, I also had to do it backwards! Blah blah blah, lots of sewing...and voila! I wasn't happy with the dorsal fin on the original; a little too much Elvis for my taste. In the second version, I changed that. I also changed the color a little, which I really enjoy, and added articulation to the limbs.
The intoxicating drug of Fame kicked in and I made some bad choices. While I couldn’t sell these (without serious permission from Blizzard), I wanted to somehow still share these with you all. Thus, "Gobi's Fate" was born. A weekly clothimation where people got to vote to decide what happens. Oh what a terrible, awful, horrible idea. In my defense, it wasn’t mine. It’s amazing how people directly equate website traffic to millions of dollars.
Disgusted with the way my project turned into something about greed and avarice, I did the opposite. I gave the pattern away for free. I even made a few for some very special people: Queen of Wands/Punch N Pie webcomic artist, Aiere; the Suicide Girl, Posh; Love Ablan, a plush art supporter; Tauhid Bondia, another webcomic artist; and podcaster Medros got a plush Gnoll after my interview. I had the intentions of giving several others away, but there were obstacles. However, I also helped several other people make their own. This to me is the best! I love the idea of empowering people to solve their own problems.
Our dear plush Murloc has seen a little limelight. First was at E3 as a puppet and later at Blizzcon as a costume (both of which were televised on G4). While not a Murloc of my creation, it was created using my pattern and with my guidance. I must say that while I appreciate the work done by Tristan Pope of Crafting Worlds and the sewing talents of his grandmother, I was offended by his claim that his grandmother was the creator. The shenanigans were humorous, but Tristan too succumbed to the call of wealth. If Crafting Worlds wants to cash in on the Murloc craze, so be it. I was briefly tempted by the dark side myself. But the pattern is Open Source and meant to bring the gaming community together, not capitalize and cannibalize. Puting my money where my mouth is so to speak, I donated a plush Murloc to Penny-Arcade to sell at their Child's Play Charity dinner.
The auction was 12/13/05. Our little friend sold for about $400! Granted it was for charity, so people were more willing to spend, but that really makes me happy. I wouldn't have been able to give that much to charity (Red numbers are bad to see in the checkbook, right?). This has been the best lesson for my daughters. Change is something accomplished by one person. Tengo ganas.
A year later in November of 2006, I auctioned another Murloc for charity. This time it was for Paul Taylor, creator of Wapsi Square. Paul's son was born with some problems, so I chipped in as best I could. In a weird twist of fate, Posh's friend won the auction. Sadly, he died soon after. I like to think that his last act on Earth was to do something wonderful for a sick little boy.
In 2007, I had intended to craft a plush succubus and even got as far as a basic model, but I just didn’t have it in me. Meanwhile, people kept finding my pattern and making their own plush toys. A few people even made donations for my cause. Things turned around in 2008. I worked with two young people on making their own plush toys. In doing that, I remembered why I started this crazy project in the beginning. Then, disaster struck. It came to my attention that a company is planning on selling Plush Murlocs. I have mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I think it's cool. What's not to like about a Plush Murloc? On the other hand, there are several things that bother me about this. First, in the press associated with this and on the official site itself, there was no mention of me, Bamatick, creator of the Plush Murloc. Now, as much as I enjoy attention, I'm actually a fairly private person. This isn't about me having fortune and glory. What bothered me was that I invented this thing with the intention of it bringing gamers together in a positive way. I've given several away to various people and offered to others to spread the word. I've donated several to charity (Child's Play and for Paul Taylor's (Wapsi Square) son). I've helped people with the pattern and always supported people who made their own. So, for a company to capitalize on something that was meant to be free and about largesse irks me. Second, the pattern is Open Source. It's free. You can make your own. You don't need to pay someone $50. Also, the Open Source documentation posted with the pattern clearly states that any plushes must come with the pattern. No mention of me. No mention of the vision associated with the original. No credit given (More a philosophical contention than a personal one). They didn't even offer to send me to BlizzCon, or to have a personalized Murloc, or even a "Cheerio from the UK, mate!" Not cool. So not cool. So, to them, I said, "Shame on you!" I was so disappointed in humanity. Letting people get away with evil deeds tarnishes our own goodness. At this point, I'll consider it an error in judgement on their part. Initially, I wanted them to make amends, to make things right. I could feel the venom rising and then again, it came back to me. This is about gamers coming together in a positive way. So, I started a new project....
In 2008, I mailed Child’s Play a plush for them to sell at their charity auction. It’s not a Murloc. It is a unique item. I won’t make another. I might do a spin-off, but we’ll have to see.
Sure enough, for 2009, I decided to do another spin-off for Child's Play and crafted a Plush Tycho. I was so very pleased with the way it turned out. I don't know if I'll do one in 2010.
I find it interesting the course this has all taken. What if? What if I had never made a Plush Murloc? There would probably never have been a guy in a Murloc suit at E3. There would not have been an in-game guy in a Murloc suit. I doubt all the Murloc attention in-game would be there (sunwell Plateau, Borean Tundra). Would the Official Plush Murloc exist? Unlikely. The ripple effect of my little project has gone global. What about the things that have yet to be done? What effect will they have, if any? I encourage you to do something good on your own. It is when Good does nothing that Evil prevails.
|Hospitality (Just because): It makes me feel good to give. I don't want to deny you that.|
|Philanthropy (For a Good cause): I take the donations and use them to do more Good.|
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Latest plush: Shrunken Head