Trust In The Light! (Unless It's Perky, Cute And Nerdy)


Don't I just REEK of moral clarity?

This just in: people lie on the Internet.

I know, really? We could just stop right there. This story has been told many times before, and the fact that I started this entry with the picture of a midriff-baring female elf paladin tells you all you need to know.

But if you want to know more – well, there is always more.

So the latest controversy roiling the Warcraftblogosphereofdramas is that of Paladin Schmaladin, prior to this week a popular blog-slash-reference for raiding paladins.

Paladin Schmaladin was written by Ferraro, who when not a world-class raiding paladin, is a QA tester for Blizzard. No really! Also… she interned at the CIA. NO, REALLY!

Also, this was her profile pic, on Blogger and WoW Insider:


Hi! I'm Ferraro!

…yeah. I know. I know. Amazingly, I know your world will be rocked to its core to find that all is not as it appears to be here.

First, after WoW Insider’s profile. Jagoex, another WoW blogger who writes about Warlocks, pointed out some similarities between Ferraro’s posted pictures and another perky cute blonde geek. Now, it’s entirely possible that Sarah Townsend, when not hitting up trade shows and microblogging and posting Flickr shots from parties raids in WoW. I mean, I believe in fairy tales. And warlocks are a bunch of filthy lying bloggers anyway. (Note: no laughing at my WoW Armory, plz. I don’t have time to be a hard core raider. Plus I’m not a cute blonde.) To quote Jagoex:

So what does all of this craziness mean, exactly?

Well, for starters, a bunch of love-struck boys are going to experience some heavy frustration when this comes to light, and we are bound to see some nerd rage soon. For bloggers like me, it is a little disheartening. Ferarro has basically been lying about her identity for years, and stealing someone else’s content and posting them as her own. She has taken advantage of another blogger and her reader’s trust, and that makes my job as a fellow blogger just that much harder.

On a WoW-related front, this mess also means that Ferarro isn’t a game tester for Blizzard. The “game-testing” images that were posted on Paladin Schmaladin were relabeled TechDarling images that were taken at a blogging expo.

>I gotta admit, just thinking about this gets me a little angry, and my mind is going crazy with a series of difficult questions: what drives a person to do this kind of thing? Why would anyone lead people on like that? And for what means? And do you know what the worst part about this whole thing is? Paladin Schmaladin was a great resource and excellent WoW blog that a lot of people enjoyed and depended on. Why it needed to be masked by someone else’s pretty face is beyond me, really. If you don’t like the way you look or want some privacy, don’t post a picture. End of story.

The word you’re looking for here: busted.


Hi! I'm NOT Ferraro.

But of course, it’s entirely possible that Sarah Townsend, when not hitting up trade shows and microblogging and posting Flickr shots from parties raids in WoW. Or… OK, maybe not.

UGH-some creep on WoW named Ferraro has been using my photos?

Well, that’s that, then! Ferraro’s first response was to hide her entire blog, with a note on her soon-to-be-deleted Twitter feed that “stalkers are cool”. Her Paladin character disappeared as well, most likely due to a server transfer.

Then, a short time later, Paladin Schmaladin was updated with a mea culpa of sorts. You see, there were many Ferraros. Many, many Ferraros.

Ever wonder why her voice in the podcast “interview,” her Ninja Rap, and her Mods and Addons Tutorial post sounded nothing alike? Different Ferraros.

Ever wondered how she suddenly started working for Blizzard out of the blue? That’s ’cause I actually do, and when I took over this this blog, it was the perfect avenue for me to share insider information while remaining safe behind a 5-year-old moniker.

For those of you who spoke with a Ferraro in Vent, did her voice change one time? It was a different girl.

Have you sat back and saw this blog’s writing style differ over the years? Now you know why (the 4th Ferraro was particularly ah, emotional).

How did she have an internship at the CIA, as well? Also a different Ferraro.

Think about it: Could anyone really level all those different Paladins of different races and factions and raid in different guilds on different servers and get them all to end-game status? Obviously not.

And if Ferraro didn’t get on Vent during your raid, it was likely when one of the guy “Ferraros” were in charge. Or it was during an author switch.

Each were world-class Paladins and experts at the game – just completely different people at one time or another.

Well, that clears it all up, doesn’t it? I mean it’s just an innocent case of, um, account sharing and appealing to multiple nerdy desires of most of WoW’s userbase simultaneously (OMG I AM TOTALLY RAIDING WITH A HOT JACK BAUER). Yeah. From Ferraro’s latest post:

I’m not even sure the original Ferraro keeps track of this blog anymore, and no one’s reached her yet (although she’ll probably hear about this by week’s end). Maybe she knew Sarah Townsend? I dunno. Probably not. The original Ferraro is actually very attractive though, so maybe she just chose it to… hide behind… while still… being… pretty? I don’t know. I’m just assuming. But the first Ferraro had a problem with stalkers. *shrug*

And from Ferraro’s interview a week ago:

Ah, the pictures: the double-edged sword. It’s funny: if I post my picture next to articles — you know, the way millions of other authors do in magazines, newspapers and blogs around the world — some people yell and scream that I’m an attention whore. But then if I take down anything that has to do with me as a person, like pictures or personal posts, then I’m hiding from the trolls and not being myself and get mocked for being weak. There’s really no way to make everyone okay with it unless I magically morphed into a guy — in which case no one would mind if I posted pictures, humorously enough.

I think it’s unfortunate all the hurdles female players so often have to jump through just to be accepted in this game by its male counterparts, let alone be accepted as one who excels at it. So I stopped playing by the hypocritical rules and adopted the saying, “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter won’t mind,” and haven’t looked back. I’m just going to be myself and post and say what I want, and if you don’t like what I write, then just close the window or scroll up. I’m gonna be me no matter what.

I’m sure the actual women who play WoW and post entries to the Internet and occasionally are fairly attractive really, really wish Ferraro was “gonna be me no matter what” right about now. Because this is a classic, almost pristine example of attention-whoring, down to the breathless “inside the velvet rope” references whispered from almost every paragraph of Ferraro’s interview…

To put it simply, I do internal testing with Blizz (not “for” — there’s a big difference). I think I’m treading on thin ice saying this, but I essentially raid with a team in one room. We pull up numbers, discuss things and make hefty reports and send them to … ah, “important” people. I think that’s all I can say without heat coming down on me.

(I would be very, very surprised if Blizzard actually did this, considering that it would be far easier to simply collect metrics and observe actual raids in progress on live servers. Without the overhead of paying people who then promptly give interviews to WoW Insider.)

I moved from Virginia to Southern California a few years ago, so I’ve made friends from coast to coast with people who have played this game (no, nothing romantic). I’ve gone to the beach with a guild I was in, went to a server BBQ, and met a bunch of fans at last year’s Blizzcon. You do have to be careful when you meet up with people, though (there’s no bubble-hearthing in the real world), so I almost always bring a couple friends with me.

“Hi, I’m totally available from afar, but also very, very cool. You better step up your game, scrub!”

So where does this all end? Probably with the player formerly known as Ferraro starting a new blog shortly. WoW Insider, no doubt embarrassed as hell for not spotting the Twelve Danger Signs Of The Drama Queen, posted a handy recap which also disclosed via the magic of IP tracking that Ferraro’s mea culpa isn’t all that culpa.

We’ve investigated, and have determined based on IP address records of comments left by Ferarro on between July of 2008 and May of 2009 that the comments all came from the same small subnet of IPs, and are all geographically very local to one another. This means that unless “Ferarro #1” through “Ferarro #7” live within a few miles of each other, they’re the same person.

So, someone who made an Internet reputation based largely on lying… lied. Imagine that. From Ferraro:

How do we know all of this isn’t a lie? That would be akin to coming clean and admitting to stealing a car, then robbing a bank, murdering policemen and civilians, and taking off with millions of dollars… and then in court swearing you had your seat belt on. Lying is kinda moot at this point.

Honestly, if anything it probably would be easier to say, “Yup, that was all me. My bad. Anyway, moving on…” But I figure since we’re coming clean, it might as well be in total.

You’d think. Then again, habits can be hard to break, and plenty of posters really want to believe that there is, out there, their dream of an attractive blood elf being paid to raid.

Really, a good dose of misanthropy is the best palette cleanser for this whole sad sordid tale. Gevlon the Greedy Goblin is here to save the day! (But surely, not out of altruism, that would be an ape subroutine or something.)

Don’t trust in people. Trust in facts, systems, maybe even ideas. And just because you meet someone often (or read him often) don’t think you know him! You don’t. When something comes up that does not fit into your picture, it’s not his fault to disappoint you. It’s your fault to have expectations from him.

In that vein, I have a confession to make: I actually am a sultry draenei woman who works for the FSB. Sorry, but it seemed best to come clean. I know, everyone was comfortable with the thought of my being an overweight forty-something game designer, but I’m gonna be me no matter what now.


Hi, boys!