By and large, the World of Warcraft community is like a giant family. It’s full of love, support, stupid jokes, and awkward holiday dinners. Unfortunately, there’s always that long-lost relative that brings nothing but negativity to the table. In WoW terms, that cranky great-uncle is the small part of the community that is toxic, elitist, and tries to gate-keep the enjoyment of others. As much as we wish that part of the community did not exist, we can’t deny the facts. However, some people out there are trying to do something about it, like Nick Uttley
, co-founder and co-owner of Diabolus Esports
We learned about a weekly event Nick has been hosting on his personal stream
that he calls Rage Free Raiding
. The event aims to promote and showcase the fact that raiding (and soon Mythic+) should be accessible to everyone despite experience or skill level, as long as they are willing to learn and have a good attitude. Nick’s goal is to create a learning environment that is safe, inclusive, and free of toxic behaviour. We sat down with Nick to learn more about him, his organization, and Rage Free Raiding!Q: Let’s start with the basics. Tell us about yourself: Name, age, where you live, etc. Who is this Nick guy anyways?
So, I’m Nick, aka “Spikeenick”. I am...let me think for a second...33 years young (I knew that!), and I’m from Manchester UK. During the day (and often the evening!) I spend my time in emails and calls as part of Diabolus Esports. But, once I finish work for the day, and after feeding my two tiny humans, I transform into…well still just me, but I stream World of Warcraft content, showing people you don't need to rage at each other to play the game. Q: You are one of the co-founders and co-owners of Diabolus Esports, along with your friend Ash. What’s the Diabolus origin story?
Well this is a long story, but the short version is that Ash and myself got together to talk about this cool idea to start an esports company and do good things in the esports scene here in the UK. It was intended to be a hobby, but it quickly escalated into a full time job, with us both leaving our long-standing careers to make Diabolus what it is today.
Interesting part to the longer story, just as the business took off and we had to decide to go at it full-time, we both found out that we were expecting children with our respective partners! Not only were we about to drop everything to run our own business but we were also about to become parents. Since then we have learned to function without sleep, as you can imagine.
From the start of Diabolus and now, there are some wild stories I could tell, but I'll save all of that for a later time!Q: What role does Diabolus play as an esports org in the WoW community, and where do you see it going in the future?
We have supported teams, streamers, and influencers in the scene and brought them into the Diabolus family. Hopefully, we are seen as a positive influence by doing things like the World of Warcraft World Tour
where we raised money for the mental health charity, Mind
, or just supporting talent to grow and succeed.
Right now our primary focus is Warcraft, as you will see we have started the Diabolus Deathbowl
as a monthly PvP event to further help support people who wouldn't usually enter the larger tournaments and give people something fresh to watch as part of the competitive PVP scene. That's why we introduced the ban phase to negate the usual ‘strong’ compositions and mix things up a bit.
We have a number of things we are looking to introduce really soon™, which will hopefully help support and grow people who are usually overlooked. We also want to develop content that focuses on the average player as opposed to the top-end players. More info on all of this soon! Q: You guys have been teaming up with Keystone Masters to run the Diabolus Deathbowl. What’s that been like? Do you have any plans to host Mythic+ tournaments?
Working with the Keystone Masters team has been amazing! They're all so good at what they do and more helpful than I can put into words. There may be future collaborations on other products on the horizon but that's all I can say right now. We will 100% continue working with them for the foreseeable future and beyond, because they’re awesome! Q: You’re an avid player in WoW as well. How long have you been playing? What’s your main class and spec? Tell us about your experience.
Being the boomer that I clearly am, I have been playing the game since release. My first ever character I made was a Hunter
because I was sad that I couldn't be Illidan and I thought the idea of having a massive bear like in the intro cinematic looked like a good consolation prize. Sadly this was on ALLIANCE, but fortunately I quickly realised I was on the wrong side and switched to Horde after doing the Wetlands run and getting into massive scuffles just north of the Barrens, countless times.
My first max level character was a Shaman
(Tauren, obviously) and I'll always be a Shaman at heart, but these days in my old age I keep finding myself returning to the Death Knight
, because who doesn't want to be a better version of Arthas, am I right ?
WoW for me has been such a cool journey. I have met some lifelong friends throughout the game from different parts of the world, people who I would never have met otherwise.
I never really got into end-game content until the more recent expansions as I found myself more interested in finding secrets or just exploring. Honestly, I can't tell you how many hours I spent trying to get to places that looked interesting but inaccessible.
In the more recent expansions, I got into actual secret finding on the secret finder discord and took part in the race to find and obtain the Hivemind
mount, which was so much fun. It was around this time I made the mistake of downloading ATT
(All The Things addon)...this is fun but also a very long road. I'm sure I'll get to the end of it.
The one thing that's normally kept me away from doing true end-game content and current raids is the community being slightly toxic from my experience. However, once WoW Classic rolled around and I started to level up and relive my old adventures, I decided to give it a crack and was part of a really good Classic guild. We were downing bosses and I was getting into logging, as it was fun to see this progress. Sadly the guild shared the same fate as many others and disbanded due to having this toxic attitude towards each other over mundane reasons.
Fast forward to today, I see a lot of the same things I was feeling on places like Twitter and other streams... people getting denied keys, people not being invited to content etc., and an overall elitist community (at the very top, not everywhere). So after seeing enough of this I thought, “what if I just show people you don't need Ahead of the Curve
, or people shouting at each other, or people kicking others because their DPS is lower than the next player?” That's when and why I started Rage Free Raiding. Q: Rage Free Raiding is the name you’ve given to a weekly raiding event you hold on your stream, right?. Tell us more about this.
Like I said at the end of the last question, I had seen too many people feeling like they can't raid because they're not in a top guild or feeling low because they didn't hit 4000000000 dps so they got kicked from a group, or seeing the 20th listing on group finder saying “fail and get kicked’’.
I just thought to myself, “the community can be better than this.” So I started doing Rage Free Raiding, putting it up in a group finder each week on a Sunday with the following description:
“Rage, flame or be toxic and get kicked. Showing you how to do the raid without the flame and explaining all the tactics live on Twitch.tv/spikeenick.”
I wanted to show people that anyone can do it and it doesn't mean you need to have a raid leader who puts people down who make a mistake.
I took A LOT of inspiration from Limit Maximum
. For example, in his interview after the last RWF, he talked about creating an environment that is more relaxed and where people don't flame because that does nothing to help each other progress. The idea for me was to make just one small step in helping people realise they CAN do this content and another step in making the community realise they don't need to flame each other and how that in fact will make things worse.
It's really taken off and I’m a good number of weeks into doing this every Sunday now and the overwhelming amount of messages saying things like “thank you so much for this, I never get an invite to a raid,” or “the community needs more of this thank you so much,” and even “I literally gave up on this game because of the community, but you have made me want to re-sub just to come to this”. It makes it VERY hard to walk away from but also makes me feel so good for doing something that's really helping some people.
It would be absolutely wrong of me to not mention the names of the people who have helped me organise and do things each week, like Cirra
, who I literally wouldn't have been able to do this without. Q: So this is open to anybody? What do I have to do in order to join?
YES! We obviously cannot take everyone because there are limits to how many people we can fit in a raid, but honestly that's the only limiting factor. We have had people at 164 ilvl, we have had people who have literally never raided, and people who felt their DPS was too low. I am proud to say that all of them have downed bosses and had a good time!
The only other requirement is don’t rage at others, don't flame others, don't point out the mistakes of other people in a negative way and don't be toxic. THAT'S IT! No really, that's it!
Sadly, I have had to kick people for the above, but every time I have it's only made a better environment and we managed to progress even further, so I guess it works. Q: What do you see as the long term goal of Rage Free Raiding? Are you hoping it will have an influence or impact on the community at large?
I’m a tiny little channel. I do this on my personal channel, but hopefully the small things we do on my channel will have a positive impact on the people who join in whether watching or participating and they in turn pass on that positivity. Small stones can make big ripples and hopefully that will happen here, one Rage Free Raid at a time :)
Long term, I hope it touches enough people to realise that they can just avoid the groups that harm the game and the community by being toxic, and those groups will in turn eventually become less of a thing.Q: The WoW community is certainly vocal about toxicity being a problem. Do you agree? Do you think your approach will catch on?
I absolutely agree, and I hope so. There are enough people in the scene these days that are spreading a positive message, so I have hope that it's only going to grow, especially in the world we are in today where I feel positivity can go a long way for a lot of people. Q: A little birdie told us that HyperX has taken an interest in Rage Free Raiding as well. What’s that all about?
Well, when talking to HyperX reps about some other things (can’t say what, sorry!) they started talking about their own raiding experiences, and I got talking about what I do with Rage Free Raiding on Sundays and they loved it. They asked if I would like to reward people for being positive, so I said absolutely! I asked if I could do it in secret to truly see the real positive people, and then announce it at the end of the raid. They loved that idea and that's exactly what I did last Sunday. I gave away a HyperX Pulsefire Raid Mouse
to one of the raiders at the end of the stream.
Also I didn't just decide who to give it to on my own. Without telling anyone the reason, I asked the raid group at the end who they all thought was the most positive influence on the raid. Everyone said the same person. This person brought a feast for everyone for every pull and was overall nice all the time in chat. Out of an almost full raid group, it was a unanimous decision.
I asked them if they have Discord and to come into a call. When they got on, I told them that HyperX and I wanted to reward them for being a positive influence and give them the mouse. Everyone was a little stunned and didn't expect it, and then the chat blew up in both the raid and Twitch. It was slightly overwhelming for me because the love that came out of everyone at that point was just...amazing. HyperX have said that they would like to continue to support this kind of activity so expect to see more! Q: Anything else you want us to know about Rage Free Raiding?
It happens every sunday at 8pm UK time (1pm PST/4pm EST). I stream it over on Twitch.tv/spikeenick
and sometimes carry it over to the Monday at the same time. I also stream on Wednesday, but that can be other content on WoW. However with the recent teaching from Cirra and the acquisition of Keystone Master
, I may be turning Wednesday into the same thing as Rage Free Raiding but for Mythic+ as I feel the same issues that affect raiding also affect Mythic+ groups too.
It's important to note as well that you don't need to sub or follow my channel to be a part of the raids, just turn up, be nice to people and be ready to learn and that's it! :)
About the Author
has been playing WoW since Vanilla. If she’s not leading her Mythic Progression guild TBD
through raids, she’s probably practicing for the MDI with her team Angry Toast
. Hulahoops is a Holy Paladin in every sense of the term: she moderates the Hammer of Wrath
Paladin Class Discord, and she was a practicing Lawyer for the last 7 years. Judgment
isn’t just a spell! Hulahoops recently decided to put the law books away and follow her passion for esports by joining the team at RaiderIO and is now working as the Production Manager. She is also passionate about making Azeroth an inclusive, welcoming space for all gamers and is a proud co-founder of the Defias Sisterhood