In honor of Autism Acceptance month
, we sit down with DesMephisto, founder of Ausome Warriors
: a Twitch team of autistic content creators who have raised over $35,000 for charities. DesMephisto has played WoW since Vanilla and is known for his love of the Warrior class as well as his prolific charity work within the WoW community over the years. For the month of April, DesMephisto set a donation goal of $7,500 towards the Autistic Self Advocacy Network
. In less than 2 weeks, he has already smashed that donation goal, raising over $10,000 so far this month. Today, we chat about Warriors, autism, inclusion, and more.
“The biggest obstacle towards promoting inclusion is others being unwilling. I think that befriending and working with people who perpetuate this is the first step…Explaining and having a conversation around it tends to help promote more inclusive change.” Q: Let’s start at the beginning. What is your first name, main class, and how long have you been playing WoW? What else do you like to do outside the game? DesMephisto
: I prefer not to provide my name. You can just call me Des or Juggs. My main class is Warrior. I’ve been playing WoW since Vanilla beta (as part of a pirated community known as GotWoW?). I live near Irvine, I’m 31 years old, and I’m huge on transmog (I collected 100% of all plate transmog and 1 handed swords in BFA). I’m a full-time streamer, since as a disabled individual, full-time work has been nearly impossible for me my entire life. I have a bachelor's degree in Neuroscience and I was getting my masters in Pharmaceutical Sciences when Covid hit, resulting in me being unable to finish my thesis. I have a 4.0 GPA, but as a major difficulty of having disabilities, the ability to adapt to trying situations becomes significantly harder. Our community, Ausome Warriors
, has raised over $35,000 for charity since I’ve started streaming. Q: We know that you are quite the Warrior aficionado. What are your favorite things about the class and have you always played primarily Warrior? Why did you choose to main Warrior?DesMephisto
: My first class was a Warlock in November 26th, 2004. I hated it. Soulstones sucked. So I made a paladin and AFK’d my way to level 60. I then made a Warrior and really enjoyed it, but ended up leveling a Priest to 60 before finally settling on my main Warrior on February 24th, 2005.
I leveled a ton of warriors in Vanilla with various 60s and twinks. I always wanted to fill an entire realm with Warriors, so in BFA, I finally sat down and leveled 51 warriors to 120.
My favorite thing about Warriors is wearing heavy armor and being in the throes of battle. I’ve always loved Fury (especially 1-handed Fury) and feeling like a bloodthirsty berserker, especially with fist weapons to add the brawler concept as well. Heroic Leap
is a master class of an ability and one of my favorites in WoW, when of course a path is available. Q: How do you like Shadowlands so far? Are you happy with the Warrior class in Shadowlands or are you hoping for some changes?DesMephisto
: I honestly enjoyed BFA more. I think I’m happiest when the core mechanics of the game don’t interfere with what I want to do. In BFA, I could ignore almost everything, investing maybe 1-2 hours in BFA content a week. In Shadowlands, I feel like I need to invest 20+ hours into Shadowlands content instead of engaging with activities that I find more enjoyable.
The only major change I really want to see is Heroic Leap being acquired at a reasonable level. Currently you get it at 33 which is after you’ve unlocked flying and it just feels really bad. It should be a level 20 ability at the latest. Heroic Throw
also needs to be a level 10 ability. The fact that it takes 20 levels to figure out how to throw your weapon is an insult to our Warrior intelligence.
“I love helping people. I’ve always been the kind of person who wanted to cheer others up. Something about bringing a smile to another person makes life just a little bit better.”Q: Can you tell us a little bit more about your charity work within the gaming community? Which charities have you run events for and why?DesMephisto
: I love helping people. I’ve always been the kind of person who wanted to cheer others up. Something about bringing a smile to another person makes life just a little bit better.
We’ve run events for:
Q: Let’s talk about Warriors for Autism. How did this organization come to be and what are its core values/mission?DesMephisto
: I was diagnosed late in life as autistic (age 29). I looked for resources, communities, groups. There was borderline nothing. Autism ceases to exist in the eyes of many when you’re an adult. It is a disability that has been infinitized and dismissed even by healthcare professionals (you’re seen as taking resources from children when trying to get diagnosed as an adult). This was incredibly upsetting—even more upsetting when you realize over 85% of autistics are unemployed. Of the remaining 15%, most work part-time and overqualified for the work they’re doing. For non learning-disabled individuals such as myself, our life expectancy is mid 40s due to things like heart disease and suicide.
I set out with a goal to start a charity event to raise relevant awareness to Autism and help bring forth acceptance. My vision is to create a wide-reaching event throughout all games and the gaming community to help bring attention to autistics in a medium we are incredibly comfortable in.Q: Autism and other developmental disabilities have a history of being stigmatized in pockets of the competitive WoW scene. What has been your experience with this? What do you think the biggest obstacles are towards promoting inclusion in gaming?DesMephisto
: I’ve been fairly lucky. I’m not sure if it is because of my position in WoW but most people are generally pretty positive. Sure, I’ve seen autism used in the form of a meme and as an insult towards others, but I’ve found that speaking up about it generally leads to things shutting down pretty quickly.
The biggest obstacle towards promoting inclusion is others being unwilling. I think that befriending and working with people who perpetuate this is the first step. When directly challenged, a lot of people double down on their negativity just due to human nature. However, explaining and having a conversation around it tends to help promote more inclusive change. Q: What are the most positive things you’ve experienced in your work towards raising awareness for autism? DesMephisto
: Connecting with other autistics, feeling less alone, and hearing from other autistic adults who have gotten diagnosed because of the work we’ve done. Many in our community have been diagnosed as a result of the tireless work I’ve done to educate and help bring more understanding around autism which has been incredible!Q: Are there any other events or projects you are working on that you’d like to talk about?DesMephisto
: There are a couple of projects I’ve been working on or that I’d like to make happen:
Q: On a more whimsical note, you mentioned that you like to collect ALL of the plate transmog gear and 1-handed weapons. How is that going so far for you in Shadowlands?DesMephisto
- Ausome Warriors - a team of autistic content creators
- A speedrunning charity event built around Blizzard games - Still a major work-in-progress (i.e. haven’t had a chance to even approach the subject)
- Deathwings - A Hot Ones inspired charity event where we interview developers about World of Warcraft. Also still a major work-in-progress (i.e. haven’t had a chance to even approach the subject)
: It’s going well! I’m fairly burnt out though due to the design of cosmetics with anima in Shadowlands, however, the Venthyr armor sets are fully completed! I’m almost done with Maldraxxus and Nightfae as well. Bastion still requires a ton of work and then I need to tackle Mythic Castle at some point as well.
About the Author
specializes in tanking classes in WoW and other MMORPGs and loves doing competitive Mythic+. She is the Editor and Assistant Producer of Raider.IO and is currently pursuing her Masters of Business Administration. She is a partnered Twitch streamer
and Discord Partner. Feel free to message her via Twitter
for any business-related inquiries.