World of Warcraft players
are everywhere. They’re in your local grocery store, sitting
next to you on an airplane, even playing football for your href="" target="_blank">favorite
team, but it isn’t very often that we hear about a
WoW player
winning an Oscar. However, just a few short days ago, Ten Ton Hammer href="" target="_blank">
heard about an individual who did just that. His name is href="" target="_blank">Steve
and while he may not be Brad Pitt, he did win an Oscar for visual
effects in The Curious
Case of Benjamin Button
. After his star treatment at the
Oscars award show, Steve was kind enough to sit down with Ten Ton
Hammer and talk about his career along with some href="" target="_blank"> style="font-style: italic;">World of Warcraft.

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Steve Preeg,
character supervisor for Benjmain Button and avid WoW player

Ten Ton Hammer:
Congratulations on the Oscar! That’s a pretty big
achievement. Is that your first?

Steve Preeg:
Thanks! Yeah, it’s my first one.

Ten Ton Hammer: Can you
tell us a bit more about what you worked on in style="font-style: italic;">The Curious Case of
Benjamin Button
? You were the character designer?

Steve: It
was officially called a “character supervisor” on
the show. I was essentially responsible for delivering the character to
lighting. So I dealt with rigging and animation and overseeing the
modeling to make sure all the models were good and proofing all the
tracks. Basically it was everything you need to do to get the animated
model into the lighting department. That also meant I got to put my two
cents in on lighting, even when they didn’t want to hear it.

Ten Ton Hammer: Before
Benjamin Button you worked on Lord
of the Rings
. That’s a
pretty big “geek” movie. Was it as thrilling to
work on those movies as I imagine?

Steve: I
actually didn’t work on the first one, so I got to see the
quality of the first film before flying down to New Zealand. I was
there for the second and the third movies, and it was definitely a
great film project to work on. Unfortunately it was a lot of hours and
I didn’t get to see New Zealand that much.

But at the time, World
of Warcraft
wasn’t out yet, so I had
the time to stay and work on the project.

Ton Hammer: Obviously
you’re a big MMO gamer. When and how did you start gaming?
Did you start with World
of Warcraft
, or were you involved with
different games before that?

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first MMO was City of Heroes.

Steve: I
played a decent number of games, but the first MMO I really tried was
City of Heroes.
That one didn’t last that long for me because
the end-game content is pretty limited, but I started playing WoW
pretty much right when it came out, and I’m still playing.
That’s obviously a credit to the game design. It’s
kept my attention for four years.

Ten Ton Hammer: Were you
a Warcraft
fan before the MMO came out? Is that how you’d
learned about the game?

Steve: I had
just heard that it was coming out, and I was actually working at Square
in Hawaii on the Final Fantasy movie when I heard that they were making
a Warcraft MMO. It was years later that it finally came out, but I had
played Warcraft
and Warcraft II
a little bit. That said, one of my
favorite games was Dune
, which was pretty much the original RTS
game. When I first played Warcraft,
I thought it was done by the same
developers because it was almost identical.

I’ve also played a lot of style="font-style: italic;">Magic: The Gathering,
isn’t really a video game, but that took up a decent amount
of my gaming time.

Ten Ton Hammer: So
you’re just a true geek at heart, aren’t you?

Steve: If
you saw the Oscars and the post interview, I do wear glasses and my
haircut is from the early 80s. I definitely fit in.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
know of any other celebrities that play MMOs? I mean, Peter Jackson
looks like the quintessential gamer…

Steve: I
honestly have no idea whether he plays or not. There was an interview
with him at one point where he says that he enjoys playing Halo, but I
don’t know if that was just because he was working on the
Halo movie at that time or not.

There are a lot of people that I work with that play, and every once in
awhile you see someone with their laptop open, doing some auction house
buying while they’re at work.

Ton Hammer: Doing
some fishing or something like that…

I’ve restrained myself from buying a laptop simply because
I’d be scared that I’d come to work and not get
anything done.

Ten Ton Hammer: How do
you manage WoW and your time?

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eventually chose an Undead Rogue as his main WoW character for Wrath of
the Lich King.

Steve: When
Benjamin Button started, I knew I was going to be really really busy.
So at that point, I handed over the guild leadership over to somebody
else, and I basically said that I wasn’t going to be
consistent enough to be raiding or anything like that.

We’re not necessarily one of the top raiding guilds in the
world or anything like that, but we do alright and we try to stay
competitive. We have Sartharion and the three drakes to finish in the
expansion content and that’s it.

Ten Ton Hammer: Tell me a
little bit more about your rogue. I hear that you’re more
combat-specced, but I want to know a bit more about the

He’s an undead rogue, and it actually wasn’t my
main originally. In the beginning, my main was a hunter and I played
with him for a long, long time. Then I moved on to a priest, because
our guild was in desperate need of priests for Molten Core and I played
with a priest up until Burning Crusade. In the end, I really
didn’t like the priest because in the pre-BC era, holy
priests couldn’t do anything but heal.

They didn’t have good DPS or anything at all. So by the time
BC came out, I had around five or six level 60 characters to choose
from. And I had six 70s by the time Lich King came out. I really
started playing my rogue right before Burning Crusade and
I’ve stuck with him thus far.

Ten Ton Hammer: Do you
have any particular achievements that you’re proud of on your
rogue or any of your classes?

Y’know, I keep having to work so I they keep getting their
achievements without me. I think my favorite is that I was the first on the server with a blood elf mount. I farmed AV for rep before BC came out and the day BC came out I was an undead rogue on a pink chicken.

Ton Hammer: No server
firsts? *laughs*

Steve: No
server firsts. I do have two silly achievements to get done before I
get my red proto-drake, but I just haven’t had time to do
‘em. [Editor's Note: Since this interview, Steve has successfully earned his red proto-drake.] Everyone else in the guild seems to have it.
I’ve been fairly consistent since Benjamin Button wrapped,
but who knows how much time I’ll have with the new project
coming out.

Ten Ton Hammer: And
what’s your new project?

Steve: Tron

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probably wouldn't list "guild leader" on his resume.

Ten Ton Hammer: Awesome.
Another big movie for geekdom

Since you were a
guild leader for some time, do you think there’s any
correlation between being a quality guild leader and a good manager or
employee? There’s been a lot of talk about whether having
“guild leader” on your resume is something to be
proud of or not.

Steve: In
general, it might be construed as a little bit nerdy, but if I was the
one reading it, I would definitely respect the person. In large raiding
guilds, there is a lot of crap to deal with. When I handed off the
leadership to the guy that currently has it, I talked to him and asked
him if he was sure he wanted that sort of pressure. I told him
“there’s 150 people that you’re now
essentially their babysitter at times.”

It’s a lot more work than some people give it credit for, and
it takes a lot of selfless leadership to deal with.

Would I put it on my resume? Probably not.

Ten Ton Hammer:
You’ve got the one thing you really need to have on your
resume at this point. You can just put a big O-S-C-A-R on the top, bold
and highlighted.

Steve: Those
people that run the raiding guilds, I can definitely respect them and
in some ways I feel sorry for them.

Ten Ton Hammer: So your
guild is just basically working on Sarth 3D now?

Steve: Yeah,
he’s the only thing we have left content-wise on the old
stuff, but we’re all going to jump into the PTR and try our
hand at Ulduar when we get a chance. [Editor's Note: As a quick update, Steve informed Ten Ton Hammer that his guild has successfully downed Sarth+3.]

Ton Hammer:
What’s your favorite part of the expansion? Did you enjoy the
new content or DK stuff?

Playing a rogue, I pretty much hate the death knights.

Ten Ton Hammer: Because
we’re so over-powered? [Editor’s
Note: I play a death knight.

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Steve has no
fondness for death knights.

They’re just unstoppable right now. You can't kill
‘em in the arenas. Ret pallys are still really annoying, but
I can’t say I have any love whatsoever for the new DKs.

Basically, my favorite part is just having new content to run through
with all these people that I really enjoy hanging around with. These
are the same people I was with when we downed the bosses in Molten
Core. It’s also a great way to stay in touch with my brother,
who plays in the guild.

I mean, I met a bunch of them at BlizzCon last year and got to hang out
in LA with them all.

Ten Ton Hammer:
It’s like going down to your local pub, except
you’re doing it online, right?

Steve: Yeah.
I mean we run a Ventrillo server, and I’m talking with people
in Hong Kong and the Middle East. When you’re not
concentrating, we get talk with people all around the world and see
what life is like for them.

Some people call us geeks for sitting in front of our computers every
day, but I think it’s better than sitting in a bar getting
drunk every day.

Ten Ton Hammer: Or you
can sit around and watch TV all day. Pick your poison, right?

Steve: To
me, it’s really interesting getting to know people all over
the world. There are people that I haven’t played with for
years, yet I still keep in contact with them.

Ten Ton Hammer: Would you
work on a World of Warcraft movie if you had the chance?

Steve: I
would imagine that Blizzard would take care of a lot of that stuff
themselves. They have great art direction and have super-talented
artists. Their cinematics are the best thing out there, especially in
video games.

Ten Ton Hammer: So you
went to BlizzCon last year?

Steve: Yup,
although it was a bit difficult because of the whole ticket and lottery
fiasco. If someone from Blizzard reads your website, make sure you have
‘em send me tickets this year so we don’t have to
go through that again.

Ten Ton Hammer: Is there
anything else you’d like to tell Ten Ton Hammer readers?

Steve: My
guild’s name is “Incoming” so I have to
say “Go Incoming!”

Ten Ton Hammer: Thanks
for your time, Steve! 

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Last Updated: Mar 29, 2016