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[Community Spotlight] Branmuffin17

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Forum » News » [Community Spotlight] Branmuffin17 11 posts - page 1 of 2
Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Wayne3100 » January 29, 2018 4:17pm | Report

Hello all and welcome to SMITEFire's first ever Community Spotlight!

This month's interview features none other than Branmuffin17. Since joining the site in June of 2014, Bran has published numerous guides, reviewed more than a numerous amount of guides created by others and been a general positive influence in everyday discussions held on the forums. As such, we thought it was about time we'd get to know more about everyone's favorite moderator, so we asked him a few questions about his time on the site, his experiences playing SMITE and his personal life. Let's get to it!

1. Let's start by talking a little bit about your time on the website. How did you first find out about SMITEFire, and what made you decide to join?

When I get into something, I get into it. I don't remember exactly when I started to play SMITE, but after realizing how complex it was, I started to plan. Right from the beginning, I started a build sheet that I kept in e-mail draft form for Assault...basically, "if I'm this kind of god, build this first. Then, if facing 3+ physical gods, build one of these," etc. (And yes, I was a filthy Assault main for my first year or so before starting to branch out. If that disgusts you, sorry!)

SMITEFire was obviously easy to spot in an internet search, and I immediately found the database reference helpful. As my own build list got more and more complex, I delved deeper into SF and started posting my own questions and comments in the forums. Eventually, I decided to create The Overarching Assault Guide, which I've generally maintained since its first publication on December 10, 2014 (6 months after I joined).

2. You've been part of the community for roughly three and a half years now. What about it keeps you coming back and which members have most positively contributed to your experience over the years?

SMITE has held my attention like almost no other game has before it. Exceptions to that statement include the original Everquest and World of Warcraft, both of which I played for multiple years before eventually moving away.

I invested a ton of time into theory-crafting and my Assault guide, which I feel played a strong role in keeping my interest up for the game itself. I also appreciated the feedback I got from the community (and I still do...I'm always excited about getting to talk about builds, gameplay and everything in-between). Since that point, of course, I've only chained myself even further, with the other guides I've released since that point. I also feel a responsibility to the community, being promoted to Mod here. I CAN'T ESCAPE!!!

However, I think the thing that cemented my own feeling of belonging in the community is when some of the most prominent regular members of the community at that time gave me some recognition by inviting me to their Curse chat group (SFBC, AKA SmiteFire Bulletin Chat)...this group included Zilby, Devampi, FerrumSlash, Greenevers, ThePerfectPrism, GameGeekFan, Stuke, DucksRock, Wolfman5665, and also includes some that aren't contributors to SF but I've played a lot with, including Taco (who I've mentioned in various posts about gameplay) and Jaberg. The group has sort of morphed over the years, as some people have left the game, while others have joined the group (e.g. Bullfrog323, Pappsi, xZero, Technotoad, Sodsboy, Wayne, boogiebass, and Bernardo).

These people, and others that I've met on SMITEFire over the years, have formed a network of friends that have helped keep me interested in the game. I'm not generally one to solo queue, so without friends to talk and play with, I wouldn't be here still.

A shout-out to some of the others that have not been mentioned, and sorry if I forget anyone: Duotem (friend of my nephew's, who got me into the game), Daelinn (we still e-mail each other here and there), overld1 / PapaMurmz / SorenNoKitsune, newbiemj & time2medicate (my PS4 pals), Gulfwulf / Draisaitl / DV-8 (newer in terms of friendship but I love our discussions and the times we've queued together), Firraria / Marki (BestMinionEver) / TheZodiakWolf / Estidien / Sgorr / masterricu / TormentedTurnip (the old crew and their awesome guides and knowledge), CakeSlapping / Arvorus / nanoyam (gone now but were great online friends), and finally Wayne, Dash (miss ya) and Mowen for being awesome managers.

3. If you had the power to (instantaneously) change one thing about the site, what would it be and why?

Probably not the greatest thing to mention in this space, but over the years, as we've discussed in other posts, SF doesn't have the greatest reputation in the community. The biggest contributing factor to this is both a strength and a weakness.

Positive first...anyone can contribute to the site, both by commenting and making guides. People can simply create a build, or they can invest time and create amazing guides...this site allows for better guide presentation than any other that I know. Creating guides not only allows one to help others, but as some will attest to, having to explain details to others (like tutoring) can also increase your own knowledge and understanding. The additional allowance for people to comment on a build, and for the creator to make adjustments and improvements can bring about some amazing content.

However, the negative aspect is the same...anyone can contribute to the site, both by commenting and making guides. This means some that might not fully understand the complexities of the game, and have played maybe 50 matches with a new account and had success with what would be considered a poor build, might post their build on the site. "I've had a ton of success with this build, and you will too if you use it!" Some of these builds are often what non-members may see when they visit the site, and have contributed the most to why veteran SMITE players have built up the negative reputation of SF over time.

And it's that reputation I'd have changed (or reset), if I had the power. This site absolutely has some great content, and a great community, but many just want perfect content at their fingertips, without having to dedicate any time to actually look. Sorry, people, you won't get that anywhere. Any good thing takes some work.

4. Of course, one of the things you are known for on the site is the large amount of guides you have written, most notably your "Overarching" series. With Season 5 coming up, what are your plans in regards to guide writing? plans are to maintain the guides I have! I've realized I'm basically at the limit of what I can reasonably maintain without getting too overwhelmed. 3 Overarching guides with lots of content, along with a number of individual god guides and my items guide, is plenty to handle. Since I also contribute as much as I can outside of my own guides, by commenting on others' guides/builds, I don't think I can do much more without falling behind on my own content. I have a job and family too...if this site was my main job, maybe I'd be able to create more, but I already push it as is, working on stuff while I'm here XD)

I HAVE considered creating other guides on any number of topics or gods, but, yeah, sorry, no further guides planned at this time.

5. Before we move on to talk more about the game itself, a few members asked questions related to your nickname and avatar. Why does your name end with the number 17, is there a special meaning behind it? Also, did you create your avatar by yourself?

I think I posted this on another thread, but as you can probably guess, my name is Brandon. Most friends/family call me Bran or Brando. A female friend in college (not girlfriend, she dated my friend for 3 weeks but after they broke up, we stayed as good friends) just started calling me Branmuffin.

Related to that is my IGN, Muffinman17. Not so much from the song (do you know the muffin man?), another friend that hung out with us took Branmuffin and converted it to Muffinman (and says it sort of like how Dane Cook sings his Waffler theme song in the movie Mystery Men).

The 17, first true girlfriend's b-day fell on the 17th. I actually liked the number anyway, and just sort of made it my own from that point on. It's also a great prime number. My birthday falls on the 9th, and no offense to anyone else, but taking your own birthday and saying that's your favorite # is awful.

Zilby chose my avatar...he found the pic online and just did a quick cut/size adjustment, I think.

6. Let's talk a bit more about your time playing SMITE. How often do you currently play the game, and at what time of the day can you usually be found online?

I usually get on sometime after 9PM Pacific (US), generally every night except nights when I have a hockey game (I play ice hockey in a beer league most Tuesdays). I'll then look at my friends list...if I don't find people to play with, every once in a while I'll queue a casual match, but usually I'll just log off and play or do something else.

People I usually queue with these days (some are not on SF) are Taco, boogiebass, Draisaitl, GGF (though he's been busy lately), DareSheridan, LuisDaniel (boogie's friend), nephew's crew (Duotem, Avare, MidLoki4Life (nephew), YankWankerman), llionking, and Reilok. Gulfwulf and DV-8 have not been playing (at my time) much lately.

7. You are known on the site for your love of Freya. What about her made you interested in playing her as your main, and has she always been your favorite?

I'd hope Freya isn't the only one I've seemed to show a lot of love for over the years!

Right now, since I've gotten her to Mastery X and beyond, I don't actually play her much. If I were to break down why I fell in love with her, it'd probably be the following.
  1. As I say pretty often, I'm not the best player. I'd consider myself average at best. Freya is a relatively simple god, which made it easier for me to pick her up and get comfortable with her. This isn't to say that playing well with her is specifically nephew, who I'd say is generally significantly better than me, doesn't understand why I'm so much better with her than he is. In any case, her skill usage is straightforward, but understanding her very obvious weaknesses and choosing the best time to engage and disengage (which I'm always working on) is important.

  2. Further to having a simple skill-set is that her abilities (with Pulse activated) feel easy to hit (generous hit box?), and the feedback (that delicious "whump whump" audio) is extremely satisfying to hear. She's also got an escape in her ult (and anyone that's ever talked to me about best god choice knows how much I value escapes).

  3. My first attraction to her was in Assault as a random roll...if I recall correctly, something just clicked in me and I was able to demolish the enemy team. My main playtime with her has been in Arena, though, where I was able to hone my 1 v 1 and teamfight capabilities.

  4. For Conquest, I like the fact that she's generally had a weaker early game with some big weaknesses (like using Pulse means enemies can sic their minions on me). It forced me to learn the opposite of Arena...that I can't just go in and delete people, but rather figure out how to optimize my clear and engage, time things better, and develop a more patient game. It may sound like I'm a pro with her...I want to emphasize I'm not.
As seen on my SmiteGuru god list, my most-played gods are generally tanks. Of my top 13 (in play time), 9 are either Warriors or Guardians. I like them, but often found that I needed to play them if I wanted a balanced team instead of 5 squishies. Being able to find a god I could consistently rack up the kills with was a nice change.

Is she my single favorite god? No (although she was at one point). My preferences are consistently shifting, and as I've grown in the game, I've gained an appreciation for a wide variety of gods. But she'll always hold a special place in my heart!

8. Speaking of liking or disliking individual Gods, are there any Gods in SMITE which you didn't like at first but you grew to like as you played them more (or vice versa)?

Odin is my best example. I unlocked all of the gods through favor...yes, I got to this point through playtime, not the God Pack. So, as a newer player, one of the first gods I unlocked, at the suggestion of my nephew, was Odin. He's gone through some revisions to his kit, but in S1 I had some early fun with him. Then I got really bored and didn't like some of the changes that were made to him...then found a new love as his kit was honed to the point it is today.

There aren't many gods I disliked but now like. Most I've either not had any preference for and grew to like, or just never liked them. Of those I have never really liked, those include gods like Cabrakan, Geb, Fafnir and Tyr. Other gods I generally don't prefer include Anhur, Apollo, Artio, Chiron, and Mercury.

9. What do you think is the most enjoyable thing in the game at the moment? Conversely, what do you think is the most annoying thing in the game at the moment?

Most enjoyable? Playing with friends. About the game itself? The constant variety...different god compositions, the different modes, adapting builds to fit the situation.

Most annoying? Hands down, player toxicity. Wish people would just play the game and have fun, win or lose. In the end, it's just a game, and it's here for our enjoyment. There's enough negative **** going on in the real world to have it leak into this.

10. With Season 5 just around the corner, what are your overall thoughts on the changes announced by Hi-Rez? Also, which God do you predict will make the biggest jump in terms of viability (either becoming much stronger or weaker than they were considered to be in Season 4)?

I love the changes overall. Hi-Rez is going to have their hands full trying to balance everything, but I love the art direction and changes in Conquest's map. I also appreciate trying to simplify the starter items (Blessings)...easier entry for newer players, and prevents funky, niche starts for well-organized parties.

With the wider map, mobility abilities are going to be more important than ever. Without any further changes, I'd expect gods with global ults (like Athena, Apollo, Ratatoskr and Thor) to be stronger for their ability to either split push or jump into a teamfight from afar. However, I'd also expect some of these gods to be adjusted (nerfed) in some aspect (and we've seen that to a degree already with Rat).

Another interesting shift, and I don't know how it's all going to play out, is with mages...instead of many having only 30 magical protection, they now have scaling up to 48 at level 20. This changes things, where before you could get Shoes of the Magi and Spear of Desolation and basically deal true damage...many of the item changes (and new items) provide more health, so we're going to see mages get a bit less squishy...while also possibly dealing less (or more situational) peak damage with the nerf to Rod of Tahuti. In short, I'm very excited for S5.

11. In this final section, it's time for a few more personal questions. Outside of SMITEFire, what do you do for a living?

I work in the nutraceutical industry...where pharmaceuticals deal with prescription and non-prescription drugs, my company is a contract manufacturer of supplements. These include things like vitamins, minerals, herbs, etc.

I worked for 7 years in retail as I was going to school (and beyond a bit, before I got my butt in gear). I worked at a place called Mother's Market & Kitchen, which had a supplements department, body care, vegetarian restaurant and deli, organic produce, and standard (but generally healthier) groceries, so got a lot of my initial experience there.

At my current job, I'm officially in product development, and manage a small group who mostly handles formulations and quotations for our customers, who are typically marketers. However, I also handle a bit of sales, am a contact for technical questions, assist our quality groups (regulatory and analytical testing), help with marketing things (like editing brochures, answering questions for interviews), and am a point person for legal things (patents, trademarks, etc.).

My other job is being a father, husband, and animal lover. We've currently got 7 chickens, some amount of quail (like...under 10?), 4 cats, a parrotlet, a 55 gallon fresh water tank (with fish, of course), and bees. We're probably going to get bunnies at some point, and have been talking about dogs for a while, though not sure if we'll get any.

12. What would you say is your core character value? (Examples would be things like making sure everyone gets what they deserve, treating all people with courtesy, staying true to who you are, etc.)

Sure, all of the above you mentioned (though your phrase that "everyone gets what they deserve" sounds a bit dark!).

I'm generally an easy-going / laid-back person, but perhaps the person that has experienced the other side of that is time2medicate (sorry again GOTZ XD). I'm the type to open or hold doors for strangers, and will often help people when they're in need.

I strongly feel people need to put in more effort to be good people. Especially with social media and hiding behind computer screens, it's very easy to be toxic without any major consequences, and to be very reactionary to things we don't like. That also means it should be easier to brush things off and just smile, though, right?

13. What do you think your most distinguishing physical feature is? (Do you have an easily visible scar or tattoo, a weird haircut? Are you abnormally short or tall?)

Uhhh...I'm Asian? I dunno...I don't think I particularly stand out in any way. I'm 5'9" and about 185 (dad bod...gotta lose some weight haha), and am old (turning 40 in a couple of months). I've still got most of a head of hair, though it's starting to gray a bit (kids).

Back in my "rebellious" phase (mostly look, not actual rebel), I:
  • Dyed my hair (purple, blue, and red, not at the same time)
  • Wore a lot of black
  • Wore these contacts that would freak people out
  • Had piercings in my ears, labret, and the web of my tongue (underneath, don't ask why because I don't know).
These pictures are old. I'm amazed they're not black & whites.

14. Your profile also mentions that you have a wife and 2 kids. Can you tell us more about them? Do your kids look and/or behave more like her or like you?

See pics. The Asian influence is strong with this one. That said, the younger one definitely has some influence from my wife. The older looks like me and has a goofy personality similar to me in some ways, though she's way more artistically creative that I ever was. The younger behaves like the baby of the family (some of you know exactly what I'm talking about), but both have very sweet dispositions overall, are cuddly, and laugh a lot. Also, they're developing an interest in games =)

Yes, that's imported "snow," and yes, my butt's getting soaked. Wife's brilliant idea to sit there.

15. Finally, let's round up the interview by asking some good ol' favorites questions. What is the hexadecimal code of your favorite color? Which musical artist is your all-time favorite? What are some of your favorite books?

Hex code: I honestly like the orange SF has assigned (ff8000). I guess I might like it a bit on the darker side if I were to be picky... e27c00 perhaps. Also like a blue like this (009ae2). I'm not so picky like Techno.

All time favorite musical artist? Difficult, but probably The Cure. Also a fan of old-school Smashing Pumpkins (before they broke up and sort of got back together), and in more recent years, Tycho, Guster, and Odesza.

Rather than favorite books, I'll say my favorite author is Brandon Sanderson. I mostly read fantasy, and he's freaking brilliant. His 3 laws of magic form a base that I feel all fantasy authors should use.

All of his magic systems are amazing and really interesting (not just "hey, Expelliarmus, oh sweet it works," no offense J.K.). His characters are interesting and have good growth. Pretty much anything he's written is highly recommended.

I'll also point you to this forum post I started. If you're interested, ask away, I can always give more suggestions.

Past Spotlights

Thanks to Janitsu for the signature!

<Community Manager>

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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Technotoad64 » January 29, 2018 6:09pm | Report
10/10 interview.

#d9ff66 #c7ff66 #b3ff66 #a1ff66 #8cff66 #7aff66 #66ff66 #66ff7a #66ff8c #66ffa1 #66ffb3 #66ffc7
#ccff33 #b4ff33 #99ff33 #81ff33 #66ff33 #4eff33 #33ff33 #33ff4e #33ff66 #33ff81 #33ff99 #33ffb4
#c0ff00 #a0ff00 #80ff00 #60ff00 #40ff00 #20ff00 #00ff00 #00ff20 #00ff40 #00ff60 #00ff80 #00ffa0
#99cc00 #81cc00 #66cc00 #4ecc00 #33cc00 #1bcc00 #00cc00 #00cc1b #cc6600 #00cc4e #00cc66 #00cc81
#739900 #619900 #4d9900 #730099 #269900 #149900 #009900 #009914 #994d00 #00993b #00994d #009961
#4d6600 #416600 #336600 #1a0066 #1a6600 #0e6600 #006600 #00660e #00661a #006627 #006633 #006641


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by GameGeekFan » January 29, 2018 7:16pm | Report
The best of interviews. Without a doubt.
Nice to see Bran getting some spotlight.

luv ya bud


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Bernardozomer » January 30, 2018 5:52am | Report
Best interview in the history of interviews, can't wait for the next one. But we still don't know the origin of your avatar, Bran.
#9e2aff #a12bfd #af29e8 #bd29d0 #c828be #d728a8 #d728b0 #e02899 #ee2891 #f02887 #d72875 #d72860
#8a42ff #9c30f6 #ab21ec #b329e4 #b829d9 #ca29c7 #d429bd #de299f #ee2887 #e62873 #e03163 #e53d44
#7b54ff #8d39f6 #a311f4 #a22afb #ae29ed #b63dc7 #a247c7 #ca3d9f #ee3175 #e6325f #e94348 #f14f2c
#676cff #793fff #910aff #871ef5 #7f2ee4 #7542da #665bc7 #8e519f #c04777 #f0464b #f2552d #fc6410
#5384ff #6545ed #7b00e0 #6b1ada #5738d0 #4356d0 #2d74cc #5c65b3 #985b77 #dc5037 #e94c1b #de4606
#3598fe #4750da #5d00a8 #4423b2 #2b46bc #1762c4 #008fcc #377b9f #636b7b #9a574e #d73a12 #c12300

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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by DV-8 » January 30, 2018 11:59am | Report
Now when people ask if I know the Muffin Man, I can confidently tell them, "Yes".

In all seriousness though, this was a nice interview. I hope you appreciated the recognition from the community as well in knowing that we are all thankful for the work you put in to this site and maintaining your guides.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by SkyPirateShini » January 30, 2018 12:22pm | Report
Well, at least now I know why i can never catch a game with you. You get on midnight my time. But this was a great interview and it was cool to see into the brain of Bran.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » January 30, 2018 12:30pm | Report
This was definitely a fun thing for me, and it's always cool to be recognized...Wayne and crew (and the SF community) has always been great to me, and I've tried to pay it back with the guides I maintain.

Tried to make it interesting to read, but just ended up rambling a lot.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by IceColdPappsi » January 30, 2018 5:19pm | Report
Will this happen every month?

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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by Branmuffin17 » January 30, 2018 10:59pm | Report

Will this happen every month?

Yes, that's the plan Papps.


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Permalink | Quote | PM | +Rep by ThePerfectPrism » February 1, 2018 9:51am | Report

Also love the fact you dyed your hair.

I rate this interview 11/10 would interview again <3
Someone make me a cool flashy banner pls ,_,


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