Interview with DarkDagger




New York, USA

Tell us about yourself

I am a 22-year-old brother, uncle, and full-time university student. I work two jobs that entail a variety of different tasks. I work as a content developer, production manager, project manager, VFX editor, graphic designer, producer, and script reader for my primary job. As for my other occupation, it is well known that I am the community manager for Mushroom Wars 2, which also encompasses a wide variety of different technical skills, from data analytics to stream production. Surprisingly, my job description for Mushroom Wars 2 doesn’t include speaking Russian, but I’m working on that.

Can we know something more specific about your primary job?
In my primary job, I work as a production supervisor in a corporate training organization. Specifically, I oversee the development and administration of videos covering various subjects such as patents, trademarks, trade secrets, and copyrights, as part of our specialized intellectual property training. I am responsible for supervising every stage of video production, from the initial ideation phase to post-production.

Can you please tell us when and how you found out about the game? What was your first impression that you remember?
I wasn’t aware of the game; my brother first introduced it to me in July 2019. Initially, I didn’t want to play the game – I only wanted to get better at the game, so I could beat my brother and then quit the game since there is so much sibling love between us, but little did I know I would get sucked in by the community and stay for a very long time. The game was a nostalgic trip for us since there was an old game we used to play called Tentacle Wars, which is similar to Mushroom Wars. He discovered it by searching for Tentacle Wars, and Mushroom Wars popped up as a suggestion. Mushroom Wars struck me at first as a dull game. However, there were a lot of things that I now understand that I didn’t know before, that make it anything but dull. Overall, I stayed with the game because of the community and how welcoming they were to new members. After Vindblain invited me to join AoS back in early 2020, I was hooked by the community and decided to stay with the game.

DarkDagger’s profile on the 16th of May 2023.


Is your brother still playing the game?
My brother (Lord.Hothorn), still plays on occasion to this day. He started a few months before me and when I started, he was a legend in his own right.

DarkDagger And Lord.Hothorn
Lord.Hothorn (left) and DarkDagger (Right)

Why did you ignore the Family Cup back in 2020?
Back then in 2020, we were not a cohesive team since we didn’t understand several aspects of the game enough to participate. That doesn’t mean that he hasn’t participated in other tournaments in the past though.

Can you try to remember the old days of MW2? How was it back then? What were the elements of the game that you didn’t understand?
There are so many stories that come to mind since there were many elements that I did not understand.
I remember my first matches against stronger opponents, every time I saw them snaking, I would automatically quit because I knew I was going to lose and I thought it was a cheat with auto clickers.
Another story is that I didn’t know that you could share your troops in 2v2 until I watched replays by LiDa on YouTube.
I recall that during my first tournament, “Fallen.Templar” was only using Pahom. I was eliminated in the first round after losing every match.
The individual heroes were without a doubt my favorite aspects of the game; I was a Rudo and Cree main for a long time.
There were definitely some memorable battles, I remember my 33-minute game against a Mouro player on D5 (there is a Screenshot somewhere). I was so frustrated at this player who kept using the cauldron skill.
The biggest bug I remember was in 2v2, the play again button and after almost every battle you would be sent to the main menu screen with a disconnect and black screen.

DarkDagger’s long game against Mouro

What do you like the most about today’s MW2?
Inside of the game – The 2v2 mode and playing with other people.

Outside of the game – Definitely the community and the great friendships I have built in real life.

How do you feel about the imbalance and unfairness in multiplayer, and how has it changed since you joined the ZW team?
My perception of this question has changed over the past few years. Before becoming a community manager, I was a player who participated in a lot of ranked battles with and without artifacts using the old tier 6 system. At that time, I believed that losing meant I was a bad player. However, over time, I have come to realize the many imbalanced elements in the game made it impossible to accurately gauge skill. This led me to experiment with playing without artifacts and using lower tiers, and ultimately, I fell in love with the game again after I stopped playing ranked mode competitively. This is also when I developed a passion for tournaments, and with the introduction of tournament mode, it renewed my interest in competing. My perception did not change when I became a community manager, but rather I came to understand the importance of these elements for the game to survive. Everyone wants a fair game, but for the game to thrive and for everyone to enjoy it, there must be some elements that allow developers to continue to improve it. I am grateful to have been a part of this process, communicating with the community and developers about issues within the game.

Could you please tell us when, how, and why you started streaming MW2? How was the experience, and was it a big challenge for you, or was it easy?
I began streaming in January 2021 with the goal of engaging more with the community and making streams great again. Previously, there were many streams by a streamer named cheeseburger, but when he stopped, there were no longer any streams for Mushroom Wars. The community encouraged me to start streaming, which was one of the reasons I began. However, another reason was that in March 2021, Zillion Whales was looking for a community manager, and I felt that streaming could help me stand out as a candidate. I started off streaming with difficulty, but over time I became more comfortable and am now able to stream semi-relaxed (although I am never fully relaxed while streaming). It can be challenging to play well while also managing the streaming software, YouTube, discord chat, and other elements such as giveaways. The technical aspect can be overwhelming for one person, but I have been able to manage it somehow so far. There is a lot that goes into streaming that many people may not realize. I am normally preparing for two hours before a stream, for me, streaming is a technical challenge.

Streaming Setup
DarkDagger’s new stream setup

Could you please provide a brief set of instructions for beginner streamers? What do they need, and what would be good to have in terms of devices, software, or anything else?
There is no one correct way to stream, as what works for one person may not work for someone else. Understanding this, you can find a variety of different ways to stream. When I started, I simply had a laptop, an old third-generation iPad, and a wired connection directly to the laptop. You don’t need much to start; you could even stream directly from your phone if you have a good internet connection. If you have access to more tools, you can use things like OBS, which can make your stream more polished. However, at a basic level, to achieve good quality streaming, you will need a computer (the better the specs, the better the quality), a capture card, and a good internet connection. Nobody wants to watch a choppy stream. If you are just starting out, you could forgo the capture card and cast over Wi-Fi to your computer, but there will be some delay. Overall, I would say that you need a good device and a good internet connection to stream, and there are a variety of software options available to suit your needs.

DarkDagger’s old stream setup

Can you please tell us about joining the community? Were you a Discord user before joining? What do you remember from your first days in the community? Who was your first friend, enemy, or someone who turned from enemy to friend, and have any of your friendships turned sour? How do you see the changes in the community, and who or what do you miss?
I was invited to the server by my brother before I started playing the game. We have played a lot of various online games with wildly different genres together over the years where we had to strategize and plan everything. He convinced me to give the game a shot, and that’s when I joined the community and observed for a month before I started to play. I was a Discord user before Mushroom Wars. I don’t remember much of my first times interacting in the server, I know I talked with cheeseburger quite a bit because he was the only one answering my questions on the server, but that’s about it. As for an enemy that turned into a friend, no one comes to mind. One thing that really drew me to the community was that everyone was super friendly and easygoing. This community is truly one of the nicest I’ve been a part of and is what made me stick around for so long. As for community changes, I miss a lot of the old players that used to be around when I first started, and I would name them, but there are so many and I do not want to leave anyone out. Overall, I think that I miss the atmosphere of the old 2019-20 community the most because everyone was so active, knowledgeable, and nice.

You have played a lot of tournaments with your teammate Gaia. Can you recall the first tournament you played together? Did it take some time to get adjusted to each other? Could you share any funny stories about playing in tournaments together? Tell us about BuGz’N’GliTcHeS in the game. Additionally, who are some other players you have played tournaments with?
Well, Gaia and I started playing together a long time before we played a tournament together. We started playing together during the Stella event of March 2020. My first 2v2 tournament (April 2020) was not with Gaia, I played with Trinz. Gaia had played with LiDa. Our first tournament that we played together was in November 2020, so as you can see by the difference in time between when we started playing together and our first tournament together, we had been teammates for a long time already. I don’t remember too much about the tournament itself, but it always seemed as if we got hard opponents. She is definitely more of a casual player, whereas I am competitive. I would say in the beginning, Gaia adjusted to my style of play, and then over time we kind of clicked, but it definitely took some getting used to for both of us. There are plenty of funny stories about us as a team, but I can’t think of a specific instance that has happened during a tournament. One fun fact is that for the past three or four tournaments that we have played (official and unofficial), we have not practiced at all, we just play, and I think that’s pretty epic, especially since this past cup season we got a third place win. Another fun fact is that one of us is always inevitably sick during a tournament, where we are feeling horrible. We always joke that it is our good luck.

The name BuGz’N’GliTcHeS came from the game mechanics that would always “glitch” or “bug” out when we were playing 2V2. We learned that since the game is unpredictable, we cannot predict our own movements, and there would be glitches where I wouldn’t be able to move for 20 seconds, or Gaia would just disconnect automatically from the game. Overall, the team’s name represents the chaos of our play style, experience, and expectations.

DarkDagger as 1/2 of BuGz’N’GliTcHeS

I’ve played official tournaments with a few different community members, Trinz, Gunner, Vu, and I was supposed to play an unofficial “pro-amateur” tournament with Sami, but it was canceled. There were also other cups that I had participated in unofficially that were 4-8 person teams, but I do not count those.

When you joined the ZW team, what were your initial thoughts upon seeing the announcement? How long did it take for you to apply for the vacancy, and how did you feel while waiting for their decision?
Well, I had accepted the position two weeks prior to the announcement, so keeping that a secret was kind of hard. A funny story is that I created my own announcement graphic, which was my first official act as community manager. I originally wasn’t going to apply, but I was pushed into it by a few others (you know who you are), so I decided to put my best foot forward and apply for the position. As I’ve said in one of my previous answers, I work as a content developer for my full-time job, so whether or not I got the position wasn’t a concern at the time since I already had stability in my life, at least in terms of a job. 🤪

Community Manager DarkDagger

Could you please tell us about your job as a CM? Do you have meetings with the whole team, or do you and Tormoz just focus on your own tasks? How do you like working with Tormoz, and has your relationship changed since becoming colleagues? Lastly, how would you score your first year as a CM on a scale of 1 to 2, or any other scale you prefer?
My job as a community manager is complicated, and it’s hard to nail it down to a specific skill set as I perform various tasks, from writing texts to streaming to interacting with the community on voice calls and so much more. I interact with the entire team at ZW, but Tormoz and I, of course, discuss things more regularly as we are more in touch with the immediate community, especially since we come from being players ourselves. Working with Tormoz, I would say that he is one of the most easygoing people I have worked with. My first interpretation of Tormoz was that he is a very busy person and doesn’t have a lot of time, and I would say that my first interpretation turned out to be true. I would rate my first year as a community manager as a one 🥇 because I’m the best, obviously (sorry Tormoz, two for you 🥈).

When it comes to the game, can you recall anything that you discovered on your own, such as a tactic, ability trick, or map opening, even if it had been discovered by others before you? Also, could you share your favorite map opening or a tricky move that you like to use on a specific map? What advice would you give to newly joined players?
I can’t give myself credit for inventing it, but I would definitely say that I popularized something called “wall jumping” with Pix-O’s second ability when not many knew about it. I believe I was the first one to come up with the strategy on D5 domination mode, and it’s still used and relevant in tournaments today. Among other strategies and things, there is something about Q18 (my favorite map in 2v2 since I rarely lose on it). I’m surprised that no other players have copied my strategy on it, but for now, I’m going to keep that a secret.

The advice I would give to new players would be “never underestimate the power of the forge. If you have three or five stars of morale, it is not a substitute for a forge.”

Could you please tell us a few words about the AoS clan? Is it open to join, or are there requirements for joining? Also, who is the Boss of AoS?
The Art of Shroom is the original clan and was created back in 2018. AoS started off as an idea from a group of people that wanted to focus on enhancing each other’s style and gameplay through playing and mentoring on the battlefield. Our goal is to help each other gain experience and improve as players. AoS is a closed clan by invitation only. As for the leaders of AoS we have ambassadors and representatives that speak for us.

When it comes to AoS, could you please tell us about the time when some of you guys recently met each other in real life? Do you have any photos, videos, or links from the stream to share?
The idea of an AoS meet-up had been discussed for a long time, but it never came to fruition until Gaia suggested and said “hey let’s just do it!” As the planning continued some of us were lucky to have the opportunity to meet in person and form personal connections beyond the game. This gaming community is one of the most welcoming and inclusive that I’ve ever been a part of which is why I’ve stayed for so long. I am grateful for the meaningful real-life friendships that have come from our shared love for Mushroom Wars.

DarkDagger, Gaia3, LiDa, and Vu during AoS meetup in 2022

AoS Meetup Stream 2022

Who are your top 3 players in T-mode and multiplayer?
My top players of all time are:

  • Vu
  • Eclipse

Top three players in multiplayer are probably one of the hardest questions for me as I stopped playing ranked competitively so I don’t think I can judge on that but as for 2v2 which I play often and have the most experience with I would have to say:

  • Gaia
  • JULI
  • LiDa

Let’s get to know you a bit better! What are your hobbies? What are some of your habits? What is your favorite type of music? What is your favorite sport? What is your favorite movie, TV show, or series? Lastly, do you have a motto or a favorite quote?

  • My hobbies include snowboarding, running, hiking, Mountain climbing, Ultimate frisbee, and Digital drawing.
  • My habits are mostly centered around my work. I have very little free time since I do so much between working and university.
  • My favorite music, I’d have to say, is trance. I like a lot of EDM and melodic music. When I’m in the mood, I can listen to a variety of different genres. Lately I have been listening to a lot of old 2000s Pop. Apparently, Spotify thinks I’m a music addict. My stats say that I listened to over 70,000 minutes of music last year which is over 48 days straight!
  • My favorite sports that I participate in are snowboarding and Ultimate frisbee.
  • My favorite TV series is Stargate SG-1
    A close second is the Star Wars series (movies TV shows etc.)
  • My motto is “Everyone is equally unaware, but some are better at disguising it.”

Is there anything you would like to answer on your own?
There are a lot of things that I was expecting to get asked that I have not. However, I would like to take this opportunity to express my gratitude towards this community, as it has served as a great source of inspiration for my personal growth and reflection. The diverse environment here has provided me with opportunities to interact with individuals from various backgrounds and work alongside Zillion Whales.