The time has come for 11 million World of Warcraft subscribers to bid farewell to their significant others, social lives, and
good decent hygiene as they embark on a voyage through icy Northrend in the Wrath of the Lich King game expansion. And then, provided they fulfill all the requirements, these players will immediately create at least two Death Knight characters.
Why two Death Knights? Because one will be a serious ‘toon’ you’ll actually strive to play for, while the other will be a mighty Gnome — yes that’s correct, you can now create an ultra powerful tank-like Emo-looking Hero Gnome with hot pink hair. You will name this character something laughable and ridiculous like “Pedognome” or “Dethsneeze” because it’s novel to have an overpowered little person.
For Dino Andrade ["Dinoandrade"], the only thing novel about a Death Knight Gnome is the voice he lent to breath vibrant life into the vertically challenged new Hero Class.
“Of course they typecast me as the Gnome, true to form,” says Andrade, the 5’4″ voice actor whose talents have also appeared in Call of Duty (PSP), Guitar Hero (DS), Skull from Scott Kurtz’s PVP animated series, and “Pop” from the Rice Krispies commercials. He’s sort of a big deal when it comes to voices in the video game industry as of late, so it’s no surprise that Blizzard chose him to be the voice of the Death Knight.
Andrade, who lives just blocks from the tiny, unassuming offices where Blizzard operates, was kind enough to chat with Geeks of Doom about his experience, which he said was unlike any other voice acting job he’s done in over 20 years of career experience.
“It was the most secretive thing I have ever done. Oh my god,” Andrade says, adding that the script was not allowed to be taken out of the recording booth so that no one would have information about the game prior to launch.
As for the script itself, “You only had your lines. There was no visual reference whatsoever. No story reference, there was absolutely nothing to give you any hint what the hell it was about,” he says. “It’s just [my] lines on a blank page. I had never seen that before, and I’m asking the director ‘what’s going on here?’ and he’s giving me the vaguest idea — just really really vague.”
Andrade says typically, no one gives an actor a line read. Instead, the director generally gives the actor a basic description of what’s going on in the scene and then lets them use their imagination to sell the performance.
“But here, they are purposely not telling me anything that’s going on. Then they’re asking to repeat those lines in like nine different ways,” he adds.
One of the lines was saying ‘what’ over and over again until the director was satisfied. “I had to come up with a zillion different ways. The audition was the same way. I asked if there was reference footage or vocal footage, do you have any idea what these gnomes are suppose to sound like and they were like, you tell us.”
If Andrade’s in-character voice isn’t enough to sell you into immediately making your Gnome the main toon you use for Warcraft, there’s a feature allowing players to add “Death Knight” voice module that warps speech. [Alternately, if it DID sell you on making your main character a Death Knight Gnome and you've noticed it's been weeks since you've talked to or heard from the significant other, then it might be time to check out Andrade's Geek dating site SoulGeek.com prior to starting your new obsession with endgame loot.]
Dino Andrade: Official Website
Wrath of the Lich King: Official Website