Online Role Playing
And for adult director/producer Dez, who is also an online gaming enthusiast, a high percentage of those over-18 gamers are the prime demographic for his fantasy-inspired adult site Whorelore.com.
For a whole generation of tech-savvy, Renaissance Faire-going, fantasy 'geek' folk that were raised on television shows like "Xena: Warrior Princess," "Whorelore" has what seems to be the missing element in otherworldly fantasies — hardcore sex. After all, who hasn't imagined Xena and her armor-clad companion Gabrielle getting it on for some magical girl/girl action?
"Anyone that has seen 'Lord of the Rings' is into 'Whorelore,'" Dez explained. "It's the same as if you've seen 'Troy' or '300' — it's on the same level as that. It's really based on fantasy. People have done medieval porn and stuff like that, but they don't do magic or a really in-depth storyline."
Launched in 2006, the site was originally called Whores of WarCraft, and then just Whorecraft, but had to change its name a third time after being warned off by WoW parent company Blizzard Entertainment.
Dez, who performed in more than 600 adult titles before stepping behind the camera, created the parallel sexual universe along with his real-life partner and graphic designer Staci (aka adult performer Alaura Eden).
The episodic content produced by their company, Top of the Food Chain, Inc., is plot driven, with recurring characters, authentic costuming, high production values, low-end special effects and choreographed fight sequences. Lots of exterior scenes are shot in the local foothills and various other locations, to give it that real Middle Earth feel.
But Dez said that he sometimes gets dogged by critics that feel like he is trying too hard to make a "real" movie.
"I get a lot of criticism about the magic and the storyline," he said. "So the critics might not get it, but we try our best to make it funny and somewhat serious. The girls actually kick ass. We have a good formula.
"The main thing that I like is that we're not just dumping content every week," Dez added. "You know, I'm not bashing anybody, but a lot of these sites like Bang Bros. — there's a continuous update all the time and I just think it creates boredom. So, we try to get an episode out once a month."
A lot of time is spent on costuming and art design to keep the end product looking authentic, from pointy ears on the elven priestesses to real armor and weaponry, as well as making sure that no one is wearing tube socks or modern underwear.
"Just shooting normal porn is pretty boring these days," Dez said. "I try to do dialogue, but it's not like a huge softcore feature. They travel and go on adventures and run into new things and fight. And they're so fun to shoot. A lot of people love it. But in the end it's porn — we just put so much into it, with the costumes and other attention to detail.
"We rented a live bear for the 'Man Hunter' episode, which is episode four, and that was [the Hunter's] pet, and the pet kind of attacked people," he described. "That was pretty cool."
The Hunter was played by adult performer Shyla Stylez, and other recurring characters are portrayed by Monica Mayhem and Mindy Lee. Mia Rose, who has appeared in several episodes, is an avid WoW player, as is male performer Christian, who appeared in the very first "Whorelore" episode.
Dez said that he tries to cast seasoned performers that he can depend on, in case he wants them to appear in several episodes. Most of them are excited to work on the project because it's so different from anything else that they do.
"They love it," Dez said. "I give them content — a lot of the content trade and a lot of the scenes that you see these days aren't that cool. For what you're doing, you're not really getting that much out of it. So, we give them tons of stills and videos. They get a lot of fans from the gaming world because I put their links on the website, and they get hits. I share as much publicity as I can with everybody that does it."
In fact, Dez also shares as much as he can with the customers that purchase episodes of "Whorelore" from the website and, unwillingly, with content pirates that steal his material at an alarming rate. It's a double-edged sword in a battle that he has little chance of winning.
"The only thing that's killing us is the bit torrent stuff," Dez explained. "It's very individualized stuff, so when they come to the site, they go to the bit torrent sites, they type in 'Whorelore,' and boom. I think we've had like 500,000 downloads that we've seen from all the bit torrent sites. I have a whole list, and it's just amazing.
"It's not like 'Ass Shooters 14.' I'm sure [that type of content] doesn't get ripped off a lot."
With the if-you-can't-beat-'em-join-'em philosophy, which most small producers are forced to accept, Dez watermarks all his content and allows his customers download-to-burn. Even if the content ends up on the bit torrent and tube sites, at least people will see the website address, which is another way of getting the 'Whorelore' name out there.
"Until the government or someone else does something about it, it's really hard to defend against something like that," Dez said, resignedly. "But on the Internet these days — we've tried DRM and all that, and it just doesn't work. Anything that they can see, they can steal. So, I just give them the download anyway, and they can burn it on their computer or do whatever they want. We watermark everything, so if they are stealing it, they still see the name and that's what you deal with."
So far there are eight episodes available on the website, with the latest episode posted in mid- March. Each "Whorelore" episode is 30 minutes long, more or less, and users pay $7.99 to $8.99 per download. There are also photo sets available from each episode for $19.95.
"Everybody that buys one episode buys all of them, so they just may buy episode three and then, all of a sudden, you'll see them buy episodes 1-7," Dez said. "So, generally, the people are just drawn to them."
Boldly going where few pornographers have gone before, Dez made his first trip to the International Comic-Con last year. The annual convention, held in San Diego in July, is the largest convergence of fantasy- fueled gamer geekdom in the known universe.
Representing a vast, untapped market of potential customers, the 125,000-plus attendees of this year's Comic-Con will be able to meet a few of "Whorelore"'s hardcore heroines when Dez brings them to the show. By then, the first season of "Whorelore" (episodes 1-6) should be out on DVD.
Dez said he is also ramping up production to finish the original saga of "swords, sorcery and sex." And when he's done, he expects to the series to continue with other tales of anal adventures, legendary loads and sexy sequels.
"I've got four more [episodes] that we're working on now, and we're going to make those really kick ass," he said. "I'm shooting for 12 episodes total, and I think we're going to end up going for more, because people just love it."