What do you do for WoW Insider?
A little of this, a little of that. Besides posts about shields, I generally write the Warrior and Shaman columns for WoW Insider, The Care and Feeding of Warriors and Totem Talk. I'm also very behind on a Thrall post for Know Your Lore.
What's your main right now?
Depends on who you ask, but I'm raiding on my human level 70 protection warrior the most. Besides him, I have a Tauren, Night Elf and Draenei warrior at 70 and Orc and Draenei shamans also at 70. I like warriors a lot. For me they're the fundamental basis for the whole game and they get a lot of derision and abuse from players of other classes. This despite the fact that they're the most played class in the game, or maybe because of it. Shamans are a close second because they're the scrappy underdogs with a lot of heart and a great array of abilities to bring to any raid or instance. Plus, man, once you've seen Windfury crit, you can't give that up.
I have two paladins stuck in the 50's. I don't talk about them.
For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance?
If pushed, Glory to the Alliance. Both factions are about equal (although Tauren look the best in their gear, no word of a lie) but I always come back to my first character, that level 70 human prot warrior. He's unflappable (much more so than I am), cynical, sarcastic and grumpy. He's me in about 20 years.
Plus, the Horde has way too many quests that involve poisoning allies with goop from pools in Azshara or bringing poisoned beer to helpless captives for me. Yeah yeah, I know the nobles in Stormwind didn't pay up, but there's a big difference between shorting someone on a bill or being manipulated by a dragon and killing a Tauren ally just to see what an alchemical concoction does. Combine that with the fact that, in general, people who prefer Horde tend to be kind of jingoistic about it, and I end up on the Alliance side of the line.
Tauren do rock, though. And there's an awesome Horde guild on Malfurion named the Consummate Vees, and they made it so I hardly even noticed all the quests where I killed innocent people.
Favorite thing to do in Azeroth?
Hang out with my wife and her level 70 hunter. Number two is tanking in raids, which is good because she and I are in the same guild now. (My lovely and talented wife took the picture of me I used on this post, which is why I used it.) Number three is discussing tanking with Vish, which I don't get to do so much anymore.
In general, I really enjoy talking about warrior and shaman mechanics with anyone who will discuss it. I learn a lot from talking with educated, smart players like the ones I've been fortunate enough to meet/be guilded with over the past few years.
What's the number one thing Blizzard could do better?
I'm sure there's a lot of things they could do better, but from my perspective they need to fix warrior threat generation so that it scales in the same manner as DPS and take the 4 mob limit off of Thunderclap. Shamans, I'm not even going to go into. Yes, I'm fairly selfish and myopic and think mostly about what would be good for the classes I enjoy playing. I wouldn't mind seeing shamans get tanking ability: if the other two hybrids can heal, tank or DPS, why not shamans? (At this point I'm just desperately trying to find a way to get more people to play shamans.)
I really love the game, though. Like, disturbingly so. These small gripes don't do much to detract from that.
Favorite piece of loot?
Sulfuras. I was very sad when I finally stopped using it at level 70. I think I like it most because it looks just like the mace Rag is bashing folks in the head with. Thematically appropriate loot works for me. I love that Prince Malchezaar drops the axe he's using to hit you in Phase 2.
When I'm not playing WoW, I'm...
Writing, mostly. I have a book out and am working interminably on another one.
What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
My first time tanking Ragnaros was kind of awesome. There's just something about tanking your first major, instance clearing, we have this place on farm boss that stands out in the mind. He very obligingly dropped the T2 pants, helping to cement that.
In a more general sense, I'm proud that this long down the road from my first Scarlet Monastery run (I didn't even have a shield back then) that I'm still tanking. It burns a lot of people out. Dedicated DPS players don't really understand how crushingly, soul-grindingly awful tanking can actually be at times. There's a fun psychological set to it when you're in the zone, but when PuG's are bad or someone in a group is just unable to moderate his or her threat, it can become purely awful and people often blame the tank before stopping to consider what they're doing wrong. So the fact that I'm still here smacking fish/snake people in what I can only assume is the general area that they might have reproductive organs seems like an accomplishment, if a small one.
If you could add one touch of personal flair to your main, what would it be?
I'd give him some scars. He's been hit in the face by elemental lieutenants, powerful dragons, old gods, archliches, fish people... his face should look like a really really old map by now.
Other games I enjoy are ...
MMO wise, I liked City of Heroes/Villains. I also enjoyed the old D&D gold box video games, Neverwinter Nights, the Baldur's Gate series, Planescape Torment (I'm a D&D fan from way back) and I enjoy watching my wife totally own the Diablo series. I was actually never a big RTS fan, so WoW is my first exposure to the Warcraft universe. I've also been known to fancy the Glass Bead game from time to time.