What do you do for WoW Insider?
I first started writing for WoW Insider way back in August of aught-six, and my first post on the site wasn't even actually about World of Warcraft. A few months (and many posts) after that, I was invited to co-lead the blog with Elizabeth Harper, and nowadays (many, many posts later) I work alongside Dan O'Halloran in running the whole site and coordinating all of our talented writers, as well as posting news I find whenever possible. I've also done quite a few of the podcasts.
What's your main right now?
My main main is Shamanic, a level 70 resto Orc shaman on Thunderhorn (Horde-side). I also have a level 68 Undead rogue there named Punishment (best rogue name evar), and lately I've been playing a level 61 Night Elf hunter on Cenarius (who needs a guild, by the way). I've also got quite a few alts floating around, including a level 60 gnome warrior, a shadow priest who's about 50, a blood elf hunter around 30, another undead warrior around 30, and maybe twenty or so alts below that. A couple of them are, yes, paladins, but I've never been able to play them past about 25, and I've never gotten a warlock past about 15 for some reason. No idea why.
Lots more (maybe too much more) after the break.
For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance?
For. The. Horde. I know, I've seen your comments that say WoW Insider is Horde-centric, and I have to disagree -- we have lots of different writers who play all kinds of characters, and as you can see above, I've probably spent more time in the Alliance than I actually have in the Horde. But the Horde is just so much cooler. And being mean to the Alliance is just so much fun.
Favorite thing to do in Azeroth?
Tank or heal a great five-man group. I do enjoy good PvP (I originally come from many, many LAN parties full of Counterstrike, Quake II, and Soldier of Fortune, if you remember that one), but WoW plays best for me as a group PvE game, with every class filling their role exactly and taking the monsters down like clockwork. When you're in a five man group and a pull goes bad, and yet the group reacts and adjusts and everyone pops their cooldowns and the healer saves exactly the right people and the tank instantly knows who to hit and who to leave for CC, that's when this game is perfect.
What's the best instance in the game?
Definitely Uldaman. I joke! Deadmines is the first and probably the best, and Blizzard seems to have been aiming to match it ever since. It's the perfect combination of lore, characters, boss techniques and environment mix. Some of the Outland stuff is really good (I have a strange fondness for Shadow Labs, maybe just because I've run it so many, many times), but I really do hope we see a return to fantasy in the expansion -- nothing is better than running in and smashing some goblin and pirate faces in with your maces and swords.
What's the number one thing Blizzard could do better?
Hire me to do their communication? I joke again -- actually I love my job here. But yes, as many people have said in response to this question, the "firing random tidbits out into the forums" technique of updating your playerbase is not working quite so well. Blizzcast is a start, but there are better ways to keep your players up to date (anything more than that and they can at least charge me as a consultant).
Other than that, I'd like to see them focus on solo and small-group PvE a little more -- their big response to solo content lately has been daily quests, but I think they can do more. Solo instances (I know implementation is hard, but Blizz could do it) and updating the old instances into heroics are two good ideas, I think, that Blizzard has never even bothered with. And yet both of those would help a huge chunk of the playerbase. They obviously haven't done a bad job with PvE (I can't wait to play through Magister's Terrace, and I do like the daily quests). But they could innovate a little more on that end.
The best way to make money ingame is...
By selling stuff on the AH. But figuring out which stuff is the hard part.
I'm going to get aggro for this (what's new, right?), but I really like the Mechanostrider. Was one of my favorite things about my gnome warrior. The kodo are fun, and I envy engineers for that Flying Machine, but I like the sound and look of hoofing it around on a Mech.
Favorite piece of loot?
Sadly, I never did get my Shaman shoulders from Rend. I ran through UBRS so many times, and I only saw them drop once, in a PuG, and the other shaman won the roll (see? I'm an honest guy). I did get the lookalikes, but I don't think I'll ever want another piece of loot as much as I wanted those silly-looking perfect-for-a-shaman lightning-rod shoulders.
When I'm not playing WoW, I'm...
Probably writing. I work here at WoW Insider, I'm also a co-lead on Massively, and I also contribute occasionally to The Unofficial Apple Weblog. If you're in Chicago, I occasionally write for Newcity, or any other publication that will take my work when I have time to write it, and I'm hoping to at some point to get a book published. I do a lot of volunteering -- I work with 826 CHI in Chicago, and also the Neo-Futurists, and I'm always up for helping out a good cause when possible. I'm a dedicated D&D player, I play Xbox Live way too much (GT: toucansamurai, and I'll be playing Rainbox Six Vegas 2 a lot in the next month or so, so invite me if you're a good player so I can leech XP), I can play the ukulele and the piano, I like to take walks in Lincoln Park, I enjoy a good mussaman curry, I enjoy going to the theater and seeing movies, and Douglas Adams is probably my favorite writer. Did I miss anything?
What accomplishment in-game are you most proud of?
Probably downing Hakkar. It's not much, I know, but I was with my guild all the way through Zul'Gurub, we fought like hell to down all those bosses, and eventually, when we finally took out Hakkar, I was there and had contributed the whole time.
I just wanted to say, too, that I really appreciate all of you readers here on the site. I know that Elizabeth and Dan and I and all of the writers consider this site to be an amazing achievement, but that's only because all of you were here to show up and take part in all the work we did. So thanks.
Ugh did that get weepy? Nerf warlocks! Paladins can't tank! Grab your sword and fight the Horde! Hopefully I've answered all the questions you have about me as a person in this post and I'll never have to talk about myself again.