What do you do for WoW Insider?
I was hired by WoW Insider in late 2008 to write the weekly rogue column, Encrypted Text. I had actually applied for the position a few months earlier but wasn't originally selected, so I simply assassinated their first choice and left them with no choice but to sign me instead.
When WI decided to expand its coverage of hybrid classes, I put in my application for the holy paladin position. I currently maintain both Encrypted Text and The Light and How to Heal It portion of the paladin column on a weekly basis. My secondary role is to get confused with Christian Belt and Chase Hasbrouck.
My dual mains are my Goblin rogue, Madsushi, and my Blood Elf holy paladin, Cure. I have had several rogues before and since Madsushi, but I am particularly attached to him. I inherited Cure from my brother in The Burning Crusade, and she's been the leader of my guild and its 10-man raiding crew. Madsushi tends to be my PVP character while Cure is my PVE character, although I cross those streams quite often (in spite of Egon's warning). I've tanked on Cure when my guild needed it and I have several alts that I play occasionally, but nearly all of my playing time is spent getting bloody with Madsushi or healing with Cure.
Horde or Alliance?
When I first starting playing WoW, I leveled an Alliance holy paladin on a PVE server. After realizing that I hated everything about the arrangement, I rerolled a Horde rogue on a PVP server, and I've never looked back. The Horde vs. Alliance aspect of WoW is the most important part of the game to me. If Blizzard decided to end the war, I'd cancel all of my subscriptions. While I don't play on an RP server, I still take the battle to heart. It's why I slay every Alliance player that I see, it's why I gank mercilessly, and it's why every single member of my guild knows our official policy on cross-faction relations -- red is dead.
While I know plenty of softies that are upset about Thrall's appointment of Garrosh as Warchief, it was my favorite part of Cataclysm. When it comes to Horde vs. Alliance politics, I aim to be Garrosh's most loyal soldier. I fight the Alliance constantly in Azeroth, and we even take our quarrels to the realm forums regularly. I might be the WoW Insider writer with the most forum warnings/bans to his name.
What's the best 5-man instance in the game? What's the best raid?
Dire Maul North is my favorite 5-man instance, and by a large margin. I ran it at least a hundred times while farming my guild a few Quel'Serrars. As a rogue, I could literally guide the entire experience. My Saps and Distracts created our paths, my lockpicking and pickpocketing gained us access to barred doors, and my Stealth and cunning allowed us to skip as many mobs as possible. Dire Maul North was the ultimate test of a rogue's abilities, and I enjoyed having full control over my group's success and failure.
What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?
World PVP is definitely my favorite activity on Madsushi. The release of patch 4.2 and the Molten Front was like an early Christmas for me. I racked up hundreds of kills over the following weeks. I've spent more time in the Molten Front than you have, and I think I'm just barely finished with the first phase of the daily quests. I couldn't care less about some awful ilvl 365 gear -- I'm there to make enemies.
When I'm playing Cure, I'm all about raiding. I love leading my guild through new encounters. We've been raiding together for years now, and so every raid night is like meeting up with old friends. Blizzard's decision to maintain 10-man raiding as a viable progression path is the best thing that's ever happened to our guild, as we can work as a small group to accomplish our goals.
What's your favorite piece of loot?
I'll share my secret with you here, but only because I don't need it now that I farmed up my Reins of Poseidus. My favorite item is the Azure Silk Belt. While it seems so simple, the 15% swim speed bonus has saved me so much swimming time over the past several years. A friend of mine made me one, and I haven't been without it since. I have evaded would-be gankers with its speed bonus, and I've caught up to some of my prey that was trying to escape. At first, they swim away, and then they stop as they realize they won't make it to the shore. There's nothing quite like watching someone realize that resistance is futile. The belt has saved my life more than once and gained me more than a few honorable kills, and it never leaves my side.
That would be my Blue Nether Ray. Similar to how I worked the Molten Front, I farmed the Skettis area for Alliance players every day during The Burning Crusade. While I was there, I would occasionally complete a few quests while waiting for fresh meat to fly in. Over the course of several months, I accidentally reached exalted with the Sha'tari Skyguard without even discovering Ogri'la. While the Nether Ray is awesome and I love how it matches the Nether Ray Fry pet, it's the fact that I paid for it in gallons of Alliance blood that makes it my chosen mount.
What's the #1 thing Blizzard has done great?
Blizzard has allowed me to stop caring about my gear. I really don't care about gear at all. As a healer, I'm always passing tier pieces and ambiguous caster items to my raid's DPS classes. On my rogue, I just want to be stabbing people and not worrying about what ilvl my stuff is at. I raid regularly on both characters, and I know that as long as I'm putting in my time each week, I'll get my gear eventually. I take upgrades as they come, and I spend my valor points when they stack up. I don't have to spend my time farming for resistance gear or grinding some esoteric reputation, which lets me do more of what I love.
When I'm not playing WoW, I'm ...
I'm married and live in Santa Barbara, Calif., with my wife and our cat. I am a tech nerd at heart, so I spend most of my time working with computers and watching StarCraft 2 matches. I've been spending my evenings building new PCs for some of the players in my guild, picking out the best parts and putting them all together. During the day, I work full-time as an engineering consultant for an IT outsourcing company here. If it's IT-related, I work with it in some way. In the past month, I've built new servers, installed a VoIP phone system, implemented virtualization, configured SANs, managed a corporate iPhone deployment project, solved networking issues, and even replaced the ink cartridge in a printer. I tell people that I like playing Minecraft, but I actually have more fun managing my guild's Minecraft server than I do playing Minecraft itself.