I contribute the WoW Archivist features and other articles. Recently I interviewed several Blizzard developers at PAX East 2014. For seven years, I also wrote Officers' Quarters, an advice column for officers and guild leaders.
If you have an idea for an Archivist feature that you'd like to see, please let me know! Keep in mind that the topic has to be meaty enough for 2000 words. That's almost double the length of this post.
How did you get started at WoW Insider?
When WoW Insider put out a call for contributors in 2007, I pitched the Officers' Quarters column. Since almost no one was writing about guild leadership back then, the editors loved the idea. I'm sure the master's degree in writing didn't hurt, either.
What's your main?
Currently I play a troll feral druid with a resto offspec. Past mains, in order, included hunter, prot paladin, ret paladin, holy paladin, blood DK, and frost DK. I love the challenging rotation of feral, but it's growing tiresome looking at the same character model no matter what gear I have.
I'm thinking about an enhancement shaman for Warlords. Should I be?
Horde or Alliance?
Horde. As a primarily PvE player, I love the idea of a misfit group of monsters saving the world. Aside from some low-level alts, I've played only Horde since 2004.
I'm not sure I can ever have an Alliance main. I have grudges against the Alliance going back 10 years now.
What's been your favorite expansion?
As incredible as The Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King were, Mists of Pandaria has become my favorite. I was very skeptical of MoP when it was first announced. Aside from the crazy daily situation at launch, MoP knocked it out of the park in my opinion. This expansion had by far the most engaging story, the most diverse array of content for players of all preferences, and solid raiding tiers throughout. All the fantastic small additions -- such as the Brawler's Guild, the Black Market Auction House, and Pandaria's plethora of rare monsters -- made MOP a rich and rewarding experience. I'm eager to see whether Blizzard can top it.
What's the best 5-man instance in the game?
The original Blackrock Depths will most likely never be dethroned as the most ambitious, sprawling, authentic dungeon crawl in WoW. In there, you weren't just fighting a few bad guys -- you were invading an entire civilization.
WoW really needs another dungeon like this. It should be handled the way heroic scenarios are currently: premade group only and more difficult than a standard heroic dungeon, with rewards to match.
What's the best raid?
I'm with Sarah: Ulduar. The atmosphere, the scale, the well-designed encounters, the clever hard mode triggers, that incredible moment when you encounter Algalon for the first time -- I could go on and on, but I already did.
Since I'm more of a PvE player, I had the most fun in the original Alterac Valley. I loved that I could quest there and summon NPCs to unleash on the enemy, and that a raid boss dominated the middle of the map. I'm hoping that Ashran will be similar to AV 1.0.
What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?
Heroic raiding is my bread and butter. I'm fortunate enough to belong to a guild that can manage heroic raids without committing a huge amount of hours to it per week. I don't have as much time to play as I did in my 20s. We certainly don't get any world firsts, but we make progress in our own time. We're 10/14 H Siege at the moment. Thok and his yeti haunt my nightmares.
What's the #1 thing Blizzard has done well?
Evolve the game. It's necessary to keep the game relevant in the current MMO environment. As someone who played and raided in vanilla, I think the game has vastly improved since then in every single facet. Some people dislike the frequent changes to game systems, but I think Blizzard makes good decisions about what needs to be updated 90% of the time.
What's the #1 thing Blizzard could do better?
Stop making us wait a year between raid tiers. The one thing that never improves is the gap between expansions. After ten years, it's just unacceptable. And it's very hard on raiding guilds. Blizzard needs to find a better model for developing and delivering content.
When I'm not playing WoW, I'm ...
I write fiction and I organize a writing workshop in Philadelphia that focuses on fantasy and sci fi. I ride my bike around the great trails in and around the city. I have a big group of friends who play Magic. We host multiplayer games and run our own draft tournaments. We just put together a private 10-player draft tourney for Theros block.
I also love to travel and have been to many places in Europe, Asia, and Mexico/Central America.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in game?
- Creating a guild in vanilla that led to enduring real-life friendships among its members.
- Earning Rhok'delar on my hunter in vanilla.
- Completing the game's first hard-mode meta with guildmates (and also earning the Champion of Ulduar title).
I've recently gotten into pet battles. I'd spend the extra time taming and leveling hard-to-find pets.
Other than WoW, what's your favorite video game?
The Smash Bros. franchise. I'm not hardcore or competitive about it. I embrace the chaos of four-player battles with full items and stage hazards.
Recommend a book to our readers!
A few books I've really enjoyed recently:
The Black Count by Tom Reiss, about the true story that inspired The Count of Monte Cristo
The Drowned Cities by Paulo Bacigalupi (young adult sci fi)
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (fantasy, third in a series)
... and a TV show!
An excellent, thought-provoking show that no one seems to be watching is Continuum on SyFy. Don't worry -- SyFy doesn't make the show, they just air it.
I also love Orphan Black, The Americans, Game of Thrones, and Venture Bros.
Tell us something about you that we might not know.
Here are some of the ways I've almost died: fell off cliff, stepped on rattlesnake, suddenly swimming with two tiger sharks, car accident, bike accident, the bends, jumped to catch football and landed on fire hydrant.
This is why, when a village elder wants to give me a blessing (pictured), I don't say no.
Where can we find you outside of WoW Insider?
I'm finally exploring the Dark Below of Twitter. Here's my new account.
I also wrote The Guild Leader's Handbook, the world's first comprehensive guide to guild leadership. You can download a free sample chapter at the No Starch Press website.