Allright, let's do this.
What do you do for WoW Insider?
I'm an Editor here at WI, which means I do various things - I write, and I also edit and schedule other people's work. I've been here for a while now - my first column was published back in June of 2007 and I've been here ever since. I originally came on board as the warrior columnist, then I started writing Know Your Lore (which I still do alongside my partner in late night lore discussions, Anne Stickney) - essentially I'm the Grumpy Old Man of the site.
What's your main?
He's a draenei warrior. He started out as a human warrior, back in the days before race and faction change. He's since been a night elf, a draenei, a tauren, a draenei again, a tauren again, a worgen, and a draenei again. In addition to him, I've played several other warriors (another draenei, another tauren, another night elf, a forsaken and an orc) to max level. I basically really love warriors. I've been playing the game since 2004, and my main has seen and done a lot.
I've played both, extensively - I raided as exclusively Horde in Cataclysm, for instance, in a guild I really liked. But in the end, as much as I've met cool people and had good times playing Horde, I can never really get into the Horde. Horde players (even my friends in the faction) talk a lot about the whole 'outcasts banded together to survive in a hostile world' vibe of the Horde. But lately, it's not really coming through in the game.
As long as the draenei are Alliance, that's probably always going to be my favorite faction. I just love those blue people. Must not give up. Must remember the Light.
What's been your favorite expansion?
I am so tempted to say Cataclysm here just to make everyone go insane. Honestly, I've liked each expansion for its own reasons, but I've also had problems with all of them - The Burning Crusade upstaged its supposed main villain and had the most ridiculous attunement chains in the history of existence, Wrath of the Lich King kind of went nuts with different kinds of 'hard' raiding and was the birth of the infamous 10/25 split, Cataclysm split its focus between the 1 to 60 revamp and its 80 to 85 content a bit more than I liked, and Mists of Pandaria didn't deliver enough five player dungeons for my liking. If I had to pick one that I've found the most satisfying overall in terms of story and zone progression, I think I'd pick Mists of Pandaria - it's not really the expansion's fault it's having to go a year on the last content patch.
I tend to be really suspicious of nostalgia, so I may be discounting an expansion I actually really liked, just because I don't want to let myself get too caught up in memories. Burning Crusade gave us the draenei and Wrath of the Lich King gave us Titan's Grip, after all.
What's the best 5-man instance in the game? What's the best raid?
I can't tell you what the best one is in either case. I can tell you that I have a lot of fond memories of the five player dungeons from classic - Dire Maul, Upper/Lower Blackrock Spire, Stratholme - not because of how amazing they were in terms of design, but just because of the nostalgia of remembering working to get my Quel'Serrar, farming for dungeon set 1 (Battlegear of Valor) etc etc.
My favorite raid is Black Temple. The size of it, the way you actually break in through the bottom sewer levels and make your way up, it actually always felt like I was really raiding something. The fights were fun and varied (well, except for RoS, that fight can eat a bag of ground glass) and I liked getting to fight Illidan at the end.
What's your favorite arena? And your favorite battleground?
If I had to pick a favorite arena it would be Blade's Edge. It feels like people would really go there to kill each other to me. Favorite BG is always going to be Alterac Valley. Again, I know it's nostalgia, but there you have it. Let's summon Ivus, guys.
What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?
Kill things. I really enjoy doing that. Happy to do it in scenarios, raids, dungeons, BG's, arenas... I enjoy killing stuff in game.
What's the #1 thing Blizzard has done well?
They've kept players invested in an MMO for a decade. That's pretty hard to do... EverQuest did it, but with a fraction of WoW's current 7 million plus players. Blizzard has consistently found ways to get players to stay invested in the game. Even people who stop playing for various reasons will keep reading about the game, arguing about the game, and often come back. It's a surprising thing.
What's the #1 thing Blizzard could do better?
Content delivery needs to be less punctuated. By that, I mean that Blizzard needs to get better at doling out content in smaller bits and bites. Mists of Pandaria actually had a pretty good flow in that regard - a patch with raids was followed by a patch with world content, followed by a patch with a raid and a new questing hub, followed by the Battlefield Barrens and a new world quest chain, followed by Siege of Orgrimmar. The biggest difficulty in all of that was that there didn't seem to be a plan for what to do after patch 5.4, a problem Blizzard had in Cataclysm as well, and one they basically had in Wrath. Blizzard needs to learn from this expansion, and space out their content delivery so that it isn't all gone at the end of the expansion. Honestly, I think it would have been better had they released Siege with 5.4 but held the Timeless Isle back a few months. If the Timeless Isle had come out in February, we'd only just now be getting sick of it.
What's your favorite thing to do in WoW?
Raids. I love raiding. At the moment I'm on a bit of a hiatus for health reasons, but raiding is my absolutely favorite thing to do in WoW.
When I'm not playing WoW, I'm ...
Reading or writing. I've written three books and am working on a new writing project, as well as having my shorter writing published in various places like Postscripts Magazine and Adventure. My wife and I have several pets that I enjoy spending some time with as well. I've started exercising more as a means to try and get in better shape. I also play other video games and I have a large collection of pen and paper RPG's (D&D, GURPS, Nexus the Infinite CIty, various White Wolf products like Exalted, Conspiracy X, Unknown Armies, In Nomine, Pathfinder, Hero System... you name it, I probably had it at some point).
Also, my wife's a very talented photographer and I'm strangely vain for an ugly person, so I spend a reasonable amount of time having my picture taken. I've sprinkled some of her work throughout this, because I can.
What accomplishments are you most proud of in game?
My Death's Demise title. I got that and Celestial Defender in the same raid, and I've always used one or the other as my title in game ever since.
Other than WoW, what's your favorite video game?
Oh, that's pretty hard to do. I've been playing video games for a while, and there are various games I've loved over the years - the original Fallout series (especially Fallout 2), Planescape Torment (still my idea of a perfectly executed RPG story), various Black Isle and Bioware games from that time period. I think Arcanum is a neglected masterpiece. More recently I've really enjoyed the Knights of the Old Republic series, Jade Empire (another game that seems to have gotten lost), and just Bioware's modern RPG's in general. I'll admit I was disappointed by how Mass Effect 3 ended, but the series as a whole I loved, and I'm down for Dragon Age Inquisition. I was also surprised by how much I ended up liking Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning when it came out.
Recommend a book to our readers!
Oh. Uhm. Geez. Just one book? Well, I've been rereading Michael Moorcock's Eternal Champion series lately - I found a bunch of collected volumes of the overall stories - and I really enjoy how Moorcock uses these stories to completely deconstruct how fantasy tropes work. The hero doesn't always win, and at times, winning is the worst thing imaginable anyway. True love doesn't win out - in fact, it's essentially just another way to be horribly devastated. Elric, in particular, is just a walking typhoon of destruction and misery, and while he makes a dangerous enemy, it's almost worse to have him on your side. If you want to read stories that completely demolish everything Tolkien ever did, these are for you.
If you want just one book instead of a collection, then get Tim Powers' Last Call. I won't even tell you why. Just get it.
I have actually died twice (as in, heart stopped, had to be resuscitated) - once when I was born (I was born significantly premature) and once when I was ten or so years old. In addition to that, I have been stabbed, burned (third degree burns on my right leg), hit with a car, run over by a motorcycle, I have fallen from a three story height, and I was shot in the leg with an arrow while I was riding my dirtbike. I've been trampled by a horse, and I've had a male deer walk into my bathroom while I was taking a shower to drink out of the tub. Ever been poked in the ass by an antler when you thought you were alone? It's not fun. In graduate school, I signed up for drug trials as a volunteer for $500 and lost a week of memory. In that week I got into and out of a relationship and somehow went from Washington DC to Las Vegas. There's a lot more, but you get the gist. You will never guess which North American mammals have mauled me.
I've lived in New England (I'm from Rhode Island, but I lived for a few months in Boston), London (the one in England), Washington DC, Blacksburg VA, Chicago, San Francisco, Seattle and now Edmonton. I have multiple tattoos.
Where can we find you outside of WoW Insider?
You can find me on twitter - @matthewwrossi - and my books are available on Amazon or Sellfy. Also, you can find me in Edmonton if you really, really need to, I suppose. I go for a lot of walks. Things often happen on these walks. Squirrels fall from trees. Cats forget they are cats, and then remember suddenly. Birds follow me around. All sorts of things. It's like Snow White if you swap out the titular heroine for a bemused dude with more beard then sense.