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About the Bloggers: Christian Belt

Christian Belt

Twice a week, our writers will tell you more about themselves, and let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better. Click here to read more About the Bloggers.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

I write the weekly Mage column, Arcane Brilliance, and feel incredibly humbled to do it. I don't feel like I'm anywhere close to being the best, or most knowledgeable Mage out there, and am extremely grateful that the Mage community here welcomes me into their lives each week and allows me to spout off about our wonderful class. I love to write, and I love playing a Mage, so getting to write this column is like some kind of huge nerd fantasy for me, and I feel incredibly lucky to do it.

What's your main right now?

Having said that, it should shock nobody that my main is a Mage. He's level 70, he's Undead, and he enjoys long walks on the beach while plotting ways to destroy the living. He's a PoM-Pyro build, specced specifically for Arena PvP. His current ambitions include gearing up for Arena Season 4 (and crossing his bony fingers for a rating high enough to actually qualify for some of the new ugly, ugly gear), and saving up enough honor to finally get some of the sweet new Guardian's gear. I also have a level 70 Blood Elf Holy Paladin who gets almost as much playtime as the Mage. He's the main healer for a very casual guild that's farming Karazhan right now and about ready to move on to Zul'Aman. I also have a flock of mid-level alts spread across both factions and multiple servers.

For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance?

Oh, for the bias runs deep. I have a hard time playing my low level Alliance toons, simply because I feel like a traitor when I do so. Also, I like to kill Gnomes. I like to kill them so much.

Favorite thing to do in Azeroth?

I love healing instances as my Pally, but nothing rivals the pure, unadulterated joy I glean from landing a 6k Pyroblast crit on some poor fool in Nagrand Arena, then imagining him feverishly reviewing the combat log post-match, trying to figure out how I must have cheated.

I'm also a confirmed altoholic, and I absolutely love the first 20 levels or so of this game. I'd say that section of the game is quite simply my favorite part; the levels come fast and furious, with new abilities to incorporate into my repertoire every couple levels, and the quests are simple and fun. There's just something about the initial push to fill all of my open gear slots--finding that first set of gray shoulderpads and putting it on, getting that first green item drop and realizing I can actually equip it--that reminds me of my initial forays into D&D, or early RPGs like Ultima III: Exodus or Dragon Warrior, and the simple pleasures they offered at the early stages.

What's the best instance in the game?

Right now, I like Blackrock Depths. I know it's inordinately lengthy, but I love how D&Dish it is, and the whole aesthetic of the underground dwarven metropolis that it brings to the table. There's a lot of really nice gear there; in fact it's the last pre-BC instance I take my alts to anymore, since the gear found therein is more than good enough to quest into Hellfire Peninsula with. Also, I love soloing it with my Mage, farming for Large Brilliant Shards. A typical run nets me about 6 Small Brilliant Shards and something like 14 Large Brilliants, because there are 20 freaking bosses in there. The run takes me a couple hours and nets me about 400 gold after everything sells on the auction house. It's not the quickest way to make money out there, but it's fun for me, whereas farming Marks of Sargeras or something just isn't.

What's the number one thing Blizzard could do better?

Now, as a Mage, it is my sworn duty to whine like a little girl about everything Blizzard does, but the question asks for just one thing, so I'll restrain myself as best I can. Now I have to figure out a way to filter through my giant list of complaints and find my number one pet peeve. This could get ugly. Hmmm.

Ok. The thing I wish for most? Gear-matching in the Arenas. This is the only way I can think of to really make Arenas balanced. I'm no programmer, but this seems like a relatively simple fix to me. Since the best gear to wear in Arenas is the Arena and PvP gear, simply add a point value to each piece of PvP/Arena gear and match teams according to that number. The personal and team rating system could stay in place and determine the points gained and lost at the end of the match, but the matching itself is related to the gear each player on the team is wearing. Perhaps Blizzard wouldn't even have to come up with a new numbering system, resilience itself could be the ranking number. The items that require high ratings to obtain should be assigned especially high numbers, as there is no reason a player skilled enough to obtain such gear should ever be allowed to face off against 1500 rated teams or below. None at all. Nothing is more frustrating than entering a match with a newly minted team in PvE gear and getting matched up with a team decked out in season 3 shoulders. That simply shouldn't happen, and some kind of gear-matching set-up is the only answer I can come up with.

Also, Warlocks are OP.

When I'm not playing WoW I'm...

Spending time with my wife and two wonderful little girls. We like to play Singstar and Rock Band together, and we have rousing, sometimes life-altering games of Yahtzee or Chutes and Ladders. I also enjoy playing pick-up basketball and running with my wife of 7 years. I'm a huge TV buff, and I don't miss an episode of Battlestar Galactica, Lost, Heroes, The Shield, Dexter, or 24. I may never forgive the WB for canceling Veronica Mars. Keith Mars, how I miss your sharp wit and fatherly wisdom, oh best TV dad ever.

Favorite Mount?

Why, my Mage's Purple Skeletal Warhorse, of course! Who wouldn't want to ride on an undead steed of the damned? I'm also partial to the Amani War Bear, because it looks so cool and is actually semi-attainable if you have a good guild.

Favorite piece of loot?

I'm going to have to go with my Hunter alt's World Enlarger. Engineering may not have as many practical uses as certain other professions, but no one can argue that it definitely has the best toys. Who doesn't want to be larger? Every time I use this, the entire world gets bigger. That's right, even though you likely won't notice how big you are (unless, of course, you happen to see me), trust me, I have enlarged you. That's what I call an area-of-effect.

Other games I enjoy are...

I'm currently playing through Persona 3 as my console game of choice, and loving every minute of it. It's a phenomenal game from top to bottom, and you're doing yourselves a disservice if you let it pass you by. When I need to play a game on the go, at the moment it's the first Etrian Odyssey. I love the old-school dungeon crawling experience the game offers, right down to drawing your own maps on the DS' touchscreen. It reminds me of the early years of roleplaying games, back when game designers hated you and wanted you to lose. Yep, the game wants me dead, and call me a masochist, but I like that in a game.

My all-time favorite games include Phantasy Star I, II, and IV, Herzog Zwei, Ico, Dark Cloud 2, Shining Force, Arc the Lad II, Crystalis, and Out of this World. I've been a gamer since hijacking a friend's Intellivision to play The Empire Strikes Back, and have never looked back.

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