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WRUP: A farewell to Mr. Mat McCurley and Ms. Kelly Aarons


Every week, just at the start of the weekend, we catch up with the WoW Insider staff and ask them, "What are you playing this week?" -- otherwise known as: WRUP. Join us to see what we're up to in and out of game, and catch us in the comments to let us know what you're playing, too!

Hello, everyone! I've finally returned from my pseudo-vacation roadtrip across the country. It was a lot of fun. I got to meet Anne Stickney (again), see a dude freak out on the floor of the Illinois House of Representatives, go skydiving, check out the Art of Videogames exhibit at The Smithsonian, survived being stranded for 10 hours in the blazing California desert, and -- well, it was pretty damn action-packed.

But as much as I'd love to regale you with tales of my adventure, we have some sadness today. Beloved WoW Insider columnist Mat McCurley has gone to a better place. (The better place, in this case, being a totally rocking job with Riot, the folks who make League of Legends.) If you're the type who reads WoW Insider without checking out the bylines, it's hard to fathom how much of a loss this is. Mat is a huge part of what makes WoW Insider what it is.

I first met Mat as part of a somewhat impromptu one-day trip. Mike Sacco and I drove from Massachusetts down to New York city, meeting up with McCurley and (then writer) Rich Stoneybaby Maloy for a really awesome evening or drinking and WoW talk. By the next morning, the groundwork for one of the most amazing working friendships I've ever had was laid.

My favorite thing about Mat was his almost child-like enjoyment of WoW. He shows such an incredible enthusiasm for the game that it's infectious. If you met him at BlizzCon or saw him perform at PAX East, you know exactly what I'm talking about. It really sucks that we're losing Mat as a columnist. The only consolation: He's going to go on to do even more amazing things for Riot. And also he's going to come out to live in Los Angeles, right down the street from me. Awesome.

And making matters worse, we're also losing Kelly Aarons here at WoW Insider as well. I wish I knew Kelly as well as I knew Mat, but I never got a chance to drive up to Canada. From what I do know about her, though, she's awesome. Her drawings were awesome. Byron rules.

As a farewell, I figured I'd republish Mat's Birthday Wish one last time. It was an epic effort on my part -- a children's book I wrote to pay tribute to one of the coolest dudes out there in the WoW-verse. And while we're WRUPing, we'll all answer this week's bonus question: What's your favorite Mat McCurley/Kelly Aarons moment?

Gallery: Mat's Birthday Wish Reloaded | 13 Photos

Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) I'll be working on wedding invitations this weekend, so no gaming for me. Both Mat and Kelly are leaving us, and I'll miss their personalities the most. Both have so much passion for what they do, it's infectious. I'll also miss Mat's [REDACTED].

Alex Ziebart (@alexziebart) This weekend it's more Mass Effect 3. Operation MASTIFF and all that. What'll I miss about Mat? Telling him to stop being so god damn excited about everything.

("In the early days of my employment here, for those of you who don't know, I was told to use less exclamation points," explains Mat.)

Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) I'll be writing and beta-ing it up this weekend, along with a bit of raiding. My guild almost, almost has Dragon Soul down to a one-night farm, which would be pretty cool to see. Bonus question: Aw, man. I'm going to miss the crazy collection of funny voices he has. I think my favorite spontaneous McCurley moment was a vocal recording that was so far over the top, I laughed so hard I nearly cried. He knows the one. It made an OK day fantastic. Can I add a bit about Kelly to mine? Because I'm going to miss our chats in the newsroom and her overwhelming enthusiasm and creativity. Girl's got passion for what she does, and that's awesome to see.

Chase Hasbrouck (@alarondruid, @alaronmonk) My Diablo III barb's fallen off the cliff labeled "Inferno Difficulty Scaling," so I'm coming back to the Mists beta. Also, I finally got around to firing up Xenoblade Chronicles, and it's quite awesome. Definitely worth a look if you have a Wii. For Mat, I can't really talk about the thing with the animal and the furniture (you know what I mean) so I'll say I'm going to miss his perspective on UI addons, since they mostly agreed with my own.

Dan Desmond (@antigen_) Endless Space beta, heroic Firelands run on my paladin, and maybe some StarCraft II? I've been toying around with the StarCraft map editor and have been enjoying myself, so hopefully I can finish a map and test it out! I'm going to miss the uniqueness and full body flavor of the single-t Mat, aged to perfection in old cedar wine casks. In all seriousness, he brought an energy to the site that shone through every time I listened to one of the WoW Insider podcasts. He will be missed!.

Daniel Whitcomb (@danielwhitcomb) I'll be doing my part for Operation Mastiff on Mass Effect multiplayer and wondering why I didn't start using the Phaeston Assault Rifle months ago. I'll also be seeing if I can finish off Act II Hell on my Diablo III Witch Doctor. As for Mat. Well. I'll miss his unbridled enthusiasm. Makes an old cynical guy like me feel a little twinge of humanity inside my blackened chest.

Dawn Moore (@dawnwow) No games this weekend because I'm attending a wedding. However, I'll miss having Mat as an Insider. He's the second good friend I've made on staff (I'm not very social), and it'll be sad to see him go.

Elizabeth Wachowski (@leeatwaterlives) I'll be leveling my warlock and hunter and seeing what Steam Workshop mods can best enhance Skyrim. I will miss Mat's presence in chat and his willingness to spell his name with only one t, making it easier to distinguish him from other Matts.

Fox Van Allen (@foxvanallen) I spend all week at E3, doing nothing but playing video games. I need a break. Some of the cool things I played this week: DmC and Resident Evil 6, Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, assorted Wii U games, and Worms Revolution. And oh my god, yeah, it doubly sucks that we're losing both Mat and Kelly. I loved the hell out of Byron. :(

Joe Perez (@lodurzj) completely re-installing the Mists beta to see if that fixes my stability issue and then grinding to 90! Also going to be playing through Psychonauts since I haven't done that in forever and then maybe superbrothers: Sword and Sworcery EP. As far as what I'm going to miss about Mat, well.... Nothing, really -- I talk to him every day! I am going to miss the fact that he's only an eight-hour drive away instead of a six-hour plane ride. That said, in his honor, I'm going to get a Mat Tat somewhere special. Maybe over my heart.

Kelly Aarons (@Cadistra) I'm assuming this will be my last WRUP, so I will spend it saying that I will spend it saying how much I love you all. ♥ /smooches

Gallery: Safe Passage: Convergence | 13 Photos

Mathew McCurley (@gomatgo) I'm packing up as much of my apartment as I can this weekend. I have to move on like... Tuesday. Uh oh. As for what I'll miss about WoW Insider: I'll miss everything. I love you guys.

Matt Rossi I'm gonna be sad I won't have McCurley as my strange little demiurge or Kelly to keep drawing tauren. Every day is better with tauren in it. Best wishes to both of you.

Megan O'Neill (@slowpoker) Beta beta beta. Demo tanking, leveling a warlock Horde-side 85 to 90 and then leveling a warlock from scratch. Bonus: I feel like I knew Mat more as a reader than as a coworker, so I will seriously be lacking of orc content when he's gone. Especially dem Mad Libs.

Michael Gray (@writegray) This weekend I will mostly be shooting a wedding... and then living it up in the beta. I'm starting to lose my love affair with Diablo, so I am eager to return to my bouncing ways. It's hard to say what I will miss most about Mat. It's going to be a different place without him or Kelly; it will be a different work environment on Monday. Everything changes, but I wish this hadn't.

Olivia Grace (@oliviadgrace) Gonna put in some hours toward 90 on the beta, the threat of impending Battlegrounds is pushing me forwards! I will miss Mat's wit, entertaining writing, and early morning presence in campfire! Good luck Mat!

Robin Torres (@cosmicgeek) MoP, Diablo, Scramble with friends. Bonus: Cat stories. Definitely. Oh wait, I follow Mat on Twitter. OK then, New York stories. His LA stories won't be as interesting, since I live there too. Oh yeah, I want to say bye to Kelly too. I'm going to miss Kelly's inspired artwork, but I don't have to miss any of her other awesome qualities because I follow her on Twitter too.
The weekend is the perfect time to kick back, relax and enjoy some game time. Are you an achievement junkie? Can't get enough raiding? Rolling a new alt? Considering taking the leap into roleplaying? Whatever your favorite way to play World of Warcraft, let us know in the comments what you're playing this weekend!

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