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About the Bloggers: Joe Perez

About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on some of our more longstanding staffers in earlier About the Bloggers entries.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

Back in February of 2010, I was hired on as the class columnist for Totem Talk: Restoration for all the healing-minded shaman. While that has been my primary focus, I try to help out with other items like interesting news or account security tips whenever I can. I've even stepped in and helped out on a Phat Loot Phriday. I also have been known to help out around the stage area for the WoW Insider meetup at BlizzCon!

What's your main?

My main is Lodur, restoration shaman on Ner'zhul (US). I've been known to throw a Lightning Bolt or two around, but my main passion remains healing. I have a weird sentimental attachment to this toon as well, and he's survived being a male draenei, a female draenei and now a male dwarf. He'll be staying a dwarf shaman for the remainder of my playing career. I mean does it really get better than a dwarf shaman?

Before Lodur was born in The Burning Crusade, I raided through all of classic World of Warcraft as my then night elf hunter Abigail. Since my move to Ner'zhul, I have race-changed her to worgen and brought her along for the ride. Her name is now Shiallia -- and if you know where that came from, you earn yourself +1 internets.

Horde or Alliance?

Right now, it's all about the Alliance, but mainly because that's where my friends and my raid team are. I originally started the game as Horde, and my very first character I ever seriously played in the game was a tauren shaman. Aside from that, the only reason I haven't gone back to Horde is that I can't seem to justify making Lodur anything other than a dwarf. Besides, I couldn't raid with and harass Matt Low or Mat McCurley if I went Horde right now!

What's the best 5-man instance in the game? What's the best raid?

The best 5-man for me is a tie between Blackrock Depths and Scholomance. Both locations were full of lore and amazing quests and let me feel like I was on this epic journey though a piece of living Warcraft history. I felt like I was actually an adventurer heading into the villains' den of evil in an act of bravery and heroic deeds. I loved that the trash pulls felt like I was going against an actual army and invading their city or interrupting grand fel rituals. I loved that there was careful strategy to bosses even back then. They are two places that no matter what toon I'm leveling at the time, I always make time to go through.

The best raid to me, for all my money, was Karazhan. I'm a huge lore nerd, I freely admit it, and it's one of the main reason I play Warcraft. Medivh has always been one of those iconic lore personas that I just love. Karazhan will always be my favorite raid for many reasons. I loved how it fit into the game world though not only lore but where it was positioned and when it was introduced into the game. I loved the idea that the place was so steeped in magic, that it was essentially its own little pocket dimension. So much space inside that tiny little tower!

The visuals of the entire zone are just amazing to me. It always had that perfect blend of decay and opulence between all the undead and other creatures infesting the place, and the unspoiled beauty that lay just under the thin layer of dust. I never got bored of clearing the place and thought it had the perfect balance of trash to bosses and just the right difficulty level. Even the sounds of the place, the music and the little whispers you can hear when you turn the volume all the way up and put on headphones, are just awesome.

Now, if only we could find an excuse to go back and clear the parts of the place we didn't get to explore before. I mean, it's not like we have to worry about being stuck in the hell of upside-down sinners, right?


What's been your favorite expansion?

Favorite expansion for me so far hands down is The Burning Crusade! I bet you thought I was going to say Cataclysm, didn't you?! To be honest, though, I loved The Burning Crusade because the inclusion of Alliance shaman, allowing me to play my favorite class with friends and family, as well as the lore behind each of the dungeons and raids. While I didn't particularly care for the outdoor zones themselves, I loved the instances. Every quest, every boss had a part in the story of Warcraft, and that just made the entire expansion for me.

What is your favorite piece of loot?

This is a three-way tie! My favorite pieces of loot in the entire game are Rhok'delar, Longbow of the Ancient Keepers, Lok'delar, Stave of the Ancient Keepers and Ancient Sinew Wrapped Lamina. They were tied to my favorite quest this game has ever had, Stave of the Ancients. Oh, how I stalked those demons! The time I spent tracking them, and learning how to kill them and then being able to walk away with these three items at the end of what was a grueling 48-hour period for me in the game was so satisfying. For as long as I live and this game exists, those items will always be in my hunter's bag.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in game?

The accomplishment that I am most proud of in game is the time I first tanked most of Karazhan as a healer. My guild at the time had stopped doing Karazhan regularly, but I still loved the place and wanted to keep going back weekly even when I outgeared it. My friend, a raiding moonkin, and I would set up PUG groups and take people on the server through the zone.

One night, in a stroke of bad luck, we got some pretty terrible tanks -- not just one, but two! They couldn't hold threat off of me or my friend Tyrnall, and it made some of the pulls very, very hard. This was back before healer aggro was fixed, mind you! So the main tank DCed right before we pull Maiden, so we waited for him to come back while still looking for another tank. The tank never came back, so we picked up another one and forged onward. The same thing happened, though, and we were constantly ripping aggro off the tank. Eventually, the tank just got fed up and ragequit. We couldn't find a replacement, so on Vent, Tyrnall and I came to the conclusion that we should just tank the place ourselves. So he as a boomkin and myself as a restoration shaman proceeded to tank the entire place successfully! After that, it became a weekly thing in our PUG for us to tank.

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

I'm actually a fairly active person outside of the game. I co-host not one, but two podcasts. RaidWarning every Sunday night at 12:30 a.m. EST, and the gaming and lore-based podcast For The Lore, which is live every Tuesday at 6:45 p.m. EST. I've gotten to talk with some pretty amazing people on that podcast, like Bill Roper, Brian Knox and David Noonan from En Masse, as well as Max Shaefer, Travis Baldree, Jason Beck and John Dunbar from Runic Games. Now that the FTL is back up and running, I'm looking forward to chatting with many more people!

I game quite a bit with everything from pen-and-paper RPGs like Dungeons & Dragons to various board games, as well as a wide assortment of PC and console games. I also play a mean Warhammer 40K Ultramarines army. When I'm not playing them, I'm trying to make them. I'm an amateur game designer and one day hope to break into the industry and give back to the gaming community something I hope they'll love. I read voraciously and write quite a bit of fiction in the form of short stories or game campaigns for my tabletop RPGs or the video games I hope to one day make. I also love to draw whenever I have free time to do so and generally just love creating things.

The last major hobby I have outside of the game is music, and it's always been a big part of my life. My father is a professional musician, and I've been playing guitar for about 23 years. I was actually the front man for a ska band many years ago. While I don't perform anymore, I really just love sitting down on quiet days, clearing my schedule of everything and just playing for hours on end. It's hard to explain how good it feels to hear the notes and remember that you're the one making the instrument sing them.

As you can tell, I have a ton of hobbies and I'm constantly doing something, but that's the way I like it.

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