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About the Bloggers: Daniel Whitcomb

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

What do you do for WoW Insider?

My primary focus these days is to write Lichborne, the weekly death knight column. I also write the Tuesday Morning Post, a weekly maintenance day roundup of all the news that's fit to print from the past few days of WoW. I used to do a lot more posting of general news, spending at least a few hours a day just scouring everywhere for juicy stuff, but then I had to get a day job again. Still, I try to do what I can. WoW Insider is a great place to work. I have pretty cool coworkers, and I get to write about stuff I love. What's not to like?

What's your main?

My main is, of course, a human death knight. (Yes, I'd rather be a high elf. I won't even lie.) I do a little bit of everything, if only so I can write with authority about whatever I need to for Lichborne, but my preferred spec of the moment is 2H PVE frost DPS. Right now, it feels like the tree and spec with the most consistent and flavorful rotation and role to it.

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

I'd say the best 5-man instance for me was probably old-school vanilla Blackrock Depths. Sure, it's no good if you're just in it to grab your boss drops and get out, but for exploring ... oh man, getting lost in Blackrock Depths was a pleasure. It helped that I was a druid back in vanilla WoW, so I could explore it in stealth and test my skill at getting to the bar solo, soloing certain rare mobs, and all that good stuff. Sure, I wasn't as good at it as a rogue might have been, but I could still get in pretty far, and it was always fun.

For raid, I'm going to go with Karazhan. It got a little too heavy on the trash toward the middle, but otherwise it felt pretty perfect. It made me fall in love with the 10-man raid size all over again after missing it for so long when 10-man Stratholme and Scholomance raids became impossible. It had a great blend of difficulty, lore, and fun little tricks and secrets like the book page that turned you into a worgen when it procced.

I still hate the opera encounter for giving us Oz like every single damn time, though. My hunter never did get her Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle.

What's been your favorite expansion?

I'm going to say The Burning Crusade. I don't think any Wrath or Cataclysm daily quest hub, not even Molten Front, has captured my imagination and kept my interest as long as the Isle of Quel'danas and the Netherwing grind did. Also, while I can understand why Blizzard removed stuff like reputation grinds and keying for raid dungeons, those things really did give you a sense of accomplishment that strapping on a tabard or gathering 150 Marks of the World tree just doesn't match. Even the raids and dungeons had a balance of fun, challenge, and variety that the game hasn't been able to match since.

Horde or Alliance?

I play Alliance because that is where my friends are, and they're still a huge part of why I enjoy this game. That said, I wanted to play Horde when the game first came out, and I think if my friends moved, I'd race-change in a second. People seem to have a hard time believing me on this, possibly because I wrote Varian Wrynn is right, and can be seen on Twitter and Google+ ranting about the Horde's latest actions or bemoaning what I feel to be a lack of attention to Alliance lore.

Yeah, I won't deny it, I am one of those guys who believes the Horde is evil and has been since at least vanilla (and you don't want to get me started on Thrall). I just like playing the bad guys sometimes! My favorite character in EverQuest was my shadow knight, and those dudes would as soon Harm Touch you as look at you, man.

What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?

I think collecting pets, mounts, titles and armor sets is what I really like. Getting sort of a fun, solid reminder of an accomplishment means a lot to me, and if it's something I can do solo or in a small group, it means I can do it at my own pace, chatting with friends or catching up on reading or TV shows while I do it. It's just a nice, fun relaxing thing to do that I know will have a pretty cool reward at the end.

What's the #1 thing Blizzard could do better?

It needs to work on its story and lore big time. They really need to stop trying to have their cake and eat it too with the Horde. They can't keep having the Horde commiting all these atrocities against the Alliance in the leveling process, then all of sudden call them "petty differences" that we must overlook to "fight the greater good" -- it's just such a huge bout of cognitive dissonance that I find it harder and harder every patch to suspend my disbelief.

Shades of gray are all well and good, but you can't keeping insisting the Horde are relative white hats when their actions are so deeply black hat. It also doesn't help that the Alliance keeps having most of their major pre-WoW story hooks stripped away in the name of neutrality. We lost Dalaran and magecraft. We lost paladins as a major military and cultural force. Night elves lost their druids and, with the latest patch, Cenarius as a rabid protector of their sacred forests. Plus, I think Alliance vs. Horde is just plain a more compelling story than fighting a new big bad every patch.

I'm also not happy about the pop culture references, which in my mind, have switched from parody and a bit of lighthearted fun to laziness and plagiarism in Cataclysm. Half of Uldum is one huge Indiana Jones reference that would have better been served as a continuation of the Explorer's League vs. Reliquary storyline. The Pygmies are incredibly racist, and it genuinely bothers me there hasn't been a bigger outcry against that. Redridge is one big Rambo reference that highlights how weak and trivial most Alliance leveling storylines are compared to the Horde's.

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

Doing any number of things, really. I have a day job as a technical support specialist for a small 3PL firm. I am a chanter and parish council member of my church, so a lot of my time is taken up with practicing music, attending services, and attending meetings and church functions. I enjoy PnP gaming and currently play in a homebrewed game based on the Mass Effect universe, in which my character is a quarian sentinel. I also enjoy good microbrewed beer, especially IPAs, and good food, and good indie rock music, especially Blitzen Trapper, Fleet Foxes, and Woodpigeon. I enjoy single-player RPGs quite a bit and will probably die of starvation or exhaustion when I play Mass Effect 3 straight through and forget to eat or sleep.

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