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About the Bloggers: Mathew McCurley

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 at WoW Insider?

Originally, I came on staff to take over the Addon Spotlight column and to help revive and reinvigorate the Reader UI of the Week feature that people have loved in the past but had dropped off as a feature. I applied to work for the site with only the addon columns in mind. Over time, after a few guest stints on The Lawbringer and generally always being around to help with the main site, I've graduated to blogging most days and taking over The Lawbringer full time. It's my labor of love -- I get to teach and discuss my opinions about lots of different esoteric gaming topics.

I was into podcasting for a while with my own little network and wanted to be a guest on the WoW Insider Show for a long time, well before applying to work on the site. I bugged Sacco to let me be a guest and, before you know it, I was sleeping on the show's proverbial couch and they couldn't get rid of me. Now my name is on the banner. It's how I roll.

What's your main?

I've had many mains over the course of WoW's history. My first main from 1-60 and all vanilla raiding content was an Undead priest. When The Burning Crusade came around, Horde was blessed with paladins and I rerolled, since my first character ever, created during the beta in May 2004, was a Human paladin. My Blood Elf paladin was a healer and tank during The Burning Crusade and a tank and DPS during Wrath of the Lich King. At the end of Wrath, I began to get tired of the paladin and went Orc warrior in anticipation of Cataclysm. When my lag problems on my server got too frustrating to handle, my warrior became a Night Elf. So, I guess I would say that my Alliance "main" main is my warrior, and my Horde mains are a paladin and a shaman.

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

The best 5-man instance for me was Blackrock Spire because of all of the memories. UBRS and LBRS presented some of the best, most intricate challenges in the original game and felt like huge treks through real cities inside the mountain. The same goes for Blackrock Depths. Instances of scale are the most impressive to me.

My favorite raid was Ulduar, hands down. The aesthetics were beautiful, the lore was wonderful, the hard mode encounters were fun with their toggle difficulties, and Algalon was such a special encounter to be a part of. Ulduar could have been a little shorter, but the encounters were fun and engaging, and the voice acting was superb.

What's been your favorite expansion?

Overall, I feel that The Burning Crusade captured a lot of what makes WoW, WoW -- the adventure, the scale, the scope, and the unknown. I love being on Azeroth, sure, but I also love going to some pretty crazy places, even on Azeroth itself. The Burning Crusade represented the perfect expansion, when WoW represented the perfect RPG in the post-EverQuest era. Wrath and Cataclysm have built faithfully on top of The Burning Crusade's groundwork, but I would love to see another Burning Crusade-type expansion and the heart and soul of the exploration and wonder to be at the center of it. I want to explore new continents and places.

Horde or Alliance?

My heart is Horde and always will be, but I like both sides for different reasons and play both sides.

What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?

Murder raid bosses and dance on mailboxes.

What's your favorite piece of loot?

Sulfuras, Hand of Ragnaros and Benediction/Anathema. During Molten Core, I spent my time coveting Sulfuras, never really certain that I would ever possess a legendary weapon. Sure, I was always an officer or big shot in my guild at the time, but I never deluded myself into thinking that I could get the hammer. After all, I was a priest. It just looked so awesome, forging it was so epic, and it just screamed cool to me. Coming from the days of almost impossible class epics from EverQuest, I just hoped that one day I could have something as cool as that.

Benediction and Anathema, to me, are the almost-realization of that goal and dream. WoW has made me a very pessimistic gamer at times, and I never believed we would get as far as Majordomo Executus, much less kill him and have the Eye of Divinity looted to me. I am notoriously bad at rolls and DKP systems. Anyway, it happened, and my priest got the Eye, went on the epic quest, and shortly stood tall and proud wielding one of the coolest-looking (and still coolest-looking) staves in the game. I had convinced myself that it would never be mine, and it was.

What's your favorite mount?

Rusted/Ironbound proto-drakes, epic kodos, and Mimiron's Head. I covet Mim's Head. I am also fond of the new Winged Guardian mount.

What's the best way to make gold?

Do a million dailies; marry a rich, old Stormwind heiress.

What's the #1 thing Blizzard has done well?

Steward the genre. I mean it. Blizzard took the MMO crown from EverQuest and treated it right. The game systems developed and the standard for which the genre has to live up to are crucial Blizzard moves. It's been a wonderful steward to the genre.

Most of what we have gained in terms of genre traction and scope can be attributed to Blizzard's opening up the MMO to more than just the hardcore in the US and the EU. Instanced content, phasing, accessible raiding, no-fail crafting ... these things may have existed before but never done as a complete thing, as polished as WoW did it.

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

Improve character customization. I think it is too late in WoW's life cycle to really learn from this, but it will definitely be a much larger part of Blizzard's future games and the genre in general. People want and crave customization, and while WoW has pushed the envelope on a lot of fronts, customization has been stifled by the longevity of the game itself.

Here's what I wrote after transmogrification was announced: "Welp. More, please?"

What accomplishments are you most proud of in-game?

We beat the Trial of the Crusader 10-man A Tribute to Insanity on my birthday. Well, technically it had kicked over to the next day because of the whole midnight thing, but I stand by that it happened on my birthday.

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

Probably talking about video games in one capacity or another. League of Legends has gripped me pretty tight for a while now, and I do a weekly WoW video podcast called wowMATwow, which you can find on YouTube! Other than that, I love to cook and grill, and I wish that I could live in a place that would let me have a big grill again.

Professionally, I've been all over the board in terms of careers and jobs, and the most recent shakeup in the economy has forced me, again, to change course. It's been a recurring thing. After studying my passion, history, at the University of California at Berkeley, I went to law school and worked for a few years in the entertainment and commercial litigation field. Now, I'm doing my best to break into the video game industry and write, create, and manage projects using all of this awesome knowledge and work ethic that the legal profession drilled into me.

I'm kind of a giant nerd; I am slowly working on a wall of cool video-game-inspired art and just like to talk about generally geeky stuff.

You should say hello to me. I am very nice.

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