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About the Bloggers: Matt Walsh

Rhidach
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?

I write the tanking slice of WoW Insider's The Light and How to Swing It column for paladin's pie. I also head the site's Department of Tortured Metaphors and Analogies.

What's your main?

Rhidach, a Blood Elf paladin on the Lightninghoof server. I've been playing Rhidach since I started playing WoW for the second time at the beginning of The Burning Crusade. He and I have been through a lot together, from simple beginnings in Eversong to the first raids in the Outland, to the top of Icecrown Glacier and now the plane of Fire. It's been a wild ride, and I can barely bring myself to play any other character. I'll definitely never have a different main.

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

Best 5-man instance in the game is, in my opinion, Blackrock Depths. I love it. It's gigantic, sprawling -- it feels like a zone on its own. I used to pride myself on being able to navigate it like I was born there. Somewhat obviated lately with the portals, but it's still fun to run around.

Moreover, every week for the past two and half years, I've been dodging through BRD on the way to Molten Core to farm Garr for his Binding of the Windseeker. The very first time I killed Baron Geddon with the intention of farming for Thunderfury, I received his bracer. Garr has been significantly more stubborn. Some 125 runs later (give or take), I'm still killing him every week hoping to catch a glimmer of orange. At this point, though, I don't hold my breath anymore when right-clicking on his sparkling corpse.

Best raid will always be Karazhan. I have so many amazing memories from doing that place in The Burning Crusade. It's where I learned to raid and where I first cut my teeth on raid tanking as a vocation. Not only that, but independently there's something magical about the place (pun vigorously unintended), and it reminds me of an old Dungeons & Dragons adventure. I never got bored running Kara week after week; it always felt exciting.

What's been your favorite expansion?

The Burning Crusade. You always remember your first, and while I played a bit in vanilla, it was never anything meaningful. Mostly grinding, questing, and the occasional 5-man. BC was when I first started playing the game, and it has a special hold on me even to this day.

Horde or Alliance?

For the Horde! Lok'tar ogar. I hold the Alliance responsible to this day for Garithos and completely sympathize with the Sin'dorei's decision to turn their backs on the allies who had betrayed them. On the flipside, Sylvanas scares the crap out of me.

What's your favorite thing to do in Azeroth?

Raiding. I love the teamwork aspect of it, the organization, and the rush of victory when you kill a really tough boss for the first time.

What's your favorite piece of loot?

Probably my Tabard of the Lightbringer. I got it when my guild made our first Shadowmourne, and we were going to split up the loot in the Sealed Chest and dole it out as prizes for various guild games. I was guildmaster at the time, though, and my guildmates gave me the Tabard knowing that I was lusting over it ever since it was announced and as thanks for all the hard work I put into leading us through some rough times as a guild and getting us back on track raiding-wise.

In any case, it's really cool to have something that Uther once wore, so to speak. Hopefully he'll forgive me for desecrating his shrine back in The Burning Crusade, since I'm taking such good care of his tabard.

Second favorite would have to be the Blood Knight Tabard. I was really into the concept of Blood Elf paladins as the "evil" paladins, and going through the class quest line to get the mount was a blast. In many ways, my own progression through the storyline of that expansion completely mirrored that of the race as a whole.

I started out wanting revenge against the Alliance for what was perpetrated on the Sin'dorei, took glee in vandalizing and defiling sacred places like the chapel in Stratholme and Uther's Tomb, and later felt horrible remorse for what I had done, as the Blood Elves were redeemed at the Sunwell. I think Blizzard told the Blood Elf arc through The Burning Crusade magnificently, and the tabard is a perfect memento of that period.

What accomplishments are you most proud of in game?

Completing the Tribute to Insanity on 10-man back when it was current content. A group of 10 of my in-game friends made a blood pact at the time to run that sucker week after week in parallel with the normal 25-man raid. We learned the fights, practiced over and over, and finally got it down after about five weeks of blood, sweat, and tears. It was a clutch win as well, as half the raid was dead when Anub'arak finally keeled over and coughed up his purples, and at the exact moment the kill occured, my AD had procced. A few more seconds and it would have been one of those crushing "49 attempts remaining" kills.

What's your favorite mount?

The Cenarion War Hippogryph, for no particular reason other than I like its coloration. I used to use the Swift Warstrider as my ground mount of choice (I cannot stand PVP, so that was a fun grind!), until they changed the Hippogryph to be usable as a ground mount as well. Apparently I have a thing for birds.

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

Give paladin tanks a gap closer. I have things to do and people to see and I want to get there yesterday.

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

Playing Minecraft, mostly, or whatever recently released game has struck my fancy. If you're reading this after mid-November, the answer for the latter fill-in-the-blank is Skyrim.

I blog at Righteous Defense, which is about (you guessed it) paladin tanking, though not as much as I used to. Real life has taken its toll between some changes at work that gave me a larger workload along with getting engaged, which demands a lot more of my free time go into looking at color swatches and debating the finer points of cake architecture.

I also play a (attempted) weekly game of Dungeons & Dragons with some good friends. I'm ostensibly the DM, but the game has a habit of getting away from me. I'm not really a huge fan of 4e -- it's a bit too WoW-y -- but we always have a great time with whatever adventure we're currently working on.

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