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Below is a list of Article headlines from WOW Insider. This are used on our main page and updated daily. Each article contains links back to WOWinsider, which allow you to view the whole article

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Blood Sport: Warrior-Druid overpowered? - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST



Every Thursday, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.


A quick look at the chart above and one thing clearly leaps out. Clue: it has to do with mortal strikes, HoTs and cyclones.

Well, every third team you meet nowadays in 2v2 will probably be a Warrior-Druid team. This comp (short for composition) seems to be running away with the 2v2 bracket currently: 20 of the top 50 US teams are Warrior-Druid comps - that's 40%. For teams with ratings greater than 2200, close to 30% are Warrior-Druid. They also make up almost a quarter of all 2v2 teams, regardless of rating. That's a lot of Warrior-Druid teams.

What makes the comp tick?

Continue reading Blood Sport: Warrior-Druid overpowered?

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Gamers on the Street: The classes of 2008 - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 16:00:00 EST


Gamers on the Street logs into U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

What's the "right" class and spec to be playing right now? What's going to make the biggest splash on the scoreboards? Why do players choose the classes that they do? WoW Insider readers, who generally enjoy theorycrafting and playing their classes to the absolute hilt, are a savvy lot when it comes to class balance and what specs are hot, hot, hot. Log in, though, and you're much less likely to encounter players who are concerned with theorycrafting or running up whatever spec is considered the new hawtness. In game, players seem concerned about how to get a fair shake with their character of choice.

We logged in during prime time last night on The Forgotten Coast (PvP) realm to see what players had to say about the classes of 2008 -- who's hot, who's not and how it all affects their characters and play styles. Who got the raves, and who's chalking up the most bad press? Read on to find out ...

Continue reading Gamers on the Street: The classes of 2008

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Vivendi makes $1.5 billion in 2007, BC pushes Blizz up 58% from 2006 - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 15:30:00 EST
A few days ago we tried to estimate how much Blizzard was making from those 10 million accounts, but now we know for sure: it's actually around $1.2 billion (which is up 58% from 2006). Now, you can probably see that that's only $500 million short of the estimate that we were trying to prove was wrong, but don't forget that the $1.2 billion isn't just subscription fees-- it includes all those sales of Burning Crusade last year at full release price. What Blizzard earns from subscription fees is just part of that total.

Still, a $1.5 billion year for Vivendi (especially when their other games divisions actually dropped by almost 30%) is good news for them. Of course, the question they (and more specifically, Activision Blizzard) have to be wondering about is if the success can continue. If Blizzard can release a new expansion this year and hold off the coming threats in the MMO industry, they'll be looking at even bigger numbers in 2008. But that's a lot to ask-- there's no question Vivendi (and Activision) will come up with huge amounts of profit this year, but growth of this magnitude will be a tough hill to climb.

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Battle Bites: Combat consumables - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 15:00:00 EST


Last week, we went over the little things you can do to prepare yourself for battle. For this week, we'll take a look at all the consumables you can take into PvP... from doing PvP. While I did mention that PvP entails some costs, PvP also reaps benefits, granting virtually free consumables you can use in Battlegrounds, Arenas, and even elsewhere in the World of Warcraft.

The basic consumables that any player should probably stock up on are food, drinks, potions, and bandages. In Battlegrounds, players can go on the cheap and rely on the Restoration Power-up that randomly spawns in key points all over the map. In Arenas, players can use Healthstones, Conjured Manna Biscuits, bandages, and the various mage gems. Because encounters are very fast-paced, it's sometimes difficult to catch your breath and get out of combat long enough to eat or drink. This makes Health and Mana Potions good ways to extend your longevity in battles. Fortunately, the folks in Arathi Basin and Warsong Gulch recognize your efforts and send you lovely care packages as you gain more reputation with the associated factions.

The care packages are rewards from quests that become available upon reaching Friendly, Honored, and Revered reputations, so make sure to drop by the Arathi Highlands or the Morshan Ramparts (or Silverwing Hold) every now and then. Each care package contains a stack of rations that restore health and mana, as well as a stack of bandages. These consumables are Battleground-specific, such as Arathi Basin Enriched Rations or Warsong Gulch Runecloth Bandages. On the other hand, supply officers for the Frostwolf Clan and the Stormpike Guard of Alterac Valley sell food, drinks and bandages that may be used outside of the Battlegrounds, as well as Health and Mana Potions that can be used in any of the four Battlegrounds.

Continue reading Battle Bites: Combat consumables

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Totem Talk: Pinch-hitting - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 14:00:00 EST
Totem Talk is the column for Shamans. Matthew Rossi was up all night trying to get a new hat. Only in Azeroth does getting a new hat involve wading in the blood and viscera of dragons from outside the time stream. Seriously, they really need to just put in a freaking boutique or something. Imagine how bad it would suck if you had to prepare for a new job interview by killing Aeonus every time. Heck, maybe you do, I don't know where you work.

Last week we talked about gearing up your off-spec sets. This week, we'll talk about those times when, either by accident or design, you end up having to fill an off-spec role. Usually, this means an elemental or enhancement shammy has to fall back and throw some heals, but not always: my resto shaman has ended up in groups with other healers and actually had to switch over to casting lightning bolts at things on a couple of occasions.

Of course, it helps if you happen to have gear for the role you're taking up: when I find myself forced to heal I usually equip my healing shield and weapon (since we're usually in combat anyway) and switch out to the best possible totems for my limited +heal and mana pool (either healing stream or mana spring depending on the situation, and wrath of air for the bonus to healing) but expect to run out of mana and burn a potion when you're doing this kind of emergency healing. Elemental shamans tend to last a little longer doing this because their gear usually has spell damage and healing on it, which will translate to more effective healing, even if your enhancement shamans have full mental quickness. But neither DPS spec is really suited to healing, especially not when in their DPS gear, so don't feel too bad if you try your best and the tank still goes down - if you're healing then things have already gone pear shaped.



Continue reading Totem Talk: Pinch-hitting

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Real life consumable: Mana Energy Potion - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 13:00:00 EST
Do you ever wish you could instantly regen by drinking a pot, just like you do in-game? A couple of WoW players and entrepreneurs have created a real life "potion" which has the effect of "+160 to mana" which is defined as "5 - 8 hours of smooth, jitter-free energy". This energy shot is called the Mana Energy Potion and is only available online, but will be available to adventurous gamers in the Los Angeles area soon.

I haven't tried this stuff, but the spousal unit is anxious to order some with a fellow WoW player, so I did some reading. Here are some important details:

  • Despite the large looking bottle depicted on the front page of the website (and to the right), the potion is only 40 ml which is less than 3 tablespoons.
  • It is not regulated by the FDA because it is a supplement and not a drink, though the labeling is regulated.
  • You have to be 12 years old or older to purchase.
  • It is only available in the United States.
  • It contains no sugar and is only 20 calories.
  • It changes color.
  • They cost $3.45 each, not including shipping and handling.
  • It has a citrus flavor.

Continue reading Real life consumable: Mana Energy Potion

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WoW Moviewatch: Azerothian Super Villains, Episode 5 - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 12:00:00 EST

It's been a few months since we've had our last Azerothian Super Villains fix. However, Episode 5 is finally out, and I must say, it rocks! The Stockade Redemption focuses on Illidan's frustration with his team. When he is sent to prison for past crimes, will the gang save him or attempt to take over?

There are many goodies packed into this episode, such as the cameo by Drewbie (He sure gets around!), and the custom courthouse by Pinkhair. The pop culture references were current and spot on. If you enjoyed the fifth episode in the series, check out the high resolution version!

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch...

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Get Grumpy, Faster and cheaper than Figure Prints! - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 11:00:00 EST

If you're like me, Greatfather Winter didn't put a golden ticket or an uber laptop in your holiday stocking. And with my luck, I'll probably never win the Figure Prints lottery, either. Sad, but that's the reality of the situation.

Enter Grumpycoder with their WoW PaperIdol. While they may not offer a rl figurine, they are the first to provide (that I know of) portrait and full body pictures that auto-update the look of your character as your Armory equipment changes.

What this means is you'll be able to not only keep up with every alt you've accumulated over the years, you can now show them off in their current state of progression. No more WoW blogs with outdated character picts and no more forum avatars that look like you just hit level 5. Feel free to proclaim out into the interwebs what lewts you got last night, safe in the knowledge that without lifting a finger, everyone can see exactly how bad they clash with your Beguiler Robes.

We'll be giving WoW PaperIdol a test drive after the jump!

Continue reading Get Grumpy, Faster and cheaper than Figure Prints!

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Around Azeroth: Bad moon rising - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 10:00:00 EST


Reader Elyasa of Auchindoun (the European server, not the unpopular Outland instances) snapped this foreboding shot in the Black Temple. Her raiding guild, Shine, was heading for Supremus when she looked up and saw this omen in the sky. She didn't mention how the boss fight went, but from the looks of it, the dragons didn't go hungry that night...

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Well Fed Buff: Tauren Toenails - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 09:00:00 EST


Well Fed Buff serves up tasty snacks to boost your HP and stats, just in time for your weekend gaming.

"How does a Tauren hide in a cherry tree? He paints his hooves red!"

Three Very Important Notes[TM] about this week's gaming snack:
  1. Yeah, we know that's not a cherry in the photo, and yeah, we know that the colors of the finished product are actually the opposite of a Tauren's painted toenails. It's called artistic license. /gkick me.
  2. You really need to try this one out on your significant other for Valentine's Day (which is oh-so-coincidentally right around the corner) ... especially if your S.O. is not always pleased with the amount of time you spend logged in, and especially if you explain that you made these yourself from a recipe on a WoW blog. Trust me - this trumps the generic Box of Chocolates by a long shot.
  3. Fresh fruit is good for you. Dark chocolate is good for you. Who says gamers have to be Cheetos-munching chumps?
Decadent, delectable deliciousness ... Romance incarnate ... All tied up in a package that's downright healthy ... Read on for the whole package, after the break.

Continue reading Well Fed Buff: Tauren Toenails

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Breakfast Topic: Is your guild structured and sure or chaotic and competent? - Thu, 31 Jan 2008 08:00:00 EST


The question in the title comes straight from this very interesting post on Kinless' blog. He and his wife are in different guilds. His guild has a raiding calendar and they adhere to it religiously. His wife's guild has a raiding calendar which is completely ignored. Whoever is online at any given time gets to raid.

I would think the more structured guild would be ahead, but the more loosely organized guild is moving along nicely. So nicely, in fact, that both guilds are progressing at about the same rate.

How does your guild do it? Formal or casual? And does your guild's style work for you or are you enduring it to get what you want from the raid?

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World of WarCrafts: Flash Wand - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:00:00 EST
Every Wednesday Maureen Carter brings you World of WarCrafts, which features a recipe or craft that teaches you how to make your own real life version of in-game recipes and items.

Let me begin by warning you that this week's WarCraft is a bit tacky, corny and even a little silly. So, if you have issues with any of those things coming into play here then STOP READING NOW! If you don't have problems with it and could use a WoW related giggle in your day please, join me as I create today's IRL item the Flash Wand.

I feel I must say that none of my characters have this wand so I'm hoping very much that the screen shot I am basing my whole project off of is correct. If not then, oh well, its still fun.

Continue reading World of WarCrafts: Flash Wand

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Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40 - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:30:00 EST


Welcome to another edition of Encrypted Text! This week I'm continuing the class leveling guide started by Elizabeth, covering levels 21 to 40. I've only leveled characters on a PvP server, so I know when I hit 20 or so it's time to abandon the safe land of Care Bears for the contested areas where the opposing faction is just waiting to kill you. Luckily, you're a Rogue and thus have an advantage: since you generally keep a low profile, killing quickly and stealthing from target to target, you are hard to spot unless someone much higher level gets right on top of you.

When leveling, especially on a PvP server, use this to your advantage. Unless there's a good reason (like traveling long distances or killing a mob), you should stay in stealth. Even if you're spotted, you still stand a decent chance of getting away -- try throwing something in their face to Blind them, then Sprint away until you can restealth. Well, let's get started. I'm going to assume you've read about levels 1-20, have a good idea of how your Energy and Combo Point mechanics work, and have at least a few points in the Combat tree. If so, read on -- if not, go back and read about your first 20 levels!

Continue reading Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40

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Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: The first step - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST


I really like today's new page. Kat accidentally discovers that she has a natural ability for something that takes most people years of training. Of course, right now she's too busy getting away from Naga to give it much thought, but you can be sure she'll get around to it.

Will she get away? You'll have to read today's page to find out. Click the image above to view today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.

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A "meta" class for WoW - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:30:00 EST
Draele over at Rantings of the Afflicted asks if WoW could ever have what he calls a "meta" class. He lists the examples of Mesmer in Guild Wars or a Psionicist in Vanguard, and I'll add to that the Sorcerer class in Dark Age of Camelot-- classes that depend on manipulation and mind control rather than direct damage or healing.

I'd say that it's possible, but extremely unlikely. Why? Because WoW is based on an RTS game, and in RTS, there's not a lot of complicated manipulation going on-- either you're attacking or defending, or some mix of the two. There hasn't really been any precedent (that I can think of or stretch to) in the Warcraft universe for a Bard or "Mesmer" class, and that's why it's pretty unlikely that Blizzard will try to break out past the trinity of usual MMO archetypes. Not to mention that, as Draele says, a meta class is a complex thing to create and play, and WoW tends to be more casual than complex.

Of course, never say never. There's a lot in this universe that hasn't even been hinted at in the game yet, and as was mentioned in last week's podcast, Death Knights will likely only be the beginning of hero classes, so who knows what Blizzard could come up with.

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Upper Deck interviews TCG artists Zoltan and Gabor - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST


Upper Deck continues their series on the art of the game by talking to two artists who've done some terrific work for the TCG, Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai. The two partners talk about how they make some of the art of the card game (with a Wacom Cintiq-- drool), and specifically how they made a couple of multi-card pieces. For the most recent raid deck, they had to make a mural of Magtheridon and his channelers that went across five cards, and that the challenge wasn't just creating an interesting piece of art overall, but also making each card interesting enough to stand on its own.

Very cool interview, and definitely neat to see what these two guys are like, working on the forefront of digital painting.

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Mechanical mechanics: The models, makes, and manufacturing of mechanized merchants and robotic repairmen - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 16:30:00 EST
Or

"Where's the coin box on this thing?"

Welcome to the latest in a series of lectures by Hoof & Horn Research & Development. These lectures explain, or attempt to explain, some of the ins and outs of Engineering. For advanced technicians and amateur tinkers alike, the finer points of Engineering can never be too often reviewed. Engineers will tell you: your life may just depend on it!

It happens to the best of us, in the best of situations: our armor breaks. Our ammo runs dry. Our reagent sack starts to feel a little light, and we're too far in a dungeon to make a run for rum, much less take a shopping break. Some dungeons have repair facilities, sure, but not everyone's made a good enough name with the Violet Eye, or Cenarion Expedition, or even the Broken of Terrokar, to be sure of a quick repair near a dungeon's entrance. Not to mention the times when the need for repair comes deep into a dungeon, far from the friendly smith at the entrance.

As with so many of life's problems, Engineering offers the solution as well as numerous contributory factors to the problem. Engineer 1st Class Flimsy is known to have told his students often that breaking things is the hallmark of an inquisitive Engineer. Some of his students are thought to have taken this a bit far. EFC Flimsy's whereabouts remain unknown. But among the things they, and we, have at our disposal to make up for the shortcomings of fragile armor and finite ammunition are the Field Repair Bots. Herein we will discuss the manufacture of the two models of repair bot, as well as what supplies can be obtained from them and what methods have been used to coerce money inserted into one back out.

Continue reading Mechanical mechanics: The models, makes, and manufacturing of mechanized merchants and robotic repairmen

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Due for more Polymorph options - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 16:00:00 EST
Here's a good idea from the forums: more sheep choices! Polymorph was one of the most beloved spells in the Warcraft RTS games, and so players were thrilled to see it come to World of Warcraft, and even more thrilled when two other variations on the spell were learned: instead of sheeping, players can either polymorph pig or turtle with two learned spells from quests or drops in the game.

But since the introduction of Zul'Gurub, we haven't seen any other options for mages in game. And there are plenty to choose from by now-- Polymorph: Ravager, Polymorph: Clefthoof, or Polymorph: Elekk would all work great. Polymorph: Willy would even be lots of fun. Oh, and yes, as players in the thread say, since we're headed to Northrend, Polymorph: Penguin would not be out of order in the next expansion.

Blizzard has done a pretty good job of taking mounts, both flying and ground-based, towards a little horizontal progress-- giving more options on one level instead of setting up a few options over multiple levels. But hopefully Polymorph will get a little love, too-- even though mages are the only ones who benefit directly, my guild has always had fun making sure our mages have all the Polymorph options possible.

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Season 2 Arena to sell for honor in Season 4 - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 14:15:00 EST
This wasn't exactly unexpected (Blizzard has, after all, already put Season 1 gear up for purchase), but Drysc has confirmed that Season 2 Arena gear-- that's the Merciless Gladiator gear-- will be available for purchase with regular honor as of Season 4.

As usual, Drysc provides a disclaimer that Blizzard may change those plans. And of course we have no idea yet when Season 4 will drop, although the usual Arena Season timing tells us that it will likely be sometime in March of this year (possibly with the release of patch 2.4, although as usual, we have no idea if the patch will come sooner or later).

But if you spent all your honor on Season 1 gear when Season 3 started, time to start saving again. Merciless Gladiator is going on sale.

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Free character migration on EU realms - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 13:45:00 EST


Some free character transfers going down today for you EU players:

From: Crushridge, Grim Batol, Outland, and Stormscale
To: Burning Steppes, Jadenar, and Vek'nilash

More info on transferring your character, if you need it, is over on Blizzard's FAQ.

Color me a little jealous-- despite all the alts I have on all those different servers, not one has ever been offered a free transfer. Then again, I've never really had a reason to switch servers, so I guess it all evens out. But if you've been having queue trouble on any of the realms above and nothing to tie you down, congrats-- today's your lucky day.

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