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Everyone is hardcore in their own way - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 19:00:00 EST


David Bowers lightly ribbed me earlier about being too lazy to read quest text. Avid role-player that he is, he considered skipping quest text a capital offense. He went on to tell me about some folks that even made sure to read every readable book or object in the game, like A Steamy Romance Novel or those books lying around in Stratholme. Role-players pride themselves in immersing themselves in game lore and the environment. I don't think I could be so involved or keep in character so well for so long. I thought to myself just how hardcore that was. On the other hand, some people would probably consider my dropping 375 Mining to level up Enchanting just for the ring enchants for PvP to be hardcore. I certainly think what Nihilum did by having a majority of their raiding crew take up Leatherworking just for the Drums of Battle was incredibly hardcore.

The more I thought about it, though, the more I realized that a lot of people are pretty hardcore in their own way. I mean, my wife continued to raid with us while she was pregnant, healing us through Serpentshrine Cavern while lying down on the bed. She would log on to fill our roster when we were short even though she was bedridden because of doctor's orders. One of her friends in-game who was also pregnant played a Druid and was actually tanking a Heroic 5-man when she felt contractions come on and had to excuse herself midway through the instance. It turned out to be a false alarm, but I think these women are pretty hardcore for playing in their condition.

Continue reading Everyone is hardcore in their own way

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The Wow-ku challenge - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST
So, you know what Haiku is, right? It's form of Japanese poetry. The most popular English version is 3 lines long. The first line is 5 syllables, the second 7, and the third is 5 again. All well and good, I'm sure you say, but what does this have to with WoW? Fimlys of the Asleep at the WoW blog posted a Wow-ku challenge a few days ago, asking people to make up Haikus based on our favorite game.

Here's a few I whipped up:

Continue reading The Wow-ku challenge

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The 10 Commandments of Altitis - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 17:00:00 EST
The Waaagh blog, despite technically being about some other dirty little game, keeps churning out some pretty good posts. The latest is Syp's 10 Commandments of Altitis. I'm a recent convert to altitis myself. I pretty much stuck with one character on all my previous MMOs, with maybe one extra alt I played once a month. However, on WoW, I've been bit hard. With 3 70s, 2 60s, and 61, and various random characters in the 20-60 range, I know how the alt game goes.

A lot of the commandments are things that I myself have discovered and follow unknowingly in my day to day play, but Syp lays them out in an understandable and easy to follow format. Some of my favorite points, in no certain order:

  • 6. Go Off the Beaten Path. Seriously, just because you really want to reach level 70 ASAP does not mean that doing the STV grind for the 7th time is the awesome thing to do. I mean, I guess if your only goal is to get to 70, that's doable, but for me, trying out new quests and new zones, or at least quests and zones I haven't done in a while, is one of the joys of an alt.
  • 9. Alts can cause Burnout. This is definitely true if you think you can get away with doing dailies every day on all of your 70s. As much as you want the exalted SSO necklaces for your Hunter, your Warlock, and your Druid, don't try to grind up the rep for all of them all at once, every day. That way lies madness. I have found that focusing on one at a time, or at least alternating days, is a much better way to go about it.
  • 3. Alts deserve real names too. Honestly, you aren't clever for naming your Druid Lolferal. Sorry.

But all of the points are nice and handy, so if you're a fellow altitis sufferer, or even if you just want to catch the bug, go check the article out. It's a fun read.

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Ever surprise yourself? - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 16:30:00 EST

Today, in Arathi Basin, my Tauren warrior took on six Alliance and won.

This isn't me bragging: I fully expected to die. Usually when I do this kind of thing... in fact, in 99% of the times I've charged into a pack of Alliance or Horde when PvPing, I do die. It's usually a last ditch attempt to prevent a flag capture. I don't expect to live through it. But today, through some weird combination of skill, luck, and some poor choices and gear on the part of the alliance, I came out of it alive and they all died. (That rogue who showed up at the end helped, I admit it.)

I know it won't ever happen again, but for just that moment (long enough for a mage to ride up and fireball me down, since I had like 200 health left) I honestly felt like I'd learned something new, made a shift in how I PvP in World of Warcraft, and even surprised myself with how good I could actually be at a part of the game I've never really felt that I excelled at. Now, I still expect that the next time I try this I will die, but I won't go in thinking death is certain, and that changes the way the whole thing feels.

Almost certain death, slim chance of success, what are we waiting for?
That dwarf knew what he was talking about.

Continue reading Ever surprise yourself?

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Virus infected Fraps steals account information? - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 15:47:00 EST
WoW Insider has received a high number of reports of hacked accounts today. We have traced the Trojan to Trojan.Crypt.FKM.Gen. This Trojan has been known to steal World of Warcraft login information.

What we believe has happened, and please take this with the appropriate grain of salt, is that Fraps had a modified version of SpyLocked in it, which installed the Trojan.Crypt.FKM.Gen into Microsoft Net Meeting, which was then started silently when Windows rebooted. When the users logged into WoW, their passwords were key logged and twelve hours later several level 70 characters, including many bank alts, were deleted. It should be noted that it is possible that SpyLocked was installed into Fraps via a malicious email, however that is unlikely. We can also not verify where Fraps was downloaded, however it was almost assuredly downloaded from the official site.

This is evident in the logs of the virus scanner, which show both Fraps and Net Meeting as having viruses. Further, SpyLocked has been known to install further malicious programs on a computer. Finally, all of this has been confirmed via extensive interviews with the hacked subjects.

What can you do to prevent this from happening?

Two things:

  1. Change your password, now!
  2. When you're at home, run a complete virus scan. Do not sign in to WoW until you've done so.
We've alerted the makers of Fraps to the problem, and if appropriate, will post their reply.

Most of all it's important that you, our readers, stay safe. Take a minute to change your password now.

Continue reading Virus infected Fraps steals account information?

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Making money along the way - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 15:00:00 EST


My wife sold another Captured Firefly at the Auction House just a few minutes ago for 800 Gold. When I mentioned this in our virtual WoW Insider foxhole, Daniel remarked that he didn't have the patience to farm it. I don't have the patience to farm those things, either, but my wife surprised me by telling me that she doesn't farm for it. Instead, she makes it a point to kill all the Bogflare Needlers in Zangarmarsh on the way to her daily quests in Blade's Edge Mountains. She'll often end up with a bunch of Fractured Carapaces and Twitching Legs, but when she lucks out and gets the awesome pet, it's guaranteed Gold.

I guess it's just a smart thing to do that I never really thought about. Killing those Needlers won't take most 70s too long and Zangarmarsh is along the way to Blade's Edge, anyway. Making a short stopover to take a chance on the Firefly is a prudent move as far as making money is concerned. It doesn't take too much time and the gray item drops are worth a decent amount when sold to vendors. Making money is easy if you make short stops along the way, such as fishing the pools of Pure Water on the way to wherever you're going for guaranteed Motes of Water. Engineers can do the same thing by extracting Motes of Air from the gas clouds in Nagrand while doing The Multiphase Survey in Osh'gun. Sure, they'll probably need to keep swapping goggles, but it doesn't hurt and gives players more loose change.

Continue reading Making money along the way

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Bloodlust realms down to fix latency - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST
As of 10:50 AM PDT, 1:50 PM EDT, Blizzard has brought down all the realms in the Bloodlust (US) battlegroup for brief maintenance "to address issues relating to high latency and disconnections." The affected realms are expected to be done after about an hour, which means they should come back up around 11:50 AM PDT/2:50 PM EDT, which is in twenty minutes.

The affected realms are listed as: Aman'Thul, Barthilas, Blackrock, Caelestrasz, Dath'Remar, Dreadmaul, Frostmourne, Frostwolf, Khaz'goroth, Kil'Jaeden, Kilrogg, Nagrand, Ner'zhul, Proudmoore, Sen'Jin, Silver Hand, Thaurissan, Tichondrius, and Vek'nilash. Note that as far as I can tell the Dreadmaul realm does not actually exist. Edit: Never mind, it's the new Oceanic realm. It's just not listed on the Battlegroups page for some reason. I kind of wish they'd do some maintenance on my own realm (Shadow Council), since I've been having relatively high latency myself recently (150-200ms as opposed to my usual 60-100ms).

Update (3 PM): Not entirely unexpectedly, the realms are not fixed yet. The new ETA from Bizzard is 1 PM PDT/4 PM EDT.
Update (4:30 PM): The realms are back up, but still experiencing issues. Blizz promises to provide more updates as they are available.

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BRK and Ratshag organize a Running of Da Bulls - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 14:00:00 EST
Many of you might remember that a while back, we organized a Stormwind Stampede, where a bunch of us created a herd of Tauren over on Zangarmarsh, and then had a little footrace all the way to Stormwind. Our friend BigRedKitty is apparently putting something similar together this weekend -- he's calling it the Cinco de Mayo Running of da Bulls, and the final goal appears to be from Mulgore to Hammerfall (which means there's an Org to Undercity zepplin ride in there somewhere).

The whole event kicks off this Saturday, May 3rd over on Cenarion Circle. BRK is organizing the thing along with Ratshag of Need More Rage (he's the one who created the route, and it'll be his friend you're hunting for in Hammerfall). He's got more on his blog, including that the race is a tribute to a friend of theirs who passed away, and all the Tauren will be saying "moo" in respect.

Sounds like a lot of fun. If you want to join them, meet up in Mulgore on Cenarion Circle at 4:00 server time (which works out to 7:00 Eastern). And make sure to take some screenshots. For the Herd!


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Nihilum's live stream postponed - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 13:00:00 EST
Some of you may be excited about Nihilum's live stream of a Sunwell Plateau raid, which was scheduled for today at 1 PM EDT. I know I was looking forward to it about it. However, sad news -- it's been delayed, so we'll have to wait a little bit longer to see how the cutting edge of WoW raiding does things. The reason for this delay is the opening of the new gate; I imagine they want a chance to try M'uru first before fighting him (her? it?) live in front of the world. Tentatively, the new date for the event will be in one week, May 7, but that could well change. Stay tuned for more updates.

The event itself remains the same. You'll be able to pick from four streams to follow -- Kungen (prot warrior), Darmor (fire mage), Johnnyr (holy paladin), and Buzzkil (destruction 'lock). The stream is supported by Xfire, so their software may be necessary to view it; Nihilum haven't been quite clear on that yet. I hope not, because it doesn't look like there's a Mac version. By the way, it looks like Nihilum is recruiting. So if you're a holy priest, resto shaman, holy paladin, BM hunter, or destruction Warlock on the European realms with some T6 gear, preferably Sunwell experience, and a desire to raid more than is probably healthy, click on over to apply.

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WoW Moviewatch: Tunasushi - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 12:00:00 EST

(It has been called to my attention that there may possibly be subliminal images of questionable content that are peppered throughout this video. Due to the fact that they're not more than a few frames at a time, they're barely visible unless you pause and look for them or download the video and go frame by frame. However, if this offends you, I strongly advise not to watch.)

In Olibith's world, oversharing is a three course meal, with Tunasushi as the main dish. He serves it up with sides of romance, revenge, and silly interpretations of the Japanese language. When assembled, it makes for an interesting, if a bit perplexing, dining experience.

Artistically, Olibith's latest machinima is beautiful. He employs vibrant colors, custom sets, and even manages to tone down on words that would make your mother blush. I only wish he'd developed the plot a bit more, as it ends too suddenly. Could there be a sequel in the works?

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Wowhead power updated - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 11:00:00 EST
You've probably noticed that we use Wowhead to embed item, spell, talent, and quest tooltips in articles here, and some of you use the same functionality on your own blogs. Wowhead's codeslinger Skosiris has made a change in the way this is handled, and that change necessitates a small update in the code needed to produce those tooltips. All you have to do is change the line "<script src="http://www.wowhead.com/widgets/power.js"></script>" to "<script src="http://www.wowhead.com/widgets/power.js?lol"></script>" wherever you have it in your code; this will force the users to reload the JavaScript so they're not running an out-of-date version.

If your own site is not powered by Wowhead, but would like it to be, it's as easy as adding "<script src="http://www.wowhead.com/widgets/power.js?lol"></script>" anywhere in your page code. If you do that, all relevant links pointing to Wowhead will get tooltips. Nifty, eh?

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Around Azeroth: Foreboding planet - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 10:00:00 EST

And you thought Desolace was the most depressing zone in the game? Think again. Before Burning Crusade, Andostre of <Madorans Fist> on Crushridge snuck into the area that is now Ghostlands. He wrote that he swam up the coast from the Hinterlands and then jumped through a gap in the mountains along the shore. There he found ... well, nothing, aside from an unfinished back view of Stratholme. "Flat, featureless, and bleak," Andostre wrote. "So much so, that I succumbed to the drama and let loose with a /mourn emote for this screenshot." Excuse me a minute: "You maniacs! You blew it up! Ah, damn you! Damn you all to hell!"

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? 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!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. It's karaoke/$4 drink night at the Hi5, and I strongly suspect that light will hurt my eyes in the near future.

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He Said She Said: Hypermasculinty - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 09:00:00 EST

He Said , She Said is a new feature at WoW Insider, which looks at the game from masculine and feminine points of view. This week we discuss the difference between bearing among male and female characters.

David: What's the big idea with all the macho attitude in male characters? I wrote an article about this problem some time ago, and I'd like to see what you think about it. Many people don't even realize it's an issue though; they just assume: "This game is about killing things, therefore, as a male, I should look as violent and intimidating as possible." For those people that think this this way, that's fine; those people should have that option. But let's look at all the male avatars that are available to us in WoW and find out how many options there are for those of us who don't want to look like a football player on steroids. The answer is... one! Other than Gnomes, every single male avatar in the game is pumped full of that "I'm gonna kill you if you get in my way" attitude that I just don't want to play.

Where's the old wizard who spends all his time reading books rather than pumping iron? Where's the skinny rogue who kills things by knowing when and where to put his dagger rather than slashing it around with arms the size of some tree trunks? Where's the option for a male to actually look wise and eloquent instead of brutish and arrogant?

Continue reading He Said She Said: Hypermasculinty

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Breakfast Topic: Scam or service? - Wed, 30 Apr 2008 08:00:00 EST


A couple months ago, Daniel Whitcomb wrote a great post about maximizing your bag space which included how to get a 20 slot bag from Budd Nedreck (pictured above). In it he explained exactly where to go in a cleared Zul'Aman to complete Budd's Promises, Promises quest.

Zzmorriss wrote in to say that he was offering in the Trade Channel to run people through his guild's cleared ZA instance in order to complete that quest. He charged 10 gold to join the raid and be guided to the place to get the item for Budd. He then charged another 10 gold a person to run them through again to do Budd's follow up quest. He made a total of 180 gold for 15 minutes of work and then ran through 6 or 7 more groups before the reset.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Scam or service?

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Last week on Massively: WoW-related stories - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 22:30:00 EST
This week's round up of WoW-related posts on our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe dominated by World of Warcraft. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed. Also be sure to read past the break, because there was an extra-special heaping lot of WoW-related goodness on Massively this week!

Player vs. Everything: Playing with your friends
Players often venture into the wilderness of online games alone and friendless, seeking out allies in the worlds they inhabit and making friends as they go along. Some games are better at encouraging players to work together than others, too.
Changes to WoW arena ratings mean no more 'welfare epics'
While no more major patches are expected to hit World of Warcraft before Wrath of the Lich King is released, we'll probably see quite a bit of tweaking between now and then. The next patch due for the service, numbered 2.4.2, makes some major changes to the way that Arena battles rewards PvP players.
What makes games addictive?
(Hint: It's not the taste!) Video game addiction is a topic that tends to occupy the attention of the mainstream media any time there's a slow news day, and even sometimes (like yesterday, for instance) when it's not. Videogames; how they're making junkies of your kids, news at 11!
The Gaming Iconoclast: Whither Shortcomings?
Many MMO aficionados cut their roleplaying teeth on one of the many pencil-and-paper titles that formed the early generation of multi-player gaming. In addition to rolling (and rolling, and rolling, and rolling) some dice to come up with their basic stats and traits, character generation involved a lot of "wet work" when it came time to acquire skills.

Continue reading Last week on Massively: WoW-related stories

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Guildwatch: The aftermath - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 22:00:00 EST


Just want to get something straight, so you all sending in Downed news can be sure to work out the "notice" mechanic correctly: every guild gets to put just one boss on notice every week. You can't put instances on notice (although if you do, you have to clear that instance all in one go, and we're going to need video or it didn't happen), and you can't put more than one boss on notice -- otherwise, everyone would put everyone on notice. One boss per guild, per week. Any other kills after that are just bonuses.

Now that that's out of the way, on to the Guildwatch! Click the link below to see this week's drama, downed and recruiting news from around the realms, and be sure to send us your tips, from your guild or anyone else's at wowguildwatch@gmail.com.

Continue reading Guildwatch: The aftermath

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WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 21:30:00 EST
WoW Insider Weekly shows off our most popular weekly features of the past week -- if you missed them before, catch up to them here.

Blood Sport: No scrubs allowed in Season 4
Arena matches in Season 4 are just like TLC -- they don't want no scrubs.
Spiritual Guidance: Three priest specs your raid should not leave Shattrath without
The Priest column gives any good raiders three Priest specs to look for.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Are Warriors underpowered?
No. Column over. Or is it?
Blood Pact: Tanking Leo
Vims shows warlocks how to do a little tanking on the big blind guy.
Reader UI of the Week: Draxyl of Turalyon
One of our great readers shows off his UI for your pick-apart pleasure.

Five more great can't-miss weekly features after the break.

Continue reading WoW Insider Weekly

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Build Shop: Shaman 18/43/0 - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 20:20:00 EST


Today on Build Shop, we're going to take a look at a Shaman build that's a little different from the usual since we've already covered the basic cookie-cutter specs of Elemental, Enhancement, and Mike Schramm's personal variant of Restoration. The Enhancement spec that we'll tinker with will try to focus on the built-in synergy between some Elemental and Enhancement talents, as opposed to the more familiar complement of Restoration talents. This Enhancement build is focused on dealing damage, with less focus on the raid or party utility that Restoration talents provide. You can take a quick look at the build here.

Shock and awe

For optimum DPS, an Enhancement Shaman's spell cycle should be punctuated by shocks, which are instant cast damage-dealing spells that don't interfere with a Shaman's swing timer. The biggest problem with utilizing shocks as part of an offensive spell cycle is the prohibitive mana cost, which can make a dent on an Enhancement Shaman's relatively low mana pool. To alleviate this , we take 5/5 Convection from the first tier of the Elemental tree, which reduces the cost of Lightning and Shock spells by 10%.

Continue reading Build Shop: Shaman 18/43/0

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What WoW should learn from certain quests in and around The Barrens - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 19:00:00 EST
So I've been thinking a bit about questing lately as I traverse Outlands on my latest project, a level 61 Blood Elf Paladin, working on the Outlands quests. I think my favorite part of playing a lowbie hordeling is how many quests there are to "stumble upon" in the oft-maligned Barrens. Technically, they're all very basic "find and kill these dudes" quests, but the presentation is such that I always get a big rush from doing them. They really do make me feel like a mighty hunter.

Continue reading What WoW should learn from certain quests in and around The Barrens

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Some remarks on drop rates - Tue, 29 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST


I'm going to keep this relatively short, because a full discussion of probability could fill several college semesters. However, there is one misconception that some WoW players have that has been bugging me lately.

Let's say you read that Shattered Sun Supplies have a 10% chance to contain a Badge of Justice, and, excited, you go out and do enough dailies get 10 Shattered Sun Supplies. You open them all and find not a single Badge, or you find five badges. Do either of these outcomes mean the 10% drop rate is wrong? No! They do not! All a 10% drop rate means is that for each Supplies, there is a 10% chance that it contains a Badge. Random events have no memory, so no matter how many badges you get in the first nine Supplies, your chance to get a Badge in the tenth Supplies is still 10%. The traditional analogy is that if you flip a coin nine times and get heads each time, the chance of getting heads on the next flip is still 50%.

Now it is true that you will probably get a Badge in ten Supplies if the drop rate is 10%. If you're interested in how likely it is, here's the calculation to do. The chance of not getting a Badge in one Supplies is (100% - 10%) = 90%, or 0.9. Raise that to the tenth power, for your ten independent Supplies-opening events, and you get the chance of, ten times out of ten, not getting a Badge: 0.9^10 = 0.349, about 35%. So in fact, out of ten Supplies, you will get a badge (100% - 35%) = 65% of the time, about two thirds.

TL;DR version: A drop rate is a probability, not a guarantee.

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