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On-demand BlizzCon streaming will be available - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST


Earlier today we went over some of the options for attending BlizzCon when you can't actually attend BlizzCon. Mainly this consists of the DirecTV-sponsered stream, which is $40 pay-per-view both on DirecTV and over the Internet (even if you're not a DirecTV customer). The BlizzCon tournaments will also be streamed for free.

Here's an additional perk on the Internet stream: if you can't be at your computer right when the events start, you can see it on-demand during and after the show (the Blizzard folks are calling it "rebroadcasting"). This might also be handy if (as a purely hypothetical example) someone needed to review footage to confirm the details of a breaking story for a certain blog that is going to have all the BlizzCon details as they happen.

In fact, ideally, they'd give us full DVR-like capabilities on the broadcast, although I recognize that there's a level of technology required to support that. Still, it would be nice.

On-demand BlizzCon streaming will be available originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard fights scammers with TCG mount changes - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST


Blizzard has confirmed what we have speculated about: the change to make Upper Deck Trading Card Game mounts Bind-on-Use instead of BoP is specifically to combat scammers.

Currently, if you have a loot code, you redeem it and then "purchase" the mount from an NPC vendor. The mount immediately becomes soulbound. This two step process allows unscrupulous people to easily scam prospective mount buyers and subsequently hack their accounts. In patch 3.2, redeeming the code will automatically place the mount in your inventory, unsoulbound and available for legitimate in-game transactions.

Bornakk warns that if you have already redeemed a mount code, but have not purchased your mounts from the NPC, you will not be able to do so after 3.2. So it is important that you get your mounts before the patch is released, which could be as early as this Tuesday.

Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Blizzard fights scammers with TCG mount changes originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlizzCon pre-sale starts Wednesday - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:12:00 EST


If you were lucky enough to go to last year's BlizzCon, you'll know that the lines for the shop were insanely long. People stood for hours in them waiting to get their merchandise. That meant a lot of time away from all the rest of the exhibits, and a lot of frustration if you just gave up waiting in line for three hours.

This year things are being done a bit differently, in that you'll be able to preorder all the stuff you want and have it shipped right to your home. There are a lot of special BlizzCon only items, so it's worth taking a look

The pre-order online sale will begin this Wednesday at 10:01 a.m. PDT / 1:01 p.m. EDT. It will last for 48 hours, which means it ends on Friday at 10:01 a.m. PDT / 1:01 p.m. EDT. If you know what you want to buy before you get to BlizzCon, take advantage of this and do it now. I know that I'm going to pickup a poster I wanted.

Because I really need to make my office more nerdy. Seriously.

The announcement email and additional details after the break.

Continue reading BlizzCon pre-sale starts Wednesday

BlizzCon pre-sale starts Wednesday originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:12:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Phat Loot Phriday: Wisdom's Hold - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST
Not all shields are for blocking. If you're a Shaman or a Pally, this caster shield is probably droolworthy.

Name: Wisdom's Hold (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWDB)
Type: Epic Shield
Armor: 8130, 227 Block
Attributes:

  • +70 Stamina, +48 Intellect, which means lots of HP and Mana for you.
  • Improves crit strike by 40, haste by 47, and spell power by 75. Nice set of bonuses there, too.
  • And a blue socket, with a socket bonus of +5 spell power. It's a slight upgrade over Voice of Reason, the other big caster shield near endgame, but enough of an upgrade that you want this one if you can get it.

Continue reading Phat Loot Phriday: Wisdom's Hold

Phat Loot Phriday: Wisdom's Hold originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Rookie: Look it up in the WoW Rookie Guide - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Feeling threatened by brutish, hulking questions about the game? Confusion breathing down your neck? Feeling a little quivery? ... A little uncertain? ... As if you suspected you should have brought a group -- if you knew how to get one, that is?

Don't be intimidated by what you don't know about the World of Warcraft. Get savvy with WoW Rookie! We've built a brand, spanking new listing of topics to make sure you don't get spanked by guys like that guy over there to the right.

Well, ok. Maybe we don't have a Hogger strat in the guide. And maybe Hogger will probably spank you anyway. But you know what we mean. At least, we think you would, if you weren't so busy running back from the Spirit Healer after coming face to face with that ugly gnoll ...

WoW Rookie: Look it up in the WoW Rookie Guide originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Preparing for BlizzCon: Virtual attendance options - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza. These helpful hints are particularly suited for convention rookies. But if you are a con veteran, we'd love to hear your advice and wisdom in the comments as well.

So you weren't able to get tickets either by purchasing or winning them (though there is still time to win). Do you still want to experience BlizzCon, but without the odor and sore feet? There are ways to view the event from the comfort of your own home, for a fee, of course:
  • DIRECTV is offering pay per view coverage for $39.95. There is also a special (that ends today) for if you are not a DIRECTV customer, but join up through Blizzard that offers the coverage for free.
  • There will also be internet streaming footage. The price is also $39.95 and you don't have to be a DIRECTV customer to sign up.
  • The tournaments will be streamed for the low, low price of free.
Of course, we'll be covering every drop of BlizzCon here on WoW.com, but if you want to watch any cataclysmic announcements with your very own eyes, these options will make you part of the virutal audience.
BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Preparing for BlizzCon: Virtual attendance options originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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We Have a Tabard: The green-eyed monster - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST


Congratulations! You've bested the bosses in 25-man Naxx and Kel'Thuzad is dead. You have one last trial to deal with: distributing loot. He drops Cape of the Unworthy Wizard, Betrayer of Humanity, Crown of the Lost Protector, and Crown of the Lost Vanquisher- and everybody wants a piece.

There's something "Lord of the Flies"-esque about the way that Blizzard drops loot and then allows players to decide who gets it. DKP, Loot Council, Biggest Upgrade, Two Token, simple rolls. Every system is flawed. Someone is going to walk away unhappy. For GMs/RLs I give you this advice: be fair, be consistent, and brace yourselves. Odds are good, someone is going to be unhappy and you're going to have to deal with it.

But this column isn't for GMs/RLs. Jealousy, the green eyed monster is one of the worst adversaries in WoW. Guilds have fallen apart over loot decisions and overall loot practices. In most cases leadership tries to be fair- with an eye on progression. A good GM doesn't play favorites when it comes to loot. With good leadership, you can count on decisions that strengthen the team as a whole.

Continue reading We Have a Tabard: The green-eyed monster

We Have a Tabard: The green-eyed monster originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Drama Mamas: Loot and leaving early - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST


Let the Drama Mamas guide you through the sticky business of dodging drama, toward becoming that player everyone wants in their group. Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are real-life mamas and experienced WoW players. And just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your server. We're taking your questions at DramaMamas (at) WoW (dot) com.

As Oteo pointed out in the comments of last week's column, we are WoW.com's Agony Aunts. I actually only heard that phrase for the first time recently on a rerun of Cold Case, and I must admit that I almost wish we had named our column Agony Aunts instead of Drama Mamas... almost.

This week we get to see the other side of a ninja looting scandal. Sometimes there are human beings with extenuating circumstances behind what seems like a cut and dried case of loot nastiness. Also, we'll discuss the etiquette of handling PuGgers with time limits, as well as how to avoid being that guy who has to leave early. Let's get to the drama!

Continue reading Drama Mamas: Loot and leaving early

Drama Mamas: Loot and leaving early originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Snacky's Journal, Episode 4 - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 12:04:00 EST
One of the mainstays at BlizzCon is the machinima contest - talented artists submit their movie ahead of the convention in hopes of winning fame and prizes. This year's BlizzCon is no different, and we're sure to see some great videos during the largest gathering of WoW players outside of Azeroth. Over the next few days let's take a look back at some of the winners and runner ups of last year's movie competition.

The Grand Prize winner for last year's Machinima contest, and also the winner in the Drama/Romance category was Snacky's Journal, Episode 4. I can definitely see why it won. It has a great story, voice acting, editing -- it's just an all around, well done piece of movie fun.

You see, Snacky is coerced (bribed) to go on a blind double date with his friend, only to find out that things are far more complicated... and profitable. I love the settings in Gadgetzan and the Darkmoon Faire, which are particularly appropriate considering the date is crossfaction. There is also an explanation in there as to why Murlocs have cash on them (though where the money is kept is still a mystery).

I hope you enjoy it as much as The Spawn and I did. She's insisting on a replay. AFK.

WoW Moviewatch: Snacky's Journal, Episode 4 originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 12:04:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Crusaders' Coliseum and Isle of Conquest Q&A - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST


Blizzard has just released a Q&A on the Crusaders' Coliseum and the Isle of Conquest.

The Q&A is done with Tom Chilton (Game Directory), Scott Mercer (Lead Encounter Designer), and Alex Afrasiabi (Lead World Designer). The Q&A is a long one and has a lot of good information throughout on both of these major upcoming features in Patch 3.2.

Some of the highlights include:
  • All dungeons can be called the Crusaders' Coliseum. 5-man normal and heroics are called the Trial of the Champion. 10 and 25 man normal raids are called the Trial of the Crusader. 10 and 25 man hard mode raids are called the Trial of the Grand Crusader.
  • 5-man version on par with current Wrath dungeons.
  • "There will be no 310%-speed mount offered through a meta-achievement reward, as the current 310%-speed mount offered will not be removed when path 3.2 is released." And later on... "For those working through a tribute run, there might also just be a surprise or two in the chest at the end... if you have what it takes to master this run."
  • Possibly a new twist to the conflict between Horde and Alliance in the next expansion? "Right now both sides are honing their skills through the Argent Crusade's tests. Should they take the fight to the Lich King and succeed while animosity between the Horde and Alliance continues to build, there's no telling what lies in store for the denizens of Azeroth."
  • Average Isle of Conquest match to last around 20 minutes.
  • There is some concern over graveyard camping in the Isle of Conquest.
  • Once again, the dedicated World of Warcraft players are screwed out of pony. I was promised one, and I want it. This is a slap in the face. Where's my gin? Where's my coffee? Quick! Someone write an angry letter about Ghostcrawler, he's the worst thing that happened to WoW since...since...forever! Nerd rage!
Don't forget to check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for more information on the Crusaders' Coliseum and the Isle of Conquest. The full Q&A is after the break.

Continue reading Crusaders' Coliseum and Isle of Conquest Q&A

Crusaders' Coliseum and Isle of Conquest Q&A originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Abbey road - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST


The next time you get camped for two hours by a player thirty levels above your own, remember that all of the total jerk players out there in Azeroth were once clueless level ones, falling off of Teldrassil, getting murdered by boars, and clicking repeatedly on the "attack" button as if this were Diablo. Erdeth of Nagrand has decided that the best way to avoid future problems with her Alliance opponents is to kill all the level one humans as they spawn, while they're still weak and confused. To this end, she's launching a full-scale assault from the hills above Northshire Abbey. Sure, the humans will soon learn not to click on the terrifying armored lady standing in front of the spawn point, but she'll probably be able to thin the population of its stupidest members.

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, gold seller ads with dead gnomes, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Abbey road originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard streaming BlizzCon tournaments for free, in HD - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST


Blizzard has announced that they're streaming most of the tournaments at BlizzCon this year yet again -- even if you don't sign up to the DirecTV feed, you can still watch most of the Arena, Starcraft, and Warcraft III matchups online on the BlizzCon site. And this year, for the first time, you'll be able to watch them in full HD quality (assuming that your connection can hold up). There will be one full stream dedicated to Arena matches, and one stream split between Warcraft III and Starcraft tournament coverage.

And what you see should be some of the best players in the world -- all of the qualifiers from North America, Korea, Europe, and Taiwan will be in attendance to vy for the top spot and the $25,000 per-player prize. The stream will be running both days of BlizzCon, coming up in just a few weeks on August 21st and 22nd.

[via Starcraft.org]

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Blizzard streaming BlizzCon tournaments for free, in HD originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Putting on Your Game Face - Fri, 31 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST
No matter what your playstyle or what you're doing in World of Warcraft, I'd say chances are you reach a point where you want to get down to business.

It can be any number of things. Maybe you finally want to grind out Exalted with Warsong Gulch. Maybe your raid group is in dire need of a good clean boss kill. Maybe you just want to head to Silithus and grind out that Guardian of Cenarius title. Whatever the reason, you have a goal, you have a plan, and you are not going to stop until you get enough.

But one thing remains: You have to keep yourself focused on your goal. That's when you put on your game face, and that's when you have those little rituals that keep you pumped up and motivated.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Putting on Your Game Face

Breakfast Topic: Putting on Your Game Face originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 31 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW China hit with more censorship upon relaunch - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST

World of Warcraft is finally getting back up on its feet in China, but it seems that it didn't do so without making some concessions to China's censorship. We know that when The9 was still in charge, they had to make multiple graphical edits to the game to avoid showing off exposed bones, such as altering the Forsaken models and turning player corpses into gravestones, rather than a skeleton heap.

Now that NetEase is in charge, they've had to make some changes to the game as well, though perhaps not as substantial. Potentially funnier, though. According to this Chinese website, severed heads and skulls have been covered up. Literally. Item icons that would show heads or skulls in other regions of the world are now bags, chests and crates in China. This includes things like Van Cleef's Head, and even spell icons like the ones used by Ruin and Improved Corruption have been replaced by bags.

Continue reading WoW China hit with more censorship upon relaunch

WoW China hit with more censorship upon relaunch originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How often should we do repeatable content? - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST
Blessing of Kings asks an excellent question: how often should we be running repeatable content? Certainly Blizzard has considered this issue before -- they've gone with daily quests in the first expansion, and recently they've been rethinking just how often we'll be rerunning dungeons, too. But both of those time periods are fairly arbitrary to us: is it possible that we should start running things twice a week (once during and once on the weekend), or maybe do weekly quests instead of daily?

BoK says: possibly. Rohan suggests a weekly quest that rewarded 70g instead of the daily 10g reward we usually get (not including the XP bonus which kicks it up to 13g). Players who don't have time to run every day, but do have the weekly availability (like me -- I play mostly on the weekends), would be able to still pick up the reward. I'll go one step further, in fact: what if we had an option? What if we could choose to run a quest daily (and get a bigger reward overall), or run it once per week, using up all of our daily chances for that week, and getting a smaller total reward? That seems to be the best way -- those who could log in every day would get a larger reward, while those who couldn't could still get more than just the single daily.

Rohan also says that Heroic and BG quests should remain daily, and on that we agree: those quests are perfect for creating variety every day, and getting people to run those instances. In fact, those would be fun to see expanded -- maybe Blizzard could create weekly series of daily quests that followed a small storyline across dungeons or BGs. Blizzard has done a pretty good job balancing out repeatable content periods, but it's always nicer to have more options.

How often should we do repeatable content? originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: There is a Cow Level - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

There is no cow level.

Repeat that three times.

But if I was designing WoW I'd make sure there'd be some kind of cow level. After all who doesn't want to slaughter some bovines from hell?

Osul asked...

"What's a good reputation to grind for a newly 80 Ret Paladin?"

Continue reading The Queue: There is a Cow Level

The Queue: There is a Cow Level originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why loot drama happens (and how to prevent it) - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST
I like this post over at I am a Paladin -- it's a pretty insightful look at why drama is so easy to come by in bigger guilds. Blizzard has done almost everything they can to divide loot fairly (and they're still working on it, with the addition of more token systems), and there are certainly plenty of systems out there to try and keep things as fair as possible. Still, as long as there are only a few rewards to split among 25 people in a raid, there will always be loot drama -- as IaaP says, when people aren't rewarded for their hard work (or at least they perceive that), then frustrations start to set in. And gone unchecked, that can lead to jealousy or resentment, which leads to anger, and that all leads to the kind of spectacular guild breakups you can read about in Guildwatch.

So how can you avoid all that?

If the main reason people start causing drama is that they don't feel rewarded, then you've got to find a way to reward them. That might mean going with a more fair loot system (I've been in a few guilds that have switched to DKP at the first hint of drama), it might mean changing up the way you run things (by switching groups around or switching roles in a raid), or it might mean stepping back down into an easier raid to better gear up some of your members.

As long as Blizzard requires more members than loot in a raid, there will always be imbalances, but hopefully most drama issues can be avoided if everyone realizes that though any given piece of loot might get passed out unfairly, there'll always be enough to go around.

Why loot drama happens (and how to prevent it) originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW and its partners at Gen Con 2009 - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST
Gen Con Indy 2009 is just around the corner (it's the weekend before BlizzCon), and if you're headed out for the "best four days in gaming," keep an eye out there for some of this Warcraft stuff. Blizzard won't actually be there, as far as we know (it's more of a convention for board games and roleplaying than video games), but lots of their partners will. Upper Deck will probably have the biggest presence -- both the WoW TCG and the WoW Minis games will have setups where you can sit down and play either one, and they'll be running the Continental Championships as well, where they'll crown some of the best players in the country. And there'll be other tournaments and gameplay for both games going on as well -- the guys from wowtcgscrub.com are organizing a tournament of their own, and Upper Deck will have other ways for you to compete at all levels all weekend long.

Fantasy Flight Games, the makers of both World of Warcraft: The Board Game and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, will also be in attendance. They haven't announced anything special for the Warcraft games, but they'll likely have them out and playing in at least one demo space. And Warcraft will be there in attendance through the fans as well for sure.

In fact, I'll be there for the first time this year -- my friend and I are going to be checking out the show on Saturday. I have no idea what to expect, but i've heard from a few readers that are going already, so if there's interest, we might try to schedule a WoW.com meetup that evening. So if you're headed for Gen Con this year, keep an eye out for the World of Warcraft there.

WoW and its partners at Gen Con 2009 originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two Bosses Enter: Mal'Ganis vs. Ormorok the Tree-Shaper - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST


Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. Welcome to Round Two of the five-man Wrath of the Lich King season. Grab a seat, and let's get ready to rumble!

The second bracket of our Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves battles begins with an unusual matchup: Mal'ganis (The Culling of Stratholme) versus Ormorok the Tree-Shaper (The Nexus). We're not quite sure what you lore fans are going to do with this one -- but we're ready to hear what you've got in the comments. Even if you don't have a scenario in mind, be sure to click through and vote for who you think should move forward into the next bracket.

Before we get too deep into this week's battle, we'd like to thank the readers who commented about our lineup last week on our Bracket 2 listing. We've decided to take your votes to bring back any three of your favorite losing underdogs for the next bracket. We'll do that at the end of this bracket.

Now -- let's get ready to rumble!

Continue reading Two Bosses Enter: Mal'Ganis vs. Ormorok the Tree-Shaper

Two Bosses Enter: Mal'Ganis vs. Ormorok the Tree-Shaper originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TurpsterVision: Jousting for Dummies - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST

We can't believe it either - Turpster has been let loose on WoW.com to bring you videos from in and around the World of Warcraft! You've heard him on the WoW Insider Show, and now see him on TurpsterVision right here on WoW.com.

Patch 3.2 brings us many, many great ways for us to get our hands on Champions Seals along with some awesome things to spend them on! One of the easiest ways to get your hands on some of these new items is by completing the daily quests offered up in Ice Crown at the Argent Tournament. Now the Tournament has been around for quite some time now, but loads of people have told me that they either haven't taken part in it or just don't know how to Joust. If you are a Jousting n00b then this TurpsterVision is for you.

Continue reading TurpsterVision: Jousting for Dummies

TurpsterVision: Jousting for Dummies originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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NPD: World of Warcraft has sold 8.6 million boxes at retail - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST
Gamasutra has received an interesting stat from the good folks at NPD: after hearing that The Sims 3 sold over 800,000 copies in its first month, they were curious to see what kind of unit sales our own World of Warcraft has experienced. And the numbers are pretty big: among the original game and all of the expansion packs since the vanilla release over four years ago, NPD says 8.6 million boxes of WoW have been sold in the US. That's a little misleading if you're comparing it to actual subscription numbers: remember that this is over three different releases (so the actual number of all-time players, not current players, is probably 1/3 of that), and it includes different collectors' editions of each of the three game editions. So there are nowhere near 8.6 million US players of WoW -- that's just how many times players have come through the retail line with the various releases.

What that is, however, is a lot of money. Gamasutra estimates that at an average of $30 for each unit sold (the vanilla game currently retails at $20, but the expansions all sell at $40, and of course the original game was more expensive once upon a time), that's $258 million in income for Blizzard. In short, Blizzard's making a mint at the retail counter, even before they sign anyone up for subscriptions.

Then again, if you look at their own costs, those aren't insubstantial, either -- Activision's Bobby Kotick claimed that anyone starting up an MMO to compete with WoW would have to throw at least half a billion dollars into the mix just to get started, so we can presume Blizzard has spent at least $500 million on their staff, development, and hardware. So it's not like they're taking it all to the bank, though we can at least presume they're sitting firmly in the black.

NPD: World of Warcraft has sold 8.6 million boxes at retail originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlizzCon barcodes being sent out - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:10:00 EST


Those lucky enough to score tickets to BlizzCon this year should start to see their BlizzCon barcodes arrive in their email boxes today.

The barcode system is a new one for Blizzard. You will need to print out the email you receive and bring the barcode with you when you pick up your badge at the convention hall. We highly recommend picking up your badge the day before (Thursday) so you can enjoy waiting in long lines to get into the place on Friday morning for the opening ceremony.

You should receive a separate email and separate barcode for each person for whom you bought a ticket for. My tickets are going to a few WoW.com staff members, and the first of them came through this morning. Another email came this afternoon.

Initially we were not going to run this story until we heard from Blizzard directly that these emails were real and legit, however a very large number of people are reporting receiving their barcodes. The barcode email comes from pnmi.com, which is not a blizzard.com address.

Because of this we have contacted and are waiting for Blizzard to verify the email. We'll update this post when we hear back from them. I find it perplexing that Blizzard would drum into our heads for years telling us only to trust a blizzard.com source, and then have a massive email sent out that isn't from blizzard.com without telling us about its legitimacy before hand.

Update: Blizzard has confirmed these emails are legit.

So check your email and check your spam folders! My guess is that sending out all the badges will take a day or so.

BlizzCon barcodes being sent out originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Divided Soul - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST


One of the mainstays at BlizzCon is the machinima contest - talented artists submit their movie ahead of the convention in hopes of winning fame and prizes. This year's BlizzCon is no different, and we're sure to see some great videos during the largest gathering of WoW players outside of Azeroth. Over the next few days let's take a look back at some of the winners and runner ups of last year's movie competition.

Continuing from yesterday's Rumpus, today we'll look at the winner of last year's drama category - Divided Soul by Martin Falch. The movie definitely lives up to its title, and is a good choice from the winner in this category.

The tale is of one of friendship across the life span of two Orcs. Their tale moves from being best friends to bitter enemies. Context of love and lust, and of the role of a child's upbringing also come into play. It's a good and short yarn.

The animation is pretty good as well. The characters move in a fluid and lifelike fashion. There are very few jagged movements that look out of context - something that I appreciate. The voice acting done throughout the film is also pretty good. Whereas yesterday I criticized Rumpus for not having enough inflection and variation in some of their voice acting, here in Divided Soul I think they do it just right.

Worth a watch!

WoW Moviewatch: Divided Soul originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Behold, the power of macros - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST
I don't PvP that often (especially not with my Hunter), but I still found this list of Hunter macros over at Huntman's Lodge really awesome. Whether you just want to make some common tasks easier (the one-button target/Hunter's Mark/pet attack/start attack is a macro every single Hunter should have), or you want to cut out some keystrokes (the /use [target=player] Heavy Frostweave Bandage is a macro that's great for every class out there), macros can provide a lot of solid support to your game in any situation. For some reason, we all use addons, but macros are generally overlooked, despite the fact that the system Blizzard has built in for macros can be pretty powerful all by itself.

Garwulf has even more macros for Hunters on a special page, and of course there are lots and lots of suggested macros and macro guides available online. Especially since macros started being saved to the server instead of your individual machine at home, if you're still using regular abilities on your bars, looking over the available macros for your class should help you out a lot.

Behold, the power of macros originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Clueless - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST

While dwarves are generally considered to be excellent hunters, trappers and outdoorsmen, there are always some exceptions. Danni of Anvilmar should probably stay out of the Military Ward in Ironforge from now on, unless he really wants to test whether Renew can regenerate a lost foot.

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, gold seller ads with dead gnomes, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Clueless originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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One Boss Leaves: Loken clears Round One - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST


Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW.com's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

Loken. You knew he was going to win, even before you saw who he was going up against - he's just built that kind of a rep. As with all Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves matches, however, it's how they get there that makes it interesting. Apologies that I wasn't able to wrap up this battle for you last week while I was on vacation. Rest assured that I'd never leave our hungry spectators hanging! This week, let's look back at some of the lore-based points readers brought out about Loken versus Ley-Guardian Eregos.

Rai: Even if by some miracle Loken managed to win, due to Eregos' being faster, able to shift and most likely being more intelligent, he'd still die. Something so powerful that doesn't require five Drakes and coordination to take down the Ley-Guardian is bound to attract the attention of Malygos ...

Tridus: "Something so powerful that doesn't require five Drakes and coordination to take down the Ley-Guardian is bound to attract the attention of Malygos ..." But that's where it gets interesting!

Loken kills Eregos.
Malygos gets involved and kills Loken.
Loken, dying, summons Algalon.

I do believe Malygos now has a bit of a problem. :)

Continue reading One Boss Leaves: Loken clears Round One

One Boss Leaves: Loken clears Round One originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Your best instance run ever - Thu, 30 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST
I love instances. They're far and above my favorite part of the game -- I'm definitely a co-op PvE kind of player, and PvE instances are, to me, what's really great about MMOs: a group of players can sit down, and in an hour or a few hours, take down dragons, kill some monsters, and nab some epic loot.

And of course I've had lots of bad instance runs. But today we're not talking about good or bad -- we're talking about the best. What's the best instance run you've ever done? If "best" can be described by how much loot you get, then a recent Naxx run probably meets the criteria for me, as by the time we'd toppled Kel'thuzad as a raid, my Hunter had picked up at least four epic upgrades (and gained probably a good thousand DPS along with those). If "best" means most fun, I can think of some old UBRS runs back in the day in which every single one of us knew the instance and each other so well that we weren't so much fighting bad guys as just hanging out and telling jokes while picking up loot.

If "best" means most exciting, then I have to think back to BlizzCon a few years ago, where we got our first hands-on of Wrath of the Lich King. I went into Utgarde Keep for the first time ever with a few guys from the press room, and though we only made it to the first boss (and I don't think we even beat him), I was just so fascinated by all of the new stuff we were seeing, my first look at the Vykrul and the huge Forge in the entryway there. So "best" can mean anything -- what's your best instance run?

Breakfast Topic: Your best instance run ever originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 30 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Daily Quest: Booze and bacon - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST

We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

The Daily Quest: Booze and bacon originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard to focus on battlegrounds more - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST
Ghostcrawler has posted a little paragraph on the forums, reaffirming something we've already heard from Blizzard: that in the past, they've spent more time on Arenas to the detriment of battlegrounds, and that battlegrounds are going to be gaining a little more focus in the future. They've already started, actually, with the Isle of Conquest in 3.2, but GC says there's even more on the table, and that future plans will be revealed at BlizzCon.

He also brings up another good point, however: in terms of class balance, Arenas are a much more striking example of imbalances than battlegrounds are. Battlegrounds have all sorts of things going on, and so you don't get as good a picture of just how the different classes work with and against each other as you do in Arenas. And so, if you're a dev trying to figure out class balances, of course you'll spend more time looking at the Arena gameplay than the BGs. GC also says that the majority of issues in BGs tend to be map-based rather than class imbalances, which is really a whole other science. Not that BGs aren't relevant to how the classes work, just that there are many more variables in there than the relative vacuum chamber of Arenas.

All good points. I'm a fan of battlegrounds much more than Arenas, but I don't particularly feel that Blizzard has ignored them necessarily. The real problem, to my mind, with BGs is simply how faction imbalanced they are: it seems like on every realm in every given BG, one side always seems to have the upper hand, for whatever reason. Sometimes it's a population problem, sometimes it's a map issue. But GC is right: those problems are more pressing than class balance in the BGs.

Blizzard to focus on battlegrounds more originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Preparing for BlizzCon: Contest roundup - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza. These helpful hints are particularly suited for convention rookies. But if you are a con veteran, we'd love to hear your advice and wisdom in the comments as well.

Time is running short on the contests to win tickets to BlizzCon. If you still want to go, but don't have tickets, here are the contests that you can still enter to win:
  • Steelseries: Ends Friday, July 31. 2009.
  • Razer: Ends Monday, August 3, 2009.
  • Nvidia: Ends Saturday, August 1, 2009.
  • Alienware: Ends Friday, July 31, 2009.
  • Kingston: I can't find when this ends, but the entry form still works as of this writing.
Even if you don't have tickets, we would still would love to see you at the Anabella on Thursday, August 20th. Good luck!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Preparing for BlizzCon: Contest roundup originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A bag for Cooking - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST
Profession bags are a godsend for almost anyone leveling up a profession -- while the loss of bag space in favor of specialty slots can be a problem sometimes at the lower levels, almost all high level characters can definitely make use of at least one profession bag, to hold all of the extra ore, or gems, or leather, or whatever else you're hauling around all the time. But Natalia over on WoW LJ makes an excellent point: just where is our cooking bag? And how about a fishing bag? You might argue that only the gathering professions are meant to have bags (the Blacksmithing bag is actually a Mining bag, so even Engineers can make use of it), but that's not quite true: Engineering does have its own bags, as does Inscription. Cooking and/or Fishing, you'd think, should both have their own profession bags.

Of course, they are both secondary professions, so maybe Blizzard believes that because they're more or less optional, you should be able to carry around all of your food and spices and lures in your regular bags. But cooking especially has gotten pretty complicated lately (there are a few foods that you've got to have in your bags regularly to do the daily quests, especially Chilled Meat), and so a lot of players would definitely find a use for a dedicated bag. First Aid, probably not, but Cooking and Fishing? Definitely.

And if you want to really dream, maybe food could actually get a bonus from being kept in a special "refridgerated" bag -- nothing big, just maybe a few extra points of the bonus stat or a little longer duration when you actually take care of your food rather than just tossing it in with all of the Kobold eyeballs and oily swords and cloth that you're also carrying around. But that would be extra -- for now, just a bigger bag meant for cooking and fishing utensils would be fine, thanks.

A bag for Cooking originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW, Casually: Playing with your reading-age child - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.

Since I last wrote about playing with preschoolers, I have been having an extremely rewarding time playing Itchee with The Spawn. The benefits to both of us are even greater than I originally wrote about. I find that my Itchee time is making me appreciate all of my WoW time even more. Nurturing my child while enjoying my limited playtime is a win-win situation.

It's particularly nice to have this indoor activity to do together with the nasty heatwave we are having in the real world. And that leads me to something I want to address before we get into the guide for playing with reading-age children:

These guides are for parents who have made the educated decision to include WoW as one of the indoor activities to participate in with their children.

Continue reading WoW, Casually: Playing with your reading-age child

WoW, Casually: Playing with your reading-age child originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rage as a liability - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST

Rage is a problematic mechanic, and has been since its implementation. It can be a lot of fun, but it can also be frustrating, and it contributes to Warriors' gear dependance. Blizzard is probably working on a way to redo rage entirely, but in the mean time, I'd like to highlight this suggestion for a rage revamp from Alveredus, a commenter on a recent post of mine.

Here's a quick rundown of Alveredus's proposal:

  • Rage increases over time by itself.
  • The more rage you have, the lower your attack speed, but the higher your crit chance.
  • When your rage is at maximum, you start losing resilience.
  • Your abilities vent rage instead of costing rage - same thing really, but a different way of looking at it.

I'm not certain about the specifics of it, but I like the general idea of rage being something you want to get rid of instead of something you want to spend. It makes sense: being in combat makes you angry; when angry, you may be less accurate, more vulnerable, or generally imbalanced.

On the other hand, a system like this runs the risk of feeling like Rogue energy with a penalty. Rogues get their resource back at a constant rate and use it on abilities, but nothing bad happens to them when they cap their energy (aside from losing out on some potential DPS). The comparison could feel unfair for Warriors, who already have their share of penalties for core abilities. But rage definitely could use some work, and I'd like it to stay an interesting mechanic.

Rage as a liability originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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We've got spirit, yes we do! - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST
It's pretty routine to run across complaints in World of Warcraft communities about poor DPS showing up to PuGs. When I say poor DPS, I don't mean the unfortunate soul who just dinged 80 and is running around in greens far below their class' hit cap. You would reasonably expect someone's damage to be fairly lackluster under those circumstances even if the person concerned is a great player. By "poor DPS," I mean someone at 80 who shows up to your Naxx PuG in full epics rocking 25-man raid buffs who manages to stay alive on each boss fight with a Bloodlust/Heroism...and doesn't manage to break 4-figure DPS. I've seen it before, saw it again recently, and am fatalistic about its eventual reappearance.

Questionable gemming and enchant choices tend to abound with these players, as you'd expect, and the cry of "He gemmed for Spirit!" tends to follow them around. Fair enough; it does happen, but as someone who's been leveling a platoon of alts through a sea of /headdesk pre-60 itemization, I've wondered whether the abundance of Spirit on pre-60 gear leaves newer or inexperienced players with a false impression regarding its eventual importance in the endgame. And it's easy to see how they could arrive at that conclusion; the stat is everywhere!

Continue reading We've got spirit, yes we do!

We've got spirit, yes we do! originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Are there bad talents? - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST

Tree Bark Jacket, a resto-druid-themed blog that was new to me, has an interesting post up about whether there is such a thing as an entirely bad talent. The author's argument is that no, there is not, the reason being that even talents that are regularly dismissed are still useful sometimes; they're just situational.

For instance, Improved Tranquility, while certainly sub-par in 25-man raids, shines in heroics, and Living Seed is nice for healing tanks through chunky damage.

On a broader scope, Keeva makes the important point that you can't make all your talent decisions based on Recount or on people's advice from Elitist Jerks (etc.). Everyone's playstyle and raid makeup is different, and every raid encounter is different.

Continue reading Are there bad talents?

Are there bad talents? originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Rumpus Machine - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST


One of the mainstays at BlizzCon is the machinima contest - talented artists submit their movie ahead of the convention in hopes of winning fame and prizes. This year's BlizzCon is no different, and we're sure to see some great videos during the largest gathering of WoW players outside of Azeroth. Over the next few days let's take a look back at some of the winners and runner ups of last year's movie competition.

We'll begin with the winner in last year's comedy category, The Rumpus Machine by Oblivious Films.

The short film is about a Gnomish box that can do whatever it wants, thanks to some handy quantum manipulation. (Note: This movie and its acknowledgement by Blizzard proves WoW has a Heisenberg compensator built into the game. Be afraid. Be very afraid.) The box can summon dancing Blood Elves, teleport the group to Old Ironforge, and even make some Braaaains.

The movie runs a little long for my tastes, but I'm sure some of you are okay with that. It has a certain Adult Swim feel to it; not terribly "lol" funny, but more humor that makes you chuckle and has a few moments of intelligent absurdity.

The voice acting is good for the most part. The main Gnome character is done wonderfully, and the Dwarf fills his role. I wasn't very fond of the Human, however. He seemed bland and lacked inflection compared to the others. Regular people don't talk in a flat voice most of the time.

Of course the real positive with the voice acting comes in a special appearance by Deckard Cain of Diablo fame, voiced by the original actor. That adds a lot to the film, and the dialog and plot involving him works wonders for the movie. I can see why it was selected as the winner in the comedy category for this reasons alone.

WoW Moviewatch: The Rumpus Machine originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Guildwatch: Just don't say "priceless" - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST


We got quite a few good photoshopped victory pictures in the email after our suggestion that you send us some a few weeks ago, so you'll probably see a few of them here in the column over the next few weeks (assuming, that is, we don't get any hilarious chat logs that we need to show you). This one's from Tyranis, GM of The Arcane Council on Bloodhoof, who adds in some fun stuff to every screenshot his guild puts together. Go see more of them on their website.

More downed news, as well as drama and recruiting notices, in this week's Guildwatch, which starts below. If you have news to send in, please do: drop us a quick note (the more you can emulate the format of the news below, the better) at guildwatch@wow.com. Meanwhile, read on for this week's column.

Continue reading Guildwatch: Just don't say "priceless"

Guildwatch: Just don't say "priceless" originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Icy blue heart - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST


While questing in Coldarra, mage Sichas of Dentarg has forgotten the first rule of video games: ice monsters require fire magic to destroy them, and vice versa. And for some reason, water enemies are weak to lightning, which bears no resemblance to real life. I have yet to see flood waters be harmed by a downed power line. The people in the flood waters, on the other hand ...

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, gold seller ads with dead gnomes, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Icy blue heart originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW.com Profiles now support European characters - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST


It took quite a bit longer than we'd expected, but it's here: WoW.com Profiles now have EU support. The app, add-on, and site itself have been updated to be able to keep track of European characters once they've been added to your account on the site, and you do that just as you see above. When you search for a character, you'll be given an option between searching the US and EU Armories. Choose the appropriate region and you're good to go.

New and current users alike will probably want to get their hands on the latest version of our tracker package, which you can find in your WoW.com Profile settings page, along with your unique add-on key. If you're new to using the profiles portion of our site (as most of you in the EU are, I would assume), check out our Help page should you run into any issues. It will walk you through what profiles and the addon can do, and has solutions for most of the common problems. If you run into any problems those pages can't help you with, please let us know!

WoW.com Profiles now support European characters originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Is this too easy? - Wed, 29 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST
Recently, I decided to do something with all those Emblems of Heroism/Valor that were clogging up my currency tag, and so bought myself the heirloom shoulders and Bloodied Arcanite Reaper. I soon found myself in possession of a level 80 death knight (messing about with Frost and Blood specs, waiting for 3.2 to see if Dual Wielding becomes viable again) and thus, had a dilemma. There's only three classes that can wear the Polished Spaulders of Valor and I have two of them at 80 now. So what to do?

Rather than bank them in the hopes that they'll work in the expansion (I don't think they will, because it's not like Blizzard to put out an expansion and then let you cheat your way through it the first time) I decided I'd try another paladin. The last one was horde side, and my burning vitriolic hatred of blood elves made him very, very hard to level. I mean, they twirl around when you jump! I hate that!

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Is this too easy?

Breakfast Topic: Is this too easy? originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 29 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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