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Forum post of the day: Thank you - Fri, 02 May 2008 20:00:00 EST

It seems like far too often we take the contributions of our fellow players for granted. Whether that happens when moments are tense or we forget that the other four people in our instance (or 24 people in our raid) are real folks, Bellwether of Dark iron set out to change that on the official forums today. She posted a well considered list of the roles that everyone should be thanked for in the game, just for doing their jobs. Here are some of her comments:

To Warriors:

  • Thank you for standing in front of me and letting things hit you.
  • Thank you for shouldering the massive repair bills that come with your job.
  • Thank you for preventing my death.

To Shamans:

  • Thank you for every single totem.
  • Thank you for Brain Heals.
  • Thank you for Ankh and saving us from having to run back

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Thank you

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Addon Spotlight: DrDamage - Fri, 02 May 2008 19:30:00 EST

You all know a World of Warcraft number cruncher. You may, in fact, be that person, the one who can spout of stats about your class or game mechanics. Although, in the beginning, I rolled my eyes at people who pondered the math of the game, today finds me holding a deep respect for you number junkies. You've all helped many of us become uncrushable, uncrittable and even understand how +spell damage and +healing work.

If you don't have someone around to crunch numbers, try recruiting DrDamage. Some World of Warcraft stats-fiends may not like this addon, as there are people who disagree with the numbers it produces. I would have to say that its done well for me thus far. (I rarely have the inclination to work the numbers myself.)

Enough rambling, let's talk about what DrDamage does. This addon does all of your in-game theorycrafting for you. It will work the actual values for your damage, +spell damage and +healing based on your gear and talents. It will display the average damage or healing done by a spell on the actionbar.

Come on back and we'll look at little more closely at what DrDamage does.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: DrDamage

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Phat Loot Phriday: Rifle of the Stoic Guardian - Fri, 02 May 2008 19:00:00 EST


A gun... for tanks. But that speed makes things a little weird. Maybe some of the theorycrafters in the crowd can come up with some good reasons for that one (or just debate my own) in the comments.

Name: Rifle of the Stoic Guardian (Wowhead, Thottbot, Goblin's Workshop)
Type: Epic Gun
Damage/Speed: 120-224 / 1.90 (90.5 DPS, which is the highest on a gun, save for the Arena PvP guns in S3 and S4 -- except most of it comes from that low speed, see below)
Abilities:
  • +31 Stamina, which might make you think this is a PvP weapon, except for:
  • Equip: Increases your dodge rating by 20. Which is a weird little stat -- with the stamina added on to it, that means that this gun (named after a "Stoic Guardian") is basically meant as a Tank pulling gun -- it'll let you shoot bullets and give you about the bonus of a minor trinket to dodge and Stam.
  • But if that's true, what's up with that speed? You might think that a high DPS would mean this gun is good for a Hunter, but that's not quite true across the board -- especially for BM Hunters (a.k.a. Hunters that rely on their talents and abilities to do damage), a bullet pouch will often make this gun too fast to sneak special shots in, which will actually lower the DPS you can do.
  • But on the other hand, from what I understand, weapon speed doesn't actually affect what happens when you first fire the gun. So the idea here may be that a Warrior, pulling, should have a fast enough gun to get a few shots off during the pull, in order to build up more threat. Why else would Blizzard give tanks such a fast gun?
How to Get It: Drops from our old friend Teron Gorefiend, who we last killed for the Soul Cleaver. He's in the Black Temple, there's a Know Your Lore about him, yadda yadda yadda, you know the drill by now. Drop rate on this is about 15%, but the good news is that if you need this (as in, you're a tank who often pulls at the late endgame), you'll probably be able to get it.

You might have to fend a few confused Hunters off for it, though. But the dodge rating and the Stamina (not to mention, as we said, the title), should make it pretty clear that this weapon is for a "Stoic Guardian," not a "Pet-loving Peashooter."

Getting Rid of It: Sells for 10g 79s 6c. Will disenchant into a Void Crystal.

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Legendary bow Thori'dal, the Star's Fury "nerfed" on live servers - Fri, 02 May 2008 18:00:00 EST


World of Raids has discovered something that might give Hunters a momentary attack of Angina: Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury has been found in the current game files, and while it still looks pretty tasty, it's also look weaker than the last known stats from the Pre-PTR leak. Namely, it's lost about 10 base DPS, having dropped from 148.7 DPS to 138.8 DPS.

Now, it's hard to call this a "nerf," perse, since the bow hasn't actually appeared on any live or test server yet as an actual item. It's possible that the pre-PTR leak was a hoax (not likely though, since it got the other stats spot on), or that Blizzard's internal testing made them think they needed to tone back the damage a bit. It's a bit of a blow to think what might have been with the old damage anyway, of course.

That said, Kil'jaedan isn't even killable yet on live realms, so the stats could change again before it drops. Even if they don't, it's still an awesome bow that will make the Black Bow of the Betrayer look like a peashooter for damage, and comes with the added bonus of a free bag slot, so I'm sure there will be plenty of Hunters aiming for it, and good luck to them. My Hunter is still going to be holding out for a Legendary Gun out of Thor Modan.

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When you are the weakest link - Fri, 02 May 2008 17:00:00 EST


Our team tanked 76 points tonight. Despite winning five straight Arena games worth about 3 rating points each, we ran into a team that was pretty well-geared but were clearly playing below par. Unfortunately, our leader disconnected midway through the match, and even though we were outplaying the opposing team, the loss of our primary DPS and tunnel vision (he plays a Rogue) was enough for the opposing team to eventually burn us down for a 27-point loss. Just like that, all our previous wins were nullified and we found ourselves lower than when we started. Familiar with the opposing team's make-up, we counter-comped and proceeded to beat them thrice in a row until the fourth game where, in the middle of the battle, everyone started running in place on my screen and nothing was happening. It was my turn to get disconnected.

I restarted my router and modem, waited a minute, and logged on to find we'd dropped another 25 points. Eager to recoup our losses against a team we were certain we could beat, we queued again. Not three minutes into the queue, my Vent went silent and I feared the worst. After making certain I had disconnected, I sent an SMS to our leader to tell him what had happened, went through the motions of connecting again and when I finally got on, I found that our team had tanked a total of 76 insane points. And it was largely my fault.

Continue reading When you are the weakest link

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Two upcoming RP events, on Steamwheedle and EU Moonglade - Fri, 02 May 2008 16:30:00 EST
As I said the other day, we're always happy to give some more notice to various RP events happening around the realms, and here are two (one on the US and one on EU) coming up in the next week or so.

First up, there's going to be a Horde hoedown (they're not really calling it that, I just thought "Horde hoedown" was a good name) on May 10th at 8pm server over on Steamwheedle Cartel. There'll be a concert with skits and performances (including prizes for the best one), a best dressed contest, and storytelling around a bonfire. Seems fun -- if you want to perform, they're asking you to post on the board, although if you just want to watch, you can probably just show up.

And over on EU Moonglade, they're holding a belated May Day event on May 11th. That one starts at 8:30pm server, and they're asking you to come dressed in your best and brightest Spring clothes. It seems a little more formal than the bonfire, but there's no reason you can't sneak a good Spring Ale in.

As always, if you've got events going on that you want people to know about, drop us a tip and we'll let people know about it.

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WoW Insider arena action tonight! - Fri, 02 May 2008 16:00:00 EST
Grab your sword and fight us Horde!

The WoW Insider Arena Team will be returning to action tonight at 10 p.m. CDT until 12:00 a.m. (Why at this time? As I've been saying in my previous posts, we have to wait until Battlestar Galactica is over!) We'll be on Arena Tournament Server 1 facing off against the best that Azeroth has to offer. We're going to win a couple and lose a couple matches, and the best part of that will be if they're against you!

You can read about our past trials and tribulations, and see how we're all improving our arena game. It has definitely been an interesting time learning to work together and discovering each other's play styles. Even though we haven't had the year or so of time to become comfortable with each other in group play, we're doing okay.

So if you're not up to much tonight, hop on over and queue up for a 3v3 match. You might just get to face off against us!

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WoW China gets all-access pass in Quel'danas - Fri, 02 May 2008 15:30:00 EST


According to our tipster Gwwfps of the blog Potato Skin, World of Warcraft distributor The9 has manually set all the quests in the Isle of Quel'danas to be fully completed -- that is, all quests on the Isle are now open to all players as though Phase 4 had been opened. With the help of Babelfish, as far as I can make it out, this decision was arrived at to "make up several weeks the partial servers to appear returns to the files question for generally to play the loss which the family brings". If my Engrish serves me right, this means that the move was a drastic resolution to having massive downtime for numerous servers which resulted in realms-wide progression rollbacks. Some servers reportedly had their Isle of Quel'danas progress rolled back several times over the course of one day.

Gwwfps explains it better in his blog, noting that Patch 2.4 resulted in poor server performance across the board. Apparently, WoW China has been suffering from performance issues for quite some time and some have suggested that the servers upon which the game runs aren't quite up to par with Blizzard's standards. Others argue -- with good reason -- that the forced unlocking of the phases makes the game "less immersive." The sweeping measure also demonstrates an apparent lack of industriousness on the part of The9, who in theory could simply roll back individual servers to specific progress levels. On the other hand, players can probably get all ecstatic about getting their hands on epic gems so early (blast my slacker server!).

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Activision Blizzard ditches E3 and the ESA - Fri, 02 May 2008 15:00:00 EST
Just in case you missed it when the news came out a few days ago, Activision Blizzard has apparently announced that they're not showing up at E3 this year. And hot on the heels of that information came the news that both Activision and Vivendi have pulled out of the ESA, an organization that acts as the main trade association for the videogame industry.

What does this mean for us as Blizzard fans? Not much -- not only is Blizzard already running their own E3-like conventions (Blizzcon and WWI), but Activision Blizzard is apparently planning to hold a press conference on the first night of the show anyway. Blizzard's properties have enough gusto on their own to get press with or without inclusion in a big event like E3, and it's Activision's other properties that might have to worry about exposure.

As for the ESA news, who knows -- Activision Blizzard's pullout might mean a big shakeup in the way the videogame industry as a whole is represented, or (if no other companies choose to leave the ESA) it may not mean much at all. Time will tell.

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[1.Local]: The week in reader perspectives - Fri, 02 May 2008 14:00:00 EST
[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Our readers are pretty cool. Oh sure, WoW Insider gets a fair share of senseless rants, immature finger-pointing and off-topic flaming in the comments area. But if you've never taken the time to dip into the reader comments, you might find you're missing something pretty special. It's not the Barrens in here. You'll discover a growing community of readers that looks forward to spending their day together, chatting and debating the latest issues in the World of Warcraft. Sometimes it's silly, sometimes it's serious, sometimes it's controversial - but I have to hand it to you, readers, it's always engaging.

This week, readers pulled up a chair to a number of engaging conversations, from writing their own WoW-ku to analyzing their reactions to PvP Season 4 gear changes or to "subliminal" images in machinima. In the shadow of the coming expansion, many readers seem to be focused on rediscovering the joy of playing for the sake of playing - avoiding slogging through raiding or dailies as a dull, joyless chore. [1.Local] surveys a slice of all of it. As always, be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

Continue reading [1.Local]: The week in reader perspectives

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Insider Trader: Cooking, the final stretch - Fri, 02 May 2008 13:00:00 EST


Cooking is a secondary tradeskill that most players should strongly consider learning, and maximizing. The buffs that many of the foods award can be quite helpful, and aside from damage buffs, there are also healing buffs, tank buffs, and food for hunter and warlock pets, among other yummy treats. If you rely on purchasing the foods from the auction house, you'll find your consumables bill soaring upward.

You can also make a profit from cooking, especially regarding pet food. Because many players are stubborn and won't learn any of the secondary skills, you can sell your dishes for a hefty price.

Still, if you don't fall madly in love with cooking, searching high and low for the latest recipe and farming to your favorite tunes, then you might have some trouble and confusion when trying to reach 375. This week, Insider Trader will take an in-depth look at the easiest path to cooking 375, avoiding fishing altogether. Although they go hand-in-hand, they can be done separately, and many cooks do not want to become fishermen.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Cooking, the final stretch

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WoW Moviewatch: An Oxhorn Brand Medley - Fri, 02 May 2008 12:00:00 EST

In the words of the immortal Mort, "LOLOMGWTGDAIRYQUEEN LOLOMGBBTHEQ." What exactly does that mean? We're still trying to figure that out, but in the meantime, Oxhorn has made An Oxhorn Brand Medley for us to watch! As always, you can find the script, music, and other tidbits about the movie on his website.

Oxhorn combined lyrics and quotes from his previous machinima projects in a song orchestrated by Nathan Allen Pinard. My future husband, Hat, even makes an appearance! Can you spot all the references?

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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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: PuGgit! - Fri, 02 May 2008 11:00:00 EST


Last week, WoW Insider saw a post by some guy about why tanks don't PuG.

This week, I'm writing a post exhorting you warriors out there to PuG. Run pick up groups as tanks, DPS, hey, if people really want you to run around trying to keep them up with bandages then go nuts. Why am I telling you this? Well, it fits into my current crazy plan to stave off WoW burnout. Playing a warrior can be a lot of fun, but it takes a certain mindset to do it and frankly, if all you're doing is tanking raids and grinding on quests, you're in danger of falling into a rut. You don't even have to be tanking raids for this to happen... soloing your warrior in Dustwallow Marsh can be just as much an example of staying in your comfort zone. Do you make up excuses why you can't run Zul'Farrak just to grind away on quests in the deserts of Tanaris instead? Does the very idea of running Uldaman make you break out in a cold sweat? Then you should run Uldaman.

Like most classes in WoW, warriors at say level 12 running Ragefire Chasm or level 15 braving Deadmines are hardly the same as a level 70 warrior running Sunwell Plateau, but the path to the latter leads right through the former. You can read the forums, talk to other warriors, listen to long winded self appointed expert bloggers, or cruise the theorycrafting sites every waking moment, but as helpful as all these things can be you can learn more from doing than from all of them combined, if you pay attention and are willing to accept that you will screw up, groups will wipe, blame will be cast your way and sometimes it actually was your fault. If you can endure this and learn from it, you'll become a better tank or DPS. In fact, I'll go so far as to say that's why these various instances are there. BFD isn't just there to get you Strike of the Hydra, it's there so you can learn how things like aggro management, crowd control, and tanking actually work.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: PuGgit!

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Around Azeroth: The bloodening (plus a contest!) - Fri, 02 May 2008 10:00:00 EST

Don't kids grow up so fast these days? Especially when you feed them one of Papa Hummel's Old Fashioned Pet Biscuits. Shikozu of <Fallen Ghosts> on Altar of Storms snapped this photo of her blood elf orphan right before Child Protective Services took her in for questioning.

Now onto the contest. As you may have heard, the latest entry in a popular series of video games came out this week, and there was much rejoicing. Except from me. Because while I love these games, I am terrible at them, and end up giving up after about five missions and seeing how many times I can drive cars over pedestrians or attack shopkeepers with katanas before the cops catch me. If only there was a way to have the mayhem of GTA with the simplicity of WoW ...

... which leads into a new screenshot idea: Grand Theft Azeroth! Glitchstravaganza was such a success, I decided to try another user-submission gambit. But this time, I'd like to see you doing evil things in the fashion of the GTA series. Jacking mounts. "Mugging" guildmates. Slaughtering innocent critters. Crashing zeppelins. Running your orphan through hot lava. Whatever your evil heart desires.

Send your Grand Theft Azeroth screenshots, with a one-paragraph-or-less explanation, to aroundazeroth@gmail.com by noon ET on Wednesday, May 7. The five best entries will go up for a vote on Thursday, with the winner to be announced the following Monday. The winner will be held up for universal acclaim and will receive a spot of honor in the AA gallery. Remember to include your name, guild and server if you want them included. We prefer full screenshots without the UI. And please, no more sunsets ... unless they're over a bloody corpse! Muahahaha!

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Playtime credit for Bloodlust realms - Fri, 02 May 2008 09:00:00 EST
Playtime credits: they're not just for European realms anymore! Blizzard must have been reading the comment thread for my post on the Bloodlust battlegroup's problems yesterday because, clearly in direct response to the demands of commenters Todd and oniwah, they are issuing a one-day credit to the accounts of anyone with characters on the affected realms.

Once more, those realms are: 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. So if you've got a character on one of those servers, perhaps $0.50 worth of playtime will help make up for your troubles. Did they ever fix the latency/disconnect issues, by the way?

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Breakfast Topic: Favorite Boss quotes - Fri, 02 May 2008 08:00:00 EST

Many times we find ourselves too busy as rush through dungeons and raids to truly appreciate the creativity that goes into them. I get a kick out of the amusing, over dramatic, and downright egotistical things that bosses say when facing their demise. Balthazaar of Etrigg began a thread in the official forums on favorite boss quotes.

The original poster mentioned that simply the word, "Die," as articulated by Gruul [in Gruul's Lair] as being a chilling statement. Nobor of Kel'Thuzad added "Anything Prince Malchezaar [in Karazhan] says. Because he's got the smoothest, sexiest voice in the game." There were several other notables.

Ok, so the last one takes a little artistic license. My favorite is Keli'dan the Breaker of Blood Furnace when he says, "Closer! Come closer... and burn!" What's your favorite boss quote?

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Favorite Boss quotes

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Can WoW be beaten? - Thu, 01 May 2008 20:30:00 EST
World of Warcraft is doing terrific lately, but if you believe the hype, there's trouble on the horizon, and it's coming in the form of two big MMOs: Age of Conan and Warhammer Online. Greg Howson of Britain's Guardian newspaper has a column online in which he examines WoW's grip on MMO gamers and the two big games it'll face this year.

We'll leave the cross-MMO predictions to our great sister site Massively, but for their part, Blizzard says they're looking forward to a little competition in the MMO pool. Howson has J. Allen Brack, WoW's lead producer, saying that they're looking forward to playing the new games as well. And it's true -- real competition in this space might actually be a welcome thing to fans of all MMO games. Blizzard is working hard now, but they might actually be working harder if they had a competitor breathing down their necks.

Unfortunately for those who want to see that happen, it's going to be super hard for anyone to get near Blizzard's neck, much less near their game. As Lord of the Rings Online producer Ed Relf says to Howson, WoW is pretty much the iPod of the MMO space. It could just be that what Blizzard has done here -- bring an MMO to the forefront of gaming culture for an extended period of time -- is a deed that just can't be replicated, no matter how much money you put into making a game.

[Via Worldofwar.net]

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Blood Sport: RMP Rampage - Thu, 01 May 2008 20:00:00 EST

PvP in its purest form is a beautiful thing. Amanda Dean, always obsessed with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat brings you news you can use in the Arena. When last seen, former Blood Sport columnist V'Ming Chew was seen being chased by an angry pack of Gnome Warlocks in the farthest reaches of Outland.

In 3v3 matches, Rogue, Mage, Priest (RMP) teams have proven to be the ones to beat. Six of the top twenty Arena teams on live servers sport this composition. This team combines outstanding crowd control with abilities to survive until the end of combat. The team is not unbeatable, if caught without cooldowns available, this low-armor team falls prey to burst damage, especially if the Priest is dead or otherwise occupied.

The Priest's primary function in the group is dispelling both offensive and defensive abilities. It may also Mana Burn if there is no need for healing or dispelling. In practice, since the priest is often the first target, it spends a lot of time and mana staying alive with the Rogue and Mage work their magic (and stab things). The Priest is often the primary target in the composition because they are usually the only ones visible at the start of the fight and are the lone healer partnered with two pure DPSers. Pain Suppression is your friend and my enemy.

Continue reading Blood Sport: RMP Rampage

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There is still no Wrath beta - Thu, 01 May 2008 19:00:00 EST


I would hope that most of you have learned this lesson by now, but for those who came in late: there is currently no Wrath of the Lich King beta test going on. We've been getting a steady stream of tips about various scam sites, or questions along the lines of "is this invite I just got real?" No, that beta invite you got from "bl1zzard@yahoo.co.uk" is not real. Wrath is in alpha, company-internally, maybe. Trust me, I want in at least as bad as you do, but any invite you get to a Wrath beta right now, unless you work at Blizzard, is fake.

When the beta does start (as it surely will eventually), and if you're lucky enough to get a real invite, it will point to a site at blizzard.com, worldofwarcraft.com, or (for our European chums) wow-europe.com. It will not, for instance, point to therealblizzard.net. The scammers have gotten pretty good at building convincing-looking sites (as pictured), but check the URL and don't be fooled. Do not enter your WoW account name and/or password anywhere other than the log-in screen of the game, blizzard.com, worldofwarcraft.com, or wow-europe.com. Oh, and use Firefox.

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Bitfilm Festival nominees announced - Thu, 01 May 2008 18:30:00 EST
Bitfilm, a festival that takes place in Hamburg, Germany, announced the shortlist today for their sixth annual event. Among the nominees are a whopping three from World of Warcraft. Despite WoW machinima only being a formidable contender in the last two years, Olibith took home the top prize last year with I'm Only Sleeping!

The WoW nominees for 2008 are:

From today until July 1st, you can sign up for an account and vote on your favorite machinima. The top prize takes home 1500 Euros and an award plaque with a suggestive looking female robot on it! However, voters also have a chance to win prizes based on active rating.

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