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Walt Simonson comics to be published in book form - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST
Walt Simonson's World of Warcraft comics will be published as a graphic novel by Titan Books who has obtained the rights from DC comics. The rights include publication in the UK and Ireland and is set for release on September 26. The book will be a collectible priced at £16.99 (about $33.82 USD). This volume of the book will include the first seven comics. The story follows a human who washes up on the shores of Kalimdor with no memory and is subsequently enslaved by Orc shaman Rehgar Earthfury.

The book form of the comic will become available for purchase by North America's readers on July 30 for $19.99 USD. World of Warcraft Issue #9 of the comic will go on sale for $2.99 USD on July 16. The comics are written by Walter Simonson; Art by Jon Buran and Jerome K. Moore; Covers by Samwise Didier and Ludo Lullabi.

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Bornakk doesn't outright deny the July 3rd rumor - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST

Of course, he hasn't confirmed it, either. Ever since that German CM apparently hinted at a July 3rd start date for the WoTLK Beta at the Worldwide Invitational, people have been searching for further confirmation or denial of the rumor. Bornakk, in true Blizzard style, has been staying mum, saying only that a date for the beta test has yet to be announced.

When someone expressed fear that we'd only hear about the beta at Blizzcon, Bornakk assured them that Blizzcon is not the only place to release information, but reiterated that there's no actual start date for the beta announced yet. On a later thread, when someone said that the WoTLK Beta would start this week, he linked back to that same thread, once again not outright denying it, but saying only that it had not yet been announced.

So what does this mean, exactly?

Continue reading Bornakk doesn't outright deny the July 3rd rumor

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Cutting the Karazhan timer - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 16:00:00 EST
Karazhan is getting beat into the ground nightly by almost everyone on the realms -- isn't it about time, asks Heavymetal from Sargeras, that Blizzard lowered the timer? It certainly seems like the time has almost come -- by the time the last expansion released, UBRS, which was basically the precursor to Karazhan, had no timer and was getting raided like crazy. All of the gear is going to be replaced anyway, and the attunement's been lifted -- why not let players go nuts on Medivh's old stomping grounds?

Bornakk closes the thread due to caps, but we'll play devil's advocate and try to answer for him: Badges. With Karazhan basically a knockover for even beginner guilds, the only way Blizzard has to control the flow of badges from there is to keep the instance on a timer. The Kara gear might get replaced, but some of the Badge gear has to last for a while, and while Heroics do grant Badges (they're on a timer as well), Kara hands out more of them for free than those old ladies with meat on toothpicks at the grocery store.

Still, in Wrath we're probably looking at an all new Badge system, so you'd think Blizzard might as well open the floodgates at some point. Whether it'll be before or after the next expansion, though, we have no idea.

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The one you never win - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 15:00:00 EST


Recently the guild hit Supremus again -- or, I should say, Supremus hit us. You'd think this would be a fairly easy fight to master. Supremus has two phases: the first is a lot like Gruul except with no cave-ins, knockback, or Shatter, and during the second phase, he aggros random people and tries to reach them while moving at the approximate pace of a snail. Oh, and he sprouts volcanoes under other players that you have to avoid. These two phases alternate until he's a giant pile of rubble in Black Temple's scenic courtyard.

Yep. Easy.

We can't do it.

The guild's been farming Black Temple for months and most of the usual roster is rocking at least 3 or 4 pieces of Tier 6 -- yet the vast majority of our Supremus fights end with more than half the raid taking a dirt nap. We've reached the point where even this is still usually a one-shot, but it's more than a little disturbing. How can you one-shot Illidan with 24 people still alive...and somehow fail to steamroll the giant McLootLoot?

To be fair, it's not just raids. I've seen players break out in a cold sweat over Talon King Ikiss on heroic Sethekk (which always confused me; the great secret of the fight consists of tanking him in the doorway). Others cite Grandmaster Vorpil, the event before the second boss in Blood Furnace when you don't have a Paladin tank, or Warbringer O'mrogg on heroic Shattered Halls (actually, all of Shattered Halls can pretty much bite me. I hate tanking that place). My own personal nemesis is Vexallus on heroic Magisters' Terrace. I've even taken a group with two mages and a rogue in T5/T6 here and wiped 3 times. What gives?

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IcftB Reminder: More Midsummer fun tonight - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 14:30:00 EST


Don't forget to join It came from the Blog tonight at 6PM Pacific time for some more Midsummer festivities.
  • When: Today! Wednesday, July 2nd at 6PM Pacific (7PM server time, 9PM Eastern)
  • Where: Undercity (Ruins of Lordaeron), Zangarmarsh Realm (U.S.)
  • Who: Any Horde character, any level
  • How: Just send a tell to Robiness or anyone in the guild for an invite to the guild and the raid
We will be starting in the Undercity and then touring the flames of the Eastern Kingdoms. I do have some shards for summoning, but if you can get there on your own power, please be at the flame in the Ruins of Lordaeron at the start time.

We are guaranteed to have lots of fun, dings and deaths -- but fun deaths. Mike Schramm and a few other bloggers will be there. Will you?

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Sams: Microsoft could do more for PC gaming - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 14:00:00 EST
Blizzard's COO Paul Sams spoke with Gamasutra the other day, and he called out Microsoft, of all companies, for not supporting innovation in PC gaming. He says that Microsoft's loyalties are split with their console business, and that if they put as much work into developing gaming on the PC as they did on the Xbox 360, everyone would benefit.

An interesting idea, to be sure. It's not like Blizzard necessarily needs help from Microsoft to promote and develop their games -- if anything, it's Microsoft that could probably take a lesson from Blizzard on how to release software. But it's true that console innovations like achievement points and Xbox Live social networking accounts aren't really finding a solid place in the PC gaming world, and it could be that Blizzard wants to see those types of things on the platform.

Blizzard has always had a rocky relationship with consoles anyway, and the recent announcement of a non-console Diablo 3 definitely shows they're interested in the PC (including Mac) platform only. Can't really blame them for wanting a little more love from an OS developer like Microsoft.

[via BigDownload]

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New Illidan wallpaper from Blizzard - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 13:00:00 EST


Vaneras is apparently clearing house on cool Burning Crusade artwork before we get to the next expansion -- he's posted a new wallpaper up on the Blizzard site, and it pretty much rocks. Our good friend Illy D is still hanging out with that dusty old skull, literally dripping with demonic power, while a bunch of slimy Naga stand threateningly behind him. Very nice.

The second poster in the thread wishes Illidan actually looked like this in game, and to a certain extent, he's right -- Blizzard has always made games as easy on the CPU as possible, so ingame models, while usually textured very well, aren't quite as detailed as their concept art. But the concept art (and the cinematics) is what, I think, allows these characters to have so much of a life outside of the game. Most of us have never been told that we weren't prepared by Illidan ingame, but we surely remember him telling us the same thing before the last expansion.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Scarlet Thorn - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 12:00:00 EST

For those of you that have complained about Baron Soosdon's music videos that have no plot and are merely a bunch of color filters, this may be a breath of fresh air. The Scarlet Thorn, one of Baron's entries in Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational machinima contest, centers around Lady Sylvanas. While there is no dialogue in this epic movie about beating the Scarlet Crusaders to a bloody pulp, you can expect plenty of action!

[Via #machinima on Quakenet IRC]

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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Around Azeroth: Onyxia takes in a deep breath - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 10:00:00 EST


While looking at this picture, it occurs to me that I have no memory of any of this game's dragon bosses besides close-ups of their rear legs. Ah, the joy of being a rogue. Anyway, Callandra of <Ancestors of Exodus> on Mannoroth took this picture of an angry Onyxia two years ago, while he was lying dead at tank Kilsythe's feet. This is definitely Phase 3 -- you can see the confuddled raid members running in fear in the distant background, probably directly into the whelp caves. I miss the 40-mans. You just don't get this kind of mass frustration from the BC raids. Thanks to Callandra for the pic (and the correction on the credit!)

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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets. Must go play Diablo II now ...
%Gallery-1816

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Shock and awe in the Arena - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 09:00:00 EST


In all of my many Arena matches, I've never had the pleasure of running into a multiboxer. I've never even seen them around the battlegrounds. Sure I've seen them around the environment, and they're always impressive. Aelli of Smolderthorn may well be the first to multibox four Elemental Shamans to Gladiator status in arena season three.

The four Elemental Shamans, Aelli, Aellei, Aellii, and Aellie, are joined in Team Bubbanaught by Resto Shaman Bubbajingles, controlled by another player. The Shamans are flying high on their freshly-acquired Nether Drakes. The original poster has less than humbly declared that he plans on an even better showing in season four.

Along with many words of congratulations, this thread has its fair share of negativity toward multiboxing. Multiboxers in PvP are often a source of contention. Now, I know that not everyone loves this style of play. But you've got to give credit where credit is due, and this is pretty cool. Congrats Aelli, and good luck!

Check after the break for some video footage of the team.

Continue reading Shock and awe in the Arena

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Breakfast Topic: Which game would you play? - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST


Every time a new game comes out, we have a decision to make. Do we try the new game while still playing World of Warcraft most of the time? Do we take a break from WoW to give the new game all of our attention? Or do we continue to play our favorite MMO? My guild had an attendance problem when GTA IV was released and I know a few people have given Age of Conan a good try. With Warhammer Online probably coming out in the fall, we will have to make another choice then.

Now, I think that the Wrath of the Lich King expansion will probably come out in the Winter, hopefully this year. I think that Starcraft 2 will be released approximately a year after that and my guess is that Diablo III won't come out for another 2 to 3 years, unfortunately. But what if Blizzard were to do the unthinkable and release WotLK at the same time as the sequels to Starcraft and Diablo?

For me, I think Diablo III would take up most of my time for a month or two. Happily (or not), I won't have to make that choice. What would you do?

[Thanks to Dave for the idea]

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WWI attendees to get their own pet Archangel Tyrael - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 06:35:00 EST

The identity of the free pet that Worldwide Invitational Paris attendees received with a code in their goodie bag has been a closely guarded secret, with the identity not known even at the WWI itself. Yesterday, Bornakk broke the silence on the pet and announced that after patch 2.4.3 goes live, WWI attendees will be able to turn in their pet codes for their own miniature version of Diablo's Archangel Tyrael!

Tyrael, as you may remember, is an angel that assists the Horadrim -- and later the heroes of Diablo 2 -- in fighting back the Prime Evils as they attempt to assault and take over the world of Sanctuary. He is one of the few angels who will directly assist humanity in fighting Hell, even when he is specifically forbidden from interfering by Heaven itself. He eventually destroys the Worldstone after Baal corrupts it at the end of the Lord of Destruction expansion.

So far, his fate after that has not been told, although it seems practically a given that he will appear in Diablo 3 in some capacity, as the official Diablo 3 site features his visage prominently.

Continue reading WWI attendees to get their own pet Archangel Tyrael

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Forum post of the day: Freakin' frogs - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 03:15:00 EST

Ftoomsh of Aman'Thul is hopping mad that Shamans will be getting Hex in Wrath of the Lich King. Green with envy, she feels that Mages are already being rendered obsolete in PvE. Polymorph as a unique ability should not be added to a pool of skill for more classes to draw from. The original poster jumped to the conclusion that giving this ability to Shamans make Mages completely useless.

Baah, I say. Hex is similar to Polymorph, but is definitely not the same spell. You might even say it doesn't go the whole nine yards. Several of the responding post reminded Ftoomsh that the Hex ability in its current form only lasts ten seconds. On top of that it set to a one-minute cool down while Polymorph has no cooldown but diminishing returns. The frogged character will be in control of their movement, but ill not be able to cast with the debuff. I'd like to add that Hex does appear to lack the healing mechanic of polymorph.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Freakin' frogs

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Guildwatch: The Robin Hood of Gurubashi - Wed, 02 Jul 2008 03:00:00 EST


Now that's a good looking website. There aren't many around, and while, sure, you don't really need a great looking website as a guild (it's probably better to actually be downing bosses ingame than building resources outside of it), a good-looking website doesn't hurt when getting your guildies excited about being a part of the group.

Lots more guilds and websites (including the drama, downing and recruiting news you're here for) in this week's GW, which starts right after the jump. Don't forget to send us your tips at wowguildwatch@gmail.com -- whether it's your guild or someone else's, we want to hear about it here!

Continue reading Guildwatch: The Robin Hood of Gurubashi

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Rumor: Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition box - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 23:55:00 EST
Here's some good Wrath of the Lich King rumor-juice for you tonight. Pictured to the right is what has shown up on the internet as a Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition box. I for one think it looks real. It was posted on the Paladin Schmaladin blog two months ago, although reader Allen just tipped us to it this evening.

The poster over there notes that the box comes from her friend Gene, who supposedly works at a printing facility. Gene couldn't get one out of the printing factory, so instead he snapped an image of the box with his cellphone.

Through Paladin Schmaladin, we're also told that the printing press had the WotLK box orders pushed back four months. This could be an indication that Lich King will be coming out later than expected, although since Blizzard hasn't really announced a release date, we'd probably never know the difference.

Nonetheless, enjoy your nightly WotLK rumor. It looks to be a good one.

Click the image for a larger high-res version.

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The Arena is about to get diseased - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 20:00:00 EST
As we're already starting to see, our good friends the Death Knights juggle some abilities centered around an as-of-yet unrepresented PC damage type: Disease. There is a variety of plagues and diseases which will obviously have direct application in the arena. I wonder if, as PvP-guru Zach put it, Death Knights might be the rock to the Druid's scissors.

This isn't the first time we've seen Blizzard willing to put a strong counter to Resto Druids in the hands of a single class. (Arguments about Hunters/Druids being the strong counter to Warrior/Druids are kind of aside here - both comps still have Druids.) You don't see how this new damage type is the Druid counter? It's pretty simple -- Druids don't have a cleanse that works against Disease.

If Death Knights become a favored arena class, then the presence of Disease in the Arena could help provide solid reason to go Paladin or Priest over Druid. Of course, that assumes the disease effects are significant enough to matter. And cleansing all that Disease is still going to be a pain even for our Paladins: they can only cleanse one at a time, and they'd blow through quite a few global cooldowns trying to clear their partners.

I don't know if this dynamic was intentional, but I would find it hard to believe that Blizzard's ignorant of it. They tend to have an idea about what's going on. We don't know what new gear will be available to combat diseases (Resistance? Resilience?), and it's still way early to be hedging bets -- but introducing the Death Knight and their diseases should certainly mix things up.

Edit: I've not forgotten about Shamans, but I was mostly focused on Druids in this article. My apologies to any Shaman who issued a rightful reminder for the call out.

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Reader WoWspace of the Week: Absoli - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 19:00:00 EST


For as many different World of Warcraft players as there are out there, there are equally as many different WoWspaces for people to game in. Each week, we'll bring you a WoWspace sent in by one of our readers and let them tell you all about it. Would you like to share your own personal space? Just drop some pictures and your description to us here at readerwowspace AT gmail.com! This week, we visit the home of Absoli, who has a dark but interesting WoWspace -- and really needs a better camera.

I have several toons, but really now my main is my lvl 70 priest on Duskwood. I spent several years collecting bits and pieces for my setup and thought I'd share it with you all.

Continue reading Reader WoWspace of the Week: Absoli

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"We're going to need a montage." - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST


I hate arena.

I'm pretty sure I realized I wasn't going to like it right around the time in Season 2 when I hit a nasty Priest/Warlock combo. They outgeared my own little team massively and knew it. Six of our ten games that week were versus this charming pair, and they reached a point somewhere around the fourth game where they'd kill my partner, Mind Control me, heal me to full, and then Fear me around endlessly while reducing my health inch by agonizing inch. A lot of PvP has the potential be extremely frustrating (she said, eyeing another Arathi Basin match with 4 Horde versus 15 Alliance), but that night was one of the few that has left me wondering whether bursting into tears or just going AFK for a sandwich while they amused themselves were the better option.

So you might say that arena and I have had an uneasy relationship. I need arena for some PvE gear and to get people off my back about doing arena (it's a vicious cycle). Arena quite patently does not need me. And yet -- it remains the last great challenge before Wrath hits. It is the part of the game that I have yet to conquer, or even do anything other than suck horribly at. I'm a Druid, right right? Isn't there some sort of vague, hazy strategy involving HoT's and Travel Form and possibly Cyclone that makes us never, ever die? Some crap like that. And I owe it to the rest of my class to put a badly-played Druid back in arena to see if we can convince people to stop screaming for nerfs.

So. I'm going to commission someone to write some compelling montage music for me, I'm going to BG every day for Season 2 gear, and I'm going to find me a partner with a (um) generous approach to what constitutes "advancement." There's a lot of talk around the forums about the gear gap being too horrible to overcome and the ratings requirements being a barrier to newbie entry. I'll play your game, you rogues. Let's see whether a total scrub still stands a chance.

Ratings Watch: 1500

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WWI '08 notes from WoW Insider's chat with Xfire - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST
Our very own Mark "Turpster" Turpin and Jennie Lees were invited to sit down with Xfire users and chat about their thoughts from the Worldwide Invitational. You can read the entire transcript, but we've encapsulated most of the goodies for you in this post.

Mounts and battlegrounds

Answering a question about water mounts, Jennie said that they don't seem to be in the works. Still, you can get your H2O kicks with the non-player-controllable boats in Lake Wintergrasp. Another questioner asked whether the flying combat mounts will take damage. Some of these combat mounts will have shielding to protect the player from damage, but the mount will take damage instead.

Killing Arthas

Consensus in the chat was that there is a lot of excitement around the idea of being able to kill Arthas, the Lich King, even if it takes up the same progression as Kil'Jaeden currently does in TBC. The hope is that Frostmourne will drop, but the consequences of getting the sword are not yet known. Will it corrupt the player and take away stats? Will players become the new Lich King if they pick it up? We'll have to wait and see.

That's just one of the questions awaiting an answer for us in the post-Wrath world. Another came from a chat question about whether there would be any future for the Warcraft franchise after Arthas is dead. From what our bloggers have heard, there's no standing still for the franchise. Turpster says, "I think a favourite King of mine might be making a return to a Stormy City!"

Continue reading WWI '08 notes from WoW Insider's chat with Xfire

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WoW Insider Show, Episode 44: Live from Paris (kind of) - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 16:00:00 EST
Excellent podcast this week, if I do say so myself. Last Saturday, right smack dab in the middle of the Worldwide Invitational, I took to the virtual airwaves with Duncor of WoW Radio, and Matthew Rossi and John "BigBearButt" Patricelli of WoW Insider, and we chatted about all of the news coming out of the Worldwide Invitational. On this show, which is now live on WoW Radio, you can hear us talk about:

  • What Turpster is up to -- we talked live with him directly from Paris about what he thought of the convention and what he'd seen out there.
  • The announcement of Diablo 3, and what is isn't (an MMO or a console game)
  • All the class changes that we saw on Saturday, including Warriors' Titan's Grip, Shamans' Hex, and Warlocks' Demonform, and what they meant for each class.
  • And finally, what Blizzard meant exactly by that little talent trees comment they threw in on one of the panels.
It's a rip-roaring show, and no matter what you love to do in the World of Warcraft, Matthew, John and Duncor definitely hit on a topic that will interest you. Definitely give it a listen, and don't forget to subscribe in iTunes if you want to get the podcast sent to you automatically every week.

Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to hit on any email because of all the amazing WWI news, but that's OK, because we'll just talk about twice as much of it next week. If you want to ask a question or have a comment for us, drop us a note at theshow@wowinsider.com, and you might even hear it on next week's show. We do this every Saturday at 3:30pm over on WoW Radio, so tune in next week to hear more commentary and insight about all the news from the last week of WoW.

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