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

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So much for Chaos and other Warlock stories in build 9014 - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:05:00 EST
You might have heard that Chaos Bolt now deals Fire damage instead of the nebulous "Chaos" damage, which was actually an amalgamation of all schools of magic. On one hand, this is good news because getting Kicked or Counterspelled while casting it won't lock Warlocks out of every spell. On the other hand, this means Fire immunities will stop it cold. This makes the spell easier to implement or work with, and further enforces the use of Fire spells for Destruction. It's not even a Shadow and Fire version of Frostfire Bolt. It's just... a bolt Fire that looks like Alien larvae.

Now, the coolest thing about Chaos Bolt was how it conceptually penetrated through immunities. Ghostcrawler explained that making immunities have vulnerabilities would only create a vicious cycle. Now, the spell only goes through absorption effects -- which is fine, really, but makes Chaos Bolt merely another direct damage Fire spell. Is it a great 51-point talent? I don't know. It deals pretty good damage, I'll give it that. But I'm not sure it's worth 51 points.

Curse of Doom can now only produce Doomguards from targets that yield experience or honor, which was a necessary change considering it's now a 100% chance if CoD delivers the killing blow. It still can't be cast on players, though, which is a bummer. Haunt was retuned to heal for 100% of the damage it deals, which isn't so bad considering the 200% I raved about last time was bugged to hell, anyway. Oh, and Everlasting Affliction affects Haunt instead of Shadow Bolt, which is excellent because it relaxes Affliction's already complex rotation.

Continue reading So much for Chaos and other Warlock stories in build 9014

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Jay Mohr and Patton Oswalt to headline BlizzCon - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST
WoW Insider has learned that funny men Jay Mohr and Patton Oswalt will be performing various shticks at BlizzCon this year. Oswalt is a new face this year at BlizzCon, while Mohr has participated in the event before.

Both comedians will be part of the many activities and events going on at this year's sold out convention, to be held next week in Anaheim, C.A. Blizzard has posted a new page with various activities that will be going on at the con that you can check out for more information. An exact schedule of panels and other events has yet to be released.

Also updated on the official Blizzard site is a handy BlizzCon Survival Guide. Perhaps the most important advice given in the guide is to get the BlizzCon badges early. According to the guide, the badges can pick them up as early as Thursday between 4 and 10 p.m.

For those that were unable to get tickets, the entire convention will be broadcast live on DirecTV. WoW Insider and the Joystiq network will be out at BlizzCon this year in force, covering everything that happens. We hope to see you there!

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38 Studios buys WoW newsletter - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST
Here's a strange little story -- 38 Studios is the MMO/entertainment company owned by baseball player Curt Schilling (who is himself a very big WoW fan). They're working on a secret project codenamed Copernicus (which our sister site Massively has been covering closely), but apparently they have other interests as well -- they've picked up a company called Mentor Media, whose main product is the Azeroth Advisor, a custom newsletter about World of Warcraft.

I don't know if we've ever mentioned Azeroth Advisor on the site before -- they claim to send you a custom newsletter (for a fee) built around your own personal character, but most of the information and guides you can actually get from them are pretty much equivalent to what you'd find here on WoW Insider (or less helpful, if we may say so ourselves). Still, for casual players who just can't get enough information (and who don't want to browse our WoW insider Directory to find guides for your specific class), it might give you something else to read.

But what's strangest about this is why 38 Studios, a company working on its own MMO, has chosen to pick up a company that produces an unofficial newsletter about World of Warcraft. It's like Bioware buying World of Matticus (not that Matt is for sale or anything like that). Maybe they eventually have plans to have Mentor Media start producing content about Copernicus, or maybe Curt Schilling just found the guides really helpful and figured he'd like to own the company that made them. Stay tuned for a possible interview with 38 Studios to see if we can figure out the reasons behind the purchase.

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World of Warcrafts: Crimson Serpent - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 18:30:00 EST
Every Thursday, Shelbi Roach of The Bronze Kettle guides you in creating WoW-inspired crafts using real world mats with World of WarCrafts.

Behold the Crimson Serpent Figurine. This real world trinket probably won't give you any additional stamina or intellect, and the increase to magic power is debatable. But it is guaranteed never to go limp in your time of need and there's no pesky 2 minute cool-down. Just don't whip it out in an inappropriate setting like work or school.

Here is what you will need:

Click on the images below to view a gallery of step-by-step instructions.

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Bornakk confirms raid nerf - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST
Blue poster Bornakk has clarified what many people were noticing yesterday: all Burning Crusade raiding mobs have had their health reduced (approximately 30 percent according to data collected). He also goes on to say that the mobs will be doing less physical damage, although the spell damage will remain the same.

As far my close and personal friend Illidan goes, he will no longer be casting Shear. While I understand the need for this, as a Warrior can no longer spam Shield Block come patch 3.0.2, I will miss this particular mechanic in that it truly provided a test of skill above the standard tank and spank mechanic.

The HP nerf to all of the raid bosses isn't sitting too well with me either. It makes me sigh in frustration at the weeks my guild spent getting the last 25% of Brut down to a science. Had this nerf been in place three months ago, we would have killed him on the second night of attempts.

But that is the life of these games, onward and upward towards Wrath of the Lich King!

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Reminder: Declare your loyalty to enter to win a T-shirt from SwagDog! - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST
Have you declared your faction yet? SwagDog.com and WoW Insider are teaming up to give away a trio of their custom t-shirts -- to enter, you've just got to leave a comment on our post from earlier this week (not this post -- leaving a comment on this post gets you nothing but a grimy sense of self-satisfaction), and make sure you declare your loyalty to the Alliance or Horde.

Why? Because we're giving away three custom-designed t-shirts in total -- one to a random Ally, one to a random Hordie, and a third to a random commenter of the faction with the most supporters. If more Alliance comment, they'll get the third t-shirt, or if more people shout that they're "For the Horde," then an Orc, Troll, Forsaken, Tauren, or Blood Elf will get the extra freebie. We haven't tallied all of the comments yet, but I believe (this is an unofficial estimate) that the Horde currently have a slight advantage. So if you're Alliance, or you have some Alliance guildies who haven't commented yet, tell them to "grab your sword and fight the Horde!" and send them over to the post. Or if you're Horde, you might want to try and solidify your lead.

The contest ends tomorrow night, Friday the 3rd, at midnight, so while you can only comment once (remember, on that post, not this one), you've only got a day left if you want to get your comment in. Good luck!

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Skill Mastery: Berserk - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 16:30:00 EST
Berserk, the new 51-point talent in the Druid's Feral tree is...what day is it? Thursday? They change it a lot. Anyway, the talent originally combined elements of The Beast Within with Last Stand, but they've disengaged the +health component and made it a separate talent entitled Survival Instinct. The talent that remains affects both Bear and Cat form and does the following:

  • Mangle (Bear) will automatically hit up to 3 targets and is spammable (i.e. no cooldown)
  • Cat form abilities cost 50% less energy
  • Breaks Fear and makes you immune for the duration of Berserk
Berserk lasts for 15 seconds and Tiger's Fury is unusable while it's active, at least in the talent's current form. But odds are pretty good you'll be too busy rolling your face across the keyboard and shouting, "Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!!" to notice this.

Continue reading Skill Mastery: Berserk

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OC Register visits Blizzard Art Show - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST
The Orange County Register has made the decision to switch their gaming blog from general coverage of games to strictly Blizzard news all the time (being in close proximity to Blizzard's HQ in Anaheim will help), and for their first feature, they've got a big writeup (and lots of pictures) from that Laguna College Art Show we mentioned the other day.

Turns out it's an all-Blizzard art show, and there's art in there not just from Blizzard's past titles, but also from upcoming titles like Diablo III, Starcraft II, and our own Wrath of the Lich King. It all looks awesome, and the show lasts through the end of the month, so while that unfortunately means that these pieces won't be at BlizzCon (though there likely will be plenty of game art displays there anyway), it also means that if you can find the time to visit Laguna during the convention, you'll be able to check it out.

The Register also has a couple of quick profiles of some student artists at the show, including a few samples of their work and why they enjoy Blizzard's art so much. It's very cool that Blizzard is giving back to their local community like this -- hopefully we'll get a chance to see even some student work at BlizzCon.

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Barrens Chat: Spoiled Rotten - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST


So, this is somewhat of a spoiler strip. It is something that has been mentioned and posted in previous articles, but just in case you skipped those for obvious reasons, you probably should skip this, also.

That being said, I noticed while drawing this out and looking at a screen shot of Thrall that he looks like a green, balding version of the Geico cavemen. With big teeth, of course. Maybe it's just me.

I know I've started doing them on the computer entirely again, but I uh... misplaced my drawing paper. When I get paid this Friday maybe I'll go pick up more, but that's a really long drive to the nearest art store.

Possible alternate text for a couple of the panels after the jump!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Continue reading Barrens Chat: Spoiled Rotten

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Totem Talk: A little of this, a little of that - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST


I'm not just a commentator on the shaman class, I'm a rather avid player of said class. And while I respect the work that developers do in balancing the classes, and the tireless efforts of community managers to get this information presented to the player base in as prompt and reasonable a manner as is possible, often in the face of hostility, sometimes a change really makes me angry.

This recent change to Lava Burst and Maelstrom Weapon (not yet implemented in the beta) is such a change. Now, we've already seen Maelstrom Weapon changed so that it has a lower chance to stack, but can stack off of any melee hit (in part seemingly to reduce the dependence on crits the older version of the talent encouraged which led to Elemental Devastation and the guaranteed spell crit from a Flame Shock/Lava Burst combination) and while I don't like that change, I can accept it. And I believe Ghostcrawler when she says that the change to Maelstrom Weapon to no longer affect Lava Burst is one made with an eye to game balance. But I don't care. I hate the change and I can't believe there was no other way to balance Lava Burst's scaling to keep Enhancement shamans out of caster gear or away from caster daggers. I certainly don't want to see Enhancement in caster gear, but come on, this was it? This was the only way to balance this? I really don't like it.

Continue reading Totem Talk: A little of this, a little of that

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Ask a Beta Tester: Raid zones, plot, and more on phasing - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST

I decided to do something a little different with the image above for today's Ask a Beta Tester. Instead of beating you over the head with another of my awesome Dalaran screenshots, I've plugged in some music you can listen to while you read, if you'd like. Just hit play, and get in a Wrath kind of mood.

Milkgas asked quite a few question, but many of them involve story spoilers that I don't think readers would appreciate seeing in this particular column. What I don't answer, you can truck over to Ask a Lore Nerd and I'll squeeze them in on the bottom behind my usual "spoilers be here, yarrrr" line. We can definitely hit a few of them though.

Has there been any hints in the quest text of either the Uldum or the Karazhan Basement as a raid or dungeon in this expansion or the next?

Nothing that I've seen! We'll have Ulduar as a raid zone in Northrend, so to me that seems like a definite no on Uldum. I don't think they would put two Titan raids in one expansion, unless Uldum turned out to be a 5 man dungeon. We've seen nothing about the rest of Karazhan.

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: Raid zones, plot, and more on phasing

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Warcraft Outsiders hosts WoW Insider - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST


The folks at the relatively new Warcraft Outsiders podcast were kind enough to invite me on their show the other day, and I proceeded to make a mess of things -- one of the hosts got sick, I stayed long after they tried to get rid of me, and I just generally stomped all over any plans they had to do their own show. The results are now up on their page -- the good news is that John, Michelle, Kyle and I did have a lot of fun, and we got some good discussion in about the Honor non-wipe, what few addons I swear by, and what's up with Varian Wrynn's return to Azeroth (he's actually wearing Anduin Lothar's belt -- shows you how much attention I pay to the lore stuff, so pay no attention to all the mistakes I make on that part).

It was definitely a good time, and hopefully the show will be as fun to listen to as it was to record. The Outsiders will also have our good friend and colleague BRK on next week, and they do a nice job. Of course, if you only listen to one WoW podcast, you should make it the WoW Insider Show, but if you've got some extra room in your iPod, check them out (they also do a podcast on videogames in general) and see what you think.

Thanks to everybody over there for having me on, especially since, with our names, we should be swordfighting in a warehouse or something (Outsiders/Insider -- get it? I totally didn't realize until the very end).

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WoW Moviewatch: Warcraft Political Ad: Rend Blackhand '08 - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 12:00:00 EST


In case you haven't had your fill of political attack ads this year, check out this ad for Rend Blackhand '08 created by Gape/Horn Productions. This video, produced for an Orc who apparently wishes to overthrow Thrall, is a virtual Threat Down of everything wrong with Azeroth. PvP is terrorist activity. The Venture Company exploits our natural resources for profit. Trolls are illegal immigrants and Goblins benefit from the outsourcing of our jobs. And you won't even believe what he blames Blood Elves for.

Although this video features some epic music (from Psycho, John Philip Sousa, The Right Stuff) and one of the most amusing knock-offs of Rosie the Riveter I've ever seen, the satire is only 50 percent effective. Gape does a good job of winding up but can't seem to throw the pitch over the plate when it comes to the final payoff at the end. I'm not sure if he loses his nerve or if he only had a half-formed idea, but I wish he'd gone for the jugular at the end instead of just quitting.

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

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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Patch 3.0.2: Echoes of Doom - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 11:30:00 EST


From the North, a cold wind blows, and brings with it Echoes of Doom. A king is ready, after all these years, to return to his people...

Blizzard has named the last content patch before Wrath of the Lich King -- it's "Echoes of Doom." They've created a page for patch 3.0.2 in their Under Development section, and all of the features we've become familiar with over the past few months -- from Inscription to two new Arenas (no mention yet of the new battleground, unless they just meant Wintergrasp) and lots of UI modifications -- are listed right there as ready to go in with the new patch.

The page still seems like a placeholder, though, so expect to see it changed over the next two weeks or so -- we'll see more detailed patch notes, of course, near release, and I wouldn't be surprised to see some information about the World Event that will likely kick off Wrath. "Echoes of Doom" -- are you excited?

Update: WoW Insider has obtained this exclusive video of what the new patch may be like.

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Don't panic: Paladin changes in Beta build 9014 - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST


I know I'm a bit late posting this, but it took me a while to calm down enough. Alright, some of you might have already read this and most of you might have crouched into a fetal position when you heard of the change to Divine Plea. In it's first appearance, Divine Plea was a phenomenal, channeled return of 50% total mana over 6 seconds. Of course, that was simply too powerful and was subsequently "tuned" in further builds. That tuning has resulted in gutting the ability, with the latest version granting a buff that regenerates 25% of total mana over 15 seconds but reduces healing by 100%.

A moment of silence, please.

It reduces healing by 100%. This means that it makes the one spec that needs it absolutely useless for 15 seconds. I seriously have no idea anymore where Blizzard is going with this. Ghostcrawler issued a quick revision, however, stating that the healing penalty will only be 20%. That's good news, but it's scary that such a massive nerf was even applied to what is a key spell for Holy Paladins considering that their only source of mana regeneration is a crit-based gamble.

Continue reading Don't panic: Paladin changes in Beta build 9014

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Around Azeroth: Furbolgs in outer space - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 10:00:00 EST

Once upon a time, there was an Alliance-only quest item that turned your average ugly night elf into a beautiful, sleek-pelted furbolg. Word got out that the item itself was much more valuable than the quest reward, and Allies across the realms chose to leave the quest unfinished, so as to keep their magical rod intact. They used it for boss kill shots, dance parties in Stormwind, and, in the case of Hutsun of <BoB> on Bronzbeard-EU, manned space flight.

But dark times were coming, as the Overlords announced that the rod would soon only be usable in the area of the original quest. Lo! There was a hue and a cry, and many idle threats that no one would read were posted on the forums. And the cry was so loud that the Overlords changed their mind, and the rod would be left as it was. And there was much rejoicing.

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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.

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SK Gaming splits into separate PvE and PvP guilds - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST
We received news yesterday that SK Gaming, the multinational raiding and arena juggernaut, has decided to split into separate PvE and PvP branches. Well, perhaps that's a little misleading. SK Gaming had partnered with the famed Curse of EU-Veknilash (the same people behind Curse Gaming and World of Raids), and their combined efforts resulted in three world-firsts in Sunwell under the SK Gaming tag (Felmyst, M'uru, and Kil'Jaeden). That success aside, they reached the decision that the pursuit of competitive raiding and e-sport supremacy under the auspice of the same guild just wasn't working, and that the game demanded an entirely different vision and means of guild organization for each goal.

According to Mekon, the guild master of the former PvE branch (which remains on EU-Veknilash but is now renamed "Put Your Name Here" -- you can't accuse them of not having a sense of humor), it was the PvE players' decision to leave, "absolutely nothing changes within the guild," and they will continue to pursue world firsts in Wrath. We interviewed Neg, one of their resto Shamans, not long after they got their world-first Kil'Jaeden kill. This was less than a month after the major U.S. raiding guild Death and Taxes had gone the way of the dinosaur, and Neg had some insightful observations concerning what was happening to raiding guilds with Wrath of the Lich King on the not-too-distant horizon.

At the time I privately hoped that other major raid guilds wouldn't suffer D&T's fate, and...well, this isn't really it, I suppose. Both sides of SK Gaming will continue to operate, just independently of each other (from both an organizational and financial perspective). If nothing else I find it a fairly thought-provoking commentary on the degree of Blizzard's success attempting to legitimize arena as a true e-sport, and how the game's top players see the PvP side of the game increasingly disconnected from its PvE counterpart.

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Breakfast Topic: Resurrecting old events - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST
The upcoming patch 3.02 looks like it has a formal name now -- "Echoes of Doom," according to the EU site -- and players have wondered for a while whether Blizzard is going to bring back the Scourge Invasion event. This was an event that went live with the introduction of the original 40-man Naxxramas in patch 1.11 and saw Scourge troops appear all over Azeroth and even within major cities. It was one of Blizzard's early experiments programming world content that could be directly affected by players (in a roundabout way you can trace the underlying philosophy behind phasing to the success of events like these), and was a huge hit that's left players inquiring on the likelihood of its reappearance ever since.

As a player who started after Burning Crusade launched, I have to admit I would love the chance to see this, if for no other reason than having a shot at getting my main the rather good-looking Tabard of the Argent Dawn. But, cool tabard or not, the event is pretty thematically consistent with the content being released in Wrath of the Lich King, and the 3.02 patch is expressly meant to transition players into the expansion as seamlessly as possible. You could argue that Blizzard's never going to get a more opportune or relevant time to marshal the undead NPC's, but you could counter by pointing out that redeploying content originally meant to be a unique event diminishes its impact a tad. If it were re-programmed with additional exapansion-related content? Maybe, although I get the feeling the developers may be somewhat occupied at the moment. Either way, is there any obligation on Blizzard's part to try to re-run old content for the benefit of newer players?

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Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow melee, part 1 - Wed, 01 Oct 2008 21:00:00 EST


Dear reanimated angst-puppy hero corpses,

Love what you've done with the smell, really. The little air freshener attached to the runeblade is a nice touch. Now that I'm in the beta, I've had the opportunity group with -- conservatively -- billions of you. I've healed a lot of Death Knight tanks, and tanked for a lot of Death Knight DPS. Most of you seem like cool people, so I say this with sincere love in my little Druid heart and a touch of worry over what will happen in November:

Most of you are awful.

I don't wish to be needlessly cruel here, mind you, or to overlook that the class is still new. Blizzard endlessly tinkers with you, so it's not like your rotations haven't changed, or your talents and skills are stable. And I know you're not coming to Northrend with a bank full of awesome gear from Burning Crusade. This isn't about your wearing greens or using the wrong attack or tanking rotation; I'm not even going to bother with the theorycraft surrounding the ideal DPS rotation until Wrath actually ships. But I'm seeing an awful lot of you running around playing as if...almost as if...you haven't played a tank or a melee class before. It's uncanny. But when I switched from playing a balance to a feral druid more than a year ago and knew nothing about playing a melee DPS/tank, I made all the mistakes you're making right now. Help me help you!

Continue reading Tips for new Death Knights from a fellow melee, part 1

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Divine Plea changed once more - Wed, 01 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST

Last night's beta patch introduced a quite absurd change to Divine Plea (which you can see in the tooltip there), rendering it more or less worthless for Holy Paladins, useful only to Retribution and Protection. In one of the faster turnarounds in the beta, Ghostcrawler has already posted a new version of the spell.

In response to player feedback (mana issues, boredom) Divine Plea will now only reduce your healing by 20% (instead of this patch's 100%), but the tradeoff is that it will be able to be dispelled. As someone who primarily plays PvE, this seems like a much, much better version of the spell. I mean, come on. Last night's version of the spell was, "You take a nap for 15 seconds while some of your mana comes back." That's not exactly how you make an engaging and entertaining class. People who PvP heavily may disagree with me, but I'm not sure. I have a feeling naptime is as unwelcome in PvP as it is in PvE.

Paladins also seem to be concerned about mobility while healing. There are some potential changes that could come, but Ghostcrawler and the developers seem to want to see the current state of things in action a little more before they make any updates there.

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