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Ready Check: Raiding and Time Management - Sat, 03 May 2008 19:00:00 EST



For many of us, life isn't all about WoW. Instead of having the luxury to while away most of our days immersed in Azeroth, we might find other demands on our time such as jobs, partners, children or studying. Alternatively, we might have the luxury of free time ourselves, but be dealing with raiders who are more harangued; looking at this time problem in more detail should help all round.

Why do busy people raid? For many, it's more like 'why do raiders become busy?'. A lot can happen in three years to change an individual player's circumstances. New jobs, new partners, new children, starting university or college, being made redundant: all these have happened to guildies or ex-guildies. Yet, due to the enjoyment, deep level of involvement and commitment built up over the years, changing something in life can mean there's still room for raiding.

Continue reading Ready Check: Raiding and Time Management

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Brutally ugly gear will stay ugly - Sat, 03 May 2008 18:00:00 EST


This morning, Mandy asked how everyone felt about the new Season 4 gear that was recently unveiled on the PTR. The general consensus seems to be that the armor sets are -- for lack of a better word -- underwhelming. Reusing the skins from the token gear that drops from Sunwell Plateau, the armor sets seem to suffer from a case of the Jackson Pollocks. Player feedback, according to the comments on this site as well as the World of Wacraft forums, indicates disappointment with the new sets.

Unfortunately, players unhappy with the look of the new gear shouldn't be holding their collective breaths for an update. Drysc has already stated that Blizzard's artists are devoting all of their energy at Wrath of the Lich King. He says that it takes time to develop new armor sets and that he's not surprised that the new (Badge) gear are mostly color shifts. While Arena gear has traditionally been recolored versions of their PvE counterparts -- e.g. Season 1 gear was recolored Tier 4 -- the new sets create problems because they're no longer distinctive to each class but rather to the armor category to which they belong.

Continue reading Brutally ugly gear will stay ugly

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Arcane Brilliance: The world of Mage-crafting, part 2 - Sat, 03 May 2008 17:00:00 EST



Each Saturday, Arcane Brilliance jumps off the ledge near the lumber mill in Arathi Basin and Slow Falls all the way to your computer screens...at which point it PoM-Pyroblasts the guy defending the blacksmith and caps the flag solo...after which it gets killed by a Warlock at 25% health. Last week we discussed four of the seven crafting professions and what they had to offer Mages. This week we'll move on to the rest, including wild speculation about what Inscription might have to offer those of us who enjoy wearing dresses into battle.


When I started WoW and rolled my Mage, I asked around and perused the official website and learned that I should probably be a tailor. I wore cloth armor, so it seemed like a no-brainer that I should take the profession that would give me gear I could wear. I gave that strange undead man outside Brill my ten copper pieces and he taught me to fashion pants from scraps of linen I had removed from corpses. I have never really regretted that decision, though I have since learned that while Tailoring is a fine choice for a Mage, it's certainly not the only choice. Almost every profession out there offers something worth having to our wonderful class, and some of them might surprise you. Last week we went over the unique benefits of Enchanting, Engineering, and Blacksmithing (although that last one really doesn't offer much to us at all), in addition to Tailoring, the old stand-by. This week, we're going to explore Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, and the three secondary professions.

Come back after the jump for the details, along with as much unsolicited commentary as you can stand.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: The world of Mage-crafting, part 2

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Children's Week in Wrath - Sat, 03 May 2008 16:00:00 EST
With The Burning Crusade, Children's Week was given a new tier of quests, based in Outland. Either this year or the last, I'm sure most of you have done these quests. Rather than replacing the old ones, it was simply an addition to the holiday.

If Children's Week receives the same treatment in Wrath, I'm itching to see what the rewards will be, or who(what?) we'll be escorting. The rewards in TBC were based off of the new content, so I have my doubts we'll have any accurate guesses for Wrath's installment at this point, but wrong guesses are still fun to make. Penguins? Walruses? Baby Bornakks?

And what will we be escorting? A baby Tuskarr? A baby Nerubian? Who knows! Like I said, I doubt we can make any accurate guesses at this point in Wrath's development, but it's still fun to think about.

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Blizzard launches new online store - Sat, 03 May 2008 15:00:00 EST
The new and improved Blizzard store opened recently, and it's definitely worth a look. It has a very clean layout, making finding what you want pretty simple. They carry everything from the Blizzard games to the Warcraft action figures to WoW game time. Their apparel selection isn't very large due to that primarily being handled by Jinx, but the store is still worthwhile.

Plus, registering for the Blizzard store comes with another perk. You can register for the Beta Test lottery, which is a chance at being chosen for upcoming beta phases of various games. Wrath? Starcraft II perhaps? All of the above? Who knows! I've been considering getting into the WoW TCG, so if I get a shot at a beta test out of it, too... hey, why not?

Edit: The Blizzard EU store is not yet live, but I imagine it will be soon. Sorry, Europe!

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The end of queue dodging - Sat, 03 May 2008 14:00:00 EST


Drysc updated his post on the official forums regarding Season Four Arena changes. It looks like Blizzard is working to put an end to queue dodging and thereby stifle the practice of win trading. Drysc quoted the revised arena rules, "If a team does not enter an arena match that is starting they will lose points equal to the amount that would have been deducted if they had played and lost." With this augmentation, players will no longer be able selectively battle only teams that have agreed to a loss.

Since the Arenas began, there have been many underhanded methods players have used to inflate their ratings and gain access to the latest and greatest gear. Blizzard continues to intervene in order to fix the flawed system. Season four will include a few more changes to make things fair:

  • "If a character's personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating."
  • "If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team's rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating."

These changes have been implemented to make point and team selling practices less lucrative. With these changes combined with personal rating requirements, it seems the developers really are interested in making people earn their keep as PvPers. This leads me to wonder what they will think up next. Whatever it is, we'll keep you posted.

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Macro Anatomy: Uncrushable Calculator - Sat, 03 May 2008 13:30:00 EST
Yesterday, I profiled a number-crunching addon that does the math to tell you about the actual effects of your abilities and spells. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to share this number-crunching macro. This is one I've only recently had to use. After a few hours debating the meaning and theory behind becoming uncrushable and uncrittable, I think this macro is a great tool for raid leaders and tanks alike.

Basically this macro adds up your total avoidance to determine whether or not you meet the sacred uncrushable numeral: 102.4% total avoidance.

Regardless of any arguments about the mechanics behind this system, its what is accepted as the way things are. If you're tanking, pushing Crushing Blows off the attack table is one of your primary goals. As a note, Druids cannot become uncrushable, sorry, you're stuck taking it like a bear.

Come back after the break so I can share the macro without cluttering the front page with scripting code.

Continue reading Macro Anatomy: Uncrushable Calculator

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WoW Insider Show live this afternoon - Sat, 03 May 2008 13:00:00 EST


Yes, once again our weekly podcast is going live on the virtual air this afternoon over on WoW Radio. This week, John "BigBearButt" Petricelli is on with me, and though Turpster is gone, it's probably a given that our favorite standby, Duncor, is jumping on to share his insights into the World of Warcraft. We'll talk about mounts around Azeroth, how you can make raiding faster, and what you, dear listeners and readers, are looking forward to in Wrath of the Lich King.

Plus we'll be chatting on IRC as always (you can meet up with us at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel), and we'll be reading and answering reader email as well -- if you have a burning question, a frozen compliant, or a shiny bit of praise to give us, pass it right along by sending an email to theshow@wowinsider.com.

I'll be a rip-roaring good time. Join us this afternoon at 3:30pm EST (which is 8:30 GMT) for our podcast, which iTunes reviewers call "one of the most entertaining and informative WoW podcasts to date." Be there!

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WoW Moviewatch: What Else is On! 2 - Sat, 03 May 2008 12:00:00 EST

Khandy is back with the eagerly anticipated sequel to What Else is On! This time around, she's involved some celebrity guests, including Selserene and Legs. Three (real) female machinimators in the same (artistic) movie? Could this be a first?

Some of my favorite moments in this film were the behind the scenes look at the sex scene in Selserene's upcoming film, finding out what race Tom Jones would be in WoW, and the background music in the blaxploitation clip! If you enjoyed the Never Stay Tuned series, you'll definitely like WEiO2.

[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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The merits of WoW clothing - Sat, 03 May 2008 11:00:00 EST

My weekend so far has been packed full of nerdisms, as I'm currently squeezed into a one bedroom apartment with five of my guildmates. Most of us had never met in person before this week, so a couple of us took the obvious route of wearing a Warcraft t-shirt at the various bus stations and airports as a 'hey, it's me!' sign.

Friendly ribbing demanded at least a few accusations of rampant nerdery because of said shirts(most of them coming from the girl wearing a Super Mario shirt, nice try). It made me start to wonder, is wearing WoW swag really that nerdy? Is it a bad thing? I don't think so, personally. To me, it's pretty much the same as wearing a t-shirt of your favorite band. Of course, there are people that think band shirts are corny, so who knows? It's just a little sign that you're a fan, and it certainly helps that my WoW shirt is incredibly comfortable.

What about you guys? Do you own WoW gear? If you don't, do you think it's silly? Do you feel the same about band shirts and things like that, or just WoW?

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Around Azeroth: The sacrificial bear - Sat, 03 May 2008 10:00:00 EST

We usually stay away from sunsets, as stated in every single post, but this one couldn't be passed up. In defiance of all fantasy conventions, it looks like it's the druid that's about to be sacrificed to the sun gods on this Mayan temple. Of course, there's no sacrificing going on here just yet -- Lutra of Vek'nilash is simply posing for a screenshot before tanking a nighttime Temple of Atal'Hakkar run. But he might have been sacrificed later with the old "jump down the hole and see what's below" trick (second only to "If you look through the crack in the wall, you can see Ragnaros!")

If you missed it yesterday, Around Azeroth is running another user submission challenge: Grand Theft Azeroth! Send us pics of you (or your friends, we're not picky) committing your most nefarious deeds in the style of the GTA series. Mount-jackings, thefts, murders, muggings, cruelty to animals -- go wild! So far, we've only got a handful of entries, most of which seem to involve orphan abuse. Send your screenshots to aroundazeroth@gmail.com by noon EST on Thursday, May 8, and please use the phrase "GTA" somewhere in your e-mail title.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. We just used up the sunset quota for the year.

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Dornaa's Day: A journey for the Shattrath City Children's Day Alliance quests in pictures - Sat, 03 May 2008 09:30:00 EST

Robin Torres has already described her day with Salandria, the Horde ophan from Shattrath Cty for the Children's Week festivities, but don't think that the Alliance gets left out. We get to escort an orphan of our own, Dornaa the Draenei. Check out the gallery below for my experiences travelling the worlds with this delightful little girl.

I'm already missing poor Dornaa, and I can't wait to travel with her again next Children's Week (even if the nearly free Lower City reputation from these quests won't mean much then with WoTLK out), and hear what she gets up to in the future. Keep writing to your big brother, Dornaa!

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Gallery Walkthrough of Children's Week, Shattrath City, Horde-side - Sat, 03 May 2008 09:00:00 EST


Children's Week is one of my favorite events of the year. You can get a couple of pets, some reputation and cash and, in the Shattrath City version, there be dragons. Dragons are cool.

I have chronicled my questing in this year's Shattrath City Children's Week event for the Horde in a gallery walkthrough. It's an interesting story and a nice tour of some fun spots in Outland and Azeroth, but if you also want to know the hard numbers for completing the entire quest chain, here they are:
  • Cash: At level 70, the cash total was 45 gold and 54 silver.
  • Reputation: Your Lower City Reputation increases by a total of 1760.
  • One very cute or disturbing pet.
So check out our Horde-side Children's Week in Shattrath City Gallery Walkthrough and stay tuned for more on the rest of the event.

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Breakfast Topic: Brutal(lus) Gladiator gear - Sat, 03 May 2008 08:00:00 EST

So I've been really excited about the coming of Arena season four. Unfortunately I'm not particularly thrilled about the gear models, and I am not alone. Perhaps the developers say reusing the tier 6.5 models from the Sunwell (Tier 6.5) as a good way to cut corners, but it just doesn't look like PvP gear. It seems to be the way the Arena gear is designed.

I'm pretty sure whoever recolored these skins probably has an issue with their visual perception. The Hunter gear looks like an armored clown suit and the Shaman set is reminiscent of a test for colorblindness. I'm not usually one to rant, but these sets are a visual disappointment. I'm not asking for pink and black (although that appeals to my inner girly girl), but for the love of Christopher Walken, at least make the set match itself.

To date my favorite set to look at is the Season Two gear, especially the Warrior set. I feel that they the designers really captured the uniqueness of the classes best with those sets.

What do you think of Season Four gear so far?

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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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