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World of Warcraft as a teaching tool - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST
Most of us were kids at one point. A portion of us probably played computer or video games even as kids. Thus, I'm sure that at least a good handful of us, when told by our parents to turn off the computer and go do homework, eat dinner, or get some fresh air, tried to counter with something like this: "But Mom, games are educational! They give you hand-eye coordination and map reading skills!"

Now, all these years later, it seems we may finally be getting some backup from teachers and educators. Livescience.com recently highlighted some educators who are using World of Warcraft or lauding it for its educational values.

Continue reading World of Warcraft as a teaching tool

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Ready Check: Leading the fray - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST



Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Or motivate 24 other people to do so!

For many guilds, raiding is in a bit of a lull at the moment, with far more focus on the future rather than the present. One of the things that can keep raiding life interesting is to try out different things; play an alt, try a weird setup, revisit old content...

How about a slightly different challenge? Something that will stretch your ability to multitask, to communicate, to deal with people; it'll try your patience but provide immeasurable rewards when that patience pays off.

No, I don't mean running for an election. I'm talking about raid leading.

Continue reading Ready Check: Leading the fray

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Tenacious D discovered Northrend first - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST
For what ever reason I found myself looking at some Tenacious D stuff the other day, and came across the Wonderboy video (you'll have to visit YouTube as we can't embed the video due to copyright restrictions). Wonderboy is a great little song, completely safe for work and young bucks (however pretty much everything else that comes out of Jack Black's mouth is not).

In the video they are going on "The Quest" for truth. And where does this quest take them? None other then high above the mucky muck. This mountain region has a surprising look and feel to it.

That's right. The D discovered Northrend, before any of us.

But wait, there's more.

There's even powers that The D posses which are featured in Northrend.

What powers are those, you ask?

Continue reading Tenacious D discovered Northrend first

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We want your Beta UIs - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST
Reader U.I. of the Week is looking for your user interfaces that you're using in the beta right now. With Wrath of the Lich King and patch 3.0.2 around the corner we want to get the word out there to everyone about what is working and what isn't in the upcoming patch, and what better way to do that then to show off what other readers are using!

Send us screenshots and some information about your U.I. to readerui@gmail.com and you might see it featured here soon enough!

We'll also be compiling a list of working addons for the upcoming patch, along with where you can get the latest and greatest versions when the patch drops on October 14th. With a little bit of work all your addon needs should be a-okay come patch 3.0.2.

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Ask a Beta Tester: More on daily quests and champions - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST

Welcome back to Ask a Beta Tester! I've plugged in more music for you above, this time from Icecrown Glacier. If you're feeling kind, you should go give some love to the guy that posted them later on. For now, though, we're here to answer your Wrath of the Lich King questions!

Sorano asked...

While killing mobs in a dungeon that normally gives rep for a faction, for example: The Wyrmrest Accord, if I am wearing the tabard representing the Warsong Offensive, will I gain reputation for both Wyrmrest Accord and Warsong Offensive at the same time?

Contrary to the original description of the feature, you only get rep with one faction at a time. Personally, I think that's a better design. If you're working on a particular rep, you can still help friends out in random unrelated Wrath dungeons without feeling punished. If you only received half of the rep gains, you would still want to go to Violet Hold for your Kirin Tor rep instead of Utgarde Pinnacle, just for random examples. Going to Utgarde and getting half of the payoff just feels punishing. Feeling punished for helping friends sucks.

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: More on daily quests and champions

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Arcane Brilliance: On Deep Freeze - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST



Each week Arcane Brilliance invites Mages everywhere to read a column about themselves. It then invites Mages to cast Mirror Image and have their copies read it also. It then invites those mirror images to in turn cast Mirror Image upon themselves, and those copies to cast it as well. In this way, Arcane Brilliance intends to become the single most viewed page on the web. Get casting!


Let me preface this by saying that if you are one of the many who label anything written by a Mage that isn't full of sunshine and candy canes as complaining, crying, or QQ, you may want to just stop reading right now. Thanks for coming, post your "UR TEARZ R DELICIOUS" nonsense in the comments section, and then go back to tea-bagging your kills on Halo or whatever. This column is not for you.

Ok, gone?

Good.

Now that it's just Mages left here, we can talk. Last week I made a promise concerning Deep Freeze. This week I intend to deliver upon that promise. You see, since last week's column, build 9014 and build 9038 have come and gone on the beta, and Deep Freeze still does no damage. We still have no idea, at least not in the form of a comment by a blue poster, whether this change is permanent, intentional, or just Blizzard screwing around with things the way they're still doing with Arcane Blast, i.e. over-nerfing a spell for testing purposes. All we know is that the Frost tree's 51 point spell sucks. It sucked two builds ago, and it goes on sucking to this very day. As I write these words, Deep Freeze remains on the beta, sucking like nothing has ever sucked before.

Now I must do what I must do.

There will be no sunshine or candy canes after the jump. This I promise you.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: On Deep Freeze

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Tigole confirms dual specs are still in the works - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST
Many people have been wondering about when the promised dual specs will appear in the beta. For those that don't remember, back at the World Wide Invitational the developers said that they would be rolling out the ability for players to switch easily and quickly between multiple specs. At the time one of the main points was that these quick changes between specs would not require gold.

Tigole confirmed last night that dual specs are currently being worked on. They are figuring out all the details internally still (which is a good thing). When a poster asked "I imagine by this stage we wouldn't see it until a patch after release?" Tigole replied "Most likely in a patch but it's not too far off."

Now you can interpret that different ways. Perhaps he means in a beta patch or a patch immediately following Wrath's release. Either way the fact that these dual specs will eventually be here will make many people quite happy.

Last night I was talking to some guild mates about it and the word that was thrown around was "game changing" for Protection Warriors and other low DPS specs. Since the Protection Warrior would just be able to flip into a DPS spec for farming, he would no longer need a farming alt - significantly changing the way the game is played.

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EU premade Beta characters now available - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 12:00:00 EST
Wryxian announced yesterday that EU players may now begin enjoying premade characters on the beta servers. These premades, unlike their US counterparts, are available to be placed on regular beta servers - not just special premade-only ones.

They are still in PvP gear. They have no special PvE gear. However they are still good for doing instances and what not. The only catch is that you'll notice some standard differences in the way the class behaves (mana regen, hit/miss, defense, etc...).

EU players can access the premades by going to the site where they originally copied their character over to the beta and select to copy over a "template" character.

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BigRedKitty: Hunters are all Win in 9014 - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST


Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

We figured a Crit Chance of 113.73% was enough, so we stopped. Good number, don't you think? Should we have stacked more? It's a tough question, that's for certain.

But either way, there it is: the Ultimate solution to hunters in arenas.

And battlegrounds.

And raiding.

And farming.

And soloing Sunwell.

And anything else your little dwarven heart desires, foshizzle.

Well of course it's a bug on the beta. Want to try it? Follow these simple steps:

Step 1. Un-equip your ranged weapon.

Step 2. Re-equip your ranged weapon.

Step 3. Look at your Crit Chance increase.

Step 4. Laugh maniacally.

Step 5.
Repeat Steps 1-4 until you're totally satisfied.

Step 6. Kill everything in sight until Blizzard fixes this.

Is this limited to hunters or two-handed weapons only? We're unsure. Druids with staffs reported that they do not get to reap the benefits of this bug, but due to a server-restart, we were unable to complete a General Chat interview with a Death Knigget, Rogue, and Fury Warrior about their experiences.

From his video guides to Karazhan For Hunter Dummies, nobody covers raid Hunters like BRK. Looking for more Hunter goodness? Check out our non-raid Hunter column, Scattered Shots or the WoW Insider Directory of Hunter Guides.

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Around Azeroth: Devolution - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 10:00:00 EST

Pity the poor Broken draenei. They've devolved from a race of noble, light-worshipping creatures with an unbelievable sexual dimorphism to these ugly, lumpy, monosexual beings. The Lost One draenei of the Swamp of Sorrows are mostly remembered for their starring role in a pain-in-the-tuchus escort quest, but they also have many other fine qualities, such as the ability to run away and pull like four other mobs on you while you're trying to loot the Draenethyst Crystals. Luckily, as Xatari of <Malicious> on Kul Tiras discovered, these draenei's brains have apparently devolved to the point where they can kill themselves by tripping over their own supply boxes. I look forward to future screenshots of the Broken stabbing themselves in the eye while trying to use their wands and shooting arrows into their own thighs.

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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Breakfast Topic: Last minute preparations - Sat, 04 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST
When Wrath comes, I'm pretty much abandoning my Druid. He's served me well through Battlegrounds, Arenas, and 10,20, and 40 man raiding, but be it burn out on Druids in general or just the need for the change of pace, he's fallen by the wayside. My Hunter is my main now, and my Death Knight will be a co-main come Wrath of the Lich King.

Despite this, I'm actually playing my Druid quite a lot these days. Why? Because I just have to get the Guardian of Cenarius title for him, and I'm still a few thousand points shy of Exalted with Cenarion Circle reputation. It may seem to weird to be putting so much work into a character I'm not going to play for quite a while once Wrath comes out, but I feel like I owe it to him. He still has a rich, ongoing roleplaying backstory, and he's still been through a lot with me. So getting him to the pinnacle of Druidism is easily the best tribute I can think of. So he's in Silithus, slaughtering Twilight Cultists by the bucketload, looking for those Encrypted Twilight Texts.

In addition, of course, I'm preparing for the 3.0.2 patch and Wrath in other ways. I already have enough Bog Lord Tendrils and Unidentified Plant Parts for my Death Knight to get a foothold in Zangarmarsh, and I'm gathering Arrakoa Feathers as well. If I have time, I may also gather a bunch of herbs and let my DK powerlevel inscription.

Now that we're probably about 10 days away from 3.0.2, how are your preparations coming? I know a lot of you probably chimed in with your goals for pre-Wrath a few weeks back.. Are you making any progress on them, or are you like me, scrambling for those last few points of Cenarion Circle reputation before next Tuesday?

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Compare items on Wowhead - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 21:00:00 EST

Wowhead keeps adding new features, I know. But this is a big one. Last night, while most of us were busy watching the vice-presidential debate, they launched a fairly sophisticated tool for comparing items or sets of items. Basically, you can add any item or set in the database, and group them up however you want (by dragging items between groups), and then compare groups against each other to see what stats you gain and lose on.

There are tons of additional features to this tool, and it might be worth reading the instructions to see all of what you can do. Some things I particularly like:

  • You can add stat weighting scales, to see (an estimation of) how good the item is overall for your class and spec. Click the scores to toggle the display format; I like the percentage display particularly, which shows the "best" group as 100% and everything else in terms of that.
  • The "gains" row shows you in short what's different between your groups, by subtracting out all shared stats.
  • All item listings on the site now feature checkboxes that you can use to quickly compare items.
  • Each group has an option to view in 3D, so you can now finally use Wowhead as your dressing room: just create a group of items you want to look at, click the little triangle on the top bar of the group, and select "View in 3D."
  • You can set one group as your "focus" by clicking the little eye icon, which shows all stats relative to that group.

I will definitely be making use of this in the future; it's much easier than figuring it out in your head or making a spreadsheet.

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Phat Loot Phriday: Heroic Judicator's Chestguard - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 20:30:00 EST


I'm not sure that we've ever done a plate chest here on the column, and I know for sure that we've never done a Pally chestpiece, so here you go.

Name: Heroic Judicator's Chestguard (Wowhead, WowDB, WowProgress)
Type: Epic Plate Chestpiece
Armor: 1983 Armor (which is as good as it gets on that state for Plate chests)
Abilities:
  • +78 Stamina, +22 Intellect
  • Three sockets, two blue and a yellow, with a socket bonus of +6 Stamina. Throw a Facet of Eternity or a Splendid Fire Opal in there. Whoops -- was gemming with a Warrior tank in mind. What do ya'll recommend for gems on this one?
  • Yup, as you've probably already guessed, this is a chest for a tanking Pally. Not only does it have 29 Defense rating and 44 Dodge rating, but there's a damage and healing bonus on there of 60.
  • As Prot Pally chests go, this is about as good as you'll get going into Wrath. And those sockets are super helpful, too -- you can up any of the various caps you're trying to hit, or just throw a little extra frosting on the cake if you're already maxed out.
How to Get It: Entropius in the Sunwell Plateau drops this one -- he's actually what M'uru comes back as after you kill him (and as we noted very early on, the two have a similar shape, because they're basically two sides of the same being.

So finish off M'uru in his weakened state, take out Entropius before his negative energy, like, really bums you out, man, and hope that this drops at a rate of about 10-15%. And be a Paladin, because seriously, nobody else would want this thing anyway.

Getting Rid of It: Disenchants into a Void Crystal, and sells back to vendors for 10g 56s 13c. If you've got a Sunmote, you can take this to Yrma in Quel'danas, and she'll give you a Noble Judicator's Chestguard for it (a Healing version of the same gear). And you might want to think about doing that, since the Death Knights are going to take all your tanking roles, amirite?!?

Hey, lookit that! Phat Loot Phriday just recently turned the ripe old age of two by my count, and we've discovered, after two years and over one hundred ingame items, that it might be a good idea to put them all (or at least most of them), in gallery format for you to browse through. So click below to check out past Phat Loot and be sure to come back every Friday for more great gear on a Friday afternoon.

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Taunt and Growl to be increased to 20 yards - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST
Warriors, Druids, and Death Knights are going to be creating their own version of a very happy dance soon. The range on Taunt, Growl, and Dark Command will be increased to 20 yards.

This is a big change. Now the other tanking classes will have equal ability to ranged taunt mobs off other players, pulling the mob to them. Often times warriors and druids have to either Intervene or Charge around in order to taunt a mob, and that can lead to a whole kaboodle of mobs following the tank. It often is not the ideal situation, especially if the mobs cleave or otherwise do AoE damage.

Now the whole process is simplified immensely and made much more efficient. Quite an awesome change, and one that has put a smile on my face today.

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Insider Trader: Armorsmiths vs. weaponsmiths part two - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 19:31:00 EST
Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Last week, I began the column by answering a reader's question regarding the two specializations of blacksmithing. The player had been considering switching, and I discussed his reasons for doing so.

I also began to compare the armorsmithing items to their non-crafted counterparts, to showcase how strong they really are. This week, I'm finishing up that analysis as well as giving weaponsmithing the same treatment.

Each item from either specialization tends to surpass its tier 5 counterpart, and strongly rival the tier 6, Black Temple pieces. Unfortunately, if the itemization is exactly right for your class, race and spec, the cost and effort spent to make any given piece is probably not worth it.

Still, for players who may never see the Black Temple, for whatever reason, can still work towards a strong epic piece to complement their PvP, dungeon and/or raiding gear.

It is also important to note the difference between blacksmithing and other gear-crafting professions, tailoring and leatherworking. Blacksmith specialists essentially create one piece, or in the case of dual wielders, two pieces, that are roughly tier 6 equivalent.

The other two professions can make more pieces, but the quality ranges from tier 4 to tier 5, although any gear choice is subject to individual circumstances and preference.

These pieces are bind on pick-up and cannot be sent to alts, so keep that in mind when you choose. There are many other blacksmithing patterns and drops that are BoE, but the specialty items, as with tailoring and leatherworking, can only be worn by the crafter.

In addition, should you make, for example, a sword and then switch to armorsmithing, you will no longer be able to wield the sword, as doing so requires that you have the correct specialization.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Armorsmiths vs. weaponsmiths part two

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Behind the scenes on the Comcast bandwidth limit - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST
Our friends at BigDownload have a long but interesting feature up about that Comcast bandwidth limit and how it might affect PC gamers like us. Even though they chat with a lot of people higher up in both the ISP and gaming industry, the bottom line hasn't really changed: most people won't be affected by the limit, and if you are, there are things you can do about it. As we determined last time, at max, even if you run WoW 24/7 the entire month, you're still using only about 5gb, nowhere near enough to trip Comcast's limit. And even if there's a big patch download that comes through, it'll still be a very, very small percentage of people that come anywhere near it. While Comcast may change things in the future, there are a few voices already speaking out against bandwidth caps, including the Entertainment Consumers Association.

And if you do get suspended out of the blue? Best option is to just use another ISP -- even if Comcast isn't willing to support people who use tons of bandwidth, there will likely be another company that does. And if high-level broadband does become really widespread, it would be a bad business decision for Comcast as well to suspend large numbers of their userbase -- while there's always the chance that they could start charging a premium for more bandwidth, smaller companies will likely step up to fill any spaces that Comcast tries to screw over.

In short, right now, this isn't a problem. While in the future, Comcast may try to bring the bandwidth cap lower and lower, at this point, it doesn't effect enough people out there to worry, and even if you are affected, there are likely steps you can take to get around it, including going with another ISP if that's an option.

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Tomorrow's WoW Insider Show has your chance to win a monkey - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST
Our weekly podcast is back again this Saturday (as it is every weekend, at 3:30pm Eastern on WoW Radio), and this week's show promises to be a good one. Not only is Turpster going to be on with us, and not only are we welcoming our new columnist Chase Christian to the show for the first time, but we're going to give away probably the best prize we've ever passed out on the WoW Insider Show: a Bananas pet monkey, straight from Turpster's WoW TCG collection.

Come for the giveaway, but stay for the discussion, because we'll be chatting about the raid tweaking coming in 3.0.2, the non-Honor wipe, Blizzard's big win in the Glider case, and AoE Tanking and why the devs seem to be passing it out like Hallow's End candy. And as usual, we'll answer your emails and questions -- drop us a note at theshow@wowinsider.com, or join us live during the show on IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel.

Should be a great time, and hey, if you come listen, you might walk away with your own pet monkey! He'll clean and cook and do all kinds of things for your character in-game.* And his name is Bananas! What a great name for a monkey!

*Note: Monkey comes untrained. And it might be hard to train a noncombat pet. But look how cute!

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[1. Local]: This might as well be Barrens chat - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST
Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

Do you ever get the feeling that Barren's chat has invaded your living room? Read on to the end of this week's [1. Local] to see why.

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

It's not every day that you get to read a letter addressed to the "reanimated angst-puppy hero corpses" that are the Death Knights romping around in Beta. Allison Robert goes on to provide some excellent advice on how not to fail at playing a Death Knight. While some of the comments on Allison's piece provided nearly as good entertainment as the article itself, commenter Morganus sums up what most people thought about advice like not standing in-front of a boss: "As a Druid tank for all of BC and a Hunter prior to that, I have to say this is a fantastic insight into the basics of melee DPS. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a cleave from a parried attack created from a DPS in front of a boss, you would know how frustrating it can be."

Continue reading [1. Local]: This might as well be Barrens chat

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Going Deep Sea Fishing for some better 375 Fishing rewards - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST
I've been leveling up fishing lately (hit 373 last night, along with 375 cooking, thanks to El's great guide), and I've actually found it pretty fun. It's a little too boring to do it without something going on in the background (last night it was the Cubs game, as depressing as that was), but it's kind of fun just to throw a line into some random water or pool and see what comes out. That said, the rewards could use a little tuning -- while events like the STV Fishing Tourney are fun (I've done it twice now and haven't won it yet) and offer some nice items, fishing itself even at the highest levels just isn't as rewarding as, say, running dailies or Heroics. The only reason to run it all the way up is really just to say you did -- while there's a promise of a Mr. Pinchy somewhere out there, there's no real fishing endgame in the way that there is for the rest of the game.

Which makes Qann's suggestion intriguing -- he says that high level fishers should have access to certain areas via boat that offer them tougher fishing challenges, and better rewards for it. A boat could shuttle you out to a remote island or location, where only certain fish could be caught or found. And we don't even really need a boat -- just more events like the STV Extravaganza (where certain fish that appear in special pools can be turned in directly for items) would be great. And why is it that the best items obtained through fishing are apparently scrolls? Why can't we fish for Badges, or even have a fishmarket, where fish can be exchanged for gems, crafting materials or other rewards?

Even Blizzard admits that there's a lot of work to be done for fishing, but it doesn't seem too hard -- if they're giving out epics for holidays, fishermen and women who make it up to 375 should deserve some good loot for their hard work as well, whether it's through Deep Sea fishing, keys that will unlock special chests, or just a vendor that will take all of those Barbed Gill Trout off your hands and give you something worthwhile in return.

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Get your free gems for October! - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST
We're a little late on the notice this time around (two whole days!), but if you haven't done so yet, get yourself out to Nagrand and pick up your free gems from the Consortium! They're not exactly worth much on most servers now, since people are throwing everything they own on the auction house to get rid of it before Wrath, and thus tanking the prices on everything, but free is free. You might as well pick them up, even if you just use them as skipping stones at the lakefront.

If you've never done this before, let me break it down: Once you reach Friendly with the Consortium, Gezhe at Aeris Landing will have some free gems for you at the beginning of each month. As you gain higher levels of reputation, you'll get more gems. Not necessarily better gems, just more of them. Don't know where Aeris Landing is? It's directly north of that freaky diamond mountain spaceship with the Naaru in it, Oshu'gun.

View Poll

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