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Compare gear easily with Pawn - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST


Gear is one of the main ways characters in WoW get more powerful, and pretty much the only way once we reach the level cap. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher whether one item is better than another - as a rogue, will 10 hit rating help you more or less than 10 Agi, assuming you're not capped? (Less, according to most sources.)

Questions like these are why stat weighting scales were developed; they aim to answer questions like that by expressing how much each stat is worth in terms of "points," which quantify how much each stat helps your DPS/healing/tanking. For instance, Shadow Panther has calculated that if 1 Agi is worth 1 point, 1 hit rating is worth 0.85 points, 1 Str, 0.55 points, and so on. Many different rating scales for various classes and specs can be found around the internet.

Continue reading Compare gear easily with Pawn

Compare gear easily with Pawn originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The future of healing in the Arena - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST

If you've been in the Arena during Season 5, you probably have noticed a particular change to the way gladiators fight. It can be summarized in a single word: "Damage." In the bygone days of Season 4, drain teams and Mortal Strike debuffs were all but an entry requirement to high ranked play. Without a strategy to reduce or nullify your enemy's healing, you were unlikely to produce sufficient burst DPS to actually kill anyone. A few double-DPS teams managed to thrive, but for the most part, a gladiator's number one priority was shutting down the healer.

That dynamic is all but dead in Season 5. Players output such a high level of damage compared to other players' health that healing is almost a non-factor in most matches. My friends, Ghostcrawler is aware of this dynamic, and is looking into it. (It turns out, Ghostcrawler mostly plays a healer in the Arena.) As stated by the crab himself, the Arena should not simply be about burst damage. (Nor, however, should it be solely about healing or solely about crowd control.)

Of course, Ghostcrawler does admit he has difficulty saying what the long terms plans are going to be. The design team hasn't had enough whiteboard time to say anything with complete honesty. But he also hopes that as more Resilience gear enters the PvP system, the damage might scale down to be more reasonable. (To quote, "It's mostly just math.") Still, there's hope that future teams will include more than just seeing which team can burst down the other first.

The future of healing in the Arena originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Rise of the Lich King excerpt shows the other side of the Lich - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:00:00 EST
BlizzPlanet has an excerpt up from Christie Golden's upcoming Rise of the Lich King novel, featuring the back story of perhaps the lesser known (though no more less powerful) half of the Lich King, Ner'zhul the Shaman. Arthas has gotten banner credit for being the big bad in this expansion (because it's his form that the Lich King is possessing), but Ner'zhul is in there as well, being all evil and angry. And this little snippet from the book portrays very well just what exactly is going on inside that big spiky helmet. As much as little Arthas is lost inside the Lich King's power, there might still be a tiny bit of him that's still fighting back. Is he worth saving or not?

I haven't been really interested in the Warcraft books, but given how timely this is (we're about to go knock that helmet off), and how interesting the story of Arthas has been, this is one that I plan to check out. It's due out later this year.

Rise of the Lich King excerpt shows the other side of the Lich originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Steamwheedle Cartel holding a "Black Market" crafting event - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 16:00:00 EST


I love this idea a whole lot. A group of folks on Steamwheedle are holding an RP even (which they've done before), but it's a different kind of event than the usual party or dueling tournament. Instead, it's going to be completely peaceful -- they're having a Saturday morning crafting bazaar. Down in the empty vendor stalls of Undercity, they'll have crafters of all types and levels, some with their mats, some where you'll have to bring your own mats, making items aplenty for players. On January 24th, they're holding a "Black Market", where you'll be able to get almost anything crafted that you want (providing you've got the goods). They're also having a raffle, and they'll be serving food and drink as well. What a great idea.

In fact, I'd love to see something like this come to the game at large -- maybe Blizzard could provide a bonus to crafting when it's done at a certain time in a certain place, like create a "crafter's market" weekly on Saturday mornings (scheduled just like the Sunday fishing tournament), where crafters can make sure to be in a certain area ready to craft for any players who might need it, and can get bonus items or currency or mats for their trouble.

For such a social game, combat seems to always end up being the only way for players to connect regularly (not that there's anything wrong with that, but the only way to bond in game seems to be killing things). It would be nice to see more of this type of connection encouraged by Blizzard, with players using the skills they've earned to help each other and both sides getting a nice reward for it.

Steamwheedle Cartel holding a "Black Market" crafting event originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Scouting around with the Crashin' Thrashin' Racer - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 15:00:00 EST
Cabinetsanchez over on LJ has documented something that I saw in action yesterday while running a few instances -- while it's a ton of fun to run my Crashin' Thrashin Racer around (I'm undefeated since I picked up the achievement the first day I got the toy, by the way), players have found a few extra ways to make the Racers work for them. Yesterday, I saw one of my group members using the Racer a few times to scout the instance ahead and see what pulled with what, and as CS says, it worked great: while the Racer will aggro enemies, they won't tag on to the rest of the group -- they'll just reset after they destroy the little car.

CS also says that the Racer takes no falling damage, so you can send it exploring off of cliffs and platforms, and he says that though the car is considered level 60, its aggro range is pretty small (I can attest to this, as we were driving it pretty close to enemies yesterday without it registering on their radar). And he's got an even more devious use (some might say this is an exploit): bosses aggroed by the racer will sometimes despawn after they conquer it for up to 30 seconds or so. That seems like a hotfix waiting to happen, but I haven't personally tried it, so it may not be as useful as it sounds.

The downside of this is that the Racer was meant to be a fun item, and if it really does lead to behavior that Blizzard considers exploiting, they might have to think twice about including great items like this in the future. We'll have to see what their ruling on this is, but hopefully no matter what happens (I'm guessing a quick hotfix, maybe even shrinking the range of the Racer's controller), this won't prevent Blizzard from giving us more fun toys later on.

Scouting around with the Crashin' Thrashin' Racer originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mike Morhaime wins 2008 award from OC* Business Journal - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 14:00:00 EST
The Orange County Business Journal has awarded none other than Blizzard's own Mike Morhaime with the runner up for their Businessperson of the Year award (the main award went to some CEO of an investment company, much more boring than running a fantasy world full of orcs and elves). The Journal cite's Blizzard's huge successes in a rough financial year as reason for Morhaime's honor.

The paper isn't quite completely familiar with what Blizzard does (did you know Diablo III was "released" in June of last year? Don't know why I haven't seen it on store shelves yet!), but there are a few interesting tidbits in there for us, including the fact that WoW was so popular on its original release day that Blizzard had to bring employee copies out to their Fry's to sell them to hungry fans. And Morhaime talks a bit about Blizzard being part of Activision, and reveals the biggest change we've heard of yet since the takeover: "The big difference here is we are one step closer to the public markets. It requires that we spend more time than we used to in educating analysts and investors about Blizzard, where we used to be able to not deal with that side of the business."

So hopefully Blizzard's higherups aren't spending too much time trying to sell stock rather than making great games. He does reiterate, however, that Activision has continued to be hands off (especially as long as Blizzard is making so much money for them), so a lot of the things that fans have guessed are Activision influences are probably decisions that Blizzard themselves have already made. Still, success is success -- pretty good for a guy who started out writing test software for Western Digital. Congrats to Morhaime on the award.

*Don't call it that.

Mike Morhaime wins 2008 award from OC* Business Journal originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Officers' Quarters: Riding the pine - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Raids are in many ways like a sports team. Some players are your proven starters. Some are your backups who fill in for the starters. Some are still learning the game and trying to get the right equipment -- they are your practice squad or your AAA team. With enough hard work and dedication, a player can improve his game and become a starter. It's true in sports and it should be for your raid team as well. Otherwise, what's the motivation to work hard?

The opposite can happen as well: a player who doesn't perform consistently can be replaced with someone who's playing at a higher level. But what would you do if you were told you're being benched -- permanently -- just because you joined more recently than someone else? This week's e-mail comes from a tank who went from a starter to a benchwarmer overnight, and it illustrates exactly what not to do as a guild leader.

Heya Scott,

First off, wanted to say I love your article and read it every time I see it. I have a problem with my guild, and am sending you this as possible commentary for your next article.

My guild is a fairly casual one with a very strong group of officers that have been together since the beginning of WoW. Needless to say, they have been through thick and thin. I joined with the guild about 6 months ago, and have since made a name for myself being a solid tank and a steady mind. I helped a lot throughout BC raiding and really feel a part of the guild.

Then WotLK hit.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: Riding the pine

Officers' Quarters: Riding the pine originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Irdeen's The Power of the Horde - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 12:00:00 EST

At this rate, it looks like Irdeen may turn into one of machinima's regulars. Today's Moviewatch features not only him, but also another regular in the WoW community: L70ETC. Irdeen has created a music video for one of their most popular songs, "The Power of the Horde."

For obvious reasons, Irdeen used the in-game models for the Blizzard rock band. The video features the metal group stomping out their tunes at the gate to Outland, with several mileu shots for chorus and chords. Irdeen also helpfully includes subtitles for those who might have trouble making out the lyrics. (I like metal as much, if not more, than the next guy, but even I have to admit you could be stumbled trying to make out what L70ETC is singing.)

At this point, I'd encourage Irdeen to keep developing original material. I think this video shows that he's mastered a lot of tactics and tools to creating machinima, and Go Turbo Go displayed his ability to do some music himself. I'm eager to see him take his skills to another level.

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

WoW Moviewatch: Irdeen's The Power of the Horde originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider Show Episode 71: In da (guild) house - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 11:30:00 EST
Quite a podcast last Saturday -- Turpster came back and BigRedKitty joined us as well, so it was a rip-roaring time. We talked about our predictions for 2009, talked once again about which reps to work towards, where WoW might get more players from, answered lots and lots of emails from listeners, and we even made plans to give away an authenticator. More about your chance to win the authenticator, how to get a brand new song from Turpster, and how to get your voice on the podcast after the break below.

We do this every Saturday on Ustream at 3:30pm Eastern, and then post the results here every Monday morning, so you can listen to the show any way you'd like. It's always a great time -- as Turpster said this week, it's just like reading WoW Insider, except we do the reading for you.

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
[Ustream] Listen to the unedited recording in Ustream.
[RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:

Continue reading WoW Insider Show Episode 71: In da (guild) house

WoW Insider Show Episode 71: In da (guild) house originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 11:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Illusionary Tactics: The Hyldnir - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST

Yes, I know this column has been gone a while. Sorry about that. Or wait, actually - it wasn't gone, it was just undercover! That's it! You didn't really think Encrypted Text was just talking about rogues this whole time, did you? Wake up, sheeple!

Wrath of the Lich King has been upon us for some time, and with it came zone after zone of prolific questing and fascinating scenery. I'd like to spend the next few weeks talking about some of my favorite quests and items that provide disguises or change your appearance in WotLK. Obviously, there will be spoilers in some of these posts for those of you that haven't done all the quests in Northrend yet; I'll put all such behind a cut, so don't click on if you don't want to know about the content.

Let's start out with the Hyldnir of Storm Peaks.

Continue reading Illusionary Tactics: The Hyldnir

Illusionary Tactics: The Hyldnir originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: We come from the land of the ice and snow - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 10:00:00 EST


It looks like this particular instance run has gone down like a lead zeppelin, to quote an infamous phrase. (Joke's on you, Entwistle -- at least John Bonham died before he got old.)

According to Joline of <Deep Thought> on Stormreaver, a group member disconnected in the middle of an instance, and the whole gang was stuck waiting for him to make his way through the 600-person queue. They started passing around some of those paper zeppelins you can buy at the Dalaran toy shop to pass the time. There's a little trick where if you run away from a zeppelin, it continues following you, but you also get it in your inventory to throw back. Zeppelin + Bug + Time + Empty Instance = This Picture. Hmm ... these zeppelin stacks remind me of something from college. Ah, yes. The big ol' pile of footballs. Such memories.

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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: We come from the land of the ice and snow originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ask a Lore Nerd: Demons rule, naga drool - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 09:00:00 EST


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Just as a warning, today's Ask a Lore Nerd has a couple of spoilers for Wrath content. At this point, I assume that light Northrend spoilers isn't going to scare people off, but I figure I should mention it anyway. It's nothing major, so you won't ruin your experience by reading it anyway. Let's dig in!

Tarean
asked...

Blizzard's said that there's enough material for plenty of more expansions after Wrath of the Lich King, and there's plenty of possibilities, but what expansion should come next lore-wise?

Continue reading Ask a Lore Nerd: Demons rule, naga drool

Ask a Lore Nerd: Demons rule, naga drool originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: What you call home - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST

One of the more amusing things that polarizes WoW players is the various capital cities. Everyone has a favorite, very few people are ever neutral. Some of my friends like Ironforge for its simplicity, it's all laid out in a circle. Some like Stormwind for the truly city-like appearance. Some even like Darnassus because they have a thing for purple. Some of my friends wish we played Horde so we could have Orgrimmar, because I guess they need more spikes in their life or something. Me? I'm a Stormwind (and Silvermoon City) kind of guy, but Dalaran has stole my heart. Plenty of people hate Dalaran too, though.

Everyone just wants different things out of their cities. I like cities with tons of flavor, with a very city feel. Stormwind feels like people really live there, despite how small it is. Dalaran most definitely feels like a city of mages, and there's a ton of flavor and neat stuff to look at there. The fact that every single person who gives you directions in Dalaran has a name is crazy neat. The little daily event at 9 PM where you get to help turn on the lights is amazingly cool for how simple it is.

How about all of you, what's your favorite? What do you like about it, or dislike about the others? What would your ideal capital have, if you're not very fond of any of them?

Breakfast Topic: What you call home originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 05 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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All the World's a Stage: 2008, year of the living roleplayer - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 23:11:00 EST
So there I was, celebrating the New Year, when I realized just how long All the World's a Stage has been around. It's grown from an idea in the back of my head, to a pet project, into a full-fledged resource for roleplayers -- and it's still growing! Even after 68 weeks-worth of content, there's still so much to write about! It goes to show, if there's a topic you love, you should really write about it, because doing so makes you love it even more.

Now, looking back on this year of writing, it strikes me that some things have changed, while other things have stayed the same. Some articles seem just important and relevant to today's concerns as they were when they were written, and many feel like they could use a bit of updating.

Just about a year ago, for instance, All the World's a Stage took a look at "The past, present, and future of roleplaying," which addressed the popular conception at that time that "RP is dead." We don't hear that so much anymore, do we? It seems many of the roleplayers have gradually been shifting around since then, grouping up into small communities on their old servers, or else transferring to a very few realms with a good reputation for roleplaying. Recently, I just transferred over to a new server and was thrilled to see how many roleplayers were hanging around the streets of Dalaran. RP isn't dead at all -- it's just got itself together now instead of being scattered all over everywhere. Congealed, as it were.

Continue reading All the World's a Stage: 2008, year of the living roleplayer

All the World's a Stage: 2008, year of the living roleplayer originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 23:11:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spiritual Guidance: 4 different ways to diagnose your healer - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 20:00:00 EST


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Today Matticus checks out common problems healers run into that stall them from being effective.

Every healer in their life time will experience a situation gone bad where they try to figure out what went wrong. It usually goes something like this:

"What's the problem?"

"Lack of heals."

"Okay, more heals please!"

If I had a copper every time I heard that phrase, I would have enough for a mammoth by now. After every wipe or death, the first person that gets blamed is the healer. Big props to all of you right now no matter what class you are for sticking through it and helping your friends, guilds and raids out. I know I put up with a lot of stuff when crap hits the fan.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: 4 different ways to diagnose your healer

Spiritual Guidance: 4 different ways to diagnose your healer originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW, Casually: Top 5 casual improvements in 2008 - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime.

2007 truly was the year of the casual, but 2008 continued the trend of Blizzard developers to make more content accessible for those of us with limited playtime. The biggest patches for us (and everyone else) were 2.4 and 3.0.2. And there was that little expansion that happened. Overall, there is more for us to do in less time. Here is my list of the top 5 WoW improvements for us this past year.

Continue reading WoW, Casually: Top 5 casual improvements in 2008

WoW, Casually: Top 5 casual improvements in 2008 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Enchanting changes in patch 3.0.8 - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:30:00 EST
The developers have mentioned here and there that they weren't totally happy with Enchanting, as far as materials go. You need too much of it, and it's too rare to support the demand without becoming crazy inflated in price. Patch 3.0.8 was supposed to contain a few changes, and holy cow are there changes.

I assumed the changes would be minor, like more dust coming from every disenchantment, but the MMO-Champion forums has compiled a list that surprises me quite a bit. It actually is a pretty sweeping change, reducing the material costs of a whole load of enchantments. Dust isn't the only thing targeted, they use less materials across the board.

In some cases, the material costs are halved, or more than halved. It's definitely not a small little change to Enchanting, waiting until the patch to enchant your gear will save you hundreds of gold. If you want to play it safe or are just curious, MMO-Champion has the full list for your perusal.

Enchanting changes in patch 3.0.8 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GC says good things coming for Warlocks - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST


Ghostcrawler said some things over at the forums that should make our year start brightly. Or grimly, depending on what makes your Warlock smile. I mentioned something about the problematic Soul Shard mechanic, which was on top of Ghostcrawler's to-do list for the class. He says that Blizzard is looking at making it "more interesting and less of a hassle," which should be music to our ears. They're exploring two models -- one is a major change in gameplay, but is "very cool", while the other would be a quick fix. The clunkiness of Soul Shards have been around for four years, so I think we can all wait just a bit longer for something very, very cool.

Another big thing he mentioned was the simplification of Affliction's rotation. It's not something I'm completely sold on, considering I actually have a lot of fun with Affliction, but the stuff is a bit of a headache to keep track of and I do need AddOns to help me monitor all those debuffs. Ghostcrawler also notes that Warlock DPS -- mostly Affliction, at least -- is built up over time, but since fights don't last very long, they're looking at how to fix things. Although he also says it might fix itself in Ulduar, which won't be the ez-mode players have been treated to in early Wrath.

Blizzard will also be improving demons, which is totally awesome considering they're worlds better now than they were four years ago. Finally, Ghostcrawler gives a nod to PvP, knowing that Warlocks do need a bit of work there, too. Very encouraging words to kick off our 2009, don't you think?

GC says good things coming for Warlocks originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lichborne: The 2008 Death Knight year in review - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST


Welcome to first 2009 installment of Lichborne, the WoW Insider Death Knight column.

Welcome to 2009, which I am, completely arbitrarily, declaring the year of the Death Knight. Sure, Death Knights were first announced back in 2007, but 2008 was when they took shape and showed up in playable form, and 2009 will be the first full year that they've been on the live servers. Let's look back then, at 2008, and see some of the milestones in the creation of my favorite new class and yours.

Continue reading Lichborne: The 2008 Death Knight year in review

Lichborne: The 2008 Death Knight year in review originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: My little pony - Sun, 04 Jan 2009 10:00:00 EST


A horse is a horse, of course, of course, unless, of course, it's a horse about to be devoured by an oversized mutant bear. Ah ... wait. Crap. I was never that good at TV theme songs. Anyway, Azglok of <That Seventies Guild> on Darrowmere recently took advantage of a sizable size buff to go out and scare the local ponies on his bear mount. Hmm. The area is filled with beautiful tame ponies, yet Azglok's character is choosing to ride on a feral, broad-backed bear. I guess what they say about tauren brainpower is true.

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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: My little pony originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 04 Jan 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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