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Tickets, Please: A look at Darkmoon Faire's ticket reward system - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 19:30:00 EST
It's the first full week of the month, and among other things, that means that the Darkmoon Faire is in town -- That town being Shattrath City, at least for February. We've said a few things about the Faire in the past, but I'd like to get into the meat of the thing, so you can figure out how to get all you can out of Silas and his merry band before they head out for another month, or at least start your preparations for their next gig in Elwynn Forest. This time, I'd like to talk about the ticket system, that lovely process whereby Gelvas Grimegate turns Darkmoon Faire Prize Tickets into loot. Fellow blogger Robin Torres posted a good introduction to the system a few months back, but I'd like to expand it a bit and see what we can find out about how it works and why -- or if -- you should take advantage of it.

Check it out after the jump!

Continue reading Tickets, Please: A look at Darkmoon Faire's ticket reward system

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Blood Pact: The real Lunar Festival - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST
Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

Today being the first day of the lunar new year (for the eastern hemisphere at least), I shall lay my shadow bolts down and talk about something close to my roots: the Lunar Festival. Hey, even evil warlocks come from somewhere, you know.

WoW's Lunar Festival is based pretty closely on the real life Lunar New Year that millions celebrate all around the world. It's a really nice gesture on Blizzard's part to move in-game festivities each year to match the real life celebrations, as Lunar New Year doesn't fall on the same day each year on the 'normal' or Gregorian calendar. In fact the 15-day festival is determined by the lunisolar calendar, and it begins on the first day with a new moon of the new lunar year. This is the third year we're having the Lunar Festival in WoW:

  • 2006 - The Lunar New Year was on Jan 29; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Jan 27 to Feb 14.
  • 2007 - The Lunar New Year was on Feb 18; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Feb 16 to Mar 8.
  • 2008 - The Lunar New Year is on Feb 7; WoW's Lunar Festival started yesterday and will continue till February 23rd.
What happens during WoW's Lunar Festival, besides Asian-style outfits, fireworks and funky red decor around towns?

Continue reading Blood Pact: The real Lunar Festival

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Removing diminishing honor to the fix the AFK problem - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST
Relmstein's latest post asks an interesting question: will the removal of diminishing honor returns in patch 2.4 help Blizzard combat the ongoing AFK problem? His suggestion is that removing the diminishing honor will mean that there is more honor available in the BGs, and that that will drive players back from the "peace cave" out into the battlefield (since they were only AFK-ing because they didn't think they could earn honor fast enough.

But I've got to disagree-- people were (and are) going AFK not because they couldn't pick up enough honor, but because they didn't want to play at all. Going AFK is free honor, and it will keep being so until Blizzard just plain cracks down and starts kicking AFKers. Diminishing honor returns means nothing to serious AFKers-- all they care is that they're earning honor for free. When (or maybe if) Blizzard stops that from happening, then they'll be able to stop AFKers.

As for the removal of returns, I can only think that it'll mean, if anything, more honor farming and turtling. Blizzard says they've crunched the numbers and determined that it's the right thing to do, but I don't see how supplying those Iceblood turtlers will constant honor is going to help things. We'll have to see what effects arise when the new patch drops on the PTR.

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There is no Dana, only Omen - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST


Happy Lunar Festival! Ae as we celebrate the festival of the moon in World of Warcraft, we should take pause to reflect on the many dogs in our life. From the hounds in MC (can't you just hear your old raid leader yell: "LOOT THE DOGS!"), to the annoying wolves that get in our way when farming Netherweb Spider Silk. But for a short time, there is no other top dog on the block then Omen.

Hanging out in Moonglade, he's a real pain. Before you even think of killing him, you need to get to Moonglade first. Since I mainly roll with my warrior when attempting new things, I wasn't able to just take the easy way to Moonglade and teleport myself there. However, many thanks to Toast who filled me in on a little tip: talk to the Lunar Festival Night Elves in any major city to get a scroll that'll teleport you to Moonglade. To get the scroll all you have to do is complete a quest that has you light off a few fireworks that you can purchase from a near by vendor. Easy as pie.

Once you arrive in Moonglade, head up to the northeast corner of the map, in particular around coordinates 53, 35. You'll find the quest "Elune's Blessing" from Valadar Starsong, giving you the task of killing Omen for some handy rewards.

Continue reading There is no Dana, only Omen

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Predicting patch 2.4 - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 15:30:00 EST
So it's time for WoW Insider to do you all a favor. It seems like whenever we attempt to predict the timing of a certain patch, Blizzard ignores whatever we say, and drops it right away. With patch 2.2, we predicted in early September that it would take "weeks" longer, maybe even last November, and instead they had it out within the month. And with patch 2.3, we guessed that Blizzard wouldn't drop it before Thanksgiving, and just hours later they proved us wrong, and released it before the holiday.

So here you go: with everything we've seen on the forums lately, including the CMs a little giddy with excitement, and all of the news that dropped last week, we're going to officially predict that patch 2.4 will drop on the PTRs this coming Tuesday, and that it will hit the live realms sometime in early March (probably before Noblegarden, which starts on March 23rd).

There. Now, Blizzard has plenty of chances to prove us wrong by releasing the PTR sometime this week, and getting the patch out to live realms before March 1st. That's our favor to you-- if Blizzard follows their past pattern, they'll make us completely wrong again, and get you on the PTR and in the patch even sooner than we thought.

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Lunar Festival is up to its old tricks - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST
Blizzard has previously told us that they plan to renovate as many of the holidays as possible, but from what we've seen so far, the Lunar Festival hasn't really recieved any of that love-- as Lodran says, players who've done the Lunar Festival quests in the pasts aren't finding anything new to do this year.

Not that there's anything really wrong with that-- Omen is still out there to be taken down, and for a lot of people, Omen was the first raid boss they'd seen (in fact, he was the Horseman before there was a Horseman-- a seasonal boss, except that Omen didn't drop epic loot). And lots of people are still having fun running the old Lunar Festival quests and turning those in.

But it is too bad there's nothing new yet. Guess we'll have to wait for Love is in the Air and Noblegarden to see if Blizzard's done any more seasonal updating.

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Fighting in battlegrounds at a level that ends in 1 - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
Nick on WoW LJ posted about something that drives me nuts every time I head into the battlegrounds below level 70. Here's a tip: before you queue up for the battlegrounds, check the last number of your level. If it's anything below a seven, you are not prepared. Don't go in there. Level up, and then go in, because the other side (whether they be Alliance or Horde) is bringing nines, and sometimes even twinks.

Now I know that's a tough suggestion to follow-- even I, despite being driven so nuts by this, have wanted to try out my new spells so much that I've taken some level 44s and 22s into the battlegrounds. But the fact is that at the lower end of each ten levels, you're just not anywhere near powerful enough to either do much or survive in a BG. And the people that did show up to play at 29 and 49 and 59 are just being left shorthanded by having lowbies on their team. Maybe teamwork can help a lower-leveled team power past a team of 8s and 9s, but since teamwork is missing in most PuG battlegrounds, I haven't seen it yet. And yes, a well-timed root of any level, or any other utility spell, can save a BG, but it wont if that root gets resisted.

Is there a fix that Blizzard can implement? I don't think so-- even if they gave 9s their own BGs, then 8s would complain, and even at 70, gear can be so inconsistent that it still doesn't matter that everyone in the BG is the same level. But if your level ends in 1, please don't even bother going into a BG-- go level up (leveling pre-60 is super fast now), and then come back to actually help your BG team win.

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WoW Moviewatch: Bobble and friends go on a real life adventure - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 12:00:00 EST

Bobble & friends - An IRL adventure is quite possibly the cutest WoW machinima I've seen so far. The idea of the short is to show you what happens when your characters break free into the real world. Apparently, they go straight for the TV ... That's so typical!

Stamp did a great job on this video. It's creative, smart, and well put together. He used quite a bit of programs to assemble it, even adding percentages used in the credits. Warcraftmovies viewers compare it to Toy Story, so I hope that means there's a sequel in the works!

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Tigole talks about Inscription and Hero Classes in Wrath - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 11:45:00 EST
In an interview at Computer and Videogames, Tigole mostly discusses some things we've already heard about, such as the Lake Wintergrasp PvP zone and the process to unlock the Death Knight class, but also reveals a few very tasty little morsels of new information as well.

First, he tells us a little bit more about Blizzard's philosophy behind Inscription, the new trade skill slated to be released with the expansion. While it appears that only one inscription will be allowed to be on a spell at one time, their goal is not to create one or two all-powerful inscriptions that will be used above all others, but to give players a variety of valid choices as to how to modify their spells. The example he gives is that of Frost Nova. One player might choose an inscription that gave their nova a longer range, while another might choose one that would lengthen the duration of the root associated with it.

And what's this? More hero classes?

Continue reading Tigole talks about Inscription and Hero Classes in Wrath

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Around Azeroth: What horror awaits? - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Reader Slyde, an Alliance Hunter on the Magtheridon server, arrived at the border of Ashenvale. But as he prepared to cross the bridge into Azshara, he spotted these two visions of horror carved from wood. Eldritch blue smoke emanated from their eyes, giving their twisted visages an even more horrifying effect. Though they served as a warning to all who travel in search of adventure, it was a warning Slyde ignored as he ventured ahead into new lands.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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. No, really.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Legendary ranged weapon confirmed - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 09:30:00 EST
Like MMO-Champion says, this isn't the biggest surprise, but we now have confirmation (en français) that a legendary ranged weapon will drop in the new 25-man raid in patch 2.4's Sunwell Plateau. Specifically, it will be a direct drop, like the Warglaives of Azzinoth, and not the result of a quest chain, like good old Thunderfury. Still unknown is which boss it'll be from (though Boubouille reasonably supposes that it'll be the last boss, Kil'jaeden).

Also unknown is what type of weapon it will be: bow, gun, or crossbow. Vosh makes the guess that it will be a crossbow, because guns would benefit dwarves and bows would benefit night elves trolls [sorry!], due to their racial bonuses, which makes sense, although I wouldn't bet on it either. What do you guys think? What will this weapon be like, and hunters, how excited are you?

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Breakfast Topic: The Zul'Aman speed bump - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST


Zul'Aman. Heard of it? Noticed a lot of folks trading in their Kara gear for some rickety pieces of wood held together with twine? ZA has been live for some time now and most of us have had the chance to check out Blizzard's latest 10-man offerings. So here's the question: Is Zul'Aman worth the trouble? Sure, it's fun. The bosses are nifty and whatnot. But is it progression?

A number of guilds have graduated from Karazhan in the last month or so, but instead of moving into 25-man content, the majority are turning to our new favorite troll town. Of course some of them are dabbling in Gruul's Lair but I dare say Lady Vashj isn't getting as much company as she used to.

There is definitely something to be said about the fact that ZA is 10-man content. If you have a great Kara guild but not enough numbers to move up, ZA is a blessing to say the least. But is that a good thing? Ultimately, if you want to see Black Temple, you're running out of time, and postponing 25-man content is not helping your cause. The expansion will arrive sooner or later and when it does, people will not be interested in killing Illidan anymore. They'll want to see Northrend. If you've tried to put together a Naxx run lately, you know what I'm talking about.

So what do you think? Is ZA helping people get the gear they need to succeed? Or is it keeping them away from the prize?

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Guildwatch: Fish food - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 23:30:00 EST


I don't know what Vashj did to you guys, but there must have been something, because she is getting dropped more and more often lately. Nobody likes the Naga, I guess. And Kael is pretty much shaking in his boots-- nearly every guild that has downed Vashj is throwing him angry looks for being next.

This week's GW starts right after the jump-- click the link below to check the week's drama, downed and recruiting news, all tipped to us by you, dear readers. If you have news for Guildwatch (especially drama, because who doesn't like that?), send it along to wowguildwatch@gmail.com. Enjoy!

Continue reading Guildwatch: Fish food

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New cooking recipes for 2.4! - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 19:30:00 EST

Ever since 2.3 went live, it's been a bit of a struggle to make the leap from the 260 cooking range to the 300 cooking range, as both my poor Paladin and Shaman can well attest. With recipes such as Tender Wolf Steak and Monster Omelet, once the mainstays of any aspiring chef's training, going green and gray much earlier than before (That is, gray at 275 rather than 300), It's been a bit of trouble getting the needed skill to start cooking up the buzzard and ravager meat that makes the mainstay of the early post-300 cooking grind.

Luckily, the developers heard the cries of horror from all the cooks who thought they might have to grind up fishing to get the materials they needed to skill up, and promised us new recipes.

And today, European CM Vaneras let us know the details. New cooks will need to head to Felwood and Western Plaguelands and start killing themselves a few bears. New meat drops from the bears will allow you to make either spell damage or attack power food, not only removing fishing as a requirement for skilling to 300 cooking, but also giving players in the level 45-60 range a nice stat boost while grinding, questing, or leveling. The recipes themselves will be purchasable from Bale of the Horde or Malygen of the Alliance, both in their respective outposts in Felwood.

So put down your fishing pole and pick up your frying pan again, cooks. Salvation is on the way!

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A strange little house in Ashenvale - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 19:15:00 EST


Some older players might remember when all those empty huts and farms in The Barrens received a new infusion of life, with orc families inhabiting them and acting out stories both humorous (That poor kid being chased by a swarm of bees) and heartfelt (That poor kid waiting for his dad to come home from Warsong Gulch). A forum post by player Lalluna of the Darkspear server pointed out that, quite a few patches later, that liveliness may be spreading to other zones in Kalimdor!

Ever since patch 2.3, over in the far west of Ashenvale, just northwest of the Shrine of Aesinna, you'll find a rather lovely looking Night Elf abode, complete with a garden. Inhabiting it is the night elven Edune family: Benjari, Becanna, Elenna, and Aleanna. They seem to have visitors in the form of two humans, William and Sulan Dunadaire, a brother and sister. It's not just a silent tableau either, there's definitely stuff going on, as I'll show you after the break.

Continue reading A strange little house in Ashenvale

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Build Shop: Paladin 40/0/21 - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 18:30:00 EST


This week on Build Shop I've got another Paladin build for you all to digest -- Shockadin (aka 40/0/21)! I like this build because it's all purpose, allowing you to act as the main healer for an instance if necessary, but giving you the freedom to go grind or farm or what have you without needing to respec. It's also got the potential for some great burst damage, if used properly.

This build picks up most of its talents from the Holy tree, but goes into Retribution for some nice support talents, as well as Sanctity Aura, which is what you'll be using if you're in DPS mode.

Alright, let's dig into this build and see what's going on!

Continue reading Build Shop: Paladin 40/0/21

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New faces at WoW Insider - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST


Last December we put out a call for new writers. Breaking news bloggers, weekend bloggers and a Mage columnist were all on our list of positions to fill. After reading the hundreds of excellent applications (and a few very strange ones), we've made our final decision.

The new WoW Insider staffers include Adam Holisky and Alex Ziebart who have both already hit the ground running to boost our weekend coverage. Daniel Whitcomb, Amanda Dean and Heath Milo will be starting this week to cover breaking news throughout the week and Allison Robert will be following soon after.

The decision to choose which applicant would be our new Mage columnist was a tough one. The applications for this position were very, very good. However, one not only informed, but entertained in such a manner that we couldn't say no. Very soon Arcane Brilliance will be returning under Christian Belt. Trust me, there's no one quite like him.

Finally, one applicant who applied as a general writer turned out to be a specialist. We liked him so much that we are in the process of hiring him to write news, tips and guides specifically for AddOns, UIs and macros. Look out for his work to start in the next month or so.

If you weren't chosen, there will always be a chance in the future to apply again. Until then, our sister site Massively, covering news for all MMOs, just put out their own call for bloggers today. Applications will be accepted until February 15th.

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Oh Noes!!!1!1!1one: I've been hax0red! - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 17:30:00 EST
On Saturday night I noticed a guildie acting strangely. He kept switching between characters and wouldn't respond to tells from even his closest friends in the guild. Concerned about him, we gave him a call... on the phone, to see what was up. You guessed it, he was nowhere near his computer at the time. He went to log in and found his password was changed. Unfortunately, he had also forgotten the correct response to his secret question "What is your favorite activity?"

The hacker kept running in and out of the Shadow Labyrinth. I checked the customer service forums and found that this was common behavior among hackers. Either there is an exploit in that instance, or hackers just really enjoy hanging out with Blackheart the Inciter. I'm leaning toward the latter.

Continue reading Oh Noes!!!1!1!1one: I've been hax0red!

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The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 41-50 - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 16:45:00 EST


This week I'm going to continue the class guide by talking about levels 41-50. This is the level range I dislike the most when playing most of my characters (more specifically, 45-50), but I'm going to include suggestions to help you get through it as fast as possible. Since you got your mount at 40, you'll notice a distinct drop in travel time, but please be careful when mounted -- enemy mobs can still hit you, potentially knocking you off your mount to make your escape on foot. You may have chosen to respec at 40 to Protection or Holy, but I'm continuing as Retribution for leveling purposes (though Prot grinding is also quite fun). As such, certain quests / areas may be harder for some specs than others, so I've tried to offer alternative zones when possible just in case you start having trouble.

If you missed the last two installments of the leveling guide, you can find 1-20 here, and 21-40 here. Before we get started on level 41, I have a couple of recommendations: First, make sure your First Aid skill is leveled up and you have a nice stock of bandages, as sometimes you'll be low on mana and a bubble/bandage can save your life. Second, always carry around a stack or two of the best water (and maybe food) you can get, and if you've leveled cooking, try to keep yourself food buffed as much as possible. Third, take a deep breath -- some of the zones you have to quest in at this level range are notorious ganking grounds on PvP servers, and many have tough mobs that may give you trouble (especially if they have a level or two on you). You will likely find yourself running back from the graveyard a lot, and that's always frustrating. Just keep on at it, and you'll get through it.

Continue reading The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 41-50

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Does anybody pay attention to World Defense? - Tue, 05 Feb 2008 16:01:00 EST
theflamecrow on LJ had an interesting little occurrence: he was in Darkshore when he saw a flash in the World Defense channel that Darkshore was being attacked. The only problem? He's Horde.

Now, most people may think that Horde doesn't have a base in Darkshore that can do under attack, but in fact, they do-- it's the Dancing Troll Village. So apparently some enterprising Alliance had found it and started killing. But here's the bigger question I got from crow's story: does anyone really pay attention to World Defense?

I know I don't. But then again, I play on a PvE server, so odds are that anyone attacking a lowbie level like that is just a level 70 on a rampage. But even on PvP servers, do blaring Defense channels really mean that anyone cares? People will protect their guildies, and of course they'll join the fight if they smell blood (or at least someone they can beat in a fight). But do the Local and World Defense channels really point the way to a good PvP clash the way the developers surely intended? Or do they just mean chat spam, and that there'll be trouble if you try to speak to NPCs in that area?

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