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Essence of the Immortals gone from the Test Server - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 19:00:00 EST

While we reported a while back on the use of the Essence of the Immortals as a method to unlock the Sunwell Plateau 25-man, progressive patching has continued its march, as Tigole explains to us in a recent forum thread.

The Essence of the Immortals itself is now gone, and instead, all gates will open automatically over time on each server. Tigole explains that although they like the idea of cross-server competition, and plan to implement in the future, The Essence of the Immortals concept wasn't working out as well as they'd hoped. Of course, servers can still compete to unlock the daily quests the fastest.

Continue reading Essence of the Immortals gone from the Test Server

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Do you drive people nuts talking about WoW? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 18:30:00 EST
Is this you? (image from Real Life Comics.)

Because man, it's me. I talk about this game way, way too much. I stir up hornet's nests in my columns because I love to back and forth about it. I love it when people agree with me, and I love it even more when people tell me I'm full of crap. I like arguing, debating, and speculating about World of Warcraft. Frankly, I bore the heck out of my friends who don't play. I once sat in a crowded restaurant with a friend and his wife and went over the minutia of rage generation with so fine toothed a comb that not even light could escape, and only realized by the stricken, panicked look on their faces that they would have welcomed an axe wielding maniac at that point if he'd only kill me first so that the discussion of threat per second vs rage from damage dealt would finally somehow end.

I guess it's a good thing I ended up here at WoW Insider. It's not like there are a lot of socially acceptable venues in which rambling for solid hours about 2.6 speed fist weapons is considered perfectly normal and acceptable. My wife, who plays as much as I do, manages much better at presenting a normal facade, and yet is still capable of explaining how ranged weapon speeds can affect hunter shot rotations in frightening depth and with extraordinarily broad references with which to make her point. The Wolfslayer Sniper Rifle has no idea how much she knows about it.

So again, how about you? Are you truly casual, barely ever discussing the game? or are you seething with the potential to explain spell damage and haste rating to passing strangers?

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Gamers on the Street: The buddy system - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 18:00:00 EST


Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

WoW Insider's Zach Yonzon posted an intriguing Breakfast Topic yesterday: Who's your favorite playing partner? Readers seemed to enjoy chiming in with a tip of a hat to their own partners in crime. Suspecting that perhaps WoW Insider readers are a particularly chatty and friendly bunch, we wondered what we'd find if we logged in over the lunch hour to chat with random players going about their city business.

So we logged into Khaz Modan, a PvE realm, where we were lucky enough to run into three friendly players who each have their own ways of sharing World of Warcraft (and no, it's not just about progression with a guild of folks you've met in game!). We dodged the gold-sellers in Stormwind's main square to bring you their stories.

Continue reading Gamers on the Street: The buddy system

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Phat Loot Phriday: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 17:30:00 EST


We haven't done a lot of PvP gear here (any, I think) on Phat Loot, but I figured this phat wand might be a good place to start.

Name: Vengeful Gladiator's Touch of Defeat (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWWiki)
Type: Epic Wand
Damage/Speed: 252-468 Fire / 1.90 (189.5 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +18 Stamina, +14 Intellect
  • Improves your resilience rating by 14, which is standard for PvP arena gear -- anything to counteract those big crits.
  • Increases damage and healing by magical spells and effects by up to 18. Which doesn't seem like a lot, but for a wand, it's pretty good.
  • The big difference between this and the other PvP season 3 wand, the Piercing Touch, is that this one doesn't have spell penetration on it. The tradeoff is the Intellect, and a few damage points, so it's up to you. Higher end players might go for the penetration (that's the only way you can get past resistances), while a player who is in the Arenas only in between raids might grab this one. It's up to you.
How to Get It: Like we've said, you need to play Arena PvP to grab this one. It's available from the Arena vendors for 1000 points, which doesn't require too long to get, as long as you're a good and steady player. Holding onto a 1500 rating in a 5v5 team will get you a little over 300 points a week, which means it'll take 3-4 weeks to gain this many points (and of course you've got to play 10 games a week and make sure you're playing a good percentage of the team's total battles).

But there's another catch -- season 3 added personal and team requirements to purchase the weapons. So to actually buy this, not only do you need the points, but you need to have a personal and team rating of 1850 to buy it. You don't need to keep up that rating to keep the weapon, you just need that score when you buy it.

Which gets us back to the reason why we stay away from PvP gear here on Phat Loot: no matter how much you covet this, if you're not a good player, it's not yours. In the future Arena seasons, we can expect this loot to come back down: next season it'll be cheaper, and the season after that it might even be available for BG honor and tokens. But right now, it's be good or go home for this high-end Arena gear.

Getting Rid of It: Vendors won't buy it, and like most PvP gear, it doesn't disenchant. But you worked hard for that rating -- while you could destroy it if you happen to find a better wand in Northrend, you might as well keep it as a trophy of your winnings.

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Who's in for the arena battle? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 17:00:00 EST


So I'm stoked about the upcoming arena tournament. I will be involved in the stress testing worldwide arena event on Sunday. It's a chance to play with World of Warcraft PvP enthusiasts from around the world. The event will take place on the tournament test realm from 12pm to 3pm PST Sunday, March 9. For our worldwide readers that's GMT - 8.

If you're planning on being involved in this epic event, you'll need to plan ahead. If you haven't been on the test realms, you will have to download several patches. Even though the gear is free of charge, but getting it takes some time and patience. The battle will take place on Sunday, but you should get your character ready today or Saturday if you want to be ready.

I don't expect everything to go perfectly. My experience with the TTR has been that it is laggy, but manageable. I'll be there. Who will I be seeing on Sunday?

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Forum post of the Day: So you're off to BT/Hyjal - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 16:00:00 EST

Fear not, brave raiders who have been stuck on Kael and Vashj! In 2.4, you'll be able to walk into Black Temple and Mount Hyjal without having to kill the pain-in-the-tuchus prerequisite bosses to get attuned. To assist you in exploring these untamed lands, Gragnarth of <Simple Math> on Andorhal has created a quick guide to all the BT/Hyjal bosses. Corrected-for-spelling highlights include:

  • Archimonde: "A great way to prepare your guild for this encounter is to have all your guildies meet up in real life and kick each other in the balls repeatedly until they break down and cry."
  • Rage Winterchill: "After 8 waves of slaying exciting and dynamic pacing mechanisms, you will do battle with Rage Winterchill, who you may have met before in your adventures to Scholomance. He hits nearly as hard as the guy in Scholomance, so make sure you have at least 1 person Bandaging the Main Tank every minute."
  • The Black Temple: "Black Temple is the home of Illidan, he is in a guild called <The Betrayer> ... While waiting for your raid to form, you can play the exciting game of repeatedly aggroing Doomwalker on a flying mount, causing him to yell at the entire zone. The lvl 68's nearby will either threaten to report for for spamming in general chat or send you whispers asking to join your Doomwalker raid. Both should provide suitable entertainment while you wait for people to hearth and come back because they forgot their SR neck."
  • Illidari Council: "All throughout your World Of Warcraft raiding career, you have been preparing for this fight. From Magmadar to Magtheridon, Ragnaros to Rage Winterchill, you have learned not to stand in bad things. Well, my friends, it's time for all that experience to pay off because Illidari Council is the SUPER BOWL OF NOT STANDING IN THINGS! This fight has so many things not to stand in including: Concencrate, Blizzard, Flamestrike, the general area around the mage guy and much much more."
  • Illidan loots: "Congratulations on your double vanquisher, healing cloak with spellhaste, felhunter on a stick and leather bracer pattern. You are also guaranteed to get a warglaive of azzinoth, unless someone in the raid deserves one ... and always remember that all your accomplishments mean nothing because they are MONTHS BEHIND."

Hardcore raiders, got any other strategy tips for those of us in the MONTHS BEHIND category?

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Insider Trader: Rounding up 2.4 professions changes, part 2 - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 15:07:00 EST


Last week, we rounded up all of the professions-related changes coming with patch 2.4 for various reagents, mining, blacksmithing, engineering and fishing. If you were feeling left out, have no fear; the rest of the professions are here! From new enchants and gems, to new recipes and craftable gear, every profession is getting a bit of a boost this patch.

Once again, keep in mind that because this is information from the Public Test Realms, the specifics may be changed. If you see a Wowhead tooltip, and I have provided alternate materials next to it, that is because websites like MMO-Champion have since discovered updated information.

Jump through the break to see what's in store for jewelcrafters, enchanters, alchemists, herbalists, cooks, leatherworkers and tailors!

As always, for the details on anything and everything patch 2.4-related, check out our Complete Guide.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Rounding up 2.4 professions changes, part 2

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Blizzard named 3rd of 50 top developers - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 14:30:00 EST
Game Developer magazine has done a study naming the top 50 videogame developers in the world, based on "sales and reputation data," and our favorite folks at Blizzard have been named number three on the list, just under Nintendo Kyoto (responsible for Brain Age and Wii Play) and Infinity Ward (most notable lately for Call of Duty 4), and ahead of EA, Valve, Harmonix, and Square Enix.

I tend to think this chart is weighed a little bit towards recent sales more than reputation -- as far as I know, Infinity Ward doesn't have a big enough following to actually hold a convention based on their games, and while there's no question that Nintendo has a huge fan following, I'm not sure that it's quite right to include a first party console maker on a list of developers (yes, I know Nintendo Kyoto is a studio, not the company itself, but would the average Nintendo fan on the street know the difference?). Still, lists are lists, and there's no question that all of these developers, Blizzard included, are held in the highest regard by fans of their games.

[Via Massively]

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More bad news from Skettis - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 14:00:00 EST

If I only have time to do one daily quest, I do the one for the battlegrounds. If I only have time to do two daily quests, I do the battleground quest, Escape from Skettis, and Fires of Skettis. Yes, that's three quests, but the Skettis quests have been a source of quick and easy cash. I really consider them to be two steps to the same quest. Blizzard seems to be trying to make those quests less appealing in patch 2.4.

First they tell us that the Monstrous Kaliri that hinder us while doing our daily bombing quest, Fires over Skettis, have grown smarter. For now, the trick to getting away from those blasted birds is to fly straight up in the air until you're out of range. Apparently the next generation of Kaliri have gotten wise to that trick and have adapted to three dimensional combat.

Continue reading More bad news from Skettis

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Where are the warriors? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 13:30:00 EST


The Care and Feeding of Warriors is the column for warriors. And apparently this week at least one warrior, ol Matthew Rossi, has a burr up his saddle and is going to rant about it. We try and let him have these little episodes from time to time so that when we point him at Tidewalker's crotch he obligingly whacks it with a sword.

It's interesting playing a warrior in these times. When people aren't demanding we tank their PuG for them, they're demanding we be nerfed in PvP because we dominate it. Except we don't. According to Blizzard's internal numbers, Warriors are under-represented in every single bracket except 2x2, and then only in ratings about 2200. In other words, there are less warriors in every single bracket of Arena play than one would expect by the number of warrior players save for the higest ranked level of the 2x2 arena game. In every single other possible arena combination at either 2200 or 1850 rating, warriors are far from dominant.

I'll say that again. Warriors are not dominant in arenas. They are in fact under-represented. Blizzard would expect to see more of them in Arenas than there actually are playing. So the myth of the arms warrior owning all in his path in arenas is at least partially that, just a myth. Even in the one bracket (2x2 at 2200 rating) that warriors can be claimed to be overrepresented in, they still come in under rogues, warlocks and druids. There is not a single bracket wherein warriors are the most dominant class, not one single bracket at either rating.

So what's going on? If warriors are the most played class in the game, where are they? If you can't find one to tank, and they're not out there ruling PvP the way warlocks tell us they are (you'll notice warlocks are more highly represented in every single bracket at both 2200 and 1850 ratings, keep that in mind the next time a warlock calls for warriors to be nerfed due to their over-representation in arenas) then what's going on with warriors?

Is it possible that not all those level 70 warriors are doing anything at all? Have some of them, maybe a lot of them, been shelved? Is the warrior actually a class in decline?

Maybe, and maybe not. Let's discuss.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Where are the warriors?

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New alchemist stone stats transmuted - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 13:00:00 EST
A couple of the new Alchemist Stones in Patch 2.4 have had their stats changed in the past few days. I assume this change was made to make them more friendly to a wider variety of classes and specs, but you can never say for sure!

The Assassin's Alchemist Stone originally came packing +54 Critical Strike Rating, but now carries +108 Attack Power instead. The caster version, the Sorcerer's Alchemist Stone, has shifted over to +63 Damage/Healing from its original +54 Spell Hit Rating.

I can't speak for everyone, but those seem to be pretty good changes to me. Of course, my main is one of the classes/specs that don't need much Spell Hit, so I'm probably rather biased in that area. If you'd like to take a look at a screenshot of the updated stats for the Alchemist Stones, just hop on past the jump.

Continue reading New alchemist stone stats transmuted

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WoW Moviewatch: Where in the world is mrgizmo? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 12:00:00 EST

With over nine million views on YouTube, Where The Hell Is Matt? has inspired people all over the world. mrgizmo created his own version of the video within World of Warcraft, showcasing hard to reach areas. While not the best filmed or edited, it's still an interesting way to highlight the numerous beautiful locations that WoW has to offer! What is your favorite machinima that was inspired by real life?

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Goon Squad reunites Jaina and Thrall - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 11:30:00 EST

Dipex from Goon Squad contacts us to report on the guild's having brought Jaina and Thrall together for a -- uh -- tempestuous reunion in Orgrimmar. The video above can be seen in a higher quality version here, and it's quite a sight. On occasion I've entertained thoughts of the stunts I'd pull as a GM in WoW, and high on that list would be pitting raid or faction bosses against each other for an ingame version of Two Bosses Enter. Well, Goon Squad actually pulled it off. I won't spoil the video for you, but apparently Thrall and Cairne aren't immune to Jaina's teleportation ability...

I can't begin to imagine the kite job this must've been, but if you take a look at their video of Jaina going postal on Org, you get a sense of just how many people it took. Dipex writes toward the end of the first video that this is the quest-spawned version of Jaina, which I can only assume means they were kiting her from her spawn point in Dustwallow Marsh where the Alliance quest "The Missing Diplomat" ends. This certainly would have simplified matters; getting her out of Theramore would have been significantly more difficult, and I daresay this was an elegant solution. Elegant? Do I mean elegant? Maybe I mean something else.

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Blood Pact: Why people hate warlocks - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 11:00:00 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.

This progressive patch is a roller coaster ride; is Blizzard toying with our emotions? I can imagine the folks at Irvine playing WoW as a grand social experiment: "Let's put in this class-changing nerf and see how they respond, muahahahaha!" The Warlock community certainly responded, and the mood is somewhat settled, now that the Life Tap change has been rolled back and Kalgan has confirmed that "No other Warlock nerfs are planned for 2.4."

I do not see this as a "victory" for warlocks, as the change was uncalled for to start off with. A PvP-driven change to a class-defining mechanic that affects PvE more than PvP simply defies logic - although some insisted that it was a storm in a teacup. Without arguing (again) how BIG this Life Tap change was really going to be, this episode brought one aspect of the WoW community into clear relief for me.

We are very passionate about the classes we play, and react strongly to all changes - good AND bad. While many non-warlock players saw the implications of the Life Tap change, others simply gloated and cheered that their most hated PvP opponents were nerfed. Understandably, players engage in different aspects of the game, and even PvE players have varying degrees of experience playing with warlocks. However, there's been a plethora of rational discussion, from warlocks and non-warlocks alike, on why the LT nerf was uncalled for. There shouldn't really any grounds for hating (the class, hopefully not the players) out of sheer ignorance.

So why does the class trigger such a negative emotional response with some players?

Continue reading Blood Pact: Why people hate warlocks

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Activision CEO talks about in-game advertising... is WoW next? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 10:30:00 EST
When Vivendi acquired Activision -- or was it Activision acquiring Vivendi? these business deals confuse me -- to form what the soon-to-be Activision-Blizzard late last year, many players were concerned about how this would affect our beloved MMO. Blizzard assured its players with an FAQ on the forums about the merger stating, in no uncertain terms, that it would not affect Blizzard's games in any way (except to improve them, presumably). Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently spoke with Next Generation, however, and talked very much like the businessman, discussing possible revenue models for their stable of games. He mentions how Activision-Blizzard must figure out StarCraft's business model for the future, "with in-game advertising and sponsorship" which he says "presents a tremendous opportunity for the future."

He illustrates how StarCraft can actually be "the model for in-game advertising and tournament play", spooking at least one World of Warcraft player, who asks on the forums if WoW could be next. Fortunately, Karune chimes in the same thread assuring StarCraft fans (and by extension, WoW players) that Blizzard has "no plans to have in-game advertising in StarCraft II." He explains that "Bobby (Kotick) was actually referring to Battle.net, which has always included ads." It's very reassuring, but perhaps such speculation would be avoided if Activision-Blizzard's CEO actually words things a little better.

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Around Azeroth: Rocket Shaman - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 10:00:00 EST


Player Zerotes of Earthen Ring realm had this to say about the screenshot he sent in:

When it was revealed that Druids would be given an instant cast flight form 2 levels sooner than any other class and at a tenth of the cost, there was heated debate. Now, another hybrid class is expected to get this treatment in the upcoming patch - Shamans. Harnessing the elements of Wind and Fire, Shamans will gain the ability to propel themselves through the air, making them Rocket Shamans... burning their fuse out there alone.

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. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.

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Ask WoW Insider: How do I get off standby? - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 09:00:00 EST
Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week, reader CS writes:

A number of months ago the old guild I had been in for nearly 2 years broke up due to varies reasons so I found a new raiding guild.
They are decent raiders, not the top raiding guild but a strong one still and our raid leader is good but I find myself on standby alot still.
If the reason is because of my lack of experience with high end raiding or something else ok but how can I fix the problem if they wont tell me that there is a problem?

It's because when you sign up for a raid, you're forgetting to give the raid leader a little baksheesh,

Seriously, the only solution is to attack the problem head-on and talk to raid leader. I was all set to talk out my butt offer some kind advice, but I remembered this question sounded familiar so I'll be lazy and point you to this write up in our raiding column, Ready Check. Marcie has answered the question better than I could.

How about you, oh others left on standby -- how have you gotten off the kids table?

Got questions? Don't wait! Send them to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com and your query could be up in lights here next week.

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Breakfast topic: Bad at WoW - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 08:00:00 EST

Lately, the forums have been full of people accusing other players of being bad at World of Warcraft. The denizens of the Raids and Dungeons forums have even gone so far as to call casual players "bads", and complain about "terribles" or "scrub guilds" getting into raids without attunements. This brings up an interesting point: what makes someone "bad at WoW"?

Personally, I don't think a lack of gear or raid progression indicates being bad at WoW. Some players, like myself, simply don't have the schedule to donate to the acquisition of epics. I would define "bad" as someone who cannot achieve their goals in-game due to their own stupidity, incompetence, or inability to follow the rules.

Here's some examples. If you can't kill Shade of Aran because your schedule prevents you from raiding enough, you're not bad. However, if you can't kill Shade of Aran because "don't move during Flame Wreath" has yet to sink into your skull after twenty tries, you're probably bad. Having trouble winning arenas because you're undergeared? Not necessarily bad. Having trouble winning arenas because your rogue is decked out entirely in strength gems? You might be bad. Getting suspended for being keylogged doesn't mean you're bad, but getting suspended for botting and then complaining that it takes too long to level on the forums does.

What do you think makes someone bad at WoW? Are you bad?

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Mage v. Warlock going to a higher level in WotLK - Fri, 07 Mar 2008 01:45:00 EST
More class changes afoot! Tipster Aikiwoce sends along a blue post in which Kalgan reassures mages that they haven't been forgotten in upcoming talent and ability changes in WotLK. The thread, which seems to have been started mostly because of the earlier warlock thread he'd responded on, elicited a short but highly revealing response from Kalgan: "Mages will get new abilities in the expansion too, believe it or not. In fact, we intend to tone down how strong of a counter Warlocks are to Mages through the WotLK spells/talents."

Hmmm. Little concrete information
, but this is one of the few times that a Blizz dev has openly acknowledged just how powerful certain classes are in relation to others. While they've made no secret of the fact that they don't balance PvP around 1v1 battles, and admitted at BlizzCon that warlocks are essentially the best dueling class, it's still unusual to see official commentary on specific class rivalries.

And, let's face it, the Mage versus Warlock smackdown is practically the stuff of legend. With these tidbits appearing on the forums about class and talent changes in Wrath, keep checking back; we're likely to hear about more of these soon.

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Forum post of the Day: Tank shortage - Thu, 06 Mar 2008 22:00:00 EST

In World of Warcraft if you want to find a group, roll a tank. Tanks are hard to find and good tanks are worth their weight in gold, even Tauren tanks. Goosesausage of Cenarius posted some suggestions he believes might resolve the current lack of meat shields. He suggests that non-protection specialized Warriors would be capable of tanking if the Sunder Armor buff was tweaked a bit.

The poster reported that he has a hard time finding heroic groups since his warrior character is currently specced for DPS. To resolve this issue, Goosesausage suggested that removing the cost of changing one's specialization might resolve the issue. I both agree and disagree with this suggestion. True it's pretty expensive to switch back and forth from prot to DPS and back regularly, but thanks to daily quests money is not nearly as short as it once was. Just make sure you do your grinding before you spec to prot. Even if there was no respeccing fee, tanks would need to acquire two sets of gear.

Continue reading Forum post of the Day: Tank shortage

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