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Below is a list of Article headlines from WOW Insider. This are used on our main page and updated daily. Each article contains links back to WOWinsider, which allow you to view the whole article

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BlizzCon 2013 Art and Movie Contests now open for submissions - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST

Submissions are now being taken for the BlizzCon Art and Movie Contests! Whether you're an artist with a penchant for scribbling masterpieces of Blizzard-inspired material, or your creative tendencies dwell more in machinima and film, both contests are open and now taking entries. Winners will receive a variety of prizes, and have their work featured at BlizzCon 2013, where throngs of attendees can admire your unique skills!

For the Art Contest, all you need to do is create your best piece of art based on Blizzard material from any of their games. The first place winner will receive $1,500, second place will receive $1,000, and third place will receive $700 -- and all three winners will receive a ticket to BlizzCon as well. All entries must be receive by August 23, and meet the formatting requirements. And remember, the contest is for original works -- Photoshop manipulations don't count. Check out the official rules for more information.

For the Movie Contest, films both live action and using in game footage -- or a combination of both -- featuring Blizzard's game universes are now being taken for consideration. Prizes for this year's movie contest include $2,000 and an Oswald Statue for first place, $1,250 for second place, and $750 for third place. And again, all three winners will receive a ticket to Blizzcon as well! Movies must be no more than three minutes in length, and as with the Art Contest, all submissions must be received by August 23. Take a look at the official rules for more information.

To submit your entries, simply head to the official page for both contests. Good luck to all who enter!

BlizzCon 2013 Art and Movie Contests now open for submissions originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: A Day on the Farm - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST

A Day on the Farm by Tony McSherry is a mixed bag. Technically, a lot about the video is fantastic. The dialogue, story frame, and use of graphics are all fairly solid. The audio is crisp and clear; you'll have no trouble following what the narrator is saying. The video is sharp and you can make out the action clearly.

The down side is that it's slow. The video takes a little over a minute before any audio is introduced and all the pacing moves at a glacial pace. I like the farm diary feel but it really needs a sharper sense of humor or a stronger point to pay off the time you listen.

All in all, I think Tony could go somewhere and make further videos, but the plot and pace could use some work. Remember that a machinima audience can get bored within 10 seconds. It's hard to watch a long, slower video for nearly 7 minutes, even if the technicals are good.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: A Day on the Farm originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Has Blizzard left an opening for the next generation of WoW killers? - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST

As Blizzard has faltered with its recent loss of WoW subscribers and the reset of its yet to be announced next MMO, other developers, hungry to make inroads in the MMO market, have looked on this as an opportunity. So, after countless games have tried to claim the title, are we really about to see a WoW killer come to market? Stephan Frost, Game Design Producer at NCsoft's Carbine Studios, thinks that it gives his game Wildstar a better chance to succeed. "We're coming out at a time when WoW is losing subscribers and we can fill the void for people who want an MMO that's deep, hardcore but also accessible to people." In the meanwhile, Take-Two Interactive has taken the opposing angle, saying that no one -- not even Blizzard -- can succeed because the North American market is a poor one for MMOs.

Analysts agree that Blizzard's delay can only be an opportunity for others, though with WoW's current patch frenzy, it's clear that Blizzard isn't planning on relinquishing its title as top MMO any time soon. So is scifi MMO Wildstar going to be the next big thing? Or will Take-Two's Asian-market MMOs be a smashing success? Only time will tell.


Has Blizzard left an opening for the next generation of WoW killers? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Phat Loot Phriday: Bo-Ris, Horror in the Night - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST

The dashing duo of destruction and daring-do sat calmly around a basic campfire. They were certainly not arguing about whether the campfire would be suitable replacement for Garrosh and they definitely weren't discussing the basic campfire's ignominious transformation into a simple cooking fire. But both Throgg and Lolegolas pulled up short when the clearing suddenly filled with a viscous, gray smoke.

"I am the Horror that flaps in the night," a mysterious voice paraphrased. "I am the campfire that cooks your goose."

Throgg stood, wrapping his sinewed hand around his polearm handle. "Show yourself."

A vast druid-hawk appeared in the circle. In another moment, it disappeared in a puff of smoke, replaced by a huge, smiling worgen.

"I am not Spot!" The worgen grinned again. "Sorry, when I saw you wielding Bo-Ris, I couldn't help myself."

Throgg dropped the weapon on the ground as he embraced the druid in a mammoth hug. "It's mostly for mogging," Throgg expositioned. "Strength polearms are so rare."

"How did you find us?" Lolegolas asked incredulously. "We thought we'd lost you months ago."

"That, my friends," the druid said, "is a much, much longer story. Before we begin... do you have any ale? I'm parched."

Item Note: In fact, not only is the polearm one of the very few Strength polearms ever to see Azeroth, it looks pretty cool. Of course, you can do better for weapons now, but make sure to grab one for your undergeared alts.
Phat Loot Phriday brings you the scoop on some of the most ... interesting ... loot in the World of Warcraft, often viewed through the eyes of the stalwart Throgg and indelible Lolegolas. Suggest items you think we should feature by emailing mikeg@wowinsider.com.

Phat Loot Phriday: Bo-Ris, Horror in the Night originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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User engagement and personal bias - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST

I love it when smart people say something I wish I'd said. Last year, I wrote this post about how the WoW community (especially active members of the community, such as forum posters) tends to assume that everyone plays the game the way they do. Now comes a much smarter, more analytical and thus more factual post from Taufmonster about engagement bias.

Hopefully I'll be forgiven for breaking it down - basically, the problem is that we make assumptions about WoW and its players based on the people we know and play with, assumptions that are not valid. To quote Taufmonster:

The people you see when you log into WoW, no matter which server you play on, do not comprise a representative sample of the people who play WoW.

That sentence might seem a bit surprising but I can assure you that it's 100% true. The primary culprit here is engagement bias, which is something you have to consider when you're analyzing a game-as-a-service, like WoW.

The analysis that follows is pretty fascinating, and I'll leave it for you to go read it yourself: it's well worth it even from the perspective of someone who doesn't do a lot of number crunching like myself. I especially liked the point about how you collect your information. That by sampling the readers of a site that's dedicated to World of Warcraft like MMO-Champion in his case, he's already selecting for players who are more engaged with the game. Since this is the first part of a series of posts, it's definitely worth paying attention to Taufmonster's Log for more installments as they come out.


User engagement and personal bias originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Archivist: Patch 2.3 -- Azeroth iterated - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST

WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Blizzard likes to talk about their "iterative" process, meaning they make many small improvements over time to produce the best possible result. In the case of the lackluster patch 2.2, players were disappointed that more was not done. With the game's subscriptions still skyrocketing, Blizzard felt pressure to deliver a major dose of new content and improvements.

In November 2007, Blizzard answered the bell and unleashed an iteration that reshaped the game from top to bottom. Players of every level experienced sweeping changes to their play experience -- many of which are so integral now that it's hard to believe we played without them for so long. If you ask players about patch 2.3, they'll call it the "ZA patch." Zul'Aman was a great raid, but 2.3 offered so much more than that.

Continue reading WoW Archivist: Patch 2.3 -- Azeroth iterated

WoW Archivist: Patch 2.3 -- Azeroth iterated originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Put them in front of me - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi is the dark force behind a triptych folded cardboard sheet with a lot of tables printed on it today.

It's no secret that I spent a lot of time playing pen and paper RPG's. This is a story from one of those.

Friend of mine was running a Werewolf: The Apocalypse game, one of White Wolf's original "Noun: Definite Article Gerund" games. I actually liked both Werewolf and Mage: The Awakening, just because you could do some crazy stuff in these games. I turned an ancient vampire into a chair once! Paid for that one in paradox, whoo boy. Anyway, so we're at the table, all of us playing werewolves (as you do) and we've discovered that the mayor of the city is in league with the Wyrm (the game's ultimate antagonist, think Sargeras meets a Captain Planet villain) and has a host of Nexus Crawler minions waiting for us. One of our more (up to that point, anyway) meek and mild players is incensed with this betrayal and she says "I'll tear out his heart for this!"

The GM smirks and says "First you have to get past his private army of fomori."

She takes off her glasses, stands up straight and says with an actual growl "Put them in front of me."

And that, my friends, is why I love gaming. Put them in front of me. Let's get on with the show!

Slothcloctimus asks:

Question: Why is there not a third phase in the Vale of Eternal Blossoms? I love the first phase -- when you first enter and all the pandaren are coming in for the first time. It feels like you're part of something big. Then when you hit 90 and start the Golden Lotus quests, you get a second phase where you're holding off the Sha attacks and the mogu and everything. The dailies kind of dragged on, but I love how the story ended with the epic quest at the end. Then I turned the quest in, saved everything....and flew over the same bad guys still there on my way out.

Continue reading The Queue: Put them in front of me

The Queue: Put them in front of me originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Let's go surfing now, everybody's learning now - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST

Submitter Pancàkes of Hello Kitty Adventures on Whisperwind (US-A) was participating in the new Battle on the High Seas scenario when he spotted a pirate engaged in some less than martial activities. With all the ships being used for battles and supply transports, this buccaneer has had to harness some local turtle for his water-skiing needs. Well, it's slow, but it works ... or at least it works until the turtles realize that they can dive.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Let's go surfing now, everybody's learning now originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Community Blog Topic: Should servers be merged? - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST

The last Community Blog Topic discussed what features we wish WoW had. Many people had wishes that would be solutions for the current low population server problem. Mine was to have one free character transfer per month. Others suggested that realms be merged and there was also much talk about making WoW one giant server.

Many pointed out that my idea of free transfers would help people leave low pop realms, but everyone might move to the same popular realms that already have queues. Leaving it up to each individual player might be too haphazard a way to handle it. But there is a certain appeal to letting people chose where they want to move their characters. Perhaps the highest population servers would not be available for free transfers.

What about merging servers? One of the main problems is perception. If Blizzard decides to save low pop servers by merging them, they will be admitting two things: that Cross Realm Zones aren't working for what they're trying to do and that subscriptions are so low they have to adjust the realms accordingly. Merging servers would definitely hype up "the sky is falling" mentality.

Continue reading Community Blog Topic: Should servers be merged?

Community Blog Topic: Should servers be merged? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Your cleverest character names - Fri, 07 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

What's in a name? Only your character's identity from here onward! Without a doubt, finding the perfect name for a character is the toughest part of character creation. More than once I've created a character, carefully customized the face and looks just how I liked them, and was then stymied by the blinking cursor in the name box. (And, occasionally, I've timed out while trying to think of a perfect name that's untaken after my first choice wasn't available, meaning I had to go back and start again with customization.)

But my trouble figuring out names just means I've all the more respect for those characters with particularly clever names -- those of you who not only managed to think up a clever name but also claim it before anyone else did. So, dish, fellow Azerothians: what's your cleverest character name?


Breakfast Topic: Your cleverest character names originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 07 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard announces Flexible Raids - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 21:30:00 EST

The community has been pressing Ghostcrawler for clues on the mysterious Big Feature coming to a future content patch, but the devs have insisted that there are a few great features coming soon. Blizzard has just revealed one of the new features for the next major content update -- Flexible Raids.


WoW has seen a shift in raid sizes, from 40-man to the current 10- and 25-man difficulties, but one size does not fit all. What about the in-between raids? Those nights players can't fill a 25-man or have a few more than 10 show up one night? Flexible Raids look to fix that.

Continue reading Blizzard announces Flexible Raids

Blizzard announces Flexible Raids originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 21:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video Games Live coming to Irvine in July - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST

Many of you may be familiar with Video Games Live, a concert series celebrating the music and art of video games. Music from Blizzard's games has been featured in other Video Games Live concerts, but this is the first time the event will be held in Blizzard's home town of Irvine, California, and the planners are well aware of the games giant in the performance's backyard. If you use the promo code "Blizzard" when you purchase your ticket, you'll get a 20% discount on the price.

The show will be performed by the Pacific Symphony, along with video footage, synchronized lighting, and live-action interactive performances. If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity to attend, tickets are now currently on sale for the show on July 17th.

Video Games Live coming to Irvine in July originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde release date announced - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST

Many lore fans have been anticipating the latest World of Warcraft tie-in novel Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde for months now, and that wait will soon be over. In a news post today, Blizzard announced that the long-awaited novel will go on sale July 2, 2013, less than a month from now. The article also includes an excerpt from the book wherein Vol'jin experiences an intriguing vision about the Zandalari, their history, and that of his own his people, the Darkspear trolls. It's not much to go on, but the preview points toward a certain fundamental conflict in Vol'jin between his role as protector and leader of his people, and what his history and even religion may demand of him.

This latest book is authored by Michael Stackpole, a familiar name in the worlds of both gaming and sci-fi/fantasy writing. It's exciting to see a new author being added to the ranks of Blizzard licensed fiction writing, and I look forward to reading Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde.

Vol'jin: Shadows of the Horde release date announced originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: What are Warlock's Demons Thinking? - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST

Many threads of influence lead to the style of Misty the Troll's video. Obviously, we start with Wowcrendor, who's the grandfather of dialogue-driven WoW comedy like this. I feel like Wowcrendor's style influenced SlightlyImpressive, though obviously Griff has grown into his own ensemble-featuring thing. And now we end up with Misty the Troll's.

The video feels like a Wowcrendor-style video, which isn't really a bad thing. The comedy's basically effective and the in-game graphics get the job done. But I'd encourage Misty to keep going and grow his own voice, which is where you'll really find success. For now, though, What are Warlock's Demons Thinking? is a fun video with which to kill a few minutes.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: What are Warlock's Demons Thinking? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Druid vs rogue in the latest Hearthstone shoutcast - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST

The latest update over on the Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft website gives us a new shoutcast of Malfurion Stormrage against Valeera Sanguinar. The match is a great opportunity to show off some interesting cards--especially fun is the Alarm-o-bot, which allows you to swap out another random minion during play and has the potential to bring some heavy-hitters to the playing board relatively early in the game. You can also catch a glimpse of the Orgrimmar set board, though no one in this match seemed inclined to play around with their surroundings while waiting on their opponent's turn.

The match itself lasts about ten minutes, and has quite a dramatic finish, which I won't spoil here. Definitely worth the watch, and I'm glad to see my WoW class of choice in action at last! As if I needed any more reasons to be impatient for the Hearthstone beta.

Druid vs rogue in the latest Hearthstone shoutcast originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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How to PuG a heroic scenario with oQueue - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST

One major aspect of heroic scenarios that was causing irritation, the cache issue, was resolved yesterday with a hotfix explained by Blizzard Community Manager Taepsilum. One thing that WoW Insider has been seeing a lot in regard to heroic scenarios is the difficulty players are having in getting groups to run them. As you probably already know, they require a premade group of three players to run, and particularly for those with limited play time, this can be a real palaver. You do get valor for runs after the first one, but the bonus valor is so substantial that it seems most people just want to do one per day.

So if you're struggling for people to join you for a heroic scenario, what can you do? Of course, you can spam Trade or General, but there are other steps to take. My preferred method, which I also use to pug rated battlegrounds, is oQueue. There are other options, like OpenRaid US and EU, which is a fantastic resource for pre-planned scenario runs, along with rated battlegrounds and raids. But, for me, scenarios are a spur-of-the-moment thing to do when I have 15 minutes to spare. So oQueue is my preferred method. How does it work?

Continue reading How to PuG a heroic scenario with oQueue

How to PuG a heroic scenario with oQueue originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Does your guild offer an opposite-faction group? - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST

I recently fired up a warlock, something I've always meant to do (I'm a long-time arcane pet class lover and an experienced necromancer) but never managed with any serious effort in WoW. Character selection seemed obvious: Evil class, evil faction, right? Only I don't have an active Horde guild anywhere at the moment, and I was mortifyingly lonely after only two brief play sessions.

Of course, once I remade my character in a happily guilded Alliance version, I was reminded that the guild also runs a Horde alternative guild. Frankly, I'm just as pleased to be tucked safely into the active, happy sprawl of the Alliance-side main guild (especially since I plan to focus on soloing with this character), but I did kick myself when I remembered the Horde alternative. Oh, well. Evil is as evil does, right?

Does your guild maintain an active group on the other side of the faction line? If so, do you belong to both? Are they equally active, or is one guild definitely the primary group?

Does your guild offer an opposite-faction group? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Community Blog Topic Results: Features we wish WoW had - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST

Last week, we asked, "What 3 features do you wish WoW had?" Quite a few people answered, many with more than three features. For myself, I suggested cross-realm mail, one free server transfer a month, and story questlines for each class. Here's the breakdown of the responses.

Level scaling

Since reading everyone else's ideas, I'd like to boot cross-realm mail out of my top three list and instead replace it with level scaling so that players of disparate levels can play together. Jojo over at Admiring Azeroth would also like to see level scaling be used so that players could return to lower level zones and complete the content with an appropriate amount of challenge. Feckless Leader's Ross has this to say about what scaling down would have to offer the max-level player:
Quest rewards can always contain gold, and perhaps scaled-down players would also earn the currency of the day, or be able to champion faction rep will questing with your friend. Of course this would work for low-level dungeons, too.

Continue reading Community Blog Topic Results: Features we wish WoW had

Community Blog Topic Results: Features we wish WoW had originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lei Shen will always drop Titan Runestones - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 13:00:00 EST

WoW Insider posted yesterday about one PvE loot-related hotfix that didn't make the main list for the most recent server restart, and now we have another to inform you of. Blizzard Community Manager Rygarius posted the following over on the official forums:

Rygarius
Hello there.

We agree and feel that Titan Runestones drop too rarely. We are going to make some changes to Lei Shen.

For players that are on the legendary quest line, Lei Shen will now always drop a Titan Runestone. This is similar to what we did with rare drops in the past and will help players that have been experiencing really bad luck.

This change is still undergoing testing and is scheduled to take effect next Tuesday with the raid resets.

Keep in mind that this Titan Runestone 100% drop chance is in addition to the drop chance from all the other bosses, so it's not simply a case of farming Lei Shen for the number of Runestones you need. You could get lucky!

What's not clear is whether Lei Shen will drop one in both LFR and normal/heroic raids, so whether players could guarantee two Runestones a week by killing him on both difficulties. It seems relatively likely that that might be the case, but that's no guarantee.

Lei Shen will always drop Titan Runestones originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: LoL - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

I've finally gotten a little bit into League of Legends. I've played a few matches last night and this morning, and I'm having a good time. Seems to be a nice PvP focused game (I know I late to the party on this one...). The only thing that bothers me is that one guy who always nerd rages at everything going on.

Ok, I get it. I died to a turret. I'm a terribad and a noob. It's only my first game... At one point I was actually yelled at in chat, "haven't you ever played this game before?!!!!eleventyonepointone." I just love it... and the ignore button.

Also my name is TheQueuebringer. Get it?

Heather asked:

With the 50% toon services being offered, just what can a toon bring with them if they go to a new server? Does everything in void storage and the bank go with, what about heirlooms, and how much gold can you have?

Continue reading The Queue: LoL

The Queue: LoL originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Diablo 3 coming to the Xbox 360 (and PS3) September 3rd - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:00:00 EST

The Xbox 360 and the PlayStation 3 version of Diablo 3 will launch September 3, 2013, according to a Blizzard post today. This is the first time that we've heard of D3 appearing on the Xbox 360. We heard back in February that D3 was headed to the PS3 and PS4.

We do know that the PlayStation version of the game will play on a different realm and not be accessible by PC consoles. It's probably safe to assume the same will be true for the Xbox 360. We don't know if these console realms will be able to interact with each other. The console versions o the game are also having their UI updated to a more console-friendly format.

The play testing on the PS3 version of Diablo 3 has generally been positive. Blizzard's move to bring the game to the Xbox 360 bodes well for it appearing on the next generation Xbox console as well, although no announcement has been made there. Diablo 3 is expected to have its first expansion announced at BlizzCon in November this year.

The full blue post after the break.

Continue reading Diablo 3 coming to the Xbox 360 (and PS3) September 3rd

Diablo 3 coming to the Xbox 360 (and PS3) September 3rd originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Tourist trap - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST

Hi, folks. I understand that you've traveled from far away just to meditate here at the Arboretum, and I truly hate to interrupt your moment of serenity. But as you can see, I'm being stung to death by an enormous wasp. Could you possibly toss me a heal or some antivenom, seeing as I'm keeping this monster from tearing you to pieces? No? You're just going to yawn and sit there? Understandable. I'll be dying then. (Thanks to submitter Quadraxis of Cursed on Drenden [US-A] for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Tourist trap originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Kaldorei guild brings Darnassus to the fore - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST

Since the typical WoW Insider reader has been around the block in Azeroth more than a few times, when we hear about a guild that's been going strong for many years, we tend to intuitively grok the associated ramifications. We understand the strength and adaptability it takes to weather entire gaming eras of personalities, patches, and expansions. It's the strength of the willow that bends in the wind yet does not break -- or, say, the steady strength and focus of the night elves as they traverse the centuries in harmony with their environment.

Gazing into the legacy of Nature's Grasp, a kaldorei-exclusive guild on Defias Brotherhood (EU-RP-PvP), we see a guild that has seen many different shapes and leaders over the years. "On our server there have been a number of night elf guilds that have been established," notes GM Arkil, "but all have been absorbed into Nature's Grasp at some point, making us the go-to guild for any night elf involvement in events, and we're frequently considered as 'the' guild that represents Darnassus."

As we've seen from our interviews with race- and class-specific guilds such as wry blood elves, adventurous rogues, and fiercely opinionated orcs, the personalities of specialized guilds can become quite narrowly focused. One has to wonder if the players behind Nature's Grasp might be as reclusive as the kaldorei they play. Apparently not. "We've been active a lot during Mists, we have a hefty constant playerbase, and we have weekly events most weeknights and retro raid runs during the weekends," Arkil says. "There's a great sense of community in the guild with a number of artists and musicians who share their work on our forums at natures-grasp.net, and we have an annual RL guild meet in some European location, which is a lot of fun."

Continue reading Kaldorei guild brings Darnassus to the fore

Kaldorei guild brings Darnassus to the fore originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: How do you pick the perfect professions? - Thu, 06 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

Picking the right professions for a character is always a bit of a puzzle, or at least it is for me. Do I want to make gold in the short term with a pair of gathering professions or do I want to craft gear for myself that will be useful as I level -- and maybe even at end game? If I pick up a profession now, who's to say it will still be what I want after I've leveled up? And do I even want the hassle of leveling up professions? And, even if I do want to go to the trouble for primary professions, what about secondary professions? Do I really want to level up fishing again?

Of course, I inevitably come to the conclusion that leveling the professions as I level up is easier than leveling them later, but my profession choice is always pretty haphazard. (Except for fishing. I have leveled fishing enough for a lifetime.) Though there are, surely, better ways to pick professions, my selection inevitably boils down to what sounds good to me at moment I hit level 5, regardless of what may be good further down the line.

But surely you, dear readers, have better sense than I. How do you go about picking the right professions for a new character?

Breakfast Topic: How do you pick the perfect professions? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 06 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Elite PvP gear requires rating again in patch 5.4 - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST

There were murmurings of this change on the official forums a few days back, and now Senior PvP Designer Brian Holinka has confirmed via Twitter that there is truth in the rumors.

So it seems that PvP's elite gear has almost come full circle. If you remember, back in the heady days of late Cataclysm, early Mists, Elite gear had a rating requirement of 2200. T2 gear, as it used to be called, also offered higher item level weapons, but was removed to smooth out the rating curve, as there was something of a hurdle at 2200, where all the players above you had T2 weapons, with higher item levels and stats, and you didn't. So the rating requirement was removed, and a conquest point earning requirement was added to be allowed to purchase the elite gear.

This didn't really give mid-rated players much to shoot for, once they were fully geared, which, particularly now in patch 5.3, isn't a difficult prospect at all. So, in patch 5.4, as part of an effort to add more incentives, rating-based elite gear will return. However, we've not quite gone back to where we started, as the elite gear will be purely cosmetic, with no higher item level and no improved stats. Holinka also confirms, via Twitter, that this will apply for weapons, too.

Elite PvP gear requires rating again in patch 5.4 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lil' Bad Wolf packs a big punch against Critters - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST

Real talk time: I've been feeling a bit agitated at the battle pet situation in patch 5.3. Naturally, I want to collect every new pet, but RNG is a cruel mistress. The new patch introduced an updated Raiding with Leashes achievement, which has players returning to the good old BC raids. BC was my favorite expansion, so I enjoy heading back to stomp all over Lady Vashj, especially. Which is good, because I've yet to see a pet drop from SSC. But I digress.

Reader SpaceBard suggested a rundown of Lil' Bad Wolf, one of the ten new raid battle pets in 5.3. We live to serve.

Farming Lil' Bad Wolf is plagued with RNG obstacles. First, the Red Riding Hood encounter must spawn during The Opera Event -- one of three possible outcomes -- and then, of course, the pet may or may not drop. This devilishly cute Humanoid's abilities are as follows:

Continue reading Lil' Bad Wolf packs a big punch against Critters

Lil' Bad Wolf packs a big punch against Critters originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Nobody's Quest Episode 2 - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST

NinthBatter has released the second episode in the Nobody's Quest series. While the plot doesn't leap forward in this video, NinthBatter takes the time grow the characters and expand on his universe. It's an important part of the overall journey, I think, so we can hope it's time well spent.

Ninth has said that this series is growing his respect for the machinimators who perform complex animation. Fight scenes, especially, are a pain in the neck to get right. While that may be true, Nobody's Quest sees a lot of benefit from the exemplary voice acting. You can't undervalue how important skillful and convincing voices are to a machinima.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: Nobody's Quest Episode 2 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Heroic Scenario reward system updated - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST

A couple of weeks back, WoW Insider posted an important public service announcement, warning players of a rather counter-intuitive system whereby only the first scenario of the day would award a loot cache, regardless of whether that scenario was normal or heroic. We warned players to avoid them being locked out of a chance at 516 loot, and the palpable frustration that came with it.

Now, though, Blizzard Community Manager Taepsilum has posted about a very recent change. It should be noted that this is not in the most recent batch of hotfixes, and that Taepsilum is an EU Community Manager, posting the day after EU servers restart. Therefore, it is possible that this change is currently only live in the EU. Proceed with caution.
Taepsilum
Quote:
Remember that you only get the Heroic Cache of Treasures from the first scenario you do in a day (and only if it's a HC scenario. so if you do a normal scenario first you won't get one at all). The rest of the time you just get Greater Cache of Treasures.

This has actually been changed today and the hotfix should already be live.

You should be able to get both of these rewards now, as long as you complete one heroic and at least one normal scenario once per day.
You shouldn't have to worry about doing a heroic scenario before you do a normal one, the order doesn't matter anymore.

This is a great change to what was a rather counter-intuitive system, but please do be very careful about trying it, especially on US servers.

I have tested it on EU servers and can confirm that it does work, I did a normal scenario first, followed by a heroic one, and received the Greater Cache, then the Heroic Cache.

Heroic Scenario reward system updated originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Stormwind Keep valued at $10,293,472 - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST

The blog Movoto (tagline: "The lighter side of real estate") has done evaluations of fictional properties before. This time, they've set their sites on Stormwind Keep, of our own beloved Stormwind, to try and determine the following:
  • How big is it, actually?
  • What's its real world equivalent location?
  • How much would it cost to purchase, based on the previous two factors?
The answers, in brief, to those three questions are: 47,219 square feet, Caernarfon Castle, Gwynedd, Wales, and US$10,293,472 ($218 per square foot), respectively. Ten million dollars seems like a whole lot to me, but article author Randy Nelson asserts that it's actually rather a pittance for a castle. Then again, he also points out that as far as we can tell, Stormwind Keep only has one accessible floor, and the rest is all for show. Even the Ruins of Lordaeron are bigger than Stormwind Keep. See what you've done, game designers?! You've devalued your own non-existent property!

Back at the blog, Nelson gives an in-depth breakdown of how he came about all the numbers as well as how he determined that Caernarfon Castle was the best approximation of Stormwind Keep in the world. I highly recommend a read of the entire article--don't just stop at the infographic! The whole thing is interesting and fun. I'd love to see more analyses like this, if the blog authors have the time and inclination, if only so that we players could have yet another aspect of our chosen factions and races to argue about.

Stormwind Keep valued at $10,293,472 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Should you play a hunter in WoW? - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST

If you're still not sure what WoW class you want to play, allow us to take this opportunity to introduce you to the noble hunter. Hunters are one of the most commonly recommended classes for new players to the game, and with good reason. Compared to other classes, many of which have the ability to fill multiple game roles, hunters have a single, straightforward function in any situation: to do damage with ranged weapons. And with the power of their pets to protect them, hunters have very high survivability when soloing, which secures their place the top of new player recommendation lists.

But don't start thinking that this means hunters are a simple class: while the basics are easy to pick up, there's a lot of depth to hunter gameplay (and a world of difference between playing with a good hunter and a not so good hunter). Hunters have a number of crowd control options and access to traps, both of which require strategic thinking to use well. And, further, while pets can make the life of a hunter much easier, controlling them can be a challenge that adds complexity to the game.

So while many people would tell you hunters are a great class for newbies because they're easy, we'll just say that they're a great class for newbies because they're easy to get started with. If we've piqued your interest, read on to see more about what the hunter has to offer in World of Warcraft -- and whether it may just be the perfect class for you.

Continue reading Should you play a hunter in WoW?

Should you play a hunter in WoW? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The music of Mists with Russell Brower - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST

Blizzard's Community Management team sat down with Russell Brower for an interview on the creation of not only the soundtrack to Mists of Pandaria but other game sound elements as well. Russell talks about the constant immersive properties of music, quoting a friend in saying that "the ear doesn't blink", and linking that to something that I think Blizzard does a great job of, providing music that contributes to an area's feel, atmosphere, and quality. I don't ever play without the game sounds and music switched on, nor do I play with other music playing in the background -- doing all these things affects my enjoyment of the game, and Russell says that his team strive to keep people's game sounds turned on. One thing he added that made me laugh was that the team had to tone down the sound made by the launcher when the game download is finished:
...after two hours of installing, suddenly the game will go "BOOM!!" when it finishes. People started to install games with the sound off
Brower goes on to recall that so many people hated the constant roaring on the Sindragosa fight in Wrath, which I'm sure will resonate with a lot of our readers. What other game sounds would you like to hear toned down? Personally, the noise that mage tables made rates pretty high on my dislike list.

Continue reading The music of Mists with Russell Brower

The music of Mists with Russell Brower originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Encrypted Text: We'll always be the bad guys - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

I remember the first time I ran into a warlock in vanilla WoW. We were both around level 40, and I met him in an Uldaman run. I didn't even know the class existed until he responded to my advertisement in trade chat. During the dungeon, he was constantly Fearing mobs into other groups, accidentally tab-targeting and tossing DoTs on patrols, and letting his pet steal aggro from the tank. My first impression of warlocks was a negative one, and it took a long time for that prejudice to subside.

Most players' first experience with a rogue will be on the receiving end of our daggers. Whether it's in a battleground or in the open world of a PvP server, rogues are killing thousands of players per hour. If a rogue gets the opener on an unsuspecting player, it's not a pretty sight. The target will be ambushed from nowhere, stunned, slowed, interrupted, poisoned, and bled to death. Being killed by a rogue isn't a fun experience. You're hit with the shock of surprise, denied control of your character, and incredibly restricted. It's easy to see how a player's first experience with a rogue could leave a bad taste in their mouth.

Continue reading Encrypted Text: We'll always be the bad guys

Encrypted Text: We'll always be the bad guys originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Rifts and scenarios - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Return of the RIFT character header images! Run away!

MikeLinton said:

I have to seriously question the "super positive response" that you are seeing to scenarios. I only see my small slice of the WoW community, of course, but what I'm seeing tells me the opposite. The only people I knew that ran regular scenarios were for either daily valor or guild gold, and they didn't like doing it. Heroic scenarios are a little better because Blizzard made the rewards awesome and forced people to go in with a full group. If Heroic 5-mans were the same way, then they would be far more enjoyable to heroic scenarios.

I know this isn't a question, but I feel a need to respond to it. What I tend to see personally is that people who play only healers or only tanks dislike scenarios for the most part. People who primarily play DPS (like myself) enjoy them quite a bit. As a DPS player, queues for dungeons and raids are (were?) so absurdly long that I stopped bothering. Scenarios didn't have that problem, plus they give me much more freedom in how I played. Scenarios had me digging tools out of my belt that were never relevant in the tank/healer/DPS tinity, but made a big difference in scenario performance. Not being locked into the trinity is refreshing.

Continue reading The Queue: Rifts and scenarios

The Queue: Rifts and scenarios originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3 Hotfixes for June 4 - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 11:00:00 EST

The latest batch of hotfixes aren't the hugest or most earth-shattering, but they don't make diamonds as big as bricks. There are several class changes, including some more fixes to the ever-entertaining druid Treants. There are also some fixes to quest bugs, and a small change that makes one particular PvP columnist here at WoW Insider a very happy bunny indeed. No more traveling to Mogushan just to duel!
  • Sun-Lute of the Phoenix King and Retinal Armors should no longer be scaling incorrectly for the level 85-89 bracket for Battlegrounds.
  • Path of the Last Emperor: Fixed an issue where rope anchors were incorrectly despawning for players that moved too far away from Seer Hao Pham Roo.
  • Commandeer That Balloon!: Players should now be able to interact with the rope ladder.
  • Alliance players are now able to initiate duels in the exterior areas around the Shrine of Seven Stars.
Hit the break for the full list.

Continue reading Patch 5.3 Hotfixes for June 4

Patch 5.3 Hotfixes for June 4 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Not everybody poops - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST

"Heilandcoo of Deathtacular on Llane (US-H) paid a visit to the Strongarm Airstrip in northern Pandaria and encountered this chap with a small problem," writes today's submitter. "He seemed to be struggling mightily to gain entry to the, um, loo. At first Heilandcoo thought that maybe he was having problems with a stuck door. Then it dawned on her. No wonder Alliance fight so savagely. If they survive, the reward is a trip to some place where the outhouse comes with a door."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Not everybody poops originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Know Your Lore: Lost Lore Legends - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

This week, while I was doing the WoW Insider podcast, we got a question about Rexxar. Now, if you know me, you know I love Rexxar. The question was, essentially, where is Rexxar and while there's a simple answer to it (he's in Blade's Edge) it's a bigger question than that. With Vol'jin getting the band back together, so to speak, with Chen and even Thrall and Baine taking part in the Darkspear Rebellion, why didn't he call in Rexxar? This is, in fact, the perfect time for Rexxar to show up and save the day in that gigantic brooding Mok'Nathal way he has of doing that.

Heck, Rexxar would be the perfect choice for a field commander of the rebellion, because as I pointed out before, Rexxar is the one guy who always believed in Thrall and Thrall's vision for the Horde even when Thrall didn't.

The orcs changed because one person said so. That person stands before you now as Warchief. Do you doubt him?

So where is Rexxar? Why is he still in Blade's Edge? If he could return to Orgrimmar to protect it from the Elemental Invasion, why isn't he in Razor Hill now, saving the Horde from bad leadership and bad intentions? Am I the only one who wants to see Garrosh throw down with Rexxar? And the Champion of the Horde isn't the only lore figure who has been conspicuously absent as the Alliance/Horde conflict heats up.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Lost Lore Legends

Know Your Lore: Lost Lore Legends originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Do you want more patches? - Wed, 05 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST

Looking back on the days of vanilla WoW, we had a lot of patches -- and I don't mean that as a figure of speech. Original WoW went to patch 1.12 before Burning Crusade hit the scene. Since then, we've seen fewer patches between expansions -- 4 patches during BC, 3 patches during Wrath, 3 patches during Cataclysm, and, to date, 3 patches during Mists. But with the speed at which Blizzard is rolling out new content lately, I think it's safe to say that we can expect Mists to beat the average number of patches before we get another expansion... but is that too many patches?

More frequent patches could mean we're hard-pressed to keep up with all the new shiny toys presented to us... or they could mean plenty of content to keep us busy and interested. But what do you think? Are patches coming too quickly these days? Or are they just frequent enough to keep you interested? Or are patches still arriving too slowly for your tastes?

View Poll

Breakfast Topic: Do you want more patches? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 05 Jun 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two great things about the contemporary ret paladin - Tue, 04 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Patch 5.3 has turned out to be a great time to be a ret paladin. Well, in my opinion it's always a great time to be a ret paladin, but this new patch and the changes it brought with it really drive the point home. Granted, the only change we saw was a buff to our weapon-based damage via Sword of Light, which, while being a welcome boost to our DPS, isn't necessarily the most earth-shattering, game-changing thing in all of Azeroth. Still though, it opens some doors and allows us to be more competitive in the DPS game.

I have to admit, my inspiration for this column came from reading Matt Rossi's warrior column, The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Survival and the modern warrior. As I was reading through the piece, I found myself unconsciously caressing my keybind for Divine Shield, no doubt a realization of how blessed we paladins are when it comes to self-preservation mechanics and abilities. Some of the troubles that Matt detailed I have either sidestepped or easily handled with our generous toolbox, and his angst has given me a newfound appreciation for the veritable arsenal of useful spells at our disposal.

This week I'll be touching on a couple of our newer abilities that have proven time and time again to be so valuable and effective that I can't imagine playing a paladin without them.

Continue reading Two great things about the contemporary ret paladin

Two great things about the contemporary ret paladin originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 04 Jun 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Darrowshire - Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST

Welcome to another edition of WoW Moviewatch Staff Picks. Today, Anne Stickney has chosen Darrowshire by Cranius, for some very poignant reasons. This is what Anne had to say:

Still one of my favorite pieces of machinima ever. Partially because I really loved the original iteration of the Pamela storyline in Eastern Plaguelands (the Cataclysm version is okay, but holds nowhere near the same emotion and depth as the original), mostly because the song he wrote for the piece is such a lovely, haunting tune. It's a perfect accompaniment to one of the creepiest, saddest, yet oddly touching quest chains in WoW. The video may be a bit outdated by today's standards of machinima creation, but honestly, this piece, to me, is the one where Cranius pretty much proved hands down that anything he puts his voice to immediately turns to gold.

I think Anne did an excellent job describing the video, though I think I disagree about it being outdated. All of the game's graphics show their age, even the ones run through advanced filters. I think, ultimately, a machinima is about the story and content, not the graphics. Darrowshire is stronger for the in-game graphics.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: Darrowshire originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 04 Jun 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Totem Talk: The Spirit of Restoration - Tue, 04 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement and restoration shaman. Want to be a sultan of swing healing? A champion of Chain Heal? Totem Talk: Restoration, brought to you by Joe Perez (otherwise known as Lodur from World of Matticus and content creation at InternetDragons.TV), shows you how

No matter what expansion, and regardless of the level of content you're doing, one of the things that comes up regularly as a topic of discussion is Spirit. A stat that took over for MP5 as the hot regen item, and rose to even more prominence and popularity among healers with the announcement of fixed mana pools. It is something that has a presence you will always feel and will never be able to escape.

This isn't a bad thing mind you, but it sparks conversations and discussion about how much Spirit you need. What is the right amount? How much is too much? Is there such a thing as too much? Is it worth it at the expense of other stats? I know that many of the fine folks I talk to have had plenty to say on the topic recently, which lead me to today's post.

Continue reading Totem Talk: The Spirit of Restoration

Totem Talk: The Spirit of Restoration originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 04 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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