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Ashbringer Wednesday - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 19:00:00 EST
If you love comic books, play World of Warcraft, and are interested in the lore of the Ashbringer -- all of which I actually apply to myself -- then you might want to set aside $3.99 and check out DC Comics' limited series about the legendary sword coming out this Wednesday, September 10. The first issue of a four-part limited series, the comic deals with the story of Alexandros Mograine, the Ashbringer himself.

Produced by Wildstorm Studios, the guys behind the World of Warcraft comic featuring the badass Varian Wrynn, the comic will be written by Blizzard Creative Director Micky Neilson and drawn by original WoW comic artist Ludo Lullabi with help from Tony Washington. The covers will be drawn by Blizzard Art Director Chris Robinson (not to be confused with the singer of The Black Crowes...), with variant covers from Lullabi and Washington.

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Ask a Lore Nerd: And two stealthed rogues - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST

Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

We'll start off with Cole's write-in question...

Why can Rogues use Maces but not Axes? What's so sneaky about hammers but not about edged blades of death?

Well, this is likely more game mechanics than anything. They need to split up which weapons can be used by what classes evenly, or you get a severe loot imbalance. If you want to justify it in-character, maces are really, really good at stopping your opponent, rendering them unable to fight back, or fight ever again. A cut leaves a scar, a shattered bone leaves a cripple.

The Mace Spec that everyone hated so much in PvP? That's pretty much how it goes with maces in real life. You thonk someone on the head, and they're out of it. I could see a Rogue playing dirty like that. Coming up from behind, cracking someone over the head, then swinging low and shattering the next guy's kneecap.

Why can't they use axes? Probably no compelling reason besides game balance, though I'm sure they would be harder to use in a Rogue-y fashion than swords, daggers or hammers. Axes are probably the most unforgiving of all of the bladed weapons. You want a hard swing, not so much an elegant stroke, a well-placed shiv, or a busted joint. Axes tend to be more about being heavy and using momentum to cut, rather than sharp edges. Not always, but that's their tendency. Maybe they weren't graceful enough to make the cut*? Who knows.

Eternauta asked...

Why did they retcon the Draenei lore from WCIII to WoW BC? What was wrong with the original lore (ugly, thin, primitive Draenei).

Continue reading Ask a Lore Nerd: And two stealthed rogues

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The Colosseum: Ryzer, the Warlock - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 13:00:00 EST
The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

So far, your intrepid Colosseum has brought you a shaman multi-boxer, a rogue, a warrior, a druid, and a hunter. This week, we're looking at a Warlock player -- Ryzer of Shadow Council. The Warlock class itself used to be a great deal more dominant in Season 1 of the Arena. Now in Season 4, of course, it's not been faring so well. Armor penetration, increased tactics for dealing with Fear, and a few nerfs have come together to make the Warlock class a reasonable, but not dominant, Arena class.

This is what makes Ryzer's 3v3 team -- SUPER CUTIE FEAR SQUAD -- an interesting team for this week's Colosseum. Comprised of a Druid and two Warlocks, it's a team that definitely leans on its class makeup for some interesting fights. Check out what Ryzer had to say behind the cut.

Continue reading The Colosseum: Ryzer, the Warlock

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WoW Moviewatch: EPIXX, or Too Fast For Love - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 12:00:00 EST

Back in July, I wrote about the Warcraftmovies Synergy contest. Machinimators were given the choice between two unintentionally horrible scripts and were asked to follow them to the letter. In honor of that contest, Baron Soosdon, half of the winning duo, decided to create his own imba machinima contest. Offering up a top prize of being uuiU'd by Soosdon himself, he cranked out a script in just 15 minutes!

It's been a while since I wrote about Kilh, of Rock 'n' Troll fame. He noticed the contest with a little over three days left until the deadline. Of course, being the talented filmmaker that he is, he decided to give it a go -- with amazing results. When asked for comment, he stated that the script made no sense, so he just followed it as if it were step-by-step instructions.

Featuring a voiceover by yours truly, EPIXX - Too Fast For Love is ... something else. Try to imagine toilet gnomes, a ruined PR campaign (a nod to one of my Moviewatch posts), an epic purple Wand of Not Burning Books (the part that I voiced), a Titanic spoiler, and a bad 80s song in the credits that isn't a Rickroll. Those are just some of the highlights of an intentionally awesome script!

[Thanks for the laughs, #machinima on Quakenet IRC!]

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

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Around Azeroth: Try and love one another - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 10:10:00 EST

Despite my WoW beginnings on the opening-day PvP server Magtheridon, I'm really enjoying my new life on the roleplaying haven of Moon Guard. And part of the fun is running into completely random RP events, like this Valentine's party observed in Stormwind by Farreby of <Oath Sworn> on Thorium Brotherhood. Sadly, Farreby knows no back story here -- he writes that he merely walked by and took a screenshot of the synchronized dance moves. But why were no gnomes or dwarves invited? Someone call the Committee for Equal Heights!

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets.

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WoW Crossword 9/7/08 - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 09:00:00 EST


Do you like puzzles, of course you do! Answers to this week's puzzle will appear next Sunday.

Special thanks to Michael Gray for his guest crossword last week. We'll get his solution up as soon as possible.

Continue reading WoW Crossword 9/7/08

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Sunday Morning Funnies: Show us your tix! - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 08:29:00 EST
It's Sunday morning and there are funnies to be had. From the beginning of manhood to alternative fuel sources, to pre-expansion doldrums, you should find something amusing in this week's lot.

Newbies

Humor
Humor on a storyline

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Breakfast Topic: Player race desires - Sun, 07 Sep 2008 08:00:00 EST
Since the beginning of The Burning Crusade, I've wanted playable Ethereals. I don't care which faction or what classes, I just want to play an Ethereal. Heck, if all you could do with an ethereal character is walk around and emote, I would still roll one. I don't know why I'm so infatuated with them, but I pretty much like most things about them. Their design, their towns, the Consortium's debonaire way of operations.

The other Burning Crusade race I want to play is an Arakkoa. Specifically an Arakkoa Priest or Paladin. I don't like the birdmen as much as the blinkymen, but I found myself incredibly intrigued by the few Light-following arakkoa scattered around. I wanted to learn more about them, but there wasn't anymore to learn, unfortunately.

Now that I'm in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta, my new fascination is the Vrykul. Aesthetically, they are by far the most awesome race in WoW, and they're steeped in Norse lore which is just awesome. Their women look like they could destroy me with their bare hands, and the men seem like they have enough hair customization options to put a player race to shame. If these became a player race, I would reroll so fast.

Do you guys have any races you would just love to see playable? I have a lot of friends that would adore the chance to play a Goblin but I couldn't do that personally. Not a fan of Goblins. Are you after something a little more 'out there' like Nerubians? Are you a fan of a race from another setting that you'd love to be added to WoW?

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Lichborne: Death Knight glyphs - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 21:30:00 EST

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly weekend look at the first hero class, the Death Knight. Daniel Whitcomb is back after dealing with some light administrative work back at the Ebon Hold.

Inscription seems to be coming on to the beta server in bits and pieces, especially when it comes to the much looked for glyphs. One or two classes seem to trickle in each build, and in the latest build, it is the Death Knight's turn. Today, we'll take a quick look at the new Death Knight glyphs, and figure out how useful they'll be to the various playstyles and specs of the Death Knight. As always, it's worth noting that these are beta numbers, so things could change by the time Inscription and Death Knights see the light of day on live servers.

Continue reading Lichborne: Death Knight glyphs

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BlizzCon contests open for submission - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 20:30:00 EST
If you like winning stuff, you might want to check out BlizzCon and its contests. Whether or not you'll be going to the sold-out event this October, there's something for you to participate in. Obviously, if you're not going, you won't be able to join staples like the costume contest or the impressive (and often hilarious) dance contest, but most of the BlizzCon contests can be joined online.

If you think you've got the chops for stuff like making movies, ace graphic design skills to make motivational posters, or even songwriting skills and making dioramas, then head over to the BlizzCon contest page and read about how to submit your entries. Unfortunately, if you think you're a funny guy (or gal), Blizzard wants to see you in person.

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New racial abilities for Wrath - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 19:00:00 EST


It looks like Blizzard isn't done tinkering with everything for Wrath of the Lich King. This time, they've turned their attention to racial abilities, which many have pointed out to be imbalanced. Kalgan dropped by the forums to answer a good question regarding the Orc racial Hardiness, which grants a passive 15% resistance to stuns. It's been nerfed a long way from its original 25% resistance, but the poster made a good point about the game's direction towards reduced durations instead of resistances.

Kalgan responds by saying that Hardiness was being changed into exactly that -- an effect duration reduction of 15%. He also goes over all the other racials, some of which were changed, others of which were buffed, and yet a few others of which were inevitably nerfed. The changes should make it into the next Beta push. Check after the break to see the complete list. [CLARIFICATION: This isn't the complete list of racial abilities. Abilities not listed here are unchanged or, if they will be changed, will be mentioned in the future.]

Continue reading New racial abilities for Wrath

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Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.2 and you - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 18:00:00 EST



Each week, Arcane Brilliance journeys to the heart of Mageland, braves all the perils of Blinking backwards, premature sheep-breakage, and table-ninjas that infest that mystical place, and returns triumphant, bearing with it the spoils of its epic victory: one-to-two-thousand words, a center-aligned image of some type, and several dozen Wowhead links. It then distributes these treasures among the citizenry, spreading word of its conquests throughout the villages and townships, before kneeling before the King of Mageland and presenting him with the head of a Warlock.

And there is much rejoicing.


I don't know about you, but the idea of patch 3.0.2 scares the living crap out of me. I mean, I'm excited about a lot of it--changing my Mage's hairstyle and restoring his lower jaw, for instance (it still perplexes me how a barber can alter my entire facial structure)--but there are things about the impending patch that absolutely terrify me. Chief among these is that free respec.

Choosing a spec on the beta, where respecs cost a whopping 1 copper, has been difficult enough. Almost every talent we have now will be changed (in most cases improved), moved, or flat-out abolished when the patch hits, and many new talents will appear. Believe me when I say that none of the currently accepted level 70 talent specs will remain intact. In many ways, Mages, like every other class, are getting what amounts to a complete class reset. Everything we know about talent builds will essentially have to be forgotten and relearned. Even raids your guild knows frontward and back will become a crazy new adventure, and PvP will become a giant crap-shoot. The good news is that for at least that first week, the Arena playing field will be leveled completely.

But don't worry. Arcane Brilliance is here to help. Follow me after the break to see what kind of fun we can have with our 61 talent points after the patch hits.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Patch 3.0.2 and you

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Ready Check: In Limbo - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 17:00:00 EST



Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we look to the future...

Raiding's in an interesting place at the moment. With the upcoming raid changes and dungeons we'll see in WotLK, a lot of people are looking forward and feeling less enthusiasm for the present. Some of those with bosses yet to kill in the game are becoming despondent at ever seeing the end of the tunnel, and people with everything on farm are finding excuses not to raid once they have their desired gear under their belts.

So what can raiders do now to prepare for the expansion, and how can raid guilds deal with the pre-expansion blues?

Continue reading Ready Check: In Limbo

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Blame beta crashes on Unholy Blight - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EST

The beta realms have been even less stable than normal this weekend, which is a bit inconvenient when everybody is trying to test Naxxramas. Apparently the cause of the crashes has been pinpointed, and it's the Death Knight spell Unholy Blight (specifically Rank 2). It seems that whenever that spell was used, it would bring down the world servers. Perhaps it was mistakenly coded to surround the world servers with a vile swarm of unholy insects, instead of the DK's target.

So the devs have hotfix-disabled it; you will still see it in your spellbook, but it will have no effect if you try to cast it. A worthwhile trade-off for the servers staying up for more than five minutes at a time, I'd say. The other ranks, including the level 80 rank 4 version, are still available. The Storm Peaks and Icecrown zones were also causing issues, and will not be able to be hotfixed, so we'll have to continue to do without them until the next patch.

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Penguin noncombat pets appear in the beta - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST


Well, folks, it looks like we're definitely getting our wish. After incessant begging, peevish requests, heart-rending pleas, and no small amount of outright nagging on the part of...actually, I think everyone in the game has asked for this at one point or another, but never mind. People in the beta have started getting penguin pets!

A much earlier data-mined image gave us a glimpse of what we could only assume were penguin noncombat pets, but reader Alassiel has written in to confirm that two of her characters in the beta have now received them in the mail. You can see Alassiel's screenshots of her Death Knight getting hers here and here.

Elizabeth Wachowski and Zach Yonzon braved a constantly-crashing beta server to get more information and pictures for us. It looks like the pet, named "Chilly," is currently being mailed to players in the beta as a gift for switching to a Blizzard account. And yes, it is pretty much the cutest thing ever, which I suspect is an effort to compensate for Northrend being a continent full of animated corpses. As Alassiel's gotten them on at least two characters so far, I assume it's being sent to all active toons on a Blizzard account. We're not sure if that's going to remain the only way to get Chilly, but if you're in the beta and have a Blizzard account (or want to switch to one -- it's free), don't forget to check your mailbox!

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Ask a Beta Tester: More about inscription - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 14:00:00 EST


We might have had more news today -- if Blizzard's beta servers could stay online for more than five minutes consecutively. We've been staring a lot at the "World Server Down" message since Blizzard rolled out patch 8905 late last night (or early this morning, depending on how you look at these things). Let's start today off with more on Inscription. A new beta patch went up last night with a few changes, including....
  • "Pomaces" have been renamed "Pigments" and have shiny new icons that look less like dust (they were various colors of enchanting dust icons) and look more like... well, I suppose, pigments.You can judge for yourself what you think they look most like.
  • New Glyphs for Shamans, Warlocks, and Warriors.
  • More Glyphs with realistic, skill level appropriate material costs. (Though the majority of them still need the exact same ink, herb, and one of each kind of parchment.)
  • The Glyph cooldown has been changed. Though applying a Glyph still starts an hour cooldown, the cooldown is only for that Glyph, specifically. So if, for example, my Paladin applies Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom, I cannot apply Glyph of Blessing of Wisdom again for an hour. However, I could instantly swap six healing Glyphs for six tanking Glyphs -- I'd just have to wait to switch back to my original healing Glyphs. (And, of course, I'd have to have a new set of healing Glyphs to swap to, as removing them to put in tank-oriented Glyphs would destroy them.)
And, though apparently not new, several people in the comments noted that a Glyph can be removed by shift right-clicking -- however, this still destroys the Glyph in the process.
For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: More about inscription

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Widget shows character name statistics - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 13:00:00 EST


If you've ever been fascinated by the MMORPG statistics provided at sites like the Daedalus Project, here's something right up your alley; the WoW Armory Character Distribution widget, programmed to comb both the U.S. and E.U. Armories and capture data on the popularity of character names across race, class, faction, and sex.

The project is still in the testing stage, and it's a bit finicky about how you enter character names. Make sure you're always hitting the submit button and not using your enter key, as otherwise the widget will keep searching for the last name you looked for instead of your new query. Its creator, Emilis, also wrote to warn that it uses live information from both armories and will occasionally be slow as a result. I imagine it might also be inaccurate if either Armory is having problems.

The widget is tremendously fun to play with and has yielded some rather interesting results even with the completely random names I keep trying. "John" and "Mary," as you might expect, are overwhelmingly Human toons, whereas the greater share of people playing a "Sergei" and "Yekaterina" are Draenei. 3 people with a "Brutus" are actually playing female characters, and 1 person with a "Laura" is playing a male character (Emilis notes that gender-bending names are surprisingly common, although from what I can tell so far this seems to be a lot more true of male names for female toons than the other way around). Most people with a "Killer" are playing a Hunter, Rogue, or Warrior. Characters named "Bank" are mostly Human Warriors, but "Banktoon(s)" are mostly Orcs. And, yes, most of the people playing a toon named Legolas are Night Elf Hunters. Are you really that surprised?

Thanks to Emilis for writing in!

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WoW Moviewatch: WeGame contest winners announced - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 12:00:00 EST

The winners of the WeGame machinima contest were finally announced last night. Of course, I blogged about all three top World of Warcraft entries already. Pinkhair's The Robber Baron of Warsong Gulch took first place, Martin Falch's Divided Soul took third, and Firebolt Production's The Way of Life took fourth. Congratulations to everyone!

Since the winners were already discussed, I'd like to show off some of the Honorable Mentions. Today's video comes from Mike "Spiff" Booth, otherwise known as the guy that makes Jonathan Coulton music video machinimas. It may surprise you to know that the soundtrack to Live is by Paul and Storm, though!

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

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Gear Wishlist tells you where to go next - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 11:00:00 EST


I've been looking around for something exactly like this -- while Kaliban's Class Loot is a great resource for figuring out what kind of loot to dress in right before the endgame, and our gearing for Karazhan guides are a great resource for good drops and pieces around that level (including the rep sets you can get for each class and spec), the next biggest question to answer is "what comes after that?" And Gear Wishlist, a site made and sent to us by Darrell Anderson, tries to answer exactly that question.

After putting in your character and realm, you get a list of all the gear you've got equipped, matched up against a list of all the gear available at the item level you're looking at (you can customize exactly where the item levels come from, if there's a site whose estimations of the gear you value more), with yours highlighted. So basically, you get an up and down list of where to go from the gear you've got, and you can easily see where it all comes from and what kinds of stats it gives.

Of course, this is still more of a guideline -- just because gear appears above yours on this list doesn't mean that it's better than yours for your class and spec. And attainability is a big factor as well -- if you're not in a raiding guild, your time might be better spent grinding rep rather than trying to suffer through with PuGs. But as an overview of the gear available to you, Gear Wishlist works great. Hopefully the site will stay up under our linkage, and if it doesn't, check back in a few days to see if it's slowed down.

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Around Azeroth: The circle of death - Sat, 06 Sep 2008 10:00:00 EST


One of the great joys of being a high level in WoW is when you get to go back and completely decimate enemies that owned you forty levels ago. This is why you often run into bitter level 70s repeatedly killing Mor'Ladim or Sons of Arugal. From what I could gather from his e-mail, Flobot of Turalyon was in a Deadmines group with such a vengeance-minded hunter. The "hunter runner" dragged all the local mobs back to the group, resulting in the carnage you see here. What did the miners ever do to you, unnamed hunter? Oh, right. The repair bills. Sorry about that.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets.

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