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Phat Loot Phriday: Northern Barrier - Fri, 08 May 2009 19:00:00 EST


Been a while since we did a shield. And since we did a BoE, actually. So here's both in one.

Name: Northern Barrier (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWWiki)
Type: Epic Shield
Armor: 7890 Armor (221 Block)
Attributes:
  • +42 Strength, +94 Stamina
  • Increases defense rating by 63, which is just awesome.

Continue reading Phat Loot Phriday: Northern Barrier

Phat Loot Phriday: Northern Barrier originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Myndflame publishes a guide to machinima law - Fri, 08 May 2009 18:00:00 EST
Last month, Clint Hackleman over at Myndflame machinima attended and presented at Stanford Play Machinima Law conference. As you might expect, he came out of the conference with a heightened respect and understanding about how machinima law works. Building on the relationships he's formed, as well as lots of leg work, Hackleman has been publishing a machinmator's guide to Blizzard & Machinima Law.

So far, there are three parts of the guide available. Part 1 deals with some of the very basics, but probably the most important section is understanding "commercialization" and what Blizzard's rules about it. A super quick summary of commercialization is "using a product to make money," but you should take the time to check out Myndflame's guide. He's obviously a bit more thorough about the explanation.

Part 2 of the guide talks about Blizzard's Fair Use policy for machinima. I'd consider this guide a must-read for anyone who wants to create machinima. It deals with how Blizzard supports machinimators, but also warns about where you'll encounter the limits of that support. For example, machinima using Blizzard properties should be "T" rated movies -- they don't want Blizzard icons getting mixed up with unsavory subjects. Part 3 of the guide deals with music, which is a key component of any good movie. A good film has to have a great soundtrack, after all.

I think Myndflame's guide is a pretty interesting read for anyone, even if you don't plan to make your own WoW movies. It gives some perspective and analysis to how much Blizzard strives to work with their community, and definitely shows what a vital, thriving society WoW machinimators can be. I appreciate the insight, and the work is a pretty fun read over all.

Myndflame publishes a guide to machinima law originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Theming the login page - Fri, 08 May 2009 17:00:00 EST
Toussaint is exactly right -- this took me back. Way back to the original login screen and music, when level 60 was the max and everyone was running UBRS and the Plaguelands instances, and "heroic" was just something us players were. Even the Burning Crusade login screen, right, brings back some memories, of wandering around Hellfire Peninsula and raiding in Netherstorm. The roar of the frost wyrm we have now is nice and all, but sometimes we long for earlier days.

Which brought me to the question: what about a theme-switching system? There's no real reason the login screen has to be set to the current expansion -- while it's nice to have a new look to that interface every time we reinstall the program, there's nothing the new one really does that the old one couldn't. You'd think they'd be easy to change around, and if Blizzard just gave us a drop-down switcher in the options, we could choose whichever one we wanted.

Let's not forget, however, that their code is weird -- you wouldn't think that they'd hard-wire the new Battle.net login code to the newest login screen, but maybe they did something silly like that, which would probably mean we'll never see the "classic" login screen again. But still, if there's a way to do it, it would be nice to see that old portal and hear that rousing anthem yet again.

Theming the login page originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Left 4 Cheesehead - Fri, 08 May 2009 16:00:00 EST


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

I was horrified to find endless amounts of Wisconsin hate in the comments of yesterday's edition of The Queue. Come on, Wisconsin rules! Well, no, the few bubbles of real civilization in Wisconsin rule. Milwaukee, Madison, and maybe (maybe) the Green Bay area. Everything in between those points are like something out of a horror movie. In transit from Milwaukee to Madison, all of the passengers in the car keep their eyes squeezed shut while the driver breaks out in a cold sweat. Packers fans fling themselves at your vehicle like the undead, crying out for your blood and pounding their fists on your windows. The only thing that you can do, the only thing you want to do, is keep driving.

Milwaukee, though? Totally rules.

aw232 asked...

"I'm starting to think that there won't be a raid included in 3.2. I've heard about a new battleground, an expansion of the argent tournament but nothing about a new raid. Is there any confirmation or denial on if there will be a new raid before Icecrown?"

Continue reading The Queue: Left 4 Cheesehead

The Queue: Left 4 Cheesehead originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Daily Quest: Illogical - Fri, 08 May 2009 15:00:00 EST


We here at WoW Insider are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

The Daily Quest: Illogical originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GC's happy with healing in Ulduar - Fri, 08 May 2009 14:00:00 EST
Ghostcrawler has appeared in two different threads talking about healing today, and the gist of it is that he's happy. He's happy with healing and the way it works in Ulduar: there's a good variety between boss fights and phases, there are intense moments and pauses in the action, and he says they've got things to a point where they like them. Later, he says that while in Naxx, you don't really have to warn the healer too much (you can basically tell them to heal the MT and leave it at that), Ulduar requires healers to get into the rhythm -- sometimes go all out, and sometimes hold back. He does say that too much mana is still an issue for them, and if anything gets nerfed in that department, Replenishment will. But he doesn't expect too many nerfs for a while.

That doesn't mean, of course, that the big healing update is out the window -- GC still hints that there are more changes in store for healing, and we'd bet coppers to gold that there are both mechanic changes and possibly even a hero class due for healers soon. But for now, healing is where they want it in the current content, and it sounds like most players agree.

Now, there's just PvP...

GC's happy with healing in Ulduar originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Weapons from Ulduar - Fri, 08 May 2009 13:02:00 EST


Ulduar has brought over 800 items within our grasp. While toying with specs (I'm actually raiding switching between arms and fury depending on the fight, although last night I actually tanked clearing up to Vezax) to try and squeeze the most DPS out I find myself wearing the half-and-hald set you always get when content is progressing. Naxxramas gear tends towards a screaming skulls motif while Ulduar gear has a more construct simulating appearance. As you can see in the screen shot, I've ended up looking somewhat like the gothiest Power Ranger ever. I don't mind the look myself, although I know some people really do. Then again, as I've said many, many times, I'd wear the Conqueror's Clownshoe Raiment if the stats were right.

This week we're going to discuss the weapon drops for warriors in Ulduar - 10 and 25. This basically means tanking 1handers and 2 hand weapons. While I personally love fist weapons myself, The Masticator is not a tanking weapon, although it's certainly true that you could tank with a 2.7 speed weapon with no defensive stats. Heck, I tanked with a 3.4 speed weapon last night. I'm going to try and keep focused on the drops with the most utility first.

Of course, more loot is being discovered even as I write this. So please keep that in mind.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Weapons from Ulduar

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Weapons from Ulduar originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 13:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: M is for Muchacho - Fri, 08 May 2009 12:00:00 EST


Warning: There's a bit of sex bits in here, which might weird you out a bit.

M is for Muchacho was suggested to me by Art on the tip line. Uploaded by Wuza, this video is actually one hell of an interesting freshman effort. The plot is a familiar one. A small group of compatriots are relaxing by their campfire when the king's men come to harass them. Unable to pay their taxes, the cadre must train at the feet of a combat master in order to defend themselves when the king's men return.

What makes it so interesting to me? While the animation is basically made up of various in-game footage, "M is for Muchacho" shows a definite appreciation for story. At a run time of over 20 minutes, the story admittedly could have used a faster pace. Another option might have been to chop it up into smaller pieces. Regardless, Wuza was clearly trying to work on characterization, plot, and story-arc progression. (Also, I found the soundtrack choice for the muchachos' training montage to be hilarious.)

I hope Wuza keeps working and developing. I like story-based machinima, and I'm always eager to see new creators enter the fold.

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

Previously on Moviewatch

WoW Moviewatch: M is for Muchacho originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Be fruitful and multiply - Fri, 08 May 2009 10:00:00 EST


Yep, we're still sorting through the Noblegarden shots here at Around Azeroth. Gophfa and <Forgotten Legacy> of Andorhal were waiting for their healer to come back from a "five minute" AFK during Kologarn attempts when they decided to have some fun with their holiday equipment. The result looks like the Titans created two bunnies, turned their backs for a minute to put the finishing touches on some trees, and came back to discover a rabbit overload, Australian-style.

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

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

Around Azeroth: Be fruitful and multiply originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Forum post of the day: Sorting out the BADS - Fri, 08 May 2009 09:00:00 EST


Hi everyone, after a short hiatus for guild building and soul searching I'm back to writing on the WoW Insider team. Despite growth in my guild I still find myself picking up folks for heroics and some raids. I've had some good experiences and some terrible ones.

Abberforth of Shadow Council offered up a "Basic Assumption and Discernment System. this handy, though tongue-in-cheek guide to selecting members for a PUG. He uses simple assumptions in a players initial presentation of self to determine if a player is a good candidate for invitation. These guidlines warn players to be cautious of Elves, Death Knights, and folks with untypable or unintelligible names.

Remember that this guide is for amusement only. There are several other factors that go into good PUG players- like do they run into Nexxus when you invite them for Occulus?


Continue reading Forum post of the day: Sorting out the BADS

Forum post of the day: Sorting out the BADS originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What's in the BlizzCon bag? You won't know until they're gone - Fri, 08 May 2009 09:00:00 EST
This seems like a strange deal, but in fact it's business as usual -- Blizzard says they won't tell you what's in the BlizzCon bags this year until all of the tickets are sold out. Seems weird, right? Wouldn't knowing what you'll get with the bag encourage you to buy tickets? But apparently not -- they've always announced the goodies post ticket sales and pre-event, so we'll just have to wait and see what comes up this year.

That won't stop us from guessing what's in it it. Our guess: a lot of stuff. Last year's bag was huge, as you can see in the gallery below, and this year's will probably be even bigger. There will definitely be some silly items, like the QQ noob tissues and the Diablo III mints from last year. There'll be promotional stuff for sure, maybe a pack of TCG cards, a few licensing partner ads, and/or a sample mini (last year they gave out Voidwalkers). And of course there'll be an ingame item card, maybe a sweet mount or a vehicle. Personally, I'd love to see a special edition novel, either a reprint of something like War of the Ancients or even a special collection of short stories just for the event.

Whatever's in the bag, you can rest assured that we'll be one of the first few folks sifting through the goodies again. And it's not outside the realm of possibility that, yet again, you'll have a chance to win one. Stay tuned.

What's in the BlizzCon bag? You won't know until they're gone originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: So much for Children's Week - Fri, 08 May 2009 08:00:00 EST


So, Children's Week came and went, and for the most part I think it went by largely unnoticed. Aside from the first few days where Battlegrounds were overrun with orphans -- a truly disturbing thought if you stop to think about it -- most people pretty much completed the Children's Week meta-Achievement on the first day. In theory, this was one of those holidays that had the potential to screw players over with Daily Chores, which required players to complete a daily quest every day for five consecutive days. That would've meant that anyone unable to log on for 24 hours would have to wait until the next year to complete the Achievement. Surprisingly (or unsurprisingly), the Achievement bugged out and players were able to complete it in one day.

Admittedly, as much as I disliked the design principle of the School of Hard Knocks -- I still think it didn't give a good impression of the Battlegrounds to new players -- a lot of people got the Achievement within a day or two. By mid-week, it was back to normal again. Which meant that in my Battlegroup, Horde weren't playing Alterac Valley again. If there was anything good about the School of Hard Knocks, virtually every Battleground started with even numbers every time. Never mind that most of them were recklessly endangering their wards and couldn't care less about winning, but even numbers are always a good start!

Anyway, how did Children's Week go for you guys? Did you get everything you wanted? Pets? Items? Did you complete the Achievement? Was it difficult, easy, or not even worth bothering with? Share your thoughts on what is arguably the most lackluster yearly event yet. I mean, where were the orphans in Northrend? Surely it wouldn't have been too hard to make quests for little Wolvar or maybe Frenzyheart and Oracle children, would it? Maybe next year?

Breakfast Topic: So much for Children's Week originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 08 May 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Activision conference call: WoW still at 11.5 million subscribers - Thu, 07 May 2009 21:00:00 EST
The OC Register has a great breakdown of what Activision said on their earnings conference call today. Perhaps the biggest WoW-related stat to come out of the call is that the number of subscribers to the game has apparently leveled off: they're holding steady at 11.5 million. Which is nothing to cough at, but it's what we were told four months ago, and if, as Ghostcrawler claimed, the numbers are still going up, then they're going up very, very slowly. Morhaime says that numbers are growing everywhere, but that China will be a main focus of growth this year as Wrath of the Lich King releases there soon.

In non-WoW Blizzard news, the Starcraft 2 beta will start this summer and will be the "final" phase of development for that game. The new Battle.net interface will be tested then as well, so keep an eye out for that. And Blizzard expects big things there in China also -- NetEase, the company that will now be handling Wrath's launch, is already set up to run both Diablo III and Starcraft 2 out there, so it'll all be under one umbrella.

In short, there's no really bad news from Blizzard, but no really great news either -- the best news to come out of the call is that even in the slow economy lately, Blizzard is holding steady. Not a bad thing at all, but we probably won't see any spikes in player interest in Blizzard or WoW until they announce what's next on the content plate, whether that be at BlizzCon or before.

Activision conference call: WoW still at 11.5 million subscribers originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard cinematic team appears at Chapman University - Thu, 07 May 2009 20:00:00 EST



Nick Markham is a student at Chapman University , and he recently dropped us a tip about something special that happened there. Chapman University is fairly close to Blizzard's Irvine headquarters, which could be why they were able to take the time to drop by. One of their film classes had a treat when six members of the Blizzard cinematic team came by to give a three hour presentation about what they do, how they do it, and other miscellaneous film-related issues. So what's the news?

The most crushing news is another confirmation that we shouldn't expect to ever see a gnome in an official World of Warcraft cinematic. The quote from Jeff Chamberlain, the director of the cinematic team, is "Not if I can help it!" Apparently, while gnomes are arguably one of the coolest races in WoW, the director doesn't feel that they're "epic" enough. I can see that viewpoint, I guess, but that just means we'll have to rely on Baron Soosdon to brings us the gnome love.

The Wrathgate animation, of course, was a significant topic. According to Nick's report, the cinematic team and Blizzard both consider Wrathgate to be a complete success. We should expect to see a new, similar animated event with each significant content patch, though it's going to take a little bit to get that going.

Continue reading Blizzard cinematic team appears at Chapman University

Blizzard cinematic team appears at Chapman University originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First WoW Minis expansion: Spoils of War - Thu, 07 May 2009 19:00:00 EST


Upper Deck has released the first expansion to the WoW minis game, called Spoils of War. The new set of figures introduces legendary lore figures like Jaina and Kael'thas into the mix, and they can now jump onto the gameboard with player characters and duke it out in the streamlined Arena-style turn-based battles. The new set also contains Action Bar cards, which can modify your characters and party's abilities before a battle (like casting a Wrath of Air totem to modify all of your team's die rolls). And finally, the new expansion also brings items into the mix, so there's one more medium in which you can wield Sulfuras, the Hand of Ragnaros. (And no, unfortunately, real life isn't one... yet.)

The new set is available in booster packs at a hobby and collectible store near you -- the MSRP is about $14.99, but they'll probably be around for cheaper than that eventually, if they're not already. If you're a regular player of the minis game, it sounds like it'll be a must-have addition, and if you've never picked it up before, maybe the prospect of playing some of the more famous lore figures will get you interested.

First WoW Minis expansion: Spoils of War originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two Bosses Enter: Drakos the Interrogator vs. Salramm the Fleshcrafter - Thu, 07 May 2009 18:00:00 EST


Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

This week's Two Bosses Enter deathmatch definitely's got that boom, boom, pow. Now, we know you're not fond of The Oculus. We do know. Nonetheless, we're asking you to set aside your prejudices and consider this week's explosive contestants on their own merit: Drakos the Interrogator of The Oculus versus Salramm the Fleshcrafter of The Culling of Stratholme.

Let's review the ground rules: Assume that these foes share similar levels, health pools, damage output and are fighting on neutral territory. Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter. Focus your debate on the three S's -- Style, Story and Scale - and consider the flavor each villain brings to bear. What do you think would happen during this battle? Leave your comment explaining what happens, and cast your vote for who you think blows up who.

Continue reading Two Bosses Enter: Drakos the Interrogator vs. Salramm the Fleshcrafter

Two Bosses Enter: Drakos the Interrogator vs. Salramm the Fleshcrafter originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Locke - Thu, 07 May 2009 17:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

Do you ever get the feeling that WoW is like some sort of purgatory? That you're trapped in an endless loop of hellish deviations intent on consuming the very soul from which all things good and pure spring forth from? That this game is indeed nothing but the true game which ends all games, and like Sisyphus or John Locke you'll be stuck pushing the boulder up the hill towards a higher level for the rest of your life?

And with, let's throw a little social philosophy in your faces.

Adoisin commented...

"I hate people telling me how to change my spec and how to play. I'm a mage who puts out between 2-3k dps, depending on how bad my lag may be at the time. Sure, I may not have the cookie cutter spec. But it's my game, I am paying for it, and I will play how I want. Want me to change? Fine. Start paying my fee and you can tell me how to play."

Continue reading The Queue: Locke

The Queue: Locke originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MMOUI Minion is coming - Thu, 07 May 2009 16:00:00 EST


With all this talk about the Curse client and WoWMatrix, it's easy to forget that another major player is entering the scene soon ([TM]): MMOUI Minion, from the people at WoWInterface. According to the FAQ for the forthcoming client, the target date for open beta testing is May 17, 10 days from today.

Here are some salient points about Minion:

  • Will work on Windows, Mac and Linux.
  • Has an option to auto-update, set to "off" by default.
  • There will be a premium version, but the only difference will be that premium users don't see ads. In contrast to the Curse client, the non-premium version of Minion is not crippled, and will have an update-all button and full download speed.
  • If an author enables donation requests, they will show up in the updater.

Continue reading MMOUI Minion is coming

MMOUI Minion is coming originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Totem Talk: Patch 3.1 Shaman Gear Part 4 - Thu, 07 May 2009 15:00:00 EST
One of the interesting things about new content is the transitional period as you clear the new bosses and start gearing up. Pictured alongside today's column is an illustration of that process, as Tier 7 blends into Tier 8 and Calamity's Grasp is paired with Vulmir.

Myself, I've mostly been screaming "Why won't you drop" again, as I so often do (I have terrible loot luck) at various healing rings, trinkets, necks, and shields. Having recently healed my first 25 man since I switched from resto to elemental in SSC, I've also found that I hate spirit with a passion.

Why there has been no effort to make spirit more useful for shamans as casters or healers, I can't tell you, because it's on every freaking thing. Yes, it helps on mana regeneration out of combat and if you can take five seconds in combat, but otherwise it's totally useless for shamans.

Doesn't increase spell power or crit or do anything, really, just sits there like a less effective version of MP5. (And at least at my current gear and comfort level for healing, I don't spend a lot of time standing around not casting healing spells unless I'm forced to by the dreaded OOM.) Every time I see a healing weapon with spirit on it I want to go back in time and stab myself. I don't know what that would accomplish, exactly, but that's how much I hate spirit. I'd really like to see a talent in either mid-level elemental or restoration (resto would be better, and if it was fairly low in the tier elemental could pick it up too) that made spirit actually useful for shamans, but I'm not holding my breath.This is why I almost always wait for a shield instead of picking up a spell offhand.

And now, on to our show, looking at the items that as of now we know about in Ulduar.

Continue reading Totem Talk: Patch 3.1 Shaman Gear Part 4

Totem Talk: Patch 3.1 Shaman Gear Part 4 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Myndflame launches the Adventures of Puff and Lilpuff audio series - Thu, 07 May 2009 14:00:00 EST


If you're a follower of the "Illegal Danish" series, you've probably already encountered Puff and Lilpuff. The elf and gnome are two key characters in Myndflame's comedy, and they make for an interesting pair. In order to help reach out to both their fans and the machinima community, Myndflame is launching a new audio-based series based on the character, called The Adventures of Puff and Lilpuff.

Myndflame will take emails and answer them daily. The plan is to set up an interactive format between their listeners and the creators themselves. This innovative dialogue will help shape the series, according to the Myndflame site. As the whole project grows and develops, Myndflame says they will reach out to other, well-known machinimists to get them involved in Puff and Lilpuff.

The above clip is the pilot episode, though the series already has three episodes completed. At this rate of creation, Puff and Lilpuff could turn into a mainstay of every WoW player's daily routine. I think it's a very interesting format, since a lot of machinima and WoW productions can feel "at an arm's distance." Giving the machinima audience at large a chance to interact and work with the creators could open up a new level in the hobby, and maybe get more people creating the art. It'll be pretty interesting to see how it all turns out.

Myndflame launches the Adventures of Puff and Lilpuff audio series originally appeared on WoW Insider on Thu, 07 May 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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