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Win beta keys in Wowhead olympics - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 20:15:00 EST

The Olympics are on both in Azeroth and in real life right now. And Wowhead has gotten into the spirit of the games: they're offering users the chance to win one of five lovely Wrath of the Lich King beta keys! What do you have to do for a chance to get your hands on one? Simply go to the contest thread in the Wowhead forums, and post your idea for an Olympics-themed achievement. An example given is "High Dive: Fall 65 yards or more into water, without suffering any fall damage."

Winners will be chosen randomly from the thread, one per day for the next five days (starting tomorrow). A few caveats:

  • You have to have a US WoW account to use the beta key (sorry, European readers).
  • Only one entry per person - you can put in multiple ideas if you want, but just put them in one post. This will not raise your chances of winning.
  • Achievements must have an Olympic theme.
  • Only entries go in the contest thread.
  • Don't post on multiple Wowhead accounts, or the folks at Wowhead will feed you to Magmadar.
  • Be nice - don't steal other posters' ideas.
  • Be creative; spammy entries will be deleted.

That said, go forth and compete! Good luck.

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Cheeky's Hunter spreadsheet revived - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST

A while back, we noted the retirement of Cheeky from the world of Hunter theorycrafting, leaving her unparalleled Hunter Spreadsheet an orphan and Hunter min-maxers everywhere with the prospect of being deprived of an amazing tool going in to a new expansion.

Luckily, it looks like the torch will be taken up as Wertez of the Hunting Lodge has decided to take over the project with Cheeky's blessing. You'll be able to find the Spreadsheet at the Hunting Lodge itself now, under the Hunter Research and Info category on the site's sidebar.

With Hunter mechanics changing in some pretty basic ways going into Wrath of the Lich King, we'll need a strong and steady hand to guide the spreadsheet into the level 80 end game. Here's wishing good luck to Wertez!

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[1.Local]: Readers chime in - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 18:00:00 EST
Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have cooked up over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

Tank Talk -- the first kill
You gotta love the enthusiasm of PvE raiders for their playstyle of choice. While many players enjoy delving into the numbers behind a certain spec or gear set, raid leaders sometimes develop a more artistic perception of their activities. Neke rhapsodizes over the innate beauty of the teamwork behind an epic raid encounter: "It absolutely is an orchestra. I'm Rossi's raid leader and the thought that Kael (in particular) was an orchestra went through my mind many times. At first, people were running around trying their best to figure out what was needed to be done. I spent the vast majority of the fights calling out on vent each new kill target, directions for each player, where to run, where not to run, what abilities to be ready for.

"Eventually, people got it. I got to just sit back and watch as stuff died in the right order, people got their weapons, people got shields to tanks that couldn't otherwise get there in time, people didn't die in Flamestrikes, Phoenix eggs got killed (though we actually had two Phoenixes at one point on our first kill, but the raid managed to handle that too!), Pyros were interrupted, and Nether Vapors were avoided.

"I typically compare boss fights to a dance. Position, position, position, position. But Kael truly was an orchestra at work. And as the conductor I felt fantastic when I was able to sit back and focus entirely on my own job rather than 24 people's jobs. It really is an amazing feeling to see everything flowing perfectly and getting the work done."

Continue reading [1.Local]: Readers chime in

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Phat Loot Phriday: Star's Tears - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST


"Water?" I hear you asking. How could plain old mana water be Phat Loot? But this is no ordinary water, my friends -- it's also known as Cheater's Juice. This, dear readers, is Arena water.

Name: Star's Tears (Thottbot, Wowhead)
Type: Common Consumable
Damage/Speed: N/A
Abilities:
  • Requires level 65. On drinking, restores 7200 mana over 30 seconds. Which isn't that great -- you can get this water from any Mage, right?
  • But this water doesn't come from a Mage, and that's what's so special about it. It's the cheapest vendor water you can buy -- just 25s and two (that's right, two) Honor points per 5, in stacks of 20. Just one BG will earn you enough to not worry about the Honor points, and overall, you'll save money (probably even cheaper than that Mage you're tipping every time you log in) every time you buy it.
  • And, as Arena players all know, this is the only non-Mage water usable in the Arenas. As the tooltip says, it's "carefully extracted for warfare use," so Arena players who can duck out of combat (Hunters, for example, can Feign Death out of combat and drink) can get back some mana fast even without a Mage in the group.
  • Plus, as all Warcraft players (and bloggers) know, tears are the tastiest drink of all. Mmmmm tears. QQ moar pls.
How to Get It: This tasty drink is just a vendor away -- you've got to run to the Officer Accessories Quartermaster in each capital city to pick up your couple of stacks. That's Brave Stonehide in Orgrimmar, and Master Sargeant Biggins in Stormwind City. Give them your money and a couple of Honor points, and the drink is yours. Who needs Mages anyway?

Getting Rid of It: You could, um, drink it? Otherwise, you can sell it back to the vendor for 1s 25c, which is suprising -- these are the tears of stars, people! Famous people cried their eyes out just so you could have these!

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Warlock talent plus Tier 5 set bonus equals 536 million DPS - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST


Um, nerf Warlocks? With all of the talking we've been doing about Wrath of the Lich King lately, we haven't really mentioned the one thing players are supposed to be doing on the beta servers: finding bugs. Fortunately, Sneakthief found a very nice one -- when you combine the Warlock 51 point Affliction talent Everlasting Affliction with the set bonus from the Tier 5 Warlock set, you get an everlasting Corruption spell that goes up in damage 10% every time a Shadow Bolt hits. (He's beating up on a Servant of Allistarj, by the way, which is why the mob isn't dying.)

Extrapolate a few minutes later, and you've got 536 million damage ticking every time Corruption comes around -- which seems to be the cap, so I'm sure a math major can tell us just why that number's special. And all that damage happens to be, as Sneakthief says, enough not just to take down Kil'jaeden with one tick, but all of Sunwell combined. Of course, this is an easy fix (one way to do it would just be to put a cap on how high Corruption damage can go), but this is exactly what the beta is for: finding hilarious bugs and posting them on YouTube whoops, I mean fixing them.

Update: The figure in the video works out to be 2^29. Thanks, math nerds! We love you!

Continue reading Warlock talent plus Tier 5 set bonus equals 536 million DPS

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Cro Threadstrong and his crushable apples - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 15:00:00 EST


I love Cro Threadstrong. Ever since we arrived in Shattrath, the guy's been yelling about the Fruit Vendor's cart blocking his way, and this isn't just an annoyed angry, it's a full-on, all-out, apple-crushing war kind of angry. And though we somehow missed this in among all of the Wrath beta news lately, we've now been invited into the trenches -- Cro is now selling his own crushable apples so players can walk right over to that Fruit Vendor, crush apples in front of her, and tell her ourselves: "YOU ARE RUNNING OUT OF TIME, FRUIT VENDOR!!!"

So much fun. As you can see in the gallery below, the apples let you cast a quick spell that shows a spurt of red juice flowing out from beneath your feet, but the real fun here is yelling for no discernable reason. "Did you see that, Fruit Vendor? The Ogre will not protect you! Do you not value the life of your apples?!?" And how funny it would be if Granny Smith really did turn out to be masterminding a war.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: I still love you, Titan's Grip - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 14:00:00 EST


Dear, sweet Titan's Grip, be thou not angered at me. Dost thou remember how our affair began, as news of you first broached the shores of Europe and invited the whole world in? Yes, I have aired my doubts of you in public before now. For the truth is, my fair one, you are not perfect. You can indeed withhold from me that sweetest of rage, which I use to rend my enemies in twain. But in truth how could I ever stay alienated from your beauty? For you do allow me to hit my enemies with two great honking weapons at the same time!

And that is wonderful.

Yet there are other wonders than Titan's Grip waiting for you warriors at the roof of the World of Warcraft, the ice-tinged continent of Northrend. What awaits us, you may ask? Well, ask or not, here comes a day's observations of what awaits us. (Also, if you're wondering why I'm using Gorehowl and a shield in that picture, let me just say, Shield Slam doesn't use the same cooldown as Bloodthirst. Also, fury tanking! More about this in the post itself.)

Now that I've done the expected and obligatory gushing about TG, what say I talk about the state of things warriorish in Wrath of the Lich King's enthralling beta? (Yeah, yeah, it's not a word. Sheesh, you people.)

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: I still love you, Titan's Grip

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WoW Insider Show Episode 50 live tomorrow afternoon - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 13:30:00 EST
Can you believe it's been almost a year since we started our podcast? Since it began, we've welcomed a few guests, joked around plenty, and done a lot (a lot) of what we do best: talking about all the top news from the last week in Warcraft. This week, we're hitting episode number 50, and since it's our quinquagenary, we're going all out: we'll have a review of some of our favorite moments from previous shows, we'll have a few giveaways just for listeners of the live show, and we may even break out the champagne.

Oh, and we'll still do all the things we normally do on the podcast -- Adam Holisky with join Turpster and I, and we'll do a live version of our popular Ask a Beta Tester feature (so bring your questions to the IRC channel at irc.mmoirc.com in #wowradio). And we've got to talk about the first player to wield three legendaries at the same time, right? We'll also see what people think of the new hairstyles, and we'll answer your emails (send them to theshow@wowinsider.com).

It's gonna be a blowout for sure. Tune in tomorrow afternoon on WoW Radio at 3:30pm Eastern for the fiftieth episode of the WoW Insider Show.

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Death is in the air for gold sellers - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EST


What smells like dead Orcs and flies? Goldseller spam in Orgrimmar. In the last few weeks it has been dead Gnomes in Ironforge. The dead bodies spell out the name of a gold selling website. This tactic has returned from about a year or so ago, but this is the first time I've heard of it in Orgrimmar. The body advertisements look sharper than the old versions. All in all it seems like an awful lot of work to get around spam filters.

Gold sellers have used several means to get their message out to the public, and Blizzard has found ways to combat it. I remember back in the day when we used to get spammed with whispers. Blizzard introduced the report spam feature for users to flag this content, the whispers nearly completely ceased overnight. I have to hand it to them, the gold sellers come up with innovative ways to market their product. Sure it violates the terms of use, but gold-selling by its nature is a violation. What's one more script here and there for them?

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WoW Moviewatch: Muffins WotLK Exploration Part 70-77 - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 12:00:00 EST

(Viewers be warned that this video contains spoilers for the Wrath of the Lich King beta.)

Muffins did a great job with her most recent exploration video. If you're looking for another artistic take on the new locations available in WotLK, this is the movie for you. The areas that she visits include Howling Fjord, Borelean Tundra, The Nexus (Instance), Utgarde Keep (Instance), Crystalsong Forest, Dragonblight, Stone Halls (Instance), Drak'tharon Keep (Instance), Zul'Drak, Dalaran, Sholazar Basin, and Grizzly Hills.

The other day, I mentioned that Razzik may have had his exploration video removed from Vimeo. While I have yet to confirm it with him, there is a comment on Muffins' WCM page saying that they removed hers. I'll be weighing in on this shortly with some additional news from other sites, as well as recommendations for where to keep your machinima safe.

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

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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Ask a Beta Tester: Death Knight-free edition - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 11:00:00 EST


Have beta questions? We've got beta answers right here on Ask a Beta Tester! Today I'm going to start out with a few questions that we've answered before -- but people seem so desperate to know, that I feel I have to at least point them in the right direction.

Aracross asked: Is CoT3 (old Stratholme) in the beta?

The outer instance is, but the you can't zone in yet. It's supposed to be a level 80 instance, though, and the level cap is set at 77 right now.

Samman asked: Is the epic flying mount training 5,000g?

There are currently no changes to any mount training costs in the beta. Sorry!

Now, on to the questions of the day! (Surprisingly Death Knight free!)

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: Death Knight-free edition

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Around Azeroth: You have completed World of Warcraft - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 10:00:00 EST


Congratulations! Would you like to play again in Extreme Mode?

This screenshot comes to us from Ben, whose cryptic explanation for this pic was "the end of the world, only used rocket boots and slow fall to get there." Are we talking the chronological end of the world? The literal edge of the map? The thing that happens when you fall through the surface of Azeroth? Or has Ben done the unthinkable and actually finished World of Warcraft?

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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets.

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Scattered Shots: The dev team takes on PvP - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 09:30:00 EST

Welcome once again to Scattered Shots, WoW Insider's spot for all things Hunter, except for the stuff Big Red Kitty covers. Daniel Whitcomb will be your host today (a day late, for which he apologizes) as David Bowers tries to shake off some extra aggro.

The state of Hunters in PvP is perhaps one of the most debated subjects in WoW PvP. Some call Hunters overpowered for their dispelling Arcane Shot (which is going away in Wrath, to be sent to the non-damaging Tranquilizing Shot), while others point to their low Arena representation and the ease of using line of sight to negate most of their DPS and Abolish Poison to get rid of their main PvP utility as proof that they need buffs. Regardless, even the devs acknowledge that Hunters probably need some help in PvP, and class designer Koraa recently spoke on the subject on the Beta forums. In his post, he covered the problems he sees Hunters having, and how Blizzard will be helping with those moving forward into Wrath.

Unfortunately, his solutions seem confused in and of themselves. They involve giving Hunters more melee attack power (instead of more way to break from melee so they can use their ranged weapon) and a variety of talents scattered around many trees in such a way that it will be difficult for a solid PvP build to get them all. And, as I mentioned in a post yesterday, they still aren't giving pets resilience.

Other Hunters such as Megatf have done an excellent job responding to some of Koraa's points in the thread itself, but I'd like to address and respond to the post myself in this week's column, and see how they stack up to the problems Hunters face in small scale Arena PvP.

Continue reading Scattered Shots: The dev team takes on PvP

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BlizzCon site now live - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 09:00:00 EST


The official site for BlizzCon 2008 is now up. The launch prefaces the ticket sales for the event, scheduled for August 11. If you're considering going to the Anaheim, CA event, you can check out the website for all the information you need from hotel & travel accommodations to the various panels throughout the weekend. World of Warcraft-related panels include discussions on class design, PvP, WoW art, dungeons & raids, and UI & mods.

The event, the first BlizzCon to be televised live, will also see the finals of the Global Arena tournament. Even if you're not interested in Arena PvP, there are a bunch of other contests you can participate in (or watch for your amusement), such as the ever-popular costume contest, dance contest, and even the machinima competition. Details aren't up on the site yet, but you can bug them on their FAQ about that.

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Breakfast topic: Wrath info poll - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 08:00:00 EST

Most of the news coming up from Blizzard has focused on Wrath of the Lich King. We've been working to cover the most up-to-date information on the expansion while staying on top of current events in the existing game. I am excited for Wrath, but I'm taking my time to enjoy the now until it comes out. There are still plenty of interesting non-Wrath-related things going on.

It can be a tough balance between sharing new mechanics and presenting spoilers. We've added features to the site like Ask a Beta Tester and Lichborne, which can be readily ignored if you're not up for spoilers. We've had some requests to slow down on the Wrath news, but many many more to keep it up. How much information do you want before the xpac is released? Take our little poll and let us know where you stand.

View Poll

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Forum post of the day: Retroactive recruitment - Fri, 08 Aug 2008 02:57:00 EST

Blizzard does not particualry appreciate petitions on the official forums. This does not stop players from starting them. Lyccan of Ner'zhul started a petition in the Suggestion forum to make the Recruit-a-Friend benefits retroactive. At this time Blizzard has announce no current plans to give these rewards to folks who have brought players into the game in the past.

Most of us are pretty open about our love or World of Warcraft, and many of us have invited our friends and family to join us in WoW. In the past, the joy of sharing the game and a potential game-time buddy was enough to bring our friends into the game.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Retroactive recruitment

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Olympic battleground rewards appear on European and Chinese servers - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 20:25:00 EST

Despite the extensive problems and human violations rights perpetuated by the Chinese government, some in service of the Olympic games themselves, most of the world seems to content to settle in and watch the Beijing Olympics one way or another. Apparently, that attitude has spread to Blizzard itself.

Currently on the European and Chinese servers, there are NPCs at each major Battlemaster area in the capital cities who proclaim that Battlegrounds are hosting some type of "Spirit of Competition."

For simply participating in a battleground, you are sent a Competitor's Tabard, which features 4 multi-colored rings on a white background, a clear reference to the Olympics itself. If you win a battleground during this time period, you may also have a chance at receiving a gold medal which summons a spirit of competition, which looks like a small Chinese dragon according to tipster Ichthallus.

This competition does not appear to be live on the US Servers, nor has anyone from Blizzard spoken up to reveal if it ever will be as of this writing. We'll have to watch and see what happens. As Blizzard does not appear to be an official Olympic partner, there is some concern from some quarters that this could simply be a copyright issue. It's also possible that this was meant to be a Chinese servers only event, and it only accidentally got onto the EU servers.

Thanks to everyone who sent us tips on this!

EDIT: Belfaire has confirmed that this event will be coming to US and Oceanic servers starting at Midnight server time. Thanks to those who let us know in the comments!

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Know Your Lore: Nozdormu the Timeless - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 20:00:00 EST


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week (except for last week, sorry guys!) Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

Nozdormu is the fifth and final dragon aspect, since the filthy Netherwing aspect doesn't count! Silly mutant spawn of Deathwing, thinking they're special or something. Anyhow, Nozdormu the Timeless is the aspect of the Bronze Dragonflight, and was given his power by the titan lord Aman'Thul. Nozdormu has power over time and can, technically, alter it to his whims. Though he's capable of doing such, he is meant to watch over the timeline and prevent it from being altered by outside forces.

Nozdormu, more or less, oversees the Caverns of Time. Or rather, he has in the past. Currently Nozdormu is preoccupied with some uberpowerful anomaly in the timeline, and has left his prime consort Soridormi in charge. You would think the Timeless One would have all the time in the world to get things done, but his history in Warcraft thus far says otherwise.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Nozdormu the Timeless

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Git along, li'l dogies - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST
Time for a little WoW blog roundup, cowpokes! Whoopie-ti-yi-yo!

Making gold with second account | Full Time WoW Addict
With Blizzard's new refer-a-friend incentive, you might be thinking about opening a second account to get those XP benefits. Even better, Examino at Full Time WoW Addict shows you how to earn your raiding gold with some light multiboxing. No Wrath spoilers!

Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK | Banana Shoulders
Siha at Banana Shoulders (best blog name ever!) compares theories to practice in Wrath's current Paladin spellpower changes.

Achievements and why they suck | Yet Another Warlock Nerf
Some people think the achievements system coming in Wrath is awesome sauce. Horns at Yet Another Warlock Nerf vigorously disagrees.

Three more blog dogies after the break...

Continue reading Git along, li'l dogies

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Pets Scaling in Wrath: Hit percentage is in, resilience and xp bonuses are out - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 18:00:00 EST

A while back, class designer Koraa told Warlocks that their pets would be getting their master's hit percentage. Today, he confirmed the same for Hunter pets. This should definitely be a godsend for raid level DPSers of both classes. Conventional wisdom is that reaching your personal hit cap is pretty much the single best way to increase your personal DPS total, and being able to do the same for pets should only provide a noticable increase to DPS, as well as keep any special buffs or debuffs said pets apply coming in with a minimum of interruption.

Unfortunately, something else Koraa said on the same post is a little less exciting -- resilience is nowhere on the table for being shared. They believe that they currently have the right amount of survivability for pets. In a group situation, you or your group should be healing the pet, and in Arena play, any time spent killing the pet provides a benefit in the form "crowd control" while the DPS is focus firing your pet.

Unfortunately, as the player of a level 70 Hunter and Warlock who have both seen extensive 2v2 Arena play, I'm not sure it's that simple.

Continue reading Pets Scaling in Wrath: Hit percentage is in, resilience and xp bonuses are out

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