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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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One Boss Leaves: Sapphiron vs. Hakkar wrap up - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 19:00:00 EST


Last week, the undead frost wyrm of Northrend, Sapphiron squared off against the Troll god of Zul'Gurub, Hakkar the Soulflayer in a neutral arena to see who is the top boss. Did the Blue Dragon freeze out the competition or did the Faceless One slither into victory?

Though Hakkar has a mean damage/healing combo and an earlier Enrage timer, the votes confirm that Sapphiron's superior dps output and own healing & Enrage abilities would allow him to triumph over the Blood God. There was some debate about Hakkar's abilty to mind control the undead, but in the end only one boss leaves the arena.

Sapphiron moves on to the final four where he will face off against the winner of our next Two Bosses Enter showdown. Who will win when the Firelord of Molten Core, Ragnaros goes up against Kel'Thuzad, the Archlich of the Plaguelands? Voting starts tomorrow.

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CNN on WoW addiction - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST
Last week CNN ran an editorial story about online game addictions. Its the typical story about how bad online games can be, and how this addiction can destroy a person's life. The article itself has some good examples of this, from both Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft.

In particular, a specialist at the Illinois Institute for Addiction Recovery at Proctor Hospital, talks about a young man in his twenties. This poor fellow has lost numerous jobs, his girlfriend, and is quite the recluse since he became addicted to World of Warcraft. It's quite the unfortunate tale, and I'm sure we're all sympathetic to his plight.

Many of us have someone in our family, or otherwise know someone who has dealt with an addiction. They can be a difficult period in everyone's life to deal with. Addictions to WoW and other games in the genera can be no less serious than an addiction to gambling. The results are all the same: people loose their jobs, their families, and can become severely depressed. When that happens disastrous things take place, such as the young man that lost his life in South Korea last year.

The article on CNN doesn't go into any great detail about what you can do if you think you or a loved one has an addiction to WoW. It does give some tips to family members, but CNN is hardly the place to go to for medical advice. Instead, don't bother with anything else then going right to your doctor. Any doctor, at any clinic, anywhere, can at least point you in the right direction.

I'm sure a few of our readers out there have dealt with this in the past, either directly or indirectly. What have you done? What stories do you have to tell?

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2.4 may herald new bag types - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 17:40:00 EST
World of Raids has been releasing information by the bucket loads, and one intriguing little morsel has caught our eye: The addition of four new bag types, marked "Leatherworking Supplies," "Soulbound Equipment," "Vanity Pets," and a fourth one simply marked "Unused."

Almost any vanity pet fanatic will tell you that one of the hardest things to do is deciding what to delete to make room for your newest little friend, or which pet to take out of the bank and parade about when heading out to quest, grind, or raid. The idea of making vanity pets easier to store and carry has been one that's been a perennial topic of the suggestion boards and an issue dear to the hearts of every pet fanatic who's set up elaborate trade agreements with the other faction or spent countless hours in Zangarmarsh just to make sure they got ALL the vanity pets possible, and it looks as if Blizzard has finally answered their prayers.

The leatherworking supplies bag is a bit harder to pin down. We already have a leatherworking bag category, so this may be simply a shuffling of data.

As far as a soulbound items bag goes, if it simply allows any type of soulbound item or gear, and comes in sizes greater than the current 18 slot standard, this could be great salvation for any class who carries around an extra set of gear for various situations, be they a Druid with tank, DPS, and healing sets, or a raider with various resist sets.

Of course, we can't say for sure yet if these new categories will be used right away for Sunwell loot or recipes, or whether they're simply in reserve for possible future use, but the prospect of more bag space has this druid drooling.

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Rocket Mount animation - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 17:15:00 EST


We covered the Rocket Mount announcement a earlier last month. However with the 2.4 patch notes released last night, and the test client now downloadable, we've been able to do some digging around. The mpq files have been kind to us and have given us this great animation of my warrior ridding the newest addition to the loot available from the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, the Rocket Mount.

I'm sure everyone will want one of these. My guess is that it'll be even more in demand than the Spectral Tiger Mount. After all, who just can't resist going "yeehaw!" when you see this?

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Birds of prey: Is Druid epic flight form OP in PvP - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 17:01:00 EST


I was sitting at dinner with a buddy of mine (I'll call him Zebulon), excited about the prospects of being one of WoW Insider's newest bloggers. He suggested that I should write a post on why Druid's Swift Flight Form is "OP." I thought he was just whining, so in my least empathic voice I said, "QQ more nub, you knew what you signed up for on a PvP server."

As it turns out Zebulon had a run-in with a shifter who really knew how to use his class abilities. As he was flying back from Skettis daily questing high above Terorkkar Forest, Zebulon, who was playing a Rogue, was ambushed by a Druid in Swift Flight Form. The attacker flew above him and shifted into caster form. The Druid cast Insect Swarm and began spamming Moonfire as he dropped toward the ground. The altitude permitted the Druid to break combat and return to flight form. Because of the speed boost from epic flight form the Druid was able to make another pass. Damaged, dotted, and desperate, Zebulon searched for a safe body of water to drop into. The plan was to dismount into the water, Cloak of Shadows, and then Vanish from the attacker. No luck- HK for the Druid.

Continue reading Birds of prey: Is Druid epic flight form OP in PvP

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Guild Launch signatures are back - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST


One of the more popular dynamically generated signatures out there are provided by guild forum hosting site Guild Launch. For those that don't know about it, they provide nifty signatures to go on the bottom of your guild forum posts, and look just like the one pictured in this post. The signature updates based on the WoW Armory data provided by Blizzard. Pretty handy for showing off your stats. After all, who doesn't want to show off that their warrior has just over 16k HP unbuffed?

About two months ago the signatures stopped updating entirely. The major problem was that the Armory, which we are always reminded is still in beta, was experiencing some problems. Last week the Guild Launch signatures stared updating again (thanks to the Armory working again), but with a twist. They now will update automatically every 6 days instead of every day. However, you can still manually recreate the signatures once every 24 hours if you just have to get your stats updated. (Although with that said, I have rarely seen the Armory update right after you equip new gear and log out... still in beta. Yup.)

Your old signatures will still work indefinitely, but they won't be updated anymore. To take advantage of the new updated signatures, head over to the announcement page and follow the instructions. Basically all you have to do is change one word in the html line for your signature; find the word "sig.php" and change it to "wsig.php". Poof! You're done.

What site do you use to make your graphical signature?

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Bornakk announces region free test servers - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 15:35:00 EST
Bornakk announced last night that we can expect what could be a fun change for this and future PTRs: the US, Korean, and EU servers will share test realms. We might speculate that this could be delaying the release of the PTRs despite the fact that we have the notes and the patch in hand, though it is, of course, possible that it's the problems with the live servers right now as well.

Regardless, it'll be interesting to see how this changes the test dynamic as testing goes forward. There's been some questions in the past over which region's raid groups are better, so it might be fun to see if they decide to duke it out over the new Sunwell content face-to-face. It might be fun to see if some multi-region arena tourneys get set up as well. Even on the casual side, some of us have overseas internet friends who play on different servers than us by necessity, so it should be great to meet up with them and kill a few monsters or do a few dailies together.

Of course, before we get to see if anything fun comes out of this, we'll have to make it on the PTRs. We'll be sure to tell you as soon as we see them up and running!

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Sunwell Isle map and PTR news - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 15:25:00 EST
Thanks to Michael for alerting us to a post over at the WoW LiveJournal. He has managed to piece together a map of Sunwell Isle and the new Azeroth world map from the beta files currently available for patch 2.4. Of course, this is just beta information and may change at any time.

As far as the PTR goes, you can now download the patch files. However, when you try to copy a character you get the error message "You have no characters on Anvilmar," or what ever server you live on. This is because while the patch files are available, the server is not up yet.

Stay tuned to WoW Insider all this weekend for the latest patch news!

See the new maps after the break.

Continue reading Sunwell Isle map and PTR news

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Is it time for age restricted servers? - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST


Anyone who has been playing WoW for a bit knows that this game is unique in that both adults and children can enjoy it at the same time. Indeed this duality can be considered one of the best features of the game. How often can you sit down with your son or daughter and truly enjoy the same video game? Besides the amazing adventures of Dora The Explorer, other kid friendly games like Disney Online's Toon Town and Club Penguin just don't provide the same level of enjoyment for adults and their children. (What's the game in Dora, you ask? Assisting her in finding the red berries or yelling at Swiper. See this not-safe-for-work Kevin Smith YouTube excerpt for an explanation.)

However with that in mind, there are some compelling arguments that its due time for World of Warcraft to get a few age restricted servers.

For starters, take a look at what Second Life has done. They're a pretty successful venture, and have a lot of parallels to MMORPGS like WoW. They've created a server called Teen Second Life in which they do their best to only allow teenagers between the ages of 13 - 17 access. When you turn 18 you're moved up to the adult server along with all your gear and property. Of course this has the same pitfalls as any other internet site where you can fake your identity, but it is a start; and a good one since Linden Labs actively polices age restrictions.

Continue reading Is it time for age restricted servers?

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Ping faster with Faster Ping - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
Recently members of my guild have been using a tool called Faster Ping to achieve better ping rates in game. My guild is a West Coast based guild, and attracts a lot of people from Hawaii and Australia, so they naturally have higher ping rates than those of us in the States. Faster Ping seems to be working wonders for them. It is not so much of an addon as it is a tool for Windows (though lots of people mistakingly call it an addon).

My first reaction to this was what thinking this sounded like something out of the mouth of Cliff Clavin. I mean, how can a piece of software impact something that is mainly due to physical limits? Well, after thinking about it for a bit, and reading up on what the tool does, it can.

WARNING! This paragraph will be the only one that contains technical content! Faster Ping works by removing the acknowledgement delay from TCP packets. This delay happens inside the kernel's TCP stack, and is a necessity for a lot of functions that go on inside a TCP stack. The other modification Faster Ping does is to remove delay in sending small packets (think anything less than a dozen or so bytes). These changes, at least theoretically, should not impact system stability if the Windows kernel has proper TCP/IP stack implementation. Okay, end technical content.

Continue reading Ping faster with Faster Ping

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WoW Insider Weekly - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 13:30:00 EST
Here's our weekly content from the past seven days, all wrapped up in one big post. It's a week's worth of reading, in one list full of links.

Sunday Morning Funnies: Observations
Amanda's weekly roundup of WoW funnies will make you laugh any time.

Two Bosses Enter: Sapphiron vs. Hakkar
It's Ice Dragon vs. Blood God.

All the World's a Stage: Class is in session
David talks about how the second half of the classes can use their powers to roleplay.

Spiritual Guidance: Level 1 to 5 on your new Priest
Hint: put that mace to good use and get ready to learn how to use Smite.

Officers' Quarters: A moral dilemma
Account trading in the guild-- what do you think?

WoW Insider Show Episode 23: Mojo and other popular loot
Our podcast chats about the frog, the fans and the funny.

The Art of War(craft): Motion theory, part 1
How to move around (it's harder than it sounds).

The Light and How to Swing It: Levels 41-50
Taking a Paladin to the big five-oh.

Raid Rx: I feel the need... the need for speed, part 1
Love that Shaman screenshot! Oh, and the column, about casting time, is pretty good, too.

About the Bloggers: Elizabeth Harper
Our Senior Editor shows her hand.

Build Shop: Paladin 40/0/21
Rut roh, Chris did a shockadin. Get out the popcorn.

Guildwatch: Fish food
As in, what you do with Vashj after taking all her loot.

Blood Pact: The real Lunar Festival
Believe it or not, Omen is just something Blizzard added on their own.

Well Fed Buff: Dragonbreath Chili
Food so good it'll make you belch flames.

Totem Talk: Let's raid
Take those totems raiding!

Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: Skirmish
Things get hacky and slashy in Chris' ongoing graphic novel.

World of WarCrafts: Buzzard Bite Wraps
I don't know how buzzard would actually taste, but these sound pretty darn good.

Blood Sport: Predictions for the year of the Rat
(That's this one.)

Ready Check: Thou hath no raid spot
Yup, being left out of the raid is sure to ruin your day. Marcie tells you how to avoid it.

Insider Trader: In stitches over BoP tailoring
Some of those clothes are made to fit.

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Omen meet Orgrimmar, Orgrimmar meet Omen - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST


The Lunar Festival is in full swing, and every once in a while Omen is no where to be found. I talked about killing him earlier in the week, but there is another strategy that's been popping up. Have you ever wondered what it's like to kite something across half a continent? Well, now's your chance!

I've tried this with a few friends, and the trick is to keep Omen moving along with as many movement-impairing effects up on him as possible. We had a mage there slinging Frostbolts at him, a shaman shocking him with Frost Shock, and of course a hunter laying down his Concussive Shots and Frost Traps. I was there on my warrior issuing the occasional Taunt just in case one of the DPS made a mistake and got too close (this was never a problem).

Continue reading Omen meet Orgrimmar, Orgrimmar meet Omen

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Blues confirm more changes to come in patch 2.4 - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 12:30:00 EST
Late last night when the 2.4 Patch Notes were circling around, Drysc responded to a lot of QQing on the class forums about lack of buffs and nerfs. In particular, many shamans were upset (most of the threads have been deleted due to offensive language). The gist of what Drysc told everyone: The patch notes are not complete. More class changes to come. Nethaera also later confirmed.

He gave us a little history lesson too. There are two types of patch notes: test realm patch notes, and live patch notes. Live patch notes reflect the changes to the live servers. Test realm patch notes reflect the changes that are on the test realm servers. Test realm patch notes are the basis for the live patch notes, but many change are made to them. As players are active on the test realm and balance issues are discovered, they tweak the patch notes. In the end, the final patch notes that went to the live servers were sometimes nothing like the test realm patch notes; a few things were added, a few things were removed. I wanted to check this out for myself so I found the old test realm patch notes for 2.2, and the live patch notes for 2.2. The following changes were made between the two different versions of the patch notes:

Continue reading Blues confirm more changes to come in patch 2.4

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WoW Moviewatch: Too much of a good thing - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 12:00:00 EST

A long time ago in a land far, far away, the boys of Oblivious Films decided that they wanted to make epic machinimas. However, Macheath had to learn Adobe Premiere Pro first. What follows is a video, Oblivious Hardcore, made about two years ago, before The Grind, their award-winning series, was created.

Drewbie, of Oblivious Films, was kind enough to let me use this as an example of what not to do in a machinima. As a lesson for himself, Macheath managed to fit a mishmash of filters, transitions, text, and effects into just over two minutes of video, proving that you can have too much of a good thing. Machinima isn't an all you can eat buffet. Choose your main course, be it filters or effects, wisely and let the sides, like text and transitions, enhance your meal!

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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More Blizzard news from the D.I.C.E. summit - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST
Wired's games blog brings us more news from D.I.C.E., with word of a "never before seen" presentation about Blizzard's canceled games over the years. Some of the games were later released by other companies, but others... Well, if you can remember anything about them, you may be a true Blizzard fan, and we'd have to kneel in homage to you.

But really, some of the games sounded pretty awesome by the title alone. Around Blizzard these days, Nomad refers to a new human unit from the upcoming Starcraft II, but it seems at the presentation in question, it was on the list of canceled games accompanied by a picture of two giant Zeppelins. And we, of course, are all about the Zeppelins, so the game would have obviously been cool, if it had Zeppelins.

Starcraft:Ghost, amazingly enough, didn't make the list of games, which brings up the question of whether there's still plans to resurrect it - or if Blizzard, like Wired's blogger suggests, just wants to forget about it altogether.

Finally, no list of canceled Blizzard games would be complete without a reference to Warcraft Adventures. I was always disappointed that this one got canceled, being a big fan of the old adventure games, and it looks like I even have allies at Blizzard on this point. But the WoW team seems to like to fit the game's story in wherever they can, so it wasn't all in vain, right?

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Around Azeroth: Elder's Moonstone madness - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Sheltem of the Scarlet Crusade server was role playing in Stormwind with his friends. Taking advantage of the Lunar Festival rewards, they stacked four Elder's Moonstones together in the same spot to create this solid shaft of light. It's so brilliant that you can neither see in nor out of it. Hmm, sounds like we have a new PvP strat to consider.

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

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Hunters, say hello to Thor'idal - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 09:30:00 EST
The WoW community has wasted no time in tearing apart the patch 2.4 files in search of goodies, and goodies they have found! The patch notes themselves didn't blow me away, but this tidbit got me a little excited. The new legendary bow in the Sunwell Plateau is named Thor'idal, the Stars' Fury. It's quite impressive indeed!

According to the spells attached to it, Thor'idal requires absolutely no ammo. It apparently creates its own and it looks like the bow's DPS is jacked high enough that you'll suffer no loss from the lack of ammunition. To make the deal even sweeter, Thor'idal comes equipped with a passive haste buff that nulls the need for a quiver. Congratulations on your Legendary, hunters! Here, have a bag slot!

I'll admit, I don't play a hunter, but this bow seems like a pretty sweet deal all around. Agility, crit, haste, armor penetration, and free ammo. Just about the only thing it doesn't do is conjure s'mores. Keep in mind, though, this thing is still on the PTR. Any stats or spells you see attached to this bow may or may not be there the day it hits the live servers!

If you want to take a gander at the stats, check it out after the jump!

Continue reading Hunters, say hello to Thor'idal

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Arcane Brilliance: Why we Mage - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 09:00:00 EST

Hi there! Yes, after a long hiatus, Arcane Brilliance is back. Snack tables all around! Anybody ninjas the biscuits, they get a Fireball in the face. Nah, just kidding. Even ninjas are welcome here. As long as they're mage-ninjas.

I've been a Mage since day one with WoW, and until a few weeks ago I had never really questioned my class choice. I liked the idea of being a caster, a back row fireballer with robes and a pointy hat. When I came over from FFXI I asked my WoW-playing buddy (the aforementioned shammie) which class I should be. He asked what I was into, and I said something like "I want to be a huge caster-tastic wizard in a dress who sets things on fire with his mind. Is there a mage-type class?" He said. "Yes. It's called...Mage." And that was it. I rolled my undead Mage and began conjuring flaming death and croissants. I happily leveled my Mage to 70.

And then...the bubbling, Healthstone-critting warlock happened.

After the jump: Shameful self doubt, soul searching, and finally...sweet redemption! And more Mage-talk.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Why we Mage

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Badges of Justice topple the Black Temple - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 08:30:00 EST
According to Drysc, the Sunwell Plateau will bring new badge loot to a vendor near you. Its too early to say what these items will be, but Drysc says the items are going to be Black Temple quality.

This definitely has ups and downs. In my opinion, it really seems like the devs are eager to make their past dungeons obsolete. Dumping the old world raids with the launch of the Burning Crusade made a lot of sense, but rendering most of the pre-Sunwell content obsolete with badge gear within the same chapter of the game seems a little strange to me. Even if the vendor was in the raid zone itself, giving a wider selection of gear to those who have cleared Black Temple and Mount Hyjal, that would only lead to those with a plethora of badges paying for a raid ID for vendor access.

Of course, this could be a very good thing for people sitting on many, many badges from Karazhan and are trying to gear up for Wrath of the Lich King levelling. Black Temple loot in exchange for a few Kara runs? Sure, I'll take that!

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Breakfast Topic: Should vanity gear be implemented in the game? - Sat, 09 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST

There's been some talk as of late on the topic of having vanity gear in WoW, or gear that is just for looks and separate from the gear you wear for stats. It's even come up in our very own WoW Insider Show. The idea is that you have one set of gear that affects your character, and another set that is what people see. A couple other games are doing it, and mixed thoughts aside, there are rumblings of this feature possibly coming to Azeroth.

My personal take is that it's a horrible idea. I think having epic gear look good and not so epic gear look not good is all part of the motivation for me to get epic gear. But instead of just being a nay sayer, I've thought up a simple solution.

A lot of players are already carrying a separate set in their bags for vanity purposes. There are all kinds of great add-ons (like Outfitter) that allow you to swap all your clothes at the click of your mouse. I like this. I think this suits game play better from a role playing perspective. When you're out in the middle of Netherstorm, you're gonna wear the best gear you got to protect yourself, but when you arrive in Stormwind, you wouldn't trudge around in your armor. You'd get some stylin' city clothes on before you hit the pub.

Blizzard had mentioned plans of bringing Outfitter functionality to the game as a standard feature way back at Blizzcon for raiding purposes. Wouldn't it be great if they integrated vanity features as well? They could give us options to automate gear swapping based on what zone we're in or what day of the week it is!

So what do you think? Should vanity gear come to WoW or does it kill gear progression?

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