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Addon Spotlight: OSX Me Up - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST
Yes, you read that name right. I'll be doing Addon Spotlight while Sean is away for a little while. Don't worry though as The Creamy GUI Center will still be around for all your in depth addon needs, and I'll do my best to keep Addon Spotlight's tone and feel as close to Sean's as possible. Today in the spotlight is a duet of addons inspired by Apple OSX. Apple has always had a polished interface, with all sorts of options added with a graphical flare that sets it apart from others. Let's see if we can spice up our WoW UI with dock and dashboard addons that hope to bring some of that flare to WoW.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: OSX Me Up

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Totem Talk: On the edge of change Part 1 - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST


Well, as we recall from our previous talk about shaman changes, Lava Burst is a source of contention among shamans. The most recent announcement from Ghostcrawler is that the ability is being buffed by about 10% which will give shamans at 75 and above more reason to use it without nerfing shamans at 70 when patch 3.0.2 comes out since those shamans won't have access to the spell.

Honestly, I'm really not at all sure what elemental DPS is going to shake out like once this all goes live. Some players seem to feel that elemental is in the bottom basement for DPS due to scaling issues (that is to say, the reworking of Storm, Earth and Fire to remove its ability to scale with gear) that mean improvements in gear don't reward shamans as much as other classes. It would seem to me that if you're concerned mostly with scaling issues, the change to Lava Burst isn't going to fix your issues.

Still, as a continuation of the discussion Ghostcrawler started with the initial changes post, I thought it worth mentioning. Because I wanted to talk today not about buffs or nerfs to the class, but rather about abilities that were originally felt to be huge, important changes.

What about Hex, for example?

Continue reading Totem Talk: On the edge of change Part 1

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WoW Insider is live at BlizzCon - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 17:30:00 EST


Yes, this shameful excuse of an iPhone shot of the hotel pool (SOMEone forgot to bring a camera cord, but we're getting one later) is all we've got so far to prove to you that we're live in Anaheim, but it's true -- WoW Insider has returned to the OC (don't call it that) for another BlizzCon's worth of memories, Blizzard news and announcements, and just a generally great time.

Stay tuned all weekend for updates -- we've got our reader meetup tonight and a live recording of our podcast tomorrow for people here, and if you're at home, we're going to bring you everything you need to feel like you're here anyway: galleries, liveblogs, interviews, impressions, and everything else we can squeeze into two-and-a-half days of Blizzard nirvana.

It's going to be fun. Now if you'll excuse us, badge pickup doesn't start until 4. Where exactly can we grab some food around here?

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Reminder: Meet WoW Insider tonight at The Lost Bar at 8pm - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST


Don't forget -- if you're in Anaheim for BlizzCon tonight, our meetup starts in just a few hours at 8pm. We'll be over at The Lost Bar -- you can follow the map above, and from the convention center entrance (where you're grabbing your passes today), it's just about a 10 minute walk north and then west of Disneyland. It's a big open air bar -- we'll be sitting, chatting, and drinking, so walk right up and say hi (just look for the folks going through the BlizzCon goodie bags greedily and talking about the latest beta changes).

We'll be there late this evening (and later on, we'll do some trivia and giveaways), so even if it's kind of late and you've just made it into your hotel, feel free to come by and say hello (and if you're stuck at home, stay tuned for a post live from the meetup later on this evening). And don't forget that even if you can't make it to the meetup tonight, we're taping our podcast in front of a live audience (with WoW Radio and The Guild) tomorrow evening, so make sure that's on your schedule as well.

Have a safe trip to BlizzCon if you're coming down, and we'll see you at the Lost Bar this evening!

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Sewer fishing for fun and profit (mostly fun) - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 16:30:00 EST


I have a confession to make; I love fishing. Most people seem to hate it, and it's certainly not one of the more popular professions to level, but I could pass a perfectly entertaining afternoon ingame doing nothing more than chatting on vent and emptying pools of delicious and lucrative fish. Blizzard made a lot of effort towards improving the fishing experience in Burning Crusade, and tons of people wound up leveling it for a shot at Mr. Pinchy, the Find Fish skill, or the high-end raiding food buffs like Spicy Crawdad and Blackened Sporefish.

You'll find an array of new fish and pools in Wrath, but for my money the two great joys are fishing in the Dalaran sewers and the Dalaran wishing fountain. The fountain is actually the more interesting of the two for a reason we'll cover in a bit, but you'll also need the sewers if you're interested in a new noncombat pet and the Accomplished Angler achievement (the one rewarding the "Salty" title, which I'm sure no one in the game ever intends to abuse).

Spoiler warning: if you don't want to know the disgusting but highly interesting things you'll coax out of the Dalaran sewer system, just keep scrollin'.

Continue reading Sewer fishing for fun and profit (mostly fun)

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Ask A Beta Tester: The Alchemist - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST


Apologies to Paulo Coelho fans for borrowing his title, but we have two Alchemy-related questions to start us off today, in addition to questions on Blacksmithing, cinematics, and dailies:

Horizons asks...

Do the alchemy specializations in wrath still work the same way as they do now in BC? For example, will I still have a chance of getting 5 wrath potions even when I'm leveling starting at 375 such as Wrath Elixirs or Icy mana potions? And will transmute spec ever be fixed?

Yup, alchemy specializations work the exact same way in Wrath. As a potions master, I've already procced a few, but don't expect to see the Runic Mana or Runic Healing potion recipes until...I want to say it's 410 Alchemy. You'll skill up on the array of new elixirs like Elixir of Mighty Thoughts and Elixir of Mighty Agility until then, but do save mats for the new Alchemy trinkets that become available at (I think) 400, like Mighty Alchemist's Stone. We'll have more information soon on materials you'll start getting in Northrend that you'll want to set aside for crafting.

Continue reading Ask A Beta Tester: The Alchemist

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World of WarCrafts: Voidwalker plush - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST
Every Thursday, Shelbi Roach of The Bronze Kettle guides you in creating WoW-inspired crafts using real world mats with World of WarCrafts.

This week, instead of showing you how to make something, I want to focus on something that someone else has created.

My main is a human warlock (yeah, Alliance here) and as such I have a soft spot for all things blueberry. So when I happened across this über cute plush voidwalker by seller Glowgoyle on Etsy, I instantly fell in love. I happened to forward the link to my husband who later surprised me with it as a gift.

Now it sits proudly on my desk amongst my other toys and assorted WoWCrafts. The plushie itself is very well-made and is about 15 inches tall. The crafter was awesome enough to include a stand and the final coup de grâce is that the eyes glow in the dark.

There's a possibility that Glowgoyle might make more in the future so definitely keep an eye on her Etsy shop.

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WoW Insider interviews 38 Studios' Brett Close about Azeroth Advisor - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST
Last week we reported that 38 Studios, a company working on its own MMO property, had picked up the Azeroth Advisor, a custom newsletter directed towards players of World of Warcraft. At the time, we were slightly confused -- why would another gaming company want to purchase a guide written to promote and help players of a competitor's game? To get the answer, we went straight to the top, and sat down to talk with Brett Close, CEO of 38 Studios, about the reasons behind his company's purchase of the Azeroth Advisor and the technology behind it.

Last week, Curt Schilling, the company's founder, spoke on The Instance podcast about the buyout (that took place in May of this year), and what Mentor Media's newsletter and technology had to offer 38 Studios, so we asked Close about that, including how they planned to extend the custom newsletters to games that didn't have WoW's Armory and why they want to support players of a competitor's MMO. And we also talked about the fact that the newsletter is going free and why they decided to start giving it away.

The conversation with 38 Studios' CEO starts right after the break.

Continue reading WoW Insider interviews 38 Studios' Brett Close about Azeroth Advisor

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Scattered Shots: What we didn't get - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST

Welcome to another week of Scattered Shots, WoW Insider's column for Hunter miscellany and mischief.

So with Wrath of the Lich King coming closer and closer, classes are probably getting more or less close to what they'll look like when it ships. Maybe.

As for Hunters, We have our problems, be they a 41 point talent that won't be done in time for Wrath, an Aspect of the Viper identity crisis, or a new skill suddenly removed. But honestly, with the removal of shot clipping, the new Disengage and the new Pet talent system, I'm actually cautiously optimistic about our place in Wrath. We may need another patch or two before we're really settled, but we're getting some very basic class changes in Wrath that have been long overdue, and I'm hopeful that the class will end up solid by the time people are picking out their Arthas-killing teams and/or Season 6 Arena teams.

But that aside, permit me this week to opine upon some of the stuff we really did miss out on. Why did Blizzard take it back? Did we need it? Should we get it back again?

Continue reading Scattered Shots: What we didn't get

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WoW Moviewatch: Unbroken - Prelude - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 12:00:00 EST


Holy moly, Firebolt Productions just keeps coming at us with high quality films! We only recently just saw them win fourth place in the WeGame contest and now they've already got a teaser out for another film. Johan Vagstedt says that Firebolt is apparently in the process of making a "huge machinima project" called Unbroken and today's feature, called Unbroken - Prelude, is the teaser for it which they've entered into the BlizzCon movie contest.

This film follows a council of Orcs led by the "very special" Gul'dan, set a short time after after the Dark Portal was opened by Ner'zhul, trying to decide if they will join the Burning Legion. Later in the film, we also see a glimpse of the Draenei side of the story.

This film is, quite frankly, one of the most highly-polished pieces of machinima I've ever seen -- from the lighting to the camera angles to even the facial expressions. I highly, HIGHLY recommend -- no, I demand -- that you download the full version of this movie from Filefront -- it's simply incredible. I can't wait for the full version!

[Via WarcraftMovies]

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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Not at BlizzCon? Enter to win a Tabard of Flame anyway - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST
Everyone going to BlizzCon has already left, right? And there's no Internet access for people in Anaheim, right? Good, because we wanted to talk just to you folks who aren't going. Sure the next few days are going to be full of fun Blizzard news and galleries full of nerds dressed like Night Elves, but we wanted to make sure those of you at home aren't left out. While we've got tons of giveaways to pass out at our reader meetup later this evening, we're not forgetting about you forlorn souls: thanks to the good folks at WoWTCGLoot, we've got a tabard code to offer you.

That's right, leave a comment on this post during BlizzCon (that is, before Saturday night, October 11th, at midnight Eastern), and you'll be entered in a contest to randomly win a code for a Tabard of Flame. We'll pick one random winner (and you can use the code on the US or EU realms), and help them make up for missing out on BlizzCon by putting them in some sweet tabard threads. Please note: you may only enter once, by leaving a comment on this post, and please use a real email so we can contact the winner afterwards.

We just wanted to make sure the weekend wasn't a complete wash -- thanks to WoWTCGLoot for helping us out with this (and make sure to visit them if you want any info about all the loot from the TCG). Good luck to everyone, whether you're at BlizzCon or not.

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Northrend-flying quest removed in favor of cash payout - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 10:30:00 EST

Drkshadow posted in the official forums with what he considers a slap in the face for folks looking to use their flying mounts in Northrend. (It's always a slap in the face, isn't it?) The quest to "attune" your mount to Northrend has been removed, and replaced with a simple 1000 gold payout. If you don't pay, you don't fly.

Bornakk confirms the change only a few posts later. He says turning the attunement into a cash payment makes it easier for more players to get. It might suck to pay the 1000G for each hungry alt. But, really, if you consider it -- how hard is it to farm up 1000G on your main? I think Bornakk makes a fair point -- it's probably easier to just grab cash on your main than take a relatively undergeared alt through a quest over and over.

Of course, we already knew that flying wasn't going to be very expensive. I guess someone might argue that 1000 gold can be a lot of cash, but that's really only a few days of dailies, or maybe a quick trip to sell loot at the auction house. At level 80, I'm just not going to get intimidated by a single grand.

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Around Azeroth: The jerk of Darkshire - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 10:00:00 EST


Ha! Searching for your looking glass, Blind Mary? I killed the Insane Ghoul, all right, but you're never getting your glass back. I'm hiding somewhere in your house, wearing your precious, precious glasses. And you won't find me up here, not in a million years, because you're as blind as a bat! Hahaha. Ahahaha! AHAHAHA -- *sound of maniacal laughter being cut off as Stitches and Mor'Ladim, attracted by the sound, barge in from the other side of the zone and kill Scopes of Wildhammer for being a sadistic little gnome.*

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 battleground scoreboards.

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BigRedKitty: Rhino Bowling - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST


Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

There is extremely little we can offer in the way of an excuse for this project, except maybe... OK, there's no excuse. The silliness just has to be let out.

You are invited to download the YouTube version (24MB) of this movie here, and the full-sized (in stereo, even!) version (39MB) here.

As always, a great big Thank You to the WoW Insider editors for allowing us to publish this movie both here and on our little blog at the same time!

From his video guides to Karazhan For Hunter Dummies, nobody covers raid Hunters like BRK. Looking for more Hunter goodness? Check out our non-raid Hunter column, Scattered Shots or the WoW Insider Directory of Hunter Guides.

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Breakfast Topic: The not-so-easy achievements - Thu, 09 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST
If you're like many of us, you've probably looked at the Achievement system coming to the game in patch 3.02, picked a few favorites, and considered getting some of them done before Wrath hits and all hell breaks loose. The last few weeks before an expansion tend to be relatively relaxed and quiet, leaving you with plenty of time to, say, Explore Kalimdor, visit zones you may have missed for 1500 Quests, or just convince more factions that you're really not so bad.

Some Achievements, however, are a little tougher, particularly those that will reward your character with a special title or mount. While I'm not sure I want to think about what something like For the Alliance! is going to be like, the one that I'm most concerned about is the Fishing Diplomat one. It's an an achievement needed for Accomplished Angler, and requires you to fish something up in both Orgrimmar and Stormwind. My main is a Tauren Druid, so fishing anything in Orgrimmar is a piece of cake. Stormwind, less so. While I can stealth into the city easily enough, fishing necessarily leaves you exposed for a period of 15-20 seconds. I don't think it'd bother me as much as it does if it weren't for the team of bored Alliance on my realm who typically camp quest objectives during holiday events. While I somehow doubt they've got the numbers or inclination to cover every inch of the Stormwind canals, I'm equally doubtful that my eight-foot cow's presence in the city will go unnoticed.

I don't really have that much to worry about compared to the Hordies going after Old Ironjaw (in Ironforge) or Alliance going after Old Crafty (in Orgrimmar) for the Old Ironjaw and Old Crafty achievements respectively (what sadist came up with the idea of having you fish for a 0.1% drop in an enemy city?), but one thing's certain: some achievements are going to be more taxing than others.

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Upper Deck announces new "Drums of War" TCG loot cards - Wed, 08 Oct 2008 22:00:00 EST
The latest WoW TCG expansion pack, the Drums of War, hits stores in late October (the 28th, to be exact), and Upper Deck has revealed three new loot cards that will come along with it. These are pretty wild.

  • Slashdance is a super common card that will give you a party G.R.E.N.A.D.E. that, when thrown, will explode into a dance party on any unsuspecting characters who happen to be standing around.
  • Owned! Flag is probably my favorite -- it lets you plant a flag, Emissary of Hate style, with a "thumbs down" flag in your conquered opponent.
  • And The Red Bearon will give folks who missed out on the War Bear another chance -- it's a black battle bear mount.
All very cool (still not quite worth paying for by themselves, in my opinion, but that's up to you). If nothing else, folks playing the TCG will have a nice chance at some cool loot.

But that Owned! flag is nuts. Hopefully that's not the only flag we get to stab into corpses in the future -- even if the" thumbs down" stays TCG only, I'd be a big fan of stabbing someone with a Horde flag.

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WoW Radio at BlizzCon 2008 - Wed, 08 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST
WoW Insider is heading off to BlizzCon tomorrow (I've got to catch a flight out of O'Hare first thing tomorrow morning), but we're obviously not going to be the only ones covering the event. Our good friends at WoW Radio also have big plans to keep you informed throughout the two days in Anaheim -- Totalbiscuit and the gang over there will be hosting live audio streams of all of the panels, both as they happen and after they happen, and they'll have shows, interviews, and commentary throughout the weekend (including our special live recording of the WoW Insider Show there on Friday night). We'll have liveblogs and updates here, of course, but you can drink right from the firehose of an audio stream there as well, all weekend long.

TB has posted a special podcast outlining their plans for the weekend, so if you plan to do some listening to what's going on in Anaheim, check it out. Additionally, they'll also be chatting throughout the weekend in IRC, so feel free to join either #blizzcon08 on irc.quakenet.org or #wowradio on irc.mmoirc.com for up-to-the-minute chats and updates on what's going down near Disneyland.

Sure, you could pay for the DirecTV feed and get just the video, or you could stay tuned to our sites for free, and pick up even more news and views about the big event. If you couldn't grab a ticket or didn't have the time or money to make the trip, don't worry one bit -- we're going to make sure you've got the best seat in the house.

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Giving PvE players their own Arenas - Wed, 08 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST


Here's an interesting idea that's cropped up on the official forums: PvE arenas. In short, the idea is as follows:
  • Round up four of your friends and form a party.
  • Talk to the PvE arena master and get dropped into a cage match with a random dungeon boss from classic or BC, tuned up to level 80.
  • If you win (that is, the boss dies before the last member of your party), your PvE arena rating increases. If you lose, it decreases. Bosses have their own rating, which develops week-by-week similar to players', so beating the harder bosses will do better for your score, and they'll try to match your team up against bosses that are an appropriate level of difficulty for you.
  • PvE arena points are earned just like PvP arena points, and can be spent on rewards in a similar fashion. An alternate suggestion (also by the OP) is to reward badges based on PvE arena rating, which I think is a better idea, as well as being easier to implement, because it ties into the existing badge system.

Even Tigole thought it was a "cool idea," so there is the ghost of a chance that we will see it in a Wrath content patch. I would definitely enjoy the chance to make a quick pass at a boss or two with four of my friends, and get some extra badges for it at the end of the week. It would also be really fun to get to face some old bosses again, especially given Blizzard's steadfast refusal to implement heroic Deadmines.

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Banned for no reason at all - Wed, 08 Oct 2008 16:30:00 EST
GuamPDN.com ("Guam's complete source!") has an article up by Duane George, who tells his story of woe: he got banned from the game for suspected Arena win trading, and had to deal with 72 hours without the game. Blizzard, obviously, doesn't provide any information on how many players get banned from the game, and it would be even harder to determine the number of false positives out there like Duane: people who didn't do anything wrong but end up getting banned anyway. We've heard stories here of course, but this is a tough area to investigate by its very nature.

For Duane's part, he does say that he plans to stay out of Arenas and stick to battlegrounds, so you'd think that if there were a ton of false positives like him who were turned off from the Arena experience because it wrongly got them in trouble, Arenas wouldn't be nearly as popular as they are. But of course we don't know -- there's no oversight on Blizzard's part (and you could argue that there shouldn't be anyway, since it's their game), not to mention that they've got the right, according to the Terms of Use, to ban anyone at any time for any reason without notice anyway. If they were really going overboard, you'd expect them to be losing customers, and that's not the case yet.

Fortunately, this wasn't a permanent ban, and while he did apparently lose some Arena rating and the gear that came with it, his character wasn't too much the worse for wear. A 72-hour ban isn't too big a deal, so Blizzard probably hands those out with much less consideration than a permanent ban anyway. But we're sure Duane isn't the only case out there -- as small as the number may be, there's almost definitely other players like him, banned for doing nothing wrong at all.

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Check your raid comp - Wed, 08 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST


As you probably know by now, buffs and debuffs are changing significantly in patch 3.0.2, which is expected to hit next Tuesday, October 14. Most buffs that are only provided by one class are going to be provided by several, mana return from Shadow Priests is getting nerfed and spread out, you won't be able to stack Heroism/Bloodlust the same way, and so on. In general Blizz's goal was to make raid formation less about stacking the right classes, and more about bringing friends and good players.

However, all the new buffs and debuffs can make a raid leader's head spin, in case they do decide they want to organize a raid so as to optimize buff coverage (and surely some raid leaders will want to do that). Fortunately, MMO-Champion has made an outstanding web tool to help you figure out your raid composition. Just drag-and-drop specs into the raid groups, and check the right-hand column to see what buffs and debuffs you'll get.

It will also tell you whether you have the best buff in a given category; in my sample raid comp (my last Karazhan run), for instance, we only have Battle Shout, which is not as good of an AP buff as Blessing of Might. If you're missing a buff and want to see how you could get it, just mouse-over the buff, and it'll tell you what classes bring it. The one thing I really wish this tool had that it doesn't is a corresponding ability for specs: mouse over the spec and it'll tell you what buffs they bring. Overall though, this is really useful; I'm not a min-maxing raid leader (or a raid leader at all, actually), but I'm probably going to make use of it just to check what my raids and groups be getting. And because it's really cool.

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