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Tank Talk: The better (and lesser) angels of our nature - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 22:15:00 EST


Tank Talk continues this week with one requisite "Why does my ingame life have to suck so hard?" story in deference to a point made by commenters on our first column. We will then take a look at the most fundamental decision you will encounter as a raiding tank -- and one you are likely to make, and then re-make, on just about every boss encounter in the game.

There is a Druid on my server who messages me almost daily asking me to come tank his heroics. What annoys me is not being asked to tank per se, but that he, too, is a feral Druid. His gear isn't as good as mine simply because he hasn't raided past Magtheridon, but he's sitting on at least three of the better pieces of Tier 4, crafted epics, and several of the badge pieces that I'm still using to tank Tier 6. At a matter of fact, with the advent of two different badge vendors and badge drops from 10-man and 25-man bosses, his stats are significantly better than the ones I had tanking most of Tier 5. This guy literally has the gear to do just about anything in the game short of the more advanced content in Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau, and I used to point to him with no small measure of Druidic pride as proof of what a little elbow grease could accomplish.

But he still wants me to come tank for him.

I started getting irritated with the constant begging at one point and asked him, "How can you possibly have any difficulty getting groups? Everybody in LFG is looking for a tank, and your gear is excellent."

At his computer, I'm sure he was shrugging. "You do it faster than I do."

"I really don't. Just get some good DPS and you'll be fine."

And then the truth came out: "Well, I don't really like tanking. I'd rather DPS."

Ah.

Continue reading Tank Talk: The better (and lesser) angels of our nature

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Jennicide places in poker, poses for Playboy, and plays on Proudmoore - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST

Jennifer Leigh knows games -- she finished 5th at the Poker Royale: Battle of the Ages series. She's known as Jennicide on PokerStars, and finished "in the money" at the World Poker Tour in 2006. Other folks might know her from May's issue of Playboy magazine. In a recent interview with the RPG Vault on IGN, she talked a little about her history with games and World of Warcraft.

WoW's the only MMO she's played recently, but she's been known to play Everquest, Guild Wars, and others. She picked up World of Warcraft during a losing streak of poker, and figured paying Blizzard a monthly fee was would be less painful than continuing her streak. Of course, she runs into the same problem many people do: while she loves her WoW, she has trouble explaining to people who don't get it.

She's surprisingly open about her server information. (For the record, she plays a Night Elf Druid on Proudmoore, and helped found the guild Fate and Fury. Also, she's planning a Blood Elf Warlock.) Between this and the politicians coming out of the closet, I can't wait to see what other interviews crop up.

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WOWDB introduces Simplified Chinese language option, promises more upgrades - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:30:00 EST

In more international WoW news, Curse's foray into the realm of WoW database sites, WOWDB, is now available in Simplified Chinese, joining Allakhazam among the major database sites that offer the language. In addition, Curse's announcement post also hints at additional features coming to WOWDB "soon," which seems like it may be a direct answer to Wowhead's recent extensive features upgrade.

WOWDB has already been accused of copying Wowhead in the past (and, to be fair, opposite accusations have been made). Of course, Wowhead doesn't yet have a Simplified Chinese language option, so in this case, it seems WoWDB has come out ahead. We'll be eager to see if these new options coming to WOWDB make it stand out from the pack.

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Seven graphical WoW signature generators - and one for your car - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST


Want to have a picture of your WoW toon (or, in my case, toons) on your blog, forum posts, or emails? There are plenty of tools out there to help you. They all work by tapping the Armory to find information about your character -- some better than others. They can only update as often as the Armory does, but some of them take even longer. Most have customization options which allow you to choose the background, colors, and stats your sig displays. They also usually include code for your sig (if you want it dynamically updated) in HTML and BBCode format.

After the jump, nine different ways to sign your character's profile.

Continue reading Seven graphical WoW signature generators - and one for your car

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Barrens Chat: Be careful what you ask for - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:30:00 EST


Megan Harris, who usually does the Barrens Chat comic here at WoW Insider, had a computer breakdown earlier this week, so she wasn't able to get a comic done for you. However, I have always harbored a secret desire to create art (despite my being terrible at it), so I offered to step in and help out, and Megan kindly accepted.

She'll certainly regret it once she's seen what chaos we've wrought. I say we because despite my best efforts, I had a hard time coming up with a comic idea, and it was actually Turpster (he of the WoW Insider Show and his upcoming Dingstravaganza) that came up with the script for this one. I just put a few screenshots together, so all Hunter hate mail goes to him.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Continue reading Barrens Chat: Be careful what you ask for

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Scattered Shots: A talent for leveling in Beast Mastery - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST
The Scattered Shots hunter bears his or her teeth and says "RAAAWR!" to the mirror every morning in an uncouth, beastly manner -- thus affirming the beast within, which yearns for a way out to express itself.

Which talents you should get as you level up is a tricky question with many different answers, many of which can turn out just fine or absolutely horrible, depending on how you play. Today I'll be taking you along on a journey through the first 40 levels of talent spending, and explaining why I think certain talent choices are better than others.

One of the most important things to remember about talents is that, in spite of all their mathematical precision, they are open to poetic interpretation. Some talents give clearly superior advantages, while in other cases it's mostly a matter of opinion as to which one fits your play-style best. Sometimes the talents that look best on paper aren't the ones that will really help you the most when the going gets rough. Likewise, some talents are designed more for endgame use at level 70, even though they appear early on in the talent tree, while others are better for leveling up, and you may wish to drop them later on once you finish leveling.

Most of my talent choices today are going to be in the Beast Mastery tree, for instance. Some people may say that they like Marksmanship or Survival best, and certainly that's their right. But from most of the people I've talked to, the general consensus is that Beast Mastery is best for both leveling and early endgame raiding, too. While talking about these talents, I'll list your level and the number of talent points you have at each stage, so that it's easier to keep track of your talent resources.

Continue reading Scattered Shots: A talent for leveling in Beast Mastery

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Know Your Lore: Hakkar the Soulflayer - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm.
Today we're going to take a step back from out pre-emptive study of Wrath subjects and look at something a little more old school. We'll get back to catching up for Wrath of the Lich King soon enough, don't you worry about that. I'm far too excited about the expansion to not come back to it soon.

Today we're going to look at Hakkar the Soulflayer, not to be confused with Hakkar the Houndmaster which apparently came first in the lore, but I don't really care which of them came first because the Blood God (that one's the Soulflayer) is way cooler. What the Soulflayer actually is is largely a mystery. He's a god, certainly, but Azeroth has many flavors of gods and demigods. He is probably just a Loa god, but our buddy Brann Bronzebeard seems to think he's more than that. Specifically, Hakkar might be the son of an Old God.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Hakkar the Soulflayer

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Changes to old Azeroth coming in the next expansion - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST


In the last expansion, all we did was walk through a portal and find a new world -- the old one was left pretty much unchanged overall. But in this coming expansion, Blizzard has made it pretty clear that almost nothing is off limits -- Northrend is getting added to Azeroth, and we're not traveling across space to get there. And considering that Arthas' story echoes throughout almost all of the old world (and that the whole thing is named after him), things are definitely going to change once Northrend appears on the world map.

So we've put together a gallery of just what will be different about the old world after the Wrath of the Lich King comes upon us. To be fair, some are set in stone (we know for sure that Naxxaramas is exiting stage left for a bigger part later), and some are little more than speculation (Uther played a huge part in Arthas' life, so his tomb seems like a good stage for an event at some point), but odds are that by the time we've all reached level 80, all of these places in Old Azeroth will look very different.



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Announcing Turpster's Dingstravaganza, this Saturday on EU Sporeggar - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 15:30:00 EST
I never thought it would happen, but I'm eating my words -- Turpster, of the WoW Insider Show (and Turpstervision over on Massively) is going to ding 70 with his Shadow Priest before the expansion. And in fact, he's giving you the opportunity to not only see it, but to take him down right beforehand.

Yes, this weekend, right after our live show on WoW Radio (which starts at 3:30pm Eastern, or 8:30pm GMT), Turpster will be hanging out in the Gnome/Dwarf starting area of the European Sporeggar server, and right before he dings, he's giving you and all of the other Gnomes who show up the chance to try and take him out as a raid boss. He's even got a strategy posted, and trust me when I say he's got this all planned out as a real, chaotic, surely hilarious raid fight -- this will definitely be a sight to see. And there's loot in it, too -- if you're one of the Gnomes who drops him, you could nab a Tabard of Flame code or a few other cool prizes.

If you're on the US servers, don't worry -- Turpster has written up a quick and easy guide to get you running on the EU realms (you don't have to redownload anything, all you have to do is make an EU trial account). Should be a lot of fun, and make sure to Fraps or screenshot it if you're there. Tune in on Saturday for the WoW Insider Show live on WoW Radio, and then join us afterwards on EU Sporeggar (roll a Gnome, so Turpster looks like a really big raid boss) to take down the T and then watch him ding 70!

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Oceanic Alliance characters to get free PvE to PvP transfers - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST

If you're a regular reader of our Guildwatch feature, you may remember hearing about the woes of the Oceanic PvP realm Thaurissan on the last Guildwatch. The server is incredibly Horde heavy, with an estimated 14 to 1 imbalance, and the server denizens say it is genuinely near impossible to get 25 people together to do raid content on the Alliance side. Unfortunately , we also know that Blizzard is still firmly against PvE to PvP realm transfers, which may be preventing Thaurissan from getting the influx of new blood they need.

However, for the sake of Thaurissan's Alliance, they have suspended this restriction. Starting today, June 12th, and ending no later than June 19th, Alliance characters (and only Alliance characters) from the Oceanic PvE realms Nagrand, Aman'thul, and Khaz'goroth will be eligible for free transfers to the Thaurissan realm. Blizzard reserves the right to close transfers early if they meet their goals, so if you're eligible and you want to go, you'd better get that request in now.

This is not the first time they've done this type of thing. Over two years ago, a large cluster of PvE realms were given the opportunity to transfer to the Black Dragonflight and Dalvengyr PvP servers. Thus, it seems that they can be convinced to waive their restrictions on transfers, but that a chance to do so may only come up once every 2 years. Good luck to everyone transferring to Thaurissan, and hopefully this gives the Thaurissan Alliance the shot in the arm they need to get their end game going.

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Totem Talk: Stuff to wear to kill stuff in Karazhan Pt. 2 - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST
Totem Talk marches on, covering the gear you're looking for to step into Karazhan. If you caught last week, you saw that we've covered boots, bracers, belts, shoulders and gloves in previous columns. This week, chestplates and legs are on the agenda, with capes, necklaces, rings and trinkets either this week or next.

As before, while we're aware that leather and cloth gear can often be ideal for a particular slot, we're not going to cover those items this week, unless it's glaringly necessary. Leather and cloth for shamans will be covered in next week's installment if all goes well this week, and in two weeks if we run long. With three specs to cover and quite a few options in every gear slot, including leather and cloth in each post could easily stretch them out to novella length, and nobody wants that.

Especially me. I have to use my fingers to type this stuff. I'm not a disembodied artificial intelligence who manipulates electrons and simulates a human guise in order to lull you into a false sense of security, before unleashing my army of drones to overwhelm your planet's defenses and take over. And even if I was, frankly, all the WoW I'm playing would probably be playing hob with my takeover schedule. You should probably thank the folks at Blizzard for saving your planet from my cold, mechanical rule.

If I were a disembodied AI.

Which I'm not.

Anyway, on to gear for shamans about to start ten man raiding. And not conquer all life on Earth with an inexhaustible army of soulless robots. Last week's comments saw many good suggestions from the readers, so I expect more of the same this week. I'm not listing any of the big ticket badge purchases, as I expect those items to be part of why folks are running Kara in the first place.

Continue reading Totem Talk: Stuff to wear to kill stuff in Karazhan Pt. 2

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Paladin offers gold for public service - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST
WoW players have been known to spend quite a bit time donating to charity. Salahdin of Underscore on Lothar has come up with a unique way to encourage that public service. Though he doesn't outright say he's suffering from pre-expansion burnout, Salahdin does say that he doesn't play like he used to. And, he's got extra gold sitting around.

With that in mind, Salahdin found a unique thing to do with it. He challenges folks to get a picture of themselves doing charitable service to others. If you can't get a picture, write a 100 word essay about what you did. Post it to the forum, and he'll reward you 100 gold in game. His premise is that instead of grinding gold for an hour, he's paying you to do something good for the world.

It's a dang impressive idea, and I wish I had the extra cash around to do it myself. While the cynic in me worries that this might not be for real, the starry-eyed optimist is grateful to see a little goodness from this little corner of the world. I hope he gets a lot of people taking him up on his offer.

[Thanks, Abdul!]

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WoW Moviewatch: In For A Penny, Part One - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 12:05:00 EST

(UPDATE: We killed the video server for WoWTV. Great job, guys! They've fixed it for our viewing pleasure. This machinima may contain some adult content. Viewer discretion is advised.)

When I first saw In For A Penny: Prologue, I noticed that the poster said that the movie would be out in Spring. Selserene was pretty sure that that would never happen, or she'd aim for 2009. Sure enough, she pointed out today that she released it with a few days to spare before Summer!

In For A Penny: Part One "On All Eight" is the kind of film noir fantasy that movie buffs dream of. Thayle, the man falsely convicted in the Prologue, gambles with his heart and his future for a woman. The voice acting is great, there are musical scenes, mystery, intrigue, and for those of you that are interested, she has more Belf love ... Selserene is one of the most talented WoW machinimators that I've ever come across, and you'll really enjoy this film!
[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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'Tis the Season 4 making money - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST


Eyonix made a lot of players happy the other day by announcing the start of Season 4. It's something that a lot of players have been waiting for, even planning for. Some players will be making the mad rush to accumulate Arena and Honor points. Within the first week of the new season, players who have stashed away the maximum 5,000 Arena points will be able to purchase anywhere from two to three pieces of Brutal Gladiator gear, provided they achieve the required personal ratings.

For other players such as those who have only recently dinged 70 or those new to the PvP scene, the 75,000 maximum Honor -- or whatever Honor they have stashed away -- will likely be used to purchase Merciless Gladiator gear when it goes on sale. More seasoned players will use the Honor to purchase Guardian gear to round out their equipment slots. When Season 4 starts, players will be strutting around Azeroth in brand spanking new gear. For a select few, these players will look like walking piles of Gold. New Arena seasons flood the community with enchant-worthy, gem-hungry gear like no other event.

Continue reading 'Tis the Season 4 making money

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Around Azeroth: Ouch - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


Sometimes a photo comes along where I think "Is this too much?", but then I decide that it's awesome and run it anyway. This is one of those photos. Right now, thousands of readers are doubled over in imagined pain. It's hard to tell exactly what happened here, though. Was there an Azerothian version of Vlad the Impaler running around Duskwood? Some sort of gnomish engineering malfunction? Or did a gryphon just expire from exhaustion mid-air, leaving its rider in this unfortunate position? And those are only the PG-13 possibilities. What do you think happened, readers? (Thanks to Goo for the submission!)

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. And remember ... well, actually, the last three days of photos have been all dark and depressing and I wouldn't mind a pretty sunset.

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World of WarCrafts: Voidwalker doorknob hanger - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST
Every Thursday, Shelbi Roach of The Bronze Kettle guides you in creating WoW-inspired crafts using real world mats with World of WarCrafts.

Is your special WoW time constantly getting interrupted? Need to keep people from raiding your domain while you're busy raiding Black Temple? This fanciful doorknob hanger is easy to make and fun for all ages. It's also not too late to add it to your Duskwood Chest for Father's day.

Here is what you will need:

  • Voidwalker Doorknob Hanger Template
  • Foam Doorknob Hanger
  • Foam Sheets (blue, light blue, green, purple)
  • Foam Letters (of the sticker variety)
  • Foam Glue
  • Fashion Beads (mixed colors)
  • Xacto Knife/Scissors
Click on the images below to view a gallery of step-by-step instructions.

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Breakfast Topic: Guild hosting - Thu, 12 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST
Liss on LJ wants to know, as do we: What is the best place to host a guild website? She's had good experiences with Guildomatic, while apparently lots of people like using Guild Launch instead. Most of the guilds I've been a part of have almost all used GuildPortal, but there are tons of sites out there, and even many more not linked here. What kind of experiences have you had at various guild hosting sites?

And what exactly do you expect from them? It seems that pretty standard features on most guild sites have to include a blog of some kind (to track your guild's kills), a message board for both talking to the public and planning private raids, some time of roster software (powered by the Armory or otherwise), and a DKP tracker of some kind. Of course, even if you don't go with a hosting service, there are also lots of different apps that will let you do all of this on your own, as long as you're HTML and maybe even PHP ready.

I'll tell you one thing I'd like to see in guild hosting sites that I haven't yet: a design that's actually easy on the eyes. I'm really proud you downed Vashj, guys, but next time, try raiding some web design fundamentals.

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Wowhead adds stat weightings and more - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST

Wowhead, a site you may have noticed I love to talk about here, just won't sit still. Today they implemented several changes:

  • Stat weightings
  • Search within results
  • Easier filter creation
  • Better source listing
  • Filtered stats get their own column

Of these, I am by far the most excited about stat weightings. What am I talking about? Well, it all started with agility equivalence points, or AEP. Back in the dawn of WoW (or before BC, anyway), a rogue named Ming thought to himself: How do I tell what gear is best? Surely there is some equivalence that can be established between (say) one agility (by far the best stat for Rogues at the time) and some amount of attack power. And so he created AEP, which tell you how much of any other stat is worth the same as 1 agility. This is what is meant by stat weightings.

Continue reading Wowhead adds stat weightings and more

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Kara Pugging Blues gets a pitch from Curt Schilling - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST

If you're a regular listener of the WoW Insider Show -- and you should be -- or you happened to listen to episode 40 of the show, you may recall that our own John Patricelli, also known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, introduced us to a cool little ditty by his friend Dax called the Kara Pugging Blues. We played it during the mid-show music break. If you haven't heard it yet, you can listen to it during the Episode 40 podcast, or download it from the link on the sidebar of the Big Bear Butt site.

Anyway, it seems like we're not the only ones who liked it. On a recent episode of The Instance podcast, Curt Schilling, founder of gaming company 38 Studios was on. If you haven't heard of Curt's gaming company, you may know him from his other job as a Major League Baseball pitcher. Anyway, he was telling the hosts about this awesome song about Pugging Kara based on a Johnny Cash song that he heard on a podcast he listens to.

As John points out, it's pretty unlikely there was another podcast in the last few weeks that featured a song based on a Johnny Cash song about pugging Karazhan. So hey, let me offer a shout-out to Dax for entertaining Curt Schilling. Curt himself didn't mention the name of the podcast he heard the song on, but I figure there's a pretty good chance it was ours. So, hey, shout out to Curt Schilling too, since he probably does listen. If he doesn't, and he heard it on another podcast, he should listen anyway, and so should you. Seriously. The WoW Insider Show is awesome. Go listen. And go listen to the Kara Pugging Blues while you're at it too.

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The fate of Season 1 gear in Season 4 - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST

A lot of people -- including John, who asked us about this by email -- are a little confused about what's happening to Arena Season 1 gear when Season 4 goes live on June 24th. Season 1 gear for honor is being replaced by Season 2 gear, but at the same time, Eyonix has posted to say that they don't have plans to switch around the PvE tokens for PvP gear system implemented with patch 2.4.

So wait, is Season 1 gear available during Season 4 or not? The answer is yes, but only from Tier 4 PvE tokens.

When season 3 went live, as you will remember, Season 1 gear went over to Honor, and bumped the old level 70 High Warlord and Grand Marshal gear completely off the vendors. You could not longer get it. Likewise, when Season 2 gear moves to honor, it will completely knock off the Season 1 gear from the honor vendors, and you will no longer be able to purchase it for honor.

However, if you have Tier 4 tokens, you'll still be able to head to the Isle of Quel'danas and turn them in for Season 1 Gladiator gear. If you want Season 2 Gladiator gear from PvE, you'll still have to turn in Tier 5 tokens from Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. This might be Blizzard's attempt to keep the balance, although it seems like anyone with the ability to go take down Magtheridon for a Chestguard of the Fallen Hero could get Season 2 much easier and faster by grinding honor. It seems in this case that the dev team either felt that it wasn't worth it to go in and switch up the gear vendors or wanted to keep the amount of balance and challenge they implemented for the PvE token to PvP gear conversion.

So is Season 1 gear going away? In short, no. You'll not be able to buy it for honor anymore, but you will be able to buy it with Tier 4 tokens.

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