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Combat stats and spellpower consolidated on Alpha - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST

Sources are saying that a new Alpha build showed up on the WoTLK Alpha servers yesterday, featuring a few interesting changes. Kalgan's promised spellpower change we have mentioned, and it now appears to be on the Alpha servers. In addition, it looks like the dev team is working on consolidating even more stats. As of the latest build, all instances of haste rating, hit rating, and critical strike rating on gear will now modify both physical attacks and spells at the same time.

Continue reading Combat stats and spellpower consolidated on Alpha

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[1.Local]: Readers dig into this week's stories - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST


[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Nostalgia threads are among our reader favorites, so quite a few commenters this week chimed in on what Old World instances they'd most like to see made heroic (if such a thing were ever to happen). Readers chimed in on not one but two posts examining whether players should be embarrassed (or even ashamed) of their WoW playing. We chatted about whether or not the story behind WoW really matters and about cool things to do while we're fishing.

This was also a week about preparations. We discussed shaping up smaller guilds for 10-man raiding in Wrath, and we talked about gearing up for PvP from scratch in the face of Season 4's debut. And finally, we had a rather hilarious take on hunter strategy - fuzzy logic, or no?

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.

Continue reading [1.Local]: Readers dig into this week's stories

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Insider Trader: Fair wages - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 17:30:00 EST


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

If you ever listen in on trade channel, you might have noticed just how little trading actually gets done. Amidst the ego trips, show-offs, begging, insults, whining, wooting, and the like, you may notice another trend; that of complaining about prices for goods and services.

I often see people harassing others about the price of twink gear, crafted items, enchants, gathered materials, or even dungeon and world drops. Sometimes, the criticism is warranted, to protect the more naive members of the community. Most of the time, unfortunately, the comments begin to flow because players have not caught up to, and accepted, the cost of things.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Fair wages

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Phat Loot Phriday: Crux of the Apocalypse - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST


Been a long time since we did a dagger, so let's break out this badass stabby stick, just recently seen in the Sunwell Plateau.

Name: Crux of the Apocalypse (Wowhead, Thottbot, Wowdb)
Type: Epic One-hand Dagger
Damage/Speed: 164-247/1.80 (114.2 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +18 Agility, +15 Stamina, which makes this a nice weapon for either Hunters or Rogues. Hunters will probably say it's best for them, and Rogues will probably say they deserve it, but no matter who's getting this weapon, it's top of the line period. Just look where it drops from.
  • Red socket (perfect for a Subtle or Bright Crimson Spinel), +4 attack power bonus
  • Improves haste rating by 27 and attack power by 56. No matter how you look at it, this is a very, very nice dagger.
  • Just in case you're not up on your Latin, crux means cross, though it's also picked up another meaning in English as central or critical point. Either way, whenever you're stabbing someone with a central symbol of the Apocalypse, they're going to feel it.
How to Get It: Oh, nothing too hard -- it just drops from Kil'jaeden, the current endgame boss of World of Warcraft. So just, you know, beat the game, and then win the roll against that greedy Hunter or the grabby Rogue in your raiding group, and the knife is yours. Oh, and you'll probably want to do it again -- if you think one of these things is great, just think how awesome dual wielding them would be.

Getting Rid of It: You won't -- at least not until most of the way through Wrath of the Lich King. But when do you sell it, a vendor will give you 15g 52s 99c for it, or you can disenchant it into a Void Crystal.

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Addon Spotlight: AuditorFu - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST
It's Friday, which means that it's payday for some of you. With that in mind, why don't we take a look at an addon that helps you stay on top of your virtual finances. For those of us who are not only information junkies, but also control freaks, this addon is a great way to maintain sovereignty over how your gold comes and goes.

AuditorFu, contrary to what the name implies, will function with or without the Fubar addon. However, I find it best suited as a center-aligned, top-bar, Fubar mod, as it allows me to see the important stuff at center stage. (Alongside AuldLangSyne) There's nothing worse than having an inflated view of your gold total and quickly realizing the mats for your Red Belt of Battle are out of reach.

The good news is that this addon can help you be more diligent if you're saving for a crafted epic or your Artisan Riding skill. Every copper counts, my friends.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: AuditorFu

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Gearing for Karazhan, Fury/Arms pt 1 - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST


I am a tank first and foremost. I tank on my human warrior, I tank on my tauren warrior, I even tank on my paladin and baby druid. Tanking is what I do in game nowadays. I even tried tanking on my shaman yesterday and achieved passable results. (I successfully tanked Captain Galvanger and Drek'Thar. Good healing on that one, boy.) But nobody can tank all the time without going bloody insane, and so I make sure that my tauren is an off-tank, that he gets as many chances to DPS as is possible without making raiding impossible. In the process, I'm learning the strengths and weaknesses of a non-prot tanking warrior in Burning Crusade at tanking raid content - yes, Virginia, an arms warrior can tank Nalorakk in just the gear that drops in Karazhan. If his healers are insanely awesome, thank you so much Vito, Tear and Veks. I'm sorry I didn't respec for that fight, but a man needs to hit things from time to time.

I geared my tauren for pure DPS all the way back in pre-Burning Crusade content. I ran LBRS and UBRS constantly for gear upgrades, PvP'd for the epics, collected an assortment of dps rings and trinkets. I was fortunate to be playing horde side with a talented and well-practiced undead warrior who primarily wanted to tank, and so I could work on being DPS in my own unusual idiom... I've always preferred two handed weapons over dual wielding, even though I don't dispute the incredible damage potential of the DW builds. It comes down to two things: can you still do significant damage with a two hander, and what looks cooler?

To me, the answers were always yes, and a big honking sword or axe smashing down in a tauren's gigantic armored hands. I'm glad to say it still holds true, especially when that great honking sword or axe is Jin'rokh, Now that my human has progressed beyond Kara it's still fun to come on runs in DPS gear, spec arms and crush things into paste. We don't always have the luxury of coming to Karazhan massively outgearing the instance, however.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Gearing for Karazhan, Fury/Arms pt 1

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Will there be a Season 5? - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST


With Season 4 coming in two weeks, and the gear from said season meant to be at Sunwell complexity, it makes me wonder if we're going to see another season before Wrath of the Lich King... or if we'll see another season at all. After all, the Arena Season system isn't the only way to work the arenas.

Presumably pretty much the entire World of Warcraft deign team is working on Wrath now. So it's extremely unlikely that we'll see Season 5 before it ships. It took from the end of November to the end of June to go from Season 3 to Season 4, so it's not as if there isn't plenty of life in the season to come. If it lasts as long as the previous season did, you could easily avoid new arena content for seven months. This seems to point directly to the idea that there won't be a new season until Wrath.

However, we know we're going to have Lake Wintergrasp and a new battleground (perhaps even one based on Defense of the Ancients) which means it's possible that Blizzard has taken a serious look at PvP and how the arena works. Perhaps at long last the anti-warrior bias of the arenas will be corrected! (That's a joke. Try and breathe there.) Perhaps they'll implement the long desired 'neutral gear' option, where you have a changing room with all the same gear for all sides so that skill and skill alone decides who wins. Perhaps they'll rethink how points are earned. They could change team sizes (4x4?) or even add Arena Battleground play, where two arena teams have to hunt each other through much larger maps, giving hunters a leg up.

What changes do you expect to arenas? Do you expect any at all?

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WoW Moviewatch: WoW-TV - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 12:00:00 EST

Television parodies seem really popular for WoW machinima! WoW-TV is the work of a fairly new machinimator, Mindless2164. While not the greatest production, he recently went on to win second place in the Blizzard contest for Rogues Do It From Behind!

WoW-TV starts out by recreating a Jenny Jones-type talk show, then goes through various other skits. Some are definitely better than others, but overall it's not a bad video for a beginning effort. This is just another example of how artists improve and go on to better projects.

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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WoW, Casually: Is it feasible to play PvE casually? (Reader Mail) - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST


Each week or so, Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has 2 hours or less to play at a time.

This time I'm answering an email from Jesse.

Hi Robin,

So I used to play WoW all the time. Actually, too much. So I did the whole "delete your characters and quit cold turkey" thing. Like 3 different times. Anyway, right now my account is on hold, but it's got a 38 rogue and a 56 mage (albeit both of them are naked, since I tried to sabotage myself and give hundreds of gold away when I quit last...).

The two reasons I quit are very closely related: one is that I just played too much; and the other is that I started to think that, if you don't play all the time, there's no getting anywhere. I like PvE more than PvP, so I guess the end result of that would have to be raiding, right? But I can't sit down at my computer for 7 hours to do a raid, or spend whatever god-awful amount of time it would take in a week to run kara (I don't know how long it would take to do that instance... and I don't think I want to know). I mean, don't get me wrong, I do like all the little things like professions and questing (even solo) and a good instance is always fun as long as you don't have idiots screwing it up... Anyways, my question is, can a person with a real life (and a real 50-hour a week job) actually play WoW, and have fun, and still have a life? (and dare I say, maybe even still have a girlfriend?). I am skeptical, but I don't know, and I'd like to get back in if you think it's actually feasible.

Jesse

P.S. Also (if I do decide to get back into the game), since
[my server] is (and always has been) underpopulated, do you think it would be worthwhile transferring to a more populated server? Or is that just overrated?

Continue reading WoW, Casually: Is it feasible to play PvE casually? (Reader Mail)

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Around Azeroth: Lordaeronic Flight 815 - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


Just another Tanaris airplane crash, you say? Wrong! Zemmzah of <Kindrêd> on Dunemaul scoped out this wreck, located at the top of a snow-capped mountain, while using Far Sight in the area of Mount Hyjal. I'm not sure whether he was inside the instance or just peeping in on the still-closed zone from outside. Either way, this is a pretty good explanation of why gnomes didn't participate in the Third War. Their biplanes crashed, and they were forced to re-enact an itty-bitty version of the movie "Alive".

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, 4 8 15 16 23 42.

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Lanwar hosts WoW levelling contest - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST
Lanwar holds a variety of large-scale events focused on computer gaming. Their 7th MillionManLan convention is in Louisville, Kentucky over the weekend of July 4th. The MML events have, in the past, hosted over a thousand gamers, so it's fair to expect a pretty big turnout this year.

What's interesting about the contest line-up this year is that World of Warcraft is making a different kind of appearance. Lanwar is hosting a levelling contest. And, yup, there's cash money as the prize. (How much will be determined by the number of registrants.)

This is a fairly significant diversion from the kind of eSport that's usually associated with WoW. You have to wonder what the rules are going to be like -- Lanwar's web site doesn't go into a lot of detail. Does everyone have to start with the same race and class? Or is that decision considered to be part of the contestant's strategy? What's the time limit like? Do you use your own account? Is Blizzard aware of this contest? I'm hoping to see more information posted as the date for MML gets closer -- it's certainly an interesting idea.

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Breakfast Topic: Strange bedfellows - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST


Here is a lovely picture of two Shamans that have worked hard for the Shattered Sun Offensive doing their Fishing Daily Quest together. Except, of course, one is Horde and one is Alliance. I, on the other hand, with my fresh "of the Shattered Sun" title, landed in Netherstorm only to be immediately ganked by an Alliance player who also shared the same title.

With all of the PvP action that happens on the Isle of Quel'Danas on my server (soloing the dailies is not recommended) coupled with the above incident, I have to say that I view Alliance with the Shattered Sun title as players who have possibly killed me. (It's hard to keep track of the names when they travel in large gank-groups.) So I'm not necessarily feeling the warm fuzzies about my fellow SSO heroes from the blue team.

Do you find yourself thinking twice about sparring with someone of the opposite faction that has the same title? After all, you worked for the same goals and helped the server achieve progression. If so, what are your stories about inter-faction cooperation? Or do you find that it doesn't affect your feelings toward your enemies at all?

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Forum post of the day: Arena Leagues - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 01:04:00 EST

We all know that it can be hard for new level 70 characters to break into the arena. Many people start out playing their 10 games a week in order to scrounge up arena points for their first PvP pieces. Welfare epics? Maybe, but having decent gear makes it easier for many players to progress. It make some time for players to really learn to play their classes in a competitive PvP setting. Despite their best efforts, Blizzard has largely failed at fixing problems in the arenas.

Cyrse of Farstriders suggested the creation of a minor league arena with reduced rewards to help players get their feet wet in PvP. The oginal poster listed several advantages of such a system. A minor league for PvP might discourage point and team selling, which despite Blizzard's efforts is persistent in the arena. It would also allow elite players to only be bracketed with folks who give them more of a challenge.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Arena Leagues

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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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