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Hybrid Theory: Shaman and the Wrath Alpha - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST


Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.

The seedy underbelly of the internet continues to supply the goods. Just in time to follow up on our look at Druids and Shadow Priests, we're supplied with some potential Shaman information. Let's hope Paladin timing will be as convenient, though it seems unlikely.

As usual when discussing Alpha information, it's always wise to remember that much of it will likely change by launch. Stay optimistic, but cautiously so. That way you can get excited without your hopes being crushed later on. Now, with the disclaimer out of the way, let's dig right into the Shaman talents and abilities. A lot of the previous weaknesses of the class are being addressed (much like they were for Shadow Priests) with a few new interesting things tossed in, accompanied by a side of itemization band-aids.

Continue reading Hybrid Theory: Shaman and the Wrath Alpha

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Ready Check: End of the road? - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST


Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and get mad purpz. Today, we look at the increasing numbers of player departures and wonder when enough is enough.

In this column I've talked about what makes raid guilds as a whole break up, but not what makes individuals decide raiding isn't for them. Having seen multiple guilds go through this process en masse recently, and breaking up as a result, here's a point-of-view on raiding and when it's time to stop or move on, based on personal experience in a European PvE guild.

Continue reading Ready Check: End of the road?

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When is a good time to stop raiding? - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST
I've recently been pondering if, and when, I should retire from raiding. Playing with 24 other people to accomplish a common goal is a wonderful thing. The teamwork and exhilaration from downing a boss for the first time is something that's hard to put into words - it's fun, challenging, frustrating, and all around a great time.

But when is it a good time to stop?

Everything eventually gets old and dies. Yes, one day our beloved WoW will no longer exist; even though that might be a couple decades from now (although I have my doubts WoW will ever truly go off-line, but that's another article). What I want to be sure happens is that I leave this activity I love so much on a high note - and not leave when it's become a pain and something that I'll look back disfavorably upon.

Right now my life allows me to raid. I have classes and WoW Insider work during the day, and at night I have time to raid for a few hours and hang out with the girlfriend and other folks as well. That strikes a good balance in life - allowing both things that I want to do by myself (WoW), and things that I want do with others (girlfriend, friends, etc...)

Continue reading When is a good time to stop raiding?

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New report: Gamers are not lonely losers - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST

Gamers seem to get a lot of bad press. From controversial episodes in the early days of Dungeons and Dragons to WoW addictions that are more shameful than online porn. Anyone who doesn't know us might actually believe that we're 10 million basement-dwelling social troglodytes. The American Medical Association is even considering the addition of video game addictions to their big book of mental problems (also known as the Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders).

A new study by Victoria University found just the opposite. They found that about 15% of their 621 participants qualified as problem gamers, that is they spent more than 50 hours a week playing games. Even among that 15 percent, only one percent showed signs of poor social skills. While there are some who have a major problem gaming habit most of us are normal people who unwind with a video game.

Continue reading New report: Gamers are not lonely losers

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How to keep raiding when the power goes out - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST
The thing I love most about summer is the thunder storms. Forget the constant days of 90 degree weather making my apartment bake even when the air conditioning is on, it's those storms rolling in with lightening striking a few hundred feet from me that I love. My guild-mates are going to love that too, especially when I'm raiding with them.

We've had our first couple weeks of this in game, and already I've heard "Be right back, Tornado," from some guildies living down in Kansas. Luckily everything was okay and no one got hurt, but the fact still remains - we lost our head Mage for 30 minutes, and that's 30 minutes of our life we can't have back!

While a Mage having to take a break in the middle of raids isn't a show stopper, having the main tank (my role) go offline is. I've had the unfortunate situation of having that occur a couple days ago. The computer I was raiding on wasn't plugged into my UPS (Uninterruptable Power Supply), so I was disconnected from everything when we lost power for about 30 seconds. However with a bit of tinkering around, I was able to put myself in a situation that lets me stay on even when the power hiccups.

Continue reading How to keep raiding when the power goes out

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Watch Arena, Win Prizes! - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 13:34:00 EST

If you get the chance, be sure to tune in to GotFrag's coverage of the MLG's PC Circuit' Arena competition this weekend. The action will be going on throughout the day today and into tomorrow. I can think of five great reasons to watch this event:

  1. Get to see stunning arena action by the best players
  2. Support WoW Arenas as a spectator E-Sport
  3. Learn ways to improve your own play style by watching the pros
  4. It's more fun than watching golf on TV
  5. Win fabulous prizes.

That's right, you don't even have to be an arena champ to take home the goods today. Heck, you don't even have to be in San Diego. GotFrag announced a prediction contest on their website. The first player to post the top four finishing teams and the final score in the comments of GotFrag's post will be granted an A40 MixAmp and A40 Headset. Take a look at some of the teams that will be playing and post away. Check the post at GotFrag for more details.

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World of Warcraft music player updated - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST
A few short days ago, Blizzard updated their browser-based music player with the fan favorite track "Power of the Horde" by Tenth Level Tauren Chieftain, now known as Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain. If you've never heard of this music player before, don't feel too bad. Most players haven't.

Heck, I hadn't heard of it until recently, which is a bit of a shame. There's a lot of great music available here, ranging from the World of Warcraft to Warcraft II. It doesn't provide all of the Warcraft music, you need to buy the CDs for that, but there's enough there fuel some nostalgia or get you in the adventuring mood. Plus, you can check out some of their old holiday specials, which lie somewhere between 'amusing' and 'hilarious.' Oh yeah, there's a dancing ogre. Those are always good. I... think.

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WoW Moviewatch: Healer parody - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 12:00:00 EST

Before there was Nyhm, there was a guy, sk3uled, and his Avril Lavigne CD. What did he come up with? A parody video, Healer, to her song, Girlfriend. You can thank (or curse!) Baron Soosdon for this submission. At least it wasn't a Sir Mixalot Rickroll.

The lyrics are probably the best thing about the video. The "singing" is monotone and the aspect ratio isn't consistent. Believe it or not, this is the better version. His previous attempt, made over a year ago, was recorded with a bad microphone and what looks like a bunch of pictures thrown into a slideshow program.

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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Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 40-60 - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST



Each week, Arcane Brilliance endeavors to distill the vast and complex world of Mages into a thousand words or so. How does Arcane Brilliance do it?
Magic. Yep, it's an 81 point talent, learnable at level 100 and only available in the upcoming 5th expansion, tentatively titled, "World of Warcraft: The Burning Scarlet Crusade of the Lich King." This is leaked straight from the very early Alpha Beta Alpha Gamma of that expansion, and Arcane Brilliance is the sole invitee. In fact, It's so early that the game doesn't technically exist yet, which may explain why most of these columns end up being closer to three thousand words than one. Blizzard's working on a patch.

Level 40. You've burned and frozen your way through 39 levels of experience and two whole columns worth of leveling guides to get here, and now you're level 40. Have a party, invite your friends. It'll be fun. If it isn't, turn somebody into a sheep. Just trust me. Works every time. Well, unless your friends aren't humanoids, beasts, or critters, in which case I can't help you, and perhaps no-one can.

Level 40 is a milestone of such epic proportions that it's probably only rivaled by dinging 70 as far as stages in WoW progression go. When you're done celebrating, it's time to get going. You've got a lot to do. After the break, we'll talk about level 40 and all the wonderful new toys it makes available to you, and do our level best ( pun totally intended) to cover the 19 levels that follow, stopping only when we hit 60.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Leveling your Mage, 40-60

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Around Azeroth: The limits of solo content - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


With all the recent additions to solo content by Blizzard, Illusionist Brian Rimeshade of The Sha'tar-EU can be forgiven for thinking that just about everything can be soloed. After stealthing up the Dead Scar and Shadowstepping between mobs across the flame barrier (which I didn't even know was possible -- is Shadowstep the new Blink?), Brian launched a futile suicide attack on Brutallus. Amazingly, Brian said that he dodged Brut's first attack, after which he decided he couldn't beat the enrage timer and a tactical retreat/Vanish was in order. We salute you, Brian, for spending a lot of time doing something dangerous with no possible benefit to yourself in order to get a screenshot.

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 RIP, Tim Russert -- the election won't be quite as fun without you.

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Twinking for my own sanity - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST
I have a lot of alts. Not as many as some, but more than most. I have five level 70s, two characters over 50, and two others that sort of float around depending on what I feel like playing that week. Needless to say, I'm pretty sick of the lower level content. I've done it so many times by now that I'll be very, very happy when I never need to see it again.

Until Blizzard decides to let us take a character straight from level 1 to level 70, I'm pretty much stuck going through that content. I enjoy learning to play new characters, but I don't think just grinding out quests does that for you. I would really like a 70 of each class so I can learn how to play them in dungeons and eventually the lower tier raids like Karazhan. Since I can't skip all of that content I've done endlessly already, I try to make my trip to 70 as easy as possible.

It was when I started levelling my Frost Mage that I realized just how far I will go to speed up those early levels. About 5 minutes after I rolled that Mage, I equipped her with a set of pre-enchanted gear that gave her just under 100 Frost Damage, and roughly an extra 400 hit points. I was basically invincible, and I loved it. It was expensive, but so worth it to blaze through those first few levels. Taking out moonkin in two Frostbolts was strangely soothing.

That's the most money I've put into a brand new character so far, but I would probably do it again in the future just to bypass that really early stuff. My question for all of you is: What's the most you've put into a twink that fresh, just for levelling and not stomping WSG?

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Breakfast Topic: Who is going to Paris? - Sat, 14 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST

Blizzard's 2008 Worldwide Invitational is coming up in a couple of weeks. It looks like they've got a series of interesting events planned including, signings, and even a sneak peek at Wrath of the Lich King. I'm exciting to see how the best of the best fare in the arena tournaments. Blizzard is also touting competitive events for causal players.

Some of the contests are already underway. Blizzard is accepting submissions for the WWI Machinima and TV advertisement contests are currently open. They will be accepting 4-minute movie and 40-second ad submissions until June 16th. The time frame is the same for the Fan Art Contest, which can feature any of the Blizzard game universes.

I think it would be pretty awesome to go. Sadly, a trip to Paris is a wee bit out of my budget this much. I'll be anxiously awaiting news and information from the attendees. So now it's time to rub it in. Who's going to WWI?

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WoW Insider Show goes live tomorrow afternoon - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 21:00:00 EST


Yes, It's almost Saturday yet again, and that means that our weekly podcast is going live on the airwaves of WoW Radio. This week on the show, Zach Yonzon just had to come on, because last week, apparently Amanda Dean said some things about Arena that he had to talk about. Amanda will be on to defend her position that Arena is broken, and Matthew Rossi will be in tow, possibly to keep the peace if we need him (probably not the best guy to do that, though -- he kind of likes a fight). And Turpster will join us as well -- he'll be promoting the big Dingstravaganza that he's hosting right after the show over on EU Sporeggar.

We'll talk about WoW addiction, as well as the aforementioned Arena news (and oh yeah, some season 4 thing got announced), as well as everything we've learned about Wrath so far, and what's up with these PvE to PvP changes. You should never say never, but didn't Blizzard say never?

And as usual we'll be answering your emails (theshow@wowinsider.com is the address), and chatting live on IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel. Tune in tomorrow at 3:30 Eastern on WoW Radio to hear this week's episode of the WoW Insider Show -- it's going to be a good one.

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WotLK bestiary presents the Jormungar - Fri, 13 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST

The official WoTLK bestiary has been updated yet again with another of the creatures we'll be meeting in Northrend. This time, we're introduced to the Jormungar, a race of massive worms with sharp teeth capable of boring through solid rock. Apparently, they were used by the Nerubians as slave labor to hew out their massive subterranean empire. However, when that empire fell to the Scourge, the Jormungar broke free, and now run rampant, drilling through the permafrost and destroying everything in their path.

It seems likely that the worms themselves are named after the Norse mythological figure Jormungandr, a child of the trickster god Loki, also known as the the World Serpent who surrounds the Earth. In the end times of Ragnarok, he will kill Thor (although Thor will kill him first). Now really, you know that anything bad enough to kill Thor himself is something you have to take notice of, so if these Jormungar are even half as strong as their namesake, it looks like we could have a lot of trouble with them. Maybe we should look to the old massive sandworm Ouro (whose name is likely a homage to another mythical serpent, the Ouroboros), to give us some idea of what we might be facing.

[via MMO Champion]

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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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