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Your PvP Questions: Spell announcers, MMR and patch 5.3 - Wed, 15 May 2013 20:00:00 EST

It's been a little while since I last did a PvP mailbag, and the emails have been piling up! So, if you have PvP questions, do drop me a line, I will do my best to respond to them, possibly in columns such as this one, or if I can fire off a quick email I will. Do note that I'm far from a PvP specialist in all the classes in WoW, and PvP questions which are class-specific would probably be better directed to the relevant class columnist.

Janrana wrote:

Hi Olivia, since reading about it a while back in one of your columns I've been a big fan of SpellAlerter, but it doesn't seem to have had any updates in a long while and is a bit broken for me. It doesn't seem to have all the spells any more and it also causes some errors to appear when it's on. Do you know of any alternative?

As it happens, I do! First and foremost SpellAlerter is alive and well... ish. It was updated for patch 5.1, but hasn't had any further updates since then. It still works at least fairly well, but I wouldn't rely on it completely. At least, it still allows you to set up custom alerts, so if there are spells it's missing you can add them in.

Continue reading Your PvP Questions: Spell announcers, MMR and patch 5.3

Your PvP Questions: Spell announcers, MMR and patch 5.3 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Dawn of the Aspects Part IV preview - Wed, 15 May 2013 19:00:00 EST

For all you lore fans out there, Dawn of the Aspects Part IV will be available in five days, on May 20th. To tide us over, community manager Bashiok has posted a preview on the story forum, featuring our fearless dragon quintet facing an undead menace. I don't want to spoil too much for those who are waiting to read the whole thing once it's all finished, but as the penultimate addition to the story, there's some name dropping that might come as a surprise if you haven't been following along. The excerpt hints at some tense situations for the soon-to-be Aspects, and Ysera, in particular, plays an important part in this scene. There are even a few hints that she might have some kind of hidden, unexpected power, but we all know that's because Ysera is the best Aspect anyway. The position of my druid as my perpetual main has in no way influenced my opinion on this matter.

Make sure to check out WoW Insiders' reviews of the previous parts of Dawn of the Aspects. The full part four preview is the break, and keep your eyes peeled for Dawn of the Aspects Part IV.

Continue reading Dawn of the Aspects Part IV preview

Dawn of the Aspects Part IV preview originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New Hearthstone warrior card revealed - Wed, 15 May 2013 18:00:00 EST

Blizzard has been steadily tossing us tidbits of information on the upcoming Hearthstone game. Earlier this month they gave us a preview of the Void Terror warlock minion card and some instruction on when and how to use it effectively during a game. Yesterday they posted the warrior ability Commanding Shout, which makes your minions impossible to kill for the duration of your current turn.

I'm sure there are approximately a bazillion different situations in which this could come in handy, but what makes it extra appealing for the warrior is how it can be paired with mechanics that depend upon a minion receiving damage in order to reach their full potential. Got a berserker minion who gets +3 to attack after being hurt? Toss him Commanding Shout and you don't have to worry about him dying that round. Got your opponent's minions on the brink of death, but not sure you'll survive the next attack? Pair Rampage's +3/+3 with Commanding Shout and watch the other player squirm with impotent rage as you annihilate all their best-laid plans. What could possibly be more satisfying?

Check out WoW Insider's Hearthstone coverage for further information, and we all look forward to Hearthstone's release!

New Hearthstone warrior card revealed originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Celebrate Diablo's anniversary with demons rather than cake - Wed, 15 May 2013 17:00:00 EST

It's flown by, but believe it or not, Diablo III is a year old today! Blizzard Community Manager Lylirra has put together a special message on the Diablo forums about the special buff you can get in return for simply logging in to defend Sanctuary.
Lylirra
One year ago today, the gates of the Burning Hells opened and Diablo III was unleashed onto the world. Since then, millions of heroes have been created, billions of hours have been spent in games, and trillions of demons have been slaughtered without mercy. We've grown and improved a lot since release, both as a game team and as a community, and thanks to your feedback, passion, and unquenchable bloodlust, we expect the next year to be even more epic.

To celebrate this milestone and the community that made it possible, we're giving away free buffs! (Who doesn't like free buffs?) Players who log in to defend Sanctuary between May 15 and May 21 will receive a 25% boost to their Magic Find and +EXP stats. The buff is only available while logged in to the game, but it will apply to all characters as well as stack with other similar bonuses -- the +EXP bonus will stack multiplicatively and the Magic Find bonus will stack above the 300% cap!

This is somewhat similar to the buffs players can receive when it's WoW's birthday, so Diablo III fans can probably expect it to return every year. Happy birthday, Diablo!

Celebrate Diablo's anniversary with demons rather than cake originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why raiders and multiboxers are overestimated - Wed, 15 May 2013 16:00:00 EST

Recently, Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street tweeted the following:
This was something of a surprising tweet. Now, of course, there are several subjective notions in there, but it merits some discussion nonetheless. Firstly, what is considered the forum posting or tweeting community? It seems that this would simply be those who regularly contribute to either of those venues, putting it simply, and indeed those with whom he is in regular contact. Do you consider yourself part of either community? And why does that community overestimate the number of people raiding or multiboxing, if they do at all?

Confirmation Bias

Confirmation bias is a cognitive science term, that describes a human tendency to search for, remember or interpret information in such a way that it confirms one's own preconceptions. A fine example of this is the "everybody thinks X" idea, which crops up a lot. If you believe that, for example, frost mages don't have enough burst, you might seek out other opinions that support your own, and partly ignore the clamoring crowd who assert that frost mage burst is out of control. Confirmation bias is particularly prevalent on the internet, where it's almost always possible to find another opinion that supports your own.

Continue reading Why raiders and multiboxers are overestimated

Why raiders and multiboxers are overestimated originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Catching up with the lore for patch 5.3 - Wed, 15 May 2013 15:00:00 EST

Okay, so let's assume for the moment you're interested in the advancing storyline for the Mists of Pandaria expansion as we head into patch 5.3, but are wondering if you missed anything or have just started leveling to 90 and want to make sure you get caught up with what's happening. Why is the Horde in such a tizzy? What's the Alliance planning to do? Who are the major players, and why are they doing what they're doing? Don't worry. We here at WoW Insider have been covering this all expansion, and we can help you get up to speed.

Continue reading Catching up with the lore for patch 5.3

Catching up with the lore for patch 5.3 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Gold Capped: Never scan the Auction House again - Wed, 15 May 2013 14:00:00 EST

WoW Insider brings you Gold Capped, in which Basil "Euripides" Berntsen aims to show you how to make gold on the Auction House. Check out Basil's gold making podcast, Call To Auction, and email Basil with your questions, comments, or hate mail!

Have you ever scanned the Auction House with TradeSkillMaster (the best auction management addon, well worth the trouble of learning) and not gotten a complete scan? Maybe you see an error message and your crafting window starts displaying unknown materials prices, even though you can see the prices right front of you when you search? This is a bug that affects anyone on a realm with a lot of auctions (more than 42554, according to the TSM error message). In essence, the GetAll scan that's used to grab a dump of the AH in a few seconds can be incomplete if there are a lot of auctions.

As far as I know, the traditional scans are immune to this, but they take a lot more time; like 20 minutes instead of 20 seconds. Even if the scans work perfectly on your realm, scanning is still an extra step that you have to do every time you want to update the prices before you queue up your crafting list. Luckily, there's a way you can get up to date price information without ever having to scan the AH again.

Continue reading Gold Capped: Never scan the Auction House again

Gold Capped: Never scan the Auction House again originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Should you play a druid in WoW? - Wed, 15 May 2013 13:00:00 EST

Just getting started in World of Warcraft and not sure what you want to do? Or maybe you've been playing for a while but aren't sure which class you like best. We're here to help by taking a look at what each class can do and leading you to the right one. Today, we're talking druids.

Druids harness the powers of nature to help their friends or harm their foes. They wield can wield magic to harm like a mage or heal like a priest and can shapeshift into animal forms to dive into melee fighting. Like the monk and paladin, druids are a hybrid class that can fill any role in the game they wish: if you play a druid, you have the flexibility to do whatever you please. But are you up to the task of wielding the raw elemental power of nature? We'll take a look at just what druids can do and try to decide if it's the right class for you.

Continue reading Should you play a druid in WoW?

Should you play a druid in WoW? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Encrypted Text: Five macros every rogue should know - Wed, 15 May 2013 12:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

Macros are designed to allow a player to combine commands and modifiers (targeting, non-GCD abilities) with regular abilities in a quick and efficient manner. Macros can't make decisions for you. There is no macro that will automatically switch between Mutilate and Dispatch for you on the fly. There is no macro that will use Revealing Strike when it fades and Sinister Strike otherwise. Macros aren't intelligent - they have to be told what to do.

Pure classes tend to have fewer abilities than hybrids, and after the merging of spells like Envenom and Eviscerate, our action bars are sparse. The average raiding rogue might only need a dozen or so abilities per encounter, and that's including defensive cooldowns. A typical assassination rotation consists of Mutilate or Dispatch, Rupture and Envenom, and a few Feints or Cloaks per fight. Rogue macros tend to focus less on day-to-day rotation assistance and more on strategic abilities and cooldowns.

Continue reading Encrypted Text: Five macros every rogue should know

Encrypted Text: Five macros every rogue should know originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Looking to the future - Wed, 15 May 2013 11:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

In yesterday's edition of The Queue, there seemed to be more questions about the next expansion than the current one. Since the next expansion hasn't even been announced yet, there isn't much we can do with those, but we sure can try.

Joey4 asked:

weapon models to me seem to go by expansion theme, wrath had a dark cold look especially on greens and mists had the Asian theme, do you think we will see awesome looking models again like BC xpac had in the next xpac?

Continue reading The Queue: Looking to the future

The Queue: Looking to the future originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Champagne supernova - Wed, 15 May 2013 10:00:00 EST

Deepholm is the rare zone where you can't hit an invisible ceiling on your flying mount and fall to your death. But somehow Nölan of Caelum on Sylvanas (EU-A) has managed to hit ... something. An invisible force field? The "sky" from The Truman Show? A translucent plate? Whatever it is, it's stripped all the flesh from his bones, and it's a long way for a skeleton to fall.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Champagne supernova originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Know Your Lore: Of Wolves and Mages - Wed, 15 May 2013 09:00:00 EST

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

You probably don't know who Ur was, and even if you do, you don't know much about him because there's not much to know. We know the following - Ur was a mage who lived in Dalaran before the coming of the Scourge to the Eastern Kingdoms, who apparently died during the invasion Arthas led to retrieve the Book of Medivh so that Kel'Thuzad could use it to summon Archimonde the Defiler. It's possible that Ur, being a remarkably skilled and knowledgeable wizard, was one of the three archmages slain by Arthas while maintaining auras that protected Dalaran from the undead.

What's interesting about Ur isn't what he himself actually did, however, but what was done with the work he left behind. Ur was the author of two tomes (that we know of), The Book of Ur and Ur's Treatise on Shadow Magic. Ur's knowledge of other planes of existence was significant, if faulty - while in practical terms his understanding was great enough that it was possible for Archmage Arugal of Silverpine to use the Book of Ur to summon worgen forth from their prison in the Emerald Dream, it's notable that Ur didn't actually understand what the worgen really were, or what druid magic was - he simply saw the worgen as monsters from another world. Still, without Ur, it is unlikely that Arugal would have been able to bring forth the worgen he did.

Amazingly, despite knowing nothing of druidism and only having a hazy understanding of the worgen origin Ur's research allowed Arugal to pull Alpha Prime and other ancient members of the Druids of the Scythe to Azeroth. Considering it was Archdruid Malfurion Stormrage who placed Ralaar Fangfire and the other druids who'd helped create the Scythe of Elune under Daral'nir (the great tree in the Emerald Dream for which Tal'Doren is a mirror) in the first place, the fact that Arugal managed to draw them forth is astonishing. Yet manage it he did, with Ur's book.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Of Wolves and Mages

Know Your Lore: Of Wolves and Mages originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Your greatest WoW save - Wed, 15 May 2013 08:00:00 EST

I no longer remember the exact boss or who was raiding with me, but I do clearly remember having a conversation with a friend while I was healing Karazhan. At the time, I was grumbling that I didn't think we had the right group composition to do an encounter successfully -- but it was only after the group's other healer died that my friend agreed. Of course it was then that I decided this wasn't going be a wipe -- something I hadn't thought was possible until just then. (Certainly no one was more surprised than I was when I pulled it off.)

Whether raiding or not, we all have close calls in game -- that was only one of many I've had. But it was certainly memorable. So what about you, dear readers? Share your stories, your near-misses, your especially memorable almost-but-not-quite deaths.

Breakfast Topic: Your greatest WoW save originally appeared on WoW Insider on Wed, 15 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reader UI of the Week: We've come a long way, baby - Tue, 14 May 2013 20:00:00 EST

A little while back, I put out the call for UIs with a bit of history, a bit of evolution to them. I love seeing how my UI has evolved over the years, starting off with the basic Blizzard UI, until I realised that I could tinker with the overall scale, and then began adding unit frame addons, then action bar addons, castbar addons, and the whole thing got completely out of hand and escalated to the point where I started writing addon and UI columns for WoW Insider! And it's always interesting to see how others' UIs have developed, too.

Today, we're delving into the past and present of Alphabot's UI. He's sent over several pictures, of both his current UI and his UIs past. So here, in chronological order, are UI shots one, two, three, four and five, and his current UI out of combat, in combat, and with everything on -- in test mode, so to speak. Let's move into Alphabot's email.

Continue reading Reader UI of the Week: We've come a long way, baby

Reader UI of the Week: We've come a long way, baby originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3: Mining and herbalism able to be leveled exclusively in Pandaria - Tue, 14 May 2013 19:00:00 EST

A fair while back, Blizzard Lead Systems Designer Greg " Ghostcrawler" Street tweeted that the development team would be looking to implement catch-up mechanics, similar to those in place for cooking, to other professions. Blacksmithing had its changes, and now Mining and Herbalism are next on the agenda. MMO-Champion reported today on some changes on the patch 5.3 PTR, that make the grind to level these professions a whole lot easier.

I went onto the PTR, with a pre-made level 90, and learned apprentice herbalism and mining, then went and found some nodes. The tooltip shows the nodes as orange and they can be mined by characters who have only just learned the profession, with a skill level of 1, as can be seen from the image after the break.

Continue reading Patch 5.3: Mining and herbalism able to be leveled exclusively in Pandaria

Patch 5.3: Mining and herbalism able to be leveled exclusively in Pandaria originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Queen Azshara's Revenge - Tue, 14 May 2013 18:00:00 EST

I'm not sure how realistic the idea of Azhshara retaking her throne actually is, but Killer Cookie seems to have put some real though into it. With a haunting soundtrack and wonderfully rendered graphics, Queen Azshara's Revenge nearly makes me root for the return of the vile queen.

Putting together faux-lore videos requires some forethought. If you stick too closely to the plot, then it's easy to confuse a viewer into thinking this is actually in the game. If you go divergent, you'll find that your audience doesn't care about your fiction. Killer Cookie nailed a middle ground in this video and created something truly interesting. And, like I said: totally gorgeous stuff.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: Queen Azshara's Revenge originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes for May 14 - Tue, 14 May 2013 17:00:00 EST

The latest sets of PTR patch notes materialized a few hours ago, mostly featuring a multitude of class changes.
  • Some reasonable nerfs to hunter pet CC, several abilities have had their cooldowns doubled.
  • Some changes to the interaction of Tricks of the Trade with Blood DK abilities
  • A buff to Necrotic Strike's attack power scaling
  • A PvP-related change to Incanter's Ward, halving the effect but doubling the duration, as has been recently discussed the devs think this might be a part of their burst issues in PvP.
And lastly, Eye of the Black Prince can now be used to apply a prismatic socket on Reborn weapons. Hit the break for the full notes.

Continue reading Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes for May 14

Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes for May 14 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The 5 mounts I'm going to farm until the end of the world - Tue, 14 May 2013 16:00:00 EST

Mount collecting in World of Warcraft is a common passion. There are some really beautiful designs out there, and showing off a rare collection is one of the ways in which people take pleasure from the game. A number of mounts are also a testament to dedication or skill in the game: the arena drakes, the Pureblood Fire Hawk, Invincible... for those who have earned them these mounts and others like them stand as a visual marker to their accomplishments.

For those of us who tend to be a bit behind on the raiding or PvP curve, there are still plenty of obtainable mounts out there. Some of them were formerly unattainable without groups, but thanks to the inevitable passage of time and raising of the level cap, the bosses which drop them are now soloable. Unfortunately, mounts tend to have a very low drop rate, so getting them can be a challenge of determination, diligence, and of course, luck. Here are a few that I have yet to earn for myself, but I remain determined to acquire!

1. Raven Lord

Can you believe I am a druid who still doesn't have this one? A Burning Crusade-era druid, too. I've been farming this mount since Anzu was only summonable by druids such as myself, and I still haven't seen it drop. Admittedly I've slacked off more recently, mostly because I'm sick of Sethekk Halls. I should hop back to it, though. The Raven Lord is one of the most gorgeous ground mounts in the game.

Continue reading The 5 mounts I'm going to farm until the end of the world

The 5 mounts I'm going to farm until the end of the world originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why do we still have servers? - Tue, 14 May 2013 15:00:00 EST

I was wondering about it all day yesterday, considering the existence of cross-realm play, CRZ, that PvP, dungeon finder and LFR all pull across multiple servers why do we still have those servers at all? Are they a relic of the original game's design? Are they still physically necessary or could we simply have all these different servers exist as one large super-server that everyone in a region plays on? It certainly feels to me that, for better and for worse server communities are a thing of the past - I know a lot of people who play WoW, my friend's list is relatively hopping and my twitter feed even more so, but I haven't run a dungeon with random people on my realm since mid-Wrath and even then I didn't do it very often. Before the rise of dungeon finder groups, I either ran with a guild group or I didn't run, having soured on the experience after tanking BC heroics.

The way I currently play, I raid with my guild, run LFR occasionally (not very often) or queue for some dungeons either solo or with some Real ID/Battletag friends, do some retro raiding in the same fashion, and in general to me my server is almost completely meaningless. I play with and chat with people from all over the place, from Sisters of Elune to Norgannon to Malfurion to Kilrogg. If I could add EU players and chat with them, I'd have an even bigger friend's list. The people I know in game are people I've played with, people I've chatted with online for a while, but in very few cases are they people I've actually met here on my current server outside of guilds I've joined.

Of course, as I've argued before, personal experience isn't universal and anecdotal data isn't conclusive. I'm just one player. So the question becomes, what about you reading this now? How important is your server to you? It's very possible there are thriving server communities out there that would be damaged by a change that reduces server identity further and if so I think it would be useful to find out. If a single mega-server per region would be detrimental to people's playstyles, let us hear you. Positive or negative, your feedback is desired.

Why do we still have servers? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The WoW Insider Show Episode 294 - Tue, 14 May 2013 14:00:00 EST

Every week, join us as we present you with The WoW Insider Show podcast -- an hour's worth of WoW community discussion covering everything from the week's top stories here on WoW Insider to emails from our readers and what's been going on with our particular characters in Azeroth.

Want to have your question answered on the air? Email theshow@wowinsider.com!

Get the podcast:

[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:


The WoW Insider Show Episode 294 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Retribution cheat sheet for the Throne of Thunder - Tue, 14 May 2013 13:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Seasoned ret paladin Dan Desmond is here to answer your questions and provide you with your biweekly dose of retribution medicine. Contact him at dand@wowinsider.com with any questions, concerns, or suggestions!

Throne of Thunder has been out for a good long while now, and many of us have been raiding its depths every week. Personally, though, I took a short break from raiding at the launch of patch 5.2, and had only seen many of these fights on LFR. It wasn't until recently that I picked the raiding game back up and joined a new group, though with them working on their second heroic boss I was a tad behind in terms of progression. So I did a bit of research and, through trial and error each week, have crafted a short list of notes for each boss, including talents, glyphs, and special abilities to look out for.

Usually my "default" talent build is something like 221223, with Mass Exorcism, Double Jeopardy, and Templar's Verdict glyphed. In my summaries below I will try to emphasize the usefulness of certain talents and glyphs, whether they deviate from this core build or not.

Also, these tips are primarily for normal mode encounters in Throne of Thunder, though some of them may be applicable to LFR and parts of heroic.

Continue reading Retribution cheat sheet for the Throne of Thunder

Retribution cheat sheet for the Throne of Thunder originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lichborne: Patch 5.3 and the death of festerblight - Tue, 14 May 2013 12:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

In a recent update on the patch 5.3 PTR, Blizzard applied an update that applied some unexpected changes to the death knight unholy tree, most of them nerfs.
Blizzard
Death Knight

Unholy

This has, unsurprisingly, left many death knights at a loss. After patch 5.2 seemed to cure unholy's woes and allow it to at least be a viable and fun alternative to frost, these nerfs came as a surprise. Frost is so far still the more damaging death knight DPS spec in patch 5.2, so the idea that unholy is the one that got nerfs was somewhat discouraging.

That said, it might not be as bad as you think. It's worth noting that in the long run, the Scourge Strike buff should cancel out the nerfs to Festering Strike and Unholy Might, at least in theory. This brings to mind one question as to what this shifting of damage toward Scourge Strike is actually meant to accomplish. Essentially, the main purpose here appears to be a nerf to festerblight.

Continue reading Lichborne: Patch 5.3 and the death of festerblight

Lichborne: Patch 5.3 and the death of festerblight originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Distracted by kitties - Tue, 14 May 2013 11:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) will be your host today.

My cats were being all cute last night when I was writing the Queue, so I thought I had to post the pic. The white one, Nala, isn't really that fat, just a bad angle. She's actually my brother's cat though, just taking care of her for a bit. So glad to see them both get along.

**Distracted by kitties**

NotAHuntard asked:

What is the minimum hardware requirements to realistically get playable frame rates on a laptop?

Continue reading The Queue: Distracted by kitties

The Queue: Distracted by kitties originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: I'm a little teapot - Tue, 14 May 2013 10:00:00 EST

No, really, I have the soul of a teapot. Some sort of reincarnation accident, I suppose. That's why I've decided to live here, soaked in tea, amongst the dumplings and eggrolls of Pandaria. What do you mean, that's utterly ridiculous? Don't tell me what I can identify as! Now go away and leave me alone. I've got to figure out a way to get these tea leaves out of my cleavage. (Thanks to submitter Senya of Temerity on Windrunner [US-A] for this screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: I'm a little teapot originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Last Week in WoW: How soon is soon edition - Tue, 14 May 2013 09:00:00 EST

Happy Tuesday morning, everyone. We continue to wait for patch 5.3, with official confirmation coming in yesterday that it won't be going live this week. In the meantime, the test server continues to be updated, and the big news stories are often outside the game, from the news that WoW is down to 8.3 million subscribers to the news Diablo III had to shut down the auction house due to massive gold duping bugs. They've since announced that all money from the illegitimate auctions, including their cut, will be donated to charity.

All this news and more awaits you with our usual roundup below. As of this writing, there is no announced downtime, but even if there isn't, you deserve a break right? Relax and read on.

Hot news and guides

Continue reading Last Week in WoW: How soon is soon edition

Last Week in WoW: How soon is soon edition originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: How do you start a new character? - Tue, 14 May 2013 08:00:00 EST

When you've decided to create a new character in WoW, you'd think the actual creation part would be the easiest part of the process. After all the hard part ought to be leveling, advancing, and collecting gear. But for some players (myself included), character creation itself poses a challenge. If you've picked a class, there's still the question of which race to choose -- or if you've picked a race, the question of which class. And, while WoW's character creation mini-game is far from elaborate, there's still the matter of just what your character looks like. But most difficult of all tends to be picking the right name: WoW's been around long enough that many of the names you might usually use in a game have likely been taken.

So tell us, early morning readers: what's your character creation challenge? Does name selection cause you to stumble? Do you have to get your character's look just right? Or is character creation something you fly through, eager to get to the real game?

Breakfast Topic: How do you start a new character? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 14 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Shifting Perspectives: Mastering the Rune of Re-Origination for ferals - Mon, 13 May 2013 20:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our DPS edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. This week, we forge ahead. No, literally. Go reforge.

Welcome back to Shifting Perspectives! I've been dealing with some serious family issues, so I haven't written for a while. Happily, things are settling down, I'm raiding successfully, and it's time to get back to the keyboard. I've got quite a backlog of topics to cover, so let's get right to it by talking about the most commonly requested topic: what, exactly, am I supposed to do with all this new stuff I've been getting? The addition of Rune of Re-Origination and the Capacitive Diamond have changed gearing priorities significantly, so if you've been sticking with the pure mastery build, you may be missing out.

Mastery or haste, a question of RPPM

Ever since it was introduced, mastery has generally been our most favored secondary stat. (Yes, even over hit and expertise, from a simulation's point of view. That said, hit/expertise capping is the best idea for most folks, because we can't instantly recognize that an ability has missed and change strategy like the simulators can.) The rationale is simple. Most of our damage comes from bleeds; mastery increases our bleed damage ... obvious strategy is obvious. Well, the changes in 5.2 have adjusted that calculus a little bit.

Continue reading Shifting Perspectives: Mastering the Rune of Re-Origination for ferals

Shifting Perspectives: Mastering the Rune of Re-Origination for ferals originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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No Patch 5.3 this week - Mon, 13 May 2013 19:00:00 EST

We've been quietly downloading patch 5.3 on the background service for a little while now. Needless to say, the major question on everyone's minds today has been whether or not we'll see the new patch hit tomorrow. Wonder no longer: It's been confirmed both by blue posters and on the official Warcraft Twitter account.


It looks like those of you waiting patiently for valor point upgrades, new scenarios and more will have to wait at least another week. On the one hand, I'd really like to see all the 5.3 content on live servers -- on the other, I'm glad I don't have to worry about a new set of quests and story content to obsessively run through just yet. Whether or not we'll see it next week is up in the air, but given the active state of the background downloader, we can expect patch 5.3 ... soon[TM].

No Patch 5.3 this week originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: WoW Bosses as Actual Bosses - Mon, 13 May 2013 18:00:00 EST

Ever had that feeling that your boss is secretly an ancient scion of evil, ready to destroy the world? Or that your supervisor would take an entire raid to defeat? It seems Slightly Impressive has had that feel because WoW Bosses as Actual Bosses is some hilarious stuff.

Whether you're being remembered from the mail room, or bowing down before the department supervisor, this video has a little work place humor for any office worker. My hat's off to Slightly for an incredible and hilarious joke. Nicely done, sir.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.


WoW Moviewatch: WoW Bosses as Actual Bosses originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Readers' ideas for WoW improvements - Mon, 13 May 2013 17:00:00 EST

A little ago WoW Insider posted an article asking our readers to suggest things they'd like to add to WoW to make the game better. We were really excited to hear your responses, and you didn't let us down. Several commenters had what we considered were actually some great ideas, and we thought we'd pull them out for some further discussion.
This is, in my opinion, a fantastic idea. Many's the time, when leveling a DPS character, that I've been conflicted between wanting to round off the storyline of an area, and wanting to progress with my leveling. With the speed of leveling in WoW at the moment with the buffs gained from heirlooms, guild perks and the like, it's really easy to out-level zones before you're done with the story. Now, of course, the option exists to simply ignore the gray mobs and the gray quests and the fact that you're being far less efficient than you would be if you moved on to another zone, but why should players have to make that choice?

Continue reading Readers' ideas for WoW improvements

Readers' ideas for WoW improvements originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Proceeds from Diablo III auction house exploit to be donated to charity - Mon, 13 May 2013 16:00:00 EST

At this point we all should be pretty familiar with what happened in Diablo III with the release of patch 1.0.8. The patch contained a bug in the way the auction house functioned that allowed for people to make lots and lots of gold - far more than they were intended to. The bug was fixed very quickly, but for the last few weeks Blizzard's been busy auditing both their code and the accounts of the players who exploited the bug. Late Friday evening, John Hight, the production manager for Diablo III, put up a post on the Diablo forums explaining in detail both what happened and what Blizzard has been doing about it.

The actions taken seem fairly straightforward and sensible - Blizzard has evaluated the necessary code to check for any other potential weaknesses, and they have either banned or rolled back the accounts of players who abused the bug's existence. That seems pretty typical. But, what's nicest to read is the fact that Blizzard is taking any real money generated by these auction house transactions - including their own transaction fees - and donating them to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals. We have no idea as of yet what that amount might be, but it's certainly a nice gesture.

The full blue post is after the break.

Continue reading Proceeds from Diablo III auction house exploit to be donated to charity

Proceeds from Diablo III auction house exploit to be donated to charity originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Things that were harder before - Mon, 13 May 2013 15:00:00 EST

I did a post this week about raiding in previous expansions and in vanilla WoW, and how people often say those raids were harder and my opinion that it is easily demonstrable that current raids are if anything more complicated than they have ever been. I frankly believe there is almost no room for comparison between the game at 60 and today in terms of raid complexity and difficulty. Part of this stems from the many different variations on what the word hard means in this context. Something can be harder because it is conceptually or executionally more complex (the difficulty can stem from how much is required to successfully complete its mechanics) or it can be hard because it is laborious and/or time consuming. Was raiding with 40 people in classic WoW more laborious? Absolutely it was. It wasn't mechanically harder, but it was more time consuming and took a great deal of effort to organize and plan. It's the difference between working out a complex multi-stage math problem and carrying five thousand pounds of rocks from point A to point B.

But there were some points worth addressing. It absolutely has never been easier to level, even without heirlooms, than it is right now. Vanilla leveling to 60 took more time and effort than leveling to 90 does today. Even without heirlooms, one can easily and without much stress reach level 20 in a few hours, level 40 in less than two days, and be level 60 within a day of that, and this isn't spending all day staring at the screen either. This is a fairly casual leveling pace. I leveled a blood elf warrior to 35 in two days of rather casual play, an hour on followed by a half hour reading websites or having a snack or even going for a long walk.

It's also far easier to do the following things:
  1. Get a dungeon group. You can queue for dungeons at level 15, and from that point on, all you ever have to do to run a dungeon is hit that queue. If you're playing in the tank or healing role you can effectively chain dungeons all day, and even leveling as DPS there are stretches where you don't even need to quest or do anything but dungeon.
  2. Run a battleground. While you could argue that doing well at BG running as you level up and at max level takes some time and effort, if you want to risk queueing in whatever gear you have, it's simplicity itself.
  3. Getting ready to raid at max level. The game now has catchup mechanisms in place for players who start later. If you just got your alt to 90 and are switching to it for raiding, deciding to give raiding a try for the first time, or what have you it's not the case that your raid group is compelled to run you through previous raids for attunements and keys, much less gearing you through older raids to get ready for the current content.
  4. Find something to do. You could even argue that there's too much to do, or that it feels too mandatory. But you can't argue you don't have options - if you don't want to run dungeons, raid, or PvP there are pet battles, daily quests and scenarios you can do.
So the question then becomes this: is it better or worse for the game that these things are easier? For that matter, are they easy enough?

Continue reading Things that were harder before

Things that were harder before originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Reminder: Deadline for BlizzCon ticket information is tomorrow - Mon, 13 May 2013 14:00:00 EST

For those of you planning to attend BlizzCon 2013, Blizzard has posted a friendly reminder on its community sites that ticket information needs to be finalized by Tuesday, May 14 at 11:59 p.m. PDT. That's tomorrow night, so get to it if you haven't already done so.
BlizzCon Ticket Reminder: Attendee Information Deadline-May 14
If you purchased BlizzCon 2013 tickets for family or friends, just a reminder you have until next Tuesday, May 14 to enter or edit attendee information, including:
  • The names to be printed on the badges.
  • Battle.net account names for the pre-show online merchandise sale for BlizzCon ticket holders-more details to come. (Please note that only registered accounts will be able to access this pre-show sale.)
  • Optional game information such as World of Warcraft character, realm, clan, and BattleTag.
If this information hasn't been entered by May 14, all badges will default to the name on the purchaser's Battle.net account. Don't miss the opportunity to customize your badges!

For more info, check out the Badge Information page.

Head to your Order History within Battle.net account management to edit attendee information before it's too late!

This information is particularly important if you're getting your ticket through a friend or family member. If the name on your ticket does not match the name on your photo ID, you will not be able to pick up your badge on your own. That, and if you don't select your franchise preferences, you might end up with a Diablo III badge instead of a World of Warcraft one. You wouldn't want that, would you?

Reminder: Deadline for BlizzCon ticket information is tomorrow originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The ongoing mystery of the Unborn Val'kyr - Mon, 13 May 2013 13:00:00 EST

Earlier in patch 5.3's PTR cycle, developer Cory "Mumper" Stockton revealed the Unborn Val'kyr, a new wild pet coming to Northrend. That very night, players began scouring the PTR for any trace of it -- to no avail. A few days later, Stockton asked users on Twitter whether or not they'd found it yet. They hadn't, but as it turns out, at the time of those tweets, the pet had not yet been activated on the PTR at all. Whoops!

However, it has been active for quite some time now, and the community at large is still not entirely sure how it works. According to the information we've been given, the Unborn Val'kyr is not a pet that is randomly spawned, but rather only spawns under specific, unique conditions. The pet has now been found and caught, but the conditions under which it spawns to begin with are still unknown.

Continue reading The ongoing mystery of the Unborn Val'kyr

The ongoing mystery of the Unborn Val'kyr originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Officers' Quarters: The new burnout - Mon, 13 May 2013 12:00:00 EST

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

Mists has delivered new content faster than any WoW expansion to date. The days of waiting six months, eight months, or more between major patches seem like a bad memory now. With patch 5.3 likely to drop in the next few weeks, that will mean we've had an average of one patch about every three months in the wake of 5.0.

In years past, officers had to steel their guild for long lulls, which always seemed to land in summertime. They had to make backup plans to account for long absences from players who just couldn't stand to run the same raid one more time. Guilds who couldn't find replacements sometimes found themselves closing shop instead.

In 2013, that age seems far behind us. However, the accelerated content has brought with it a new kind of burnout instead, and it's one that officers and raid leaders should keep in mind as we move deeper into Mists.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: The new burnout

Officers' Quarters: The new burnout originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Working in The Foundry - Mon, 13 May 2013 11:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

In today's edition of The Queue, I'm excited. Why? Because Neverwinter's Foundry feature is completely amazing and I pray every night that WoW implements something just like it.

@daveverity asked:

If WoW had a "Foundry" similar to NeverWinter, what dungeon would you create?

Continue reading The Queue: Working in The Foundry

The Queue: Working in The Foundry originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Heads of the class - Mon, 13 May 2013 10:00:00 EST

Look, Officer, I really don't see what the big deal is. Noise complaint, you say? Well, I inherited this place from my undead grandmother, and for my first crop, I planted the seeds that were in the storage shed. The package said turnips on it. How was I supposed to know it would come up humans? It should have had picture of humans on it. Now grab a shovel and help me pound them down. We'll soon stop those noise complaints. (Thanks to submitter Nounours of GrandGalacticInquisitor on Llane [US-A] for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Heads of the class originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blood Pact: Buffs and debuffs for warlocks and logs - Mon, 13 May 2013 09:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill is almost free for summer. Almost.

The last two weeks have been on simple topics like glancing at a raid parse on World of Logs (WoL) or looking at the various graphs WoL has. Before we dive into the actual combat log itself with the expression editor, I'm going to take a stop at what buffs and debuffs are going on in the fight. This information is still broad in scope and can apply to almost anyone, but it's still important foundation knowledge for warlocks and logs.

Continue reading Blood Pact: Buffs and debuffs for warlocks and logs

Blood Pact: Buffs and debuffs for warlocks and logs originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: What the biggest graphical eyesore in today's WoW? - Mon, 13 May 2013 08:00:00 EST

If you'd ever care to observe a WoW player heat up to a slow boil and finally explode in a spectacular, spittle-flecked rage over a minor technical issue, find someone whose favorite character model suffers clipping issues. Most long-term players have a character who can't wear or wield a much-loved item because it does something annoying -- clips through their back, chops off their hair, or disappears into the ground. This is a shoulder-shrugger of an issue to me, but for players who want their favorites to look their best, graphics clipping is utterly incensing.

After eight years, we've had ample time to grow weary of the ugliest graphical glitches that persist in the game. The old character models get cited for a variety of abuses. Night elf hands/mittens, anyone? Creepy. Sometimes, it's their expressions -- the terrifying rictus on a female night elf when she's "smiling." Just look at that screenshot up there. Definitely zombie material. And I know this isn't a superficial issue, because I swim. Ever looked up the skirt of a robe-wearing class while they're swimming? You can see their brains.

Blizzard's deft art direction and over-the-top, cartoon-ish fantasy aesthetic smooths over a multitude of aging and sins, but at some point, rough edges simply refuse to stay hidden. What do you find to be the most appalling graphical eyesore in today's WoW? Is it part of the older character models or landscapes and dungeon textures? Is there some aspect of WoW's graphics that shouts "old and tired" every time you see it?

Breakfast Topic: What the biggest graphical eyesore in today's WoW? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 13 May 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Curse of Flesh - Sun, 12 May 2013 20:00:00 EST

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.
Abedneum: Accessing. In the early stages of its development cycle Azeroth suffered infection by parasitic, necrophotic symbiotes. Designation: Old Gods. Old Gods rendered all systems, including Earthen defenseless in order to facilitate assimilation. This matrix destabilization has been termed the Curse of Flesh. Effects of destabilization increased over time.
Brann Bronzebeard yells: Old Gods eh? So they zapped the Earthen with this Curse of Flesh. And then what?
Kaddrak: Accessing. Creators arrived to extirpate symbiotic infection. Assessment revealed that Old God infestation had grown malignant. Excising parasites would result in loss of host--
The early days of Azeroth's creation are a puzzle that has yet to be completely solved. The issue of Azeroth's creation lies in the order of events as they've been presented; we have two very different orders of events depending on where you're looking for reference. In one, the Titans arrived on Azeroth to find the Old Gods, put the world in order, then left for parts unknown. In another, it's implied that the Titans arrived, put the world to order, and left. At some point after this, the Old Gods arrived and wreaked havoc, prompting the return of the Titans and the imprisonment of the Old Gods.

So ... which one is correct? Well, there's an interesting part in the middle of all of this that can be used to try and unravel that particular puzzle. It's called the Curse of Flesh, and its shaped far more of Azeroth as we know it today than you'd think.

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Continue reading Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Curse of Flesh

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: The Curse of Flesh originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 12 May 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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