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Below is a list of Article headlines from WOW Insider. This are used on our main page and updated daily. Each article contains links back to WOWinsider, which allow you to view the whole article


Horde scarf and a Carrot-on-a-Stick keychain - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 18:30:00 EST

It's just starting to get a little chilly here in Chicago, so the timing on this Horde Scarf is just perfect for me -- it looks really comfy, and wrapped around your neck, it's just Warcraft enough to get noticed by people in the know, but is still classy enough that it looks like a cool design if you don't happen to recognize the Horde symbol. I like the look of black and red (would go great with my black overcoat), but amlowi, the seller over on Etsy, will do it up in any colors you like.

And speaking of doing things by request, this Carrot-on-a-Stick keychain is awesome, and the artist who makes it (she paints in acrylic and then coats it in enamel) will make it out of any icon you like. Carrot-on-a-Stick seems perfect for a set of car keys, but it's not going to be in the game forever, so if you want to put a class or faction logo on there, she says she can do any icon in the game.

Always astounding to see what these industrious WoW crafters are up to. If you've seen a cool DIY WoW-related item, let us know.

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Tips for using the new Shadowmeld wisely - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 17:00:00 EST
One of the topics we talked about indepth on last Saturday's WoW Insider Show was the racial ability revamp that Blizzard did in the latest beta patch -- I said that I wasn't even under the impression that racial tweaks were on the table, but apparently Blizzard still doesn't think they're done, and it looks like they're using those abilities to build in a lot of baseline things like threat reduction and resilience against movement-impairing effects.

After all the dust settled (there was one more revision in the works, and there may be more so far before the patch goes live), it looks like Shadowmeld is going to be getting one of the aforementioned threat reduction tweaks: Night Elves will be able to kick in Shadowmeld instantly and even while in combat every three minutes, and it will drop (though not wipe) threat, cancelled on moving. This adds, as Phaelia notes, a few new wrinkles to Night Elf gameplay -- not only will NE Priests have a new aggro "pause" (since the aggro doesn't actually disappear, all that will happen is that they'll have to wait for the tank to grab enough aggro to get focus back), but soloing Night Elves will have a new way to dodge a pull gone bad, and Druids who happen to be pulling in raids will be able to end a bad pull early, hopefully without wiping the entire group.

Pretty slick for just a racial ability. As always, this may change before the beta ends (originally, this was a Human ability called The Fall of Humanity, though Blizzard wisely decided it didn't work too well as that), but this extra functionality might give NEs an extra panic button when they need to switch threat around fast.

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Limited Edition Wrath keyset for Zboard - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EST
The inevitable limited edition Wrath of the Lich King keyset for Zboard from Ideazon has showed up on GameStop. Tipster Brad actually gave word on this a few days ago but we were unable to confirm the product's existence. The specially designed keyset, which follows its predecessors the World of Warcraft keyset and The Burning Crusade keyset, retails for $19.99 an is available for Pre-order and likely to be released at around the same time as the expansion.

If you joined the BlizzCon sweepstakes, you just might win one of these babies. Elizabeth Harper did a comprehensive review of the Ideazon World of Warcraft keyset, which has custom keys for basic WoW functions such as emotes (in both PvE and PvP), as well as recordable macros, and other specialized features. Note that you'll still need the Zboard keyboard (about $45) on which to attach the keyset. Brad also mentions a new Ideazon mouse custom-themed for World of Warcraft which should retail for a staggering $100. It's not on Ideazon's site or on any of the affiliated retailers', but we'll keep our eyes peeled and update this post if and when it does show up.

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New focus frame, threatmeter, quest sharing in the PTR UI - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 15:30:00 EST
The PTR for 3.0.2 went up over the weekend, and there were a few fun UI tweaks in the patch notes worth mentioning again here -- stuff that far down in those long, long notes usually gets overlooked in favor of all the class changes above it, so let's throw the spotlight on what the new UI will offer.

First of all, as previously mentioned, both the new calendar and pets systems are in the game, along with that spiffy new achievements system. But there's more new stuff -- while focus is already usable on the live realms, Blizzard is implementing "a focus frame key" -- like a shift key that will let you target your focus target just for a spell's cast instead of switching back and forth all the time. And there is now an "aggro warning" in the game -- the first traces of Blizzard's official threatmeter we've known was coming for a while.

Sharing quests is easier on the PTR -- you can now share quests with party members at any distance, and even in raids, just by linking the quest into party chat. And one of the biggest small changes in the game will help out raid leaders and healers wanting to avoid the "PvPlague": players will get a timer showing when their PvP flag is set to drop. Small UI changes like this often go unnoticed in the patch notes in favor of the much more discussed class nerfs and buffs, but they go a long way towards making the game a lot more fun to play.

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The Light and How to Swing It: For the love of all that's Holy - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST

With all the love that Protection and Retribution has gotten, a lot of people might feel that Holy has fallen behind. To a degree this is true. It's important to understand, before anything else, that for the longest time Holy was the only truly viable tree for the class. Protection has come into its own in The Burning Crusade, while Retribution needed a lot more work. Now that Blizzard has done its homework and tweaked the trees to scrumptious, tempting playability, it's time for us to revisit the Holy tree. Exactly how good will Holy be in Wrath of the Lich King?

The answer isn't a simple one. For one thing, Holy is still an incredibly powerful tree and Holy Paladins are still the best single target healers in the game, with Holy Lights critting for ludicrous amounts in the Wrath Beta. It is also now more capable offensively, with ranged Judgements, better coefficients, and a lowered cooldown on Holy Shock. Even then, there are many indications that Holy has fallen behind on many respects, and many Paladins are considering speccing Retribution or Protection because of it. That's not a good thing at all.

Continue reading The Light and How to Swing It: For the love of all that's Holy

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Do the developers' personal preferences affect class balance issues? - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 14:30:00 EST

Reader Paul wrote in this afternoon because he was curious about the WoW community's views regarding class balance issues and how they are handled by developers.

He feels that people become very emotional about the topic, and points out that developers are people too, and proposes that their feelings play a major role in how the classes are balanced.

Considering how many developers there are, I highly doubt that changes are implemented that don't support the vision of the entire group. Of course people have preferences and feelings, and that can never be fully separated from anything we do, but it is important to keep in mind that the developers are paid professionals working together, not alone.

Their jobs depend on balancing the classes as much as possible, and I doubt any one of them is going to risk their (awesome) job just to try to give their class a boost. In addition, even if one or two developers favor Boomkin, the rest have other favorites and are not about to let any one class get out of hand.

Personally, I think it is the players who become too sensitive or worked up about class balance issues in testing phases. Changes are made just so the developers can see the effects on a broader scale to give them a better idea of where and how things need to be tweaked.

How do you feel about this issue? Do you think that a developer's personal preferences and feelings have a strong impact on class balance issues? If so, how? I'm interested to hear the opinions of the community, and I know Paul is too.

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Blood Pact: Demonology in Wrath Beta - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 14:00:00 EST

A Demonology Warlock is very easy to spot. Prior to Wrath or Patch 3.0, she'll more often than not have the Soul Link buff. But since Soul Link was moved to Tier 3 of the Demonology tree, it will no longer be as exclusive to Demonologists. But the Felguard is another tell-tale sign of a die-hard Demonologist and is a favored pet for damage and the Warrior-like Intercept. In Wrath of the Lich King, that trend of being easily identifiable continues with the 51-point talent Metamorphosis, which transforms the Warlock into a demon herself. Demonologists are not exactly known for their subtlety.

The most notable thing about Demonologists is their high survivability. Many of the talents in the tree is centered around a synergistic relationship between the Warlock and the demon that keeps both alive and makes them more powerful. In fact, the most hardy of all Warlock specs -- the SL/SL -- relies on Soul Link and Demonic Resilience, deep in Demonology, along with Affliction's Siphon Life. In Wrath, survivability continues with the added bonus of getting pets to scale up the Warlock's DPS. And we all love DPS.

Continue reading Blood Pact: Demonology in Wrath Beta

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Dalaran's coins reveal the wishes of Azerothians - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 13:30:00 EST
BlizzPlanet has already found a fun little set of Easter Eggs hidden in the fountains around the new city hub of Dalaran -- apparently with a little Fishing skill, you can bring up the wishing coins of some of Azeroth's famous inhabitants. Some of the coins are spoilers (so be careful clicking through if you want to avoid that kind of thing), but others are just in there for fun -- Arugal has apparently wished for his own estate (with some doggies to keep him company), and Attumen would like a much more comfortable saddle.

There are some good references to the extended universe in there as well, as apparently a few characters from the Warcraft novels have made appearances and throw wishing coins in Dalaran. It's this kind of stuff that is going to make exploring Northrend so much fun -- while Outland was relatively unexplored territory, Dalaran and the rest of Northrend are already well-traveled in the Warcraft universe. It'll be a really good time retracing the footsteps of all the characters we already know.

Thanks, Gurluas!

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Ask a Beta Tester: Flying in the snow, etc - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 13:00:00 EST

FoSho asked....

Maybe I'm in the dark here, but how does one get to Dalaran since its floating in mid air. Is there a portal in a town, or do you have to be 67 to get there? I keep on hearing its "dangerous" to get to Dalaran, how so?

I wouldn't call it dangerous, but you aren't going to be able to get there at level 70 without the help of a Mage or Warlock. Because Dalaran is floating high above Northrend, you need a flying mounto reach it, and when you first arrive in Northrend, your flying mount simply doesn't know how to handle the cold weather. You'll need to complete a level 77 quest chain to obtain Cold Weather Flying and reach Dalaran on your own. Alternatively, there's a quest at level 74 you can seek out in certain inns that will take you there.

For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: Flying in the snow, etc

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WoW Moviewatch: Forestkeeper McBride and contest deadline reminder - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 12:00:00 EST

In Marshal McBride's simple world, he's a quest giver from Northshire Valley that loves nothing more than helping noobs. However, his world is turned upside down when he is given orders to vacate his job and take up as the forestkeeper of Elwynn Forest. What follows is the bizarre tale, machinimated by Hamfist Productions, of adjusting to his new position, with strangely voice acted characters and even weirder dialogue. It's not too shabby, though!

In other news, the Dell machinima contest comes to a close on September 23rd. The top two prizes are a Horde or Alliance Dell XPS 1730 laptop and an Alienware desktop. For complete rules, check out the contest website. Also, I'll be at the Austin Game Developer Conference this week, so if you see me out and about, say hi!


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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Officers' Quarters: Tanks for nothing - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 11:00:00 EST
Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

The Tank Shortage of 2008 -- is it worse than the Tank Shortage of 2007? Over the past two years, few guilds haven't felt the sting of being shorthanded on the front lines. Blizzard's response has been to give us the Death Knight, a class that supposedly will be able to tank with any talent tree. And while many of us are enjoying them on the beta servers, everyone in live is still struggling. As more and more players take a break from WoW prior to the expansion, it's a problem that's only getting worse.

In these desperate times, it seems like raiding guilds are taking anybody that can equip a shield or go bear. But even today, some tanks are so terrible that it's just not worth keeping them on the roster. One reader wants to know how to let a bad tank go.

Hi Scott,

I'm faced with a bit of a conundrum with regards to a warrior in our guild. I'll start from the beginning:

I'm an officer and the Warrior class leader in a small PvE guild on Burning Steppes EU, which has been trying to break into 25-man content before Lich King. As we needed tanks we've been accepting warriors with little experience and gear in order to train them up and get them ready for raid tanking. So far we've had good success, with a number of pre-Kara tanks, including myself, now at the level of MT'ing up to prince. (I downed Prince my first night of tanking him :D)

Now my problem comes in the form of a warrior who is on trial. He's not a bad tank, at least not in instances. But when it comes to Off-tanking in Kara, he's awful.

He's ignoring markings, failing to listen to tactics, and seems to be in a dream world all the time.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: Tanks for nothing

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Around Azeroth: The lights and towns below - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 10:30:00 EST

I was tempted to title this one "Teenage Suicide (Don't Do It!)" but bridled at the thought of angry letters from people who never watched Heathers. Anyway, this Google Maps-like shot of Dalaran comes to us courtesy of Steamwheedle Cartel's Ryies. Ryies's premade paladin was on an island above Dalaran, admiring the city's architecture, when she decided to jump. Of course, Ryies changed her mind and bubbled before she hit the ground. And then she got an achievement for the jump. Is this the dawn of a new era of extreme sports in Azeroth?

This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it is as simple as e-mailing with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. No more battleground scoreboards, please.

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WotLK collector's edition revealed - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 10:00:00 EST

People have been asking after the collector's edition since the release date for Wrath of the Lich King broke last night. Blizzard has just updated their official site, confirming the November 13 release date and letting us know that there will be a CE (shock!), and what will be in it.

  • The game on DVD-ROM [edit: the regular edition will have it on DVD as well]
  • A 208-page LK art book
  • Frosty, the baby frost wyrm (non-combat pet)
  • A DVD with developer interviews, commentary on the cinematic, etc.
  • Soundtrack CD
  • Mouse pad with a map of Northrend
  • Two starter decks for the CCG, and two exclusive cards

This is more or less the same pack-in list as the BC CE had. The pricing will be $70 for the CE, as opposed to $40 for the regular edition (same as for BC, as far as I remember). Will you be buying the collector's edition?

All of the latest news can be found on our Wrath page. Also, Ask a Beta Tester answers all your burning questions, Lichborne will walk you through the Death Knight class, and in Skill Mastery we've been explaining each class's new spells and abilities one by one. Prepare yourself; this is going to be fun.

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Wrath Pre-orders on Blizzard site - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 09:55:00 EST

As much as some Blizzard reps might have wanted to play coy on the official forums, the official World of Warcraft site leaked a link to Pre-order Wrath of the Lich King which will -- according to the page -- indeed come out on November 13, 2008. So while there has mysteriously been no big announcement on the Blizzard websites, this Pre-order page pretty much confirms what Wowhead and Thottbot unveiled earlier today.

Participating retailers include Amazon, Best Buy, Circuit City, and GameStop. Interestingly enough, all the official links except for Best Buy peg the official release at November 3, a date leaked out in earlier reports. GameStop words it as "ships in 11/03/08" which could mean that the games will reach retailers over a week before the official release date. [EDIT: Or yeah, it could be that they haven't updated their sites yet. Good morning!] The details include both normal and Collector's Edition versions of the game. The official Blizzard site has, as of this writing, now been updated to reflect the official release date with a splash page.

[UPDATE: GameStop has revised their release date to match the announced date of 11/13/08]

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Lichborne: Dual wielding and weapon scaling - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 09:00:00 EST

Welcome to Lichborne, your (slighty late this week) weekly window into the zen of being a Death Knight.

As the dev team works to firm up Death Knights and get them ready for release, there is a debate that rages on among beta testers and the Death Knight community at large. I don't mean whether the recent huge nerf to Death Knight damage was justified. Rather, the argument I'm talking about is over the clash of 2-handers and dual wielding.

2-handers have been the Death Knight weapon of choice in the modern era of the game up until recently. Frostmourne, the ultimate Death Knight weapon, is a massive two-handed claymore. In the early to middle part of the classic end game, Baron Rivendare was the Death Knight that loomed large in everyone's thoughts, and he too wielded a much coveted two-handed runeblade.

Because of this, many Death Knights have no plans to ever pick up 2 weapons. The massive bloody two-handed runeblade is the classic Death Knight emblem. It's part of the lore and the feel of the class and, they say, there's no reason to change it.. At the same time, many other Death Knights say that dual wielding is here to stay. New prominent Death Knights such as Lord Darion Morgraine dual wield. It's now part of the lore, and 2-handed lovers should just suck it up.

Continue reading Lichborne: Dual wielding and weapon scaling

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Breakfast Topic: Top 10 excuses to get out of work when WotLK is released - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 08:00:00 EST
Let's face it. Unless your job is to play WoW (insert my maniacal laughter here), you're probably going to have come up with either some vacation time or "other excuse" to get out of work or school on the 13th of November. Why? Because chances are if you're reading this site then the Wrath of the Lich King release date is just that important. And it is... I mean really... it's the World (of Warcraft) to us all.

10. "I'm having an allergic reaction to my cold medicine, and I need a day to recover."

9. "My dog has at a bunch of chocolate last night and I need to be with him."

8. "I have lice."

7. "I need to take a personal day. You don't want to know."

6. "I have to go see my probation officer."

Continue on after the break for the final five.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Top 10 excuses to get out of work when WotLK is released

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Spiritual Guidance: Level 5 to 20 - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 03:50:00 EST

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. For the next few weeks (unless it's something game breaking), Matt will do his best to guide you through the Priest leveling process!

Wrath is almost upon us. As a result, you may have decided that you have nothing better to do then to roll a Priest! A quick glance at the WI leveling guides shows completed class guides for every almost every other class but Priests!

This must be changed. The countdown has begun.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: Level 5 to 20

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Wrath release date announced [confirmed, CE] - Mon, 15 Sep 2008 00:25:00 EST

According to what I'm told is an official Blizzard ad on Wowhead's home page, we now have a release date for Wrath of the Lich King: November 13th, 2008. That should put an end to rumors that it won't be coming out this year, and it gives us just a touch under two months to get all our affairs in order and prepare to enter the frozen north. I can't find any official confirmation of this date, but Skosiris (Wowhead's lead developer) confirmed that this is a legitimate advertisement from Blizzard.

Update: Confirmed on the official site.

Update 2: Collector's Edition!

To celebrate being able to break this exclusive news, Wowhead is holding contests for the next week. From Monday through Friday, two LK beta keys are being raffled off each day, and the rest of the competition will be announced next weekend. Maybe you can win a beta key and help get the game a little more ready for shipping; a lot of testing and changes are still required. I'm quite surprised they're committing to a firm release date this far out, actually, but it's nice to be able to mark my calendar. And this should take some of the buzz away from Warhammer Online's release this week. Who's up for a midnight release pilgrimage?

To recap, the expansion will feature the following major features:

  • The continent of Northrend
  • The Death Knight class
  • Inscription, a new profession (actually will be available in the 3.0.2 patch, which is now on the PTR)
  • New raids and dungeons. All raids will be available in 10- and 25-player versions, and the first one will be a retooled Naxxramas.
  • Wintergrasp, a non-instanced outdoor PvP zone with siege vehicles and destructible buildings (and a raid boss)
  • Level cap raised to 80, with new spells and talents for all classes
All of the latest news can be found on our Wrath page. Also, Ask a Beta Tester answers all your burning questions, Lichborne will walk you through the Death Knight class, and in Skill Mastery we've been explaining each class's new spells and abilities one by one. Prepare yourself; this is going to be fun.

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PvE winners and losers in patch 3.0 - Sun, 14 Sep 2008 23:15:00 EST
I'm putting together a class-by-class prediction post on how the changes we'll see in patch 3.0 and beyond will wind up affecting PvE gameplay in Wrath, but it's probably a bit premature to make specific guesses while talents and skills are still being overhauled in the beta. Still, I think a few general trends (at least for 3.0) are pretty clear.

I'm calling it now; Paladins will fare best, but Shamans will be the hardest hit by the upcoming changes, especially with respect to raiding. I think this change is driven in no small part by Blizzard's realization that Sunwell-level raid guilds are hugely dependent on the party-specific buffs like totems and Heroism/Bloodlust that Shamans bring. The problem is that Shamans are still the least-played class, which has left raiding guilds desperate for a high-end population of Shamans that simply does not exist (especially Alliance-side). Making Shaman totems and Heroism/Bloodlust buff the entire raid (but heavily nerfing how often the raid can benefit from the latter) means the days of stacking Shamans (or trying to) are effectively over.

Paladin changes, especially for holy and retribution, are equally driven by Blizzard's experience with Sunwell. With absolutely breathtaking amounts of raid damage occurring, encounters were disproportionately weighted in favor of: a). healers with more raid-healing capacity, like resto Shamans and CoH Priests (something we heard from SK Gaming months ago) and b). DPS who brought raid-wide DPS buffs to kill the boss as fast as possible (e.g. Retribution Paladins on Brutallus and M'uru). Given the new skills I'm seeing on other healing specs, I'll make another prediction; prepare to see that same level of raid damage rear its ugly head in Naxxramas again.

I'll be launching a more extensive prediction post once talents and skills are finalized for Wrath, and then I'd like to do a follow-up post at some point after guilds start conquering level 80 raid content to see whether they were any good.

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Demonology 101: The Voidwalker - Sun, 14 Sep 2008 22:00:00 EST

The big blueberry, a Warlock's most lovable pet. Obtained at Level 10, the big blue is usually a Warlock's favored solo leveling companion because it can tank, having a hefty amount of health and the taunting abilities Torment and Suffering. Out of combat, it can regenerate lost health quickly with Consume Shadows, and in a pinch can be Sacrificed to grant a Warlock's version of Power Word: Shield. It isn't specialized for any tree, although a Demonologist will get the most bang for the blueberry buck.

The reliable Voidwalker won't be changing much in Wrath of the Lich King, but will be getting a few improvements with some talents from the Demonology tree such as the consolidated Fel Intellect and Fel Stamina, now called Fel Vitality, which rightfully increases Stamina as well as Intellect. Along with all demons, it also gains Avoidance, a baseline ability that helps it mitigate AoE damage by a massive 80%. Improved Voidwalker has not been changed, but a key talent that used to be perfect with the big blueberry -- Soul Link -- was reduced to a 15% damage absorption and no damage bonuses. The good news, however, is that Soul Link is now a Tier 3 talent, allowing almost any Warlock to pick it up for more survivability.

Continue reading Demonology 101: The Voidwalker

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