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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


Keys to a successful alt? - Sat, 17 May 2008 19:00:00 EST

I am a terrible leveler. I started playing back in January 2007, and in all that time have managed to produce a single 70. Admittedly, I think she's a very good 70 and she stays busy, but you would think that nearly 1 1/2 years would be a sufficient period of time to level another class to the endgame. Guess not.

Lately I've been trying to fix this and have gone back to leveling a few alts. While talking to a friend last night about his propensity for leveling alts at the approximate speed of an SR-71, it occurred to me that I have two warriors, only one of whom has leveled quickly. The other just can't seem to fill up the XP bar. Obviously there's no class difference to cite as a possible reason, so I started thinking about what affects the leveling speed of an alt, and why I've got so many unsuccessful ones littering the character selection screen:

Continue reading Keys to a successful alt?

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WoTLK Friends and Family Alpha Patch Notes leaked - Sat, 17 May 2008 17:50:00 EST

MMO-Champion has just posted what appears to be the patch notes for the WoTLK Friends and Family Alpha. This is an unconfirmed leak, but everything on them would appear to check out as legitimate. They're pretty barebones, but there's some intriguing information to be found:

  • Death Knights are playable, although the starting quests and talents are not complete.
  • Spells and Talents past 70 are available for the Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior classes
  • You can head to Northrend via Menethil Harbor and Theramore for the Alliance, or Undercity and Ogrimmar for the Horde
  • The Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Grizzly Hills, and Dragonblight are the zones currently open for testing.
  • Utgarde Keep, Utgarde Pinnacle, The Nexus, and Drak'tharon Keep are currently available for testing.

If they already have talents for quite a few classes past 70, it would seem to suggest that they are further along on the expansion then we think. Hopefully, if these patch notes ring true, we'll hear about those talents soon. You can read the full Patch notes behind the jump.

Continue reading WoTLK Friends and Family Alpha Patch Notes leaked

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Disenchanting for friends and the Sunwell - Sat, 17 May 2008 17:00:00 EST

So Leafshine has a problem: She's got way too much stuff to disenchant. Her friends have been sending her things to disenchant for quite some time, letting her keep the ingredients. But now there's two things different: They're sending her droves of level 70 items, and they want the materials back.

If you've played the level 70 game and done the Shattered Sun Offensive dailies, you probably know where this is going. On a good day, doing the complete Outland daily circle, I can come out with somewhere around 10 disenchant-worthy items between regular drops and Shattered Sun Supplies. Leafshine says she can sometimes spend up to 10 minutes working on Disenchanting, and I can believe it. Every time I process a batch of greens on my disenchanter, not only does it take some time to get through with them, then I have to process multiple piles of reagents, and figure if I'm going to store them, sell them, or use them to make a tailoring blue which I will then disenchant into a shard.

If added disenchanting for friends in there, I could spend all the day disenchanting. I have to commend Leafshine for putting up with it, and I don't think it would be a bad idea to start charging a disenchant fee - even if it's as simple as taking a cut of the materials. It's one thing to expect a disenchanter to be ready to disenchant dungeon blues that no-one needs, but it seems like another to mail your stuff to them and expect them to take their time to disenchant it free of charge. I know that friends should help each other out with tradeskill stuff, but there's a limit. Yeah, we're friends, we've raided together, but if I expect you to take 10 minutes out of your play time to help me out, throwing you some gold for your time seems like nothing more than common courtesy.

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Arcane Brilliance: Building your Mage, part 1: Raiding - Sat, 17 May 2008 16:30:00 EST

Arcane Brilliance comes to you every week from the top of Archmage Xylem's tower in Ashzara. Yes, in between sending wave after wave of power-hungry Mages to kill Morphaz over and over and over again, the Archmage finds the time to put quill to scroll and conjure forth a weekly Mage column for WoW Insider. Just kidding, it's actually just some guy at a computer who writes these, and all Xylem does in between giving quests to unwary adventurers is walk from the bottom of his tower to the top and back again. It's a boring life to be sure, but all I do between typing paragraphs is walk from the computer to the fridge and back again, so who am I to judge?

When people who don't play World of Warcraft find out I play the game, a common question I get is "what level are you?" It isn't always asked that way; those unfamiliar with basic game mechanics might not know what a "level" is precisely, but the intent is the same. If they care to ask questions at all, they frequently want to know how "far" I've gotten in the game. Progression is a basic ingredient in video games, and when I tell them I'm level 70 (I generally leave out the part where I explain that I actually have two characters at 70, and between all my alts I have gained over 400 levels across 14 characters, so as to avoid getting the "oh, you're a crazy person" look from whoever I'm talking to), and they learn that 70 is the highest current level attainable, they typically assume I've "beaten" the game, that I've completed it somehow.

The problem, of course, is that WoW doesn't work like that. Hitting level 70 is definitely a milestone, and a genuine accomplishment, but it is nowhere near being the end of anything. If anything, level 70 is the flaky crust through which you must chew to access the real meat of the game. Frequently, characters will clock far more playtime after level 70 than they ever did while they were still gaining experience points.

Last week we discussed the myriad options available to a newly minted level 70 Mage, and I suggested a checklist of things to do to improve your character once that particular plateau had been crested. This week we'll begin going over one of the most important decisions a Mage needs to make at endgame: nailing down a talent spec. After the jump, we'll discuss some common raiding builds, what each build is good for, and how you can tweak each spec to match your play-style.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Building your Mage, part 1: Raiding

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Blizzard EU announces WWI08 fan art contest - Sat, 17 May 2008 16:00:00 EST

The Worldwide Invitational is more than just Blizzard strutting their stuff. They also have a few contests to let you strut your stuff. The latest announcement is... a Fan Art contest!

They're asking for an exclusive piece of artwork from one of their Blizzard game franchises. They're asking that submissions be high definition JPG images, with a 1920x1200 resolution and no larger than 3 MB in size. I wear the world's largest dunce cap when it comes to this sort of art, so I am not sure if those are highly limiting requirements or not. Perhaps you can fill me in!

Registration is being done online, and it is taking place between June 6th and June 16th. Blizzard has posted the full rules on EU website, so you can head that way if you're in the mood for some legalese. They've also posted the prizes, which I've tucked behind the cut.

Continue reading Blizzard EU announces WWI08 fan art contest

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Ready Check: Death and Raid Guilds - Sat, 17 May 2008 15:00:00 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 take a look at why endgame guilds die.

This week, world-first guild Death and Taxes made an announcement which floored most of the raiding community: The End. Death and Taxes is no more. For a long time, raiders and non-raiders alike have been following the adventures of those guilds with the time and dedication to be competing for firsts. Seeing a household name disband, and not for April Fool's, is particularly poignant because it brings the message home that even the loftiest raid guilds are human too, subject to the same problems and drama as any other guild out there.

There have been multiple reasons given for the disbanding of D'n'T -- what's most interesting about these is that many people have commented on the same things happening in their guild, or in guilds they know about. Were the problems introduced by The Burning Crusade and other Blizzard-based changes, such as paid character transfer? Or are they fundamentally the result of high expectations, raiding downtime and the ensuing attrition over two years? Let's take a look at some of the problems facing endgame guilds' longevity, and perhaps an insight into how to avoid the same fate.

Continue reading Ready Check: Death and Raid Guilds

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Drysc announces forum changes - Sat, 17 May 2008 14:00:00 EST
Drysc has posted that on May 21st, the official forums will undergo a few changes. While most of them are minor, one is a little more meaty.

To cut down traffic on the Guild Recruitment forum and give advertisements a little more staying power, the Guild Recruitment forum will be cast aside. In its place will be two forums, one specifically for Alliance advertisements and one for Horde advertisements.

That is definitely good news for aggressive recruiters, and I'm sure it will come into play even more in Wrath of the Lich King, when 10 and 25 man raiding starts up in that expansion's life cycle.

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Ask a Lore Nerd - Sat, 17 May 2008 13:00:00 EST
I'm a lore nerd. Plain and simple. Nerdy nerd nerd. Thus, my kryptonite is questions such as, "Who is Aran's son?" and "Why are Blood Elves in Mount Hyjal anyway?" These questions make me weep and wish Know Your Lore was more than just weekly.

I've decided to draw a little inspiration from these questions instead of seethe with nerd rage. I ask you, WoW Insider readers, ask me your lore questions! I'll follow them up with nice and easy explanations tomorrow afternoon. If you have a more complicated, more involved questions, maybe I'll take it over to Know Your Lore.

I don't mind getting questions we've answered on the site before, it's pretty easy to miss posts that fall off of the front page, so ask pretty much any lore-related question you'd like, and I'll do my best to answer you! Not everything is as epic as Azjol-Nerub and Oshu'gun, so even small questions are just fine. Don't be afraid!

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WoW Moviewatch: You're Pitiful - Sat, 17 May 2008 12:00:00 EST

The weekend has finally arrived, so I decided to dig something silly out of the archives for you. This one is over a year old! "You're Pitiful" is Weird Al's take on the James Blunt song "You're Beautiful." In World of Warcraft, Drane translates the song into the subtle cries for help by a pathetic gnome.

While I normally prefer the UI off in machinima, I thought that the commentary added in the video was pretty funny. In some ways, it's too literal, but then again, Drane appears to be known for his parodies, rather than original content. This music video certainly won't win any awards, but sometimes it's good to just laugh and be goofy every now and then.


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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Hybrid Theory: Death Knight distress - Sat, 17 May 2008 11:00:00 EST

Hybrid Theory returns after a month long hiatus. We could tell you a long and boring story about how Alex's computer suffered a horrible death during his relocation from Wisconsin to Michigan, but we won't. Just picture the battle scene from Braveheart, except replace the English with a PC. It was basically the same thing.

Last week, we were graced with a boatload of Wrath news. With the Wrath news came Death Knight news. With the Death Knight news came laments of, "my class is dead, noo!" from the WoW community. Yes, it is probably quite intimidating to add another class to the tanking niche for the tank classes, especially considering we've seen the incredible Death Knight abilities and not those of anybody else, but I think all of our classes will be quite safe come Wrath.

There are a few things that should be taken into consideration before we run in circles screaming of the apocalypse and mourn our forgotten not-Death-Knight-tanks. Head on past the jump to find out just what the heck I mean!

Continue reading Hybrid Theory: Death Knight distress

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Around Azeroth: Tastes like burning - Sat, 17 May 2008 10:00:00 EST

I have yet to figure out if the Naaru have a version of the biblical lake of fire, but if they do, Jayhova (of unknown server) has found it. Of course, he claims that he was tricked into taking an "exfoliating bath" by some gnome pals, only to find that the sauna removed live skin cells as well as dead ones. But we all know that he's being punished for his blasphemous character name. I guess Blizzard is getting really strict on their appropriate naming policy ...

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 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 you've actually been very good at not sending in sunsets, so I need to figure out a new ending joke. Curse you all! How did the Simpsons come up with new blackboard jokes for nineteen years?

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Breakfast Topic: How does a raiding guild avoid the fate of Death and Taxes? - Sat, 17 May 2008 08:00:00 EST

So it's been a day or so since we first heard that Death and Taxes was disbanding, and since then, DnT member Xi- has posted a somewhat lengthy explanation as to why. In the end, the biggest reason Xi- gave is pride. Many people, he says, just stopped thinking about the raid and the guild as a whole, and were more focused on their own advancement and their own needs, and became impatient when a boss did not fall easily. When it was time to progress, many of them, even officers, would disappear and stop supporting them.

He also does get in a few Risen style digs about how none of the BC content was half as good as Naxxramas up until Sunwell Plateau, but he did manage to sound a lot more classy than Risen did.

But the point about pride, about guild members who disappear for a while and expect to pick back up where they left off when they return, and about people who never show up for progress kills, or show up and complain if the boss doesn't fall after one or two tries, that rings true with me, as I am sure it rings true with a lot of current and former MMO raiders, whether from WoW or other games.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: How does a raiding guild avoid the fate of Death and Taxes?

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Bring back the Warlord's Battlegear model - Fri, 16 May 2008 20:30:00 EST
This is absolute bias on my part, and one of the few times I'll cop to preferring Horde over Alliance or favoring them. 99% of the time, I love both equally and play both equally, but I have to state this honestly and let the chips fall where they may: the Horde PvP gear at level 60 (with one exception) looked much better than the Alliance gear, and it deserves a return in some fashion or another.

It's true for just about every set, too, but I'll focus on the plate armor because that's what I was going for. I had just gotten my tauren to 60 before Burning Crusade was about to launch, the PvP system changed and honor became a currency instead of a ladder system. As a result, I really only had the time and interest to get the epic 2h sword, as you can see in the picture accompanying my first post here at WoWinsider. I was happy with that sword because it was the first really good weapon I'd ever PvP'd for. Well, the pig on a stick doesn't really count. I just got that to tide me over until I could get the sword. I did love it, though, you kind of had to, it was a big spiky pig head on a stick.

Continue reading Bring back the Warlord's Battlegear model

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WoW Rookie (End of the Semester Edition): Dealing with difficult people - Fri, 16 May 2008 20:00:00 EST

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

I apologize for the late article. Being finals week and all, things get pretty hectic for a lot of us. You will appreciate that I'm writing as my students are busily completing their final exam.

As in life sometimes in World of Warcraft we come across unpleasant or stubborn people that challenge us. Whether it's in Guilds, PUGs, or just the environment, at some point someone will get on your nerves. Thanks to the perceived anonymity of the internet, people feel they can be much more brazen and offensive then they ordinarily would. I'm not asking you to let violations slide, but try to be mature about the situation. Let's talk about how to deal with difficult situations.

Continue reading WoW Rookie (End of the Semester Edition): Dealing with difficult people

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Insider Trader: Enchanting, the final stretch - Fri, 16 May 2008 19:28:00 EST

Enchanting, as a profession, can be an extremely expensive thing to level, although some people manage profits even while working on their skills. It all depends on which recipes you can get and how you got them, how often you're in the right place at the right time, and your connections in the community.

This week, Insider Trader will be walking you through the cheapest method of reaching 375 enchanting from a skill of 300, as well as providing tips for making some money while you're at it.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Enchanting, the final stretch

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Phat Loot Phriday: Dragonheart Flameshield - Fri, 16 May 2008 18:00:00 EST

Boy, is it hot in here, or is it just my SHIELD THAT BREATHES FIRE!?

Name: Dragonheart Flameshield (Wowhead, Thottbot, Wowarsenal)
Type: Epic Shield
Armor: 4872 (122 Block)
  • +19 Stamina, +21 Intellect, which pushes this shield a little bit more than usual towards PvP.
  • Increases damage and healing by up to 23. Which ain't bad. There are lots of better shields out there, but for where this drops (it's late Karazhan gear), that's a respectable amount of SD.
  • +7 mana per 5 seconds, which is where this shield really shines. It's a very nice shield for elemental Shamans, and Paladins and Resto Shamans can use it also, as long as they've got beefed up stats in other areas. Again, this is husky loot -- if you're working up to Black Temple, it will get replaced. But any elemental Shammy using the Crystal Pulse Shield should be happy to see this one drop.
  • Did we mention it breathes fire?!
  • Also, we probably can't mention this shield without mentioning the Mazthoril Honor Shield -- they share a skin (with fire) and basic stats besides the mp5. Either one is a great shield, and we could just as well have done the MHS here this week. And healers around this level should check out the Light-Bearer's Faith Shield as well -- both it and MHS are badge gear. If you're a caster farming Kara and the Heroics, you've got lots and lots of shields to choose from.
How to Get It: But the Dragonheart Flameshield requires a little instance running -- it drops from Nightbane in Karazhan. At one point, he was considered the hardest boss in there, but nowadays, there are tons of guilds farming Karazhan like it's corn in Nebraska, so the odds are that you'll have no problem seeing him sooner or later.

The droprate is 14% on this one, which isn't bad, and the fact that this is strictly a damage-dealing caster shield means you probably shouldn't have too much trouble claiming it. Pallies and Shamans might do a little fighting over it, but if you go a few runs and don't pick it up, at least you'll have enough badges to grab one of the other shields available.

Getting Rid of It: Sells for 7g, 30s, 15c, and disenchants into a Void Crystal. Careful while disenchanting it, though -- you don't want to get BURNED!

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Gaming without Guides - Fri, 16 May 2008 17:30:00 EST

Is WoW really player friendly? Tobold doesn't seem to think so. Says he, there's a lot of things that it doesn't tell you or you can miss the first time around, such as spending talent points, and that at the end game, he constantly has to check outside sites to figure out what he needs to grind to get certain drops and recipes. WoW does things better than most other MMORPGs, he says, but it is far from perfect.

But, me, I'm not sure he has it quite right.

Continue reading Gaming without Guides

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What will we find at BlizzCon? - Fri, 16 May 2008 16:00:00 EST
BlizzCon was announced on Monday, and ever since, there's been a question bouncing around the back of my mind: just what is it for? Blizzard doesn't just host an event because they love us or because they feel like it -- they host events to release news. WWI last year was where Starcraft II was announced, and Wrath of the Lich King got announced at the previous BlizzCon.

We do know that we're expecting Wrath in "the second half" of the year, and whatever we see at BlizzCon could depend on when that releases. If Wrath appears in August (before BlizzCon in October), we might be seeing the announcement of the next expansion (probably the Maelstrom or the Emerald Dream, or both) in Anaheim: Blizzard has said that they want to release them faster, and there'd be no time like BlizzCon to get an announcement out. If Wrath doesn't show up until November or December, though, Blizzard could use their convention to announce brand new features we haven't heard about yet -- maybe another Hero class?

Of course, we could be grinding the wrong quest mobs entirely -- remember that BlizzCon is about Blizzard, not just World of Warcraft, so anything they announce might have nothing at all to do with their MMO. Diablo 3, anyone? Or maybe they do just want to hang out with their fans and get some good press before the big release. We won't know for sure until they open the doors at the convention center in October.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Wrath on the horizon - Fri, 16 May 2008 15:00:00 EST
The Care and Feeding of Warriors waxes philosophical this week. Matthew Rossi has been switching between a tank and a DPS warrior all week and it's gotten him all misty eyed.

I think it's fair to say now that the shockwaves from the oncoming expansion are being felt. Guilds are disbanding, new ones are being formed, you see people reporting that they've burned out on the existing content while others try and get groups together so they can see it before it is essentially 'gone'. Some guilds are rerolling on the opposite faction, or taking a more casual approach.

All this is to me at least very familiar: I was in Naxxramas the last time the pre-expansion wave hit (I don't really consider it a 'depression' as such because it had some positive effects for me as well as negative ones) and I simply got tired of doing what I had been doing since MC and rerolled Horde. It ended up saving the game for me, I made a lot of really good friends Horde side (Go Consummate Vees) and when I went back to my alliance characters I did so feeling refreshed and ready to tank. Learning how to adapt to the new realities of tanking (prot spec becoming a lot more necessary, for just one example) with 10 more points to spend and 41 point talents to consider helped make it a whole new game for me.

As things stand, I'm fortunate enough to be in two guilds (one horde, one alliance) that are raiding at different progression levels. One's moving into Hyjal and BT, phasing out the SSC/TK raids, and the other is just starting to consider regular 25 man runs. I play a warrior in both: my human is a dedicated main tank, while my tauren is a DPS/offtank. As a result, I'm getting to see a lot of fights I've only ever seen from the perspective of standing in something's crotch calling it names from the fresh new perspective of standing behind it stabbing it.

It turns out that Nalorakk has a massive butt. I mean, seriously, that thing is just huge. I'd never seen it before. Now I'm wondering if Supremus could possibly have so impressive a hinder. It'll probably be a while before I can check, though.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Wrath on the horizon

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Overhauling the engine - Fri, 16 May 2008 14:00:00 EST

The fine folks at Eurogamer noted that, during their interview with the recently ubiquitous Kaplan and Brack, some tantalizing hints were dropped about an update to the WoW graphics engine. It's not coming in Wrath, for better or for worse.

"That's actually something we talk about every expansion," he said. "I'm positive we'll talk about it next expansion."

To a degree the World of Warcraft engine is showing its age. That doesn't really bother me very much... I enjoy the semi-cartoon look of the MMO as it seems evocative of the RTS games, especially WCIII, and stands out against a sea of very flat and sterile attempts to make hyper-realistic graphics in games. For all that I would like a bit more flexibility in my character design, I don't mind that WoW has a low polygon count or whatever. But I am very curious as to what they'd do with an updated graphics engine. I believe it was Jeff Kaplan who said, perhaps in jest, "Our designers assure me we haven't even begun to see how big shoulder armor can get."

Continue reading Overhauling the engine

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