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Hallow's End 2008 guide - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST
Hallow's End is scheduled to begin in a few hours, and you know we loves us some candy. There's been a big change to the Achievement needed to get the "Hallowed" title (it's actually gotten a lot easier), the Headless Horseman has a new loot table, and -- well, it's been a year since we've seen it anyway, so here's a round-up of WoW Insider's articles on Hallow's End. As an FYI, we're also expecting patch 3.03 to hit alongside Hallow's End, and it should contain a number of bug fixes for problems that have cropped up since 3.02 hit Tuesday and some class tweaks. With that said, nobody's 100% certain of what's actually going to go live, so check back; we should have more information this weekend.

Read on for a guide to the holiday quests, the new Achievement related to the holiday, and some fun stuff you can do ingame til November 1st!

Continue reading Hallow's End 2008 guide

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Patch 3.0.2 primer for Retribution Paladins - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 18:30:00 EST


Let's face it. Retribution blows.

Blows things up, that is. Out of all the trees -- and I mean all including the other classes -- no tree got more love than Retribution in the Echoes of Doom patch. For many of us, it's been a long time coming. No other class spec has been the butt of more jokes and the target of such derision as Retribution. Not anymore. Not in Patch 3.0.2 and the days leading up to Wrath of the Lich King. Retribution deals so much pain that we've sent the rest of player base running to Ghostcrawler crying for a nerf. And we're getting nerfed. To the ground.

Don't panic. The changes are really, mostly aimed at PvP Paladins -- okay, that's me -- but will largely leave Paladin PvE damage output the same. That's excellent news. Because I've grown accustomed to the idea that quite a lot of you guys prefer PvE to PvP, we'll take a look at a PvE Retribution build that will make you the darling of your Heroic runs and more than welcome in raids. Let's bring on the pain after the jump.

Continue reading Patch 3.0.2 primer for Retribution Paladins

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Phat Loot Phriday: Swiftsteel Bludgeon - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST


Haven't done a Mace in a while, and there are surprisingly few melee maces floating around nowadays. Since Shamans can't wield swords, most of the really high end maces have spellpower on them. But here's one that's meant for cracking heads.

Name: Swiftsteel Bludgeon (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWDigger)
Type: Epic One-hand Mace
Damage/Speed: 105-196 / 1.50 (100.3 DPS)
Abilities:
  • Improves hit rating by 19, improves haste by 27, and increases attack power by 40.
  • This isn't a weapon at the top of anybody's game (especially with the nerf to maces wielded by Rogues in 3.0.2). But it is good as a stopgap, especially for Fury Warriors in the offhand slot trying to spam Execute and needing a fast weapon to do so (at 1.50, this is definitely a fast weapon).
  • But don't get too angry, commenters -- there are definitely plenty of other weapons to use at this level and above. The only reason you'd really jump on this one is if you're melee DPS in need of a nice Epic mace in Black Temple, and you're not first in line to grab any of the really great ones that come from the bosses. Not everybody gets to wield Warglaives or the Syphon, not right away.
How to Get It: Drops from Black Temple trash, and seriously, have you been in there after the patch yet? It's a free-for-all. Blizzard's big solution to having no one see the endgame was to nerf it to oblivion before Wrath so everyone could get in there and get all of the Epic looting out of their system.

So round up 24 friends (you'll still need to be at least a little epic before you go in there, don't skimp on the SSC and TK runs), head into BT, and loot the place for all it's worth. Eventually, this one will drop, and if you're a melee-er who needs a mace, win the roll and it's yours. Of course, you can expect it to be replaced in Northrend eventually, but who cares? An epic is an epic, right?

Getting Rid of It: Disenchants into a Void Crystal, sells for 14g 1s 84c. Too bad you can't melt it down -- putting all your money into swiftsteel might actually be a pretty good idea in this economy.


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Insider Trader: Crafting achievements pre-Wrath - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 17:30:00 EST


Times are changing. Where previously you could merely craft epic swords and new-fangled flying machines, you can now craft success.

Achievement points, the latest addictive means of displaying your awesomeness, are all the rage, and can be crafted up in a jiffy. Well, maybe two jiffies.

As a level 70, there is one achievement you almost certainly have, and that is "Professional Master." This is awarded once you train the highest rank of any given profession, and serves as a little pat on the back for a job well done.

Ready to go further? Get ready to maximize your fishing, cooking and first aid skills!

Continue reading Insider Trader: Crafting achievements pre-Wrath

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A pile of my enemies' bodies - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST


Welcome back to The Care and Feeding of Warriors. The carnage you see above you is the entire Scarlet Monastery Cathedral (and all the mobs before it, too!) except for the ones who died before we got this far. (I stole this idea shamelessly from a commenter on one of my posts who even linked to a video of himself doing it. If you could comment again, I'll go back and edit to credit you.) Damage Shield, you complete me. Well, you and Shockwave, and the new limitless target Thunder Clap. This is my build: I skipped over Anticipation because, while an excellent talent, I want to be hit instead of dodged. I'll pick it back up again once we start leveling. A couple of fun screenshots from my character panel:


This is my admittedly gimmicky shield block value set. Pretty much every piece on it has block or str, I hover at around 16000 health in it. What I find really fun (and what allowed me to pull the entire Cath as well as both bosses onto myself) was this next trick. Nothing up my sleeve but Shield Block.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A pile of my enemies' bodies

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WoW Insider Show goes live on Ustream tomorrow - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 16:30:00 EST


Yes, it's a time of change for the WoW Insider Show -- just a little over a year ago, we started out as a partnership with WoW Radio, but time has passed, we've grown bigger and bigger, and now it's time to move out on our own. What does this mean for you? Nothing much -- it only means that tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern, instead of joining us on WoW Radio, you'll be joining us on our brand new Ustream channel, where you'll be able to listen to our podcast live, chat with everyone else listening to the show (no IRC required), and even try out some fun new features we've baked into the festivities.

Other than that, nothing else has changed -- we're still providing news and views on the World of Warcraft, and yes, Turpster is still along for the ride. Tomorrow on the show, we'll ask him why he couldn't find a ship captain to carry him across the ocean to BlizzCon, and we'll welcome WoW Insider blogger Adam Holisky (who was at BlizzCon), and our good friend Patrick Beja, who not only attended nearly every panel at last weekend's BlizzCon, but has actually been inside Blizzard HQ as well. Plus, we don't know if you've heard of a little thing called patch 3.0.2, but we'll take a look at what Echoes of Doom has given us, including achievements, glyphs, and all the strange things you've been discovering this week. And we'll even look at what it hasn't given us quite yet.

Oh, and did we mention the giveaways? We'll be giving away not one or two but three different loot card codes to live listeners, which is more than we've ever given out before. Remember, instead of WoW Radio, come visit us at our new Ustream channel, tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern, for the revamped WoW Insider Show. Same time, same people, same fun, different URL. See you there.

Continue reading WoW Insider Show goes live on Ustream tomorrow

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Raiding has never been easier than in 3.0.2 - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST

Karazhan isn't exactly cutting edge content. It's had a few nerfs in its time. That being said, walking into Medivh's home-away-from-evil with a collection of random alts, sightseers, and new-to-raiders can sometimes prove interesting. And by interesting, I mean "repair bill" and "love of all that's Holy, just kill the dang flares!"

Last night was one of those nights. My Guild has spent the last few weeks helping folks prepare for 25-man raiding in Wrath. The gear from Karazhan won't be applicable in the expansion, sure, but the skills and habits you learn now will help you be successful in the future. We had some particularly green folks with us, and while we knew the changes from 3.0.2 would make it easier, we weren't quite aware how easy.

We were breezing along. Who doesn't breeze past Attumen, Maiden, and even Opera? When we hit Curator, we started to really feel the difference. The chap barely made it to his first Evocation. We skipped on past, slapped Aran around, and went up to Prince.

Prince got down two infernals before dying. Confused, I checked the raid's gear. Had our all-in-greens Rogue somehow been replaced with a Warglaive-wielding maniac? Did the new specs really make that much difference?

And then we recalled -- every raid mob in the Burning Crusade got nerfed. So, now, for the next few weeks, we have an odd nirvana in which to help folks learn to raid.

Continue reading Raiding has never been easier than in 3.0.2

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Christie Golden talks about Arthas, Rise of the Lich King - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST
Our friend Medievaldragon (of Blizzplanet, who's now posting occasionally over on World of War) got a chance to talk to author Christie Golden at BlizzCon last weekend. She's working on a book about Arthas (which has a title now: "Rise of the Lich King"), and she chatted with MD about what kind of lore fun is going to be in those pages.

The book starts with Arthas as a ten-year-old prince, and then obviously follows his path through what we saw in Warcraft III, including all of that bad business at Quel'Thalas, and Arthas' past with Jaina and Kael'thas (you don't think Blizzard would bring KT back again in WotLK, do you?). Golden promises some good looks as the High Elves, too -- "two very pivotal characters are elven," she says. Including Sylvanas? We can only hope.

The book's due out in April, sounds like it'll be a good read, for Arthas fans especially.

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Stuff of legends: Old Ironjaw - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 15:01:00 EST


Now that the race of achievements has officially begun, players are going to great lengths to rack up some points. Some achievements are dead-easy, while others are going to take some work.

Enter the fabled fish of Ironforge, stage left. [Old Ironjaw] is spoken of only in whispers, deep in the dwarven taverns. Rumors speculate that he is uncatchable, but this will not deter you. After all, you rival the legendary Nat Pagle, Angler Extreme with your fishing prowess.

Getting down to business, it is important to set out prepared. If you are a member of the Alliance, all you will need to do is cast your rod into either the waters of the Mystic Ward or the Forlorn Cavern in Ironforge, and expect to be there for awhile. Don't worry about your actual fishing level; skill is for chumps.

For the Horde, the achievement Old Ironjaw will be much more difficult. Preparation will require the affectation of humility. You must accept that you will die and that you will probably have to grovel. Try donning your best fishing or fancy holiday garb to appear as harmless as possible.

Continue reading Stuff of legends: Old Ironjaw

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Poll: How many Achievement points have you earned? - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 14:30:00 EST
Sure, it's only been a few days, but achievements are all for nothing if you can't brag about them, right? We're curious -- how are you doing with achievement pointage so far? Have you not bothered yet, or have you been working tireless to earn a bunch of meaningless points.

As of last night, I still had under 1000, but a few people online had up above 2000, so I'd expect the average to be in between those two. We aren't quite sure how many points there are total to be earned (you'd think that would be part of the UI, so you could compare yourself to the total, but from our calculations, it seems like there are probably around eight to nine thousand points or so to pick up.

How many do you have so far?

View Poll

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Defensive pets a little more jumpy - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST
A guildie of mine discovered this last night, and reader Theronis sent us a note today about it -- after patch 3.0.2, defensive pets act a little differently. Before the patch, they would only attack an enemy automatically if they attacked you first, which made things a little tough with casters -- pets in defensive mode wouldn't actually move to attack until the first spell actually hit you. But after the patch, pets are a little bit quicker: now, they'll move to attack as soon as you attack something, so you won't have to wait around until you get hit before your pet springs into action.

However, this can be a drawback as well -- while Theronis says it's a good change and that his pets are smarter, my guildie had a problem: whenever he wanted to pull one mob out of a group, the pet would run in and pull them all. Anything you attack will get pounced on by your pet in defensive, and that might bring some unintended adds along for the ride.

Personally, I always keep my pets in passive -- it only takes a split second to hit CTRL-1 to send them attacking, and I can much better control, both soloing and in instances, what my pet is up to at any given moment. It can hurt my DPS a bit if I'm not careful (since I'm a BM Hunter, my pet is a big part of my DPS, so if I forget to send him, that's a bigger loss), but the tradeoff is that I can be careful about pulling adds and I have control of my pet all the time. If the "smarter" defensive works great for you, good, but if you find your pet springing in a little too early, you might try switching back to passive and just staying there most of the time.

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WoW TCG hosts World Champs in Paris this weekend - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 13:30:00 EST


The World of Warcraft Trading Card Game World Championships have started up this weekend in Paris, France -- there's some excellent coverage on the official site about all of the CCG gaming going on over there. They've got everything from a roundup of the swag bag to play-by-play on the featured matches and some good commentary on what kinds of decks players are bringing to the tables. All told, the players are fighting for a prize pool of $250,000 -- some serious cash for playing cards.

They're in the middle of Day 2 right now, so there's lots more tournament coverage to come from Paris. If you're a fan of the TCG, this weekend's your chance to check out what some of the top players are up to as they battle for the big prize.

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Noncombat pets bought before the patch not selling on the AH - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST
Reader Dave sent word of another bug in the game after the latest patch (thanks!) that might cost players some money. A player was trying to sell his Hyacinth pet on the Auction House (there's a small craze on vanity pets right now, thanks to the achievements) when he ran into a problem -- an error told him that you couldn't AH "an item with used charges." Except that he hadn't used the pet yet -- it wasn't in his pets screen. But Blues have confirmed that with pets purchased or obtained but not used before the patch, this can happen -- the pet will be unsellable.

Darkmoon Faire cards are apparently having the same issue, but as you might expect, it's unlikely that Blizzard will take steps to fix this, both because all we're talking about here is AH selling (not a critical game mechanic, and because this problem doesn't seem to be affecting new pets and cards, only cards that were purchased and owned before the patch. But maybe they will hotfix it, we'll just have to wait and see.

Anyone that horded pets to sell on the AH could be in trouble, though -- if you've got a significant amount of gold stored up in pets you were intending to sell, you might be out ot luck.

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WoW Moviewatch: Fruit of Elune - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 12:00:00 EST


Warning: Parts of this film may be offensive to some viewers.

It's sad that we have to end the Moviewatch week with the film Fruit of Elune by Tivas & Gobbler of Myndflame and Dementia Studio. The filmmaker's description is this: "Elune, diety of the night elves, rains love from the heavens creating peace." My take? No. It's neither love nor peace. It's just another commercial parody, this time without much imagination and with the same underwear joke over and over again. If it were merely immature, I would shrug it off, roll my eyes, and forget about it. But on top of not being very funny or original, the filmmakers attempt a joke about domestic violence which I find entirely unhumorous and offensive to boot. I'm astounded and saddened that the judges picked this film as a Runner Up in the Comedy category for the BlizzCon 2008 movie contest. If it hadn't won a prize in the contest, you wouldn't be seeing it here on Moviewatch. Not on my watch, anyway. Not cool, Blizzard, not cool at all.

[Via WarcraftMovies]

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Continue reading WoW Moviewatch: Fruit of Elune

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Earn 5 fishing achievements today - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 11:30:00 EST


The act of fishing, particularly if one does not find it relaxing, can seem frustrating and inspire impatience within the angler. It might surprise you then to learn that, with a little effort, you could earn five fishing achievements by the end of today, without worrying about rare drops.

Itinerary:
  • "25 Fish": Catch 25 fish. If you have done this since patch 3.0.2 went live, then your next goal will be 50, and so on.
  • "The Old Gnome and the Sea": Successfully fish from a school/pool. This will have to be a pool of fish, not wreckage or water motes.
  • "The Scavenger": Fish one item up from each of the five wreckage schools to be discussed in this article. If this cannot be completed due to the inability to achieve a working 305 fishing skill, then you will be completing the achievement "50 Fish."
  • "Outland Angler": You must fish up one fish from each pool to be discussed in this article. If this cannot be completed due to low skill, you will be completing an achievement such as "Journeyman Fisherman."
  • "The Fishing Diplomat": Fish something up in both Orgrimmar and Stormwind.

Continue reading Earn 5 fishing achievements today

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Scattered Shots: Getting started with talents in 3.0.2 as a Beast Mastery Hunter - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST
Welcome to Scattered Shots, where Daniel Whitcomb is doing a special happy dance over that whole Aspect global cooldown removal thing.

Before we get into the meat of this week's column, I have a confession to make. I was tempted to make a very short column that consisted primarily of a recording of me making squealing noises that you would generally only expect to come from a giddy schoolgirl, punctuated by a bit of gibberish that might sound something like "Aspect of the Dragonhawk."

But that said, there's a lot of other things I could talk about, and I won't leave you hanging. It's a busy time in WoW, and Hunters have a lot of stuff to do now that 3.0.2 is out. By now, hopefully, your server has calmed down enough for you to get on, play around with learning all your companions and mounts, and start trying to figure out talent specs. Hopefully by now, you've seen some of our articles on the subject, such as Big Red Kitty's Hunter and Pet Talent overviews, and David Bowers' guide to exotic pets currently available in game. They're great resources, so I'm not going to attempt to replicate them here. Instead, I'm gonna focus on a quick and pertinent question:

You've finally found some time to play WoW, your server's stable enough to let you play WoW, and you've just logged on your Beastmastery Hunter for the first time since 3.0.2 went live. What do you do?

Continue reading Scattered Shots: Getting started with talents in 3.0.2 as a Beast Mastery Hunter

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Around Azeroth: Goodbye to you - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 10:00:00 EST


I'll let Fendrieon of Thunderhorn do the talking on his picture. "Just a parting shot taken on the last day of 2.4.3, including 3 things never to be seen again: Naxx 40, Amani Warbear, and a warrior with ONLY one weapon." I'm sure Matthew Rossi says amen to the latter.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

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

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Apprentice Scribe: An Inscription FAQ - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST

Inscription was just added to the game two days ago, but many people have it at 350+ already. Understandably, there are a lot of questions. In this post I will attempt to answer some of them. This post is aimed at people who are scribes, or are interested in becoming scribes. If you're just interested in how to use glyphs to enhance your skills, but not in making them, you may want to look into the glyph FAQ.

So what's this Inscription all about, then? Inscription is a new primary profession to make glyphs (permanent enhancements to spells), mostly. Scribes can also make scrolls, and for themselves, shoulder enchants and caster-oriented offhands.

What goes into making a glyph? Herbs, primarily. Lots of herbs. You mill them into pigments, turn the pigments into ink, and put the ink down on parchment to make glyphs.

What's the difference between a major and a minor glyph? Major glyphs make big changes to spells, minor glyphs make small ones. We have slots for both; you can't put a major glyph in a minor glyph slot, nor vice-versa. At level 70, we have two major slots, and three minor. At level 80, we'll have three of each.

Continue reading Apprentice Scribe: An Inscription FAQ

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Breakfast Topic: The revival of the non-standard group - Fri, 17 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST


The other night I told my guildies about a Hunter who used his Gorilladin to tank a Heroic instance. So they were determined to try it themselves in Heroic Mechanar. The group was three hunters and me as feral cat. Monkeyboy tank lasted two shots. Downgrading to Normal Mech we had a little more success when we added a healing Paladin. Not quite the Heroic run we were hoping for, but still good fun and I didn't have to go bear.

With all the new specs and players experimenting with new builds, have you found any non-traditional roles or group compositions since Patch 3.0.2?

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Bejeweled 1.02 is out - Thu, 16 Oct 2008 21:30:00 EST
The most important addon of all has been updated to version 1.02 for compatibility with patch 3.0.2: PopCap's Bejeweled has a new version ready for download on their site that will work just great with the new patch. And there's a new feature, too: PopCap says so many people asked for a little minimap relief that they've added an option to either turn the minimap icon off completely, or move it around the minimap wherever you like.

Unfortunately, the endgame got nerfed so much that odds are you won't die in raids until Wrath, so that part of the addon probably won't get used much. But my flight paths have felt empty without the gems to match since Tuesday -- the new version of Bejeweled is the most welcome addition to my addon folder.

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