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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

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Rob Pardo to speak at the 2008 Game Developers Conference - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 19:00:00 EST
The 2008 Game Developers Conference is underway in San Francisco right now, and this means there should be quite a bit of gaming news and juicy bites to report on in the next few days. Blizzard's own Rob Pardo is there as a featured speaker, participating in a panel on the future of MMORPGs and giving a talk on Blizzard's approach to multiplayer gaming design. Hopefully that means we might even get a few pieces of new information about Warcraft and the expansion, or even beyond.

Our colleagues at Massively will be watching the whole conference closely, as will we, and we'll be sure to keep you up to date if Blizzard drops any bombshells of the Lich King variety or otherwise.

And speaking of conference news, Gamespot's posted more video coverage of the DICE 08 Summit, including Blizzard's presentation, which you can watch here.

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Shattered Sun Offensive phase 3: Sun's Reach Harbor - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 18:30:00 EST
Friday afternoon, when I checked the PTR, only about thirty percent progress had been made on retaking the Sun's Reach Armory. Less than twenty four hours later, we were about ten percent into the next phase, retaking Sun's Reach Harbor. Either a lot of new testers hit the PTR due to the weekend and the new patch build or Blizz helped us along. Either way, here's a quick overview of the new content that's unlocked in this third phase of the Shattered Sun Offensive.

Once the Armory is retaken, it's filled with Shattered Sun guards, three new daily quests become available and several new vendors are spawned in the building. Dragonhawks, piloted by Kael's minions, circle the building, doing battle with the archers on the upper level. On the bottom floor, you'll find an ammo vendor, the only one I've been able to find on the Isle. Upstairs are several new "Exotic Gear Purveyors". This is where you'll find all the PvP gear available for Badges of Justice or T4/5/6 armor tokens.

Continue reading Shattered Sun Offensive phase 3: Sun's Reach Harbor

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Counting up 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 more Shaman complaints - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 17:30:00 EST
There's a new chapter in the ongoing saga of Shaman disappointment with patch 2.4, and it's this: "1, 2, 3, 4... 6?" As you may have noticed in the patch notes, Call of Thunder (an Elemental Shaman talent that increases the crit strike chance of Lightning spells) had five ranks that gave 1%, 2%, 3%, 4%, and 6% respectively. But patch 2.4 will bring it in line with standard arithmetic, and have rank five give 5% crit chance.

An obvious nerf, right? Blizzard doesn't seem to be so sure. Players say that there was a reason rank five gave 6% chance to crit, and it was probably to balance the ability with other abilities in endgame. But Neth says that though it is a nerf, the devs did it just to bring the values in line with other similar ranked talents. Even giving Neth the benefit of the doubt on the devs' decision, that seems really unlikely-- no one would "accidentally" count 1, 2, 3, 4, 6. Clearly the extra percentage crit chance was in there for a reason, and the devs shouldn't change it back unless Shamans really are critting too much (and by all accounts, they are not).

It seems like a lot of whining over a small issue (and yes, that could be said about all of this Shaman business), but once again not only is Blizzard not clear on their communication, but they continue to mangle Shaman relations-- in a patch where Elemental Shamans are finally hoping for a buff, the devs decide instead to nerf one of their biggest talents, supposedly to fix a mathematical bug. If the devs suddenly said that Fel Concentration was getting nerfed to 10%, 20%, 30%, 40%, and 50% (rather than the 14%-70% it's at now) because those numbers were more "in line," Warlocks would throw a fit. And that's exactly why Shamans are so unhappy right now.

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Pay gold, get title - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST

Once upon a time, titles were markers of PvP status. In the old PvP system (before patch 2.0), people who had attained a particular PvP rank had the option of showing it next to their name; I never got past "Captain," but it was fun all the same. With the new PvP system, though, the ability to gain these titles were removed from the game, though as I recall players retained the highest rank they had ever achieved as an optional title. Shortly following this development, Blizzard announced that they intended to expand the title system, giving them out to players for various achievements PvP and PvE alike.

Continue reading Pay gold, get title

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Mania premieres Warcraft Mounts, a database for mounties - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 16:30:00 EST


The great Mania (purveyor of Petopia) has created yet another extremely useful database, the practically-named Warcraft Mounts. Not only can you punch in your race, level, and riding skill, and get a list of all the mounts you can ride, but you can also search through the database, and browse the mounts (by category or all at once). And just like on Petopia, Mania has grabbed big photos of all the mounts and set up a nice stats page for each.

Very cool. Other plans include resources for "mount hunters," the inclusions of Druid flight forms (do those count as mounts? and if so, should all travel forms be included?), and even a blog for mount news. Looks like another great resource for anyone looking for more ways to get around Azeroth.

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Phoenix Hatchling caught on video - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST


I'm so excited about this pet that it's getting silly. Last time on "Tiny Phoenix Obsession," we discovered that it's acquired as a drop from Kael'Thas, in his incarnation as the final boss of patch 2.4's 5-man Magister's Terrace, and speculated that it's probably a pretty rare drop. WOWDB has it at a 1% drop rate, apparently in both normal and heroic mode, although it doesn't say how many kills that's based on.

Now we have in-game video! It's just as appealing as its picture, and I really like the fiery aura that surrounds it. And that calm, confident hovering...I must have it! Look out, Kael'Thas, the day 2.4 goes live I'm coming after you, and I'm taking your cute little fiery bird. Are you prepared?

[via Blizzplanet]

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Arena Season 4: Brutal Gladiator - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 15:30:00 EST


Bits and pieces of Arena Season 4 have popped up on the PTR, and as previously speculated on MMO Champion, it looks like the gear will be named Brutal Gladiator. As expected, the armor pieces are recolored versions of the gear that drops in Sunwell Plateau. As the armor pieces are not class specific, what will happen is that for the first time in World of Warcraft Arena history, classes will have similar-looking armor. Warriors will share the same models are Paladins, Shamans can masquerade as Hunters, Rogues will look like Druids, and all clothies will look like they all went to the same tailors or yard sale.

This creates wonderful opportunities in PvP, particularly, hearkening back to the days when Night Elf rogues looked almost exactly like Night Elf druids. Even more confusion ensues when you consider that both Alliance and Horde now share the same armor models as opposed to unique faction models under the old Honor system. The good news is that the new armor sets -- or rather, non-sets -- look pretty sweet. The bad news is that more characters will walk around looking more alike than ever. On the other hand, a lot of PvP gear is coming out in Patch 2.4, such as reputation-based gear (ahem, recolors of the dungeon sets); Season 2 items going on sale Filene's Basement style; and PvE efforts rewarding PvP gear. There are a lot of choices as far as welfare epics are concerned, so fear of homogeneity can be kept in check.

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Forum post of the day: Welfare Epics - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST


What does it take to get epic gear? Well you can do arenas or battlegrounds and save up points for gear. It takes a few weeks of arenas to get a piece of the most recent releases. A good weekend of battlegrounds might net you a piece or two. You can do raids for epic drops. It can take weeks to learn fights and clear raids. A hard night of raiding could earn you nothing but a repair bill.

Among raiding and PvP, which shows more dedication and skill? The term "welfare epic" has popped up to describe gear that some believe is given to a player without the appropriate level of effort. In his official forum post, Kaizersosay of Spirestone asserted that there are no welfare epics- that every piece of purple loot takes effort. He said that the phrase welfare epic is elitist. The thread sparked a lively discussion of welfare epics for both PvE and PvP players.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Welfare Epics

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Reminder: Give your video card drivers a little love - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 14:31:00 EST
Theflamecrow on WoW LJ provides us with our quarterly reminder: it's probably time to update your video card's drivers, if you haven't done it in a while.

If you're on a Mac, you don't need to worry about this (Software Update's got you covered, and the latest graphics update already helped your framerate). For PCs, Nvidia card drivers can get the latest version here, and ATI card owners can grab the latest files here. If you're not sure what kind of video card you've got installed, you can just follow along with this simple guide from the last big video card reminder, or one of the many other driver update guides available.

I should warn you: 99% of the time, updating your video card drivers will fix all kinds of problems-- it'll usually help your framerate, if it needs it, and it will often clear out problems with artifacts and other graphics glitches. But doing any system activity like updating drivers has the potential to harm your system, so always follow all instructions (like turning off all other programs and restarting the PC when asked) and, if possible, have a backup ready when you update. I've never had a system problem while updating graphics drivers, but if you're not careful, it could happen.

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How to use the Lunar Festival for easy lowbie travel - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST


Are you new to the game and would like to visit all the major cities of your faction? Or do you have a bunch of lowbie alts (like me) that are stranded near their starting area? If so, make use of the Lunar Festival to get your lowbies out and about.

One of the great things about the Lunar Festival is that you get a free trip to Moonglade and then you can teleport to all of the major old world cities in your faction. (No, they won't let you travel to the major cities of the opposite faction. Sorry.) I found this particularly useful with my Draenei and Blood Elf noobs so that they can go out and see the world.

Why would you want to get your lowbie out and about so young?


Weapon skills: You can use the teleports to go to the Weapons Masters in each city and get all of your missing weapons skills. Don't forget training weapons skills costs 10 silver each, so if you are new to the game or just the server, you may need to make some money before you take the trip.

Continue reading How to use the Lunar Festival for easy lowbie travel

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WoW Rookie: Lowbie instance guide - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST


Dungeons, known as instances, are special zones where players group together to fight tougher monsters than the outside environment. They are called instances because each group who enters them is given a separate copy of the dungeon and will not interact with other players of either faction when inside. Higher quality loot is available in instances than the environment, in addition to excellent quest experience and rewards. Today's WoW Rookie gives you a guide to the dungeons may enter in your first forty levels or so.

Instances are known in most cases by their initials. Notable exceptions will be listed below. This guide also gives suggested levels for completing the dungeons. Entering at a lower level will usually prove difficult and, at times, painful. If you do an instance at a higher level than recommended will garner little experience and rewards that do not benefit your current level.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Lowbie instance guide

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WoW Moviewatch: March On - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 12:00:00 EST

DG Productions wants to remind you that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade. Unfortunately, they chose Good Charlotte as the soundtrack to motivate you. At this point, I'd rather be wallowing in my own self-pity than listen to that. It's a good thing that I'm happy!

Aside from the music, I actually liked this machinima. I thought that some of the transitions were strange, though, and I'm not sure what was up with the cow humping. If you enjoyed March On, check out the high resolution version!

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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BigRedKitty: Ask not what your raid can do for you - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 11:30:00 EST


Back from a firewall and Dr.Pepper addiction-induced hiatus, Daniel Howell is back to contribute BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

It is with no small sense of happiness that BRK returns to WoW Insider. We're thrilled that the executive muckity-mucks haven't nuked our account here into oblivion and that the editorial staff are being so kind as to help get these columns published. Without them, we wouldn't be back.

As such, please direct all flames and hate email to their in-boxes, comprende? Sweet.

(For those who've never read our posts here or on our personal blog, please note that we use use plural pronoun to refer to ourself. Why? Because we believe that the hunter and pet are One. That's just how we roll; don't panic.)

Let's let the bells ring and the banners fly! Roll out the carpet and bring out the champagne! Let's start the first new column with an email question.

"Dear BRK, a month ago the raid leader told me my DPS was too low for the exploratory raid into Serpentshrine Cavern. Since then, I have converted to BRK BM spec, am topping the DPS meters for our hunters, am generally within the top three or four for the raid, and seeing lots of SSC. Woot and thank you so much!

"I am seeing a big variation in DPS from boss to boss though, where my DPS can go from 900 to 1200, and I am not entirely clear on why. Part of it may be inconsistency in shot rotation and using my trinkets and such, but I wonder if a big chunk of it is from the group I get put in for that boss.

"For Hydross and Morogrim I am doing a total of 900-1000, with Bloodlust, my cat, doing 300 of it. Lurker Below is crappy DPS because I can't get Bloodlust to attack him no way no how. That all makes sense.

"We got moved to different groups for Karathress and suddenly I am up to 1200dps total, and Bloodlust is doing 500dps of it. Wow! How can I get more of that!

"Checking the buffs on my pet for that fight, it looks like I was grouped with a feral druid and an enhancement shammy. Can the presence of specific class/spec combos in my raid group make that big a difference in my pet's DPS?

"Do you have some guide somewhere on which class/specs help our DPS? Thanks, Kiya and Bloodlust."

Bluntly Kiya, no we don't. And for good reason.

Continue reading BigRedKitty: Ask not what your raid can do for you

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Officers' Quarters: An officer's guide to the /gquit - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST
Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Quitting
a guild that you've been with for a long time is usually a difficult experience, but it's much worse if you happen to be an officer. An officer giving up and leaving can be one of the most demoralizing events that a guild must endure. In many cases, it sends a message to the members that the leadership is fractured or impotent, and it's only going to get worse. Hence, the opportunities for drama are legion. This week, one reader shares her experience and asks how you can quit as an officer without stirring up too much trouble.

I read WoW Insider all the time, and never thought I'd actually send in anything, because I was so happy with my guild. We were a wonderful nice little social guild. We helped each other with instances, some of our higher up members (myself included) would run lower toons through instances when we weren't doing anything else. We were even starting to attempt to break into raiding.

I was excited to say the least. I was an officer, and I loved my guild quite a bit. I still love the members. I think they're all very smart, wonderful players. We had a raid set up. Simple, practice raid. Nothing to fancy schmancy. Zul'Gurub. On a Monday we'd all gotten together, and decided that it would be Saturday at 1pm. We're all looking forward to it. We are all excited about it. Then Saturday comes.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: An officer's guide to the /gquit

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Around Azeroth: A dragon graveyard - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Player Kerr on the Windrunner server was farming mithril in the Hinterlands when he decided to go exploring by the Emerald Dream portal in the area. The outdoor raid dragon Lethon appeared and Kerr beat a quick retreat, but stumbled on this dragon graveyard. As Kerr put it: "I wonder who the [dead] dragon was?"

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

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime. Oh, and no more shots of Omen killed in Ogrimmar. It's cool, we get it. A lot of it.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Breakfast Topic: Can gear be too ugly? - Mon, 18 Feb 2008 09:00:00 EST
Okay, let's be brutally frank here. Some gear looks bad. Some gear looks really really bad. Last night, as an example, Zul'Aman gave to me the present of the Battleworn Tuskguard. This is one heck of a tanking hat. Take a loot, it's really sweet for a 10 man instance drop.

It also makes me look like Big Bird with tusks. Perhaps some unholy Big Bird/Snuffleupagus hybrid. (Long time experience writing for the site tells me that I need a disclaimer here saying that yes, I know Snuffy doesn't have tusks, but it's possible that the hybridization process brought the latent tusks to the fore. Also, I'm a little embarrassed for us all that we all knew that much about Snuffleupagus.) But at the same time, I'm so insanely happy with the hat that I can't bring myself to turn the thing off, so now I'm wandering around Outland as the most lethal looking hawkstrider - elekk hybrid in existence. The weirdest thing is, I really enjoy how insanely awful the hat looks. It looks like what it supposedly is, a battered relic of war ripped from the corpse of a dead troll. It even has a broken tusk.

I have a guildmate with the same hat but he never, ever leaves it turned on. This leads me to wonder: is there gear out there that's so ugly but has such nice stats that you'll never, ever turn it on? Maybe never even wear it? Perhaps I'm unusual in that, the worse my gear looks, the more I like wearing it. Considering that we loot all of this junk off of the broken and battered bodies of our enemies, shouldn't some of it look less than awesome? I actually would hope that Blizzard would design more gear in the future with a 'battle damaged' aesthetic. After all, when a big dragon drops a healing wand, it's not like he was using it. Clearly he took that off of the corpse of a foolhardy adventurer much like ourselves, only less lucky.

So I put the question to you again: is there any gear so awful looking that you won't display it or even wear it outside of encounters? Any gear so horrible that you love wearing it? I am keen to know.

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All the World's a Stage: Authentic class - Sun, 17 Feb 2008 17:55:00 EST

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, suggestions, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Sometimes it can be difficult make your character feel really authentic. Very likely, you work in an office in real life, for instance, and perhaps you daydream of burning up all your paperwork. You certainly don't cast hellfire and summon demons to wreak havoc upon the world, so naturally you have no personal understanding of how a warlock would really behave.

Of course it helps to do some research on the lore behind your class, but in fact even lore writers are only imagining. No one in the world has practical experience of what any of the Warcraft classes would be like. Even classes like priests and hunters are so heavily fantasized that there is a great difference between the class and its real-life namesake.

Imaginative extrapolation is the name of the game here, and as always when imagining things, it helps to try and root your character's class-based behavior around some tried-and-true character quirks, things that will make everyone who interacts with you feel compelled to say to themselves, "Wow! That's just the sort of thing a <insert your class here> would do!"
Read on for some practical quirks, with links to more resources on the characteristics each class would display.

Continue reading All the World's a Stage: Authentic class

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A WotLK preview hidden in the 2.4 Patch Files: The Tuskarr - Sun, 17 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST


We've already speculated a bit on whether Blizzard's been slipping some early WotLK stuff into the 2.4 patch files with Holyform, but World of Raids and a tipster of ours by the name of Verth have dug up something that's definitely straight out of Northrend: a Tuskarr Male.

What we know so far about the Tuskarr is that they'll be based primarily in the Borean Tundra and be fighting the Naga with help from Garrosh Hellscream, who will be overseeing the Horde settlement of Warsong Hold there. What we don't know is why we got a model in game so soon. Could it be that we'll start seeing preparations in-game for the voyage to Northrend soon? Maybe we'll see a Tuskarr Ambassador in Thrall's chambers. Either way, it's always nice to get a bit more new expansion news, and we'll be on the lookout to see if this guy's smiling face shows up soon.

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Forum post of the day: BOE Vortexes - Sun, 17 Feb 2008 16:45:00 EST

In a post entitled BOE Vortexes a SLAP in the FACE to CRAFTERS Solarissa of Korgath claims that changes on the public test realm for patch 2.4 would devalue the efforts of crafters. She says that allowing players to purchase or farm their own materials would greatly reduce profits for crafters who have invested vast amounts of time in farming materials for their epic patterns, such as the Belt of Blasting. Instead of hefty auction house prices, they would receive meager tips for their crafting efforts. Disenchanted crafters believe that this change would make it so there is no way at all to earn money with trade skills.

Responses vary from stalwart agreement to arguments that this change would actually drive up the prices for crafted items. Sylindra of Moonrunner is pleased with the change. She feels that it unfair for non-crafters to have to pass on Nether Vortexes since they could only be used by players whose primary characters were crafters. The materials could go into guild banks, or be given to non-crafters to sell on the auction house for a tidy profit of their own.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: BOE Vortexes

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Don't underestimate the Isle of Quel'Danas - Sun, 17 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
Patch 2.4 supplies a great amount of solo content along with the new 5-man dungeon and raid zone, but there is one thing that you should remember stepping onto the Isle of Quel'Danas: This content is not the same difficulty level as everything else we've done so far.

The dungeon and raid aren't the only things that have progressed the difficulty of the game, the solo content is more challenging as well. While the respawn rates on mobs may be turned down on the Live servers compared to what they are on the PTR, the fact remains that some of these baddies are not to be underestimated. Even the new bombing run is more difficult, though less likely to kill you than the others. When Ogri'la and Skettis were first released, they were a bit of a death trap. Most people went into them in a daze, expecting to nap through the little battles like the zones we had done before. The reality was, though, that it was quite a bit harder than that. Until we adjusted to the difficulty and played a little smarter, it was death city.

Quel'Danas is about the same. It isn't incredibly difficult, but it is a step up from what we've seen so far. Tread lightly, bring lots of bandages. If you're brand new to level 70 and your gear is... well, junk, then you might want to group with some friends for the new daily quests. And uh, don't be like me and go AFK in the middle of enemy territory and expect to come back 10 minutes later unharmed. That probably isn't going to go well for you.

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