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10 things a new shaman should know about fighting casters - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST
Here are some tips every new shaman player should know. Casters can be some of your easiest kills, whether in PvP or PvE because Shock is your middle name and spell interruption is your game.

  • Earth Shock, baby! At level 4 you'll get Rank 1 of this spell. Its cooldown is 6 seconds, just like all your shock spells.
  • Keep Earth Shock (Rank 1) somewhere on your toolbar in addition to higher levels of the spell. It only uses 30 mana and it still stops an enemy in mid-cast just as effectively as higher ranked versions of the spell.
  • Mages can be taken down easily if you're quick to get close to them and stop them from casting Frost Nova. Pound them quickly, continuing to shock them when casting.
  • Level 24+ Mages and level 32+ Priests can stop your Lightning Bolts with Counterspell or Silence. Although both of these spells will impact your casting for up to 8 seconds, remember that shock spells are instant cast and can't be interrupted.
  • In the case of Mages' Counterspells, their silencing effect only stops one school of casting. So if they hit you during Lightning Bolt (a Nature spell), you can still cast your Flame or Frost Shocks, but not your Earth Shock. You can also drop Searing Totem for damage.
After the jump, five more tips for shamans against casters.

Continue reading 10 things a new shaman should know about fighting casters

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WoW #8: The king is back and there's gonna be trouble... - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 19:30:00 EST
A sneak peak of World of Warcraft #8 (the comic book) is available from Blizzard. And it's a doozy. Whether you're a comic book fan, or just a lore fan, it definitely looks like it's going to be worth the $2.99.

Remember that pesky Missing Diplomat quest? Varian Wrynn, King of Stormwind, was on a mission to visit Jaina Proudmoore when he went mysteriously missing. Turns out, he got kidnapped. Then, he got free. Then, he was getting his Arena on, kicking ass, taking names, and getting entangled with unsavory sorts. (Presumably, Season 3.) He'd had a case of amnesia, but got better. And now he's realizing he's the King, baby.

WoW #8 opens with an obvious imposter prancing his merry way along the gates of Stormwind and being kind of a jerk to Anduinn. But, off at the dock, a dwarf sees three mysterious "thugs" step off the boat. Through some beautiful art, the book foreshadows exactly how bad-ass Varian has become. This is Elric or Conan quality bad-ass. This should definitely have some impact on Stormwind's royalty when WotLK arrives. It'd be nice continuity to have Varian clean up the mess in the comic, and then see a few less dragons standing around Bolvar. Here's hoping.

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Bornakk on item scaling in WotLK - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST

We're already seeing some significant changes to the way gear works in Wrath of the Lich King. However, in a thread on the official forums about the ever-increasing character level cap, Bornakk steps in to set at least a few minds at ease regarding the way gear will scale. He says the developers don't plan on overhauling gear in Wrath quite the same way they had when TBC came out. So, while the items will be more powerful, we shouldn't see the same disparity between WotLK items and pre-WotLK items that we did for BC gear and pre-BC gear. It won't be like you'll pick up a green from a level 71 quest that replaces your S4 gear.

But there's a bunch of stat changes in WotLK that've already been revealed. Does this mean the spellpower changes will go back through all of the BC gear, or is it just that the item level is going to remain a steady scale? Or will unified spellpower only be available in Northrend? Eh, we're only in Alpha right now. Just the notion that Blizzard is aware and considering this issue is enough for now, and I guess we can wait and see how the drops will look.

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Examples of "incidental RP" - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST
I love this idea from Matt on WoW LJ -- he points out a few great examples of what he calls "incidental RP." The vast majority of players in the game wouldn't call themselves "roleplayers" (and lots of them might make fun of people who do), but all of us, in playing the game, are buying into the lore and the roles we're playing to a certain extent. If you've ever yelled "for the Horde!" or felt a strange hatred towards Gnomes, guess what -- you've been roleplaying.

His examples are a little more silly -- his girlfriend hates parrots (because one of them once killed her in Deadmines), and he'll sometimes answer NPCs, even though they never respond. I do the same thing -- /salute an NPC after grabbing a quest, or yelling "and stay down!" after dropping a major boss or a mob that's given me trouble. That kind of stuff is a far cry from the heavy RP that can go on in game, but just the same, it makes the game more fun. And just like good art, it puts you even more in someone else's (fictional or otherwise) shoes -- what would it feel like to be someone given a quest, or a real member of a group like the Horde? Maybe that's why roleplaying is the wave of the future.

Any other great examples of incidental roleplaying? It's another mark of how great Blizzard's game is that the setting, art, and experience of playing pushes people who wouldn't normally get into character to really think about what the person they're playing is all about.

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Study shows Horde have advantage for wearing red - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST
All the red tabards on the Horde side really annoy me. How come everyone picks a red tabard? Isn't it enough that the Horde flag is red? Can't we have as much variation in our color schemes as we do in our tusk/horn/pigtail configurations? Red is so 2007.

Or maybe it's not. A study published in the Cyberpsychology & Behavior journal determined that teams who wore red while playing Unreal Tournament 2004 won 55% of the time over teams that wore blue. Another study from 2005 showed that wearing red gave an advantage to athletes in the 2004 Olympics, too. However, I'm not sure I buy the reasons given for this advantage, though. The neuroscientist who studied the Unreal Tournament matches thinks that because men turn red when they're angry this color acts as a psychological distractor. Sounds like some reaching, if you ask me.

Now, of course, in WoW we don't always wear the colors of our faction, but the predominance of red tabards on the Horde side and blue ones on the Alliance side may just put a Brutal Gladiator's Painsaw in the hands of those who claim the Horde has an advantage in the battlegrounds. But only if everyone wears red or blue. Hm. I wonder if I can change my guild's tabard color from green to red...

[Thanks, Avadann Kedeth.]

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Activision stock reaches a new 52-week high - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:40:00 EST

Steven Mallas over at BloggingStocks notes that Activision's stock (AVTI) capped a new 52-week high yesterday at $36.84. By the end of the day, the final price was slightly lower, but overall it grew nearly 5%. Mallas mentions what's on all of our minds -- Guitar Hero for DS, sure, but Activision is about to pick up a 10-million subscriber powerhouse called Blizzard. That's worth a little something to investors.

So while other, similar companies lost share price yesterday (Electronic Arts and Take Two, for example), our Activision overlords (whom I, for one, welcome with open arms) continues to do well. With Wrath of the Lich King pending around the corner, we can hope for the stock to pick up a few additional pennies. I don't know what effect the whole eSport buzz might have, but it could still be too early to tell.

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Patch 2.4.3 patch notes - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:15:00 EST


Patch notes for patch 2.4.3 are up. Click below for the full patch notes, and stay tuned to WoW Insider for more analysis of the effects these changes will have. Additionally, the PTR client for 2.4.3 is now available to be downloaded. However, the PTR server is not up yet.

Highlights of this patch include:

Continue reading Patch 2.4.3 patch notes

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Christie Golden working on an Arthas book, Legends story, and a secret project - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST
Author Christie Golden, who's written a few Warcraft books for Blizzard in the past, has started up a blog, and her first post is full of fun info for fans of the expanded universe. First, she's going to be doing a novel about none other than the Lich King himself, Arthas Menethil. She's been chatting with Metzen about the book, and she says she's excited to tell the story of how "good people slide down that terrible, slippery slope to becoming monsters." Sounds about right to us.

She's also working on a short story to be featured in Toykopop's Warcraft Legends series, based around Winter's Veil and called "I Got What Yule Need." Cute. We'll assume Goblins will be involved somehow. And finally, she's working on a third secret project -- it's not clear that it has to do with Blizzard (Golden writes her own fiction, as well as fiction for a few other properties), but why else would it be so secret, right? If we had to guess, we'd probably say a retelling or connection story for the Diablo stories -- if we do see the announcement of a new Diablo game at WWI, time would be ripe for Blizzard to catch players up on the lore of that setting as well.

[via Blizzplanet]

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Caption This: A winner is you! - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:30:00 EST

Now that all the e-mails are finally in, we can announce the winner of the June 3 Caption This! contest. It was a close one, but six took home the prize with "In a daring attempt to increase its user base even further, Blizzard unveils the new Ken and Barbie Hero classes." Six will receive a 60-day game card. The runner-up, Austin, will get a Hellscream Warchiefs t-shirt from J!NX for his contribution, "So ... one of us is going to have to change."

Thanks for voting, and if you'd like to see your name in the winner's list, remember to enter this week's Caption This!

Gallery: Caption This!

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Upper Deck announces new loot items, including an Ethereal vendor pet - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:15:00 EST


Upper Deck has sent news of the newest loot items in the WoW TCG, and yowza they're neat. These will all come in the new expansion, called The Hunt for Illidan and launching July 1st.
  • The Path of Illidan, which is a super common loot card (like the Pet Biscuits), and will enable players to leave glowing green footprints around Azeroth and Outland as they walk around.
  • D.I.S.C.O., which creates a disco party anywhere, along with a disco ball, lights, and music.
  • And finally, most interesting, the Ethereal Soul-trader, who is a full-size Ethereal as a pet. Additionally, this card is actually a whole slew of items in one -- the Soul-trader will give you currency for creatures killed while summoned, which can then be traded off for other prizes, including special foodstuffs, a special alcoholic drink, a ball of energy (to throw in people's bags and play catch with), and even the Ethereal's outfits as wearable items.
Pretty incredible. Upper Deck is hosting a preview of the next expansion on Saturday at various locations around the country, and the cards will be out, as we said, on July 1st. The Spectral Tiger Mount was great, but I think we have a new loot card winner with the Soul-trader. A mobile NPC with their own currency gained from killing mobs? Yes please.

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2.4.3 on its way to PTRs - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:10:00 EST

Daniel told you last night that the official PTR boards were up and character copy was live...but no actual PTR servers were active. We've known a 2.4.3 was going to exist for a little while, since Iriel mentioned it in the UI forums. But, the mystery of when seems to be over at least. Hortus announced on the PTR forum that the 2.4.3 PTR is on its way, and the forums just happen to be up a little early. It's coming fairly soon, too -- he's already telling us to delete our old WoWtest folder in preparation.

2.4.3 seems likely to be built of minor bug-fixes. We've not seen any of the doom and gloom that tends to surround class balance. It's definitely feeling to me like Blizzard's taking the time and effort to shore up their services as they prepare for Wrath of the Lich King. Still, let's see what 2.4.3 has for us.

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Happy birthday to baby Jaina - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST


We'd like to officially welcome baby Jaina into the world -- born at 12:35am yesterday, Jaina Tiffany Bauer and mom Tiffany are both doing just fine. Dad Tim, who plays on Perenolde, sent us a note to say that he'd joked about naming the baby after the Lady of Theramore, but the name stuck during pregnancy, and now she's Admiral Proudmoore's daughter's namesake for life (as long as you don't name the baby Thrall). Very awesome, and very cute kid. Congrats to mom and dad both.

Tim also jokes that she gets cold already, so he speculates that she's already grabbed Icy Veins, 11 points into the Frost tree. We'd like to know just how soon she can be leveling her Mage in-game -- after all, Jaina is supposed to be there to help us out against Arthas. Level 80 waits for no one (or baby, as the case may be).

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Arena Tournament Phase 2 begins - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST

I'm actually a little excited. Phase 2 of the 2008 World of Warcraft Arena Tournament has begun! Start your engines and speculations now, folks -- which comps will make it to the top this time? Are we going to see a winner that looks like Frag Dominant? Or will the new Phase 2 winners basically be the same as Phase 1's winners?

Vhairi's been tracking the performance of classes in the tournament so far. For the last week or two, this round's competitors have been honing strategies, experimenting with comps, and switching things around a lot. Now that the dust has settled, teams are what they are. As a result, the data should be fairly meaningful again pretty quickly, and hopefully Vhairi will put out another update.

I can't wait to see how the class performance distribution will look in Phase 2 -- it might teach us something more about what to expect in WotLK for class balance. I don't think Phase 2 will be much different from Phase 1 however -- a lack of holy Pallies, scarcity of Hunters and Mages, and so on.

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WoW Moviewatch: Turpster's Dingstravaganza - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 12:00:00 EST

On Saturday, Turpster, of WoW Radio, hit level 70, while live after the WoW Insider show. Being the wacky guy he is, he invited hundreds of little newbie Gnomes and Dwarves to come give him a beating on the Sporeggar EU server. As members of Turpies, they hopped and ran in droves for a chance to take down the level 69 Undead Priest.

Regis, of Sunstrider, was kind enough to send in this player account of the event. Things apparently got quite hectic, as the Horde showed up to wipe out the newbs several times, but they persevered! If you would like to check out a higher quality version, albeit with interlacing, you can download it from Filefront. Unfortunately, he ended up not getting the kill shot of Turpster, so if anyone has video of that, email us!

[Thanks, Regis of Sunstrider!]

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

Update: Here's another (very well produced) view, from show regular Kaiva.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Europe's turn for web site maintenance - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:30:00 EST

You may remember a week or two ago when Blizzard's US web sites and related services went down for some scheduled maintenance. The same's happening tonight for the EU web sites starting at midnight Paris time. All related accesses (Account Creation, Subscription Renewal, WoW-Europe forums, the Armory) will also be down. The good news is that they'll be back up by 10am Paris time on June 19th. I doubt we'll see any of the oddities we saw the last time there was web maintenance, but we'll keep our eyes out. This could be the last step before converting Blizzard's online presence to something more thematically geared to the Wrath of the Lich King.

If you're affected by this outage, you can use the time to see what Rob Parkins hasn't been up to, or get some overview of what has been happening in your World...of Warcraft.

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When to kick - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST


Sometimes as tank, you're asked to be party leader in order to mark targets for CC, establish a kill order, and so on. One of the problems of this position is, at times, you're forced to use it to remove problem members of a party, especially when it's a pick up group. I don't do all that many PuG's for this and other reasons, but Monday I made an exception on my tauren warrior for an old friend who has just started playing again. She wanted to finally finish Black Morass for her (now unnecessary) Karazhan key, and I decided that completing content instead of skipping it warranted some help. Plus, like I said, she's a friend, and a good player. We formed up a group... myself as tank, her as hunter DPS, another old friend as priest healing, a warlock to help with both main and add DPS thanks to those wonderful DoTs, and a fury warrior to be main add killer.

Unfortunately, the fury warrior came with enough baggage to crush ten porters.

Continue reading When to kick

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Around Azeroth: Nobody likes me, everybody hates me - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


Ach! Will ya look 'a this? A fine dwarven lad such as meself sets up a picnic, and no pretty lass will come an' eat wit' me. Sure, it's ten feet in th' air, but don't those tossers wha' live in Silvermoon pay top coin to eat in those fancy floatin' rest'raunts? I even sheathed me axe! Ah, blast it all. Guess it's you and me again t'night, Trollbane. Wan' some buttered rolls? (This horrible dwarven accent parody is brought to you by Christopher Brookmyre, Groundskeeper Willie, and Fencer of <Jubilance> on Muradin.)

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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets, Nagrand moon shots, or pictures of the Stormwind water glitch.

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Zarhym speaks on Battleground queues and uneven team numbers - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST

It seems to be a complaint that comes up quite often lately: Many people on both sides of the aisle are finding that when they queue up these days and get into a battleground, one side or the other starts at a distinct disadvantage, numbers-wise. Whether it be a 15-7 Arathi Basin, or a 10 to 3 Warsong Gulch, I'm sure most avid Battleground PvPers can tell you that it is extremely hard to recover when you start at a great imbalance in numbers like that.

Zarhym chimed in to offer his own view on the situation on a recent forum thread, and to tell us that Blizzard may still be open to a bit more tweaking to try to solve the problem.

Continue reading Zarhym speaks on Battleground queues and uneven team numbers

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Breakfast Topic: Finding motivation to level or grind - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST

Arrowd of the US Cairne server has a question: How do you keep leveling without getting bored, abandoning a character, or rerolling? She says that she's had around 14 characters, and she's never managed to stick with one past about level 45. She always gets bored, and she wonders if there is a way to avoid it.

Now as I've mentioned before, I've leveled a lot of characters myself, and have a few 70s, but even I can sometimes get a little bit tired of the grind, and sometimes even I need to make up goals to keep myself focused. Sometimes I even need it for my level 70s if I'm running low on gold or raiding supplies. In that way, I can definitely feel where she's coming from, but I do (usually) manage to keep myself motivated.

Sometimes, for me, the Motivation is pretty simple. For example, on that Shaman I'm leveling, what keeps me going is the prospect of getting some sweet Dual Wield action going. I'm actually having a lot of fun with her, so I don't need to focus on it too hard, but the idea of imagining her with 2 axes enchanted with Windfury is a mental picture that is too awesome to put into words. I mean, we're talking cover of a Dragonforce album awesome.

So now I turn the question over to the rest of you. Whether it be leveling on a lowbie or grinding on a 70, how do you keep yourself motivation when the going gets tough and you get tired out? Is it the promise of a new skill? A new piece of gear? What keeps you charged up and logged in?

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Official PTR boards and character copy are up, but no PTRs are active - Wed, 18 Jun 2008 04:35:00 EST

Late last night, without fanfare or blue announcement, the official PTR forum went up, and the PTR character copy function became operational.

Unfortunately, nobody is sure quite what to make of this, as there are no PTRs up, no patch announced, and no post from Hortus or any other blue on the PTR Forums themselves. It's certainly possible that someone threw the wrong switch, although for now, people are holding out hope for an announcement later this morning. It's certainly a bit late now to do some last minute testing on Season 4 gear or the Midsummer Fire Festival, likely, and it's far too early to expect any of the WoTLK stat adjustments or other mechanics changes to see the light of day on live, so it's likely that this will a minor bug fix patch. Perhaps the fix to all those Hunter growl bugs is finally incoming, or maybe they'll add the Brewfest Kodo to the live servers.

We'll keep you updated as we hear more, but it looks like it's a safe bet that we'll have a PTR patch 2.4.3 coming soon enough.

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