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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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Badges for dailies - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 19:00:00 EST
Originally, there was only one way to obtain Badges of Justice: Heroic bosses. Now there are a couple more: Heroic daily quests as well as raids. Still, there hasn't been a way for the die-hard solo player to get their hands on some badges -- until now. The Shattered Sun Offensive (SSO), the new faction associated with patch 2.4, assigns many daily quests (to help you fill the new 25-dailies-a-day limit). Several of these quests reward you with Shattered Sun Supplies, a box which contains a high-level green item, and also -- coming to my point -- has a chance to contain a Badge of Justice.

According to Wowhead, there are seven dailies that reward Shattered Sun Supplies. Some of them are apparently only available during certain phases of the SSO effort, so let's say you can do five of these per day. I don't have numbers on how often the supplies contain a Badge, but let's say it's a 50% chance, based on one comment that Badges are contained "more often than not." So on average, you could get 2.5 Badges per day just by doing these daily quests, which means 60 days to get one of those snazzy new 150-badge weapons. That's a long time, but arguably justified by the fact that these quests are probably pretty easy. Overall, this is, in my opinion, an excellent enhancement to the Badge system. Your thoughts?

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Water un-nerfed outside Arenas - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 18:10:00 EST


You wouldn't think something as prosaic as the water that restores our precious blue bars would be undergoing a controversy, but that has certainly happened during the time patch 2.4 has been on the PTR. A change was made such that if you sat down to drink, and drank for less than five seconds, you would receive a reduced benefit -- i.e., less mana. The assumption was that this nerf was made to combat people regenning mana too fast in the Arenas, which led to objections to the change being applied to PvE situations as well.

European US CM Bornakk replied that in most cases we'd be drinking more than five seconds in PvE situations, and players responded with many counterexamples (chain pulls, etc.). Bornakk replied to that saying basically that he still thought it wouldn't be hard to drink long enough to avoid the change's effects, and that the change was meant to effect "more than just Arenas" anyway. Well, it looks like they've changed their mind: Kalgan himself just announced that the water nerf will now only affect Arenas. PvE casters rejoice!

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Sunwell raid temporarily disabled - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST


For those of you who have hitting the PTR to attempt WoW's hardest raid yet, the Sunwell Plateau, it's going to be turned off for a little while, until the next PTR patch, which "will be very soon." Updates on the various bosses:
  • Kalecgos is close enough, will be finished internally and therefore presumably disabled on the PTR when the Sunwell comes back
  • Brutallus's stomp will remove burn when he comes back, only for him to be tested briefly and then disabled.
  • Felmys and the Eredar Twins will get "major changes"
  • Trash (or, in Blizzard's euphemism, "the oh-so-compelling, non-boss mobs") gets "a good deal of tuning" as well
What have your impressions of the Sunwell been so far?

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Scattered Shots: Pets at level 10 - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 17:05:00 EST

Every week, Brian Karasek and David Bowers bring you help, tips and advice for the leveling Hunter in Scattered Shots. For those veterans looking for high end Hunter goodness, BRK is back on active duty.

You probably know by now that Big Red Kitty refers to himself as "we" in all his articles. For the longest time I thought this was just him being silly, but with his return to WoW Insider after a long hiatus, he explained that this is actually a kind of philosophical statement as to the oneness of hunter and pet.

You needn't worry that we (being Brian and I) will start trying to mimic him, but he really does have a good point. When a hunter reaches level 10 and gains his or her first pet, your pet becomes an extension of yourself, and an incredible source of power. The game suddenly gets very easy, and enemies start dying very fast. In effect, with a pet at your side, you become your own tank-damage-healing group all by yourself, able to finesse the control over your character and pet alike to achieve all sorts of neat stuff.

Continue reading Scattered Shots: Pets at level 10

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The Guild, Episode 7: Home Invasion - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST

In this, the latest episode of The Guild, not only do we see the aftermath of last episode's surprise visitor (and the result of the babysitting argument), but the worst thing that could possibly happen happens: yes, guild drama finally rears its ugly (and "naked-ed") head. Plus, the episode ends with a shocker that nobody could see coming!

Good stuff as always, and I think the sniffing in the beginning might be my favorite joke of the series so far. You have to wonder where they're going to go from here, though-- the Zaboo story seems like it's about to get all tied up, so to speak.

Looking for more of The Guild? We've got all the episodes so far: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6. And don't forget to check out our interview with Felicia Day, too. It's funny because, sadly, it's probably true.

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Tuskarr info on official site - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:30:00 EST


Slowly and steadily, the official Wrath of the Lich King site is getting fleshed out with some actual information. Today, they added a page about the walrus-inspired Tuskarr, a new neutral race in Northrend. The Tuskarr are nomadic and peaceful, with tribal affiliations inscribed on their tusks. Despite their pacifistic nature, they are frequently attacked by taunka and those pesky murlocs. They are excellent fishers, and catch whales, giant squid, and "unnamed leviathans."

Although the info box at the right says "both" under "Horde/Alliance," the body of the text says "with the Horde's recent arrival they have found a new ally in the ongoing struggle against the hostile forces of Northrend." Not quite sure how to interpret that. Nethaera clarifies by calling them neutral in this forum post. Their faction name is "The Kalu'ak" (what is it with Blizz and apostrophes?), and their main settlement is called Kaskalka, in the Borean Tundra, with outposts at Kamagua in the Howling Fjord and Moa'ki Harbor in Dragonblight. Aside from a few bits of art and screenshots, that's all the new page contains; you can check it out here. More information on the Tuskarr is also available at Wowwiki.

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The world (of Warcraft) is flat - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST


Dramatized has a simple but intriguing question on the forums: "Is Azeroth flat or round?" It's got to be round, right? You can prove that the world is round a number of different ways, but do they actually work? I don't ever remember seeing ships disappearing beyond the horizon (in fact, Tydeus confirms that ships don't drop below the horizon, so either Azeroth is flat or just really, really big), and in most places on Azeroth, the horizon is actually a mountain range. And I've never seen an eclipse on Azeroth, so we have no idea what shape the world really is. The ingame map between Azeroth and Outland hints that it may be a globe, but really it's just the map overlaid into a circle -- no hints there.

Neth hints in the thread that maybe even the Explorers' League doesn't really know if the world is round or not. But whether it's round or flat, it's a pretty good guess that there's a lot to this world we haven't yet seen -- if it is flat, neither the Horde or Alliance have reached the edge yet, and if it's round, you'd wonder why someone hasn't sailed from Darnassus across to Azshara (and if Northrend is what's north of the two main continents, what's south?). Remember this the next time someone asks just what else Blizzard can visit in future expansions -- there's a whole world out there we haven't been able to see yet.

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Whirligig: the generation, jury rigging, and joys of the gyrocopter - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST


...And associated technology

Or:

"IT'S WHISPER QUIET!"

Since the very dawn of sentience, since the first daring Gnome looked skyward and said "Hey what's up there," since the first drink addled Goblin fell back near-insensate and said that those birds weren't so great, anyone could fly if they had a mind to, before falling into a Dark Iron Ale-induced coma, it has been our dream.

Since the first parachute cloak failed to deploy (Engineer 2nd Class Amplebottom regrets packing her bloomers in that pack, and points out respectfully that the quantity of cloth involved did slow Engineer 1st Class Plummetorque's descent somewhat), we have held out hope.

Since the first Engineer took flight in Outland, we have dreamed, demanded, planned, protested, and raised our voices (amplified or otherwise) as one, crying out to the great Engineers, the Blue Gears of the World, for succor. Let us, we have cried out, slip off at last the line and mooring, the chain and the anchor. Let us, we called from Shattrath and Stormspire alike, cast off into the air, in machines we have made ourselves, and trusting only our craft and our skill, reach out to touch the skies themselves!

Ahem.

Many of us, however, died in the process. Turns out our craft and our skill are not always the most trustworthy of companions, much less copilots, much less sole source of support between our posteriors and the unforgiving, unresilient ground below. However, after much research on both flight and gravitational acceleration, Engineers have at their disposal two crafts for aerial flight. Herein we discuss the components required for each model of the Engineers' Flying Machines, and possible advantages therefrom derived.

Continue reading Whirligig: the generation, jury rigging, and joys of the gyrocopter

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Totem Talk: A deep discontent - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST


Totem Talk is the column for shamans. Matthew Rossi currently has a level 70 resto shaman amidst the Horde and a level 70 enhancement shaman in the Alliance, and is working on leveling up an elemental shaman. This week did not exactly make him feel good about that decision. Seriously, you're nerfing elemental shamans again? Really? You're not kidding about this?

I really didn't see this coming. Perhaps I'm naive. Perhaps I simply don't keep track of these things in a sufficient manner. But if you'd told me that shamans were going to be nerfed again in patch 2.4, I honestly would have laughed. No way, I would have said confidently, there's no way they'll nerf shamans again. Clearly, I underestimated the capacity for nerfing inherent in the shaman class. Now, I've already heard all the responses... that it's a PvP nerf to keep elemental shamans from outputting crazy burst damage. Yes, I've heard tell that Kalgan promises buffs as well as nerfs in 2.4 and that's good. But the bare fact of it is, yet again, a specific shaman spec gets a direct DPS nerf. By themselves, these nerfs aren't any major deal. But when you see a series of them popping up like this, it's extremely disheartening and all the nebulous promises of incoming buffs (with no specifics or concrete details) don't counter the disappointment and in some cases outrage of seeing your talents and abilities become less useful.

Now, every class has been and will experience changes like this, it's the nature of attempting game balance between wildly disparate classes with varying abilities. There's no conspiracy here. Rob Pardo's daughter does not hate shamans (to my knowledge). And yes, I still enjoy the class myself and like playing a shaman. I think we bring a lot to raids and instances. But I also worry for the future of the class, especially when I see veteran players getting ever more frustrated, angry and fed up with it.

Continue reading Totem Talk: A deep discontent

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WoW Moviewatch: Chronicle of the Annoying Quest, Episode 21 - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 12:00:00 EST

I'm pretty sure that Chronicle of the Annoying Quest, by Bakasavant Productions, had a plot at one point. However, every episode I watch seems to veer further away from it. With 21 episodes, over two seasons, in the can, you'd think it would be getting somewhere by now.

Episode 21 is a Dr. Who tribute, where a time mage sends them on an adventure after the villains. They geek out while discussing their favorite actors from the TV show. Once again, I'm left bewildered as to what will happen next and how it wraps up. It's a decent series, though!

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Here's M'uru (spoilers) - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 11:30:00 EST



If you like being spoiled for patch 2.4, that would explain what you're doing here. Nevertheless, in the spirit of postings that revealed details of the Kalecgos and Brutallus fights, here's a peek at the M'uru fight, starring everyone's favorite naaru, the source of blood elf paladin's stolen powers, now remarkably less bright and shiny than you might remember him.

It seems that M'uru is hardly a pushover. In the spirit of not giving out too much detail, I'll leave it at that. It's hard to get too specific about the fight anyway, as you'll see as you watch the video. However, previous lore about the naaru life cycle seems to be confirmed by the video.

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Is Blizzard properly separating PvP and PvE nerfs? - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST
The promised class changes just keep on coming, some of them well received, some of them not so well received. Certainly the dust has far from settled, with Kalgan himself promising that more is to come only this evening, but there's already questions to ask. One that springs to mind seems especially pertinent in light of the upcoming 3v3 Tournament and Rob Pardo's talk about changing PvP into an E-sport: Are the recent class changes focusing on PvP at the cost of PvE? Druids and Shamans seem to be asking this especially, and we'll look at some of their changes after the break.

Continue reading Is Blizzard properly separating PvP and PvE nerfs?

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Around Azeroth: The Magisters' mural - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Player Shisou of the Mug'thol server was exploring the new 5-man Sunwell instance, the Magisters' Terrace on the PTR. In the room with the first boss, Selin Fireheart, he found this beautiful mural on the wall. He has some speculation on its origin:

"I'm not entirely sure why the high elves would decorate their buildings with murals of themselves being subjugated by a gigantic demon overlord, so I'd have to assume that this was painted more recently by Kael's artsy fanatics."

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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Well Fed Buff: A feast of fresh fish - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 09:00:00 EST


Well Fed Buff serves up tasty dishes to boost your HP, stats and appetite - with that special WoW twist, of course.

True confessions time: I'm a stat foods freak. My priest was one of the first in our guild to make a habit of munching on Sagefish Delight and Golden Fish Sticks, before it became the standard for raiders to show up with stacks of the stuff. I'm the same way IRL - yes, I'm that mom who turns good ol' macaroni and cheese into a stat-boosting frenzy of organic pasta and cheese, vegetables and even salmon. (And yes, the kids love it!)

So it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that the last time I was flipping through my recipes in game, I recognized a familiar-sounding way to sweeten up fish for the family dinner table. If fishy-tasting fish is, well, too fishy for your taste ... if you're always up for adding more fruits and veggies to your diet ... and when it comes to cooking complicated dinners, if you'd rather be gaming ... Try the Fisherman's Feast.

Continue reading Well Fed Buff: A feast of fresh fish

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Breakfast Topic: I get by without a little help from my friends - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST
Lane is facing a problem I face quite a bit in World of Warcraft, and I bet you have, too: she needs a group but doesn't have one. I don't care how many friends you have or how awesome your guild is, there are just going to be some times in game where you have a quest to do, or you have something that needs to be done, and you don't have four other people to do it with.

So how do you get things done? Me, I usually just sit in LFG while grinding or doing something else, and then just hope I get a group together eventually. But my Hunter has had to run Ramparts for a long time, and no one's jumped up to take me, so I may start offering incentives soon. You'd think the incentive to get some loot and have a good time in a group would be enough, but no -- if you're trying to do a quest that's months old in game and happen to be on your own on a server, you're often times out of luck.

So how do you get a group together when you don't have one? Do you ping the major cities and try to pull an expedition together? Do you just ignore the quest and go without? Or do you have to have a guild or friends on the same server to get certain things done? What do you do when you need a group, but just don't have one?

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Drysc hints at Arena season 4 with patch 2.4 - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 06:35:00 EST


With the first bit of season 4 gear showing up in data mining sessions of the 2.4 patch, there's been some speculation that the season itself might be approaching. However, many people have argued that even if they do implement the gear, season 3 hasn't been around near long enough for it to be time for season 4. Drysc would seem to beg to differ. In a thread on the general forums asking about the start of season 4, Drysc chimed in to say that seasons will tend to match PvE progression, with upgraded PvP sets to match. He said that with the Sunwell Plateau coming out, more PvP gear and a new season were an inevitability. He also mentioned that there's no set length to arena seasons, and that there's also the possibility of a new season with no new gear.

The idea of new gear for a new tier would make some sense and be in line with previous season debuts. After all, Season 2 coincided very closely with the release of the Black Temple, although there were a few extra weeks between the two, apparently mostly to give people advance warning to finish the race to Gladiator and try to assure the acquisition of a Netherdrake mount.

Of course, he didn't say officially or exactly what was going on, but the implication seems to be that with a new tier of progression in the form of the Sunwell Plateau, we should expect a new PvP season as well. It's not a given, but if you're a gambling type... you might consider saving some of those arena points for the patch.

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PTR Notes: Undocumented changes - Wed, 20 Feb 2008 21:24:00 EST
Today a big new build went up on the patch 2.4 PTR, and every change that was in the patch notes was detailed here. However, inevitably, there were some changes that didn't make it to the patch notes, and for that we have the intrepid researchers at MMO-Champion and World of Raids. Here's what they've managed to tease out of the realms:

  • Most of the Tier 6 belts, boots, and bracers found in the Sunwell raid have had their Stamina removed, and other stats increased to compensate. The exception is the Warrior tanking set, Onslaught Armor. Edit: And the Paladin tanking set, Lightbringer Armor.
  • The five epic BoP jewelcrafted trinkets we learned about previously have had patterns added; they're available at the Revered level from the Shattered Sun Offensive quartermaster.
  • In what must be a bug of some sort, rank 1 of the Warlock talent Emberstorm now increases the casting speed of Incinerate by 2%, as well as its previous effect of boosting all fire damage by 2%. Other ranks of the talent are unchanged.
That's everything discovered so far. Seen anything else that wasn't mentioned in the new patch notes?

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Kalgan speaks! Shamans getting buffed (hopefully) in 2.4 - Wed, 20 Feb 2008 20:15:00 EST
Kalgan made a long-awaited return to the Shaman forums, quieting somewhat the brewing thunderstorm of discontent brought about by the nerfs on the PTR. This progressive patch is shaping up to be one of Blizzard's best, however, with parceled changes that are being dealt in bite-sized pieces. After the Elemental talent Call of Thunder was nerfed to be, um, more in line with other abilities, Shamans were in an uproar. Breaking the uncomfortable silence from Blizzard, Kalgan posted to say that "Shamans in general will be getting buffs to go along with their nerfs."

The original thread was mysteriously deleted, but Kalgan responds to a thread confirming his statement. In particular, he says, Blizzard is looking at the severely gimped, non-mobile totem dropping mechanic as well as improving some under-used totems (Windwall Totem, anyone?). In an uncommon display of candor, Kalgan also expresses the direction they will be taking with the forthcoming changes, noting that Shamans are "pretty well gimped" in 2v2 Arenas. Enhancement Shamans should also expect an incoming buff as Blizzard is expecting to get at least one spec viable in 2v2 -- and it's, gasp, Enhancement!

Asked if these changes will actually make it into Patch 2.4 or if these will be another tease+heartbreak by Blizzard to the Shaman community, Kalgan unequivocally replies, "Ah no, don't get me wrong. There will be buffs in 2.4, it's just a question of which buffs." So apparently, there is light at the end of the tunnel. I know it's easy to be skeptical about this considering how Shamans have repeatedly been shafted, but Blizzard's surprising openness -- heck, the mere presence of a blue! (and not in a thread-deleting kind of way) -- in the forums is a refreshing change of pace.

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World of WarCrafts: Night Elf on her mount - Wed, 20 Feb 2008 19:15:00 EST


Today I want to show you one of the fan crafts that are being made by other WoW fans. While I love to craft this is something that I doubt I'll ever be able to create. Saturn over on the Craftster forums made this Night Elf lady on her mount. Made entirely of sculpy (craft clay) this lovely Night Elf seems to have gotten herself the Swift Zulian Tiger from Zul'Gurub since this tiger is a little more orange than the typical Frostsabers the Night Elves get.

I think she must be pretty uber leet too because she is hardly wearing anything and from what I have gathered the armor gets less and less....there as the game goes on. She must be a hunter too because it looks like a high end mail set to me. This just goes to show you just how creative you WoWers can get.

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The problem of burst drinking - Wed, 20 Feb 2008 18:30:00 EST
Yes, burst damage is an increasingly important factor in class balance, but have you heard of burst drinking? Apparently that's a big problem, too, as the latest update to the patch notes adds a very strange function to drinking: as of patch 2.4, "the benefits of drinking have been delayed," and the real mana regen won't start until five seconds after you've started drinking. Wha?

But it's true-- apparently Blizzard felt that anyone drinking for only five seconds (either in a PvP or PvE situation) was getting too much mana. Drysc confirms that it's a serious change, and that anyone worried about their mana regen only needs to drink for six seconds, at which point they'll have as much mana as before the patch (which suggests that there is a burst of mana given at the 5 second mark, to make up for the delay).

But is this really that much of a problem? Sure, with the changes to spell haste, things are going to get faster in the battlegrounds. But are we at the point already where an extra second of out of combat drinking makes all the difference? Blizzard thinks so.

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