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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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Gold farmers try to take their game onto guild web sites - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST
Last week I wrote about my harrowing experience of finding a gold farmer in one of my instant messaging windows. Apparently somebody "in one of those countries" (I'm slapped on the wrist every time I single-out China) must have swallowed a creativity pill. Just when I thought there was nothing new on the horizon, Aleeyah from Livejournal posted an article -- complete with screenshot -- of an odd in-game e-mail that was received from someone we can fairly safely assume is in the professional gold farming business.

The written English in the in-game message is nearly bad enough to send one of my editors into a seizure. It's almost bad enough you can't understand it at all. The bare essentials that I can (barely) glean from the message is that the farmers are now offering gold to guilds in exchange for advertising.

Why would they do this? As I said in my last article on this subject, I think they're losing on the home front. I think their current marketing techniques are not bringing the level of revenue that they want. I think more and more people are discovering just how easy it is to right-click a spammer when they're checking their mail, silence the spam, and have the feel-good feeling of knowing they've done something right for their community. I know I do it all the time. I won't go as far as to call Blizzard's anti-spam tactics a flourishing success, but as the old saying goes "If you can't beat 'em, wear 'em down," and I think that's exactly what is starting to happen.

So if real-money transactions are frowned upon by Blizzard and prosecuted by Blizzard, why wouldn't they just try and move their advertising medium to neutral ground? Sure, there are lots of guilds that will have nothing to do with selling their corporate souls to the devil in this manner. You can rest assured however that there are also lots that would jump at an opportunity like this that could pay for all their bank tabs for nothing more than a measly advertisement on their guild web site. It does bring up the interesting question however, of whether a guild that supported a gold farming business financially could potentially face retribution from Blizzard. While I can't see a guild getting banned en masse for this, it would sure be a wakeup call if such a guild logged in to find their tag gone along with all their guild bank slots and contents.

Does this mean that the spamming around the Ironforge and Orgrimmar mailboxes is going to let up? Not likely, or at least not very much. It just means "these people" have found yet another way to devastate our server economies for their own profit.

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Build Shop: Paladin 0/46/15 - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST


So recently I put together a list of all the Build Shop articles that have ever been written on WoW Insider, and I found out something surprising -- there hasn't been a Build Shop for paladins! Today, I correct that grave injustice by looking at a heavy Protection build. Without question, a Paladin is my favorite type of tank, especially for 5 mans. Who needs crowd control? Just have the Paladin consecrate everything and let the AoE attacks fly. For those of you who haven't experienced that joy yet, I highly suggest you find a good Prot paladin and let him tank your instance.

I covered Paladin tanking techniques in a past article, so I'm just going to jump right into the build. This is one that people are sure to have mixed feelings about, but then again, that usually happens on Build Shop. The most scandalous suggestion I'm making in this build is not picking up Reckoning, but I have a few reasons why -- read on to find out.

Continue reading Build Shop: Paladin 0/46/15

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Chinese television reuses Azerothian maps - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 16:30:00 EST


This is wild. According to Variety's Asian film blog, the above is reportedly a picture from China's military television channel, from a documentary about troop movements last year between Turkey, Iraq and Iran. See anything familiar?

They have reused the mountain textures and background from WoW's Arathi Highlands map. There's been a little bit of tweaking, but it's pretty clear that they overlaid the countries on the Highlands. Apparently Stromgarde got split between Turkey and Iraq, and Baghdad sits right near the Circle of Inner Binding, while Refuge Pointe (and the Alliance entrance to the Arathi Basin) is right on the Iraq-Iran border. Who knew there was so much oil guarded by Fozruk and those ogres?

What I'd like to know is how this connection was made in the first place. It's probably too good to be true, but I'd like to think that the graphic designer for this documentary was trying to figure out how to make this graphic, played a little WoW, and recognized some familiar shapes when he pulled up the map on his level 35 alt.

[Via GSW]

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About the Bloggers: David Bowers - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 15:30:00 EST


Twice a week, our writers will tell you more about themselves, and let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better. Click here to read more About the Bloggers.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

I blog about whatever seems interesting at the time, and I also write the roleplaying column, All the World's a Stage. I'm especially interested in writing about roleplaying and PvP, too, because they're the things I participate in most often. Everything and everyone in the game is interconnected, though, so even if I'm not a big raider, for instance, I still care a great deal about the things raiders are going through.

What's your main right now?

My current main is a draenei hunter, pictured above, but I'm spending just as much time with other alts right now, trying to decide which one will be my main Horde character. My most-played Hordie is currently a warlock. Previous mains I don't play as much anymore include a druid and a rogue, both Alliance.

For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance?

Heh. For both! I used to be all for the Alliance because I couldn't relate to the whole deformed and inherently violent look that many Horde characters have, but I'm one of those people for whom blood elves really opened up access to the Horde and see them in a new light. I like to appreciate the stories of the monstrous Horde races without actually having to play a monstrous character myself.

Continue reading About the Bloggers: David Bowers

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15 Minutes of Fame: Hammer time - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:30:00 EST


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Know an interesting player you'd like to see profiled? E-mail us your tips.

This week's 15 Minutes of Fame subject has earned her time in the limelight - and it's actually worth more than a mere 15 minutes. Auden, creator of the wry and witty Hammer of Grammar, shines her sharp wit into all the little cracks and crevices of WoW culture and online life. Hammer isn't another off-the-grid, lore-based fantasy adventure; instead, through their doggedly domestic lives, Auden and her partner in crime Gweryc (yeah, the melee hunter guy) make us chuckle over the little things that endear the game world to us.

The proverbial "one tough cookie" IRL, Auden's unquenchable spirit comes through not only in her comic but in this exclusive interview with WoW Insider. Read more about what keeps her in the game and at her design desk, after the break.

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Hammer time

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WoW Insider Show episode 21: War on Staghelm - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:30:00 EST


Episode 21 of our official podcast is now online and ready for your ears to take it all in. We finally lay to rest one of the biggest debates on the show-- yes, we finally pick an Alliance cry (and you can probably guess what it is). Also, we answers lots of viewer email, and:
And we also declared war against Fandral Staghelm in Darnassus-- if you kill the guy (and you should), be sure to post your killshot over in the WoW Insider Show forums. When we get a bunch of them together, we'll roll them all up into a gallery on the site here.

If you've got feedback on the show, feel free to drop us an email at theshow@wowinsider.com. And don't forget that we do this every week-- we'll be back on the air this coming Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm EST. Mark your calendars and enjoy the show!

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Around Azeroth: Arf! - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 14:00:00 EST


Kiwibird of Shattered Halls sends in this photo of Spike. Spike lives in Arathi Basin where he spends his time hanging out around the blacksmith's and occasionally chasing the cat. (Kiwibird would have gotten the cat's name, too, but got caught up in the heat of the battle.) Spike looks a bit... unfriendly... in this shot, with the Horde holding the blacksmith, but I wonder if he turns into a more ordinary pup when the Alliance take over.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see your idea of the best looking instance 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!

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Patch 2.3.3 live - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:42:00 EST


Although the realms aren't up for a bit yet, the latest tiny patch, 2.3.3., is apparently going live today, and so you can go ahead and download it right now. Here's the entire list of changes:
  • General
    • Some players may notice improved data load times when newly entering the world and after zoning into new areas.
    • Character/NPC load times have been decreased, and now should appear faster. You're not hearing voices, there really are people in Shattrath!
  • Bug Fixes
    • Felspine the Greater in Shadowmoon Valley will no longer evade when engaged.
    • Guttripper in Nagrand will no longer evade when engaged.
    • Players will now be correctly credited with their arena points if they purchase an arena item during weekly arena calculations.
    • Using a castsequence macro on a target moving out of range will no longer cause it to stop working.
Here's hoping this means they'll be getting 2.4 up on the PTR quickly.

[Thanks, V3T]

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World of Warcraft hits 10 million subscribers - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:30:00 EST


Well it didn't happen within 2007 as quite a few people predicted, but World of Warcraft has done it-- Blizzard has announced that their massively multiplayer game has hit ten million subscribers worldwide. Asia is the biggest market at the moment, with more than 5.5 million players, as compared to North America's 2.5 million and 2 million subscribers in Europe. Blizzard also says the past holiday season was a big one for them-- they picked up "thousands of new and returning players" in the past few months.

Here's a world population chart for comparison-- for perspective, Blizzard's game currently has a (paying) population about half the size of Australia. While 10 million is impressive to say the least (this game has already cemented itself a place in history as one of the most popular games ever made), just how far can they go from here? Will Wrath of the Lich King be able to bring more players out of the woodwork, or is Blizzard reaching critical mass in terms of how much attention they can attract? Will we be posting in another year that they've broken 11 million, or more?

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Raid Rx: Unkicking butt (a Grid story) - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 13:00:00 EST


Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. See that up there? That's Grid. Honest. No, really. The names have been blanked out to protect the wicked.

Ok. Stop the QQ'ing right there. I know WoW Insider has covered Grid before and mentioned it last week, and even I've talked about it in passing. What's the difference now? I'm covering nitty gritty, the stuff you need to know to make your raiding life easier. We're talking a full-body assault on one of the most popular healer raid frame addons out there. And it's our secret, kk? 'Cause the Addon Spotlight people will prolly kill me if they caught wind of it. If there's no article next week, you know someone ratted me out.

Grid has long been worshipped as the ultimate compact raid frame, a place where all of the information you need to know about your raid is provided in a single display. In fact, Grid's raid frame so small only those with binoculars strapped to their head and serious affection for tiny squares have been able to use Grid right out of the box. For those that have neither, they tend throw in the towel at the first sign of the configuration menu. And that is what I intend to stop. Put your textiles back on their racks and prepare to become a... /insert dramatic music... MASTER OF GRID!

Continue reading Raid Rx: Unkicking butt (a Grid story)

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Rumored new Sunwell loots are pretty phat - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:30:00 EST


Our good friend Boubouille at MMO Champion tipped us off to some of the loot items he expects to come out of the Sunwell. He doesn't say a source on these, but the guy knows his upcoming items, so here they are for your viewing pleasure. Plus, even if they don't actually turn out to be real, it'll still be fun drooling over them. Look at that Soul Render sword! And the Vial of the Sunwell trinket!

Hot stuff. Of course, the Sunwell isn't like Zul'Aman-- it's the new endgame. So if you haven't seen Illidan yet, and think Mount Hyjal is that level in the old RTS game, odds are you won't be carrying these around anytime soon. But it is cool to know that if this stuff is real, we'll see some records broken in patch 2.4.

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WoW Moviewatch: Aneychen - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 12:00:00 EST

When a young gnome's mother is kidnapped, she must quest all over the world to find her. Pieces of a map are hidden on the bodies of her foes, and she won't know where her mother is until she gets every last one. Aneychen, by Tianmi, is an epic comic book style machinima that peppers in PvE and PvP.

I really enjoyed the comic book parts of the story, but the fight scenes were ridiculously long. In addition, it has a mostly electronic soundtrack, but then, out of nowhere, a My Chemical Romance song appears! I definitely think that Aneychen could benefit from a makeover that puts it at around 5-10 minutes.

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch...

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Shifting Perspectives: A look at leveling Balance - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 11:00:00 EST

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, sometimes known as the Big Bear Butt Blogger, brings up the terrifying (to him) topic of the Balance and Restoration Talent trees.

Hello again!

Last week, I talked about the Talent spec I recommend most for leveling Feral from 10 to 70.

I wanted to get that information out there, so that those of you that have already started Druids wouldn't have to wait each week for guidance on leveling in Feral, a mere 10 levels at a time.

Well, while I only really know the modern game from the Feral point of view, this column is really for all Druids to enjoy.

So this week I thought I'd expand our discussion of Talent trees with a look at the Balance spec, from the point of view of two real experts.

So brew up some Goldthorn Tea, settle back, and let's take a look at respeccing to Balance with a full-on Balance build from 58 on through to 70 with Nasirah from A Tale of Two Druids, followed up with leveling from 10 to 70 as a mix of Balance and Restoration with Phaelia of Resto4Life.

Ready? Then let's get started!

Continue reading Shifting Perspectives: A look at leveling Balance

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"Lurting" and how not to do it - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 10:01:00 EST

Nibuca from Mystic Chicanery gets credit for coining this one, but I don't disagree: Lurting is bad-- don't do it.

Lurting, as you can see in the video above, is a made-up term for looting during battle. Sometimes, we can't help it (yes, I'm a sometime lurter, too, I'm sorry to say)-- the thrill of seeing shiny sparkles on a foe is just too much. But while it seems like it won't matter, odds are that that's when things will go wrong-- looting not only distracts you from the fighting, but also can cause exactly what happens in this video. If a loot window pops up while you're trying to keep the main tank healed. And it's a distraction that could cost the whole group.

In short, no looting during combat: no lurting allowed. That loot ain't going anywhere, and it's got your name all over it. Wait until all the sheeps are dead, and all the targets are down, and then right click away and claim your goodies.

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Breakfast Topic: When did you get hooked? - Tue, 22 Jan 2008 08:00:00 EST


Straycat's story of "getting it" reminded me of when I first realized this game was something special. I'd played MMOs before, and I'm a longtime gamer, so I always knew that I'd get into it. But it was during my first group, right around level 7, where three people I'd never met and I did a few quests together, and traveled all over the Night Elf starting area (yeah, yeah) All of us kind of figured out just how great this game was-- even at that early point, we realized how different our classes where, and how much this game really had to offer.

So the question for today is: was there an exact time at which you "got it" too? Lots of WoW players are first-time gamers (at least first-time serious gamers), and there were probably a lot of surprises out there when it was discovered that video games really could be as fun as they say. Was there one point at which you "got it"?

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Interview with Ludo Lullabi, artist of the WoW comic - Mon, 21 Jan 2008 20:30:00 EST
The good folks over at MTV's Multiplayer blog continue their coverage of the WoW comic with an interview with Ludo Lullabi. Lullabi is the regular artist on the book, and it's great to hear that he's not only a big fan of Warcraft, but that he understands how important it is to use the game as a source-- he even draws straight from screencaps sometimes.

Of course, the game can't always work as inspiration-- he says he really had to spruce up the Dire Maul arena to get it to look right in the comic. And he's taken it easy on the game lately while working on the comic. Not being able to play that much of the game because you're spending too much time trying to work on describing it? I can definitely identify with that one.

But all in all, Ludo sounds like a smart and talented guy. Good to know the art side of the comic is in such good hands.

[Via Incgamers]

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Fixing battlemaster blocking - Mon, 21 Jan 2008 19:30:00 EST
I haven't had this happen to me specifically, but I know it's happening out there-- players are blocking battlemasters by flooding around them, and hiding them inside other models, leaving them unclickable. We've heard about this before, and apparently it's a growing problem.

So Blizzard has come up with a fix-- in 2.4, says Tigole, all the battlemasters will be standing on platforms, which will be coded with collision, so player models can't invade them. It's not that big a change (imagine the auctioneers in Ironforge and Silvermoon), but it should make for a little different visual-- it'll be a crowded little pavilion where the battlemasters are in Shattrath.

Of course, that doesn't solve the problem of blocking NPCs, only of blocking battlemasters. But there are probably enough repairers and questgivers around at this point that there's no reason to put all the NPCs on pedestals just to keep them away from the maddening crowd.

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Stand up for Blade's Edge bugs - Mon, 21 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST
This is the best bug I've heard about in the game yet so far-- Drysc has confirmed that there is a known bug in the Blade's Edge plateau area which will cause everyone, when someone starts up the Bombing Run quest, to stop eating and drinking and stand up. It's a respect thing, you know? Stand up for the cause!

No, it's just a really, really weird bug, and a fix is on the way in an upcoming patch (I'm a little surprised they don't aim to fix it earlier, but apparently all that will be lost is the food anyone sits down to eat at the wrong time in Blade's Edge). Once again, I am dumbfounded at trying to figure out just how Blizzard's code works-- seems like they have the absolute weirdest bugs happen to them sometimes.

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The Art of War(craft): A Resilient Argument Part I - Mon, 21 Jan 2008 16:30:00 EST


If you're interested in PvP in any way whatsoever, you've probably heard of a little statistic called Resilience. Introduced a little before The Burning Crusade was released, Resilience reduces the chance a player will be struck by critical strikes from spells or attacks. It also reduces the damage taken from critical strikes and Damage-over-Time (DoT) spells. It is a landmark change in PvP mechanics, qualifying as the most important improvement to World of Warcraft PvP since the game was launched. With the introduction of this new item property, PvP became less a matter of damage output -- although that's still important -- and more a matter of survivability or, well, resilience.

Battles are now intended to last a little longer, Resilience greatly reducing the chances of frustrating (for the recipient, anyway) instagibs. Prior to Patch 2.0, the premiere PvP stats used to be Stamina and Spell & Attack Critical Strikes, which were abundant in PvP-obtained items. However, both item properties were often also useful in PvE, which made many PvP items desirable even outside of PvP. Conversely, the sheer strength of PvE raid items were dominant on the PvP front, in many cases overpowering Stamina. This changed with the introduction of Resilience, which drew a defining line between PvP and PvE gear. With the new mechanic, in order to PvP more effectively, one had to wade into the thick of battle and earn Honor or Arena points. All players will start off with no Resilience, and it takes a conscious effort to accumulate the gear for it. Before undertaking such an endeavor, let's take a look at other forms of damage mitigation that are more accessible in the beginning stages of acquiring Resilience gear.

Continue reading The Art of War(craft): A Resilient Argument Part I

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How much moderation do the forums need? - Mon, 21 Jan 2008 15:30:00 EST



Before we even get started, I'm going to warn you now that some of the language behind the links in the next paragraph is not safe for work, so please be careful when you click.

Warcraftchicks.com argues that the official World of Warcraft forums need full time moderation. This is an issues that I am very divided about.

I generally fall under the 'say anything' school of free speech. If you know me personally you know that, while I'm capable of expressing myself without any vulgarities at all, I'm actually a fairly salty individual and when I talk I can be rather crude. Furthermore, I'm very comfortable with discussing topics that would probably nauseate or sicken a lot of people. I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of my time doing things that most people don't nowadays. One of my summer jobs every year was working in our slaughterhouse, and I spent almost every morning mucking out stalls. To this day, I can talk about these kinds of things while I eat. So I generally have a much higher threshold before anything really bothers me, my hot buttons tending to be overt racism or prejudice, and even then I usually just opt to avoid talking to the people spewing those kinds of things.

But clearly the examples SugarChick lists are, in addition to being insanely crude, horribly racist (especially the lists posted on Martin Luther King day that she mentions) and otherwise generally unfit for social discourse with strangers (which is, after all, what the forums ultimately are) have no purpose aside from trying to be offensive or shocking.

Continue reading How much moderation do the forums need?

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