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Ready Check: Thorim - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST



Ready Check is a twice-a-week column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Vault of Archavon or Ulduar, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. Today, we step back a little and look at endgame in the context of sports.


You've wrecked the Flame Leviathan. You euthanized Razorscale. You gave a cold shower to Ignis the Furnace Master. You marvelled at Deconstructor. When it came to Kologarn, you damned well shall pass. The Assembly of Iron said court was out of session, and Auriaya and her small legion of adds gave you no pause. You've asked Hodir, "Who's your Daddy?"

Now, though, it's time for Thorim.

While the Thorim encounter may not be as wildly unique as the Flame Leviathan fight, I think Thorim is probably going to be a fairly novel fight for most people. It has a similar to dynamic to Gothik the Harvester, but only in-as-much as you need to split your raid in half.

Here's the short, short, short version of the fight. You start the entire encounter by attacking the Jormungar (big worm) and associated adds in what's called the Arena. By finishing off the last of that group, you start the real fight. You'll note Thorim is standing up on a balcony. Thorim will become immediately ensconced in a sheath of power, which prevents even ranged DPS from really hurting him. To kill the boss, you need to get him to come off that balcony. But, how would you ever do such a thing?

Continue reading Ready Check: Thorim

Ready Check: Thorim originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Light and How to Swing It: Five things every Paladin must do. Period. - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST


After a unintended long hiatus, The Light and How to Swing It is back with a message from the Light. Inspired by a recent post by our very funny Christian Belt who writes the Mage column, we'll go and pick up his great idea and twist it a little bit, just like how Blood Elves used to siphon power off M'uru and twist it around. For today we'll go over all the things you have to do in the game in order to get the best experience out of your Paladin.

Now, I'll preface the column to disclaim that I'm nowhere near as funny as Mr. Belt (regular readers rub that in among all our other writers with the exception of Allison Robert) - I'm actually quite humorless - and that obviously this list isn't going to be the definitive guide to playing a Paladin. It's just that for this exercise, I'm going to pick out several things in the World of Warcraft that should make your Paladin more, ah, complete.

Continue reading The Light and How to Swing It: Five things every Paladin must do. Period.

The Light and How to Swing It: Five things every Paladin must do. Period. originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Brad Pitt offers advice on dealing with your WoW wife - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST

As part of the latest issue of WIRED magazine and to tie in with the release of war movie Inglourious Basterds, Brad Pitt has contributed his thoughts to a section in the magazine on how to deal with everything from Google-stalking to WoW.

The idea of this seems to be updating social rules for the twenty-first century (and not make you look like a jackass). He's responsible for the 'Ask a Bastard' sections which feature fun photography and answers life's insanely important questions, like what to do with your WoW wife if you suspect she is, in fact, a he.

Pitt suggests the following should you suspect your 'wife' (night elf, blood elf or even human, I doubt it matters on the specifics) is actually a guy. Yes, he's playing the fidelity card: Should you confront the individual? "Absolutely not. If it's good, don't check under the hood. I say, love her with everything you've got. I mean, she's your wife, man!"

What I want to know is, does Pitt play WoW and is his advice based on real experience? Somehow I see him as an Orc ...

Brad Pitt offers advice on dealing with your WoW wife originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GDC Austin will feature a Blizzard keynote - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST

The Game Developers Conference Austin, a spin-off of the original GDC in California, takes place every year in Austin, TX (home of our own fearless leader, Liz Harper). GDC is, as the name suggests, an industry conference for folks who make games. This year it's going to be held from September 15 to 18th, and it'll feature a keynote about our favorite MMO.

J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's Production Director (was that his title last month?), and Frank Pearce, Co-Founder and EVP of Product Development (that's a title for you), will be on hand to talk about "The Universe of World of Warcraft." I assume the discussion will include topics like "how to print money" and "how to secretly laugh at Shamans all day." So who's going?

GDC Austin will feature a Blizzard keynote originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Gearing up for PvP - Gaming surfaces and keyboards - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST


My wife recently won a Facebook contest run by those Razer guys to win a Sphex "gaming grade desktop skin", which is actually just a fancy name for a mousepad. That was great timing, too, because she'd been confined to using a ratty Manila envelope as her mouse surface for the past couple of months. She'd been able to raid just fine (apparently Manila paper works better than some conventional mousepads), although a new mousepad might help.

Once you've gotten your mouse, you'll want to pair it off with a proper gaming surface. My wife, who doesn't PvP, uses a generic two button optical mouse which she bought simply "because it's pink". She did drool at SteelSeries' Iron Lady gear (also colored pink), but all the fancy tech and extra dollars would be lost on her. On the other hand, if you've splurged on a mouse for your PvP, make sure to get a mousepad that at least takes care of your mouse. At its most basic, a mousepad is easier to clean and keep clean than, say, your desk.

Continue reading Gearing up for PvP - Gaming surfaces and keyboards

Gearing up for PvP - Gaming surfaces and keyboards originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What do you expect from a WoW movie? - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST


Blizzard announced the Warcraft movie in 2006, after a long and arduous search for a proper production outfit that shared their vision. This search ended with Legendary pictures getting the deal - and while the studio doesn't have spotless track record (Lady in the Water, I'm looking at you...), I think they've hit more home runs than strike outs, particularly with properties that resonate strongly with us geeks and fanboys. Whether or not you agree with their vision, it's safe to say the guys behind Legendary respect their source material a great deal - from the visually stunning 300, the somber and severe The Dark Knight, and the un-movie-able Watchmen. I even really liked Bryan Singer's reverent and messianic take on big blue in Superman Returns.

Now, after a drought of news regarding the film, Harry Knowles broke the news about Spider-Man and Drag Me to Hell director Sam Raimi landing the job of helming the Warcraft flick. Variety soon reported that Charles Roven, who produced The Dark Knight, was also joining the mix. Although a lot of things can still change from now until we see Azeroth on the silver screen (directorial musical chairs isn't uncommon in Hollywood), a lot of us at WoW.com were pretty stoked to hear Raimi being selected for the job. I mean, at least it's not Uwe Boll.

Continue reading What do you expect from a WoW movie?

What do you expect from a WoW movie? originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ulduar drakes not being removed anytime soon - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 13:30:00 EST

Blizzard simply can't make up their minds about this, can they? The Rusted and Ironbound Proto-Drakes, which are rewarded for completing Glory of the Ulduar Raider on Normal and Heroic, were slated for removal at an unspecified time in the future after patch 3.2's launch. The reasoning was that it would be easier to acquire them with Coliseum gear, and they were meant for cutting-edge players only.

However, Eyonix has just announced that they are not planning on removing these proto-drake rewards from the achievement in patch 3.2, and furthermore, they don't plan to do it "in the foreseeable future." In the event that they do change their minds again, you are promised a one-month warning. So get back to those hard-modes!


Patch 3.2 will bring about a new 5, 10, and 25 man instance to WoW, and usher in a new 40-man battleground called the Isle of Conquest. WoW.com will have you covered every step of the way, from extensive PTR coverage through the official live release. Check out WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.2 for all the latest!

Ulduar drakes not being removed anytime soon originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 13:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TurpsterVision: Multiboxing Unmasked - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST

We can't believe it either - Turpster has been let loose on WoW.com to bring you videos from in and around the World of Warcraft! You've heard him on the WoW Insider Show, and now see him on TurpsterVision right here on WoW.com.

Last week we had a look into the benefits of Blizzard's Recruit a Friend scheme and Multiboxing; today we look at how to get started with Multiboxing at home with one PC and several WoW accounts. For me to share these secrets of success with you I must first ask you to join me in the Multiboxer's oath:

I wanna be the very best,
Like no one ever was.
To roll 5 toons is my real test,
To level them all at once.

I will travel across the land,
Questing far and wide.
Or just get boosted through SM,
And the huge amounds of XP that's inside.

MULTIBOX! (GOTTA PLAY'EM ALL!)
It's you, you, you, you and me!
I know it's my destiny!
TO ONE SHOT!

For the real tips and hints, check out the video and then join me after the break for the software, addons and macros that you'll need. (WARNING: There are some really big numbers and long words that I don't fully understand but they make lots of characters do similar things at the same time)

Continue reading TurpsterVision: Multiboxing Unmasked

TurpsterVision: Multiboxing Unmasked originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: I'm MT Act I - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST


Sometimes, you come across something really special. I definitely think I'm MT Act I by Gforce resoundingly qualifies. The author apologizes on his WarcraftMovies.com page for a poor translation, but I had absolutely no problem with it at all. The subtitles sometimes were a little tough to read, but I'm not sure how much I needed the them in the first place.

The video's about ten minutes long, and I don't feel like any of the time was wasted. The characterizations of the Horde races were brilliantly executed, and each class is distinct and well-represented in the eyes of a knowledgeable WoW player. (This actually leads to the only translation error I really noticed, since the subtitles call the Shaman a Druid.)

The action is clean and simple. And, while I know I lose Man Points for saying this, it was absolutely adorable. The whole darn thing made me smile, and I was totally thrilled to see another take on World of Warcraft animation. Check it out and enjoy. I'm definitely curious to know your thoughts.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


WoW Moviewatch: I'm MT Act I originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mighty Battle: Paladin and Priest Tier 9 sets - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST


It's Day Three of Mighty Battle, and the competition has only begun to heat up! In our head-to-head comparison and review of the new faction-specific Tier 9 armor sets, the Horde have edged ahead with a pair of wins and a draw while the Alliance follow closely behind with a win and a draw. Today we'll examine the Paladin and Priest armor sets and see which faction comes out with the knockouts. Glancing above I'm sure you already have an idea of how this match-up is going to go, but we'll forge ahead, anyway.

Hit the jump to see the battle!

Continue reading Mighty Battle: Paladin and Priest Tier 9 sets

Mighty Battle: Paladin and Priest Tier 9 sets originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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China's Ministry of Culture approves WoW content - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 10:30:00 EST
Blizzard has been having all kinds of issues trying to bring World of Warcraft back online in China, but here's one piece of good news for them: China's Ministry of Culture has gone through the game and approved all of the content in it. They apparently were concerned about some violent content (we know they've already made changes in the past to the Undead models), but that's now been cleared, and the only thing left is final approval by the General Administration of Press and Publication. There's no date on when that might happen, but it seems that will be soon (not soon(tm), just soon).

Blizzard should be extremely happy to see these content checks cleared, as it means that they're not only that much closer to bringing the servers back online, but that they can also finally bring out Wrath of the Lich King there. The whole issue with Netease and The9 backed things up, and then these content checks were a problem, but hopefully most of the obstacles have been cleared by now, and Chinese players can soon start making their way back into the game and up to the snowy shores of Northrend.

China's Ministry of Culture approves WoW content originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 10:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Mounted combat - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST


In today's Arena battle, it's the Overused Mailbox Blockers versus the Godless Killing Machines! Arelagord of Moonglade-EU sent in this pic of an impromptu mammoth and bear face-off in Dalaran. You may also notice the dude in the back left trying to jump over both lines of mounts with his motorcycle, which has got to count as an in-game photobomb.

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, gold seller ads with dead gnomes, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Mounted combat originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Rookie: Slotting your sockets with gems - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

You're over level 60 now, and you're pretty hot stuff. You've ridden through the Dark Portal the old-fashioned way, swaggering into The Burning Crusade content in style. You'd done your reading; you knew these mobs were going to hit a lot harder, and you came prepared. You ran a few last dungeons before you shipped out, and you're respectably outfitted in BRD and URBS blues, along with a heady mix of new gear that appears to be dropping like candy.

And then you looted a piece of armor with crazy-hot good looks but an odd, blank box among its stats - and the stats, strangely enough, appear to leave something to be desired. Nonetheless, your groupmates applauded your luck and seemed genuinely pleased for you. What in Outland have you gotten into now?

My dear WoW rookie, you've just looted your first socketed item. Sockets allow you to truly customize your gear to either augment your strengths or brace up your weaknesses (or both). Whether you just want to get down the road with a decent set of gear or you enjoy endlessly tweaking your armor's performance, we'll help you fill your first sockets and make your character stronger than ever.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Slotting your sockets with gems

WoW Rookie: Slotting your sockets with gems originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Can you have too many alts? - Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST
I installed the new Armory app on my beloved iPhone a few mornings ago and I love it. Seriously, it had to be the best app yet. Now if only there was one which would let you send in-game mail/work the AH without logging in but that's for another Breakfast Topic. Today's is all about alts, specifically how many you have and whether it is possible to have too many.

Loading up the app, I was distracted not by the cool sound effects or the sparklyness of the app but by the number of alts I have lying around. By that I don't mean active alts, I generally focus my attention on my main Serisa, but I do have a lot scattered around numerous European servers. It's quite odd to have an app tied to my account which shows all my alts, rather than ones I select (as with previous non-Blizzard iPhone apps).

The other day I was talking with a friend of mine. He seems to have a thousand alts, so many that he didn't have a precise number. I asked if he had any idea of the cap for such and he guessed it had to be about fifty. He assured me if there was a cap, he hadn't hit it yet. But looking at the app, I was quite surprised by the sheer number of level 1-10 toons I have lying forgotten on servers I never visit anymore, from days when Daggerspine was down and I wanted to play Horde on another realm (usually Blood Elf females).

So, come on readers, I ask you. Can you have too many alts? If yes, what's your record?

Breakfast Topic: Can you have too many alts? originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 22 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sam Raimi to direct WoW movie - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 23:54:00 EST

Ain't It Cool News has uncovered one helluva juicy tidbit; one that has more or less came out of nowhere.

Sam Raimi is set to direct the World of Warcraft movie.

This news is coming out right before the San Diego ComicCon, which begins this week. According to Ain't It Cool News, the story should be hitting the trades later this week or next (Trades are daily papers in Hollywood about the latest goings on, more business than gossip news).

Raimi is best known for directing all the recent Spiderman works and cult horror films. This likely means that a movie announcement is not far off - perhaps BlizzCon?

You can also check out what to expect from a World of Warcraft movie.

Edit: Schramm here. Adam wrote a great post, but he forgot the best three words of this news: Bruce Campbell cameo. There better be one.

Update: Blizzard has since confirmed this news with a press release, made very late in the evening Tuesday PDT. A couple hours after this story was posted...huh.

Sam Raimi to direct WoW movie originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 23:54:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Minutes of Fame: Legendary appreciation for a job well done - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 21:00:00 EST


15 Minutes of Fame is WoW.com's look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

When the Duranub Raiding Company of Argent Dawn-US got its first Fragment of Val'anyr, they handled the decision on who should get the drops with typical aplomb. The group put the matter up for a vote. Appreciative raiders unanimously selected healing lead Elnore to receive the 30 precious fragments that she will eventually combine to create the legendary healing hammer, Val'anyr, Hammer of Ancient Kings.

In the wake of the decision, Belghast (Duranub co-founder and GM of Elnore's guild) invited Elnore to write a guest post at Tales of the Aggronaut explaining how she felt about the group's momentous decision to award her the legendary weapon. "Often times we don't think about the emotional experience certain raid decisions have," he noted. "In this case, we can take a step inside her head."

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Legendary appreciation for a job well done

15 Minutes of Fame: Legendary appreciation for a job well done originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mighty Battle: Hunter and Mage Tier 9 sets - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST


The Mighty Battle continues! Today we'll take a look at the Alliance and Horde versions of the Hunter and Mage Tier 9 sets. Yesterday's battle saw both factions score a victory each as the Horde Death Knight armor edged out its Alliance counterpart while the Alliance Druid set neatly trounced its Horde opponent. Each armor set will take on the opposing faction's equivalent in a three round tussle that covers how well it looks as a class set, how much it represents the faction, and overall design.

Of course, these are all just my opinion so take it with a grain of salt. Players' tastes vary, so I'll preface my qualifications by saying that I, uh, am a fan of John Galliano, have the fashion sense of Brüno, and read medieval fantasy fashion magazines. Oh alright, none of those are true, except maybe the first one which still has nothing to do with World of Warcraft armor design. What the heck, this is a humor piece, anyway, so let's get right into battle!

Continue reading Mighty Battle: Hunter and Mage Tier 9 sets

Mighty Battle: Hunter and Mage Tier 9 sets originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Druid Q&A followup - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the devs have decided to do a followup to the recent Druid Q&A, tackling certain things with more specifics rather than the general approach they took originally. The followup seems mostly aimed at Druid PvP, perhaps an omen of the future. It reminds me much more of the unofficial Shadow Priest Q&A that Ghostcrawler tackled, addressing very specific issues.

For convenience, the full followup can be read below.

Q: Players feel that the effect of Feral Cat Charge isn't as good as the Feral Bear Charge yet the cat charge has double the cooldown. What is the reasoning behind the cooldown difference of these two abilities?
A: Feral Charge Bear mirrors warrior Charge (15 sec), while Feral Charge Cat mirrors Shadowstep (30 sec). They are really different abilities. We just had to put them on a shared cooldown to keep the druid from using them back to back.

Q: Are we satisfied with the damage that Shred does without a bleed/mangle effect on the target compared to how much it does with the bleed effect?

Continue reading Druid Q&A followup

Druid Q&A followup originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Patch 3.2 PTR Trial of the Crusader testing schedule - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 18:28:00 EST


Daelo posted an official schedule for testing the Trial of the Crusader content on the current PTR, which further explore the perils inside the Crusader's Coliseum. There are two different schedules for players on North American and European realms, who will be squaring off against different bosses:

On the North American test realms:
Anub'arak - Tuesday Night, July 21, starting at 7pm EDT. Normal and Heroic.

On the European test realms:
Val'kyr - Wednesday Night, July 22, starting at 19:00 CEST. Normal and Heroic.

Blizzard is implementing both Normal and Heroic version in varying difficulties and set-ups. Daelodev also mentions having different Test Patchwerks that hits "VERY hard" to better test sustained tank damage. He reminds everyone that feedback from all the tests - which include their combat logs - is incredibly useful to the development team. He ends the post with the usual FAQ that notes that 1) there's no trash in the zone, 2) loot is implemented, and 3) Achievements are in place. Check out the official post for more details.

WoW Patch 3.2 PTR Trial of the Crusader testing schedule originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 18:28:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Snape, snape - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW.com team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

In celebration of the recent release of the new Harry Potter movie, I've decided to expose the two of you out there that have never seen the above video to... well, the above video. I'll say no more, folks. Watch it, then read on! Probably in beat with a metronome!

Mannas asked...

"With the new feature to switch factions, will we finally have a way to "mail" items across factions by making a toon, sending the item there, switching factions and then mailing on? Or will they somehow limit this?"

Continue reading The Queue: Snape, snape

The Queue: Snape, snape originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Spiritual Guidance: Are 2 Discipline Priests a problem? - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST


Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new UI and addons blog for WoW. What do you do as a raid leader with 2 Discipline Priests in a raid? What do you do if you're one of the Priests? Find out!

I received a kind email the other day from a raiding Disc Priest. Their Priest is already established within the raid. They've been Holy for many years and decided to try Discipline. Like many Holy-to-Disc Priests, they discovered they really liked it. An issue that I can see some guilds experiencing is when they have more than 1 Discipline Priest within their ranks.

Is that a good thing? Is it a bad thing?

Understand that having two Disc Priests is a sign. It's an omen that your guild is going to be crushed and destroyed because no organization can withstand the egos of two similarly specced classes.

Well, okay, maybe it can.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: Are 2 Discipline Priests a problem?

Spiritual Guidance: Are 2 Discipline Priests a problem? originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Shifting Perspectives: Getting started and leveling 1-9 - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:30:00 EST


Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, we begin at the beginning, and we will go on until the end. Then we will stop. Then we will ask ourselves why we are taking advice from 19th century children's literature rather than the books that are relevant to our interests, like Why Buying a House You Have No Idea How To Renovate Is Probably a Bad Idea, or Smoked Salmon and You: A Guide To Not Eating Yourself Into a Coma.

Greetings, Druids. I took the liberty of rolling a few new Druids to test out the improved leveling process, and if possible I'm going to level a brand-new one all the way to 80 to make sure everything in the guide's been personally tested and accurate as of the 3.1/3.2 game world. Today we'll start off with a baby Tauren Druid on the PTR who's now level 9; later I'll be switching between a Night Elf and a Tauren.

Level Feral.

This is the single best thing you can do for yourself, at least for leveling in classic content. As we've previously discussed, the Druid is still hobbled by its initial design as an endgame secondary healer, but you can skip a certain portion of this early weakness by leveling feral. Piggybacking off all of the DPS leather that went into the game to support the billions of people who rolled Rogues is a nice advantage, but the real attraction of leveling Feral lies in the ability to DPS in forms that don't require mana. Being able to save your mana bar for healing and buffing decreases downtime enormously (more so as you gain levels, as our mana efficiency and damage aren't that great early on).

Continue reading Shifting Perspectives: Getting started and leveling 1-9

Shifting Perspectives: Getting started and leveling 1-9 originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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More Halloween masks uncovered, mayhem ensues - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST


In what may be an attempt to throw everyone off the recent speculation that Goblins and Worgen just might be the next playable races in the World of Warcraft, new Halloween masks with both male and female versions were found in the latest PTR build. The discovery sent players into a frenzy, and got everyone speculating about the next expansion and what it holds. During last weekend's WoW.com radio show, Turpster said he wished that the whole Halloween mask thing were planted by Blizzard to confuse the player base, and it turns out that they just might be... except that it might be the other way around and the devs are trying to cover up the Goblins and Worgen discovery.

MMO Champion, the data-mining heaven, has the full image of all the "new" Halloween masks, which include Murlocs, Vrykul, Naga, and Ogres, including a never-before-seen-in-game female ogre! However, astute readers point out that the female ogre is actually a "direct copy-paste of an old drawing from one of the RPG books." Closer inspection of the female ogre mask will reveal some rendering inconsistencies compared to the other skins, which were lifted from in-game models. Clever Blizzard - could these new masks be a red herring? Or could the red herring actually be the Goblin and Worgen masks, and this is just one elaborate ploy to obscure the big announcement at BlizzCon? Let the mayhem commence!

Oops, forgot this earlier... thanks to Malfural of But Wait, There's Lore for the tip! EDIT: Whoops again! Malfural has nothing to do with BWTL, but says he's a great fan. Thanks for the tip, anyway, BWTL reader!

More Halloween masks uncovered, mayhem ensues originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BlizzCon is one month away! - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST

BlizzCon 2009 opens exactly one month from today. We are so excited - it's all we're talking about in the virtual office. Not only will there be lots of WoW news, there will also be plenty of stuff for the StarCraft and Diablo fans. Personally, I'm dying to get my hands on some Diablo III. Here is a roundup of everything we know as well as a little speculation of what we think may happen at the Anaheim Convention Center next month.

If you don't have tickets, but will still like to go, there are some contests still running:
We want to meet you! The night before the con opens, we are meeting at the Anabella Hotel. If you are local, come join us! BlizzCon tickets are not required to attend. Details for the WoW.com meetup are here.

Continue reading BlizzCon is one month away!

BlizzCon is one month away! originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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UPDATE: European weekly maintenance: 22 July 2009 - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:30:00 EST


Greetings European WoW players! It's that time of the week once more (where time has flown I have no idea). Tomorrow morning sees all the EU servers coming down to the regular bout of maintenance. This week all the realms will be offline from 3:00am until 11:00am (CEST). Hopefully this means everything will go nice and smoothly but just bear those times in mind if you find yourself watching the clock, waiting for your realm to pop back up.

Our very own Daniel Whitcomb has compiled a rather Worgen-heavy post for you all to enjoy during the downtime. Personally, I will be sleeping and replaying the WoW edition of Peggle. If you have an iPhone I'd suggest you download the new (and awesome) Armory app while other phone owners should download the Mobile Authenticator. I'd also suggest listening to this week's WoW Insider Show (and I apologise now for cackling) in which Turpster, the Schramminator and I denounced Brigwyn for his Hunter deletion habits.

Oh and in case you're wondering why this post is illustrated by the new T9 Alliance Druid armour, well I think it (specifically the female version) is the best looking armour in the game ever and I really, really want it. What, you have a problem with me drooling over gear during the downtime?

Update: Blizzard have announced that the following realms will be offline for maintenance until 5:00PM CEST.

Balnazzar, Bloodfeather, Darksorrow, Defias Brotherhood, Earthen Ring, Frostwhisper, Genjuros, Haomarus, Hellscream, Laughing Skull, Lightning's Blade, Magtheridon, Neptulon, Nordrassil, Quel'Thalas, Ragnaros, Ravencrest, Runetotem, Shadowsong, Shattered Hand, Silvermoon, Skullcrusher, Spinebreaker, Stormrage, Stormreaver, Stormscale, Sylvanas, Terenas, The Maelstrom, The Venture Co., Thunderhorn, Turalyon, Twisting Nether and, finally, Vashj.


:

UPDATE: European weekly maintenance: 22 July 2009 originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Gearing up for PvP - Your mouse - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST


Let's face it, not everyone can afford an HP Blackbird 002, which was used for several MLG pro gaming tournaments and was awarded 4.5 stars (out of 5) by CNET. The Editors' bottom line at the time was "If you can afford it, and you want a high-end gaming PC, buy this one. End of story." The end of that story was a $5,600 hole in your wallet, which is not a very happy ending for most of us mortals (Wired gave its $2,100 successor, the HP Firebird, a 9 out of 10). The actual happy compromise is in your peripherals, which you can splurge on (within reason) without having to win the Lotto.

I'll start with the mouse. More than your keyboard, your mouse is your most important gaming peripheral. For laptop users, who will more often than not use the default keyboard built-in to their machine, dedicated gaming keyboards are a luxury rather than a necessity. Furthermore, PvP enthusiasts necessarily learn to move with a mouse, which makes it a worthy investment.

Continue reading Gearing up for PvP - Your mouse

Gearing up for PvP - Your mouse originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Announcing the third annual WoW.com BlizzCon Meetup - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 13:32:00 EST


It's here! For months now, we've told you that we'll be having our third BlizzCon meetup on August 20th, the night before the big event in Anaheim, but we haven't yet told you exactly where. But now, we've finally confirmed our location and we can tell you where to go: We'll be meeting at the Tangerine Patio in the Anabella Hotel at 1030 W. Katella Avenue in Anaheim, CA. That's right behind the Convention Center (between it and Disneyland), and within easy walking distance from anywhere in the area.

We'll begin the festivities at 7:30pm Pacific (local Anaheim time) on August 20th, and the Anabella will have the kitchen open and a cash bar ready for all of the eating and drinking you'd want. We're asking that attendees be 18+ or accompanied by parent, but other than that, just be a reader of WoW.com -- many of our writers and editors will be in attendance for you to meet and greet, and we'll be giving away some swag and speculating at just what we'll see later that weekend at BlizzCon.

And if you aren't able to make it to Anaheim, don't worry: we'll have audio and video up and streaming to our Ustream page, so you'll be able to attend virtually and chat with everyone else there. And we're planning on having some Ustream-specific giveaways as well, so you won't be left out of the loot, either.

All of our reader meetups in the past have been tremendous, and this one is set up to be our biggest and best event yet. We'll see you there!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Announcing the third annual WoW.com BlizzCon Meetup originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 13:32:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculation station - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST


Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart answers your questions about the lore and history of the World of Warcraft. Ask your questions in the comments section below, and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.

Be warned, ladies and gentlemen. This week's edition of Ask a Lore Nerd is almost purely discussion and speculation on the next expansion and what it might include. Why? Because it's fun! We'll get back to covering anything and everything next week, but this week we're just in an expansion sort of mood.

alpha5099 asked...

"So, most of the speculation is that the next expansion will be the Maelstrom. Would you agree with that assessment? What all do you expect to see in a Maelstrom expansion? What would you want to see? Any place you're dying to go?"

Continue reading Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculation station

Ask a Lore Nerd: Speculation station originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Cruel, Cruel Moon - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST


You may have missed it, but there's been some talk lately about whether or not Worgen could be a playable race in the next expansion. In light of that discussion and the overwhelming amount of love shown yesterday for Spiff's The Future Soon, today's featured movie is Cruel, Cruel Moon. The recommendation was made via our own Elizabeth Harper, who apparently has a friend who's quite the fan of Spiff.

The song Cruel, Cruel Moon was written by Paul & Storm, who spend a lot of their touring time with Jonathan Coulton. The song is about a man who's begging the moon not to rise, because his beloved partner is likely to turn into a werewolf. Spiff's video captures the lighthearted feel of the song excellently, and the whole thing moves at a wonderful pace. I have a lot of appreciation for this kind of music, since it tends to last long enough to enjoy the joke, without overstaying its welcome and dragging on too long.

During the credits, there's a bonus feature song. Frogger! The Frogger Musical endcaps the whole video perfectly.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


WoW Moviewatch: Cruel, Cruel Moon originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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GLAAD fights homophobia in online communities like WoW - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST
We've talked here on the site before about this issue -- the anonymity in online communities like World of Warcraft often leads to people throwing out offensive statements that they usually wouldn't in normal company. Most people shrug these off as just what happens in online games ("kids will be kids, and idiots will be idiots"), but this type of undercurrent behavior still signifies and perpetuates prejudices and hatreds that affect society at large.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has recently started up a campaign to try and stamp out hatred and homophobia in communities like World of Warcraft, and they've published an op-ed on exactly why this is such a problem and what we can do to stop it. They don't mention WoW specifically, but we're one of the biggest online communities out there, and if nothing else, here's a chance to show just how tolerant we as a community can be.

The good news is that as the practice of online gaming grows, both players and policymakers are becoming more and more aware of the problem -- Microsoft met earlier this year with representatives from GLAAD to determine how better to combat offensive statements on Xbox Live, and the organization held a panel recently to discuss exactly this issue.

Thanks, Joshua!

Continue reading GLAAD fights homophobia in online communities like WoW

GLAAD fights homophobia in online communities like WoW originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Fallen for you - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST


Our submitter, Hangwithgoku of <Redeyes Hellions> on Bronzebeard, sends us this screenshot of ... uh ... he's not too sure. "I'm going to say it outright. I have NO idea what this is a screenshot of," he writes. "I found it while digging through my screenshot folder looking for a guild picture ...if I had to guess I'd say it's a DK slipping on a banana peel into a pit of eternal darkness." I prefer to think of it as someone who answered the Bridgekeeper's questions wrong. Anyone got a different guess?

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, gold seller ads with dead gnomes, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Fallen for you originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST


Sometimes you'd like to know that there are other MMOs out there, right? Our sister site Massively can provide you with everything you need to know about all those other shiny MMOs! Check out this roundup of the latest news from the wider MMO world.
What if you beat out World of Warcraft and nobody cared?
Actually, here's a straight-up tip for you. If you're trying to beat World of Warcraft at its own game, nobody really cares. The users, and would-be users don't. The media doesn't. Your investors might care, but they're probably really the only ones.
Why you should be playing EVE Online: One server, one universe
It's been dead for too long, but now it's back. The ultimate opinion column, "Why You Should Be Playing," is making a triumphant return to the pages of Massively! For those unfamiliar with this feature, this is the space where the Massively staff gets to tell you why we play our favorite games. We try to spread the love of MMOs unknown so you get to see some of the great features of MMOs you may not play.
Does an MMO have to cost money to deliver fun?
The MMO industry is split between games where you pay and those that are free. Some are pay to play, with subscriptions and the cost of the game while others are free to play but you still have to buy a license key. Some are freemium where the game is free to buy and play but you enhance it with micro-transactions using cold, hard cash.
Sony Online Entertainment lays off 41 full-time workers
In a statement to Massively today, Sony Online Entertainment has confirmed that they are laying off 41 full-time workers, equaling 5% of their full-time workforce.

Continue reading MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively

MMO Roundup: Last week on Massively originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast topic: Are manually extended raid lockouts a good thing? - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST


Hands up who remembers running Karazhan back in the days when it took a week to clear and you needed every one of those nights to do it?

Are you currently spending your evenings raiding in Ulduar? Is Ignis taking more time to down than you anticipated? I think we've all been there, you're in the zone but just can't kill that pesky raid boss before the raid timer goes ding and everything resets. I've once did an early morning raid (we're talking like 2am here) through Kara, powering through all the bosses, because the timer was due to set that morning and it was fun, even if we didn't quite clear Medivh's tower out. I think we stopped after Prince as none of us could keep our eyes open. But there's something heartbreaking about getting down to that final boss and calling it a day, knowing that you have to start all over again the following day. It's kind of soul destroying.

Patch 3.2
finally offers an answer in the form of a raid lockout extension. If you're mid-raid and haven't a hope in hell of finishing by the reset, you can manually extended it for another week. But I wonder, constant readers, are you going to use it? Will it motivate you to finish a raid or do you think it slow progression down?

Breakfast topic: Are manually extended raid lockouts a good thing? originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tuesday Morning Post: Howling at the maintenance edition - Tue, 21 Jul 2009 07:30:00 EST
Good Tuesday Morning, everyone. While it seems like the news slowed down a bit this week as compared to the past few, don't think it's been a quiet week by any means. The Background Downloader has started up, which may or may not mean we're pretty close to Patch 3.2 going live, Blizzard is cautioning against wolf-related apparel, and... oh yeah, there was that thing with the Worgen and the Goblins. Could those masks be pointing to next expansion's playable races? Either way, the debate and discussion about them has been jumping all week (I'd totally roll a Worgen Paladin and I hope they keep the running on all fours thing, for the record).

But don't be fooled into think that's the only news hitting the presses lately. With downtime coming from 5 AM to 11 AM Pacific time, you probably have time to do some more reading, so here's a few links for your perusal:

Continue reading Tuesday Morning Post: Howling at the maintenance edition

Tuesday Morning Post: Howling at the maintenance edition originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 21 Jul 2009 07:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Battle.net authenticator now available for other platforms - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 23:38:00 EST


The Battle.net mobile authenticator is now available for a wide variety of mobile platforms in several different countries through the Battle.net mobile store. Originally available only for the iPhone through the App Store, the mobile authenticator can now be used on virtually any phone that can run third-party applications.

There's only one catch - unlike the original mobile authenticator found in the App Store, these new versions aren't free. The prices vary depending on your country due to PayPal conversion rates, but they amount to roughly $1 (it's €0.50 in parts of Europe).

Despite the need to purchase it, we at WoW.com can't recommend it highly enough. Account security is an important thing, particularly with the rampant account hacking and phishing going on these days. Now that it's available to use in a wide variety of platforms, there's little reason not use the Battle.net mobile authenticator. A dollar is a very small price to pay for that additional layer of security.

Editor's Note: Apparently now the download is showing as "Coming soon" for US/EU carriers. It was showing as up before, but now is not. We blame the Gnomes. Or Ghostcrawler.

Thanks to Medros from All Things Azeroth for the tip!

Battle.net authenticator now available for other platforms originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 23:38:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Maintenance for Tuesday July 21st - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 21:58:00 EST


According to the in-game announcement there will be downtime for tomorrow, Tuesday July 21st. Tuesday also marks one month before BlizzCon 2009, where we're expecting to hear lots of major announcements from Blizzard. Something cataclysmic, hopefully.

The downtime will be happening from 5:00 a.m. PDT / 8:00 a.m. EDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT / 1:00 p.m. EDT. Unlike previous weeks, there are no additional "special" battlegroups that are being taken offline for an extended period.

If there are unexpected going ons with this maintenance, you'll see additional information posted here. And for those of you wondering, we're not expecting Patch 3.2 to drop just yet.

Pic for this article is unrelated, but I wanted an excuse all day to use it - and now seemed like the right opportunity.

Maintenance for Tuesday July 21st originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 21:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Ghostcrawler on class representation and balance - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 21:00:00 EST
Ghostcrawler has a nice exchange on the forums (and it's not marked "Not Tracked", so you know he wants us reading this one) about how much of a role class representation actually plays in class balance. Obviously, balance itself plays the biggest role in class balance -- if (using GC's completely hypothetical example) Feral Druids are overpowered as tanks, then Blizzard would have to look into nerfing Feral Druids.

But what if Feral Druids only make up a small percentage of the tanks in Ulduar? Should Blizzard nerf the 5% of tanks that are Druids down until they're only 2% of the population? Just because classes are overpowered doesn't mean that actual class populations are, and all of these things go into the mix when Blizzard makes decisions about how to balance the classes.

Look at Hunters as well -- just last week we talked about how the class population is falling off, and yet they're one of the top three classes played on both factions. So should Blizzard buff or nerf them?

Continue reading Ghostcrawler on class representation and balance

Ghostcrawler on class representation and balance originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Horde vs. Alliance Tier 9 Mighty Battle! - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST


The full Tier 9 previews are finally out, courtesy of MMO Champion. Whatever your opinions are on faction-specific armor - there are arguments to be made for and against it - it's reasonable to say that some of the sets look pretty darned good. It's the first time we're seeing faction-specific armor sets in a long time, so we'll actually get to do something we can't do with old armor sets - we'll pit the Horde and Alliance against each other in an armor face-off!

In our Tier 9 Mighty Battle, we'll pit one faction's version of the Tier 9 armor against the other and judge them based on the following criteria:
  • Thematic integrity to class - We'll look at how well Blizzard's armor design represents the class. The best kind of class armor should be recognizable as a perfect representation of that class. For example, the Warlock's Tier 5, the Corruptor Raiment, or the Paladin's Tier 2, the Judgement set, both look unmistakably diabolical and righteous, respectively.
  • Thematic integrity to faction - Because these are the first faction-specific PvE sets, we'll also examine how well the armor sets embody each faction and their archetypal - or stereotypical - representation.
  • Overall design - Of course, aside from looking true to the class and faction, an armor set can just be plain badass. Everybody wants to look good, right?
  • Tiebreaker, how each armor class stacks up - Since we're scoring ten classes, we'll avoid a tie by scoring the armor sets based on their armor type, too. Because the armor sets share models across armor class, we'll award points to each faction based which side has better designs overall. Kind of like an electoral college, but without the chads.
The Mighty Battle begins after the jump!

Continue reading Horde vs. Alliance Tier 9 Mighty Battle!

Horde vs. Alliance Tier 9 Mighty Battle! originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DC Unlimited Premium Series 2 features Thrall and a Gnome Warlock - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST


I would hazard a guess that the DC Unlimited series of action figures from the WoW universe is probably the least-heralded licensed product -- whenever Upper Deck releases a new set of the TCG, we get multiple press releases and it gets posted on their main site, but whenever a new set of figures comes out, we always have to find it hidden in among all the other comic news and then make sure it hasn't been released before. But these are new, or at least new to us: DC is planning to release two new Premium Series 2 action figures, including everyone's favorite tortured Horde leader, Thrall, and a Gnome Warlock with a Voidwalker pal.

Technically, news of these guys leaked out to distributors in May, but apparently we didn't miss the boat by too much anyway, as they're not set to be on store shelves until next January (or February, even, depending on where you look). Does it really take that long to get these things ready and out? At any rate, there they are, and we wouldn't be surprised to see both figures on display at BlizzCon later this year. We've had a few of you in the comments mention that you'd like to see a Thrall figure before, and so here you go. Personally, I have a completely different Orc I'd like to see immortalized in action figure form.



Thanks, KND and Eric W.!

DC Unlimited Premium Series 2 features Thrall and a Gnome Warlock originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Zoltan scores over 10,000 achievement points - Mon, 20 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST


Zoltan of Aegwynn is the guy who's been sitting on top of the overall achievement point lists for a while, and he's just recently cracked the incredible total of 10,000 points. At the time of this writing, he's finished off a total of 908 out of 931 achievements currently in the game, giving him a total of 10,005 achievement points.

The Champion of Ulduar is the one that put him over the top according to his Armory profile, and strangely, he doesn't appear to have any of the Feats of Strength (edit: never mind, I read it wrong -- he's got plenty). He is only missing the two World Event achievements left (Brewmaster and the meta-achievement, neither of which are yet possible), the Sea Turtle achievement, and then a few more Heroic Ulduar endgame points. Given that the 3.2 patch achievements will likely come out before Brewmaster, there's no way yet to clear everything completely, but he's as close as it gets.

Very impressive indeed. Zoltan has just one or two people on his heels, and then the numbers drop out to a few hundred below 10,000 (and strangely enough, the top five players are all EU folks). There's no reward for all of those points (and Blizzard has no plans to offer any), but it's quite, as you might say, an achievement.

Zoltan scores over 10,000 achievement points originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 20 Jul 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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