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The Gadgetzan Times returns, looks for submissions - Fri, 23 May 2008 19:00:00 EST

The Gadgetzan Times has returned from a long hiatus. Apparently, however, they are in a bit of trouble, with reports of difficulty retaining their goblin reporters. Because of this, the editor-in-chief has switched to a new idea: soliciting stories from the adventurers themselves. If you've written fanfiction about the World of Warcraft, you can now submit to for a chance to showcased in the Gadgetzan Times. There's versions for every language, with a different story for each language.

If you've always wanted to be a Goblin journalist, here's the closest you can get. Submit your stories, and maybe we'll see you in the next editon.

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Worldwide Invitational 2008 to offer more tickets - Fri, 23 May 2008 18:00:00 EST

If you wanted to head to the City of Lights this summer to check out the World Wide Invitational this year, but missed the first round of tickets, you're in luck. Blizzard has announced that they will be selling another round on the official WWI website some time next week. If you're still interested, keep an eye out for it!

The World Wide Invitational will take place in Paris, France on June 28th and 29th, and will include developer panels and multiple contests, including fanart and machinima contests, as well as a playable version of WoTLK -- essentially, it's a European Blizzcon. Be sure to check out all of our previous coverage on the event, and stay tuned for all the latest news as we get closer to the date.

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Addon Spotlight: TomTom - Fri, 23 May 2008 17:45:00 EST
Greetings, folks, I have returned from my vacation, and the hiatus that followed. (Vacation to recover from vacation? Madness!) Today, we're going to take a look at an alternative navigation tool, an addon that provides some of the functionality found in the Cartographer suite. (We've talked about Cartographer before.)

TomTom is a mod that provides a few simple features that can supplement your adventures, especially while leveling. Combined with Lightheaded, (We've also talked about Lightheaded before.) TomTom can shave time off your travels between quest objectives.

The primary purpose of TomTom is to facilitate the creation and use of waypoints. Using this feature gives a player the option to have a Crazy Taxi-like arrow displayed that will guide them towards their waypoint. Combined with Lightheaded, which can be used to find coordinates for quest objectives via user comments on Wowhead, this addon can let you bounce between quest objectives with a minimum of wasted time and travel.

Unfortunately, it cannot be used to auto-run your character, so you can forget about grabbing a sandwich on your way to Marshall's Refuge. TomTom will also display a coordinate frame that gives a quick visual reference to your current location.

There is more to see, come back after the break to get your addon fix for the day.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: TomTom

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Wowhead says Bonjour, Hola, and Guten Tag - Fri, 23 May 2008 17:00:00 EST
The good people at Wowhead, WoW database extraordinaire, have just warned me that the French, the Spanish, and the Germans are invading! OK, not really. Actually, the site is set to go live with localizations in those three languages, which will appear in the next 24 hours. You will then be able to read descriptions of quests, spells, and items, and everything else on that marvelous site, in any of those languages (plus of course English).

Each language will have its own comment thread on each page, although the forums will remain English-only. I imagine this will come as welcome news to the many WoW players out there who do not have English as a first language; even on the North American realms, there seem to be a fair amount of French speakers. Hooray for multilingualism!

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Phat Loot Phriday: Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Devourer - Fri, 23 May 2008 16:00:00 EST


Been a while since we did a staff, and considering how badass (and just plain weird) this baby looks, why not this one?

Name: Zhar'doom, Greatstaff of the Destroyer (Wowhead, Allakahzam, Thottbot)
Type: Epic Staff
Damage/Speed: 145-323 / 3.20 (73.2 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +70 Stamina, +47 Intellect, which makes it perfect for Warlocks, though really any caster would probably benefit
  • Improves spell critical strike rating by 36, spell haste rating by 55, and increases damage and healing by 259. In other words, it rocks. Having a two-hand weapon limits you a bit, but this baby is your one stop shop for every stat important to a caster. Definitely a beautiful caster staff.
  • And it's in the shape of a stretched-out Felhunter, or, depending on any conspiracy theories you may have about Blizzard continuity, a Zergling (more on that in a second). I couldn't find a video for you, but apparently it writhes and the mouth opens and closes as you hold it, too -- pretty weird and wacky.
  • So about the Zergling thing -- Zerglings, as you may know, are the lower-rung units in the Zerg race of Starcraft, another Blizzard game. They look very similar to Felhunters in WoW, and it's true, this staff does look a little bit more like a Zergling than any other Felhunter we've seen in Azeroth. Plus, the name of the staff seems to be a reference to a Devouring One, another Zerg groupie. And it comes from Outland (a place out in the middle of space), and we have already seen Zergling noncombat pets in game.
  • So I submit to you the conspiracy theory of all conspiracy theories: What if Warcraft and Starcraft are taking place in the same universe? And what if, depending on timelines, Zerglings are Felhunters and vice versa -- what if the Zerg is an evolved (or primitive) form of the Burning Legion? Just something to bend your mind a little bit on this Friday afternoon.
How to Get It: Drops from the marquee star of the last expansion, Illy Dan himself. Drops at a rate of somewhere between 10-20%, so not super rare, but unless you're seriously farming the guy and/or are a Warlock or high DPS-doer who really needs a nice staff, you might have to wait a bit.

But who doesn't want this thing, really? Put an "of the Devourer" after anything, and it becomes instantly more desirable. Tell me you wouldn't want a "Cupcake of the Devourer." Have you heard about that new Apple product, the "iPhone of the Devourer"? And dude, I'm so jealous -- my friend just got a "Nintendo Wii of the Devourer"!

Getting Rid of It: Sells for 18g 39s 48c to vendors, disenchants into a Void Crystal. You should keep it though -- if the Zerg do invade Azeroth, maybe you can hold it hostage or something.

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Mondolithic Studios creates oil portraits of virtual world characters - Fri, 23 May 2008 15:30:00 EST


Here's another WoW/virtual character portrait studio -- we've covered a few before -- but I think it's the first place we've ever seen that will actually create an oil-on-canvas portrait of whatever character you choose. Most folks do it with digital art or illustration, but Mondolithic Studios goes the extra mile -- not only will they actually put a painting together, but they'll show up to photograph you in your element, too. Lots of artists use reference shots that you send them, but Mondolithic apparently aims for "combat photography," which means they'll have a toon in world with you to watch you do your thing.

Interesting. There's only a few samples there at the moment, but they'll probably have more when and if business picks up. The style is quite interesting -- it certainly is oil paint, but rather than going realistic, it seems like it's designed more to mimic the actual look of the game, with a few weird polygon angles and designs.

Unfortunately, there's no mention of price at all (you have to email them for estimates), but odds are it isn't cheap. Then again, if you're in search of a one-of-a-kind oil portrait of the character you've sunk so much time into, this just might be worth the money you put into it.

[Via Massively]

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[1.Local]: Readers have their say on this week's posts - Fri, 23 May 2008 15:00:00 EST
[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

WoW Insider readers both looked back and leaped forward this week, with reminiscences about the old days of Azeroth peppering a week rife with speculation about the upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion. Readers strolled down Memory Lane with a look at our most fond old-school memories, and they eagerly clambered aboard our newest regular column, Ask a Lore Nerd. Commenters squabbled over Blizzard's handling of Glider bannings and WotLK alpha information leaks.

The flame-throwers came out in force over politics in a post reporting on The9's decision to close up shop for three days of mourning following the recent natural disasters in Asia. Also this week, readers shared their experiences dealing with rep grinds and wrapped up with a philosophical look at violence and honor in an armed world.

Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

Continue reading [1.Local]: Readers have their say on this week's posts

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Forum Post of the Day: Burning Crusade constructive criticism - Fri, 23 May 2008 14:00:00 EST

With Burning Crusade winding down as we get closer to WoTLK, Scarpa of the Bleeding Hollow server had the bright idea of starting a thread to do a little bit of post-mortem on the Burning Crusade: Praise the stuff you liked, and offer constructive critcism on stuff you didn't like, in hopes that it can be improved in the expansion. There's a lot of good commentary in there on raids, arenas, badge gear, and other stuff.

Some of my favorite criticism included Quaesitor's observation that a lot of reputation gear becomes automatically obsolete, because by the time you have the reputation (or the special tokens) to purchase it, you're too high level for it and probably have something better from a quest or dungeon anyway. I also tend to agree with many that they could tone down the trash a bit in raid dungeons. It's hard to clear the same trash over and over again every raid when you want to get to the generally much more interesting and lucrative boss fights.

As far as likes, I like that the reputation PvP sets mean you can get a good hand up to start PvP, then gradually work your way up through Honor gear and into the Arena sets. I am also glad to see many in the thread were big fans of badge gear. I've always liked the concept, it makes for a good reason to run dungeons and means I always feel like I'm working toward something instead of waiting forever for one certain thing that won't drop.

It's a great idea and a good positive thread that has even gotten some blue attention, so I'd say it's a perfect change for you to head in and deliver your own critiques and praises before BC is just a speed bump on the way to level 80.

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Totem Talk: Scraping off the rust - Fri, 23 May 2008 13:00:00 EST
One of the interesting aspects to playing a class as varied as the shaman (or any hybrid, really, but Hybrid Theory's on weekends, you should read that too) is the disparate roles you can end up playing. For example, on my slowly leveling paladin, I'm constantly forced to look at quest drops and say "Well, it's a healing drop, but it would be an upgrade to my healing set, so I'll hold onto it." On my shamans, even though I rarely see a quest drop nowadays, I've worked to assemble elemental, enhancement and restoration sets for each: my restoration shaman has been getting some love lately, with certain new drops and enchants helping increase his plus heal to around 1800 or so, but at the same time I've been forced to realize something.

I went three months playing nothing but enhancement and man, I was rusty. The first Magisters' Terrace run I did on the orc was a parade of dead tank, dead me, dead DPS. Now, admittedly, this is entirely due to my own foolishness in trying to heal MgT my first run back on the job, so to speak, and subsequent runs in Shattered Halls and Black Morass went much better, helping me to get my legs back under me. It's not like you actually forget the role so much as you have to take the time for it to become familiar again.

Continue reading Totem Talk: Scraping off the rust

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WoW Moviewatch: Bitfilm Festival vote videos - Fri, 23 May 2008 12:00:00 EST

(Today's Moviewatch features videos of the WoW Bitfilm contestants asking for votes, however we are not suggesting you vote for anyone in particular. We are only showcasing them as they pertain to WoW. As there are fans of all platforms here, we know that you will make your choice based on your own preference. In addition, despite the image on Olibith's video before you play it, it is harmless.)

The World of Warcraft Bitfilm Festival nominees are really working hard for their votes! With just a little over a month left to vote, they've each created a video pleading their case. We previously wrote about their chance to win 1500 Euros earlier this month.

The first one on the scene was Olibith, with a sentimental video about the contest, set to the Carpenters. Next up was Baron Soosdon, letting you know that if you don't vote for him, a "terrible curse" will fall upon you. The only one missing was Dopefish, whom I had to chase down to make a video in order to be fair.

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

Previously on Moviewatch ...


See the Olibith and Dopefish vote videos, as well as a full list of the nominees after the jump ...

Continue reading WoW Moviewatch: Bitfilm Festival vote videos

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Why all race Death Knights make sense from a lore standpoint - Fri, 23 May 2008 11:00:00 EST
It seems like one of the biggest problems a lot of people have with Death Knights is the fact that they can be all races. Me, I say: Why not? The lore really isn't as bad as you might think. Sure, some of the retcons can get a little annoying, but despite the fact that non-Paladin races will get to be Death Knights, I don't think you really consider it a retcon, but rather an evolution in an ever-evolving story that opens up a lot of great story ideas and RP opportunities, and I'm really looking forward to it.

Continue reading Why all race Death Knights make sense from a lore standpoint

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Around Azeroth: Worst date ever - Fri, 23 May 2008 10:00:00 EST

Solanum of <Sovereignty Warcraft> on Frostwolf thought he had the perfect date idea; a night on a secluded boat, fishing under the starry sky, entertained by dancing trolls. However, his guildmate Lathiria clearly thought otherwise. Need more proof? Well, she had to pay for her half of the flight to Everlook. And when it was time to make the jump into Darkshore, Solanum found out that he'd forgotten his protection (aka light feathers.) Nothing spoils an evening like resurrecting your boyfriend. And then, finally, they're sitting in the romantic boat on the romantic lake, she's wearing an outfit that barely covers anything, and he's ... looking the other way and leveling up his fishing skill? But really, I'm sure Solanum and Lathiria had a wonderful time out. You can't help it that blood elf female look half-naked and constantly bored.

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

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, if you know of a good, funny, mature RP guild Alliance-side on Moon Guard, hit me up!

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Breakfast Topic: Choose a race for your Death Knight - Fri, 23 May 2008 08:00:00 EST

I've been more ore less avoiding the Wrath of the Lich King news. Not because I'm afraid of spoilers, but because Blizzard has this annoying habit of teasing us and then taking things away. Take the bleed effect on Flametongue Weapon for example. Nothing is final until it goes live and even then it will most likely be tweaked.

Although there are still many details to be hashed out, Blizzard will hold true to their promise of the Death Knight Class. We've heard all kinds of news about what this class can do, again, this is subject to change. I sincerely hope that the developers do not change their minds that any race can roll a Death Knight.

If I do roll one, I will most likely roll an Undead. Maybe it's cliche, but its only fitting. On Alliance side I would most likely chose Draenei. I think that with all of their death and destruction, Death Knights would really benefit from Gift of the Naaru, and they will certainly have an Inspiring Presence. What race will your DK be?

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The strong bond between healer and tank - Thu, 22 May 2008 21:00:00 EST
We often post about the bonds created with this game -- there are some terrific bonds between guildies, and Arena teams and battleground groups have some strong bonds as well. But Omen of Clarity and Resto4Life, two great Druid blogs, recently took a look at an even more intimate bond ingame: that between tanks and healers.

Omen started it off -- after stepping into a tanking role, he noticed that a certain Paladin healer had really bonded with him in terms of keeping each other up and running, and it really made them both better players -- the tank was more willing to step up when aggro got lost, and the healer had more reason to keep up buffs and rely on the tank, even at his own expense. Resto, from the other side of the spells, agrees -- even out of raids, the healer there will send the tank potions and go out of their way to keep both together. And from my time raiding as a Resto Shaman, I was always thrilled when I got to be in the same group as the tank I was healing, and got to Earth Shield them and spend my trinkets just to keep them up.

It's not the only major relationship in the game (there's also a nice relationship between the tank and the rest of the melee and DPS, as well as the buffers and the buffed in a raid group), but it is an interesting, minute one, and it's something pretty specific to these MMOs that we play. Playing together isn't just fun and games -- by building bonds with other players in other roles, we both become better at the roles we play.

Update: Just in case, like Ratshag, our little hint on the picture wasn't enough for you, the two characters in the pic above are another fairly well-known tank and healer combo, Tree of Life and Pretty in Plate. You try to hide a subtle little easter egg in there for those of us who read all these WoW blogs, and Ratshag won't let you get away with it. Thanks for keeping us honest.

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About the Bloggers: Amanda Dean - Thu, 22 May 2008 20:00:00 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.

Hi there. It's nice to finally make an introduction. The name's Amanda, but you can call me mandy. With a whole generation of Amandas out there it helps to differentiate us.


What do you do for WoW Insider?

I'm technically just your average, run-of-the-mill blogger. Since coming on staff in February, I've picked up the WoW Rookie column and Blood Sport. David Bowers and I write He Said She Said together, but we're taking a little break due to educational commitments. I have the most fun writing Well Fed Buff. I really enjoy writing about intersections between the real and virtual worlds, and I love any topic that gets people talking.

Continue reading About the Bloggers: Amanda Dean

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Blizzard: Sharing Wrath data is "extremely offensive and inappropriate" - Thu, 22 May 2008 19:30:00 EST
As if there was any doubt, Nethaera has posted that Blizzard considers the sharing of any Wrath of the Lich King alpha information "extremely offensive and inappropriate," though it's a good question as to whom that is, other than Blizzard themselves. Here at WoW Insider, our policy is not to rehost or quote any leaked alpha information, though as a service to our readers, we've been linking to other sites where it may be found. But is it within Blizzard's rights to lash out at anyone who does host or discuss leaked alpha information?

As copyright holders, they certainly have ownership of any notes, updates, or models released, so it could be considered a violation of copyright law to rehost the information. But to really get to the center of the problems behind this leak, you have to realize where it likely came from: the Friends and Family Alpha release. A little while ago, Blizzard distributed the client for Wrath to a number of their "friends and family" -- probably a group that consisted of employees and their WoW-playing relatives, as well as likely some folks at Vivendi and Activision, other Blizzard partners like Upper Deck and Figureprints, and probably a number of high-end raiding guilds who've done a lot of pre-beta testing for Blizzard before. Somewhere in there was someone not quite as trustworthy as Blizzard thought (odds are that Blizzard at the very least collected a signed non-disclosure agreement from everyone that they sent the client to), and that person uploaded or otherwise shared the client, against the agreement.

Cut to a few days later, after that person shares it with another person, who shares it with one more person, who then uploads it to a popular bittorrent filesharing site, and suddenly everyone's got access to everything in the Wrath client, and even if they can't play it, they can still datamine and grab information.

Continue reading Blizzard: Sharing Wrath data is "extremely offensive and inappropriate"

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The new and improved Murlocs - Thu, 22 May 2008 19:00:00 EST
Just in case you missed it the other week, my absolute favorite part of all the new expansion news was that we will, for the first time ever, be doing something with Murlocs besides killing them. In the Borean Tundra, there will apparently be two Aldor- and Scryer-like factions, with one being called "Wolvar" and consisting of "wolverine people" of some kind (probably not the same as Worgen), and the other being our favorite gurgling landfish.

Which is not only awesome because, man, we sure missed Murlocs in Outland, and also because apparently the Oracles (that's what the faction will be called) will be a reputation faction, so we'll actually get to earn reputation with Murlocs. We have no idea how we'll possibly communicate with them, though -- rumor is that they're "more evolved" than the murlocs we've been fighting so far, but it would be super out-of-place to see a Murloc saying anything other than "Murrrglgglrrlgglll!!"

Then again, we already know it's possible (at least unofficially) to capture a live Murloc and develop a translator. Never underestimate the power of goblin ingenuity, I guess.

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Scattered Shots: Got mana? - Thu, 22 May 2008 17:55:00 EST


Scattered Shots is temporarily subtitled "Scattered Thoughts" this week, as David goes off on a speculative tangent. Perhaps all this expansion leakage is causing a leak in his brain too, but hey, a little bit of intellectual pondering never hurt anyone, right? This column is for hunters, by the way -- but, yeah... you knew that.

After writing last week's article about hunter problems and predictions, I got to thinking about how hunters use mana, and reflecting on the question of whether hunters should be using mana or not. Hunters have many things in common with classes like rogues and warriors, such as doing physical damage, and yet they have much in common with mages and warlocks as well, such as being vulnerable to mana-draining abilities. This issue is vague enough that my observations here can only be considered personal opinions, and they won't be of interest if all you want from this column is a list of the greatest gear and talent builds. But for the speculative among us, there's lots to discuss here.

Continue reading Scattered Shots: Got mana?

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Describing WoW in four words - Thu, 22 May 2008 17:00:00 EST

Theantipoet of the World of Warcraft LJ community has a challenge for us in the spirit of the ten word and Wow-ku challenges: Sum up the Burning Crusade raiding game in four words or less -- his was "Fire bad. Tree Pretty." The community stepped up to the challenge quite nicely, offering answers that ranged from the obvious ("You are not prepared!") to the cynical ("Let's just farm badges"), and from the silly ("Making Coffee -- Kael's Talking") to the sublime ("Sometimes there is fire").

Myself, I think my raiding experience on my Druid can be best summed up thus: "Damn Dire Bear butt!" Seriously, whenever I tank a boss, that is all I see. The scenery gets boring. And furry. When it comes to my Hunter, I think it would be something like: "Why won't Wolfslayer drop?" The rifle never dropped for me.

Of course, we hardly need to stop there. Why not expand the challenge to what you're looking forward to the most in WoTLK ("Fear my undead army!"), or what is frustrating you about your trade skill ("Drowning in Mithril Spurs"), or an ode to your favorite quest reward("Alliance has Boot Flasks!")? Give me your four word descriptions in the comments.

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New WoW shirts at Jinx - Thu, 22 May 2008 16:00:00 EST
Long-time purveyors of WoW wear, Jinx have updated their line with some new spring fashions. There are five new t-shirts available for both men and women, and one nifty Carrot on a Stick keychain (if only it made your car go faster). Many of their older designs (specifically, Alliance, Horde, and each class) are also now available in youth sizes. You're never too young to say "glory to the Alliance" with your t-shirt.

I like most of the new designs, although I still have yet to actually buy anything from Jinx. I'm not too keen on the Illidan one; it's a little melodramatic for me. The Hunter design calls in mind the good old days of Shadowmelded Aimed Shots, and the faux-vintage baseball shirts are cute. My favorite, though, has to be the 8-bit Molten Core shirt (which, by the way, is a limited edition). That's one of my favorite of Blizz's many April Fool's jokes, and it plays well on cotton.

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