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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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Tip: Run Midsummer as a lowbie - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST
Here's a great tip from Darthkurai on LJ: doing the Midsummer Fire quests as a lowbie will net you a ton of nice XP. He grabbed almost two levels' worth of XP at level 40, just for running around to all the different bonfires throughout Azeroth. Bewarned that some of the quests have various level requirements on them (Undercity and all of the capital flames, as he finds out, are level 50 and above only, and of course Lord Ahune is only for level 70s), but doing all of the quests at low levels will net you a good 6-7k XP, which around level 40 will give you at least a ding or two.

Pretty good for just running around the world once or twice. Everyone's excited about Ahune and what you can get from him, but don't forget your old alts, either -- logging them on during the festival and showing them the world (while killing on the way with those buffs) can grab you a nice chunk of free XP for them as well.

The Midsummer Fire Festival is upon us! Check out WoW Insider's complete quest guide to collect those Burning Blossoms as well as our guide on how to spend them. Also, don't forget to eyeball our screenshot gallery of Midsummer events. Finally, find out how to kill Lord Ahune, and check out our break down of his loot table.

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Midsummer Festival Quest - Shards of Ahune - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:30:00 EST
We love to give here at WoW Insider. We're just givers. We provided a guide to the Midsummer Fire Festival, including a level guide, instructions on how to steal the opposite faction's fire, a walkthrough and a loot table for conquering Lord Ahune, and a guide to most of the other festival quests. Now we present a quick guide to getting your very own Tabard of Summer by completing the Shards of Ahune quest.

After you've taken down Lord Ahune in the Slave Pens, loot the Ice Chest he drops. If you get an item called Shards of Alune, you can right-click it to start the quest. Um, then the rest is ever so tough. You just trot yourself over to Luma Skymother, a female Tauren in the Slave Pens and complete the quest with her. She'll give you 20 Burning Blossoms and your choice of tabards -- either with Flames or Skies. Note that you need to be at least Level 66 to obtain and complete this quest.

That's all there is to it! Well, except for making it through the Slave Pens alive and defeating Lord Ahune and some junk. But hey, who knows, maybe when you get yours, it will show this elusive mystery tooltip when you inspect it. A prize inside, just like Cracker Jacks!

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ESL replaced Warcraft 3 with WoW - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST

In its previous two seasons , the Intel Extreme Masters (from the Electronic Sports League) focused on two main eSports disciplines --- Counter-Strike 1.6 and Warcraft 3. Now, however, that's changing. They've announced that World of Warcraft will take over the spot from Warcraft 3, based in part on the success of previous WoW tournaments. While ESL doesn't explicitly say it's an Arena tournament, I think we can safely assume that to be the case.

This is just part of the ongoing eSport effort, and I think we'll hear about a lot more tournaments in the coming months. I don't know if Blizzard meant to bump its own game from some rosters, but I suppose there's only so much room at each tournament. There's also $750,000 (US) in prize money for the victors. They've not announced how much will specifically go to World of Warcraft, but it'll definitely make it worth winning.

[Via Arena Junkies]

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Gotfrag releases videos of the MLG 3v3 WoW Tournament - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:30:00 EST

Remember the MLG San Diego 3v3 WoW Arena Tournament we reported on a while back? If you missed the live streaming video of the event, you now have a second chance to watch, as GotFrag has begun posting videos of various matches and interviews with team members at their website.

If you have any interest in Arena PvP, these videos are definitely recommended watching. The commentators obviously know what they're talking about, and explain both teams' actions in terms that your average WoW player should be able to understand. A lot of us at WoW Insider watched it, and we all agree that we learned something valuable about life, love, and learning to play Arena PvP from it. You may even pick up some tricks to kick off your Season 4 playing from them.

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Arena Junkies fires up S3 Calculator, hooks up with Curse - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST

Arena Junkies has been pretty busy lately -- not only are they updating their Season 3 title calculator in preparation for the new Season, they've partnered with Curse to improve their service.

The Season Three Arena Title Calculator by Arena Junkies is created by some pretty involved techniques. They start by plunging a few teams in each bracket and battlegroup as far down the ranking ladder as they can possibly get. Then, the theorycrafters at Arena Junkies do their very best guess about how many teams are inactive. Using that data, they math out what ranking you'll probably need to achieve a given title. As AJ points out, though, this is just an estimate. They don't have the behind-the-scenes data anlysis to guarantee what will be required, and the ranks will be at least a little fluid until the very end. However, as you grind your Arena ranking as high as you can tonight, this'll give you an idea of what title you might expect when S4 starts. Assuming you meet the requirements, of course.

The Curse announcement last week was a little more vague, and there weren't definites about what the partnership would mean for Arena Junkies. According to Tyveris, the existing staff members are still in charge of the site, and very little will actually change. What it will allow them to do, however, is add new features in the coming months. It'll be interesting to see what those features are, and whether it's part of that premium package that was mentioned a few months ago.

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New live raid broadcast by Nihilum - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST

We've told you before about Nihilum's new planned broadcast of a Sunwell Plateau raid, hosted by XFire. We just wanted to remind you that the big day's right around the corner -- the broadcast starts live on Wednesday, June 25th at 19 CEST. This time around, there's 4,000 view slots available, and you'll be able to watch the raid over the shoulder of a Warrior, Hunter, Druid, or Warlock. The broadcast is set to run about 3 to 4 hours.

As Natalie warned you before, make sure you have the Dyyno plug-in installed and ready to go ahead of time. (Dyyno runs "best" under XP on Internet Explorer, but should work fine with Firefox.) Check out the event's web site for more instructions. Nihilum doesn't promise a Kil'Jaeden take-down -- but why risk missing it?

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Raid Rx: Analyzing you healers Part 3 - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:45:00 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. A lot of times when I'm sifting through data on WWS, I feel like I need Sherlock Holmes' hat and magnifying glass. Today is no exception.

If you're just joining the series for the first time, here's a link to get you caught up. The rest of you should recall that we left things on the cusp of actually going through WWS. Today we will rectify that and get into the nuts and bolts of WWS healing analysis. See you healing sleuths after the break!

Continue reading Raid Rx: Analyzing you healers Part 3

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Leaked WWI schedule hints at Diablo 3 announcement? - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:30:00 EST


Ice on the official site or otherwise, I'm still holding out hope that we'll see a Diablo-related announcement at WWI (and not a Wrath of the Lich King beta/release announcement, as many are guessing). And here's a little more fuel for the speculation fire: DiabloII.net says they've received the official schedule for the event in Paris this coming weekend, and right after the main presentation, they say that Blizzard has planned a press conference. And basically, their argument is that you don't plan a press conference to announce an open beta of an expansion we've known about for almost a year -- you hold a press conference for a new Diablo game.

We should also note, though people have noticed this before, that Sunday, June 29th, is the eighth anniversary of the release of Diablo II, so this weekend has a lot of hack-and-slash-related significance as is. Of course, we won't know until WWI actually kicks off in Paris on Saturday -- WoW Insider will, of course, have correspondents on the scene to let you know exactly what Blizzard announces when they do.

And even if we don't get D3 this weekend, there's always BlizzCon.

[Via Blizzplanet]

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How to hold a scientific conference in Azeroth - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST
John Bohannon has been writing for Science magazine as "The Gonzo Scientist," and his most recent writeup, on a real scientific conference held in the World of Warcraft, is a great read. We reported that the event was happening back in May, and now Bohannon's put together a really honest report (from how the conference was funded to the reasons why it was chosen to be Horde-only) on what its like for these scientists researching virtual worlds to put their money where their mouth is, so to speak, and actually hold a conference ingame.

They had to deal with everything from conversation direction (they appointed one person to get whispers on any questions for speakers, though, as anyone who's ever been to a mass ingame event will tell you, you can't really keep people from yelling and screaming) to mobs in the Barrens. And it sounds like they did get something done -- besides the panels, which were only slightly frustrated by griefers, they took expeditions throughout the world, and did do a little thinking about how different meeting in RL and meeting in a virtual existence is.

Very good read. The end of the article has a link to a PDF book about the conference, but it's hidden behind Science's membership wall. Still, Bohannon writes clearly and fairly about the game, and it's fun to think of a bunch of scientists actually trying to navigate a virtual world while doing their own research.

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Level 80 legendary tabard spotted - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 15:30:00 EST
Like Bigfoot, it's so elusive that photographs are rare, but some WoW players have caught a glimpse of what may be an upcoming PvP reward from Wrath. Or maybe it's just a bug. Or -- and I have a nickel bet on this one -- it's a nice little prank Blizzard's playing on us in return for our snooping around for information on the expansion. Whatever it is, though, it has left at least one footprint. We've gotten a few tips that upon inspecting a player's Tabard of Summer Flames, the Horde side reward from the Shards of Ahune quest, the tabard's tooltip describes a very different item called Tabard of the Victor. Even though the tabard's design matched the Midsummer quest reward, the description was quite different.

First of all, the Tabard of the Victor requires Level 80, which was our first clue that it was probably not meant for pre-Wrath eyes. The tabard binds on pick-up, provides 250 Armor, +20 Stamina, +10 to All Resistances. Upon equipping it, your resilience rating improves by 15 and it increases movement speed and life regeneration rate. The funniest part -- and what makes me think this could be a prank by our dear game designers -- is the tabard's use is described as: "Use: Show how heroic you are! (55 Secs Cooldown)" and the bottom line description is, "The Mark of a True Hero." It seems that perhaps the glitch was caused by an error in the cache because when it was cleared the tabard's description correctly matched the Summer Flames tabard.

[Thanks, Jagoex and James Vertovec!]

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Battleground fallacies - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST


Hi.

I know we're all excited about Season 4. Some of us are stockpiling arena points and trying to get our ratings up, while others are taking the opportunity to gear up some alts in Season 2 gear as soon as it moves to honor. And that's great, there's something for everyone. But it also seems, at least on the servers I play on, to be leading to some frayed tempers in the battlegrounds. So let's chat about what is, and what isn't, appropriate and useful for getting yourself some honor in the BG's.

First off, and I can't say this one enough as a general piece of advice for any battleground, yelling, calling people names, and spamming macros does not actually make you Sun Tzu. It can be very annoying when your WSG turns into a 45 minute turtle with no flag captures, or your AV run becomes mired down because yet again everyone rushed RH instead of taking and holding Iceblood Graveyard, but no matter how creative your insults get, the tide of battle will not turn. The other players in the battleground are not going to say "you know, Matsakillza is right, I really am a total noob" and even if they did, how would that possibly improve how the match is progressing? It won't. It just makes you look like a petulant child throwing a fit because something didn't go your way.

Now that we've gotten that bit of general advice out of the way, let's move on to specific examples from each battleground, linking to our own Zach Yonson's thoughts on each as we do.

Continue reading Battleground fallacies

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Real-life Mooncloth Bag (and Horde earrings) - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST


Yup, it's a real-life Mooncloth Bag. SpikeHeadDesign over on Etsy has turned the 16-slotter's icon into an actual, real-life bag. Instead of actual Mooncloth, though (there are no real Moonwells on Earth, unfortunately), it's made of corduroy, cotton, a few buttons and velcro, and some kind of lace on the side (though I know my Shaman would never actually use something with lace on it, so they must all be different). Looks terrific, anyway, and it should for that price: $180.00. Still, for a handmade, one-of-a-kind bag, can't go wrong. The creator says that Netherweave is next, and it'll be exciting when we get to "Gigantique."

Alice Taylor of the great Wonderland blog has also been dutifully keeping up with WoW stuff on Etsy: she found these great Horde earrings that have unfortunately sold out (though this other design is still available). Could be the perfect gift for the jewelry-adorned WoW player in your life.

Thanks, Jaynnie!

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Midsummer Fire Festival level guide - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST


You don't have to be level 70 to get in on most of the fun for this year's Midsummer Fire Festival. Here is a guide to the minimum levels required (as stated by Kisirani) and recommended for each of the quests:
  • Torch Tossing and Torch Catching have no minimum level requirement. Because you complete these quests in the safety of a capital city, any level is appropriate.
  • Honoring the flames has no minimum level requirement. Unless you are 50+, however, the recommended level is the same as the level of the area you can comfortably hunt in.
  • Desecrating flames also has no minimum level requirement, but considering it flags you for PvP even on a PvE server, do so at your own risk if you are low level.
  • Incense for the Festival Scorchlings also has no minimum level and any level is recommended.
  • Unusual Activitiy requires level 16, but I wouldn't recommend lower than 20 given that you have to fight level 20 and 21 cultists and the area is rotten with level 20 Naga.
  • A Thief's Reward or stealing the flames in the other faction's capital cities required a minimum level of 50, but if the flame is at all defended, it's best to be level 70.
  • Lord Ahune requires a minimum level of 65. Slave Pens is where he resides, so any level above the minimum that you feel comfortable in that instance is recommended.
These quests give a lot of experience if you are below 70 and a lot of money if you aren't. Regardless of the rewards, however, these quests are a fresh infusion of fun during this period of pre-expansion blahs. So if you haven't tried them yet, what are you waiting for?
The Midsummer Fire Festival is upon us! Check out WoW Insider's complete quest guide to collect those Burning Blossoms as well as our guide on how to spend them. Also, don't forget to eyeball our screenshot gallery of Midsummer events. Finally, find out how to kill Lord Ahune, and check out our break down of his loot table.

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WoW Moviewatch: Azerothian Super Villains, Episode 6 Teaser Trailer - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 12:00:00 EST

Ian Beckman has remained tight-lipped about the plot of the highly anticipated sequel to his Azerothian Super Villains series, which is scheduled to be released on the 4th of July. However, Kael'thas was all too happy to discuss how ASV6 would turn out if he were the director. While we're not too sure about his sanity, we wish him all the luck in getting his version of the series bought. In the meantime, keep your eye out for the real version of Episode 6!

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

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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WotLK Wiki is back in action - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 11:30:00 EST
Don't count the WotLK Wiki out yet -- after going down late last week due to a suspected cease-and-desist order from Blizzard's lawyers (now confirmed), they have returned with a completely different host and all the information from the leaked Alpha they were originally hosting. They say that their original wiki hosts, Wikidot, were extremely supportive on both the traffic and legal fronts, as they upgraded their servers just to keep the site up, and originally did help with legal troubles. When Vivendi Universal took legal action against their ISP, however, Wikidot had to fold, and the wiki has now moved hosts to wotlkwiki.info.

Last week, there was also mention that the C&D didn't ask them to remove all information, only "over-the-line" info, such as screenshots or video. But apparently that clause doesn't apply to the new host -- there are still screenshots all over the site, and though Vivendi has pulled video from YouTube before, it's still there as well.

Of course, any C&D sent to the old site would still apply to the new one -- it's just a question now of whether the wiki's new host will comply with Vivendi's demands (the wiki's creators sound very sure that they won't). And after that, it'll be up to Vivendi to determine how far they want to take this -- if they really feel that having this leaked information on that site has hurt them in a justifable way, there is a possibility that an actual lawsuit could be issued, and if this escalates even further, the two parties could eventually end up in court. As always, we'll be watching to see what happenes.

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Officers' Quarters: Cracking the whip - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST
Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

Remember when The Burning Crusade launched and everyone was in a big hurry to ding 70? Apparently some guilds are still leveling up. This week's e-mail doesn't mention whether these are new players or rerolls, but the problem is the same: What should you do when the people you're counting on just aren't leveling up fast enough?

I am a member of a small guild on Gul'dan server. I sympathize with and thank K for sharing his guild problems. Our guild is a lot younger and most likely smaller than his is or was at one point, but as we progress to get our members leveled up and geared up for raiding I can already notice a slight discontent, similar to what K described.

We are very casual right now and our leader is letting the guild "breathe its own air", by not imposing any strict rule. This is done to allow the players to feel comfortable as they level up. The only real rule, more of a suggestion I would say, that we ask our members to follow, is to disregard any dungeon quest and just concentrate on leveling up as fast as possible, without having higher levels running you through areas.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: Cracking the whip

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Around Azeroth: I've told every little star - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


Just another cheap shot of that beautiful Outland sky? Maybe, but there's something just so wistfully hopeful about this picture. A blood elf, who for once doesn't look bored or irritated or homicidal, hanging out on a hill with her Spirit of Summer and fire festival crown, pining for her lost love. Thanks to Lazul of Bronzebeard-EU for this pic!

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

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets.

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More signs of cold on official sites - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 09:10:00 EST

It's Monday morning and new hints of cold have appeared around Blizzard's official web sites. If you visit the Blizzard corporate site, or the front page of the community sites, you got a crystallized image of ... something. It's pretty hard to tell what you're looking at, except that it's icy and maybe cavernous.

While this is pretty obviously a teaser graphic of some kind, there is no text or other graphics detailing what Blizzard's hinting at. It's a safe bet that the graphic is related to Wrath of the Lich King. Some speculation posits that we might be about to see the actual release date. Of course, it could be related to Ahune and the Midsummer festivities -- but I don't think so. I also don't think this is a mistake that's going to be reverted -- since it's on the corporate site and the official sites, it seems purposeful. We'll let you know more as it happens.

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Ask WoW Insider: When to gem and enchant? - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST


Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week Greta writes in:

Hi! After nearly two years of fiddling around with far too many alts, I finally got a rogue to 70. I'm working on gearing to be able to do heroics and maybe some of Kara with friends before Wrath comes out. My question is this: at what point is it worth it to drop money on nice gems and enchants? I'm mostly still in quest rewards and I'm still saving for my epic flyer, so I'm somewhat loath to drop the gold just yet. At the same time, I want to be a solid addition to my group and I know that maximizing gear is part of that. Any advice on when this is a practical expense?

Thanks,
Greta

Continue reading Ask WoW Insider: When to gem and enchant?

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Breakfast Topic: Ready for Season 4? - Mon, 23 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST

Season 4 of the WoW arena is upon us. In roughly 24 hours, the mad dash to a rating of 2200 will begin. My question for all of you today is... are you ready for it?

A lot of my friends who focus on PvP already have their compositions figured out, their team names ready, and a full bank of honor and arena points stored and ready to spend. Even if you aren't the arena type, Tuesday can mean good things for you. What does Season 4 do for you if you don't PvP? Gold, of course! Profit, profit, profit. With the influx of gear into peoples' hands starting Tuesday, gems and enchanting materials are going to spike in price for awhile. I imagine epic gems will feel this especially, as this is essentially the best gear available to PvPers before Wrath of the Lich King. They'll want to make the most of it.

So whether you play for PvP or you play for Profit, tomorrow means good things. Are you ready for it? Have you done anything to prepare? Do you go through any start-of-the-season rituals for good luck? Burning a Druid-shaped wickerman, perhaps?

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