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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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A Makeover for Sylvanas in Patch 2.4? - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 19:00:00 EST
If you're a lore freak and a Forsaken fan like I am, you might share one of my biggest pet peeves about the World of Warcraft: Why is Sylvanas Windrunner in a Night Elf Body when she's an undead High Elf? The RPG Books tell us that she is in her old body, which Arthas dug up and let her possess as a reward for her services to the scourge, so she should look like a high elf or a blood elf. Instead, she's just a night elf with gray skin. Most of her other High Elven brothers and sisters got a blood elf skin revamp with the expansion, so it always felt wrong that one of the most famous High Elves of them all was stuck as a lowly Night Elf.

It seems that Blizzard may have finally heard our cries of frustration on this. From tipster Jagoex comes news of a discovery by MMO Champion poster Gurulas: Apparently there are some skins hidden in the patch that look very much like they could be a new look for Sylvanas. The render Gurulas made actually makes her look a bit like a cross between a gray alien and a Blood Elf, but it isn't a bad look for her at all.

At last check, Sylvanas is still bouncing away like a hyperactive cheerleader on the test server, so no word on whether this is really a change for her. If we're lucky, maybe we'll see our new Sylvanas by Wrath of the Lich King, and we can have a proper High Elven Dark Lady we can all be proud of.

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All the World's a Stage: Inspiration - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 17:55:00 EST

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, suggestions, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

You've probably heard that no story is completely original, that everything is copied from somewhere, and nothing anyone ever thinks or says is really unique. It's an awfully pessimistic way of looking at the creative endeavor, but there's a degree of truth in it.

Any time you make up a new character, you are sure to be inspired by something you observed somewhere else. Perhaps you wondered, "What if there were a dwarven rogue, whose personality was a mix between Sherlock Holmes and Jack Sparrow?" or "My undead warrior is a lot like Frankenstein's monster, not evil so much as tragically neglected and rejected. He also likes to play with dolls." All this is fine and good for roleplaying, as long as you recognize the essential differences between your character and his or her inspirational anscestors.

After all, every creative endeavor basically consists of mix-and-matching pre-existing knowledge in new and useful ways. In the same way a painter doesn't need to invent new colors, color palettes, or even new color matching techniques to make an beautiful, a storyteller doesn't need to create entirely new characteristics for each character in his or her story, only mix-and-match qualities real people already have in order to create someone compelling and interesting for other characters to interact with.

Jump on in to find some great inspirations for WoW characters.

Continue reading All the World's a Stage: Inspiration

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Dear Blizzard : Server issues - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST
Dear Blizzard,

For whatever reason, your game has been experiencing multiple server related issues in the past few weeks. Many players have seen themselves offline an abnormal amount of time, and for no apparent reason. Some realms have been brought offline for emergency maintenance and stayed that way for nearly a day. Other realms are seeing themselves either reset or become sundered down with mass disconnects that make any serious play almost impossible.

Just the other night I was happily grouping with some friends over on Eldre'Thalas, when all of the sudden the server decided to boot me, and only me, from the game. Lo and behold, when trying to log back in I get stuck on authentication. My other two accounts would not work either. What makes this even better is that Eldre'Thalas wasn't even on the list of realms under emergency maintenance.

You've been giving us all this downtime lately, so I'm wondering, what are you going to do to fix it? Or baring a fix, at least make our $15 a month worth it.

Continue reading Dear Blizzard : Server issues

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Two Bosses Enter: Princess Huhuran vs C'thun - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 15:00:00 EST


Two bosses will enter... but only one will leave in WoW Insider's fantasy deathmatch series. We're pitting two of Azeroth's raid bosses against one another in a battle that your votes get to decide -- until in the end we're left with a single boss as the ultimate champion. Be sure to check out our brackets for a full round-up of our ongoing fight schedule!) This week two Ahn'Qiraj bosses face down, faithful lieutenant Princess Huhuran turns against her master, the Old God C'thun. The battle of AQ commences! Read on to cast your vote on who makes it to the Final Four!

Continue reading Two Bosses Enter: Princess Huhuran vs C'thun

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The return of stamina to tier 6 - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
A few days ago, Eliah mentioned a tragic thing in his list of Undocumented Changes in a recent PTR push: The Stamina disappeared from the new Tier 6 pieces!

There was a pretty big outcry about this, and understandably so. The Burning Crusade has made Stamina a very important stat in all areas of gameplay from PvE to PvP. You need to be able to take blows in the arenas, and almost every raid encounter has multiple sources of random damage to the raid. Stamina is a big deal, which brings us to the good news.

The Stamina has returned to the T6! Not in the amounts it had previously(unfortunately) but still a decent amount. While not ideal, it has enough Stamina that classes can actually wear these set pieces now. Previously, with no Stamina on this armor, most classes were completely unable to wear them in a raid. I know that I, personally, already have to wear PvP gear for a number of encounters because my raiding gear simply doesn't have enough Stamina on it for Black Temple and Mount Hyjal. New tier pieces with no Stamina at all would be something I could not even consider using, no matter how good the rest of the stats may be. Being one-shotted by environmental damage makes that awesome damage and mana regen a little useless.

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Blazing through the newbie zones - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST
I hate the first ten levels. When I say I hate them I mean I really, really hate them. Oh sure, they may only take an hour or so, but how many times have most of us done them by now? I've been playing the World of Warcraft since the day it launched. Earlier than that if you count the beta testing period.

The first ten levels are so, so boring. I have done it dozens and dozens of times by now. I have ten characters of varying levels, and I've had many many low level alts I've deleted over time to make room for new ones, due to my Altoholism. Redoing the starter levels after you have a 70 are as if you are riding your bicycle, and when you decide to take a street you haven't taken before for the adventure of it, someone comes along, pushes you off of your bike, and puts your training wheels back on. Then straps floaties to your arms just in case you ride through a puddle. After that you will probably want to just turn around and go home.

I've taken to solving this predicament with fire. Fiery, to be specific. My good friend Dirk has been with me on many alts now, preventing me from quitting yet another class within 10 levels due to sheer boredom. Dirk does quite a bit for me, one and two-shotting mobs straight out of the newbie zone. He doesn't Bind on Equip, so he is a friend that will last forever. I know that others put Lifestealing on their Dirk, but it just isn't the same. What is life without fire? Not a life for me, that's what.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Ring of Valor, an Orgrimmar Arena Event - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 12:10:00 EST

Some days I surprise myself and enjoy a PvP movie. I know. I was totally shocked too! Kung and friends used the empty arena in Orgrimmar to arrange epic showdowns between tigers, decaying scourge, and arena matches.

These clever guys managed to pull this off on an official server, Maelstrom, so they were limited in what they could do. However, Kung is working on more variety for his next film, so keep an eye out. In the meantime, check out the high resolution version.

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Know Your Lore: The story of the Burning Crusade - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 11:30:00 EST

About two months ago, the Lead Designer for Blizzard gave an interview stating that Patch 2.4 -- specifically, the Sunwell instances -- will wrap up the story of the Burning Crusade. This got some of us here thinking. What exactly is the story of the Burning Crusade? Is it the tale of the blood elves and the draenei joining the Horde/Alliance factions? The mass exodus to Outland? The battles against the Illidari? Or the (once again temporary) defeat of the Burning Legion?

Actually, it's all of the above. And since it's now been over a year since TBC came out, it's about time for a review. So join KYL for ... the story of the Burning Crusade!

Once upon a time ... at the end of Warcraft III, Illidan Stormrage, Lady Vashj, and Kael'thas Sunstrider escaped certain death on Azeroth for the continent of Draenor. Once there, Illidan set himself up as Lord of Outland and appointed Vashj and Kael'thas as his top lieutenants. Illidan invited a group of the blood elves to come to Outland and serve him, and gave them new and improved techniques to siphon magic from the local demons.

This did not sit well with another group in Outland, the draenei. The draenei had been largely mutated or driven into hiding by their earlier war with the orcs, but the remaining draenei were still faithful to the Light and its champions, the too-cool-for-school Naaru. When the Illidari came and started enslaving the mutated draenei (or Broken), the remaining draenei decided it was time to take action. They stole the Exodar, part of a Naaru ship that had been taken over by the blood elves, and set out in search of salvation. One month ago, they crash-landed into some islands west of Kalimdor.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: The story of the Burning Crusade

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Addon Spotlight: Healbot Continued part I - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST


For many, the role of the Healer is something to be avoided all together. For the few, however, healing is a meaningful, rewarding and challenging job, albeit an often-thankless one. Being a healer also tends to make one a popular player. This popularity can wane at higher levels if you don't pick up on a crucial principle: your job is more than just healing. Depending on your class, you will have other duties that include keeping buffs on your companions, de-cursing them, stepping in front of the mage if he or she draws aggro and the list goes on. Addons are one way that the aspiring healer can shift some focus towards his or her other duties. By taking some of the busy work out of casting healing spells, buffs and keeping the party free of curses, poisons and/or diseases, programs like Healbot Continued can take you from being a good healer to being a stellar and indispensable member of any group.

Healbot Continued uses the embedded Lua scripting language to reconfigure information vital to healers. This retrofitting presents an easily manageable interface that helps you maintain a greater degree of situational awareness. For many of you wondering how this works, it's simply a matter of our program, Healbot Continued in this case, listening to the World of Warcraft client for events. In combat, information is literally flying back and forth between the player (client side) and the game server (server side). Healbot Continued simply listens in and picks out information it wants. This is true of almost all addons, which sift through event information for a variety of purposes. Healbot Continued is easily one of the more powerful addons around, as it goes above and beyond what is normally expected of healing addons.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: Healbot Continued part I

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Around Azeroth: Bash'ir Landing gate - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 10:00:00 EST


Seppy of the Neptulon Server finished a new daily on the PTR which gave him a buff that affected his vision. He headed to Bash'ir Landing in Blade's Edge Mountains and got a different perspective on the warp gates there. I don't know about you, but I'd love it if the whole game looked like this.

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

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime. Oh, and no more shots of Omen killed in Ogrimmar. It's cool, we get it. A lot of it.

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Sunday Morning Funnies: Suspicious happenings - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 09:01:00 EST
This week we have a small but great selection of the best of this week's WoW-themed web comics. Settle in with your morning [Black Coffee], and get ready to be entertained.

If you're ready to vote on your favorite, jump past the break.

Continue reading Sunday Morning Funnies: Suspicious happenings

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Breakfast Topic: AV play style poll - Sun, 24 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST

I have a confession to make. I love doing Alterac Valley, but I hate being stuck babysitting flags. I am not a defender- neither at a flag nor at the general's end of the map. As I mentioned on the WoW Insider Show, my main is a Resto Shaman. On Cyclone Battlegroup there seems to be a race to get away from the flag once it's been taken. The last one left is the "defender." Being a healer often times I drink after a taking a flag while everyone else dashes off. I win the right to watch the flag. I stay there and call out incomings. I will not leave a flag undefended, but if there's any way I can scoot out of there, I will.

Resto or Holy (depending on class) defending a flag is a terrible waste of healing. I'm more of a speed bump than a defender. I don't kill much as Resto. I do my best, and I can stay up for a while. Hopefully some DPS will show up before I drop. I would much rather be on the front lines, healing the assault forces. I prefer to rush forward and facilitate forward momentum with my heals.

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: AV play style poll

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Forum post of the day: Mage confessions - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 20:30:00 EST

Apparently Warlocks are not the only evil class in World of Warcraft. Today on the official forums, Mages aired their dirty laundry. Gompers of Archimonde began a thread that quickly filled to capacity with some of the tricks, cheats, and jokes Mages employ for amusement and profit. Some of the highlights include*:

  • Shlippmack of Earthen Ring, "I pyro the lvl 1 critters to boost damage."
  • Tiinsi of Bloodhoof, "On wipes I ice block and let everyone else who's fleeing pull the mobs further away so I have time to invis."
  • Amarius of Alleria, "I sheep horde who are fighting warlocks or hunters just to give them a heal and hopefully the help they need to kill said warlock or hunter."
  • Reoko of Sargeras, "I confess most of my deaths are caused by me hitting the windows button** when I'm trying to press alt 2 for ice block. /facepalm"
  • Haruka of Shadow Council, "I once carried around multiple stacks of Scrolls of Intellect rank 1 that I would use on people in the raid who complained about not getting an int buff."
  • Walugiee of Zul'jin, "I sometimes break my own sheeps and blame hunter multi-shots just so the raid leader yells at them."

The thread has some real gems in it. If I ever level my Mage, I may steal some of their ideas. Do you have anything you'd like to share with the group?

* Quotes are copied directly, I take no ownership of spelling and grammatical mistakes.
** This is why there are holes where the Windows keys were on my keyboard. They were pried off about my second day of playing WoW.

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What does the Warlock lifetap nerf mean? - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 20:01:00 EST


We've mentioned it in passing, but it's considered by some to be a pretty massive change in the way Warlocks will be played in the future, and thus deserves a closer look. Life Tap will now take a certain percentage of your max hp (26% at the highest rank on the PTR currently), and give you a certain percentage of your max mana (26% at the highest rank on the PTR currently, as well). Before, it took a set amount of your max hp and gave all of it to you as mana.

But what exactly does that mean? How does it change Warlocks, and why do so many Warlocks hate it? Let's look at it closer after the break.

Continue reading What does the Warlock lifetap nerf mean?

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Thrall gets a new big brother: US government wants to search for terrorists on WoW - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 18:45:00 EST

The Rogue in your next instance or battleground may just be a spy- not from the opposite faction, from the United States Government. The Office of the Director of National Intelligence submitted a report to Congress [Via Wired] on their plans to use data mining in virtual communities to root out spies. The project will involve sifting through vast amounts of data, looking for suspicious behavior and actions. The Intelligence Community wants to target MMOs because they typically fall outside the purview of study. The spying project would only use publicly available data. The findings of the endeavor would not be classified.

Data mining is the process of going through large amounts of information for specific relevant information. This is a process that has long been used in the business industry for product and market research. The government plans to use these same techniques to root out terrorist messages in online content.

Continue reading Thrall gets a new big brother: US government wants to search for terrorists on WoW

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One Boss Leaves: Illidan vs Twin Emperors wrap up - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST


Last week, Illidan Stormrage the Betrayer, entered the arena against double threat of Ahn'Qiraj, the Twin Emperors. Did Illidan's Shear decimate the Qiraji brothers or did the Lord of the Outlands fall to the siblings' superior numbers?

Reader Dierle summed it up well: [Illidan would] use his normal elf form to slice up the melee vulnerable twin, and his giant demon caster form to blast apart the magic vulnerable twin. Even if they DID get allowed to use their proximity heal, Illidan could throw down his warglaives and use his fire elementals to keep them separated. That would make it game over for the Twin Emperors.

Illidan moves on to the Final Four. His opponent will be determined when the voting opens tomorrow in the death match of Ahn'Qiraj bosses: Princess Huhuran vs. C'thun.

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Meet Lord Ahune - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST
First off, I'd like to warn everyone that this post contains fairly detailed spoilers for the upcoming holiday, the Midsummer Fire Festival. If you'd like the details of the new boss to remain a surprise, this post probably isn't for you! But I know quite well that most WoW players can't stand not knowing what's what, so I'm sure many of you will continue.

As mentioned in Daniel's post a few days ago, this Festival will bring us another Headless Horseman-esque boss, complete with phat lewts. You can check it all out on the PTR right now. Found within the Slave Pens, this boss, named Lord Ahune, is another Ragnaros look-alike. As you can probably guess from his appearance alone, Ahune is another lieutenant of the Elemental Lords, like Prince Thunderaaan. Ahune is serving one of the Lords in particular: Neptulon. Is this another bit of the story of Skar'this? Time will tell!

The Lord Ahune encounter is an alternating two phase battle, again similar to the Headless Horseman. Without giving away too many details, be prepared to fight a number of adds in one of the two phases and have some burst damage queued up for the other. Most any group worth their salt should be able to put away Ahune relatively easily.

While the battle is fun, the loot is funner. More fun? Funnerer.

Continue reading Meet Lord Ahune

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What to do about perpetual losers? - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 15:03:00 EST
Many Alliance players have this impression that the Horde is constantly united, more cooperative, and generally understands how to play better than the Alliance does. Whether this is true or not is not something I myself can speak for, though I have heard my Horde friends say they have just as many clueless PvP people as the Alliance does.

So perhaps both factions can relate to Mendax's complaint that so many people seem to go into the battlegrounds with no idea how to win, and somehow fail to learn how, even in spite of playing a great deal and getting a lot of good gear. Their tendency is just to go in and lose over and over again, repeating the same old proven-to-fail methods for various reasons: possibly because they don't know anything better, possibly because they don't care anymore, and possibly because they've already identified themselves, their faction, or everyone else in their faction as born losers.

In any case, Mendax thinks that Blizzard should make the battlegrounds themselves reward you for better play, so that the game mechanics themselves encourage you to play in such a way that you're more likely to actually win. First of all, they could provide more honor for kills near contested objectives (such as flags or towers), and secondly, they could deny all bonus honor if you lose. His first idea quite interesting -- I like the possibility that the reward system of the battlegrounds could somehow teach you to play better in itself, if that's really possible. However, while I can understand his reasoning in removing all bonus honor gain for losing teams, I think this would just make the "losers" stop queueing up altogether. We might be happy to get rid of whiners, complainers and all them, but in the end would the increase the waiting time in between battles be worth it? And in any case, would the "losers" really go away, or would they just look for ways to get around the system?

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Shifting Tanzanite shifts - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 14:00:00 EST
A minor(but interesting) change was included in the last PTR push: The Shifting Tanzanite has had its stats changed up a bit. Previously a Strength/Agility gem, it is now Agility/Stamina, as you can see above.

Previously, this was arguably the best blue gem in the game for melee DPS classes. With the introduction of the Heroic gems no longer being Unique in patch 2.4, it was a little exciting to be able to slot more than one of these at a time, even if blues aren't the most desirable color for physical damage dealers. Now, the Shifting Tanzanite is still desired, but not necessarily to fill that same role or by the same people. One of the few highly sought after Heroic gems has been gutted.

Why? Nobody knows but Blizzard. One of my theories is these Heroic gems are not meant to be a "best in slot" but an alternative option, even now that you can socket multiples in your armor. It probably won't bother too many melee DPS because as good as that gem was, it was only the best blue for melee. Most melee do not stack blues at all. Tanks do stack blues, however. While this gem has become a little better for the tanks, it most likely does not outweigh Solid Stars of Elune and most certainly is not better than Solid Empyrean Sapphires for the raiders among us.

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Hybrid Theory: What's a hybrid? v2.0 - Sat, 23 Feb 2008 13:00:00 EST


Hybrid Theory returns under the banner of column-newb Alex Ziebart. Incredibly biased opinions await you. If you are reading this, you have already been made a victim of his inability to create interesting graphics. No World of Warcraft players were harmed in the creation of the previous image, though that does not mean it won't hurt you.

When I decided on my topic for today, I was mighty excited. A fire raged within me, and my fingers flew over the keyboard as soon as I sat down at the computer. My first column! Awesome! Yes! About three paragraphs in, I realized I should probably make sure my predecessor, Jason Lotito, hadn't done the topic yet. Unfortunately, he did. Fortunately, I completely disagree with what he said in every possible way.

Perfect.

What is a hybrid class? The basic answer is pretty simple: A class with multiple viable roles. Paladins, Druids and Shaman are obvious examples of a hybrid class. If you disagree with the fact that they're hybrids, you must be playing the wrong game. Holy, Retribution, Protection. Feral, Balance, Restoration. Elemental, Enhancement, Restoration. All of them are viable specs, especially in raiding. As fun as it is to mock Retribution Paladins, even they have a place in the end-game.

Basically, Shamadruidins are hybrids. Don't try to argue that they aren't because you will lose.

Continue reading Hybrid Theory: What's a hybrid? v2.0

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