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More Firefox + Wowhead goodness - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST
Am I a Wowhead guru? Oh, pshaw! Please. Your fan-mail flattery embarrasses me. I mean, really, it embarrasses me. I'm as far away from being a Wowhead guru as... well, some simile that means "really, really far away." But hey, just because I may be dippy doesn't mean I can't keep offering up more Firefox + Wowhead love.

Behold, Dictionary Search! This Firefox addon adds other "Search for" options on your context-sensitive menu (the one that comes up with you right-click your mouse). Dictionary Search allows you to highlight a word on a web page, right click it, and search for that word or phrase on any custom site you choose. Don't be fooled by the addon's academic (and thus, to me, scary) sounding name. You don't need to search a dictionary website; you can choose Wowhead as one of your four customizable search "dictionaries."

Read more about how to install Wowhead on the Dictionary Search addon for Firefox.

Continue reading More Firefox + Wowhead goodness

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Rob Pardo talks about free WoW, Starcraft, Activision - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST
Rob Pardo, SVP of game design at Blizzard, gave the keynote speech at the Game Developer's Conference held in Paris this week. Here are some WoW-related tidbits from his talk and the Q&A session held afterward.

About WoW

  • WoW was first conceived as free to play, being supported by advertising. However, the non-subscription business model couldn't support Blizzard's goals for the game.
  • Pardo suggested that Blizzard approached the MMO genre "very naively, or else we might not have done it."
  • He once hired a WoW player who sent him a 16-page diatribe about the game because, even though the guy was wrong, "he was passionate" about improving the game.
About Starcraft 2
  • Blizzard has no problem putting intellectual properties on hold for a while, hence the wait for a Starcraft game. Pardo says that they wanted to make a real-time strategy game but were "tired of green-skinned orcs" so they moved away from Warcraft to Starcraft.
  • Starcraft 2 is at a playable stage in its development and he's having a lot of fun with it.
Read more about Rob Pardo's keynote speech.

Continue reading Rob Pardo talks about free WoW, Starcraft, Activision

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15 Minutes of Fame: Mage(ic) with numbers - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST


15 Minutes of Fame is our 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 at 15minutesoffame (AT) wowinsider (DOT) com.

Mages come in two general flavors: the kind who love to blow things up willy-nilly, and the kind who love to blow things up based on a precise mathematical model delineating optimal throughput and efficiency. Lhivera of US Aggramar-A is the second kind. His love of theorycrafting landed him in hot water with Blizzard recently, after he posted speculative analyses of Mage performance based on leaked Wrath of the Lich King alpha information. Blizzard didn't like the discussion appearing on their forums, and Lhivera ended up perma-banned from posting there again.

But Lhivera is alive and well and still crunching numbers, both in game and over at the Elitist Jerks forums, where he's made a new home among fellow theorycrafters. 15 Minutes of Fame spent a few days in e-mails with Lhivera to bring you a closer look at the numbers behind magecrafting. This week, we talk with Lhivera about Blizzard's ban-hammer and the appeal of theorycrafting; be sure to tune in for Part II of our interview, next week.

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Mage(ic) with numbers

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MLG Orlando tickets on sale - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST
Tickets are now on sale for the next step of the Major League Gaming 2008 PC Circuit, which will be in sunny Orlando. The event runs from July 11 until July 13, and will once again be covered by GotFrag. We'll see more of the best Arena players going head to head in a 3v3 Arena tournament, with over $31,500 available in prizes. You can visit the official site for registration details. There are 32 team slots available in MLG Orlando.

Of course, you can still view the videos from MLG San Diego on GotFrag. There's a lot of interesting gameplay available there, and everyone who's wondering about how to handle Season 4 can pick up some tricks. As news develops and we start seeing who registers, we'll get a better idea of what compositions we might expect at MLG Orlando.

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WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 16:30:00 EST
We post a lot of stuff here at WoW Insider, and chances are that you missed some of our weekly features. But don't fret it -- here are our top weekly features from the last seven days, so if you missed them the first time around, we're here to make sure that doesn't happen again.

Raid Rx: Analyzing your healers, part 3
Marcie Knox continues her series on how to get the most of your healers during a raid.
Officers' Quarters: Cracking the whip
How to keep your guild rolling all the way up through the expansion.
Ask WoW Insider: When to gem and enchant
Our readers sound off on the best time to take advantage of getting your gear min-maxed with gems and enchants.
Spiritual Guidance: Seven tips to prepare your Priest for Wrath
Matt "Matticus" Low gives you a nice checklist for getting your Priest ready to head up to Northrend.

More of our great weekly content after the break.

Continue reading WoW Insider Weekly

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WoW Rookie: Weapon mastery - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST


Having the right weapon can make a world of difference in a players leveling experience. Last time on WoW Rookie, we looked at the types of weapons that each class can use and where to train the skill for them. Now just because you can use a weapon, doesn't mean you should. This week we'll examine what to look for in a weapon.

It's pretty important to keep your hands full. You have a four weapon slots at the bottom of your character sheet: Main Hand, Off Hand, Ranged, and Ammunition. Two handed weapons take up both the main hand and off hand slots. The off hand may hold a weapon if your class can dual weild, a shield, or an off hand item that either adds to your attributes or looks cool (such as Bouquet of Red Roses or a Dark Iron Tankard.) I recommend something useful when adventuring, though it's fun to see what folks come up with when roaming the city.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Weapon mastery

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WoW Insider Show Episode 43: Post-Dingstravaganza glow - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 15:30:00 EST
Yeah, Turpster was pretty thrilled with the way his big event went last week, and this past Saturday on the podcast, he just "rode the wave" of player support and basked in the glow of everyone cheering him on for the ding. Lucky guy. I was unable to make it this past weekend, but that didn't stop the steamroller that is this podcast: John "BigBearButt" Patricelli (he of the Shifting Perspectives) kindly stepped in and oversaw the festivities, with help and input from Amanda Dean, and they chatted about -- what else -- all the greatest news of the past week in WoW.

  • John P stood up for me on Clockwork Rocket Bots -- I agree 100% with him that we need them buffable once more.
  • They asked whether the Gigantique bag is worth the extra cash (short answer: no, but people who have the cash will spend it anyway).
  • They chatted about Season 4 and the changes arriving with it, including that Cheat Death nerf.
  • And apparently birthdays were celebrated -- if you've ever wanted to hear Turpster sing, this is the show for you. Good thing I wasn't there -- I celebrate nothing! Ever!
At any rate, it was a fun show, and you can listen to it right now over on WoW Radio's website. Thanks very much to John P for covering for meI will be back next week for sure, though Turpster may not be -- I believe he just may be at WWI this coming weekend, so maybe we'll be able to get a live-on-the-spot report out of him. We'll see -- listen to last week's show right now on WoW Radio and in iTunes, and tune in as always next Saturday at 3:30pm Eastern for the WoW Insider Show, the official podcast of WoW Insider.

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Season 4 Brutal Gladiator gear guide - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 15:20:00 EST


Now that Season 4 has finally arrived, it would probably be good to take a look at the Arena gear you'll be purchasing with all those stored Arena points. Even though most people have concurred that the new Brutal Gladiator gear is appropriately brutally ugly, a lot of the pieces are excellent and many players will need to purchase them in order to stay competitive in the latest, harshest Arena season.

Most of the Brutal Gladiator armor sets and equipment require personal ratings in order for players to be able to purchase them, so the new Season 4 gear will not flood the community the same way past seasons did. Even Honor-bought items such as bracers, boots, and rings will require participation in the Arenas in order for players to qualify for purchasing them.

We've put together a review of all the Brutal Gladiator armor sets for you to review, with a brief analysis of each piece and an assessment of whether it's worth the Arena points and the bother to grind for the personal ratings. We've also compared Season 4 gear with their equivalent Vengeful Gladiator pieces so you can tell at a glance how much of an improvement each piece is from its predecessor. Take a look after the jump at our extensive gear guide.


Continue reading Season 4 Brutal Gladiator gear guide

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Tanking Rogue 3: Return of the Gaeowyn, or Illidan dies - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 15:00:00 EST


You've seen him tank Shahraz and a 5-man Gruul run, and now Gaeowyn, of the Shards of Existence guild (US Illidan-A), has struck again. Technically, he gave us some teaser footage about this back at the end of his Shahraz video, but he's now released a full video of a successful Illidan tanking. As on his last 2 videos, Gaeowyn was able to use gear, talents, and buffs to stack enough dodge and parry to fully avoid all physical attacks (with a little help from Scorpid Sting and Insect Swarm, of course).

Alas, it looks like this will be his last video. He says that he doesn't want to wear out the concept -- after all, there's only so many videos you can make of a rogue standing in front of a giant monster and dodging a lot. In addition, he's switched characters to a priest to help his guild with a shortage of healers. I'll miss the series, myself, if only because it's great to see people conquer challenges in unconventional ways. It makes the game a little fresher and a little more interesting.

[Thanks for the forward, Allen!]

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Arena titles have not yet reset with Season 4 (UPDATED) - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 14:19:00 EST


Servers are coming back up, but it seems there's a bit of oddity about the end of season awards from Season 3. We've received reports that folks who should not have retained previous titles (Challenger, Rival, Gladiator, etc.) still have the honorary available. In theory, these titles were supposed to reset, and if you didn't re-earn the title in Season 3, you'd lose what you had from Season 2. That seems not to have happened.

We don't know if this is a bug or a surprise gift from Blizzard, but it's probably a safe bet that it's a bug they'll be squishing. It seems cruel to the hopefuls who may think they have a title, only to lose it if this gets corrected. But, we'll see what Blizzard does. At least Season 4 has started, and everyone will have the opportunity to try again.

Edit: While we realize that, per posting from Eyonix, new titles wouldn't be granted until next week, it had previously seemed that the title stripping would still happen at the end of Season 3.

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How mounts at level 30 may affect gameplay - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST
I'm intend to sidestep the question of whether getting mounts at level 30 with upcoming patch 2.4.3 falls on the Dark Side or the Light Side of the Force. For now, I'm going to muse briefly on what impact this change will have on gameplay.

  • Speed of leveling: Obviously leveling will be faster with a mount between levels 30 - 40. I doubt it will be 60% faster, though.
  • Questing: Going through Thousand Needles, Alterac Mountains, Desolace, Arathi Highlands, and Stranglethorn Vale will be much easier. I remember Desolace, in particular, being one long drag after another.
  • Economy: Lower levels will probably do more farming professions in order to raise the necessary gold for training and a mount sooner. This influx should drive down the cost of materials a bit in the short term. Also, given the low amount of silver rewarded at low levels, expect to see even more begging.
  • Guild recruitment: Players who normally would've waited to join a guild before Level 40 (to help with mount costs) will want to join earlier now. On the other hand, guilds may have a tougher time keeping those players through endgame since there will be a longer span between getting the normal mount and getting the epic one at Level 60.
After the jump, read about more gameplay impacts.

Continue reading How mounts at level 30 may affect gameplay

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PTR Brewfest includes summoned barmaid pets, rams and kodos segregated by faction - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 13:30:00 EST

You may remember that we announced that a Brewfest Kodo was hidden in the WoTLK Alpha files some time ago. With patch 2.4.3, the Kodo did in fact get into this year's Brewfest. The Brewfest is currently open for testing on the PTR, and you can see the Kodos for yourselves - but only on the Horde side.

That's right. Blizzard has added the Kodo mount, but not in the way many of us had hoped. The Ram mount is now available for purchase only on the Alliance side, and the Kodo mount only on the Horde side. Kisirani has confirmed that this is intended. She says that they came to this decision only after much deliberation, but it's likely staying, although she'll listen to constructive criticism. As you can imagine, this has not been well received.

Continue reading PTR Brewfest includes summoned barmaid pets, rams and kodos segregated by faction

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What to wear to melt faces in Karazhan, part one - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST
Shadow priests, you are very desired in Karazhan. Between great DPS, mana returns for the group, and a Shackle, all KZ raids would probably benefit from having a face-melter along. This is a guide to gearing yourself up in order to get in those Karazhan raids and earn great epics, from Ritssyn's Lost Pendant to the Nathrezim Mindblade. Holy priests, this is not the post for you (unless you're trying to build a Shadow set as well) - look to the Holy Priest guide to gearing for Karazhan instead.

Due to the unique mechanics of Shadow Priest combat, there is one stat that rises above the rest for you: +damage (either shadow or all schools). More +damage means more DPS, of course, but it also means more mana back from Vampiric Touch; this will be your primary form of mana regeneration, and you should have VT up at all times. Spell hit is also very important. Assuming you have 5/5 Shadow Focus (which you should, unless you're already hit-capped), you need 76 spell hit to reach the cap on level 73 mobs (raid bosses are considered level 73). Additional spell hit is relatively useless, although that once you reach 101 hit, you can take a point out of Shadow Focus and move it elsewhere; it's probably not worth gearing for this specifically though.

Continue reading What to wear to melt faces in Karazhan, part one

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Arena Season 4: Everything we know about the brutal season - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:17:00 EST

Arena Season 4 is finally here. After a long wait of 30 weeks, longer than previous Arena seasons, Blizzard finally decided to end Season 3 and foist upon the public the widely regarded as brutally ugly Brutal Gladiator gear. The new season is different in that virtually all armor pieces and weapons will have personal ratings requirements in order to purchase them. What do we know about the new season and the events that led to it?

It's been a long time coming.
Arena Season 3 has dragged on long enough that we've speculated on the reasons for Blizzard's delay and even planned around it:
  • Read our report on Drysc's comment about letting more Sunwell Plateau gear spread into the playing community before starting Season 4 in Season 4 and PvE progression.
  • We examine the implications of a long season and how the new mechanics can help stem the flow of Brutal Gladiator gear too rapidly in The Long Wait for Season 4.
  • We've been drooling over the gear as early as February when the first leaks of Brutal Gladiator items leaked through MMO Champion.
  • The wait has been so long that a lot of people have been banking the maximum 75,000 Honor and 5,000 Arena points in preparation for Season 4.
New season, new rules.
Season 4 is a more brutal season in many ways, the most significant of which is the ratings requirements for most of the Brutal Gladiator items:
Are you ready for Season 4?
We've asked this question several times in the past, but now that the season is finally here, are you really ready? Read on a few pointers on how to survive the new season:
Keep checking back on this post as we continue to grow our Season 4 coverage.

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WoW Moviewatch: There Will Be Cannibalism - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 12:00:00 EST

It's only been about a week since we posted Gnomechewer's last machinima, Back In Your Head, but he's already back with a new one! There Will Be Cannibalism could be the closest thing to PvP that I'll ever enjoy posting here. It is a parody of There Will Be Blood, with Daniel Day Lewis, set to the disturbing sounds of a Britney Spears tune, Toxic. Given Gnomechewer's track record with the crowd, and his ability to produce quality entertainment consistently, we're thrilled that he abandoned Age of Conan and came back to WoW.

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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Forum post of the day: "which class should I roll to tank?" - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 11:00:00 EST
Not so long ago, I asked this very question in a poll, so it was nice to see this excellent forum post attempting to answer the query "which class should I roll to tank?" Jakalope of US Wildhammer-H goes over the strengths and weaknesses of each of our three current tanking classes (Warrior, Druid, and Paladin), and gives some reasons why you might want or not want to play them.

It's a great post and you should really read it if you're at all interested in the tanking classes and comparisons of them, but here's a summary (note, this is what he seems to be saying, not my opinions):

  • Warrior: takes a lot of concentration, needs many skills, gear-dependent, has several "oh !@#%" buttons; most difficult to play well. Crucial MT for progression raids.
  • Druid: easier to gear, fewer skills used while tanking and thus easiest for straightforward fights, less versatile while tanking, but can switch roles mid-fight. Not a great MT for 25-mans, but the best OT anywhere, and a strong MT for 5- and 10-mans
  • Paladin: Best AoE tank, hands-down. Need to be able to watch cooldowns; need multiple sets of gear for tanking; best 5-man tank; hard to level.
Unfortunately, this hardly makes my decision any easier, since nothing really calls out to me directly. I like all the strengths, and none of the weaknesses bother me overly much. I'll probably just keep leveling the druid, because it's fun, and the paladin, because I've got a leveling buddy for that one. The warrior will probably stay un-leveled for now, because Warriors are a pain to level in my (limited) experience. Warrior was also the least popular response to my poll (just behind Druid).

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Caption This: Vote for winners - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 10:30:00 EST

The weekend has passed, and that means it's time for you to vote for the winners of this week's Caption This contest. The WoW Insider team as a whole picked ten of the captions submitted for this picture for you to vote on, and now you get to decide who goes home with a 60-day game card, an I Survived Barrens Chat! or You No Take Candle! t-shirt from J!NX, or nothing but -10 to their self-esteem. Voting closes tomorrow, Wednesday, June 25, at 11:59 PM EST, and winners will be informed shortly afterwards by e-mail.

Remember, entrants must be U.S. or non-Quebec Canadians at least 13 years old. If you'd like to peruse the contest's official rules, they can be found here. Happy voting, and if you disagree with our choices, there's always next week.


Gallery: Caption This!

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Around Azeroth: Five feet high and rising - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 10:00:00 EST


This screenshot of an undead priest in a water spout above Zangarmarsh was sent in by Melusyne of Nathrezim, who wrote, "Most of the time undead have bright yellow eyes and not much facial expression, but in this shot it looks like I have a devious little smile and eyes full of expression." Personally, I think she looks like a voidwalker skin wrapped over a female undead body, but I suppose beauty is in the eye of the beholder -- especially if you're beholding your own character. My little AOEadin has been called "the ugliest blood elf ever" by random people in the Auction House, but I think she's great ... although I'm definitely changing the hair in WotLK.

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. Please, no sunsets, and before you mock my pally's gear keep in mind that I pretty much leveled her to 70 and then stopped to level my other alts. Gosh-darn Armory ...

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Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Resto Druid for Kara Part 2 - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 09:30:00 EST

Every week, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week John Patricelli, the Big Bear Butt Blogger, presents the second part to the Resto Druid gear guide to help you prepare for Karazhan, with the haelp of the lovely and talented 4 Haelz.

Welcome to the second and final part of our guide to gearing up your Resto Druid in preparation for entering the fabled black gate of Karazhan.

Today we pick right back up where we left off last week, by jumping into gear lists, starting with Belts and carrying on through until we're done.

Whether you are a hopeful raider looking for ways to improve your gear, or a seasoned raider about to take a nostalgic trip through the past items you've now grown out of, I hope there will be something of use for you in the lists still to come.

So let's head on in and take a look!

Continue reading Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Resto Druid for Kara Part 2

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It came from the Blog: Let's honor and desecrate fires! - Tue, 24 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST


It's time again for another It came from the Blog event. Come one, come all to the Zangarmarsh realm and join us in honoring the fires of the Horde and desecrating the fires of the Alliance as a part of the new and improved Midsummer Fire Festival.

Here are the details:
  • When: Sunday, June 29th 4PM Pacific (That's 5PM server time, 7PM Eastern)
  • Where: Meet at Orgrimmar, Zangarmarsh Server (US)
  • How: Send Robiness or anyone in It came from the Blog for an invite to the guild and the event.
Last year's event was fun, but there are new things to do this year including running around defending fires and desecrating those of the Alliance and collecting Burning Blossoms. So if you're not busy earning your Arena Season 4 gear, perhaps you could take time out to join us.

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