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Totem Talk: The Wrath of the Shaman part 3 - Restoration and Synergy - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 19:00:00 EST


As I promised you, our look at Wrath talents and skills for Shamans (started here and continued here) concludes with a roundup of restoration talents and skills and then a discussion of what all these new abilities mean for shamans in the expansion. I know how much you guys love discussion. For instance, the picture accompanying today's post is most likely of a resto shaman who is, for whatever reason, attacking a shovel tusk. Now, with the changes to spell power that are coming, that resto gear probably packs a good deal more punch than it currently does with the healing/damage rates it has now. Nevertheless, resto shaman, attacking defenseless wildlife, I have no idea why. He looks cool doing it, though.

First off, of course, I will talk about Earthliving Weapon. Now, we all know I love this (despite a lot of naysayers who look at it as similar to the Fel Reaver's Piston and call it undesirable) but let's be fair: we have no idea how good it will be at 80. All of the current ranks are the same as rank one. The reason I linked to the comments was to show user defektunge's estimate for how it will look at rank 6. Assuming he's in the ballpark, at rank 6 it will be an extra 102 healing plus a chance to proc roughly 1400 healing over 12 seconds. Depending on how high stamina values are on gear by then, and how often the proc really contributes to healing, the HoT of Earthliving could be a gimmick or it could be pure awesome. It's definitely an attempt by Blizzard to address the shaman's lack of any kind of heal over time while remaining true to the Windfury 'random proc' mechanic.

I personally hope that this estimate is low. By level 80 I expect stamina values to be significantly higher (a well geared T5/T6 tank can have well over 22k health, as much as 26k on some right now, so I expect tanks in blues to be easily pushing 19k by the time we're all 80) so I'd hope for double both those numbers. But I'm still excited for Earthliving, especially for leveling shamans or shamans who need to heal in a pinch. Throw on your healing weapon and imbue it for extra oomph.

Continue reading Totem Talk: The Wrath of the Shaman part 3 - Restoration and Synergy

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Wrath boss names revealed in Achievements - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST


Wowhead recently went live with their database of all the Achievements currently in the Wrath beta. Among those Achievements is one for clearing each dungeon and raid currently in Wrath. Each Achievement lists its requirements for completion, so what does that mean? We now know the names of all the dungeon bosses (as well as a little from the raids)! Everything placed after the cut for those who want to avoid spoilers.

Continue reading Wrath boss names revealed in Achievements

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Barrens Chat: Unwanted - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 15:00:00 EST


Now, I know last week I said in a comment that I am trying something entirely new this week. However, that plan sort of backfired when I found out my scanner is no longer in the realm of the living, and those Spirit Healers apparently don't speak binary.

I've Wanted to put this comic up since I saw the movie. If you have not seen it, you might not get this unless you watched the movie previews, or have someone explain it.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Continue reading Barrens Chat: Unwanted

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Authenticator fails, removed from account without user's permission - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 14:00:00 EST
Think a Blizzard Authenticator will keep your account from being hacked? Think again -- we've got our first known report of someone who was protecting their account with one of Blizzard's keys, and still got their character hacked down to their undies. Someone in this forum thread apparently logged out one night and logged on the next morning to find her account stripped of everything but PvP gear, and her Authenticator no longer connected to her account.

Supposedly, to deactivate an Authenticator from an account, you need to get in touch with Billing services, and reportedly they'll then ask for a notarized statement with a picture, like a driver's license, just to remove the Authenticator. But obviously, this one was removed even without that, and we're being told that all you might need to remove the Authenticator is the answer to the user's secret question and a CD key (or even less). In other words, the fault isn't with the technology, it seems to be with the support reps on Blizzard's side of the phone line -- if they can be convinced to remove the Authenticator, the account can then be hacked.

The little keys have been selling like hotcakes since they were released -- almost everyone has figured that $6.50 was cheap for peace of mind. But while an Authenticator still does provide an extra step in security, the sad truth is that it hardly makes an account impermeable.

[Via BRK]

Update: Married IRL has more analysis, including a comment that confirms all you really need to get past the Authenticator is the user's secret question answer, usual address information, and the original CD key. If the standard for getting an Authenticator removed really is a Photo ID, it's fairly clear that Blizzard's reps aren't doing their jobs right.

More after the break.

Continue reading Authenticator fails, removed from account without user's permission

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What to do if you have issues with your Beta key - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 13:30:00 EST
Vrakthris, a Blizzard blue poster over in the Customer Service forums, posted that any people having issues with their Wrath of the Lich King beta key should send them an email to the address contained in the beta email.

Last night we were pursuing a key issue of our own, and all we got was an automated response from the email address pointed to in the Beta invitation. Tonight however, that no longer happens - so it appears as if this email address is being staffed by a live person.

This is great news for those that have issues, including any that might revolve around a WWI '08 EU key not working with a US account. Hopefully Blizzard will respond promptly to all of us that have been emailing this address. If Blizzard or any of the blues release any more statements you'll see them here at WoW Insider.

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Vehicle controls in Wrath - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 13:00:00 EST


WoW Insider tipster Dinnerbone sent in some interesting findings about the siege vehicles in Beta while spelunking through the LUA files. He notes that these are all viewable -- if you get those lines of code, at least -- in the current Wrath build. Here are a few tidbits about vehicles and how they might work in the expansion:
  • Right-clicking character portraits have the option to "Leave vehicle," just like when players are in a party. This suggests that vehicles aren't buff-type spells like mounts but actual, physical vehicles you can enter and exit.
  • Vehicles need fuel. There're no clear details on how vehicles can be refueled or what happens when it runs out of fuel.
  • Vehicles have an "ammo slot"; Dinnerbone isn't quite sure whether this means siege vehicles will run out of ammo or if it simply means they fire different projectiles.
  • Pets and vehicles don't mix. Vehicles apparently replace Hunter or Warlock pets and have their own set of controls or abilities. New ability buttons or bars will appear when inside a vehicle.
  • There might be an entirely new UI frame for vehicles, with sliders and other new interface mechanics. The sliders "power" and "angle" range from 0 to 100 and can be seen in the LUA files. A developer note on one of files says, "Placeholder for eventual vehicle controls, currently just two sliders," so there may be more controls. I'm imagine a third person Worms with the power and angle controls.
  • Blizzard has stated that vehicles can carry passengers, and Dinnerbone seems to think it, too, although he can't seem to find indications of it in the code just yet.
If you're experienced with LUA files, you can poke your head in through the current build and see if you can find out anything new about the siege vehicles. We're always excited to see what's up with the Beta.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Warchief Debates 2008, Episode 1 - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 12:00:00 EST

(Warning: Some of the humor in this machinima borders on offensive.)

EgadPit, a machinimator on WeGame, has spliced together an interesting debate of sorts for the position of Warchief in 2008. Warlords Zul'Amabo and McWalkingstick face off on a number of topics, trading jabs and sometimes agreeing on things. While this is just part one of a series, we think that they covered a lot of ground!

We're not sure whose platform is best. Who would you vote for?

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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Hunter pet aggro may be fixed in Wrath - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 11:00:00 EST

The story of Hunter pets and aggro in Burning Crusade, especially since patch 2.4.2 or so, has been a very stormy one. Even deep Beastmastery Hunters have had to learn to kite, as pet aggro grows worse and worse. Growl in 2.4.2 was supposed to scale, but almost every Hunter that tested it said it didn't, despite Hortus' insistence that it did.

Luckily, it looks like there may finally be some real relief coming in Wrath of the Lich King.

Continue reading Hunter pet aggro may be fixed in Wrath

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Around Azeroth: Charlie's Angels - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 10:00:00 EST


As the old saying goes, it's better to light a candle than curse the darkness. So when Songstone of <Terror Australis> on Korgath found herself in an inky-black part of Blackrock Depths, she pulled out a pair of torches. Given the garishness of pre-60 clothing, the glowing enchants and the fluorescentness of night elf/draenei skin, Songstone and her companions quickly became visible. And in that pose, they look like some kind of campy crime-fighting team. Ladies, I have a mission for you -- get out of BRD and never come back.

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 more sunsets -- but we would love some beta screenshots here.

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Wrath Collector's Ed pet: Frosty the Frost Wyrm whelp - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 09:00:00 EST
A lot of readers tipped this in while looking through Wowhead's comprehensive Achievements database. While we've actually heard of rumors of the Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition, with pictures of the box supposedly making their way out of the printers, this Achievement more or less confirms that there will be a Collector's Edition and that the Frost Wyrm whelp model leaked in Alpha is actually the Collector's Edition pet.

The Achievement falls under Feats of Strength, along with the other Collector's Edition Achievements The requirement is possession of Frosty's Collar, an item not yet implemented in Beta. The Achievements page defines the Feats of Strength as "an accomplishment that players will find either very difficult if not impossible to earn. Feats of Strength are a collection of past glories on Azeroth."

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Breakfast Topic: WoW-related merchandise and spin-offs - Thu, 24 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST
I bought my daughter's 'Future Horde' onesie from J!nx long before she was even conceived. I knew when I got my 'For the Horde' shirt that I wanted myself to have a matching outfit with my baby. I love World of Warcraft merchandise... I guess I'm just a real fanboy that way. I have some of the action figures, and I'm looking at getting Vindicator Marrad as soon as I set aside some RL Gold.

My brother-in-law gave my wife and I the World of Warcraft board game a couple of years back, and I got more than a few packs of the Trading Card Game (although I was probably just hoping for some cool loot). I love the comic books -- both the ones from Wildstorm and the ones from Tokyopop -- and I enjoy a lot of the Warcraft-based comics online. I gobble up pretty much most anything World of Warcraft.

So here's something to chew on this morning: what World of Warcraft merchandise or spin-offs do you like so far? There's the Frostmourne replica, of course. And we've given away cool stuff from Manaprincess, too. The Bronze Kettle / WoW Insider's Shelbi Roach makes those awesome, awesome, awesome chibi items like stickers and keychains. What World of Warcraft-related stuff do you have? Do you make any of your own?

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Deleting toons to make room for Wrath - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 22:00:00 EST


I deleted four toons today. I know that Wrath of the Lich King is quite a ways off, but I wanted to be prepared. First of all, I wanted to ensure I had a character slot free for my Death Knight. Although I'm not sure I'll be leveling it all the way to 80, considering the jump start at Level 55, it's a much better leveling grind than the alts I deleted, the highest of which was a Level 40 Shaman. I sold all my Soulbound items, mailed all not-so-junk items to my wife's toons, and promptly hit the 'delete' button.

Deleting my toons wasn't as hard as I imagined it to be, the hardest part was getting rid of all the items I'd accumulated. I did this primarily as a way of cleaning house... after all, I hadn't been playing with my alts all that much and one or two were mere bank toons. I haven't deleted my Level 42 Tauren Hunter and Level 28 Blood Elf Rogue because I'm still considering leveling them (unlikely). Of course, what I'm really hoping for is for Blizzard to finally allow PvE to PvP transfers just so I can finally bring my Level 60 Hunter and Rogue over to my server. With two toons leveled to 70 on a PvP server, I think I've paid my dues. Whether or not that happens, I'll probably end up deleting those two toons anyway.

So there, I'm making space for my Death Knight. I needed more character space because I'm reserving some character names. When Wrath is finally released, there'll be a mad rush for cool Death Knight names and I don't want to be stuck with a lame one. In a way, I'm streamlining my character inventory the way Blizzard's cleaning up the game in the expansion. I guess conditioning my mind for a Death Knight has allowed me to remorselessly excise my alts. Are you doing anything drastic to prepare for Wrath?

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The Art of War(craft): Dreaming about Death Knight PvP - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 20:00:00 EST


I know, I know. It's too early to actually figure out how Death Knights will work in PvP. Humor me for a bit. The new class, with its juicy talents and abilities, even if they will get changed before Wrath of the Lich King hits the shelves, have got me really excited. They have some pretty cool spells and a new resource mechanic that promises to shake things up as far as gameplay is concerned. I'm not big on alts, and I play mostly on my main and a secondary toon that really needs more love, but I actually want to make a Death Knight. I'm not an alt-o-holic, but I think I'll be taking it all the way to Level 80.

Of course, while I tell all my friends that I'm finally making a toon I'll be happy to tank with, what I'm really thinking about is PvP. I had initially wanted to make a Death Knight class when the game was announced, Death Knights being my favorite Hero in Warcraft 3. I thought Warlocks were the going to be it, considering the Death Coil spell, but I ended up never making a Warlock at all. But now here's the real deal. Plate armor, badass Rune weapons, Deathchargers, and all things ooky, spooky, and vile. Sounds like a lot of fun to me.

Continue reading The Art of War(craft): Dreaming about Death Knight PvP

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Forced to choose - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:00:00 EST
I think everyone who's run an instance and a raid has been in this situation -- you wait all night for a Karazhan run, it fills, so you decide to go run a heroic or some other five man, and then a few minutes in, you get a whisper: "Someone left, and we need a healer! Are you still in?"

Sigh. An embarrassment of riches. So now what do you do: ditch your newfound 5man group for the raid you originally wanted, or stick with the group you signed on with, passing up the original raid? Neither way is very smooth -- either you disappoint the folks you're with, and look like an elitist raider, or you tell the raiders that you're already in a group and run the risk that they won't ask you again. So awkward -- it's like choosing a social circle in high school all over again.

Usually, the best course of action I've found is to cover yourself before you leave either group -- jump into LFG or ping the guild for a replacement before you leave anybody behind. Short of finding someone to fill in for your fill in, the next best option is probably to explain yourself well and promise help next time -- hopefully the group you're with will understand that raiding is fun and/or the raiders will understand that you couldn't wait and keep you on the list for next time. Any other ideas for getting out of an instance pinch like this?

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Wowhead unleashes Achievements, pet calcs, models - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST


A full Achievements database is now live on Wowhead's Wrath of the Lich King site. When first I heard about this, I said (as you may be saying to yourselves now) "big deal, other sites have had achievements lists for a few days now." But you owe it to yourself to go check this out. They've taken their time to do it right as only Wowhead can, and it looks great, with complete information on achievement chains, meta achievements, point values, and just about anything you might want. "Shop Smart. Shop Pet... Smart" is a good example - it lists every pet that's valid for the achievement, all 103 of them. Attention to detail for the win.

Blizzard has shown their usual flair in naming these things, too; my favorites include:

The Achievements listing includes Feats of Strength, zero-point achievements that may be unachievable in the current game (like old honor system ranks), or at least unachievable by most people. Among these are several "server firsts", such as being the first on your server to reach level 80 with a given class, or the first to kill a given boss. It's nice to see that this information is going to be memorialized somewhere besides blogs and realm forums.

In other Wowhead news, talent calculators for the new Hunter pet talents are now available. Additionally, new weapons and armors now have 3D models viewable on the site (just click the "View in 3D" button on item pages), so you can check out what we'll all be seeing in a few short months. So far I haven't found anything that looks totally amazing, though I did come across something that looks rather like the walrus hat that Blizz seems to be fond of showing off in Death Knight promo pics.

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Azeroth comes through on the love hunt - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST
This is one of the sillier articles that PC Gamer UK has probably ever written about massively multiplayer online games, but still, I enjoyed it. One of their writers went (only half seriously) looking for love in a few popular virtual worlds, and he found it, surprisingly enough, in Azeroth.

Neither EvE Online or City of Heroes were very helpful in the love-finding department -- despite finding a fetching young lady superheroine in CoH, the writer was a little disappointed to find out she was a he behind the keyboard. But WoW, as usual, provides the best of MMO experiences -- the writer finds some cute love in the Night Elf starting area.

Sure, it's silly (and probably not true -- just because someone says they're a Finnish college student means nothing at all online). But I found it strangely touching, the thought that a real human connection could be made in an online game. And isn't that why we play these in the first place?

[via WorldofWar.net]

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The joy of grinding - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 16:30:00 EST
I couldn't agree more with Mystic Chicanery -- despite the fact that most players consider the "level grind" to be the most boring part of the game, a stodgy run towards the much more interesting endgame, I've found that I tend to invest myself more in my character while actually leveling up, strangely enough, and it seems to me that endgame is the much more boring part of the equation. While leveling, you get a constant meter (literally) of how much your character is progressing, but after 70, progression becomes much more nebulous, and you have to do a lot more poking around for things like enchants and gems.

Of course, the main complaint with the level grind isn't doing it the first time, it's doing it again and again, and thankfully, as Mystic notes, will bring us ten brand new levels to roll through. But maybe I have a bad memory, because even when I do hit 70 with a character, going back to the beginning with a new class or a new faction is a new experience. And Wrathgoing through the same content a second time makes it faster and more interesting to me -- I already know where the hard quest targets are, and I can catch up on lore or secrets that I may have missed.

Each to their own, of course -- maybe you've already leveled all nine classes to 70 and couldn't imagine going back and running through Stranglethorn Vale or Hellfire Peninsula one more time. But I've found that I almost prefer the leveling "grind" -- it seems more core to me, improving the character constantly with an XP meter, than the current method at endgame of raiding your way through the instances for gear upgrades.

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How to use the PvP trinket - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 15:30:00 EST
Yet Another Warlock Nerf has a terrific guide up to one of the most misused/underused pieces of gear in the game -- the PvP trinket. The cheapest version, Insignia of the Alliance/Horde is just over 2,500 Honor, so anyone can get a version of this (YAWN recommends the Rare version, which is powerful enough to be useful and cheap enough to spend honor on other things) and especially until many more specialized trinkets are available at endgame, it's a must have for anyone running PvP.

But when to use it is the question. Especially in 1v1, the best times to break out your trinket are when it will allow you to immediately avoid damage, so breaking it out for things like Sap or Polymorph (which don't actually cause damage to you) can be a waste of the cooldown. But things like Kidney Shot, Fear, and Frost Nova mean that more damage is incoming, so then is usually (there are, of course, exceptions) a good time to pop the trinket and escape the damage.

YAWN bravely goes out on a limb here and tries to provide some guidance for an activity that isn't very well governed by guidance (don't tell PvPers what they can't do!). Actions and rules are very, very situational, and so there sometimes will be times when you should trinket out of Sap, or spend your two minute cooldown on Death Coil. But as a starter guide to when to use and not use the trinket, it's a great read.

[via Resto4Life]

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The Wrath of the Shaman Part 2: Elemental Combat - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 15:00:00 EST


Continuing our series on Shaman talents in Wrath, we're going to talk today about Elemental Combat, and the new talents for it. One of the first things I notice comparing the current talent trees to the ones coming is the move of Elemental Devastation down to a 5 point talent, making it much friendlier for Enhancement Shamans to pick up (as was commented upon in our previous post on the subject) especially now that Nature's Guidance is gone from the Restoration tree. With the ability to guarantee a Lava Burst crit by using Flame Shock, you could theoretically keep your melee crit rate up for a very long time, and in so doing reduce the cost of your shocks significantly as well as keep Maelstrom Weapon stacked.

Which is very nice for enhancement shamans who want to spec into Elemental, yes, but what about for elemental shamans themselves? What talents will they be looking at?

Well, just for starters, let's talk about Paralysis.

Continue reading The Wrath of the Shaman Part 2: Elemental Combat

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Wrath storage solutions - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:33:00 EST
By now you have surely heard of the new Achievements system set up for Wrath of the Lich King. While this will finally give collectors an extra incentive and reward, players are a bit worried about their bag space.

It was announced recently that non-combat pets and mounts would take up no bag space in Wrath, and instead, the item that currently houses the pet will serve to teach you a spell for summoning the pet, and then disappear.
While this is a huge weight off of the shoulders of many players, when reading through the current list of Achievements, one begins to wonder where all of their tabards, battleground tokens, badges, holiday items, epics, trinkets, and the like are going to go.

Although we don't have information regarding the storage of every item we'll soon be collecting, Tigole made the following statement:

Your bags will be ok. I promise. Pets, Mounts, Heroic Badges, BG Tokens are all getting storage space.

I wonder how badges and tokens are getting storage space. Surely, they cannot be turned into spells, and I don't have room for bags specifically dedicated to only one or the other, so I'm definitely interested to know what they have up their sleeves, and if any other collectible items will get similar treatment.

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