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Getting your loot priorities straight - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 20:00:00 EST


Every successful guild that I've ever seen has some sort of loot distribution system. Whether it's a major DKP system with a dozen small caveats, or a slow moving loot council, some way, some how, all guilds get the job done handing out every day loot in a fair manner. But there comes a time, a dark and evil time, a time when brothers and sisters fight against each other, cats and dogs live together, and all things foul spill forth from the bowels of the Earth. There comes a time when special loot priorities come into effect.

Many, many guilds have broken up over this. I've nearly been in a few myself. Back in the days of pre-bc, the first major loot drama came in Molten Core over the Hunter's ability Tranquil Shot. While now a days there are not really any single items that makes people fight tooth and nail over, there are a few bosses that drop some important equipment that might only be killed a few times.

Continue reading Getting your loot priorities straight

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Phat Loot Phriday: Anetheron's Noose - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 18:30:00 EST


As far as I can remember, we've never done a cloth belt (although, believe it or not, we have done a plate belt). So here you go.

Name: Anetheron's Noose (Wowhead, Thottbot, Curse)
Type: Epic Cloth Belt
Armor: 133 Armor
Abilities:
  • Yellow and blue gem sockets (Socket bonus: +4 spell damage)
  • Improves spell critical strike rating by 24, increases damage and healing done by spells and magical effects up to 55
  • So the biggest thing about this belt isn't necessarily what it does have (it does have the highest +spell damage you can find on a cloth belt), but what it doesn't have-- spell hit rating. Unlike other high level epic caster belts, this belt trades off spell hit rating for a little extra spell damage. And so if you've already capped off spell hit rating, then this belt is your best bet.
  • Shadow priests are lucky in this regard-- they get a talent that makes their spells much easier to hit, so they don't need as much spell hit rating. For an endgame shadow priest, your other gear will likely already cap your hit rating, so this is definitely the best belt for you.
How to Get It: It is called Anaetheron's Noose, so it drops from Kael'thas. No, I'm only kidding-- it drops from Anetheron in Mount Hyjal. I thought maybe that Anetheron was hanged before he was somehow turned into a dreadlord (you think you can match the might of one?), but I couldn't find anything like that in the lore, and I don't even think dreadlords are made-- they're probably fashioned from pure evil or something sinister like that.

So odds are the people doing the hangings here are you players. Sure, kill the dreadlord, string up his body, and take the noose from his broken neck to wear around your waist. That's real classy.

Getting Rid of It: As requested, I will not say something like "are you crazy?" or "why would you want to do that?" Instead, I will assume that you are reading this a few years from now, Wrath is out and we are all level 80, and you found this in your bank and Googled it to find out why you still had it. In that case, a vendor will give you 2g 71s and 88c for it, or it will disenchant into a Void Crystal.

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The WoW Insider Show is live tomorrow afternoon - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST


Tomorrow at 3:30p ET you can listen to the WoW Insider Show live on WC Radio. I'll be hosting along with our Warrior/Shaman columnist Matthew Rossi and hopefully the ever-innappropriate Turpster. We'll be covering the hot topics of the week including the fake patch notes, phat Sunwell lootz and WoW hitting the 10 million subscriber mark. Plus the controversy of the lack of new 25 man content, the lack of new info on the upcoming expansion and whatever strange tangent Turpster will drag us out on.

And if you want to join in on the conversation you can either log on to the #wowradio channel at irc.wowirc.com or e-mail you comments and questions to theshow@wowinsider.com. Archives of previous shows can be found at the WoW Insider Show page at WC Radio.

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Back in the Day: The week after the TBC launch - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST


What was going on in World of Warcraft this time last year? Back in the Day looks into the past of WoW Insider and brings back posts notable, controversial and sometimes humorous reflecting the state of the game one year ago this week.

For the week of January 20 - 26, 2007:

The Burning Crusade had gone live just the week before and the race to have the first level 60 Draenei and Blood Elf was on. In less than four days posts were flying across message boards to claim the title of being the first. This feat is either impressive or pathetic depending on your point of view. Either way, the thrill is gone since the pre-60 increased leveling rate introduced in Patch 2.3 made it easier than ever to level up a new toon in no time at all.

Debates raged over two new issues brought on by the expansion: should the Draenei heal-over-time racial ability be usable by Draenei Priests in Shadowform and should Blizzard increase the spawn rate of quest mobs in Hellfire Peninsula to deal with the influx of half the player base after the same target?

For the first, Draenei Priests felt it was unfair to be cut off from Gift of the Naaru due to their spec choice while priests of other races didn't think it was right for blueberries to get a heal in Shadowform when no one else did. Blizzard didn't back down on this and kept the ability disabled for Draenei Priests shifting into the dark side.

Continue reading Back in the Day: The week after the TBC launch

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Sunwell Plateau: Not quite here yet - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 16:15:00 EST
Nethaera has posted this morning that... no, we aren't getting new patch 2.4 information yet. Not today, and probably not Monday. Disappointing, but as with all posts from Nethaera, there's usually at least a few hints hidden within. Thanks to the bit of relief she brings, the lack of real news isn't all bad.

There's been some doom and gloom hanging over the WoW community about the upcoming arena balancing, but Nethaera assures us there will be no "sweeping class changes." Whether this is a good or a bad thing is really up to you, but being the magical PvE carebear that I am, I'm certainly pleased with that. I'm sure the PvP community thinks otherwise, and would also like to eat me for breakfast.

Nethaera goes on to crush our hopes and dreams by stating that fake patch notes are, indeed, fake. Sorry, warriors, Rend is still not for tanking!

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Insider Trader: Chic choices - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 15:00:00 EST


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

It looks like the grumbling was on target - many players really were raiding simply to get epic gear (and not for the sheer joy of raiding). Now that they can get epic gear easily through PvP, the herd is turning away from PvE raiding and signing up for Arena teams in droves. What drives players toward the purple clothes? Is it symptomatic of PvE ennui? Is it indicative of the relative ease of the Arena reward system? Insider Trader has another theory, drawn from the observations of those unassailable sages, ZZ Top: Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man.

Pure and simple - packaging sells. And when you want your character to look his or her best, what you need is a tailor. This week, Insider Trader reviews the wardrobe a well-dressed citizen will want to have banked for all sorts of events, from the festive wedding celebration to the everyday restocking trip to town. Ever wondered who uses all those weird dyes on the General Trade merchants? That would be you, once you discover the pure panache of the perfect shirt. L2Bchic, after the break.

Continue reading Insider Trader: Chic choices

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: When tanks aren't tanking - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 14:03:00 EST
The Care and Feeding of Warriors comes to you again on the horns of a dilemma. Matthew Rossi has found himself playing his human warrior more often when he plays, and being sucked back into raiding again. This has led to him strapping on his DPS gear and dual wielding while still prot spec, and other anomalies he wants to talk to you about.

It's one of the ironies of my time playing warriors in World of Warcraft that I often find myself doing exactly the opposite thing I expected. Recently, due to time constraints and personal issues I haven't been able to play as much at night, and have found myself online at a whole different time of day. As a result I've tended to play Alliance again because there's more people online on my Ally server, and my poorly geared human protection spec warrior has found himself somehow raiding again. It began with a few heroics that impressed some people, a guild tryout I didn't really think much about that consisted of tanking Black Morass over and over again, and now I find myself in Kara, ZA and even Gruul's or Mags as a pure prot spec warrior.

I'm starting to remember it all again, how it feels to hold aggro against well geared DPS, the thrill of using your abilities to keep a mob stuck to you while properly keeping those crushing blows off of the table so that your healer whispers you after the fight and tells you he barely had to break a sweat keeping you up despite your horribly awful blues. Seriously, I'm still wearing a green ring here.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: When tanks aren't tanking

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Can you smell what The Rokk is cookin? - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:30:00 EST

With the release of patch 2.3 every cooker level 275 and up found a new way to make an easy 7g a day with the daily food quest. While it might not seem like a lot, an extra 49g a week is a night's repair bill if you're a tank. The only downside to keeping up with the daily quest is the rather annoying farming you need to do. Some of the mats for the food items are spread out in rarely visited places in Outland.

While we've covered the wonders of this daily quest before, there is a great little trick to cut down on the time necessary to farm the food... and that is to create you own cupboard of food! While your cupboard might seem bare and filled with mostly Ramen Noodles at first, within a couple weeks of quests you'll find yourself well stocked with all the gourmet items you could ever want.

Besides the items you need to have the quest in your log to get, you can store a TON of premade food that'll cut down on your quest time dramatically. The items you want to save up are:

Warp Burgers (from Warped Flesh)
Roasted Clefthoof (from Clefthoof Meat)
Mok'Nathal Shortribs (from Raptor Ribs)
Crunchy Serpent (from Serpent Flesh)

Now the key to getting these items, instead of having to go and farm them day after day, is to select the reward of a "Crate of Meat" when turning in the daily quest. The crate will drop the raw form of the above food often enough, and within two weeks time, you'll have more Mok'Nathal short ribs then you know what to do with! In fact, after a month of doing this quest, your cupboard will be so large that you can sell a large portion of it on the AH and make quite a nice bit of gold.

Happy eating!

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Ready Check: Is Transfering the solution? - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 13:00:00 EST


Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Kara or BT, everyone can get in on the action and down them some bosses. Hong is still recovering from a vicious rabid koala attack, so you'll have to put up with me this week. We both feel sorry for you.

When you're in a raiding guild there is a natural attrition that happens at a slow but constant pace. A mage here will have to start classes, a priest there gets transferred to night shift. Your best rogue suddenly isn't feeling the game anymore and wants to take a break. A couple of friends decide that a more casual guild is better for them... I could spend all day listing the reasons why people take off and leave you hanging.

If you're on a high population server with a good chunk of your faction representin' in raid instances, then the normal course of action is to hit up your realm forums with a post containing who you're looking for and what your guild is like. You bump it every couple of days and wait for people to contact you. You can also spread the word over the guild recruitment channel or even have your guildmates ask around.

But what if you're not on that kind of server? What if you're on a medium population server where the closest guild progressing in your faction is a whole tier behind you?

Continue reading Ready Check: Is Transfering the solution?

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WoW Moviewatch: The Real World of Warcraft - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 12:00:00 EST


Okay. I know the beginning of this movie looks like it's just screenshots set to music. But keep watching! I promise there's a nifty piece of machinima on the other side. Really, I think the first snippet after the credits makes the entire thing worthwhile -- but it could just be because it features my favorite Warcraft 3 quote. So watch on for a variety of pop culture presented in World of Warcraft format.

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Blog Azeroth - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 11:00:00 EST

While reading my favorite WoW blogs yesterday, I saw a common theme. Everyone was talking about Blog Azeroth. No, it's not another blog about our favorite gaming universe. Rather it's a place where WoW bloggers of every class and race can get together to share tips, ideas, and just generally talk shop.

So I did the free sign-up, posted my introduction, and cruised around, looking at the content. I found some really great articles about how to track down who links to your site, some advice on how to get more readers, and even how to make a cool FavIcon. As soon as I can figure out what I can squeeze into a 16px by 16px space, I'm all over that. I also found out that there were other people from my server writing about all kinds of things. It's been a great experience so far.

You don't need to be a blogger to visit, either. Anyone can access their Introductions forum and not only get a long list of blogs ripe for the reading, you can also find out a bit more about some of your favorite WoW players. And if you're thinking about starting to write up your game experiences, they have good info for all the common blogging systems.

May your blog be long and fruitful!

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Around Azeroth: Into the Well of Eternity - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 10:00:00 EST


This may not be the most scenic of shots, but the interest is all in the location. Reader Jim sends us this image from the Well of Eternity in Hyjal. I'll let Jim explain the scene:

You drop in by where Archimonde stands and swim vertically down for about a minute until you see the bottom. There's not really much to see - just a few bubbles, a big rock and your breath indicator slowly dropping. Upon entering the water you receive a debuff called Eternal Silence that states "Overwhelming magical energy from the Well of Eternity prevents spellcasting."


Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see your idea of the best looking instance 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!

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Surprises may loom in Wrath - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 09:00:00 EST


Relmstein has posted a theory that Blizzard has been holding back some surprising features of the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King. We've had no news about the expansion for quite awhile now, and no news might mean good news.

In the near future, World of Warcraft will be facing some hefty competition from the MMO world, from games such as Warhammer Online. Relmstein has asserted that "Lake Wintergrasp, one hero class, and ten more levels...can't hold up the expansion". Compared to what the competition will have to offer, if Blizzard doesn't up their ante, the launch of Wrath of the Lich King could get lost in the mix.

Of course, the expansion will also be including a new profession called inscription, as well as siege weapons, new NPC races, changeable hairstyles, new dances, and other interesting details.

Askander, a commenter, pointed out that pre-BC, Blizzard withheld the announcement about the "Shaman/Paladin faction swap" until late in the game, surprising many players. While some players may remain cautiously skeptical, Tigole has been on the forums hinting of bigger things to come.

What do you think? Does Blizzard have some dynamic plans in the works that they're not sharing for the upcoming expansion, or will they launch with only the announced features? Do you think they have underestimated their competition, or have grown distracted with development of their upcoming MMO and Starcraft 2?

Wrath did make Yahoo!'s list of the most anticipated games of 2008, and was the only expansion listed. Can Wrath live up to our expectations without added features?

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Breakfast Topic: Games within the game - Fri, 25 Jan 2008 08:00:00 EST



We all know (or at least I hope we all know) that World of Warcraft is a game -- an MMO set in an immense universe with countless quests to do and whole continents to explore. However, sometimes the big game isn't as interesting as the minigames you can find. Steam tonk wars? (Or other pet games.) Guild bank checkers? (If you haven't tried that one, it's a blast!) What do you think of Azeroth's minigames -- do you play them? Do you enjoy them? Do you make up your own to entertain yourself between raids? Tell us about them!

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EU MVP Schwick takes a break - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 21:00:00 EST
EU Forums MVP and community member (and friend of WoW Insider) Schwick, he of the Warcraft Weekly and the occasional "what we know" roundups, has decided to take a step back from posting as much in order to finish up his schooling. He's aiming to be a game developer, and so while he's still planning on doing the occasional roundup, he's stepping away from his weekly posts to focus on schoolwork.

Which is kind of a shame, as his posting was a huge boon to the community. But on the other hand, school is much more important-- focusing on school now will definitely let him do this kind of work more later.

So a big thanks yet again to Schwick for all his hard work, and here's wishing him good luck in his studies.

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Blood Sport: Essential Arena addons - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 19:00:00 EST

Every Thursday, V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.

Like I mentioned in my Building an Arena team article, some PvPers scoff at PvP mods. For me, I like to think of addons as little "fixes" that address deficiencies in the default UI. It's not like they create a huge unfair advantage or anything, but addons, created by well-meaning individuals, simply make our collective gaming lives easier. Hey, if everyone else is using them, why not?

There are literally thousands of addons out there, and some of us quickly develop an almost unhealthy reliance on all the bells and whistles. I'm a firm follower of the minimalistic movement: if I hardly interact with a particular addon during a typical game session, it disappears from my AddOns folder, no matter how nice or "useful" it seems. I prefer quicker loading and response times, to conveniences that are situational at best, thank you.

I'm also a big Ace fan; who doesn't like updating all your addons with one click? Besides that, many of the most functional and bloat-free addons are emerging from the active Ace community. Hence, if there are multiple addons providing the same functionality, I'll tend to gravitate towards the Ace version. The easiest way to grab and manage Ace addons is to download the WoWAceUpdater application. With that, let's look at some addons I consider "essential" if you are a frequent or serious gladiator.

Continue reading Blood Sport: Essential Arena addons

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Your favorite music - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST


Madmarv thinks that there might be a relationship between WoW players and metal or rock music, since everyone he knows that plays the game listens to metal or rock, and lots of videos use the same. But other players quickly prove him wrong-- not everyone listens to or even likes metal or rock music. And since we've got these nifty polls, why not figure out exactly what you do all listen to?

Of course, if metal/rock doesn't win (and I suspect that it won't-- my guess is you all are a pretty eclectic crowd), then the question remains just why all that crazy rock keeps showing up in your PvP vids anyway.

View Poll

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How much money Blizzard is really making from 10 million subscribers - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 17:32:00 EST
An article on Playfuls.com (which I found via Incgamers) tried to take the news about Blizzard's ten million subscribers from earlier this week, and suss out just how much money they're making. They do what most people would do, which is multiply their $15 subscription rate per month times ten million, which would mean that Blizzard is raking in $150 million a month, or about $1.7 billion a year is gross profits.

Except that's not right. Because while North American and European players pay about $15 a month, many Chinese and Asian subscribers don't pay monthly-- they pay hourly, at a much lower rate than what other players around the world pay. With 2.5 million and 2 million subscribers in North American and Europe respectively, Blizzard is still making $810 million a year (not to mention the cost to purchase the original game and the expansion pack, which at this point is probably negligible at this point given how much retailers like to take out) in those places. But that leaves 5.5 million players in other countries, and their payment plans aren't as rigidly defined.

Of course, obviously these are all estimates as well, and they're gross, too-- you have to remember that Blizzard pays a huge group of people money to keep up content, customer service, promotion, and administration, as well as maintenance on what must be a huge number of servers (each realm has at least three or four servers running on it, for each continent and all the instances). And Blizzard has other income coming in as well-- licensing fees, fees from The9 (the company that actually runs WoW in China, and likely collects subscription fees there), transfer fees from players, and so on.

Don't get me wrong-- Blizzard is still making a lot of net money on the deal, easily into the hundred millions. But it's not as easily as multiplying what you're paying by ten million, because that's just not the case.

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Battle Bites: Preparing for Battle - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST


Never go into battle unprepared. Before you queue up for a Battleground or Arena, make sure to repair your equipment so it doesn't break in the middle of an encounter. PvP takes its toll on your armor just like in PvE, albeit at a slower rate, so always be mindful of your repairs. While you don't receive durability damage when you die, your equipment still suffers every time you get hit. I once PvP'd for almost 15 hours straight without repairing and had my armor almost break on me. Though far from being as expensive, PvP is an endeavor that entails costs just like raiding or other instances.

Always have a mental checklist for buffs when entering an Arena or Battleground; before a match begins, players receive a buff called Arena Preparation or Preparation which reduces the cost of all spells and abilities by 100%. This period allows you to buff yourself and, ideally, your entire team as well. Note that although the spells are free, they still consume reagents in Battlegrounds (but not Arenas) so be mindful of your stocks. It's always good practice to have full stacks of reagents, so remember to replenish now and again between battles. If you're a Mage or Warlock, your teammates will be extremely grateful if you throw up a Ritual of Refreshment or Ritual of Souls. Extend courtesy to your fellow players and be sure not to take more than Conjured Manna Biscuits than you actually need!

In Battlegrounds, dying is a good opportunity to refresh oneself for the fight. When running low on health and/or mana, don't rule out the option of dying to top yourself up, specially if there's a nearby Graveyard under your faction's control. Right after you rezz, you receive a 6-second buff called Spirit Heal, which reduces the cost of all spells by 100%. Considering global cooldowns, you can cast maybe up to three buffs for free before heading back into the fray. Remember to cast your most expensive buff first, and stack as many self-buffs as you can to provide a buffer for dispel abilities. Preparation pays off, or in this case, costs nothing!

Battle Bites is a short feature that gives out weekly tips for PvP. Have fun storming the castle!

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Gamers on the Street: The XP experience - Thu, 24 Jan 2008 16:00:00 EST


Gamers on the Street logs into U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.

I'm leveling too fast. My brand, new main character is already in her mid-50s and closing on BC content fast. One night's worth of questing while my husband was offline catapulted me two levels ahead and greened out our next planned instance. It took a week's worth of jostling to get our quest lines and zones back in sync with one another. And money for my mount at 40? Who are you kidding? Even with steady gathering from 1-40 with just that in mind, it took dedicated money-making days to bring in the cash I needed in time (err, relatively in time - I didn't mount up at level 40, that's for sure).

One of patch 2.3's handy-dandy, user-friendly changes was a boost in leveling speed for characters between levels 20 and 60. The XP required per level was reduced by 20 percent, and the amount of XP granted by quests between levels 30 and 60 was increased. Loot in leveling dungeons was improved. Oodles of outdoor elite mobs were changed to non-elites for solo-friendliness.

Fast forward a few months ... Do players like the results? We dropped in on the Ysondre server earlier this week to see what leveling players think about the current state of XP'ing in Azeroth. Read about their XP experience and share your own thoughts on how fast is too fast, after the break.

Continue reading Gamers on the Street: The XP experience

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