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Blood Pact: To summon or not to summon, that's the question - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill scraps another attempt at Kanrethad to discuss being a pet class instead.

Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous pet bugs in encounter design like jumping down into Nefarian's pit in Blackwing Descent so your pet then did nothing but stand in the middle, or to take up Doomguards against a despawning abyssal phase 3 in Throne of the Four Winds -- and by opposing end them: to die, to sacrifice.

To sacrifice, perchance to DPS; Aye, there's the rub, for in that sleep of death, what meter-topping dreams of 5.0 may come, when we have shuffled off this mortal coil (no, not that one!), must give our developers pause.

My terrible warlock Shakespeare adaptation aside, we've had the ponderings about how tied to pets warlocks should or shouldn't be. As I continue to throw myself at Kanrethad's own demonic stampede, I've had some thoughts about the subject.

Continue reading Blood Pact: To summon or not to summon, that's the question

Blood Pact: To summon or not to summon, that's the question originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Revolutionary new minigame datamined in patch 5.3 - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 19:00:00 EST

We've asked for other minigames in WoW, but so far there's been no official word of anything on the horizon. The Plants vs. Zombies minigame is loads of fun, and the battle pet system is by far the most expansive minigame that's ever come to the game. Not everyone has the interest or time to invest in pet battling, so it was very exciting to stumble across the newest WoW minigame, just datamined in patch 5.3.

It's a game any player can have fun with. A game many of us have enjoyed ...

Say hello to Rock, Paper, Scissors!

That's right! Forget about the Singing Sunflower. Whether you're bored or want a new and improved way to decide who get's that Thunderforged weapon, this is it. OK, so this may not really be a new minigame -- datamining is a fickle thing -- but the spells are there for one purpose or another. We can dream, right?

Revolutionary new minigame datamined in patch 5.3 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Officers' Quarters: 5 arguments for guild halls - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader's Handbook.

A few weeks ago, a Twitter user named Quentin Charton asked Ghostcrawler whether WoW could eventually have guild housing. Ghostcrawler's reply was "We worry that guild housing is only content for the guild leaders."

If implemented properly, I think guild halls could be a home run for WoW. Here are five reasons why.

1. Guild leaders and officers deserve in-game rewards.

Ghostcrawler doesn't want to create content just for guild leaders. My question is, why not? Leading a guild is not easy. It requires making sacrifices, both in-game and in the real world, since it takes time and energy. Don't guild leaders and their officers deserve a few small in-game perks?

I agree that the entire guild hall experience shouldn't be for officers only. However, a guild hall could have a special place in it for officers. You could call it something simple like, say, off the top of my head . . . the "Officers' Quarters." This location would have a few small bonuses for them, like a flask vending machine you can use once a day (like Blingtron). Such a perk would be a welcome thank you to the players who make all the best group content in WoW happen.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: 5 arguments for guild halls

Officers' Quarters: 5 arguments for guild halls originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Interview: Talking Hearthstone with the developers - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 17:00:00 EST

Want to know more about Blizzard's new digital card game, Hearthstone? During PAX East 2013, we spoke with Hearthstone Lead Designer Eric Dodds and Production Director Jason Chayes to learn some additional information about the game.

During the 20-minute interview, I asked the developers several questions, some on behalf of the lore nerds, others for the collectors among us. We discussed some of the game features planned for launch, as well as the possibility of implementing e-sports capabilities later. Also touched upon were the game's visual aspects, like the art work and animated game boards.

And for those of you with a history playing other strategy card games like Magic: The Gathering, I learned a bit more about Hearthstone gameplay and how the Forge works.

Continue reading Interview: Talking Hearthstone with the developers

Interview: Talking Hearthstone with the developers originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Updated! Spoiler Alert: Patch 5.3 Datamined sound files - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:10:00 EST

Spoiler Alert! Beyond the break are several YouTube video embeds which contain considerable spoilers for the latter half of this expansion, as well as, potentially, for the next one.

Our friends over at Adriacraft have been at it again, digging around in the latest patch 5.3 PTR files. There's audio from several key characters in the game (including a great deal of Wrathion), revealing what could well be coming our way. Of course, take this with a hefty pinch of salt. This is datamined information and should be treated as such, so don't take it as confirmation of anything.

As ever, spoilers lurk after the break. Do not hit the break unless you are happy to hear spoilers for upcoming content. Do not read the comments unless you are happy to read people talking about spoilers. Fair warning.

Continue reading Updated! Spoiler Alert: Patch 5.3 Datamined sound files

Updated! Spoiler Alert: Patch 5.3 Datamined sound files originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 16:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3 PTR: Third Talent Specialization datamined - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:30:00 EST

If this little tidbit from the Wowhead database is to be believed, we may be receiving tri-spec in patch 5.3. Now, before you begin speaking in tongues or leaping out a window, some caveats:
  • This is the PTR, and stuff can be datamined that never actually makes it to live
  • Even if it does get tested on the PTR, it doesn't necessarily follow that it will be implemented
  • Sometimes stuff gets put in the files just to mess with us
So let us calmly and without panic contemplate what this could mean. How much could triple specialization change the game? Would you use it? Should it be as costly as dual specialization was when it debuted? Does it favor certain classes too greatly or does the hurdle of gear provide enough barrier to keep jack of all trades from dominating the game? What are your thoughts on this potential feature?

Update -- In reply to our request for comment/verification, Blizzard notes the following (best summed up by a tweet from Ghostcrawler on the matter):


Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Patch 5.3 PTR: Third Talent Specialization datamined originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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New raid pets, wild pets, and hit chance system coming to pet battles in patch 5.3 - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:00:00 EST

Earlier this afternoon, Cory "Mumper" Stockton revealed a new wild battle pet coming in patch 5.3: the Unborn Val'kyr. If we can all ignore the creepy implications of its name, this will likely turn out to be an awesome addition to everyone's pet collections. Even if it turns out its battle abilities aren't very impressive (and we don't know yet either way), who doesn't want a tiny little val'kyr following them everywhere?

In addition to the Unborn Val'kyr, patch 5.3 datamining has revealed the achievement Raiding with Leashes II: Attunement Edition which will add pets to Burning Crusade-era raids, much like those added to classic WoW raids.

Continue reading New raid pets, wild pets, and hit chance system coming to pet battles in patch 5.3

New raid pets, wild pets, and hit chance system coming to pet battles in patch 5.3 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Weekly Podcast Roundup: Mar. 18-24, 2013 - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST

Every Monday evening, WoW Insider brings you a long list of WoW podcasts that were published the week and weekend before. If you don't see your favorite World of Warcraft podcast listed, just let us know in the comments. Be sure to leave a link to it, and we'll pick it up next week.

All podcasts and content belong to their owners. WoW Insider is not responsible for what you hear, and some of the content may not be safe for work.

Continue reading Weekly Podcast Roundup: Mar. 18-24, 2013

Weekly Podcast Roundup: Mar. 18-24, 2013 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Mumper clarifies seasonal battle pets - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 13:00:00 EST

There are a number of achievements available for pet battlers, but one in particular has eluded us all. Not because it's particularly tough to earn, but because we're all waiting for MoP's first Summertime in-game. The Qiraji Guardling is said to only spawn during Summer, but there's been a bit of confusion surrounding when WoW's Summer actually is. See, the Raw Summer Bass begins spawning on the first day of Spring here in the real world. With a name like Summer Bass, you'd think that'd make it Summer in-game, right? As it turns out, no.

The Summer Bass is a Spring/Summer fish, just like the Winter Squid is a Fall/Winter fish. Players sought clarification on fish versus pet spawning seasons from Lead Content Designer Cory "Mumper" Stockton, and received it:




So, the seasonal fish span multiple seasons, and the two seasonal pets span single seasons. Single seasons that loosely mirror our real-world seasons. Be on the lookout for the Guardling around the time Summer hits the Northern hemisphere -- in-game we're guessing it'll be May or June. Are you ready for your Zookeeper title?

Mumper clarifies seasonal battle pets originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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DREAM Paragon take world first Heroic Lei Shen - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST

All-Finnish guild DREAM Paragon have done it again, taking down Heroic Lei Shen late last night in EU time, before their 10- and 25-man rivals, to add yet another world first to their long list.

It's taken almost two weeks for Paragon to get this far, with Method and Blood Legion hot on their heels, along with Eksorsus and Moonz, the only other 10-man guild in the top ten, although they skipped Dark Animus the first time around.

Paragon have been leading the pack throughout the race, with the 25-man versions of both Dark Animus and Twin Consorts needing either "tuning" or flat out nerfs for the 25-man guilds to get past them. Paragon took down the Twin Consorts on March 17th, three days before either Method or Blood Legion, so it's taken Paragon a full week to get Lei Shen dispatched. Blizzard has said all along that Lei Shen was a very difficult fight, and we're just now seeing the extent of that. It'll be interesting to see if the 25m version of Lei Shen remains unchanged through the upcoming raid reset.

Paragon now move on to Ra-Den, they'll be the first players in the world to see this top-secret boss in action, but we wouldn't expect them to be free and easy with the details until he's down. They've only got 30 tries to get past him, but they're in a good position, given that they've taken out Lei Shen just before a reset. Unless the other guilds can catch up today/tomorrow (raids reset on a Tuesday night in the EU), they'll have a full week with only 30 attempts on Ra-Den to play with.

DREAM Paragon take world first Heroic Lei Shen originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: I'm back - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 11:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Phew, today's my first day back after my vacation last week. I didn't miss anything important, right?

... Right?

@crikit310 asked:

Any guesses on when we'll have a shot at buying BlizzCon tickets?

Continue reading The Queue: I'm back

The Queue: I'm back originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: She's only a bird in a gilded cage - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST

Sure, everyone thinks that the battle pets are the ones in cages. But maybe it's the hunters that are in cages, man! Society's cages of conformity! Wait ... on further inspection of this picture, I guess it's the battle pets in cages. Hmm. So we're making innocent animals fight each other, then removing them from the wild and putting them in cages with a hundred other animals? The battle pet system is a lot darker than I thought. (Thanks to Anton for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: She's only a bird in a gilded cage originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3 PvP Gear Changes: Don't Panic - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:00:00 EST

I can understand why you did panic. The patch 5.3 PTR notes had a little section of PvP gear notes -- five bullet points that pulled the rug out from under our feet. These changes are characteristic of the bold, sweeping alterations that Blizzard's new PvP Designer Brian Holinka has been spearheading since he joined the company in August of last year. And these are big changes. If you missed the notes, let me repeat them for you here.
  • All characters now have a base Resilience of 65%.
  • Resilience has been removed from most PvP gear.
  • Season 13 Tyrannical gear had their item levels increased to ilevel 496, up from ilevel 493.
  • Season 13 Tyrannical Elite gear had their item levels decreased to ilevel 496, down from ilevel 512.
  • Battlegrounds, Rated Battlegrounds, and Arenas now have an ilevel cap. All gear will be scaled down to ilevel 496.
What does this all mean? I've been relentlessly bothering Brian on Twitter for your benefit, so let's run down how he's addressing players' concerns. Do note that Blizzard will release an official blog on this some time next week.

Continue reading Patch 5.3 PvP Gear Changes: Don't Panic

Patch 5.3 PvP Gear Changes: Don't Panic originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Have you ever experienced the perfect synergistic partnership? - Mon, 25 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST

I don't think it would be an exaggeration to say that nothing will ever approach the synergy I had between my classic era priest and my husband's warrior tank. We've played a lot of character combinations in a lot of different games, but there was something soul-stirring about our link with those two.

It seems silly written here in black and white, but I knew things about his tanking that I can't even describe knowing. Their absence would spill into view whenever I healed someone else. Even after I came to learn the habits and rhythms of the other tanks and we were downing bosses like a well-oiled machine, the missing element when I healed another tank hung in the air like perfume from a beautiful woman who'd just left the room. It was more than knowing his usual patterns of pulling or trusting him to pick up an add or position the boss, deeper than a feel for how much damage he could take or his intuitive sense of how long I could keep up on sheer regen mode after going OOM. I intuitively knew things about how he reacted on that character (and he about me and mine) that allowed us to function as a unit. It was bizarrely intimate. And no matter how well-honed our patterns of play are today, with different characters, we just don't feel the same effect.

It occurs to me that players who enjoy significant arena success must enjoy this sort of wordless communication, and I'm tempted to try some arena PvP with my husband to see if we can recapture and exploit the fruits of our teamwork. Have you ever played with someone with whom you shared utter synergy? What aspects of your partnership raise battle from a series of enjoyable encounters to a breathlessly glorious endeavor?

Breakfast Topic: Have you ever experienced the perfect synergistic partnership? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 25 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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9 newbie tips for running dungeons without looking like a newbie - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST

We were all newbies once -- and some of us who have left the game and come back have found themselves being newbies a second time. And while there's no way to avoid newbiedom entirely, with a bit of foresight, even the newest player can run a dungeon without looking like a newbie. These 9 tips should help you get started on your dungeon running career -- and even if you're well on your way to being a professional, a refresher course never hurt.

1. Know your (instance) role
If you've never been in a dungeon before, the idea of group roles may not be intuitive. But when you're working with a group, you'll typically have one person assigned to tank, one person assigned to heal, and the rest of the group dealing damage (DPS). Additionally, some classes have crowd control abilities they'll be called to use in instances -- if you've got one, make sure it's on a hotbar rather than hidden in your spellbook. Whether you're playing with friends or you've jumped into a random group, know what your role is before you go.

Need tips on getting started? Here's some advice on getting started as a tank, getting started as a healer, and tips on improving your DPS.

Continue reading 9 newbie tips for running dungeons without looking like a newbie

9 newbie tips for running dungeons without looking like a newbie originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Council Comic Fifth Element - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST

Fifth Element is back with another raid video, this time in a sort of comic book style. While it's not quite as flashy or nostalgic as earlier Fifth Element videos, it still satisfies the group's unique, cinematic flair.

There's a lot to be learned from Fifth Element's dedication to cinematic openings. Raid videos can be a tough sell to the mainstream audience, but these outrageous openings really do a good job of getting you settled in. These have been my favorite raid videos in a long, long time.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

WoW Moviewatch: Council Comic Fifth Element originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Azeroth - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Last week, we took a minor plunge into the idea of Azeroth as a fully-connected entity, and what the implications of that entailed. But there's more to the story than just a matter of connectivity. We know everything is connected. But what we really don't know at this point is why. What is the purpose of Azeroth? What were the Titans thinking? Why did they choose to forgo re-originating the world after discovering the Old Gods? Why have they gone silent, ignoring Azeroth for thousands of years?

Why does Azeroth exist?

Today's Know Your Lore is a Tinfoil Hat edition, meaning the following is a look into what has gone before with pure speculation on what is to come as a result. These speculations are merely theories and shouldn't be taken as fact or official lore.

Continue reading Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Azeroth

Know Your Lore, Tinfoil Hat Edition: Azeroth originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Sunday Sunday Sunday - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

Prepare to be ANNIHILATED!

Mikk asked:

With the new 5.3 pvp changes and the announcement that resilience will be removed from most items, has there been any indication of what they are going to do with pvp heirlooms? As a recent devote to pvp, I have been working on accumulating all the pvp heirlooms and I would hate to see all that work wasted ... Maybe they will replace the pvp resilience with pvp power on heirlooms? Any info appreciated.

The patch 5.3 PTR patch notes came out before a blog about the PVP changes could be published, so I imagine we'll be hearing a lot about what the changes mean for various types of gear soon (after PAX East).

Continue reading The Queue: Sunday Sunday Sunday

The Queue: Sunday Sunday Sunday originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Sunday Morning Funnies: Foppish - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST

Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week, we have a nice long list plus a slew of bonus material. Moeru (of Lo'meath & Huilii) has posted about her experiences at Toronto ComiCon 2013, including a few photos. Coffin, who has been recovering after a convention, posted some cool notes and drawings about the process of creating What's Shakin'.

Kuo is taking naming suggestions for a wolf and NPC posted some sketches in late February. Gratz posted several updates this week (with the much-promised action) and although Contested Territory is still on hiatus, there are several new sketches up that you might find interesting!

Trig, we're all still wishing you well and hoping for a speedy recovery! Ash (of The Trolling of Azeroth) also mentioned being sick, and we hope that by now you're doing much better.

As always, if you have any tips for comics to include, you're welcome to leave a comment with a link!

Continue reading Sunday Morning Funnies: Foppish

Sunday Morning Funnies: Foppish originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Catch me if you can - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST

Please don't taunt the immobile sha. "I'd just hit 90 on my gnome alt, and I was flying around the Summit to catch up on mining," writes submitter Whistlecheek of Gnomeregan Forever on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A). "I found myself face to face with the Sha of Anger, who looked surprised and amazed, then angry that a little pink-haired gnome was daring to get into his face. I must've really surprised him, because I was able to get right up next to him ... until I flew through his belly. Yeah. That's when I found out a) Shanger is really ticklish, b) really, REALLY ticklish, and c) he hates cute pink-haired gnomes who discover that fact."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Catch me if you can originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Do play behind, atop, or at the bleeding edge of the content curve? - Sun, 24 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST

I always smile when I come across someone aghast at another player's unfamiliarity with a particular instance or encounter. ("It's been months since that came out!") They're like the horrified grade-schoolers in the neighborhood we used to live in who simply couldn't fathom having a playmate who didn't carry Mom or Dad's cast-off iPhone. These players can't imagine what dire circumstances might keep someone out of Throne of Thunder or how somebody who's played for a year couldn't have Dragon Soul picked clean.

I understand the sense of urgency. Riding into new expansions and patches with a level-capped character and tackling every new update as it releases builds curiosity, motivation, and emotional investment. It's supposed to. But behind the leading edge are tiers and tiers of content that's -- surprise! -- not worn out and useless. With zone updates, raid tweaks, and ongoing tuning, Blizzard works steadily to ensure that players can realistically enjoy older content, too.

Whether you're a late starter or a late bloomer, a completionist still scraping clean nooks and crannies or a time-challenged casual player who simply hasn't gotten there yet, do you play WoW at a rate that's decidedly behind the curve? Like probably most readers here at WoW Insider, are you bobbing comfortably along somewhere in the Mists of Pandaria/Thunder King experience? Or are you chafing at the bit for time and your realmmates to unlock additional bleeding-edge content, thriving on taking down the latest content as soon as it's released?

View Poll




Breakfast Topic: Do play behind, atop, or at the bleeding edge of the content curve? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 24 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First impressions of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST

Yesterday at PAX East 2013, Blizzard unveiled their first free-to-play game, Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft. The upcoming title is a digital, collectible card game akin to Magic: The Gathering Online, but designed to be easy to learn and accessible to a larger audience. The game is currently being demonstrated on the showroom floor at PAX, and I was able to play it a couple of times yesterday afternoon.

When starting up my first game, I expected to find Hearthstone confusing because I've never played Magic: The Gathering or any other strategy card game (e.g. Pokémon TCG, Yu-Gi-Oh!) before. I am vaguely familiar with some of the terminology of MTG, having spent most of my life around hardcore players, but I don't really know the rules or how the game is played. That unfamiliarity didn't seem to get in the way of Hearthstone, though. Within two turns I understood my resource system, and also how to play and use cards. By the fifth turn I felt like I understood all the basic mechanics of combat. Then, by the time my seventh turn came around, I was cursing paladins for being overpowered and itching to play another game.

Continue reading First impressions of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft

First impressions of Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Shaping of the World - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST

The music of WoW lends a lot of drama, power, and gravitas to the game. It's easy to underestimate the incredible composition that provides flavor and emotion to each zone, expansion, and even instances. For such an integral part of the game, it doesn't get enough attention.

Plasma3Music created this remix of The Shaping of the World. This is what he had to say about it:
My orchestral remix is a more dramatic and epic version of World of Warcraft's "The Shaping Of The World". My intention was to put more energy and power into the song. The remix is accompanied by beautiful landscape shots of WoW Cataclysm.

The parts and melodies from 1:36 to 2:17 are new and composed by me.
No audio clips of the original were used. Every sound, instrument and note that you hear has been carefully programmed and mixed by me.

The end result is very effective. Take the time to listen and let Plasma know what you think.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

WoW Moviewatch: The Shaping of the World originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Preliminary DPS in Throne of Thunder - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

So we've had the Throne of Thunder for three weeks now, and we're all progressing through it at our various paces. Some of us are working on heroic bosses, others are at particular normal mode bosses, still others are primarily exploring the raid via the LFR tool. However you're going about it, you've had a couple of weeks to start seeing the new fights.

One of the things that's struck me as a DPS player so far is how varied the individual fights are. Love them or hate them (so far I can't think of one I hate although I'll admit I don't like doing Ji-Kun when I have to do nest duty) there's a wide range of mechanics at play. As a result, although this is still a fairly preliminary statement there are a few things I feel comfortable saying at this point.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Preliminary DPS in Throne of Thunder

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Preliminary DPS in Throne of Thunder originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WRUP: Hearthstone and our secret shame - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST

Our bonus question this week was going to be about our dark, secret gaming habits. That was the plan. And then Blizzard went and released this mindblowingly awesome sounding game... so the bonus question changed. So when you're reading this, we're telling you both our guilty pleasure of gaming... and our excite about Hearthstone.

Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) This weekend is going to be spent working on projects around the house and getting some writing done. As for Hearthstone, it looks pretty neat! I think I may end up jumping in the beta just to play around with it and see how it works.

Continue reading WRUP: Hearthstone and our secret shame

WRUP: Hearthstone and our secret shame originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Hearthstone - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) has taken this thing over today.

I like to think those two cats are excitedly discussing anything relevant in the news. Today they are chatting about Hearthstone and whether or not they're going to sign up for the beta.

Adamndm_ asked:

Allow me to be the first to ask the obvious question we don't have a solid answer for yet: What is Hearthstone's release date?

We don't know, but supposedly it's soon -- not Blizzard Soon[TM], but actual soon!

EavenTheWarlock asked:

Q4tQ: Do you thing Hearthstone will eventually get an Android version? *tinfoil hat on* Or did they make a secret deal with apple to keep it exclusive?

They actually answered that question in their FAQ! Q: Are you supporting Android tablets? A: Hearthstone will launch on Windows, Macintosh, and, later on, iPad. We're looking into the possibility of supporting additional platforms in the future, but we don't have any further info to share at this time.

lucho_pinto asked:

I expect to see tomorrow's Q filled with Hearthstone questions that we don't know the answer to yet :D Kudos to whoever's tackling it tomorrow! I'll add my own question-that-probably-doesn't-have-an-answer-yet: Will this use/accept money from Diablo's RMAH? To buy boosters?

Continue reading The Queue: Hearthstone

The Queue: Hearthstone originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Hey, come out and play - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST

Submitter Brandon and a large group of wannabe dino-killers on Thrall (US) got tired of waiting for Galleon to spawn, so they decided to speed it up with the eldritch magic of a proto-drake circle. Galleon did indeed appear shortly thereafter, but after seeing the mass of dragons arrayed against him, he hearthed back to wherever he came from and called Oondasta to come to the scene for some backup. And then everyone died.

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Around Azeroth: Hey, come out and play originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Why join a guild? - Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST

There are lots of reasons to join a guild: it makes it easy to find groups and raids, you have guaranteed company while you're playing, and most importantly, guild perks. In case you've been living under a rock, guild perks give you great bonuses for guild membership based on your guild's level. Perks can boost the amount of experience, reputation, and honor you gain, make your hearthstone cooldown shorter, and even make flight paths go faster. So, really, the question seems to be why not join a guild?

The question's been asked on Reddit and it got me wondering why my own alt of choice (for the moment) is currently unguilded. It couldn't take much more than a polite request to jump on the guild bandwagon and get my hands on those yummy, yummy perks. It would stop the regular requests I get to join guilds (even if you've turned off guild requests, you do frequently get whispers) and it's not as though I'm in a demanding guild at the moment. And yet when I don't feel like doing much (or dealing with others), I hop on to my alt to solo for a while.

And what about you, fellow players? Are you guilded or unguilded?

Breakfast Topic: Why join a guild? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 23 Mar 2013 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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World of Warcraft Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 21:29:00 EST

Hot off the presses tonight is the patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes. Right off the bat to quell any rumors -- there is no indication of when the PTR will be active (other than soon), or when this patch is going to drop.

Some of the highlights of this patch thus far include:
  • Gold Rush, a new battleground.
  • Shado-Pan, a new arena.
  • Major PvP changes. Largest in quite a while.
  • Battle of the High Seas, Blood in the Snow, Dark Heart of Pandaria, The Secrets of Emberdeep -- four, yes not one, not two, not three, but four new scenarios.
  • Heroic difficulty for scenarios added, awards valor and a chance at Raid Finder quality items.
  • You can now duel with your pets in dungeons and raids.
  • Bonus rolls have a progressively better chance at awarding loot if you've used them and they turn up nothing.
  • We can now pick a loot specalization that's different than our current spec for LFR, Bonus Rolls, and Pandarian quests.
The full patch notes after the break.

Continue reading World of Warcraft Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes

World of Warcraft Patch 5.3 PTR Patch Notes originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 21:29:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Phat Loot Phriday: Band of Finding - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST

The worgen ran on all fours. Thick padded feet pounded earth and stone and grass. He occasionally swapped out the canine gift of his nation for the more magnificent speed of a stag. But mostly, the worgen just ran.

The Band of Finding glittered on his paw. Hand. Hoof. It's a druid, it changes, okay?

While the ring would hardly be the biggest upgrade the druid would see in Pandaria's misty realm, he liked the synchronicity of it. The druid was trying to find his band, so why not use the Band of Finding?

So still, he just kept running. After so long a separation, the druid was pretty sure he'd beat up the blood elf and orc as soon as he found them. It seemed appropriate, at this point.

Item Note: You pick up the Band of Finding from Finding Your Center or Instant Messaging. You get it fairly early into the late 80s, so it's not like it's a mind-blowing ring long term. But if you're gearing up a Strength DPS character, make sure to tuck it away in your pocket. I found myself using it for a surprisingly long time.

Phat Loot Phriday brings you the scoop on some of the most ... interesting ... loot in the World of Warcraft, often viewed through the eyes of the stalwart Throgg and indelible Lolegolas. Suggest items you think we should feature by emailing mikeg@wowinsider.com.

Phat Loot Phriday: Band of Finding originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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"Crash Bandicoot" creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 19:00:00 EST

I didn't see this until recently, but I'm really glad I did. Andy Gavin, the co-creator of Crash Bandicoot and Jak & Daxter, ran a series between the end of November and mid-January examining WoW, its four expansions, and how each of them succeeded or failed through both personal and professional eyes. His particular focus is the endgame in each and how it worked to attract and retain players -- or, in some cases, didn't.

While there's certainly been no shortage of player commentary on how WoW's developed, Gavin's experience as a game developer who's not involved with Blizzard is a pretty unique perspective. I found his article on Cataclysm to be particularly adept at putting into words a lot of things I felt but had difficulty articulating. Most of the expansion's developmental time had to go into a revamped leveling process that few people saw unless they wanted to level a new alt. The content at 85 that greeted more casual players got bottlenecked in a series of difficult heroics that frustrated players dropped constantly.

Personally, I still consider Cataclysm to have been a necessary expansion -- it did a lot of stuff that Blizzard had to do for the game even if it wasn't as eye-catching as what BC and Wrath did -- but I think Gavin's assessment is accurate and measured. (And many of Blizzard's own observations aren't all that different.) Funnily enough, with lots of people leveling new monks in Mists of Pandaria, more people might be seeing Cataclysm content now than they did during the expansion that was actually dedicated to it.

I've linked Gavin's full series here. While it's long, it's an incredibly interesting and detailed read:

"Crash Bandicoot" creator comments on Cataclysm's problems and the evolution of WoW originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Search for Hope - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST

It's been a little while since we've heard from Croftzi, so when I got a mail from her, I was pretty excited. This is a fairly straightforward video, but I can't tell you anything about it. You have to experience it. However, it Croftzi's word, she tried to make it "a very dramatic story." So kick back and take a couple minutes to watch The Search for Hope.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

WoW Moviewatch: The Search for Hope originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Poll: What zone has the best music? - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:00:00 EST

I'm going to open this one with a personal story. In 2009 at a Blizzcon party, I had the good fortune to be introduced to Russell Brower, and I promptly went all starry-eyed and gushed about how much I loved WoW's music. His face lit up and he said, "Oh you are just the best thing!" and kissed my hand. Then asked me what my favorite was. My answer was immediate, and without hesitation: Black Temple.

Now, let's fast-forward to today, in 2013, almost four years later. Has my answer changed? Maybe. Black Temple is still definitely up there, but I'm not sure it's the out-and-away winner anymore. With Cataclysm many of the zones got updated music, so areas I wasn't super enthused about before suddenly became much more compelling. In the end, the five I've come up with are Grizzly Hills (a perennial favorite), Black Temple (still love it), Ashenvale ("Nightsong" alone makes this nomination), Karazhan (haunted mansion!), and Kun-Lai Summit (mostly for "Way of the Monk," which plays upon entry into the Temple of the White Tiger). Vote on your favorite in the poll, but don't think this is the definitive list. I'm sure there are plenty of zones I've overlooked, so tell us what I've missed in the comments.

Poll: What zone has the best music? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Oondasta's health pool nerfed by 50% - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST

The deadly dinosaur that caused the mass destruction you see documented in this picture, which was tweeted recently by Dave Kosak, has had a massive nerf to his health. It's gone from 872 million to 436 million, which is a 50% nerf.

The reason for this is likely twofold. Firstly, the boss was very hard to kill, and players were not unfairly deciding that the cost in repairs and time of killing Oondasta was too much compared to the gear drop chance and the quality of the gear. With patch 5.2 there are easier ways to get gear than killing this boss.

Secondly, the huge numbers "required" to kill this boss meant that servers were struggling under the load of hundreds of people taking on this boss. One viable "tactic" was to get so many people attacking Oondasta that the server lagged out so badly that he was only using a few of his abilities with long intervals in between.

Rygarius said a while back that while Oondasta was great, in that he brought back the epic outdoor raid feel, but that the big groups were causing server stability problems, so this is likely another step in trying to fix that issue. It seems like the nerf, meaning that the graveyard zerg tactic would likely not need 200 people to succeed, will make players happy to pull with smaller groups. This will help with the server stability, but is it a worthwhile exchange?

Hit the break for Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas' input on the change.

Continue reading Oondasta's health pool nerfed by 50%

Oondasta's health pool nerfed by 50% originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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TradeChat rounds up Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:00:00 EST

Well, if you haven't been watching the blog today, you might not have heard: Hearthstone has been announced. An online, free-to-play digital card game, Hearthstone might start a whole new wave of WoW madness. TradeChat explains the game, shares the preview, and basically tells us what's up. Find out what we know so far about the new game!

TradeChat rounds up Hearthstone: Heroes of Warcraft originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Lunch Topic: What's your WoW Achilles heel? - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST

What aspect of WoW has given you the most devilish time? Maybe it's something that you've finally come to grips with after many arduous hours, like PvP. Or maybe it's something that's made you throw your hands up in exasperation, resolving to avoid it forevermore, like PvP.

Let's face it: PvP certainly has quite a rep for intimidating and exasperating players. Not me, though. I'm totally down with PvP. The thing that throws me for a loop is the whole economy and Auction House thing. Despite editing Gold Capped after Gold Capped article during my time in the WoW Insider editorial chair, I've never managed to wrap my brain around strategizing how to make money in game. I use an AH addon strictly to help me get the heck outta Dodge. I want that stuff gone! Since much earlier eras, I've never been short on funds for anything I really wanted to buy, so my slapdash approach seems to serve me adequately. As a result, the inner workings of my AH addon and the realm economy in general remain all rather mysterious to me. I simply can't (and won't) take time to digest all that twitchy detail.

I have a friend, though, for whom playing the market is an amuse-bouche to any good play session. Unfortunately, his idea of a good play session and mine diverge at the point that it's time for him to move out of the fire -- his painfully evident Achilles heel. I have no idea how he hasn't internalized this basic by now, but there it is. He's just not a mover. I heal him a lot. We love him anyway.

What part of WoW's gameplay bedevils you to this day? Maybe it's something that took you more time than you'd have liked to master. Perhaps you're still struggling. Or maybe it's something that you've just never figured out (and possibly never want to). What's your WoW Achilles heel?

Lunch Topic: What's your WoW Achilles heel? originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Patch 5.3: Item upgrades to return for PvE, not for PvP - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:00:00 EST

Blizzard posted a blog today on the much-discussed return of the item upgrades to the game in patch 5.3. Lead Systems Designer Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street had commented in recent interviews that the system would be very unlikely to return for PvP, so there's no great surprise in that statement. There will still be upgrades available in patch 5.3 for season 12 gear, which was always upgradeable, at its original cost, so 750 Conquest for four item levels, useable twice. As the blog states, "no other PvP items are upgradable, and no new PvP items for the foreseeable future will use the upgrade system."

This is a good thing. There are already potential issues emerging thanks to the item levels of the new gear, where the gaps in between the lower tiers and the upper tiers look to be too great, and adding item upgrades into the mix would only cause more problems.

For PvE, as expected, the item upgrade system will be reappearing in patch 5.3. However, some changes have been made that iron out some issues the Blizzard team was unhappy with.

Continue reading Patch 5.3: Item upgrades to return for PvE, not for PvP

Patch 5.3: Item upgrades to return for PvE, not for PvP originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Part-time model - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

Let's get in a cab. I'll buy you a kebab!

stingjc asked:

Do I need to have completed any of the Black Prince quests to loot a sha-touched weapon? I still need to collect one more Sigil of Power to get the gem, but Spiritsever hasn't dropped for me yet after ten rolls. Is my RNG really that bad, or do I need to finish The Strength of One's Foes?

Nope, I haven't completed The Strength of One's Foes on my DK and just yesterday got a Shin'ka from the Sha of Fear. You just have rotten luck!

Continue reading The Queue: Part-time model

The Queue: Part-time model originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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What we know so far about HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:40:00 EST

We're going to keep this post updated throughout the day with all the latest HearthStone information. Here's what we know so far.

General Information
  • HearthStone is a new digital collectible card game (CCG) that takes place in the Warcraft universe.
  • HearthStone is free to play.
  • It's set for release this year. The beta will happen this summer.
  • You can sign up for the beta now over at HearthStone's site.
  • It will initially be playable on the Mac and PC. iPad version to follow soon (and not Blizzard soon, but reality soon).
  • PC and iPad version are playable now at PAX East.
  • Blizzard is looking at the possibility of future platforms (in response to the Android comments), but development is focused on PC, Mac, and iPad right now.



Continue reading What we know so far about HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft

What we know so far about HearthStone: Heroes of Warcraft originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:40:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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HearthStone Cinematic - Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:39:00 EST

Blizzard has just released the cinematic for HearthStone, embedded above. It's fun and goofy, which is the impression I have of the game itself! The voice-over goes through some of Warcraft's most notable heroes: Thrall, Jaina, Illidan, Garrosh, and settles on some beer-swilling dwarves telling you to forget about blood and honor and just sit back and enjoy yourself. Kind of sounds like a Saturday night in Ironforge, doesn't it?

I'm already looking forward to this game more than I would have thought. I'm a sucker for cartoonish fun, which this game looks to have in spades. I've always enjoyed card games like Magic: The Gathering but I hate physically collecting cards, and I've moved so much in the last ten years that I lose them anyway. Digital card games are growing in popularity, and Hearthstone seems like a solid addition to the genre.

HearthStone Cinematic originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 22 Mar 2013 10:39:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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