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Arcane Brilliance: Mage PvP post-patch 3.0.2 - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST

Each week, Arcane Brilliance delivers a serious burst of Mage content, a burst that can even out-damage a Druid's HoTs. How, you ask? Hax. Lots and lots of hax. What, you thought Arcane Brilliance was powerful enough to out DPS a Druid's heals legitimately? Sadly no. Arcane Brilliance cheats. Arcane Brilliance cheats hard.

Edit: Ok, Arcane Brilliance is lying. There are no mods that will allow Mages to out DPS the instant-cast HoTs of the most mobile class in the game. No matter how long we chase that cheetah around that pillar. Please excuse Arcane Brilliance while it casts Invisibility and goes into the corner to cry.

Though I enjoy burning down raid bosses as much as the next Mage (especially now that the raid bosses in question are so much easier to burn down), I make no secret about the fact that my first love has always been burning down other players. When patch 3.0.2 landed so forcefully upon our heads, bearing with it a plethora of new and revamped spells and talents, I have to admit that my first burning question was not so much "how will this help me down Kil'jaeden," as it was "how will this help me brutally slaughter the next Warlock I stumble across?"

Before the patch, Mage PvP could be distilled down to a couple of absolute truths. The first of these was: Spec Frost. The second was: You will lose to Warlocks, Druids, Priests, Hunters, and Rogues, and only reliably beat Warriors one on one. PvP was a known quantity. We knew based upon the matchup what our chances were, we knew our strengths and limitations, and we knew which spec worked the best (cough...17/0/44).

The patch turned all of that on its head. What spells work now? What talents should we be taking? Are we better or worse off now than we were two weeks ago? Join me after the break and we'll see where we stand.

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Mage PvP post-patch 3.0.2

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Ready Check: Kil'jaeden (and friends), post-3.0.2 - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST

Kil'jaeden, the Sunwell Plateau end boss, has had a tough time lately. Since the Echoes of Doom patch, plenty of guilds have breezed through Sunwell and many of those have managed to kill him for the first time, signing off TBC raiding with a bang. Congratulations to them!

This is pretty symptomatic of raiding post-3.0.2 in general -- while nothing on the surface has changed drastically, everything's become a whole lot easier, as increased damage output, decreased mob health and relaxing of raid constraints all add up to great effect. Previously complex encounters become almost trivial and previously trivial encounters become hilarious, with a slight twist of nostalgia when remembering how hard they were first time round.

Continue reading Ready Check: Kil'jaeden (and friends), post-3.0.2

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Tenris Mirkblood strategy guide - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST
With phase 4 of the zombie invasion going on we've now got a new boss in Karazhan to deal with: Tenris Mirkblood. He's tuned towards a 10-man group of Karazhan geared players, and can be pretty easily brute forced by a group of folks in Sunwell gear. We first heard about the possibility of Tenris earlier this week.

Let's take a look at how to get to him, his abilities, and some simple strategy to defeat him.

Before You Go

Get the quest "Chamber of Secrets" from an Argent Dawn Emissary. There's one in Light's Hope Chapel in Eastern Plague Lands, and there are a couple in the capital cities. This quest can be shared with other raid members. After you've defeated Tenris you can pick up the quest item from his room to complete quest. Return the quest to either Light's Hope Chapel or the NPC you picked it up from.

How To Reach Tenris Mirkblood

Go into Karazhan and clear up to Attumen. Go up the stairs in the back of Attumen's room, right around where the repair guy is. You'll have to clear several sets of mobs. If you are in T5 gear or below, take your time. Most mobs are grouped up in packs of three to five. There are also a few roaming packs that you'll need to watch out for.

At the top of the stairs you can go right or left. While both will eventually take you to Tenris, going right is the quickest. Clear the rest of the mobs until you come to Mirkblood's door. Be sure to clear any mobs around the area that might be patting back and forth.

Do not open it until you are buffed up and ready to face him.

Continue reading Tenris Mirkblood strategy guide

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Arcanite Ripper ushers in World of Warcraft: Guitar Hero - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST

You'll want to watch the video above. It's of the Arcanite Ripper, a new drop from the boss Tenris Mirkblood in Karazhan. Tenris has appeared as part of the world event leading up to the release of Wrath of the Lich King. The Arcanite Ripper is a throw back to the old Arcanite Reaper. Except this one has a cool new ability.

Right click on the Ripper, and you'll become a rocking out skeleton. You're a one man LVL70 ETC. With this little axe, World of Warcraft now becomes Guitar Hero.

The video above is a quick fraps that I made with my long time WoW friend Telanis. He's hanging out in Ironforge, getting his rock on.

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The Colosseum: Nostalgia - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST
The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.

A few weeks ago, we spoke with Drwhy, who had a great deal of positive things to share about his partner, Nostalgia the Rogue. And while the seasons of the Arena are over until Wrath, Nostalgia was kind enough to take the time to talk to us about his experience in the arena. Check out what he had to say behind the cut.

Continue reading The Colosseum: Nostalgia

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Phase 4 of the Zombie invasion begins! [UPDATED x7] - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 15:07:00 EST

The zombie invasion has hit phase four. We can see that the scourge are full out attacking cities now, and the plague debuff will now turn you into a Zombie after a short period of 2 minutes. There are necropolis appearing all over Azeroth.

Argent Dawn representatives are being spotted around capital cities. The new raid boss in Karazhan, Tenris Mirkblood, is now active and dropping one Arcanite Ripper (a 2H axe), a Vampiric Batling for each raid member, and two badges for each raid member. You can get to him by going through Attuneman, clearing him, and then moving up the stairs behind his room. We've got a strategy guide up now with details on how to defeat him

You can see the location of the necropolises on the world map - they are indicated by little purple skull icons.

A Haunted Momento has been confirmed to drop from rare spawns around the necropolises- it's a leather ball type item that you throw to someone. Whoever has the momento gets to have a wraith follow you around! Pics after the break and in our gallery.

Big Update: Click the Arcanite Ripper and play it like a guitar!

Continue reading after the break for the latest information.

Zombies have entered the World of Warcraft in the Wrath of the Lich King world event! Check out our tips for eating brains, our zombie night gallery, or see Blizzard's official zombie infestation guide. They live! Braaiiiiinnnssss!

Continue reading Phase 4 of the Zombie invasion begins! [UPDATED x7]

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Rolling restarts for selected realms this afternoon - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 14:30:00 EST
Fresh from the news bulletin upon login is an announcement of rolling restarts for a handful of realms this afternoon. At 12:00 noon PDT the realms of Dreadmaul, Caelestrasz, Nagrand, Aman'Thul, Barthilas, Thaurissan, Dath'Remar, Frostmourne, Khaz'horoth, and Jube'Thos will be going down for restarts.

Many people have still continued to experience connectivity issues and major lag since patch 3.0.2 dropped nearly two weeks ago. Instances seem to be a particular problem with people not being able to zone in, getting disconnected upon loading, or generally having issues with mobs and other objects appearing correctly.

I wouldn't be surprised to see more realms added to this list today, and perhaps some extended maintenance (if not an outright patch) this upcoming Tuesday.

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Paladins nerfed on the beta - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST

MMO-Champion is showing a good run down of the recent paladin changes. We knew these were coming. While many of the changes don't seem like they're nerfing the Paladin class to the ground, the changes are definitely a nerf.

Most of the changes are centering around the Retribution tree. Some are pretty crazy, like Seal of Corruption dealing holy damage, and Divine Storm dealing physical damage. There is no indication if these changes will make it into patch 3.0.3 or arrive in a later update.

There's a couple of other changes that stick out for me.
  • Seal of Command lost about 20% of it's overall damage
  • Most other seals were reduced by around 13% to 21%
  • Judgement of the Wise grants 15% of base mana instead of 33%
  • Most other judgement effects are reduced by about 15%
  • Art of War was retooled to increase damage of Judgement, Crusader Strike, and Divine Storm instead of increasing critical strike damage
In the glyph department, the Glyph of Crusader Strike now reduces the mana cost of Crusader Strike by 20%, instead of increasing the damage dealt by 20%.

And finally, Blessing of Might now increases AP by 306. It used to be 305. So it's not a total nerf...

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Guild Achievements may be incoming to WoW in the future - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 12:00:00 EST

For those of you who group, raid, and otherwise hang out with your guild, here's some pretty cool news for you. Tigole has said over on the Beta Suggestion Forms that the dev team is very interested in the idea of guild achievements, and does plan to visit them in the future.

It's a small tidbit, but it's enough to get the old wheels turning. The most obvious achievements will probably revolve around dungeons and raids. Get X% of your guild through a certain dungeon, perhaps, or finish the dungeon in an all-guild group. We might also see accomplishments for getting a certain amount of guild members their tier sets or legendary weapons.

Continue reading Guild Achievements may be incoming to WoW in the future

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Molten Core now available for download - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 10:00:00 EST
You may remember Blizzard's April Fool's joke this year, a trailer promising the release of a console version of the Molten Core. It was a concept that did so well in the polls, we expected to see it turned into some kind of official mini-game.

An enterprising fan, however, beat them to the punch. The Molten Core ATARI-style game is now available, as posted in the forums. You can download it from or from Filefront. Design inspiration is credited to Blizzard, of course, but its graphics, programming, and game play are courtesy of Derek Gallant.

With this morning's server restarts, I took the opportunity to fire up this 1 or 2 player raid instance. And, while it probably won't be peeling me away from the zombie invasion, I didn't stop laughing the entire time. Derek's creation allows you to play each of WoW's staple classes, and everything is, indeed, fairly reminiscent of Molten Core. (If you know what you're looking at.)

Good luck!

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Breakfast Topic: The elusive achievements of Hallow's End - Sat, 25 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST

I have to admit. Achievements were a pretty bright idea. Holiday achievements, even more so. Now I have something to keep me focused through the holiday seasons, keep my eyes on the prize so to speak. For example, with Hallow's End fully underway, I've been racking up the achievements on my Hunter, looking to get that title. It's a nice goal to strive for.

It's a good thing that the A Mask for All Occasions requirement will be off Hallowed Be Thy Name in 3.0.3, or I'd be in trouble. Collecting one of each different mask? Please. Actually, I haven't even managed to collect one single mask, leaving The Mask Task woefully undone. I'm not sure what it is, but even doing 3-5 Trick or Treats a day, I have not managed to get one of those flimsy things on my Hunter. In past Hallow's Ends, I seemed to be destroying masks constantly, saying not nice things under my breath. This year, I pray for one, and instead have to deal with Penny Pouches and Candy Corn and costumes and no sign of a Mask.

The random number generator just hasn't been kind to me. As it is, I was afraid that the toothpicks would do me in. I didn't even get a set of Tooth Picks on my Hunter until yesterday.

The other item I need to finish out my Hallowed Title is the Hallowed Helm, which comes both from the Headless Horseman and Trick or Treating. I've seen it drop from the Horseman a few times, but I've always lost the rolls. But it's a rare drop, a low drop rate and a bit of luck should be expected to be needed for this stuff. But here's the funny thing: I have actually found Hallowed Helms while Trick or Treating. The problem is, I got them on 2 of my alts, my Paladin and my Warlock. Not exactly useful for my Hunter. But I keep trick or treating, praying my Hallowed Helm luck will strike one more time, and in the meantime admire how badass my Warlock looks with a pumpkin head.

How goes your achievement hunt? Do you have one or two Hallow's End Achievements that just keep eluding you? For that matter, how's your luck on the Headless Horseman? I know that despite having done a run a day on him, I have yet to see a sword, a horse, or a flying broom, so I'm interested to find if anyone is seeing those in abundance.

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Phat Loot Phriday: Goblin Rocket Launcher - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 21:00:00 EST

Just another good reason to be an engineer.

Name: Goblin Rocket Launcher (Wowhead, Thottbot, Crafter's Tome)
Type: Rare Engineering Trinket
Damage/Speed: N/A
  • +45 Stamina, which marks this thing as a PvP trinket, basically.
  • On use: Fires a powerful rocket at the enemy that does 906 to 1440 damage and stuns them for 3 seconds. Which is as awesome as it sounds -- the rocket blasts out of the gun, flies with a firey trail towards the target and then boom. It can also crit, and we're told it's affected by haste and crit, so the better your specs, the better it'll do.
  • There's a big five second cast, however, so it's better to use this either when enemies are just coming into range, or when they're leaving it. It does also generate threat, so theoretically it could be used as a pulling tool. The two-minute cooldown would make that hard to do often (not to mention that anyone tanking endgame probably wouldn't want to waste a trinket slot with this), but if you want to pull with flash, there you go.
  • There is one drawback -- firing it will do a quick knockdown on you, so you'll need a second or two to get up. Hitting this thing under pressure is a bad idea. But if you've got one more enemy to tag and aren't getting hit yourself, it's a very nice ranged attack.
  • It's a fun little toy, too. There's no limit on how many time you fire it (just the cooldown), so you can hit it every two minutes for some extra ranged damage.
How to Get It: As you might imagine for something this awesome, the requirements are going to be big. You'll need engineering 350 to make equip and use it, and you'll need to be a Goblin engineer (the recipe just comes from Goblin engineering trainers in the Barrens and Tanaris). You ready for the entire recipes list? Broken down into their component parts, you'll need 120 Adamantite Ore, six Khorium Ore, 24 Fel Iron Ore, eight Eternium Ore, two Thorium Ore, two Arcane Crystals (which means two Arcanite Transmutes), two Ironweb Spider Silk, seventy Motes of Fire, and sixty Motes of Earth. So either you'll be grinding out quite a bit, or you'll be spending a goodly amount on the AH for all that stuff.

But get it all together, make the Rocket Launcher, and start shooting, Tex.

Getting Rid of It: This is pretty much an item you keep, even if just for kicks. Vendors will only give you 2g 25s for it. It is BoE, so you can try to sell it on the AH, but considering the grocery list of mats you'll need to buy or otherwise find, and the high requirements to actually use the thing, it's very, very unlikely you'll find a market willing to pay what it's worth. Sell Mechanical Squirrels instead.

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The Creamy GUI Center: BlizzCon UI wrap up commentary and analysis - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST

Each week Matthew Porter contributes The Creamy GUI Center, a column aimed at helping you enhance your WoW experience by offering an in depth guide to addons, macros and other tools we use to play WoW, along with commentary on issues that affect how we all play.

Whelp, BlizzCon 08 is slowly fading to memory, but before it's completely out of our mind I wanted to take one last look and comment on some of the insight we got on how Blizzard design's their interfaces. Also the big 3.0 patch hit and I hope you're enjoying it. If you're anything like me it's been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows as I discover all the new features. For today, we'll take a look at the state of the interface and addon world with an analysis and commentary recap on the UI news that came out of BlizzCon. I wanted to look at that earlier, but the new patch took us by storm and made me rethink some issues. So kick back, relax, and get comfy as we examine where we're at and where we're going in the world of addons.

Continue reading The Creamy GUI Center: BlizzCon UI wrap up commentary and analysis

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Roleplaying your zombie apocalypse - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST

Step one is to become a zombie. Step two, rampage around a lowbie zone. Step three, scream "Braiiinnnns!" for everyone to hear. Step four, wait for an immersive roleplayer named "Pwnsurface" to kill you, in accordance to his Retribution Paladin's most tightly held beliefs.

Okay, there's a little more to roleplaying the event than that. It's tempting to launch yourself at the suspicious crates and transform into a brain-hungry beast. But to borrow a quote from a roleplayer on Shadow Council, if you're going to do that, chances are that what you're really doing is "taking an OOC day."

Most characters in the Alliance and Horde aren't yearning to find themselves transformed into an instinct-driven cranium muncher. Zombies are not only evil, they're members of the Scourge, out to destroy all life as we know it. They also have fairly bad personal hygiene. (Okay, so maybe they're not that much different from the Forsaken.)

But to us players, Zombies are cool. You get to do stuff, and attack people, and explode, and convert people into zombies, and it rocks! And while your character might find itself outta bubblegum, and decide to start kicking butt instead, you-the-player might feel bad for ruining someone else's good time.

Still, there is roleplay to be had here!

Continue reading Roleplaying your zombie apocalypse

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WoW Insider Show live tomorrow afternoon - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST

Another big show on the podcast tomorrow -- this week we'll welcome back Matthew "Who needs a shirt?" Rossi, who hasn't been on with us for a while. And since he's on, you know we'll be talking about tanking and Shamans, specifically what things are like in patch 3.0.2. Amanda Dean will also join us, and we'll chat with her about how Hallow's End is going so far, and what else she's been up to in game. And while Turpster is off at a wedding this weekend, Duncor from WoW Radio has kindly agreed to join us, so we'll chat with him about his experiences at BlizzCon, the "zompocalypse," and what else might be in store for the big world event going on.

Plus, we'll get some talk in about achievements, since we still need to give out that loot card from last week, and we'll have the usual good times, including checking out your emails (feel free to send them to theshow at wowinsider dot com) and putting a few polls in. Don't forget, the action all takes place over on our Ustream channel (I've embedded a stream after the break), and the show kicks off promptly at 3:30pm Eastern. You can use this handy time zone converter to figure out when that is in your neck of the woods.

Should be fun -- we'll see you right back here (and on the Ustream page) tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern.

Continue reading WoW Insider Show live tomorrow afternoon

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Itemization in Wrath part three - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST

If you are a fury warrior, rejoice. Some of you were wondering where I was during the initial discussion. Frankly, I I was bodily assumed into what I can only assume was heaven. Sorry about that. Turns out it's really nice. I honestly don't have a real lot to say on this score (amazingly) aside from noting that I'm very pleased, it was exactly the change I was hoping they would make. It will be much easier to gear your fury warrior as he levels and when he reaches 80 for prepare for raiding. Admittedly, I'm not thrilled with the increase to armor for bosses, but it hits all physical DPS about the same.

I've wanted to discuss gearing in Wrath since we were interrupted a couple of weeks ago. Granted, we've been interrupted by awesome news like the above, but still it seems like a decent time to get back into looking at what gear we'll be picking up as we level through Northrend. And frankly, if we don't start talking about that again, this entire column will probably be me typing "Titan's Grip aarrgh 5% ahmina kill everything gaaaaa" and nobody wants that. Well, maybe you do, I don't know what you're into. But I'm pretty sure that I should try and move past "You will know I am the warrior when I lay my vengeance upon thee" ranting aside and get on with the column.

Titan's Grip.

Oh, come on, you know I had to!

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Itemization in Wrath part three

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Zombie incubation time halved to five minutes - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 15:20:00 EST

Well well well. Don't have a full ten minutes to turn yourself into the Undead? As a few tipsters have noticed, the incubation time for the plague has dropped in half to just five minutes -- click a crate (of which there are suddenly plenty around, whoever put those out there) or kill a roach, and five minutes later you're a member of the walking undead.

I thought it was going to take a while for this whole thing to play out, but things seem to be moving pretty quickly. Blizzard likes to drop new patches and holidays, it seems, on Friday night/Saturday morning (so weekend players can experience them), so keep your eyes open in Azeroth this evening -- we might finally find out just what this zombie business is all about.

Zombies have entered the World of Warcraft in the Wrath of the Lich King world event! Check out our tips for eating brains, our zombie night gallery, or see Blizzard's official zombie infestation guide. They live! Braaiiiiinnnssss!

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Reminder: It came from the Blog Hallow's End event tonight - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST

With all the hubbub about zombies, we haven't forgotten that WoW Insider's in-game guild will be getting together to fight the Headless Horseman's flames in Brill. Here are the details:
  • Where: Brill on Zangarmarsh Server (U.S.)
  • When: 6:30pm Pacific Time (7:30pm Server Time, 9:30pm Blog/Eastern time)
  • Who: Any Horde character, any class or race or level
  • How: Send a tell to Robiness or anyone in guild for an invite to the raid and the guild.
I am offering summons to new Tauren characters, but everyone else should be able to make it to Brill easily. Please login a few minutes ahead of time and make your way to Tirisfal Glades. If we have time, we may have to zombify the place -- more than it already is.

I'll be there with a too much candy sugar high (though I don't like candy corn) and a few other bloggers may be attending as well (if they aren't too busy eating brains). We hope you will join us!

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Ezra's father thanks the WoW community for their support - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:30:00 EST
The Orange County Register's Blizzard Blog has posted a message from Micah Chatterton, father of Ezra "Epheonix" Chatterton, who, as we reported yesterday, passed away earlier this week. Micah's pain is tangible, but he says that Ezra loved his life, and the greatest tribute that he or anyone else can pay to Ephoenix is by trying to love life as much as he did. He also thanks the WoW community for their outpouring of support. There's no question that we can be a little silly and raucous at times (which is what makes, as Ezra certainly knew, being around this game so much fun), but when it comes down to it, we are a community, and when one member of the community suffers, we all do.

Once again, we pay our condolences, along with all of our readers who posted comments yesterday, to Micah and his family in this time of grief. Definitely give his statement a read -- it's extremely sad to hear about the suffering that Ezra went through, but Micah is exactly right: Ezra's life and the smile he had even when facing a tragedy like this should be an example for us all.

Micah also forwarded the message along to us, so we've posted it in full after the break.

Continue reading Ezra's father thanks the WoW community for their support

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The price of a game time refund - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST
Is it just me or has it been a long time since Blizzard passed out some free game time? Reader Jim T. emailed me about a conversation he recently had with Blizzard's customer service -- he was disappointed with the lag, the queues, and the downtime on his server lately, and checking in about how he might get a refund or credit. The customer rep told him that while they didn't give out individual credit, they occasionally do give out game-wide credit for downtime mistakes.

Which is true -- Blizzard will occasionally give out a free day to folks affected by major unexpected downtime or server issues. But while they used to do it fairly often, by my recollection, they seem much less inclined to pull the trigger on a refund lately. On the one hand, sure, Blizzard does a better job than they used to -- last Tuesday's maintenance lasted quite a while, but it wasn't anything compared to the days the servers used to be offline a few years ago. On the other hand, though, there's no question players are being affected -- by queues, by problems logging in, and by lag on the instance servers and elsewhere.

Of course, we have no idea if Blizzard has an actual rule for when they give out free gametime and when they don't -- at this point, the criteria for giving players a refund happens to be "when they feel like it." Which is all right, we guess -- it's their company, of course. But it does seem like the criteria has changed -- we used to get refunds all the time, and even with all the problems lately, Blizzard hasn't decided to give customers any game time back.

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