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Wrath PvP gear hints at Arena Season 5 - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 18:00:00 EST


I was somewhat puzzled when the first pieces of PvP gear started showing up in the Wrath of the Lich King Beta. The traditional 5-piece set of helm, shoulders, chest, legs, and gloves (as well as the weapons) were of blue or rare quality while the non-set pieces normally obtained through Honor -- bracers, belt, and boots -- were purples or epic. The blue items were tagged 'LK Arena 1' items and the purples were tagged 'LK Honor' items, which were easy enough to decipher.

However, MMO Champion uncovered an epic quality 2-handed mace tagged 'LK Arena 2', which is a rather curious item considering the game files already have LK Arena 1 2h Mace. What does it mean? At this point, not much. A lot can change from now until Wrath finally goes live, but if we were to put some weight into the item nomenclature, it might indicate that Blizzard plans to tier Arena gear similar to how they plan to create two separate tiers for 10- and 25-man dungeon items.

Continue reading Wrath PvP gear hints at Arena Season 5

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WotLK bestiary update: The wendigo - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST

The WotLK EU Bestiary has been updated with a new creature: the Wendigo. Rumored to be related to the wendigo living in Dun Morogh, the wendigo of Northrend seem to lurk close to their caves. And, like other family-minded spawns of Northrend, these wendigo are fiercely protective of their relatives. The Bestiary warns of "the sound of their savage bellows," so I definitely hope to see some kind of sonic-based attack from the cool looking monster. The Bestiary also talks about the wendigo's bone-piles, so they might have a little more habitat in their spawning areas than we're used to seeing.

Like Alex mentioned previously, the Darkfallen are the hypothetical next-to-be-revealed monster. But there's only three unrevealed mobs on the total list, so at worst, the Darkfallen have a 33% chance to be the next spotlighted critter. I'm most curious about the Proto-Dragon, so my money says that's going to be the last one detailed.

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WoW movie poster contest winners announced - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST
Worldofwar.net announced the winners of its WoW movie poster contest today. Each winner of the contest received a Wrath of the Lich King beta key. The five winning posters, oddly, have a very sci-fi feel to them. Two of the winners, in particular, gave me a Star Wars vibe. One shows a cast of Alliance characters posed in a fashion reminiscent of Luke and Leia on the A New Hope posters and the other (pictured to the right) reminds me of an Imperial Star Destroyer on the move. Maybe it's just me, but I expected a poster to have more of a fantasy feel to sell this movie. Something that reminds me more of, say, Lord of the Rings rather than Star Wars.

I think my favorite one is the one of Arthas staring at the viewer. It looks menacing and the artwork is fantastic. (Not a big fan of the "2012," teaser date, though.) In addition to viewing the winning designs, you can also flip through a gallery of all the entries they received, including a nice one in the honorable mention category called "There is no escape," featuring Kil'jaeden which definitely has a fantasy vibe to it.

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Bambi terrorizes Northrend - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 15:00:00 EST

This post contains spoilers about Wrath of the Lich King. Before the cut, the spoilers will be mild. After the cut, the spoilers will be complete, and more powerful than you could possibly imagine. (Well, more than you could imagine if you don't check out behind the cut.)

One of Blizzard's hallmarks in the World of Warcraft has long been the subtle digs and nods to pop culture. These Easter Eggs can bring a lot of fun, though I know some folks feel the little references ruin their immersion. I kind of like them, and still giggle this day about the idea of purchasing Gigantique bags from Haris Pilton while avoiding her spectral friend. This new one, lurking mildly in Northrend, made me giggle a bit in delight, though. One might even say, I muttered a faint "Squee!"

Go behind the cut and see the latest easter egg in Wrath ... if you dare!

Continue reading Bambi terrorizes Northrend

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WotLKWiki offers interactive Northrend map - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 14:30:00 EST


The folks at WotLK Wiki sent us a note that they've got an interactive Northrend map up and running. It's nothing too surprising (they basically just put all of the map screen maps from the beta together), but it is in a nifty Google maps interface, so you can drag, click, and zoom around the new landscape at will. And of course, the pictures don't mean too much at this point -- of course big landmarks like The Nexus and Ulduar stand out, but it's assured that actually seeing these places will be much more amazing than just seeing their flat representations on the map.

What's really interesting, though, is going way back to the beginning and comparing this map to all the different versions from Blizzard's planning stages. Though a lot of things have been added in to fill in all the space, they've really been faithful to the overall design since the beginning. Even the Warcraft III maps match up pretty well. Blizzard really sticks to their mythology, and that's probably at least one reason why fans enjoy exploring it so much.

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Video preview of the new Calendar system - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 14:00:00 EST


Originally set to go live with Wrath of the Lich King, the calendar system is one of the biggest UI changes coming, and we now know that it's going to happen in the big pre-LK content patch (which will probably be numbered 3.0 or so). This nice video will take you on a tour through the interface.

So what features will we be getting in this long-awaited calendar?

  • Pre-existing events, like holidays and raid lockouts, will be on there by default. You can select what sort of events you want to see on your own calendar.
  • Any user can create events viewable to their guild and/or to a user-selectable list of invitees. Events can be of various categories, like "PvP" or "Raid."
  • If you send someone an invite, their calendar icon (on the minimap) will flash. They will then be able to RSVP to the event with whether or not they're coming.
  • Events to which people have RSVPed show the total number and number of each class; very handy for raids. You can invite people to a party or raid straight from the calendar interface if they're online.

Pretty much all you could ask for, really. The only feature that I haven't heard anything about that I would want is a web interface to the calendar; it would be nice to at least be able to view events without logging into the game, and the Armory would be a natural place for that sort of thing. And the ability to send invites, while excellent, does open the door to yet another form of spam (which can be reported in the interface).

Overall though, it is an excellent addition to the guild tools in the game, and, along with guild banks, really should have been in from release. But at least it'll be here soon.

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WoW Insider Show Episode 52: Club Penguin is the WoW-killer - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 13:30:00 EST
We were live on WoW Radio as usual last Saturday with our weekly podcast, and this past week we welcomed Krystalle Voecks of our sister site Massively into the mix, as well as Daniel "BigRedKitty" Howell, and of course the Turpster. Krystalle chatted with us about what's planned for the big DragonCon event in Atlanta this weekend (WoW Insider will be there, even though I unfortunately won't be), and we also talked about:

It was a fun show -- we wandered around a bit, but don't we always? You can listen to it right now over on WoW Radio's website, and of course in iTunes as well. If you have questions or comments about something we said, send them along to theshow@wowinsider.com and you might even hear them next time around.

And if you missed the live show this past week, we do this every Saturday afternoon at 3:30 Eastern, so tune in live on WoW Radio's website, and you'll even be able to join us in IRC chat. Enjoy the show this week, and have a good one.

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Chilton content to endorse multi-boxing - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EST

Belfaire already explained previously that Blizzard's okay with the idea of multi-boxing, whether it's for PvE use or even to compete in the Arena. In the same Eurogamer interview that discusses the new phasing technology, Tom Chilton reinforces that Blizzard is "content to endorse multi-boxing to some reasonable degree."

Eurogamer was focused on the possible abuses of Blizzard's Recruit-a-Friend program, and the speed with which players can create and level new accounts. Chilton says that if someone wants to drop the bucks on a new account -- not only the retail fees, but also the subscription cost -- then Blizzard's okay with that.

J. Allen Brack immediately brings the discussion back to a point I've previously made -- the idea is really to help players get ready for the new expansion. You can bring in a friend or family, and get them to a level where they can play with other friends very quickly. They want new players to be able to "roll a Death Knight and be ready to go."

Now, Chilton did say the endorsement only goes to a "reasonable degree." I suspect if we see vast abuse of multi-boxing in multiple areas of play, the endorsement might quickly be repealed or re-focused. But, for now at least, Chilton has confirmed Belfaire's statement -- Blizzard's okay with multi-boxing.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Sunwell - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 12:00:00 EST

This next machinima came as a surprise to me. It appeared in my inbox and was so well done that I had to check to make sure that none of it was borrowed from a cinematic. It's not every day that the first time you see someone's work, it's of this quality!

Cilo, of Secretfist on Zul'Jin, created this Sunwell trailer for his guild. While not as long as it could be, it covers a lot of ground. The sweeping scenery is breathtaking, while the gameplay footage is filmed in a way that makes it tolerable. If all gameplay videos were made this way, I'd blog them a lot more often!

[Thanks, Andrew!]

If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.

Previously on Moviewatch ...

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Using treadmills to Race across Azeroth - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 11:30:00 EST


The Wii Fit board was the first object to be linked to character run speed in WoW. Now, the folks at Mana Energy Potions have raised the ante -- they connected a pair of treadmills to their computers, and set about gauging just how possible it is to run like your character.

They took a couple steps to simulate the run speed. They measured the land-speed of your average WoW character. Then, they set up a pair of treadmills to tap forward on their accounts -- everytime they moved a certain treadmill distance, their keyboard would pulse "W" to move forward. They dressed up in some silly costumes to make sure their event was as realistic as possible, or maybe just to make the pictures funnier. And then... they ran from Shadowglen to Darnassus.

The results? The experience darn near killed 'em, apparantly. They tried a few other things -- drawing a sword while running, eating, and drinking. None of it went particularly well. And while they finished the run, the pair aren't looking forward to doing it again. The author describes it as "sheer brutality."

Final result: your character in WoW is in much better shape than you are. I am shocked and amazed. Still, if I had the carpentry skills to build their rig, I think I might take my Warrior out for a jog to help get in shape.

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Ask a Beta Tester: Hunter-o-rama - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 11:00:00 EST


We'll kick off today with commenter Zayd and a few questions about hunters....

Have any hunters in the beta tried tanking a 5 man run with one of their tenacity pets yet? I'm very curious to know how viable that is.

I approached our hunter in residence, Daniel Howell (you might know him as BigRedKitty), with this question. Here's what he had to tell us:

I have not run an instance with a pet-tank, mainly because Growl -- a Hunter pet's #1 aggro-generation spell -- is a mess. Having used pet-tanks against various elites in Outland, I am fairly confident that a Tenacity-pet will be able to tank a 5-person instance boss, assuming the appropriate heals and aggro management are coordinated by the rest of the party. However, until Growl is fixed, this really cannot be conclusively proven.

For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.

Continue reading Ask a Beta Tester: Hunter-o-rama

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Around Azeroth: Baby, it's cold outside - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 10:00:00 EST


Beta tester and frequent submitter Landon has sent us yet another great shot of the Storm Peaks area, which has been temporarily closed to beta testers. This particular shot is of the Thunderfall area, where storm giants and some humanoids (dwarves?) are fighting it out through eternity. The big question here is this: what caused a cold snap so severe that it froze the combatants in motion? An ice mage with too much +damage gear? Reverse spontaneous combustion? Until the zone is unfrozen for more beta testing (ha ha, it's a terrible pun), we won't know for sure. All I know is that I suddenly have a strong desire to reread Thud!

This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And here's a question: how is this one beta shot, one live shot cycle playing for you guys?

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Caption This! - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 09:30:00 EST

Although we're still waiting for a final resolution of our last Caption This! contest (check your e-mail, Supertanker, or send us a note through "Contact Us" on the side), it's time to hop the treadmill all over again for this week's Caption This!

Here's the rough sequence of events: I post a picture during Tuesday maintenance. You write a humorous caption for this picture by Friday, August 29 at 11:59 PM EST. It could be a funny description of the situation or a quote that you imagine the characters in the screenshot saying. Examples of previous winners can be found here, here and here. Leave your captions in a comment on this post, and keep it clean -- if Blizzard would warn you for saying it in-game, don't enter it in the contest. During the weekend, I e-mail the post to our list, members of the WoW Insider team respond with their favorites, and ten of those favorites will be chosen for the final vote. On Tuesday morning, we put the top ten up for a public vote in a new post. Voting ends Wednesday, September 3 at 11:59 PM EST. After the voting, we notify the winners. If they respond to our e-mail and confirm that they're eligible to win, we mail out their prizes and write a "winner" post whenever we get both responses.

And what are these prizes, you ask? Well, first place winner gets a 60-day game card, worth approximately $30. And for a change of pace, the second-place winner will get his choice of one of these seven World of Warcraft action figures from Toyglobe, subject to availability: night elf druid, human warrior, gnome warrior, troll priest, dwarf warrior, orc shaman, or blood elf rogue, worth up to $20. No, you can't have Illidan or the draenei harbinger.

However, to win you have to be eligible -- and to be eligible, you have to be a U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian resident at least 13 years of age. Sorry, EU and Oceanic readers, but legal restrictions make it impossible to include everyone. The official rules for the contest can be found here. Read them or be sentenced to heroic Black Morass with a group in blues for all eternity!

This picture, featuring patrons watching a mysterious fire at the Lion's Pride Inn, comes from the official WoW screenshot archives. Click here for a larger version. Luck be with you!

Gallery: Caption This!

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WoW Insider and WoW TCG Loot give away a Tabard of Flame - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 09:00:00 EST


Our good friends at WoW TCG Loot recently gave away a number of special tabards (apparently Tabard of the Void was the most popular among the choices, and you can also see some of the funny reasons people said they needed to wear a Tabard). And they kindly saved one for us, and so we're teaming up with them to give away a code for an ingame Tabard of Flame. This tabard was originally released with the "Heroes of Azeroth" TCG set, but we're giving it away now to one lucky reader.

To enter, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post (and if you need something to comment about, you can try coming up a name for the color on this tabard -- "Flame Red" is not an option). In fact, we're making it so that you can comment once every day all the way up until Friday, August 29th at midnight Eastern. That means that, if you show up every day, you could have four chances total to win this tabard.

And we've got better news: this contest is open to anyone playing World of Warcraft in the US or EU regions. The code is valid in either region of the game and the Tabard works for all classes and levels, so if you have a character in World of Warcraft (or just know someone who does) on US or EU realms, you can enter. On Friday at midnight, we'll choose one lucky commenter to recieve the Tabard code, and they'll have to go the TCG promotional page and redeem it themselves. Please use a legitimate email that you check often to leave your comments, so we can get in touch with you if you win.

Huge thanks to WoW TCG Loot for their help with this contest -- if you want to know more about any of the TCG Loot items in the game, go visit them. Good luck!

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Arena points reset in Wrath for Season 5 - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 08:30:00 EST


If there was a question about how Blizzard planned to deal with Arena points in Wrath of the Lich King -- which seems so palpably close -- Wryxian explained their resolution to the problem of carrying over points from Level 70 to 80. The answer? They won't. Players who hit Level 71 will have all their Arena points reset to 0 and be removed from all Level 70 bracket Arena teams.

New skirmish brackets will open up for those between Levels 71-75 and Levels 79-80. As mentioned before, Level 80 players will be able to participate in rated matches and be eligible for Level 80 Arena rewards that will, thankfully, look distinctively different from PvE gear. This means that players should be spending their Arena points now instead of banking the maximum 5000 points, as it will not carry over past Level 70. In this scheme of progression, Level 70 Arenas will conceivably die an eventual natural death.

What does this mean for the current season? When the pre-Wrath content patch is released, we're likely to see a shake-up in class representation in Arena play, as more classes become viable. It is also highly likely that the current season will end when Wrath is finally released, and competitive or rated Arena play will be in a state of limbo as Blizzard is likely to allow several weeks for players to reach Level 80 before starting a new Arena season.

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Breakfast Topic: The pre-Wrath patch - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 08:00:00 EST


Wow. That was some big news there, wasn't it? As excited as we all were for Wrath of the Lich King, I don't think any of us expected the announcement that a pre-Wrath content patch would be unleashed upon the public in -- to quote Eyonix -- "the coming weeks". While this is Blizzard we're talking about, a few weeks isn't quite as nebulous as their traditional "soon". This can also mean that the content patch could be strategically, shrewdly timed to coincide with the launch of another game that also starts with 'W'.

If that's the case, then we can expect to see the pre-Wrath patch in about four weeks! That's nerve-wrackingly close. Anyway, Eyonix ran through a list of stuff that will come with the patch and it's exciting to see that Inscription will be in it. This means that players won't be required to purchase Wrath of the Lich King in order to take it up, unlike Jewelcrafting. There are a bunch of other stuff coming in the patch -- what's the thing that excites you most?

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15 Minutes of Fame: Phaelia goes Resto4Life - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 07:00:00 EST


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

On a list of player names that serious WoW hobbyists should know, Phaelia definitely makes the cut. WoW Insider's Dan O'Halloran summed up why in his post last fall outlining druid blogs you should be reading: "Phaelia started Resto4Life.com back in March to educate herself about playing a better healing Druid. Turns out, she's educating the rest of us as well. Her entries delve into the many facets of a Tree Druid's gameplay: Re-evaluating Spirit, mp5 vs. +Healing and Getting More Out of Innervate are just a few of the many treasures to be found on this blog. Updated frequently with a friendly and informative tone, Resto4Life is the Big Red Kitty for Restoration druids." 15 Minutes of Fame visited with Resto4Life's creator, Phaelia of US Scarlet Crusade-A, about the many attractions of the Druid class.

15 Minutes of Fame: How did you get into WoW, Phaelia? Do you come from a gaming background?
Phaelia: I started playing WoW during the first open beta. To be honest, I was less attracted to WoW than turned off by the idea of giving over another five years of my gaming life to another game from Sony Online Entertainment. I began my MMO career as a sophomore in college, and while quitting EverQuest 1 left a void in my gaming lifestyle, I knew I didn't want to play another game from the same company. Blizzard turned out to be the breath of fresh air and fun that I was looking for!

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Phaelia goes Resto4Life

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The Tuesday Morning Post: Cinematics and content patches - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 05:30:00 EST

Good tuesday morning, everyone! It's an extended maintenance day this week, from 3AM - 11 AM Pacific time. Of course, while we've just gotten wind of another content patch, it's probably safe to say said patch is not dropping this week. All the same, we do have 8 hours of downtime. Whether your lack of WoW playing is enforced by your job or enforced by the downtime this morning, you now have plenty of time to Browse WoW Insider, right? Check out some of our best news and articles from the past week, from the Wrath Beta and elsewhere:

Hot News and Hot Features

Continue reading The Tuesday Morning Post: Cinematics and content patches

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Forum post of the day: Where's my big brother - Tue, 26 Aug 2008 03:12:00 EST

At one point in time Chuck Norris jokes dominated trade chat. Then it was the Murloc game. I'm sure we've all noticed that now it's the anal <insert spell> gibberish that now floods the channel. Dolce of Blackrock believes that it's time the Blizzard begin moderating trade channels during prime time. The chat channel can be turned off, but then it loses utility for valid messages such as selling enchants, transmutes, and well, general trade.

As a parent, Dolce continued his argument:

Wow has a very broad appeal and the average parent would look at the packaging of the World of Warcraft and assume that it is nothing more than a fantasy game where their son or daughter can play with their friends and have "adventures".
The average parent I imagine (and this is merely a broadstroke comment based on the huge playerbase), may not have any sort of familiairity with online games, and even to a certain degree, computers as a whole.
Asking parents (although I am extremely attentive to what my childrens activities are) to have an intimate knowledge of joining and exiting out of city channels is a bit extreme. Perhaps if there were parental controls that you could set ot make this easier...... /wink
In any event I would not be suprised to see some news anchor with some over the top expository on the lewd and profane content that is seen in WoW spun out of context in the near future.
I would say they would be killing a variety of birds with one stone if they simply moderated these popular channels.

Continue reading Forum post of the day: Where's my big brother

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Blizzard announces Pre-Wrath content patch - Mon, 25 Aug 2008 21:05:00 EST

Hold on to your hats, ladies and gentlemen. In a sign that Wrath of the Lich King is quickly moving toward release, Eyonix officially announced today that we will see a new content patch "in the coming weeks."

This patch will introduce a good portion of the old world Wrath-related content and UI improvements, and will probably start the pre-Wrath opening event (If you don't mind spoilers, you can get some info on what that event may entail from us). Check out Eyonix's list of what is being implemented and what it may mean after the break.

Continue reading Blizzard announces Pre-Wrath content patch

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