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AchievementTracker tracks achievements across the realms - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 18:00:00 EST
Reader Jeffrey R. was kind enough to send us his achievement tracking site, named (conveniently) AchievementTracker.com. We've seen quite a few sites for tracking achievements on your own character out there already (especially since the Armory opened up the information to the web), but unlike the others, AchievementTracker seems to be focusing on ranking only -- instead of browsing over your own information, all the site really presents is a list of the top players in the world, US, EU, or by the various realms.

There are a few caveats, the first being that they're only tracking characters above level 70, and the second being that they're not tracking everyone -- I had to put my own character into the system (though that won't matter if you're just looking for the top players, since I would never even rank on any lists anyone was watching). And while WoW-Achievements has Beelsebub of EU Darksorrow at number one and Minipuff of EU Stormscale in second place so far, AchievementTracker has them backwards (and their point totals are lower -- maybe Armory lag?).

And of course we don't know for sure if there's someone on the realms that neither of these sites are tracking with more achievement points (it may be worth noting, too, that beyond Armory links, neither site tells us much about the characters -- is there a class or spec that's better for achievement point earning?). It'll probably take a little while until we can get a standard for tracking these, but until then, looks like we'll have a few different lists to watch.

AchievementTracker tracks achievements across the realms originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Arcane Brilliance: The best and worst of 2008 - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 17:00:00 EST



Each year, Arcane Brilliance cooks up 52 columns about Mages, each one roasted at precisely the right temperature for precisely the right amount of time (usually a couple hours on Saturday morning over a soggy bowl of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, to be honest). As we arrive at the 52nd week of 2008, Arcane Brilliance would like to thank each and every one of the Mages who come here every weekend to celebrate our wonderful class by reading a giant, well-cooked wall of text. Arcane Brilliance would also like to say to the Warlocks who come here to mock us and drink our delicious tears, "We hope your felhound eats you."


Wow, so 2008, huh?

A lot of things happened this year, right? Crazy.

We here at Arcane Brilliance thought that since next week's column will be posted in 2009, we should take a moment this week to remember the year that was, and what it meant to all of us who walk the path of magic. There were some pretty high highs, and some exceptionally low lows, so we figured it would be fun to throw the highs into a ring with the lows and let them fight to the death. Join us after the break to see who wins!

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: The best and worst of 2008

Arcane Brilliance: The best and worst of 2008 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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A Merry Christmas with the Lich King - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST


You might have thought Christmas was over, but not so fast -- there's one more terrible almost undead overlord who wants to wish you a merry one. Yes it's Arthas himself -- reader Adam Beamish sent us these pictures of himself (at least we think it's him -- he made the costume anyway) dressed up as a jolly... well, somewhat jolly old Death Knight, and they are hilarious.

Brilliant. The costume is great (even if the idea of Arthas as St. Nick is a little silly), and the pictures, by Brooks Reynolds, are very well done. One question, though: where's the candy cane Frostmourne?

A Merry Christmas with the Lich King originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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BigRedKitty: Armor penetration stinks - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 14:00:00 EST
Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.

"Dude, I've got two almost identical pieces of chest-armor, one has more Crit and one has more Armor Penetration. Which of these should I equip: the Gilded Ringmail Hauberk or the Razorstrike Breastplate?"

"Dude, you need the Armor Pen! Grab the Hauberk, the Armor Pen-chest!"

"Seriously, you think Arm Pen is good?'

"Dude! It's so sweet! It reduces the enemy's armor so it totally ramps-up your DPS!"

"Sweet! I'm totally down with the Hauberk."

/vendor Breastplate

This is what it sounds like, when Hunters cry.

Continue reading BigRedKitty: Armor penetration stinks

BigRedKitty: Armor penetration stinks originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW, Casually: Loot - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 12:00:00 EST


Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime.

Ah the holidays. It's a time for families and friends getting together, children laughing, peace on Azeroth... and loot. Lots and lots of loot. Buying loot. Giving loot. Getting loot. Whether in the real world or in-game, when this time of year comes around, loot is all around us. So it seems as good a time as any to talk about casual players and loot.

I've actually wanted to tackle this topic ever since a comment in the leveling before Wrath column. Commenter Rob said that for speedy leveling, you should never loot unless you need to -- implying only for collection quests. So I want to spend a little time explaining my position on looting.

Continue reading WoW, Casually: Loot

WoW, Casually: Loot originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Year-ending WoW Insider Show live this afternoon - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 11:00:00 EST


Our podcast will be live once again this afternoon (3:30 pm eastern), and since it's been a relatively slow week with the holiday and all, we're going to spend today's show looking back at the top 10 posts of the last year. Co-lead Dan O'Halloran will be on board with us, as will Adam Holisky, and unless Turpster is still in too much of a haze from his holiday festivities last week, he should be around as well. Should be a great time.

If you want to join us, feel free -- we'll be live over on Ustream at 3:30pm Eastern (and I've also embedded the feed right after the break on this very post). As always, you can email us as well, at theshow@wowinsider.com (and that's also the place to send your intros, as we said on last week's show -- we've gotten a few amazing ones already, so you'll hear our first one on the show today). And if you do stop by the show, make sure to save some time to stay afterwards, as we've been doing a quick, exclusive aftershow after we stop the usual recordings.

We'll see you this afternoon for the very last WoW Insider Show of 2008, and a look at the most popular posts on the site over the last 12 months.

Continue reading Year-ending WoW Insider Show live this afternoon

Year-ending WoW Insider Show live this afternoon originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Don't tell Mom the babysitter's undead - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 10:00:00 EST


Hey, son. Your mom and I are going out to see a movie, so we've gotten Doug to watch you again tonight. He just got back from spring break in Icecrown, so we thought he could probably use a little cash. What's that? You don't want Doug to babysit? But you really liked him last time. What's different now? He smells bad and his clothes are ripped? I thought I taught you better than to judge people on their appearances. He's in college, for crying out loud, they all dress like that these days. Anyway, I left dinner in the fridge, no TV until after homework, and Doug wants you to roll around in the eleven herbs and spices we left on the counter and hit yourself with the meat tenderizer for half an hour. Have fun!

(Thanks to Zónbi of <Casually Hardcore> on Eitrigg for the screenshot!)

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Don't tell Mom the babysitter's undead originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Soloing your way to a new ride - Sat, 27 Dec 2008 08:00:00 EST
As Elizabeth observed a few days ago, there are certain pleasures to being 80. Even if you haven't gotten a shiny drop from a raid or a heroic yet, or finished grinding your way to exalted with a Wrath faction, you have one thing that absolutely no one can take away from you: an ever-increasing chance to leave classic and Burning Crusade-level mobs swinging fruitlessly at the air, completely unable to hit you.

Just writing that gives me a disturbingly evil smile, because one of the things I've enjoyed most since hitting 80 is soloing heroic Sethekk in pursuit of the Raven Lord mount. Hi there, Syth. Remember the days when you used to mop the floor with my furry ass? I do, and this dish of revenge is being served to you at the proper temperature, courtesy of the frigid Northrend climate. How does it feel to be killed just because you're on the way to something bigger?

Continue reading Breakfast Topic: Soloing your way to a new ride

Breakfast Topic: Soloing your way to a new ride originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 27 Dec 2008 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Phat Loot Phriday: The Fleshshaper - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 21:00:00 EST


Running Heroics? Want to stab stuff? Keep an eye out for this dagger.

Name: The Fleshshaper (Wowhead, Thottbot, Wowdigger)
Type: Epic One-hand Dagger
Damage/Speed: 206-310 / 1.80 (143.3 DPS)
Abilities:
  • +22 Agility, +58 Stamina
  • Improves hit rating by 27, and attack power by 76

Continue reading Phat Loot Phriday: The Fleshshaper

Phat Loot Phriday: The Fleshshaper originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WRUP: Phoning it in edition - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 20:00:00 EST


Hello? Guys? Anyone home? If you were to knock WoW Insider's office door, you probably wouldn't get an answer this weekend, as most of the WoW Insider team seems to be /afk for the holidays. At least we're pretty sure we actually have more writers than are listed here -- and at least two of those only responded to our WRUP call-out by cell phone. Whether you're in game or out this weekend, we hope you're having a happy Winter Veil!

Alex Ziebart: I'm not really playing at all until the new computer parts I ordered gets to my house. The most I can do is fish in the back of Ironforge or my video card overheats. I play vicariously through my guildmates in guild chat when I'm not leveling a random alt's fishing. Someone narrating Wintergrasp to me is totally the same as being there, right?
Amanda Miller: I have been gathering presents for all of my alts, as well as working on the Merrymaker title. I've also been leveling my Death Knight through Northrend, although right now I'm trying to catch up on her Blacksmithing.

For the rest of the team, read on!

Continue reading WRUP: Phoning it in edition

WRUP: Phoning it in edition originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Azeroth Ethicist: Why (or why not) to take a player - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 19:00:00 EST
I had a lot of fun reading the comments on two articles we ran concerning a knotty moral issue, and readers wrote a lot of interesting things about how the problem could be considered from both an ingame and nongame perspective.

This article's about a problem that's existed since the game's launch, but seems to have become more common since Wrath's release due to a substantial demographic shift with plate classes (more on this in a bit). Simply put; is it appropriate to turn down a potential member of a group over loot competition? Players generally don't want to face the prospect of losing a roll, especially if they've been endlessly running a dungeon trying to get a particular piece. But while you'll get a lot of sympathy if you've run, say, heroic Nexus 17 times trying to get the War Mace of Unrequited Love, people will generally elect to take a competitor if it's a choice between that and not doing the dungeon at all.

Continue reading The Azeroth Ethicist: Why (or why not) to take a player

The Azeroth Ethicist: Why (or why not) to take a player originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Sartharion and the Twilight Dragonflight - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 18:00:00 EST


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.

We're back after our little holiday vacation, and I hope yours was way more fun than mine! Let's avoid going into detail and becoming a rambling pack of scrooges, and get into the Q&A instead! Let's start with Sl0th's very good question...

Why are we going to the Obsidian Sanctum? Sartharion doesn't seem to be doing anything except watching over eggs. He's not a direct threat to anyone like Onyxia or Nefarian were. He seems like just some random Black Dragon who's minding his own business, hanging out in the Black Dragonflight's area under Wyrmrest. Did I miss our rationale for wrecking up the place every week somewhere along the way?

Continue reading The Queue: Sartharion and the Twilight Dragonflight

The Queue: Sartharion and the Twilight Dragonflight originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Raiding Gear - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 17:00:00 EST
This will most likey be a multi-part series. I know next week we'll be talking about the Warrior 2008 year in review, discussing talent changes and so much more, so it may be an interrupted series. With the new raiding system (normal and heroic raids), tier gear, emblem gear and non-affiliated drops, there's a lot of gear to talk about in the raid game.

Lately, in fact, I've noticed that 10 and 25 man raiding seems to flow back and forth into each other. I can be DPS in a 25 man Sarth run, then the run breaks up into two 10 mans and I'm asked to tank in one, then we recombine for a Vault of Archavon 25 man and split up again for two 10 mans. To be fair, we often do 25 man content with less than 25 people, possibly because it's Decemeber and a lot of folks are away for the holidays, which may be encouraging our raid swapping behavior. Or maybe we're just trying to get as much loot for people as we can.

My intention is to cover a raid in normal and heroic before moving on to the next raid, and then to cover Emblem of Herois and Valor rewards at a later date, but I'm open to being convinced otherwise.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Raiding Gear

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Raiding Gear originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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[1.Local]: Thank you, thank you - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST
Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

In this last installment of [1.Local] for 2008, we'd like to thank a few people - you, our readers - with some of your own words. Here is a quick sampling of some of the more recent thank-you's we've received. For this [1.Local] only, we included notes that came in via e-mail and other methods, as well. We think these messages of appreciation point to good writing, good material, good reader perspectives ... a good deal all the way around.

Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.

Who's the tank?
Readers thought this Moviewatch was a job well done - and its creator was surprised and flattered for the recognition. "I'd just like to give a big thank you to Michael Gray for posting my "Who's the Tank?" video on WoW Moviewatch," wrote Michael Schroeder of BroncoTV. "It's really hard to get a lot of recognition on YouTube, especially because our comedy sketches don't really fit the requirements for a good viral video (e.g., someone getting hit in the nuts). So I am ever so grateful that you gave the video such a boost. Again, thank you very much for showcasing my video and I'm really glad you enjoyed it!"

Continue reading [1.Local]: Thank you, thank you

[1.Local]: Thank you, thank you originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider's Loot-idays: Day five - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 15:00:00 EST


We're finishing off our holiday week of giveaways with a bang. Today, not only have we got the prize we've given away every day this week (two pet biscuits and four dance grenades, courtesy of WoWTCGLoot.com), but we've got an extra special code to toss in to a seventh lucky winner: a D.I.S.C.O. ball, guaranteed to make Ironforge's bank, or the arena starting area, or your local raid, or wherever else you congregate in game, a palace of dancing mania.

To enter, just comment on this post within the next 24 hours, and please use a real email so we can contact all of the winners when we randomly choose them. These codes are valid in the US or EU, so you're eligible to win as long as your characters are on one of those realms (actually, you're eligible to win anyway, but since all you get is the code, it's pretty useless if you don't have a character to use it).

In fact, here's hoping you had a happy holiday week. Hopefully the family didn't get to you too much, and hopefully you got what you wanted (or at least the gift receipts for the things you didn't). Good luck to everyone, and thanks for entering these all week.

WoW Insider's Loot-idays: Day five originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Rookie: Your first steps in the World of Warcraft - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 13:00:00 EST


New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Hi there, new player -- welcome to WoW and the WoW Insider family! WoW Rookie helps you get off to a great start with all sorts of crunchy bits and nuggets of wisdom. Here's our spin on all the nuts-and-boltsy tips you won't find in the box or in the game.

One note: If you've already begun your journey through Azeroth and run across something in game or in our resources below that makes you rethink your approach, don't be afraid to make a fresh start. Blizzard makes it easy for today's new players to zip through the early levels. It's much better to make adjustments early on, before you've invested significant time and effort in your character.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Your first steps in the World of Warcraft

WoW Rookie: Your first steps in the World of Warcraft originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: The Craft of War: BLIND - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 12:00:00 EST

Let's take a small break from the holiday festivities for something absolutely spectacular. Percula posted The Craft of War: BLIND on Vimeo, claiming that it's only the second creative work he's ever publically shared. I can't imagine what reams of work he must have privately, because I found this movie to be incredibly astounding.

There's no dialogue, but BLIND didn't need it. You can imagine a storyline, filling in the holes from the tropes and memes as you watch an expert assassin working her way through Stormwind. This is some of the best action footage I've seen from WoW graphics. The movements are believable and complex, the fights are well paced. Percula says if the response is postiive enough, he'll follow-up with more. I can't imagine anything but postive response to this movie. Even the soundtrack was spot-on, expertly pacing the aerobatics and ninja skills. Definitely take the time to check out BLIND, and let Percula know what you think. We'd really like to see more.

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

Previously on Moviewatch ...

WoW Moviewatch: The Craft of War: BLIND originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Going to Northrend for the holidays - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 11:00:00 EST

It's the day after Christmas. A fair portion of our readership is only now getting Wrath of the Lich King installed on their computer, especially after the gift exchanges of the last few days. Over the weeks since Wrath's release, we've had quite a bit of content to ease you through your first steps into Northrend. With this latest wave of people hitting the frozen shores for the first time, it's a good opportunity to look back on a lot of that.

Continue reading Going to Northrend for the holidays

Going to Northrend for the holidays originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Stranger by the minute - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 10:00:00 EST


In this shot from Azjol-Nerub, Gondwana of <Trill> on Burning Legion has gotten higher than she's ever gotten before. Yes, she's managed to use her engineering prowess to parachute on top of a mushroom before the last boss to capture this beautiful screenshot. Gondwana may be getting an achievement for finishing A-N, but I strongly suspect that it'll be stripped from her after the required urinalysis.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Stranger by the minute originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Former Blizzard devs at Red 5 Studios plan their own MMO - Fri, 26 Dec 2008 09:00:00 EST
Gamasutra has an excellent interview up with a company called Red 5 Studios. Their CEO, Mark Kern, served as a former team lead on World of Warcraft (though it's been a while -- since a little less than a year after the game's launch), so WoW fans (and Blizzard themselves) are curious about what the studio is up to. Unfortunately, they're staying vague at this point -- while they are definitely working on some kind of fantasy MMO, they're not exactly forthcoming about what it'll be.

They do say what they're not -- "we're not trying to be a sequel to WoW," Kern says. And they don't consider themselves in the same areas as Warhammer Online and Tabula Rasa, two games that showed promise earlier this year but never broke out as their developers expected. Instead, they want to do something different with the MMO idea, but as for specifics, don't hold your breath. They don't have a business model planned out quite yet, and even the game's announcement is "months" off.

So for now, we'll have to wait. It should be interesting to see what, if anything, comes out of the studio -- many people have said that WoW can only be topped by Blizzard themselves, and while having a history at Blizzard doesn't necessarily prepare you for making brilliant games every time (see Hellgate: London, created by former Diablo devs), it would be interesting to see if Kern (who has made his mark on WoW) can help Red 5 get another success together.

Former Blizzard devs at Red 5 Studios plan their own MMO originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 26 Dec 2008 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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