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Choosing the group role (for the hot engineer sex) - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST
Why wouldn't you want to have hot engineer sex? That's the point made over at "Groups of Words" in a post about choosing a role specifically to set up your spot in a group. Well at least that's the point I came away with -- let me start over.

Most players choose their role based on what they want to do the most -- if you like playing as a ranged character, Hunter is probably a good choice, while being a Rogue will let you sneak around. But if playing in groups is your thing, says GoW, then you should aim for one of those roles that groups want: healer or tank. That's one reason I personally chose a resto Shaman -- everybody always needs a good healer and/or tank, and with a Shaman, I can fill that role, or go off and do my own thing as well.

GoW compares it to being a woman at an engineering school, where you've got your pick of the 1:6 girl/guy ratio (my alma mater, fortunately, had odds stacked slightly the other way). But other than the hot engineering sex, the point is a good one: if you're on a realm suffering from a lack of tanks and healers and you want to group up, why not fix things yourself and roll up one or the other?

[Via Mystic Chicanery]

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Tuesday April 29th maintenance - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 17:45:00 EST
...and Bornakk looked upon the World (of Warcraft) in its seventh day and said: "Let there be maintenance." And so it was.

Bornakk posted on the General Discussion Forums this afternoon that there will be maintenance tomorrow on all realms from 3:00 a.m. PDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT. Additionally, the forums themselves will be undergoing maintenance from 5:00 a.m. PDT until 8:00 a.m. PDT. You will not be able to log in to the forums, but you will be able to read them.

Patch 2.4.2 was announced last week and is on the PTR right now. However, it is unlikely that the patch will come tomorrow. The PTR phase of minor patches almost always lasts two weeks. Of course with that said, I'm sure I'll be eating my words tomorrow as 2.4.2 goes live. We'll all just have to stay tuned and find out!

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Choosing a class for raiding with low FPS - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 17:00:00 EST
NSDragon wants to know over on Livejournal: what's the best class to raid with on a low-end system (as in, one that gets only about 3-10 FPS during raid boss fights)? First of all, there's no reason you should be raiding with a system like that anyway -- even a cheap PC will run World of Warcraft better than that, and even if you can't afford a new computer, odds are that you can at least add some RAM in there and speed things up a bit. But let's assume that you're a great person and you've given all your money to charity, so there is no way that you can afford to buy anything faster.

In that case, as most of the commenters on the thread say, ranged DPS is probably your best bet. You won't be able to pour out as much aggro as someone who isn't lagging, but at least you'll be able to use your 3 frames per second to do some damage, and you're sure you won't draw aggro and wipe the raid. As for which ranged DPS class, though, I'm not sure -- Hunters have autofire, so you can be sure that you'll be pushing out DPS constantly. Mages aren't too hard to raid with (most Mages will actually tell you that they just press one button over and over again). Warlocks might be easier with their DoTs, but even that relies on timing in a way that Hunter DPS really doesn't. I'd say Hunter.

Some people are saying Healers, which I originally thought was a bad idea, but if you combine their recommendation of just looking at the floor (to speed up the FPS) and watching the healing meters, you might have something there. Wouldn't be very fun (whack-a-mole FTW), but you'd be helpful to the raid in situations where you wouldn't have to move around much. So healer might be a viable choice for a low-end computer user as well.

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Officers' Quarters: Casual raiding that works - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 16:00:00 EST

Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes
Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.

This is it, folks. This is the final column in my four-part feature about how to take your casual raids to the next level. For parts one, two, and three, click on the purple words with lines under them.

I've noticed in the comments under these features that a few people seem confused about the difference between casual and hardcore raiding. One reader from last week, Ger, put it best:

The point of "casual" is to concentrate on WoW being a fun game more than a chore, but if you want to raid then be prepared to take some dang responsibility and not be a liability to 9 or 24 other people.

That one made me laugh. It's a bit of an exaggeration, yes, but I like that definition. Let's recap what I talked about previously, and follow that up with some more suggestions.

Continue reading Officers' Quarters: Casual raiding that works

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WoW Rookie: Azeroth Reputations - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 15:00:00 EST


WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

Grinding for reputation is a part of the game. Think of it as leveling up with different factions. Last week we looked at the levels of reputation. This week we'll examine some of the reputations that you encounter in Azeroth.

Each of the major cities represent factions reputations that you can grind up with by completing quests and donating cloth. Increasing your reputation with the cities of your faction gives you the opportunity to purchase their racial mounts and tabards, in addition to discounts from vendors. For example if you play a Human, you can rep up to exalted with Darnasus in order to get a Nightsaber mount. Be warned, though because of scaling restrictions some models may not have access to all racial mounts.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Azeroth Reputations

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Bobby Kotick: Activision is "considerate of the culture" at Blizzard - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST
Portfolio has an interview with Bobby Kotick himself, warchief of the Activision Blizzard clan, and in there, they talk about the merger itself (obviously), as well as Kotick's past and what he's trying to do with Activision Blizzard.

If you believe everything he's saying, then our favorite game company sounds like it may have landed on pretty good ground. Apparently Activision was originally trying to buy out Vivendi (Kotick says he'd realized that World of Warcraft wasn't so much a game as a full-fledged social network), but Vivendi made the counter-offer of a partnership instead. And while Kotick only chats briefly about Activizzard's other properties (he thinks facial and mouth movement will help videogames tell great stories -- sigh), he does say that Activision is a place where Blizzard can grow as a studio of its own, as compared to a faceless corporation like, ahem, EA.

All in all, Kotick doesn't sound like too bad a guy, although I can't imagine that any CEOs being profiled in something called "Portfolio" would. It does at least sound like he'll let Blizzard do their thing, although just as we've said before, while things are great now when the money is rolling in, there's no knowing what will happen in the future.

[Via WorldofWar.net]

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Beckett releases an in-depth WoW guide - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 14:00:00 EST
Beckett Media is a company normally known for their collectible magazines -- they cover things like baseball cards, Yu-Gi-Oh, toys, and all of that other junk most people don't bother with (ok, ok, I kid, collectors, but I don't get the point of buying toys you don't take out of the box). Apparently, a little while back, Beckett started to get into another field where most of what you do is collecting: massively multiplayer online games, and they started a magazine called Beckett Massive Online Gamer. And now, they've started publishing a series of biannual guides for various online games, starting with our very own World of Warcraft.

We haven't seen the guide, but their sales page promises "tips for conquering dungeons, guides for leveling to 70," and "perfecting WoW endgame classes," all for only $9.99. To tell the truth, it sounds pretty lame (not to mention that you can get exactly the same stuff right here for the low, low price of free), but at least there's another print competitor to the official Brady Guides -- if you absolutely need your WoW news in print form, you've got at least two choices now.

Anyone seen one of these yet? Next time you're at the collectibles store, see if they've got one sitting on the magazine shelf and let us know what it looks like.

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Mania on the Growl change - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:30:00 EST
Mania is quickly becoming the voice of choice for analysis on Hunter changes, and her latest take on the Growl changes recently released in the patch 2.4.2 notes is no exception. From what Mania can see, Growl's threat isn't scaling with Hunter Attack Power at all, but Blizzard claims it is, so she's chalking her findings in that direction up to faulty data. What she does determine, from both her research and Blizzard's posts on the subject, is that the change here has nothing to do with Hunter's RAP or AP values -- it only has to do with the pet's AP values. Before, if pet AP got a bonus, so did Growl's threat. After 2.4.2, any bonus to pet AP won't affect Growl's threat.

So Hunters who routinely get their pet buffed are probably going to feel this change a little bit (though in most situations where pets get group buffs, I'd imagine Growl would be turned off anyway, in order for the tank to control threat). And Hunters who use boars, of course -- as Daniel explained, that extra AP from Charge doesn't work for Growl any more. Mania doesn't stop there, however -- since we know now that the only thing affecting Growl is the Hunter's Attack Power, she's determined to figure out just how much AP can scale Growl up (she's guessing it starts at 1955, we'll see what she comes up with).

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Ask WoW Insider: How to avoid idiots? - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:00:00 EST
Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week Benjamin writes in:

Hi, my name is Benjamin. I am a daily, if not hourly reader of WoW Insider as it is my Warcraft fix while slaving tirelessly under the oppressive regime of work. My question is this: How do you separate yourself from the idiots when trying to PuG? With Mr. Rossi's articles about never Pugging, the endless replies of concurrence, and the numerous other articles of horror stories, I see why I can never get that group together for Black Morass. Part of my issue is that my main is a Night Elf Hunter, which does not exactly inspire confidence but I can chain trap, I am learning to FD BEFORE I pull aggro, and I protect my healers. Bottom line is this, do you have any recommendations when I am hitting the LFG to distinguish myself from the numerous other "OMG, I PEW PEW AND LEWT!" folks, regardless of class? And yes, I do have a Warrior and Priest alt. =) Thank you for your time.

When it comes to avoiding idiots in PuGs, often times the answer is a line from the movie WarGames: "The only winning move is not to play."

Myself, I'm largely removed from the PuG game as well. I'll do a variation of a Pug, where myself and a couple of guildies might seek out a fourth or a fifth, but the days of me hitting the LFG tool have passed. These days, I'm more interested in a Heroic for the badges, and those can be dicey even with guildies; doing it with strangers is just too much of a hassle.

How about you folks -- any tips on how Ben can avoid idiots?

Got questions? Don't wait! Send them to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com and your query could be up in lights here next week.

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The post-game analysis - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 12:30:00 EST


Our team got rocked last night. Coming out the gate, we faced a full S3 team that rushed us over the tomb in the Ruins of Lordaeron. Quickly scanning targets, our DPS called for focus fire on the Shadow Priest. It wasn't until about five seconds in that I saw our Warrior dropping down to 50%, then 30%, and I had lost him in my Line-of-Sight. By the time he had sprinted out of the starting room, the opposing team had swapped targets to our Feral Druid and dropped him in under ten seconds. We'd been had.

Running triple melee, we were confined to too much of an offensive mindset to notice the fact that we were up against a 4-DPS team who went directly for the Warrior instagib. The only person who saw this early enough was our Warrior, who retreated back into our room to slow down the opposing team's offense. By the time we'd picked up on what was happening, our Druid was dead and our Warrior was running around the coffin with a sword and board Spell Reflecting and trying to stay alive. By then it was too late and in less than two minutes we were handed our first and only loss for the night.

Continue reading The post-game analysis

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WoW Moviewatch: The end of the World ... of Warcraft - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 12:00:00 EST

In all my time blogging about WoW machinima, I never thought that the last day on Azeroth would begin with Vengaboys. However, despite the badly model viewed characters and extremely literal interpretation of the song, I found myself laughing at the absurdity of it. The avatars' fun was short-lived, though, as the world was annihilated. Well, at least he decided to use computer generated voice acting, instead of fouling that up.

I think that Dopervius has real potential for a future in machinimated comical relief. Only time will tell if he will improve, but for a first real try at this, he's not doing so bad. What say you, uber-critical audience?

[Thanks, Ziemowit!]

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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Epic weaponsmithing weapons no longer unique - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:30:00 EST

MMO Champion has pointed out something that should make Warrior and Shaman weaponsmiths rather happy: all one-handed epic weaponsmithing weapons will be non-unique as of 2.4.2. Combine this with the fact that the Main Hand designation is being taken off of most weapons as well, and you can see where this is going. Dual-wielded Dragonmaws, anybody?

If you can scrape together the mats, 2.4.2 should be a very good time to be a dual-wielding weaponsmith of the non-Rogue variety. The 2.7 speed on the mace and axe weapons means that your Windfury and Whirlwind will be very happy. All you have to do now is hope you have enough badges, gold, or pull with your raid leader to get all the Primal Nethers and Nether Vortexes ready to go.

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Epic gems are 15 Badges after all - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 11:00:00 EST
Remember a few weeks ago when it was discovered that the Armory was listing the new Badge of Justice-reward epic gems at 10 badges each? Yeah, turns out that was just an Armory bug (which we knew was a possibility). They're 15 Badges after all, as they were on the PTR. The way we know this now is that Proudmoore-US, first in all things Shattered Sun, has done Discovering Your Roots enough times to unlock Shaani, the vendor who sells you the gems. Thanks, Proudmoore! Grinding for knowledge. And everyone else, get on that quest. It's a fun one -- everyone gets a pet so they can pretend they're a hunter for a little while -- and you'll help your server along.

Assuming the epic gems sell for around 500 gold, which seems reasonable given the order-of-magnitude increase in price between uncommon and rare gems, this yields a 33 gold per Badge conversion rate (if you buy gems with your Badges and sell the gems; they're not bind-on-pickup). That's right on target in terms of gold per hour. I figure it takes about 20 minutes on average to earn a Badge, which means 100 gold per hour -- pretty much the same rate I make through dailies or grinding. And given that any activity that earns you Badges (i.e. raiding or heroics) gives you a chance at gear as well, it looks like the PvE endgame is fairly rewarding right now.

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Around Azeroth: The dragon slave - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 10:00:00 EST

Okay, guys, while Micah completes his Master's Terrace quest, let's talk about the pull. First, Dave, get ready to position him facing away from the raid. Sarah, Earth Shield Dave right before the smoking blasts hit. And Waugh, we're counting on you to frost trap the skeletons ... but it appears that you've been possessed by the spirit of Nightbane's uncorrupted form ... and are running off to the top of the tower to kill Medivh with your Arcane Shot. Except Medivh is already dead, so all you're going to get is an infernal to the face. Good luck, Waugh of <Over Powered> on Kil'Jaeden. If everyone else is ready? Let's do this!

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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, do not move when flame wreath is cast or the raid ... blows ... up.

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Recruit friends, give them levels - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 09:30:00 EST


File this firmly under "contained in the game files but may not be activated until Wrath if ever," but MMO-Champion has found something very interesting in some error messages contained in the 2.4.2 patch. Currently, the recruit-a-friend functionality (offered from the account management page) is fairly bare-bones. You get a free month if your friend signs up and ends up paying, and they get a free ten-day trial to give them some time to get into the game, but that's about it.

According to these data-mined error messages, that may be set for a change. See for yourself:
  • ERR_REFER_A_FRIEND_DIFFERENT_FACTION = "You cannot grant levels to a character of the opposite faction.";
  • ERR_REFER_A_FRIEND_INSUFFICIENT_GRANTABLE_LEVELS = "You have not earned enough levels to grant any more levels.";
  • ERR_REFER_A_FRIEND_SUMMON_COOLDOWN = "You can only summon your friend once per hour.";
  • FACTION_STANDING_INCREASED_BONUS = "Reputation with %s increased by %d. (+%.1f Refer-A-Friend bonus)";
This is just a sampling of the errors, but it raises some highly unexpected possibilities. If whatever functionality this is referring to goes live, it seems like we'd be able to award levels to friends we recruit and summon them to us, in addition to getting a bonus to reputation gains with (specific?) factions. My guess would be that this is to combat the problem of wanting a friend to play with you, but not wanting to wait for him to grind seventy levels so they can get to the "real" game. Obviously it's far too early to analyze this in detail, and again, we may well never see this in game, but it's eyebrow-raising nonetheless.

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[Updated] It came from the Blog: Children's Week event on Sunday - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 09:00:00 EST


Children's Week will be here May 1st through 7th. But you already knew that because you saw it on the nifty Upcoming Events list in the right column. Children's Week is one of my favorite Azerothian holidays because it's fun, it's for everyone and you can clutter up your bank with more non-combat pets.

So who wants to join me for celebrating Children's Week with It came from the Blog?
  • When: Sunday, May 4, 3pm PDT (4pm Server Time) [Edited to change from Saturday to Sunday]
  • Where: The Orphanage in the Valley of Honor in Orgrimmar (to the left of the ramp that leads up to the Battlemasters)
  • Server: Zangarmarsh U.S., Horde side
There will be Summoning for those who need it and don't worry about what level you are, because everyone is welcome. [Edited to add:] You may have to be level 10 to get the quest, so if you want to do more than just hang out with us, level up to 10 before Sunday.

If you aren't in the guild yet, just send a whisper to Robiness or someone else in IcftB and we'll be happy to invite you.

Come join us in making a virtual orphan's day a little brighter!

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Breakfast Topic: Figureprints - Mon, 28 Apr 2008 08:00:00 EST
When we first heard about Figureprints, everybody seemed fairly keen to get one -- there were thousands of people trying to get in on the drawing, and lots of folks were more than willing to put down their $100 for a custom, real-life figure of their characters created directly from the in-game models.

But as the Dude (if censored) might say, new stuff has come to light. We've seen the first Figureprints off the press, and the quality, so far, hasn't been impressive, to say the least. We should note that Figureprints is replacing that figure in the gallery, but we'd like to know: has all of this new information changed your mind about Figureprints?

Are you still excited to get one, or have you changed your mind from originally liking the idea to not so thrilled about the actual product? Or, like Matthew Rossi, have you said "This aggression will not stand, man," from the beginning? OK, that's not really what he said (I just wanted to quote the Dude agaIn), but where are you at on Figureprints lately? Yea or nay?

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Vint Cerf enjoys WoW with his son - Sun, 27 Apr 2008 20:00:00 EST
Esquire has an interview up with Vint Cerf, "father of the Internet," about the things he likes: The Swiss Family Robinson, Shakespeare, and yes, World of Warcraft. Cerf is apparently a player of the game, along with his son. He does say that "it may seem like a waste of time" to play WoW, but he praises the game for presenting a simple and solvable set of problems and an online framework around which to solve them together. Cerf, as you may imagine, is a casual, though -- while he says it probably does take a lot of playtime to do well at WoW, he'd rather play at his own rate (so he'd enjoy our WoW, Casually column, seems like).

Elsewhere in the conversation, Cerf actually vindicates Al Gore for his famous "I invented the Internet" comment. So chalk another one up to Mr. Gore -- without him, there'd be no Internet, and without the Internet, there'd be no WoW. And what else would we and Vint Cerf be doing on a Sunday evening?

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Spiritual Guidance: 3 Priest specs your raid should not leave Shattrath without - Sun, 27 Apr 2008 19:00:00 EST


Every Sunday, Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the overlord of World of Matticus, and this week he takes a look at 3 different raid specs for the new priest to consider.

A priest by nature is a class that serves to heal. Unless you walk the path of shadow, then you play a class devoted to healing your raid. Far be it from me to tell me how you should spec or what you should spec. I believe that everyone is free to invest their points down whatever talent tree they see fit. On the other side of the coin, I have been called upon to counsel my raid leaders. In a raid group where 24 of 25 spots have been filled and the last vacancy is reserved for a healer, raid leaders often make the tough call of deciding who gets benched and who gets on the starting roster.

I'm going to go out on a limb and do something no blogger should ever do.

I'm going to make an assumption.

I'm going to assume that you want to raid and experience end game.

If your guild is a highly competitive one where healers are abundant and plentiful, then you need to make yourself stand out from the rest. When your raid leader is in the hard position of deciding who stays and who goes, there is only one question that they ask themselves.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: 3 Priest specs your raid should not leave Shattrath without

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All the World's a Stage: Free your mind - Sun, 27 Apr 2008 17:55:00 EST

All the World's a Stage is a source for roleplaying ideas, commentary, and discussions. It is published every Sunday evening.

Some people don't want to worry about staying in character; they just want to come home, play a game and chill out. That's fine, they have the choice to be a regular player and do what they enjoy. But for those of us who seek the path of the roleplayer, we ought not to stop there.

We spend a lot of time in WoW doing all the same things other non-roleplayers are doing, whether it's questing, instances, or PvP. In the process, it can be easy to let one's character slowly drift away from a genuine personality, and into a mere avatar for your own personality as a gamer in a computer game. After all, your character must do a lot of things in order to progress, many of which are game-oriented goals rather than story-oriented goals. You need boss loot, Badges of Justice, Arena points and a bunch of other things that don't always translate well into very interesting character motivations.

It's easy to rely on old standby motivations so much that they become excuses. We might say, for example, "I'm trying to help the Shattered Sun Offensive to prevent Kil'Jaeden from entering Azeroth!" or "I'm hoping to attack Pathaleon the Calculator and take from him his prized sword: The Sun Eater!" And these are fine reasons for characters to do things, but we must remember, there's nothing really new or interesting about them. Every one wants to prevent disaster, or acquire new weapons -- but what about such a desire reveals who your character really is? How can you make normal gaming goals and activities into an opportunity for interesting performance and immersion in a fantasy world?

Continue reading All the World's a Stage: Free your mind

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