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The Daily Quest: Thursday edition - Thu, 28 May 2009 19:30:00 EST


We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

The Daily Quest: Thursday edition originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Two Bosses Enter: Ingvar and Annhylde vs. Krik'thir the Gatewatcher - Thu, 28 May 2009 19:00:00 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.

Utgarde Keep duo Dalronn the Controller and Skarvald the Constructor went down in flames (or Whirlwinds) in last week's Two Bosses Enter matchup, but we're not convinced that all UK bosses are whining nincompoops. This week's deathmatch pits another Utgarde Keep pair, Ingvar the Plunderer and Annhylde the Caller, against Azjol-Nerub's Krik'thir the Gatewatcher. While this duo seems almost as argumentative as the Dalronn/Skarvald duo, their teamwork seems a little more smooth. Will it be enough to overcome Krik'thir and his minions?

The ground rules:
  • Assume that these foes share similar levels, health pools and a comparative overall damage output.
  • This match takes place in neutral territory.
  • Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter.
  • Focus on the three S's: style, story and scale.
What do you think would happen during this battle? Leave a comment explaining what you think goes down, then cast your vote for who you think is left up.

Continue reading Two Bosses Enter: Ingvar and Annhylde vs. Krik'thir the Gatewatcher

Two Bosses Enter: Ingvar and Annhylde vs. Krik'thir the Gatewatcher originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Boom boom boom - Thu, 28 May 2009 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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Todays edition of The Queue should be read while playing Boom Boom Pow in the background. It's completely irrelevant to WoW or anything discussed today, but I haven't been able to stop playing the song for about a week now and it's really starting to drive me crazy. If I can't stop listening to it, I'll just make other people listen to it. Schadenfreude is just as good as a cure.

Jfofla asked...


"My question is about the 100 Mounts Achievement. With the introduction of the AT, this is more doable than ever before. Is there a current database of all available mounts to help those seeking 100?"

Continue reading The Queue: Boom boom boom

The Queue: Boom boom boom originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Should Arena rankings be determined by class? - Thu, 28 May 2009 17:00:00 EST


An interesting thread popped up on the forums regarding Arena representation, noting class disparity and how it might be possible to rate performance based on a player's class. Balancing all the classes is an ongoing struggle and has been one of Blizzard's greatest headaches in PvP design. In Season 5, Holy Paladins and Death Knights dominated the Arenas, with Warriors getting the very short end of the stick and having the lowest number of Season 5 Gladiators. The original poster points out Blizzard's continual, active revision of the Arena ratings system and suggests that the system itself might be flawed. Because the rating system is "blind" to class or even classes in team compositions, for that matter, players using an "OP" class have an advantage.

The poster goes on to suggest that rankings be based on the class, rather than overall Arena population. This means that the percentile used to determine end-of-season rewards will be applied on a per class basis, thereby granting all classes conceptually equal representation. Ghostcrawler gives the suggestion some merit, even going so far as to say Blizzard isn't "above iteration on the design" of the Arena system as evidenced by their proactive adjustments to it.

Continue reading Should Arena rankings be determined by class?

Should Arena rankings be determined by class? originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Twitter Time: 10 words or less - Thu, 28 May 2009 16:00:00 EST

I've been manning the WoW.com official Twitter for the past few nights and having a great time of it. The three nights previous to last, I did some reader-participation art and ended up drawing a tauren rogue and two druids (undead and gnome!). Tonight I thought I'd go a little more literary and had the Twitterati, in the spirit of tweets, send me WoW-related stories of ten words or less. Here are some of my favorites, and the rest are after the jump.

Make sure to follow us on Twitter and YOU TOO MIGHT SEND ME BRIEF MESSAGES SOMETIME. I'll see you there!

Frito_KAL @wowinsider No matter what the humans say, gnomes are NOT piñatas.

Iamfivebears
@wowinsider "Thanks for the summoooooooooooooon...." the rogue yelled up the cliff.

kryptongirl @wowinsider The druid turned into a dog tree. He barked.

MsJenni @wowinsider We entered Deadmines nude, voting who came out best dressed.

TheCorruptOne @wowinsider Armor drops from a clear desert sky. Incoming gnomish engineer!

threeparts @wowinsider How many edge of winter's does this damn dryad -have?-

Continue reading Twitter Time: 10 words or less

Twitter Time: 10 words or less originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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One Boss Leaves: Skadi minces Dalronn and Skarvald - Thu, 28 May 2009 15:30:00 EST


Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

Aww, come on, you knew this was going to happen ... Yup, Skadi the Ruthless spared nothing for poor Dalronn and Skarvald of Utgarde Keep. It was a landslide victory for the PuG-intimidating boss -- although a few readers did think the matchup could offer a few twists. "I'm going to give it to D/S here," nodded Nizari. "Dalronn would eat it from the adds, being the squishier one, and Skarvald makes it to Skadi. Skar has two stuns to Skadi's one, and remember that even after Dalronn goes down, he still can use all his abilities. So the summoned skellies eat the whirlwind, and more importantly, Debilitate nerfs Skadi's DPS."

"I gotta say the duo," agreed Meethan. "If they could get through the harpoons, then Skadi would be cake for them. It seems like he has almighty attacks -- but again, this is on the theory, not on the actual damage. They would go through the adds badly damaged but not dead. When Skadi came down, Skarvald would begin to engage him, while the necromancer began to summon his minions. In the event Skarvald did die, Dalronn would have enough knowledge to outlast Skadi in a battle perspective, because necromancers aren't complete idiots."

Continue reading One Boss Leaves: Skadi minces Dalronn and Skarvald

One Boss Leaves: Skadi minces Dalronn and Skarvald originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Final BlizzCon tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday - Thu, 28 May 2009 15:00:00 EST
We pretty much knew this to be the case, given that it's exactly what happened two weeks ago, but yes, just in case you haven't been paying attention, the second and final round of BlizzCon tickets is going on sale this Saturday, and Neth confirms it'll start at 10a.m. PST again. You'll have to be ready on the ticket page to jump into the queue at the right time, and then hope they don't sell out before you've gotten a chance to grab yours. The good news is that things probably won't break down, but the bad news is that they'll probably go really, really fast, so you'll have to be lucky to get in line before they close the doors.

And if you don't make it to the convention, there's always us: we're planning on covering the heck out of it yet again here at WoW.com, so even if you're not in Anaheim, we'll make you feel like you are. Or if you want to go the streaming video route, we're sure DirecTV will be happy to take your money as well.

So it's not the end of the world if you don't get your purchase done, but there'll no doubt be a lot of disappointed Blizzard fans no matter what. Good luck to everyone -- we'll see you Saturday at 10 a.m. Pacific.

Final BlizzCon tickets on sale at 10 a.m. Saturday originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The woes of Block - Thu, 28 May 2009 14:00:00 EST
In a discussion of tanking mechanics on the forums, Ghostcrawler made a long and in depth post about various subjects that helped consolidate one of the real problems with block and block value in Wrath of the Lich King. Not only is blocking something that only two of the four tanking classes do, but it's a pretty lackluster stat for boss tanking.

  • Block as a mechanic is somewhere between avoidance and mitigation. Ideally it removes a fair amount of damage (vs. all damage) reasonably often (vs. rarely). If block is up 100% of the time it just becomes armor that you improve through a different stat. We have let block chances creep up frankly because the amount blocked is pretty trivial when bosses are hitting for 40% of your health pool every swing. If this still strikes you as too RNG, imagine abilities like Shield Block and Holy Shield that could guarantee 100% chance to block for a short period of time.
  • We don't think block is cutting it as a mechanic, but the direction we are likely to take it is probably more of a change than you are considering.
The problem with block (which is really two mechanics in one, block rating which determines how often you block, and block value, which determines how much damage you subtract from a hit when you block it) is that for trash, it's inflated due to the block chance creeping upwards that GC mentions above. But for boss fights where a boss can either hit you physically for far, far more than you could ever block or hits you with massive magical damage that block does nothing at all against (well, unless you're a warrior in Tier 8 with the four piece set bonus) block has simply fallen behind the curve.

Continue reading The woes of Block

The woes of Block originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The strange case of rage generation in 3.1 - Thu, 28 May 2009 13:00:00 EST


Since 3.1, DPS warriors (including myself) have been complaining about a lack of rage. To the point where Ghostcrawler himself chimed in recently (in a discussion of the nerf to Titan's Grip and the effect it had on warrior DPS) to inform us that the claim that warrior rage generation was hurt by the changes was a myth created by warriors upset with the nerf.

Now we have the following post by Landsoul. I freely admit this is the kind of math that makes my eyes cross and roll up into my head. But Landsoul's well known as a contributor to the EJ forums and frankly, his math-fu's good enough for me. (I should also mention Hellord, the original poster who saw things were hinky.) What this means is, while it's very possible that yes, the developers took Titan's Grip's decreased damage into account when they were making the changes, there was somehow another change made that cost warriors some rage generation. 25% of it, to be precise.

Bornakk posts later in the thread that they'll take a look "as we didn't make any intended changes recently to rage generation". So the good news is, for warriors, if this change did happen (and again, I'd tend to trust the math from the people behind the best warrior spreadsheets) then it wasn't a deliberate loss of 25% of our rage generation.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The strange case of rage generation in 3.1

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The strange case of rage generation in 3.1 originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: How To: Flame Leviathan - Thu, 28 May 2009 12:00:00 EST


How To: Flame Leviathan
showed up in today's WoW Moviewatch via a roundabout method. The video has been posted on The Daily Quest, but it was just also featured over at Swiftmend. With that level of exposure, we wanted to make sure to give the video its due right on Moviewatch. It's a video from those awesome Yogscast guys, and it shows you how to fight Flame Leviathan. (Kind of.)

About a minute and a half into the movie is where you'll find the funny, though. I'd be hard-pressed to tell you why, but your intrepid WoW.com reporters found Xephos and Honeydew's work in this video hilarious. There's just something unmistakeably hilarious a cruising-around rap song being played while dancing on top of Flame Leviathan.

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: How To: Flame Leviathan originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Wowhead wants to send you to BlizzCon - Thu, 28 May 2009 11:00:00 EST

The second and final round of BlizzCon tickets go on sale this Saturday, May 30, and I'm pretty sure they'll go fast - the first round sold out in half an hour. However, if you miss out on a ticket (or if you think they're just too expensive), you may have a chance to go anyway.

Wowhead, along with APC (makers of UPSes and such), is running a contest over the next few weeks, with a drawing every day until June 18th. June 17th is the last day to enter; all you need to do is fill in your contact details on the contest page, and you're automatically entered for every drawing. Sadly, this contest is only open to US residents age 18 and older ("we know it sucks," Wowhead says).

Oh right, the prizes.

There is one grand prize, consisting of two tickets to BlizzCon, along with air fare and accommodations, an APC UPS, and a dinner with the Wowhead folks. Three lucky first-prize winners will get their choice of a Wii, a PS3, or an Xbox 360, as well as an APC surge protector. And every day that those prizes aren't given out, someone will win a Wowhead t-shirt and an APC surge protector. One of these last winners will be randomly chosen to win a Blizzcon ticket as well, at the end of the contest.

Wowhead wants to send you to BlizzCon originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Ghouls gone wild - Thu, 28 May 2009 10:00:00 EST


Rawrshach of <Shindu Belore> on Deathwing writes, "While trying to rid New Avalon of its Scarlet Crusade taint, Rawrshach finds himself surrounded by an unusually high concentration of ghouls. Not exactly his idea of a party, but when you're an undead cow, you kind of have to take what you can get." Come on now, tauren make the best death knights. Where do you think the concept of tainted beef comes from? *rimshot*

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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, gold seller ads, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Ghouls gone wild originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tips for the Wrecking Ball achievement - Thu, 28 May 2009 09:00:00 EST
This forum thread is full of great advice and tips for the Wrecking Ball achievement, in which you've got to get 20 killing blows without dying in a battleground. The key here seems to be to find a place with lots and lots of folks to kill (a spawn point, like the graveyard in WSG, works great, or you can hide behind the big groups in AV), and then just hanging out there as far out of the way as you can get. Having a pocket healer won't hurt either, and playing fair isn't really part of this one -- you want to duck in when you're sure to win the fight, and run like crazy when things even threaten to go against you.

Some people say that doing it at a lower bracket can help, too, because unless you're uber geared, it'll be better to go after lower levels than have everybody in the BG be 80. It actually sounds like it's easier than it seems -- as long as you set yourself up in the right place and be really careful about getting stuck in a fight you can't win, you should be able to walk away with the points. Good luck!

Tips for the Wrecking Ball achievement originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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World of Fighter is Street Fighter rip off - Thu, 28 May 2009 08:30:00 EST


World of Fighter (yes there's been a name change), the newest game from The9, the former publisher of WoW in China, is not going to be a WoW clone, or a Warhammer ripoff. Rather it seems to embody most of the characters from Capcom's flagship title Street Fighter and a few of their other IPs.

The teaser website for the game has been updated with a flash movie showing artwork of Chun-Li, Ryu and other characters moving across the screen and announcing the game's new name. It seems like Simon Belmont from Castlevania is also among the ranks along with some generic Asian-style characters. However what it actually is in terms of game play or genre remains unknown. Could it be a Street Fighter MMO?

We'll keep you updated but given the announcement that The9 are suing Blizzard, it's really no surprise that this new title has taken such a drastic change. How Capcom feel about this, however, remains to be seen.

World of Fighter is Street Fighter rip off originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 08:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: What sides have you picked? - Thu, 28 May 2009 08:00:00 EST


Some people who play World of Warcraft really closely identify with one of the two factions, the Horde and the Alliance. They care about the ongoing lore of the divide, they argue back and forth about which side is in the wrong and who is doing what, or when which side committed a particular wrong or another. Now, we here at wow.com are no different in that regard, as you saw when you followed those links. We're passionate about the game, and that includes the lore.

However, I've always been less a factional player (I have and love Horde and Alliance toons pretty equally, and I think both sides of the Horde/Alliance enmity have good and bad points) and more of a class partisan. I pretty much love shamans and warriors and don't really like playing other classes. I'll defend my chosen classes, gush about them, rant about what I think needs fixing, and play those classes to the exclusion of others even when I know that objectively those other classes might well be just as much fun. I just can't bring myself to support other classes, play them, or even in my heart embrace them as fully as shamans and warriors. I'm not pretending my behavior is anything more than the strange mental quirk of a particular player, but it got me wondering: what other strange divisions are out there in active play? My lovely wife, for example, won't tame a pet unless it has a unique skin or is harder than normal to get. She just loves the challenge.

Do you find youself making a choice, whether it be Horde vs. Alliance, a specific class, a race, a profession, or a style of play that draws a solid line of demarcation for you in game? Roleplayers vs. non-Roleplayers? Will you only raid 10 man? Are you a partisan for PvP and barely even bother with instances? What do you cleave to in WoW, and what do you reject?

Breakfast Topic: What sides have you picked? originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 28 May 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Possible hidden mechanics behind Lock and Load - Wed, 27 May 2009 20:00:00 EST
The Hunter's Mark's Atkallen takes a good look at one of my new favorite Hunter abilities: Lock and Load. I'm pretty late to the party on this one (BigRedKitty showed us all how awesome it was a while back), but ever since I went dual spec and started raiding Survivalist, most of my time is just spent waiting for a Lock and Load proc. And oh boy, when it hits twice in a row and I can throw off Explosive Shots for free on just a global cooldown, look out.

But Atkallen's post suggests something a little sneakier about the buff, which procs off of any trap snares or damage, or, more commonly, off of Black Arrow, another Survivalist talent. It used to proc off of Serpent Sting, from 3 to 10 percent of the time according to how many points you put into the talent, and when it was changed to the current form and lowered to 2, 4, and 6 percent, most Hunters worried that they wouldn't see it pop up as much. But here's the thing, and I can attest: it still shows up all the time.

Continue reading Possible hidden mechanics behind Lock and Load

Possible hidden mechanics behind Lock and Load originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Algalon kill video from the Underground Kosmonavts - Wed, 27 May 2009 19:30:00 EST


As you might have heard previously, the Underground Kosmonavts of EU-Ravencrest scored the World 2nd kill on the 10-man version of Algalon. Shortly after their kill they released a video of it, which has burning across the net. Algalon has been incredibly hyped, so it doesn't surprise me!

Now, I haven't done this fight, I won't pretend I have, and all that I've seen is this video, so take this as, essentially, me talking out of my rear end: This fight looks really easy compared to what I've seen of Ulduar so far. Quite honestly, it looks like a tank and spank compared to something like Mimiron. Not to mention his hard mode, which you need to do to get to Algalon in the first place. Maybe Algalon is Ulduar's Brutallus? Hopefully there are elements to the fight that don't show up on video very well (from the point of view of a Hunter especially), and what we're seeing isn't a good indicator of the whole encounter.

Of course, I really don't mean to trivialize the accomplishment here. These guys were the second guild in the world to down him, and I imagine that if it were as easy as the video makes it look, a lot more guilds would have done it by now. Great job, Kosmonavts.

Algalon kill video from the Underground Kosmonavts originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 19:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Rookie: Where a noob can be a noob - Wed, 27 May 2009 19:00:00 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.

Today's WoW Rookie will not help you improve your game or your character's performance. The advice here won't help you become a "better" player; in fact, we'd encourage you to guard against the urge. As a new player in an older game (and make no mistake, with an established game world that's turned away from leveling and original content, the World of Warcraft definitely qualifies), you are quite assuredly behind the curve. You're a noob -- and that's ok. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

As a new player in the World of Warcraft, you deserve your time in the sun. It's called WORLD of Warcraft for a reason. A massive game world awaits, ripe for exploration, screenshots, wonder. Slowly peeling back the layers of lore and story reveals tales of glory, honor, humor and tragedy. This is your chance to soak it in, to bask and stretch and revel in the delightfully silly little surprises that Blizzard has scattered throughout the game.

And you'll miss all of that if your game is a tunnel-vision race to max level, purple armor and a belt notched with raiding achievements.

Continue reading WoW Rookie: Where a noob can be a noob

WoW Rookie: Where a noob can be a noob originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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An Authenticator in your Visa - Wed, 27 May 2009 18:00:00 EST
This is only slightly WoW-related, but it's worth a mention, I think, considering that when it happens, you'll be able to tell all your friends just what these things are. Our good friend Relmstein reports that Visa is planning to put an authenticator, of all things, in their credit cards. We of course all know how the Blizzard Authenticator works: you punch a button on the Authenticator, it gives you a code, and then that code can be used to synch up with the server. The Emue Card that Visa is testing right now works the same way: you punch in a PIN, it'll give you another code to enter on an online shopping site, and thus no one who just gets your card information can actually use your card (much like right now with a Blizzard Authenticator, no one who just gets your password can actually sign in). But it's all built in to the normal credit card.

Very interesting. What Visa's doing with their credit cards might not be completely relevant to WoW, but it is relevant to note that of all of the accounts and passwords in your life that you might like to keep secure, a Blizzard account with an Authenticator attached is probably the most locked-down. Companies have started using Authenticator-like technology to have their employees log in to local networks, and obviously credit card and banking companies are testing things like this. But when it comes down to actual widespread usage, Blizzard is way ahead of the curve. Odds are that your WoW account right now is even more protected than your checking account. We'll likely be using the same authenticator system for other secure connections in the future.

An Authenticator in your Visa originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Night Elf Druid bear forms revealed - Wed, 27 May 2009 17:20:00 EST


Thank heavens for Twitter. Twitterer @kreeoni tweeted a scoop detailing the Night Elf Druid bear forms following the exciting revelation of Tauren Druid bear forms yesterday. And oh boy... do they look spiffy. I particularly like the fellow on the lower right, with the Spike-like white stripe and matching sideburns. Our girl Allison is already jumping up and down from excitement (or is it envy? I can't tell with Tauren females...), probably impatient that we don't have the cat forms yet. But here you go, savor the first look at these new Druid bear forms with nastier growls and face paint. Man, Druids get excited over the tiniest things...

UPDATE: Apparently, Allison was jumping up and down from, uh, being underwhelmed. She's kind of weird that way.

ALLISON UPDATE
: Hey, I am totally whelmed here. Maybe they're less a shock to the senses after the initial change to Tauren bear form!

Night Elf Druid bear forms revealed originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 17:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard creative writing contest winners announced - Wed, 27 May 2009 17:00:00 EST


Remember the Blizzard creative writing contest that happened during March and April? I'm pretty sure many of our readers entered, but for those who missed it the idea was to write a story up to 10,000 words in length and set in the Warcraft, StarCraft or Diablo universes.

Well, Nethaera finally announced the winner (a story entitled In the Shadow of the Sun by Sarah Pine), runners up and a bunch of honorable mentions via the forums. Unfortunately there's no other information about the stories themselves, which universes they are set in or what Blizzard are going to do with the winning entries (personally, I'm betting on some kind of anthology). So head on over to the forums to find out if your entry made it to runners up or got an honorable mention.

Blizzard creative writing contest winners announced originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 17:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard EU introduces cross-language battlegroups - Wed, 27 May 2009 16:00:00 EST
Now you can yell at people for not fighting at the flag in all kinds of different languages: Blizzard's EU staff have announced that they're breaking out the first cross-language battlegroups. Actually, that's not quite true -- players who speak different languages will only be playing as opponents (so the Horde you're fighting may speak a different language, but your allies will still understand you). But it is good news for some EU players who've been suffering long queue times. The English language battlegroup Nightfall will be combining with the Spanish language Crueldad (to form Cruelty/Crueldad), and the French battlegroup Némésis will be battling Germans in Hinterhalt to make up Embuscade/Hinterhalt.

Arena ladders on all of the realms will be combining as well (but of course even there, opponents will still be from different languages, so you'll never have to worry about crossing translation lines). The change is in effect right now -- have any of you been playing on Cruelty or Embuscade and seen faster queues yet?

Blizzard EU introduces cross-language battlegroups originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Troll'is is - Wed, 27 May 2009 15:30:00 EST


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW.com's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.

Dear Alex,

l2preamble.

Yours,

Modern Writing.

Peacebone asked...

"Why can't we wear tabards to get rep gains from raids? Is there any specific reason?"

Continue reading The Queue: Troll'is is

The Queue: Troll'is is originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 15:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The9 sues Blizzard - Wed, 27 May 2009 15:00:00 EST
In an interesting twist to the dramatic saga of World of Warcraft in China, The9, the former distributor of the game until they lost the license last April, is suing Blizzard in two cases involving property loss compensation and commercial defamation. A company representative confirmed the news to sources at the same time stating that The9 will no longer comment on the matter. The Shanghai Pudong District People's Court will hear the assets damage case and the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court will hear the commercial defamation case on June 18 and July 8, respectively, according to 178.com.

This news comes after the announcement that The9 was deep in the development of a game conspicuously similar to World of Warcraft called World of Fight. Numerous delays in the release of Wrath of the Lich King in China fueled rumors leading up the non-renewal of The9's contract. The situation became so dire that a large portion of mainland players migrated (re-rolled) en masse to WoW servers in Taiwan, where Wrath was available. In fact, some had made incredible progress in such a short time, such as killing Mimiron in hard mode despite having re-rolled. Blizzard had planned to award the contract to The9 competitor NetEase once their contract with The9 expires in June.

The9 sues Blizzard originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 15:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Blizzard eSports channel streams Arena invitational - Wed, 27 May 2009 14:30:00 EST


The gates are about to open and mayhem is about to ensue as the second week of the ESL TV Invitational Arena Tournament kicks off today. This special invitational event will feature four top teams from all over Europe -- x6tence from Spain, Rest in Many Pieces from Germany, aAa Nawak from France, and newcomers Sickology from... some mysterious place in Europe, probably. The whole event will be streamed live on the Blizzard eSports channel at 22:00 CEST (4pm EST).

The Spanish team x6tence won the Intel Extreme Master Global Challenge, while aAa Nawak is one of Europe's top RMP teams, placing 3rd at the IEM Global Finals. Also playing RMP is Rest in many Pieces (formerly known as mousesports), and completing the line-up is Sickology, composed of relative newcomers running a WLD (Warrior, Warlock, Druid) comp. The show is estimated to run for two hours, and should be a real treat for Arena enthusiasts. Active World of Warcraft subscribers can find the Blizzard eSports Channel through Account Management or simply head over to the ESL's Blizzard TV channel.

It seems like a good day for sports fans, too, with this show squeezed between the Champion's League Finals match between Barcelona and Manchester United and Game 5 of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the LA Lakers and the Denver Nuggets. For World of Warcraft PvP afficionados who also happen to love football and basketball (could be just me, I dunno), it looks like we'll have to look for a very comfortable chair.

Blizzard eSports channel streams Arena invitational originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 14:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Warcraft Legends are a fun ride for all - Wed, 27 May 2009 14:00:00 EST


Although Free Comic Book Day is supposed to be on the first Saturday of May each year, our local book store chain Fully Booked held it last May 23 with a 20% discount off graphic novels and select manga. I thought it was a good opportunity to pick up Tokyopop's Warcraft Legends series, a manga-style take on the Warcraft universe. I'd had my eye on these books for a while, so last weekend was a good opportunity to get them.

Each book contains three self-contained stories and one ongoing tale featuring the Tauren Trag Highmountain from the Sunwell Trilogy manga written by Richard Knaak and drawn by Kim Jae-Hwan. Trag's story in Warcraft Legends picks up where the Sunwell Trilogy left off, and although the story is rather interesting, the best thing about the manga are the short stories which breathe a little more life into the Warcraft world. These stories are what make the books truly shine. My take on the first three books in the series after the jump.

Continue reading Warcraft Legends are a fun ride for all

Warcraft Legends are a fun ride for all originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Why Varian Wrynn is a fool (and why it may not matter) - Wed, 27 May 2009 13:00:00 EST


For a while now I've been mulling over points raised by Daniel in his much-discussed article, "Why Varian Wrynn Is Right," and we've received a number of requests to address the issue from the Horde's point of view. Well...this article isn't going to do that. It started off that way, and then I realized that Varian's personal issues and the Horde's approach to the problem are really two entirely separate matters. At some point in the future, I'd like to examine the Horde's take on the newly-resurgent antagonism between the factions, because it's not something I can adequately address here without turning this into a 10,000-word tract.

Today, we're going to deal almost exclusively with Varian and his share of responsibility for the current mess. I'm a little ambivalent over Blizzard's decision to include most of the backstory and explanations for Varian's behavior in a comic series, because I think it's one of the factors that's resulted the character's being poorly received by most players. Choosing to include so much of his characterization out of the game in a product most players will never read necessarily impacts how Varian's motives are going to be evaluated. If all you've got to go on is what you see of the king from ingame events...he doesn't look so great. This isn't a defense of Varian so much as a commentary on the somewhat inconsistent approach to his character that's resulted. I haven't read each of the comics, but I'm familiar with the storyline, and this article doesn't assume that you need to have read the out-of-game books or comics in order to follow the argument.

Continue reading Why Varian Wrynn is a fool (and why it may not matter)

Why Varian Wrynn is a fool (and why it may not matter) originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Moviewatch: Trev and Eroth Episode I Trailer - Wed, 27 May 2009 12:00:00 EST


Tipster "Snark" sent me a note about the Trev and Eroth Episode I Trailer by Fudgewartz. The full movie is due out very soon, so we'll know pretty quick whether this trailer will turn into the promised series, or just fizzle out.

I couldn't quite make out the premise of the story, but it clearly involves at least one or two gnomes. Therefore, I hope it turns out to be awesome. The voice acting sounded fun, but the dialogue was definitely a little muddled. The author said that some of pre-production work wasn't quite finished, so hopefully that's one of the things that improves before the final release.

The series is expected to have six main installments, with a few scattered "shorts" after its conclusion. Here's hoping it turns out well! I can't guess what's up with the Terminator head, though.

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: Trev and Eroth Episode I Trailer originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Encrypted Text: Rogue tips for raiding Ulduar, part 2 - Wed, 27 May 2009 11:00:00 EST
Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we continue our discussion of tips and tricks for Ulduar.

Last week, we covered the first few tiers of Ulduar bosses, and what Rogues can do to maximize their performance on these fights. I was happy to see some great tips in the comments as well, such as using Cloak of Shadows when you are afflicted by XT-002's Light Bomb. If you have any advice to add to the conversation, please use the comments to give us your thoughts.

This week, we'll be talking about the Keepers, the real meat and potatoes of Ulduar. These bosses drop our coveted Tier 8 (complete with its fantastic 4-piece bonus!) and other loot that you'll want to get your hands on. These fights are also more technically complex, and so you'll want to be prepared before attempting to down these bosses for the first time.

Continue reading Encrypted Text: Rogue tips for raiding Ulduar, part 2

Encrypted Text: Rogue tips for raiding Ulduar, part 2 originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 11:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Around Azeroth: Celebrate good times, come on - Wed, 27 May 2009 10:00:00 EST


Our submitter James isn't sure what caused this cross-faction druid party in the Dalaran fountain, but I suspect it might have something to do with yesterday's news about the new druid cat and bear forms. "There were mages for lighting and a priest casting mass dispel around the druid in the middle of the fountain," he writes. "It was a glorious sight, throwing old racial prejudice out the window and dancing!" Silly priest. Don't you know you can't Mass Dispel pure happiness?

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.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, gold seller ads, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.

Around Azeroth: Celebrate good times, come on originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW and Battle.net merge now available in Europe - Wed, 27 May 2009 09:30:00 EST


Here in Europe, we've been waiting patiently, watching as the Americans frolic with their shiny new Battle.net merged WoW accounts. Blizzard has just updated the news section of the European site with a welcome announcement. European players will now be able to finally merge their Battle.net and World of Warcraft accounts into one shiny new entity.

The process takes about a minute and, after a cool sound effect, you'll see Wrath of the Lich King appear in your games section. The only thing you need to remember is you will need to put in the email address associated with your Battle.net account in the WoW login screen rather than your user name. So, without further ado, go forth and merge!

WoW and Battle.net merge now available in Europe originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 09:30:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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From our readers: Guild Retention - Wed, 27 May 2009 09:00:00 EST
We get lots of email from our readers trying to find their way though WoW. I'd like to take a moment to answer a question about membership retention. This also builds on a previous response regarding the trials and tribulations of starting a guild.

Hi I been reading your posts and listening to the podcast and you recently made a new guild. I have a guild with around 140 members and we do some raiding weekly but every time I log off, it seems that people start arguing, and drama just starts building up. I went away for a couple days and when I come back from my vacation, Alot of people have left the guild. Maybe 10-15 people. Now they are stealing my members and have made a new guild. Do you have tips on member retaining and stuff like that, would be cool if you can do a post on that kind of stuff and how you work that out, thanks

Hello reader,

Thank you for the email. One of the hardest things I've noticed about a guild is dealing with a certain amount of churn. Acceptance is the first step. People leave for all kinds of reasons. There will be those that come and go. The stronger you make your core, the stronger you make your guild.

Continue reading From our readers: Guild Retention

From our readers: Guild Retention originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 09:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Breakfast Topic: Heirloom excitement - Wed, 27 May 2009 08:00:00 EST


Account-bound, or heirloom items have a curious place in the game. They're gear intended to get players through the leveling process as quickly as possible, so we don't have to worry about gearing up. They remind me of my mother-in-law, actually, who has the uncanny ability to preserve items from her children's childhood. I mean, it's eerie how almost all of my daughter's clothes today used to belong to my wife when she was a baby. Considering how she's the spitting image of her mother, you can imagine the amusement we get from perusing old albums.

In short, heirloom items rock. They rock so much, in fact, WoW.com user James Peripheral wrote in his blog about the very coolness of heirloom items. He mentions how, even at Level 5 (or Level 1 for that matter), a character can look absolutely dapper or "looking like he owns Eastern Plagulands". That seems to be a bonus of account-bound items -- they allow players to skip the clown phase of leveling. What's your take on heirloom gear? We know you all love them (if you don't, you probably have issues...), so tell us about your experience with them. Head on over to James' blog, too, to share your thoughts. Even better, why not write your heirloom experiences in your WoW.com account blog and tell others about them? We'd love to hear your hand-me-down stories.

Breakfast Topic: Heirloom excitement originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 08:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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European extended and weekly maintenance: 27th May 2009 - Wed, 27 May 2009 03:00:00 EST
Good morning Europe. May is almost over and summer seems to be officially here -- at least in the UK. This week we have something different. For most of us, it's the usual bout of maintenance but some lucky souls are getting extended downtime for a very special reason.

Basically the Big Giant Heads at Blizzard have decided to merge a couple of Battlegroups. What's so special about that, I hear you cry? Well, it's special because the groups concerned are all in different languages. Yes, this will be the first time French, German, Spanish and English will come together to make multilingual Battlegroups. Lovely EU Blue Wryxian has created a quick FAQ to explain what the heck is going on, though I confess to still being a little confused.

This means most of us will have normal maintenance between 5:00am and 7:00am CEST while folks in Nightfall, Crueldad, Nemesis and Hinterhalt (realm-wise, that's Aionsus, Anachronos, Bronze Dragonflight, Burning Steppes, Darkmoon Faire, Darkspear, Kor'gall and Lightbringer) will have extended maintenance between 3:00am and 11:00am CEST.

Anyway, my usual motto of 'keep calm and carry on' applies. In the meantime, Daniel Whitcomb has once again provided a feature packed post to keep you entertained. If you finish reading that with time to spare and just happen to be a druid, well you might just want to stare at those lovely updated forms some more. I know I will be.

European extended and weekly maintenance: 27th May 2009 originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 03:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Guildwatch: Ninjas are mammals - Wed, 27 May 2009 01:00:00 EST


Lots of great guild news in this week's column -- many guilds, like OpEx above, from Scilla, are making their way through Ulduar and dropping lots of bosses as they go by. And many more guilds are recruiting: way more, unfortunately, than we have space for in this column. Business is booming if you're a raiding guild, apparently, and we have a feeling that's exactly what Blizzard planned.

There's also drama in this week's GW, as there is every week, and don't worry: we included the rap battle. Don't miss that one. If you've got tips for us about drama, downed news, or recruiting (though we are still overflowing on recruiting -- at this point, you're probably better off just on your realm forums), send us an email at wowguildwatch@gmail.com. Click the link below to read on.

Continue reading Guildwatch: Ninjas are mammals

Guildwatch: Ninjas are mammals originally appeared on WoW.com on Wed, 27 May 2009 01:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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World of Warcraft Patch 3.1.3 Initial Patch Notes - Tue, 26 May 2009 21:50:00 EST
After the break you'll find the patch notes for Patch 3.1.3. This patch will not be appearing on the PTR, and will instead be making its way directly to the live realms. There is no date set for the live realms release at this time.

These notes are only the initial notes and subject to change. You have been warned.

Some highlights:

  • Druid Tier 8 Balance Set: The 4-piece bonus no longer has its effect consumed by Starfire casts in progress when it triggers. The chance for the effect to be triggered has been reduced down to 8%, as it was originally inflated to compensate.
  • Hunter's Mark: The ranged attack power bonus from this ability has been increased from 300 to 500.
  • Improved Barkskin: This talent now also grants 80/160% additional armor while in Travel Form or not shapeshifted.
  • Overkill: Talent redesigned. Now increases energy regeneration by 30% while stealthed, and for 20 seconds after breaking stealth.
A friendly reminder: the new Druid forms artwork will not be present in this patch. This is not a major content patch.

The full notes after the break!

Continue reading World of Warcraft Patch 3.1.3 Initial Patch Notes

World of Warcraft Patch 3.1.3 Initial Patch Notes originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 26 May 2009 21:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Daily Quest: Tuesday's a tad buggy - Tue, 26 May 2009 20:00:00 EST


We here at WoW.com are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.

The Daily Quest: Tuesday's a tad buggy originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 26 May 2009 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Queue: Sometimes you just want to be a superhero - Tue, 26 May 2009 19:00:00 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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Preambles are for suckers. Let's get this party started.

Anarax asked...


"Okay well, I have a bunch of friends and apparently they think City of Heroes is 10x better than WoW. How can I get them to change their minds over to WoW? The main reason I want them to play is because I plan to make a reroll Hardcore Raiding Guild, in June, and it's always good to have a small group of players to start with. The problem is though that one of them tried out WoW and is actually influencing the others, telling them that WoW is "too repetitive, too serious, and full of rage." He is the one telling the others to play CoH."

Continue reading The Queue: Sometimes you just want to be a superhero

The Queue: Sometimes you just want to be a superhero originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 26 May 2009 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW.com's RSS feed issues should be fixed now - Tue, 26 May 2009 18:15:00 EST
A lot of you have noticed some issues with our RSS feed this afternoon (and a little bit last night) and trust me, we know that you know. Our inbox has been absolutely flooded! So to try and help the confusion (and slow the flood of e-mails), here's what happened: Our network (us, Joystiq, Massively, Engadget, etc) was hit with a few database problems over the last 24 hours.

It's nothing to worry about, everything is fixed now and should be just fine. In the process of making things fine, our RSS feed was pinged with all sorts of 'new' information, causing the duplicates that a lot of you saw. Seven postings of the latest Around Azeroth? WTF? Yeah, sorry about that. We definitely keep an eye on our own RSS feed to make sure everything is going smoothly, so if it isn't, we'll know about it pretty quickly.

Again, we're sorry about the spam to you guys using our RSS feed. To those of you that aren't using our RSS feed... why aren't you using it!? Google Reader is probably one of the most convenient things ever. You can find out about our various feed offerings over here.

WoW.com's RSS feed issues should be fixed now originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 26 May 2009 18:15:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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15 Minutes of Fame: Ferarro revs up - Tue, 26 May 2009 18:00:00 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.

"'Paladin, Schmaladin' ... No way a blog with a dumb name like that could be a decent web resour -- Oh, wait, what was that about MP5? Let me just crunch -- oh never mind, she's already ... Ahh, hang on, lemme just finish this how-to; seems pretty spot-on to me ... But first, I need to click on this blonde over here, because this cannot possibly be a real photo of the person who wrote all this stuff ..."

Before you get your Purifier's Pantaloons in a twist, we checked out frequent WoW.com reader/commenter Ferarro and her blog, Paladin Schmaladin -- and we'd say they both pass the sniff test quite swimmingly. You want the Real Thing? You've got it. Besides her own blog, Ferarro writes at RetPaladin.com and is a full-time WoW game tester. That's right: the lady raids for a living. More to the point, Ferarro serves up the inside line on playing a better Paladin with a quick wit, impeccable theorycrafting and a willingness to lend a good-humored, personal touch to the whole endeavor. We've got the inside scoop on the lady with the inside scoop, after the break.

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Ferarro revs up

15 Minutes of Fame: Ferarro revs up originally appeared on WoW.com on Tue, 26 May 2009 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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