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World of WarCrafts: Flash Wand - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 19:00:00 EST
Every Wednesday Maureen Carter brings you World of WarCrafts, which features a recipe or craft that teaches you how to make your own real life version of in-game recipes and items.

Let me begin by warning you that this week's WarCraft is a bit tacky, corny and even a little silly. So, if you have issues with any of those things coming into play here then STOP READING NOW! If you don't have problems with it and could use a WoW related giggle in your day please, join me as I create today's IRL item the Flash Wand.

I feel I must say that none of my characters have this wand so I hoping very much that the screen shot I am basing my whole project off of is correct. If not then, oh well, its still fun.

Continue reading World of WarCrafts: Flash Wand

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Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40 - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:30:00 EST


Welcome to another edition of Encrypted Text! This week I'm continuing the class leveling guide started by Elizabeth, covering levels 21 to 40. I've only leveled characters on a PvP server, so I know when I hit 20 or so it's time to abandon the safe land of Care Bears for the contested areas where the opposing faction is just waiting to kill you. Luckily, you're a Rogue and thus have an advantage: since you generally keep a low profile, killing quickly and stealthing from target to target, you are hard to spot unless someone much higher level gets right on top of you.

When leveling, especially on a PvP server, use this to your advantage. Unless there's a good reason (like traveling long distances or killing a mob), you should stay in stealth. Even if you're spotted, you still stand a decent chance of getting away -- try throwing something in their face to Blind them, then Sprint away until you can restealth. Well, let's get started. I'm going to assume you've read about levels 1-20, have a good idea of how your Energy and Combo Point mechanics work, and have at least a few points in the Combat tree. If so, read on -- if not, go back and read about your first 20 levels!

Continue reading Encrypted Text: Levels 21-40

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Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn: The first step - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST


I really like today's new page. Kat accidentally discovers that she has a natural ability for something that takes most people years of training. Of course, right now she's too busy getting away from Naga to give it much thought, but you can be sure she'll get around to it.

Will she get away? You'll have to read today's page to find out. Click the image above to view today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.

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A "meta" class for WoW - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:30:00 EST
Draele over at Rantings of the Afflicted asks if WoW could ever have what he calls a "meta" class. He lists the examples of Mesmer in Guild Wars or a Psionicist in Vanguard, and I'll add to that the Sorcerer class in Dark Age of Camelot-- classes that depend on manipulation and mind control rather than direct damage or healing.

I'd say that it's possible, but extremely unlikely. Why? Because WoW is based on an RTS game, and in RTS, there's not a lot of complicated manipulation going on-- either you're attacking or defending, or some mix of the two. There hasn't really been any precedent (that I can think of or stretch to) in the Warcraft universe for a Bard or "Mesmer" class, and that's why it's pretty unlikely that Blizzard will try to break out past the trinity of usual MMO archetypes. Not to mention that, as Draele says, a meta class is a complex thing to create and play, and WoW tends to be more casual than complex.

Of course, never say never. There's a lot in this universe that hasn't even been hinted at in the game yet, and as was mentioned in last week's podcast, Death Knights will likely only be the beginning of hero classes, so who knows what Blizzard could come up with.

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Upper Deck interviews TCG artists Zoltan and Gabor - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST


Upper Deck continues their series on the art of the game by talking to two artists who've done some terrific work for the TCG, Zoltan Boros and Gabor Szikszai. The two partners talk about how they make some of the art of the card game (with a Wacom Cintiq-- drool), and specifically how they made a couple of multi-card pieces. For the most recent raid deck, they had to make a mural of Magtheridon and his channelers that went across five cards, and that the challenge wasn't just creating an interesting piece of art overall, but also making each card interesting enough to stand on its own.

Very cool interview, and definitely neat to see what these two guys are like, working on the forefront of digital painting.

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Mechanical mechanics: The models, makes, and manufacturing of mechanized merchants and robotic repairmen - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 16:30:00 EST
Or

"Where's the coin box on this thing?"

Welcome to the latest in a series of lectures by Hoof & Horn Research & Development. These lectures explain, or attempt to explain, some of the ins and outs of Engineering. For advanced technicians and amateur tinkers alike, the finer points of Engineering can never be too often reviewed. Engineers will tell you: your life may just depend on it!

It happens to the best of us, in the best of situations: our armor breaks. Our ammo runs dry. Our reagent sack starts to feel a little light, and we're too far in a dungeon to make a run for rum, much less take a shopping break. Some dungeons have repair facilities, sure, but not everyone's made a good enough name with the Violet Eye, or Cenarion Expedition, or even the Broken of Terrokar, to be sure of a quick repair near a dungeon's entrance. Not to mention the times when the need for repair comes deep into a dungeon, far from the friendly smith at the entrance.

As with so many of life's problems, Engineering offers the solution as well as numerous contributory factors to the problem. Engineer 1st Class Flimsy is known to have told his students often that breaking things is the hallmark of an inquisitive Engineer. Some of his students are thought to have taken this a bit far. EFC Flimsy's whereabouts remain unknown. But among the things they, and we, have at our disposal to make up for the shortcomings of fragile armor and finite ammunition are the Field Repair Bots. Herein we will discuss the manufacture of the two models of repair bot, as well as what supplies can be obtained from them and what methods have been used to coerce money inserted into one back out.

Continue reading Mechanical mechanics: The models, makes, and manufacturing of mechanized merchants and robotic repairmen

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Due for more Polymorph options - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 16:00:00 EST
Here's a good idea from the forums: more sheep choices! Polymorph was one of the most beloved spells in the Warcraft RTS games, and so players were thrilled to see it come to World of Warcraft, and even more thrilled when two other variations on the spell were learned: instead of sheeping, players can either polymorph pig or turtle with two learned spells from quests or drops in the game.

But since the introduction of Zul'Gurub, we haven't seen any other options for mages in game. And there are plenty to choose from by now-- Polymorph: Ravager, Polymorph: Clefthoof, or Polymorph: Elekk would all work great. Polymorph: Willy would even be lots of fun. Oh, and yes, as players in the thread say, since we're headed to Northrend, Polymorph: Penguin would not be out of order in the next expansion.

Blizzard has done a pretty good job of taking mounts, both flying and ground-based, towards a little horizontal progress-- giving more options on one level instead of setting up a few options over multiple levels. But hopefully Polymorph will get a little love, too-- even though mages are the only ones who benefit directly, my guild has always had fun making sure our mages have all the Polymorph options possible.

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Season 2 Arena to sell for honor in Season 4 - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 14:15:00 EST
This wasn't exactly unexpected (Blizzard has, after all, already put Season 1 gear up for purchase), but Drysc has confirmed that Season 2 Arena gear-- that's the Merciless Gladiator gear-- will be available for purchase with regular honor as of Season 4.

As usual, Drysc provides a disclaimer that Blizzard may change those plans. And of course we have no idea yet when Season 4 will drop, although the usual Arena Season timing tells us that it will likely be sometime in March of this year (possibly with the release of patch 2.4, although as usual, we have no idea if the patch will come sooner or later).

But if you spent all your honor on Season 1 gear when Season 3 started, time to start saving again. Merciless Gladiator is going on sale.

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Free character migration on EU realms - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 13:45:00 EST


Some free character transfers going down today for you EU players:

From: Crushridge, Grim Batol, Outland, and Stormscale
To: Burning Steppes, Jadenar, and Vek'nilash

More info on transferring your character, if you need it, is over on Blizzard's FAQ.

Color me a little jealous-- despite all the alts I have on all those different servers, not one has ever been offered a free transfer. Then again, I've never really had a reason to switch servers, so I guess it all evens out. But if you've been having queue trouble on any of the realms above and nothing to tie you down, congrats-- today's your lucky day.

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WoW Moviewatch: Chronicle of the Annoying Quest, Episode 20 - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 12:00:00 EST

Bakasavant Productions has finished another episode of Chronicle of the Annoying Quest! The good guys are getting further in their quest, but experience some setbacks, including a cavity search. The bad guys are also hindered by their female companion's vanity. In the end, a meeting takes place between the elders and the recruits, where they are tasked with stopping Juran.

This series is far from flashy, but I find it enjoyable. While they may not use many special effects, and the voice acting could definitely use work, they consistently produce solid episodes. Look out for a cameo by Drewbie, of The Grind series, at 4:25! If you liked Episode 20, check out the high quality version.

[Via Warcraftmovies.com]

Previously on Moviewatch...

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Around Azeroth: Spectral howl - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 10:00:00 EST


Reader Pelouze of Durotan likes to explore the far reaches of Nagrand. Often found on his Spectral Tiger, he couldn't help but take this snapshot of his trusty mount howling at one of the many moons to be found in the kaleidescope skies of the Outland.

Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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!

Gallery: Around Azeroth

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Blood Pact: A Warlock's descent into Destruction - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 09:00:00 EST
Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.

I have been an Affliction lock for much of my 70 career (45 days to be exact). I enjoyed wiping out fauna in Nagrand or Shadowmoon Valley by taking on multiple mobs with hardly any downtime. Between the Frozen Shadoweave set bonus, Essence Infused Mushroom, Siphon Life, Drain Life and the occasional skillcoil, my life hardly drops below the half-way point.

In raids, it was fun watching an amplified Curse of Doom pop for close to 9k damage and trying to keep a full set of DoTs on the boss between Ruin-powered shadow bolt carnage. I liked the instant fire-and-forget DoTs in PvP and Arenas, and Curse of Exhaustion and instant Howls of Terror gave me a chance against rogues and warriors. You could say that I'm a happy Warlock.

Until I got bored.

Continue reading Blood Pact: A Warlock's descent into Destruction

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Breakfast Topic: Changes mid-flight - Wed, 30 Jan 2008 08:00:00 EST


I'm sure you've all been there. You volunteer to actually fly to a summoning stone for your group, and suddenly you realize you're out of arrows, or your fourth and fifth drop out. If I had a nickel for every time I desperately wanted to hop off my ten minute flight down a continent, I'd have at least a dollar.

Doclrea recently made a suggestion that would be helpful to commuters everywhere. What if, at certain points during a flightpath, an option would be given to veer off and land at one of several nearby destinations? Heck, I'd probably take advantage of such a system even if I had to pay a little more.

What do you think? Would you like the option to land at an alternative, on-the-way flight path, or do you prefer things the way they are? Can you think of any other flight-related changes you'd like to see?

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Guildwatch: Down for the count - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 22:40:00 EST


Tons of guild activity going on-- I don't know what it is, but you guilds are downing tons of bosses out there lately. I've never seen the tipbox filled so full, and this column takes longer and longer to put together every week. I think it's great-- Blizzard made this bosses to be killed, right? Even bubble butt here.

This week's GW, complete with not only downed news, but also drama and recruiting notices, starts right after you click the link below.

Continue reading Guildwatch: Down for the count

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The Light and How to Swing It: The paladin's guide to engineering - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 22:30:00 EST

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article suggesting that blacksmithing may be the best profession choice for paladins. However, a metric load of engineers wrote in to inform me that a) I am dumb and b) engineering offers some great options for paladins. I disagree with option a on principle, but after doing some research, I've come to agree more and more with b.

Engineering is indeed a viable (if still largely unprofitable) profession. While I might have soured on engineering after a torturous pre-BC time on my warlock, the new, revamped engineering has some wonderful tricks, toys, and ways to fill in the gaps in the paladin playstyle.

The basics

Dynamite and Bombs: They come in many forms, from these ultra-cheap versions to sophisticated gadgets. But no matter what type you make, they fulfill two important functions: they're wonderful ways to level engineering, and they provide a ranged attack/pull for a class that is otherwise lacking one. (Unless you grab Avenger's Shield or Holy Shock, but those are only available at later levels.)

Continue reading The Light and How to Swing It: The paladin's guide to engineering

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About the Bloggers: Eliah Hecht - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 20:50:00 EST
About the Bloggers is a new series on WoW Insider. Twice a week, our writers will tell you more about themselves, and let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better.

Hello dear readers! I'm Eliah Hecht, and I've been blogging here at WoW Insider (and more recently at Massively as well) for a little over a year now. I've been keeping pretty busy in grad school recently, so I haven't been able to post as much.

What do you do for WoW Insider? I'm a standard-issue blogger, and I also contribute to the Priest column "Spiritual Guidance." I used to write Build Shop as well, but had to give that up due to time constraints.

What's your main right now? Fleur, level 70 human holy priest, Shadow Council-A.

For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance? Alliance, definitely, though I'm not zealous about it. Not much of a PvPer really.

Favorite thing to do in Azeroth? I enjoy all facets of PvE. Leveling, 5-mans, raiding, even grinding -- a good way to relax, if you ask me.

What's the best instance in the game? I'm actually quite fond of Karazhan. Before that, I would have said Molten Core. In terms of 5-mans, I'd say Mechanar in BC and Deadmines in the classic game.

What's the number one thing Blizzard could do better? Ooh, that's a tough one. I have a few issues. But if I just had to pick one, I'd say spend less effort on the top-end raiding stuff and produce more early endgame content: entry-level raiding, advanced crafting, questing, that sort of thing. Along the lines of the old Tier 0.5, but with less suck.

Favorite mount? I'm a bit old-school; I like my Swift Brown Steed, although you also can't beat the convenience and speed of an epic flier.

Favorite piece of loot? I like my Rogue's weapon set, Reflex Blades/Stormreaver Warblades

When I'm not playing WoW, I'm...studying, or watching TV, although not so much of that with the WGA strike still going on.

If you had 10 more hours to play every week, what would you spend them doing? Raiding or dungeons. I love to heal.

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15 Minutes of Fame: Confessions of a teenage warlock - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 18:00:00 EST


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Know an interesting player you'd like to see profiled? E-mail us your tips.


The subject of this week's 15 Minutes of Fame is not a rare drop - he doesn't have a novelty schtick or an unusual lifestyle, nor is he a WoW culture mini-celeb. Seldorm, a level 70 warlock on Exodar, is that guy you PuGged with yesterday: the guy with solid if not stellar PvP gear who handled himself well and lent a witty, gracious and friendly note to the group. Based on the way he presented himself, you assumed he was 20something - but you'd have been wrong.

Here's what a guildmate had to say about this 15-year-old Canadian: "On the young and incredibly funny and mature front is Seldorm. He's in grade 10, although he became my guildie in grade 9 (and one of the only upper level officers, actually). People who don't ask are completely floored when they eventually find out his age. I've never seen him display an even remotely immature bone in his body, even when goaded or insulted. He's trustworthy, hilarious, loyal and very generous."

Meet Seldorm and get a glimpse inside the views of a player from "that" age group, after the break.

Continue reading 15 Minutes of Fame: Confessions of a teenage warlock

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"Make them bleed blue" - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 17:00:00 EST
Screwface on the forums has an interesting idea about a PvP tweak, even though his implementation isn't quite right. He says that since healers are so overpowered in PvP (well that's his first problem), abilities like Rend and Garrote should not only bleed blood, but also bleed mana off of casters. Of course, simply making all bleed abilities also take off mana would make them overpowered on their own, so his plan of making a sweeping change like that doesn't quite compute.

But the idea of more abilities that directly affect mana is an interesting one. Right now, there are only four "mana drain" spells in the game (warlocks can steal mana for themselves, priests can turn mana into damage, and hunters can sting mana off of a target). But as much as mana pools and regen have grown in the last patch, it's true that there hasn't been a balance in the opposite direction. No, warriors don't need another buff, but what if shaman were given a mana drain totem somewhere in the next ten levels? Or Boomkins got a spell that negated mana over time?

It's nothing to play around with lightly. But Blizzard does have to come up with ten more levels of abilities and talents for the next expansion, and messing with mana is something they haven't done much of lately. In Northrend we might not only be worried about health and DPS, but mana draining and mana attacks might become another piece of the class balance puzzle.

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Addressing time issues with Warsong Gulch - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 16:17:00 EST


As our own Zach Yonzon has pointed out, Warsong Gulch, the capture-the-flag battleground, is broken. Despite Warsong being his favorite battleground, there are several issues confronting PvP'ers.

Here's the short version:
  • WSG has the lowest honor gain per time played of the four battlegrounds, even on its holiday weekend.
  • Warsong is the least effective battleground from which to farm honor.
  • Warsong reputation is not necessary to acquire PvP gear. In addition, reputation gains with the faction are low.
  • Games often last a very long time.
Fortunately, Drysc commented this morning on a forum thread started by Moobert, designed to call attention to the issue and draw out a response. While Drysc confirms that the developers are aware of the problems with Warsong Gulch, and that in fact, several possible solutions are already being tested internally. Unfortunately, he cautions that these changes are not likely to be seen any time soon.

How do you feel about Warsong right now? Do you love it or hate it and why?

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Build Shop: Hunter 0/45/16 - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 16:00:00 EST


This week on Build Shop I'm checking out a possible Marksman PvP build for the hunters out there. Hunters have been underrepresented in the Arena until recently, but they've been a staple in battlegrounds for a long while, so it's nice to see them finally gaining a foothold. Today's build focuses on increasing stamina, survivability, ranged damage, and picking up a few nifty utility skills. This is definitely more of a PvP build, and as such you'll want gear that maximizes your ranged attack power, resilience, and stamina to support it. Once you're geared up though, this build should serve you quite well.

One thing this build doesn't include that I'm curious to hear your thoughts on is Improved Arcane Shot. It seems like with the new dispelling power of this shot, you'd want to take this talent but I can't find 5 points to spare for it from anywhere. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen too many builds that have it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Is it worth it, or is it more situational? Better in some brackets but not in others? These are some of the questions I'm hoping you can help me answer (because honestly, I don't PvP on my Hunter... I PvP with my Warlock). Read on for my dissection of the 0/45/16 build!

Continue reading Build Shop: Hunter 0/45/16

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