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WoW Player Stories updated: Military stories - Fri, 30 May 2008 19:00:00 EST

The official World of Warcraft Community site has updated its Player Stories section with two new stories from military personnel. Both are short and easy reads, so I'm not going to spoil them here for you. They're kind of heartwarming, and help put WoW in a little bit different light. The stories definitely show another side of why some players play the game.

It's pretty easy for some folks to forget that there are people on the other side of the computer. Real live human beings, who have friends and family. And, for some players, the whole reason they're sitting down at the computer in the first place is to get access to those friends and family. And, remember, even Activision CEO Bobby Kotick says one of the great things about World of Warcraft is its social experience.

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[1.Local]: Readers talk back - Fri, 30 May 2008 18:30:00 EST
[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.

Readers put their heads together on all sorts of topics this week: the basics of tanking, the lore (or lack thereof) behind Deathknights from every race as well as Deathknight profession leveling, and a long thread on add-ons readers crave.

Readers also talked about the recent world-first raiding accomplishments - who cares, and who doesn't? Readers on both sides of the coin came together in a round of applause for SK's Kil'jaeden kill video. Readers got into a scramble again over the age-old issue of age, before finally uniting to reminisce about unconventional dungeon runs.

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

Continue reading [1.Local]: Readers talk back

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Phat Loot Phriday: Rod of the Sun King - Fri, 30 May 2008 18:00:00 EST


It seems to me that this proc is pretty singular -- after a little bit of searching, I can't find any other weapons that have anything like it. If you can, let us know in the comments below.

Name: Rod of the Sun King (Wowhead, Thottbot, WowDB)
Type: Epic One-hand Mace
Damage/Speed: 189-352 / 2.70 (100.2 DPS)
Abilities:
  • Increases attack power by 52.
  • Chance on hit: gain 10 energy or 5 rage. This is the proc (short for procedure, from the programming world, though it's come to mean a number of other things) that really makes this mace stand out as a choice pic for Rogues or DPS Warriors -- the proc rate seems to be around 3 procs per minute, which is a substantial amount of energy and rage coming back to the user.
  • Unfortunately, it also seems there's a short cooldown on the proc, which means you can't have a bunch of procs in a row, and get a bunch of free energy or rage back to back. Still, this weapon provides a pretty steady source of extra Warrior/Rogue fuel, and it's exceptional for that reason.
How to Get It: Drops from Kael'thas -- the Tempest Keep version, not the Magisters' Terrace one. The drop rate is somewhere between 15 and 20%, but the proc on this weapon makes it pretty specific -- only Warriors or Rogues would ever be able to use it to its fullest, and even then, it's definitely not a tanking weapon. Rogues may be tempted to switch to a Mace spec just to use this, but Warriors would only need it for a DPS set.

Druids, unfortunately for them, have no use for this weapon, even the bear kinds. Since the proc requires a "chance on hit," and bear Droods don't actually hit anything with their weapon (just their paws), it'll never proc for them. Blizzard might have been a little more giving on that one, but as it is, this weapon doesn't help bears at all.

Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 14g 59s 25c, disenchants into a Void Crystal. There will be other, better weapons you find on your way up the raiding ladder (and while the DPS on this is nice, the high-end Arena gear beats it), but the proc on this weapon is almost enough to keep it anyway.

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Addon Spotlight: Grimoire Keeper - Fri, 30 May 2008 17:00:00 EST

Warlocks, it's time for you to get some love. In this week's Addon Spotlight we're going to take a look at lock-centric addon. One of the first things I noticed when I started playing my warlock was that I had a hard time remembering which abilities my demons had trained on. I thought it was interesting that Blizzard opted to make demon training a unique system, as opposed to skill training at your class trainer or even pet training for Hunters. Cool! I can teach my blueberry about sacrificing itself via a grimoire, the ultimate in fel magic publications.

Then came the caveat; I bought this damned pamphlet on Seduction, used it, and now the merchant didn't save my purchase records like any other bookseller! I didn't expect him to suggest other grimoires I might enjoy based on my interest, but come on! I am aware that I can burn through some shards to summon each of my demons to check at the trainer, but what a waste! There had to be an easier way.

Then I discovered Grimoire Keeper, an addon that aids budding demon-wranglers in remembering which abilities, and ranks thereof, their demons already have. Keep reading to discover it for yourself.

Continue reading Addon Spotlight: Grimoire Keeper

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Prot-Gear for Holy Paladins: will it help? - Fri, 30 May 2008 16:00:00 EST

Reader Ron dropped us a line about a basic gear quandary. A Holy paladin who cruised most of his instances with Bear tanks, Ron has amassed a small collection of paladin tanking gear. And he's kept it around, since experience has taught him to never throw away class-appropriate gear.

His current Holy kit doesn't pack the spell crit to unleash the full-fledged DPS frenzy of his Shockadin. His question? Ron would like to know if swapping out some of his Holy gear for a bit of Defense and Avoidance might make his dailies a little easier.

The easy answer here is...

Continue reading Prot-Gear for Holy Paladins: will it help?

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Gearing for Kara, Prot Warriors part 1 - Fri, 30 May 2008 15:00:00 EST
The Care and Feeding of Warriors embarks on a massive multi-part exploration of how to gear your new level 70 to tank and DPS in the 10 man raids. Matthew Rossi begs your forbearance, as this sucker is going to be insanely long when it is all said and done.

Karazhan is fast becoming the new UBRS. The ten man cap on the raid and the fact that the gear from Kara was necessary to begin thinking about 25 man raids (now, the badges from Kara are - Karazhan is the rough equivalent of five heroic dailies in a two to three hour run once you've gotten the place on farm status) makes it the gateway through which both serious endgame raiders had to progress and a dandy place for smaller guilds to clean out, and were it not for the raid timer I'm sure we'd see guilds running Kara repeatedly in a week, and the only thing that stops daily Kara PuG's is that same timer. Now you've reached level 70, and you want to tank or DPS in Karazhan.

Well, first things first: I'm going to have to disappoint you a little. If you're a DPS warrior, there's not a lot of DPS plate in Karazhan. There are some nice weapons, yes, and you're going to want the badges to buy gear with, but you're not going to find much in terms of plate in here for your DPS needs aside from some boots and the Tier 4 DPS options, which in many cases you will replace as soon as you have the badges or the Gruul/Mag runs to do so. Still, the weapons are nice. For a tank, Karazhan has more goodies in store. But first, you have to get into the instance.

The minimum tanking requirements for Karazhan (literally, for stepping in the door and tanking Attumen) are 490 defense, 12k health and armor. It would be nice to have at least 400 shield block value and you should be uncrushable with shield block up. This is achievable with drops from the 70 five man instances, heroics, and reputation rewards. I'm not going to list a lot of badge gear here because, frankly, if you have 100 badges to spend on a breastplate you probably are already tanking in Karazhan. Likewise, while I will list the tanking drops in Karazhan, I won't do that until after I've listed the options outside it first. Those drops will be considered as upgrades you'll probably need before tanking Prince Malchezaar.

Before we get started, here's a list of rings, trinkets and necklaces that will still be of use to you.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Gearing for Kara, Prot Warriors part 1

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WWI tickets sold out (again) - Fri, 30 May 2008 14:00:00 EST

They'd first sold out back in March. Then, like sweet, sweet relief, Blizzard announced that more tickets were available yesterday. Now, less than 24 hours after the additional tickets were made available, the Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational is sold out again. Of course, the news blurb on the official site encourages you to keep checking back, so it's possible they'll announce more ticket availability yet again. There had been some payment problems, so maybe this round of new tickets were a concession to that issue.

For those just tuning in, the WWI looks like it's going to be quite the hopping place. There's an Arena tournament scheduled, and L70ETC is going to be rocking out. You'll probably be able to spot a mailbox performance by a few Night Elves in their dance tournament. Don't forget to hit the fan art contest and machinima contest.

Keep an eye on WoW Insider -- we'll let you know if tickets somehow become available again.

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WoW, Casually: Finding forum help - Fri, 30 May 2008 13:00:00 EST

Each week or so, Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has 2 hours or less to play at a time.

This week, I answer some Reader Mail from Arjun.

Hi Robin,

The writing style of [WoW Insider] is always upbeat/positive, which is great. I thought I'd ask you your opinion of the official WoW forums, especially the realm forums. What do you think of them? Should casual or newer players try to avoid them at all costs? I've been playing casually for about a year, and have two 70s (Ally Mage and BE Tankadin). I posted to the forums that I'm looking for a new guild, casual in focus. It's amazing what happens, but not in a good way. [Here is the forum link.] What would you recommend to your readers about the official WoW forums?

Thanks,

Arjun

My answer is after the jump.

Continue reading WoW, Casually: Finding forum help

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WoW Moviewatch: Associate Professor Evil Kills All Ninja Looters - Fri, 30 May 2008 12:00:00 EST

Oxhorn is back with another quality movie, Associate Professor Evil Kills All Ninja Looters. This machinima comes in at a whopping 18 minutes, with four of that spent on an amusing skit during the credits. The story centers around APE and his tenure meeting. When the unexpected happens, he sets off on a mission to regain his power.

In addition to the skit, there is a song and dance number, "Tank Tank Heal Tank," but no complete script release for the movie yet. For music, videos, and lyrics to the machinima, be sure to check out his blog.

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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Paladin lays the solo smackdown on Onyxia - Fri, 30 May 2008 11:30:00 EST

The Druid who Soloed Onyxia seems to have become the Shot Heard Around the World. It was just Monday that WoW Insider brought you the video of Serennia of VANQUISH (Cho'gall, US) downing Onyxia. Today, as if challenged, tipsters sent in the video of a Paladin named Par (Khadgar, US), slaying the dragon by his lonesome. A few posts on the Official Forums have discussed the feat. It will be interesting to see if other classes step-up to claim solo Onyxia-credit in the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

Edit: There's some question about the original Onyxia Druid soloing - it wasn't Serennia the character, but Serennia the player (who is the Warrior of the same name). According to several commenters, it was Serennia playing on a druid's account. Also, the original Warcraft movie blurb is signed by Serennia of VANQUISH.

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New Players' Guide: Your life as a Hunter. - Fri, 30 May 2008 11:00:00 EST



The WoW Insider New Player's Guide is a series of features designed to help those brand new to World of WarCraft get up to speed as fast as possible. It's our way of giving back to the community, without the paparazzi mob that usually follows celebrities when they try this.

As a Hunter, your primary role will be to provide ranged damage-per-second and crowd control with your traps. Actually, I lied, your primary role will be spent convincing everyone you group with you're not one of those brainless morons that seem to end up playing Hunters.

You see, Hunters, hands down, are the easiest class to level in the game. At level 10 you get your first pet. This pet will tank for you while you stand back and hail arrows at your target. This means that your overall deaths and repair bills will be lower than other classes, while at the same time your kills will be faster since your pet adds to your damage output.

Combat with your Hunter is fairly straightforward: send in your pet, wait a few seconds for it to build sufficient aggro and then start plinking away. It's worth installing an add-on like Omen so you can tell when you're in danger of out-aggroing your pet. You will need to do some damage yourself to get xp or be able to loot the corpse, so even if you're just out farming easy mobs, make sure you hit it once or twice with your bow.

Continue reading New Players' Guide: Your life as a Hunter.

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Around Azeroth: Squicktastic - Fri, 30 May 2008 10:00:00 EST

With all the crowded, multi-character pictures being featured at Around Azeroth these days (hey, we've just about covered every dang piece of landscape in this game), I figured it would be nice to step back and just look at something environmental. Sophiera of Thaurissan found this floating ring of ... stuff .. surrounding a mushroom in Zangarmarsh. Let's play a guessing game! Is this:

  1. A mushroom producing some kind of liquid spores in an attempt to procreate
  2. A mushroom that has developed enough of a center of gravity to cause a river to flow around it
  3. A mushroom that has just been attacked by some of the more benign supernatural beings in Ghostbusters
  4. A mushroom that is leaking KY Jelly for a horrible, unimaginable reason, possibly related to that female draenei vibrating gnome joke

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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And unfortunately, if you send us WotLK Alpha screenshots we'll be unable to use them here for the time being. They do make nice desktop backgrounds, though.

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Blood Pact: The Warlock's way ahead, part 2 - Fri, 30 May 2008 09:00:00 EST

In my last article, we looked at the Warlock in alpha: Atrocity, Metamorphosis (yay, demon form!), Decimate, and new synergies between our spells. All three top tier talents seem to have more utility in PvP and the Arenas, with Atrocity possibly having some amazing utility in some PvE situations. The synergy between DoTs and nukes is something to watch, particularly Eradication and Everlasting Affliction. New additions to the Destruction tree that seem to encourage cross-school casting turn out to be just minor improvements to the tree's PvP viability in their current form.

We turn our attention now to the other talents, and Blizzard definitely plans to make Spirit matter to warlocks.

Continue reading Blood Pact: The Warlock's way ahead, part 2

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Breakfast Topic: Should Death Knights get unique racial abilities? - Fri, 30 May 2008 08:00:00 EST

So with WoTLK fast approaching, there's still plenty of discussion and debate about that whole Death Knights being all races thing. We've already covered the lore aspect, but another thing lot of people have been discussion is how Racial abilities will work with Death Knights. Some people are concerned that abilities like Gift of the Naaru aren't something a Death Knight steeped in shadow should be able to use. Now me, I think that if the Naaru can forgive the Blood Elves for M'uru, they can forgive Draenei Death Knights and give them back Gift of the Naaru.

Still, commenter Clayton sent an intriguing thought into WoW Insider's secret headquarters the other day: Who says Death Knights have to use racials? When you consider what a Death Knight is, there's at least some measure of sense to it. Death Knights have undergone a radical change. They're suffused with dark energies, they have forsaken what they knew of love and life and light, they have forsaken whatever skills they knew in the past, all to take up the Runeblade. It is true that not all Death Knights become actual undead, but the total control the Lich King exerts over them leeches away much of their former identity. Because of this, it seems possible that Death Knights could have lost their connection with their racial identities, and through that, their racial abilities.

This could also be a quick and easy way to ensure a bit of balance between the various races. There's a whole lot of considerations to made with racials and Death Knight abilities. Will Arcane Torrent combined with anti-magic tanking abilities just make Blood Elf Death Knights too powerful against casters in PvP? Giving Death Knights their own unique set of "racials" based around their class would be an easy way to sidestep this, and probably justifiable since Death Knights are their own seperate "hero" class category. Then again, it might put them under undue pressure to make special racials for all other hero classes as well, so they might want to stay more flexible.

Which side of the issue do you fall on? Should they keep it simple and just keep the racials like they always have? Or do the Death Knights need a whole new set of racial abilities, and if so, what?

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Beckett names Rob Pardo most influential person in MMOs - Thu, 29 May 2008 20:00:00 EST

Beckett's July-August issues of Massive Online Gamer magazine (which went on sale yesterday) names what they think are the 20 most influential names in the MMORPG business today, and as you might expect, a World of Warcraft figure topped the list, namely Rob Pardo, Senior VP of Game Design for Blizzard Entertainment.

Interestingly enough, Rob Pardo is the only current Blizzard figure that appears on the list. It seems to me, at the least, that Tom Chilton (If only for the Esports thing) or Jeff Kaplan should have been considered for the list as well, and I'm sure most of my fellow old school gamers are noticing the glaring absence of Lum The Mad, the grandfather of all MMO critics.

Still, most of us can agree, I'm sure, that Pardo deserves the top spot. It's hard to argue with the success of Blizzard's games, especially WoW, and it doesn't look like it's going to flag anytime soon with WoTLK on the way. You can check out the complete list here, and see how much you agree with it.

[Via Massively]

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Activision's Bobby Kotick speaks at All Things Digital - Thu, 29 May 2008 19:00:00 EST

Bobby Kotick, CEO of Activision, took the stage at the All Things Digital conference, and spoke a little more about the Activision Blizzard deal.

Kotick fesses up that a lot of the merger was about Blizzard's people. While a pessimist might read this as "we can't compete with them, so join 'em," what I see is a deep level of respect for Blizzard and its creation. Kotick said, "the merger is really our mechanism to get access to Blizzard's talent, capability and infrastructure." This isn't really a surprise, and reinforces what Kotick's had to say about being considerate of Blizzard's culture.

As has been said before, Kotick doesn't seem like a bad guy. What he's doing is acknowledging the good work Blizzard's done in the past. He straight out says that, "I've never seen anything quite like World of Warcraft, not just as a gaming experience, but as a social experience, as a business."

That's not the kind of sentiment issued by someone who doesn't like what they just bought (Ed: But would someone who just spent $18.8 billion on anything not like it?). While Kotick doesn't say directly much about the future of Blizzard, things are still looking good for our favorite Blue team.

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Frost Mages and Frost Death Knights - Thu, 29 May 2008 18:30:00 EST
Over on the forums, Scorp brings up a Death Knight concern that I haven't heard before: as we all have known since last BlizzCon, the Death Knight's three talent trees are "Blood," "Unholy," and "Frost," and the one that Scorp has a problem with is the last one. Should Blizzard change the "Frost" tree on the Death Knight class so people don't confuse it with Mages?

If you're asking me: no. "Restoration," "Holy," and "Protection" are all reused in a few different talent trees, and for both of those, while the talents are different, the intent is the same. "Frost," for both Mages and Death Knights, will have the same aim as well, as far as we've been told so far -- both classes will aim for DPS in those trees, with extra consideration given to crowd control and slow debuffs. In fact, depending on exactly how the Death Knight's talents work, the "Frost" title might help newer players understand the tree a little better anyway, especially if they've played with a Frost Mage before.

Not that people don't have ideas -- "Ice" (yes, Ice, baby), "Chill" and "Really, really cold stuff" are all names being thrown around on the forums. But Blizzard will probably stick with "Frost" -- no reason to change it up, especially if the abilities line up with the Mage tree as much as we expect them to.

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Well Fed Buff: Conjured Croissants - Thu, 29 May 2008 18:00:00 EST


Well Fed Buff serves up tasty dishes to boost your HP, stats and appetite - with that special WoW twist, of course.

Your friends will stand in awe of your mage-ly prowess when you conjure up these delectable Conjured Croissants. Not only do these morsels add a hefty 7500 calories hp to your heroic hulk, but their 3-second 10-minute cast time and low mats requirement means you can conjure them up in at a moment's notice - all while projecting the nonchalant air of a true master of the elements. Our version comes with a special twist: a gooey center of dark chocolate. Roll up this simple, two-ingredient version of pain au chocolat for a treat that impresses.

One caveat: Conjured items disappear if logged out for more than 15 minutes. Don't AFK, or you may find yourself the only one in the group stuck using bandages (you did level your First Aid skill, didn't you?).

Continue reading Well Fed Buff: Conjured Croissants

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CT State Representative nominee is a WoW player - Thu, 29 May 2008 17:30:00 EST
If you're in Connecticut's 101st District, and you're a strictly single-issue voter (as in, you want a candidate that plays World of Warcraft) then the choice is clear: Jeanne Stevens. Yes, the Republican nominee for State Representative, as reported by the Shore Line Times, is not only a mother of four, a former Assistant District Attorney, and a mean cupcake maker -- she's also apparently a WoW player.

To be completely objective here, we should say that we don't really know who your candidate of choice is -- unfortunately, we have no idea if Stevens' incumbent opponent, Deborah Heinrich, is a WoW player or not. For all we know maybe she, too, has wandered Azeroth with the rest of us. If that's indeed the case, you Connecticutians will have to make your choice based on something else. Politics, we guess. Not really our thing.

But we do know this: the local press up there should be asking the tough questions. Does Heinrich, in fact, play WoW? And if so, what class and level are the candidates? And the most important question for both: Horde or Alliance? If the Shore Line Times can't find out, maybe we'll have to put our own 15 Minutes of Fame feature on the trail. If these potential State Representatives can't bring down Hogger, then why would we want them running a whole state?

[Via WorldofWar]

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World of Warcraft Arena tournament announced at the World Wide Invitational - Thu, 29 May 2008 17:00:00 EST

Here's one more reason to make it out to Paris on June 28th and 29th this year: Blizzard's announced a 3v3 World of Warcraft Tournament. It's even open to most residents of the US, so if you're an American arena junkie with 2 friends planning a European vacation, here's your chance to participate in the contests. You will, of course, be competing for prizes: A Frostmourne replica for first place, a Logitech G51 Surround Sound Speaker System for 2nd place, and a free year of WoW for 3rd place. You can check out the complete information here.

As a reminder, those extra tickets we told you about are now on sale, so if you were planning to buy some, now is your chance. It'll set you back 70 euros (which is currently $108.53 in US dollars), but for everything you'll get, the price is probably worth it. If you still need a little convincing of that, check out our previous World Wide Invitational coverage.

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