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WRUP: It's the end of the world as we know it edition

So what is team WoW Insider playing this weekend? Since this is the last time we'll be asking (and answering) this question, we went in search of long-lost team members we haven't had the pleasure of seeing around the virtual water cooler lately. That means this last edition of WRUP is super-sized, with answers from WoW Insider staff both current and past. And since we are nearing the end of our time together, we also asked everyone what's kept them playing WoW over the years -- after all, a decade is a long time to spend in any game.

So join us, won't you, for a nostalgia-fueled trip through our favorite game. And if you're playing WoW this weekend, jump into the comments to tell us what you're up to -- and why you've stuck around the game for so long.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Moviewatch: How World of Warcraft Should Have Ended

We're hoping our favorite game isn't coming to an end for a while yet, but that doesn't mean we can't still enjoy this classic animation that speculates on how Wrath of the Lich King should have come to a close. After all, if you're an end boss and your daily grind is being killed over and over, you'd get tired of it eventually and want a break.

Unfortunately, for both Azeroth and Arthas' vacation plans, Deathwing ruins everything.
Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an email at moviewatch@wowinsider.com.

Filed under: Machinima, WoW Moviewatch

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Hail and Farewell

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

Eleven months ago I wrote this farewell. It says everything I wanted to say about this column - I'm not going to repeat it.But with WoW Insider as a whole in its last days, it felt right to bring back the longest running continuous class column to say something else - to take a look back at the class over the years, to say goodbye to the past and take a look forward into the future.

First off, let me say that for the most part, the redesign of warriors in Warlords of Draenor seems to be working out. Arms and fury DPS? Too low.l Arms in general doesn't feel good to play, and any arms warriors saying so are correct - the spec didn't get the overhaul it needed. Or more accurately, it got an overhaul, but it didn't need one, and now it feels like a once grand 1969 Shelby Mustang with half the options yanked off. Fury plays fine, if somewhat boring depending on your talent choices, but it's clear that it still lacks the bite it needs to be a competitive DPS spec. The buffs it received recently have helped, but in my opinion they haven't helped enough. What I'd like to see for DPS in the future is an arms spec that recaptures some of the fun and feeling of the Mists arms warrior, and simply put, more damage in a less spammy format for fury. A big, big hit instead of having to get off three Wild Strikes when they're free.

As for Gladiator Stance, it's the hit of the expansion. Everyone loves it. People are raiding as DPS using it, because for quite a while it was head and shoulders above any other DPS spec warriors had. Even after the fury buffs and the change to the talent, Gladiator specced prot warriors are a force to be reckoned with, and it's a huge proof of concept success for designing a tanking spec that can also perform as a DPS spec. So kudos to Blizzard there.

Okay, with that out of the way, let's talk about warriors one last time.

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Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors

Scattered Shots: Let's just pretend Scatter Shot is still a thing


Every Thursday 11 months, WoW Insider brings you Scattered Shots for beast mastery, marksmanship and survival hunters. This week, your host Adam Koebel, aka Bendak will be leaving you with one final column dedicated to the best class in WoW.

The beloved ability that this column was once named after, Scatter Shot, has been lost to time. It didn't feel right to change things up at this point. Scattered Shots will always be Scattered Shots. Besides, I wouldn't want to risk upsetting Grandpappy Frostheim. I hear he has a contingent of level 1 dwarven hunters who follow him around and do whatever he commands. Hogger didn't survive, and neither would I.

Quite a bit has happened for hunters since I was last able to write this column 11 months ago. The Warlords beta and first few weeks of release was somewhat of a roller coaster, but things are settling down. Outside of high-end raiding progression, all 3 hunter specs are competitive with each other. Our major talents are getting buffed and re-balanced in the upcoming patch 6.1. Overall, I think hunters are in a pretty good place.

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Filed under: Hunter, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

The Queue: Let's talk about Fraggles and Warcraft

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is answering all kinds of questions today!

You know what? I loved Fraggle Rock when I was a kid, and I still do today. When I was a kid, it was all about the music and the story, and as I grew older, it was all about the slow and astonishing realization that a few pieces of felt and a couple of ping-pong googly eyes felt really real. It wasn't the felt or the googly eyes, it was the person operating that device as a vehicle for delivering authentic emotion. More importantly, it was the wide-eyed audience that watched it all and somewhere in their heart of hearts held the little spark of belief that it all was real.

Basically what it boils down to is this: You can set the stage and build the parts, but without that genuine exchange between actor and audience, you've got nothing but a shell. Shells are nothing. The rest of it, that's the really amazing part, the part that can't be easily replaced. With that, let's answer some weekend questions, why don't we?

BaronoftheLake asked:

QFTQ: Where is the Exodar on Draenor? I haven't seen any Draenei ships in Draenor, and I thought that was rather strange.

The Exodar was originally one section of Tempest Keep -- but Tempest Keep didn't arrive on Draenor until after it had already shattered into Outland. It's not a draenei ship, it's a naaru vessel -- it's the ship A'dal and the rest of the Sha'tar arrived on. There is one other naaru vessel on Draenor, but it's half-buried in Nagrand and falling apart.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: The places you love, the places you hate

World of Warcraft is full of amazing environments where we quest, level, and raid -- but we probably don't hold every in-game locale equal in our hearts. There are dungeons I've only run once or twice, and there are dungeons I've run a hundred times. There are zones I go out of my way to quest through when I'm leveling an alt and there are zones I avoid like the plague (and, no, I'm not just talking about the plaguelands). I'm pretty sure I'm not alone here: we all have our favorite game zones that we return to again and again.

Karazhan still tops my personal favorite places list, with a great story, great setting, great music (see above), and some unusual boss encounters that remain memorable even though it's been years since the dungeon was current content. But tell us, readers: what are your favorite (or least favorite) in-game locations? What are the zones you keep gong back to -- and which zones do you escape as soon as possible?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

WoW Insider is logging off

WoW Insider began operations on November 23, 2005. On Tuesday, February 3, 2015, WoW Insider operations will cease. I'm finding it difficult to say much more than that; eloquence fails at a time like this. We certainly weren't expecting it.

Barb Dybwad personally launched the site that evolved into the one we know and love. Elizabeth Harper later took the helm as Editor-in-Chief, ushering the site from infancy to adolescence, and from there the helm passed from Liz, to Dan O'Halloran, then eventually to me in October of 2011. It's a tough job steering this ship. The winds are fierce and the waters choppy. It's a bit dramatic to say something like heavy lies the crown, but I suppose I need to take the opportunity while I have it. Though, I don't think sea captains wear crowns.

What a terrible metaphor.

I meant to segue all of that into a discussion of our merry crew, our beautiful band of staffers, the WoW Insider personalities we've all come to love in the years, but I suppose you already know them. How couldn't you? Just imagine Matthew Rossi singing a sea shanty. We wrote by shanty, you know. Audio conference call on the high seas all day, every day. Honest truth. Cross my heart.

In our final hours, however, I want this to be about us. Not just us, the staff. You, too. Our readers. We did what we did, and what we do, for all of you and with all of you. We've always done our very best to embrace the World of Warcraft community. We worked to ensure all were welcome. It didn't matter who you were or how you played, how casual or hardcore, we wanted you to know you had a place. It wasn't about being first to the news -- it was about ensuring everyone had the context and information necessary to understand it. Through features like The Queue, and through you, we tried to pinpoint exactly what the players needed and how to deliver it. It was about giving praise where it was due -- and criticism, too. We pushed to make the game better, and a better place, whenever we could and wherever we could. We couldn't have done any of it without you.

In the end, we were friends. I can think of no other way to put it. Staff, audience, community. We were friends.

This is the end of WoW Insider, but it isn't the end of us. Friendship lives on. What comes next for our intrepid crew? You'll find out soon, but not here. Follow us on Twitter and keep that date, February 3, close in mind. You don't know what our Twitter handles are, you say? Let me help: Give me a shanty, lads and ladies. Onward until dawn!

Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Tournament of Champions returns with more 3v3 PvP

If you're looking for PvP opportunities beyond the usual battleground and arena scene, the upcoming Tournament of Champions 2.0 may be a perfect fit. This player-run PvP tournament is 3v3, single-elimination style (with double-elimination in the semi-final rounds). If you want to enjoy the fun -- and have a current rating over 2200 -- you can sign up through February 15th with the tournament tentatively scheduled to start on the 21st and last for two to three days.

Just interested in watching some great 3v3 teams compete? The tournament will be streamed on Twitch for everyone to enjoy. For full details hop over to the forums.

Filed under: News items, PvP

The Queue: Dinosaurs, Twitter Questions, and a hug

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

I don't really have a favorite dinosaur. Or it's more like I have so many favorite dinosaurs I can't pick one. And to be honest when I do sit down and think about my favorite dinosaurs, my opinion changes with the research to a degree. At the moment, I'm fond of Deinocheirus with those massive arms. But a lot of people ask me what's the deal with all the dinosaurs, like there's a proper age to like them, and I'm way, way over the limit. So I'll try, just this once, to explain what the deal is with the dinosaurs.

They were our superiors.

They were better suited to life on Earth than the mammals. This is indisputable. They first arose 231 million years ago during the Triassic, at a time where our own therapsid ancestors were recovering from a mass extinction that nearly wiped out all life on Earth, just as the mammals were starting to evolve. Our ancestors. Us, in potential. And our ancestors, with their highly evolved teeth, with the start of the mammalian body plan that we see today in everything from tigers to dogs to sheep to cattle, lost the competition with the archosaurian dinosaur clans. It's just that simple. For over one hundred and thirty five million years, mammals went head to head against dinosaurs in the evolutionary arms race. And in all that time no mammal larger than a modern housecat thrived. The dinosaurs won. Their dominion was so total that even after the extinction at the end of the Cretaceous, it was birds that first evolved into truly massive predators feeding on our mammal ancestors.

So that's it. Dinosaurs are proven winners. They lasted for one hundred and thirty five million years, and they still exist today in the form of birds. And you'll notice that no mammal has managed to push birds out of their aerial niches. So yeah, I like dinosaurs, and I see no reason not to keep liking them for the rest of my life. I realize this was a huge digression, but to be honest, it simply wouldn't have been right for me not to talk about dinosaurs in this edition of The Queue.

This edition of the Queue will likely be very, very long. I got quite a few questions on Twitter, and there's 981 comments, so we're going to try and get through as many of those as we can.

Sean Boyle asks:

Here's one for you Rossi. Why haven't we seen any Naga or Ethereals on Draenor?

Naga are native to Azeroth. The ones we saw on Outland were part of Lady Vashj's contingent, pledged to Illidan's service. Etherals are also not native to Draenor, but were cosmic exiles whose native world of K'aresh was destroyed by Dimensius the All-Devouring, and in the process of trying to save their people from his arcane devastation the Ethereals lost their corporeal forms. Neither group was on Draenor thirty five years ago in our timeline, and as a result, they aren't on the alternate Draenor we now explore.

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Filed under: The Queue

Around Azeroth: Meat for the meat god

Are you ready for some football? This weekend features a certain game that cannot be named without paying the NFL approximately eleventy billion dollars, starring Short Religious Quarterback, Tall Handsome Quarterback, Running Back Who Won't Talk, Cornerback Who Won't Stop Talking, Frozen Caveman Tight End, and Coach Hoodie. Submitter Gizmoto of Gnomeregan Forever on Wyrmrest Accord (US-A) started his game preparation a little early, and now has to figure out how to keep a thousand pounds of meat fresh until Sunday night. Time to call in an ice mage!

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to aroundazeroth@wowinsider.com. We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth