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Breakfast Topic: Have you considered a race change?

With the latest beta build, all of the scheduled new models are currently playable on the beta servers. Although some races are obviously in need of tweaks, by and large they all look pretty solid. But I have to say, it's a little weird going into the character selection screen now and seeing all the old familiar faces and models exchanged with gorgeous updated versions that are on par with the pandaren from Mists. Moving hair, emotive expressions, and in the case of female trolls, even eyelids and blinking -- it all blew me away.

And after looking at all the new models, the urge to switch it up and play a different race is admittedly tempting. Orcs, humans and trolls in particular are so far removed from the original models -- yet they still retain that distinctive Warcraft look and feel. I know I have a handful of friends who have decided to switch it up and change what race they're playing when Warlords hits -- not for racial abilities or anything like that, but just because the new models are that impressive.

So I'm curious what you guys think -- are any of you considering a race change? Do you like the new models well enough to switch from one race to another? Have you ever used the race change service before? Was it to take advantage of racial perks, a faction change, or some other reason entirely?


Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Uther has too many justice

We recently stumbled across this song by Youtuber haigh152 -- a Hearthstone song made entirely of Uther's voice clips and other game sounds. The comedic approach to Uther's lyricism reminds me of classic Mr. Voletron mixes and that's a very good thing -- they're catchy, easily lovable, and often hilarious, a fine recipe for an earworm. Part of me wishes the song was longer, but with Uther's limited vocabulary, it might lose its charm if it was. I hope to see more of these from haigh152 in the future.

Filed under: Hearthstone Insider

Wowcraft's Warsong battle has nearly reached its end


Who will win? Who will lose? The Carbot Animations Wowcraft team has been in Warsong Gulch for longer than even the worst Alterac Valley match (though some Warsong runs certainly feel this long). But with the alliance and horde still locked in a dramatic struggle for the flag -- stymied by hunters feigning death and mages using polymorph -- there's no sign who will win or lose in the end. However, Carbot does say the next Wowcraft will wrap things up with Warsong (perhaps with our heroes leveling up to do Arathi Basin).

If you haven't been following Wowcraft, you definitely should be as it's an on-the-nose parody of life in WoW. You can catch up with the Warsong storyline, if you've missed it, by watching episode 7, episode 8, episode 9, and episode 10 above. Stay tuned for the (presumably) dramatic conclusion!

Filed under: News items

WoW Moviewatch: Do You Want To Do a Rep Grind?

It will probably be years before the Frozen parodies die off permanently and I'm just fine with that. Something about that movie warms the cockles of my cold heart, and I don't know when it'll get old. I blame the influence of a toddler girl and the endearing way she shrieks, "Warm hugs!"

Do You Want To Do a Rep Grind? is a shockingly thorough WoW parody. The lyrics came together plenty well, and the vocal performance is tone perfect for both the original song and this mournful version. And, hey, I can feel the pain. Rep grinds suck, whether you're helping or the one being helped.
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.

World of Warcraft as religious experience

How much of what we do in World of Warcraft matters, and how much does it matter? Can one be said to be engaging in a spiritual or religious experience when we play the game? Robert Geraci would seem to think we can at least start talking about that. Dr. Geraci is a professor of religious studies at Manhattan College, and his new book is about the interaction between the virtual worlds we inhabit (his current book discusses World of Warcraft and Second Life) and our inner lives. Dr. Geraci seems to be using WoW as a means to explore how we approach life itself, and how we can interact with it fundamentally in the same way we do our day to day, walking about lives.

it's just about virtual reality - in particular, virtual reality experiences that millions of people are seeking out. From a religious perspective, people are making their lives rich and meaningful and interesting in these virtual worlds. The grant project was to expand on that and say, 'Ok, in what other ways are virtual worlds meaningful for their participants?

The idea that what we do in game has an impact on our lives seems pretty irrefutable -- Dr. Geraci mentions how we make friendships in game that are as real to us as any we make outside of it (indeed, many in-game friendships quickly transcend the game they started in) and he discusses how the game presents concepts of morality, good vs. evil, environmentalism and so on. One could go further with his argument -- the nature of in-game interaction presents a kind of meta-contextual exploration of good social behavior, ultimately. The idea that 'it's just a game' vs. those that argue game or not, you're playing with real people for stakes that matter to them and how you behave in that situation has an impact. In other words, the evolution of in-game morality isn't limited merely to the game's storylines, but the players themselves develop a code of conduct, mores that govern and shape their behavior. Concepts like ninja-looting, PuG etiquette and how to navigate guild social structures are all part and parcel of the game, but they're not narrative focused -- the community evolves these standards itself.

To my mind, any discussion of MMO spaces as religious experiences has to take these kinds of issues to heart. It's not the game, ultimately, that provides much (if any) real spiritual value. It's the evolving consensus between players - the discussion of what is and isn't of value, the behaviors chosen, the direction of the internal zeitgeist of the experience. If we're discussing the investment of meaning into these experiences, it is almost always the players who make that investment. All the game itself can do is give them a framework on which to hang these connections.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

The Queue: Mannoroth's dead. Dead like Zed.

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.

Questions. We answer questions.

MichaelEKirby asks:
Q4TQ (or maybe more a PSA?): Saw this on MMOChamp:
"Kil'jaeden and Archimonde are back, but not as bosses."
So that pretty much kills the "all world, all dimensions are open" / only one Burning Legion across multiple planes of reality idea?


Considering we see Grommash kill Mannoroth in the cinematic for Warlords of Draenor which is set 35 years in the past, if there was only one Burning Legion across all planes of reality, that would mean that our Grom couldn't kill Mannorth ten years ago, since he would already be dead.

But no, since it's 35 years ago, both Kil'jaeden and Archimonde could make appearances, since Kil'jaeden isn't dead (he gets banished during his fight at the Sunwell) and Archimonde only died ten years ago. It's the double-death of Mannoroth that proves there's more than one Legion.

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Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth, Beta Edition: A woman of mystery

Who is that orc? She's so mysterious! Well, she's standing atop a bed of flowers using a branch with berries as a sword and a flower as a shield, which is actually pretty mysterious behavior for anyone who isn't a six-year-old girl or a drunk cosplayer. Still, if you have to title yourself Mysterious Orc, you might be trying a little too hard. (Thanks to beta tester Nganga of Pact of War on Silver Hand [US-H] for the screenshot!)

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

Breakfast Topic: Novus Alfar Noctem

Above you is a night elf male, on the beta. As you can see, in Tier 10 it's pretty hard to really tell the difference, but it's pretty profound if you get a chance to look at the model when it's more stationary. Understanding that this is still a work in progress, it's a pretty amazing leap forward and I'm definitely interested in playing a night elf warrior in Warlords now.

Also debuting last night were the human male, tauren female, and both male and female trolls. If you got a chance to play any of them, what did you think? And if you're not in the beta or just didn't get a chance to play, which of the new models are you most interested in getting to see?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

Connected Realms updates for US realms

It's another round of updates for the process of connecting up our realms.

Today, Thursday, August 21st we should be seeing the following realms connected. The process should have already begun (5:00 AM PDT) and will hopefully conclude by 1:00 PM PDT, allowing anyone playing on these realms back in at that time. This is of course subject to change based on circumstances. The realms connecting today are:
  • Lightninghoof and Maelstrom, The Venture Co
  • Shattered Hand and Coilfang, Dark Iron, Dalvengyr, and Demon Soul
  • Sisters of Elune and Cenarion Circle
So if you play on these realms, you should have more folks to play with soon. Yay!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items

New Hellscream Short Story available now

If you're curious about exactly what is going on with Garrosh, Kairoz, and the Draenor we're all about to find ourselves on, then you'll want to read Hellscream, the new short story by Robert Brooks that's up on the official site right now. It goes into detail, bridging the gap between the end of War Crimes and the beginning of the expansion. How does Garrosh motivate the orcs of Draenor to become the Iron Horde? Well, that's exactly what this story covers.

Without spoilers, it's definitely an interesting read, and it gives us a sense of what the major actors are up to, especially Garrosh and Kairoz. Head on over to the official site and check it out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Lore, Mists of Pandaria, Warlords of Draenor