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Barb Dybwad

Ithaca, NY -

Barb is the Producer of the Engadget and Joystiq networks. Despite a severe case of alt-itis, her gnome rogue main has made it to 70 and enjoys flying around looking for trouble when not in an instance or busy debating which factions are really worth grinding.

SXSW08: How gamers are adopting the wiki way

One of the many excellent sessions in the ScreenBurn track at SXSW Interactive this year, the "How Gamers Are Adopting the Wiki Way" panel featured George Pribul (lead admin of, April "CuppaJo" Burba (Community Manager for NCsoft's Tabula Rasa), Angelique Shelton (GM of Wikia Gaming at Wikia Inc), and Jake McKee (Principal at Ant's Eye View) talking about the symbiotic relationship between gamers and wikis. Interesting factoid: WoWWiki is now the second largest English-language wiki in the world behind Wikipedia. At 3 million unique users per month, a full half of English-speaking WoW players visit WoWWiki every month. Head on over to our MMO-besotted sister site Massively for the complete writeup.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Features

Seen at CES: Warlock vehicle security is overpowered

We knew there wouldn't be much of anything Warcraft-related at CES 2008 worthy of coverage here on WoW Insider, but we kept our eyes open as we scoured the show floor and had a chuckle to stumble upon the Warlock vehicle security systems booth. We don't even want to know what it does to any intruders it detects. If more gratuitous gadgetry is your thing, hit up our sister site Engadget for a literal metric ton of CES news (including the best of the worst).

Filed under: Warlock, Humor

Ask WoW Insider: Do you tip your tank?

Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery. Last time we discussed identification with your virtual self, and this time we turn our attention once again to an issue of instance etiquette; James wants to know if it should be customary to tip your tank after a run:

Hey guys,

I was wondering if there is some standard etiquette for tipping your main tank after instances. The repair bill for our much-loved meat shields is usually much higher than the bill for me and my clothy brethren, so I'm curious if most PUG's will throw the MT a few gold after a run. To be honest, I don't normally tip the MT (and in my experience, they don't expect one) but is this something we should do? If so, what's a good amount?

What's the verdict: do you tip your tanks, or do they not deserve the special treatment? Are there any circumstances in which you'd feel more likely to tip? What's a reasonable amount, and does it vary by instance?

Got questions? Don't wait! Send them to us at ask AT wowinsider DOT com and your query could be up in lights here next week.

Filed under: Instances, Ask WoW Insider

WoW Insider and Massively special WoW 24/7 feed

As many of you know, our new sister site Massively is also in the habit of covering this little game we know and love. Some of our readers have expressed concern about missing any potential WoW news across the two sites, and we are nothing if not concerned with what our readers want. So by popular demand we are pleased to offer this special "WoW 24/7" feed that includes all post from WoW Insider as well as all posts in the World of Warcraft category at Massively in one handy RSS feed. That's all WoW, all the time, folks. Enjoy!

WoW 24/7 feed

This feed is a combination of the WoW Insider feed and all posts from Massively in the World of Warcraft category. If you're looking for a one-stop feed to get all the WoW news we're covering on either site, this is the feed for you.

Warning: this feed may contain occasional duplicate news stories that are picked up by both sites -- although they will often contain different levels of analysis.

Warning 2: this feed may occasionally miss a feature column that mentions WoW tangentially but is not categorized specifically WoW. You can still check out any of Massively's regular features in one convenient spot.

We hope you enjoy the custom feed -- let us know if you're experiencing any problems with the feed. If you have a special request for another feed remix, you can also send it our way and we'll do our best to add any popular requests to the special feeds offerings.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Ask WoW Insider: Are you who you play?

A hearty howdy and hello and welcome to this week's edition of Ask WoW Insider, wherein we humbly beg your forgiveness for going AWOL for a few weeks. Last time we got together we talked about who should pull in groups and instances, and this time we turn our attention to a more philosophical conundrum. Reader skoh-fley has a question about how we conceptualize character identities:

I often hear my friends talking about their characters, saying things like "my mage is 42 now", or "he just got a new cloak", when I would normally say something more like " I'm 42 now on my mage", or " I just got a new cloak".

To me, it seems weird that some people reference their characters in third person, as if they're another real person; it's like they're telling a story and their character is the protagonist. But I'm sure some people think I'm a little weird for talking about my character like I am them; maybe I'm a little too emotionally deep in the game and have been treating it the same as real life.

Is it normal to talk about your character as if they're you, or are they two separate entities? And what can be said about people who treat their character as themselves -- are we too involved in WoW, or do we simply see it more as a part of life than a game?

How do you talk about your characters to those curious "real people" out in the "real world"? How closely do you identify with your character(s)? Is it normal to grow emotionally attached to our virtual selves?

Have you got questions? The truth is out there! Send us what's on your mind and we just may choose your question to publish for Ask WoW Insider. We need your submissions at ask AT wowinsider DOT com!

Filed under: Virtual selves, Ask WoW Insider, RP

Ask WoW Insider: Who pulls?

Welcome everyone to Ask WoW Insider, where your questions get answers every week. Last week we looked at whether there are really people without alts, and this week we turn our attention to group strategy. David wants to settle the matter about who should be doing the pulling in groups:
Now, this may just be me, or does it seem strange when people talk about hunter or mage pulls? I understand that in certain cases there is a need to have a hunter pull, especially with Misdirect, but when it comes down to it, any time I run something I never get to pull (Hunter here). Not that it's much of a complaint, more of a curiousity. For the most part Warriors will have a ranged weapon, Bears will use Faerie Fire, and Pallies will go with Avenging Shield. I just usually find it more complicated to pull with a hunter and then have the tank grab the aggro, when they all have ranged capabilities for pulls. I might also have been spoiled with all my tanks, as it has been months since I've PuGed a tank and we never seem to use CC in any instances anyways. Thought this may be a viable question, or maybe I'm the only Hunter out there that has been spoiled like this?
What say you folks -- should hunters or any one class be doing the pulling in instances or in groups? Are there classes that should never pull? Should warlocks have "Wait for sunders!" mandatorily tattooed on their virtual eyelids? Who should pull -- let's hear it!

Think of the glory and fame that could await you here on Ask WoW Insider -- your name up in lights! If you'd like us to link to your guild site or personal blog, we are happy to promote you if we choose your question. So send 'em in to ask AT wowinsider DOT com!

Filed under: Instances, Quests, Ask WoW Insider

Ask WoW Insider: Does anybody really only play just one class?

Alts are like potato chips -- you can't eat just one. Or can you? Today's Ask WoW Insider question comes from JM Campbell of Comicsradar, who writes:
I've noticed a lot on the official forums and in the comments on wowinsider, people seem to generally stereotype players of certain classes/specs. I've even done so myself after a string of run-ins with bad Ret paladins. But you see all the time: Mages always qq. Rogues are always gankers. Hunters are always noobs. or Horde are a bunch of children or Alliance players suck at PVP.

I have an alt of almost every class and almost every race. So, how can you classify me as any one of those play styles? And my wife plays at least 3 different classes. Everyone I play with has at least one Alt of another class. Are there really players that only play one race/class/spec?
JM makes a good point -- if most of us tend to play several different characters, how can we get away with stereotyping so many of them? Or is it that not everyone has a chronic case of altitis, afterall? There are really two questions embedded here: do most people play more than one class, and if so, where does all this stereotyping come from?

Ask WoW Insider survives on questions like these -- we need yours! Send us what's on your mind at ask AT wowinsider DOT com.

Filed under: Ask WoW Insider, Classes, Alts

Like loot? Massively wanna give ya some.

As you may have heard, there's some new kid on the block covering MMOs (no, not that one!). Luckily, that kid brought along some bribes in a cheap and transparent attempt to win your love and affection, and all of today's giveaways are WoW-themed. We know some of you principled individuals have a firm stance against Free Stuff, and we respect that. For the rest of you, check in on Massively today to win some 60-day game cards, and even a special prize. We could tell you what it is, but we'd have to kill you -- because it's top secret. We can't even give you a hint, so don't ask us!

Filed under: Contests

Ask WoW Insider: Is there a class/spec truly viable for both PvP and PvE?

Welcome everyone to this week's edition of Ask WoW Insider, where we throw your questions out to the wisdom of crowds. Last week we looked at how to approach PuGs when everyone can see your spec in one click, and this week we have another talent-related question. David wants to know if there are any truly great builds that are highly viable in both PvP and PvE:
I'm on my second re-roll and finally have my character to 70, fairly well geared and have found myself in the exact same position as before... My PvE 5-man spec is entirely unsuitable for raids, or PVP, my raid spec is unsuitable for soloing or PvP, and my PvP spec is useless outside of BGs and Arenas! I was previously a Warrior, who needs to be Prot for tanking but Arms/Fury for Arena and I at least only had to bounce between two specs. Now I'm a Mage, and I have to consider bouncing between THREE specs to be what everyone expects me to be if I expect to be competitve!

I know the common answer is "suck it up and pay to respec whenever you want to do whatever you want to do" because dailies give out so much free money, but this doesn't work for my mage with however many hundreds of gold and hours of work put into getting my Frozen Shadoweave set. The problem is, I rolled a mage for the exclusive purpose of not HAVING to fill two roles with one character and not having to respec every time I wanted to branch out and experience multiple aspects of the game.

So, my question is this: Is there any class+spec out there, that is equally effective and in demand for 5-man instances, raids, solo play and PvP?
You heard the man -- what's your answer? How do you find a balance between PvP and PvE-oriented specs, and how do you maximize your ability to enjoy all the types of content you want to enjoy without spending a fortune respeccing every 5 minutes?

We know you've got questions, and Ask WoW Insider wants 'em! Send us your queries at ask AT wowinsider DOT com.

Filed under: PvP, Raiding, Ask WoW Insider, Classes, Talents

Ask WoW Insider: What's your kill order?

Greetings, Azerothians! It's time for another Friday edition of Ask WoW Insider, where we publish your questions for the world (... of Warcraft) to answer. Last week we looked at how to find a new server, and this week we examine the curious and culturally diverse practice of marking targets in instances. Djinni on Anvilmar-A relates the following tale of falling down the rabbit hole:
I was in a 5-man the other day with 4 members of one guild, and me, the non-guildy. Not exactly a PUG, since I know 2 of the people, and they asked me to join. For the first 10-15 minutes of this instance, I was getting crazy aggro and had either died or had to Vanish on every pull. I also noticed that I seemed to be the only one doing damage to my target. Finally, I stopped the group and asked what was going wrong...telling them that no one else seems to be attacking Skull. And that's when this became the weirdest instance run ever. They dropped the Kill Order Bomb. Square, X (if it exists), Triangle (Sap), Skull, Moon (Sheep). And this didn't seem strange to any of them. To this day, it remains the only group I've ever been in that didn't make Skull first target. For the next hour or so, I was in Bizarro if the water in the toilet would spin backwards (and maybe up) if I flushed it. I wonder if anyone else has had a completely unintuitive Kill Order imposed on them? What's your Kill Order?
To some it seems obvious that the skull symbolizes death and death quickly, but to others, X marks the spot. Still others have been thrown into a murderous rage at the mere sight of the orange nipple. What's your preferred kill order when marking instances, and have you ever been subject to one that seemed particularly daft?

Naturally whilst struggling against a Burning Crusade you build up a few burning questions -- Ask WoW Insider can help! Send us your questions at ask AT wow insider DOT com.

Filed under: Instances, Ask WoW Insider