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Gaga Moviewatch: Johnny Weir performs Poker Face

A Note From The New Editor: There's been a shake up in management here at the Insider. Forgive the recent changes in the site's direction, as of now we are and shall ever be Lady Gaga Insider! Let the fabulousness begin!

Those of you who are figure skating fans as well as appreciators of the greatest pop star of our time will probably have seen this already, but for the rest of you, may I present award-winning figure skater Johnny Weir's "Poker Face" routine. It's a thrilling performance on many levels; I particularly enjoy the bits of mirror on his costume and the timing of that first jump. I don't know what the Korean commentators are saying, but they (and the crowd) certainly seem to enjoy it as much as I do.

I can only hope that Lady Gaga saw this and called Johnny, quickly becoming a close friend, and that the two of them are collaborating on an original routine for next season.


Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on Lady Gaga Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at machinima AT wow DOT com.


PvP with Blizzard QA tomorrow

Hey North American players, want to PvP with Blizzard's QA staff? They sure seem to have been doing a lot of these lately. Your next chance is tomorrow, Thursday the 11th, on the PTRs, so get your strategies ready. The details:
  • Anasterian realm (but players on Broxigar can participate too by queueing for randoms)
  • 3-11-2010, 4:00 PM PST
  • Queue for a random battleground
  • The Blizz staff will be in the guild 'Blizzard' Horde-side, and the guild 'Blizzard QA' Alliance-side.
Who's going to try their hand against the boys in blue? Get your PTR transfers in now if you haven't already. And yes, I know our dear friend Mr. Street isn't in the QA department, but I just love these Ghostcrawler shops. He's poking Skeletor in the eye, and He-Man in the nostril! So hardcore.

Filed under: Events, Blizzard, PvP

BlizzCast Episode #13

Episode 13 of Blizzcast, Blizzard's occassional podcast, came out yesterday. The majority of it is devoted to a StarCraft II beta special, which is beyond the scope of this site, but they did do a WoW Q&A after that (and a Diablo 3 Q&A at the end), between WoW CM Zarhym and Diablo CM Bashiok. The WoW segment was mostly retrospective, discussing what the developers learned from Wrath, with a dash of looking forward to Cataclysm.

Here's a quick summary (you can read the whole transcript, or listen to the podcast, at Blizzard's site):
  • ICC is designed such that the final boss in each section is harder than the rest of the section (Putricide, Blood Queen Lana'thel, Sindragosa, and the Lich King).
  • The ICC zone-wide buff "won't come in until at least a month after the Lich King has been released," which means we could see it soon, since the Lich King fight opened up February 2nd (although the devs mentioned in the Twitter chat that it's not quite time for the buff yet). It will improve "roughly once a month," and the buff will affect health, damage, and healing (much like the Luck of the Draw buff from random dungeon groups).
  • They thought the Illidan encounter in Black Temple, back in BC, was a bit anti-climactic, so they wanted to make sure the end of the Lich King was "super special."
  • In answer to "what next after I clear ICC:" ICC hard modes, and to a lesser extent the Ruby Sanctum, which is coming in a future patch. Ruby Sanctum will hold "roughly Lich King level gear," as has been mentioned elsewhere.
That's about it for the WoW content, but if you're interested in SC2 or D3, you may well want to read or listen to the whole thing.

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews

Ensidia temporarily banned for exploits

It looks like Ensidia's 25-man world first on the Lich King will go down with an asterisk next to it, because they've all just received a three-day ban for "Abuse of in-game mechanics or glitches with intent to exploit or cheat in World of Warcraft." The Ensidia blog post reporting this is down as of this writing due to traffic, but you can still view the Google cache.

The story is that Ensidia made use of Saronite Bombs to "bypass The Lich King fight mechanics" (Saronite Bombs and similar items were disabled in a hotfix last night). In addition to the temporary ban, all items and achievements they gained from downing Arthas have been revoked. Before the ban (but after the hotfix), Ensidia put up a post claiming that they didn't think the bombs were an exploit; Blizzard obviously isn't buying it.

Meanwhile, Muqq, the Ensidia player who posted about the ban, has taken this as an opportunity to quit WoW (and rant a bit at Blizzard about "half-assed encounters"), saying "to ban people when they do not know what's causing the bugs is just a [expletive] joke."

Update: It's worth a mention that the language Muqq used at the end of his post is identical (save places and names) to this post by Tigole (scroll to the bottom -- it's the last thing on the page), written of EverQuest in 2002. Be warned, neither of these are safe for work.

Filed under: Guilds, News items, Raiding

Daelo and Ghostcrawler discuss the Lich King

The latest edition of Blizzard Insider, Blizzard's very sporadic email newsletter (and no relation to our old name, WoW Insider) has been released. Issue 32 features a note that the Starcraft II: WIngs of Liberty site has been revamped, blurbs about the mobile Authenticator and the Armory app, and some calls to buy their merchandise.

More interesting for WoW fans, though, is an interview with Scott Mercer (Daelo), WoW's lead encounter designer, and Greg Street (Ghostcrawler), a crab who needs no introduction. They discussed the arc of Arthas and the Lich King from Warcraft II through World of Warcraft (congratulations again to Blood Legion on their 10-man world-first).

Please note that here there be spoilers for some details about the Arthas fight, so stay away if you want it all to be a surprise.

Read more →

Filed under: Interviews, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Raimi tackling another movie before Warcraft

You remember the Warcraft movie, right? A couple weeks ago, we learned that Spiderman 4 had melted down, and director Sam Raimi, and the entire cast, are being swapped out while the Marvel Empire reboots the franchise. The link here is that Mr. Raimi is also the one who's directing the Warcraft film for Legendary Pictures.

The Spiderman fiasco drew rumors that Warcraft was coming that much sooner, since Raimi was now free to work on it. However, news appeared yesterday that his next project is The Shadow, so it looks like we're going to have to be patient a little longer. But hey, we're Blizzard fans, right? We can be patient.

And honestly, I'm still not convinced that a live-action Warcraft movie is a good idea. I mean, I like a lot of Raimi's work, and Legendary Pictures has made some great films, but... I dunno. We'll see.

Filed under: Rumors, Warcraft Movie

Icecrown Citadel raid weeklies activated

Icecrown Citadel is just full of news tonight. Hot on the heels of the Lich King's entire loot table being revealed, it appears that the Icecrown raid weeklies are now available. There seem to be five different raid weeklies (here's the list), existing in both 10- and 25-man versions, and they appear to be given by a different questgiver within Icecrown Citadel for each quest.

Tonight Anne, our new lore columnist, did the 25-man version of Securing the Ramparts, and she reports back that the frost giant (a special mob that appears only for the quest) was "friggen HARD" and that although they got it in a couple of tries, a PuG might have trouble. There was an interesting fight mechanic in the form of a disease debuff that must be passed to another player within 30 seconds, or else it kills the target. The original target is now immune for 30 seconds (no tagbacks, I guess).

The giant dropped no loot, but for completing the quest you get Sack of Frosty Treasures, which contains 5 Emblems of Frost, some gold, and a chance for epic gems. Has anyone else had a chance to try the new weeklies yet?

Filed under: Raiding

Lich King's loot table revealed

This is surprising: the entire loot table for the Arthas fight, on both 10 and 25-man (normal and hard, judging by the item levels) has just been posted to the Armory. Edit: the loot is also on Wowhead now, complete with 3D models. As tipster Micah noted, if this is really the whole loot table, it consists entirely of armor tokens, weapons, and Invincible's Reins (which is listed as a guaranteed drop on 25-man heroic). The focus on weapons isn't exactly new for raid end bosses, but it's interesting nonetheless.

I haven't had a chance to go through the whole list yet, but as far as I can tell, there aren't any of the nifty proc-based items we've been seeing elsewhere in Icecrown. It's pure stats on Arthas drops (though Alex points out that they all the 25-man heroic items have flavor text). Still, I wouldn't say no to a nice Tainted Twig of Nordrassil for my druid.

Which one's your favorite?

Filed under: Raiding

Have emblems ruined heroics? (Hint: no)

Ardol has made a compelling post at World of Warcraft Philosophized, a blog which I can't remember adding to my feed reader, but which I'm now glad I (evidently) did, arguing that the current emblem system has ruined heroic instances. You should go read the whole post if you can, because it's well written, but here's his argument in a nutshell, as I understand it:
  • A player who mainly runs heroics will quickly amass many Emblems of Triumph, thereby becoming easily overgeared for all but the most challenging heroics (i.e. Halls of Reflection). This makes them much less fun.
  • Raid-oriented players who are running heroics just for the two Emblems of Frost at the end are not very fun to run with.
He also proposes a solution: five-man instances should be ordered into tiers, like raids, and should award emblems on the same schedule as raids do. The first part of this suggestion is already partially implemented: Trial of the Crusader already came with Trial of the Champion, and Icecrown Citadel with the Frozen Halls trio of instances. But Ulduar did not have any attendant five-mans, and the same quality of emblems drop in every heroic (although the loot quality is differentiated).

Read more →

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blizzard launches Facebook Armory app

Earlier this evening we received a tip (thanks, Taylor) that Blizzard has launched a WoW Armory Facebook application. It promises to publish data about your WoW characters to all your Facebook buddies in real time. I figured I'd give it a spin, not so much because I want to spam my friends with it as because I'm curious what they've come up with.

You can see the results in the gallery below. Here are my brief impressions:

  • It's a bit scary that it asks you to log in with your Battle.net account, but if you look at the URL of the popup window it is in fact from us.battle.net, one of the legitimate domains. Still, I'm not sure it's good training for users for Blizzard to ask us to log in within random popups.
  • The login form does not ask for your authenticator.
  • It doesn't tell you this in the brief description, but you choose up to five characters for the app to report to your followers. It doesn't just indiscriminately report the progress of your latest bank alt.
  • By default, it publishes updates on your characters to your Facebook feed, but that box is easily unchecked (fortunately).
  • It also by default posts to your feed that you've installed the app, which is something I can't forgive a Facebook (or Twitter) developer for. If I really want to tell all my friends I'm using your app, I'll tell them. Don't do it for me. At least this too is an option that can be unchecked.
After choosing your characters and what you want to show, you may be worried that it's not working, but just give it a minute - it doesn't populate immediately. Mine started showing data in about ten minutes.

Overall, assuming they manage to make it work, if you want your Facebook friends to know about your WoW characters, this is the app for you. If not, why are you still reading this post? Anyway, I'm glad to see Blizzard following through on some of the promise the Armory has always showed, even if I don't approve of all their methods. Innovation is always welcome.

Filed under: Blizzard