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Filed under: Expansions

Breakfast Topic: Caught between a rock

For a while I wasn't sure if I'd continue playing World of Warcraft into the next expansion. I was by no means planning on giving up my gaming habit, but I really felt like I was ready for something new: either another MMO or one of the latest generation consoles. Many pros and cons were weighed, and I have decided to stick with WoW for at least one more expansion. It was a difficult decision for me but in the end it was the rocks that won me over.

Yes, the rocks.

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Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Humor, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm, Archaeology

No sanctuary cities in Cataclysm

We heard about this last year at BlizzCon but Zarhym has reaffirmed that Cataclysm will not feature any new capital cities that are considered a sanctuary. There will not be a new Shattrath or Dalaran. I personally believe its safe to assume that the present faction capital cities will see a few facelifts. Maybe a small cave in or something at Ironforge? Perhaps a toppled tower in Stormwind?

I'll be happier for not having to share city space with Horde players. Actually, now that I think about it, no more "Lagaran!" Perhaps I won't disconnect every once in a while when I fly in to the city during peak hours. For me, I'll be running circles around the Stormwind bank steps. But since Dalaran has portals to all the major cities, it wouldn't surprise me if it continues to be the major transportation hub of choice for players looking to travel around the world.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions

You are not invited to the Cataclysm alpha

In the wake of yesterday's rumor that the Cataclysm Friends and Family alpha will be starting this Tuesday, January 12, we should expect an increase in scammers trying to get your account details by offering phony alpha invites. We saw a lot of these for both Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King as well, and some of them were very well crafted.

At this phase of Cataclysm's development, though, it will be comparatively easy to keep yourself safe. Since this is a friends and family alpha, if you don't have friends or family that work at Blizzard, you will not get an invite. Therefore, anyone offering you one is trying to pull a scam. Basically, everyone who's going to be getting legitimate access to the alpha should know who they are already. Everyone else, sit tight and stay tuned to WoW.com for the latest on WoW's next chapter.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Expansions, Account Security, Cataclysm

Crimson Halls, next wing of Icecrown Citadel opens in two weeks

Bornakk has confirmed that the next wing of the Icecrown Citadel, Crimson Halls, opens in two weeks. The next one after that will be Frostwing Halls.

According to Blizzard:
The Crimson Hall contains the leaders of the San'layn, undead blood elves who oversee the Scourge's operations throughout Azeroth. The blood-princes Valanar, Keleseth, and Taldaram were raised into undeath by the Lich King to avenge themselves while protecting their blood-queen, Lana'thel.
Plagueworks has just opened today, starring Professor Putricide and his buddies, Festergut and Rotface. And before you have time to yawn at the lack of new challenging content, the next wing will be open.

We'll keep you updated on any details, as usual.

Filed under: News items, Instances, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

The Wrath you never saw

As we're heading towards the final confrontation with the Lich King and the end of this chapter of the World of Warcraft saga, we end up reminded of how much of Wrath of the Lich King was designed and never used, or used sparingly, or even resurrected later, fittingly enough. But not only do we have loads of models that either weren't used at all or were used later in places completely unrelated to where they were supposed to drop, we have entire zones that either didn't happen at all, or did but which don't seem to go anywhere.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Leveling, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: The Warrior of 2009

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is WoW.com's column about aromatic essential oils for use in baths and to spruce up the house. Unfortunately I don't know anything about those so I'm going to have to talk about playing a warrior in World of Warcraft instead. My hands are tied, I'm afraid.

Wow, that was a year, huh? From the dizzying highs of fury spec in Naxxramas to the somewhat less dizzying highs of Ulduar, arms' constant evolution and protection spec's astonishing makeover as the expansion launched, 2009 was a year that saw warriors sway from top DPS and solid tanks as if in some kind of gale force wind. Armor Penetration went from a stat we'd take if we had to and is now one of our top DPS stats, Block got a makeover that led to changes in how abilities like Shield Block and Shield Slam calculate, and in general we saw the effects of stat inflation on gear really have an effect on us and how we stack up to other classes as tanks and DPS. If you were a tanking warrior in Naxx on January 1st. 2009, for example, you may have had upwards of 35k health. (To be honest, it's hard for me to remember, it may have gotten up to 38k if you stacked stamina.) Now, a geared TotGC tank walking into ICC can pretty easily hit 54 to 55k health fully raid buffed.

And it's only going up from here. Icecrown Citadel promises much improved itemization as well as crazy old school procs that should have warriors, be they DPS or tanks, salivating.

Warriors have definitely had their ups and downs this year, but I think we can say we're ending the year on a fairly high note. Fury DPS has managed to get back to a competitive place with the new weapons, arms still lags behind but has solid PvP and PvE uses, and protection is quite possibly the single strongest tanking class by virtue of sheer flexibility: other tanks may have more health, more armor, or more AoE threat, but protection's suite of abilities includes standouts like Shockwave, Vigilance, Spell Reflection and Warbringer, making it possibly #2 in every single tanking category when no class can claim to be #1 in them all. Let's look at some changes and how they shook out for warriors.

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Filed under: Warrior, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Expansions, The Burning Crusade, BlizzCon, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Wrath of the Lich King

Totem Talk: The Shaman of 2009

2009 has been a year of almost continuous changes for shamans. It seems that not a patch has gone by without some changes to the class, some major, some not so severe. The class has seen mysterious DPS shortfalls, a minor controversy about health in PvP that then carried over into PvE content with the high levels of AoE damage in Ulduar with patch 3.1. Flametongue Weapon saw changes to prevent enhancement shamans from using caster weapons. Resto got a fairly substantial review and some significant tweaks. Elemental also saw some talents redesigned.

While all of this was going on, shamans also saw some controversy about itemization, gear scaling and having to share caster mail between two specs that value different stats, as well as the constant battle with holy paladins to keep their grubby, grasping mitts off of our mail. Yeah, we know you don't want that MP5 plate, but since you're the only ones who can possibly get anything out of it, go away and leave our precious alone. (Cue the pages of discussion on why it's perfectly acceptable for holy paladins to take caster mail and explanations in detail of why I'm an inhuman monster who drowns fish. Yes, fish, That's how evil I am.)

Now that we've got the pleasantries out of the way (remind me to tell you the story of the year my mom beat Santa Claus up in front of the extended family) we move on to shamans in 2009.

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Filed under: Shaman, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Expansions, Classes, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: When you were there

From time to time it occurs to me that my character, were I a better roleplayer, has actually been to a whole lot of places. He's seen a ridiculous amount of things and would have a really hard time settling down on a farm somewhere on Azeroth or whatever it is old adventurers do when they're tired of killing old gods, elemental monstrosities, Dragon Aspects, ancient liches, and Illidan Stormrage, to name just a few.

It really occurred to me on a visit to Darnassus, in fact, to turn in the quest "A Cautious Return" that I should be able to do more than just hand the dude a note. I mean, I killed Illidan! I've kicked Kil'Jaeden's butt back down the Sunwell myself! I went back in time and fought Archimonde. (By the way, Tyrande, thanks for the slow fall item and all.) Lore wise, I've pretty much seen everything at this point and soon, I'll be running off to fight Arthas. You'd think I could say "hey, take it easy" to that Sentinel for the poor guy.

When you think about all our characters have seen (even new characters leveled from 1 to 80 with this expansion have traveled to an alien world and then to a frozen wasteland stuffed with titan relics and undead like the worst pizza crust ever) these are some really experienced folks (hence that bar on your interface, I guess) and I find myself wondering what kind of stories they'd tell. So now I ask you, what stories would your character tell? What lore moments were the ones you think he or she would be more moved by, impressed by, or pleased to have been a part of? For that matter, which ones were the best for you as a player?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Bosses, Wrath of the Lich King

Worgen starting zone preview from Scrolls of Lore

In lieu of providing any new information on Cataclysm in the wake of BlizzCon, Blizzard's been showing the goblin and worgen starting zones at a lot of major gaming conventions, which means a good handful of players have had the chance to try them out. Nostra from popular lorecrafting site Scrolls of Lore is one of those handfuls, and they've written up a fantastic walkthrough of the worgen starting zone, starting from your character's royal connections and subsequent infection and culminating in Deathwing's cataclysm.

What's not explained (so far, likely because no one's able to get that far yet) are how the night elves play into the whole worgen "thing" as shown in the Cataclysm trailer, but there's still a lot of new information on phasing, quests, and scenery in Gilneas besides what we've already covered, as well as accompanying photos. It's definitely worth a read.

Hopefully Blizzard will continue to fill in more blanks in the worgen storyline as we get closer to the expansion's release, or maybe even update the Cataclysm site more than once every four months. In the meantime we can rely on sites like Scrolls of Lore to give us exhaustive previews of public demos like this one.

Thanks, Nostra!

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Expansions, Cataclysm, Worgen

Know Your Lore: Ner'zhul


Welcome back to Know Your Lore, WoW.com's column about the story behind the game we all play.

We talked last week about Quel'Delar, a sword of emerging lore, and the week before that we covered Darion Mograine, a pivotal figure to Death Knights and part of the reason we're fighting in Northrend. This week, however, we're kicking our look at the lore of Wrath of the Lich King in the caboose with a look at possibly the most reviled orc to ever live. Sure, he probably wasn't the most evil orc ever (Gul'dan wins that one in a walk, boy howdy) but for sheer staying power and for having a role in the genocide of the orcs against the draenei, the sundering of Draenor into Outland, and for being the first Lich King, you really have to hand it to Ner'zhul. Here's an orc who manages to pop up a lot in the lore.

If you did the Howling Fjord quests for the Alliance and made the mistake of walking too close to a certain King of the Liches (and other undead things) he delivers a line of dialog that perfectly explains why we're talking about Ner'zhul today. Before Arthas, there was Ner'zhul. Like Arthas, Ner'zhul wanted to save his people, to be a hero, to be respected and powerful. Like Arthas, Ner'zhul lost sight of the truth as he sought to achieve his goals. Unlike Arthas, however, Ner'zhul turned his face away from ultimate evil once he recognized it for what it was... but too late, far too late, and found himself damned for his hubris, forced to watch his apprentice do every evil thing he himself had refused to do.

It was the first prison for Ner'zhul, but it would not be the last.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Wrath of the Lich King

World of Warcraft and Battle Chest on sale for Black Friday

Yes indeed, this Friday is none other than Black Friday, which means the deals will be aplenty, the crowds will be horrendous, and the holiday money drain will begin (of course, you could go with Buy Nothing Day, but that seems a little too grinchy to me -- why not go ahead and buy while the buying's good?). Fortunately, there are a few WoW deals floating around out there, in case you need to pick up a copy of the game for a loved one (or that Recruit-a-friend account you've been planning to make).

The regular WoW vanilla game (useful for leveling to 60, but if you want to go past that, you'll have to buy the expansions) is on sale in a few places for super cheap -- the Ladies of Leet saw it at Best Buy for just five bucks, and Gamestop's matching that price. Gamestop also will have the Battle Chest (with WoW and BC and a few other goodies) for $19.99, and Newegg has the same price if you don't want to fight the crowds. Unfortunately, there's no sign of Wrath on sale -- you'll still have to pony up the $40 if that's the one you want. But stay tuned in the comments -- if readers can find better prices on this stuff, we're sure you'll see them below. Good luck out there, happy deal finding.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions

Potential character model revisions in Cataclysm

WoW's fifth anniversary and the interviews surrounding it have ended up providing us with some previously-unknown tidbits of information -- which is a good thing, especially when it comes to stuff we've been wanting to hear about for a long time.

This particular tidbit comes from the Warcry network interview with J. Allen Brack and Samwise Didier about the game's anniversary, and it's about a subject near and dear to our constantly-complaining hearts: new character models. They might even be coming in Cataclysm.

Says Brack:
"Even though things would be better with new (character) models, we'd probably spark a lot of player outrage. So we've talked about giving players a choice between the classic models or the new ones, but it might not be something we want to take on at the same time as we remake Azeroth."
That's pretty big news.

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Filed under: News items, Expansions, Interviews, Cataclysm

IgroMir 2009: Goblin gameplay footage


More Cataclysm footage is trickling onto the internet from IgroMir 2009, Russia's huge gaming convention, and there was a beautifully clear (well, compared to what we usually see) video of early Goblin gameplay that merited some attention here. I have to confess; I wasn't initially enthusiastic about Blizzard's choice for a new Horde race, even if Goblins do make sense from a lore perspective. But after trawling through so many videos of their early questing experience in the Lost Isles, I'm sold. Female Goblins still aren't playable yet, but their male counterparts have some awesome casting animations and an incredibly endearing sort of waddly run. They just look so interesting and dynamic doing anything that now I'm torn over which class to roll, although I can't really take their 2H special attack seriously, so it'll probably be a caster-class of some sort. I enjoyed Necrolord_Bob's answer to our poll on which Goblin class to roll: "Priest! Priest of the Holy Temple of BOOM!"

We didn't think that Blizzard would tolerate any Cataclysm footage floating around YouTube for long, but it looks like the earlier Worgen video we posted is still up. That said, don't bank on these (or the related videos) being around for long.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Horde, Analysis / Opinion, Machinima, WoW Social Conventions, Expansions, Goblin

Arcane Brilliance: Mage leveling guide, 59-68

It's time once again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that would like to thank its readers profusely for the deluge of screenshots it received last week. Arcane Brilliance sent out the call, and you guys responded in droves. There were so many, in fact, that it was an impossible task to select just one for the column. Arcane Brilliance finally went with this one, apparently of an undead pimp of some type, simply because it made Arcane Brilliance chuckle. Also, the column this week is about leveling through Outland, and this is a pretty good representation of how your mage will look throughout that leg of the journey: like the mutant love-child of the entire cast of Saved by the Bell.

Seriously... you guys are awesome. Sooooooo many good pictures to use. I may have to start writing like 12 of these a week, just to have an excuse to use all of them. Thanks again, and keep them coming. Even if I don't get to use them, I just enjoy browsing through them. So many mages, so little time.

Last week, our mage leveling guide hit level 58 and fled vanilla WoW for the alien landscapes of Outland. This week, we'll tackle the 10 levels your mage will be spending there, amongst the hellboars, sporebats, and ravagers.

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Filed under: Mage, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Quests, Expansions, Features, The Burning Crusade, Leveling, Guides, Classes, Talents, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

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