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Filed under: Ranking

Guildwatch: We're over applications, too

The image above is a little tough to read, but you can probably get the gist: someone posts on the forums that secretly, he's been taking things from the guild bank and selling them off on the AH to make money for himself. He posts on his alt, supposedly, but whoops: he leaves his forum signature up. And the very next post is someone from the guild saying he's been caught red-handed, with a gkick imminent. Moral? Steal if you want, we guess, but never, ever tell. Or at least don't use your forum sig when posting on your alt.

Much more drama, downed, and recruiting news in this week's Guildwatch, which starts right after the break. We are super low in the buffer for tips, so please be sure to let us know about your guild's action in Icecrown, any recruiting you're doing, or any drama you see on the forums by sending us a quick email at guildwatch@wow.com. Thanks! Enjoy this week's column.

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Filed under: Ranking, Guilds, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

Ensidia snags world-first Tribute to Immortality

Ensidia, now of Tarren Mill-EU, reported today that they have captured the world-first A Tribute to Immortality. Considered to be one of the most difficult, if not most difficult, raiding achievements currently in the game, A Tribute to Immortality requires a perfect run of heroic Trial of the Crusader-25 with no player deaths and all 50 attempts remaining. The reward for pulling this off is the Crusader's Black Warhorse (Alliance version here), but I wouldn't expect to see too many of these running around in the near future.

I'm most impressed that they managed to get through the heroic version of Faction Champs without losing anyone, although -- as Mackzter acknowledges on the news release -- the achievement "involves a bit of luck." Congratulations to Ensidia, and best of luck to all the guilds out there working on this as well!

Filed under: Ranking, News items, Raiding, Achievements

GuildOx implements 10-man strict rankings


GuildOx sends an email to tell us that they've set up 10-man strict ratings on their guild progression website. They've always offered 10-man ratings, though a lot of guilds run both 10- and 25-man content, and it's not quite legit to stack the "10-man only" guilds up against the guilds who occasionally do 25-man content (and thus have chances at better gear, no matter how much of a difference it makes). Hence, enter the "10-man strict" ratings -- these are guilds who have not run any 25-man content, according to a set of criteria that GuildOx has put together?

What is that criteria? You won't be allowed to earn any Coliseum normal kills or Ulduar 25 hard-mode kills. You are still allowed to PuG those fights, though the limit is 10 players over time, or five in the same fight (in other words, if 10 players of your guild accomplish a kill in 25-man Coliseum, or five of them do it in the same raid, you're off the 10-man strict list). That's designed to make sure that the list stays as clean as possible. You'll have to watch recruits, too -- anyone who enters your guild with a certain achievement has it counted towards that total of 10 players as well. All the other info you need to know about the listings are over in their FAQ.

Players may find other ways around the limit (there is, of course, higher level gear now available from Emblems that 10-player guilds are still able to get), but for now, that's where GuildOx is putting the limit, so if you want to stay on the list, follow their rules. Good luck to all of the strictly 10-man guilds out there.

Filed under: Ranking, Fan stuff, Realm Status, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses, Achievements

"For the Horde" gets world-first A Tribute to Insanity-10


With the heroic versions of Trial of the Crusader going live yesterday, raiding guilds are already venturing into the more challenging versions of Tier 9. As of evening Tuesday EST, the European guild For the Horde has claimed a world-first A Tribute to Insanity-10 (a no-wipe full clear of the instance) on 10-man heroic Trial. Unfortunately, I don't speak German so I might be missing some of the finer points related on their website (anyone who can shed more light on this, please drop a comment!) but it looks like they weren't deliberately aiming for the achievement until they reached Anub'arak with all 50 attempts remaining, and then decided to go for it. Next in achievement progression? A Tribute to Dedicated Insanity -- repeating it without any gear from 25-man ToC, which is broadly equivalent to the Herald of the Titans achievement. Ouch.

Boubouille at MMO Champion has since confirmed that the Swift Horde Wolf and its Alliance counterpart the Swift Alliance Steed are drops from the tribute chest upon completion of the no-wipe clear, and it's quite possible that the mounts also drop from the 25-man version as well. However, I doubt we'll be seeing A Tribute to Insanity-25 this week, as none of the guilds doing the heroic-25 mode have reported a wipe-free experience thus far.

We'll keep an eye on guild progression for you, and congratulations to For the Horde!

Filed under: Realm News, Ranking, Guilds, News items, Raiding, Achievements

BlizzCon 2009: An interview with Vasco


Vasco, the digital security company that makes authenticators for Blizzard, has actually been at BlizzCon for a few years now (last year, they gave away yo-yos, and this year, they were responsible for all of those blue glowsticks floating around). But this is the first year we decided to stop by their booth and chat with them, and it's a good thing we did: Will LaSala, Director of Services, gave us a lot of good insight into how Vasco's relationship with Blizzard came about, just what the system behind the Authenticator looks like, and how the mobile authenticator app fits into all of this.

He was kind enough to give us a short interview, and you can read it right after the break.

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Filed under: Items, Ranking, Features, BlizzCon, Hardware

Upper Deck awards TCG and minis North American Continental Champions

I spent my Saturday out at Gen Con in Indianapolis, and while I did hunt down some of the World of Warcraft action there, there was just too much going on to pay attention to the 2009 North American Continental Championships for the WoW minis and TCGs, which took place right there in the TCG hall. Fortunately, the official site covered it all, so if you're a fan of the trading card game and want to know who the best current players in North America are, there you go.

On the TCG side, Corey Burkhart took the top spot by playing a Troll Shaman deck for the win. In the minis competition, Michael Allen picked up the big prize. The official site has lots more information, including rundowns of each match, standings for each round, and even a Facebook album full of photos.

The winners picked up thousands of dollars in prizes (including a 17" MacBook Pro and a 30" Apple monitor for Corey), and all of these guys will all compete in the World Championships, to be held in Austin, Texas this October (that prize goes up to a whopping $100,000 overall, so the stakes can get big). Congratulations to all the winners -- sounds like it was a rousing event there in Indy, and Upper Deck is probably on their way as we speak off to meet with us later this week at BlizzCon.

Filed under: Ranking, Contests, WoW TCG

Raid Rx: Raid bosses that brought healers to their knees - Part 1


Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. Ever wondered what were the hardest fights to heal in the game? Based solely on my opinion and experience, here's a list counting down from number 10 to number 6.

Different raid bosses had different ways to challenge healers. Tanks and DPS players had to worry about their own position, damage output, threat, and other abilities. Healers were focused more on keeping the rest of the raid alive through varying levels of damage and attacks.

This is a multi-part article where I take a look at some of the most tear inducing raid bosses that the game has to offer. This week features number 10 to number 6!

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Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Shaman, Ranking, Raiding, Lore, Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

We Have a Tabard: The green-eyed monster


Congratulations! You've bested the bosses in 25-man Naxx and Kel'Thuzad is dead. You have one last trial to deal with: distributing loot. He drops Cape of the Unworthy Wizard, Betrayer of Humanity, Crown of the Lost Protector, and Crown of the Lost Vanquisher- and everybody wants a piece.

There's something "Lord of the Flies"-esque about the way that Blizzard drops loot and then allows players to decide who gets it. DKP, Loot Council, Biggest Upgrade, Two Token, simple rolls. Every system is flawed. Someone is going to walk away unhappy. For GMs/RLs I give you this advice: be fair, be consistent, and brace yourselves. Odds are good, someone is going to be unhappy and you're going to have to deal with it.

But this column isn't for GMs/RLs. Jealousy, the green eyed monster is one of the worst adversaries in WoW. Guilds have fallen apart over loot decisions and overall loot practices. In most cases leadership tries to be fair- with an eye on progression. A good GM doesn't play favorites when it comes to loot. With good leadership, you can count on decisions that strengthen the team as a whole.

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Filed under: Ranking, Guilds, Features, Raiding, (Guild Leadership) We Have a Tabard

Online gaming up in the US

Our economy may still be pretty much in the gutter, but one industry is still going strong. If you glanced at what site you were reading this on and guessed "online gaming," congrats! You win a gold star. Here you go: .

Anyway, according to this industry report featured on GameSpot, online gaming overall (including MMOs, in turn including WoW) was up 22% year-over-year in May 2009. 87.1 million people were estimated to game online in the USA, an impressive 28% of our estimated total population.

Of course, a huge chunk of this is browser-based games (think Bejeweled or Yahoo! Games). WoW is apparently the 21st most popular "online locale," clocking in at 2.2 million US visitors. Still, I'd say 21st isn't bad for a game with a subscription fee; 2.2 million players at $15 a month is $33 million a month (assuming the each have exactly one account). The next-closest MMO, according to this report, is RuneScape, at 202,000 players. Really? Aren't there other MMOs with more than that?

Anyway, online gaming, like online everything else, is on the rise. Single-player, localized games are starting to feel positively quaint, although I still think Chrono Trigger is the best computer RPG of all time.

Filed under: Ranking, News items

Ensidia downs Yogg-Saron


It was inevitable that someone would down Yogg-Saron pretty quickly, and less than twenty four hours after the patch went live European guild Ensidia have claimed World First on the Death God. Given the non-linear progression into Ulduar, a lot of other guilds were able to pull off world firsts on other bosses. It also seems that Ensidia was focusing on clearing Ulduar in normal mode, as none of their kills were done on hard mode. This means we're unlikely to see Algalon downed this week (not by Ensidia, anyway).

While it came as no surprise that someone killed him, what surprised me was that it was Ensidia. I was betting on Vodka (can I get a 'for the Alliance!' from anyone?) and that they managed to do it while many of the EU realms were having stability issues. Of course, it should be noted that Ensidia was the same guild that cleared all Wrath content three days after its release (they hadn't decided on a name yet).

Boubouille over at MMO Champion has a full raid list and info on some of the loot that dropped, including a rather nice cloak and a piece of that legendary healer mace.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Ranking, Guilds, News items, Raiding, Bosses, Weird But True, Opinions, New In Pop Culture

The Daily Quest: Of keybindings, attunement quests and WoW's role in saving the planet


The Daily Quest continues to provide links to great WoW-related news around the Internets.

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Priest, Rogue, Warrior, Ranking, News items, Arena, The Daily Quest

Australian AG: MMOs like WoW must be classified

The good folks over at the OC (don't call it that) Register's Blizzard blog have gotten some more information about that recent flap with many MMOs being unrated and thus legally unable to be sold there. They talked to Daniel Gleeson of the Australian Attorney General's department, and he said that yes, the MMO games like World of Warcraft will have to be rated to be sold in the country. But he also reiterated what we'd heard a little while after Massively posted their story: that games were still being sold on store shelves, regardless of the actual legal tangles.

The Blizzard Blog also spoke with the IEAA, the classification board down there for games, and they were told the same thing that Massively was: while the board thought that MMOs did not require a rating, it has since become clear that they do. The difference, says the AG guy, is that the IEAA believed that "games" like WoW were actually services, not games, and thus didn't fall into the classification system.

But now it's clear to everyone that they do, so we'll expect to see the IEAA pass out a rating for World of Warcraft and the other MMOs on sale down there, and then this will all be over. It's interesting to note that ratings may be a very cultural thing -- here in America, ratings are pretty strictly issued by the ESRB, partially because the videogame industry is worried about governement intervention in the system (if the industry can't police themselves, angry parents may ask the government to step in). But in Australia, the government obviously seems largely unconcerned about the ratings. Then again, Aussies aren't completely laid back about everything having to do with MMOs.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ranking, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Alternatives to WoWJutsu

It's very, very rare that pioneers are actually the best at what they do. They have great ideas, and those ideas revolutionize their field... but they're just ideas, concepts. It's not long before someone else improves those initial concepts and makes them the new standard. This more or less describes the situation around WoWJutsu.

WoWJutsu was once the number one guild ranking website, tracking progression, boss kills and all of that great stuff. Unfortunately, it hasn't kept up with the times. WoWJutsu's tracking relies on the Armory, crawling the whole thing and using gear that characters have equipped to determine progress. In order for your guild's Malygos kill to be marked down, members of your guild need to have Malygos drops on their Armory profile. This is the only way, as far as I know, that WoWJutsu will list your kill.

What does that mean? Well, it implies that guild progression isn't tracked properly at all. The first guild on a server to clear all of the content can easily come in third or fourth or twelfth on the ranking list. If your armory page doesn't update right away, that alone is going to throw your guild's progression record off. As minor as it may seem, it actually has some bad side effects, specifically when it comes to recruitment. If you claim your guild has cleared the hardest content in the game when you're looking for applicants, and people check WoWJutsu to make sure you're not making false claims... well, WoWJutsu's inaccuracies could imply that you're lying, when you're not at all. It's damaging.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ranking, Fan stuff, Raiding

AchievementTracker tracks achievements across the realms

Reader Jeffrey R. was kind enough to send us his achievement tracking site, named (conveniently) AchievementTracker.com. We've seen quite a few sites for tracking achievements on your own character out there already (especially since the Armory opened up the information to the web), but unlike the others, AchievementTracker seems to be focusing on ranking only -- instead of browsing over your own information, all the site really presents is a list of the top players in the world, US, EU, or by the various realms.

There are a few caveats, the first being that they're only tracking characters above level 70, and the second being that they're not tracking everyone -- I had to put my own character into the system (though that won't matter if you're just looking for the top players, since I would never even rank on any lists anyone was watching). And while WoW-Achievements has Beelsebub of EU Darksorrow at number one and Minipuff of EU Stormscale in second place so far, AchievementTracker has them backwards (and their point totals are lower -- maybe Armory lag?).

And of course we don't know for sure if there's someone on the realms that neither of these sites are tracking with more achievement points (it may be worth noting, too, that beyond Armory links, neither site tells us much about the characters -- is there a class or spec that's better for achievement point earning?). It'll probably take a little while until we can get a standard for tracking these, but until then, looks like we'll have a few different lists to watch.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Ranking, Virtual selves, Blizzard, Leveling, Achievements

MaxDPS.com maps out your DPS gear

On Saturday's Gear Wishlist post, a few people brought up a site that was mentioned in the item weighting choices there: MaxDPS.com. And later that day, Dan Hyde himself, maker of the site, emailed asking us to take a look at it. It's been around for quite a while (and quite a few of our readers already like and use it), but this was the first time I'd really inspected it -- turns out it's a pretty complicated gear guide that's aimed at one thing: maxing out your DPS.

In fact, that's the only thing it does -- there are no options, for instance, for Resto Shammies or Holy Priests (although Dan is working on healing gear rankings -- Holy Paladin is one of the newer options). All the site does is look at the stats on gear (and your own stats, if you punch them in), and then rank all the gear in the game to tell you how much DPS that piece will let you turn out. And if that's your goal, the thing can be pretty helpful -- I saw a few quest pieces on my Hunter that I could pretty easily upgrade to if I just wanted to up my DPS by about 10 or so.

The only problem, of course, is that it's DPS only -- if you want to put together a set that is all about plus healing, or max out Intellect for whatever reason, you're still going to have to parse the gear that shows up in the ranks (which is one reason I liked Gear Wishlist so much -- you can rank for MaxDPS, or switch the rank over to item level or the Wowhead ratings for each piece). But once you've figured out what you want your character's main goal to be with gear at endgame, all of these sites will do their best to provide suggestions for upgrades to you, from all the stuff available in quests and PvP at level 70, up to the highest pieces you can find in endgame raiding.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, How-tos, Ranking, Guides, Buffs

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