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Filed under: Tauren

Tattooed for the Horde

I can't say that I'm the biggest fan of tattoos out there, but that is a nice tattoo -- xstitchfla's son Christopher got it on his arm just recently, and clearly he's flying the Horde flag proudly. It took about five hours to put on there, which seems like it would hurt a lot, but then again, Hordies can take it, right?

Christopher is also headed off to Iraq next year, too, so we wish him the best of luck and hope that he stays safe.

And while we're at it, just what is it with the Horde and WoW tattoos? Seems like every picture we see is of the Orc/Tauren/Troll/Blood Elf/Forsaken variety. Aren't there any Humans, Gnomes or Dwarves out there getting inked up?

Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Wrath of the Lich King, Fan art

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Druid

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the nineteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

Nature is a system of life energy in constant flow, peaceful one moment and turbulent the next. All living things draw their life from it, and depend upon its balance for their existence. Druids are the protectors of this balance, who harness the energies it contains and try to live their lives according to its laws and principles. In this way, they become intimate members of the natural system, embodying the very force that they seek to protect. The druid is not merely a spellcaster who draws on nature to do cool stuff -- he is nature, in himself, completely one with it in every way. The world is his body, and he is an inseparable part of the whole.

It can be rather hard for those of us living in the concrete jungles of modern city life to get a feeling for what nature really is, or what it feels like to be a part of it. Perhaps if you have ever ventured off the paved highway into the distant reaches of the world, you will know the feeling of connection to the greatness of the natural world in which the human race evolved, long, long ago in a state of mind far, far away from billboards and electronic devices, pop culture and prime-time TV programming. It may no longer be possible for human beings to simply return to its ancient state, nor would that necessarily be a good thing. Today, people look out at the world outside the closed-off bubble of material civilization and wonder their new relationship with the ancient balance of nature could be.

To play a druid in WoW as a class in a game is one thing, but to try and get inside the druid worldview and understand what they might be thinking is something else. To start, it would help to look inside ourselves and see what sort of connection to nature exists there. Is there a balance? What would balance look like? How would it feel to be in complete harmony with the natural world? What would it be like to channel all the power of nature through your body or indeed feel the world itself as an extension of your body?

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

The Queue: High Elves, great race or greatest race?


Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
I have to admit, there were one idea brought up in the comments yesterday that I'm completely in support of: Kael'thas returning as a Lich. Hell. Yes. Not aligned with the Scourge, but self-fueled and up to his own machinations again. Kael'thas has been one of my favorite villains, watching his fall into desperation through WCIII and The Burning Crusade. Lich Kael would own so hard.

That's enough of that, though. On with the questions!

Leprakahn asked...

I remember reading during Wrath beta that at the end of inscription scribes were going to get a 7th glyph slot, what happened to that? Did it get scrapped completely or will it come with a later patch?

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King, Inscription, The Queue

Mount race restrictions lifted, Tauren rejoice

As the newest member of the WoW Insider team, I thought it'd be a good idea to introduce myself before diving right into news, news, news. We might not be total strangers, though! I was the blue poster formerly known as Belfaire (the talbuk). A good number of you may be familiar with my work already, and may have even wondered where I'd gone off to in the past two months. Now you know!

That's right--I've given up the animated avatar and moved on to greener pastures. I'm still the same incorrigible talbuk you knew, though, and my unique experiences make me a real...WoW insider.

With the obligatory terrible puns out of the way, let's talk shop, yeah?

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Filed under: Tauren, Patches, News items, Factions, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Horde Warrior

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirteenth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The Warrior is not merely a well-trained fighter who loves his weapons and armor and takes great care to wield them well -- inside each one is a boiling cauldron of rage and passion. By and large, warriors feel at home on the battlefield because it is the one place where they can express themselves, where they can finally let go of all the restraint society imposes on them and unleash all their emotions. Without his raging passion, a person would be much better suited to some calmer form of work -- it is this unquenchable fire which sustains a warrior, driving him into action in the midst of mortal peril.

Alliance warriors tend to focus more on training and weapon mastery, sometimes downplaying their rage so much that you hardly even see it. Some warriors like this (even in the Horde sometimes) may be so stoic that even they do not believe that they have any emotions whatsoever, although I doubt anyone who watched them fight could really agree. Something's got to make you willing to put on all that armor and risk death every day.

But Horde warriors are more likely to display their rage, bloodlust, and other aggressive emotions much more freely. Of course, it's possible that a Horde warrior could have a collection of stuffed animals, write poetry, and even play hopscotch with children, but their rage lurks deep within, and the essence of their profession is to let it loose.

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Warrior, Blood Elves, Lore, Guides, RP, Classes, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Yes, that 2H mace makes you look fat


Important news for all 20 of you playing female Tauren out there (of whom Robin Torres and I are two, so I guess it's for the other 18); beware the port to Lake Wintergrasp from Dalaran when your faction controls the fortress. Our reader Amalline wrote in to let us know that an unfortunate bug from the beta concerning the room you're ported to has made its way to the live realms. And by "unfortunate bug," I mean "hilarious joke for all those of you not playing female Tauren" -- you can't get out the door.

Those who have played female Tauren since World of Warcraft classic will recognize this as the latest iteration of the old and equally annoying "I can't get into Molten Core!" bug. Now, while I personally have no intention whatsoever of entering Wintergrasp (which, given my previous track record on such resolutions, means that one of my more sadistic friends will make sure I get stuck there within 2 weeks), I realize that there may be people among the remaining 18 worldwide players with an itch to go an ungainly killin' spree. If I were you, I would plan on being solidly part of the defense for the time being.

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, PvP, Humor, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds

Shifting Perspectives: Let my kitties go!


Every Tuesday/Wednesday/some sort of day occurring midweek, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert yanks John Patricelli's column again, hoping to make good on a threat previously made concerning her "dissatisfaction" with Tauren cat form. And by dissatisfaction she might mean something else.

I'll level with you; we have a huge Druid post in the pipeline that's going to round up the changes to the class in Wrath, new talents, new skills, new everything, and frankly I'm sick to death about reading or writing anything having to do with the expansion. So, just to buck the overwhelming trend that threatens to drive us all to the nuthouse, I'm going to turn to a topic that's plagued Druids for a while.

By this I mean the perennial form issue, something that my Druid colleagues on the blog have previously termed the Same Old Animal Posterior, or SOAP. But it's one that we've been given reason to believe will change in...Wrath. Well, that didn't last long. You'll note that David's article was written in October 2007, more than a year ago, but the same thing could have been posted in 2006 as well. Druid forms haven't changed since launch*, and while they were never really at the cutting edge of Blizzard's art direction as a result**, they look more and more shabby in relation to the higher-polygon models and landscapes. As everything around you gets better and better -- more evocative lighting, more intricate details, fantastic animation -- it's hard not to feel a strange sense of displacement as you shift into a 2004 form within a 2008 game.

But at long last we may see Druid form customization, an overhaul to the default forms themselves, or possibly (hopefully?) both.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Features, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Ask a Beta Tester: Spectral gryphons, prospecting, and portals


Only six-ish days of Ask a Beta Tester left! Whatever will we do!? Well, we'll go on with our lives probably. I mean, we'll have Wrath of the Lich King. Who cares?
ahmed ahmed asked...

Have you heard anything about ghosts being able to go through mountains in WotLK, so they can reach their destinations faster? My friend told me that is what is going to happen, and I hope that it will go live!

Nope, that's not the case, sorry. However, in some zones (Icecrown, Storm Peaks) you get to ride a ghostly gryphon when you're dead, so you can fly to your corpse. Both of those zones have a huge emphasis on mountainside base camps and tall cliffs and places you can only get by flying, so the gryphon is very nice. No running through mountains though.

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Filed under: Human, Gnomes, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Jewelcrafting, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: Moonkin in 3.02 and beyond

Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer realizes that nobody writing about moonkin DPS on the internet agrees with each other, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert, having Hibernated John Patricelli and run away as fast as her laser-chicken legs will carry her, examines the new moonkin talents and glyphs in 3.02 and Wrath.

I do apologize about the wait here, folks. There's been a lot of contradictory information from both the beta and an array of Druid bloggers on how moonkin are shaping up for Wrath. While a lot of this is just the normal ebb and flow of changes in the alpha and beta, most of it is fueled by a few new talents and the set of glyphs that will become available. All of these have the potential to seriously impact your gameplay and rotation choices, so Balance DPS is going to be (at least, from current appearances) a lot twitchier and more proc-dependent than its counterpart in the feral tree. In addition, you'll probably have to make a few hard choices that will be affected by what your raid's going to need from you (although there is a truly amazing talent deep in the balance tree that, no matter what else you pick, is going to be a significant raid DPS contribution). As Balance is the only spec that I haven't gotten to raid on, I didn't want to go live with this until trying to figure out which pieces of information were accurate and which ones weren't. Bear in mind that Blizzard is still tinkering with Balance as I write this.

For the guide to feral in 3.02, head here; for the guide to resto in 3.02, head here. You'll probably want to be familiar with the resto changes, as balance has traditionally depended on a few key talents in that tree, some of which have changed. Otherwise, read on for a comprehensive look at balance's new talents, updated skills, and glyphs!

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, Expansions, Raiding, Guides, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Survival Instincts

Survival Instincts is one of the surviving (har!) aspects of the now-defunct 51-point Berserk talent in the feral tree (the other is the new version of Berserk, which we discussed here). It's fairly straightforward; for 11 points in the feral tree and a 5-minute cooldown, you get 30% of your maximum health in bear or cat form for 20 seconds. Essentially it's Last Stand for Druids, albeit a Last Stand with a significantly shorter cooldown.

During 5-mans in the beta while tanking, I saw an HP boost into the 26-27K range from a health pool of 19-20K. That's certainly nothing to sneeze at and it's situationally useful, although it'll probably find better and more consistent application under the same circumstances in which Last Stand's typically popped, i.e. progression raid content and/or "Oh S**T!" moments. The latter is particularly welcome as Druids have often complained about bear form's worrying lack of options in the event of an emergency. As many Warriors will tell you, proper use of the ability involves letting your healers know both when you've popped the ability and when it ends. Mods like OptiTaunt can relay this information automatically, but you can also macro it if need be.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Skill Mastery: Berserk

Berserk, the new 51-point talent in the Druid's Feral tree is...what day is it? Thursday? They change it a lot. Anyway, the talent originally combined elements of The Beast Within with Last Stand, but they've disengaged the +health component and made it a separate talent entitled Survival Instinct. The talent that remains affects both Bear and Cat form and does the following:
  • Mangle (Bear) will automatically hit up to 3 targets and is spammable (i.e. no cooldown)
  • Cat form abilities cost 50% less energy
  • Breaks Fear and makes you immune for the duration of Berserk
Berserk lasts for 15 seconds and Tiger's Fury is unusable while it's active, at least in the talent's current form. But odds are pretty good you'll be too busy rolling your face across the keyboard and shouting, "Faster, pussycat! Kill! Kill!!" to notice this.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Guides, Classes, Wrath of the Lich King

Barrens Chat: Spoiled Rotten


So, this is somewhat of a spoiler strip. It is something that has been mentioned and posted in previous articles, but just in case you skipped those for obvious reasons, you probably should skip this, also.

That being said, I noticed while drawing this out and looking at a screen shot of Thrall that he looks like a green, balding version of the Geico cavemen. With big teeth, of course. Maybe it's just me.

I know I've started doing them on the computer entirely again, but I uh... misplaced my drawing paper. When I get paid this Friday maybe I'll go pick up more, but that's a really long drive to the nearest art store.

Possible alternate text for a couple of the panels after the jump!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Humor, Comics, Barrens Chat

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a tauren

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the sixth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class well, without embarrassing yourself.

The first cultural influence you'll probably think of when you see the tauren and walk around in their villages is "Native American." That's fine as far as it goes, but you should remember that they're mainly based on the stereotypical image of what Native Americans are rather than their actual reality. I'm hardly an expert on Native Americans, however, so rather than try and speak for these differences, I'm just going to put the whole issue aside and take tauren as tauren rather than parallels to any human culture. Besides, aside from certain aspects of architecture, music, clothing, and mythology, the tauren are really their own species. They are quite general enough to remind us of all kinds of different cultures around the world, many of whom cherish the earth, revere their ancestors, and try to live in harmony with the world.

Some people say that the tauren are the noblest and most peaceful of the races in World of Warcraft, but for most of their history, they have been at war with the vicious centaur -- though not by choice. The centaur have always been very hostile towards tauren, driving them out of their ancestral homelands, slaughtering them and even cannibalizing them whenever possible. In a way, the centaur seem like four-legged versions of the nastier trolls who never joined the Horde. When Thrall came to Kalimdor and encountered the tauren in the midst of their struggle against the centaur, it marked the beginning of one of the greatest changes in tauren history.

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Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Virtual selves, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Breakfast Topic: Steak on eggs

After posting two articles concerning mount-related issues yesterday (Engineering mounts in Wrath and the changes to the Brewfest ram/kodo), I went back to Blackrock Depths with a group to have another crack at everyone's newest best friend, Coren Direbrew. This time I was in the company of a half-crazed warlock determined to get both Brewfest mounts. He'd missed his chance at the ram last year and sworn up and down that it would never happen again, only to be aghast at Blizzard's decision to make both mounts a boss drop. To him, I imagine, it was time to knuckle down and show that ugly, yellow-bellied, boot-licking, random-number-generator just who was boss. However, as the day wore on, he realized that -- insulting the random number generator? Not a good idea.

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Bosses, Mounts

Is Leading the Cavalry possible?

I mentioned the Leading the Cavalry achievement earlier, the achievement that requires 75 mounts to... well, achieve. The big question is, is that actually possible? Let's find out!

Let's use a Forsaken for our example, since they have no factors working against them like racial boundries on mounts. Keep in mind that some races will have a harder time, like Tauren can't use two of the five Horde mounts, and Gnomes don't allow anybody but Gnomes and Dwarves to use mechachickens.

The Horde has Peacocks, Raptors, Wolves, Skeletal Horses, and Kodo. From a glance at Wowhead, there seems to be...

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Mounts, Wrath of the Lich King

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