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Filed under: Tauren

Breakfast Topic: If you could choose your racials

If you haven't already checked out the list of updated racial abilities, you should. Some have been nerfed, others were buffed, and new ones, like the "Voodoo Shuffle" were added.

While racials are a nice bonus, they can weigh heavily on your racial decision when rolling a given class. For example, many Horde warriors roll Tauren because of the 5% health increase. This conflicts with rolling the race that you'd prefer combined with the class you desire.

There has been much speculation about what it would be like to be able to choose your own racials, and reader Mike even came up with a talent tree method for doing just that.

If you were given the power to choose, which three or four would you choose, and why? Keep in mind the overall balance which generally includes a passive ability, an active one, and one or two minor buffs to stats such as resistances, health, or professions.

Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Breakfast Topics, Expansions, Draenei, Blood Elves, Alts, Wrath of the Lich King

New racial abilities for Wrath


It looks like Blizzard isn't done tinkering with everything for Wrath of the Lich King. This time, they've turned their attention to racial abilities, which many have pointed out to be imbalanced. Kalgan dropped by the forums to answer a good question regarding the Orc racial Hardiness, which grants a passive 15% resistance to stuns. It's been nerfed a long way from its original 25% resistance, but the poster made a good point about the game's direction towards reduced durations instead of resistances.

Kalgan responds by saying that Hardiness was being changed into exactly that -- an effect duration reduction of 15%. He also goes over all the other racials, some of which were changed, others of which were buffed, and yet a few others of which were inevitably nerfed. The changes should make it into the next Beta push. Check after the break to see the complete list. [CLARIFICATION: This isn't the complete list of racial abilities. Abilities not listed here are unchanged or, if they will be changed, will be mentioned in the future.]

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Filed under: Human, Night Elves, Dwarves, Gnomes, Orcs, Tauren, Undead, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Draenei, Blood Elves, Wrath of the Lich King

Barrens Chat: All hands on deck


This week's comic I have decided to do by hand while waiting around for various people and events to catch up to my time line. In other words, the only thing I used my computer for this week was some minor touch ups, framing, straightening, and of course sticking it up here for all of you to razz.

I don't know how common a problem this is for other people, but when I'm actually playing World of Warcraft in the same room as my significant other, he tends to use me as his hotkeys. I'm the "M" key when he wants to know where we are on the map, for instance. I don't know if this is something that happens with everyone who plays in the same room as another person, or if it is just a singular case. Do any of you have instances like this one where you end up being the macro, hotkey, or info guide for someone else?

For the record, I'll go back to doing things with photoshop next week. Small drawings are evil.

See you next week!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck


Barrens Chat is a weekly comic strip that has gone back in time to the good old days of markers and pencils. Although the emo oozes were shiny, and the water elemental looked like a fun time, nothing beats some retro action. Don't worry, everything should be back to normal next week!

Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Hunter, Shaman, Comics, Barrens Chat

Know Your Lore: Living Relics of the Barrens


Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!

Most of us probably know the Barrens as the far, far too big and empty zone that we all spent too long running through. I know I do. You whippersnappers these days and your three flight paths. In my day, we had one and we ran to Ratchet on foot every single time. You kids nowadays have it easy. All of that aside, though, did you know it was originally a lush forest, some of which was part of the ancient Kaldorei territory?

It used to be a much more peaceful (and tolerable) place than it is now. Of course, we're talking ten thousand years ago. That place totally sucks now. Don't get all sentimental on me and pretend it's deep and meaningful and spiritual to quest there or something. It's horrible. Let's learn about it anyway, because learning is fun! ...Right?

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Filed under: Horde, Dwarves, Orcs, Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Know your Lore

Barrens Chat: One Tauren's trash


You never realize how much junk you have until you have to move. It is the same in World of Warcraft. You never realize how much junk you're carrying around in your bags until you get a really great drop, followed by the "inventory is full" message. There is never enough bag space.

Sometimes it's the junk I pick up that makes me giggle as I play. It makes me wonder, just what sort of people could come up with a joke like that, or an obscure reference that is stretched to the very edge, but still very recognizable.

Either way, your guess is as good as mine. So, what do you think he's doing with that particular item in tow?

This comic is dedicated to, and somewhat inspired by, my friend Jesse. I almost introduced a new character from the Alliance, but I know how much he hates Horde, so I had to use my Tauren to spite him.

See you all next week!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

Barrens Chat is a weekly comic strip about everything from well used jokes, to picking fun at the things of the future. From Engineers to vials of tears, nothing is safe from the insanity of Megan Harris. Check in every week for a new addition to the madness!

Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Hunter, Comics, Barrens Chat

Barrens Chat: Revenge for all those missing hooves

I'm moving this weekend, and packing and cleaning all week, so this week's episode is a short one!

When I first heard that Blizzard announced the Recruit-a-Friend program was going to be giving zhevra mounts as incentive, I must say that I heaved a very audible groan. You see, we've already referred all the friends we can talk into playing, the last of which we drug into our mad little World (of Warcraft) not even a month ago.

So, after reading through all the things being offered as referral incentive, my significant other decided to make the suggestion that I start a new account so that he can have a zhevra mount. My response was something very similar to what you see when you click the banner. That and I had to torture the target of what I consider to be one of the most annoying quests ever. Two hours for four hooves is crazy, and I am apparently that unlucky!

See you next week!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck


Barrens Chat is a weekly comic strip brought to you by Megan Harris, who likes to pretend she belongs to a secret society of assassins. When she's not laughing at the misfortune of children, she's explaining why some people's Taurens shouldn't ride anything smaller than a Kodo. If she doesn't get packed into one of those boxes that say "Kitchen" and forgotten--you know, the ones people just never got around to unpacking?--a new comic will be up next week!

Filed under: Horde, Tauren, Humor, Comics, Barrens Chat

Barrens Chat: Fuzzy Wuzzy was


Welcome back for another Barrens Chat comic. I would up front like to say that I am very excited about exotic pets. So excited, I had to poke fun at fellow blogger Daniel Howell for his post last week on the topic of exotic pets. Although I think I might have been a little misleading when I first ran the idea of what I wanted to do past him.

Either way, I'm still playing with a few drawing and coloring changes here and there. I didn't darken the outlines this time around, but I think it makes it a bit harder to see in places.

Thank you, Daniel, for pointing me towards your banner for a reference, even if I didn't specify what it was I was referencing exactly.

See you next week!

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck


Barrens Chat is a weekly comic installment created on caffeine and pixy sticks. Although we've yet again decided to abuse Hunters in any way we can find, sometimes we go after the tankier players, too. Stop by every week to see a new comic, and hope that the sugar stash has run out by then.

Filed under: Horde, Dwarves, Tauren, Hunter, Blood Elves, Comics, Barrens Chat

Barrens Chat: Unwanted


Now, I know last week I said in a comment that I am trying something entirely new this week. However, that plan sort of backfired when I found out my scanner is no longer in the realm of the living, and those Spirit Healers apparently don't speak binary.

I've Wanted to put this comic up since I saw the movie. If you have not seen it, you might not get this unless you watched the movie previews, or have someone explain it.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Horde, Orcs, Tauren, Hunter, Comics, Barrens Chat

Wrath Beta patch notes: Feral and Restoration Druids


Continuing on from the analysis of the changes to the Balance druid talent tree, as shown in the first patch notes for the official Wrath of the Lich King Beta, we'll now examine the Feral and Restoration trees.

Feral tree
The Feral tree is seeing changes to limit the benefits that the other two trees, specifically Restoration, can gain from investing a few points into the first few tiers. We are also seeing changes to the ways in which bears will be generating aggro.

The Faerie Fire (Feral) and Feral Charge swap
Feral Charge is currently an 11-point talent into the Feral tree, which contributing to the advantages that Restoration druids currently have in arena. It allows Restoration druids the ability to charge, immobilizing their target and interrupting spells for four seconds.

Instead, Faerie Fire (Feral), which is not something that a Restoration druid would likely spend 11 points to get, will take up the 11-point spot, with Feral Charge taking its place in the tree 21 points in.

In addition, Feral Charge will be usable in cat form, dazing the target and moving the cat behind it. This will help address the concerns that cat form is not especially viable in PvP, although their crit dependency is still a weakness. It will also be useful in dungeons to catch runners and other out of place mobs.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Arena

Wrath Beta patch notes: Balance Druids


Now that the Wrath of the Lich King Beta is live, and the patch notes are up, we have some solid information on Druid talents as they're being tested. Here is what the patch revealed:

Balance tree
If you were to invest three points into your Brambles tier three talent, you will not only have the current 75% boost to damage caused by Thorns and Entangling Roots, but your Treants will have their damage boosted by 15%.

In addition, all damage caused by Treants, and any attacks done to you while Barkskin is active, have a 15% chance of dazing the target for three seconds. Actually, Force of Nature, which summons your Treants, is having its cooldown reduced from three minutes to two.

This will be a nifty talent for Moonkin in battlegrounds and arena, although it won't be enough to convert all of those Restoration druids to the ways of the Giant Chicken.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Expansions, Features, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King, Arena

Barrens Chat: Gotta catch 'em all


When I started playing World of Warcraft, I decided to start off by making a Tauren Hunter. Mostly because every single game I've ever played, I am usually a healer-type character. I decided that I did not want to be the healer this time around, but I was far from ready for the tank job, so I went halfway into what I figured would be a decent solo and damage support class. I was so unprepared for what playing a Hunter would be.

One of my major obsessions, however, was to find a pet that was an uncommon sight. I did not realize at the time that Echeyakee was a Horde side quest, and was really excited at having gotten a "rare pet" when a friend offered to help me tame him.

Gallery: Barrens Chat

Spoiled RottenBubbles bubbles everywhereAlways a catchDead RingerRevolution evolutionAll hands on deck

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Filed under: Tauren, Hunter, Comics, Barrens Chat

A look at the geography of WoW from Interesting '08


This is just beautiful, from the title ("Brave Noob World") to the idea -- a geographical survey of Azeroth. James Wallis, the director of Hogshead Publishing, gave this presentation at an "unconference" called Interesting '08, in which he tried to do a survey of Azeroth, in the same way that Tobold did -- by walking from one end to the other. And he discovers that Azeroth is pretty small and pretty dense -- it's about 12km across, according to him (I really like his comparison image of the Death Star), and using a Female Tauren, he even comes up with the force of gravity, which is about equal to Earth -- about 1g. Which makes sense; Blizzard would want the virtual world to feel the same as our world, no matter how big it is.

There's a problem with that, though -- if you have a small planet with the same gravity as a much larger planet, the only answer is that the mass of the planet is much more dense. And when you get a really small, densely packed mass, you start to mess around with the flow of time. So Wallis actually ends up explaining one of the more annoying features of Azeroth with actual science. Very nice.

It's definitely a fun example of looking for more in this MMO than Blizzard probably put there, but Wallis covers it with enough zest and logic that it works, strangely. Now if he could only explain the weather...

[via Massively]

Update: Looks like the video got pulled. It's been stowed after the break, just in case it comes back.

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Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Azerothian Spore creatures continue to crawl in

That Murloc was just the beginning -- since the Spore creature creator demo dropped officially yesterday, and along with this cute little C'thun (thanks, Andrew!), there are a whole crowd of Warcraft-related creatures showing up on the Sporepedia. We've collected our favorites so far in a gallery below -- while you'll need to actually put the creatures in game to see them shuffle, saunter, and dance around in Spore, you can get a pretty good idea of just how versatile Will Wright's little creator is. I've said it before and I'll say it again: while everyone is expecting Warhammer to give WoW a run for its money, the PC game that Blizzard should really be worried about this year is Spore.

If you see any other great Warcraft-related creature creations in Spore, feel free to send them along and you just might see them here. And in the meantime, our sister site BigDownload (who are also hosting the demo) is holding a creature creator contest -- send them your best creature and you could win a EVGA NVIDIA e-GeForce 8800GT, EVGA NVIDIA e-GeForce 9600GT or a free upgrade to the full version of the creature creator game. It's Sporelicious!

Seriously, look at the C'thun. We haven't seen a tentacled, ancient monster this cute since, well, Hello Cthulu.

Filed under: Tauren, Trolls, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Humor, Bosses, NPCs, Galleries

10 things a new Shaman should know about fighting casters

Here are some tips every new shaman player should know. Casters can be some of your easiest kills, whether in PvP or PvE because Shock is your middle name and spell interruption is your game.
  • Earth Shock, baby! At level 4 you'll get Rank 1 of this spell. Its cooldown is 6 seconds, just like all your shock spells.
  • Keep Earth Shock (Rank 1) somewhere on your toolbar in addition to higher levels of the spell. It only uses 30 mana and it still stops an enemy in mid-cast just as effectively as higher ranked versions of the spell.
  • Mages can be taken down easily if you're quick to get close to them and stop them from casting Frost Nova. Pound them quickly, continuing to shock them when casting.
  • Level 24+ Mages and level 32+ Priests can stop your Lightning Bolts with Counterspell or Silence. Although both of these spells will impact your casting for up to 8 seconds, remember that shock spells are instant cast and can't be interrupted.
  • In the case of Mages' Counterspells, their silencing effect only stops one school of casting. So if they hit you during Lightning Bolt (a Nature spell), you can still cast your Flame or Frost Shocks, but not your Earth Shock. You can also drop Searing Totem for damage.
After the jump, five more tips for shamans against casters.

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Filed under: Tauren, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, How-tos, Draenei, Guides, Classes, New Players' Guide

Giving players some more race variants

I have to agree with Michael on WoW LJ: it would be nice to have a little more variance in the types of races that we choose at character creation. Of course, due to lore reasons, all the trolls we create are Darkspear Trolls, and likewise, all of our Taurens are of the Bloodhoof variety. But it would be nice to have a few more options, especially since we now know that some of the "foreign" tribes and clans might have a member or two interested in joining the Horde.

None of Michael's suggestions would really work -- the Taunka are almost a completely different race, the Forest Trolls can't be very happy that we've killed their leader, and neither the Dark Iron Dwarves or the Iron Dwarves are very friendly to either Horde or Alliance. But there are possible variants out there -- the Zanadalar tribe might have some members interested in joining the Horde, and certainly the Mag'har Orcs are friendly to players. Alliance doesn't have as many options come to mind, though all players are Bronzebeards, I believe, and surely the Stormpikes are Friendly by now.

We've got new hairstyles coming in the next expansion, of course, but it would be nice to vary up the races a little bit, and have even different backgrounds within the race choices. RPers would love it for sure, and even for other players, it would give a little more meaning and power to playing through the various racial areas in the game.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Dwarves, Orcs, Tauren, Trolls, Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Expansions, Lore, Factions

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