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[1.Local]: Yo, it's April, fools!


Reader comments -- ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

April Fool's Day around WoW.com usually means bracing for impact with emails and comments from nerd-raging readers who haven't ... quite ... caught on that there's something special going on. This year, though, you all really outdid yourselves. You played along! You danced, you sang, you /fishslapped, you showed us your sunflowery sunny dispositions, you popped back in every two hours like clockwork to see what new havoc was going on. Special thanks go to Kelly Aarons and Zach Yonzon for oudoing themselves on the fabulous artwork, and three cheers to Justin Glow for helping us change out the site header every two hours. Gather 'round for a group hug, everybody -- ya'll are an awesome bunch.

Sedirex: All 5 iterations had their own logo, top stories, and hot topics (on the right). The evil part of this joke is that if you're like me, you felt obligated to check every 2 hours to see them, as, unlike the posts, they don't remain after the site changes focus again.

Jayfitty: That was actually a pretty awesome routine. I'm not sure how I feel about so much turmoil happening here at WoW.com. Hopefully we can just settle on one type of Insider and commit to that. Every time the website changes I have to update my wardrope, Facebook page, Twitter and haircut to reflect said changes. And to go from Edward hair to Gaga hair in one day isn't easy.

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Filed under: [1.Local]

Sunday Morning Funnies: Shlorp

Happy holiday weekend - and Noblegarden, of course. This week's selection is pretty varied, although there are no newcomers this week. Only you can change this. Send us tips! Also, let everyone know if I missed an updated comic in the comments section. It happens.

Thanks to everyone who posted various comic archives last week for the perusal of those who hadn't heard of them.

For next week's challenge: What percentage of the comics listed will be about Noblegarden? Guess. Predict the future.

Challenge #2: I'll add a second one, since the first one is pretty... well, based in nothing. Whose artwork really struck you this week, and why?

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Filed under: Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Around Azeroth: Story circle

We all know that camping a rare spawn is tough, but camping with the current end-all boss? Also somewhat tough. "After one week of wiping on Sindragosa, we at long last made it to the Lich King," wrote Aastraea of <Subprime> on Executus. "To calm our nerves about having finally made it to the man himself, we decided to ask Uncle Arty to tell us a story. That was a mistake. For he did humor our request: it was long, bloody, and very depressing. We ended up calling it for the night after that. The Lich King still isn't down."

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, Val'kyr on mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran. Older screenshots can be found here.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: The return of Noblegarden

Noblegarden 2010 begins today and runs through next Sunday. In 2009, the holiday was hugely improved and upgraded, removing much of the RNG that traditionally infested WoW holidays and adding some nifty rewards, achievements and an unusual non-combat pet that, er, makes more of itself when left to its own devices. I'm not sure you can ask for more than that, unless it's an uncrowded village center in which to farm eggs.

Are you planning on participating this year, or do your characters already have the meta-achievement Noble Gardener? If you got your start early this morning or on Oceanic and EU servers, how crowded are the towns?

If you need more information on Noblegarden, please head over to our Noblegarden 2010 guide.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

When to call a heroic raid

Like most raiders, my guildies and I occasionally stare down a raid night where we know several people can't make it. Schedules change, real life beckons and we find ourselves with a raid that's down two to five people and wondering: a.) whether it's worth it to cancel, and b.) at what point you should throw in the towel. For better or worse, the normal/heroic mechanic in Icecrown Citadel has added a new wrinkle to the issue, too.

It's easy to cancel when you know for sure that there's no way it's going to happen (e.g., if you're looking at a half-empty raid, or the heal team has decided to play hooky en masse), but for us the trouble is usually in that ill-defined area between what an undermanned raid can do and what everyone would rather be doing. If you're missing a few DPS for a normal ICC clear, that's not a big deal, particularly if you're using the 10% damage/healing/health buff. However, not having those DPS for heroic attempts (especially for tougher heroic bosses like Sindragosa and Putricide) is basically a death sentence at this point. The question then becomes, is it worth it to clear the content on normal so the night's not a total waste, or do you cancel the raid, bank on better attendance the following night and hold out for a kill that may not even happen?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Raiding

Upcoming WoW manga releases

Two new releases are coming from Tokyopop's Warcraft manga line. Both will be written by Richard A. Knaak, touching upon subject matter he's dealt with before in licenses Warcraft releases. The first is Warcraft: Mage, another class-specific WoW book (following on the heels of the successful Death Knight manga). It certainly looks like Rhonin's on the cover there, although the story purports to be about "a young mage who faces his greatest challenge when he is forced to confront a foe only he can stop." Presumably Rhonin gets to be the Yoda this time.

Also coming out is Shadow Wing, volume 1, titled The Dragons of Outland. It's about the dragons of Outland. It's also about Tyragosa and Jorad Mace following the events of the Sunwell Trilogy, how they ended up in Outland giving folks quests in Netherstorm, and how Malygos got his groove back.

Filed under: News items, Comics

Know Your Lore: Current Horde politics -- the Blood Elves

The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You're playing the game, you're fighting the bosses, you know the how -- but do you know the why? Each week Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Before I begin, I'd like to thank all of the people that commented on the last post I made that covered orc politics. Apparently orcs are a hot topic of conversation, and while I didn't respond to everyone, I did read through everything said. I do have a couple of points to address, however. First, yes, I am aware that orcs are not all brute-minded savages. There's a lot more to orcs than simple savagery; however, that savagery is something that is a basic part of what makes an orc ... orcish. It's an innate part of being an orc. Thrall seems to lack that savagery for the most part and almost seems to want to cull it from orc society in favor of a more gentle and diplomatic disposition. Garrosh, on the other hand, embraces that savagery to an alarming degree. That's where the conflict between the two of them rests. One has what the other does not. Both are extreme cases in either direction.

Second, evoking the name Garrosh Hellscream sets people off. I'm not quite sure what to make of this, but I'd have to say it's a telling statement to the storytelling department that Garrosh, regardless of how much or how little he's been developed, is provoking this kind of reaction from players. Given that most writers like to evoke some sort of emotion in their readers, I can only imagine they are secretly pleased with the outrage. Right, moving on!

The blood elves, or sin'dorei as they've taken to calling themselves, have been a largely quiet presence in Wrath of the Lich King. Given this, they may seem like an odd choice to cover. Why bother talking about a race that hasn't done much to speak of since the days of Burning Crusade? Well... that's sort of the point. While the orcs, trolls, and tauren were natural additions, and the forsaken a little different but accepted at large, the blood elves were a very odd choice for an ally to many Horde players, and through the course of Burning Crusade, there was very little light shed on what made these creatures a valuable ally to the Horde because a large amount of blood elf history stemmed from events that happened prior to World of Warcraft.

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore

Arcane Brilliance: The difference between good and great

It's time again for Arcane Brilliance, the weekly mage column that believes frost mages shouldn't be the only mages to experience the joy of pet ownership. Reader Doidadetanga, aside from having more syllables in his character name than is reasonably necessary, sent in this picture of his very own Arcane Elemental, which (if Blizzard listens to my nightly prayers at all) will be a new spell in Cataclysm ... along with Anti-Warlock Bolt, the new 56-point talent in the Arfrostfirecane tree.

I'm about to make a bold statement (literally; it's in bold typeface):

I'm a good mage.

My GearScore is adequate. I am fully capable of putting out an acceptable amount of damage over an acceptable timespan. When folks want free food and water, I somehow manage to provide it for them. My dress is appropriately pretty, and my staff is sufficiently formidable in terms of both size and the manner in which I employ it.

I'm about to make another bold statement:

Anybody -- absolutely anybody -- can be a good mage.

I can, you can and yes, even that defecting warlock who has finally outgrown his dark eyeliner, Taylor Lautner posters and hating his parents can be a good mage.

The problem is, not nearly enough of us manage to move beyond that particular tier of magehood. I know I'm still working on it, five years after I started playing this wonderful game, and chances are you are too. There are a whole lot of good mages out there -- but not a whole lot of truly great ones.

But fear not, my fellow mages. Though I have not yet attained greatness, I can recognize it when I see it. I'm willing to bet a good number of you can, too. Follow me past the jump and we'll discuss the fine line that separates a good mage from a great one. Because I'm going to make one final statement, and this one isn't even bold:

Every mage can become great. Every single one.

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Filed under: Mage, (Mage) Arcane Brilliance

WRUP: We're all April Fools here edition

Oh, sure, I could jump straight into the regular routine of seeing what the team is playing this weekend, but in light of the recent holiday, let's start by finding out the team's favorite April Fools' pranks:
  • Anne: There are far too many, but I am loving the Diablo Gamer Blanket.
  • Amy: I have yet to pull it off, but I want to use cardboard to create a little windowbox on the windows at one of the law school office suites, then fill that box with packing peanuts. From the outside, it'll look like I've filled the whole office. It's two gags in one -- first when the victim thinks his office has been filled with peanuts, and then when they discover it hasn't! Comedic pranking with minimal cleanup.
  • Basil: My favorite gag is probably my own -- I rick-rolled over 2,000 people this year. I am happy.
  • Daniel: I'll come out and say it: I thought WoW.com did it up right this year, especially with Twilight Insider and Gaga Insider. Love Glue Gunnin' indeed.
More prank-ridden hilarity -- and we'll probably get around to talking about what we're playing this weekend -- after the break.

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Around Azeroth: Aaargh, zombie!

With the glut of survival horror video game series on the market -- Dead Space, F.E.A.R., Resident Evil and the like -- it's sort of nice to take a break from zombies coming through windows and spend some time in the fantasy-lite world of Azeroth. But Valafar of <Deadlight> on Exodar managed to find a little bit of horror even in the benign landscape of WoW. At least this zombie isn't jumping out of a heating grate and eating your face. He looks more likely to serve you some tea and let you stay the night in his abandoned farmhouse, as long as you promise not to sleep with his three beautiful zombie daughters.

Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing aroundazeroth@wow.com with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!

Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, Val'kyr on mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran. Older screenshots can be found here.

Gallery: Around Azeroth

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Around Azeroth

Joystiq

Massively

Engadget