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Around Azeroth: Honoring the ancestors

The Lunar Festival is all about honoring your elders and learning from the past. (Also blowing things up with fireworks.) Submitter Jejin of The Venture Co. writes, "Jejin, being the good little troll shaman that he is, always respects his elders and can be seen here devoting his time to the altar in the Sen'jin Village pond. Good shaman!"

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

WRUP: Our favorite shows edition

Love Is in the Air may be coming to an end, but for those of you in need of entertainment away from the grind of daily quests, the Lunar Festival continues into March. If neither of those sound entertaining... Well, a lot of the team would recommend the recently released Mass Effect 2 or BioShock 2. Don't worry, WoW will still be here waiting for you to come back. And whether you're playing WoW or not, it's the weekend which means it's time for WRUP. And this week we have a special bonus question and have asked the staff what their favorite television show is (because, after all, you need some sort of distraction to keep your brain going while playing hunt-the-elder). So read on to find out what everyone's up to this weekend -- and leave us a comment to tell us what you're doing!

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Filed under: WoW Insider Business

Breakfast Topic: What are you most looking forward to in Patch 3.3.3?

So just when it looked like things might be getting quiet in the wake of Patch 3.3, Blizzard stirred things up again last night with a release of PTR Patch 3.3.3. There's some pretty big changes coming our way. In addition to various class changes, we've got some other cool stuff too, including an abolishment of battleground marks, a way to get rid of all those annoying Frozen Orbs clogging our banks, new auction house functionality, and a lot more.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Warrior changes

There's only two, but they're reasonably important.

  • Revenge: Damage done by this ability (base and scaling) increased by 50%.
  • Rampage: This effect is now passive instead of being a proc from critical strikes.
We talked about Revenge this week, and while this change is fairly unexciting, it's still a sizable buff. 50% more base and scaling damage to the ability will definitely make it attractive to use again. I may even change my spec back to take Improved Revenge again. Then again, since I used to spend 2 talent points to get 20% more damage on Revenge and now I'll get 50% without spending them it may still be better to put those points somewhere else. The stun isn't terribly useful for boss tanking in most cases, although when it does work it's nice.

The Rampage change, on the other hand, is what the ability always should have been. While a talented Leader of the Pack will still be better with its healing benefit, Rampage is now exactly as good as the baseline ability. I never understood making Rampage, an ability you have to spend quite a few talent points to get, inferior to one 10 points cheaper. Sure, it's nothing that's going to make or break the spec and it really should have been what we always had, but at least it's finally here.

Filed under: Warrior, News items

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: New mounts, models [Updated]


Patch 3.3.3 will be bringing about some welcome changes in the user interface, instances, and those pesky frozen orbs you can never get rid of, but it looks like they aren't the only things getting an overhaul. Fishing around in the PTR files found some new models as well.

Two new mounts have been added to the game files, the Blazing Hippogryph and the Wooly White Rhino. Where these mounts are obtained is currently unknown -- we'll update with more information on the new mounts as we learn more.

In addition, it looks like Anduin Wrynn finally got his wish -- a new model has been added for the young king-in-training. With more and more models getting overhauls, does this mean players of male humans might finally get rid of that funky overbite? Check out the gallery for pictures of the new mounts and models, and stay tuned for more 3.3.3 PTR info as it develops!

Update: MMO-Champion is reporting that the two mounts are TCG rewards. However, with the recent developments between Blizzard and UDE, this information may change. Keep that in mind, and we'll let you know if we hear any word from the blues about it.

Filed under: News items

More Cataclysm precursors found in Patch 3.3.3 PTR files

While we haven't heard much new Cataclysm news lately, the Patch 3.3.3 PTR files have provided some pretty tantalizing hints as to what may be to come, including some new models associated with the Twilight's Hammer cult.

First off, we have a series of portals. These portals are topped by a crystal that looks very similar to the wind stones of Silithus, and in fact, each portal and crystal seems specifically marked to summon a specific element. There's also a bloodstained sacrificial altar and a couple of banners, all of these have a very specific dragon-like motif.

The Twilight's Hammer has already been confirmed to be working with Deathwing in Cataclysm, and since they're an elemental doomsday cult dedicated to bringing about the return of the Old Gods, busting Deathwing out of prison is right up their alley. We should probably expect to see these models in game relatively soon, and probably as part of a plot by the Twilight's Hammer to summon Deathwing back into the world -- a plot which will, of course, eventually succeed.

Stayed tuned for more coverage of Patch 3.3.3 and the Cataclysm opening event as it develops!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Rumors

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Frozo the Renowned takes your Frozen Orbs

Frozen Orbs have been sort of a weird little problem since Patch 3.3 came out. Since they automatically drop off every heroic end boss, the dungeon finder has pretty much guaranteed that there's thousands of them created every single day. However, the Emblems of Triumph that come out of those same dungeons pretty much make most of the profession gear made with Frozen Orbs obsolete.

As a result, many of us have at least a couple stacks rotting in our banks or backpacks, and I know I personally have started outright passing on them, having nothing better to do with them. Now I sort of wish I hadn't, if only because they're finally useful as currency in Patch 3.3.3.

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Filed under: News items

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: User interface updates

Blizzard has added some major and minor improvements for the user interface in their minor content patch of 3.3.3. Some of these include the addition of a random battleground finder, a holiday boss random dungeon group, as well as others. It is still early in the patch process, so some of these things may undergo more changes as it works its way along. There are still a few rough edges on the interface for the moment.

We don't have everything that's been changed thus far in the gallery, but we thought we'd give you as much as we could muster on short notice. Plus, we included the new Frozen Orb vendor in the gallery for you to drool at things you can do with all of those spare orbs from your daily rampaging of Northrend instances.

Keep an eye on WoW.com for more updates on what patch 3.3.3 is bringing to you.

Filed under: News items

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Shaman changes

Patch 3.3.3 will bring some interesting changes to shamans.

  • Flame Shock: The damage-over-time component of this ability can now produce critical strikes and is affected by spell haste.
  • Talents:
    • Elemental Oath: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
    • Unleashed Rage: This ability is now always on as a passive aura.
Turning the talents Elemental Oath and Unleashed Rage into passive auras is a bonus for leveling, soloing, and PvP. Instead of waiting a few GCDs or strikes for that first crit, the aura is up for you (and your team in PvP) immediately. In a raid environment these talents tend to be up continuously so the change for raiders is less significant.

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Filed under: Shaman, News items

Patch 3.3.3 PTR: Death knight changes

The Patch 3.3.3 PTR notes are out, and with them a nice handful of death knight changes. Oddly enough, most of them are buffs. The focus this time seems to be mostly on slightly buff death knight tanking, giving frost DPS some arguably much needed buffs, and applying some general changes to specific talents in the death knight class. While we'll need to see some PTR testing to be sure, it looks like frost DPS may be out of the pit and sitting pretty indeed. Without further ado, let's take a look at the changes.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight