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The Queue: Conclusions

Welcome back to The Queue,'s daily Q&A column where the team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Alright, alright. I'll tell you guys what I had for dinner the other day. I've danced around the subject enough. The vote was 50% for KFC and 50% for Taco Bell at the end of the polling day, so I flipped a coin and ended up going KFC. Since I had so many suggestions for it, I ended up going with the Double Down. I'll be honest, it was pretty good. Your heart would die a painful death if you ate them regularly, but as a one time thing? Yeah, it was delicious. Totally worth it.

Andostre asked:

"I read in the very last Blizzard Battle Plan that Deathwing is emerging from Deepholme. What is Deepholme? Do we know how Deathwing got there?"

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Queue, Cataclysm

WoW Moviewatch: Diplomats

Diplomats is an amazing first machinima by Cody Bonds. It's the story of a diplomatic envoy from Stormwind who seeks out the Ironforge diplomat to get the dwarven opinion about relations with the Horde. What she discovers from the dwarven advisor horrifies the Stormwind envoy, but absolutely delighted me.

I kept looking for Star Wars references in the video, and think I spotted at least a few. The story is quick and amusing, and the voice acting is very well done. Cody definitely has a great flair for his comedy, and I'm pretty sure future work is going to be completely astounding. This is absolutely one hell of a first machinima, and Cody should be proud of the work he's done. This is an incredibly smooth video. My favorite was the action sequence of an airborn attack on Orgrimmar. Great stuff.

Interested in the wide world of machinima? We have new movies every weekday here on WoW Moviewatch! Have suggestions for machinima we ought to feature? Toss us an e-mail at gray AT wow DOT com.

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

no no no no NO NO NO NO

If you've spent any time hanging out in Dalaran recently you've no doubt seen your fair share of flying star unicorns and probably have heard non-stop the lamentations of Lil' XT.

There was previously a bug that caused Lil' XT's sounds to be sent out to a much wider range than they were supposed to be heard. When a few dozen people have them out it can get quite annoying. There's now a hotfix that disables some of these sounds. It's not a complete solution, but it's better than turning off sounds all together.

Vaneras is an EU community manager, and we're not sure if the hotfix is active in the US. However, if it's not in the US right now I'm sure it will be soon.

A hotfix was recently applied, which temporarily disabled some of the sounds Lil' XT makes.

The issue was that some of his sounds were flagged in such a way that they play for everyone around him and not just the player that owns the pet, an annoying problem to be sure. We can't alter volume or who the sounds play for through a hotfix so the temporary workaround is to disable them completely right now until the proper fix can be patched in later.

Filed under: News items

Around Azeroth: This is worgbomb

Modas of <Fights Like a Girl> on Blackwater Raiders writes, "Pets these days. They think that the entire world ... of Warcraft revolves around them. We spend hours farming them up, churning through mind-numbingly dull rep quests and saving up massive quantities of gold and even real money to make sure that the mini-pets of Azeroth have good homes. After all that hard work, one would think that these pets would be content to sit back and let us fighters of Azeroth have a little time in the spotlight once in a while. But alas. As evidenced by this picture, even when a shaman goes through a feat as time-consuming as earning a complete Dungeon 2 (tier 0.5) set and wants to pose for a celebratory screenshot, her spoiled worg puppy has to nose its way right back into the center of attention with a classic photo bomb. Sigh."

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 emailing 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

Officers' Quarters: A friendly loot system

The irony of loot systems is that, the "friendlier" they are -- the more social in practice -- the more they seem to cause drama. We're not lacking for examples. This week shows us once again why "friendly" loot systems are sometimes anything but!

Hi, I'm a officer in a casual raiding guild, when I say casual is that while we do raid 3/4 days a week, teams are not locked, we offer rotations and try to give our members a nice balance of raiding with just fooling around for achievements or whatever we feel the mood for.

Our loot rules -- to reflect our casual approach -- we use a main spec 1st roll followed by a off-spec roll, with the limitations on one 'need/main spec' roll win per run. That way all have same opportunities to get loot, and one person doesn't accumulate the lot in one single run. We dabbled with point systems before, but didn't workout as teams changed week to week, making those who raid more accumulate so many points that others with less raiding time had no chances over loot so made them raid even less. [. . .]

The 'A team' party got on the usual one-shot boss business until a loot issue appeared. A lovely piece of kit dropped, and everyone in the raid knew who had been talking about it for weeks. he knew the loot tables by heart and every time we faced the boss wished for the drop. Everyone was cheering and congratulating the guy over vent and chat. He had been really unlucky with drops on the last months, and this was his price -- the one item he really was after. Then the problem occurred.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Breakfast Topic: I just bought a $25 imaginary horse

Over the past few hours, I have come to the realization that I have purchased a $25 imaginary space horse. To be honest, I do not regret my horse purchase. I do not have horse remorse. What I have gleaned, however, is a keen understanding of the nature of video games moving forward, in particular the massively multiplayer genre.

World of Warcraft is not new to the world of microtransactions, or in this case, macrotransactions. I do not believe anyone considers $25 to be a microtransaction, which seems like a healthy bit of cash. A few thoughts came to my mind. First, we now have the Blizzard price list for all sorts of purchased add-on content and the range of money we will be shelling out in the future. Pets are $10; mounts are $25. The celestial horse's success yesterday proved beyond a doubt that the $25 pricetag was not a deterrent for many purchasers, as the queue pushed over 100,000 people at times in the U.S. store alone. Early sales were estimated to be in the 400,000 area, with more climbing steadily. This horse is a hit.

My second thought was how drastically the dynamic has changed for Blizzard and why, potentially, it has changed. This past year showed a stagnation in the number of accounts created for World of Warcraft, leaving Blizzard with the same number to tell shareholders at their next meeting a year later. With new ways to monetize the player base other than the number of accounts, Blizzard has essentially given shareholders the go on holding onto increasingly valuable Activision Blizzard stock and to expect wonderful new profit generators. New ways to monetize existing subscriber bases are always being explored, and the Celestial Steed has cemented the pet and mount store as one of the absolutely critical endeavors.

This is only the beginning for macrotransactions in World of Warcraft. As long as the items up for sale do not give another player an advantage and stay purely cosmetic (with the exception of the race change, which has the potential to alter balance), I am confident Blizzard will provide some compelling additions to the already mind-blowingly successful pet and mount store.

What do you think about the Celestial Steed and what it represents? $25 seems to be a sweet spot if the sales are to be believed, but what do you think?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

All the World's a Stage: Getting ready for Cataclysm

We don't have any real idea when Cataclysm is going to be hitting the shelves. That being said, we've already seen the previews for the expansion's class changes, and we talked last week about some of the roleplay impacts of those new mechanics. While we might feel like it's a little early to start getting ramped up for Cataclysm roleplay, I'm betting we see the expansion by the end of this year at the latest. And that's a mere nine months away.

But, really, we're already seeing the storyline effects of Deathwing's revenge starting in game. If you've been watching your screen carefully, the world has already started suffering a series of small earthquakes all over Azeroth. We're even seeing the ground shake up in Dalaran, and our friendly neighborhood blues have had a bit of fun with the notion. We've seen hints of the new race/class combinations, and we obviously know the story is shortly going to move forward with Echo Isles and Gnomeregan. Heck, we're definitely going to be seeing the Ruby Sanctum stuff some time in the summer. So for all that it feels like Cataclysm is an eternity away, chances are that's not too soon to start building the lore into your story lines.

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Filed under: All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Spiritual Guidance: Priest gems for raid roles

Every Sunday, Spiritual Guidance takes a step into the light to reflect on the subtleties of healing for discipline and holy priests. Your guide, Dawn Moore, enjoys bubble wrap, bubble milk tea, Bubble Bobble, watermelon bubble gum, water bubbles in space, and dolphins blowing bubble rings. She is lukewarm toward bubble spamming.

I have a 6140 gear score.

Don't get excited though; I just said that to rile some of you up. I loathe the concept of the gear score addon, and I actually had to look it up just to know what mine was.

The real reason I bring up my gear score is to give you, my fair readers, an idea of what kind of gear I typically work with as a player. If you have no idea what that number translates to, it is full 264 item level gear with a few 277 level items sprinkled in. So for the most part I have a fantastic set of gear. If I walk into a PUG 5-man, most players will glance me over and immediately feel at ease about their fate for the next 15 to 20 minutes. This is ironic though, because despite the quality of my gear being well above average, I am currently rocking a gear set far worse for healing heroic dungeons than I was 3 tiers ago.

Why, pray tell, is that? Because my guild and I have spent the last three weeks working on the heroic Lich King encounter and I've been slowly optimizing my gear for the past month in preparation for this one, single fight. How's my mana regeneration? Pathetic: I get all of my mana return not from trinkets, flasks or mustache-twirling meta gems, but from carefully timed Power Word: Shields and the Rapture trick. What about haste? Awful: my GCD isn't even close to 1 second if I cast two spells back to back. My sole purpose in the Lich King fight is to cast one spell, on as many people as possible, for about 10 minutes straight. As such, all my gear, gems, enchants, and glyphs are selected to work in this fight alone, even if it cripples me in every other aspect of the game.

And it is quite crippling. I used to love spoiling myself with haste. I loved the 1 second GCD; but now, because of my gear, I find myself having to smash my buttons frantically and repeatedly in the easiest of 5-man dungeons, because my inner sense of timing is all thrown off to what I'm accustomed to. I have trouble healing Halls of Reflection! (If you could hear me, there was a cry of shame in that last sentence.) So, what are we going to talk about today? Gems.

That was obvious before now, right?

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

The Colosseum: Bandler, priest of Blackrock

The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the gladiator to interview some of the top arena fighters on the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune and Frostwyrms. We're especially focused on the people who play these games, to further shed light on the world of the PvP player. If you'd like to be interviewed for The Colosseum, please feel free to contact us -- be sure to include your armory as a link!

This week, The Colosseum had the pleasure of interviewing Bandler, priest of Blackrock. Bandler is on one of the highest rated 5v5s in the world, as well as having exceptionally good "high scores" for arena statistics. Read on to find out what he has to say about priests, arena strategy, and practical advice.

The Colosseum: Why do you play priest? What is it about the class's toolbox that appeals to you for competitive arena?

: For me, priests are one of the most versatile classes. We're able to do steady healing, yet we can put out a lot of damage at the same time.

What's the coolest thing you've ever done in arena? Don't be modest.

I guess Shadow: Word Deathing a Blind is cool.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Interviews, The Colosseum

The Light and How to Swing It: Holy PvP basics

Every Sunday, Chase Christian of The Light and How to Swing It invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. This week, we discuss the basic tenets of holy paladin PvP.

When Wrath of the Lich King was released, Blizzard stated that it was one of their major goals to make raiding more accessible to every type of player. I'd say they achieved that goal, with just about every player who wants to able to experience a raid instance to see several of the bosses in each tier of raiding. With the easily obtained emblem and crafted gear, it's not hard for even newly 80 players to be raid-ready in a couple of weeks. Even the hardest instance in the expansion, Icecrown Citadel, is partially open to the most novice of PUGs. I think we can agree that Blizzard has figured out how to make raiding more accessible.

Their next project in Cataclysm is to bring that same level of accessibility to PvP. They've already planned world PvP zones with the explicit purpose of promoting PvP, namely Tol Barad. We can also expect the new rated battleground feature to allow larger groups and guilds to participate in PvP without being under the arena microscope. Add in slower PvP pacing via an increase in life and decrease in healing power, and it's clear that the Horde and Alliance will be slaughtering each other in new and magnificent ways when we're not busy fighting against Deathwing and his minions. If you want to be ready for Cataclysm's new PvP environment, your best bet is to start practicing now!

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Filed under: Paladin, (Paladin) The Light and How to Swing It