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How World of Warcraft has influenced the development of Windows


You might think that World of Warcraft, being a mere video game, couldn't possibly influence the development of the world's most popular operating system. However, there are enough WoW players -- and other gamers -- running Windows that this isn't the case. Microsoft programmer Raymond Chen reports that Microsoft changed the way certain hotkeys work at the request of numerous gamers.

The issue? People gaming in full-screen could, quite easily, accidentally hit the "Windows" hotkey that fired up a program in their Start menu that would pull them out of the game and into something completely different. And in the time it takes for the new program to launch and you to alt-tab back to your game, you're stuck doing a corpse run. Now that's some thoughtful programming!

Thanks to reader Skelnik for the tip!

Filed under: News items

Lichborne: Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria

Mists of Pandaria Guide to PvE blood death knights in Mists of Pandaria
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Lichborne for blood, frost, and unholy death knights. In the post-Cataclysm era, death knights are no longer the new kids on the block. Let's show the other classes how a hero class gets things done.

With Mists of Pandaria fast approaching, we continue our basic guides to the specs as they stand in the expansion. This week, we catch up with blood tanks. As a reminder, the following guide is for the basics of the class and spec.

Blood basics in Mists of Pandaria

Blood has changed remarkably little in Mists of Pandaria. Our basic setup is still using Death Strike to get our Blood Shield up, while trying to keep threat at the same time. Vengeance is now based off the amount of damage you've taken in the last 20 seconds, which won't be a huge deal but may lead to some attack power and threat spikes in the long run. Be aware that, especially at the start of a fight, you may need to work slightly harder for threat.

The two things you will probably notice the most are the 1-second global cooldown and the loss of 30-second Outbreak. The GCD change was one that was very much needed for DPS death knights but wasn't really an issue for us. However, since Blizzard decided to make that GCD change global to the class, we do have to deal with it. It may cause some noticeable downtime. That said, it will also allow you to fit in more emergency health-gaining cooldowns faster, so it may be a fair trade. Overall, it's something that should be easy to get used to and may work to our advantage more often than not.

A 30-second Outbreak is a little more of a solid nerf, in that you will have to deal with Outbreak's being on cooldown just when you need it most, but Blizzard has taken most of that agony out of the equation, since Scarlet Fever now allows Blood Boil to refresh diseases. Just be sure not to let diseases completely drop, and you're golden.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne, Mists of Pandaria

The Guild picked up for a 4th season

Felicia Day tweeted today that The Guild has been picked up by Microsoft for Season 4. She says that she loves working with Xbox/Microsoft and is already beginning preparation. This has been a week of good news for Day and The Guild, as they also won two Streamy awards on Sunday. Sean Becker won Best Directing for a Comedy Web Series and Day won Best Female Actor in a Comedy Web Series.

If you need your fix right now, you can always watch Seasons 1 through 3 online or on DVD, and Felicia Day also writes The Guild comic. After the jump, you can catch an interview with Felicia at this month's Streamy awards where she talks to former WoW.com producer Barb Dybwad about the upcoming season.

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Filed under: News items

The Guild sells out for Christmas


It was just on Sunday that we first heard about a Guild Christmas special, and now here it is. The Guild gang have decided that the web series thing isn't really happening with the money, so they're taking the advice of commenters and selling out with six different pieces of merchandise, one for each Guild member. They're actually pretty funny, from a Codex "answer Orb" to a talking Tinkerballa doll to a Vork unbreakable bank (unfortunately, all of the items have been recalled for various reasons). There's some cool guest stars in the mix as well -- see if you can spot Heroes' James Kyson Lee (in a Delorean!) and our buddy Alex Albrecht, along with a few other familiar faces.

Good stuff, and man, The Guild crew is getting really good at making some quality video. No word whether these will show up on Xbox Live at all (they're actually out now on YouTube, so this may just be something the guys did for fun, outside of the Microsoft agreement), but you can watch them all right now above. Merry Christmas, guildies! All I really want for Christmas is a Vork unbreakable bank -- in these troubled times, it's really the safest thing to do with your hard earned money.



Like The Guild? We do, too! We've got all the episodes of season 3 posted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and episode 12 above. We've also chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. And as if that wasn't enough Guild, here's the liveblog of their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned for more Guild here on WoW.com!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Guilds, Blizzard, Humor

Felicia Day says The Guild comic is coming in Spring 2010

Felicia Day told us back at BlizzCon that she was going to go undercover for a little while as The Guild's latest season wrapped up, but undercover for this woman seems to mean that she's only in two TV shows and prepping for a comic book release. She showed up in last night's Lie to Me episode, singing, and in this interview over at Newsarama from the Video Game Awards with Sandeep Parikh (who himself just showed up in Tiki Bar TV -- slightly NSFW, language) she says she's still working on the unfortunately canceled Dollhouse as well. So that's where Eliza Dushku got her addiction from.

She also says that the Dark Horse published Guild comic book is due out in spring of next year -- Jim Rugg is working on the art right now -- and fans of The Guild may even get a little Christmas present from the show and Microsoft. We'll keep an eye out for that for sure. So even though we're in between seasons (and we assume that season 4 is upcoming next year, even though we haven't heard an official announcement on that yet), there's lots of Guild goodness to go around.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Interviews, Comics, Fan art

A chat with Check Six, WoW Arena team

The official Microsoft Sync blog (apparently the blog isn't official -- they fooled me) has posted a video interview (which you can see above) with Check Six, one of the high level World of Warcraft Arena teams showing up in tournaments lately. The video is somewhat tame, but that actually works in its favor -- this high-level Arena play can be complicated and hard to follow, and so simplifying it a little bit actually makes it more palatable. You high level Arena players won't get to hear their opinions on the latest builds or balance tweaks, unfortunately (for that, you can check out our Coliseum column), but the rest of us can at least put some faces to one of these team names floating around, and hear a little bit more about how these guys run these tournaments.

They've been playing together for about two or three months, and they practice quite a bit: together, they do about ten or twelve hours a week, but I'd assume they play outside of the team as well. They say that WoW has a pretty "easy skill cap to reach," but after that, it's a matter of getting the right team members together, because they say teamwork is more important in Arenas than even a game like Counter-Strike ("CS"). And they kind of surprised me with how young they are -- it's a big deal to go running around the world and playing in tournaments when you're probably dealing with school and an early career at the same time. It's not the most well produced Arena interview you'll ever see, but I liked the frank look at the guys and what they're like away from their computers.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Interviews, Arena, Rumors

Windows 7 plugs WoW


This is one of the stranger World of Warcraft mentions out there -- WorldofWar.net spotted a posting on overclock.net that shows a Microsoft presentation to Best Buy employees mentioning our favorite game. Apparently WoW is a selling point for Windows 7, specifically when comparing the OS to Linux. If Best Buy wants to sell operating systems that play "the games your customers want (e.g. World of Warcraft)," then Windows is supposed to be the way to go.

Interesting. Then again, World of Warcraft is a big game, so you can't blame Microsoft for jumping on its popularity while trying to sell OSes. But it's a little misleading -- of course Blizzard has supported Apple's OS X on the disc from day one, and while they don't officially support running the game on Linux, it's certainly possible to do. If you really are going to buy a new OS, playing WoW might not be the best criteria to base your purchase choice on.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Humor, Hardware

BlizzCon 2009: WoW.com interviews Felicia Day, continued

That's the last money question that I have. You work with all of these actors, the first season it was like you were kind of the face of the show, and you were talking to everybody, and the other actors have kind of come up. And this BlizzCon I think is one of the first ones where people are really diving in and saying this person is my favorite, I really want to talk to Robin, I really want to talk to Jeff. You wrote the stuff, you even talked on the panel as well about how the actors are kind of taking over your characters. How has that been, in terms of how your actors are becoming the characters you're writing about?

As of the third season, I've written them hundreds of pages, at this point. So they've as actors really helped me define, it's kind of a metamorphosis. Every TV show, if you watch a pilot, a lot of characters change a lot, from the time they do that first pilot. For this one, the actors though, they bring so much to the table, Jeff and Sandeep do a lot of improv, and ad-lib a lot, they're adding a lot of ideas with their characters. At the same time, honestly, I've been pushing them forward as far as press and stuff and meeting fans and stuff, because I'm out there on the Internet a lot, I get sick of myself, honestly, I'm sure some of your readers are like, "I hate this girl."

[Laughs] No! They do have trolling tendencies.

Which is cool, they will, but that's cool, everybody doesn't have to love me. [laughs]

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Humor, Interviews, BlizzCon

The Guild comic book, and other news from the SDCC panel

The Guild's Twitter account is tweeting up a storm from the panel about our favorite Internet series at Comic-Con, and there's a whole downpour of news already. Probably biggest is the news that Dark Horse Comics will be publishing a comic book featuring characters from Felicia Day's show, penned by none other than Ms. Day herself. Details are still hard to find (there's no mention of the book yet on DHC's site), but we presume it'll be about the real-life personas of The Guild folks, rather than a story about their characters. That'll be interesting to see.

Other news from the panel is that Season 3 is coming soon, and it'll feature a special guest: Mr. Wil Wheaton, former Star Trek annoyance (sorry, I didn't like him at all), and current geek icon. Apparently they showed a sneak peek at the panel and a Jed Whedon-directed music video (featuring Vork spanking Codex and Tink dancing?), so as soon as we see either of those, we'll be posting them here.

And finally, apparently Jeff Lewis (a.k.a. Vork) has announced that he'll be marrying his wife in the game, though we have no idea if that's a joke or not. With these Guild guys, you can never tell. Lots more news about season 3 to come, we're sure, and of course we'll see all of these folks at BlizzCon -- here's the interview we did with them last year. We've got at least one contact on the ground at Comic-Con this week, so stay tuned for more news from San Diego, too.


Like The Guild? We do, too! We've got all the episodes of the first season: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8 and 9, as well as links to all of the season two shows, We recently talked with Michele Boyd at E3, and we'll definitely be seeing all of the cast and crew at BlizzCon again later this year.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Guilds, Odds and ends, Humor, Fan art

Gearing up for PvP - Your mouse


Let's face it, not everyone can afford an HP Blackbird 002, which was used for several MLG pro gaming tournaments and was awarded 4.5 stars (out of 5) by CNET. The Editors' bottom line at the time was "If you can afford it, and you want a high-end gaming PC, buy this one. End of story." The end of that story was a $5,600 hole in your wallet, which is not a very happy ending for most of us mortals (Wired gave its $2,100 successor, the HP Firebird, a 9 out of 10). The actual happy compromise is in your peripherals, which you can splurge on (within reason) without having to win the Lotto.

I'll start with the mouse. More than your keyboard, your mouse is your most important gaming peripheral. For laptop users, who will more often than not use the default keyboard built-in to their machine, dedicated gaming keyboards are a luxury rather than a necessity. Furthermore, PvP enthusiasts necessarily learn to move with a mouse, which makes it a worthy investment.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

GLAAD fights homophobia in online communities like WoW

We've talked here on the site before about this issue -- the anonymity in online communities like World of Warcraft often leads to people throwing out offensive statements that they usually wouldn't in normal company. Most people shrug these off as just what happens in online games ("kids will be kids, and idiots will be idiots"), but this type of undercurrent behavior still signifies and perpetuates prejudices and hatreds that affect society at large.

The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) has recently started up a campaign to try and stamp out hatred and homophobia in communities like World of Warcraft, and they've published an op-ed on exactly why this is such a problem and what we can do to stop it. They don't mention WoW specifically, but we're one of the biggest online communities out there, and if nothing else, here's a chance to show just how tolerant we as a community can be.

The good news is that as the practice of online gaming grows, both players and policymakers are becoming more and more aware of the problem -- Microsoft met earlier this year with representatives from GLAAD to determine how better to combat offensive statements on Xbox Live, and the organization held a panel recently to discuss exactly this issue.

Thanks, Joshua!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, News items

The Art of War(craft): Gearing up for PvP


One of the most important things in World of Warcraft PvP, obviously -- as with all endeavors in a loot-driven game -- is gear. Epic items with Stamina and Resilience, PvP set bonuses and all that. Well, that's not what we're going to talk about today. Today we'll take a look at the metagame. What you do outside the World of Warcraft and how you can improve your PvP skills with so-called gaming gear and other factors out of the game.

Over the past few months, my brother built a custom trail bike that he weighed down to the gram (it's about 10.12kg compared to the 15kg bike I currently use). It cost him something in the atmosphere of $3,000, and when I chided him about spending so much for it, he explained that since he doesn't have as much skill as other competitive bikers, he tries to make up for it with a better tool. It makes sense. Obviously, a superior athlete with a mediocre bicycle could and does outperform him in competitions, but he beats bikers of identical skill and athleticism with his new, lightweight, high-end bike.

What does this have to do with the World of Warcraft, you ask? Well, my brother's reasoning applies to gaming, as well. While natural talent and skill for video games isn't something you can achieve or obtain overnight (if at all), it's easy enough to take steps to improve your metagame. Just as characters get an advantage through in-game gear, players can get an advantage using real life gear.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, The Art of War(craft) (PvP), Battlegrounds, Arena

Pardo says Blizzard still not interested in bringing WoW to consoles

Blizzard has never been keen to put WoW on consoles -- while there have always been rumors, they've never bothered showing much interest. And in a new interview with IndustryGamers, Blizzard's Rob Pardo tells us why: the controller issue remains a problem (it's certainly possible to map WoW onto a controller, but not yet in any way Blizzard would approve of), and modern consoles have come up with even more problems of their own. A hard drive, says Pardo, would be pretty much required, since WoW is up to around 10gb so far, but even the Xbox 360 (which now commonly allows game installs on the HD) still doesn't guarantee players will have that much space available. And Pardo says that while they have been in talks with Microsoft about what the two companies can do together, he says he's wary of the patching process over there -- it's not exactly as quick as they'd like.

So it remains unlikely that we'll ever see WoW in its current form on any console systems -- while there's probably lots of money to be made, the game was designed from the ground up to be a PC game, and there are still too many issues flying around (and it's likely too late in the game's lifetime) for Blizzard to try and make the jump. But that next-gen MMO...

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Hardware

World of Warcraft on Windows 7 RC

Later this year Microsoft will release its next major desktop operating system, Windows 7. After deciding now was the time to expand my hard drives (because I really need 3TBs of space), I took the opportunity to install the "release candidate." The release candidate of Windows 7 is just that -- it's a version of the operating system that while still in development, has all the bells and whistles, and is essentially the exact same thing that'll be sold on the shelves.

The installation and configuration of Windows 7 went very smoothly. For the technically inclined, my computer has four gigs of RAM and operates off of two dual-core Intel Core2 processors. I have an nVidia GTX 260 graphics card, which is the latest generation. There's a bunch of other bells and whistles that I have as well, but those are the big things relevant to what I do every day here at WoW.com and how I play WoW.

Prior to installing Windows 7, I used Windows Vista updated to the latest patches. I got about 60 FPS on average, with a maximum of around 100 while idling in some far off place with not a lot of traffic; and a minimum of about 50 while in some of the more graphic intensive raids / battlegrounds. After installing Windows 7 I was running at about 75 FPS average, with a maximum still of around 100. However more importantly my FPS during raids / Wintergrasp shot up to 70.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Guides, Hardware

Season 3 of the guild to start production in June


Season 3 of The Guild has been given the green light via sponsorship from Microsoft and Sprint. According to the Hollywood Reporter, production is anticipated to begin in June, with a sneak peak of season three happening at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.

Season 2 ended on a cliffhanger, and according to Felicia Day via the Hollywood Reporter, "the repercussions of [the cliffhanger] will be felt by the guild. Expect a lot of real-life distractions for the characters and some hurt feelings from the last season."

Hopefully we'll see more of the guild at BlizzCon this August as well (why, what a perfect time to release the first episode of season three!). Last year they gave a great, and packed, presentation.

I for one can't wait to see what happens this season. Go Guild!

Filed under: Fan stuff, News items, Humor

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