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Breakfast Topic: What will the next WoW expansion be?

Mists of Pandaria is our Emerald Dream expansion
What will the next WoW expansion be? With only one major content patch left in Mists of Pandaria, and BlizzCon 2013 around the corner, it won't be long before we know what's next. But what do you think is coming? Will we be venturing into the Emerald Dream alongside Malfurion, or was Anne Stickney onto something when she speculated that the Mists of Pandaria might be our Emerald Dream expansion?

What about the ongoing legendary questline with Wrathion? Wrathion has been referencing the return of the Burning Legion in much of his quest text. Does that mean demons will be descending upon Azeroth in the next expansion? Will we finally get to see Sargeras?

Also, you wouldn't want to forget Queen Azshara. You would think we'd have seen her and the city Nazjatar in the Cataclysm expansion, but so far she's only made minor or indirect appearances. Azshara is the perfect accompaniment to some recent fan speculation about the naga being the next possible playable race. Unfortunately, Ghostcrawler pretty much shot that down by pointing out the naga's lack of legs would make it difficult to design armor for them.

And, of course, there's always ... Trolls? Wait, really? More trolls? You wouldn't think it, but in the same interview where Ghostcrawler killed our naga dreams, he said that trolls were an option the game lore could still explore in future content. Huh ... Go figure.

So, what do you think the next WoW expansion will be?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

The Queue: Is Fox leaving forever?

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Fox Van Allen (@foxvanallen) will be your host today.

Hey everyone! Gather the kids, because it's one of those "special event" things. Fox Van Allen is doing The Queue today and that's pretty darn exciting. OK, sure, it's not "hit the jackpot" exciting. It's a more gentle kind of exciting. Like the kind where if for a day Pat Sajak hosted Jeopardy! and Alex Trebek hosted Wheel of Fortune.

Anyway. Because I'm an egotistical jerk who has only been made even more insufferable by the blazing Los Angeles sun, I'm going to start this Queue off by answering a question about myself.

@thebmatt asked:

I just saw on @WoWInsider you [Fox] won't be writing the Shadow priest column anymore. True?

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Filed under: The Queue

Mists of Pandaria: (╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻

The latest build for the Mists of Pandaria beta has brought new spells, huge nerfs, and Flippable Tables. Yes, that's right, a Flippable Table.

Michael Gray speculated about the table last week in Phat Loot Phriday, but at the time, the item hadn't yet been implemented on test servers. Well folks, there is now no more need for speculation. For your viewing pleasure, I give you the Flippable Table. And I only had to kill 400 birds and get spawn-camped by an embarrassingly low-level warlock (I do not PvP as shadow) to bring it to you. You're welcome.

Currently, the Flippable Table is purchased from Nam Ironpaw in Valley of the Four Winds using Ironpaw Tokens, a currency you get from completing Mists of Pandaria cooking dailies. The same currency is used to purchase other novelty items such as Apron and Frying Pan.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Mists of Pandaria

5 monk abilities that should have you excited for Mists of Pandaria

A human monk using Flying Serpent Kick
When I was younger, Easter was a time of good food and great gaming. While my parents and relatives discussed boring adult stuff in my aunt's living room, my brothers and I would flee with our cousin to their basement, where we'd play Mortal Kombat II on SNES all night. I was always Liu Kang, my younger brother was normally Reptile, and I'd always win the first few matches by backing him into a corner and repeatedly bicycle kicking him until he died. Or blocked. Once he became a preteen, it was usually the latter, and I haven't beaten him in a fighting game since.

The long-distance flying Martial Arts kick has been a staple in video games ever since video games became a Thing, and I'm particularly pleased to announce that Blizzard has done it due justice in Mists of Pandaria with Flying Serpent Kick. It won't allow you to abuse dated wall mechanics or give you a false sense of pride, but it's one of a number of awesome monk abilities that fit in well with the monk archetype in gaming in general while staying true to WoW's form. Hopefully, these five monk abilities will have you excited for WoW's next expansion.

1. Expel Harm Normally, heals aren't something that I typically call exciting or cool, unless they're the total awesomeness that is Healing Rain. This is especially true given the relative homogenization of healer classes in Cataclysm and the existence of the healing holy trinity. Expel Harm isn't your normal heal. Instead, what Expel Harm does is heal you (or, if glyphed, your target) for a small amount, and then it does 100% of the healing done to the closest enemy target as damage.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Monk, Mists of Pandaria

Beta Testing 101: How to write a good bug report on the forums

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If you're in the Mists of Pandaria beta, chances are good that you've encountered a few bugs by now. As a beta tester, it's not just your job to sit there and play through the game. You're also expected to report the bugs you happen upon in your travels through Pandaria. Blizzard has provided beta forums for feedback and bug reporting, so you've got a place to jot those bugs down. Once you've found and identified a bug, you should write up a brief report so Blizzard knows that there's a problem and can fix the problem before release.

Before you scamper off to the beta forums, however, there's a proper way to write these bug reports so that Blizzard knows what you're talking about and can take appropriate action. If you write a bug report incorrectly, you're not helping matters any -- and in some cases, you can even confuse the situation and make it worse. So how do you write a good bug report on the beta forums?

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Filed under: Bugs, Mists of Pandaria

Beta Testing 101: 5 things you should always report

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Have you made it into the Mists of Pandaria beta yet? Being a beta tester isn't about simply playing through a free sample of the game. If you're expecting a completed product when you log in, you're in for a surprise. What you are playing is a not-quite-finished version of the game, and it's highly likely you'll run into your fair share of bugs as you're wandering Pandaria's gorgeous hills and valleys. As a beta tester, it's your job to report those bugs you find in game, so that they can be fixed before the game goes live.

However, not every error out there deserves a report. Things like NPCs that are marked with a PC or NYI tag are things the developers already know about -- they're just placeholder models. Music isn't yet implemented into Pandaria yet either, but the developers know about that, too. So what makes a bug a bug, and what kinds of bugs should you report?

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Filed under: Bugs, Mists of Pandaria

Know Your Lore: Where is WoW's story headed in the distant future?

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.

Because of the way we experience the setting, the story of World of Warcraft progresses in bursts. It's fair to think of each expansion as a new series, and the patches as episodic, in the same manner as British TV series such as Doctor Who or Turning Evil. Therefore, each expansion brings new settings, new dangers, and a new, overarching storyline, while each patch is an advancement of that storyline, bringing it to a conclusion with the ultimate patch of each expansion. In this way, Patch 4.3 is effectively a multi-part episode concluding the story of our confrontation with Deathwing.

I bring this up because with Mists of Pandaria, we're going to see a whole new place and explore it. In essence, it will be an expansion that introduces a great deal of new -- new lands, new peoples, new experiences. While it will still be part of Azeroth and still part of the unfolding storyline, it's also a change to switch gears and get away from the familiar. In a game like WoW, it's necessary to introduce new elements in this way to keep the setting engaging. It may be hard to relate now, but Ragnaros, Ahn'Qiraj, the Old Gods, the Silithid, all were introduced in World of Warcraft and not any of the RTS games. Look at the Warcraft III map of Kalimdor. You'll notice pretty much everything south of Feralas is blank on it.

This puts me in mind to speculate on the future of the game and where the lore is going to take us. Not just in Mists, of course, as I expect that much of the lore of the expansion is well and truly fleshed out already, and I'm as eager as anyone to see it. But we've got expansions down the road and trends to consider. None of this absolutely will happen ... but some of it might.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Burning Crusade, Lore, Know your Lore, Cataclysm, Mists of Pandaria

Raid Rx: Healing the Spine and Madness of Deathwing

Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poohbah of World of Matticus and a founder of Plus Heal, a discussion community for healers of all experience levels and interests. Catch his weekly podcast on healing, raiding and leading, the Matticast.

This is it. This is the final encounter of the expansion. Everything you've ever worked for and fought through has led to this point. This is the moment you get to help rid the world of Deathwing. First, we need to ground this oversized lizard. Immediately after the conclusion of the gunship (part two), you'll be parachuting onto Deathwing's back. We'll go over the different obstacles and what you and your healers need to do to get over the proverbial raid hump. (To the raiders who do 10-mans, you'll have to adjust the numbers a bit. I'm not as well versed on 10s, so you'll have to bear with me as I draw up assistance for the 25-man version.)

To attack the Spine of Deathwing, we need to peel off those metal plates on Deathwing's back so that we can really weaken him further. Our healing goal here is to ensure that our tanks live. Apparently, Deathwing has all sorts of little defenses that he'll use to try to shake us off; there are several threats on this fight that healers need to be aware of. You're on an extremely narrow field of battle here, so movement's going to be really limited.

What did you expect, though? You're fighting on the back of a former dragon aspect.

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Filed under: Raid Rx (Raid Healing)

Blood Sport: How will patch 4.3 impact PvP?

WoW Insider covers the world of player vs. player action in Blood Sport for fans of battleground, world PvP and Arena play. Steering you to victory is Olivia Grace, who spends most of her time in Azeroth as a restoration shaman turning people into frogs.

With patch 4.3 imminent and Arena season 10 due to end Nov. 29, it seems reasonable to assume the patch will appear in early December. While you're racing to get your team into title range, get that last piece of gear, or just running laps of your capital city, you might be thinking forward to the arrival of the patch and wondering what your fate will be in PvP as the nerf bat winds up for another swing. Firstly, let's deal with some housekeeping.

Conquest points, the PvP equivalent of valor points, will now be far, far easier to earn from ordinary Battlegrounds. The first daily Battleground win will now award 100 conquest points, up from 25, and wins after that will award 50 conquest point, up from, well, none! The conquest cap will remain, so while it will still be far quicker to reach it through Arena, it will also be attainable via Battlegrounds of the non-rated variety. This makes it far easier for solo players to build up the resilience numbers people often demand (fairly or otherwise) for access to Arena and Rated Battleground teams or just to gear for Battlegrounds.

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Filed under: PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Spiritual Guidance: The priests of BlizzCon 2011

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers the healing side of things for discipline and holy priests. She also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

This past weekend, BlizzCon 2011 brought a plethora of announcements for World of Warcraft. Players can now look forward to pandas, a dramatically new talent system, a Pokémon-style minigame, and lots more. Priests in particular are in for radical changes with the new talents, and while I suspect some of you would like to hear my perspective on things, I'm going to wait a week and see what else unfolds from the blues as they respond to some of the more obvious questions the community is asking. This also gives me the opportunity to follow through with my original plans of introducing you guys to some of the priests I met at BlizzCon 2011.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

About the Bloggers: Dawn Moore

About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more of our staffers in earlier About the Bloggers profiles.

Today you'll be meeting Dawn Moore, admirer of Dwarven hunters in-game rocks.

What do you do for WoW Insider?

Since January 2010, I've been one of the two columnists covering Spiritual Guidance, WoW Insider's biweekly priest column. I write specifically for the two healing trees, holy and discipline, since Fox Van Allen stole 1/3 of my job covers shadow. In addition to my column, I also unofficially cover the news and articles WoW Insider publishes on the Warcraft movie, since I keep a pretty watchful eye on the film industry.

Periodically, I also write feature articles on random topics such as vegetables and superhero costumes.

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Filed under: About the Bloggers

Breakfast Topic: How do you choose your spec builds?


This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

I confess that when it comes to my specs, I am incredible lazy. I'm not dual-specced. I don't have a PVP spec. I'm just a standard PVE frost mage. I didn't even change to arcane when arcane was the only way to be a "proper" mage. I'm not into theorycrafting, and I would rather let someone else do all the work. I poke around the internet for awhile, find a spec I like, and copy it. I then stick with that spec until major changes are made and I have no choice but to fix the spec.

Some of my good friends are the total opposite. They loiter on theorycrafting websites, crunch the numbers, and constantly tweak the numbers until their spec seems ideal. A few days later, they are ready to tweak some more.

Where do you fall on this spectrum? Are you a theorycrafter who loves the numbers game and could spend hours trying to devise the perfect spec? Would you prefer to sit back and yank someone else's perfect design? Or are you somewhere in the middle? Do you study the builds and then come up with something of your own, roughly based on the work you've seen?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

What's happening in the Whispering Forest?

Every now and then, an Easter Egg is found in game. Blizzard loves its pop culture references, secret nooks and crannies, and everything in between. Recently, this popped up: a secret grove, hidden in the Whispering Forest of Western Tirisfal.

While it's unknown when they spawn (I've heard every six hours or so, but I'm not sure), a troupe of faerie dragons slowly flies to this mushroom ring and begins to sing.

Tendrils of golden light flow and meet in the center of the circle, while ethereal music notes float all around. A beautiful little piece of music accompanies all of this, lasting about two and a half minutes. The infected animals of the Whispering Forest even come around to witness the performance. After they're done, the dragons leave and despawn.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Breakfast Topic: How would you spend one day as your character?

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

What if you could trade skill sets with your favorite toon for a day? I would port myself to my job, instead of sitting in mind-numbing traffic for 40 minutes. When I got to work, I would pop Mirror Image so I could have four people doing my work for me (because, you know, I'm glyphed for it!) while my water elemental and I sat outside and enjoyed the sunshine. If anyone came looking for me, I'd go Invisible and Blink myself the heck out of Dodge.

Lunch would be no sweat -- I'd just whip up some cakes and be good to go. I'd take advantage of the moment and turn my boss into a sheep (or a penguin). And when the two o'clock doldrums hit, I'd do the Time Warp and make the rest of the day go by until the time came to port myself back home again. Once home, I'd set the water elemental to watch the children (making sure that it's set to passive, of course) and conjure up some more cakes for dinner. I have to confess though, I would be getting the better end of the deal, as I think my poor little mage would be less than thrilled to be dropped into Twilight Highlands with nothing more than a quirky sense of humor and a penchant for the written word.

If you could trade places with your character for a day, what would you do?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

Breakfast Topic: Azerothian technology

This Breakfast Topic has been brought to you by Seed, the AOL guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

It began in the Burning Crusade with the helicopters. They quickly became the must-have item for every fashionable Azerothian and Outlander. In Wrath, we saw the Mechanohog come about and the murmurings began. In Cataclysm, engineers continue to be able to make more modern looking weapons and the goblins ride around on their mechanical trikes. The goblin starting area has been described, both affectionately and derisively, as Grand Theft Auto: Isle of Kezan. At what point does modern technology in World of Warcraft go too far? How far can gnomish technology really go? Is the game becoming too "steampunky?" Is that even a word?

Do you feel that introducing items from modern-day Earth into Azeroth interferes with the immersion of the game? Is it impossible to properly roleplay when someone just roared past you on what appears to be a Harley-Davidson with a sidecar attached to it? Or do you just shrug it off as gnomish eccentricity? Are the items properly introduced with a logical argument for why they exist, or are they there for the sole purpose of giving engineers something to do (and a way to make money hand over fist)? Do you personally own one of the mechanical vehicles, and, if you are a roleplayer, how do you work it into your storyline?

Have you ever wanted to write for WoW Insider? Your chance may be right around the corner. Watch for our next call for submissions, and be sure to sign up for Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider. The next byline you see here may be yours!

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Guest Posts

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