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WoW Archivist: Blizzard's April Fool's jokes are more real than you think

The EPEEN system
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

It all began in 2003, when Blizzard announced pandaren as a playable race -- for Warcraft III. This never happened, of course. The announcement was an April Fool's joke. But you know that someone at Blizzard back then really wanted to play as a panda. Nine years later, with the Mists of Pandaria expansion, we can all be pandaren now.

When Mists was first revealed, the outcry from some in the community was fierce. Much of it centered around how "pandaren were just an April Fool's joke." Most of us, I would hazard to guess, have been won over by them in this expansion. With their incredibly deep history, love of life/beer, and gorgeous architecture, not to mention the amazing voice acting and animations that bring them to life, the pandaren have been a bigger hit for WoW than many ever imagined they could be.

In 2004, a playable goblin tinker for Warcraft III was another April Fool's joke. An overwhelmingly enthused response for playable tinkers led to Blizzard adding them to the game.

Given the origins of the pandaren and goblin tinkers, it's safe to say that any April Fool's joke that Blizzard has done over the years could one day spawn a tangible addition to the game, or perhaps a spinoff under the WoW brand. Let's look back at Blizzard's WoW-related April Fool's jokes to see which ones could be the next to become real -- and which ones already have.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Arcanite Ripper ushers in World of Warcraft: Guitar Hero


You'll want to watch the video above. It's of the Arcanite Ripper, a new drop from the boss Tenris Mirkblood in Karazhan. Tenris has appeared as part of the world event leading up to the release of Wrath of the Lich King. The Arcanite Ripper is a throw back to the old Arcanite Reaper. Except this one has a cool new ability.

Right click on the Ripper, and you'll become a rocking out skeleton. You're a one man LVL70 Eelite Tauren Chieftain. With this little axe, World of Warcraft now becomes Guitar Hero.

The video above is a quick fraps I put together with my long time WoW friend Telanis. He's hanging out in Ironforge, getting his rock on.

And you better believe it baby, he's rockin' your socks off.
Zombies have entered the World of Warcraft in the Wrath of the Lich King world event! Check out our tips for eating brains, our zombie night gallery, or see Blizzard's official zombie infestation guide. They live! Braaiiiiinnnssss!

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Level 70 Elite Tauren Chieftain, now featuring an orphan on Air Guitar

So, with Children's Week upon us, the lore buff in me was wondering something: What's going to happen with Salandria?

If you had a high level character Horde last year and did the Shattrath Orphan's Week quest, you know what I'm talking about. Salandria, your Blood Elf Orphan, is a somewhat snooty and stuck up girl who loves to stick her nose where it might not be safe (such as the fire elemental up at the Throne of Elements), but she seems mostly like a normal, if slightly precocious girl.

Until she asks to go to Silvermoon and the Caverns of Time.

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Filed under: Horde, Paladin, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Quests, Draenei, Blood Elves, Humor, Lore, RP

Nethaera's smack down

Nehthaera today wanted to let a lot of the naysayers out there know a thing or two about their April Fool's jokes and the issues with the servers. She tells us the obvious, more or less: the people who do the April Fool's work are completely separate from the people that do the server and development work.

So these elaborate and well done jokes have exactly zero impact on the servers. They don't have anything to do with maintenance, with patch 2.4, or with Wrath of the Lich King (well, unless you actually believe there'll be a bard class). This means they could have done nothing for April Fool's, and things still would have been as difficult as they were yesterday.

I want to give Nethaera two thumbs up for her post. I really enjoy it lately when GMs and CMs lay the smack down about issues like this, especially to whiney forum posters.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, News items

Blizzard announces new Molten Core console version

The conversion of WoW Insider to HKO Insider has thus far been an unprecedented success, but that said, some news is so amazing, so massively genre defining, that we have to report it regardless of any harm to ourselves or accusations of breaking the site format. The Bard class was one such announcement, and this is another. Ladies and Gentlemen, Molten Core: The Console Version.

This, to say the least, is a major step forward for Blizzard. With everything from the ground-breaking Aggro Every Bears technology that is sure to revolutionize the Skinning tradeskill when they bring it to the main WoW game, to the amazing 8 direction movement system, this game should easily boost the Atari 2600 past lesser consoles such as the Wii and the PS3. Be sure to check out the official website, especially the concept art. It's amazing how Blizzard has realized it in full stunning 2D glory. I'm already planning to reserve my Collector's Edition copy, because those cellophane TV overlays sound hella sweet. We're sure the news on this amazing game will only keep coming, so stay tuned to HKO Insider for all your HKO and WoW:MC news!

Filed under: Skinning, Blizzard, News items, Instances

Maintenance extended for some realms to 12:00 Pacific


Okay, I have no idea who Hello Kitty is. I barely know what Sanrio is because I have nieces. Anyway, for those of us who intent to keep playing World of Warcraft (seriously, Hello Kitty Online? I have to start reading the memos Mike sends out) most of the realms are still down and maintenance is being extended to 12:00 pm Pacific. Like many, I've been haunting the realm status forums since 11 Pacific waiting for news, and I hope Malfurion or Norgannon come up soon.

In the meantime I've been reading about a new console version of Molten Core coming out (sounds so sweet, and no downtimes!) and considering whether or not I'll reroll Bard for the expansion. I think not; I'm a warrior till I die, but the "Metal" tree does intrigue me.

I have no idea if I'll be making that many more posts here, because I am so not even trying to write the "How to tank with hugs" column.

Editor's Note: We apologize for letting this non-HKO post get through. Blogger Matthew Rossi is being dealt with accordingly.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard

New Hero Class revealed: Bard! Also, new Molten Core for the console

A Bard engaged in some totally sweet face melting

I did not think anything could break me away from the Death Knight class. The minute I got my hands on the Wrath of the Lich King beta, I was going to go to the character selection screen, pick Death Knight, and never look back. Sorry Druid, Sorry Hunter. Sorry Warlock. Maybe I'll come back to you when my uber awesome Death Knight is level 80 and I have Frostmourne in my hot little hands.

Blizzard has once again raised the bar. No longer shall I be a Death Knight. Instead, I shall be a Bard. That's right, Blizzard's just announced a new Hero Class, and it's not the Archdruid that was previously rumored.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Lore, Classes, Talents, Wrath of the Lich King

A "meta" class for WoW

Draele over at Rantings of the Afflicted asks if WoW could ever have what he calls a "meta" class. He lists the examples of Mesmer in Guild Wars or a Psionicist in Vanguard, and I'll add to that the Sorcerer class in Dark Age of Camelot-- classes that depend on manipulation and mind control rather than direct damage or healing.

I'd say that it's possible, but extremely unlikely. Why? Because WoW is based on an RTS game, and in RTS, there's not a lot of complicated manipulation going on-- either you're attacking or defending, or some mix of the two. There hasn't really been any precedent (that I can think of or stretch to) in the Warcraft universe for a Bard or "Mesmer" class, and that's why it's pretty unlikely that Blizzard will try to break out past the trinity of usual MMO archetypes. Not to mention that, as Draele says, a meta class is a complex thing to create and play, and WoW tends to be more casual than complex.

Of course, never say never. There's a lot in this universe that hasn't even been hinted at in the game yet, and as was mentioned in last week's podcast, Death Knights will likely only be the beginning of hero classes, so who knows what Blizzard could come up with.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Classes, Death Knight

Totem Twisting: Are Shamans the Bards of WoW?

Eyonix has been spending a lot of time hanging out in the Shaman Discussion Forums lately. I got introduced to the concept of Totem Twisting when he declared that it was not an exploit, but that Blizzard plans to "address" it at some point.

So I asked my in-house Shaman expert about Totem Twisting (there is also a good explanation in the forums). For those of you who don't know (like I didn't), Totem Twisting is when you drop 2 totems of the same element in such a way that you have both of them active concurrently. Usually, the Shaman will drop Windfury to get the 10 second buff and then immediately drop Grace of Air until just before the Windfury buff is up. With creative use of hotkeys and a good rhythm, you can keep both totems active simultaneously. This technique is very mana intensive and severely limits the other things you can do at the same time.

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Filed under: Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, News items, Forums

New professions: Music, woodworking, or something else?

Recently we talked about what kind of quest you would make if Blizzard gave you the opportunity, and since reading Tobold's suggestion yesterday about a new woodworking profession, it got me wondering about what new professions would work well with the existing system. Like jewelcrafting, any new profession should cover items or functions in the game that are not currently craftable. I know many people are just dying to have your current profession improved, but think for a moment if you could start over with a clean slate: what kind of profession would you design?

To give you an example to get you thinking, I did some searching and found this suggestion for a music profession which would let players create their own instruments and play their own music -- something I hear Lord of the Rings Online implements very well. (The clip above features a LotRO player using his keyboard to play "Dust in the Wind.") In addition to this, "song-spells" or enchanted instruments of some kind could give a benefit for anyone in range to hear them played, such as a short-term buff or heal-over-time, or else a debuff for enemies within range, such as a short charm or a lullaby. Some have suggested that a "Bard" class would be able to do this, but to me it seems that the "singing" mechanic suits a secondary skillset better than a full-fledged class and also opens it up for more people to learn and use in different ways. What's your opinion?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff

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