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WoW Moviewatch: The Craft of War: BLIND

I've treasured the WoW machinima community just as much -- if not more -- than the rest of the game. Over the years, I've witnessed so much joy and pleasure, not to mention raw creativity, that I'll always carry the indelible mark in my heart. What's not to love about a group of people who sing, animate, draw, and create?

Hundreds of outstanding videos testify to the strength of that community. So when choosing one last final video for my personal swan song, I was stumped. WoW filk played during my wedding and during the birth of both my daughters. My wife and I fell in love with machinima together.

I ultimately chose this, the machinima that took the world by storm. To this day, I still get notes asking if WoW Insider is aware of the video. So with a tip of that, I present to you: The Craft of War: BLIND. Keep an eye over your shoulders, folks.
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 email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

Encrypted Text: We'll always be the bad guys

rogue pvp
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article suggestions you'd like to see covered here.

I remember the first time I ran into a warlock in vanilla WoW. We were both around level 40, and I met him in an Uldaman run. I didn't even know the class existed until he responded to my advertisement in trade chat. During the dungeon, he was constantly Fearing mobs into other groups, accidentally tab-targeting and tossing DoTs on patrols, and letting his pet steal aggro from the tank. My first impression of warlocks was a negative one, and it took a long time for that prejudice to subside.

Most players' first experience with a rogue will be on the receiving end of our daggers. Whether it's in a battleground or in the open world of a PvP server, rogues are killing thousands of players per hour. If a rogue gets the opener on an unsuspecting player, it's not a pretty sight. The target will be ambushed from nowhere, stunned, slowed, interrupted, poisoned, and bled to death. Being killed by a rogue isn't a fun experience. You're hit with the shock of surprise, denied control of your character, and incredibly restricted. It's easy to see how a player's first experience with a rogue could leave a bad taste in their mouth.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Blind player Ben Shaw on raiding and WoW for the sightless

Blind player Ben Shaw on raiding and WoW for the sightless THUHOLD FOR IMAGES
It was World of Warcraft's feel-good people story of last year: Ben Shaw, the energetic young British serviceman who, astonishingly, continues to perform at peak efficiency in endgame raiding with the help of a "guide dog" guildmate. Our interview with Davidian, Ben's in-game guide, went viral and was seen on gaming websites and general news publications across the globe. Blizzard took notice, commemorating the duo's partnership with a set of in-game helms.

But after attacking Mists with a new pandaren rogue, Ben said he found himself craving more WoW than ever. By the end of the year, he was ready to reach out for a new guild home, where he's now Shadowstepping into heroics with the best of them.

How does a blind WoW player maintain competitive DPS and utility in endgame content? In an era when making a jump to a new raiding guild can be a challenging proposition for any player, how does a guy who can't see bump to the front of the line? (Hint: It's not PR power.) Ben and I pulled up a virtual chair in a phone conversation across the ocean to talk about the challenges of playing a video game when you're completely blind.

Visually impaired gamers: Check the end of this interview to learn how to connect with Ben's new initiative to share his experience and resources with other blind players.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Breakfast Topic: Have you ever wanted to make your own machinima?

Most people know that I play a discipline priest in World of Warcraft. I play holy and shadow a lot too, but nothing really beats hopping around, casting bubbles on people, and preventing near death experiences. In League of Legends, I pretty much do the same exact thing, minus the hopping. In League I play a support champion named Janna, and most of what she does is float around, cast bubbles on people, and prevent near death experiences.

I guess I just like bubbling things. I've always suspected it had something to do with the fact that the first game I ever owned as a kid was Bubble Bobble on the NES. Want to know what you do in that game? You hop around blowing bubbles at things.

Anyway, ever since Wrath, I've wanted to make a video where my disc priest starts out shielding the raid on the heroic Lich King encounter, before accidentally falling through the platform and into a 2-D platform game (similar to Bubble Bobble). There she would have to use her bubbles to navigate levels and fight monsters.

The problem is I don't really think I have what it takes to make machinima. Sure, I can hit the record button and film my character running around on a live server, but I don't think I have the patience or artistic talent to do stuff like Percula or the Hackleman Brothers. What they do is closer to animation, and animation is pretty intimidating to a second-rate artist like myself. Still, it doesn't stop me from dreaming. Maybe one day ...

What about you? Have you ever wanted to make your own machinima? If so, what would it be? A short spoof, a feature length movie, or an ongoing series? Furthermore, what would it be about? Would it be the love story of your blood elf mage, or an epic war drama starring your human paladin?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Where Are They Now? 2012 personalities, including the blind player and his 'guide dog'

Where Are They Now The last year in WoW personalities
At last, our look back at five years of WoW personality interviews rolls around to the duo everyone's been asking about: Hexu and Davidian, the British soldier blinded in Iraq and his redoubtable "guide dog" guildmate who steered him through full participation in current raid content. Their story exploded across the internet after we interviewed Davidian here on WoW Insider, and Blizzard recognized the dynamic duo with in-game helms with flavor text alluding to their inspiring bond of friendship.

Hexu and Davidian are both still playing World of Warcraft -- but the duo is together no more. As of the new year, the ever-energetic Hexu has been raiding on a new rogue, Dirtypawz, in Unqualified on Stormrage (EU). "I know!" he replies to my unspoken exclamation of surprise and sadness. "It was just that people were only raid logging, and it got boring -- but it was all amicable and cool. I still speak to people in Die Safe. I just wanted to do more than raid three nights a week." Hexu/Dirtypawz says a "very nice bloke" named Vatic is serving as his current raiding "guide dog" helper. "The people in the guild are all nice people," he adds, "and there [are] always things going on."

We'll visit with Hexu/Dirtypawz next month about how he's settling in and dig into his tips for the many sight-disabled players who've written to us during the past year trying to reach him for advice.

Meanwhile, Davidian reports that the year since we interviewed him has been packed with recognition and encouragement. "The publicity was just unreal," he says. "Even to this day, I get people coming to our server just to say how much the story inspired them and restored their faith in the gaming community. The biggest thing of all, though, was the fact that it made its way to Blizzard, and myself and Ben got signed copies of the collectors edition of Cataclysm signed by at least 50 members of the Blizzard team, and [we] received in-game pets also. Then to top it off, having in-game items with our names on them was just outstanding -- I mean, to be immortal in a game that we love to play is just, well words couldn't possibly describe it."

All good people connecting to play a game that's close to our hearts ... Keep reading for more updates about people who love World of Warcraft, from our interviews during 2012.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

What WoW art do you show off?

As a new father, I didn't really go out and paint the town red for New Year's Eve. Instead, my family joined our neighbors to quietly sip some beer, enjoy some chili, and watch YouTube videos on a big screen.

Being the nerd that I am, I insisted that we watch BLIND. The family we were visiting hadn't seen the video, since they don't play WoW, but they were suitably impressed by the animation and fun. The video actually inspired them to maybe check out the game; I felt my work there was done.

When you find yourself wishing to share a bit of our Azerothian culture, what do show non-players? Is it a song? A machinima? Maybe a favorite picture? What's the anthropologic relic you use to represent us as WoW players?

WoW Moviewatch: Craft of War: BLIND

It Has Been 5 Months 0 Months Since Michael Gray Last Posted BLIND.

Since the last time Percula's classic Craft of War: BLIND graced these pages, two WoW Insiders have had babies (not together), a new expansion has let out, we've endured a non-stop presidential campaign, sent a robot to Mars, and garnered lots of new readers.

So, to those new folks, welcome to Craft of War: BLIND. It's awesome and will spoil you for most other machinima that you may ever see. Don't worry. You'll still like other stuff. But you'll look back on BLIND the same way you remember your first love.

To you long-time veterans, yeah. Rogues still don't play this way.

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 email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

"Guide Dog" player and sightless guild-mate honored with in-game items

'Guide Dog' player and sightless guildmate honored with ingame items
Back in January, Lisa Poisso posted a touching story about two players, Hexu, an enhancement shaman played by British Army soldier Ben Shaw, who, while serving in Iraq, was involved in an incident with a roadside bomb in Basra. He suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and had to have both eyes surgically removed. Despite this, Hexu has accepted many challenges, including WoW raiding.

But how does a sightless player raid? Well, that's where Davidian comes in. Davidian is a Death Knight, played by a Scotsman named Owen, and is Hexu's in-game guide. He uses a series of macros, both on Hexu's machine and his own, to help Hexu perform in-game actions from repairs to killing Deathwing, the two even ranking side by side in DPS.

Why are we repeating this story? Well, Blizzard has honored Hexu and Davidian with two in-game items: Hexu's Amplifying Helm, and Davidian's All-Seeing Eyes. The item descriptions on the tooltips are particularly touching: "A man with a friend is never without vision" and "Sharp enough to see for two men" respectively. I was really touched by this, and so are Hexu and Davidian's guild, Die Safe, who have posted a thread on the EU forums thanking Blizzard for this recognition.

"Guide dog" player and guild embrace sightless guildmate, steer team to victory

Davidian and Hexu
After seeing this guild's victories through the lens of their mutual friendship, you'll never look at the bonds and teamwork among guildmates within Azeroth the same again. Writes our tipster:

My name is Nico and my character is Ignatious on Chamber of Aspects (EU). I'm co-GM/officer in a guild called Die Safe. We are a small (15 to 20 accounts) casual guild whose members like to raid on a couple of nights a week. I'd like to make clear that as a guild we are not hardcore or elitist, and we try to stay out of the realm spotlight as much as possible, so this isn't exactly familiar territory for me.

In our guild, we have a member that raids with us who is completely blind. His name is Ben Shaw, and he currently plays an enhancement shaman called Hexu. Ben used to be a soldier in the British Army and, whilst serving in Iraq, was involved in an incident with a roadside bomb in Basra. As a result of the explosion, Ben suffered multiple shrapnel wounds and had to have both of his eyes surgically removed.

Ben is a strong-willed individual and was not prepared to accept that he could no longer do all the things he previously enjoyed, even if that meant challenging peoples' preconceptions about blindness. Since the incident, he has embarked on numerous activities considered off limits to the visually impaired, some of which have been reported in the international press.

Everyone does their fair share of relaying information to Ben, but none more so than Davidian, our resident death knight.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

15 Minutes of Fame: Legally blind player with hearing loss conquers raid healing

Rainbo at work
From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

Talk about working around healer's tunnel vision: Rainbo, a 25-man discipline/holy priest on Cenarion Circle (US-H), stays out of the fire working with a mere 10-degree field of vision. Rainbo suffers from Usher Syndrome, an incurable condition that causes deafness and progressive vision loss. Despite those challenges, the 29-year-old gamer has played WoW off and on since it first came out.

"Basically, I only have a small field of central vision that is obscured with floaters and flashers, but I creatively use addons and techniques to successfully raid -- even on heroic," Rainbo says. "We're currently 4/7 heroic Firelands, which puts us as the #8 guild on the server in terms of progression." Pretty hot for a guy who can't even see the fires he's moving out of.

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Filed under: Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Encrypted Text: A rogue's guide to patch 4.2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to email me with any questions or article topics you'd like to see covered!

Rogues have a lot to look forward to when patch 4.2 is released. If you spend most of your time in dungeons or raiding, you'll be happy to hear about the sizable buffs to all three of our talent trees. Unfortunately for rogues that favor PVP, there are some cooldown changes to Cloak of Shadows and Combat Readiness that won't be well-received. While I'm not completely satisfied with the size of our buff when compared to our relative position in the DPS pack, our potency in Firelands still remains to be seen.

In addition to the slew of balance changes, we can start salivating over the new gear that will be available. Our tier 12 set has some very fun bonuses, and also some great crafted gear coming up. Our caster rivals will get access to their first legendary weapon since Atiesh, so we'll have to do our best to keep up. The duration of Blind in PVE is going up to a full minute, giving us two forms of long-term CC in Sap and Blind. As proof that rogues are designed to be the best at what they do, most other CC effects in the game are going to start mirroring Sap. Polymorph and the rest won't aggro mobs that they're used on, which should make it far easier to coordinate CC in a PUG. Plus, even if the group manages to somehow mess up CC and starts combat early, we can just use Blind as a stand-in for Sap anyway.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

15 Minutes of Fame: Raiding without their strats on

From Hollywood celebrities to the guy next door, millions of people have made World of Warcraft a part of their lives. How do you play WoW? We're giving each approach its own 15 Minutes of Fame.

What happens when you don't study your raid strategies before raid time -- on purpose? Those wild and crazy guys in The Seven Scientists of Runetotem (US) have been raiding without their strats on again ... And that's just the way they like it. "The rule is, don't read any spoilers on a (raid) boss until we've killed it, and if you do, don't talk about them," explains guild member Neminem. "... This way, we actually get to figure out strategy for ourselves, instead of just regurgitating a strategy someone else came up with."

In earlier WoW, so-called "blind raiding" has been a badge of honor limited to the few bleeding-edge progression guilds that literally race through beta and new-release content, plus a few, dogged hardest of the hardcore. The Seven Scientists are neither. This 10-man group is entirely composed of real-life friends, and maintaining a tight-knit yet relaxed social fabric takes priority over progression. Despite that -- or as we'll see, perhaps more accurately because of it -- tackling new content without spoilers is simply the way they've come to enjoy throwing down together. Today's culture of PuGs sees a lack of preparation as a social faux pas, at best, or an offense worthy of guildkicks and pug-blacklisting, at worst. The Seven Scientists simply enjoy having a go at the content under their own steam -- no hairshirts, no lengthy rulesets, no pressure ... and all fun.

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Filed under: Raiding, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Encrypted Text: Maximize your rogue's cooldowns

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Encrypted Text for assassination, combat and subtlety rogues. Chase Christian will be your guide to the world of shadows every Wednesday. Feel free to suggest a topic you'd like to see covered!

Rogues are the cooldown class. You've heard it before. For the entire lifetime of World of Warcraft, rogues have been defined by their cooldowns. Vanish and Blind were the key ingredients to the infamous Roguecraft videos, while Shadowstep and Adrenaline Rush defined an entire expansion's worth of arena matches. Preparation, the cooldown-eliminating cooldown, has been considered to be the most powerful ability in a rogue's arsenal.

Aside from the low-level ability Recuperate, all three of our new Cataclysm abilities are cooldowns. We have a plethora of both defensive and offensive cooldowns, and knowing when to use them becomes key in defining the difference between a good rogue and a great one. While it may seem simple to pop CDs as soon as they're ready to be used again, defensive cooldowns are much more complex. Offensive CDs can be coordinated with external effects to increase their potency significantly. Many cooldowns ride the line between the offensive and defensive categories, as they're viable for each purpose.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Encrypted Text: Cataclysm heroics from a rogue's perspective

Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the rogue class. This week, we discuss the new heroic dungeons in the upcoming expansion.

I remember what it was like to play a rogue in dungeons in vanilla WoW. Our only form of long-term crowd control was Sap, and it brought us out of stealth every time we used it. Subtlety rogues could spend three talent points on Improved Sap, which still left Sap knocking us out of Stealth a tenth of the time. Every mob had some sort of AoE or whirlwind-style attack, and rogues were often right behind tanks in terms of healing necessary.

We've come a long way since the old days. Tricks of the Trade, with its instant threat transfer, has become the crutch that supports even the greenest tanks. Fan of Knives is one of the best AoE abilities in the game and synergizes with our poisons for incredible potency. Improved Sap has been baked in to the ability, and we can use our CC safely on a wide variety of targets. Feint's new ability to reduce our AoE damage taken also allows us to survive most attacks. You might say that rogues are nearly perfect for running heroics. Unfortunately for us, Cataclysm's heroics have a thing or two to teach us about complacency.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

WoW Moviewatch: BLIND

There's a joke around the WoW Insider offices. Occasionally, we need quick language to describe when we've previously seen something. It could be a tip like, "Felicia Day appeared in a Sears commercial," or, "Onyxia Deep Breathes more." And the code language we use for that situation is "BLIND."

Craft of War: BLIND was actually released a long time ago, but it went on a brief hiatus. When it came back, a bunch of viewers thought it was brand new. Even more notable, however, is the vast skill and talent of Percula. The artwork of BLIND is amazing, and the machinima has stood every test of time. (Even if people like to argue about the music every time BLIND appears.)

So to celebrate the turning of the season, let's get this out of the way. Here's BLIND.

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 email at

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

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