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Previous tier of raid content is meant to be pugged, says Bashiok

After patch 4.2 released, the previous tier of raiding content was hit with a huge swathe of nerfs and changes designed to make the content that much easier for raiders now just able to experience it. With tier 11 valor point gear now purchasable with justice points, Blizzard fully intends for the previous tier of content to be pugged by server populations. Blizzard's Bashiok took to the forums to discuss just that intention.

Bashiok does say that servers will take a bit to gain the momentum and general fluency with the encounters, but that it is entirely able to be pugged. Further, he says that from here on out, Blizzard has adopted the mantra of one cutting-edge tier, with the previous raids nerfed to allow players an easier time to complete them.

Personally, I am a huge fan of this type of content shift, and I think we've reached a pretty good compromise with regards to content accessibility and raid design. Raiders get their challenge while the content is relevant, hard modes are still skill-based encounters that do not get the nerf bat, and the previous tier of normal mode content is much more accessible to more casual raiders. Much as Ulduar drakes still presented a challenge in execution during Wrath even though we outgeared them, hard modes in Cataclysm are the execution challenges that will still prove to be tricky for meta achievements. Count me in.

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Filed under: Raiding, Cataclysm

Spiritual Guidance: Priest healing strategies for Cho'gall in The Bastion of Twilight

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Spiritual Guidance for discipline, holy and shadow priests. Dawn Moore covers healing for discipline and holy priests, while her archenemy Fox Van Allen dabbles in shadow. Dawn also writes for LearnToRaid.com and produces the Circle of Healing Podcast.

I've had this idea for a social experiment in my head for the past few weeks, where you lock five priests together in a room with nothing but Highland Spirits and force them to have a round table discussion about Lightwell. While I work on my hypothesis and proposal -- and find a way to bait Fox Van Allen into this possum trap -- you guys can finish reading up on the finer points of healing Cho'gall as a holy or discipline priest. Seeing as this is the last boss of The Bastion of Twilight, this will be the final installment of Spiritual Guidance's priest healing guides for this tier.

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Filed under: Priest, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

The Light and How to Swing It: A holy paladin guide to Bastion of Twilight, part 2

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

As we delve deeper into the Bastion of Twilight, each boss is more powerful than the last. While Halfus Wymbreaker and the dragon twins aren't the easiest raid bosses by far, the Ascendant Council and Cho'gall are on another level of difficulty. They're not only more complicated, but simply more punishing as well. You're going to use your full spectrum of abilities on these fights.

The Ascendant Council encounter emphasizes the importance of good positioning and healing on the move, while Cho'gall will stress both your AoE and single-target healing throughout the fight. Holy paladins have several abilities that are uniquely suited to each encounter, and knowing how to use those spells will be crucial to healing effectively.

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

The Light and How to Swing It: A holy paladin guide to Bastion of Twilight, part 1

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why all of Halfus' drakes don't wake up when they hear us fighting.

I always have a tough time deciding how to compose my healing guides for raid bosses. Talking about holy paladin theory is fun, but at the end of the day, we're actually being thrown into real raid encounters. We're expected to know how to heal through the incoming damage and handle all of the boss' special abilities. Knowing the specific healing per second of Divine Light isn't going to help you keep your tank alive. At the same time, there's no point in turning the holy paladin column into an esoteric version of StratFu by giving you a play-by-play review of every boss encounter.

Instead of boring you with a list of boss abilities that your raid leader is going to repeat anyway, I am going to try breaking down only what's specifically important for a holy paladin to know. You'll want to know when it's safe to use Divine Plea, when Holy Radiance is going to be most effective, and what you're supposed to dispel. Who should you put Beacon of Light on? Are any of our "Hand of" spells worthwhile on this fight? In addition, please feel free to ask any additional questions that you'd like to see answers to or add any suggestions.

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

Blizzard warns against buying gold

If it wasn't already obvious, Blizzard put together a page on their official website making clear their stance towards buying in-game gold, and have just recently given it another big push. To put it simply: don't. The page outlines what we at WoW.com have known for quite some time (hence our collective stance against buying gold) -- that gold buying harms other players. The site doesn't go into specifics other than to say that gold selling companies often acquire their gold through unscrupulous means.

They sum up their statement by saying that "players who buy gold are supporting spamming, botting, and keylogging." Basically, if you're a gold buyer, you're part of the problem. No, seriously. Gold sellers acquire gold by hacking into other players' accounts, taking their gold, selling all their items, and sometimes maliciously deleting their characters. That gold you think some Asian spent hours farming in Nagrand or something is more likely to be some other player's hard-earned gold and the seller is just as likely to be some dude from Jersey.

As tempting as buying gold may seem -- and I've read many arguments towards why people buy them -- the bottom line is that it is harmful to the game and you're not doing yourself any favors in the long run. Blizzard says that it "diminish(es) the gameplay experience," but that's putting it nicely. Gold selling and power leveling are against the EULA, anyway, so anybody who patronizes these services are in danger of getting banned. And if you don't believe in buying gold (go you!), protect yourself by getting an authenticator or reading up on account security.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Account Security

High-Rated PvPers do the robot


We've gotten a bunch of tips recently that claim some very e-famous PvPers are botting in BGs. If you aren't familiar with the term "botting," Dictionary.com provides us with the following definitions of bot:

    1. Bot:
      –noun
      the larva of a botfly.
    2. Bot:
      –noun (Australian Slang)
      a person who cadges; scrounger.
    3. Bot:
      –noun
      a device or piece of software that can execute commands, reply to messages, or perform routine tasks, as online searches, either automatically or with minimal human intervention (often used in combination): intelligent infobots; shopping bots that help consumers find the best prices.

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Filed under: Cheats, PvP, Wrath of the Lich King, Battlegrounds, Rumors

Breakfast Topic: No ifs or bots.

It's not even a question, really. Botting is against the game's TOS. If you're caught doing it, you're going to get banned. In case you hadn't already heard, Blizzard recently dealt the botting program Glider a killing blow in the courts, which should lead to the demise of the program. Whatever your views on it, Blizzard frowns on botting and even here at WoW Insider, most if not all of us are strongly against it.

That said, yesterday's 15 Minutes of Fame was an eye-opener for me. I guess because I'd never viewed botters with much regard I often dismissed them. I've even reported one or two over the past years. But Daedren's interview was actually something to mull over.

If you did bot, what would you bot? All of us have experienced horrible, senseless grinds in the game. Whether it's farming for mats, grinding Honor, completing long quest chains... at some point in playing the World of Warcraft, we've all felt the tedium that can sometimes lead to unsavory (and TOS-breaking) thoughts of hassle-free automation. I'd never do it, but if I did, I'd probably have used it to level from 1-80 -- something I don't particularly enjoy. How about you? Hypothetically, what would you have botted? Or does the thought of bots make you feel all dirty inside?

Filed under: Blizzard, Breakfast Topics

15 Minutes of Fame: WoW botter tells all


15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes – from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.

Daedren (not his former WoW character's name) ruffled more than a few feathers with an internet "confessional" (was it, really?) last week about his experiences botting in World of Warcraft. (To "bot," a term that comes from the word "robot," is to use a third-party program to play the game for you.) He initially declined an interview with 15 Minutes of Fame but was back in touch a few days later, after the comments and reaction began piling on.

With a measured, reasonable approach (somewhat at odds with the abrasive tone he takes with commenters on his blog), Daedren visits with us about botting. Is botting a blot on the soul of gaming humanity or a benign, time-saving technique for busy gamers? Read Daedren's post to learn what his botted characters were up to in WoW, then join us after the break to learn why his botting post was actually a farewell "ode to WoW."

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Filed under: Cheats, Features, Interviews, 15 Minutes of Fame

Preparing for Wrath Day 5: Dungeoneering and you

I can see that Adam's post yesterday was something of a graphical hit with readers, which frankly I am at something of a loss to reproduce. Stupid Adam with his stupid Photoshop. It's pictures you want? I got your pictures right here, pal. Did Adam get to see Arthas in a highly compromising position? An action shot, dare I say?

Anyway, leaving aside that unpleasant little intrasite feud that will probably escalate and leave millions of people dead, I wanted to use today's Preparing for Wrath to remind people that some things, especially if you're a hardcore achievement bunny like me, are going to get a lot harder to do once Wrath goes live. I think we can all agree that Outland is going to empty faster than a Dave Matthews concert after the cops show up, so you're going to want to exploit the fact that most people are hanging around Shattrath with nothing to do.

Foremost among the things you're probably not going to be able to do (at least easily) on once Wrath hits? Outland dungeons. Warriors and Paladins will also want to be aware of a certain demographic shift that's going to affect the likelihood of their getting a group slot.

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Filed under: Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Instances, Expansions, Leveling, Death Knight, Wrath of the Lich King

Clockwork Rocket Bots back in action

Let's get it on... again! Yes, while the level 30 mount news got a lot of play, and Rogues had to grapple with the Cheat Death nerf, there was one tasty morsel of news hiding in the patch 2.4.3 notes: Clockwork Rocket Bots will be back up to fighting shape! I've had this Winter's Veil gift in my pack from last December, and was bummed when they removed the ability of the bots to fight each other when summoned out. Now, finally, when two players have them summoned close to each other, the little bots (which look a little bit like Wall-E, don't they?) will throw down.

According to the patch notes, the problem was a little strange, too -- the robots were supposedly attacking other people in the Arena. No idea why the bots would see other players as attackable targets in the Arena, but there you go. Unfortunately, the bots still aren't buffable, as they once were -- it was actually a really fun minigame trying to keep those little bots alive as they fought, but at this point, your bot is on its own. Which means when my bot comes by, your bot better watch its little bot-ty back! Fight!

Filed under: Patches, Items, Tricks, Odds and ends, Blizzard, NPCs

Do botters really matter?

Blizzard has had the big botting ban now in place for a couple of weeks, and there are a few people I've noticed who are not online. Additionally I've noticed a change in the auction house price. There are some items like low level enchanting mats that are going for tons more, and others such as high level crafting mats which are going for much less. This is outside of the normal market fluctuations on my server, and many people attribute to the removal of botters.

This could be a fallacy of causation – the removal of botters might not have lead to the shakeup at the auction house. There really is no way to prove it, other than the circumstantial evidence of price fluctuations timed with the removal of often-botted items. And in the end, these price fluctuations end up being a wash anyways – the extra that is spent on the lower level items is more than likely offset by the cheaper higher level items.

Between the recent wave of bannings and the seemingly nominal impact the ban has had on the overall economy, this begs the questions – do botters really matter? And should Blizzard just ignore them?

While it might seem like the answer is a firm no, let's take a look at some of the underlying reasons and assumptions that people bot and why it's considered bad. In particular we'll look at reasons surrounding leveling, playing the economy, and engaging in PvP.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy, PvP, Features, Leveling

Mass bannings strike Glider users

We've gotten more tips on this than any other topic in recent memory: apparently many users of the popular WoW botting program Glider have been hit with the ban hammer, including some of our very own readers. You may recall Glider as the company with whom Blizzard is currently embroiled in a lawsuit (does the word "embroil" have any use other than lawsuits?). The Glider forums are abuzz with comments and complaints, to which I can only reply "QQ." Botting is clearly against the EULA, the spirit of the game, and the best interests of the other players. Yes, I would be sad if I got banned, but honestly, anyone who was botting had it coming.

There are various objections to be made to this stance. Most of the people who wrote in claim to have been botting in order to bypass the tedious leveling process. I agree that it can be boring to level 1–70 multiple times, even with the new, faster 20–60 process. However, that doesn't make it OK to cheat. Others claim that with fewer bots in the system, the supply of primals will be reduced and therefore the price will go up; I'm not much of a WoW economist, so I'll leave that to others. But to this blogger, banning botters can only be interpreted as a good thing: some cheaters got what they deserved. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to sound off in the comments. And if you are a botter yourself, and haven't gotten banned yet, I'd advise you to stop -- they're clearly getting serious about this.

Filed under: Cheats, News items

Why the botters do it

Frybread over at Notaddicted yesterday posted about a chat that he had with the owner of an American gold botting company. Evidently the massive gold farming bans that went through on Monday hit his company especially hard. First of all it's interesting to note that there are such companies in the US as well, so China doesn't have complete monopoly on the illegal gold selling market. So what is it like inside a botting business?

Well, the anonymous business owner runs an office with about 150 computers. It sounds like a lot for a guy who runs his business using bots, but he explains that all tells need to be made by actual people since they are monitored constantly. When asked how many accounts he lost in the ban sweep on Monday, he says 100. All of his characters were between levels 40 and 70, which answers a lot of questions I've been having about all those people I have been competing with over primals.

The question came up, why do it if you risk losing your business? The reply was clear and without hesitation: I'd rather deal with the risks then [sic] work a normal office job. This is now the third time I have read an interview enlightening the reader to the plight of the poor goldfarmer just trying to make a living at the game he loves. But if you love the game that much, why do you abuse its rules and harm the player base to make a profit? Sure he lost 100 accounts, but he'll have those back in a month, and will be out skewing economies once again.

[via Notaddicted]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Economy

WoW Glider suing Blizzard

In case you're out of the loop, WoW Glider is a 3rd party application that automates all major aspects of gameplay. You set the parameters and it starts farming loot, experience, reputation -- whatever you'd like. This is, unsurprisingly, against Blizzard's terms of service -- those things you have to click agreement to before you play the game after every patch. But this lawsuit isn't just about whether or not WoW Glider breaks the terms of service: it's about whether or not Blizzard has the right to kill the distribution of WoW Glider. WoW Glider's complaint suggests Blizzard has been attempting to strong-arm them into stopping distribution based on alleged copyright and DMCA violation -- and WoW Glider's makers are jumping in with the first lawsuit, which (and, no, I am not a lawyer) seems to be asserting their rights to distribute WoW Glider and telling Blizzard to back off. Lawyers and non-lawyers can read the full text of the complaint and chime in with your own opinions below.

[Thanks, Baratrill]

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Cheats, Blizzard

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