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Encrypted Text: Examining the rogue's assassin ancestry

assassin
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.

If you start looking into the history of the rogue class, you end up reaching several dead ends. The reason is that a rogue who's easy to track or trace isn't much of a rogue at all. We specialize in disappearing, which makes rogue family trees notoriously difficult to map. Garona Halforcen is often considered to be the mother of the rogue class, executing one of the earliest and most daring acts of assassination and regicide in Azeroth's history.

The truth is that if we want to find our spiritual beginnings, we have to look back even further than Garona and even further away than Azeroth. The true ancestor of today's rogue class first found life eons ago, in another realm, known only as Sanctuary. There, the assassin class stood against the three Prime Evils, defeating the Burning Hell's greatest powers with elegance and subterfuge. The rogues of WoW were inspired by the assassins of Diablo II, and that influence can still be felt today.

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Filed under: Rogue, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

Man arrested for assaulting girl he met in World of Warcraft

Here's an unfortunate World of Warcraft mention in the news: a man has been arrested and charged with all sorts of terrible things for having a relationship with a 14-year-old girl that he originally met in Azeroth. Daniel Joseph Czelusniak is 23 and from North Royalton, Ohio, and is being held by Pennsylvania State Police after having a relationship with the girl last year, meeting at a hotel and her house. He originally met her four years ago (when she was 10 but apparently claimed she was 14) while they were both playing World of Warcraft.

Of course, this is hardly the game's fault: parents of young children need to closely supervise their activity online while they're doing anything, be it browsing the Internet or fighting dragons in Northrend. WoW itself is rated T by the ESRB, which means no children under the age of 13 should really be playing it without parental supervision anyway, and the added online component of the game should be even more of a red flag for anyone overseeing younger children. This is a great game (and you couldn't find a nicer community of people who play it), but there are the same dangers in this environment as anywhere else your child might go online.

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

Blizzard's version of RMT


Real-money trading is one of the most debated aspects of MMO gaming at large -- some games don't actually charge a monthly fee, and instead what they do is sell ingame items for real world money. Want that hot sword for your character? Put in your credit card and pay up. Blizzard, obviously, has never really subscribed to the idea, since a lot of players think it's unfair to make how much money you have in the real world a part of the game you play. Nevertheless, there is a lot of money to be made in selling virtual items for real money, and Blizzard has come up with their own form of RMT in terms of server transfers, name changes, and now gender changes as well.

Blizzard has rules for their RMT, though, and Zarhym lays a few of them out: they won't charge for any item that means anything in game -- cosmetic items and looks are fair game, but actual gear or "integral services" (whatever that means exactly) is a no for them. They won't charge for anything that was free before, so creating up to 10 characters on a realm, for example, will always come with the subscription (though adding more may eventually be possible with an extra charge). And Blizzard's RMT comes as a game mechanic itself -- they choose to charge for things not just because there's a cost for them, but also to "curb their frequency," to keep all players from doing them all the time.

It's an interesting idea, and it's definitely a lot more player-friendly than charging for things like, say, horse armor. You could also argue, of course, that something like the WoW TCG is also a kind of RMT scheme, since you have to pay real money for real cards to get in-game items (even though Blizzard has made sure those items are cosmetic as well). But paying for transfers and changes is a little sneakier -- Blizzard is slowly wading into RMT, so far successfully dodging all the sharks in the water.

Filed under: Patches, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King, WoW TCG

Phat Loot Phriday: Orb of the Blackwhelp


This is the perfect hefty loot item -- it's easy enough for almost anyone to get, but relatively secret enough that most people don't know exactly where it is. When I came across it leveling up my Hunter this week, I knew it belonged right here.

Name: Orb of the Blackwhelp (Wowwiki, Thottbot, Wowhead)
Type: Common Consumable
Damage/Speed: N/A
Abilities:
  • Transforms you into a helpless Blackwhelp dragon for up to 15 minutes. You can't attack or cast spells while transformed.
  • In fact, it's pretty limiting -- you can't even take damage while in this form. You can use self-buff abilities and drink potions and such (rumor is that Winterfall Firewater looks funny while the Orb is on), but the disguise is pretty fragile.
  • And Wyrmcultists will see right through you in this disguise, as will any other mobs. We'll get to why that's important in a second.
  • Oh, and coincidentally, Blizzard's item ID number for this item is 31337. Cute.
How to Get It: Up in Blade's Edge, in the Wyrmcultist chain of quests leading out of Evergrove, you'll eventually find your way to Blackwing Coven, a cave west of the Grishna Arrakoa settlement (through the Wyrmskull Tunnel). There's a quest called "Meeting at Blackwing Coven," that requires you to kill Wyrmcultists, get "Costume Scraps" from them, and then use five of those to make a costume that will make you look like one of them.

The actual quest has you meeting with an NPC and then leaving, but if you hurry (the costume only lasts three minutes), you can run over and also chat with another NPC on the opposite side of the cavern from the quest target. The NPC is called the "Wyrmcult Provisioner," and if you're in costume, he'll be friendly, and act as an actual vendor. Among a few other general goods (I stocked up on bullets while there), he also sells this item for a mere 2g 50s.

And the good news is that even if you've done the quest already, you can go back, murder more Wyrmcultists for more Costume Scraps, and go visit the provisioner again. So even if you didn't catch this the first time around, it's still waiting for you in Blade's Edge.

The Provisioner also sells the Wyrmcultist's Cloak, which is a nice Fire Resistance cloak, especially since it's so easy to get.

Getting Rid of It: It's only got 3 charges, so use those and it's out of your life forever. You could also sell it back for 62s 50c, but unfortunately it's BoP so no auction house profits off of this one.

Filed under: Items, How-tos, Quests, Humor, Phat Loot Phriday, NPCs

WoW on Zazoox stations

Soley saw something strange at the airport in Denver: a console with PC games on it, including none other than World of Warcraft. Apparently there was a kiosk with a bunch of different games installed on it, and for a small fee, you could jump in and play any number of games, from Valve's FPSes (including Portal!) to our own big MMORPG.

The company doing this is called Zazoox -- they have a site that shows off all of their different consoles and offers them (for a price and a service charge) to vendors who can then put them up in public places. World of Warcraft isn't actually on their games list yet, so apparently it's just being tested in Denver and other places. Apparently, the price is 25 cents a minute, but as some of the commenters to Soley's post say, if you're entering your WoW password on what is basically a public computer and something goes wrong, it could cost you a lot more than that.

Of course, overseas in Asia, this kind of thing is common -- the vast majority of WoW players there play in public cafes and Internet houses, and in fact the pricing scheme of the game itself there is per hour, not per month like it is here. But for some reason, this kind of ubiquitous public gaming has never taken off in the West -- maybe Zazoox's consoles will get people playing out in public.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Hardware

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