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Breakfast Topic: Is this really the end of button bloat?

We already knew that Warlords of Draenor would be revamping the game in a big way, but the first look at the 6.0 patch notes gives us a real sense of the scale of the changes that will be hitting us when the patch -- and the expansion -- goes live. It's no surprise that in 15,000 words of patch notes that there's a lot changes in the works. But even knowing that changes were coming, it was still a shock -- especially the skills removed.

But while there are skills I'll miss, what I won't miss is having bars packed with buttons. My screen is full of them, bars upon bars of skills, macros, and consumables I might need at any given time -- not to mention raid bars and other addons that take up screen space. So I'm all for any pruning that lets me stare at buttons less and focus on the game more. The real question is whether this pruning will really be the end of button bloat or if by the end of Warlords -- or the next expansion -- we'll be back to the same button problems we have today.

So, readers, what do you think? Are you for the removal of button bloat -- and do you think this will really fix it?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: Sad Battle Pet Diary

Dear Diary,

I am just a lowly battle pet. My days are filled with endless slaughter; both my own, and that of my enemies. Mine is a world of war, death, and remarkable pain. The worst part is that I thought I was alone. Most of the gladiatorial critters I face seem to enjoy their lot in life. They're fierce and dedicated to the adrenaline of battle. They do not seem to suffer the burdens I carry.

And then I saw the Sad Battle Pet Diary by the machinimist Ninth Batter. In this movie, he reads the angst-ridden stories of other pets like me. It was a soothing balm to my soul, and I thank him for it.
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

Know Your Lore: Warlords lore, spoilers and you

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.

It's about that time again. The time in which an expansion is waning towards its inevitable end, and a new one sits on the horizon. The time when that expansion isn't quite available for play, but is now the subject of copious amounts of clever datamining to pluck out all those interesting details before they've even had a chance to fully see the light of day.

For most players, it's incredibly fun to see the details as they are released, particularly since Blizzard has been so careful this time around to clarify any changes that may appear a little weird. For fans of the lore, it means one of two things -- a ton of delicious tidbits in regards to story information, or the inevitable launch of a minefield of spoilers that will have to be dodged for the next several months until the expansion is in hand. But is it really worth it to give them a look? Is it worth it to discuss them?

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Filed under: Lore, Know your Lore, Warlords of Draenor

Around Azeroth: The player versus the patch

"And so it came down to this," writes submitter Solánge of The One Fellowship on Moon Guard (US-A). "Her companions lay dead in the puddles of black ooze around the room. The hulking creature that had been Crafty the Ambitious bellowed as it bore down on her, it's body dripping in the dark essence of an Old God. Solánge threw her axe aside. Something more was needed. She reached back and drew out Sulfuras. And then Blizzard released the 6.0 patch notes with their paladin nerfs, which promptly danced on her freshly maimed corpse."

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

Breakfast Topic: What I am glad to see go

Goodbye, Cleave. I will not even pretend to be sad to see you go. I have called for your death a thousand fold - always on my bars in case, but always more of a trap than a good ability. Oh, once, you served a purpose, but in the days of every spec having a better means to spread damage around, you don't serve that purpose anymore. Still, you're iconic, and I should probably miss you now that you won't be around. You've been on my bars lo these nine years gone, and for much of that time you were a staple of AoE fights, to the point where the word cleave has come to mean 'AoE performed by a melee player' even if they're not a warrior. "Gather the mobs and let the melee cleave them down."

So you'll live on, in a way. But that way will be one where I don't have to see you on my bars or remember only to use you when Ultimatum procs. So I'm happy for that. Goodbye, and take care, and please don't come back.

What about you, reader, double, brother or sister? What ability will you bid a fond or not so fond, but glad hearted farewell to?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: It's almost on

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) is a fan of the Pikachu.

Yes I'm still stuck on Game of Thrones. Look, I've been waiting for a long time here. Cut me some slack. On to the questions!

CRtheMighty asked:

Speaking of GoT (woo!), let me ask this of yon Queue: Who from WoW do you think would actually make it in Westeros? In a machination/political way, I mean, as setting a high level mage or a sapient dragon on people who don't even believe in magic is cheating. Much as it pains me to say it, I think Gul'dan would do well. He was all about sucking up while backstabbing and working purely for his own gain. He'd make Littlefinger go "whoa man, too much". Alternatively, Wrathion, because you have no idea what he's after.

Both of your choices are excellent ones. I think Deathwing would have gone really, really far -- in his days as Prestor, he was incredibly devious and cunning. Garrosh is strong, but honestly, some clever thinking (of which there is plenty in Westeros) would see his armies quickly overrun. And of course the Lich King is a pretty obvious choice. Hello, white walkers? Meet the Scourge. And then join them.

Now there's a terrifying thought.

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Filed under: The Queue

Sunday Morning Funnies: LF scriber

Teh Gladiators
Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

This week in comics: Someone is really lazy (and pays for it). A deal, and a neck, are struck. A kraken plays with his food, and it's adorable. What else? Oh, yeah! The end is nigh!

Also on the list this week, Away From Reality has a comparison of some of Blizzard's plans and attitudes "then" and "now". And if you're a fan of Richard's antics, you won't want to skip this week's Looking for Group, either. Everyone's favorite undead gnome is giving an interview. Finally, there's one leftover April Fools prank on the list. Can you spot it?

In comic news, The Trolling of Azeroth is back, and so is Kibble & Bit! However, Contested Territory is on a brief hiatus due to scheduling conflicts. It is set to resume updating on April 18, which means it will reappear on SMF by April 27.

If you missed us last week, you might want to check out Gnomeregan Forever. There was an April Fools special, featuring a very amusing prank. And me! I made a guest appearance, and got to have some holiday fun. I was a bit vague about it last week because I didn't want to ruin the surprise, but if you skipped it, you should check it out.

Finally, if you're in the market for a gaming PC (or you simply enjoy ogling themed merchandise), there's one available with everyone's favorite cats decorating its side.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Comics, Sunday Morning Funnies

Interview: Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig talks Warlords of Draenor

I was lucky enough to head over to Blizzard Campus this week to talk to Technical Game Designer Chadd "Celestalon" Nervig. Chadd is a huge part of the class design team, key to a lot of the changes we saw in the recent Warlords of Draenor patch notes, which is just what we discussed. We were also joined by Senior Community Representatives Zarhym and Lore. You can also find a much-abbreviated summary on Wowhead.

Olivia: First up, is there anything you really wanted to clarify and get out there?

Celestalon: I've tweeted about pretty much everything. This was the first version of the patch notes, there have been more changes since then, those patch notes are about a week old or so?

Zarhym: Yeah it's like, tons of changes. [Rygarius] said he had a huge list of changes.

Celestalon: There's another five thousand words that aren't up there yet, which [Rygarius] is working on now.

There have been different amounts of patch notes released for different classes. Paladins have been complaining that they haven't got enough, rogues have been really happy that not much has changed. Is it safe to assume there's more to come? This is just step one?

There's definitely more coming. Like, for example, paladins had relatively few patch notes, and a lot of that is we were relatively happy with how things played out, at least for ret and prot, with the exception of a few things we can solve with tuning – changing numbers. So a lot of what you see in the patch notes now is what we call design changes, so the mechanics that we want to change so we can get to some design that we like.

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Filed under: Interviews, Warlords of Draenor

The Queue: Games and thrones and questions

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) sends her regards.

You guys Game of Thrones season four starts tomorrow and I am so ridiculously excited about that so have a metal cover of the theme song. Yes. Questions!

wrathofkublahkan asked:

Am I right in thinking that the less focus on cooldowns and procs of spells (and simply fewer spells) will allow for wider and crazier raid design? Eyes off the keyboard and on the encounter.

Obviously we don't know the answer to that just yet, but I'd like to think it's a yes. Right now a lot of the raid game (for me anyway) is keep your eyes locked to your feet and, if you happen to have one, the addon that tracks your cooldowns. As a raider, it often feels like the hardest encounters are the ones that have a million different things happening at once that you have to do on top of keeping track of all of those cooldowns -- and it's not a matter of encounter difficulty so much as it is difficulty in keeping track of too many things at the same time. That ... doesn't really make for a lot of fun factor.

What I'm hoping for is that with this streamlining process, we'll see a lot more variety in raid design that pushes the limits of what the encounter itself can do, not necessarily what the player can keep track of. So it's more of a game about the encounter itself, and less about paying attention to addons. We can hope, anyway! I'm optimistic.

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Filed under: The Queue

Breakfast Topic: There will never be a warrior union

If you saw this week's Ask CDev answers, you saw this particular exchange.
Ask Creative Development - Round IV Answers
SparkysShocker @SparkysShocker: In lore do Warriors have an organization/guild that they group under. Like the Argent Crusade or Ravenholdt?

CDev Response: The warriors of Warcraft lore are typically associated with the armies they have pledged their weapons to, while our warrior heroes (read: the players) are "lone wolves." Someday these fearless combatants might unite under a single banner and form the world's first warrior union, but that remains to be seen.

What this ignores is that, basically, warriors have a union. It's called war. It's baked right into the name. The whole purpose of warriors is to get out there and fight people - we're not about getting together to form a collective. It would never work. Armies? Sure, we'll be in those, but the other army we're about to fight usually has a bunch of warriors in it too, and it would be weird for us if we knew all those guys from our weekly meeting or whatever. The fact that the Cenarion Circle has druids from the Horde and Alliance in it and they kill each other seems weird to us. We don't kill our friends. We kill our enemies.

So no, there will never be a warrior union. If there was, we'd refuse to join it. We're busy killing on another -- it's what we do.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

WoW Moviewatch: The Great Boost, episode 2

The second episode of The Great Boost contains one of the finest openings I've seen in machinima. Granted, it's not groundbreaking or anything, but it definitely sets the tone for a nerdlove fan series. What's not to love about it?

It's nice to see a new machinima series get started. Through the years, most creators have separated from the episodic format. It's a combination of the difficulty in putting together regular machinimas, the heightened expectations of quality, and just the sheer darned age of the community. I'm joyous to see Nex Manus taking it seriously.

I think the series is hitting it's stride, building a cast of characters and an ongoing mythology. Take the time to check it out and share your thoughts below!
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

Around Azeroth: She's a modern woman

In a world full of people wearing robes, cloaks, horned cowls, and anything and everything covered in spikes, it's surprising to see someone dressed like an actual human being. Assuming that one counts the Real Housewives of Anywhere as human beings. I admire her bold choice in sunglasses, but even Kim Kardashian wouldn't hire two camels to accompany her everywhere she goes. And going barefoot is only appropriate on the beach. Or if you're me, who only owns a pair of steel-toed work boots and sandals, and thus got married wearing no shoes at all. (Thanks to submitter Yseora of Fights Like a Girl on Blackwater Raiders [US-A] for the screenshot!)

Want to see your own screenshot here? Send it to We strongly prefer full-sized pictures with no UI or names showing. Include "Azeroth" in the subject line to ensure your submission dodges email spam filters; if you'd like to be credited, also include your name, guild and realm.

Filed under: Around Azeroth

The Queue: The Alpha has landed

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Matthew Rossi will be your host today.

I've got Hangar 18 by Megadeth playing, I have my bottle of water, and I have the Queue. Let's do this.

StevenThomas asks:

So given the Patchnotes and publicly announced Alpha and the 91-99 Expansion boosts, do you have enough news to last, and who was afk when they dropped?

Adam was doing his taxes when they dropped. Alex was feeling somewhat ill. As for enough news to last... is there ever really enough news? But we have stuff to talk about for a while.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue, Warlords of Draenor

WoW Moviewatch: Stuck In The Middle

Off the Air Guild put this little romcom together as a tribute to all the true loves out there. And while many might associate Stuck In The Middle's song with that scene in Reservoir Dogs, this video goes a long way towards redeeming it.

The graphics aren't fancy and dialogue makes no appearance, but the story is obvious and just... sweet. It's cute, sweet, fun, and a big ball of hugworthy awesomeness. This is probably going to be a favorite video for a while. It forsakes high-end graphics in favor of a strong sense of fun and playfulness. Very well done!
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

The Queue: Why not Zoidberg?

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) had a Slinky once, but she straightened it.

Adam decided to leave the Queue to me today. Perhaps he will be asking himself the question featured above. Hopefully, in as close to that particular voice as possible! We can only dream.

Chrth asked:

Q4TQ/Comments: So if I'm farming the Fragments of Valanyr, I can start a raid via oq or whatever and make myself Master Looter - Legendary and then I can assign the Fragments to myself and everyone else gets to roll on other loot, right? Or is Legendary not an allowed Master Looter setting?

I briefly checked this out in game, and it appears that the highest threshold for the Master Looter setting is epic quality. So yes, you could set it to epic and assign the shards to yourself, but you'd also have to assign every other piece of epic loot while you were at it. Blue and green items would be normal roll, however.

Read more →

Filed under: The Queue

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