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EU fansites giving away Mists of Pandaria beta keys

If you're living in Europe and waiting patiently (or even not so patiently) for an invite to the beta for Mists of Pandaria, then consider these fansites -- for they are just giving them away. CM Nakatoir posted the list of participating fansites with stashes of keys to give away on the forums, making it all the easier for you to find and enter as many as you can.

There are also threads linked for German, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian players, with a French thread on the way. So get out there and enter some sweepstakes. There's nothing to lose and a possible Mists of Pandaria beta slot to win.

If you're an annual pass subscriber, however, you should already have access to the beta. Just head over to your account page and check for the Mists of Pandaria beta account. From there, you can download the client and log in to start experiencing all the beta fun.

It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, Mists of Pandaria

The glyph of the future

Variations on the glyph system are a subject I think about all the time. I have ever since Path of the Titans was announced and then scrapped. I understand why it was scrapped, but it did disappoint me. It sounded cool, and I wanted to play around with the options it would provide. Recently, forum poster Madcapmcgee has asked all of us what kind of glyphs we might want to see introduced to the current system. Do we want cosmetic glyphs? If so, what would we want? Vanity glyphs? Quality of life glyphs with no direct effect on combat? And what do we want for our prime and major glyphs?

For myself, I want a glyph that lets me dual wield polearms with Titan's Grip. I have a Hellreaver, and dang it, I want to swing two of those beasts around. (Well, technically, I have a Kiril, but transmogrification means I get to have a Hellreaver.) I'd also like to see a glyph that reduces the cooldown on Heroic Leap out of combat so that I could use it like Blink, a glyph that caused me to grow every time I hit an enraged state (which is why I grabbed that Kiril that was on the DE chopping block, frankly), and finally, I'm dying for a glyph that makes Mortal Strike automatically add the Rend effect so that I never have to Rend manually again.

What do you, the viewers at home, think? What glyphs do you want to see in... the future!?!? (Imagine this in my best Criswell impression.)

World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria is the next expansion, raising the level cap to 90, introducing a brand new talent system, and bringing forth the long-lost pandaren race to both Horde and Alliance. Check out the trailer and follow us for all the latest MoP news!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Winners and losers of Cataclysm

Forum poster Breccia put a lot of thought into his list of the top 10 winners and top 10 losers of Cataclysm. I don't agree with all of his choices, but I definitely agree with what he has to say about Neptulon being one of the losers -- we need a resolution of that storyline and soon. It got me thinking about who I'd consider the winners and losers of this expansion. The status quo got a pretty serious shake-up in Cataclysm, and a lot of fortunes were changed for good or ill.

Personally, I really think the worgen took it on the chin this expansion. Not only is the female model lacking (in my opinion) compared to the original preview (that semi-permanent snarly and atrophied muzzle needs to be redesigned badly), but worgen players got to see their cool storyline concluded Horde-side while they were traipsing around in the night elf starting zones. Even today, most of Gilneas is a ghost zone. I love the worgen, and I really hope we get to see them get more involved in Mists.

As for winners, I'd definitely put Velen up there as a stealth winner. While the draenei still haven't been as active as I'd like, the quest in the Swamp of Sorrows where Velen appears is a huge lore goldmine for the future. Not only does Velen spell out the true nature of the conflict at hand, he sets the stage for a war so vast and terrible it makes all previous struggles on Azeroth pale to insignificance. He also flat out corrects the idea that the Light hates the broken, showing that it's the draenei themselves who have a touch of bigotry in their souls to conquer.

I could go on all day, but it's more interesting to see what you think. Winners and losers of this expansion? What are your choices?

World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Lore, Cataclysm

Profanity filters, homophobic slurs, and Blizzard's shaky relationship with the LGBT community

Warning: This post may contain language that is offensive to some.

Yesterday on the official World of Warcraft forums, a poster brought up the fact that the word "transsexual" gets censored by Blizzard's mature language filter. Almost immediately after, another poster brought up the fact that the word "homosexual" is censored as well. The obvious follow-up question has stirred a hornet's nest of controversy: Why are these considered bad words?

Predictably, that forum thread quickly spun out of control. It was ultimately locked by a moderator, but not before Blizzard Community Manager Bashiok chimed in:

"Transsexual" censored by filter
We've reviewed our filter list and there are a few words there that should not be blocked as profanity; we'll be removing them in a future patch.

So case closed, right? Well ... hold on. Before we simply close the books on the matter, there are some important questions to be answered. Namely this: Why was "transsexual" censored in the first place?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard

Bring another game's items into WoW

Gnome warlock Shadowcog posted a fun thread on the World of Warcraft official community forums asking players to bring iconic items from other games into Azeroth. Shadowcog opened the discussion by citing the Magic Mirror from The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, one of my favorite games of all time. It got me nostalgic in all sorts of ways.

Even Daxxarri got into the mix, looking to bring in the Snarks from the Half-Life series and draenei-crewed Battlecruisers appearing over the skies of Kalimdor. Oddly fitting, really. Personally, I would have gone with some of the ork creations from the Warhammer series, since I could see orcish and goblin technology coming together to create such monstrosities.

Which items would you bring in from other games? What magical artifact or ancient relic from some distance universe would you want your WoW character to possess? (Thanks again to Shadowcog for an awesome post!)

Filed under: News items, Cataclysm

The Cataclysm: A critical examination

My personal opinion on the Cataclysm expansion varied greatly as the expansion unfolded. At different points in the expansion, I was very negative, slightly negative, then outright positive about it as an experience. A recent thread on the forums discussing the overall view of Cataclysm as a failed expansion drew Nethaera's commentary, and frankly I think what she has to say is worth discussing. I agree with a lot of it, disagree with some, but think it's valuable to look at where the design intent in the examination of the expansion is going.

You are mistaking the developers looking at the game with a critical eye with the claim that it was a "failure". We've seen a wide spectrum of opinions over Cataclysm and we're not afraid to look at what worked and didn't work (as we do with each expansion and game as a whole) and try to find better ways of doing things. I heard differing opinions overall during BlizzCon, but not once did I get the impression that any of those opinions boiled down to "Cataclysm sucks" as a whole. They had key elements that they disliked or thought could be improved on, but throwing the whole thing out the window as a "failure" is and should be considered a bit extreme don't you think?

As always, we want to keep learning and growing from each iteration of the game and that means that we're going to do that by continuing to look for your constructive feedback as well.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, The Burning Crusade, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs Round 9 wants your tanking questions

At precisely noon today (that's right now!), Ask the Devs Round 9 will be up on the official forums. This time, the devs want to know what you want to know about tanking. Are you interested in the incoming 4.2 change that strips dodge from agility for warrior, paladin and death knight tanks? I'm personally interested in why they bothered to do that. Maybe you're more curious about the general direction of tanking in 5-mans, raids and even tank specs in PVP, or you're wondering about how good mastery is going to be for your paladin tank in 4.2.

Whatever your questions are, now is your chance to answer them. So go! Go, my legion of the tanks, go and get the developers' aggro and do not let it go until your questions are answered!

The news is already rolling out for the upcoming WoW Patch 4.2! Preview the new Firelands raid, marvel at the new legendary staff, and get the inside scoop on new quest hubs -- plus new Tier 12 armor!

Filed under: Druid, Paladin, Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Death Knight, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs round 6 open for your guild advancement questions

Ask the Devs has been a pretty good look into the development process and future of feature development in World of Warcraft. Round 6 is going to focus on guild advancement and, presumably, the future of the guild leveling system now that guilds are at the cap. You can submit your own guild advancement questions in the Ask the Devs thread. Currently, the only available thread is for EU players, with a US thread opening soon.

I know what my question about guild advancement is: Is the guild reputation cap too low? I always feel like after I reach the cap (very quickly through raiding) that there is no reason for me to continue doing dailies or other guild reputation activities when I just don't earn any reputation. After honored or revered, can we get the cap removed, much like when guilds hit level 23, their guild experience caps are removed?

Read all of WoW Insider's previous Ask the Devs coverage:
Blizzard's full announcement after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs round 5 achievement questions answered

Ask the Devs, Blizzard's developer community question and answer feature, continues with round 5, an in-depth look at achievements detailing the difficulty of changing achievement, making certain rewards account-wide, and whether removed content is ever going to be a part of the game again. Check out the full question and answer session after the break.


Q: When will achievements finally be awarded account-wide? – Larosh (Europe [German]), Eneia & Payasos (Europe [Spanish]), Rageudder & Kellgros (Europe [English]), ??????? (Europe [Russian]), Nyn (North America/ANZ), ?????? (Korea)

A: Making achievements account-wide is something we'd like to do, but it's not a goal we could provide a current timetable for. All of the original World of Warcraft coding was done with the expectation that the data on every realm would always be independent. Now that we are trying to make as many things as possible account-wide, we're having to rebuild all of those systems. It is absolutely something we want to do, but it will take a lot of time away from other features.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs Round 4: Weapons and armor questions answered

Ask the Devs, the ongoing, in-depth Q&A series focusing on specific aspects of World of Warcraft, continues with round 4 answers to your questions about weapons and armor. As in the past, the devs hand picked user questions and gave detailed answers, shedding new light on some of the design intricacies that go into creating the World of Warcraft.

There are some interesting questions this time around, as always, and even some more interesting answers. Highlights include the need for more armor models, a cool idea about buying quartermaster outfits, the drop rate of the legendary shards for 10- and 25-man raiding, and an interesting fix to prevent players rolling need on items in the random dungeon finder only to throw them up on the auction house. The full Q&A is after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Addon Spotlight: From raid leader tools to Ask the Devs discussion

Each week, WoW Insider brings you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which focuses on the backbone of the WoW gameplay experience: the user interface. Everything from bags to bars, buttons to DPS meters and beyond -- your addons folder will never be the same.

Addon Spotlight is here to brighten up your day, illuminate your soul, and add to your already impressive interface folder. Welcome, friends. This week, Blizzard's Ask the Devs round 3 focused on user interface questions and answers, and after my quick addon picks for the week, I want to delve into some of my own personal analysis of those answers. I think the Ask the Devs style is a good one, and I was pleasantly surprised at their answers this time around. I think it is easy to ask softball UI questions, but we actually got some cool answers.

However, we also like to spotlight addons in this column as well. Raiding is fun, right? Of course it is. Raid leading, however, is probably less fun -- herding cats and all that. I've got two quick picks for raid leaders, and then we'll jump into some Q&A.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Ask the Devs round 3 UI questions answered

Ask the Devs Round 3 questions are already answered! We've been getting some quick turnaround on the Ask the Devs questions lately, and the third batch based on user interface questions is no different. A lot of the answers are great and informative, giving us players an interesting look into the design philosophy as it pertains to addons. One question really stood out -- looks like we're going to be getting the ability to change the order of our characters on the select screen come patch 4.2!

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Filed under: Blizzard, Add-Ons, Cataclysm

Ask the Devs Round 2 PvP questions answered

After the first set of Ask the Devs questions were answered just last week, we've already got another set of questions and answers available. Immediately after the first set of answers went live, a call went out for PvP questions specifically for the next round. Check out the questions and answers!

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Filed under: Blizzard, PvP, Cataclysm

Blizzard answers your questions in Ask the Devs Q&A

If you've been waiting for the answers to the Ask the Devs Q&A, your wait is over. Not only have they answered the first installment of questions, the fine folks at Blizzard have even opened a new thread for more questions you may be burning to ask.

Questions this time out ranged from PvP/PvE balance issues to death knight mastery runeforges to why moonkin don't have Execute. I personally found the discussions on Outland quest flow and why Blizzard doesn't just separate PvP and PvE spells to be pretty interesting. Take a look and pose your own questions if you don't see what you wanted answered this time out.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items

Nethaera's guide to getting the most from the forums

It's no secret that even after the move to the new digs, the forums can be kind of a rough place. Part of it can be the "squeaky wheel" phenomenon, of course. People don't often stop and make posts on a forum when they're happy about how something is going. Still, it can be a bit of a slog to get through sometimes. Nethaera wants you to get as much out of the forums as possible, however.

Nethaera - Getting the Most out of the Forums
We've gone through a lot of changes in the last year together. Between a brand new community site and a brand new expansion, there's been a lot to adjust to. We want to make sure that the experience everyone has on the forums is the best it can be and wanted to take some time to remind everyone of the things that haven't changed and the conduct that is expected while in them.

Some of the suggestions made seem obvious (read the terms of service and forum guidelines, for instance), but a lot of posts get closed for being off topic or extraneous, so it's probably helpful to go over them again. It's probably also fair to say that some of Neth's points fall under the category of "common sense," or what some folks call Wheaton's Law.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Cataclysm

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