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One Boss Leaves: Skadi minces Dalronn and Skarvald

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

Aww, come on, you knew this was going to happen ... Yup, Skadi the Ruthless spared nothing for poor Dalronn and Skarvald of Utgarde Keep. It was a landslide victory for the PuG-intimidating boss -- although a few readers did think the matchup could offer a few twists. "I'm going to give it to D/S here," nodded Nizari. "Dalronn would eat it from the adds, being the squishier one, and Skarvald makes it to Skadi. Skar has two stuns to Skadi's one, and remember that even after Dalronn goes down, he still can use all his abilities. So the summoned skellies eat the whirlwind, and more importantly, Debilitate nerfs Skadi's DPS."

"I gotta say the duo," agreed Meethan. "If they could get through the harpoons, then Skadi would be cake for them. It seems like he has almighty attacks -- but again, this is on the theory, not on the actual damage. They would go through the adds badly damaged but not dead. When Skadi came down, Skarvald would begin to engage him, while the necromancer began to summon his minions. In the event Skarvald did die, Dalronn would have enough knowledge to outlast Skadi in a battle perspective, because necromancers aren't complete idiots."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

WoW Rookie: Where a noob can be a noob

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

Today's WoW Rookie will not help you improve your game or your character's performance. The advice here won't help you become a "better" player; in fact, we'd encourage you to guard against the urge. As a new player in an older game (and make no mistake, with an established game world that's turned away from leveling and original content, the World of Warcraft definitely qualifies), you are quite assuredly behind the curve. You're a noob -- and that's ok. Don't let anyone try to convince you otherwise.

As a new player in the World of Warcraft, you deserve your time in the sun. It's called WORLD of Warcraft for a reason. A massive game world awaits, ripe for exploration, screenshots, wonder. Slowly peeling back the layers of lore and story reveals tales of glory, honor, humor and tragedy. This is your chance to soak it in, to bask and stretch and revel in the delightfully silly little surprises that Blizzard has scattered throughout the game.

And you'll miss all of that if your game is a tunnel-vision race to max level, purple armor and a belt notched with raiding achievements.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Features, Leveling, WoW Rookie

Why Varian Wrynn is a fool (and why it may not matter)

For a while now I've been mulling over points raised by Daniel in his much-discussed article, "Why Varian Wrynn Is Right," and we've received a number of requests to address the issue from the Horde's point of view. Well...this article isn't going to do that. It started off that way, and then I realized that Varian's personal issues and the Horde's approach to the problem are really two entirely separate matters. At some point in the future, I'd like to examine the Horde's take on the newly-resurgent antagonism between the factions, because it's not something I can adequately address here without turning this into a 10,000-word tract.

Today, we're going to deal almost exclusively with Varian and his share of responsibility for the current mess. I'm a little ambivalent over Blizzard's decision to include most of the backstory and explanations for Varian's behavior in a comic series, because I think it's one of the factors that's resulted the character's being poorly received by most players. Choosing to include so much of his characterization out of the game in a product most players will never read necessarily impacts how Varian's motives are going to be evaluated. If all you've got to go on is what you see of the king from ingame events...he doesn't look so great. This isn't a defense of Varian so much as a commentary on the somewhat inconsistent approach to his character that's resulted. I haven't read each of the comics, but I'm familiar with the storyline, and this article doesn't assume that you need to have read the out-of-game books or comics in order to follow the argument.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Lore, NPCs, Wrath of the Lich King, Rumors

Encrypted Text: Rogue tips for raiding Ulduar, part 2

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 continue our discussion of tips and tricks for Ulduar.

Last week, we covered the first few tiers of Ulduar bosses, and what Rogues can do to maximize their performance on these fights. I was happy to see some great tips in the comments as well, such as using Cloak of Shadows when you are afflicted by XT-002's Light Bomb. If you have any advice to add to the conversation, please use the comments to give us your thoughts.

This week, we'll be talking about the Keepers, the real meat and potatoes of Ulduar. These bosses drop our coveted Tier 8 (complete with its fantastic 4-piece bonus!) and other loot that you'll want to get your hands on. These fights are also more technically complex, and so you'll want to be prepared before attempting to down these bosses for the first time.

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Filed under: Rogue, Tips, Raiding, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

15 Minutes of Fame: Ferarro revs up

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.

(Update: Since our 15 Minutes of Fame interview, the bright light of internet scrutiny has uncovered some cracks in Ferarro's online persona. Whatever the truth may be, it's a shame to see a once positive, entertaining resource for the Paladin community sink into the mire.)

"'Paladin, Schmaladin' ... No way a blog with a dumb name like that could be a decent web resour -- Oh, wait, what was that about MP5? Let me just crunch -- oh never mind, she's already ... Ahh, hang on, lemme just finish this how-to; seems pretty spot-on to me ... But first, I need to click on this blonde over here, because this cannot possibly be a real photo of the person who wrote all this stuff ..."

Before you get your Purifier's Pantaloons in a twist, we checked out frequent reader/commenter Ferarro and her blog, Paladin Schmaladin -- and we'd say they both pass the sniff test quite swimmingly. You want the Real Thing? You've got it. Besides her own blog, Ferarro writes at and is a full-time WoW game tester. That's right: the lady raids for a living. More to the point, Ferarro serves up the inside line on playing a better Paladin with a quick wit, impeccable theorycrafting and a willingness to lend a good-humored, personal touch to the whole endeavor. We've got the inside scoop on the lady with the inside scoop, after the break.

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

Shifting Perspectives: Restoration and the Tree Druid's future

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, rather than plagiarizing from Stephen Hawking, we plagiarize from ourselves, and for the second time in column history, we shelve our Previously Scheduled Guide in favor of an emergency summit concerning Tree conservation.

A question for Druids from Ghostcrawler himself; is Tree of Life form fun?

I'd like to get the question a bit more exposure both here and on the forums, because it's a thought-provoking issue. No other healer, as he observes, has to sacrifice anything in order to use a key talent in their healing tree/s, and from how Ghostcrawler's worded his post, it seems pretty clear that the PvE and PvP healing output of the Restoration spec is explicitly balanced around the use of Tree of Life. That's fine -- it is our 41-point talent, and a good one at that. It's not unreasonable for Blizzard to expect that we'll use it. However, It does have implications for game balance when 3 of 4 healing classes retain all of their offensive capabilities, crowd-control, and interrupts while healing, and the Druid relinquishes all of the above in order to provide the same level of healing throughput.

I took a look at the thread in question, and if you want my honest opinion, some of the issues being described are the logical evolution of problems from October 2005 when Tree of Life went live. The game has changed, and while the flagship Restoration talent has slowly changed alongside it, the inherent design of the form still reflects realities from the classic game rather than Wrath. Interestingly, many of these same problems affect moonkin as well.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Classes, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives, Forums

World of WarCrafts: Who can resist a Murbean?

World of WarCrafts spotlights art and creativity by WoW players and fans, including fan art, cooking, comics, cosplay, music, fan fiction – and yes, (War)crafts. Share your stuff by tipping us off via our tips line (attention: World of WarCrafts).

World of WarCrafts has been gathering up tips and news on creative endeavors from players in all sorts of media. For a sun-drenched holiday weekend, though, we couldn't think of anything better than everyone's favorite: a Murbean. These cuties come courtesy of Amythys of Sisters of Elune.

"I've been making these little plush Murlocs for a while now (I call them Murbeans), mostly for my own amusement, but two have gone to friends as well," Amythys wrote. "Since I photographed them recently for my new guild's amusement, I wanted to share them here too."

One more shot of the little guys after the fold.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Features, World of WarCrafts

All the World's a Stage: So you want to be a Leatherworker

This installment of All the World's a Stage is the thirty-fourth in a series of roleplaying guides in which we find out all the background information you need to roleplay a particular race or class (or profession!) well, without embarrassing yourself.

At the outset of this series on how to roleplay one's professions, Leatherworking struck me as the most difficult profession to write about, even more than skinning, herbalism, or mining. This was in spite of (and in fact maybe because of) the fact that it was the first profession I ever chose in WoW. My very first character, who was a druid, wanted to choose leatherworking in order in order to make her own armor as well as prevent the dead bodies of all those animals she had to kill during her quests from going to waste.

At that time I didn't know a whole lot about roleplaying, or how to play the game, and I knew even less about the background lore behind everything I was seeing. I originally roleplayed with my friends that my night elf had been born in Darnassus, only later to find out that would have made her about 3 years old -- a fact none of us had known, because WoW was our first exposure to the lore of Azeroth. This was actually my inspiration for writing these articles, so that our readers wouldn't have to go read pages and pages of books and websites or play old and (to me anyway) less enjoyable games.

As I played the game more and more, the leatherworking armor seemed less and less useful and seemed more and more difficult to make. I also started imagining what skinning all those animals and then stitching together parts of their dead bodies would actually feel like, and suddenly I felt more like a kind of Dr. Frankenstein than a peaceful druid. It turns out, however, that I knew as little about leatherworking back then as I did about the game itself.

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Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Rogue, Shaman, Leatherworking, Lore, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

[1.Local]: Making ourselves at home

Reader comments – ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.

Welcome home to Moving into a new place can be hectic, but we think our new digs at are pretty darn comfy. In addition to a fresh face and identity for WoW Insider, we've introduced the beta launch of Profiles. Show off your characters with a profile on By downloading the addon, you can also keep all of your friends up to date on what you're doing in game, and make blog posts and upload screenshots directly from your game client.

Not a big fan of the social media scene? You don't have to change a thing – offers all the old content you know (and hopefully love) so well. "If I'm being honest, when I first saw that the site had changed, I didn't really 'feel it,'" commented reader Retropally. "After days of it sinking in, I'm loving it. The new theme is awesome -- and really, nothing has changed in the way of the posts that are written ..."

Join the [1.Local] gang and add your thoughts about our new look and social features -- and hop on across the fold to see what else readers were chatting about during the past week.

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Filed under: Gnomes, Analysis / Opinion, WoW Insider Business, Guilds, Features, Raiding, Factions, [1.Local]

Totem Talk: Is Enhancement too squishy?

Yes, that's Thoralius the Wise from the Howling Fjord starting quests. When I saw him get up and start zoning out to his smoke brazier, the look on his face just meshed too well with today's subject matter, which is the health of shamans in melee. We talked about shaman health in PvP a while back, now it's PvE's turn.

I don't play my shaman in a melee role in raids right now, because I basically don't have the gear for it. My resto set's a lot better so that's what I go as, but that only means I often notice how difficult it is to keep enhancement shamans on their feet. There are several possible culprits for the disparity, although in most cases I believe the killer to be aoe damage, so wearing mail really isn't the issue: rogues aren't nearly as hard to keep up as shamans, for instance, because rogues have cooldowns and abilities that allow them to avoid or escape damage. (If you've ever seen a rogue go sprinting through several mines on a Mimiron kill you'll know what I mean.) No, excepting those giant whirlwinding maniacs in Razorscale and Thorim, what's generally killing shamans in melee is AoE damage, and the problem here is twofold in my experience.

  1. Most enhancement shamans who are not in Tier gear are wearing hunter mail, which is not tuned to higher stamina values. Even shaman tier gear lacks in stamina, however.
  2. In order to take talents that would reduce incoming damage, shamans are asked to not take talents that would allow them to produce meaningful DPS.

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Filed under: Shaman, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, Instances, Raiding, (Shaman) Totem Talk

Insider Trader: Jewelcrafting nerf incoming

Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Bornakk just announced on the forums that Jewelcrafters are about to see a new nerf, and as a result, people are already beginning to weigh the benefits of switching to a different profession for min-maxing, or working out how they are going to re-itemize their gear.

In the next major content patch we will be removing the prismatic quality of the jewelcrafter-only Dragon's Eye gems. Like other gems, they will have to match the socket color to receive a socket bonus. When this change occurs, players with qualifying jewelcrafting skill will be provided a yet to be determined amount of Dalaran Jewelecrafter Tokens as compensation.

This probably won't be enough to entice players to drop the profession, but it is a bit of a blow. Stratfu points out that because Mage T8 is equipped primarily with yellow and blue sockets, the only way to actually meet socket bonus requirements will be to use sub-par gems.

The JC-only Runed Dragon's Eye offers +32 spell power, and currently fits into any socket, conforming to meet the necessary color requirements. This is compared to the +19 spell power that the rest of us folks get from Runed Scarlet Rubies. While Jewelcrafters will still be able to use these gems, they won't be able to stick them just anywhere.

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Filed under: Mage, Paladin, Enchanting, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Economy, Jewelcrafting, Features, Raiding, Enchants, Insider Trader (Professions)

Two Bosses Enter: Dalronn and Skarvald vs. Skadi

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

It's an Utgarde mashup in this week's Two Bosses Enter deathmatch, as Dalronn the Controller and Skarvald the Constructor from Utgarde Keep meet up with Skadi the Ruthless in Utgarde Pinnacle. That's right: this week's battle will take place on Skadi's territory in Utgarde Pinnacle.

Now before you throw your hands up exclaiming how much of a whip Skadi can be – we're going to balance this fight. This all scales. Assume that the foes share similar levels, health pools and a comparative overall damage output. We'll also assume that there are not so many Frost Vrykul assisting Skadi that his opponents find themselves overwhelmed early in the battle. Let's assume that Dalronn and Skarvald make it about three-quarters of the way through the gauntlet before the first of them gets killed. (It goes without saying that we won't allow Dalronn and Skarvald to run past the gauntlet –- don't try it!)

Most important, don't get caught up in actual game mechanics or what full groups of real players might do in each encounter. Focus your debate on the three S's -- style, story and scale -- and the flavor of each villain's battle style. What do you think would happen if these three met in battle? Tell us what goes down in the comments below, and cast your vote for who you think is left standing at the end.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Features, Bosses, NPCs, Two Bosses Enter

One Boss Leaves: Xevozz buffets Mage-Lord Urom

Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.

Mage-Lord Urom (the Oculus) found himself buffeted right off the playing field in a tightly contested match against Xevozz of the Violet Hold. Xevozz and his Ethereal Spheres dogged the Mage-Lord from platform to platform, dropping him despite Urom's horde of minions and evasive ways.

Reader opinion was fairly close on this deathmatch. Siaperas gave props to the Mage-Lord's efforts. "While I think Xevozz is much cooler than the mage lord, I'd have to give this battle to the Mage-Lord," he explained. "My impression of Xevozz is that he's so overconfident, he walks towards his opponents, and the way we've always beaten him was by kiting him. The Mage-Lord is a master at kiting. The entire fight is him kiting the player. Xevozz will kill the adds, but slowly it'll wear him down, and the Mage-Lord is much too mobile for him in a stand alone fight. Sure, Xevozz could try to teleport the Mage-Lord into his spheres, but the Mage-Lord is just going to teleport back out."

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Features, Lore, Bosses, Two Bosses Enter

WoW Rookie: Wave your magic wand

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.

What's that? You can't hear because you're wanding? That's a good thing, young caster, a very good thing – because doing damage from afar is the savvy caster's modus operandi. At higher levels, wands are usually reserved for backup duty when you've run out of mana. For a leveling player, however, a wand is an effective method of killing mobs while reserving your limited mana pool for crowd control or healing.

As a caster, resist the temptation to tough it out and let mobs (monsters) get up in your face. Wands put out fairly healthy DPS (damage per second), and you'll do more damage wanding than you will whacking things with your melee weapon. Besides, using your wand helps you get used to keeping your distance; you're wearing cloth armor and should avoid taking direct hits whenever possible. Wands also give you an efficient, effective finish for fights. You can finish off runners without having to physically chase them down, and polishing off that last bit of damage without using mana gives you a head start on regenerating for the next encounter.

Higher level players may scoff at your interest in wands – but remember, they have more talents, stats, gear and spells at their disposal. At their level, wands are valued more for their juicy, mana-boosting stats, resistances and spellpower. As you gain spellpower and mana regeneration through leveling, wands will become relatively less effective. For now, make the most of them!

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Filed under: Mage, Priest, Warlock, Enchanting, Tips, How-tos, Features, Leveling, WoW Rookie

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