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WoW Insider midnight release parties!
What are you doing tonight? Does it involve standing in a line, waiting patiently to get your gaming mitts on a hot new edition of Mists of Pandaria? If so, we might have a treat for you.

You can find our intrepid team of WoW Insider writers at these outstanding fine gaming retailers. You should come by and say hello, perhaps win fabulous prizes (provided by our good pals Blizzard, to boot)! Or, mostly, come by and say hello.
We hope to see you tonight!

Edit: Frostheim's location has changed!

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: Mists of Pandaria

Real ID grouping feature out of beta, remains free

The Real ID party grouping feature, which allows players across realms to group up and run dungeons through the Dungeon Finder with same-faction Real ID friends, is officially out of beta and remains a free service.

When the service was first announced, a premium price was going to be attached to the service, but since launching, Real ID grouping is not part of the premium package -- it's free for everyone. Blizzard reserved the right to add features to the premium suite of WoW services, but this one is here to stay for free.

I was skeptical about the costs associated with the service in the beginning, but after trying out the service with fellow WoW Insider editors, I was hooked. Paying for the service, however, was not something I would have done. Players have a certain expectation about what they get with their monthly subscriptions, and in a world where free-to-play MMOs and games charge small amounts all over the place for items and boosts, a subscription game in the vein of World of Warcraft has a harder time justifying the extra costs because of the nature of the monthly subscription beast. It is nice to see that Blizzard is adding this feature for all players, no cost attached. Hit the jump for the full announcement and FAQ.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Reminder: It came from the Blog server maintenance party tonight

Is your server down today? Join us tonight for the Server Maintenance Party! We will be stealing the fires in the Alliance capitals for Midsummer Fire Festival.

This will be an all-levels event, so don't worry if you don't have a character already in <It came from the Blog>. Here are the particulars:
  • When: Tuesday, June 29 at 10:15 p.m. EDT (7:15 p.m. PDT, 8:15 p.m. realm time)
  • Where: Meet at Splintertree Post in Ashenvale on Zangarmarsh (US-PvE-H)
  • Who: Your highest Horde character, even if that means level 1
  • What: Hopefully, a Thief's Reward hat for all
  • How: Ask Robinator or any <It came from the Blog> guildie to join the guild; ranks of Lurker or higher can invite.
Get to Splintertree Post by 10:15 p.m. so you will be ready to leave right at 10:30 p.m. Summons are for sissies, so log on early to make sure you're there on time. Expect to die many deaths. Expect to not be rezzed. Expect to pick up your bod and catch up. Expect to have to run a lot. Expect it all to be fun anyway.

If you are unable to make it, but would like to watch it streaming and listen to me be chatty, we've embedded the stream along with the chat after the break. If you will be joining us, there are also tips after the break and you may want to listen to at least the audio stream.

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Filed under: Events, It Came from the Blog

Breakfast Topic: We get bored

Sometimes everyone on my server simultaneously gets bored, or antsy or just a little bit more wired then normal, and things happen like the screenshot pictured above -- that's about half of the mammoth train that was walking slowly around the perimeter of Dalaran. Why was it formed? Where was it going? No idea, but as I watched them slowly shuffle by, I obligingly hopped on my Black War Mammoth and joined the train. Because it was late, I'd just finished a solid run of ICC-25, and it was something to do while I chatted with guild members.

This sort of thing happens just before the raids, too. One guild member will pull out a D.I.S.C.O. ball, another will start throwing around Party G.R.E.N.A.D.E.s. Before you know it, the dank corridor that leads into the depths of Icecrown Citadel has suddenly been turned into a happening place to be, the ground littered with "Spectral Tiger" mounts, Ogre Pinatas and kettles of Goblin Gumbo. Sometimes Archmage Vargoth puts in an appearance. He can't help it; there are usually four or five flaming draenei dancers congregated around a Brazier of Dancing Flames, and the girls just drive him crazy.

Does stuff like this happen on your server? Spontaneous dance parties, mammoth trains, stacks of flying mounts hovering above the Dalaran well? What happens when your server gets bored? Trade chat aside, mind you -- we all know how /2 gets when people are feeling feisty.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

More options for party communication

Our buddy Rufus from the WoW LJ brings word of a sneaky change in the recent patch: raid warnings (those warnings that pop up in the middle of your screen, created by typing "/rw" while leading a raid) no longer work in parties. Apparently you have to be in a raid to actually toss off a warning. Of course, that could have happened before this patch, but at any rate, it's in the game now. No more /rw in party chat.

Not only is it a bummer because some people used to use it constantly to keep party members in line, but this also means that there's one less means of communication between all of these random parties forming out there on the realms. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would know the fights and chat would be enough to make sure everyone was on the same page (or depending of your vision of a perfect world, everyone actually uses the in-game voice chat -- a quick survey of our staff here presumes that it works in cross-realm PuGs, but given that I've never actually seen it used on the live realms by anyone, who knows?), but we're hardly running instances in a perfect world. Sometimes chat is not the best way to get a complicated boss fight organized and ready.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Walkthroughs, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Instances

Dungeon Finder reactions from players

The long-awaited Dungeon Finder is finally out on the servers, and people have had a few days with it now, so let's jump in and gauge some early reactions. Overall, it seems to be a big hit -- tanks and healers are jumping into groups right away, and while we've heard of longer waits for DPS, it doesn't seem bad at all. While of course the initial flood of people brought instance servers down (I'd expect to see the same thing happen during peak time this weekend), everything seems to be working well since then: disenchanters are correctly dropping items out, loot is getting distributed correctly, and groups are doing what they were always supposed to do: rake in the badges and rewards for players.

Hots and Dots actually has a long take on the Dungeon Finder, including "15 Things You Should Know," like that tanks and healers are still as important as ever (if you sign up for DPS and another role, you likely won't be doing DPS), and that we're finding out very quickly just how skilled or knowledgeable people really are ("the Party Leader will be forced to confess midway [through] that they actually know nothing about the instance").

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Raiding, Leveling

It came from the Blog: Battleground Bonanza

I love Battlegrounds. I think they all have their positives, though my favorite is still Alterac Valley. So I've been wanting to hold an It came from the Blog BG event for a while and I've decided it's time... Time for the first Battleground Bonanza! Here are the details:
  • When: Wednesday, December 2, 11:00pm EST (8:00pm PST, 9:00pm Server time)
  • Where: The Hall of the Brave (where the Battlemasters are), Orgrimmar, Zangarmarsh U.S.
  • Who: Any level 10 or above Horde character.
  • How: Ask any It came from the Blog Lurker or Robinella for a guild invite.
  • What: Battleground premades
Though any Battleground level character is invited, I will be playing on Robinella, who is a level 60 Death Knight and will therefore be playing in the 60 to 69 range BGs. We will be forming groups and hitting as many level/group-size appropriate BGs as we can for an hour or so. If you can't make it to the Hall of the Brave in time for the event, you will miss out on the first screenshot, but will still be able to participate. If you are unfamiliar with Battleground play, please do some homework so that it will be more fun for both you and your teammates.

More details are after the break.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, It Came from the Blog, Battlegrounds

Reminder: It came from the Blog Pilgrim Party tonight

You are cordially invited to party like a Pilgrim tonight with It came from the Blog! Here are the details:
  • When: 11pm EST (8pm PST, 9pm Server time) Wednesday, November 25th
  • Where: Meet at the Ruins of Lordaeron (Undercity) on Zangarmarsh (U.S.)
  • Who: Any Horde character of any level. No mounts required.
  • How: Ask Robinator, Robinella, Robiness or any It came from the Blog Lurker or above for an invite to the guild.
  • What: We will be gaining some Pilgrim's Bounty Achievements: Food Fight!, Sharing is Caring and Pilgrim's Paunch.
Robinator will be providing ports to each city (as long as I don't just port myself like I did the other night), so there will be no need for mounts or flightpaths. We may have a few WoW.com bloggers join us for the fun and we also may (no guarantees) give out some loot codes. Regardless, we should have a good time filling up the tables and throwing food at each other while spamming up guildchat with Achievements.

If you have any questions about our guild, please see our FAQ. Hope to see you there!

Filed under: Events, It Came from the Blog

Breakfast Topic: What do you do when your server is down?

The players on the Emberstorm and Whirlwind battlegroups have had a rough week. A massive power outage, huge network issues and other problems have forced them away from their virtual homes to find refuge elsewhere. Some have joined the It came from the Blog guild on Zangarmarsh, where we have had two impromptu server outage parties. The picture above is from Tuesday night's shindig.

Others have commented in the outage posts that they have formed level 1 raids on other servers. And of course there are other games to play.

Personally, if both Zangarmarsh and my main server are down, I figure it's time to start watching what's on the DVR and knitting. What do you do when your server is down?

Filed under: Realm Status, Breakfast Topics, It Came from the Blog

It Came from the Blog server outage party

When Emberstorm and Whirlwind battlegroups went down due to a massive power outage and nastiness resulting from it, we invited displaced players to join us in our It came from the Blog guild on Zangarmarsh. And they did. For the most part, it was a guildchat party, but many of us gathered for a picture outside of Silvermoon to commemorate the occasion. I also offered ports to Shattrath so people could set their hearthstones. I'm not used to giving ports, however, so I accidentally ported just myself on one occasion. Oops.

Joining us for the party were Adam Holisky, Michael Sacco, Matt Low and Kelly Aarons. We all had a great time hanging out together and getting some cooking done. Just because we had this impromptu get together doesn't mean we're still not going to Party like Pilgrims on Wednesday night, however. Everyone is invited, so come join us at 11pm EST on Zangarmarsh, Wednesday night for some Pilgrim's Bounty fun.

Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, It Came from the Blog

Breakfast Topic: How do you feel about the new LFG system?

The LFG system has been completely revamped. Details were released the other day. It's supposed to be coming some time in patch 3.3. You won't have to worry about not finding a tank or a healer as the LFG interface is supposed to draw from a pool of various servers. The idea of pulling players from other servers seems like a double edged sword. Sure you might be able to run into more people and more opportunities, but what happens if you run across a ninja or an unsavory player? I suppose it's reassuring to know that they're on a different server than you are.

But here's some other changes:
  • Players can join as individuals, as a full group, or a partial group to look for additional party members.
  • Groups using this tool will be able to teleport directly to the selected instance. Upon leaving the instance, players will be returned to their original location. If any party member needs to temporarily leave the instance for reagents or repairs, they will have the option to teleport back to the instance.
Personally I like the idea of not having to fly all the way down to the Utgarde or Nexus instances. That's going to cut down on travel time for sure. Hopefully the players we'll be partying with will already be fully repaired and have enough reagents to last the run. It's nice to know that extra convenience has been added for the days where we forget. Are you looking forward to these new changes?



Patch 3.3 is the last major patch of Wrath of the Lich King. With the new Icecrown Citadel 5-man dungeons and 10/25-man raid arriving soon, patch 3.3 will deal the final blow to the Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Officers' Quarters: An exclusive party


Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.


I get a lot of e-mails, many more than I could ever cover in this column. I hear about a lot of drama, drama of all different kinds, for all different reasons. So it always piques my interest when I read an e-mail like the one below, with an entirely new kind of guild drama. This one sounds more suited to a middle school class than a guild, but here it is: secret party drama. Read on for the details!

I am a member of a fairly progressed raiding guild. I am a member of the main raid. I am not an officer, but almost all the regular raiders are officers. In many ways the guild is good. Raiding rules and loot are fair.

However, it has become clear that the guild is dominated by a clique and that promotions to officer and most raid invites are largely based upon becoming part of the in group. Recently it was announced during raid that we would be taking a week off as many would be out of town. After the week off, during Vent chat, it became clear that the many out of town were all out of town together. That is, the guild officers were invited to an in person party (some traveled to go to it, others didn't but all were invited). I also learned that the officers intentionally tried to keep the party a secret beforehand.

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Filed under: Officers' Quarters (Guild Leadership)

Pacifist Priest dings 80 on Friday

Reinisch is the pacifist Undead Priest who's aiming to make it to level 80 without killing anything at all (he's the same player as Noor, who we interviewed way back when and followed up with a while ago), and apparently this Friday, he's going to do it. He's inviting everybody out to a party on Friday afternoon, September 4th, at 6pm server over on The Venture Company. He's going to turn in a Dalaran fishing quest to do it, and he's got quick and easy directions posted on how to get to Dalaran as a level 1.

Though there might not be as much going on as other big server parties, it's probably worth going just to see him ding level 80 and the level 1 chaos in Dalaran that will ensue, but it's quite an achievement for sure, especially considering that this Priest was actually created before Noor -- he's named after a German priest who stood up to Hitler in the name of peace and was executed for it. It might be nice just to stop by and give the guy a grats as he dings -- pretty impressive to take a goal that most people would say was impossible, and do it in the game not once but twice on two different classes and factions.

Filed under: Undead, Engineering, Events, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Fan art

Preparing for BlizzCon: Money -- you're going to need it


BlizzCon approaches! Preparing for BlizzCon is your regular source for tips on how best to prepare for Blizzard's gaming extravaganza.

If you have the resources to pick up some extra cash or the space in your budget to save some more over the next couple months, I recommend that you do. The ticket is paid for, but that is just the tip of the iceberg. You already know you need money for lodging and getting there, but here are a few more things for which you are probably going to want to have extra cash in the bank:
  • Food: It really isn't practical to bring your own and in some cases, not allowed by Blizzard. For example, anything in glass, large containers or cans are a no go for the convention. Many hotels consider a tiny box of cereal or a couple slices of toast a "free breakfast", so don't count on them either. The food in the Anaheim Convention Center is convenient but overpriced, as is normal for conventions. In the evenings, most people will be dining at one of the many delicious Downtown Disney eateries, which are great fun and usually pretty expensive. All in all, your food bills will likely be far greater than your normal food budget.

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Filed under: Events, Fan stuff, BlizzCon

Celebrating a guild anniversary in style

Pink Pigtail Inn has what is probably the most involved guild anniversary I've ever seen. We've seen quite a few anniversaries and events come through Guildwatch, but this one takes the cake: a huge competitive scavenger hunt, complete with out-of-game clues, banned class abilities (so teams could be balanced out), and even self-made quests involving the guild's lore. It's probably rare to find a group of officers that can be this committed to something normally considered "an RP event," but obviously it worked out, because the whole guild really enjoyed it.

The context Larisa puts this in, however, is even more interesting. According to the Daedalus Project (a series of surveys of MMO players -- we've mentioned their work before), the majority of players can't celebrate a guild's anniversary anyway, as they haven't been in their guilds for even a year yet. I've never considered it, but it's true: while we are very attached to our guildies when we do find a good guild, we aren't really attached to them for very long, relatively speaking. There are stories of guilds going on for decades, but even those guilds have players coming and going -- if your guild has the same group of people playing together for a few years, you're probably in a smaller group than you think. PPI's example is a great one for any guilds who have been around long enough to celebrate it.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Virtual selves, Guilds, Quests

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