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The Queue: Tree on a bike

Tree on a bike
Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Sarah Pine (@ilaniel) will be your host today.

The above is one of my all-time favorite WoW screenshots. Yet another reason why Ulduar was such a great raid.

Mazuren asks:
Q4tQ: After we're done with WoD, what would you most like to see? More Azeroth(Zandalar, Kul Tiras, Undermine, Azshara)? Or would you rather we head to the various legion infested worlds? Or maybe something else entirely?

I'd love to find out what happened to Neptulon, and that also feels like the natural place for an expansion whose end boss is Azshara, which would be great. I'd also like to finally check out the Emerald Dream in a meaningful way, though that hope might be permanently dashed considering the fate of the Dragonflights at the end of Cataclysm. World hopping usually isn't my bag, but I'd be down for that if a major component of the story happened to be the search for Alleria. And Turalyon, I guess. But mostly Alleria.

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Filed under: The Queue

What do you need explained more clearly?

What do you need explained more clearly
Reading the forums (like I do) I came across a response by Daxxari to a forum thread that got me thinking.
Daxxari - Oh God, 5.3 don't come!!! QQ thread!!
Item budget is weird and crazy. Seriously. It's actually worlds better than it used to be, but still needs to be a lot more clear so people can understand it. Blizzard is bad at getting some really core information like that across.

Fair enough. There's a huge amount of information to relate about World of Warcraft, and we can always communicate better and more clearly. We've already stated that PvP stats don't count toward a given item's ilevel, and we released the PvP Gear in Patch 5.3 blog that we hoped would dispel some confusion.

What do you think is missing, and what else needs to be communicated clearly so players can make informed gearing decisions?

This got me to thinking about what I'd like expressed more clearly and concisely someplace easy to find in game, and it's how stat ratings work. This has greatly improved in that the character window pane will calculate out how much actual hit percentage, or critical strike percentage, you currently have on gear but I really think the game could benefit from a means to work out what changing X or Y will do to your stats without having to go to an outside site.

So what about you? What do you find confusing and think Blizzard could explain better? Item levels? How PvP stats work? The difference between content tiers? If it bugs you, tell us how you think Blizzard could explain it better.
Mists of Pandaria is here! The level cap has been raised to 90, many players have returned to Azeroth, and pet battles are taking the world by storm. Keep an eye out for all of the latest news, and check out our comprehensive guide to Mists of Pandaria for everything you'll ever need to know.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Mists of Pandaria

Addon Spotlight: A very mailbag episode

Each week, WoW Insider's Mathew McCurley 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.

Oh, hi. There have been so many mailbag questions lately that it might be a good idea to just, you know, get them all out of the way in one shot. You guys love sending me in questions! If you've got a question for Addon Spotlight, send it on over to and hopefully I can get to your question. There will be addon recommendations. There will be heartbreak and sadness. There will be reunions and jubilation. So many emotions are running through me right now.

A mighty burden
Hey Mat,

I know you dislike Carbonite, and it took me a long time to understand why, but I get it now. It's huge and slows down my computer, and they don't make their code easy for other addon authors to use. I've decided to not use it anymore, but there are a few things I really, really miss about it! Top on the list is the infinite scroll and sizing of the map and its google earth type layer. I also really liked being able to right click the map to place a "go to" waypoint. Finally, I miss the "Punks" feature that alerts me when an enemy player is nearby and also puts a dot on the minimap with the player's approximate location and time last seen. Everything else it does that I like I've found replacement addons to use, and I like that I'm using less memory than with Carbonite. I'm also having a lot fewer conflicts with my other mods. Are there any addons out there that can give me back the three features outlined above? Thanks for any help you can give me!

Thanks for the email, Ann. Carbonite is one of those addons that has its heart in the right place but overstays its welcome very quickly, like relatives in your living room or that raider who holds down his push-to-talk button constantly. The bloat you feel with Carbonite is heavy, it's true. All of the features that you describe, like the map scaling and that Google Earth layer, are the ones causing you the bloat and slowness. That's the problem.

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Filed under: Add-Ons, AddOn Spotlight

Ask the Devs Round 11 answers your healing questions

Ask the Devs Round 11 focuses on healer and healer-related topics, as Blizzard wraps up this format of questions and answers. Blizzard gave some long and detailed answers for healers this time around, ranging from topics about the nature of the changed healing game in Cataclysm to the choices healers must make in terms of which heal to use in 5-man content versus raid content. The devs also made an interesting remark about a radical new type of healing class that could appear in a later expansion -- a radically different type of healer that might bring back players who have become burned out on the role.

As a raider, I think the best answer came for the question about raid healing being hard for healers and why it sometimes feels like damage is unhealable. The devs commented that raids are not meant to be unhealable, and in most circumstances when the fight seems unhealable, players might be taking the wrong approach to the mechanics. Translated: It might not always be the healer's fault.

Check out all of the questions and answers after the jump.

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Filed under: Blizzard, Cataclysm

Gold Capped: How to calculate inscription costs and prices

Every week, Gold Capped brings you tips on how to make money on the auction house. This article from inscription specialist Steve Zamboni has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

With its myriad of materials and finished items, inscription can be one of the more complicated professions for a crafter who's trying to track his expenses and profits (or even to know if he's made a profit at all). Herb prices have changed dramatically over the past several months, dropping to record lows as farming bots proliferate and climbing just as dramatically during the ban wave that followed. After months of being spoiled by a market overflowing with cheap herbs, many players stopped paying attention to what they were paying to make each item. Now that herb prices are climbing, it's left a number of sellers scrambling to reprice their items and to take a closer look at what they're paying for their supplies.

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Filed under: Guest Posts, Gold Capped

Gold Capped Ask an Auctioneer: My first mailbag

Every week, Gold Capped (from Basil "Euripides" Berntsen) aims to educate players about how to make money on the auction house. For the inside line on crafting for disenchanting, transmutation, cross-faction arbitrage and more, check in every Wednesday. Also, feel free to email Basil any comments, questions or hate mail!

I've gotten quite the mail bag of questions emailed to me. I'm going to select a few and answer them approximately whenever I feel like it. Remember when writing your question that if you want to remain anonymous, all you need to do is ask!

The first question comes to us from Mahgo, from Dath'Remar (US):
I am emailing your for some advice regarding making gold on the auction house. I have most professions at max level.

I currently use Auctioneer to undercut when I am selling what I make. Do you have any advice or could you please point me for some help regarding niche markets, or how to tackle the whole market?

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Filed under: Gold Capped

World of Warcraft: The Magazine still coming later this year

A few readers have sent us notes asking what happened to their World of Warcraft: The Magazine subscription, and so here's a quick followup to the magazine you might not have heard about since BlizzCon. As far as we know, it's still on track for release in "late 2009" -- the website went live a while back, and they're updating on Twitter. The first issue should almost be done, and it's supposed to have a feature on the WoW TCG, something about Inscription, and memories of the game for the 5th anniversary, as well as lots of other stuff, we're sure.

Additionally, even if you haven't ordered a subscription yet (I haven't, actually, but I meant to), there will be previews of the issue online at some point. Or, on the other hand, if you're tired of waiting, you can contact them with support help and questions via email as well. But as far as we've heard, it's still coming before the end of the year, so keep an eye on your mailbox. It'll be a little different from some of the news you've seen online (it's completely official, which means everything in there is approved by Blizzard before it goes out, not to mention that they'll have some nice access in terms of news about upcoming content), but it definitely seems like it'll be an interesting read.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Instances lets you ask and answer Warcraft questions

Reader Jesta sent us a note about his new website. He's a big fan of Stack Overflow, which is a big Q&A/advice site for programmers -- you show up, ask your question, and then other folks who might or might not be working on the same problem post their answers, in moderated and organized threads for everyone to read. Jesta decided this same type of thing could work for our little game, so he put together -- the idea is that you go there, leave a question about anything in the game, and then wait for your answer from other people browsing the site.

Stack Overflow actually has a little "badge" system where answerers can earn reputation points for answering questions correctly, and Jesta says that they're working on doing something similar for Epic Advice (though they'll probably have Achievements, as that's more Warcraft-y). But as of this writing, the site definitely needs more questions and answers, so if there's something bugging you about WoW (that our own Queue hasn't answered yet), or you consider yourself an expert and want to clear some things up, head over and give the site a look.

Filed under: Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Quests, Classes, Forums, Fan art

Survey: Figuring out the faction transfer numbers

I've been thinking about this ever since the faction changes went live: obviously, Blizzard will never actually release the numbers on how many server transfers or faction changes they do, just because they are notoriously guarded about the information they release, not least because riots are pretty easy to incite on the forums (imagine the reaction if Blizzard officially said that Alliance was the more popular faction). But I wonder nevertheless: how many players have transferred their characters over from one faction to another already? And lots of people seem to think that the vast majority of transfers are Alliance to Horde (not to mention I've heard many anecdotal stories of people flooding back to the Horde), but is that true?

Obviously, we don't have access to all of Blizzard's audience, and our polls are definitely much less scientific than the data Blizzard gets to look at (you better believe they're tracking transfers and faction and race choices with a close eye, just as they're tracking server populations 24/7), but just for the heck of it, we'll ask. After the break, we've got a few polls designed to give us a very general look at how transfers are playing out so far. There's a lot of anecdotal experiences flying around since transfers went live, but I'd like to know, a little more objectively, just how things are panning out.

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Filed under: Horde, Alliance, Polls, Analysis / Opinion, Realm Status, Blizzard, Factions, Cataclysm

Faction Changes Q&A

Perhaps the biggest news in the past week -- aside from 'Cataclysm', that is -- hasn't been Patch 3.2 itself but a service Blizzard has apparently been working on for some time. Paid faction changes. We received quite a number of tips about it and even saw our story make a cameo on Attack of the Show. Players have been asking for something like this for a while, and there have been incidents of entire guilds rerolling from scratch to defect.

Of course, with the shocking news comes a lot of questions, so Nethaera hops on over to the forums and answered a few concerns that players had. The biggest bummer for me was that I couldn't change race within my own faction! So... let me get this straight... I can change faction and become a totally different race but I can't swap my Blood Elf Death Knight into an Orc? Blasphemy! Unfortunately Blizzard doesn't think choice of race isn't something you can regret unlike faction choice. Anyway, more answers after the jump...

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Forums

Using WoW for learning in schools

We've heard about WoW in schools before, but usually it's at schools of higher learning, where they're studying social networks or how society evolves. But a group in North Carolina is planning to put WoW in schools in a different way: by using situations in World of Warcraft to develop literacy, mathematics, and other competencies. WoWinSchools has math lessons and other tests based around WoW terms and knowledge: one example question asks "Which types of heals produce a greater number of recovered hit points during an encounter?" Another wants to know "Which buff (a spell that enhances a character's abilities) is more effective for your character, Blessing of Kings or Blessing of Might?" The idea is to use situations that the kids are familiar with in World of Warcraft (raiding, for example), and apply higher level thinking to those situations.

There are even creative writing suggestions dedicated to the game, from writing an RP story about a character in Azeroth, to writing a song parody (that one should be taught by Professor Turpster) or designing a quest chain. And lest you think they're just joking around, there's a whole slew of research behind the idea, too, and it definitely makes sense: kids who play World of Warcraft are much more likely to be interested in problems about DPS and Healing rather than Susie and Bobby's apples that we added and subtracted back when we were kids in school.

It seems like the only place this is implemented is in one afterschool program -- while there are lots of good ideas here, it's not necessarily being used in many classrooms yet (and my guess is that not every student in schools would vibe with a World of Warcraft-based curriculum, either). But it is a plan in development, and anything that better helps teachers understand what their students are interested in is probably worthwhile.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Talents, Buffs

All the World's a Stage: The inside layer

This installment of All the World's a Stage continues the discussion about the layers of roleplaying, still taking a break from the series of roleplaying guides about how to roleplay your race, class, and professions. Last week, we looked at how to interact with strangers in roleplaying environments, on "the surface layer."

So there you are -- you've got a character who is gregarious and gets into roleplaying groups relatively easily. Your character's way of interacting with others makes it easy for other people to recognize you as a roleplayer, and even encourages them to come out and roleplay with you, even if they're not that much into roleplaying themselves. You've followed some good advice about finding roleplayers -- maybe even joined an RP guild -- and you're meeting characters you think are interesting, and you really hope they think your character is interesting too.

But then something goes wrong and you feel that special RP feeling start slipping away. The people in your guild stop talking to you as much -- sometimes the whole guild atmosphere seems to go quiet and dull, and no matter what you say, nothing seems to get the actual spirit of roleplaying flowing again. You start to think maybe your interesting character quirks aren't all that good after all. You keep trying to think of new ones, but no matter how funny your accent or entertaining your antics, people just aren't getting into it like they used to.

The problem here isn't actually you -- it's an assumption that many roleplayers, even experienced ones, sometimes have when they are in new roleplaying situations. We take the burden of creating a roleplaying atmosphere too heavily upon ourselves, when actually what we need to do is not create the atmosphere, but nurture it. Questions are the key here -- if your character has a genuine interest in other people then he or she will be able to draw out the spirit of roleplaying in them, get them talking about themselves, and start having interesting interactions together.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, WoW Social Conventions, Virtual selves, Guides, RP, All the World's a Stage (Roleplaying)

Spiritual Guidance: Shield questions answered

Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new UI and addons blog for WoW. Today, Matticus looks at a few question on shields. More specifically, why Holy Priests should not shield tanks if Disc Priests are present.

One of the core spells in any Priestly arsenal is the use of Power Word: Shield. The primary purpose of it? To save lives and prevent players in your party or your raid from taking damage. I've seen a few questions and grumblings crop up regarding the use of it on a few blogs and I wanted to weigh in.

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Filed under: Priest, Tips, Raiding, (Priest) Spiritual Guidance

Martin Fury: What would you have done?

Everyone is in a furor over the Martin Fury/Karatechop controversy -- and we've had a few requests already to poll you guys on exactly what you think about it, so here you go. The story, as we've ascertained, is that Karatechop got the item by way of a low-level guildie (who'd been receiving items after he'd had his account hacked), "didn't even contemplate a ticket," and had the guildie bring the item into normal Ulduar with him. They downed Ignis with it, and after that proceeded out of the instance, flipped it to Heroic, and used the item thirteen more times, completing even some world first hard modes with it.

So the question is: what would you have done? Lots of players say they wouldn't have touched it, and that it was clearly an item they shouldn't have had. Others say that Karatechop and his guild did what anyone would have done -- it was Blizzard's mistake and they were just taking advantage of it. We'd like to know, so here's a poll: what would you have done if Martin Fury showed up in your mailbox?

What would you have done with Martin Fury?
Not touched it at all, it's not my item4626 (16.7%)
Played around with it a bit, maybe killing mobs a few times in the overworld7991 (28.8%)
Saved it for future use, in Icecrown or elsewhere2781 (10.0%)
Headed straight for PvP and rocked Wintergrasp3168 (11.4%)
What Karatechop did: rolled through progression content9202 (33.1%)

Of course, Karatechop eventually got banned for what he did, but answer that question under the premise that he didn't necessarily know that at the time. And there's another question here: lots of players say that they are surprised Karatechop and his guild didn't open a GM ticket right away -- clearly Blizzard didn't mean to send him the item, and he should have contacted them to get it back. But others aren't so sure. The second question is: no matter what you did with the item, would you have told the GMs about it?

Would you have opened a ticket when you saw the item?
Yes12219 (48.6%)
No12910 (51.4%)

Filed under: Items, Polls, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

Tom Chilton on what's coming in patch 3.1

Our old friend Jessica Citizen has an interview up with Blizzard's Lead Game Designer on World of Warcraft, Mr. Tom Chilton. When Jeff Kaplan shipped off to other pastures in Blizzard to work on the new MMO, Chilton says he took over Kaplan's meetings, so right now, he is the flag leading the big ship of WoW. In the interview, he talks a bit about dual specs -- the system was originally planned to go in with the Lich King expansion, but it had to be pushed back to 3.1. And Chilton says he's already expecting to answer questions about triple specs at this year's BlizzCon, but of course, there's a balance there, as there has to be some choice on the part of the player as to what they decide to specialize in.

He also talks about the Argent Tournament and Ulduar -- the Tournament, he says, will be a boon to solo players and players who enjoy daily questing, with the jousting minigame mixing things up a bit. And Ulduar's hard modes, as we've heard before, will bring raiding back to the difficulty that players expect. Chilton fesses up to an error that GC hinted at yesterday -- Blizzard nerfed PvP items at the same time that they made raiding more accessible, and the result is that people flocked to PvE while ignoring most of the PvP options. "We kind of over-solved the problem," he says.

In the end, he calls 3.1 "the most ambitious content patch we've ever done for World of Warcraft." We'll have to see -- given that Noblegarden should show up with the new patch, it ought to be implemented by at least April 26th.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Blizzard, PvP, Raiding, Wrath of the Lich King

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