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WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm helps you track down game details

Looking for the best approach to a certain boss? How about gearing guides for all your level-capped characters at their various levels of play: new 85s, heroic instancing and raiding? What if you're just getting around to figuring out best practices for your newly 85 alt?

WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm has you covered! We add fresh links every week to keep you up to date with the latest tips, tricks and strategies for the Cataclysm era. Here's what's new from the most recent weeks:
Read WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm.
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: Cataclysm

Guest Post: How to succeed in dungeons without really trying

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to WoW Insider's pages.

Make no mistake: Early Cataclysm dungeons are not the faceroll that we experienced at the end of Wrath. Not only have everyone's gear levels dropped dramatically relative to the content, but Blizzard has returned to a more BC-style design philosophy wherein crowd control really matters and one live mob can make the difference between an easy pull and a very difficult one.

Of course, the ideal solution is to read up on the dungeons beforehand and make sure you're prepared for them, but we don't live in an ideal world. Sometimes, you'll wind up in a random dungeon that you weren't expecting, and you haven't had time to research. Additionally, dungeon guides don't always give tips for trash, and trash pulls now require some coordination. Luckily, instance design does not expect you to have an encyclopedia in your head. An alert dungeoneer can succeed on the fly by following a few simple tips.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Guest Posts

Live Stream: Guided tour of Azshara

Today we'll be touring the zone of Azshara, newly remade in the image of the Horde. We'll cover the achievements you can get in the zone as well as visit the major and minor landmarks of the area. As usual, I will be answering questions and comments from the chat room, which is after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can watch the video replay by clicking on the image above.

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Filed under: Cataclysm

Live Stream: Archaeology 101

Hello, class, and welcome to Archaeology 101. Today, we'll show you how to get started in this profession, as well as where to go, what to do and how to do it. I know I'm not as dreamy as Indiana Jones, so I won't be expecting apples on my desk or eyelid tattoos. But I'll also not be interrupting class to run after Nazis, so I've got that going for me ... which is nice. I will be taking questions and comments from the chat room, however, which is after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can watch the video replay by clicking the image above.

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Filed under: Cataclysm, Archaeology

Live Stream: Guided tour of Orgrimmar

I love the updated look of Orgrimmar, but it's hard to get used to the new layout. Blizzard didn't just give the city a more rugged, old-school paint job; almost everything has been moved! Today's live stream guide will be a mapping-out of the new Org, pointing out the important things from how to catch a zeppelin to where to get your hair cut. I'll also be taking questions from the chat room, which is after the break.

Update: The stream is now over, but you can watch the video replay by clicking on the image above.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Live Stream: How to get the Singing Sunflower pet

Choose My Adventure is on a hiatus as we discuss its future and wait for Cataclysm to arrive. In its place today, I am going to be streaming my strategy for beating the Plants vs. Zombies minigame in Hillsbrad Foothills. I will take you through step by step from getting to the quest through to getting your pet. I will also be answering questions as we go, so please join us in the chat after the break.

Update: The stream is now over. You can click on the above screenshot for the video replay. Stay tuned for a full text guide to accompany the video soon.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Blood Sport: Become a 5v5 master (tips and tricks)

Want to crush your enemies, see them driven before you and hear the lamentation of their women? Blood Sport investigates the entirety of all things arena for gladiators and challengers alike. C. Christian Moore, multiple rank 1 gladiator, examines the latest arena strategy, trends, compositions and more in's arena column.

Listening Music: Massive Attack's "Teardrop." Apparently this song is the Dr. House theme...or something. I only noticed this because of the comments on this video. I wouldn't know, I don't watch the show. Maybe I should start because obviously someone from that drama has taste in music.

Default to damage

Oh, Wrath of the Lich King, how we had such great hopes. Damage is almost always the most successful strategy. Defaulting to damage is something I have to explain often, especially when I start playing with new teammates who are trying to push for their first gladiator title.

Players who have high technical skill (for instance, being able to Spell Reflect an escaping druid's Nature's Grasp) often try to win games by doing things more "skilled" than the enemy. They'll preach for seemingly endless hours about how often they Counterspelled their opponent's Incinerates, yet they still lost the match. Sometimes, the opportunity cost it takes to interrupt one of your spells to interrupt an opponent is better spent by doing damage, especially if an enemy is low on health. Why bother Counterspelling an enemy damage spell when you can get a kill? [EDIT: I removed confusing language concerning interrupts and global cooldowns.]

These same players look down on opposing compositions for being "faceroll" or "noob comp" because they win games by just pumping damage into the enemy. There's a reason why "bad players" can get to high ratings by using certain compositions -- damage is the premier strategy.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, PvP, Blood Sport (Arena PvP)

Buffing for BlizzCon: No pigging out at the Great Feast

Buff(ing) for BlizzCon is a bi-weekly fitness series written by ShrinkGeek authors Rafe Brox and Michael McGreevy. Join the team in getting in shape for the ultimate WoW geek event: BlizzCon 2010.

There are two words that can seriously take the shine off of anyone's efforts to lead a healthy lifestyle: "I can't." The minute you start saying that, you start stacking up the frustration debuff, which almost invariably leads to some kind of indulgent meltdown that can cause a huge setback or completely derail all the good work you've done. We want to feel good about the choices we are making, and most people don't feel good when they say the words, "I can't."

... Unless, you know, they are responding to a question like, "Can you stick this razor-sharp sword into your eye?" That question, fortunately, doesn't come up much in polite conversation. One that does, however: "Would you like to go out to eat?"

Ah, yes. Our old nemesis, the restaurant. I've written in the past about how it's easier to eat at a restaurant after some advance research to find the good choices on the menu -- but what if it's a spontaneous outing or the restaurant doesn't have any obviously good choices? What if you don't know where you're going before you get there, or the restaurant doesn't have its menu available online? There are a lot of factors that can make dining out a challenge when you're trying to watch your caloric intake, but that doesn't mean you have to avoid those situations altogether. There are several tricks you can stash up your sleeve to keep the "I can't" debuff at bay and enjoy your meal without taking too much damage in the process.

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Filed under: BlizzCon, Guest Posts

WoW Rookie: Collective wisdom

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide.

Let's face it: Crowdsourcing is king. Every company that beta tests its products (hello, Cataclysm!) knows the benefits of having hundreds, thousands or even millions of creative (and not-so-creative) minds plinking away at its features. If we put our heads together ...

Today's WoW Rookie rounds up recent posts at that spawned info-rich comments ready to mined by us newbies. Before we dive in, though, I'd like to remind everyone (even you old hands out there who happen to be reading along) to keep sending in your favorite pointers for new players -- things it took you months to realize when you first started playing, things you wish you'd known back in the day. Send 'em in to, and we'll run one every week in WoW Rookie.

One more piece of business: Got a question or wondering about something in WoW that has you stumped? WoW Rookie is opening a mailbag section especially for new and leveling players. Send in your questions to

Now, with thanks and much love to our prolific Breakfast Topic commenters, let us unleash the wisdom of the masses!

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Guest Post: 32 tricks for Icecrown Citadel

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

Icecrown Citadel has been out for eightmonths now, and with the availability of i264 emblem gear and the 30 percent zone buff, it's become accessible to raiders with a wide range of experience. Some players have downed the bosses 100+ times on various alts, and other players may be just starting out.

Regardless of your experience level, there are always interesting tricks about the fights that people learn over the course of time. Here are 32 of them.
  • Warlocks, time your Seed of Corruption to hit as Bone Spike cast ends, and if everyone's stacked correctly in melee range, you'll be top damage on Bone Spikes.
  • During Bone Storm casts, tanks should run to be farthest away from center of raid. Some 90 percent of the time, he'll target the farthest person away to move to.
  • Any time you have to split your DPS into two groups (whether it's Thaddius or adds on Lady D or Valithria), an easy way to get balance is to go through Recount by damage done and put Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 15 on damage done on one side and the rest on the other side.
  • Spellsteal or Purge the Vampiric Might on fanatics.
  • Boomkin rooting for Darnavan works especially well, but note that he's immune to Cyclone.

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Filed under: Raiding, Guest Posts parental controls guide

We've talked before about using parental controls to opt out of Real ID and we've talked about the new site, but we haven't actually talked about setting up an account for your child ... until now.

The gallery below is a walk-through on what settings are available and how to set them up for your child. If you are taking the route of electronically limiting your child's play time, I highly recommend setting up both limitations and a schedule. This way, you don't have to be constantly checking to see if your child is playing outside his approved play schedule. However, it's a very good idea to look over your child's shoulder to make sure he's not griefing the locals or using language that previous generations would wash out mouths for.

Filed under: Blizzard, Account Security

Customizing and opting out of Real ID

This is not a discussion of the good (yay, crossrealm chat!) and the bad (boo, privacy fail) of Real ID. This is a guide for how to truly opt out of this feature and how to adjust the settings if you do participate in game.

To be clear, everyone who does not have a parentally controlled account has in fact opted into Real ID, due to a security flaw. Addons have access to the name on your account right now. So you need to be very careful about what addons you download -- make sure they are reputable. In order to actually opt out, you need to set up parental controls on your account. This is not an easy task. Previous to the merge, you could just go to a page and set them up. Done. Now, you must set up an account as one that is under parental control. Once your account is that of a child's (a several-step process), your settings default to Real ID-disabled. Any Real ID friends you have will no longer be friends. In order to enable it, you need to check the Enable Real ID box.

Setting up parental controls:
  1. Go to the appropriate site for your region. (That link should take you there.)
  2. Push the Create or Manage a Account button.
  3. Log in as normal.
  4. Click on Parental Controls, which is an option listed under Manage My Games. (And, if you're like me, you'll be sad that you are still not in the beta.)
  5. Choose the No - Setup Parental Controls button.
  6. Fill in your info as both the child's account and your own. (Why they make this distinction, I don't know. Parental controls always used to be an option for adults to manage their own game time.)
  7. You will receive an email. You need to save this email, because the link in there is the only way to get to the parental controls. Otherwise, you have to make Blizzard resend it. Click the link to get into the controls.
  8. Save Settings and then be told it will take up to 30 minutes to go into effect.
That is how to opt out. How to optimize opting in is after the break.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Account Security

Lichborne: Demystifying Death Grip

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly source for tips, news, guides and opinions on the death knight class.

So recently, as I've been working on trying to get the Loremaster title before Cataclysm hits, I've rediscovered the joy of queuing for the random dungeon as DPS. The 10- to 20-minute queue times offer a perfect little window of opportunity to finish up a good chunk of questing while I wait to get back on the emblem treadmill and allows me to take a break from tanking to get in a little bit of good old hacking and slashing. Of course, all this dungeon queuing has given me a good opportunity to see both some of my fellow death knights in action and to see how other people react to having a death knight DPSer in their group.

Between that and observations from browsing the web and even simply from reading comments on past issues of Lichborne, I've noticed that one skill seems to be the most misunderstood and reviled by non-death knights: Death Grip. Thus, I figured that this week, we'd take a quick look at this much-maligned skill, so that you can understand the best practices to get the most out of this undeservedly hated and unique death knight ability. These tips will mostly apply for 5-man dungeons, but you'll probably find a lot of the basic principles will also apply to PvP and raiding.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

15 tips for brand new healers

This article has been brought to you by Seed, the Aol guest writer program that brings your words to

So you're ready to venture into the thankless realm of healing? It's not for the faint of heart. You will be begged to heal an instance you hate and blamed for deaths that aren't your fault, only to lose gear upgrades to DPS -- all in the same run! On the other hand, healing can be a nice diversion from faceroll macro-mashing, and it's definitely nice to have instant dungeon queues.

Whether you're changing specs at level 80 to help your guild progression, stepping into The Deadmines as a level 18 healer or twinking out a battleground medic -- here are some helpful hints as you prepare to make those health bars greener.

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Filed under: Guest Posts

Lichborne: Gearing for new level 80 DPS death knights

Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at death knight news, guides, tips and tricks.

So you've just dinged level 80. Now what? If you're lucky, you've saved up a few Emblems of Triumph from random dungeon finder runs -- but for now, you're new, you're only halfway geared and you want to start running the dungeon finder as soon as possible so you can see the Lich King die before Cataclysm hits. How do you do that? Let's give you a few tips and a list of gear to shoot for to get you in top pre-raid shape.

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Filed under: Death Knight, (Death Knight) Lichborne

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