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WoW Insider Round Table: Diminishing returns on valor?

The WoW Insider staff at the Round Table this week are Dawn Moore, Matt Low, Sarah "Sally" Pine and Olivia Grace. We all sincerely hope you notice that we got lower thirds.

Welcome back to another WoW Insider Round Table! In this second round table, we're talking diminishing returns on valor. Managing Editor Adam Holisky posted a brief editorial last week on this topic, and it was interesting enough that we decided to bring it up for discussion.

We began by explaining just exactly how such a system would work, as clarified in Adam's original article, and then delved into the pros and cons of such a system. The Round Table was pretty universally opposed to such a system, based purely, of course, on our own gaming experiences, and while we tried our best to isolate redeeming qualities, we failed pretty miserably. And, finally, on comparing previous expansions' dungeon valor methods, the surprise winner was Cataclysm!

We're really hoping you continue to enjoy this new format, and do remember that you can actually watch the Round Table live on our YouTube channel every week. Keep an eye on Twitter for announcements of when we're going live. And if you have any ideas for future round table discussions, let us know!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Five World of Warcraft machinimas you need to know about

varian's hammer
It's true that nearly every day we feature a machinima on WoW Moviewatch, but we here at WoW Insider occasionally feel compelled to pick favorites, or at least memorable ones. Today, I want to focus on some older gems that haven't had any time in the spotlight for a while and deserve some love. If you're new to the game these videos might provide you a glimpse into an inaccessible time now gone, and if you're new to machinima it might spark a desire to seek out more. Regardless, I've chosen a variety of films that hopefully showcase the enormous potential in using WoW's game engine to produce cinematic content, as well as the boundless creativity and talent within the WoW community. Read and watch on below the cut.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Machinima

The Lawbringer: The odd future of bill S. 978

Pop law abounds in The Lawbringer, your weekly dose of WoW, the law, video games and the MMO genre. Mathew McCurley takes you through the world running parallel to the games we love and enjoy, full of rules, regulations, pitfalls and traps. How about you hang out with us as we discuss some of the more esoteric aspects of the games we love to play?

The machinima and streaming communities built around World of Warcraft are filled with some of the most talented and creative people in gaming, from awesome musicians to dedicated streamcasters. The first time I ever got to experience the WoW beta back in 2004, I was watching someone stream footage of their human warlock messing up mobs in (if I remember correctly) Westfall. Streaming is beneficial to gaming, MMOs, and e-sports because of video games' competitive nature and spectator-oriented design.

You've probably heard of Senate bill S.978 already, most likely from many video game blogs and news outlets or YouTube campaigns fighting against the passage of this bill. Bill S.978 aims to institute a "10 strikes" policy, making the unauthorized streaming of content a felony, resulting in potential jail time. The main purpose of the bill is to strengthen the law and punishments available to organizations such as the MPAA and other content conglomerates to stop illegal streaming of millions upon millions of dollars in stolen entertainment. As is the way of things, gamers might be caught in the crossfire.

Some of you fine readers sent me a few messages on Twitter asking me to weigh in on the 10 strikes streaming bill and maybe give a basic analysis of the thing, so I shall oblige. Lawbringer this week is all about the odd future of bill S. 978 and what it could mean for MMOs and WoW.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, The Lawbringer

Blizzard announces official YouTube channel


To go along with their recently created Twitter accounts, Blizzard has now started up an official YouTube channel as well. Right now, the channel just contains animations and cinematics that we've mostly seen before (not that we mind watching that Burning Crusade cinematic for the umpteenth time), but we presume that in the future, we might see newly released videos, including possibly interviews with Blizzard staff, and maybe even some (gasp!) gameplay videos as well.

Whoever's in charge of social media over at Blizzard has really been working it lately -- we can't wait to see their Last.fm account (Most Played: the artists formerly known as Level 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain) or their OkCupid account (Adam Holisky & Alex Ziebart would be at least 87% friends with Ghostcrawler, no question). Definitely fun to see Blizzard, historically a very closed-door company, opening up a little bit to the various outlets where they can correspond with fans.

Filed under: Machinima, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade

BlizzCon 2009: Cataclysm - Zones video

We've got video from Cataclysm, giving you flythroughs of a number of zones, both new and old, featured in the expansion. The Barrens, Ashenvale, Darkshore, Desolace, Stonetalon Mountains, Gilneas, and the Lost Isles are shown, and for the old Azeroth zones, great transitions between the old and new terrain is featured.

We'll have more videos for you as the day goes on, but for now, enjoy the view, and appreciate the grand scope of this expansion!


BlizzCon 2009 is here! WoW.com has continuing coverage, bringing you the latest in Cataclysm news, live blogs, galleries, and reports right from the convention floor. Check out WoW.com's Guide to BlizzCon for the latest!


Filed under: BlizzCon, Cataclysm

Patch 3.2: Trial of the Crusader HD videos


Fresh from our first run of Patch 3.2's new 5-man dungeon, the Trial of the Crusader, come these videos of our exploits inside Tirion's Big Top. Sneep of <Goon Squad> was kind enough to Fraps each encounter (in HD, no less!) as we progressed through the instance. The videos show the Champion encounters -- both mounted and on foot -- as well as the Argent Crusade representative fight (we had Argent Confessor Paletress this time) and the final battle against the Black Knight. Our group makeup was:

  • Talid, Resto Druid
  • Sneep, Elemental Shaman
  • Arnesca, Prot Paladin (Alex Ziebart)
  • Venda, Survival Hunter
  • Mosta, Elemental Shaman (Me)

The mounted battle against the Champions is shown above, and the rest of the videos are after the jump. Be sure to watch in HD by clicking the "HD" button on the Youtube UI!

EDIT: There was some offensive chat in the first video I posted, and it's been removed. Apologies to anyone who was offended by the remarks; they weren't in any way intended as serious.

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Filed under: Patches, Instances

Encrypted Text: Rogue videos from Patch 3.1 PTR

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 look at some of the new animations coming in patch 3.1.

Since the departure of BigRedKitty from our site, we haven't had many new videos for you to watch while idling at work. I decided to step up to fill this gap in programming by FRAPS'ing some of my adventures on the patch 3.1 PTR. With several changes to Rogues in this latest content release, I wanted to stay ahead of the curve by testing the modifications out before they are deployed to live servers.

There were reports of new animations for several spells, as well as moves that had been changed mechanically. Catching any bugs that had slipped through QA was also a top priority. I copied my Rogue over to the PvP PTR realm and started shooting, and the results of that labor follow after the cut. A few caveats: all videos were shot without UI addons or keybindings, and so I do click quite a few of my abilities. I tried out five specs in about 30 minutes, and so my action bars are also disheveled. That said, let's review the videos.

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Filed under: Rogue, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Odds and ends, Features, (Rogue) Encrypted Text

WoW Rookie: Keyboard shortcuts

WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game. Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.

Accept this fact: to be good at playing WoW, you need to learn to use your keyboard at least some of the time. You don't have to bail on your mouse, but it's very helpful to learn some of the very basic keyboard shortcuts that will make your life in the game that much easier. (Easy is good, right?)

Using the game interface
There are hotkeys for almost everything you do in-game. You can find most of them by just hovering your mouse over the icons that you click -- as no doubt you may have already noticed. Let's start with the button bar that you use to bring up your Quest Log, Spellbook and other things. You'll see that when I hover my mouse over the gold cup icon, a tooltip pops up. The L in parentheses after "Quest Log" means you can just press your L key to bring up the log instead of clicking the icon. (Don't worry that it's a capital L, just press lower-case L. When a keyboard command is capitalized, it's written as "Shift-L".) After the break, you'll see a list of keyboard shortcuts for the game interface.

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Filed under: WoW Rookie

Video of the new TCG loot in action

Last week we told you about the new loot Upper Deck was launching a new expansion to WoW TCG. We even showed you pictures of what the cool new stuff will like for Patch 2.4.3. Well, now you can see these juicy tidbits in action with our movie of them.

You'll see us testing The Path of Illidan, trailing green felfire from our footsteps while running, jumping and even dancing. We've also got video of a few cross-faction D.I.S.C.O. parties gettin' down and funky, with the music and sparkly lights. It was dance fever!

Then it was time to try out the Ethereal Soul-trader. He announces himself as if your life is finally complete and follows you around very dutifully. Enjoy the movie - Adam, Zach, and I sure enjoyed making it for you!

Filed under: Patches, Items, Odds and ends, News items, Humor, NPCs

Paladin lays the solo smackdown on Onyxia

The Druid who Soloed Onyxia seems to have become the Shot Heard Around the World. It was just Monday that WoW Insider brought you the video of Serennia of VANQUISH (Cho'gall, US) downing Onyxia. Today, as if challenged, tipsters sent in the video of a Paladin named Par (Khadgar, US), slaying the dragon by his lonesome. A few posts on the Official Forums have discussed the feat. It will be interesting to see if other classes step-up to claim solo Onyxia-credit in the next few weeks.

Thanks to everyone that sent this in!

Edit: There's some question about the original Onyxia Druid soloing - it wasn't Serennia the character, but Serennia the player (who is the Warrior of the same name). According to several commenters, it was Serennia playing on a druid's account. Also, the original Warcraft movie blurb is signed by Serennia of VANQUISH.

Filed under: Paladin, Machinima, Raiding, Bosses

SK release Kil'jaeden video

As promised, SK Gaming have just released their video of their world-first kill of Kil'jaeden. They call this fight "all about absolute perfection in terms of execution," and "definitely the hardest boss ever made and an impressive final boss." Of course, this video contains full spoilers for the KJ fight. I'm just going to assume SK's site will go down, so I'm embedding it from Filefront above, and linking to WarcraftMovies if you want to download it. It's shot from five points of view, though SK promises that it is not "messy" -- hemo rogue, resto shaman, enhancement shaman, and two different destro warlocks.

And since people are always curious, the music used in the video is, according to SK:
  • Airbase - Ocean Realm
  • Alex M.O.R.P.H. - Walk the Edge (B2B Woody Van Eyden Mix)
To download in glorious 1680x1050 WMV, head on over to WarcraftMovies (edit: apparently a WCM premium account is required to download the full-res version). An H.264 version is due in a few days.

Edit 2: Here's a high-quality version at Filefront; thanks, bdew.

Filed under: Machinima, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses

Druid solos Onyxia

You all remember Onyxia. She was basically the Magtheridon of original WoW, a 40-man single-boss raid positioned in difficulty between the entry-level raid (Molten Core) and the next one after that (Blackwing Lair). Well, now a druid has managed to solo her. You can see a video of the fight above, or at WarcraftMovies.com. This astounding feat was performed by Serennia of VANQUISH (Cho'gall US), who recently gave us a nice preview of the Kil'jaeden fight. The druid had a 35/0/26 spec. The previous record was two-man (paladin and warlock) in BC, or three-man pre-BC. Serennia was also a part of that pre-BC record. Congratulations -- I love it when players push the envelope just to see what's possible.

Filed under: Druid, Machinima, Raiding, Bosses

Kil'jaeden preview from VANQUISH

With the gates having opened yesterday or today, depending on which side of the Atlantic you're on, guild are starting to test their might against Kil'jaeden. In this video VANQUISH, of Cho'gall (US), shows an early attempt at KJ. They deliberately showed us a try where they didn't know much, to avoid giving spoilers; nonetheless, of course, if you don't want to know anything about the fight, this is not the video for you.

Although it's pretty hard to tell what's going on, it certainly looks epic. Reminds me a bit of Ragnaros, actually. And it seemed to be going pretty well for Vanquish, at least until a small dragon showed up and everybody wiped -- except for one craft rogue player of some sort. Jeez. Good luck to all guilds trying to down him!

Filed under: Machinima, Guilds, Raiding, Bosses

M'uru video, interview from SK-Gaming; third kill by Premonition

As the first guild to have killed M'uru, SK-Gaming has now released their video of the fight. You can see it above (if it's working; there seem to be some server issues on their end), or go to their site to download it in full-res glory. There are two different points of view: a BM hunter, and an enhancement shaman. I haven't been able to watch it yet because it's been down, but I'm sure it's an exciting fight.

The SK guild leaders also gave an interview a couple of days ago on their site. Here are some things they said that I find interesting:

  • SK is very impressed with the tuning on the fight, and think Kil'jaeden, the next fight, "might turn out to be the best encounter ever made."
  • Everyone gets to take an active role in the fight; for instance, there are adds that can only be killed by an offensive dispell, and melee gets to use stuns, mages get to polymorph, etc.
  • The viability of feral druids has been increased; they think Resto shaman is the "strongest overall class."
  • Most of the loot is pretty good, although they would have preferred a token system.
And of course they're looking forward to Kil'jaeden; who wouldn't be in that situation?

One final note: a third guild, in addition to SK-Gaming (world first) and Exodus (US first), has managed to down M'uru. Premonition, an Alliance guild on Alleria-US (and the first US guild to kill the Eredar Twins), took him down last night and received the following loot: Breastplate of Agony's Aversion, Bladed Chaos Tunic, Gloves of the Forest Drifter, and Sin'dorei Band of Dominance.

Filed under: Machinima, Guilds, News items, Raiding, Interviews

Guild recruitment videos

While randomly browsing my realm forums last night I came across a guild that (surprise!) was looking for more members. I'm not really looking for a new guild (happy with the ones I'm in now), so I looked into this just to see what other guilds on the server were up to. They've started with 25 man content, have cleared Karazhan, and have done some of Zul'Aman. What caught my eye however was the guild recruitment video they had.

This got me thinking. Do other guilds have recruitment videos? I've heard of plenty of guilds putting together videos of each other running around and having a good time or downing a raid boss. I've been in a few of those myself. But an above average recruitment video? That I don't know.

The guild that started this thought process was Epic, on the realm Eldre'Thalas. I've done a pug or two with a few of their members before, and they're nice folks (although they don't know who I am, I'm sure). The video is very professionally done, has a noticeable 'plot' to it, and is of high quality. Props to Phytrion, a member of their guild, who put it together for them. One thing that I find is a little funny is that the character in the end has a complete Tier 4 protection Warrior armor set and is carrying the Bulwark of Azzinoth that drops off of Illidan. It's a cool shield, so I know why they used it, but the combination is a funny choice.

Do you have a guild recruitment video? Post a comment with a link and show off your stuff!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Virtual selves, Guilds

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