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Farewell and thank you, WoW.com

I've told this story a few times before: I actually started out on WoW.com as a comment troll. A few years back, Jennie Lees was the lead blogger here, and she posted something silly about a wallpaper or a plush doll, I don't remember. I was also reading the forums at the time, and Blizzard had just dropped new priest patch notes. "Why are you posting this junk," I commented angrily, "when the priest notes just dropped?" She was nice about it -- she actually emailed me and said that the priest updates post was coming soon. And I felt so bad about it, I never activated the comment. But a little while after that, when WoW Insider posted that they were looking for some new writers, I applied, and said that I was sorry for that comment, but that I was working on becoming a writer and could help out with posting on the site when needed.

When I started writing for WoW Insider (now WoW.com, obviously), I was working retail in Chicago, writing part-time in the evenings. The site itself got only a few thousand hits a month, with one or two weekly features and maybe ten comments per post. Now, over three years later, I'm a fulltime freelance writer, I've been to three BlizzCons, I've written over 1.7 million words in over 3,300 posts here about everything in Azeroth, and the site itself rivals some of the best blogs on the Internet, routinely garnering millions of hits a month. I helped build this site with my own two hands, and while I definitely can't claim all the credit (there was and is a huge team of people who keep this thing running), it's with a fair amount of sorrow that I'm here to tell you today will be my last day on WoW.com.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Blizzard

WoW.com's top ten stories of 2009

What a year it's been for the World of Warcraft. We've had three big content patches, a BlizzCon, an expansion announcement, and perhaps out of all of the five years this game has been running, this was the year with the most surprises. A few things players thought would never happen (including faction changes) finally did, and we saw quite a few new tricks from Blizzard, both in terms of game features and in the way they run the game at large. 2009 was also a year of expectation: we thrilled to leaks and rumors about Cataclysm, and all year long, we looked forward to the villian that has been set up for us ever since 2008's Wrath release: the Lich King himself.

As we've done for the past couple of years, let's take a look back at the most popular stories of 2009 here on WoW.com. We'll start first with number 10, which also came as a surprise to many players, right after the break.

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Filed under: Patches, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Leveling, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Cataclysm

Joystiq talks to Frank Pearce about the past and future of Warcraft

Our friend Kevin Kelly over at the Joystiq mothership got a chance to talk to Frank Pearce at Blizzard about the Warcraft anniversary, and he did us proud. Not only did Frank Pearce do some nice reminiscing about Blizzard, where they've come from, and how the massive World of Warcraft undertaking has changed them as a company (they've gone from 500 employees to about 4,000 in just the last five years), but he also touched on some issues we've really been wondering about over here at WoW.com as well.

Like, say, the reason we haven't seen a girl in the ads yet. Pearce says they're open to it, and he wants some names submitted, so we'll offer up Felicia Day as a no-brainer, and if you guys have other ideas, share away below. He also talks about server capacity, and says that at nearly every step, Blizzard has been surprised by their success. He attributes race and faction changes to thinking that realms were big enough on day one to bring everybody together who wanted to come together, but they later realized that wasn't what was happening. He mentions China and NetEase and says they wish the process there was faster. And finally, he talks, surprisingly, about the BlizzCon Vegas that wasn't, and seems to confirm that Blizzard was considering a Vegas show. Interesting. Where else did they consider holding the convention, we wonder?

Filed under: Blizzard, Interviews, Cataclysm

WoW.com's gift guide for 2009

It's that time of year again -- if you (like me) haven't gotten gifts for everyone on your list, it's time to start scrambling to find something nice to get under the tree this year. Fortunately, you don't have to worry about finding something good for the World of Warcraft fan in your life: we've got you covered there. In the gallery below, we've got a nice bunch of gift ideas for everything Warcraft, from the cheap to the expensive, from the silly to the practical, from in-game presents you can wrap with shiny paper, to out-of-game classics that you can... also wrap with shiny paper. If you need to give a gift to a WoW player this year, you'll find it below for sure.

And if you happen to be a Warcraft player, faced with the annual awkward question of "What do you want me to give you this year?", just feel free to drop this link surreptitiously as a reply, maybe even with a hint or two towards a specific item. We've included links to everything and kept it easy to understand even for someone who hasn't visited Azeroth before. That's our gift to you. Happy holidays, and good gift hunting!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Guides, Galleries, Fan art

WoW Insider Show Episode 117: Classing up the place

We had a great show this past week -- Michael Sacco jumped in via dialup from his country home to join Turpster and I to talk about the most popular stories in World of Warcraft over the past seven days. We talked about Mr. T and his mohawk grenade, how the new tier 10 system will work in patch 3.3, the beautiful axe that is Shadowmourne, and what it means for weapons coming in Cataclysm.

Plus, we answered your emails (including wishing one of our listeners a happy birthday), and we even played two operatic intros by our new friend Ethan B. I don't know anything about opera, but seems to me that dude has quite the vocal chords on him. And finally, we talked about our bid for the Podcast Awards -- we're asking you to vote for us every day until the end of the month. If we win, we'll not only give away the SleepPhones prize to one lucky listener, but we'll record a Warcraft bedtime story for them (and all of you others via mp3 download). Please vote! Thanks, enjoy the show.

Get the podcast:
[iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes.
[RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator.
[MP3] Download the MP3 directly.

Listen here on the page:

Filed under: Podcasts, Podcasting, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Humor, WoW Insider Show

Patch 3.3 PTR: WoW.com's stream of the Frozen Halls

We ran our livestream of the Halls of Reflection on the PTR yesterday, and other than one little hitch (I figured I'd save us all the trouble of raiding the Lich King and just jump in and take him down myself, with disastrous consequences), it went pretty well. Turns out you need to run through the main quest to unlock the last two Frozen Halls instances, so we ended up doing all three: Forge of Souls and Pit of Saron on normal, and then the Halls of Reflection on both normal and Heroic. On the way, you can see all of the bosses, dropped loot, the various lore and questlines that weave throughout the new 5-man, and the final epic confrontation.

Obviously, considering this is straight video of these instances (with commentary and audio from the game), these things are full of spoilers -- if you don't want to know what happens when you enter Icecrown Citadel, steer clear. That said, the video we recorded is after the break. You don't have to watch the whole thing (in fact, at over two hours, you'd be crazy to), as I've tagged the Forge of Souls run, the Pit of Saron run, and the final heroic Halls of Reflection run on their own. Clicking those links or the markers on the video below should take you to the specific parts of the video. Enjoy.



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 Arthas. WoW.com's Guide to Patch 3.3 will keep you updated with all the latest patch news.

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Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Quests, Lore, NPCs

WoW Insider Show live today at 3:30pm

Our podcast brings the usual tricks and treats this afternoon -- before you head out in a costume to go get some real candy, be sure to stop by our Ustream page around 3:30pm Eastern and get some ear candy first. Turpster and I will welcome Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington and another WoW.com writer to chat about the most popular posts on the site this week. On the docket, we'll have the new patch 3.3 notes, hints at things to come, why pallies are up in arms (and why they don't have too much to worry about), and the new looting system and what disenchanters think of it.

And as usual we'll be reading your emails and chatting live with folks in the chat channel, as well as the usual preshow and aftershow (I've heard a lot of feedback about those lately -- people seem to like them). You can join us live on the Ustream page, in the embedded feed below the break, or even in the Ustream iPhone app, if you don't happen to be at home near a full computer. It all begins at 3:30pm Eastern this Halloween afternoon -- see you then!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, News items, Instances, Humor, WoW Insider Show

Enter to win five Creative WoW headsets for your 5-man group


So we've been doing these Creative contests to give away their shiny new World of Warcraft-branded wireless gaming headsets for a few months now. But if you haven't won one yet, worry not: today, we're giving away five headsets to one lucky instance-running group out there, so you can all talk to each other while you're wiping in Heroic Old Kingdom.

To enter, you've got to send us a .JPG-formatted picture (no bigger than 800px please) of your favorite five-man group -- you and four friends -- to contests@wow.com by 5pm October 29, 2009 (that's one week from today!). Make sure you put "Creative 5-man contest" in the email subject so we can recognize what it's for, and while you can take it wherever and however you want to in-game (or even in real-life!), just make sure there are five people in there. Because one lucky random entry will win five Creative World of Warcraft wireless gaming headsets, one for each member of the group, at a value of $150 each, or $750 total. That's a lot of headsets! You must also be 18 or older, and live in the United States or Canada excluding Quebec -- full official rules can be found right here.

Please note: in addition to emailing us the .jpg picture, you will also need to copy and paste the form below (filled out) into your email -- it was put together by our legal department and simply says that you understand and will adhere to the rules of the contest. You need to include the names and e-mail addresses of all five players in your group so that we can contact you all about prizes if you win.

Good luck to everyone who enters -- we can't wait to see what your five-man groups look like! And stay tuned, because we've got an even more epic contest planned out soon.

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Filed under: Items, Odds and ends, Instances, Contests

Enter to win a Creative World of Warcraft wireless headset


Creative has announced their brand new World of Warcraft wireless headset, and you lot are the lucky ones -- they've set up a deal with us to give away one of these headsets every single week up until the actual release in November. So here's your first chance -- leave a comment on this post before next Wednesday, September 23, 2009, and we'll be picking one lucky commenter to win the best-looking WoW-related headgear since Warlocks rode single file.

The contest is open to legal residents of the 50 United States, the District of Columbia, and Canada (excluding Quebec), and everyone who enters must be 13 or older. To enter, leave a comment on this post before Wednesday, September 23rd at midnight eastern, and please be sure to use a real email that you check often to enter, so we can contact the winners when we choose them. You may enter only once, and each winner will get a Creative World of Warcraft Wireless Gaming Headset, with a retail value of $150. Please note: winners will not receive the headset until it is released later this year. Click here to read the official contest rules.

Good luck to everybody, and make sure to come back next week -- we'll be giving one of these headsets away every single week all the way up until their release later this year, so you'll have even more chances to win coming up.

Filed under: How-tos, Odds and ends, Contests, Hardware

BlizzCon 2009: Don't forget to look for us

BlizzCon 2009 officially starts tomorrow and most of Team WoW.com are either in Anaheim or heading down there as we speak. As you make your way through throngs of people this Friday and Saturday, keep your eyes peeled for our intrepid crew. But how do you spot them? Granted, they're not like cosplayers. Although follow the throng of adoring women and you may just spot Turpster. The rest of the team are known for their ability to Shadowmeld instantly so we've had to equip them with some very special gear this BlizzCon.

You can get a good look at team at the meetup tonight, but if you can't make it and need a visual cue you can spot them on the convention floor by looking for their special BlizzCon gear: a Legendary and totally epic, limited edition T shirt (with +50 visibility) featuring a certain crab and that long-promised equine mount. So don't forget to mark them off like the rare spawns they are and come up and say "hi". They may even have a little something for you.

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

Reminder: WoW.com BlizzCon meetup tonight at 7:30pm

This is it. The day has come. This evening at 7:30pm on the Tangerine Patio at the Anabella Hotel in Anaheim, we'll be hosting our annual BlizzCon meetup, and trust us: it's sure to be amazing. There's the people, for one thing: many of your favorite WoW.com writers will be in attendance, ready to talk some shop with you. Many of our friends and neighbors in the WoW community will be stopping by as well -- we can't name names, but let's just say that if you've ever seen or heard them on WoW.com, they'll probably be there. Then there's the prizes: Upper Deck, Steelseries, WoWTCGLoot.com, Swagdog, and Creative Labs are all bringing some sweet swag by the meetup for you readers to take home for them. And there'll be a cash bar (all attendees should be 18+ or accompanied by a parent) with an open kitchen as well, and we promise the bartender will be faster than the slowpoke last year.

Plus, for the first time ever, those of you at home will get a chance to attend virtually. Starting at 7:30pm Pacific, we're going to be streaming live video and audio from the party over on our Ustream page, and you'll be able to chat with us, our guests, and anybody else there who wants to chat with you. If you're good, we might even give away some prizes to virtual attendees.

It's going to be a blast. And hey, we even hear there's some kind of convention going on in Anaheim this weekend, so that should be fun, too. If you're in Anaheim, we'll see you there tonight, or if you're at home we'll see you on Ustream. Can't wait!


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

Creative to unveil World of Warcraft headset at BlizzCon

Creative Labs posted a World of Warcraft-related teaser yesterday, and today WoW.com is proud to deliver an exclusive reveal: they're promoting a brand new product called the Sound Blaster World of Warcraft headset. This will be a state of the art gaming headset available in both wired and wireless versions, complete with all of Creative's high end gaming audio technology, including THX TruStudio PC Surround, which they say is the "most advanced 'virtual' 3D surround" on the market today. Creative's CMSS is already recognized by many as the best virtual surround sound in gaming, and THX TruStudio PC is supposed to sound even better. The headset also features Creative's VoiceFX technology (so you can disguise your voice with a few different effects), and they say the wireless version of the headset will feature an uncompressed signal that sounds terrific as well.

The headset itself is designed in coordination with Blizzard, and the ear cups (which are complete over-ear) actually feature lighted glyphs, available in Horde or Alliance flavors at launch (with other designs released eventually), and illuminated by programmable RGB LEDs. They have their own software interface, so you'll be able to choose from 16 million colors. Price isn't set just yet, but we'd expect it'll be in line with other high-end headsets, from $100 to $150 depending on what options you go with.

The headset releases in November, but Creative also sent us the pre-prototype render at right, and they've updated their teaser with a picture of the Alliance glyph. Creative tells us they'll have the headset on display at BlizzCon, so if you're there this weekend, stop by their booth and check it out. And be sure to stay tuned to WoW.com -- we're working on a way to give you the chance to win one of these for yourself.


BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there's some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Horde, Alliance, BlizzCon, Hardware

WoW Insider Show today at 1pm Eastern

Our podcast is kicking off the weekend today at a special time -- I'm heading off to Gen Con this weekend, so we're recording the show live this afternoon at 1pm Eastern. Along for the ride will be Lesley Smith and The T, and we might even have another special guest or two in the mix -- tune in and find out. We'll be chatting about all of the biggest news of the past week in Warcraft, including the leaks about the new expansion, Cataclysm, Icecrown and how big it'll be, what to expect at BlizzCon next week, and the return of a certain black dragon.

Plus, we'll answer your emails, so feel free to send anything you'd like us to talk about to theshow@wow.com, and you might even hear it on today's show. It all kicks off this afternoon at August 13, 2009 1:00 PM EDT over on our Ustream page, or, as always, you can find the embedded stream after the break below. See you there!

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Filed under: Podcasting, Fan stuff, Humor, WoW Insider Show, Cataclysm

WoW and its partners at Gen Con 2009

Gen Con Indy 2009 is just around the corner (it's the weekend before BlizzCon), and if you're headed out for the "best four days in gaming," keep an eye out there for some of this Warcraft stuff. Blizzard won't actually be there, as far as we know (it's more of a convention for board games and roleplaying than video games), but lots of their partners will. Upper Deck will probably have the biggest presence -- both the WoW TCG and the WoW Minis games will have setups where you can sit down and play either one, and they'll be running the Continental Championships as well, where they'll crown some of the best players in the country. And there'll be other tournaments and gameplay for both games going on as well -- the guys from wowtcgscrub.com are organizing a tournament of their own, and Upper Deck will have other ways for you to compete at all levels all weekend long.

Fantasy Flight Games, the makers of both World of Warcraft: The Board Game and World of Warcraft: The Adventure Game, will also be in attendance. They haven't announced anything special for the Warcraft games, but they'll likely have them out and playing in at least one demo space. And Warcraft will be there in attendance through the fans as well for sure.

In fact, I'll be there for the first time this year -- my friend and I are going to be checking out the show on Saturday. I have no idea what to expect, but i've heard from a few readers that are going already, so if there's interest, we might try to schedule a WoW.com meetup that evening. So if you're headed for Gen Con this year, keep an eye out for the World of Warcraft there.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, WoW TCG

Announcing the third annual WoW.com BlizzCon Meetup


It's here! For months now, we've told you that we'll be having our third BlizzCon meetup on August 20th, the night before the big event in Anaheim, but we haven't yet told you exactly where. But now, we've finally confirmed our location and we can tell you where to go: We'll be meeting at the Tangerine Patio in the Anabella Hotel at 1030 W. Katella Avenue in Anaheim, CA. That's right behind the Convention Center (between it and Disneyland), and within easy walking distance from anywhere in the area.

We'll begin the festivities at 7:30pm Pacific (local Anaheim time) on August 20th, and the Anabella will have the kitchen open and a cash bar ready for all of the eating and drinking you'd want. We're asking that attendees be 18+ or accompanied by parent, but other than that, just be a reader of WoW.com -- many of our writers and editors will be in attendance for you to meet and greet, and we'll be giving away some swag and speculating at just what we'll see later that weekend at BlizzCon.

And if you aren't able to make it to Anaheim, don't worry: we'll have audio and video up and streaming to our Ustream page, so you'll be able to attend virtually and chat with everyone else there. And we're planning on having some Ustream-specific giveaways as well, so you won't be left out of the loot, either.

All of our reader meetups in the past have been tremendous, and this one is set up to be our biggest and best event yet. We'll see you there!

BlizzCon 2009 is coming up on August 21st and 22nd! We've got all the latest news and information. At BlizzCon, you can play the latest games, meet your guildmates, and ask the developers your questions. Plus, there are some great looking costumes.

Filed under: Tips, Events, Fan stuff, WoW Insider Business, BlizzCon

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