January 2nd, 2012

Happy New Year, folks! Let’s hope your 2012 does not involve getting shot down over the enemy’s capital city. “I needed to sprinkle snowflakes on a troll hunter for Winter Veil, so I headed over to conduct an aerial scouting run of Orgrimmar,” writes submitter Furfacedfred of Four Lights on Malfurion (US-A). “Luckily for me, the gunners manning Orgrimmar’s ground-to-air defenses were substituting enthusiasm and color for accuracy, though the Wind Rider patrols turned out to be a bunch of Scrooges.”

Gallery: Around Azeroth 3


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Around Azeroth: The closing of the year originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 10:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 2nd, 2012

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. Welcome to our feral cat edition, brought to you by Chase Hasbrouck, aka Alaron of The Fluid Druid blog. Let the face clawing begin!

Just like last year, this December brings both new beginnings and endings. A new raid, with new toys, but the end of an expansion, with likely no significant changes to mechanics until the release of Mists of Pandaria. As we sit around the fire with mugs of cider, enjoying (or loathing) our new sweaters, let’s take a moment to look back at the events of 2011. Those of you who have already set them on fire, feel free to follow along from outside. (Bad cat! Bad cat!)

Patch 4.0 blues

Let’s face it: Life was not so hot in early Cataclysm for us ferals. It’s long enough ago that it’s hard to remember, but our AoE damage was just pathetic. Swipe hit so weakly that our best AoE strategies revolved around multiDoTing, which was quite difficult and even then wasn’t very powerful. Heroic Maloriak really brought this out; feral was consistently the lowest DPS spec, a good 10% below the next spec and almost 50% below our fellow balance druids. While most of the balance issues are typically ironed out quickly, this one persisted for quite a while.Thankfully, our single-target damage was passable, but only just.

Continue reading Shifting Perspectives: 2011 for feral druids

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Shifting Perspectives: 2011 for feral druids originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 2nd, 2012
holy paladin

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Light and How to Swing It for holy, protection and retribution paladins. Every Sunday, Chase Christian invites you to discuss the finer side of the paladin class: the holy specialization. Feel free to email me with any questions you want answered, like why paladins are so awesome.

As I looked forward to this year last December, I wasn’t sure holy paladins were going to survive 2011 in one piece. We were just learning to adapt to the three-heal model and figuring out how to manage our holy power properly, and I had serious doubts about our AoE healing and mastery bonus. Luckily, I was wrong, and we have thrived in Cataclysm. We started by focusing on our specialty, powerful tank healing, and then expanded to take over the raid healing role as the year progressed.

While holy power and the new healing model were the big topics of early 2011, AoE healing has clearly been the topic that defined this era in holy paladin history. Holy Radiance’s first beta version, Healing Hands, was loudly trumpeted when the Cataclysm NDA was lifted. Light of Dawn’s struggle to find a place in our arsenal has caused more lines of paladin patch notes than any other ability. Learning to AoE heal has been our biggest challenge this year but also our greatest success.

Continue reading The Light and How to Swing It: Remembering our first year of holy power

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The Light and How to Swing It: Remembering our first year of holy power originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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January 2nd, 2012
The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how — but do you know the why? Each week, Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Since Rossi is taking a look at the top lore reveals of Cataclysm, I decided to jump in hand-in-hand with that. A little over a year and a half ago, I addressed some of the storytelling methods of Wrath — what worked, what didn’t work. It wasn’t a look at specific lore moments as much as a look at how Blizzard was handling lore as a whole. Compared to the early days of WoW, Wrath made some giant strides forward in how we as players interacted and mingled with the various storylines of the expansion.

Much like Wrath, Cataclysm observed all that had come before, took a good look at all of it, and promptly made some giant strides of its own. What we’ve gotten in the past year has been nothing short of astonishing in terms of creating a meld of gameplay and lore that draws the player in and keeps them there … to a point. After all, nothing’s perfect in this world, and there are always things that could be tweaked and improved upon. Let’s take a look at the top 10 lore developments of 2011 — not the story we’ve seen in the foreground, but all those wonderful mechanics behind it.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1

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Know Your Lore: Top 10 lore developments of 2011, part 1 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012

Sunday Morning Funnies is your weekly list of WoW-related web comics.

Torment of the Week has updated! Check out Nothing Normal and Mega Justice. Otherwise, you shall not meet the shocktopus and be very sad.

Because we didn’t run a list Christmas morning, this week’s list is extra-long and full. As always, if you know of a new comic or one that has updated that has been dormant awhile, let me know in the comments section. Enjoy!

Continue reading Sunday Morning Funnies: The shocktopus

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Sunday Morning Funnies: The shocktopus originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012

Welcome back to The Queue, the daily Q&A column in which the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Mike Sacco will be your host today.

A big thank-you to all of our readers and friends for your love and support in 2011. Happy new year, and may 2012 bring you great joy and Asian-themed epics!

Jack Spicer asked:

When you send emails to users, like for example to say that they’ve won a 12 days of Christmas prize, what address would the email come from? I want to make sure that I’m not blocking your email communications.

The winners of our Winter Veil giveaways will most likely be contacted either from alexziebart at gmail dot com or alex at wowinsider dot com.

Continue reading The Queue: Happy New Year

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The Queue: Happy New Year originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 01 Jan 2012 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012

Every week, WoW Insider brings you The Care and Feeding of Warriors, the column dedicated to arms, fury and protection warriors. Despite repeated blows to the head from dragons, demons, Old Gods and whatever that thing over there was, Matthew Rossi will be your host.

In the past, I’ve done Year in Review columns and liked them well enough. The first one I wrote was in 2007 and discussed rage normalization, which to my eyes was the biggest and worst change the warrior class had undergone in The Burning Crusade. Flash forward four years. Here we are in 2011, and rage normalization has been with us for a year and the sky didn’t fall. This has me in a contemplative mood. The future is Mists of Pandaria and a new talent system, but right now, it’s time to look back at what were the biggest developments for the warrior class.

I don’t necessarily mean good or bad, here. These are simply profound changes, things that may have also affected other classes but which definitely affected us. While 2011 was a year we made contact (because we’re melee, we have to make contact) it was also a year of a great many changes.

Mastery

I’ve talked about it before, but mastery really has been a game-changer for warriors this past year. Fury warriors got so much out of the stat before patch 4.1 that the amount of mastery they have at base was nerfed from 8 points to 2 points. It worked, after a fashion, because until patch 4.3, it became impossible for fury warriors to assemble enough mastery to make them interested in the stat again. It may be possible with Dragon Soul gear for TG fury, but with arms the dominant DPS spec for warriors in Dragon Soul raids right now, it’s not likely to be tested exhaustively.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: 2011′s warrior in review

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: 2011′s warrior in review originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 16:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012

Bearheals: (on archaeology) The smallest distance between two points is a bunch of erratic zigzags.

After patch 4.3 went live in late November, class columnists and commenters busied themselves with the new 5-mans and Dragon Soul raid. I think it’s safe to say that Raid Finder problems have dominated December commentary. Players loved it as a feature, but they hated the various cheats that guilds used to get themselves to a four-piece tier bonus as quickly as possible, and they especially hated the outbreak of loot greed. More on this past the cut.

That wraps up our look back at 2011, and I’m looking forward to a bright, happy, and hopefully less trees-falling-on-my-house-filled 2012, even if the world is apparently scheduled to come to a crashing halt next December. Happy new year, everyone, and if you’re out partying tonight, stay safe.

Continue reading The best of WoW Insider: December 2011

The best of WoW Insider: December 2011 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012
Magmaw, the first boss of Blackwing Descent
Every week, WoW Insider brings you Totem Talk for elemental, enhancement, and restoration shaman. Josh Myers once only tackled the hard questions about enhancement but has recently expanded his sphere of responsibility to all shaman DPS specs. (And no, two-handed enhancement is still never coming back.)

It’s hard for me to believe that Cataclysm has only been out for slightly over one year, especially given how we’re already on the last raid of the expansion. It’s been a turbulent year for the shaman class, and elemental as a spec is no exception. Between legendaries, highly fluctuating DPS, and more tweaks to AoE then I care to count, elemental has had more than its fair share of ups and downs this year.

Tier 11: The lows

Elemental was not a strong DPS class in the first tier of Cataclysm raiding. Fights like heroic Halfus, Maloriak, and Sinestra brought our lack of competitive AoE damage into the limelight, while Cho’gall, Conclave of Wind, and Ascendant Council all highlighted how elemental’s mobile DPS was terribly low. With Unleash Elements and shocks being our only mobile cast — not to mention low levels of haste that left us with terribly slow Lightning Bolt casts — and we really struggled to pump out respectable numbers on any fight that wasn’t Patchwerk-esque.

Continue reading Totem Talk: 2011 in review for elemental shaman

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Totem Talk: 2011 in review for elemental shaman originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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WoW Insider

January 1st, 2012
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. In World of Warcraft, that player is you! Each week, Anne Stickney brings you All the World’s a Stage with helpful hints, tips and tricks on the art of roleplay in WoW.

One of the common themes in Warcraft is that if you’re a villain, you’ve gotta have a hangout. Whether it’s Illidan’s retreat in The Black Temple, the Lich King’s frozen Icecrown Citadel, or even places like The Deadmines where Vanessa VanCleef works on her diabolical schemes, every villain in Warcraft has some kind of lair to call home. Usually these lairs are either dungeons or instances that we as players must clear out in the name of good, but sometimes they can be as simple as the cave that the Gneech calls home.

If you’re roleplaying a villain, no doubt you have plenty of evil schemes under your hat. But does your villain have a suitably villainous lair to call home? If you’re roleplaying a villain who’s trying to blend in to the scenery, perhaps you don’t need a sanctuary to call your own. Maybe hiding in plain sight is working better for you. But if you’re the leader of an evil organization or simply looking for someplace to roost while pondering how exactly you’re going to conquer the rest of the world, perhaps one of these five Kalimdor locations will work for you.

Continue reading 5 creepy Kalimdor lairs for roleplaying villains

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5 creepy Kalimdor lairs for roleplaying villains originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 31 Dec 2011 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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