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Higolds Max
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Higolds Max

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WoW Rookie: How to pick a good name when all the good ones are taken

New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated.

Especially on old servers, it can feel like all the good names are already claimed. Creating a new character with a strong, iconic name is one heck of a challenge, especially if you want to avoid joke and parody names like McDoomChicken. You can give up your dreams of finding real-world names like Stephen or Michael; the only way you'll grab a straightforward name is to grab it on a brand new server (and we're fairly unlikely to see a brand new server any time soon).

With Mists of Pandaria careening toward us with all the excitement of a monk rolling along in a fuzzy ball, now's the time to get your unique snowflake name reserved. Rest assured that every variation of Jack Black you can create has already been taken. Let's talk about how you can create a unique, interesting name without resorting to all the special font characters WoW will allow.

Examine the theme of your character

Even people who don't roleplay often have a sense of who their characters are as people. Do you consider your character a tank, a bull-hearted defender of friends and allies? Is your character a sly rogue, clever and sneaky? Getting a grip on the themes and playstyle of your character can go a long way toward providing name inspiration.

Taking the time to put those ideas and themes into words will help you create a list of possible names for your character. An obvious example is everyone's favorite dragon brother, Nefarian. You couldn't have Nefarian without nefarious. The game itself uses this kind of roundabout name conversion all the time. Sinestra obviously stems from sinister.

Dig around for a good adjective to describe your character, and then see if any of the variations appeal to you. Here's some examples:

Valiant can be Valiont, Vallant, Valiance.
Sacred could become Sacrad, Sacredde, or even Dercas.
Wrathful grows into Rath, Wrouth, or any other variation.

As a general rule, you probably want to keep the sound of the name the same. Even though one of our examples is a reverse spelling of the same word, someone else reading your characters name should recognize the root word. Aim for something that sounds like the original concept so that you can evoke the theme you want.

Don't be afraid to look at other languages when you're searching for good words. Plenty of opportunity lurks outside of your native tongue, and you can get some really creative options that way.

Describe the physicality of your character

There's a reason everyone talks about Dwarves named Longbeard and Gnomes called Cogspinners. These names reference distinct, visual reminders about the races. This is also why you see a half-million Tauren with names using hoof, horn, and udder.

Putting together a good name that references physical traits is actually a little more difficult than you might think. Describing a Night Elf as something like Inkface probably won't get your point across.

Here's some good, archetypical words you can use to describe each race:

Blood elf Gold, hair, eyes, grace, spire
Dwarf Beard, axe, brew, ale
Draenei Light, shine, heal, hew
Gnome Cog, gear, steam, whisker, pate
Goblin Boom, bomb, fire, crash
Night elf Wood, dusk, stride, eve
Orc Fang, dark, hammer, scream
Tauren Hoof, horn, field, plain
Troll Tusk, pipe, mojo, tall
Worgen Fang, tooth, claw, fur, paw

These are all examples, of course. But if you're without any other inspiration, try slapping some descriptive phrases in front of these suffixes and see how it works out. Bloodhair, Darksteam, and Lighthoof all await your adventuring pleasure.

Draw from legend

Lastly, reach out to some historical peoples and co-opt their legends for use in game. Ragnaros won't mind.

Obviously, the most popular legends and the straight-up names won't be available for use. I can't imagine anyone scoring Lancelot or Morgana at this late point in the game. But you can tinker with the names and pull out something more unique.

Morganos might be available on your server, or even Zeusian, Herator, and Lancell. Just like using a theme to describe your character, try to keep your unique version evocative of the original.

Take your time

The most important thing when desigining your character's new name is to take your time. Don't rush into something you might regret just because you're in a hurry. You can change your name later, of course, but save yourself a little cash and get the name right from the beginning.
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WoW Annual Pass expands to include more countries

If you've been wanting to sign up for the Annual Pass announced at BlizzCon, only to find it not available in your region, you may want to check the page again. Blizzard just announced that it has expanded the pass to include more countries, including Russia, Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Chile and more. The World of Warcraft Annual Pass is a one-year commitment to the game. You do not have to pay for your year in one lump sum, you can keep making payments in the same increments you've always done before -- you're simply committing to a year's worth of payments with the Pass.

In return, you get Diablo III for free, the Tyrael's Charger flying mount for your Warcraft character, and access to the next WoW expansion beta test. So if you've been itching to play Diablo III, dying to test new expansion content, or simply craving a new winged pony to ride around on in game, this may be the solution for you. You can sign up for the Annual Pass on Blizzard's website, and if you've got any questions about the process, they have an official FAQ available as well.
Aaron Lange's profile photoHigolds Max's profile photo
you're luckly,i wait dbIII for two years~
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The New Class: Monks and class balance

I've wanted to talk about this for a while. The game's hybrid vs. pure debate is about to swing into high gear. With the monk, not only will there be a third class that can tank, heal or DPS, but it will be doing these things with entirely new mechanics. What does the monk mean for everyone, both those who will adopt and love it and those who will have to compete against it?

The first change the monk brings along with it is simple: the class numbers game. Not only will we have 11 classes now, but all sorts of other numbers change as well. For instance, there will now be five classes capable of tanking and five capable of healing. We'll have four pure DPS classes and seven hybrids that can DPS. There will be a total of 33 specializations (although it may be easier to balance with talents shifting to the new system) to design around.

What do monks mean?

With monk mechanics being new and different, it's likely there will be similar growing pains. When the death knight launched, the class caused quite a dip in other class demographics, with long-time players of classes like rogues and warriors gravitating to the new class and its new way of doing things. The monk, however, is a triple threat. A monk can do anything you want to do in World of Warcraft. The only factors working against it are its melee nature (the game's already pretty thick on the ground with melee, and many fights are less than friendly to the ground pounders) and having to begin play at level 1. Will these be enough to keep players from switching over to the monk?

It depends in part on when exactly we get the monk. If the monk ships with Mists of Pandaria, then some players will be under pressure to get to max level ASAP so that they can run heroics and raids as soon as possible. These players will not be adopting the monk unless they can put in the time to burn to 90.

If the monk class ships with the pre-Mists patch (I find this extremely unlikely -- extremely, but not entirely impossible), then it is more likely that more players will be willing to switch. Either way, I think most monks will be alts at first. By placing the monk at level 1, it's unlikely to surpass the DK as the alt of choice for ease of leveling, even if the Pandaren keep their racials that will aid in leveling.

The monk's real effect on class balance will come in its ability to compete in all three roles. At present, we know very little about how exactly they're going to do that, but we know that they'll be tanking, healing and DPSing, and it's likely that they'll draw interest from players of the classes that can already do all of those things.

Their itemization as it has been revealed to date is extremely similar to druids (staves, agility or intellect leather), and the presence of the monk tank may finally lead to agility items with dodge on them again, since two classes will get to use it. (That's one more class than can use intellect plate.) This means that the monk, with its wildly varied playstyle but similar itemization, may help or hinder the druid, depending on whether or not druid players shift over to monk.

Monks vs. paladins

Paladins and monks will share almost no itemization in terms of the tanking role, but since monks are speculated to use one-handed swords and axes, they may well be in some competition for healing items (no more so than monks and druids, or monks and priests, or monks and shaman, or even monks and the caster DPS classes, to some extent). But where the monk and paladin come into sharp relief is their almost identical class role. The druid has four effective specs in MoP: feral DPS, guardian tanking, restoration healing and moonkin caster DPS, a fourth option the monk doesn't share.

But paladins and monks have the exact same roles. They can tank, melee DPS, and heal. They perform these roles very differently and will share remarkably little itemization, but that only means that there's more reason for paladin players who've grown disenchanted with their class to try out the monk. More races can be monks than paladins, so if you're tired of your race and want to switch, the monk will provide you with more options later. The monk's wildly different mechanics will provide players who have burned out on their current way of doing things a whole new system with entirely new aesthetics to learn.

Monks will also provide players of the two role hybrid classes (warriors, shaman, priests, death knights) some reason to consider switching. If you can currently heal and DPS, or tank and DPS, why not consider moving to a class that can add a role? If nothing else, selecting a monk as an alt means you'll at least be comfortable with some of the role expectations while learning a new tool kit. Shaman use many of the same weapons as the monk (fists, staves, axes) and start out in leather before graduating to mail. The monk's exotic new playstyle and mechanics will attract some of these players while actually serving as a barrier to entry to others who are more comfortable and familiar playing what they already understand.

There are also the pure DPS classes to consider. The arrival of the monk pushes World of Warcraft into a clear position of favoring hybrid classes. With MoP, we will have four pure DPS classes and seven hybrids, three of which can perform any role. If you currently play a rogue, the monk class has a lot of things you'd find familiar (leather armor, swords axes and fists) while providing an entirely new mechanic that in some ways resembles combo points but removes auto-attacks. Of all the current World of Warcraft players, rogues are the first contenders for mastery of the monk. Ranged DPS players who are comfortable in their role (hunters, mages and warlocks) are not likely to switch to the monk due to the twin barriers of a whole new mechanic and no similar role (the monk is always a melee option) to ease them into the switch. I expect some will have monk alts, and clearly some will switch, but I expect them to be the least seduced.

Beware of monks bearing gifts

In the end, switching to the monk is a larger investment than switching to a death knight was in Wrath of the Lich King. DK players then only had to switch to a level 55 character and level from there, but monk players are switching at level 1. This will allow them to experience the excellently revamped 1-to-60 game that Cataclysm provided, but it still means that anyone intending to play a monk as a main has a lot of catching up to do. Some of course will, just as some rerolled paladin on the Horde side or shaman for the Alliance when The Burning Crusade came out.

Things to consider when the monk arrives:
They will change the balance of tanking and healing, adding an additional spec to balance for these roles and creating more need for leather items for these roles that currently only go to one class.

They add another hybrid class.

They add another melee class, meaning that melee unfriendly fights like we've seen in Cataclysm may be harder to design if Blizzard wishes to encourage players to try the monk out.

Their three-role hybrid nature, use of new mechanics, and familiar itemization seem likely to attract specific classes with similar aspects to select them as either a new main or an alt.

Their new mechanics will encourage some players unsatisfied with their current mechanics to pick them up and try them out, but other players will see these same mechanics as a barrier to entry. The monk selects for the adventurous.

We are likely to see surprising demographic shifts when the monk arrives, just as we did with the death knight, but the monk's new mechanics and their starting at level 1 may insulate current classes from as drastic a loss. Rerolling monk is a significant investment in time.

I'm really looking forward to seeing this all play out. I'm likely to roll a monk alt myself, although I'm not at all likely to make it my main. Too attached to my warriors. But I expect my monks will replace my DKs and be at least equal to my shaman in terms of alts I want to play. This is going to be fun.
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Mists of Pandaria: The myth of the talent tree choice

Blizzard played up the Cataclysm expansion as a groundbreaking expansion that would change everything, but the truth is that the Shattering was nothing compared to what is happening to class talent trees in the new Mists of Pandaria expansion. Those giant talent trees we visited every two levels are gone, replaced with six separate choices spread across the course of 90 levels.

To be fair, there are a lot of terrific ideas in what Blizzard is planning to do with our talent trees. Removed are the choices that everyone should make. And yes, Blizzard did say that in Cataclysm, but this time, the designers mean it. What shadow priest doesn't take Vampiric Touch? What balance druid doesn't invest that crucial talent point to take Moonkin Form?

But ultimately, if the goal here is to make things easier on the players, to make this a choice that players don't need to extensively research, Blizzard totally missed the mark.

During the BlizzCon 2011 Class Panel, Greg "Ghostcrawler" Street (lead systems designer) explained the new philosophy for the Mists of Pandaria talent system. The basic points are this:
Blizzard wants you to be able to access new abilities and combinations that you never had before, like a shadow priest being able to cast the (now discipline priest spell) Power Infusion. Blizzard wants to move away from cookie-cutter trees. That means it wants to create a system where there is no wrong choice, where every talent is just as valid as the next.It's hard to argue with the intent. It wants to make the game more fun (point #1), and it wants to make the game more accessible (point #2). It doesn't want you having to head to Wowhead every time you ding, nor should you need to read a [your class here] 101 article on WoW Insider to find an already filled out talent tree to copy.

But guess what? These new talent trees they introduced are absolutely counter to the intent of simplification. And as much as Ghostcrawler wants you to believe that there are no wrong answers, there always will be. Always.

The truth

No offense to those of you reading, but a large number of World of Warcraft players are lazy. They don't like hard choices. Or, more specifically: They like choices as hard as they're able to handle.

Players may not all be top-tier raiders, but even casual players aren't stupid. Each and every player is going to take a look at these new-for-Mists of Pandaria talents and instinctually know that there's a right choice and there's a wrong choice. No one wants to be that guy with the messed-up tree -- like it or not, we're all judged by other players based on those choices we make. No matter how long you've been playing, I guarantee you've heard someone belittle someone else over some in-game choice that they've made.

What's that, you say? There aren't going to be any right or wrong choices? Wrong, my friend. There are. Take a look at the level 75 priest talents, for instance:

Now, if you say, "Fox, there's no one talent that's perfect for all situations," you're right. These talents are all situational -- a different talent will be the best for a different fight. Going up against Ragnaros? Then Twist of Fate is a poor choice -- the boss fight ends well before his health hits 0%. Power Infusion is probably better. Or is the right choice Serendipity? After all, the add phase is when your raid is at most risk for a wipe, and Mind Melt is crucial for burning down adds quickly.

It's far too early to theorycraft fights that don't yet exist (obviously), but as soon as Mists of Pandaria bosses hit the PTR for testing, you better bet that every Elitist Jerk in existence will be running the numbers, determining what talent is best for which fight.

In short, we didn't get rid of cookie-cutter talent trees. We simply created the need for far more cookie-cutter builds -- one per raid encounter. And maybe one for PVP. And another for heroics. And yet another for soloing.

Is this all a bad thing?

Look, it's easy to understand what Ghostcrawler and the rest are trying to do. Getting rid of easy choices is a slam dunk. But if they want you to believe that any talent or benefit that doesn't have a number can't be theorycrafted, they're wrong. It happens now. And it's going to happen when MoP launches. It's just that the theorycrafting that's going to happen will get much more complex than ever before.

You'll still have sites like Elitist Jerks, WoW Insider, and all sorts of other community sites (like offering their opinions as to what builds are best -- it's what we do. There will be logic to back them up, some with raw math, others with computer simulations as is done now. Many of these suggestions will be made inside the margin of error with a healthy dose of guessing, but the suggestions will be there. Cookie cutters will exist. People will still judge you for your choices. It's a part of MMORPGs.

If you're a top raider, you'll be doing more research instead of less. But isn't that what a lot of you complainers want, anyway? More variables? Complexity that makes you feel more self-important?

And for the rest of you, whether you want to be called "casuals," "casual raiders," or just "normies," you'll have cookie cutters to fall back on. You can spend as much time researching fights as you want to perfect your build, even if that preferred amount of time is zero. Because when this new talent system launches, in many situations, even the experts will have no clue which talent is best. Theorycrafting isn't an exact science. It's educated guessing.

Ultimately, though Blizzard didn't accomplish its goal of removing cookie-cutter builds, you can't fault it -- that task is impossible. What Blizzard did do is create a whole new, better system, where hard choices have to be made ... choices centering around utility. It's a huge step in the right direction. If World of Warcraft is to have any talent system at all, it should be closer to the one we're getting than the one we have.
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Addon Spotlight: Addon Roulette and win a Razer Nostromo

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.

I'll be honest -- this week is a resting week. BlizzCon 2011 was awesome, way too much fun, and exciting for us on the ground. I am tired. I am so tired. My plane got delayed, my train didn't come when it was supposed to, and my cats moved in to my spot on the bed. I was gone for like five days, and they already think they own everything. Alex Ziebart, your new editor-in-chief of WoW Insider, said I should do something different to shake out of the post-BlizzCon excitement slump, so here's Addon Roulette.

What is Addon Roulette? I went to Curse, closed my eyes, and started clicking on things. These were the addons that I hit.

Event Alert

My first series of random clicks brought me to the Buffs and Debuffs tab of Curse's site, which then lead me to EventAlert. EventAlert is a addon similar in vein to TellMeWhen that displays your big class procs when they happen, right in the middle of the screen for you to see. Along with the visual proc indicator, you get a timer that tells you how long you have to use that proc. From what I've seen, it's particularly useful for death knights and paladins, both proc-heavy classes.

The addon is lightweight, and one of its biggest plusses in my opinion is that there is barely any setup needed. You actually don't have to set up anything. Install the addon, and you're good. There are some options that you can tinker with by typing /ea options, but in reality, you don't have to mess with buttons, options, etc. Just go for it. If you don't already have a system set up, like a complicated set of Power Auras, check out EventAlert. It might be just what you were looking for.

Download EventAlert at [Curse].

Deadly Boss Mods

You're kidding me. Did I really land on Deadly Boss Mods? Actually, now that I think about it, Deadly Boss Mods is a good way to discuss why you should be updating your addons frequently and what is so great about World of Warcraft's addon community.

Updating your addons is usually a good thing to do. Not only does updating make sure that you're at the correct version of an addon that is using all of the new and optimized Lua code, but also that it doesn't accidentally send update or upgrade messages off to other addon users. Bad code sometimes can't be read by addons after they've been updated and the code changed -- language syntax, commands, and more might have changed with the recent updates. Updating your addons is a good thing.

An addon like Deadly Boss Mods is constantly in flux because of the tweaky nature of raid encounters and design. Everything could always be better optimized, you see. Addon creators and authors work very hard to keep these addons working in tip top shape, and you can tell which addons do it best by the commitment these authors assume when updating and perfecting their addons.

Do yourself a favor and update frequently. You'll be a better person for it.

If you don't have Deadly Boss Mods or another addon that does its job, you should check it out at [Curse].

Spin that roulette wheel (or barrel, depending on the severity of your roulette game) one more time ...

InFlight Taxi Timer

Oh, perfect! This is an excellent random pick. InFlight Taxi Timer does exactly what it sounds like it does: It shows you how much time you have before you land at your destination. Are you currently working on the Hallow's End achievements? Are you going from town to town, flight point to flight point, looking for trick or treat baskets? Of course you are. Don't you want to know exactly how much time you have to, for instance:
Get up and get a soda Pee Say hello to loved ones you haven't seen in awhile Pee again Feed your malnourished pets Shower (do this please) That soda finally got through you, so it's probably time to pee againInFlight Taxi Timer works great when you're traveling across continents, too. Sometimes, in order for me to force myself to get off the damn game and write, I'll go to Undercity and fly to Booty Bay. Articles usually get done in that time period. So, basically, this is a productivity tool.

You can customize the bar with loads of options and add in take-off confirmation if you so wish. It's a lightweight, solid addon that has been in my miscellaneous addons in some for or another for a long while now.

Download InFlight Taxi Timer at [Curse].

Addon mailbag? Sure, why not. Real quick, though, because I'm almost at Booty Bay on my flight.

This question actually has to do with the Razer Nostromo and my review of that peripheral. I'd like to talk about more peripherals on Addon Spotlight, since I think they seem to fit with the same sort of vibe as addons do. Anyway, here's the question:
I tried to post this in the article comments but my sign in doesn't work anymore. :(

How is the palm rest adjustment on the Razer? I could never get a comfortable position set on the n52 and I'm wondering if it's any better on this one.

Thanks from one Mat to another!The palm rest adjustment on the Nostromo is fairly static. It's in a good position, however, and was very comfortable for my hand. However, at BlizzCon, I saw a [REDACTED] at Razer's Booth and [REDACTED] all of my issues with [REDACTED]. What I'm trying to say is I'll have a really cool preview up of some of the new Razer stuff that might answer this question a whole lot better in the near future, so look for that.

Win a Razer Nostromo

For next week, I'm going to do an all comment mega-addon recommendation Addon Spotlight. It's going to be a rapid-fire comment article all about everyone's favorite addons! All you have to do is post a comment on this article and you have a chance to win a Razer Nostromo. Include your favorite addon as well to potentially be included in the article next week, but it's not necessary to enter to win the Razer Nostromo. Comment by Thursday, November 3, 2011, for a chance to win. US and Canada only (minus Quebec), as usual.
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WoW Rookie: How to choose your realm type

New around here? WoW Rookie has your back! Get all our collected tips, tricks and tactics for new players in the WoW Rookie Guide. WoW Rookie is about more than just being new to the game; it's about checking out new classes, new playstyles, and new zones.

Picking a realm is the first choice you will make after installing World of Warcraft on your computer. Folks have plenty of different opinions about which realm type provides the best WoW experience. It's almost a personal religion for some players. The final decision about what you prefer will, of course, be up to you.

In World of Warcraft, there are four different kind of realms for you to choose from: PVE, PVP, RP and RP-PVP. Confused? Don't worry, that's why we're here to help. You can choose to play all four ream types, if you'd like, although each character can only belong to one realm at a time. Plenty of players have characters on multiple realms; these players go to a PVE realm when they're in that mood and flip over to a PVP realm when they want a tussle.

Player versus Environment (PVE)

On a PVE realm, you are never forced into a player-versus-player situation. If you choose, you can activate your PVP flag, which will allow the opposing faction to attack you. That is strictly optional.

If you are looking to enjoy a leisurely grind and don't want to deal with the war in Warcraft, then roll on this kind of realm. You may still PVP in Battlegrounds, so the PVP aspect of the game is not completely lost -- it is just controlled and tightly focused.

Player versus Player (PVP)

A PVP realm is exactly like a PVE realm in almost every way. Same dungeons, spells, mobs and areas. Even the same Battlegrounds. The only difference? Once you leave territories controlled by your faction, you are fair game for PVP.

In the starting areas, you are protected and your PVP flag is off. Once you leave the starting areas, however, you can be attacked anywhere, at any time. To a lot of players, this adds to the excitement of the grind. However, there are some things you should consider.
You will get ganked. A level 35 can kill a level 24 on sight, and it is his right to do so. A level 60 will sneak to a newbie zone and destroy any level 10 who turned on his PVP flag. You will hear the philosophy "if it's red, it's dead" thrown about a bit. Players of the opposing faction have their names in red when flagged for PVP, so if someone sees another player with a red name, they will frequently be killed regardless of level or situation.

Don't ever expect a fair fight. If you are engaged on two mobs, don't expect the other players to show you mercy. If members of the opposing faction sees you in that vulnerable position, they could very well take advantage.

You will get camped. Someone 15 levels above you will sit on your body and kill you again and again. This doesn't happen all the time or even a majority of the time, but it does happen. Is that person being a bit of a jerk? Probably. Is it within the rules of a PVP server? Absolutely. Will you get anywhere by complaining about it in the chat channels or forums? No.

Camping and ganking are all part of the WoW PVP server experience. The guy who is ganking you was probably ganked a thousand times on his way to 60. Don't let that scare you off from a PVP server. Once you get in a guild, you can call some friends to help you when you are being camped.

Roleplay (RP)

These servers are exactly like PVE servers, except there is roleplaying. Actually, the majority of the people on RP servers are there to enhance escapism and avoid the majority of joke names and out-of-game references.

These servers are the place to find like-minded roleplayers. If you want to portray a Dwarf during your interactions with others, these are the realms for you. This is where you can tell stories, act in character, and find other players to engage in RP.

Roleplay Player versus Player (RP-PVP)

Finally, we have the most rare choice, the RP-PVP realm. These servers are exactly like a PVP server in every way, except it is also a role playing server. You can both roleplay with other folks and engage in all the exciting action from a PVP realm.
How to choose your specific realm

Once you know what kind of realm you want, choose which specific realm you want. Some realms have been around since launch, have tons of guilds in the high-end raid dungeons and are bursting at the seams with players. Other realms are newer, have fewer raiding guilds and have rather sparse populations. Most realms are somewhere in between. How do you discover which realms are which?

One of the best ways to get started in the very beginning is to let the game itself recommend your first realm. Once there, start looking around the official forums and recruitment spots like The Classifieds. Find guilds and recruiters who are looking for newer players. These are likely your best places to really dig into the game.

As you progress in your expertise and levels, you'll get a more refined idea of what you're after. Don't be afraid to try out different realms and different guilds; eventually, you'll find the right niche for you.

It is a little footwork

Jumping around realms and guilds definitely involves a little footwork. But, if you do a little research, you will be much happier with your realm choice in the long run.
Good luck starting your WoW life!
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Pandaren Is Coming! Chinese-style? Leisure? Sad!

BlizzCon 2011 has just ended, as was expected, Blizzard released World of Warcraft's fourth expansion pack: Mists of Pandaria (hereinafter referred to as MOP). I am a senior World of Warcraft player, and own stable association and wow friends. In my opinion, the vast majority of people are very satisfied with the current content Blizzard published, especially the new race pandaren and the Chinese art style. We can predict that when MOP is formally online, every major server will be presenting a thriving scene. As for the real content of this expansion pack, such as the renovation of talent system which is only in a prototype stage, we can not ensure now.

The main purpose of this article is to talk about my views on Mists of Pandaria.

The earliest history of Pandaren is Chen Stormstou.

As a relatively senior wow player, the first one I played is war3. In the doc Battle, we can find the hidden plot of the elves messenger - Chen Stormstou. In fact, Chen Stormstou has another unknown record. Kul Tiras, and one hawk representative figure of the League, the former king of Kul Tiras: Dai Lin, Proudmoore are died in the siege of Woking Saar; Reixa and Chen Stormstou. Of course, the pandaren’s appearance of war3 is insignificant.

For China, a mysterious country, I had been there in the 2008 Olympic Games, and also know some Chinese friends. To this Chinese-style pandaren, my Chinese friend said he felt a little comical, for the nondescript image-building of panda.

Well, this is their point of view, but as to me, I like this expansion pack, the lovely pandaren, mysterious scenario, a new copy all attract me. However, what I don’t understand is, according to the plot development, Cataclysm is the final version of World of Warcraft, why pandaren come out abruptly? In Cataclysm, we can obviously feel our friends are decreasing, comrades who fought together have left the World of Warcraft. Blizzard find there is little interest in European and American market, so they change their aim to China, hoping to attract more Asian players. It is not difficult to see, Blizzard's Warcraft Empire is in decline.

With the advance of World of Warcraft, we can see, there are more humanity, as the battle scenario, dungeon challenge mode, pet battle, and changes of talent system. Blizzard wants to make the player have more places to enjoy after reaching level. But for the players, that means more money invested, I have played World of Warcraft for more than five years, from TBC to WLK to CTM, I have been loyal players of world of Warcraft. In fact, as a game, the casual effect it reached is good, Take me as an example, all these years, I spent lots of money to buy equipment from players, or Buy WoW Gold in, very lucky, I have not be swindled. Looking back to see what I cost, there are at least tens of thousands of dollars. If the money didn’t waste, I will not feel so hard in this economic crisis.

To be honest, this expansion pack is sadness of both players and Blizzard, it is also China's. The players want to pick up the enthusiasm that dozens of players fighting in a copy, but now what past will never come back. For Blizzard, unlimited money-making through the game makes game become boring. For China, panda is China's own culture, and now utilized by Blizzard, the Chinese people should feel sad.

So much for it, come back to reality, stay away from the game. Life will be more Glorious.
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Guardian Cub taking a bite out of third-party gold sales

The new Guardian Cub, the pet you can buy with real-world currency and exchange for in-game gold, has been available for sale on most realms' Auction Houses for a good 24 hours now. And early reports are looking very favorable for Blizzard; it is now significantly cheaper to buy gold through Blizzard than through one of the less-reputable, third-party Chinese gold sellers.

The price of the Guardian Cub varies wildly by server -- a function of supply and demand. An impromptu Twitter survey suggests that the pet is currently selling for between 6,000 gold and 40,000 gold in game, depending on server size, competition, and a number of other factors. Most realms are currently seeing prices just north of 10,000 gold.

Certainly, the final page of the Guardian Cub saga has yet to be written, and prices will be extraordinarily volatile in the next few days, weeks, and months. Still, even at a conservative exchange rate of $10 for a 10,000-gold pet, players can get a far better (and safer!) deal buying gold through Blizzard via the Guardian Cub than dealing with a gold seller. The difference is stark -- the same amount of gold may cost you $20 or $30 through a third-party site. And even then, you have no guarantee of getting your gold, no guarantee that your account won't be compromised, and no guarantee that your purchase isn't supporting forced labor and account theft.

Will the Guardian Cub kill off third-party gold sales? Probably not, at least on its own. Interest in this new pet simply cannot be sustained long term. But if the last 24 hours of trading on the in-game Auction House are any indication, Blizzard just fired a shot into a multi-billion-dollar gray market.
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GuildOx, one of the premier services that ranks, tracks, and parses the top guilds and their progression in WoW, has been using Blizzard's new character APIs to some pretty hilarious ends. After mining out 11 million character names, GuildOx has sent us the most popular character names by class in World of Warcraft. As you'd expect, the pun meter is off the charts. You'll laugh. You'll cry. Your immersion will be broken. Let's have a look at the most popular names in World of Warcraft.



Warrior characters love using skill names or the rage mechanic in their names. I'm actually a culprit of this phenomenon, except I like to think I was clever about it. My Night Elf warrior, for the brief time that I was raiding on the Alliance side of things, was named Rageleaf. It was awesome. Stop judging me.

Glitterstorm at the top of the list is surprising. Maybe it's a reference that I am missing. Sunderwear and Executie are particularly inspired, however. Notice that every single one of the top warrior names has either rage or a skill name in it, which just goes to show you that the prevalence of puns in online games vastly, vastly outweighs the immersion factor. Not that I'm complaining, of course, but please excuse me while I go save Sunderwear on my server for a future Pandaren warrior.



If you know me, you can already guess my reaction to the paladin names list above. If you don't know me, you only have to be aware of the fact that to me, there is nothing more grating in World of Warcraft than an awful Tauren paladin pun name. Layonhooves is the closest thing I will give to being funny, but even then, tons of other people are just as "clever" as you.

"Bubble" is the popular paladin, well, everything. Bubble this, bubble that. It's been almost seven years of bubble jokes. Unstopbubble and Bubbleøseven are the clear originality winners here, with Popmybubble just being lazy. Bubbleøseven ... hehe. I get it.

Some paladins will have to help me out with Thrasius, but are you guys referencing the Warhammer 40k character? Because if so, that's awesome.



Hunters, who knew that you would be the most cultured of the classes up to this point? I am happily surprised. The people who chose Actæon get gold stars in my book. In Greek mythology, Actæon was a hunter who was transformed into a stag and killed by his own hunting dogs after Actæon had come upon Artemis taking a bath in the forest.

On the other end of the spectrum, you have Eatshot and Bowme, both hilarious in their own right but just not as prop-deserving as Actæon. Arrowdynamic works when you have a bow, but what happens when you equip a gun? My immersion! Interestingly enough, only one of the most popular names for hunters references traps. I really expected more than that.



I'm not going to lie -- Backstabbath made me laugh. Rogue names all stem from abilities it looks like, except the Assassin's Creed reference Altaìr and Mercader, which is most likely a reference to the prominent PVP YouTuber Mercader. I'm going to give rogues a 4/10 for originality because, frankly, just naming yourself after an ability or throwing in "hemo" somewhere isn't praiseworthy. Come on, rogues. You can do better.

Here's a true story: I had a rogue that I server transfered and renamed "Shankers." A few minutes after I loaded up for the first time, "Shankerz" with a "z" messaged me and accused me of stealing the name. Take a picture of your face after reading that sentence again and look at it. That's the face I was making.



Priest names are pretty fun, actually. Vanhealin, Deepfriar, and Crossblesser got a chuckle. Anything rock and roll or music-related that is a decent pun usually isn't too awful. Powerwordhug is just adorable. Why don't we have Power Word: Hug in game yet? Make it happen, Blizzard. Bandagespec would be a better name for a warrior, in my opinion, but I guess it works for a priest as well. So many wasted opportunities. Also, Vescovo? It means "bishop."

Death knights


Oh, death knights. We need to have a talk. Some of these top 10 names are so generic that I want to puke. The people who named their death knight Getoverhere deserve all the bad PUGs in the world. It's bad enough that the rest of us have to see your /say macros every time you Death Grip someone, but now your name is an ever-present reminder about that joke. Oy. I am summoning a steed from nightmare, indeed.

We need some more originality in death knight names. My friend had a frost DK named Chillaxe. That's funny. Use that one over Plagueknight or Scourgelord, please. I named my death knight Benihana after the greatest restaurant in the entire universe, Benihana. I want to see better death knight names. Death knight, I am disappoint.



Who here is shocked that "shock" is in four of the top 10 shaman names? No one, that's who. Shocknorris isn't funny because Chuck Norris jokes haven't been funny in 10 years, and Beershock has to be a bunch of Dwarven shaman, right? Shampayne and Budlightning take the winner's medals for shaman names, and Shampon is just disturbing. Like ... is it a totem? How does this work?

Another thing to note is that there is no Bloodlust references. None. Zero. This is surprising to me because I thought that this list was going to be 10 variations of Bloodlust-inspired puns. I am actually kind of sad.



Mages have the benefit of tons of skills, abilities, and specs that all incorporate very well into character names if you're going the clever pun route. Grimsheeper and Sheepwithme take the predictable Polymorph route while still retaining a bit of cleverness. Foodspec and Refreshments are some of my favorite if only because they put mages in their place.

Two names stuck out as the best in the mage category -- Harryportal and Mageulook. Harryportal might not be the most original of the bunch, but I still can't help but laugh. Mageulook is just fun, as long as your immersion isn't completely ruined.

Merlìn? Really? Namechange.



Warlocks have some pretty fun names going for them. Again, Waerloga is most likely heavily in the European camp, considering the history and nature of the Swedish word waerloga. It's also a record label, right? I haven't done a Google search for it yet. Warlokholmes is not the detective I would hope to have solving my case.

There are a lot of Lockybalboas out there. Dotctor is amusing, but my favorite of the top 10 warlock names definitely has to go to Taterdotz if only for the Napoleon Dynamite images that it conjures up. Now all warlocks are Napoleon Dynamite. Demonology skills ... affliction skills ...



Druids are some of the worst pun offenders in World of Warcraft. Does every boomkin really have a name derived from Owlcapone? Seriously? There are three spellings of the same name on this list, and the mispelling of Capone is actually higher than the actual spelling of Capone. Thornstar is funny for a laugh or two, though. Menopaws and Restofarian, however, are the obvious winners in the druid category.

What is most interesting is that druid names span the entirety of the druid talent and spec choices. Each spec is represented on the list, from resto, balance, and feral. Bear tanks, however, are not. Clawandorder comes close, but not close enough. Where are all my bear tank druid puns?

Thanks again, GuildOx, for this awesome information. I can't wait to see what they throw at us next.
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Reader UI of the Week: A distraction-free hunter UI

Each week, WoW Insider and Mathew McCurley bring you a fresh look at reader-submitted UIs as well as Addon Spotlight, which spotlights the latest user interface addons. Have a screenshot of your own UI that you'd like to submit? Send your screenshots along with info on what mods you're using to, and follow Mathew on Twitter.

Welcome back to Reader UI of the Week, where your awesome UI creations go out for the world to see and learn from. I must stress again that this is a learning experience, people. Learn. Adapt. Thrive. Evolve into user interface greatness. Our submission this week is one of those examples of coolness and tidiness that many people could get some cool ideas from.

Sigkill is a hunter with a distraction-free UI. His email subject started to pick at my mind: distraction-free. Are there really distractions out there that are part of a user interface? Why would a game distract you from, say, playing the game? Are there addons that are distracting you during serious raid play or just flashing when things shouldn't be flashing? Am I being too nitpicky? Well, I might have figured it out, and with your help, I think we'll be on the road to distraction-free UIs for all of us.
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Blood Pact: Looking at new warlock talents

Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology and destruction warlocks. For those who disdain the watered-down arts that other cling to like a safety blanket ... for those willing to test their wills against the nether and claim the power that is their right ... Blood Pact welcomes you.

Welcome back, warlocks! I know that this is technically the second post-BlizzCon article that you'll be reading, but with how scheduling has to be done, for me at least, it's actually the first. I know that it can get a little aggravating to have to wait this long for your roundup of new information, but let me assure you that it is well worth the wait.

Unlike the rest of the writers around this place, I'm not suffering from an incurable plague ... guess it's just a warlock thing. Shadow priest writer Fox Van Allen might joke that he's getting 15% of the damage done by the BlizzCon Flu back as health, but clearly I'm just sitting there channeling Drain Life with no one to care about interrupting me. Speaking of Drain Life, the talents for the next expansion seem extremely promising. Why don't we take a look at them? (You like that leap of topics, don't you?)

The new talent system

In case you've been the victim of a horrible banshee's curse for the past week that prevented you from accessing a computer, then I would assume by now that you know the WoW talent system is, once again, getting completely revamped. Instead of getting talents every two levels, players will now get talents every 15 levels. That's right, every 15 levels, and with a new level 90 cap, this means that you'll get a grand total of six talents. Whoooo! While it may not seem as exciting, each talent tier has three choices all that according to Blizzard are going to be powerful options that offer a strong measure of choice to players.

True or not on the latter part, the new talent system is actually interesting, and for warlocks, it does seem as though it will pan out rather well. While several of the other classes seemingly have pre-alpha talents that the development team just sloshed together to have something to say, warlock talents look as though they really are the ones that you should expect to see in beta, if not hitting live. Not everything is perfect, mind you -- some things should be changed -- but nothing is ever perfect at a BlizzCon preview.

The first two tiers

The first tier of talents is focused exclusively on self-healing, a hallmark of the warlock class. I personally find the positioning of this tier to be excellent; warlocks should have strong self-healing right off the bat, and they shouldn't have to rely upon Drain Life in order to get that. Your options on this tier are Dark Regeneration, Soul Leech, and Harvest Life.

The first choice, Dark Regeneration, is fairly poorly balanced against the other two choices on this tier. It offers 50% of your health over 25 seconds, but on a 3-minute cooldown. Alas, this talent hits the issue that many talents for all the classes do; cooldowns have a very hard time competing with passive abilities.

In this case, Dark Regeneration is put to shame by the other two choices in the tier. Soul Leech is exactly what you should expect it to be, a complete replica of the current Soul Leech. The new Soul Leech refunds 25% of the damage done by Shadowbolt, Incinerate, and Malefic Grasp as health. What's Malefic Grasp? Beats the hell out of me, but given that Shadowbolt (which totally upsets me that's listed as one word in the preview, when it's actually two words) and Incinerate are the primary nukes for affliction and destruction, respectively. That rather leads to Malefic Grasp's being a new primary nuke for demonology. Can I get an awesome!?

Soul Leech beats the pants off Dark Regeneration, but then there's that small matter of Harvest Life. Harvest Life is an upgrade of Drain Life, effectively just making it an AOE akin to Mind Sear from shadow priests. As Drain Life refunds 1% health every time it deals damage; Harvest Life does too, only it does it from every target that it hits. On rough AOE encounters, Harvest Life is probably going to be a life-saver. (Get it?) That amount of health return is pretty crazy when you're healing around 10% of your health every second or less.

The second tier is all about offering up some of that signature warlock control, offering up the two classics of Howl of Terror and Shadowfury as well as the new Mortal Coil. Howl of Terror goes without an explanation, and it is instant, so there's no need to worry about that. What is worth worrying about, however, is how the ability shells up against the others. HoT has twice the cooldown of Shadowfury, which you might think is balanced because the fear lasts for 8 seconds instead of only 3. The problem with that, however, is the diminishing return off CC effects. Fear is pretty common (especially when dealing with a warlock!), so it's not likely to last the full 8 seconds on every target.

That's just me, though. I really don't see why you might want Howl of Terror over Shadowfury, but if you do, then you do and that's your choice. Mortal Coil, however, is the really interesting one. Mortal Coil is an upgraded form of Death Coil; how it's upgraded, we don't actually know. The current Death Coil has a 2-minute cooldown, while Mortal Coil only has a 45-second cooldown. It could potentially restore additional health as well; we don't know. Despite being only a single-target effect, Mortal Coil is still a pretty good choice in comparison to Shadowfury. Another self-heal, and healing 25% of your health at that, on a 45-second cooldown is pretty amazing for our drain tanking setup. On the PVE side, if you don't need the control of Shadowfury, having the ability to heal yourself for 25% every 45 seconds is beyond words amazing.
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