Reminder: Love Is In The Air Ends Tonight

Azeroth's "Season of Love" comes to a close at 11:59 Pacific Time this evening. Considering the coming events, it's amazing we'll see one at all this month next year.

After much frustration with Love Is In The Air in the past, and having my account hacked just a few days before the festivities began, I was initially fretful that I wouldn't get to participate much at all. But much to my surprise, it went smoothly, and I completed all essential meta-achievements except for "I Pitied The Fool" on the first day of my return.

Once I obtained that, and thus, my Violet Proto-Drake, I stopped collecting charms and tokens altogether, leaving several of my other achievements dangling in the wind. But today, on the last day of the event, I decided to pick myself up, turn in all those charms I got from running Icecrown Citadel the past week, and make the most of what was left. Following the jump is a short list of things you can do with the time remaining:

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Project Lore Audio Podcast 4: Guinea Birds

Episode 4? What? Where is episode 3?

There were some technical problems with recording that we are ironing out. It may appear in the future if the ley lines align.

We recorded this on Thursday, just before a ton of news came out, so some of our discussion might seem a little moot.

Be sure to enter the contest to name our podcast! Like we said, we are still in a "beta testing phase" with recording this, so in a couple weeks the podcast will get fleshed out with a name, album art, and more.

Grab the mp3 or subscribe with RSS.

Pre-Cataclysm: Retaking Gnomeregan/Echo Isles

Oh, data-mining always brings such wonderful news! The artifacts of code and unfinished content often give you a fair idea as to what's coming in the near future and, considering where we're at right now, that means getting the goods on pre-expansion events.

At this point, most of you have already read about the new Ruby Sanctum raid dungeon and how that plays into the lore leading up to rebirth of Deathwing, but if we dial things back a notch we find that even the smaller, somewhat forgotten factions will have their role to play in what's to come.

You may recall a little piece that iTZKooPA wrote a couple of weeks ago. It's also something that we discussed on the podcast, wondering why Blizzard didn't give any of the "assault on Northrend" roles to existing faction leaders instead of brand new characters whose importance to the game would likely begin and end with the questline they're associated with.

I think we spoke a little too soon, as both High Tinker Gelbin Mekkatorque and Vol'Jin will be getting their due in an upcoming patch, starting with the reclamation of their respective homelands!

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Further Ruby Sanctum Details

When you announce something like a new raid dungeon so far ahead of time, you're bound to get a bunch of questions. Thankfully, unlike so many other things lately, Blizzard is being surprisingly open about answering them (looks like you can blame Tom Chilton for spilling the beans on that one).

And with data-miners around the world already yanking gobs of information out of the latest set of PTR files, there's really little reason not to.

Zarhym was kind enough to continue the dialog with fans, touching on issues such as the nature and difficulty of the fight, as well as its position within the lore. As someone who chided the idea of another one-room boss at first, I have to admit I'm starting to come around to the idea.

Hit the jump to read what he had to say.

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Only Frozo Knows Where Your Frozen Orb Goes

To paraphrase what a guildmate of mine said recently, "They almost vendor for more than they go on the Auction House." Yes, I'm talking about Frozen Orbs, which drop relentlessly from 5-man dungeon bosses, their numbers swollen from the frequency at which people run them these days.

You probably don't know, or even care, how many of them you have in your bags right now. When the loot boxes pop up, in your sublime state, you mindlessly click through them like a zombie gnawing on the cerebellum of some poor dead chap.

I'm thoroughly convinced at this point that most people could run a 5-man whilst mired in the depths of REM sleep, Frozen Orbs the latent rewards you collect in the dream state, only to forget entirely once you are roused from you Dungeon Finder-induced slumber. They're really just... kind of there at this point, aren't they?

It seems that Blizzard has also recognized how terribly worthless the Frozen Orb has become, and in Patch 3.3.3, they plan to rectify it. With the introduction of Frozo the Renowned to the Dalaran Magus Commerce Exchange, you can now trade them in for a collection of infinitely more useful items including other Orbs and various Eternals.

Hit the jump for the rest of the details, as relayed by Zarhym:

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Protip 8.4: Crushing the Crown

Protip is short video series with various tips and guides. Leave a comment to let me know what you want to see in future segments. Follow @Heartbourne or subscribe in iTunes for notifications of new videos! 

Continuing our quest against the Crown Chemical Company, we take down Apothecary Hummel, get the Tough Love achievement, and save Azeroth.

Patch 3.3.3 PTR Notes: Lots of Surprises!

There is some great stuff in patch 3.3.3, which is soon going to be live on the public test realms. Check out my highlights then the patch notes after the break.

  • Battleground queueing system completely overhauled. Random battlegrounds, no more marks of honor, more honor and adjusted prices!
  • Dungeon finder tweaks. Add a reason to vote-to-kick someone, queue better with people of different levels, queue for holiday bosses!
  • Auction House interface updates.
  • "Many quests which require vehicles have had their vehicle mechanics updated and improved in the interest of fun."
  • Subtlety buffed!
  • CoS intro skippable! 

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Patch 3.3.5: "Assault on the Ruby Sanctum"

There has been a lot of speculation that there may be more raid content released before Cataclysm. We had hints of that in the Game Informer interview with Tom Chilton, but today we got confirmation from Zarhym in the official Blizzard forums:

As we prepare for the public testing phase of minor content patch 3.3.3, some players might come across information regarding upcoming content that isn't yet available. To avoid any confusion, we'd like to tell you about an exciting new raid dungeon we are working on for content patch 3.3.5.

The Ruby Sanctum 

A powerful war party of the Black Dragonflight, led by the fearsome Twilight dragon, Halion, have launched an assault upon the Ruby Sanctum beneath Wyrmrest Temple. By destroying the sanctum, the Black Dragonflight look to crush those that would stand in the way of their master’s reemergence into Azeroth and to ultimately shatter the Wyrmrest Accord – the sacred bond that unites the dragonflights. 

The battle that is to come will surely deal a crippling blow to the Red Dragonflight, however, it is up to you to stop this unprecedented offensive and defend the Ruby Sanctum. First you must face the assault of Halion's servants, Saviana Ragefire, Baltharus the Warborn, and General Zarithrian, before squaring off against Halion the Twilight Destroyer, a new and deadly force in this realm. 

The Ruby Sanctum will feature 10- and 25-player content, Heroic difficulties and all-new rewards! Stay tuned for more information as we get closer to its release.

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Healing Is Boring

How many of you just yawned?  Thanks crazy_ryan.

Getting my priest to the point that she could heal challenging raids took some time.  I spent hours inside various dungeons farming loot and badges.  It is to the point now that my alt has as many Glory of the Hero sub-achievements as my main, and that's without even trying.  Initially the process was a lot of fun.  As a poorly geared level 80 I was constantly busy spamming heals, dispelling and general riff raff.  In essence, I was re-learning most of the encounters from the new perspective of a healer, so my brain was engaged.  The switch from pure DPS to pure healing extended the replayability of these dungeon.

Unfortunately, I still hit that wall.  You know, the one that makes getting instance X a drag, where you always speedrun instance Y, and contemplate bailing on Z.  The wall I am referring to is being overgeared, and that's when healing is incredibly boring.

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The High Inquisitor: On Azeroth's Wild Physics

Welcome to The High Inquisitor, where Project Lore pokes fun at all those crazy, unexplained WoW impossibilities. While the answers to these great mysteries of Azeroth often are a matter of game mechanics, here we’re less interested in that aspect, and more interested in exploring our own unique brand of lore that could happily provide explanations. The inquisitor will make her own suggestions, and the best comment(s) with more possibilities will be highlighted with the next edition’s inquisition.

Despite appearances, no zhevras were harmed in the making of this screenshot.

All of us probably have experienced the odd physics of Azeroth at one point or another. Probably on a pretty regular basis, we'll see a monster's corpse die while in mid-air, or our flying mount's wing seemingly travel through a solid wall we pass by. Perhaps we're used to it enough that we don't even think about it all that much. But that is just what the High Inquisitor is all about. So question, I will - Let's find a lore-tastic reason (beyond the actual programming quirk called clipping) to explain this phenomenon!

To the right, we have a classic example that occurred on a Zeppelin while I was running around on my main and finishing up the last of my Love Fool achievements. My zhevra apparently had other motivations.

While on board, his body repositioned in the oddest of ways. Not only did the front half of his body appear to be on the other side of the wooden structure leading to the cabin down below, but his front hooves also appeared to be standing on air as if it was as solid as the wood clearly behind his back legs!

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