December 2009

You get this a lot in WoW quests. The old, “my long lost love has died”, or “they killed my son!”, or how about, “find his old medallion and rest it on his grave about 2000km away from here so that once again he might be able to rest in peace.”

All good stuff to be sure, but it all falls pitifully down when you consider how easy it is in this game to come back to life. Continually. And have all your gear there. We all know the old joke about the murlocks, how they kill an adventurer while losing half of their murlocky village, and they’re celebrating the survival of their clan with some murlocky rum and wine, when the same freakin adventurer rides back into town and dispatches the lot of them. It must be tough being a mob in this game.

But the NPC thing just rings so false. The woman crying over her lost son. Wailing her head off, wringing her hands, sobbing piteously, clawing out her hair, screaming, why? why?? why??? WHY?????

When all I want to do is to politely interrupt her.

“Ahm, um, lady? You know, something we could do, I’m not sure if you’ve heard of this, but, erm, you know we could just pop down to that convenient spirit healer just beind your house and around the back of that hill …”

And while we’re at it we could raise the rest of your family that have been killed off by out of control mechanical harvest cutters.

So what about major lore characters dying? How does this make any sense. I enjoyed the whole wrath-gate saga, but at the back of my mind I was thinking, you know, we could just pop down to the old spirit healer or I could get my clothie priest friend here to just rez you. that would make it all a bit easier. Or how about any escort quest, (apart from the fact that escort quests drive me fucking nuts. I mean, this guy has been locked up in this dungeon for so long that the world has taken it as a given that he is a pile of mouldering bones and given the chance to get the hell out of here he decides to stride along slowly as if he’s out for a Sunday stroll on the town promenade? I mean, are you fucking kidding me??). The whole point of the escort quest is to get him out in one piece. So you’ve battled through waves of iron dwarves or whatever the hell has locked him up, and you almost get to the end, and he dies. Big Fail, it says on the quest log. Well, can’t we just rez him for Christs sake??

There’s a lot of dying in old Azeroth, but it would be nice if some of it could make some sense.

So I’ve hit level 20 on my troll mage over on the undrgeared blue challenge at greedy goblin. Big deal, I hear you say. Level 20, wow, you’re really going fast. Well, in my defense, it is the freaking Christmas holiday period. I mean, the good goblin could have picked an easier time for this. Still, I have a few weeks off work so I should be able to dedicate some serious time to this over the next few weeks.

Playing a mage is quite fun, even though I am somewhat of a glass cannon. As long as I can keep the mobs away from me I am awesome. If they manage to get up close and start actually touching me, I am buggered. At the moment I have a fire spec but I’m probably going to switch that to arcane and have a play around with that for a bit. So as I was saying, playing a mage is quite fun. Group questing on the other hand, not so much. You know what it’s like – you take a seemingly ordinary looking go out and kill ten rats quest, and before you know it you’re up to the 8th quest in a long line that has taken you all over the planet, and you get to the culmination of the dreaded group quest.

“Go and find some worthy comrades and slay the dreaded monster of the five heads. If you manage to do this you can pick from one of these 5 awesome loot blue pieces!”

It’s the rewards that bugger this up. I could just leave it but after all that traipsing around I really want those nice blue legs or whatever. They would be perfect for me. They would be perfect for me right now, not in 5 levels when I could come back and take out the horrible 5 headed whatever by myself. By that stage the awesome blue pants will be the suck. So I have to group. I have to group … and I hate having to do stuff. Okay, no biggie, I’ll use the LFG system and have it running in the background and in a few hours someone will surprise me by wanting to do that quest.

Oh, not anymore. The brand new awesome LFG system has cancelled out grouping for quests or zones. Well, it might do this but I haven’t figured out how, (before I get horribly flamed). So what do I do? Ask my guildies? I hate doing that. Apart from the fact that we are spread all over the world so anyone around my level is going to have a hell of a time getting to me, I don’t want some higher level guildie to come in and run me through it. Because that’s not fun, it’s just lame. I could spam local chat but once again, that is not fun. It is also lame and will often result in getting grouped with a bunch of loser bed wetters. I don’t know why MMO’s still do this, the group quest thing. Come to think of it, that’s when I stopped playing Age of Conan, when I got to around level 18 in Tortage and started seeing all my quests have little figures of three people next to them. I was like, oh man, are you kidding me? I have to group quest now? I have to talk to people?? I’m in a game to get away from talking to people!!

I think I might have an answer though. Hiring henchmen. What did you do in a Dungeons & Dragons game when you were short a priest or needed a couple of brawny local lads to come and give you a hand with a bit of old fashioned dragon biffo? You’d head off down to the local inn and see who would be there. So why can’t we have the same thing in our MMO’s? You head into Goldshire, walk into the inn and see who’s having a drink. They could make it random every day, so there’s not the same dudes sitting there every time. You walk up to one of them and ask for his services. A tab screen drops down where you can choose from your current quests. Then the cost of his services comes up, and maybe also another tab of other hirlings that he knows in the area who might be interested. Then off you go. They could scale for level, so the ones hanging out in the Goldshire inn are a random mix from levels 5-10, while those down in Booty Bay would be from 35-40 etc. And you could make it so they remember what they’ve done with you, so the next time you come in you can’t do the same stuff twice. They could turn around and say something like,

“Dude, yo we’ve taken out that Hogger guy already.”

You could also have a random generator that decides how good they are. So you could get someone who is awesome, someone who is passable and someone who just plain sucks. And I wouldn’t have to talk to anyone. Lovely.

In yesterdays post, Sid responded to me with a well written and articulate argument – that the new epic-gear system is good because of the trouble that it alleviates for new players. I quote:

” … I’ll tell you what happened to me: I reached level cap for the first time (lvl 70) at the end of the BC, a month or two before Wrath.

The way progression worked then, was Normals -> Heroics -> Kara -> etc, etc up to Black Temple and Sunwell. You couldn’t “jump” from Tier 4 to Tier 6, you had to do it all in order. Sounds logical and fair right?

Now, going on with my story, When I hit 70 I didn’t have good enough gear for heroics, I had to do normals. Nobody did normals at that time. I had to be carried by my guild through Karazhan for badges but it was hard to get a spot since everybody in the guild wanted to steamroll Kara for “ez-epikz lol”, and my gear level didn’t allow me to PuG it.

So I couldn’t start raiding, because I was “too late”. Imagine if we had the same system now. How many guilds do you see doing Naxx nowadays? …”

I agree that new players who wish to raid need to be geared up. And he does have a valid argument in a lot of ways. But what Sid went through in BC being boosted by his guild, isn’t that what a guild is for? This is a MMORG, right? So it’s supposed to be a multi-player game. If you get boosted by your guild through Naxx you are guarenteed a few drops. And if it coincides with the weekly raid, then they’re in for a big haul of 10 badges as well, (as are you.) Plus they might do the run with just 8 or 9 players for an achivement. There are a lot of incentives already to get players to go back through those runs.

” … People that doesn’t raid has raid-level gear (not the same as “raid gear”). How is that bad for the game or the community? If the reason you kill raid bosses for is loot, then you miss the whole point of raiding: “You don’t raid to get gear, you get gear to raid” the motto of almost every dedicatesd raider.

And I still see people bring up these point of “better gear to differentiate us (the raiders) from the rest”. I feel really sorry for those who need to jerk their e-peen and show “superiority” to others in order to feel acomplished.

It’s no different from the idiot in real life who buys a Ferrari just to get other people’s attetion and show how “successful in life” he is.

“I haz Ferrari lol, Im better than U”

Isn’t that what Gevlon calls a “social”? …”

But the rest of the argument is facetious – this is a gear based game. When I play any game for a long period of time I do it for the pull. The pull here is the gear. The rarer the gear, the more special, the more I want to get it. Not to “wave my e-peen”, but to get satisfaction from the way the game has been set up from the beginning. This was the challenge – to get the rare gear so as to be able to perform well in raids. There has always been a small percentage of the player base from the beginning who wanted this, and Blizzard catered for them. Because these are the players who stay with the game for the long haul. They are the rock-solid base on which the company making the game, in this case Blizzard, can rely on to pay their costs month in, month out. The other players are the socials, those that flit in and out, those that were never video gamers but came in because maybe they saw it on South Park. And both groups were happy. Until the general mass began to complain about the raiding situation. They wanted that gear too but just “didn’t have the time to raid.”

I don’t have the time to raid either. I never have. My absolute maximum number of nights that I can raid a week is two. Sometimes I can stretch it to three. This has been the case for me all the way through WoW. And I have managed to keep up with the gear. It was a challenge, don’t get me wrong, but that’s the whole point.

Not any more. Blizzard has left no challenge that leaves a feeling of satisfaction because they have redisigned their game away from its core beginning. Iron bound protodrake? Please. I have to be honest with you, I don’t even know what that looks like. There are so many mounts now that they’re all beginning to look the same.

The idea of making blues the new purples, of getting this content down without having one epic, this is a challenge. And what’s more, it feels like I am stepping off the epic-band-wagon-merry-go-round that raiding has become. I just hope that they don’t catch on on our realm and jack the price of blues.

A long time ago, when I was a little level 50 rogue, I ran the Sunken Temple. It was my first time in the instance, and I ran it with friends that I had made over the course of my slow leveling progress. We took our time in the instance, as only one other of the group had been in there before. He was a paladin tank, and he was excellent in that role. We finally got down to the Shade of Eranikus boss, and got him down after one wipe.

Then this dropped, oh my god.

It was the first epic that I had ever seen in the game, and it was a sword. I used swords. I was a combat sword rogue. This did great damage, had okay speed, and it called forth up to three dragon whelps at a time to fight for you in battle. There was much excitement in the group but we managed to stay calm and then the paladin and I rolled on it – and I won.

My first ever epic. I had The Hanzo Sword as my off-hand and the two together made not only for a righteous fury type damage/speed/proc combination, they also looked amazingly cool. I was a level 50 rogue and I would get stopped in Stormwind by level 60 rogues complimenting me on my weapons. I was proud of my swords, as any good rogue would be to have these equipped at that level. And having an epic was, well, epic.

Not anymore. We’ve all heard this argument before, too many epcis, welfare epics, blah blah blah. And I agree. So why am I writing this now? Well, the new patch 3.3 has ushered in a new era of players getting gear. It’s extremely easy to have epics. Everyone has epics. My mum has epics and she doesn’t even play wow. The point is, epics don’t mean anything anymore. Raiding isn’t high end, hell, with the new LFG system you can get geared for raids and do raids without being a member of a guild. I know, I’m doing it.

But now that I am fully geared in epics, do I feel more epic than when I got that first epic drop? Nope, not one bit. That first epic felt special. Epics that I earned in Burning Crusade felt special as well. I came into Northrend fully geared in epic 70’s, but holy damn did I earn those things. I think that my last one remained until about level 76. But now everyone has epics. It has been the great social leveling crusade in WoW. We’re a communist game now, comrades. Epics for all. You all deserve epics, you are all special little flowers.

Well, I’ve been running with some people with epics in these LFG groups that are most certainly not special little flowers. Special little retards maybe, but not flowers. How can you have epics equipped in every slot and put out 1200 DPS? That requires sincere and lasting commitment to being a retard.

Which leads me to my next point – if epics are not special anymore, what is?

I have the answer – Blues. Yes, you heard it right, blues are the new purples.

I have joined the Greedy Goblin on his quest to raid in blues. I rolled a new toon on that realm, gave him a whisper and got an invite to the guild. The guild is interesting. For a start, it’s an instant demotion if you write, “lol.” You are demoted to “lolled” rank. As some of my regular readers know, I really hate the use of lol, so this sits very well with me. Another nice aspect – nobody says “grats” when an achievement pops up in guild chat. I really, really like this. There are about 50 of us in the guild, and we are all running around leveling and helping each other. No doubt some regular retards have snuck in, but for now everyone is doing their level best to not stick out as a moron. Time will get the better of some of them of course.

I will periodically post updates of how this is going. I hope that it will be epic. has a post this morning titled, “How the WoW Community is about to push the self destruct button.” It’s interesting reading. Interesting in the sense that it is very, very stupid. How stupid? Well, think of a stupid person and then roll them into a giant ball of stupidity and then roll that ball down a steep hill towards a town called Stupid and make the lot of them explode in the worlds biggest stupid explosion.

That’s how stupid this post by WoW insider is.

The premise of the post is that there is now too much trolling on the official Blizzard forums against their hero and knight in shining armor, Ghostcrawler. For those of you who may not know who Ghostcrawler is, he works for Blizzard. He posts a lot on the class design forum. He does this not because he likes or cares about us but because it helps him to do his job as a game designer. is now all upset at this so called trolling. You can tell that they are upset due to their posting of a thread titled, “How the WoW community is about to push the self destruct button.” It’s as if 20% of coke customers were upset and vocal about coke changing the flavor of their product and a third party who loved coke warned that if these people continued with their complaints then coke might stop responding to them.

Oh, really?

Lets go through the post and have a look at some interesting bits. The writer, Adam Holisky, starts off with saying that this post is going to be meta in some regards. Meta in its level of stupidity maybe, but I digress. They then say that they’ve written this article in the hopes that it might calm the waters. Jesus, I’d hate to see how they would attempt to put out a fire. Throw burning oil onto it maybe. He goes on:

” … Ghostcrawler and in the past a few people like him, post on the role forums daily in an effort to establish a dialogue with the community over some, but not all, game design principals…”

This is misleading in the sense of what Blizzards motive is in having employees like Ghostcrawler post. People seem to forget that Blizzard is part of a large multi-national company. They are interested in profit. They do not care about their players. They want you to play their game. They will do anything they can to make players play their game and continue with their subscriptions. They know that a core percentage of players, the hard-core gamers, the ones who have been with WoW since the beginning are unhappy with the games increasingly casual direction. They want to keep these gamers in WoW for two reasons – their subscription fees and for the fact that these players are the ones who will always play video games. Blizzard is working on their next big MMO. They want these players. They will need these players. The forum is the carrot on the stick for these players. Blizzard has established a “dialogue with the community” entirely for their own benefit. They’re not doing it because they like and care about us. They’re doing it so that they get feedback which they can use to keep us in the game and to shut us up by letting us be heard. They are not about to close it down.

” … However, a minority of the players, which have recently developed a very loud voice, are not pleased with the direction and development of the game; especially those that have been around the entire time the past five years. While this vocal minority have many legitimate issues, some which truly do deserve to be addressed, they risk having not only themselves but the entire system of direct designer interaction shut down over their inappropriate and abusive tactics… “

This is bullshit. See reasoning above.

“… The attacks are inappropriate and a complete distraction from the real questions and concerns the community needs to have addressed…”

The real questions that the community needs to have addressed have been ignored, brushed over or put off for some time now. I think that it’s prefectly reasonable for the community to be getting a little impatient.

Now we get to the bit which calls, “Solving the Problem.” The first part is:

The community needs to do a few things, and these things need to happen soon.

” … First, the inappropriate commentary needs to either be shot down en masse, or it just needs to be ignored…”

I see. Ignored by whom exactly? Because Blizzard has been ignoring us on a number of issues for quite a while now. But even more incredible,’s solution for so called “trolling” is for everybody else to … troll them. Brillant.

“… Secondly, the community as a whole needs to understand that it doesn’t have a solid grasp on class balance and general game design. The topics are infinitely complex, often times requiring high level education to understand completely; especially in such a huge system like WoW…”

This, I think, is the most stupid part of their whole article. So what is saying is that the solution to this problem is to understand that we don’t know anything about the game. Apparently we all need “high level education.” Damn, I wish that I had finished grade school instead of going to work in those coal mines …
The wow community has to be the most informed, interested, up to date and intelligent video game community on the internet. One look at elitist jerks is enough to tell you that. MMO Champion seems to be plugged in to Blizzards own database from what I can understand, not to mention the myriad of excellent bloggers who happen to know what they are talking about. Shall I add the fact that only a few days ago when Hunger for Blood was nerfed, Ghostcrawler himself, the guy that says knows more than all of us about everything said:

” … To the community’s credit, some players predicted these issues might become a problem. We appreciate the feedback as always, even if we don’t always immediately make changes suggested by the community…”

The article goes on to say:

” … The community is not entitled to run the game. The fact that we all have a unique and valuable opportunity to engage in discussion about its direction is not a blank check to demand change…”

Actually, yes we do. Blizzard created this situation themselves the first time that the community demanded a change and they rolled over and did it for them. If you create a precedent then you have to live with it. The article then demands that Blizzard set up some roving police style forum moderators to allow Ghostcrawler to get back to posting about more important stuff. Because, and this is the best bit:

” … While it’s obvious that trollish parts of the community value participating in internet yelling matches, the majority of the community does not care to hear it. We bring this issue up and to the forefront on popular WoW media because it’s imperative for the health of the community that this vocal minority does not control or continue to influence the quiet majority…”

You morons. The quiet majority don’t even know that the forums exist, let alone sites like The quiet majority do not care about these issues. They will just play the game until something else takes their fancy. They are kept in the game with gimmicks like panda pets. Blizzard uses the forums to keep the vocal minority in the game. The forum is a marketing tool. It is a device and it is serving its purpose. The majority of the community does not hear these internet arguements because they are not even watching. Does this mean that I agree with everything written in the forums? Does this mean that I think that all the forum posters are intelligent rational people?

No fucking way. There are some loopy cats in that place.

But even Ghostcrawler acknowledges in the thread that started this whole mess off that:

” … I’m not here for customer service. Look to a different forum for that. Getting information from the community helps me to do my job. I am here mostly selfishly. If you don’t have somewhat thick skin and can’t get into a debate on class issues, this probably isn’t a good forum for you. If you want, you can spend time in your class forums. I’ll never bother you there. Those are for players to share information with other players…”

You have to have a thick skin in that forum. And that goes for him too, I would say. And it seems from this comment that Ghostcrawler relies on the community in order to do his job properly. This, the same community that thinks should be quiet because game design is far above our poorly educated heads.

I have to wonder at’s motive for posting this article. Either they are complete morons, which is entirely possible, or AOL is hoping to sell it off to someone else and wants to see a short term spike in internet use so it can up its price. If this article does only one thing it will confirm that has nothing to do with Blizzard as Blizzard would never publish this sort of rambling fanboy nonsense. And that is what this opinion piece is, fanboy nonsense. Holisky seems to feel that we all should feel gratefull that the almighty Blizzard is demeaning itself to even listen to us poor mortals. He can’t stand the thought that somebody could rock his precious apple-cart and send it tumbling to the ground. It’s not enough that we have to pay money for a game that is constantly changing in ways that a good many people are dis-satisfied with. No, we have to feel grateful and be humble in their presence as well. We have to be grateful that Ghostcrawler even listens to us.

The problem is that Ghostcrawler is an okay community manager coupled with a mediocre game designer. He gets lost on the fine details and seems to be unable to see the big picture even when it is pointed out to him. It seems that you need to bash him over the head with a big stick for him to notice something, and even then he gets it wrong. Oh sure, he can come up with witty remarks, but is that his job? The endless class tinkering is just painful to watch. It seems like the WoW design team don’t know what they’re doing. They’re not planning things out, they’re reacting to problems. You don’t problem solve by reacting to problems, you problem solve by identifying problems before they materialise. Players playing death knights seem to be particularly aggrieved this patch, but the mistake was not the nerf. The mistake was creating a hero class in the first place. What were the design team thinking? That this would lead to balanced play? Couple that with arenas and you have big problems. The forums have always been a scary place populated by sad pathetic souls, but all this tinkering has caused the level of noise to rise because they have so much material to complain about. To blame the rising noise level on “trolls” is missing the point. Why is the noise level rising? Because the live design team is second rate and it is starting to show. Couple that with fact that with so many tinkering changes Blizzard has decided to tell the general population to “Check the forums” instead of posting changes in the start-up menu and you have a potential big problem heading your way. The ironic thing is that the vast majority of players do not check the forums or any other online resource, but with the continual stream of little fixes, not checking these resources and still understanding what is going on is getting to be impossible. I remember a period a few months ago when it seemed that every time you logged on your talent points had been reset to zero. I actually went into a raid once unaware that I didn’t have any talent points assigned.

I read every one of the pages in that 25 page thread on the Blzzard forum. It was a slog, but I needed to do it in order to be informed before posting this. What seems to be happening is that the term “troll” has been taken out of context. An internet troll is someone who deliberately takes an opposing point of view not in order to stimulate discussion but to stir up conflict and get attention. But now it seems that anyone who takes an opposing point of view seems to be labelled a troll. Just look at the comments on that article that I linked. Almost every single post critising Holisky’s article has been downgraded and faded out, no matter how well written or insightful. And in that 25 page thread on the Blizzard forum there are very few troll posts. There are however, a great many that are insightful, well written and yet take an opposing point of view.

Blizzard has been paying lip service to their core fan base for a number of years now. A high number of players that I know have left the game due to dis-satisfaction with game direction and design. They loved the game but could not put up with the myriad of issues anymore. That is their free choice, if you don’t like the game leave. But the class role forums are the last place for players who are desperate to be heard and if Blizzard does nothing to at least acknowledge their issues then I wonder in the long run who in fact will be pushing that self destruct button.

Daraia over at Ravenholdt Manor tagged me in a meme. I’m supposed to tag other bloggers that I know but it seems that they have all been tagged. I’m not one for this sort of thing, but for once in my life I will co-operate. My wife would be proud.

What did you do in the World of Warcraft in 2009 that you’d never done before?

I could say that I started this blog, but that isn’t in World of Warcraft as the question states. In 2009 I founded my own guild with a good in-game friend. They also made me GM. I ruled with the carrot/stick routine, minus the carrot.

What was your favorite new place that you visited?

I took a break for a few months when Wrath of the Lich King was released last November, so I didn’t see Northrend until this year. My favorite part? It’s a close call between Grizzly Hills and Howling Fjiord. I like the Grizzly Hills music better, so we can go with that.

What would you like to have in 2010 that you lacked in 2009?

Acknoledgement from Blizzard that this game has moved beyond being a great MMO to being purely a cash-cow based on the numbers, and that their new MMO will cater once again for old school gamers to begin the cycle anew.

What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Creating a new guild.

What was your biggest failure?

Letting that guild fold.

What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Northrend, like duh.

What do you wish you’d done less of?

Logging on aimlessly for no reason.

What was your favorite WoW blog or podcast?

I discovered the Greedy Goblin this year. I think he’s great because he’s so original and loves pushing the boundaries.

Tell us a valuable WoW lesson you learned in 2009.

The search for new daggers is futile. No wait; people with Kung-Fu pandas are to be avoided. Not bad, but in the end I’ll go with; If you post recount stats in guild chat while on a PUG run you are off my Christmas list.

Thursday is my day off which coincided well with the release of patch 3.3 yesterday. After lunch I jumped online to see what was up for offer. The first thing was to check my addons. At this point in time, Deadly Boss mods and Atlasloot have been updated and are working fine. Omen3 and recount have not. The next thing was to get my attunement for the Frozen Halls 5 man dungeon. I used the new looking for group feature which uses your realms battlegroup to find players for you to run the instance with. It was a bit slow, we had a 10 minute wait at one point to find another tank, but it worked quite well. As recount is not working I was not able to compare damage charts, but our group which had a hunter and shadow priest with me for DPS worked well. The hunter was mostly geared in lvl 245 gear and we had no problems running through the three dungeon wings. A lot of plate dropped. In fact, only plate dropped. And a two handed hammer. And a tanking cape. Sucks to be us. The dungeon was interesting, and I must say that I like attunements. Also the emblems really start piling up quickly.

I am still specced combat and I am going to stay that way unless I get some awesome dagger drops. I will be the lone rogue flying the combat flag. Yey me. The big news though is the daily raid quest. This awards 5 emblems of frost and 5 triumph. Holy crapparoony. Today all you have to do is take down Ignis the Furnace master. You can do it in 10 or 25 man, heroic or normal. I think that this is a game changing feature. You will be able to use this to gear up to raid without being in a raiding guild. And seeing as I am now guildless, this will be a nice little experiment for me to try out. The Looking for Group interface does not list raids anymore. For that you need to go into the new raid browser. Here is a guide.

The other big news? The next wing of Icecrown opens in 28 days. As I thought, Blizzard is going to string this one out. They say that the next one will be released quicker. Yeah, it’ll be 25 days.

I still have to run the Heroic version of the new 5 man instance, which I’m planning on doing tonight. The normal version was not that challenging – it was a lot of fun, but we never even looked like wiping. I have heard that the Heroic version is a good deal harder, we shall see this evening. What else? Apart from a constant stream of players spamming chat for Battered Hilts, that’s about it. Encrypted Text has a post up listing the new gear in the patch. Have fun wading through all of that. One thing about the gear, they are really pushing Haste and armor penetration. As Chase says, Hit is becoming a rare stat in Wrath end game.

Me? I’m hoping to find some new swords. Bugger those dagegrs for a joke.

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