Category Archives: Information

Maybe I Could Like Mists of Pandaria…

I’m reading through WoW Insider this morning catching up on all the newly released Mists News, and I picked out some of the things that stood out to me. All of the quotes and information I’m getting come from WoW Insider’s coverage of Mists, so you should check out the whole thing (it’s a lot!).

The Tillers are hardworking, salt-of-the-earth types who provide the rest of the pandaren with their food, but they’re too busy to take care of some local problems, like the virmen. Help them out and you can become a Tiller too, complete with your own plot of land. Yes, you heard right — your very own farm.

 When I was leveling in Westfall, someone mentioned “farming.” At that time, I asked my husband how I could get a farm, and he laughed. Well, they’re 6 years late, but I CAN GET MY FREAKING FARM!

Wait, did I just say beer elementals? Yes. In fact, they’re called “alementals.” This should give you a pretty good idea of the more light-hearted feel of this zone. While it’s not necessarily true that you won’t run into more serious threats in the Valley of the Four Winds, as a Blizzard rep said, “I’ve saved the world a bunch of times. I’m OK with saving the beer right now.”

That last quote, FTW.

While the art was not completed for the press preview, the developers did reveal that the reward for collecting all of the gold medals was a unique mount styled after the qilin from real world mythology.

I love mounts, I like achievements, and I like being challenged. Bring on challenge modes, I say.

The artifact sits in the center of the map. Whoever claims the artifact must hold onto it as long as possible — a difficult task, since not only is the opposing team trying to kill you and recover the artifact for themselves, but the artifact also causes a constantly increasing amount of damage over time to its bearer. The longer you hold it, the more dangerous holding it becomes. Once the bearer of the artifact dies, it falls to the floor and another player of either faction may pick it up.

 [...]

 The Silvershard Mine uses the Payload ruleset from Team Fortress 2. Players must escort a cart of resources from one end of the map to the other as quickly as possible. The cart only progresses forward when its owners are standing near it. The opposing team must stall the cart’s progress as much as possible to prevent a timely capture.

This is AWESOME. I can’t wait to get into these battlegrounds. I love new objective mechanics. I’m a dork like that. I hated Isle of Conquest, though; these sound much better.

To respec, you no longer return to your class trainer and pay a lump sum of gold. You swap out talents exactly the same way you do with glyphs right now. You purchase an item, spend that item to clear a tier of talents, then pick the new one. If you only want to change your level 45 talent, then you only change your level 45 talent. Forgetting one does not cause you to forget them all.

Regardless of how I feel about the new talents (and I’m still meh on them right now), being able to change just one point without going to a trainer is a huge quality of life change. Yes, I realize this wouldn’t be possible in our current talent system. NO, I DON’T CARE. /QQ.

…the appearance options are broken down differently. You choose a category (such as Hair), and then that category expands into a full-sized bar on the screen. That bar is filled with thumbnails displaying the various options.

 [...]

 Additionally, in the bottom right-hand side of the screen, there is a small gameplay video for your chosen class so you can see a little bit of how the game plays in action before you settle on it.

I like this a lot. The character customization process has needed a little love. Not that I’ll find time to make more characters…or will I?

Chris Metzen kicked off the Mists of Pandaria press event by explaining the tone and narrative goals of the expansion. Players have voiced concern because Mists of Pandaria does not have a clear, global threat in the vein of the Lich King or Deathwing.

 [...]

 Mists of Pandaria itself, the game that comes in the box, will be a full, contained story. The entire arc of Mists of Pandaria will be there when you install the game, before any content patches at all. The content patches will be treated as sequels to that story.

 [...]

 While the steps taking us there are still unknown, Metzen did reveal that the war waged in those patches will reach a massive conclusion: We will lay siege to Orgrimmar to remove the mantle of warchief from Garrosh Hellscream’s shoulders.

This was one of my chief concerns when they announced the expansion, so I’m glad to see it addressed straight out. I like the idea of having a complete story and then adding to it. And who doesn’t want to go overthrow Garrosh? I’m down.

…you will be getting an 11th character slot for your monk.

While I’m very glad I will be able to roll a monk without deleting anything I currently have, I’m a little disappointed. They had talked about doing a 50 character limit but not limiting it per server. I’d like to see that, or a much larger server cap, like 15 or 20. I’ve played on the same server for 6 years. I know people there, I’m not currently keen to roll elsewhere.

This is now what will make me roll my Pandaren. I only play female characters (I can’t get used to the way male characters walk. Sorry, guys. I still like you and all, you just walk funny), and I am THRILLED with this model. I can’t wait to create mine now.

I didn’t spend a lot of time actually playing a druid, but I did hear a bit of interesting news while I was playing other classes, so I hopped onto my premade druid to find out for myself. I was able to confirm that, yes, there are some minor glyphs druids are going to absolutely adore. Here they are:

  • Glyph of Stars: Transforms your Moonkin Form into Astral Form. This glyph essentially makes your character appear as a spirit instead of a moonkin. You look very nearly like you do while dead — but people can see you this time. And your armor, for that matter.
  • Glyph of the Orca: Transforms your Aquatic Form into an orca. This one is pretty straightforward. Remember those orcas in Northrend? Yeah. Much better than your weird snarling rubbery seal.
  • Glyph of the Chameleon: Gives you a random appearance when you shift into Bear or Cat Form. Essentially, this one gives you a random coloring every time you shift. Great for breaking up the monotony of locked-in bear/cat coloring.
  • Glyph of the Stag: Transforms your Travel Form into a stag that other players can mount. Yes, that’s right. Your pals can ride you while you’re in Travel Form, and you’re also a stag instead of the clearly-inferior cheetah.
  • Glyph of the Tree: Lets you transform into Treant Form.

 So these basically own, right?

Breaking this down one by one:

    • Glyph of Stars: I actually like my moonkin form, but I understand why those who don’t would love this. And who knows, the option of switching back and forth might appeal to me. It’s an option, and since they’re minor, it’s not like we have anything better to stick there. Might as well have something fun.
    • Glyph of the Orca: YES. Yes, yes, yes, yes. I love that.
    • Glyph of the Chameleon: Also yes. I will absolutely get this if I end up going feral, which is actually on the table right now.
    • Glyph of the Stag: HOLY CRAP. Putting aside all the “mount” jokes, this is ridiculously awesome. Yes, Michael Sacco, this basically owns.
    • Glyph of the Tree: Like permanently? I can go back to my favorite tree form for good? I CAN SINGLE-HANDEDLY BRING THE TWIST BACK TO MY GUILD?!!! Sign me up. Done. Sold. I like the aesthetic of the new tree form, I really do, but my in-game identity was that treant form for 3 years. I miss it.
Other tidbits: I’m looking forward to pet battles. I don’t care if you think they’re childish. I played Bejeweled when it was an in-game addon (anyone remember that?).  I think it’s going to be a blast.

The new zones look and sound cool. I’m eager to try them out.

Have I warmed up to Mists? I think I have. I’m not on the edge of my seat like I was for Wrath and Cata, but yeah, I’m ready to see what it’s all about.

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5 Tips for Every Raider

“Five Things” returns with a post inspired by my GM (/RL/Overlord), Boomslang.

I’ve touched on similar topics before, like applying to and impressing your guild, but this is going to focus specifically on raiders. There are different classes, different roles, different buffs and rotations and responsibilities, but there are some things all raiders need to do.

Best. Edit. Ever. Thanks, Goph.

1. Learn the Strat. If you raid regularly with your guild, you know which bosses are progression. You know which bosses you’re comfortable with and which still give you trouble. It’s your responsibility to learn everything you can about these fights and your role in them. Chances are, someone in your guild has posted links to boss strategies and videos in your forums, but if not, there are lots of websites out there with guides and videos.

Not only can you learn the basic boss strat, there’s also usually information out there about how you can maximize your class’s or spec’s performance on the boss in question. Look for “<insert class here> POV” videos to see how other people playing your class are doing the fight.

If you don’t run with a guild, it’s still worth learning the basic strategies for PuGs or LFR; believe me, your group will appreciate it. This goes doubly for LFR tanks.

Strat sites: Tankspot, IcyVeins, Learn to Raid, Manaflask

Hey, could happen.

2. Show Up (or notify!). If you commit to raid, it’s like an appointment or a date. Hopefully you wouldn’t assure your boss or significant other that you will be there at a certain time and then not show up, so don’t do that to your fellow raiders.  Sometimes real life happens. If something gets in the way of you making it to your raid on time, let someone know if you can through an in-game message or a post on your guild forums.

If it’s a short-notice emergency, at least touch base with your raid leader afterwards. “Sorry I didn’t make it to the raid; we lost power for 4 hours because a giant ninja panda karate kicked down the power plant,” is fine (as long as it’s true…).

3. Know Your Class. Some guilds are going to require you to perform at your absolute A-Game best. Some aren’t. But pretty much every raid you go to you are going to be expected to play your class appropriately. You might not know everything yet or you might not have figured out how to execute everything perfectly (and that’s okay), but you need to have an understanding of your basic stats, rotations, gear choices, and utilities.

If you want to be an okay raider, you can stop there. As long as you’re fulfilling your role adequately, you’ll probably be fine, at least for a while. But if you want to be a good raider, keep learning. Don’t get too satisfied. Find out how to maximize your dps, how to use your cooldowns in each boss fight to maximize your survivability, or how to conserve mana while still keeping the raid or tanks alive.

I’m not where I need to be dps-wise. I’m not where I want to be, and you can be sure I’m going to keep finding ways to improve.

Basic class guides: ElitistJerks, Noxxic 

4. Know the Loot Rules. It seems so minor, but I’ve seen more outbursts over loot than probably anything else in the game. If you’re raiding with a guild, chances are they’ve posted the loot rules somewhere. If you can’t find them, ask someone! If you know how the loot’s going to work before you ever get started, there won’t be any surprises.

If you’re running with a PuG or have been picked up to supplement someone else’s guild, clarify the loot rules beforehand. Open rolls? Is anything reserved? Is it okay to hit “disenchant?” Save everyone some drama and find out.

5. Be a Team Player. It sounds trite, but trite doesn’t mean untrue. You are one of 10 or one of 25 raiders. If you could solo the bosses, you would, but you can’t. Be respectful of your fellow raiders. Don’t publicly insult them. Don’t act like you’re the best thing that ever happened to them. Do what you can to help them. Let them give you advice without being defensive. If you have a problem with something, go through the proper channels. Don’t stir up unnecessary drama.

TL;DR: Be the raider you want everyone else in your raid to be. 

Thanks @__ashima and @aerix88 for suggesting Noxxic and Manaflask (and the other sites you mentioned!). Our guild resource guide is coming along nicely. <3

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Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm

This post was re-written for patch 4.3 on 2/13/2012. 

Important Note: Noobkin to Boomkin is a quickstart resource for moonkin raiding compiled from my favorite sites and theorycrafters. You’ll find links to all of these sites at the bottom of this page. If you really want to be a competitive moonkin raider, you need to read them.

Speccing

If you want a straight spec to get started with, this will serve you decently:

Functional Raiding Spec:

Balance

Nature’s Grace – 3/3
Starlight Wrath – 3/3
Nature’s Majesty – 2/2
Genesis – 3/3
Balance of Power – 2/2
Euphoria – 2/2
Moonkin Form – 1/1
Typhoon – 1/1
Shooting Stars – 2/2
Owlkin Frenzy – 2/3
Gale Winds – 2/2
Solar Beam – 1/1
Dreamstate – 2/2
Force of Nature – 1/1
Sunfire – 1/1
Earth and Moon – 1/1
Fungal Growth – 2/2
Starfall – 1/1

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter – 2/2
Heart of the Wild – 3/3
Perseverance – 3/3
Master Shapeshifter – 1/1

Some talents are going to be situational, and some are going to cater to your playstyle more than others. If you would like to get the barebones spec and customize it, these are the most highly recommended talents:

Balance

Nature’s Grace
Starlight Wrath
Nature’s Majesty
Genesis
Balance of Power
Euphoria
Moonkin form
Typhoon
Shooting Stars
Dreamstate
Force of Nature
Sunfire
Earth and Moon
Starfall

Resto

Natural Shapeshifter
Heart of the Wild
Master Shapeshifter

When following our normal single-target rotation, mana shouldn’t be much of an issue. If you find yourself having mana problems, though, hop over to the Feral tree and pick up Furor.

Glyphs

Prime Glyphs

Glyph of Moonfire

Glyph of Insect Swarm

Glyph of Wrath

Glyph of Starsurge is useful but  situational. Read up on it before you decide to choose it over Wrath.

Major Glyphs

Glyph of Rebirth

Glyph of Starfall

There are only two mandatory ones, so you’re going to pick one of the following. Personally, I think you should choose from either Glyph of Focus or Glyph of Solar Beam to start out with.

Glyph of Thorns has a specific use, so if you’re interested you’ll need to read about it first. You probably won’t be innervating other people often since you’ll prefer to innervate yourself for Dreamstate, so Glyph of Innervate isn’t that appealing.

Minor Glyphs

Glyph of Unburdened Rebirth

The minor glyphs are completely a matter of preference, but Unburdened Rebirth is the most useful. After that, choose two of the following: Glyph of Typhoon, Glyph of Dash, Glyph of Mark of the Wild.

Rotation

I can’t stress enough that if you want to be truly competitive, you need to read, read, read and learn to maximize Eclipse. It is the single largest source of our DPS. Love it or hate it, we have to use it. Understanding Eclipse, managing it, and playing to it is priority 1.

That said, this will get you started.

Quick Start Single-Target Rotation

1. Open with Insect Swarm and Moonfire
2. Cast Starsurge
3. Cast Starfire until Solar Eclipse
4. Cast Wrath until Lunar Eclipse

If you’re just learning how to moonkin, focus on re-applying Insect Swarm and Moonfire/Sunfire when they fall off the target.

Cast Starsurge every time it comes off cooldown or when Shooting Stars procs, which removes its cooldown and makes it instant cast.

Use Starfall and Force of Nature when their cooldowns end.

Note on Force of Nature: Treants are buffed by Heroism/Bloodlust, but if you can get them out two or more times during the fight, don’t wait for it.

If you’re ready to start playing with Eclipse, here’s what changes:

–DoT Management

Instead of re-applying DoTs just every time they fall off, you should try to re-apply while you’re in an Eclipse state. You need a timer for this, there’s no getting around it. See Add-Ons at the bottom for suggestions.

If your DoTs are going to fall off during an Eclipse, perfect. Re-apply them. If they are going to fall off between Eclipses, you’ll need to re-apply just before you leave the Eclipse you’re currently in, even if they have time left on them.

This will require you having a familiarity with how long it takes you to get from one Eclipse to the next so that you’re not re-applying unnecessarily. You can calculate cast times, but your best bet is to go out there and practice with it until you can reasonably predict it 90% of the time.

–Starsurge & Starfall Planning

You don’t have to (and shouldn’t) wait for an Eclipse to cast Starsurge. However, if you’re just a cast away from entering an Eclipse when Shooting Stars procs or Starsurge comes off cooldown, go ahead and cast Wrath/Starfire, hit the Eclipse, and then cast Starsurge.

Similarly with Starfall, if you can get Starfall casts to fall in line with Lunar Eclipse, do, but don’t hold off casting it for a long time just to get it into the Eclipse.

Multi-Dotting

If you have more than one boss, or multiple mobs during a boss fight, apply Moonfire/Sunfire and Insect Swarm to all of them, preferably Eclipsed. A perfect example is the Blackhorn fight in Dragon Soul, where you can follow your normal rotation while you fight the dragons but also keep DoTs on the melee and sappers.

Pretty much if it moves and you’re allowed to DoT it, do.

AoE Rotation

 Our best AoE Rotation is a combination of AoE and multi-dotting.

1. Start in Solar Eclipse (or get to it as quickly as possible).
2. Wild Mushrooms
3. Sunfire…everything.
4. Repeat 2 & 3 until all you see are corpses.

Note: You can cast single-target and maintain Solar Eclipse by casting Starfire. Because Starfire only moves the bar towards Solar, it will allow you to sit there indefinitely. You don’t want to do this for too long, though; as casting Starfire on a single target during the wrong Eclipse is a dps loss.

Stat Priority

Intellect > Spirit/Hit to 17% > Haste > Mastery > Crit

Very simply, Intellect is our best stat. I see these as three categories: Intellect is in a class by itself. It’s the best. Spirit/Hit is also in a class by itself, because its value is necessary until you hit the cap, and then it’s useless.

Haste, Mastery, and Crit are your secondary stats, and Haste always comes above the other two, with Mastery coming in above Crit after that.

Gems, Enchants, & Reforging

I prefer to use WrathCalcs (Rawr is also useful) to determine how to gem, enchant, and reforge before I lay down a bunch of gold or mats, but these can be used as general guidelines.

Note: Remember to check your professions and make sure that you don’t have a better gem option (JC’s) or enchanting option (Enchanters, Leatherworkers, etc.) for your items.

Gems

Note: Don’t forget to put an Ebonsteel Belt Buckle on your belt before gemming.

Meta: Burning Shadowspirit Diamond

Red: Brilliant Inferno Ruby (or Queen’s Garnet, if you have it)

Yellow: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If socket bonus is +20, Reckless Ember Topaz (or Lava Coral)

Blue: If the socket bonus is less than +20 Intellect, Brilliant Inferno. If the socket bonus is +20 or greater, Purified Demonseye.

Prismatic: Brilliant Inferno

Reforging

WrathCalcs/Rawr is seriously helpful in getting this exactly where you want it, but here are some guidelines:

  • If you need hit, reforge Crit to Spirit/Hit first. If you still need hit, reforge some Mastery to Spirit/Hit until you reach the hit cap.
  • If you’re above the hit cap, reforge Spirit/Hit to Haste. If the piece already has Haste, reforge Spirit/Hit to Mastery. If the piece has Haste and Mastery—well, honestly, move on to a different piece.
  • If your hit is balanced, you can tweak with this: if a piece has Crit but not Haste, reforge Crit to Haste. If a piece has Crit and Haste, reforge Crit to Mastery.

Enchants

Head: Arcanum of Hyjal
Shoulders: Greater Inscription of Charged Lodestone
Chest: Peerless Stats
Back: Greater Intellect
Bracers: Mighty Intellect
Gloves: Haste
Legs: Powerful Ghostly Spellthread
Boots: Lavawalker
Offhand: SuperiorIntellect

Don’t forget that if you’re an Enchanter, you can enchant your rings.

Add-Ons

Add-ons are a matter of personal preference, but to make the most of your moonkin, you need some version of the following:

  • A DoT timer
  • A way to monitor Eclipse

Right now, I use NeedtoKnow to manage DoTs and cooldowns and Balance Power Tracker to monitor Eclipse, but poke around for what works best for you. Squawk and Awe, DoTimer, SexyCooldown, and Power Auras are all useful options.

Resources

As I said in the beginning, this is a collection of information designed to be quick start reference, not an end-all guide to raiding as a moonkin. If you want to learn advanced rotations, min/maxing, playstyles, and boss-specific strats, you need to check out these sites:

Elitist Jerks > Druids > [Balance] Cataclysm 4.3
WoW Insider: Shifting Perspectives
Gray Matter
The Moonkin Repository

For itemizing, consider using one of these:

Rawr
WrathCalcs

Good luck and great dancing to you all. :-)

 

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*Secret Santa!* 2011 – Expectations & Resolutions for a New Year of WoW

About a week ago, names were secretly exchanged and WoW bloggers everywhere began to formulate what to write for their yearly Blog Azeroth Secret Santa guest post. This year, Redhawks from Redhawk’s Gaze is my Secret Santa, and this post has two of the things I love: lists and lolcats! Thank you for your post, Redhawk, and I hope you have a great New Year, in-game and out!

2011 – Expectations and Resolutions for a New Year of WoW

A Secret Santa Guest Post from Redhawks from Redhawk’s Gaze

WoW players, especially raiders, are always looking forward to the next thing.  Whether it is the next raid boss kill, the next Tier of content, or the newest gear, we have our vision always set forward.  As we are approaching 2011, I thought about looking at what I hope is coming down the road for WoW and moonkins in general as well as some personal resolutions for the New Year in terms of WoW.

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When Heroics Really Are Heroic

I hope you enjoyed (or are enjoying!) your trip to level 85 so far. I loved every second of it, but from what I understand, I was lucky. My cutscenes all worked beautifully and I never had a bugged quest. Still, the stories in the new Cataclysm zones are awesome, and I hope you get to experience all of them.

I hit 85 on Thursday. On Saturday afternoon, I finished my first heroic (Stonecore) with a group of friends. These are players I know are extremely competent in their classes and roles, and yet we wiped several times–Ozruk alone got us about 5 or 6 times. Was it bad luck? Were my friends drunk? (trust me, it’s a valid question).

Nope. Heroics once again require practice and skill. Yes, we were running at the bare minimum gear requirement, but that actually had very little to do with it. While some of the encounters would certainly have been faster were we doing 12k dps instead of 6-8k, the mechanics of the fights themselves will keep these bosses from being trivial for quite some time.

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Blizzcon From Home Part 2: The Bigger It Is, the Better

I’m talking about your TV, of course; why, what did you think I meant?

If you’ve purchased the Blizzcon Virtual Ticket live stream (if you have DirectTV, congratulations, this is the one time of year it’s awesome), watching it from your computer isn’t enough (unless you’re stuck at work and you’re getting one over on “the man” by watching it in your cubicle; that’s cool). Let’s face it, most people who play WoW at least have a comfortable relationship with technology, so there isn’t an excuse for not watching Blizzcon on the big screen.

Let me introduce you to some new friends!

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Noobkin to Boomkin: Pre-Cataclysm

>>>This guide has been updated for level 85! Please see Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm!<<<

 

This guide is now outdated. Please refer to Noobkin to Boomkin: Cataclysm for information pertaining to level 85 raiding.

Patch 4.0.1 is the topic across almost every blog this month, and for good reason–this patch is going to dramatically change our specs, stats, glyphs, gems, and rotations.

Note: Sometimes you just want the basics. “What can I do to walk into this raid tonight prepared on my boomkin alt?” or “I don’t really know the class well yet, what can I do to survive until I have more experience?” That’s what I’m all about here. If you’re looking for the straight facts–what spec, what enchants, what gems–you’ll find that information in the blue text.

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More Than a Mercenary: Questing in Cataclysm Beta

Since I came out so lukewarm on the moonkin changes in my previous post, I wanted to write about something about which I have no complaints: the questing redesign.

To be fair, I had no serious qualms about questing before. In fact, I’ve always kind of preferred questing to dungeon running. I’m an efficient quester, I enjoy getting into the groove and soloing, and I especially love the exploration, discovery, and the stories in the game.

I think the fact that I like questing only  made the redesign that much more awesome to me. It’s like having a reservation in your favorite hotel and then getting unexpectedly upgraded to a suite to boot.

***Spoiler alert! I try not to give away too much, but if you’re shielding yourself from all Cataclysm quests and story information, this is NOT the post for you!*** Continue reading

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Initial Reactions to Boomkin in the Beta

Numbers and I don’t get along (some of you already know this embarrassingly well). I created TLBC to take the very math-driven things I read elsewhere, learn how to apply them, and then chew up that information and spit it out in easy-to-swallow chunks (ewww, I know, sorry).

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of that I can do when it comes to beta.

***Spoiler alert: While there are no story spoilers within, there are screenshots from and obviously lots of talk about the Cataclysm Beta. Proceed at your own risk!***

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Reactions to the Latest Cataclysm Info

Quick Intro: Last night Blizzard released info to their official fansites and announced a few changes from the original Cataclysm described in Blizzcon 2009. I’m not going to go into the details of each change; you can find those at MMO Champion and WoW Insider.

Adding my voice to the chorus of opinions on the WoW blogosphere this week, here’s what I think about each change, point-by-point (I apologize for the very girly coloring, but I swear it helped me organize my thoughts. Also made me feel like throwing on some lip gloss): Continue reading

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