Continuing their trend of improvements no one actually asked for (hello, combat log!), Blizzard today released pages on all the raids and dungeons to be found in Burning Crusade, with the notable exceptions of Magister's Terrace and Sunwell Plateau (but maybe they'll come later). For each dungeon or raid, the pages have the following information: location, number of players, level range, associated faction, theme (Karazhan, for instance, is "Haunted Wizard's Tower"), key, reset timer, number of badges, abbreviation, final boss, and a link to the loot table.
None of that information is new to experienced players, but it will probably help those new to the high-level game. The real draw of the pages, for me, is the nice explanations of the backstories behind some areas and individuals, which is helfpul because I haven't fully played Warcraft III yet (though I am working on it; I'm in the middle of the expansion right now). Blizz also promises that the pages will feature dedicated screenshot galleries for each instance soon.
Some of the abbreviations are not consistent with what I'm used to. For instance, Old Hillsbrad is given as "Old Hills;" I've never seen anyone say that. Not that I talk about that place a lot, but usually it's OHB. They put "SC" for what I always call "SSC," and although I have seen "Ramparts", "HFR" or "Ramps" is more common on my server. But the rest of the information is (of course) correct, and I always like it when Blizzard fleshes out their sadly neglected official site. Neglected in some parts, anyway -- have you had a look at the class descriptions lately?
Be alert, hunters: Growl isn't casting first anymore, and it's making aggro touchy. Mania, that hunter maven and proprietor of Mania's Arcania, breaks the news. It's unclear (especially to me, since I don't have a hunter past level 26) if this is actually new or just a consequence of the new combat log system that rolled out in patch 2.4 but if it is new, it could be a nasty surprise for you hunters out soloing.
Mania goes over the list of reports, some arguing for better pet aggro, some worse, and specifically singles out boars as possibly suffering the most since growl scales with pet AP and the boar's charge ability adds AP to the pet's next attack. If that attack is growl, yay, more aggro! If that attack is not, boo, less aggro.
Okay, so technically Waaagh! is a Warhammer Online blog, but we'll forgive Syp this time, if only because S/he writes a pretty good article about choosing your character's name. The first part of it is, to me at least, good common sense. Don't choose a name you'll regret or a name that looks overly bad to other people. Naming after real life celebrities can get a bit tired. Naming your character "something naughty" is probably just going to make most people think you haven't cleared puberty yet. And yeah, it might be funny to call your character Rickroll NOW, but when Rickrolling is the next "All Your Base", everyone on the internet is going to point and laugh at you for being old and busted.
The second part has some excellent ways to comb for new names, some of which many veterans already know, but it's a good compilation, and gave me a few ideas for my next name search. I can confirm to anyone who doubts it that Syp's Rule of Three really is true. I have known only 1 or 2 people who have been able to avoid having their name reduced to a 3 or 4 letter nickname that is used almost constantly in place of the whole thing. You can't avoid it, so sometimes it's not that bad to go with the flow and plan your name around it. Same thing with the similar names across characters thing. It works pretty well, if you like the idea, but woe to you if you accidentally take someone's naming scheme and join their guild or group of friends!
If you're having trouble thinking of a new name, or plan to roll a character at some point in the future, give the article a read. It's pretty keen.
April Fool's Days of Blizzard's past - Mon, 31 Mar 2008 17:00:00 EST Yes, loved by some and hated by others, tomorrow is 4/1, April 1st, known around the world (or at least the Internet) as April Fool's Day, and odds are that you'll have a lot of fools trying to play with your head. As you probably know, our friends at Blizzard love April Fool's, so you can probably expect to see some shenanigans from them tomorrow.
Just to get you ready, here's a quick roundup of what they've done in the past few years. It seems like they've been upping the ante for a while now, so be "prepared": you never know what we might hear from them tomorrow.
2004: Blizzard announced that two-headed Ogres would become a playable race... playable by two players, that is. Not many people fell for this one -- MMOs are all about being social, but playing a character with another player? A little too wacky to be legit.
Lots more after the break, including the chaos that went down last year (Tinfoil Hats, anyone?) in the Warcraft community.
The idea of being able to customize your character's look and feel beyond choosing one of 4 or 5 basic face and hairstyle choices at character creation or upgrading to a new piece of loot is one that's near and dear to me. I'm an RPer, so I like to think of each of my characters as a unique person with unique quirks, ideas, and fashion sense that I can't always express as I'd like to due to the limitations of WoW's mechanics. I've even had some very good friends quit WoW because their characters weren't customizable enough.
The idea came to the front of my mind a few weeks back when I was visiting my brother. We played EverQuest together, but when it came time to move on from that game, he (and most of our EQ guild) chose Everquest 2, and I chose WoW. So, of course, he ribs me about it quite often, and since I was visiting, he decided to load up EQ2 and show me what I was "missing."
Now to be honest, I'm still a bigger fan of WoW, but that's a subject for a different article. One thing I will say for EQ2 is that I was very impressed with the wider range of options to customize your character and show off your character's accomplishments. There's a few ideas related to character customization from EQ2 and other games that I'd really like Blizzard to continue emulating in future patches and in the WoTLK expansion that I believe would deepen the game experience for me and my friends, and for many other players as well.
Our good friend Boubouille at MMO Champion has news of an XP change in the game, but not where you might expect. Blizzard has secretly changed the amount of XP earned... at level 70.
But wait, you say, we don't earn XP at level 70! Ah, but we do -- after you hit 70, you actually continue to earn XP to level 71, but you never actually ding. And while before the patch, the amount you had to earn to "hit" 71 was about 814,700, now it's up to 1,256,500. Which makes sense -- while some folks are saying this might have been done to just fix a bug, Boubouille says it lines right up to the difference between vanilla WoW and the Burning Crusade, which means we'll need to earn about 50% more XP per level in Wrath of the Lich King.
Of course, this affects a few other things in the game -- Mania notes that pet loyalty is based on percentage level XP earned, so Hunters at level 70 will now need to hang out with their pets for longer to earn a higher loyalty level. But Blizzard isn't nerfing anything here -- from what we can tell, they're just lining up level 70 to become the first level of the next expansion instead of the last level in the game.
Playing with music off is one thing (and yes, many people prefer to listen to their own music while playing), but playing with the sound completely off seems like it would be tough -- there are a lot of audio cues going on in the game, and with sound off, you might not notice that a party member accidentally pulled another mob offscreen, or that someone behind you is casting a certain spell, or any number of other things that have specific audio to them. That doesn't need to be the only thing you listen to (I usually have to turn down the game sound during raids, just so I can hear what's going on in Vent), but surely listening to game sound makes you a better player.
Do you keep the sound muted all the time, and if so, why? And do you have any trouble playing if you do? Of course, it does help you avoid that annoying PW:S sound, but as someone who keeps the game sound up (though not the music), it seems like there are specific cues meant to be heard while playing the game. Don't you miss those with the sound off?
We meet again, Alterac - Mon, 31 Mar 2008 14:00:00 EST As I've mentioned in a recent warrior column, I'm running the new Alterac Valley on my prot warrior. Mostly it's not intended to accomplish anything, it's just to see how I'll do. I average about four games before I get bored and go do something else. However, in the days leading up to patch 2.3, these four games would probably have been miserable timesinks with no honor gain to show for it and a lot of complaining in /bg.
Nowadays, as you can see to the right, four games is about 1500 honor.
I've found, at least on my Stormstrike BG toons, that the games go a lot faster now. Towers are still being capped, and the Horde still wins more than we do, but it's not so much the intolerable blowouts I'd become accustomed to where they crush us and we can't even take Iceblood GY. In the past two days I've won three and lost five, and almost all of the matches were pretty close. (We tend to do better when the Horde defends, I'm noticing, although I don't know why.) So from my perspective as an Alliance player (look, pro-Alliance bias in a WoW Insider post! Get those flames ready, kids!) and a very casual PvP'er who probably won't bother to run arenas, the changes have been for the good.
How about you all? Thumbs up or thumbs down for the new AV and the immediate honor updating? (I think immediate honor is my favorite thing.)
WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game.Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.
The joy of MMORPGS is being able to interact with other players.At some point we all group up for quests, instances, raids, battlegrounds, arenas, guilds, just for company.This column is dedicated to the basics of how we communicate in game.Next week we'll discuss the third party programs that are frequently used in games.
It's been three months since Spiffworld made his last Jonathan Coulton machinima, Chiron Beta Prime. However, the last time I blogged about him was the V-Day Riot of '08, and I'm still in therapy. This time around, the worst you'll see is a second of human buttocks, and it's in context with the story ... about pants. It'll be over before you know it!
If there were a machinima about my life, it might be Mr. Fancy Pants. There's shopping, dancing, and ... pantsing? Wait. Scratch that. I don't want another riot on my hands. Just join me in the Fancy Pants Parade!
Most guilds see members come and go from time to time. It's never a pleasant feeling to see someone leave, but in most cases you know why they're leaving. That gives you and the other officers the opportunity to fix the problems that led to their departure, so you don't lose anyone else for the same reason. By far the most frustrating gquits are the ones where people just disappear with no explanation. That's what the author of today's e-mail is facing.
(Insert Random Pleasantries Here)
I have a question for your column, which I read regularly.
I'm an officer in a progressing casual guild. Over time some of our key faces have changed as real life, drama, and other events weathered the shape and nature of the guild. Up until now players either gave clear reasons for leaving, or had been so apathetic and uninvolved that none were needed.
Recently we discovered two of our original raiders, highly esteemed members, had vanished from our roster. We checked the guild log and found no trace of them quitting or being booted. Months ago they had drastically reduced their playtime (less than a couple hours a week, if that) due to real life concerns. Worried that maybe their accounts had been hacked, we attempted to track them down.
After a little sleuthing, we found them on a different server and in a new raiding guild.
Tiddleworth, a gnome fire mage from Khaz'goroth, explained that this is what happened when his character went on a blind date with a "hot and spicy" lady. The true story is that he was on a quest that bugged out at the end, causing this rather large black dragon to evade and follow him everywhere in the game. Even higher levels couldn't take it out, so he decided to use his time wisely and take the dragon on a date and a world tour. Man, Tiddleworth, do you know how much those non-combat-pet fanatics would pay for this one?
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org with a copy of your shot and a brief explanation of the scene. You could be featured here next!
Remember to include your player name, server and/or guild if you want it mentioned. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. This picture is combustible enough.
Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week "Lovelorn in Azeroth" writes in:
WoW-Playing Girlfriend Drama
Or rather, "Here, don't level or do anything that'll give the character you play all the time any XP while I start to level a level one character that I hate playing all the time up to your character's level, and then make your character keep pace with mine! That way, everything will be super-special-awesome!"
My name is [name omitted to protect the... something] elven fire mage of Area 52. Over three months ago, my girlfriend and I agreed (willingly, for the most part) that I should pause my leveling to allow her to roll up a new toon that would catch up to me, and allow us to adventure together across Azeroth on equal footing. Fine and dandy, non?
I was, once again, leveling an alternate character.Since I already have three level 70s that I regularly play, I'm no longer fascinated by new bits of scenery.True I haven't seen it all, and I love the screenshots from Around Azeroth.I'm just really bored with the run from place to place.
As I was running across Ashenvale from Splintertree Post to Zoram Strand I began thinking about the marathon runs to pick up a new flight point.I came to the conclusion that my least favorite run is from Gadgetzan in Tanaris to Marshal's Refuge in Un'Goro Crater.It's just too long and unexciting.I know that I will have to make that run with every character I level.It always feels good to get there, just remember to pick up the flight point.
Two bosses enter... but only one will get to leave in WoW Insider's series of fantasy deathmatches. We've scoured the instances of Azeroth and Outland looking for the most interesting bosses Blizzard has to offer us and picked out a group of 32 to pit against one another until we come out with a single winner in the end. And the best part -- you get to tell us who wins.
We're down to the Final Four and have arrived at the most anticipated fight in the series. Tonight, Illidan Stormrage steps into an Arena with the old god C'thun. And the one that steps out alive, will move on to the final match against the Naxxramas end boss, Kel'thuzad. Want to learn more about these two bosses and voice your opinion on who would win in a fight? Keep reading.
Last week the first showdown of the Final Four went head-to-head in a neutral Arena. Did the undead Blue dragon Sapphiron overcome his Naxxrammas neighbor, the Archlich of the Plaugelands Kel'thuzad? Or did Kel'thuzad overwhelm his opponent in the battle of the undead bosses?
Though both bosses have heavy frost based powers, they also both have heavy frost resistance. That leaves their remaining abilities of which Kel'thuzad's Shadow Fissure was considered by commenters to be Sapphiron's downfall. The master claims victory over his guard.
The Archlich moves on to the final battle of the series next week to face off against the winner of tonight's titanic battle between the notorious scourge of the Outlands, Illidan Stormrage and possibly the most difficult boss in the game, the old god, C'thun. With only two weeks to go before we crown a winner, who will be the last boss to leave?
One of the most common difficulties many roleplayers face is that of finding other people to roleplay with. To help overcome this challenge, All the World's a Stage presents a guide to finding roleplayers in three parts: "finding the right realm" for roleplaying, "joining the right circle" of roleplaying friends, and "wearing the right mask" to attract other roleplayers to you.
So, here you are. You decided that you want to give roleplaying a try, so you picked an RP server and started leveling up. You even tried roleplaying with one person you met along the way, saying "Hail, traveler! Would you like to undertake this task with me?" Things were going along quite nicely for a few minutes until the other person said, "Dood, this quest suxxors, lol," and you realized that something had gone horribly, terribly wrong.
A mystery baffles roleplayers everywhere: why is it that even on a space like an RP server, set aside for roleplaying, it can be so hard to find other people to roleplay with? Even if you have thoroughly researched the question of which server is the best place for roleplaying, still you will not be happy there until you find a circle of friends whose roleplaying you can appreciate, and who appreciate yours in return.
While I'm pushing through Black Temple and Mount Hyjal nicely as my guild's tank, I am still trying to improve my style and playing elements. There's not much more I can do to build threat - the Devastates, Shield Slams, Revenges, Heroic Strikes, etc., are all going off at the right time. Gear is fine, I can pretty much tank anything in the game at this point and succeed. So why am I still dying? Why am I missing that critical moment when I could put up my Spell Reflect and live a second longer?
I think I've found it.
It's all about eye movement. Try this: focus your sight to the upper left hand corner of the screen, and now move your sight down to the bottom of the screen. If you have a large enough monitor, you completely lose focus of the text and items near the upper left corner. This is problematic for tanking in that the unit frames (those things that tell you who's in your group and who you're attacking) are by default located in the upper left corner, and the action bars are located at the bottom. So if you want to make sure you're going to hit something - or even look at your keyboard for a moment - you're moving your eyes quite a bit.
It's Springtime for King Wrynn and Azeroth... - Sun, 30 Mar 2008 16:00:00 EST The days are getting longer and the nights a tad warmer. Now is a good time to go through and clean your house in the typical spring cleaning exercise. It's a good time to do that in Azeroth, too.
For me this entitles a few things with my mounds of inventory items. First, I organize my bank alts. They each are assigned certain categories of items. For instance my first bank alt gets all my gems, raw ore, processed ore, and leather. My second bank alt gets all my enchanting mats, my herbs, reputation items, food, and other tidbits. Now both these alts have been around for about 3 years. In fact, my first bank has a /played time of 10 days at level one.
As a side note having a level one bank alt at ten days really makes me question my sanity...but oh well, on with the article.
The Dungeons and Raids forum has been discussion the existence of an interesting buff in the Sunwell Plateau. The Sunwell Radiance, an invisible buff that everything in the 25-man raid dungeon seems to have, is ticking off quite a few people. What this buff does, is it gives the mob/boss an additional 5% To Hit, and reduces your chance to dodge their attacks by 20%.
This existence of this buff was hotly debated at first, but analysis of boss attempts and long nights of fighting in the Plateau have mostly proven it to be true. There are a few theories as to why this buff exists, the most likely being that it is a band-aid on a gearing issue as they move away from Crushing Blows. As far as I know, nothing in the raid dungeon can land a Crush. If I understand Druid tank mechanics correctly(and there's a chance I don't), removing Crushing Blows would make them nearly unbreakable. However, removing Crushing Blows and implementing this buff is decent enough way to put a band-aid on something they want to move away from before they're able to make sweeping changes in Wrath of the Lich King. There's a net increase in damage taken, but it isn't as massive as it sounds. Bosses are still being killed.
If you're interested in this little(big) buff(nerf?), take a look behind the cut!
Patch 2.4 sounds great, but what's in it for you? Find out on our Sunwell Isle page where we list the impact on classes, professions, PvP, Raiders and many other playstyles and interests including walkthroughs on the new Sunwell Daily Quests. Looking for more great info? Check out the WoW Insider Directory for the best of our guides and analysis.