Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week (except for last week, sorry guys!) Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!
Malygos the Spellweaver, Lord of Magic, is the fourth Dragon Aspect that we'll be looking at in Know Your Lore's series on the great dragons. Malygos was empowered by the TitanNorgannon, charged with guarding all magic and arcane knowledge. He calls the Nexus in Northrend, his home.
The Aspect of the Blue was one of the more wise of the Dragonflights, and described as the most friendly of them. He was close to his 'siblings' back before the War of the Ancients, especially Neltharion of the Black. You know, before Neltharion went loco.
Alright. Let's call a spade a spade. I nubbed last week's installment by putting down Agility as a stat. Agility is good -- still not a Retadin's primary strength (pun intended), but definitely part of the equation. An informative article can be found on WoWWiki comparing Strength to Agility and determining the point where investing points in Agility gives better DPS returns than investing in Strength. Unlike Rogues or Hunters, who will never reach a point where Strength gives better returns, there is a certain point for Paladins (or Shamans and Warriors, for that matter) where it becomes better to invest in Agility. It's quite a bit of math, but suffice it to say that the equilibrium point is pretty high and not achievable by a fresh 70 gearing up for Karazhan.
I also dismissed Expertise (pfft, why make one mistake when you can make two!), a new stat introduced in Patch 2.3, which reduces the chance a mob will Dodge or Parry your attacks. If you can manage it, you should always attack from behind, negating Parry to begin with, but barring that, Expertise is a good stat to pursue after you're Hit capped. In fact, as some readers pointed out, the Shard of Contempt is the best melee DPS trinket in the game right now as it prevents even yellow, or special, attacks from being Dodged or Parried. With all the technical stuff out of the way, let's move on to the last part of this series, where we'll take a look at all the permanent enchants, gems, and even consumables that you'll need to do a good job in Karazhan.
Unfortunately, his clarification isn't all that clear -- he reiterates that win trading (the act of exploiting the queue in some way to face a chosen opponent, or face the same team multiple times) is against the spirit of the game and against Blizzard's wishes (though his wording gets a little strange when he brings the Terms of Service into it -- we think that by "these actions all fall in line with our fair use clause," he actually means that they violate the clause). He does, however, go on to say that there are certain places in the system where facing an opponent multiple times will happen, and that that's obviously not the fault of players. So that, it seems, is the confusion: players were worried that because of the lack of population in the queue or other factors, that they would be accused of win trading, and Bornakk is saying that's not the case.
Not that Blizzard hasn't been cracking down on win trading as much as possible lately, but the fact is that if there's a way to exploit the system, players will find it and do it. Blizzard says they're working on squashing "agreements" between players, but even then, Arenas may never end up being completely fair.
Matthew Rossi would like to apologize for any confusion caused by this post being on a Thursday instead of Totem Talk. He...well, he forgot it was Friday. That's all there is to it, he just plain forgot what day it was. He apologizes (okay, I apologize, I'm him, I'm sorry, I seriously thought it was Friday) and will have Totem Talk up for you tomorrow.
Like I said yesterday, kills happen when the whole raid pulls together. Yes, this is blatantly obvious, but it still bears examination. One of the debates that's raged now and again in the comments to this column has been over the usefulness/utility of DPS warriors. As a tanking warrior myself, you may have expectations that I don't like DPS warrior, that I look down on them or think myself superior to them because I'm a main tank. Nothing could be further from the truth. My guild's two DPS warriors are a tremendous asset to the raid, they have solid knowledge of the class and its mechanics both DPS and tank, they're valuable sounding boards for every fight and they help make tanking easier in a variety of ways.
So today I'm going to talk about DPS warrior/Tanking warrior synergy. How come I'm so pro-DPS warrior when I hate DPSing in raids and love tanking? Because while yes, a bad DPS warrior is a liability (just like a bad player in general is a liability) a good solid DPS warrior is not only a great source of, well, damage per second, he or she is also an asset to a tank.
Zarhym has broken out some interesting news for big team battleground players -- while Blizzard is generally happy with the way AV is working now, they are looking forward to focusing on tuning Lake Wintergrasp, the new PvP zone in Wrath of the Lich King.
Zar says that tuning of the zone will be forthcoming (so beta players should expect to see it soon), and that they're working right now on a way to balance differences in team populations -- since the zone isn't instanced, team numbers may be very different, and they're planning to possibly relax requirements to get certain vehicles and goals for the team with fewer players on it. They're also tuning the expected time limit it would take to conquer the whole zone -- right now, they expect the whole event to take about 45 minutes, and then have a certain length of time in between (when people would have "incentives for visiting the zone" -- like the special vendors in Halaa) before it starts again.
We've known for a while that the developers have wanted to remove crushing blows, but now it looks like they're starting the process for good: Ghostcrawler has confirmed that crushing blows will now occur only when a mob is 4 levels above you, rather than 3. Since "Boss" mobs are automatically 3 levels above the max level, that means that if you're running level appropriate content, you should no longer have to worry about crushing blows at all.
As Ghostcrawler explains it, crushing blows were originally meant to discourage you from attacking high level mobs and to make bosses more challenging. Now, they serve only the former purpose, and Blizzard is working on other ways to make bosses challenging without making them so random.
Part of the allure of drums in raids has been the ability to overlap the effects of different types of drums by having several leatherworkers drumming at a time. One member might boost attack power and spell damage for party members in range, while another might restore health and mana.
With the new Tinnitus debuff, any targets affected by drums are immune to the effects of all other drums for two minutes. While this sounds like a nerf, it might actually have a balancing effect.
In fact, other professions are seeing similar changes. Potions will create Potion Sickness, which will prevent the consumer from using more than one in any given encounter. Players will have to rest out of combat in order to refresh the privilege.
So far, this also is affecting mana gems and similar items, although it is unclear if that particular effect is a bug or not. What does this mean?
Welcome back for another Barrens Chat comic. I would up front like to say that I am very excited about exotic pets. So excited, I had to poke fun at fellow blogger Daniel Howell for his post last week on the topic of exotic pets. Although I think I might have been a little misleading when I first ran the idea of what I wanted to do past him.
Either way, I'm still playing with a few drawing and coloring changes here and there. I didn't darken the outlines this time around, but I think it makes it a bit harder to see in places.
Thank you, Daniel, for pointing me towards your banner for a reference, even if I didn't specify what it was I was referencing exactly.
Barrens Chat is a weekly comic installment created on caffeine and pixy sticks. Although we've yet again decided to abuse Hunters in any way we can find, sometimes we go after the tankier players, too. Stop by every week to see a new comic, and hope that the sugar stash has run out by then.
However, one thing Massively missed was the community of Guild Wars -- because the game doesn't have a monthly fee at all, there seems to be a very different audience playing it, and the feel of the chat channels and city general channels is very different. If you thought the trade channel was chaotic in Ironforge, just wait until you get into the starter area of Guild Wars -- because the game has no AH, not only is there more crazy business to be done, but people playing the game for free seem to have even less of a conviction towards making it a good experience for everyone else. WoW's community is a little crazy, but at least there are a few good people out there who'll group up or give you a port to Shattrath. In Guild Wars (in my experience), maybe it's a combination of the instanced world and the free-to-play quality, but it's very much an every-man-for-himself game unless you're playing with friends you know.
Not that GW is a bad game -- I enjoyed it, and still jump in occasionally to do some questing. But it's very different from World of Warcraft and many other MMOs.
Here's a heads up for all our Russian speaking readers: Starting on August 6th, WoW Europe will begin selling the fully localized Russian version of World of Warcraft and Burning Crusade, complete with a Russian-speaking support team.
The game will be sold in DVD and CD versions and will include 1 month and 14 days of free play time respectively. There will also be a special Russian pricing plan starting at 399 rubles per a month for a 1-month subscription.
In addition, current European account holders will have the option of playing on the new Russian servers after downloading the localization pack. There will also be free transfers to the Russian servers for a limited time, and the opportunity to convert a European account to a Russian account.
I installed the app (it's free), and took a look at it -- unfortunately it's not very robust, as there's no way to see gear (unlike Omen of Clarity's iArmory web app), but it does run great and look shiny. Upon running the app, you can just punch in your character's info (or anyone else's -- all you need is a name and realm), and it'll get added to your list. Choosing one sends you to screens where you can see information about professions and talents, ability stats, or combat stats.
And that's pretty much it -- more is planned, including reputation, talents, and items panes. EU and China support should be up in a few days (right now, it only works on US characters, and of course it depends on the Armory being up to update). Very nice for a first try, but we still can't wait until we see something a little more in-depth, or, dare we ask whoever's working in Blizzard's mobile division, even official.
Note: This writeup is current as of version 1.0. Later versions of the app will likely include added functionality.
Update: Good news from OOC: he and Rudi are planning to work together on the Characters app, which means it should soon have all the functionality of the iArmory web application, and then some. Saved characters? Character compare? Guild progression and be.imba integration? Yes please!
Well Fed Buff: Carrion Surprise - Thu, 31 Jul 2008 13:00:00 EST Well Fed Buff serves up tasty dishes to boost your HP, stats and appetite - with that special WoW twist, of course.
This week's recipe is for all you QQers out there who want epics with no effort - admit it, you know you act the same way in the kitchen that you do at the keyboard. We've prepped the perfect summertime recipe for EZ-mode cooks. Got a grill? Got foil? Got ... (gulp) hot dogs or (bigger gulp) SPAM(R)? Then you're ready to fire up some Carrion Surprise.
Recipe: Carrion Surprise Requires Level 25 Use: Restores 874 health over 27 sec. Must remain seated while eating. If you spend at least 10 seconds eating you will become well fed and gain 8 Stamina and Spirit for 15 min. Requires Mystery Meat, Hot Spices
Gnomechewer is back with another music video. This time, it centers around the Draenei and their departure from the Man'ari Eredar. Of course, as is typical with our beloved frequent machinimator, he has to tell the story with a song instead of dialogue. My Violent Heart is pretty catchy. Using footage, pictures, and lyrics, he paints a tale of the lore that could only exist in his mind.
The ultimate evil in the Lord of the Rings trilogy is represented by a large eye sitting atop a gigantic tower in a desolate and war torn land. It is one of the most iconic images in not only fantasy literature, but also in recent cinematography. Just about anyone who has paid attention to movies in the past eight years would be able to pick the Eye of Sauron out immediately, and I would have to imagine just about everyone playing WoW would be able to as well.
The Eye of Sauron makes an appearance in Wrath of the Lich King in the Death Knight starting zone. It goes under the name of the Eye of Acherus. In the image at the top of the article you can see the two side-by-side - the Eye of Sauron on the left, and the Eye of Acherus on the right. Arthas himself directs you to control it and use it to gather data from New Avalon, a nearby Scarlet Crusade fortification.
Take a look at the gallery below for images of the quest, what you do during it, and how everything appears.
We're back again with today's round of Ask a Beta Tester questions. I tried to answer as many as I could, but time is a fickle mistress and I was going to write some sort of metaphor here but I can't think of one, so if you would all be so kind, come up with one for me. If I didn't get to your question today, don't worry, we'll be doing these for as long as there are questions left to answer. Just post it in the comments section below, and we'll try to get to it as soon as we can.
Jamesisgreat asked: How much gold are you getting rewarded per quest on average? I mean is it worth us saving up our gold for Wrath or are quests going to reward 100g a pop or something?
Most quests throughout the starter zones give around 5g each, though group quests offer more. On top of that there are the green rewards you don't use that you can vendor, so you don't need to save a lot of money. I advise saving up a little bit though, because questing to 80 is not going to get you the (roughly) 8,000g you'll want to buy the ring that ports you to Dalaran. You won't be totally broke at 80 if you don't save money now, but you won't be able to run around and buy whatever you want either. Northrend is a big place, so that ring will be nice even if you only use it for the portal. You can be free to set your hearth elsewhere.
Hush, little baby. Don't say a word. Or scream. Or move in the slightest. Stay perfectly still and it might go away. They can smell fear.
This questionable babysitting moment was brought to you by Schnazy of <Legion of Darkness> on Shu'Halo, his pet raptor, and the lax security at the Shattrath City Orphanage. See, Gert? This is what happens when you let Chase take care of Old Lace.
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 email@example.com 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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets -- but we would love some beta screenshots here. And if you got the reference, you win a cookie.
WoW inspires military training environments - Thu, 31 Jul 2008 09:00:00 EST It's probably fair to take bets on how many Beltway Insiders are aware of MMORPGs, or even WoW specifically. (At least one or two can be found in Azeroth, at least.) It's certainly clear, however, that Dr. Roger Smith, a senior game designer for the Army, has some passing familiarity on the idea.
According to Dr. Smith, an MMORPG environment would be a great always-on option to provide training to the troops. Specifically, he says "something like World of Warcraft, but focused on the military training customer." You can even check out his public PDF on work he's already done on this kind of training environment.
The always-on world would provide training scenarios even outside the usual tactical simulation. Your avatars could interact with cultural representations, learning the fine points of behavior while interacting in foreign environments. Want to get your team a dose of decision-making expertise? Set up the environment to run reactions based on criteria you devise. And we definitely know WoW can teach you about a fictional history, maybe Dr. Smith's could help the soldier with some real-world equivalents.
We've all heard about the government exploring virtual worlds before, but we don't often hear that exploration directly connected to WoW. But if 10 million people -- including soldiers -- love us some WoW, maybe there's something in the formula Dr. Smith can use.
New stable slots in Wrath? Updated - Thu, 31 Jul 2008 08:30:00 EST One of the biggest challenges that hunters face is the issue of only having three available stable slots. With all of the diverse pet choices, and Fluffy the pink Barrens raptor hogging all that space, most hunters would agree that another stable slot or seven would be handy.
As a response to posters asking for an expanded stable, the CM responds with "okay."
I can't express how excited I am about the possibility of one or more stable slots. Could this tie into the Achievement system? Will I be allowed to collect and house pets? Will we see a special "exotic" slot or slots? What do you think?
Update: Ghostcrawler has confirmed that we will indeed be getting two new stable slots. In fact, Ghost points out that further testing may lead to the stables being integrated into the UI the way non-combat pets and mounts will be. In other words, summoning all pets would become spells, allowing the hunter to call whichever pet he or she wishes, without visiting a stable.
Breakfast Topic: Your online social life - Thu, 31 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST One of the best (and sometimes worst) things about online gaming are the people and the connections you make with them. Everyone who logs in has at least one thing in common with everyone else, we all play World of Warcraft. A small common interest is sometimes all it takes to bridge the gap between people and become friends. So this morning I'm interested in how you view the people you play WoW with. Are they just another member of your guild who you log in with for an hour or so a day, or something more? Does your guild or online community have real life get togethers? Have your online friends ever became close real life friends, or even perhaps a significant other? I'm interested in hearing your take on managing online friends with your offline persona.
Myself? I started online gaming back in the Quake 1 Team Fortress days, moved on to Everquest and Dark Age of Camelot, and now WoW. To this day I still game and talk with a handful of my old clan members. In WoW, I've been fortunate enough to still be in the same guild I was in on day 1. I've known some of these people as long if not longer than some of my offline friends. Managing the relationships forged online versus off can sometimes be difficult, can you truely know someone without having ever met them face to face? Let's hear your stories and thoughts!
I love motorcycles. Always have, and I probably always will.I was very excited to see that Blizzard is introducing them in Wrath of the Lich King.I'll probably spec engineering on most of my characters just to make my own little biker gang.Wouldn't it be great to see a guild rolling around looking like Fel's Angels?But how would others know you are a guild?
Stonewhisper of Scarlet Crusade suggested some additional accessories from other crafters.I like his idea of having guild jackets for raiding.He also suggested using engineering for performance modifications.Something like a rocket fuel for a nitrous-oxide-like speed boost.*I could see a world of after-market parts for WoW bikes: blacksmiths could sell sissy seats and wheelie bars.Tailors could make saddle bags to add to carrying capacity.Taurens and Draenei would probably need some kind of suspension upgrade.