From comedians Rich Kuras and Sandeep Parikh (who you know best from The Guild, most likely) comes a look at the United States presidential election through the eyes of Azeroth. If all of the 11 million active World of Warcraft subscriptions were US citizens, Azeroth would be the 8th largest state in the union. Rich Kuras looks to find out whether Azeroth would be a red or a blue state. I think the last thing any of us want is political fisticuffs, so just take this video as the light political humor that it is and don't read too much into it.
The polling stats at the end are a little silly because the numbers most certainly wouldn't come out that way on a larger scale survey, but that's alright, it's not meant to be super accurate. It's just a silly little thing, and I chuckled at the commentary from the people they spoke to on both sides of the fence. Deep political commentary? No. Mildly entertaining? Yes! And I admit, I smirked at the mention of Mike Gravel.
Thanks to all of you that wrote in about this video the last few days!
Yes, the Reaper, like 40 man raiding, has basically gone the way of the dodo. But with the coming of the Arcanite Ripper and even more references in Wrath, you kids today might not realize that there was once a weapon that everybody simultaneously loved and feared.
Name: Arcanite Reaper (Wowhead, Thottbot, Wowwiki) Type: Rare (yes, it's not even Epic) Two-Hand Axe Damage/Speed: 153-256/3.80 (53.8 DPS) Abilities:
+13 Stamina (this was before resilience was introduced to the game), +62 Attack Power (which is still substantial, but back then was phenomenal)
And the main reason the Reaper was so nuts was because of it's slow attack, but high damage. Back in the day, before things got all normalized, Mortal Strike was the shiznit. It was an instant attack based on weapon damage, and since this weapon's damage was so high, pushed forward by the Attack Power bonus, Warriors basically owned PvP back around early level 60 times. In fact, you might even be able to trace the current population of Warriors back to this weapon alone, and for that reason, it's earned not only a place in Warriors' hearts, but in Blizzard's culture as well.
I should also mention Shaman and Windfury weapon here, because back before all the changes were made to Windfury, and even before Shammies could dual wield, one Shaman with Windfury and this weapon could one-shot almost anyone. Nowadays, everything's mitigated, with nerfs and resilience and all the changes to endgame and Arena PvP. But back then, the Arcanite Reaper ruled the roost.
Which explains why it's everywhere -- the Arcanite Ripper is a direct rip, if you will, off the old weapon, and brought many a tear to a Warrior's eye when it returned to the game as a guitar. The skin has also been reused a few times, as with the Spinal Reaper. And in the next expansion, there'll be an heirloom item bound to account called the Bloodied Arcanite Reaper, so all of your two-handed melee characters can relive the old days as they level up.
Oh, and take a close look at that summoned Felguard running towards you while the Warlock's DoTs are ripping you apart -- he's carrying an old Arcanite Reaper as well.
How to Get It: Here's another reason why the Reaper was such a big deal -- not only was it the best weapon to have for any class that wielded two-hand melee and counted on Attack Power, but it was craftable and BoE, so pretty much anyone who wanted one could get one. The plans drop from Bannok Grimaxe, a rare spawn found in Lower Blackrock Spire, which is actually an instance that's getting some traffic nowadays with not one but two vanity pets and an achievement in there. You can probably solo to him without too much trouble, but the drop is the problem -- it's only around 6%, so you've got to be lucky.
But maybe you can find a Blacksmith with the plans already -- in that case, you'll need 20 Arcanite Bars, six Enchanted Leathers (made by an Enchanter from a Rugged Leather and a Lesser Eternal Essence), and two Dense Grinding Stones. Not a tall order, actually (yet another reason why this weapon was so popular). Melt it all together, and voila, you've got a classic weapon. Won't do much good these days, as mechanics and upgrades have rendered the once great Reaper into a not very attractive blue. But don't tell any grizzled old Warriors that -- they'll make you remember the old days whether you like it or not.
Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 6g 57s 36c. Disenchants into a Large Brilliant Shard. Has killed more Mages than you'll ever meet, consarnit!
Reminder: Now's the time to get your necrotic runes - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 18:30:00 EST No matter what you call those big floating pyramids above Azeroth, right now is the right time to chase them down and kill the Scourge hanging around beneath them. If you don't have epic gloves or shoulders on right now, odds are that you could use the upgrades from the Argent Dawn, and while the necropoli were completely camped early on in the event, things have died down a bit now, especially in the off-prime hours. I was able to pick up my 30 runes earlier this week, and when I got lucky on a leggings drop (I love that my Hunter is in a mail kilt-y thing now), I picked up two nice new epics, a cool tabard and an achievement.
We don't know exactly when this stuff is all ending -- it might be soon, or it might run right up to the Wrath release, but either way, now is probably the time to play it safe and pick up your runes. Look on your map for the purple skulls when they spawn and make a beeline for the zone when you see them, keep an eye around the zone as you fly in where the necro might be, and with most people already having nabbed all the runes they need, the pickings are probably about as good as they're going to get. You'll have a tougher time nabbing the rare spawns that drop the legs and the chest, but if you just want to nab some runes for the various Argent Dawn rewards, it'll go fast.
Now if I could just get people to stop camping my fish pools until I get Mr. Pinchy...
A plea on behalf of frustrated tanks everywhere - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST Several classes and specs have gotten "knockback" abilities as part of patch 3.02 and the game's transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and I've had fun watching these skills be deployed in battlegrounds to extensive and quite possibly evil use. It's pretty funny watching an elemental Shaman defend AB's lumber mill now, and the AV bridge? Even funnier.
And yet...as I laughed, I started to cry inside, because I knew that these skills would also be deployed in 5-man groups and raids to much less amusing effect. And man, it's a real burden being right so often.
Readers have already started sending in a few costumes for Halloween this year -- if you're dressing up as something from the World of Warcraft, don't forget to take a picture and send it through our tipline. Reader Taytayflann of Frostmane assembled this great Bloodfang costume from a Horde hoodie that he bought -- the shoulders, which took the longest to make, he says, are made out of shin pads, cardboard, wire, red and black cloth, and staples. They turned out really well, and even though it was probably tough putting them together, it was probably still easier and faster than traipsing around Blackwing Lair with 40 people trying to get the virtual set.
There are only a few pictures in the gallery below, but we'll be adding in your entries from the tipline throughout the weekend (both of real-life and ingame costumes), so check back to see more. And don't forget to have a safe and happy Halloween tonight from all of us here at WoW Insider.
From one of the original authors of Omen and the maker of Chatter (among other things) comes the simply (and appropriately) named SexyMap. Using spell effects already in the game files (I believe the default uses Hand of Freedom as the outside ring and Hand of Salvation on the inside), SexyMap makes your map look... sexy. It's difficult to see just how awesome it is from pictures, but I don't have video handy, unfortunately. What you can't see there is the two rings are animated, one moving clockwise and the other counter-clockwise.
If you've ever worried about how to bring all your Gold with you when moving to another server, you should rejoice at this recent bit of news. Blizzard announced at the forums earlier today that characters Level 70 and above may now bring up to 20,000 Gold when transferring to another realm. This limit was previously set at 10,000 Gold for Level 70 characters, although the limits for other character levels do not appear to have been raised.
This should come as welcome news to some players who find that accumulating money in the current environment has become increasingly easier with daily quests and increased activity in the Auction Houses. The amount is still a far cry from the maximum amount of Gold a character can possess, but it's enough Gold to purchase a Grand Caravan Mammoth, currently the most expensive item in the Wrath Beta, with some change to spare. I'm not certain why there's a Gold limit to begin with, especially for max-level characters, but the raised cap should ease the burden for some well-heeled characters when making the leap. With a mere 300 Gold to my name, it's not something I think I'll be concerned with for quite some time, though...
Totem Talk: Elemental, my dear Watson - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST So, what's the score with Elemental as a spec? Why, Mister Rossi, have you been so assiduously avoiding any discussion of it?
Well, in part it's because I don't really like playing as an elemental shaman. It's a personal preference issue: when I'm DPS, I like to be up in mob faces, not standing back casting spells. My default spec for when I'm not enhancement is restoration, if only because I seem to be able to keep people alive fairly well with that spec and usually healing is at a premium. But I would have no difficulty in admitting that not only am I not particularly enthused with elemental (unlike Mike Schramm, one of our big elemental boosters) I'm also not very good at playing one. So speccing elemental this week and testing out the spec was to some degree like asking Wayne Gretsky to go figure skating: sure, the guy can skate, and skate well, but he's really not known for that particular kind of skating. Still, I did it, and I have to say that as is always the case when I do it I found the spec much less agonizing to play than I expected. It's actually pretty fun. (Yes, I use basically the same gear as I do when I go resto now, which means my crit sucks, but I'm not going to blow all my badges on elemental gear just to test the spec.)
His last two points are probably more solid, though -- he says that unlike Lord of the Rings, which the Warcraft movie is often compared to, most people (even players of the games who skip cutscenes) would walk in having no idea what the story was about, which means the story would have to be dumbed down or just be a confusing mess. And finally, we can't really argue with the last point: since that first piece of concept art, we haven't heard a peep out of Legendary or Blizzard about what's happening, so maybe the flick's not getting made anyway.
And by the end of the piece, we've got to agree with Kevin: even if a big-budget worldwide movie release didn't get made, we'd much rather have a high-quality DVD of Blizzard's cinematics anyway (or maybe even a feature-length put together by the same department -- they do awesome work). The odds are against a live-action Warcraft movie already, it seems -- maybe it would be a better idea for Blizzard to just release something themselves.
My daughter the murloc - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST What happens when Halloween rolls around and you haven't gotten around to buying your almost one year old daughter a costume for the holiday because you've been spending too much time playing and writing about the World of Warcraft? Well, you make her a murloc costume, of course!
From the moment my daughter was born, I just knew I had to dress her up as a character from my favorite game. I initially wanted to make a Moonkin costume but thought that it'd be best if she wore that when she was already walking proficiently. A miniature Moonkin waddling around would be priceless.
This year, however, found me short of time and ideas so I decided to steal the idea of a baby in a murloc suit from last year's crop of Halloween costumes over at the Blizzard site. Since I don't have mad sewing skills, I made a quick jaunt to a shoe supplies store and picked up a bunch of slice foam and some cyanoacrylate.
Should be a great show tomorrow on the podcast, as we welcome two terrific WoW bloggers to the table. In one place together for the first (second? third?) time ever, both Daniel "BigRedKitty" Howell (who has his own very popular, very well-done podcast, by the way, if you haven't heard it yet) and John "BigBearButt" Patricelli will be in attendance. And we'll be talking about, as usual, all the biggest stories from the past week in Warcraft, including how the new Kara boss is going (and almost gone), whether Karazhan itself is too easy these days, and that whole class forums megaton yesterday (that turned out to be a dud, more or less). And we'll cover the end of the zombie event, too, and whether or not it worked the way Blizzard planned it to, or if they cut it short early because of all the griefing.
The show will air live at 3:30pm Eastern (time zone calculator) over on our Ustream page. Lots of people have had questions about how to get the show lately (and of course, it hasn't helped that our feed is going through some growing pains), but all of your questions should be answered in our last podcast post. And we're working on the quality issues, too -- I can assure you that the recording issue has been fixed, so no more tinny voices this week.
But you don't want to wait until the recording anyway -- join us on the Ustream page tomorrow (or just come back to this post -- the stream is embedded after the break), and you can chat with us and other listeners live, as well as vote in polls and participate in a rumored "aftershow" that's been popping up after we're done recording lately. See you tomorrow!
So between 3.0.2, the Scourge Invasion, and Hallow's End, my Hunter's seen a lot of play as I've been going after the title and the undead armor and playing with all the new changes on a live server and all, and in that time, I've had some chance to see how stuff works out when it's thrown into the crucible of live server playing. Most of my observations have ended up focusing around pets, which is probably to be expected. After all, they've changed quite a bit. Here's what's I've learned from 3.0.2 in the last few weeks about managing your pet:
I showed you the Alliance airship on yesterday's Ask a Beta Tester, now you get to see the Horde version! And now that that's out of the way, let's start with a couple of questions from Aerei...
I've got possibly the most important question ever asked in this column! Are we going to see NPCs rocking the new hairstyles now available? I don't think it's fair only PCs should get them.
Yep! You'll spot the new hairstyles on NPCs here and there. Not super often yet, but you definitely see them. A lot of the guards in the Argent Crusade camp are rockin' the new styles. They're very progressive!
Also, if Dalaran gets mage trainers because it's the mage city, how come Shattrath doesn't have paladin trainers? Huh?
This week's edition of Insider Trader will stand as an introduction to becoming a scribe. After covering some of the basic information you will need to know, I will walk you through the leveling process until you reach the 100th skill point.
I will also discuss Minor Inscription Research and glyphs in detail, ensuring that you can make informed choices when choosing how to level your inscription. In the coming weeks, I will continue with the guide until the new maximum, 450.
Hop on through the break to learn how to boost your scribe's levels quickly and cost-effectively.
The Myndflame team is back with a just-in-time release for this year's Hallow's End. The Myndflame community collaborated on this machinima, and I think you can see the results of a team effort. Those folks are already known for their humor, and the Hallow's End Special isn't a let down.
The basic setup is that it's Hallow's End, and everyone should have a good, scary costume. Thrall is having a bit of a challenge, and finds a book to help him on his way. (One minion tells us that his mom used to make him pretend to be scared of Thrall's costume.) I have to admit, my first thought was "Aww, poor Thrall." But, it turns out all right in the end.
Like I said, Myndflame's already known pretty well for bringing the funny, and they didn't disappoint this time, either. I'm always amazed with how much emotion they get into the relatively static faces of WoW, and how their angles set up the humor of their work. Go and see it for yourself on Myndflame!
Lastly, I'm fairly certain no actual kittens were harmed in the production of this movie.
A Simple Re-Quest bugged - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST I know you'll never believe this, but Blizzard has identified a bug in tracking one of the achievements. On the Achievements forum Tigole noted that zoning into a battleground will sometimes cause the counter to reset for "A Simple Re-Quest." For this achievement you must complete five dailies in a row. The known issue will be fixed in the upcoming patch 3.0.3 but Tigole recommends that if you are keen on earning this achievement in the meantime you may want to avoid entering the battlegrounds.
It will be easy to complete 5 dailies after the patch, so it's not a huge deal. I am concerned that Blizzard isn't getting to the heart of the bug, though. There seems to be more to it than battlegrounds. Though I haven't done any battlegrounds since the patch was released and have completed several dailies each day, I have not been awarded this achievement. I've been too busy doing dailies, heroics, and daily heroics.
This was followed by one of many apologies made by Blizzard in recent weeks. When asked the simple request for a 3.0.3 release date, Tigole gave the entirely unexpected answer: Soonish. We'll see it when it's ready.
All good things must come to an end, and so it is with WoW's Hallow's End festival, which closes out tomorrow. Velarya of <Divine Comedy> on Shadowmoon has captured the spirit of the holiday with a flight over Nagrand on her broom. Have a safe and fun Halloween, whether you're taking the kids trick-or-treating, watching scary movies or attending Halloween parties. And remember, if you're going to one of the many college town street bashes, please don't go up to the police and say "nice costume." That is no longer funny after the fiftieth time.
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards
Sharpening Stones, Mana Oils gone in Wrath - Fri, 31 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST It didn't really hit me until I saw this post about it, but there are no sharpening stones, weightstones, or mana or wizard oils in Wrath of the Lich King. Verimonde, a blue name that's unfamiliar to me, confirms that this is by design, saying "While they were something nice to use once in a while for most people for many raid guilds they were simply another burden to the cost of raiding." This is essentially my reaction to the change, although some other Insiders are of the opinion that it's another step in the oversimplification of WoW. I'm happy that typical raid consumables will be down to flasks and food.
There's another problem with this plan, though. Unless they remove the current stones and oils, progression-oriented raiders are going to be running back to Outland and farming up the mats for old stones and oils all the time. This is nothing new really; dedicated raiders have been going to great lengths for buffs since the days of mind-controlling fire resistance off UBRS mobs to go to MC and BWL. Still, I don't think it's what Blizz had in mind in removing them, so my bet is that old stones/oils will either be removed, or prevented from working on players over level 70 (like the Riding Crop).
Update: Looks like they went the latter route. Stones/oils will not work on post-70 items.
Happy Halloween, everybody! The World Event happening today IRL is the basis of our favorite game's Hallow's End festivities. This is the day when we are officially allowed to knock on strangers' doors and hope their Innkeeper will give us some treats. This is also when we can dress up as, well... anything, really, and not have anybody look at us funny. This is actually a great opportunity to do a little bit of cosplay even if you're not really into that kind of thing. I mean, why not dress up as your favorite WoW character? In fact, some people thought that was such a great idea they decided to make Warcraft costumes for everybody.
What do you have planned for this Halloween? Will you be dressing up as a Warlock in Tier 5? Or maybe an Orc with the Arcanite Ripper? If you do plan on dressing up as somebody -- or something -- from Warcraft, don't forget to send in your pictures! While some of you might still have some last minute Hallow's End Achievements to pursue, I hope you get it early today so you can go out for what usually is a fun-filled night in many places. This is one of the few times that I'd actually recommend not playing the game for a little while. I mean, RL tricky treats and flimsy masks have got to be on everyone's agenda, right? Ending the day not plastered on Dos Ogris might be an Achievement for some, while I certainly hope nobody gets Out With It outside the game today. Whatever you have planned for Halloween, we at WoW Insider hope you have a blast!
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
... mushroom, mushroom. So why have we just bombed you with this tired yet perversely persistent earworm? Because like the proverbial mushroom, WoW Insider reader Badger has kinda grown on us, unanimously capturing the enthusiastic accolades of the WI staff when we decided to feature a WI reader/commenter on 15 Minutes of Fame. We discovered that fellow WI bloggers keep their eyes peeled for Badger comments on their posts because he's warm, funny, thoughtful ... All the traits that make other readers (and us!) want to pause to engage in a little World of Warchat.
So Badger, this is your 15 Minutes of Fame - but not before we carve out a few seconds for the other readers our staff felt deserve a WoW Insider shout-out:
Thanks, guys, and thanks to all our readers who help make WoW Insider a responsive, congenial community rather than a mere gaming information dump. We're glad you're reading -- and we're glad you're joining the conversation, too.