Insert cute pet story here - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 18:00:00 EST About 3 months ago I got my first pet. His name is Max, and is a grey domestic short hair cat. He was a stray that was scratching at my apartment door on a very cold November evening. At the time it was decided that he was just going to stick around for the night, but he grew on us so quickly that we weren't able to let him go. He now is a happy member of my family, and just like the rest of them, he has to put up with me playing World of Warcraft.
Except, it's not really "putting up with" WoW, it's more like "intensely interested in what's going on." Max will often times spend the whole four hours of the night's raid spread across the desk staring at my computer screen. He'll react to the sounds, the bright flashes of light, and occasionally even other in game cats. When someone says "lol" and their character laughs, he'll jump and stare down the speaker the laugh came from.
Playing with your mouse - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 17:00:00 EST Lots of us purchase these nifty mice from the local computer store. Be they a fancy new Logitech mouse with a dozen keys placed strategically around the unit, or a slick new beauty from Apple, the mouse is a strategic part of your game play.
At least, it should be.
All too often people don't utilize what they have in front of them. Today we're going to look at how you can increase your game play by using your mouse more effectively. In particular, the buttons.
However before we look into buttoning strategies, lets just quickly cover moving with the mouse. It's pretty simple, right? Push both buttons down, move forward. Right click and hold to turn your character. Left click and hold to look around without moving. Mike Schramm covered this in a post about a month and a half back, and it's a pretty good read for those interested more in the topic of mouse moving.
So now that that's out of the way, let's look at basic mouse buttoning techniques. I own two Logitech MX5000 cordless optical mice. They work very well and have a battery life of a couple days; but even then I recharge them both every night just so I don't have disaster strike me in the middle of a raid when the battery goes out.
Welcome to another installment of Hybrid Theory, wherein columnist Alex Ziebart assures the world that he does not, in fact, hate Retribution Paladins. In fact, he raids with a Retribution Paladin. Really. He does. Pinky swear.
Let's face it, folks. A lot of raid leaders have very little idea what they're doing when they're brand new to the raiding thing. I was there once, too. Until you have some experience in the 25-man raids, you have very little idea how group synergy works or anything of that sort. As a hybrid, especially one specced in a tree other than your healing tree, this could cause you some issues when looking to break into raiding from the ground level, rather than filling a gap in an existing raid that generally knows what's what.
You will most likely find that you'll need to sell yourself to raid leaders. What can you bring to the table? What can you do that a mage can't? What can you do that a rogue can't? The answer: Quite a bit! First thing to keep in mind, though, is that as a hybrid, you will probably not do as much damage as the other DPS classes in the raid. Healing specced, you will keep up just fine. Damage specced? Well, you won't keep up on every encounter. That's okay though. You don't need to. Why? Because you specifically allow those other classes to meet their maximum potential.
I'll go through each of the damage specs one by one. Tanks, healers, sorry. You come next week. I'm writing a column, not a novel!
Chew some fat - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 15:30:00 EST I mean this in the 'talking' sense rather than the 'eating whale blubber' sense.
One of the things I really enjoy about playing WoW, even all these years later, is the game underneath the game. While I'm awful at math, the old D&D geek in me still enjoys considering my stats, mixing and matching gear to see how it best combines for what I'm going for (in this case, high defense and avoidance.... with the right set I can push 40% block, for instance, but it's a gimmick set, not something I'd actually tank real content in). Last night, due to my raging insomnia, which has in the past rewarded me greatly, I had a very interesting conversation with another warrior in my guild about weapon speeds, co-efficients and why I should keep tanking with my Sun Eater instead of the new dagger I just got.
Obviously I'm comfortable with my knowledge of the warrior class and the game (or I'd probably not be able to write here without crying and hiding under my desk) but there's a lot to keep track of, and it was good to have another person to bounce the relative benefits of the weapons off of. One of the benefits of this being a social game is the people: when you have good people around you, make use of them. Ask them for help for quests and instances. Go help them do the same. Heck, just talk to them. Talking about the game, heck, even just talking about why my character's name sounds vaguely like a kaiju has livened up wiping on Malacrass because the mage gone one-shotted by an add before he could sheep it again.
There are unpleasant aspects to interpersonal contact in the game... barrens chat, bad PuG's, people who clog Trade chat with their egomaniacal rantings, that one enchanter who spams with his various enchants but when you actually ask him to do one is always afk, constant 'duel me outside Ironforge, if I win you pay 10g, if I lose you get 100g' posts from people who won't actually pay up... but man, a good group of people can really override all that junk with useful sounding boards and fun times. Make sure to keep good people once you find them, because they'll make the game ten thousand times better.
For people who don't play the World of Warcraft or similar games, or do not spend much time on the internet at all, it's difficult to grasp the idea of bonds and friendships formed over the web. How can you be friends with someone you've never seen before? I can understand the inability to grasp such a thing, it's rarely easy to comprehend what you haven't seen or experienced yourself. To those who haven't had powerful friendships over the internet, it makes no sense how you can grow so close to someone you can't see, you can't touch.
Even through the supposed anonymity of the internet, the greatest of friendships can be formed. Bonds so powerful that you never want to let them go, and may change your life forever, for the better. Despite the distance, despite the inability to touch and feel, you can grow as close as family to these supposed anonymous people. These individuals are more than just "internet people." They're people. In the World of Warcraft, a video game, I have found people that have truly changed me. I would not be the person I am today without them.
I've been playing WoW since launch day, and the community I've been a part of in the game has been a constant for all of these years. People have come and people have gone, but for the most part, I've played the World of Warcraft with the same names, the same faces, the same people. I'm 21 now, and I started gaming with this crew when I was 17. I can safely say I've essentially grown up with these people. We reminisce on the old days, and we realize that we've all changed quite a bit since the beginning. We've matured together, we've grown up together. People who have never had this experience, as I said before, don't understand how you can form such bonds over the internet. Some of the greatest friendships I've ever had, and ever will have, have been on the internet. Some people you will never forget, no matter where you met them. This is something I've had to think about quite a bit the last few days.
Mats for the new Alchemist Stones have been reduced. Old mats were Alchemist Stone, 2 Nether Vortices, and 16 primals; new mats are reduced by 10 primals, i.e. Alchemist Stone, 2 Nether Vortices, and 6 primals. Which primal is required varies based on the stone in question: Assassin's = Shadow, Guardian's = Air, Sorcerer's = Fire, Redeemer's = Life.
The Philosopher's Stone is now a trinket requiring level 35, and gives +5 to all stats.
Jewelcrafters can get patterns for four new epic gem cuts (Reckless Pyrestone, Steady Seaspray Emerald, Quick Lionseye, Forceful Seaspray Emerald) both from the Shattered Sun Offensive at Revered and from the Scale of Sands (the Mount Hyjal faction) at Honored.
The models have been changed for Vanir's Right Fist of Brutality, Crossbow of Relentless Strikes (pictured), Vanir's Left Fist of Brutality, Vanir's Left Fist of Savagery, Gavel of Naaru Blessings, Grand Magister's Staff of Torrents, Vengeful Gladiator's Pummeler, and Vengeful Gladiator's Bonecracker; see MMO-Champion for screenshots.
It looks like the new Philosopher's Stone is a cool little trinket; I don't remember there being much competition for that slot that early in the game. It's an interesting move to make those cuts available from two factions, and should appease the hardcore types who, presumably, are at least Honored with Scale of Sands by now. Looking at the Primal requirements for the Alchemist Stones, most of those are easy primals, but Air is significantly more expensive. Rogues get it easy. And all those new models look groovy; a good set of changes overall.
Welcome, my friends, to the second installment of Macro Anatomy. In this episode we'll be going over some basic macro commands and I'll introduce some simple macros for you to learn and play with.
Before we move ahead, I wanted to reiterate an important change to many macros since the release of Patch 2.3 for those of you who are already writing and using macros. The /stopcasting command is no longer necessary between instant-cast, non-GCD spells. An example would be the following macro:
PTR Notes: Class changes from 2/29 - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 13:00:00 EST Yet another new build went up on the patch 2.4 PTRs last night, and it had a few class changes (as well as item changes; more on those later):
[Shaman] Flametongue debuff changed to -25% healing, but stacks twice; duration is still 5 s
[Priest] Mass Dispel will now affect up to 10 friendly and 10 enemy targets (source). Is it wrong that I've never used this in PvE?
Bloodlust/Heroism will now stack with Icy Veins (source), but will still not stack with the new Power Infusion (source).
As far as I can figure out, the upshot of the Flametongue change (which presumably applies to both the Weapon and the Totem versions of Flametongue) is that if you just hit someone once, they won't get the full -50% effect; you've got to beat on someone continually to keep that up. Will the Mass Dispel change make it more useful in raids? I have no idea. Probably not, what with the 15 yard radius.
Alin Putinelu decided to submit this humorous documentary into the contest. He walks the viewers through the development process of a video game, while showing images and video of WoW. While I found it informative, I don't know if it's award-winning material. The easy listening music and serious voiceover were a nice touch, though!
Get your gems! - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 11:00:00 EST It's that time of the month again, ladies and gents. It's the first of March, so the Consortium has a fresh round of gems to hand out! If you're new to level 70(or Outland in general), each month you can travel to Aeris Landing in Nagrand and receive a packet of gems. How many gems is dependent on your reputation with the Consortium.
Personally, I've never had very good luck with these guys. I'm Exalted on two characters and all they'll ever give me is a handful of junk and some slightly better junk. I actually think the game is working against me when it comes to gems. I have the same luck with Prospecting. I know everyone says Prospecting is an amazing source of money, but I'm confident it only works for them because all of the awful gems are used up on me.
But enough QQ. Go! Get your gems! Make sure to leave comments lying about those Stars of Elune you got. It'll make me feel better if you just say you got a few Talasites.
Reminder: guess when patch 2.4 will hit the live realms - Sat, 01 Mar 2008 10:30:00 EST Don't forget that our contest to guess the patch 2.4 release date ends Monday, so this weekend is your last chance to leave your guess for when the patch on the PTR will go on the live realms (in American date format: DD/MM) on our contest post (not on this post). We've got a ton of guesses so far, and definitely enough to cover all the days in between now and next year (although the patch is probably dropping sometime in March), so what we'll do is pick randomly from the people who guess on the correct day to give out the game cards. And if you are super bored this weekend and want to take all the data from that post and plot us a graph of where all the guesses land (so we can come up with fun stuff like an average guess), we could probably think of something nice to do for you too.
Anyway, yes, follow the rules (must be a US resident and over the age of 18, must only enter once), and if you haven't yet, leave your guess on our contest post now. The polls will close, so to speak, on Monday, and of course we'll pick the winners when the patch drops.
An anonymous player sent in this shot of an old Orc Warrior that he retired when he moved servers. After a life of battle in Azeroth, this adventurer was retired to an tavern in Ratchet to spend his retirement in his cups. And apparently bobbing for apples.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
Every week, Arcane Brilliance endeavors to inform and entertain Mages everywhere, and also to brainwash non-Mag es into becoming Mages. This week we take a look at what's to come for the Mage class, even though last week we promised to write about newbie instances. The newbie instances aren't going anywhere, ok? We can write about them next week. Also, this is the last time we refer to ourselves in plural first person. We know we aren't part of a collective. We understand we are not Borg. We promise.
Is this whole "progressive patch" thing blowing anybody else's mind? Am I the only one? When the patch notes were first released, Mages everywhere let out a massive, unequivocated "Meh." There were no significant changes for anybody, really, much less the wizarding community at large. As it turned out, Blizzard was holding out on us. Each build of the patch brings a few new nuggets of change, slightly like when Wendy's switched from chicken nuggets constituted of several differently colored kinds of ultra-processed chicken product to all-white kinds of ultra-processed chicken product. Though we've gotten nothing as drastic as what may or may not be happening to Shamans and Warlocks, some of these changes could prove to be significant.
It's important, I suppose, that I stress yet again that none of these changes are guaranteed to see the light of the live servers, and that future nerfs/buffs could be rolling down the pipe. By the time I finish writing this, chances are it will be out of date. And the way things have been going, if we Mages see something hit the notes that we don't like, all we have to do is unite and QQ the living crap out of the official forums. You never know what it'll get you.
First off, a Black War Elekk has been added in a recent PTR push! Rejoice PvPers, you now get a giant elephant mount. I know a few of my guild mates have been waiting for this, so I imagine it'll be a welcome addition, if a small one. I might get one for my Paladin, running around on the Charger is getting a bit boring and I honestly don't know what else would be appropriate.
For up and coming Alchemists, the Philosopher's Stone has been altered. Like the Alchemist's Stones after it, it is now a trinket. Also like the Alchemist's Stone, it'll do a little something for everyone. Emphasis on little. The new Philosopher's Stone will add 5 to each of the basic stats.
In addition to the little boost to Alchemy above, the materials for the new Alchemist's Stones have been toned down somewhat. Rather than 16 primals per stone, you'll need only six. That's anywhere from a 100 to a 300 gold reduction in price depending on the primal and your server's market, or a few hours of farming saved, so I really can't complain.
Arena tournament PTR live - Fri, 29 Feb 2008 23:13:00 EST Well, this is an unexpected pleasure. A new public test realm just opened up, and it's an arena tournament server. This means you can go create level 70 characters there of whatever class you wish, and grab neat gear off the vendors, and go fight each other. That's about all you'll be able to do, because the PvE content on that realm has been disabled, as it will be on the actual tournament realms.
This actually implements something I've been thinking about in the context of WoW for a while: god wars. God wars was a type of MUD where all the characters were maximum level, and the fun of it was being a super-powerful character -- a god -- going around killing other super-powerful characters. No PvE to speak of, no story, no grinding, just PvP all the time, or at least that's how I remember it (it's been a while since my MUD days). Here's your PvP minigame, folks. Wouldn't it be nice if these types of realms were part of the regular game, separate from the tournament, but perhaps with a ladder?
Tomorrow's the big day for the Spectral Safari tournament that Upper Deck is organizing. At various locations all around the country, TCG players will be competing for prizes of all kinds, including the coveted Spectral Tiger mount. The good folks at Upper Deck have also posted a guide for would-be tiger winners -- they've broken down a few classes in the TCG game, so even if you haven't been practicing maniacally for the last few months, you can still read up and and have a chance at winning the tournament.
And don't forget that even if you're not playing, Upper Deck wants you to go anyway; send them pictures or reports of the event, and you might get chosen to win even more prizes. And if you do go, drop us a note here on WoW Insider about what it was like -- obviously, UD is hoping for this to be a big event tomorrow, so it'll be interesting to see who shows up at the various locations. If you are going to compete, good luck! Win yourself a tiger mount!
V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.
This progressive patch is turning out to be quite an event in itself. We are seeing some pretty important changes in every PTR build and the community is watching every change with bated breath. One thing's for certain though: many of the changes are Arena-driven, as Blizzard tries to get the PvP aspect of the game in gear for the 3v3 tournament.
Haven't done an offhand in a while, so while this one isn't exactly at the top of the heap, it's a nice item for your newly-70 alt to pick up, and it has a fun nod to a guy who's been working hard lately. Also, have a suggestion for a piece of phat loot to cover? Share it in the comments below or drop us a note on the tipline.
The stamina on this says Warlock, but if there aren't any warlocks around, this wouldn't be a bad pickup for any damage caster (Elemental Shaman, anyone?), especially one looking to head into PvP. For most casters, odds are that even if you grab this, it'll be replaced pretty quickly with either a better offhand or a 2h weapon.
But on the other hand, it does look cool, and it's named after one of the most beloved CMs (if you can believe that CMs can be universally beloved) on the forums, the hypno-gnome Hortus. He's the bug guy, so many times (especially when a big PTR is being tested like this), he'll be the one to show up with answers to players asking about whether something is bugged or not.
And he's brilliant. Hence the seal.
How to Get It: It drops from the Fel Horde's Warchief, Kargath Bladefist. We've talked about him before on PLP, so suffice it to say that he's a mean SOB with blades for hands. No idea why he's carrying around Hortus' seal, but if you are able to grab it from the guy (it drops pretty often, in both normal and heroic modes) , you might want to see about getting it back to Hortus -- he'll probably need it for all the PTR testing going on.
Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 2g 20s 45c, and disenchants into a Large Prismatic Shard.
Forbes.com writer looks into the future for Warcraft - Fri, 29 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST Tipster Felwrathe forwarded an article to us the other day by Forbes.com writer Michael Noer entitled "The Future of Video Games." He puts Warcraft in this category as well - despite the fact that some would still call it a Computer game rather than a video game (or the more elegant term, vidcon). And while he does manage not to take potshots at the game as others have, he still makes a few somewhat surprising predictions about what the future holds.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors takes the time this week to discuss putting the hurt on things. Whether you are fury, arms, or even sometimes prot (stop laughing) there will be times when it's less important that you keep a mob occupied and more important that you bash it's head in, chop it's arms off, or otherwise bring the unpleasantness. Matthew Rossi has been bringing said unpleasantness for a long time now. Oh, right, yes, in game, certainly, what else did you think we meant?
Before we even get started, yes, that is a warrior in Tier 1 with a Terestrian's Stranglestaff equipped. For some odd reason the staff only drops if we have no druids on the run, so there you go. Why is he in Tier 1? Because Tier 1 still looks freaking awesome, that's why. And that's not the lookalike 70 blues, man, that's the old school set. You can tell by the coloring. (You know you've been playing a warrior for a very long time when you can look at a piece of gear and know by its color what it is.)
I've talked a lot about how I mostly tank nowadays, so it's kind of ironic that I'm talking about DPS today, considering that I mainly DPS'd for months and months and seemed always to be talking about tanking. Maybe I should start running around bandaging people. Or I could make a whole lot of food before the raid and pass it out to folks while making weird gestures beforehand.
Anyway, warriors as DPS are, as always, melee. We don't have much in the way of spell damage (no, Thunderclap doesn't count) and even our debuffs generally make for up close action. Basically, all warriors (be they tanks or DPS) hit and yell at things. That's about all we do, really, we hit things and we yell at them, either making them feel bad (Demoralising Shout) or good (Battle and Commanding Shout), and sometimes we break wind so powerfully that they can't attack us as fast (Thunderclap). Okay, so the tooltip doesn't actually say that we're flatulent when we use Thunderclap, but I've yet to see any other explanation as to why I can explode periodically for physical damage when I have no magic. Yes, it counts as a spell, and yes, it's mitigated by armor, so I'm totally in the dark as to what else it could possibly be.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors may just have had its first fart joke. I'm sure we're all very proud. Now that we've all gotten that out of our system, so to speak, let's get on to what a warrior DPSing is and isn't, and what they can and can't do. I'm not going to dwell too much on things like weapon speed or if dual wielding is superior to a 2h weapon because that will really ultimately depend on your build, and I won't know what that is. There are DPS builds in both arms and fury that use 2h weapons and dual wielding (although I have to admit that I don't understand a dual wielding DPS arms build very well) so such a talent choice will be up to you.