It's only for US residents, and you've got to find your own ride and hotel at BlizzCon -- you'll have to meet him at the gate to get in, and he apparently wants a picture (and to supposedly publish the story, so anyone who doesn't want to be in the spotlight can probably pass now). But after you say hi to him, the rest of the conference is yours -- if you're interested in hitting every chance to grab a BlizzCon ticket you get, better start writing.
The entry is due by September 14th, and PE's email is on his blog. Good luck to everyone who enters, we can't wait to read the winning story.
Gametrailers hit up Tom Chilton for an interview at Leipzig and here's the video. His main point is that Wrath is bigger and better than before -- more, better, cooler content. Intercut with lots of cool video from the beta (though some of it was seen as far back as BlizzCon last year), he lays down what's up with the next expansion.
He says that Wrath is meant for high-end players, but that there's lots for lowbies as well: recruit-a-friend was actually designed as part of the Wrath feature set, and Blizzard thought it was better to release it earlier. Inscription is also seen as a "whole-game" feature, since you can pick it up right at level one, and Achievements will work for everyone as well.
He also talks about how the new gameplay features Blizzard is building in let them do all kinds of things with quests and instances -- he specifically mentions one encounter in the Oculus where you'll get to choose a ride with different abilities, so it'll be a different experience than your normal class play. There's some great footage of air combat in there as well, and even a little tidbit about the official threatmeter. Nice interview, and it sounds like Blizzard is rolling right along with their progress in the beta.
Ambassador title was added per player request - Mon, 01 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST We asked for more titles, and darned if Blizzard didn't give them to us. Just in case you missed it over the weekend, there are tons of new titles in the latest beta build that all revolve around Achievements and Feats of Strength, from titles for the first people to level to 80 (and 450 in professions) to titles for obscure reputations and even holidays and fishing. Blizzard really delivered on the title front -- no matter what you do in game, odds are there is a title for you to aim for.
And here's the best part: this is a direct result of reader requests. Zach linked to this the other day, but he forgot to point out that when Tigole posted that the Ambassador title (for earning Exalted with all five core city factions for Alliance or Horde) was coming to the game, it was in direct response to a player asking for it.
Kudos to Blizzard not only for fulfilling their promise to have lots and lots of titles for players to choose from, but for doing it in a way that came straight from players themselves. These seem so simple to implement, we're glad Blizzard is being generous with them.
All you've got to do to enter is put your info in over on their site -- the Grand Prize winner will pick up an all expenses paid trip to BlizzCon, and ten other winners will get some WoW-related gear from the contest's sponsors (SteelSeries makes the Zboard, and apparently they're releasing one for Wrath, so you might get one of those as well). There is a checklist that you can leave unchecked to supposedly keep the sponsors from contacting you, so even if you don't want your info opt-ed in, it looks like you're in the clear.
If you do enter, good luck! (And if you win, we'll see you at BlizzCon!) There are bound to be a few more of these contests showing up before the big event, so even if you don't walk away with a trip from this one, stay tuned.
It's been eight months since we were first introduced to B.Z. Caddington, the profiteer and PvP twink, in A Warsong Carol. Pinkhair has brought him back in silent movie-style as he tries to stop the alliance sneaking around his base.
This is a machinima that you'll have to pay special attention to. All of the dialogue is on text cards on the screen in order to give it that authentic feel. You can also expect custom models, little inside jokes here and there, excellent editing, and all-around evil. Now that's what I call a good time!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
It's that time again, folks. Let's get this party started with Gary's question...
Any new storylines for the Draenei?
I haven't seen any major representation for them throughout Northrend, no massive plots just focusing on them, but they do have a presence and they are right there alongside the Alliance and the Argent Crusade. In some of the early quests, you do some unraveling of a cultist plot, and it's the Draenei fueling the investigation. Apparently thousands of years of the Legion trying to infiltrate your ranks makes you pretty good at sniffing out spies. A lot of their quests are that sort of thing, lending support to the Alliance rather than leading the charge like they did in Outland.
There are a few other quests that show that the Draenei are starting to grow accustomed to Azeroth, and are settling into a calmer life there. They're not fleeing exiles anymore. Azeroth is home to a lot of them these days, so they'll fight Azeroth's fight, and some of them just plain want to live life. Explore and go on whimsical adventures like the rest of us.
Are Prot Paladins having less downtime now with the buff to Blessing of Sanctuary?
Go get your free gems for September - Mon, 01 Sep 2008 10:30:00 EST It's that time of the month again ladies and gentlemen. It's September 1st, so the Consortium are offering up free gems once more. Most of us probably know how this works by now, but if you don't, we're here to help. If you have any reputation above Neutral with the Consortium and aren't Level Worthless (a joke, I promise), Gezhe at Aeris Landing in southwest Nagrand has free gems for you. You can find him just north of that freaky diamond mountain Oshu'gun. Your freebies depend on how high your reputation is with the Consortium.
Friendly gives you a Gem-Stuffed Envelope. The fact that the gems are tucked in an envelope says, "You are worth so little to us that we threw your gems into the nearest, cheapest container without concern for whether or not your gems would come back out intact."
Honored gives you an Unmarked Bag of Gems. This says, "We like you enough to give your gems a little more protection, but not enough to let others see that we speak to urchins such as you."
Revered gives you a Bulging Sack of Gems. The Consortium knows quite well that most denizens of Azeroth and beyond subscribe to the bigger is better mantra. This enormous, bulging sack is most likely full of the worst possible gems you could ever dream of, but at least there's a lot of them!
Exalted will net you a Bag of Premium Gems. Unfortunately, the Ethereals have only just started learning Common, so occasionally they get their word order confused. It should actually be a 'Premium Bag of Gems.' It's a very nice bag. The gems? Not always so great.
Hey, at least green quality gems are worth something nowadays! Back in my day, we farmed all of that Consortium reputation simply for the privilege of vendoring those gems! You crazy kids and your useful green jewels. Wait, it's still my day, isn't it? Well then, off to Aeris Landing!
Who knew that Blizzard was getting so strict about guild bank theft? They've even installed security devices. Moonaholic, a member of <Damage> on Anvilmar, has apparently been sucked dry by this rogue vampire guild bank. Luckily she's already undead, so all she'll have to do is find a tailor to stitch up the gaping holes in her neck.
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 sunsets, and best of luck to all our readers in hurricane-threatened areas.
When I first read about Blizzard's new Recruit-a-Friend program, I thought it was a great way to get friends to catch up quickly. The zhevra mount was just a silly little bonus. The feature that lets players grant a level to a lower-level friend with every two levels had so much potential that it had some players crying out in the forums. Well, WoW Insider reader Brian has actually gone out and done what those players had feared -- he leveled a character from 1-60 in less than 20 minutes using the level granting feature.
Certainly, it can be done much quicker, as Brian didn't have to run into Stormwind's trade district or stop to show the talent points panel for the video. At this point, speed leveling records from 1-60 don't mean anything anymore, anyway. Of course, Brian had to level two characters to 60 on his recruited account to get a total of sixty level grants. With Level 80 fast approaching, I think it's really cool that new players or characters will have a way to rush towards the endgame. After all, there's still Levels 61 to 70 -- and later 71 to 80 -- to slog through. Let me see how many friends I can wrangle up now...
The latest Beta build had a slew of new titles for players to drool over. Of course, most of them were exactly that... titles to drool over but not obtain since most of them were rewards for being the first to Level 80 or first to skill up to 450. Technically, there can actually be more than one person who is 'first' as there's a one minute window when the Feat of Strength is accomplished. Still not very forgiving, and not exactly very casual and quite contrary to the "we want players to enjoy Northrend and not skip content" mantra Blizzard has been repeating as a justification for not having flying mounts for the first seven levels in the expansion.
What do you guys think of the new titles? Frankly, I think a lot of them are pretty darn cool. But seriously, in all likelihood, these first-to-Level-80 characters will have little to no experience of Northrend. Your realm's first Archmage is likely to have no standing with the Kirin-Tor, for example. The first Paladin to Level 80, your realm's so-called Crusader, will most probably have grinded and not actually done any quests for the Argent Crusade. Perhaps Blizzard will have some retroactive titles, such as Conqueror / Justicar or even Scarab Lord, which wasn't implemented until after most AQ gates had been opened. What're your thoughts on the new titles?
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. Matt scored a beta key and busied himself speccing and respeccing his Priest multiple times to figure out funky ways to level to level 80 and has arrived at 2 possible specs!
What do all Priests have to look forward to when Wrath of the Lich King comes out?
Leveling. The grind starts all over again.I'm going to dive right into it and suggest not one but two possible talent builds that you may wish to consider once you get your shiny copy of the new expansion.
The Colosseum: Erratic of Thunderlord - Sun, 31 Aug 2008 22:00:00 EST The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
By popular request, the Colosseum tracked down one of the top Hunters in today's Arena. Erratic, a member of the guild LiveToPug on the Thunderlord server, was happy to share his thoughts about the Arena today.
Erratic is a team member of Mostly Duelists. At the time of this writing, Mostly Duelists is the #1 ranked 5v5 team on the Vindication battlegroup. Erratic is also a member of the 3v3 Tardaphant, who has a 2000 rating.
Check out behind the cut to see what Erratic had to say.
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below (or e-mail us!), ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer your question in a future installment
Is there a Heaven or Hell in any Warcraft lore? Or is the swirly clouds when you die about it.
That's a good question, and my answer isn't going to be very clear, because Warcraft itself isn't clear on it. Warcraft used to be based much more heavily on Christian concepts. There was a Heaven and there was a Hell, there was God and Angels and all that jazz. It's much more vague and nebulous now. It seems that the Twisting Nether is the current concept of Hell, but that might just mean it's a really bad place and not somewhere that sinful dead people automatically go. I have no idea if there is still a Heaven, but the Priest quest for Benediction/Anathema has you escorting souls of Stratholme's dead to the afterlife. So do they exist? Probably, yes. It is suggested that they definitely do exist. What are they like, exactly? We don't know.
It's pretty exciting, isn't it? Patch 3.0 is coming, well, "soon[TM]" according to Blizzard. Considering that our favorite class hasn't gotten a second pass, it might be a bit premature to talk about Paladin changes when the pre-Wrath patch finally hits. That said, it looks like more than a few new talents will make it at least into the PTRs more or less intact. Hopefully and changes we'll see during our second pass will be tweaks to numbers and some mechanics refinements but hopefully no major changes.
Assuming that most of the changes push through, we should expect a completely different Paladin in the coming months. Even without taking the new talents into account, there are baseline changes that should make gameplay technically different. The most significant change, of course, is in the way Judgements work. This is the one change that will take some getting used to. First of all, there are now three Judgements and they activate the GCD. This means no more macros for Seals and Judgements, which is actually fine because of two things: first, Judgements no longer consume Seals; second, Seals now last for a micromanagement-light two minutes.
Trolls are based on the "wild savages" you've seen in the movies or on TV, from King Kong to Discovery channel. If you've seen people hunting with spears, walking around in the forest without many clothes on, or dancing around in costumes and face paint in some kind of ritual you've never heard of, you've seen the apparent inspiration for trolls in World of Warcraft. The culture of Warcraft trolls are a mishmash of all the different myths and rumors that have grown up about some of the earth's indigenous peoples that live outside modern society: Strange voodoo beliefs and rituals? Check. Bloodthirsty headhunters with a taste for cannibalism? Check. Witch doctors, shrunken heads, human sacrifice, and rampant superstition? Check on all counts.
It's important to note here that troll culture is based on the myths about some indigenous people, not on their reality. Cannibalism, for instance, has been rare among human societies, nearly always viewed as anathema, but among the trolls of Azeroth, it appears to be the rule rather than the exception. Unbiased study of the world's primal religions has shown them to be far more sophisticated than early (and prejudiced) Western explorers ever imagined. Don't listen to the Jamaican accent trolls have in the game and assume that trolls are based on real life Jamaicans. There is nowhere near the correlation here that we might find with the dwarves and the Scots, or even the draenei and the eastern Europeans that they sound like. Indeed, one could argue that the choice of a Jamaican accent to represent the trolls and their culture reveals a great deal of ignorance we Americans have regarding Caribbean islanders -- but that's a discussion I'll not go into today.
Suffice it to say that as a member of the Darkspear tribe, the only tribe of trolls to join the Horde, your character living in a time of great change for your people. Your tribe is the first to embrace the more modern values promoted by Thrall, to take up the spiritual practices of shamanism, and to integrate itself with other races. Although the Darkspears have officially given up human sacrifice, cannibalism, and now tell you to "stay away from the voodoo," these practices are all elements of religion and superstition that your character would have grown up with, and may find it hard to let go of completely.
While it isn't the most exciting, mind-blowing, game-changing addition to Dalaran thus far, I thought the addition of a cupcake vendor was pretty cool, especially now that they've itemized it. The vendor has some mundane found that are still pretty fun like Dalaran Brownies and Carrot Cupcakes, which are charming but not entirely what grabbed my attention.
What did grab my attention? She sells cakes! The Lovely Cake and Chocolate Celebration Cake are sold on this vendor, perhaps a little expensive (about 25g), but they work pretty neat. The cakes are used like Lightwells (Cakewell?), you lay them on the ground with a targeting circle and 5-10 of your friends can grab a slice. Maybe a Mage's food table was a better comparison, but I prefer the idea of a cakewell.
Many Shadow Priests are not feeling very good about the state of the class in LK right now. Yes, buffs to DPS are promised. But a lot of our utility has tanked, from Shadow Weaving not affecting other players, to Vampiric Touch being dialed down and given to other classes, to Misery. It's sad, but amusing that a talent named Misery would get nerfed this hard.
Currently, in live, Misery gives 1/2/3/4/5% increased spell damage for all players against targets affected by your Shadow Word: Pain, Mind Flay, and Vampiric Touch. Pretty sweet. As of the latest beta version, it's +1/2/3% spell hit for all players against targets affected by the same spells. The reason this is especially bad (besides that the last two ranks of the talent were removed) is that most casters are hit-capped when they raid, which means that additional spell hit doesn't help them at all.
So either players are going to start gearing assuming Misery will be up - which defeats Blizzard's stated goal of making it so no class is truly essential for a raid - or Misery is going to be worthless most of the time (outside of leveling maybe). This seems like a good case of a broken talent, and so I have every hope that it will get addressed during the beta. But as of right now, Misery is pretty miserable indeed.
Don't worry, though. These realm closures have nothing to do with any dips in WoW's popularity. It's actually due to the launch of WoW's Russian localization. A vast majority of the players on those particular realms were Russian players, and they migrated to the new Russian servers when they opened up, leaving most everyone else high and dry. The equipment these four servers run off of will likely just be used elsewhere, since Vaneras stated they'll be prepped for Wrath of the Lich King's launch after being taken down. Most likely they'll need to launch a few more realms when Wrath rolls around, but it was just far easier to fold these four into larger communities at this point.
WeGame's epic machinima contest, that we announced at the beginning of the month, ends today. As of August 29th, they mentioned a whopping 78 entries have been submitted so far. However, since then, there have been a few very talented machinimators that came out of the woodwork to participate.
Martin Falch is one such machinimator, with his story of love and friendship, Divided Soul. When Kareth and Sarlek meet under unusual circumstances, a bond is formed for what seems like a lifetime, but will eventually crumble. Martin takes us on a journey through their lives, leading us to the outcome, which, according to him, will possibly leave you scratching your head. We don't want to give it away, but he suggests looking at the name of the movie for further guidance.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Isn't this fella cute? Sooo cute? Adorable!? No? He isn't? Yeah, i don't think so either. We'll get back to these horrible abominations a little later, because Meethan asked...
Is Hunger For Blood, the 51 point Assassination talent, at all useful for solo leveling?
I asked a friend of mine about this since I don't personally play a Rogue, and he says popular opinion is that Hunger for Blood is mostly going to be a PvP talent. Keeping the damage buff up constantly while questing isn't worthwhile, and the debuff clearing it provides will be highly situational while soloing through Northrend. You can take it if you're gung ho about Assassination, but you'd be better served picking up something else until you start PvPing often.
Are there or will there be any Aldor vs. Scryer type factions?