As we had been warned previously, Innervate is being changed in patch 3.1.2 to restore a flat amount of mana. At the moment, it restores mana based on the spirit of the target. After the patch, it gives "450% of the casting Druid's base mana pool to the target over 20 seconds," which works out to a bit under 16,000 mana over the course of the effect.
So the effect of Innervate is no longer based on the target's spirit, or indeed any attribute of the target. Paladin's won't laugh at you any more when you innervate them. It's also a big buff in PvP, since spirit is rare on PvP gear. On the down side, as many people have pointed out, this doesn't scale at all - it will always return the same amount of mana, no matter what the casting druid or the target is wearing. This is also a slight reduction from what a holy priest or a resto druid receives from Innervate right now, which is more along the lines of 20,000 mana.
Blizzard isn't too worried about the scaling issue; Ghostcrawler says "We don't think the lack of scaling at level 80 is going to be any kind of problem unless we introduced say 5 more tiers of content without also bumping the level cap. We aren't going to do that." And when we're all at level 90, the druid's base mana will be higher, so that should solve that problem.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine came out in theaters yesterday, to fairly dismal reviews, and like any good summer movie, it has a tie-in video game. Why are we talking about it here? Because the game contains a hidden nod to our own favorite digital pastime, WoW. I'll put specifics (and a screenshot) behind the cut, in case you don't want to be spoiled for the Wolverine game.
Ulduar has been nerfed almost every day since it came out on the live realms, and Blizzard shows no sign of slowing down. There have been mixed reactions to this, but one thing has become clear: Blizzard's approach to raiding has changed.
Zarhym made a very interesting post in a thread complaining about the latest round of Ulduar nerfs, and made the following points:
The Blizzard raid philosophy is different in Wrath than it was in BC and classic. He said "The primary goal in this expansion - and the reason we've implemented 10/25-player, and hard modes - is to give as many people access to the raid content as possible." A lot of work goes into making raids, and they want more people to be able to see them than has been the case in the past.
It's a European invasion on the WoW Insider Show today -- somehow we've wrangled me and three folks from the EU. Turpster will be on as usual, Lesley Smith will be joining us again, and the one and only Patrick Beja will be on the air as well live from France. Don't worry, Americans, I'll patriotically represent us as best I can. On the menu, we'll have discussion about the Martin Fury controversy, both Children's Week and Noblegarden (and if Children's Week really is ruining the battlegrounds), and the changes in patch 3.1.2, out on the PTR right now.
And of course we'll answer your emails (you can email us at email@example.com) and generally have as good a time as we always do. The show starts up at May 2, 2009 3:30 PM EDT over on our Ustream page, or you can just click below to find the embedded Ustream feed in the second half of this post.
And two more things: one, our auction over in Brigwyn's charity drive is heating up already, but if it's worth that much to you to come on the show with us (and oh yeah, help some sick kids, too), get your bid in now! Or just find something over there you like to bid on, it all goes to the same place. And if you have a full afternoon that you want to fill with podcasting, stay tuned after our show today, as I'll be on the Rawrcast. Should be fun -- see you this afternoon!
I'm sorry Blizzard, but I'm with the whiners on this one. The School of Hard Knocks is so badly designed that it's ruining, instead of enhancing, the Battleground experience. Take, for example, the requirement to return a flag in Warsong Gulch. First of all, the requirement is that the player return the flag personally as opposed to being in the vicinity of a flag return. This means that all ten players on one side are angling to return the flag... which is great in theory but in practice encourages entire teams to wait inside the base hoping to get the Achievement. This results in extended stalemates that don't actually encourage what needs to be done, which is to capture the flag.
In Alterac Valley, we have forty players and four capturable towers or bunkers. Sure, the opposing faction can defend the towers/bunkers allowing it to be recaptured, but the whole business of racing to capture one -- again, personally -- turns every Alterac Valley into a race. This means lesser chances of defended towers. Realistically, if players tagged and defended until the objective burned down, only 10% of the team would be able to accomplish the Achievement requirement in every match. I'm sorry to tell all those who are allergic to PvP that you'll actually have to play quite a number of Alterac Valley matches just to get this one. Unfortunately for me, on my Battlegroup, playing Horde-side AV is like pulling teeth.
Today's screenshot comes to us from a very different Azeroth; it's from the Chinese version of World of Warcraft, also known as CWOW. Eliza of <cn7> on Bloodscalp wrote in from Sichaun, "My boyfriend chose to be a warrior, so I chose to be a priest to heal and protect him. Four years passed, we became the best partners in this game, from dungeon to Arena. Now we are going to be married this September, so I sent you these pictures, for memories, and for love." She also notes that Chinese players still aren't able to get Wrath of the Lich King, and adds that she and her soon-to-be-husband plan on leaving CWOW behind. With all the recenttroubles, who can blame them?
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Breakfast Topic: Never Gonna - Sat, 02 May 2009 08:00:00 EST World of Warcraft does have a decent variety of things to do. Arenas, Battlegrounds, Soloing, Professions, 5-mans, raids, the list goes on. Some may focus singlemindedly on one or two aspects of the game, while others dabble a bit in most or even all of them. All this variety also ends up meaning that some people just won't like certain aspects of the game, and will generally shy away from doing them. This can also be true of classes, of talent trees, of playstyles, and all the rest. Of course, sometimes we swear we'll never do something in game, then do it anyway.
Ah, it's the weekend again. We find ourselves in a unique position this week as Friday sees the close of one yearly event and the beginning of another thanks to Blizzard pushing Noblegarden back a bit. This weekend, Azeroth is going to be overrun by pesky little kids asking to be taken around town, begging for junk food, and even endangering themselves as their respective guardians show them the war part of Warcraft. On the other hand, the PTR is also up for those who want to escape prepubescent peskiness. In order of how quickly they responded, let's see what the WoW Insider team is up to this weekend:
Dan O'Halloran - Hitting the PTR to play with premade-80s. Always wanted to noodle around with a level capped Mage and Warlock, but never had the time to level one all the way.
Daniel Whitcomb - Being excited for Children's Week, mostly. Not only is it two extra pets for my collection, but it gives me a good excuse to get in some PvP. I do wish School of Hard Knocks didn't require you to be the actual person holding/returning/capturing the flag/node/whatever though
Matthew Rossi - Today, I'm playing with rabbits: my bunny Herne and his bunny wife Grimalkin will be getting some out time to celebrate his being over whatever was putting him off his food. (Not eating is very serious for rabbits, they can die in a matter of days once they go into GI Stasis.) I may do a Naxx pug on my shaman and there's Ulduar 10 this weekend.
Robin Torres - Orphans and alts. It's all about orphans and alts.
Chase Christian - Ulduar 10, which will be even easier with the latest round of nerfs. I'm glad we're killing these bosses pre-nerf, because it makes the guild feel better about itself.
Jennie Lees - Getting my flatmate and his entire workplace infected with the WoW bug. >:)
Michael Sacco - Yogg-Saron on Ulduar 10; Mimiron, Vezax, and Yogg on 25.
Zach Yonzon - Arenas even though Blizzard borked the system again, Battlegrounds even though it will be overrun by children and their clueless guardians, and Ulduar even though my guild doesn't need another plate DPS.
Enough about us (cheers for those who actually read through that), what about you guys? What are you playing this weekend?
If you want to get your Violet Proto-Drake and fly around at 310% speed, you're going to need to do this achievement. Reports are mixed on how easy or hard this achievement is. Some folks are saying it's done quickly and easily with a good group, others are banging their heads against the desk and spewing curse words at Blizzard.
But just like everything, if you research and take an educated look at these achievements, they become more understandable and easier. That's not to say the achievement will become trivial, but it'll at least become more manageable.
The achievement is broken down, complete with tips, after the break.
The Queue: Zordon, no! - Fri, 01 May 2009 17:00:00 EST Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
A lot of people were confused about the picture I used in The Queue a couple of days ago. You know, the one with the German writing on it. That edition of The Queue was titled Mercenaries, and the person depicted in that picture was Götz von Berlichingen, a German mercenary from the early 1500s. He literally had an Iron Fist. As in, his hand was crafted out of iron. Go read up on him, he rules.
"A question on guild leadership. Our guild leader has decided to stop playing WoW but he didn't transfer the guild to someone else before he left. (It's a long, not very exciting story.) We don't want to just disband and reform under a different name because of the gold in the gbank. Does anyone know the procedure for getting the guild transferred to another person? Is there a certain amount of time that has to pass?"
The developer's home will be Alliance on Broxigar (PvE), however the Patch 3.1.2 PTR servers are all linked together for PvP Arenas and Battlegrounds, so you'll be able to face them no matter where you are.
We've previously covered some of these events, and you can see results in our gallery below. There is no word if the infamous Ghostcrawler will be making an appearance. But I suggest all you disgruntled <insert your class here> show up and hope for the best. After all, he promised you a pony and you didn't get it.
The poor man's solution here is to just run WoW in windowed mode and have your Twitter browser or client open right next to it -- you don't need a big application if you really need to be connected at all times. But if you want to livetweet your raid without sacrificing screen space to windowed mode, PlayXpert is one way to do it. It'll even do some autotwittering for you if you want.
And of course if you're on Twitter already, don't forget to follow our WoW Insider Twitter account. We've already hit our goal of over 9,000 followers (and yes, a video version of the podcast is coming soon), but we're constantly throwing out little pieces of news, discussion and even some giveaways over there, so follow us if you're interested.
You can just do five daily quests today with your orphan out and you'll get the achievement. You don't need to repeat the same quests for the rest of the week.
It should be noted that this is a hotfix applied this morning, and that the achievement text is you'll see via your achievements window is incorrect. This change is likely due to the gigantic failure that was/is A Simple Re-Quest.
And of course, we'll point out our own contribution to the auction page -- we've donated a free guest spot on our podcast, the WoW Insider Show. If you've ever wanted to tell me in virtual person how wrong I am, or encourage Turpster's already oversize ego, or weigh in with us during the Meat of the Show, now's your chance. With your bid there, not only are you helping children who are going through some terrible experiences, but you might also get the chance to speak your mind about World of Warcraft right alongside us on the show. Oh, and we'll poke around our WoW Insider prize closet for some other fun stuff for you, too -- maybe loot cards, a Turpster drawing, or whatever else we've got sitting around.
Martin Fury: What would you have done? - Fri, 01 May 2009 14:00:00 EST Everyone is in a furor over the Martin Fury/Karatechop controversy -- and we've had a few requests already to poll you guys on exactly what you think about it, so here you go. The story, as we've ascertained, is that Karatechop got the item by way of a low-level guildie (who'd been receiving items after he'd had his account hacked), "didn't even contemplate a ticket," and had the guildie bring the item into normal Ulduar with him. They downed Ignis with it, and after that proceeded out of the instance, flipped it to Heroic, and used the item thirteen more times, completing even some world first hard modes with it.
So the question is: what would you have done? Lots of players say they wouldn't have touched it, and that it was clearly an item they shouldn't have had. Others say that Karatechop and his guild did what anyone would have done -- it was Blizzard's mistake and they were just taking advantage of it. We'd like to know, so here's a poll: what would you have done if Martin Fury showed up in your mailbox?
Of course, Karatechop eventually got banned for what he did, but answer that question under the premise that he didn't necessarily know that at the time. And there's another question here: lots of players say that they are surprised Karatechop and his guild didn't open a GM ticket right away -- clearly Blizzard didn't mean to send him the item, and he should have contacted them to get it back. But others aren't so sure. The second question is: no matter what you did with the item, would you have told the GMs about it?
We are nearing the end of Noblegarden, but haven't discussed here at WoW Insider the most controversial part of the event: Shake your Bunny-Maker. For this achievement, you have to put bunny ears on one female of each race that is over Level 18.
Before we go any farther in this discussion, I would like to state that I am female. Not that I am speaking for all females (no one can), but I think that it is important that you know where I am coming from. I also have a young daughter and would like the world to be a better place for her, as all parents do. It is also worth noting that the title for this post was inspired by one of my favorite movies: This is Spinal Tap. The band wants to release an album called Smell the Glove with a cover of a naked woman who is leashed and is forced to smell a glove. The lead singer mistakes the word "sexist" for "sexy". Hilarity ensues.
Today on Moviewatch we bring to you a different sort of Machinima, a blend of in-game artwork and scenes as the backdrop to animated characters. At first I was rather skeptical of how it all looked and if it'd work, but by about a minute into it I was digging it.
The movie is in French with English subtitles, so those of us who don't speak the language of fries are in luck (okay, I kid... I kid... It's Friday, I'm allowed to make bad jokes.).
Definitely check out this very well animated cartoon. It runs just under 16 minutes too, so you'll have a bit of entertainment. And big props to Krys on his accomplishment.
"But I don't want to! ... You should have played Freecell instead."
PvP trinket is mandatory - Fri, 01 May 2009 11:00:00 EST There's a short, five-page locked thread over at the official forums that starts out by quoting Ghostcrawler although the OP doesn't quite make his point clear. I think what he's trying to say is that there's too much crowd control in the game, so much in fact, that a PvP trinket is mandatory. The discussion devolves into a criticism of the prevalance of crowd control in PvP. This is arguably exemplified by one of the most enduring and successful 3v3 team composition in Arenas, the RMP or Rogue-Mage-Priest comp which has access to a good number of crowd control (and interrupt or silence) abilities.
Ghostcrawler pops in to give his two centavos worth (apparently he can sift through QQ much better than I could) to say that "crowd control abilities are part of WoW," and is actually a little surprised at the reaction. "If you don't like being CC'd," he chides, "use your PvP trinket." He goes on to say that too much crowd control isn't good for the game, and also acknowledges that too much burst and too much healing aren't palatable, either. A little later down the thread, he gives a little illumination behind developer philosophy about crowd control design and distribution. Newsflash: it isn't equal.
By not being equal, I mean that some classes have more CC than others, while some have access to more CC breaks than others. But the accusation was that this made the game unbalanced, and this is what our favorite crab disagreed with. Despite the trend towards a little class homogeneity (e.g., identical or non-stacking buffs), he draws the line at making classes carbon copies of each other. He admits that "making classes identical or even very similar makes the game easier to balance," but he also astutely points out that "it also makes it boring."