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 you in a future installment! Mizunie asks a couple of questions...
On the WotLK website, the designers talk about the "Scarlet Onslaught." Who are they and where did they come from?
The Scarlet Onslaught is the refounding of the Scarlet Crusade. Sometime after the events in Stratholme, Abbendis has taken complete command of the Crusade with a new band of lackies. She believes the Light has beckoned her to Northrend, so she rounds up every Crusader she has left and loads them on boats under the flag of the Scarlet Onslaught. There's other details to accompany this in Wrath, but they're way too cool for me to spoil this early.
Do we know anything on good ol' Deathwing?
Nope, not yet. I haven't seen much yet. It's possible we'll learn more in the Chamber of the Aspects raid zone coming in Wrath. It's been revealed that a Black Dragon is the boss inside there, though we don't know the details surrounding it yet.
After a brief hiatus, Insider Trader is back and ready to take on the faction world. As you progress through Outland as a leatherworker, it will be helpful to know the factions with which you will need to be in high favor.
Here's a quick summary:
Honored: Ashtongue Deathsworn, Sha'tar, Keepers of Time.
You may recall a few days back that we told you about new stable slots coming with Wrath of the Lich King. It looks like Blizzard wasn't just whistling dixie, because they're in. When I was switching from my level 65 devilsaur to my beefier level 70 dire raven for a Nexus run over on the Beta server, I noticed that the stable boy was offering me two more stable slots!
The stables slots costs 50 gold for the third one, and 150 gold for the fourth one, giving you a total of 4 slots. This means you have room for one pet from each talent tree, plus a spot for a specialized pet (such as a scorpid for PvP) or an exotic pet (and yes, devilsaurs will be exotic only) or two.
Combine this with the abolishing of the need to tame pets simply to learn skills and auto leveling, and it continues to look like pet management should be easier, funner, and more efficient in Wrath.
Edge talks Morhaime on Age of Conan - Sat, 02 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST We made mention of Mike Morhaime's surprising words regarding Wrath's launch date during a recent conference call, but there's one thing we didn't really look at that Edge did. Mister Morhaime says Age of Conan's release a couple of months ago did manage to pull some subscribers away from WoW, but unsurprisingly, almost half of them came back pretty fast. Around 40% of them have come back so far.
This does not surprise me, really. That's usually how most MMO releases go, even if Age of Conan was the most heralded release since WoW. I'll admit, I haven't played it myself but I had ten or so guildmates of mine go and try it out. All of them ended up not playing the game after a month, saying that something was 'missing.' How delightfully vague, eh? They all came back.
A thriving, pre-existing community really helps a game's launch, and WoW had (and has) that in spades. You've gotta hand it to Age of Conan, though. For being a game that seems so niche in a market that has only moved out of nichedom in the last few years, they're putting up one hell of a fight. 40% of players have come back so far, sure, but 60% haven't. Yet.
If you're not completely holed up in a cave somewhere, you're probably aware that some big sports event called the Olympics is happening in August. Of course, August also marks the start of a new season for our friends over at WoW Radio, who are holding a contest to celebrate their onslaught of shows. In keeping with the Olympics, WoW Radio is calling their August contest "Pass the Torch", and are giving away twenty (!) Worldwide Invitational cards as prizes. Just in case you didn't know, those cards contain the codes for a key to the Wrath Beta and a mini-Tyrael pet.
How do you join? Simple. Listen to their radio shows! Starting August 8 (or what the Chinese consider to be the lucky 08/08/08), five of their radio shows will be their torch-bearers. During each show, there'll be an 'Olympic ring' -- you'll know them when you hear them, according to WoW Radio -- containing a secret word. The five secret words will form a phrase, which you should then send to their e-mail address to be entered in their grand prize draw. Winners will be announced on the 15th of August on Blue Plz! Head on over to WoW Radio now and keep an ear out for those secret words!
It ain't over yet. Blizzard Entertainment, who won a lawsuit against MDY, the makers of the infamous Glider bot program, has asked the ruling court for a permanent injunction that would functionally eliminate the program from WoW. Blizzard has also issued an unconventional request preventing the open-sourcing of the MMO Glider (formerly known as WoW Glider) code and prohibiting MDY from helping other people develop World of Warcraft automation software.
Blizzard's case against MDY has already sparked some debate, and this latest request may catch the attention of open source and digital rights advocates. Blizzard has always taken a hardline stance against users of the program, even banning countless users back in May. Automation is clearly against the EULA, so players who flirt with bot programs such as MMO Glider should proceed at their own risk. A complete coverage of the case between Blizzard and MDY can be found over at Virtually Blind.
Each week, Arcane Brilliance fills your head with as much Mage-related information as it can. You may have wondered how our signature buff works--how exactly does a Mage make you smarter for an hour? Well there you have it: we shoehorn this column into your brain with a flick of our fingers. That's how awesome Arcane Brilliance is, not only does it entertain, it also actually makes you more intelligent. For an hour. Or until a felhunter eats it.
It's Saturday again, and you know what that means: you guessed it, everything I'm about to write will be completely obsolete in about 15 minutes.
I'm not even sure where to begin this week. I was planning to turn this column's attentions to the Frost tree, but how can I ignore the vast and fairly sweeping changes the other two trees have undergone in the past seven days? The answer? I can't.
Still, I don't want to short-change the Frost tree. So here's the plan. I'm going to deal with the most drastic of the changes to the other two trees this week. Next week, barring another giant list of new craziness, we'll lay our hands upon upon that new Frost tree and wring it dry.
So what's new, you ask? Lots of things. Come back after the break for more newness than you can shake an epic wand at.
The second and third place winners of the Synergy contest haven't uploaded their videos to other hosting sites yet, so we're going to feature one that didn't win. Ramzienator, the brave soul that he is, submitted his very first machinima to the contest. As luck would have it, he lost third place by one vote. He requested some (fairly kind) feedback from the Moviewatch audience.
Remember that all scripts for the Busted films are the same and that they were asked to follow them faithfully. Ramzienator's version lacks the fancy effects that the winning verson had. You can definitely tell that he used WoW Model and Map Viewers. The characters seem out of place, and in certain scenes where the ground shakes, the background goes out of aspect ratio. Sometimes the music totally disappeared and then reappeared just as mysteriously.
There's a long way to go to be on the top of machinima. However, almost placing in this contest with your first machinima is good encouragement. The bulging eyes at the end were a cute touch, too! Don't give up! What say you, critical audience?
Our podcast is back this afternoon, and it's going to be a doozy. We'll share with you some of the best entries in last week's beta key contest, and we'll do what we always do: talk about the biggest stories in the past week of Warcraft. I can tell you right now: this week's show is going to be almost all about the Wrath beta, because there's no bigger story than that. All of those amazing Green quest rewards will probably get a mention, as will what we've seen of Inscription and all the other new stuff so far.
And since BigRedKitty will be making his triumphant return to the podcast (and I'll be on with him for the first time since I've started leveling my Alliance Hunter), we'll talk Hunter stuff as well -- I definitely want to hear what he has to say about all these exotic pets we're seeing. And while I can't guarantee it, there's a rumor that none other than Matthew Rossi will be stopping by -- I hear he's excited about something called Titan's Grip?
Should be, as always, a terrific show. Tune in to WoW Radio at 3:30pm EST, join everybody in the IRC channel at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel, and as always, if you have questions or concerns for us to answer (or just want to tell BRK how awesome he is), drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. See you this afternoon!
It's 11AM, do you know where your beta testers are? If you're reading WoW Insider (and you certainly seem to be), then they're right here answering your questions. We've picked a few unanswered questions from recent installments of Ask a Beta Tester to answer this morning, and, as always, invite you to drop in any new questions that might be plaguing your poor brain. I'm going to start off with a question I've been waiting for -- because it allows me to properly express the full extent of my glee over the changes to the Paladin's seal and judgment system, which are, if I may be so bold, magnificent. Offhand writes in to say, "I'm getting confused as to how paladin seals work now. It seems like they keep updating and changing that system."
The old system of seals and judgements is dead -- long live the new system. At present, a paladin's available seals have been reduced to light, wisdom, blood/vengeance, and corruption (a new seal doing holy damage)...You'll notice former staple crusader is missing -- it buffed holy damage on application and your all-around damage has been buffed so you won't notice a change. Madness! Now, when you cast a judgement, it does not use up your seal -- all seals last for two minutes. Also, while you have seal of light, wisdom, and justice, their use is much more limited, because you now have three different types of judgements: light, wisdom, and justice. Regardless of which seal you use, using judgement of light, wisdom, or justice will apply the debuff formerly associated with the seal of the same name while doing the immediate effect of the seal you currently have up. It may sound convoluted, but in practice, it really cuts down on the seal/judge/seal/judge keyboard action and streamlines paladin combat.
There are few sights more chilling than finding the throne room in Thrallmar empty... or worse, with the remains of what might be the mighty Thrall. Since Around Azeroth mistress Elizabeth Wachowski's computer is misbehaving today, I pulled this screenshot from my own coffers, taken after a massive Alliance raid on Orgrimmar that left plenty dead -- most notably the Horde's own Warchief. Now, will Achievements like Death to the Warchief! result in more scenes like this around Azeroth? Wait until Wrath and see...
Do you have any interesting World of Warcraft images hidden away in your computer somewhere? Share it with us on Around Azeroth! This should be as simple as e-mailing email@example.com with your screenshot and a few words about what we're looking at. Remember to keep those screenshots clean! That means without the UI (you can click alt-Z to remove it). Include your player name and guild if you want a shout-out. If you have Beta screenshots, send those in, too! We at WoW Insider are always yearning for Beta news.
Built-in threat meters implemented in Beta - Sat, 02 Aug 2008 09:00:00 EST The built-in threat meter that Bornakk hinted at yesterday has made its way to the latest build of the Wrath Beta. Tipsters John and Hugimbory point out that the Beta now shows the percentage of threat on the target, updating as it changes relative to other attackers. MMO Champion also reports that the % of threat is shown on the scrolling combat text based on the party or raid member with the highest threat. Mob tooltips also show threat percentage, all indicating simple data forwarded to the client.
WoW Insider reported Nethaera saying that built-in threat meters were coming"in a future patch" back in February. It now appears that the 'future patch' she referred to will probably be Patch 3.0. It remains to be seen whether this implementation of threat monitoring will stay in the game as is, although it's more than likely that the system will still receive some polish.
I know. I'm not in Beta, and yet I'm as giddy as a greedy little boy who just got hold of a cookie jar with every bit of Wrath of the Lich King information. We've seen the breathtaking Howling Fjord, bits of the Borean Tundra, and even glimpses into the lush forests of Sholazar Basin. I don't think I could be excited enough for Lake Wintergrasp, even though there's just so little information about it. Elizabeth Harper, who's playing around in the Beta, has said that Dragonblight is her favorite zone.
From what we've seen so far, it really looks like Wrath of the Lich King is going to be one hell of a game. Each of the zones -- as has been the trend throughout World of Warcraft -- has its own personality. Blizzard has said that it won't all be ice and snow, and the diversity that's been revealed up to this point seems to attest to that. What zone are you most excited to see and most eager to explore when you get to Northrend?
Beta patch notes for August 1st - Sat, 02 Aug 2008 07:00:00 EST The beta client was patched against last night, and the process was nice and smooth. The realms were actually up earlier than their estimate, which was a shocking difference from what we see on Live realms. Of course, Live realms see maintenance at the same time, so maybe that was the difference. The patch wasn't a big one by any means, it was actually quite small compared to the last one.
This patch is mostly Mage and Shaman changes, but it also contained the beginnings of Blizzard's built-in threat meter. I can't say its the greatest implementation ever, but it's a start and the information it provides is already proving itself infinitely useful to mod authors such as the fellow behind Omen. More on that another time though, you're here for the patch notes and the patch notes I shall provide. Check behind the cut for the recent changes according to the candlestick.
I've long said that once the game becomes more like a job than a diversion, it may be time to reconsider your choice of hobbies.True, to get to the top it takes lot of work, knowledge, and time. But when it comes down to it, what is the game really about?Vagh of Kil'jaeden sent out a shout out to those who aren't the best of the best, but are still enjoying the game.He tipped his hat to:
A person who is happily running around a main city with greens and blues
A person who is so happy to kill a boss in a 5 man instance
A person who gets a blue off of a non-heroic mode boss for a badly needed upgrade and floods the party channel with "Woot!" or "I'm so happy!!!"
A person whose arena rating hovers in the 1400s but still enjoys the game
A person who doesn't complain endlessly on the forums about imbalance
If you're a serious Hunter, chances are you've heard of Cheeky's Spreadsheet, and probably used it. If you haven't heard of it, it's an amazing Hunter resource that allows you to plug your personal spec, gear, pet data, and shot rotation into a handy spreadsheet and figure out your DPS and other vital statistics. You can then swap in different gear, talents, and shot rotations to decide what upgrades to shoot for or just to see if you can squeeze out a bit more DPS from your Hunter.
Unfortunately, Cheeky has just released her final version, and is retiring from the spreadsheet business (along with cohort and fellow spreadsheet maintainer Lactose), leaving a rather large hole in the raiding Hunter community for sure (You may also remember them as the authors of the rather insightful look at Hunter DPS from a while back).
Cheeky has unlocked the spreadsheet, so we can that some other theorycrafting-minded Hunter will step up and maintain it going forward in WotLK, especially with all the new changes Hunters are seeing that may drastically change the way they play. However, whether that happens or not, Cheeky's retirement is sure to leave a hole in the Hunter Community, and she and Lactose will both be missed. Good luck and good hunting to both of them.
This is the perfect hefty loot item -- it's easy enough for almost anyone to get, but relatively secret enough that most people don't know exactly where it is. When I came across it leveling up my Hunter this week, I knew it belonged right here.
Transforms you into a helpless Blackwhelp dragon for up to 15 minutes. You can't attack or cast spells while transformed.
In fact, it's pretty limiting -- you can't even take damage while in this form. You can use self-buff abilities and drink potions and such (rumor is that Winterfall Firewater looks funny while the Orb is on), but the disguise is pretty fragile.
And Wyrmcultists will see right through you in this disguise, as will any other mobs. We'll get to why that's important in a second.
Oh, and coincidentally, Blizzard's item ID number for this item is 31337. Cute.
How to Get It: Up in Blade's Edge, in the Wyrmcultist chain of quests leading out of Evergrove, you'll eventually find your way to Blackwing Coven, a cave west of the Grishna Arrakoa settlement (through the Wyrmskull Tunnel). There's a quest called "Meeting at Blackwing Coven," that requires you to kill Wyrmcultists, get "Costume Scraps" from them, and then use five of those to make a costume that will make you look like one of them.
The actual quest has you meeting with an NPC and then leaving, but if you hurry (the costume only lasts three minutes), you can run over and also chat with another NPC on the opposite side of the cavern from the quest target. The NPC is called the "Wyrmcult Provisioner," and if you're in costume, he'll be friendly, and act as an actual vendor. Among a few other general goods (I stocked up on bullets while there), he also sells this item for a mere 2g 50s.
And the good news is that even if you've done the quest already, you can go back, murder more Wyrmcultists for more Costume Scraps, and go visit the provisioner again. So even if you didn't catch this the first time around, it's still waiting for you in Blade's Edge.
The Provisioner also sells the Wyrmcultist's Cloak, which is a nice Fire Resistance cloak, especially since it's so easy to get.
Getting Rid of It: It's only got 3 charges, so use those and it's out of your life forever. You could also sell it back for 62s 50c, but unfortunately it's BoP so no auction house profits off of this one.
With the release date of BlizzCon 2008 coming ever closer, it should be near time for the floodgates of information to open. One of the questions that's always on everybody's lips about BlizzCons: What's in the goody bag? Blizzard gave us a sneak peak today.
First, they confirmed that the goggled bear mount with a Murloc passenger MMO-Champion discovered a few days ago is in fact the BlizzCon in-game pet. That's right, just head to BlizzCon, and you too could be among the first to own a "multi-passenger" WoW mount.
As for the next item, those of you who are annoyed at the prospect of any old Arthas-killing schlub getting their hands on Frostmourne may want to brace yourselves: now, any BlizzCon-attending schlub can get Frostmourne too: Namely, a 48" inflatable version of the sword. However, only half the bags will have that. The other half will have an inflatable Divine Shield ball, complete with hearthing paladin.
Of course, that won't be all. Blizzard is also promising stuff like "zerg creep," Pandaren Brewmaster bottle openers, Diablo health and mana stress balls, and much more.
With stuff like that, I'd say it may be worth buying a ticket on August 11th for the goody bag alone. But if you can't, don't worry. We'll be sure to have pictures of all the swag for you to drool over come BlizzCon itself, as well as all the coverage you could want on all things BlizzCon, both during the con and in the days leading up to it!
First off, some news that may be good, may be bad: Paralysis is going away. As we remember, Paralysis was the deep elemental talent that added bonus spell damage and a chance to paralyze to your lightning and chain lightning. At this time, I have no idea what they're replacing it with or why it's being taken out: Since there's a deliberate change to the coefficient on lightning spells in Wrath as well, described as being there to balance out new abilities that provide a nature school debuff (whereas previously LB and CL had a higher coefficient because there weren't many such abilities), I find myself wondering if Paralysis simply wasn't scaling well enough to be of use. Since I can't test this (curse you, Beta gods) I'll just have to take it on faith that Paralysis' removal is a good thing.
Obviously this isn't a huge deal... it's beta, stuff gets changed... but it does have me thinking about how leveling from 70 to 80 is going to feel. To a degree, leveling a shaman is like being starving at an all you can eat buffet: you have so many choices that you might end up not being able to choose at all. Even as someone who really, really enjoying leveling enhancement (so much so that I did it twice) the pull of trying out a restoration spec under the new spell power rules has its appeal, or just ouright committing to the pew pew of elemental combat. (Part of it is that I just like typing elemental combat. In my head it's like the theme song from the Mortal Kombat movie, only with Neptulon and Ragnaros instead of Sub-Zero and Johnny Cage.)