Wowhead keeps adding new features, I know. But this is a big one. Last night, while most of us were busy watching the vice-presidential debate, they launched a fairly sophisticated tool for comparing items or sets of items. Basically, you can add any item or set in the database, and group them up however you want (by dragging items between groups), and then compare groups against each other to see what stats you gain and lose on.
There are tons of additional features to this tool, and it might be worth reading the instructions to see all of what you can do. Some things I particularly like:
You can add stat weighting scales, to see (an estimation of) how good the item is overall for your class and spec. Click the scores to toggle the display format; I like the percentage display particularly, which shows the "best" group as 100% and everything else in terms of that.
The "gains" row shows you in short what's different between your groups, by subtracting out all shared stats.
All item listings on the site now feature checkboxes that you can use to quickly compare items.
Each group has an option to view in 3D, so you can now finally use Wowhead as your dressing room: just create a group of items you want to look at, click the little triangle on the top bar of the group, and select "View in 3D."
You can set one group as your "focus" by clicking the little eye icon, which shows all stats relative to that group.
I will definitely be making use of this in the future; it's much easier than figuring it out in your head or making a spreadsheet.
Yup, as you've probably already guessed, this is a chest for a tanking Pally. Not only does it have 29 Defense rating and 44 Dodge rating, but there's a damage and healing bonus on there of 60.
As Prot Pally chests go, this is about as good as you'll get going into Wrath. And those sockets are super helpful, too -- you can up any of the various caps you're trying to hit, or just throw a little extra frosting on the cake if you're already maxed out.
How to Get It: Entropius in the Sunwell Plateau drops this one -- he's actually what M'uru comes back as after you kill him (and as we noted very early on, the two have a similar shape, because they're basically two sides of the same being.
So finish off M'uru in his weakened state, take out Entropius before his negative energy, like, really bums you out, man, and hope that this drops at a rate of about 10-15%. And be a Paladin, because seriously, nobody else would want this thing anyway.
Getting Rid of It: Disenchants into a Void Crystal, and sells back to vendors for 10g 56s 13c. If you've got a Sunmote, you can take this to Yrma in Quel'danas, and she'll give you a Noble Judicator's Chestguard for it (a Healing version of the same gear). And you might want to think about doing that, since the Death Knights are going to take all your tanking roles, amirite?!?
Hey, lookit that! Phat Loot Phriday just recently turned the ripe old age of two by my count, and we've discovered, after two years and over one hundred ingame items, that it might be a good idea to put them all (or at least most of them), in gallery format for you to browse through. So click below to check out past Phat Loot and be sure to come back every Friday for more great gear on a Friday afternoon.
This is a big change. Now the other tanking classes will have equal ability to ranged taunt mobs off other players, pulling the mob to them. Often times warriors and druids have to either Intervene or Charge around in order to taunt a mob, and that can lead to a whole kaboodle of mobs following the tank. It often is not the ideal situation, especially if the mobs cleave or otherwise do AoE damage.
Now the whole process is simplified immensely and made much more efficient. Quite an awesome change, and one that has put a smile on my face today.
Each item from either specialization tends to surpass its tier 5 counterpart, and strongly rival the tier 6, Black Temple pieces. Unfortunately, if the itemization is exactly right for your class, race and spec, the cost and effort spent to make any given piece is probably not worth it.
Still, for players who may never see the Black Temple, for whatever reason, can still work towards a strong epic piece to complement their PvP, dungeon and/or raiding gear.
It is also important to note the difference between blacksmithing and other gear-crafting professions, tailoring and leatherworking. Blacksmith specialists essentially create one piece, or in the case of dual wielders, two pieces, that are roughly tier 6 equivalent.
The other two professions can make more pieces, but the quality ranges from tier 4 to tier 5, although any gear choice is subject to individual circumstances and preference.
These pieces are bind on pick-up and cannot be sent to alts, so keep that in mind when you choose. There are many other blacksmithing patterns and drops that are BoE, but the specialty items, as with tailoring and leatherworking, can only be worn by the crafter.
In addition, should you make, for example, a sword and then switch to armorsmithing, you will no longer be able to wield the sword, as doing so requires that you have the correct specialization.
Behind the scenes on the Comcast bandwidth limit - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST Our friends at BigDownload have a long but interesting feature up about that Comcast bandwidth limit and how it might affect PC gamers like us. Even though they chat with a lot of people higher up in both the ISP and gaming industry, the bottom line hasn't really changed: most people won't be affected by the limit, and if you are, there are things you can do about it. As we determined last time, at max, even if you run WoW 24/7 the entire month, you're still using only about 5gb, nowhere near enough to trip Comcast's limit. And even if there's a big patch download that comes through, it'll still be a very, very small percentage of people that come anywhere near it. While Comcast may change things in the future, there are a few voices already speaking out against bandwidth caps, including the Entertainment Consumers Association.
And if you do get suspended out of the blue? Best option is to just use another ISP -- even if Comcast isn't willing to support people who use tons of bandwidth, there will likely be another company that does. And if high-level broadband does become really widespread, it would be a bad business decision for Comcast as well to suspend large numbers of their userbase -- while there's always the chance that they could start charging a premium for more bandwidth, smaller companies will likely step up to fill any spaces that Comcast tries to screw over.
In short, right now, this isn't a problem. While in the future, Comcast may try to bring the bandwidth cap lower and lower, at this point, it doesn't effect enough people out there to worry, and even if you are affected, there are likely steps you can take to get around it, including going with another ISP if that's an option.
Should be a great time, and hey, if you come listen, you might walk away with your own pet monkey! He'll clean and cook and do all kinds of things for your character in-game.* And his name is Bananas! What a great name for a monkey!
*Note: Monkey comes untrained. And it might be hard to train a noncombat pet. But look how cute!
[1. Local]: This might as well be Barrens chat - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.
Do you ever get the feeling that Barren's chat has invaded your living room? Read on to the end of this week's [1. Local] to see why.
It's not every day that you get to read a letter addressed to the "reanimated angst-puppy hero corpses" that are the Death Knights romping around in Beta. Allison Robert goes on to provide some excellent advice on how not to fail at playing a Death Knight. While some of the comments on Allison's piece provided nearly as good entertainment as the article itself, commenter Morganus sums up what most people thought about advice like not standing in-front of a boss: "As a Druid tank for all of BC and a Hunter prior to that, I have to say this is a fantastic insight into the basics of melee DPS. If you have ever been on the receiving end of a cleave from a parried attack created from a DPS in front of a boss, you would know how frustrating it can be."
Going Deep Sea Fishing for some better 375 Fishing rewards - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST I've been leveling up fishing lately (hit 373 last night, along with 375 cooking, thanks to El's great guide), and I've actually found it pretty fun. It's a little too boring to do it without something going on in the background (last night it was the Cubs game, as depressing as that was), but it's kind of fun just to throw a line into some random water or pool and see what comes out. That said, the rewards could use a little tuning -- while events like the STV Fishing Tourney are fun (I've done it twice now and haven't won it yet) and offer some nice items, fishing itself even at the highest levels just isn't as rewarding as, say, running dailies or Heroics. The only reason to run it all the way up is really just to say you did -- while there's a promise of a Mr. Pinchy somewhere out there, there's no real fishing endgame in the way that there is for the rest of the game.
Which makes Qann's suggestion intriguing -- he says that high level fishers should have access to certain areas via boat that offer them tougher fishing challenges, and better rewards for it. A boat could shuttle you out to a remote island or location, where only certain fish could be caught or found. And we don't even really need a boat -- just more events like the STV Extravaganza (where certain fish that appear in special pools can be turned in directly for items) would be great. And why is it that the best items obtained through fishing are apparently scrolls? Why can't we fish for Badges, or even have a fishmarket, where fish can be exchanged for gems, crafting materials or other rewards?
Even Blizzard admits that there's a lot of work to be done for fishing, but it doesn't seem too hard -- if they're giving out epics for holidays, fishermen and women who make it up to 375 should deserve some good loot for their hard work as well, whether it's through Deep Sea fishing, keys that will unlock special chests, or just a vendor that will take all of those Barbed Gill Trout off your hands and give you something worthwhile in return.
Get your free gems for October! - Fri, 03 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST We're a little late on the notice this time around (two whole days!), but if you haven't done so yet, get yourself out to Nagrand and pick up your free gems from the Consortium! They're not exactly worth much on most servers now, since people are throwing everything they own on the auction house to get rid of it before Wrath, and thus tanking the prices on everything, but free is free. You might as well pick them up, even if you just use them as skipping stones at the lakefront.
If you've never done this before, let me break it down: Once you reach Friendly with the Consortium, Gezhe at Aeris Landing will have some free gems for you at the beginning of each month. As you gain higher levels of reputation, you'll get more gems. Not necessarily better gems, just more of them. Don't know where Aeris Landing is? It's directly north of that freaky diamond mountain spaceship with the Naaru in it, Oshu'gun.
Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
Turtles have long been the dream of hunters to be viable Tanks. They have a shell, they should mitigate a ton of damage, right?
Wrong. At least not yet, they haven't.
But what if a hunter-developer got his greedy, greasy mitts on a turtle and gave it some pizazz and some chutzpah? Well one might get the turtle in this movie.
And we revisit Wasps. Why? Because they're cool looking and available to all hunter classes, not just 51-point Beastmasters.
(Before you ask, we're still working on a Spirit Beast movie. If you know someone at Blizzard who'll kick one into existence, we'd appreciate the help.)
You are invited to download the YouTube version (75MB) of this movie here, and the full-sized version (419MB) here.
Did you know that BigRedKitty is holding a Gnaked Gnome Race, Saturday, October 4th at 8:00pm EDT? We totally are, and Megan from OutofMana is going to help us! We're giving away a WotLK Beta Key to the winner!
Last week, I talked about gear. This week... I talk about gear some more. You may have an entire seat, but you'll only need the edge! Woah, sorry about that. I seem to have gone entirely mad. This week, in looking at options for tanking and DPSing in Wrath, we're going to look first at crafted items and then, if we have time, we'll start looking at instance drops to get yourself up to speed for your chosen role.
As always, things can change in the Beta with blinding speed. You never know when they will make a change, allowing Berserker Rage to be used in all stances as an example. However, for now we're going with the notion that you'll need 540 defense to be crit immune at level 80 vs a boss, and that the Titan's Grip hit penalty on specials will require significant hit rating to overcome (roughly 500). Another assumption is that special attacks are using a two roll system instead of the one roll system of white attacks, meaning that you can't just stack a ton of crit to get around the miss penalty on your specials. (Note: I am not a statistician or a mathemetician. I barely understand the math in that thread.) I will say that, having taken my tauren back to Arms and then Fury, that things are not as dire as some comments and even my own past statements may seem: warrior DPS is currently low, yes, but it's not horrible, and you can level with either spec. (My draenei warrior is now 74 using arms as his prefered playstyle and I can say with relative security that the various Arms talents do make for solid leveling.) And while the TG miss penalty makes me cry, it is possible to overcome it, at least at lower levels.
We all know how this goes by now, so let's jump right in. If you don't know how this goes, click back through a few of the previous editions of Ask a Beta Tester. You'll catch on, I'm sure.
How does reputation work in general in Wrath? Are there turn-in quests? Rep for killing Mobs? Quested Rep? If you just quest, how far along does that reputation take you?
It's a little different for every faction, but I can say that I have not yet seen turn-ins like we had to do for the Aldor or Scryer. Most of the rep gains seem to be via quests or dungeons depending on the faction. On beta, I'm nearly Exalted with the Valiance Expedition exclusively from quests. Strangely, I'm Neutral with the Kirin Tor as of a couple of beta patches ago when I had been Friendly. Curious! Either way, I haven't seen much in the way of rep via quests from them. You'll probably need to do dungeons or some other thing.
It's going to vary from faction to faction, they're not all the same. Some are quest heavy, some are not. If you prefer dungeons, however, just get to Friendly with someone, pick up their tabard, and you can get rep with them in any dungeon you want.
I don't know how new this is but it's news to me, and great news to Mages looking for more Polymorphing fun -- reader Alassiel on Uldaman (thanks!) was poking around Dalaran in the beta, and in the Sisters Sorcerous shop, he found a new Polymorph spell, Black Cat, for... wait for it... 2500g. Yes, it'll cost you more than twice a Gigantique bag, but if you're looking for a new Poly spell and don't want to muck around in the waters of ZG, there you go. And apparently Polymorph: Serpent is also occasionally sold by the same character for the same price.
Both spells seem to be level 60 spells, strangely enough (Update: Because, I learned in the comments, the highest rank of Polymorph is obtained at level 60), so if your 60 Mage has 5000g just sitting around or has a rich alt willing to pay the price, you could be using them then. WoWWiki also says the prices are rep-related, so if you do a little grinding for the Kirin Tor, you might be able to pick them up for cheaper. And don't forget that this is Wrath -- 2500g is likely only a few days of dailies anyway. Polymorph on!
Today's pick is a trailer for Trollbane 2 by DTB Productions who, of course, brought us Trollbane. The filmmaker is asking for feedback on his Warcraft Movies profile, so if you'd like to have an impact on his film, I'm sure he'd appreciate your thoughts. My first thought is: fix the grammar, dude! The tenses are so tortured in the setup titles that it's hard to tell if this isn't a time-travel movie -- or will it might have been?
My second comment is that the machinima looks incredibly slick. This is going to be a very high quality, well-produced movie when it's finished. However, shiny polish does not necessarily equal a good film. My main concern with this trailer is that I have no idea what this movie is going to be about. From the titles toward the end -- new outfits, places, and powers -- it sounds like this is a trailer for a new video game, not a movie. I can tell that there's going to be action and gore and female Troll behinds (or was that a Blood Elf?) but other than that? No clue. I don't even know who the heroes and villains are. A trailer is supposed to make me want to see a film. (Sometimes with Hollywood films, the trailer is actually better than the full length film. Wanted, I'm looking at you!) However, slick production values by themselves aren't enough to draw me into a movie if I don't know why else I'm watching it.
Palm trees? Waterfalls? Rainbows? This is so not what I wanted on my trip to Northrend! What am I going to do here? I packed nothing but anoraks and long johns. Am I supposed to go swimming in my furry underwear? Ooh, my travel agent is so going to get it when I get back to Darnassus. (Thanks to beta tester Xeo for this neat picture of the River's Heart area of Sholazar Basin.)
This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it 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. No more battleground scoreboards, please.
First off, hunter pets' leveling has been improved in the latest beta patch, so that now pets have to get just 1/10th (10%) of the hunter's total experience per level rather than 1/6th (16%). That's a big improvement of more than a third off of pet leveling time, but considering that now our characters have a ton more experience to earn per level than they used to, and a huge part of that experience we get comes from turning in quests. Our pets were taking an incredibly long time to level up before, I'm personally not sure this improvement will be enough to give it that special "training a pet feeling" (if it ever could -- personally I would do without pet leveling altogether, but that's just me). Hopefully this still won't be so bad, since, as we already know, if you tame a pet any lower than that, it will automatically just jump right up to 5 levels below your hunter. Hopefully Blizzard will be paying attention and reduce the leveling time even more if it's still too slow, or maybe even, as Mania hopes, include quest experience in pet leveling too.
Secondly, "caster stats" on pets are at last going extinct. Many of us have, in the course of our travels around Azeroth, desired one nifty pet or another, only to find out that it was a "caster pet" with reduced stats, and far inferior to the regular pets. Somehow for ages now, beasts found in the wild with a mana bar haven't changed to regular pet stats when you tame them, and have basically been a waste of stable space (nevermind why in the world beasts would have mana bars). But now that is going to change! As Mania reported, and Ghostwalker confirmed, caster pets will be a thing of the past, and their damage will be brought in line with all the other pets of their family type.
This question is mostly for hunters, but if you are not a hunter, please feel free to pretend you are a hunter and answer accordingly.
As you already know, patch 3.02, also known as "Echoes of Doom Doom do Doom Doom", will bring with it all those nifty changes to hunter pets' abilities and talents, in addition to doom. Beast Mastery hunters are even getting especially special pets in the form of Exotic Pets through their 51-talent point, called Beast Mastery. Some Beast Mastery hunters will not be getting the Beast Mastery talent, however, because they feel like the coolness of the pet plus a few extra pet talent points do not a worthy 51-talent point make. Other Beast Mastery hunters are just like, "WHOA! Did you see that friggin Core Hound?!" Still other Beast Mastery hunters find the booming sound of Exotic Pet footfalls far too loud, or for other reasons simply prefer normal pets: "Dude, I'm gonna get me a Gorilladin!" or "I've always seen myself as a Pink Flamingo Hunter, and now my hour of destiny has arrived at last!"
So what sorta pet are you gonna get? And why? I'm still undecided myself. I've always enjoyed my Owl most of all, but I'm not tremendously impressed with its new disarm skill in Wrath, since its usefulness seems too limited for my taste. The exotic pets are sometimes really nice looking (like the Spirit Beasts), but sometimes have too much of that "grumpy stompy" look (like Core Hounds) -- though I admit some of those abilities they have are very tempting. I might get used to them, or I might end up going with a Beast Mastery talent build without the Beast Mastery talent, in order to have a wider selection of pets to choose from (in addition to scatter shot). In fact, while writing this post, I just realized how utterly clueless I am about which pets I'll like best. I really have to try them out. Do you have some better idea of what you'll prefer?
I may have mentioned this before elsewhere, but often times it's hard to speak authoritatively on any class in Beta, because no matter what the changes and the new imba combos and whatnot are right now, they will likely change drastically the next time a new build comes into play. This isn't to say that it's impossible to write about them, but often times whatever words you write will be obsolete, or at least inaccurate, by the time you sit down to write next week's column.
For example, last week I wrote about traps. I mentioned that Freezing Traps no longer break immediately on damage. Well, now they do again. As Ghostcrawler tells it, they couldn't find a way to make pets automatically ignore a frozen target, so they called the whole thing off. Now, honestly, that seems a bit like chopping off your hand to take care of a mosquito bite on your pinky finger, but hey. On the plus side, she also said that they'll put it back in once they figure out how to reign in pets (I recommend using the passive button on the pet bar, myself). But who knows when that will be?
So I thought I'd take a trip down a path that's more solid this week, and speak a bit about roleplaying your Hunter. These are a few archetypes I looked at when roleplaying my various Hunters, with various tips on roleplaying them and reflections on how they fit in to various factions and alliances around the game. As always, of course, general roleplay rules apply: Don't be a jerk, don't godmode or Mary-sue it, and don't let roleplaying get in the way of your fun or your group's success.
So much for Chaos and other Warlock stories in build 9014 - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:05:00 EST You might have heard that Chaos Bolt now deals Fire damage instead of the nebulous "Chaos" damage, which was actually an amalgamation of all schools of magic. On one hand, this is good news because getting Kicked or Counterspelled while casting it won't lock Warlocks out of every spell. On the other hand, this means Fire immunities will stop it cold. This makes the spell easier to implement or work with, and further enforces the use of Fire spells for Destruction. It's not even a Shadow and Fire version of Frostfire Bolt. It's just... a bolt Fire that looks like Alien larvae.
Now, the coolest thing about Chaos Bolt was how it conceptually penetrated through immunities. Ghostcrawler explained that making immunities have vulnerabilities would only create a vicious cycle. Now, the spell only goes through absorption effects -- which is fine, really, but makes Chaos Bolt merely another direct damage Fire spell. Is it a great 51-point talent? I don't know. It deals pretty good damage, I'll give it that. But I'm not sure it's worth 51 points.
Curse of Doom can now only produce Doomguards from targets that yield experience or honor, which was a necessary change considering it's now a 100% chance if CoD delivers the killing blow. It still can't be cast on players, though, which is a bummer. Haunt was retuned to heal for 100% of the damage it deals, which isn't so bad considering the 200% I raved about last time was bugged to hell, anyway. Oh, and Everlasting Affliction affects Haunt instead of Shadow Bolt, which is excellent because it relaxes Affliction's already complex rotation.
Jay Mohr and Patton Oswalt to headline BlizzCon - Thu, 02 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST WoW Insider has learned that funny men Jay Mohr and Patton Oswalt will be performing various shticks at BlizzCon this year. Oswalt is a new face this year at BlizzCon, while Mohr has participated in the event before.
Both comedians will be part of the many activities and events going on at this year's sold out convention, to be held next week in Anaheim, C.A. Blizzard has posted a new page with various activities that will be going on at the con that you can check out for more information. An exact schedule of panels and other events has yet to be released.
Also updated on the official Blizzard site is a handy BlizzCon Survival Guide. Perhaps the most important advice given in the guide is to get the BlizzCon badges early. According to the guide, the badges can pick them up as early as Thursday between 4 and 10 p.m.
For those that were unable to get tickets, the entire convention will be broadcast live on DirecTV. WoW Insider and the Joystiq network will be out at BlizzCon this year in force, covering everything that happens. We hope to see you there!