Server maintenance announced for November 4th - Mon, 03 Nov 2008 19:15:00 EST I'm not eating my hat quite yet, but Blizzard has announced server maintenance for tomorrow morning. This is not particularly surprising considering it's a Tuesday, but we don't know yet if we're getting patch 3.0.3 or not. It's a little unlikely since it isn't an extended maintenance, but only time will tell.
If patch 3.0.3 does hit tomorrow, we'll be sure to let you know and do our very best to gather up all of the information you need. Whether they patch or not, we'll be here to give you something to do. If you're a US citizen, you likely already have something to do, so don't worry about us for a little while, eh?
The devs have said all along that we'll be getting patch 3.0.3before Wrath of the Lich King launches, and it's pretty obvious that we will. It's a pretty important patch overall. The game is playable without it, but there is a lot of balance fixes in the patch that is crucial to the launch of a whole load of new content. I don't doubt we'll get it before we hit Northrend. The question is... when?
Will we get it tomorrow? It's a possibility, but from the sounds of things it's kind of unlikely. I don't think we've ever had a patch didn't happen on a Tuesday (though I may be mistaken), so if it's not tomorrow that only leaves November 11th for a patch prior to launch. Alternatively, maybe they'll roll it out the night of Wrath's launch, so when you pop in those install discs you get to patch, too. Considering midnight launches though, it would be really unusual if they rolled out the patch the evening of November 12th. Personally, my money is on patch 3.0.3 being pushed live on November 11th, and if the devs announced patch maintenance for tomorrow while I write this I am going to eat my hat.
We've been hating on knockbacks a little bit, but after seeing the video above (from Hellfire-EU if I'm not mistaken) I have to admit they can cause some hilarious situations. This video has certainly been making the rounds- quite a few people wrote in about it, and it appeared in the comments section of our Breakfast Topic the other day.
There's plenty of cries of "nerf please!" when people see what happens here, but how often are you going to run across a situation like this? Fifty Alliance tightly packed in a little elevator unable to see what's above them? I think there are three locations like this in all of WoW. Assaulting Thunder Bluff may suck when the Horde knows you're there, but it's not that big of a deal overall. Hilarious when it happens, but it won't happen often. In smaller scale situations like a one on one or a one on two... well, don't get between the Shaman/Mage and the cliff, and you'll be fine, eh?
Ask WoW Insider: Wrath and the pre-60s - Mon, 03 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST This week, Keyra of Farstriders has a question about a group that's been a little left out of the expansion excitement so far: midlevel folks. Here's what she is asking you, our readers:
With all of the focus on Wrath, there seems to be a conspicuous absence toward those who are of lower-to-mid level and it's beginning to become irritating. Not everyone is level 65+! Some of us are still below level 40 and many of us are just starting out. So, here's my question: What can we who are mid-level expect to see from the expansion, if anything? Is it even worth the trouble to purchase since we can't benefit from the higher-level quests, items and what-not? And what would you suggest to speed our leveling so that we may enjoy what Wrath has to offer?
The fact is that most of the marquee features in the expansion pack are, yes, aimed at the higher levels. And most of the things that will affect lowbies -- Inscription, the faster leveling, and achievements, are already in the game anyway.
So there are two questions here: if you're pre-60, why should you care about Wrath? Or should you at all? And Keyra also sounds like she wants leveling suggestions. My suggestion? Do quests, and lots of them. Do every quest in your log, in order, and then when you're out, go to the next town over and do all of those. The rewards will be good, it'll go as fast as leveling goes (even faster, now that Blizzard has added more XP to the mix all the way to 70), and you'll always have a clear goal: just do the next quest in your log. You might have to skip over group quests, but just keep doing quests and eventually you'll be 70 before you know it.
What say you to Keyra, readers? And if you have a question you'd like to ask the (frankly, rowdy but loveable) readers of WoW Insider, just send it along ot ask AT wowinsider dot com, and you might see it up here next week.
WoW-Achievements.com starts tracking achievements as best they can - Mon, 03 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EST You knew this was coming, but I'm impressed with how it's done over on WoW-Achievements.com. With points to track and players to compare, it was inevitable that we'd have a site show up to track achievements, and here it is. While the Armory itself doesn't show individual achievements (yet), they've apparently come up with a way to figure out a number per player, and there's a worldwide player list (or at least a list of the 53, 901 characters they surveyed somehow). You can also post a pic of your achievement info, and they'll update it on the site. There's no way to see your individual stats yet, but if and when Blizzard adds that functionality to the Armory, we'll probably see a couple of sites show up like this, that allow you to do more with achievements and tracking them than the official UI does.
Of course, the Xbox 360 is the gold standard for achievements at this point -- while other MMOs and WoW have used the mechanic in their own way, Microsoft has built achievements into Xbox 360 profiles available online to anyone, so that's where most of the great web tools are right now. But the one that stands out for me, that I'd love to see replicated in World of Warcraft, is 360voice.com -- it basically creates a blog of what you've been up to on the Xbox that presents your activity in a readable, fun format. With Achievements build into the Armory, something like that could be easily used to power a timeline of your character, and let your friends see from day to day where you've been and what you've done. Lots of very cool ideas to develop here -- hopefully Blizzard will release Achievement info in an API sooner rather than later.
Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
PvP is a controversial topic in the Warcraft community. For some, it's the only reason they play. With so little PvP content in the game compared to patch after patch of mostly PvE content, they can sometimes feel neglected. Others have zero interest in PvP and resent when their class gets nerfed in the name of competitive balance. As for me, I enjoy PvE far more overall, but I want PvP to be just as fun and rewarding. I'm hopeful that Blizzard will be able to achieve a tighter class balance this time around, even though historical evidence and even Blizzard's own words point to the contrary.
So what about PvP guilds? Why aren't there more of them? This week, one reader wants to know if a PvP guild can survive despite Warcraft's raid-focused endgame. Dear Scott, I recently went looking through your past articles, and I'm in need of some help. I'm looking to start my own guild -- specifically, a PvP guild. I know, that seems quite contrary to the majority of guild related issues you discuss, but a guild is a guild, right?
The Lich King is Twittering - Mon, 03 Nov 2008 13:30:00 EST Fake Twitterers are all the rage these days -- you can sign up on the microblogging service Twitter.com as just about anyone and shoot out some parodic little "tweets," as they're called, for the instant amusement of anyone who wishes to follow you (I'm personally a big fan of the Mad Men characters tweeting). But now, the WoW community has its own fake twitter personality -- apparently the Lich King has found some time in between knighting Death Knights and plaguing the world to start up his own Twitter account.
No idea who's behind it, but I know a few WoW bloggers who twitter pretty often, including a few WoW Insider contributors. Whoever's tweeting for Arthas, they're doing a nice job, promising "cold deaths" to everyone, and steadily counting down the days until his Wrath is upon us.
I'm kind of surprised this is the first fake NPC twitterer we've seen -- sure, you'd think Thrall or Jaina would have tons of time to Twitter, and Kael'thas, assuming he's not quite dead yet, seems made for such an enterprise. If you are on Twitter, don't forget to follow our own WoW Insider account as well -- we won't offer you a cold death, but we will occasionally tweet about important posts and our own experiences with the game.
Just a little earlier, Allison Robert posted questions we wish we had been asked on Ask a Beta Tester. Me? I'm still going to answer the questions we have been asked, starting with Jay's question... In Warcraft III:The Frozen Throne, the Blood Elves and Naga teamed up to wage a massive battle against Arthas right on the slopes of Icecrown. It's already been mentioned that settlements and Ruins from further back, when Arthas's expedition land are still there. Is there any sign of the Belf and Naga ruins from their assault?
In Icecrown it's nothing but Scourge and the Scourge's servants as far as the eye can see. Anything that had been there previously is gone. There are Naga ruins further out, though. Off the coast of the Borean Tundra there are some Naga structures you'll be questing in. For those of you sick of killing Naga like I am, don't worry. There's a twist.
This time, Lafawnduh's looking at the strange story of Old Margaret, whose mysterious apple pies have won the Brewfest's Southshore Apple Pie contest for years. A frustrated farmer is at his wit's end and tired of losing to Old Margaret. He chooses to sneak into her barn one night to discover the secret.
The Orchard is categorized as "Horror," but you don't need to be told that. Within a few second of the video, the mood, music, and first-person perspective tells you what kind of story you're about to witness. The perspective carries the horror theme very well, with a disjointed sense of what the character's witnessing.
The story itself has a great ending. The morality of Margaret isn't called into question, except by what you might draw on from horror tropes. In fact, the cruel coincidence of what the narrator happens across probably makes for the most horrific part of the story. If he hadn't chosen this night, if he hadn't happened to be around, things might have turned out differently for him. I particularly enjoyed this graying of events, since it makes everything plausible without particularly maligning anyone, or relying on tired cliches of motivation.
Here at WoW Insider sometimes we go a little nuts around big news events due to sleep deprivation or sensory overload in conjunction with large hits of caffeine. When that happens while we are writing "Ask A Beta Tester," occasionally we ask ourselves questions ("Why am I not in bed?") that we later realize might actually be useful.
As Wrath of the Lich King's release date creeps up and the beta becomes more and more deserted (seriously: Dalaran is a ghost town these days, not that my computer's wheezing hardware doesn't appreciate it), I find myself turning to a few topics that readers generally never asked about, but wound up being game-defining experiences in the beta. By necessity, most of them are a little more general -- overall impressions, things you wouldn't necessarily think to ask about unless you were a fresh arrival in Northrend and noticed the differences -- but I've included a few specific things that I hope people will find interesting. Unlike --
And now the purple dusk of twilight time steals across the meadows of my heart. High up in the sky, the little stars climb, always reminding me that we're apart. Beside a garden wall when stars are bright and you are in my arms, the nightingale tells his fairy tale of paradise where roses grew. Though I dream in vain, in my heart it will remain my stardust melody, the memory of love's refrain.
(Sorry for the jazz standard interlude, but Louis Armstrong's version is one of my favorite songs and this night elf looks so wistful. Anyway, this shot comes to us from the boomkin Corvidae of Greymane, who found herself and a friend alone in the moonlight while exploring in Loch Modan. Thanks for the submission, Corvidae!)
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We answered emails as well -- BRK gave some great AH tips for when to get rid of your primals and mats before Wrath, and BBB helped a listener out who was wondering if he should play a Druid or a Warlock to 80 first. And I got some good glyph hints and tips out of the guys in terms of what to put in those glyph slots for Hunters and Feral Druids. If you have a comment or question for the show, feel free to send it along to theshow at wowinsider dot com, and you might even hear it on next week's show.
Perhaps most exciting, we worked a lot last week to make sure the quality of the show was better, and I think for the most part it worked -- we didn't have a single disconnect during the chat, and you should find that the tinny voices in the recording are gone as well. It's not perfect yet, and there's more we want to add into the mix, but we're working on it. The iTunes feed is still on the fritz, but the RSS feed below works just fine for me and it should for you, too. Be sure to tune in next week at 3:30pm Eastern -- we do this live every Saturday, and it is a darn good time.
[Ustream] Listen to the unedited recording in Ustream. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Welcome to Spiritual Guidance, where each week Matt Low talks about the ins and outs of the Priest class. Now and then one of our resident Shadow Priests, Alex Ziebart, hits Matt over the head and hijacks the column. This is one of those occasions.
Dispersion is a talent that Shadow Priests talk about a lot. The vocal majority hates it. The vocal minority loves it. The general populace... uh. Who knows. They don't talk. Me? I'm not awed by it. I also don't hate it. In fact, I've spent talent points in it and will continue to do so, and I find it fairly useful. It just doesn't amaze me.
Dispersion definitely has a PvP slant to it. If you arena or BG, you're going to see it as much, much more awesome than people who PvE almost exclusively. In the arena, it's just a good talent, especially once they changed the talent to be able to be used while stunned, feared and silenced. Foiling a stunlock or an assist train can be enough to take the wind out of your opponent's sails. Obviously it requires your partner(s) being able to play off of it as well, but I'm fine with that. PvP should be about the team, even if you're just in a battleground.
Personally, I've been trekking all over Outland attempting to complete every last straggler quest while the rewards are still worth bonus gold. Once the expansion hits, these quests will reward experience again, and therefore, less moolah.
In fact, if you look at your rewards in your quest log, you'll notice the numbers have already been reduced in anticipation, although you are still given the full amount upon hand-in.
It occurs to me though that I might be shooting myself in the foot. How stable and playable do you think Northrend and the new Death Knight starting zone will be right off the bat? Some people are planning on spending the first few days leveling past 70 in Outland just to avoid the crowds, lag and frustration.
Are you hurrying to finish quests before the expansion, or are you planning to lay low in Outland for the first few days of post-expansion bustle?
The Colosseum: Retrospective and Analysis, pt. I - Sun, 02 Nov 2008 20:00:00 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.
Season 4 ended some time ago, and Wrath is only a few weeks away. While we don't have official word about when Season 5 will start, it probably won't be until Blizzard's finished balancing the classes. Right now, the Arena is a sort of blasted land, filled with teams taking advantage of the relatively unrated play to experiment with new compositions, new talents, and new strategies.
We're going to take advantage of the break ourselves, by looking at the collective of interviews we've gathered in our three months of the Colosseum. There are definitely common themes across what each Arena fighter had to say, and it'd be helpful to take some time and understand what those common themes are, and what they say about the Arena.
There has been a great deal of change and evolution of the world of World of Warcraft, and to a certain extent, all the available player races have gone through changes because of the events that have taken place. The original release content had lots of dungeons and quests and things going on, but each one seemed to tell the story of a place rather than the story of a people. Like each place, the stories told there seemed static, as the players grew and moved on, the places all remained the same.
The Burning Crusade, however, began to change all that. Instead of just adding new content with each patch, some aspects of the old content were changed as well, with certain characters and peoples coming to the foreground as major antagonists. Players were no longer merely vague adventurers tasked with saving the world from one giant evil monster or another, their characters had vested interests in bringing about some change in their circumstances.
For no group of player-aligned characters was this as true as it was with the blood elves. From the time The Burning Crusade was released, up to now, when the next chapter of the Warcraft story (Wrath of the Lich King) is starting to unfold, the blood elves are the only player faction whose leader has turned into a major boss in a dungeon (not once but twice!), whose capital city has been deprived of one of its most significant residents (who also ended up turned into a major dungeon boss), and whose culture has undergone a complete turnaround over the course of this expansion's expanding storyline.
The draenei, of course, played a huge role in the story of The Burning Crusade, but in the end, they were mostly just very strong supporting characters. The blood elves were the stars of the show.
Reader Duck Knight tipped us off to the box-art of the Battle for Middle-Earth II expansion from Electronic Arts. Also known as The Rise of the Witch-King, which sounds confusingly similar to the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King, the 2006 game's cover art looks curiously reminiscent of Blizzard's latest offering. Or vice versa. The game, which was based on the the movie trilogy directed by Peter Jackson, takes its art cue from the films. On the other hand, Arthas' armor is based on the cinematic from 2003's Warcraft III: The Frozen Throne. I don't suppose Tolkien ever actually drew the Nazgûl armor...
Who copied whom? Probably nobody, really. It just so happens that ghastly blue seems to be the favorite color of evil leader-types and their undead minions. Witch Kings and Lich Kings also probably shop from the same armor boutiques, considering the similarity in their helmets -- eyelets, open-mouth design, and crown-like extensions. Fortunately for all of us, the Lord of the Rings video game is already a few years old, so we probably won't make the mistake of picking the wrong game up from the shelves when Wrathfinally arrives this November 13.
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.
Last week on Ask a Lore Nerd, Offsprnge (one of your fellow readers) asked me to write this week's edition with some Eye of the Tiger playing. I guess I came across a little tired last week, so I'm going to do just that. To fit the groove, I ask all of you guys one favor: Read the questions and answers in the voice of Rocky Balboa. If it will help you get in the mood, go ahead and read it out loud in that voice.
And since we're already talking about it, Offsprnge asked...
Right, I think I got a good one by the way, perhaps it is so obvious I should slap myself, but the whole battle for Mount Hyjal features the Burning Legion invading with it's commander Archimonde, however, why are there hordes of ghouls, liches, necromancers, frost wyrms and "all that kind of thing!" (find the reference).
Again, like another reader mentioned, at the time the Lich King was still feigning allegiance to the Burning Legion. It doesn't pay to make the Legion suspicious too early. At the same time, the Lich King played a role in weakening Archimonde's forces: He used Illidan to destroy Tichondrius and his forces, which were to play support for Archimonde. The Scourge that were at the Battle of Mount Hyjal were sacrifices, pawns to keep Archimonde overconfident.
I like the creepy-crawlies. As soon as my hunter hit Level 15, I made my way to the Skittering Dark in Silverpine Forest and hunted down Krethis Shadowspinner. Sure, she looked exactly like the low-level spiders in Tirisfal Glades, but how could I not want her? With a name like that, she was sure to be deadly. Sure enough, she was, and she managed to kill me several times before I was finally able to tame her. If I had waited 5 more levels, Freezing Trap would've made things much easier.
Of course, over the course of leveling, I had to abandon her (leveling pets was nowhere near as easy as it is post-Patch 3.0.2) but these days I keep the company of Leech Widow from the Wetlands. Yes, it's a generic white spider, but you'll understand these things if you have a Hunter. The cool thing is, Spiders now appropriately have the Web ability that we only used to envy from NPCs. It entraps opponents for 4 seconds from 20 yards and has a 40 second cooldown. It's a damage-less version of the Exotic Pet Silithid's Venom Web Spray. The good news is, the damage doesn't really matter. You'll want to use the web merely to keep opponents at a distance. This ability makes them a great choice for Level 19 twinks.