Job skills: Can blow stuff up good. Able to conjure 400 strudels per minute (depending on lag). Can teleport.Hates Warlocks...
Now that the PTR class changes for patch 3.1 seem to have died down a bit, we can finally talk about other things. I asked last week for topic suggestions, and you guys responded in typically spectacular fashion. That's one of the best parts about writing a column for Mages: my readership is made up of freaking Mages. I can always count on you guys to be smart and insightful...as well as complete nutjobs.
Suggestions ranged from relatively normal (PvP tactics), to angry and bitter (One guy is switching his main to a Death Knight because Mages apparently suck now), to mean (I should rename the column from "Arcane Brilliance" to "QQ"), to clever (the most effective places to AoE farm, since, you know, we are the kings of AoE), to disturbing (Top 10 ways to cook and serve Warlock on a budget). Okay, so I made the last one up. Several of you thought a column on profession choices for Mages would be a good idea. So, that's what you're getting this week. Well, the first part of it. I plan to do this in installments, which may or may not come on concurring weeks. The next part will probably be coming along next Saturday, barring any crazy patch-news or my sudden demise.
Those of you who've been reading this column for awhile may remember the last time Arcane Brilliance dealt with professions for Mages. So much has changed since then--both for Mages as a class and for the professions themselves--that I felt an all-new multi-part guide was in order.
The Colosseum: Abusive of Twisting Nether - Sat, 04 Apr 2009 16:00:00 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.
One of the challenges in analyzing classes and specs for the Colosseum is that characters can respec. Since it's relatively cheap to switch your specs and glyphs around -- and it's about to get cheaper! -- a snapshot of a character's gear and talents doesn't necessarily reflect what they're doing right now. Our Arena fighter for today is an example of that. While Abusive of Twisting Nether shows up (Saturday morning) as Enhancement, he usually heals in the Arena.
He and his partner Kvok are doing pretty well for themselves, while eschewing the more dominant Holy Paladin or Death Knight compositions. As a Restoration Shaman and Retribution Shaman, they've blazed a trail in the 2v2 ratings. Abusive took the time to answer the Colosseum. Check out what he had to say behind the cut.
I wanted to do an April Fool's column. The fact that this column is being posted three days after April Fool's isn't the reason I decided not to do it, though. No, I ended up not doing it because I couldn't think of anything particularly funny to say about the class. Not that it isn't a funny class at times, because it is. Any class where you spend a lot of time trying to get trolls to give you teeth, elementals to give you lucky charms (they weren't Marshmallowy Delicious, either) and finally get a fine 2h weapon just in time for everyone to get mad that you're not a tank is comedy, of a kind.
Anyone who remembers when warriors were rage starved due to us being bugged so that we were being given way too many misses, or when a missed execute ate all of your rage, can attest to the warrior class being really funny sometimes. My wife used to laugh and say that Blizzard had done a wonderful job of transferring the sensation of building rage to the player. Your character might be rage starved, but you? Oh, you'd be screaming at the computer as if you could yell your rage bar into red.
That's why I've decided to move away from talking about fury in 3.1 and to spend the next two or three columns discussing tanking and arms spec, especially as they're going to be. This week, we'll talk about Arms as PvE and PvP.
"Judgements?" I hear you scoffing. "We've been using Judgements since we were level 4! We know everything there is to know about Judgements!"
I know, I know. We've all been using Judgements since we were wee little Paladins with only the strength to equip mail armor. Perhaps we all really do know everything there is to know about these Paladin perks. And yet... while they're pretty straightforward when you're soloing or in a small group, the more people you're playing with, the more important it is to know who should be using what when.
Let's start out with the basics. As it stands, we have three Judgements, which generate the following effect when used on an enemy target:
Light:You regain health every time you attack the target. (Though Light's healing used to cause threat -- making it the Judgement of choice for Protection Paladins -- it has been threat-free since patch 3.0.8, meaning anyone can use it without fear of pulling aggro.)
Wisdom: You regain mana every time you attack the target.
Justice: Prevents the target from fleeing and limits their movement speed.
And the nitty gritty details on the subject of Judgements, from the nitty gritty individuals at Elitist Jerks: "All Judgements should be considered as ranged physical attacks, which can miss or crit but cannot be resisted, parried, or dodged. Some game data mining reveals that Judgements are actually melee attacks that have been modified to be immune to parries and dodges, yet they have a 10 yard range and cannot be used while silenced." Are Judgements melee attacks? Are they spells? We may never know, but we do know they can't be parried, dodged, or resisted.
Oh yes, the official podcast of WoW Insider is back on the air today at 3:30pm Eastern (which is April 4, 2009 3:30 PM EDT -- like what we did there?), and it's going to be a blast. Not only will Turpster be on with us, and I believe Michael "Belfaire" Sacco should also be in attendance, but we're welcoming one of the newest writers on WoW Insider, Mr. Nick Whelan. Nick originally wrote about Warlocks at his blog, Curse of Senility (and still does), but we've recently recruited him to start writing our Blood Pact column, and so today on the show we'll be talking Warlocks: where they are now, where they'll be in 3.1, and where they want to be in general. And we'll also talk about all the most popular posts for the past week, including the April Fools news, the latest on the next big content patch, and where 25-man gear should sit in relation to the 10-man loot.
And of course we'll answer your emails, which you can still send to us at email@example.com. Should be fun. Tune in over on the Ustream page (or just in the second half of this post -- you'll find an embed there) at the time listed above this afternoon, and sit back and let the soothing sounds of WoW Insider raid your ears like so many groups through Naxx. The only epic loot we drop... is knowledge.
This may be another one of those things everyone knows about but me, but what the hey. While using Farsight to scan the highest peak north of Thunder Bluff, Eggers of Scilla discovered this message carved into mountaintop, presumably written by a Blizzard employee locked in the offices over a weekend. It's on the two-peaked mountain visible from the northern part of Thunder Bluff, and it's only about three chain Farsights away with your view distance turned up to maximum. Eggers even made a handy guide on how to see it, available to all and sundry on YouTube.
Do you have any unusual, clever, 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.
So among my full to bursting bags on all of my characters, one thing the high level ones pretty much all have is the Skyguard Drape (or the caster equivalent thereof). Even my Death Knight has enough skyguard reputation to have one. I figure if I ever I have some need to fall from a great height, I can just strap it on real quick and jump, and it will always be there just in case the opportune moment arrives.
But here's the problem: I have never needed to use it. Not even once.
Though the picture above is actually not of Northrend, we're pretty sure that's about what spring time in Northrend looks like. But enough meteorology! What's the WoW Insider team up to in game this weekend?
Adam Holisky: /sings It's spring time, for my Death Knight, in Northrend.
Alex Ziebart: Continuing to run Heroic Culling of Stratholme every day until Mal'ganis coughs up that freaking shield. I've gotten about twenty people their Bronze Drakes, and I suspect that trend will continue. When I'm not doing that, my face is going to be buried in this L5R sourcebook a buddy of mine gave me. I am geeking out over it harder than I've geeked out in a very long time.
Allison Robert: Leveling my Shaman through Outland and raising a toast to the day I decided to spec him Resto. A legion of leveling Death Knights + Resto Shaman = superfast leveling!
Daniel Whitcomb: I've been chasing Old World achievements as of late, but lately I have noticed that my bank is suffering a bit as a result (Oh no! Only 2.5k gold!). So I'm actually thinking I'll head back to Northrend this weekend and start doing dailies and fishing to build up that cash reserve again. In semi-non-WoW news, I'll also be looking at rolling a D&D 4th edition character for a game I'm doing with a few local friends, all of whom play or played WoW with me at some point in the past. Since Monks aren't out yet, I may just roll a Ranger.
Chase Christian: Another round of OS10 3D attempts, provided everyone shows up. Also going to get a few more guild members "The Undying" this weekend.
Elizabeth Harper: Taking a break from WoW and guild drama for some quality time in LotRO!
Elizabeth Wachowski: Trying to put together a cohesive group to get the heroic dungeon achievements. Also, working.
Matt Low: Hitting the great outdoors. April means good weather (which means not raining in Vancouver). Good time to put my tank gear on and play some street hockey.
Michael Gray: I will shortly be trekking to the North Carolina Renn Faire, so I'll probably just do some light farming on a hotel internet connection.
When The Queue discussed healing mods a couple of months ago, one of the fairly widespread opinions is that things like Grid had a far too complicated configuration process. Personally, I just use Grid out-of-the-box and it works pretty well for me, but a lot of raiders like customizing those things thoroughly. While the process might be long and complicated, it's totally worth it.
A member from the guild Inevitable of Feathermoon sent us a link to this video made by a member of their guild, made to make the complicated process much, much more simple and easy to understand. It shows how to configure the mod and tinker with all of the cool little things that it can do for a Healer. It's a long video, nearly 10 minutes, but that's a testament to how robust the mod can be. The creator of the video goes through a lot of steps to customize Grid's UI, and I think it will turn out to be a great resource for those who've never used Grid previously.
This ring is actually more notable for what it isn't than what it is. It's more or less the final reward in the Missing Diplomat questline, which spans ten Alliance levels from 28 to 38. And yet, after traversing half the world and uncovering a gigantic mystery, all you get is some XP, a nice chunk of reputation, and this little ring. Unfortunately, most players are of the opinion (with good reason, if you ask me), that a piddly little ring like this probably isn't worth all of the trouble. This is probably one of the quests Jeff Kaplan would probably say wasn't quite done correctly.
In yesterday's intro, I mentioned WoW Insider's April Fool's joke. Sillily (it's a word now), I didn't actually include a link to it, and there were people writing that they had no idea that we even did a joke and couldn't find it. Well, here it is! Now, let's begin, shall we? Sorano asked...
"In the Argent Tournament, is it possible to champion other cities than the ones attached to your race and faction? Could my Tauren Warrior try and earn the favor of Gnomeregan to obtain a sweet Mechano Strider? I've always wanted one of those for my tauren warrior."
It looks like Noblegarden started a trend: the Equipment Manager, Blizzard's answer to Outfitter et al., is being delayed and will not be included as part of the upcoming patch 3.1. The cited reason is that "certain issues were encountered...that could not be resolved in time" to be included with the patch, and they would rather delay to "ensure that this feature meets our standard of quality." Does this mean the patch is coming pretty soon? One can only hope.
This is especially disappointing with dual spec coming as a major feature in the patch, and with Outfitter's author pulling the mod from distribution; people will be needing ways to switch sets quickly more than ever. Fortunately, Addon Spotlight has you covered - come on over and read all about some alternatives to Outfitter.
You can download the full list of finalists over on the MI6 site -- the rest of the nominations are kind off all over the place, though the marketing for Fallout 3 is in there quite a bit, including up against Blizzard for best writing, and best overall marketing campaign. The awards are going down in San Francisco on April 8th -- good luck to Blizzard on all of their hard work.
We still do have one request though: for the next ad, can we maybe get a girl who plays WoW? Sure, a Gnome in the cinematics would be nice, too, but so far, on the TV commercials, it's been all dudes.
Fan-made Draenei Barbie - Fri, 03 Apr 2009 13:00:00 EST Reader Amanda S sent us this picture of a Draenei Barbie (that is a Draenei, right? Not a Night Elf? Oh yeah -- check the hooves) she says she and a friend made when they were bored. It's not the most involved craft we've ever seen, but it looks pretty good and it's an interesting idea: make Warcraft characters out of existing dolls, rather than completely from scratch. GI Joe would probably be perfect for putting together a figure of the new King Wrynn.
But we do like the dress and the shoulders -- nice job. Whenever Blizzard figures out how to do player housing, we can put her in a dream house as well.
Got a WoW-related craft that you'd like to share? We'd love to see it -- send us a tip through the tipline and we'll check it out.
The love of Buddhist's life (his soulmate, if you will) has been damaged by a rival rogue, Ming. Now, Buddhist and his 3v3 team must fight through Ming's merciless minions to regain Cel's power, and prove who is the true Rogue Hokage.
This video is parody of the PvP genre, and sticks its tongue firmly in cheek at the majority of rogue and PvP culture. It's steeped with references and odd quirks, so it helps to have some knowledge of who's who. Ming, for example, is actually a very well known blogger in "rogue society." Serennia is a prominent Arena fighter, and was once hailed as the "best warrior in the world." And if the dialogue from Ming seems funny after her initial confrontation with Buddhist's crew, check this video out about Swarm.
The video made me laugh. The stream could use a little better quality, but overall, I enjoyed this new installment. Mileage is going to vary, of course, but I enjoyed the irreverent, self-aware humor.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
Learning to dance with WoW - Fri, 03 Apr 2009 11:00:00 EST I'm learning to dance. By which I mean, I'm learning various semi-ballroom or formal dances that are not characteristic of my native and well-honed ability to flop around on the dance floor like a seizing fish out of water. My fundamental problem with dancing is that I don't have any rhythm. None, nada, zip, zilch. I can notice a "beat" if it's being hammered on a drum, without any distracting vocals or "music" being played on top of it. But if that beat disappears for a millisecond, I instantly return to trampling my partner's feet.
As a result, learning to dance has been a challenge. It's a little crazy, actually. There I was, struggling with the box-steps for a Waltz when a subtle inspiration hit me and my Draenei fiancee. For the box step, you kind of move around in a box. (It's not just a clever name.) But it's done on a three count. Very similarly to how you might call out Heigan's Safety Dance.
And, blushing fiercely as possible, I realized I had the steps. Yup, nailed 'em perfect every time, just by chanting that "Section 3 . . . Section 4 . . . Back to 3 . . . " The beat really was about exactly the same, and I didn't have any trouble after that.
Things didn't get any better for me when we had to do "hesitation" side-steps. Basically, you take two or three steps with the beat, then omg hurry up and take two steps for one beat! And, in the grand tradition of dorks everywhere, I was struggling to do it gracefully. And then my Draenei fiancee impishly started muttering "omigod adds. . . amigod adds. . . omigod adds. . . amigod adds. . ." (Think Noth or Kel'Thuzad.)
Yup, nailed the step right away again. So, while this may not be a direct buff from the Great Crab of Blue, Naxxramas may have helped me get my ballroom dancing right. I guess raiding makes dance steps more accessible?
I will admit, though. I'm probably not ready for the Dance Battle.
We've received several additional pictures of last night's chaos on Spirestone. Nick, Failicus, and Chimmychummy all sent in shots of the madly spawning mammoth vendors Mojodishu, Drix Blackwrench, Hakmud of Argus, and Gnimo. A quick visit to the Spirestone forums shows that the vendors were not despawning when people dismounted from their mammoths. A poster on the Customer Service Forum suggests that as Spirestone had been having server issues all day, this may have been a deliberate attempt by a few people to crash them and force a restart. Or, of course, it could have just been an unintentionally hilarious bug result. More pics below the cut!
I've installed the software on my first-generation iPhone and have been using it for a little while now. And while it's not much more than barebones -- if you're expecting anything other than an application that periodically gives you numbers, you'll be disappointed -- it's definitely a worthwhile substitute to buying a dedicated Authenticator.
There's short walkthrough of the program after the break, and you can check out a few screens of the app below. It's available right now on the App Store for your iPhone or iPod touch.