Switching specs, switching roles - Sun, 04 May 2008 19:00:00 EST Now, there's some classes (mostly pure DPS) that have a special advantage when it comes to respeccing: When they decide to change specs, they can mostly get away with using the same set of gear. They may want to regem a bit toward one stat or another, or switchweapons, but for the most part, they can change their spec and settle right into their new role with relative ease, not having to wait for certain gear to come along before they make a "final" plunge. Even if they do need to make a bigger stat change, their old gear can usually mostly suffice until they get a few more drops.
I've noticed this because I'm strongly considering switching two of my hybrids to another role full time soon, and it's been a lot more complicated, because gear enters the equation in a much larger way.
Your character is like an arrow. He was launched from the birthplace of your imagination with the aim of creating spontaneous stories with other creative people. Your character's personality is the particular direction he travels in, and his background story is the bow which set him on his way.
The bow-string tension that gives a good backstory its momentum is its lack of resolution. The desire to find resolution propels your character forward into the game, but it doesn't predict with certainty where your he or she will end up. Realizing this can free you of a great burden: your story doesn't have to make the New York Times Bestseller List. In fact, the whole idea here is to purposely leave your backstory unfinished, ready to be resolved through roleplaying. Too much emphasis on a dramatic background leaves you with not enough room for an interesting foreground, and little else to contribute other than the saga of your epic past.
Obviously, people aren't logging into WoW to read your miniature novel. They generally won't want to hear your backstory unless they specifically ask you about it (which they might!), but even then they'll care less for its narrative value and more for its ultimate impact on your character as a person. It's best to think of it less as a story in itself (e.g. "How I got to be this way"), and more as a prologue to the story you want to roleplay (e.g. "How do I get out of this mess?"). Its purpose is to set up challenges for your character to overcome with other people, and it should establish a direct line to your character's desires and aspirations.
It caught my attention because it made me think a little about future itemization. Most of the trinkets in Magisters' Terrace and the Sunwell Plateau have little effects that basically do the same things as other items, but they're done in slightly more interesting ways. There are a few that are almost entirely unique of course, but overall, they're just new ways to do old things. Personally, I adore it and can't wait to see Wrath trinkets and rings.
The Shifting Naaru Sliver in particular caught my attention, because the way it's phrased is so different from other On Use trinkets. It implies that only the caster of the buff gets that buff, so overall, it's the same as something like the Icon of the Silver Crescent. The spell is pretty unique though, so it might be an indication of more widespread applications of this sort of thing later. Being able to flesh out your spell/buff repertoire via a necklace or a ring would be pretty interesting! I suppose LeatherworkingDrums do something similar, but this excites me a little more for some reason. Perhaps in Wrath raiding, we'll see people gearing up to complement their party's damage as well as their own moreso than we see currently, thanks to item buffs like these. We'll just have to wait and see.
Sean is diving, sunning himself and trying to drink all the cervezas in Cozumel this week, so don't feel bad if he doesn't respond to emails and comments. He'll be back in action next week, fresh and ready to re-join the Addon Army's battle for the perfect User Interface!
Poor, poor Warlocks, how you must lament your role as the misunderstood badboys (and girls) of World of Warcraft. Sure, the SL/SL thing seems to work out for you, and Destro locks just can't seem to crit for less than 5k anymore, but if only people knew how hard it is to keep track of so many damned spells.
Truth be told, I love my Warlock, even if he's still terrorizing Azeroth in the forty-ish bracket. However, even by the time I got my Felsteed, I was wondering what to do with all the spells and abilities, I was rarely using some of them and wasn't happy with so many full actionbars. Around the same time, I was beginning to take notice that many Warlocks were saying the oddest things when summoning demons and their mounts. I wondered if there was a group of players taking part in a new "forget leet speak, let's just use grammatically questionable English" movement. I asked one about the random blurbs, and she was kind enough to point me in the direction of Necrosis LdC.
Okay, it was actually Necrosis back then (I need to level my lock...), but the idea has survived the test of time. Necrosis LdC is a circular menu addon that wraps all of your spells and abilities into collapsible menus much like Totemus. (To be fair, Necrosis actually started the whole circular menu thing, the Godfather of Sphere Mods so to say.) It will also manage your Soul Shards, warn you about different procs (Backlash, Shadow Trance), things you can do to your target (Enslave, Banish) or not do (target is immune to fear), and will show you a spell timer to track your DoTs, Soulstone cooldowns and more.
There's more, check in after the requisite break for some tips on using Necrosis LdC.
Come join It came from the Blog today on Zangarmarsh (U.S.) to run the Orgrimmar Children's Week quests. You need to be level 10 or higher to get the quest, but you are welcome to join us for the runaround, no matter your level.
When: 3pm Pacific (4pm Server) Today! (Sunday, May 4th)
Where: Orphanage in Orgrimmar (the Valley of Honor) on Zangarmarsh (U.S.)
How to join: Send Robiness a tell to get a guild invite
I got my warlock to 20 this morning and stocked up on shards so I can summon if you are too far away, say in Mulgore bringing up a Tauren. If you are in Blood Elf lands, take the teleport in Silvermoon to Undercity and then the Zeppelin to Orgrimmar.
Let's take our orphans on a field trip together! I hope to see you there!
While I do adore Drewbie and the comedy stylings of his partner, IWoW2 had some things that drove me up the wall. The aspect ratio seemed to jump, the bird noises were annoying, and a lot of the jokes felt forced. I'm not sure how frequently these were intended to be released, but the first episode came out three months ago. If they're only doing news reports quarterly, you'd think they'd have more to discuss and less to make toilet humor about ... What's going on, Machinima.com?
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
This anonymous .... night elf? .... warrior? ... decided to end it all by one of the most dramatic methods known to man -- jumping off a dam. Unfortunately, his positioning and poor choice of dam made it look like he was merely part of an enormous dwarf booger. Also, the effect of death is somewhat lost when your only lasting damage is 10% durability. Better luck next rez, anonymous!
If you missed it the other day, Around Azeroth is running another user submission challenge: Grand Theft Azeroth! Send us pics of you (or your friends, we're not picky) committing your most nefarious deeds in the style of the GTA series. Mount-jackings, thefts, murders, muggings, cruelty to animals -- go wild! So far, we've only got a few entries, and I'm getting concerned that you're all a bunch of do-gooders. Send your screenshots to email@example.com by noon EST on Thursday, May 8, and please use the phrase "GTA" somewhere in your e-mail title.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see it 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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. They are a direct cause of apathy in readers.
Last week we took a look at one of the Paladin's core class mechanics, the Seal, which is a short-duration buff that is both preparatory (for Judgement) and integral to a Paladin's attack cycle. Last week, I also mentioned how Seals fail to play a part in a healers spell cycle because of how they operate. Because seals require a Paladin to make a melee attack in order for a seal to work or proc, they are similar to Rogue poisons or Shaman weapon buffs. But seals are not weapon buffs, allowing them to proc off unarmed melee attacks (although why anyone would want to is anyone's guess) but also making them susceptible to dispel mechanics.
I personally think there was a wasted opportunity in this design because it locks out one key aspect of the class from an entire spec. Because of the short seal duration, healers must get into melee range and whack at opponents constantly. Even if a Retribution Paladin is in the raid keeping up a Holy Paladin's judged seal, the Holy Paladin himself won't reap the benefits of his own judgement -- most likely Wisdom or Light -- because he won't be hitting the enemy. A healing Paladin's two-button spell cycle consists of Holy Light and Flash of Light which both have cast times, necessitating periods of no movement and often precluding melee combat. If EA Mythic's Warhammer Online follows through with the hype, there won't be any, as animated designer Paul Barnett would call it, "namby pamby healer classes."
While Retribution is fun and can dish out some hurt, and while Protection are kings of tanking entire armies, when a Paladin specs Holy, she becomes exactly that -- a namby pamby healer class. The Holy spec is somewhat ironic and goes against the grain of the core class design. Paladins are a heavily-armored melee class. When they spec Holy, that armor often goes to waste and the melee aspect is shelved away. If the spec was built to take advantage of the seal system rather than be hindered by it (putting up seals activate the GCD, pushing back healing or cleansing), we'd have a very different story. We would have Holy Paladins rushing into combat -- I don't care if they deal piddly damage -- in order to be effective, rather than standing in the back of the raid. I attribute that playstyle dichotomy to the failure of seals.
NoObz #9 brings you to a special mob-held meeting of sorts, where you get to meet the gray kangaroo (wolf).
The old computer has finally broken him. A friend of Monkey Punchers is finally Losing It.
In LFG this week, my favorite character breaks into a song and dance!
Shakes and Fidget have made their Preparations, and with proper hilarity ensuing.
This week on Dark Legacy Comics, the NPCs launch plans to take over the world, through Operation: Horace.
From Action Trip comes Impressive Knowledge. Seriously, kids these days really know their stuff! Sure, they might lose a finger or a hand, but then they'll know which faction they're dealing with, right?
Pass through the break to vote for your favorite from this week's selection.
For example, What is up with Deathwing? If you've hung around the Dragonmaw camp at Netherwing Ledge long enough, you've probably seen them receive a certain visitor who suggests the lord of the Black Dragonflight isn't quite dead yet. There's also the issue of what Azshara is planning, and whether she is guiding the Naga and Murlocs of Azeroth to some greater, sinister purpose. It would also be nice to know what Malfurion is up to in the Emerald Dream.
We can only hope Blizzard will get back to these lore lines sooner rather than later, but since WoTLK is getting back to some old threads, I'd say the hope is pretty good. What lore thread bought up by a quest or another source do you want to see addressed or finished soon?
On the fourth day of the second Sunwell Plateaugates being opened there, the European guild SK-Gaming has achieved the world-first kill of M'uru, the fifth SWP boss. Good job, guys! This is all the more surprising because I don't think of SK-Gaming as one of the big-name guilds, but maybe I've just been missing out. Edit: D'oh! That's the guild formerly known as Curse. I knew the name looked familiar. Also, I would sort of have expected the US realms to get there first because their gates opened a day earlier. But on the other hand, Europe has been on top of the world firsts for a while.
You can see the loot above -- click to embiggen. That Shifting Naaru Sliver sounds fun.
For many of us, life isn't all about WoW. Instead of having the luxury to while away most of our days immersed in Azeroth, we might find other demands on our time such as jobs, partners, children or studying. Alternatively, we might have the luxury of free time ourselves, but be dealing with raiders who are more harangued; looking at this time problem in more detail should help all round.
Why do busy people raid? For many, it's more like 'why do raiders become busy?'. A lot can happen in three years to change an individual player's circumstances. New jobs, new partners, new children, starting university or college, being made redundant: all these have happened to guildies or ex-guildies. Yet, due to the enjoyment, deep level of involvement and commitment built up over the years, changing something in life can mean there's still room for raiding.
This morning, Mandyasked how everyone felt about the new Season 4 gear that was recently unveiled on the PTR. The general consensus seems to be that the armor sets are -- for lack of a better word -- underwhelming. Reusing the skins from the token gear that drops from Sunwell Plateau, the armor sets seem to suffer from a case of the Jackson Pollocks. Player feedback, according to the comments on this site as well as the World of Wacraft forums, indicates disappointment with the new sets.
Unfortunately, players unhappy with the look of the new gear shouldn't be holding their collective breaths for an update. Drysc has already stated that Blizzard's artists are devoting all of their energy at Wrath of the Lich King. He says that it takes time to develop new armor sets and that he's not surprised that the new (Badge) gear are mostly color shifts. While Arena gear has traditionally been recolored versions of their PvE counterparts -- e.g. Season 1 gear was recolored Tier 4 -- the new sets create problems because they're no longer distinctive to each class but rather to the armor category to which they belong.
Each Saturday, Arcane Brilliance jumps off the ledge near the lumber mill in Arathi Basin and Slow Falls all the way to your computer screens...at which point it PoM-Pyroblasts the guy defending the blacksmith and caps the flag solo...after which it gets killed by a Warlock at 25% health. Last week we discussed four of the seven crafting professions and what they had to offer Mages. This week we'll move on to the rest, including wild speculation about what Inscription might have to offer those of us who enjoy wearing dresses into battle.
When I started WoW and rolled my Mage, I asked around and perused the official website and learned that I should probably be a tailor. I wore cloth armor, so it seemed like a no-brainer that I should take the profession that would give me gear I could wear. I gave that strange undead man outside Brill my ten copper pieces and he taught me to fashion pants from scraps of linen I had removed from corpses. I have never really regretted that decision, though I have since learned that while Tailoring is a fine choice for a Mage, it's certainly not the only choice. Almost every profession out there offers something worth having to our wonderful class, and some of them might surprise you. Last week we went over the unique benefits of Enchanting, Engineering, and Blacksmithing (although that last one really doesn't offer much to us at all), in addition to Tailoring, the old stand-by. This week, we're going to explore Leatherworking, Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, and the three secondary professions.
Come back after the jump for the details, along with as much unsolicited commentary as you can stand.
Children's Week in Wrath - Sat, 03 May 2008 16:00:00 EST With The Burning Crusade, Children's Week was given a new tier of quests, based in Outland. Either this year or the last, I'm sure most of you have done these quests. Rather than replacing the old ones, it was simply an addition to the holiday.
If Children's Week receives the same treatment in Wrath, I'm itching to see what the rewards will be, or who(what?) we'll be escorting. The rewards in TBC were based off of the new content, so I have my doubts we'll have any accurate guesses for Wrath's installment at this point, but wrong guesses are still fun to make. Penguins? Walruses? Baby Bornakks?
And what will we be escorting? A baby Tuskarr? A baby Nerubian? Who knows! Like I said, I doubt we can make any accurate guesses at this point in Wrath's development, but it's still fun to think about.
Blizzard launches new online store - Sat, 03 May 2008 15:00:00 EST The new and improved Blizzard store opened recently, and it's definitely worth a look. It has a very clean layout, making finding what you want pretty simple. They carry everything from the Blizzard games to the Warcraft action figures to WoW game time. Their apparel selection isn't very large due to that primarily being handled by Jinx, but the store is still worthwhile.
Plus, registering for the Blizzard store comes with another perk. You can register for the Beta Test lottery, which is a chance at being chosen for upcoming beta phases of various games. Wrath? Starcraft II perhaps? All of the above? Who knows! I've been considering getting into the WoW TCG, so if I get a shot at a beta test out of it, too... hey, why not?
Edit: The Blizzard EU store is not yet live, but I imagine it will be soon. Sorry, Europe!
Drysc updated his post on the official forums regarding Season Four Arena changes.It looks like Blizzard is working to put an end to queue dodging and thereby stifle the practice of win trading. Drysc quoted the revised arena rules, "If a team does not enter an arena match that is starting they will lose points equal to the amount that would have been deducted if they had played and lost."With this augmentation, players will no longer be able selectively battle only teams that have agreed to a loss.
Since the Arenas began, there have been many underhanded methods players have used to inflate their ratings and gain access to the latest and greatest gear.Blizzard continues to intervene in order to fix the flawed system.Season four will include a few more changes to make things fair:
"If a character's personal rating is more than 150 points below the team rating, they will earn points based on their personal rating instead of the team rating."
"If the average personal rating of the players queuing for a game is more than 150 points below the team's rating, the team will be queued against an opponent matching or similar to the average personal rating."
Macro Anatomy: Uncrushable Calculator - Sat, 03 May 2008 13:30:00 EST Yesterday, I profiled a number-crunching addon that does the math to tell you about the actual effects of your abilities and spells. Therefore, I thought it appropriate to share this number-crunching macro. This is one I've only recently had to use. After a few hours debating the meaning and theory behind becoming uncrushable and uncrittable, I think this macro is a great tool for raid leaders and tanks alike.
Basically this macro adds up your total avoidance to determine whether or not you meet the sacred uncrushable numeral: 102.4% total avoidance.
Regardless of any arguments about the mechanics behind this system, its what is accepted as the way things are. If you're tanking, pushing Crushing Blows off the attack table is one of your primary goals. As a note, Druids cannot become uncrushable, sorry, you're stuck taking it like a bear.
Come back after the break so I can share the macro without cluttering the front page with scripting code.
Yes, once again our weekly podcast is going live on the virtual air this afternoon over on WoW Radio. This week, John "BigBearButt" Petricelli is on with me, and though Turpster is gone, it's probably a given that our favorite standby, Duncor, is jumping on to share his insights into the World of Warcraft. We'll talk about mounts around Azeroth, how you can make raiding faster, and what you, dear listeners and readers, are looking forward to in Wrath of the Lich King.
Plus we'll be chatting on IRC as always (you can meet up with us at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel), and we'll be reading and answering reader email as well -- if you have a burning question, a frozen compliant, or a shiny bit of praise to give us, pass it right along by sending an email to email@example.com.
I'll be a rip-roaring good time. Join us this afternoon at 3:30pm EST (which is 8:30 GMT) for our podcast, which iTunes reviewers call "one of the most entertaining and informative WoW podcasts to date." Be there!
Khandy is back with the eagerly anticipated sequel to What Else is On! This time around, she's involved some celebrity guests, including Selserene and Legs. Three (real) female machinimators in the same (artistic) movie? Could this be a first?
Some of my favorite moments in this film were the behind the scenes look at the sex scene in Selserene's upcoming film, finding out what race Tom Jones would be in WoW, and the background music in the blaxploitation clip! If you enjoyed the NeverStayTuned series, you'll definitely like WEiO2.