Blizzplanet has a video they've been saving from the New York Comic Con a little while back. This time, they chat with Walter and Louise Simonson, part of the team behind the World of Warcraft comic, which at the time, had just re-introduced Garona Halforcen, the half-orc assassin who is likely about to make a long-awaited appearance in the MMO world of Azeroth. The couple say that while they can't tell us much, Garona fans have some cool stuff to look forward to, as we're going to learn more about both her "past" and "future." There are some other little lore tidbits in the interview as well, including what's up with Varian Wrynn and his counterpart, Lo'gosh. And there's good news for fans of the Horde -- while the comic book has so far had an Alliance lead character, Blizzard is setting up new things for the Horde as well.
Clearly here are two people really ensconced in the World of Warcraft -- they both seem to have a really great and passionate grasp on the story behind WoW, and a real care for how the future of the story unfolds. We can't wait to see it.
I've been thinking for awhile now that I'd like to approach Blood Pact a bit differently. Thus far the bulk of my posts have focused on playing a Warlock at level 80. Granted, a casual Warlock at 80, but still, my aim has been towards max level players. Aside from the obvious problem that raises of excluding lower level 'locks, this approach pointlessly limits my available subject matter. And that's just plain silly. So, since I still haven't wriggled my way into a new raid group, I think this is a good opportunity to delve into some of the topics I've been ignoring, with the goal of writing a more balanced column in the future.
While pondering what specifically I should post this week, I perused the writings of some of my fellow class columnists, and discovered that most of them had, at some point, explored their class' profession choices. A topic which I then discovered had never been broached by Blood Pact. But then, since the topic of the post is rather evident in the title of the post, I guess there's no point in belaboring its introduction. I'll start with the secondary professions, move on to the gathering professions, and finish up with the production professions.
Season 3 of The Guild has been given the green light via sponsorship from Microsoft and Sprint. According to the Hollywood Reporter, production is anticipated to begin in June, with a sneak peak of season three happening at the San Diego Comic-Con in July.
Season 2 ended on a cliffhanger, and according to Felicia Day via the Hollywood Reporter, "the repercussions of [the cliffhanger] will be felt by the guild. Expect a lot of real-life distractions for the characters and some hurt feelings from the last season."
Hopefully we'll see more of the guild at BlizzCon this August as well (why, what a perfect time to release the first episode of season three!). Last year they gave a great, and packed, presentation.
I for one can't wait to see what happens this season. Go Guild!
PopCap's addons are obfuscated, Blizzard is OK with that - Mon, 04 May 2009 17:00:00 EST We've posted about both the Bejeweled and the Peggle addons here lots -- we're big fans of PopCap releasing free versions of their games for us to play in Azeroth. But all might not be well in addon land -- a few authors have come to us to point out that PopCap's addons actually contain obfuscated code in them. Obfuscation is a little hard to define -- it's a coding technique that makes code difficult to be read by other programmers, either for purposes of compression or to deliberately hide the code's function or purpose from anyone reading it. Obfuscation is strictly prohibited by Blizzard's addon policy, and so when addon authors dived into PopCap's code and found it obfuscated, they were concerned that PopCap is dodging Blizzard's rules.
We spoke with PopCap about the issue, and they told us that yes, they run a program called luasrcdiet on their code to shrink it down and keep the memory footprint to a minimum. While working on their addons, they were in contact with Blizzard (and showed them the original, non-obfuscated code), and they tell us that Blizzard decided that since the purpose of the obfuscation rule in the policy was to allow the community to police their own addons for bad code (and since Blizzard trusted PopCap, there were no concerns there), then Blizzard was OK with PopCap releasing obfuscated addon code.
So. Has PopCap broken the rules? In the strictest sense, yes -- the rules say no obfuscated code, and PopCap's addons do make things hard to read. But Blizzard, who wrote the rules to begin with, has no problem with making an exception for PopCap, and in doing so, their reasoning seems pretty sound. It doesn't seem fair to make an exception in any case, but we admit, if you're going to make an exception for anyone, you can't go wrong with PopCap. What do you think?
I try to give little factoids on the real life brews some of these are named after (such as the fact that Pilsners shouldn't exist in Azeroth), but stouts aren't very exotic, overall! A stout is a very dark, very strong sort of ale, and seems just like the sort of thing Dwarves would be mailing out regularly. I don't know about that whole 'flower child' thing, though. Seems more like something Night Elves would do to their ale.
In an unusual move, Blizzard has spelled out exactly how the proc on Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings works. There are probably one or two of you who consider it a spoiler, so I'll put it after the cut.
Myndflame loot being offered for donations - Mon, 04 May 2009 14:00:00 EST If you're a machinima regular, you're probably familiar with Myndflame. The name can refer to the machinima website, where a wide and varied group of authors gather to share their work, comment on one another's pieces, and generally do the hang-out thing. Or, the name can refer to a specific set of artists, who put together pieces like Illegal Danish. That group's got a lot going on.
The Myndflame team is offering a few select pieces of swag over on their official site, as rewarsd for charitable donations. They've got a few limited edition shirts available, as well as a couple discontinued CDs. The purpose of this offering, of course, it to help provide for the ongoing development of the Myndflame community. They've been working with Blizzard to promote a better understanding of machinima and machinima law, as well as working to try and get more people involved in machinima creation.
The items have a little history to them. The shirts were produced for the Myndflame team, and one was given away at Blizzcon 2008. The remainder are the only ones left from that print run, and remain crispy clean and unworn. The CDs are only available digitally nowadays, so it seems likely these originals come from someone's personal stash. If you know someone who's a fan of the Illegal Danish series, these might make a nice gift -- Clint's offered to sign and personalize anything you get.
We've received a lot of tips in the past few minutes, and now it's official: the Shadowburn battlegroup is down for emergency maintenance. The realms are estimated to return in two hours, around 3:30 EST, but we'll keep you posted if we hear anything new.
The affected realms are Agamaggan, Azshara, Baelgun, Dark Iron, Detheroc, Emerald Dream, Greymane, Kalecgos, Lightninghoof, Maelstrom, Malfurion, Moonrunner, Nazjatar, Sargeras, Staghelm, Twisting Nether, Ursin, and Wildhammer.
What are you guys going to do in the mean time? I hear there's a good WoW blog around here somewhere that you might enjoy browsing through.
PUG players seem to be everywhere these days. For guilds that can't field a full 25, PUGs are running Naxxramas and Obsidian Sanctum and even the Eye of Eternity alongside you. They're practically half the raid in your Vault of Archavon runs. They help your 10-player raid take out Heroic Flame Leviathan for some quick, juicy iLevel 226 loot. If Blizzard keeps nerfing Ulduar, pretty soon they'll be looting Keepers' chests, too.
Last week's e-mail was practically a blog unto itself, so this week I thought I'd pick a short one. One reader asks what we owe these PUG players. Can we just boot them as soon as some of our own guild members log on?
I have a question about what is considered fair to pugs in a raid. I don't do pug raids myself so I am out of touch with what the etiquette is.
We had needed to pug for a raid and were just about to start, when a couple of guildies logged on. They wanted us to kick some pugs so they could join the raid. The issue isn't that they logged on after raid start, but purely about whether it is considered fair to kick a pug out in favour of a guild member.
WoW Insider Show Episode 88: Child's play - Mon, 04 May 2009 12:30:00 EST Here's our podcast from last week -- Lesley Smith joined Turpster, Patrick Beja of How I WoW and I to chat about the Martin Fury controversy, how Children's Week and Noblegarden are going on the live realms, and what we've been up to lately in the World of Warcraft. And as usual we answered your email, including sharing ideas for our upcoming video show (we're planning on doing it on May 23rd, so stay tuned for that), how to transfer away from a guild if you happen to be a guildleader, and both why Blizzard canceled WWI, and when BlizzCon tickets might go on sale.
We also talked about the ongoing Children's Week Charity Auction -- bidding has slowed down a bit over the weekend, so if you're interested in helping out kids in hospitals by donating some money to buy them videogames, go on over to the auction page and find something to bid on. All the money raised goes directly to Child's Play, so get your bids in now while you can.
And as we mentioned on the show, here's the schedule for the next few weeks: we'll have a show as usual next Saturday the 9th, and then we'll have a special midweek show on the 13th of May. And then on the 23rd, we'll be live on camera for the video show. Should be really interesting -- we'll see you then!
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Wello posted his Van Helsing Trailer over on Myndflame, with some commentary that I found pretty interesting. First, it's his fourth video, and the one he feels best about. More importantly, Wello said that he'd searched far and wide for anyone else who'd already created a Van Helsing trailer. He found none, so immediately made one himself. He considered it his "time to shine."
It's easy to forget that the creation of machinima is usually sourced in an author's passion for the subject. Okay, so while Hugh Jackman rocking a crossbow and funny hat might not be humanity's key pathos, it's something for which Wello has a lot of love. (Hell, maybe Hugh Jackman is a strong enough collective obsession, anyway, given what opened this weekend.) Machinimators don't make a bunch of money off their work, it's entirely a labor or love.
The video itself is pretty keen. It's just a stylized recreation of the video, using stand-ins from WoW for the various actors. I was a little surprised to see Kate Beckinsale turned into a Blood Elf, but I guess that makes sense in context. I think Wello did a good job of choosing models and scenery, but the characters themselves could use a little more motion. Ultimately, it was a fun video that I enjoyed watching. I look forward to seeing Wello's skills grow.
"I just switched my off spec for my Death Knight to a tank spec. However I've never really tanked before, what would be the best heroic to go into to learn to tank? I have an uncrittable set I got from raids/off-spec rolls. I know most of the dungeons, I just need practice. Which would be best to start in?"
In the spirit of Children's Week, Jahzina of <Archaic> on Trollbane sent us this lovely picture of her Argent Squire's vacation in Grizzly Hills. Man, the treatment of children in Azeroth is horrifying. First we bring them into war zones, then we force them to watch as we eat delicious treats and don't share, and now we're up to abandoning them in the woods to be mugged by psychotic loners while we watch from our flying mounts and laugh? Why would we do such things to these poor, defenseless youngsters? They would be put to much better use as human shields during raids. No death animation = easy-mode Undying achievement.
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BBB's tips for a new tank - Mon, 04 May 2009 09:05:00 EST Starting to tank is scary. During BC I leveled from 40 through 69 as a Balance Druid, and then discovered that a tank couldn't be pugged for love or money once you hit the later portion of Outland on my realm. I'd picked up some feral gear along the way and decided to give tanking a shot, but then spent my first afternoon in the trenches being a nervous wreck after losing aggro to impatient DPS, aggroing extra mobs by charging into pulls instead of LOSing them, and taking a ridiculous amount of damage. The feeling of being constantly judged by your group members isn't a pleasant sensation, but more maddening was the knowledge that certain things beyond your control -- mob stuns, lazy or trigger-happy DPS, an inattentive healer, or something as simple as a missed Mangle -- could make you look worse than you actually were.
That's why I like a recent blog post by our own Big Bear Butt on "Tips for the New Tank," which addresses not only that but also a number of pitfalls to which new tanks are prone. I particularly agree with his assertion that you should never start a boss event assuming that everyone in the group is on the same page, because someone who's not sure what they're doing can and often will cause issues for you without realizing it. It's a great guide for a new tank that gives a nod to the "feeling judged" syndrome mentioned here, and with so many players returning to their tanking trees or trying Death Knights in Wrath, I recommend it for anyone interested in the job.
It's Monday morning at eight o'clock in the ae-em. Do you know where your kids are?
Mine is safely wrapped up next to me sitting at the inn off the bank in Dalaran.
How's the whole Children's Week thing going for you? I've gotten all the achievements done with the exception of School of Hard Knocks. It seems that no matter what battleground I go in there is always someone willing to not play by the rules the rest of the team agreed to and jump in front of folks to get the achievements, or the battleground resemble what Jon Stewart might call a "cluster of fun to the flag."
I'm hopeful that this is just the behavior of less mature folks unable to follow rule #1, and that these things get better during the day time hours of WoW. Usually I find that the people who are on at eleven in the morning are more mature than the average player, and that means a better experience for myself and everyone.
The other interesting thing I've encountered is Home Alone stacking. Each time they'd use their Hearthstone, they'd get the achievement and the points again. When they logged off however the misbegotten points were gone. There was some talk briefly of having some fun with this and raising their achievement score to something ungodly like 10,000 points - but we figured they'd just be banned for exploitation (unlike some folks).
So how about it WoW Insiders? What's your little pipsqueak up to?
Enchanting cries out to be roleplayed. It could be a kind of magician's engineering, or a more refined cousin of alchemy. Although you could certainly play an enchanter as another sort of magical mad-scientist, the profession actually lends itself well to a more gentlemanly (and sane) approach, where experiments are not so much about creating some sort of autonomous monster or mind-controling love potion of serene bliss, but rather altering the nature of things to do what they never would have done previously.
Enchantments have a huge role in mythology and literature. Cinderella's fairy godmother turned a pumpkin into a stage-coach with an enchantment, Hogwarts School's "Sorting Hat" famously talks to students who wear it, and the One Ring even contains the soul of Middle Earth's lord of evil personified. All these are enchantments in which ordinary items are magically enhanced so as to reflect some aspect of character development or plot in the story, and a roleplayer at the keys of an enchanter character can work similar magic in telling his own story.
So here's some news that'll probably make you feel good if you're okay with your class and just want to grab consistent set of talent specs and go at it, but may get you a little down if you still dislike where your class is. Ghostcrawler said yesterday that he believes there won't be many drastic class changes. In fact, he says, most of the 3.1 class changes were meant to compensate for or tinker with the changes made in 3.0 or to further tweak the classes that got the largest amount of overhaul.
No, it's not 2001: A Space Odyssey (one of the best books and movies of, like, all time), it was our very own Elizabeth Harper when she saw this shiny new dagger, revealed thanks to MMO Champion. Now Algalon still hasn't been defeated, but doesn't this awesome, star-filled blade make you want to pwn his arse? Go on, admit it, even if it's purely on an RP-level.
Personally, as a boomer, I use staves exclusively but I want this weapon so badly. It has to be one of the nicest looking drops I've seen in a while - and the stats aren't too bad either. It manages to encapsulate everything about the Algalon encounter and the shiny graphics in one neat package.
The teaser site went up earlier in the week and reeks of WoW in a way that only Chinese knock-offs can. At the moment we know next to nothing about the game but we can certainly guess. The domain name (www.wofchina.com) is suspiciously similar to the one for World of Warcraft (www.wowchina.com) but with one letter changed. Just look at that font, remind you of anything?
It's not a stretch to bet that The9 are hoping to attract people who associated them with WoW, but I'm pretty sure Blizzard won't be too happy to see their former publisher in Asia trying to promote a game so similar. We'll certainly keep you updated as I'm quite keen to see what World of Fight looks like.