This week in Tank Talk I'm covering the various stages a tank exists in during their time in a guild. Yesterday in Part I of the column I talked about the recruitment and applicant stages. These stages help clarify the beginning life of a tank within a guild. While talking about what these stages are and what they mean to the tank, I also covered how the guild can keep them happy while ensuring the best tanking possible is done.
The job of keeping a tank happy is arguably unique task when compared to non-tanks in that they are the ones which everything eventually comes back to in the game. If a ranged DPS dies, they're going to feel it in a longer encounter. If a healer dies they'll notice the healing start to lack. Finding a way to communicate everything to a tank and taking in their unique situations can be a challenge, but it is a necessary one.
Lets resume our look at the last few stages of a tank's life within a guild, starting with the raider tank stage.
Use: Shoots a purple fireworks display into the air that explodes into a rain of sparkles.
It has infinite uses (hence the "perpetual"), and a 30 second cooldown. The whole display itself lasts about 4 seconds, but it does like pretty purty.
No level requirements, so anyone can use it -- provided you can get it.
How to Get It: Yes, it's a TCG item, but not one of the normal ones, where you just buy a booster and hope you pick it up. Nope, this fireworks trinket is part of Upper Deck's "points" program, in which points is just a fancy word for "spend more money!" Every booster pack you buy has a certain number of points in it, and when you've collected enough points cards, you can spend them on UDE's website for ingame items like this one. There's about 100 points per booster pack, and this item currently costs 3,000 points (it used to cost 10,000!), so you'd have to buy 30 booster packs (MSRP around $5, though you can find them cheaper and more expensive in different places, so about $150 total) to get enough points for the trinket.
Fortunately, we have eBay, where people are selling and buying the UDE points for as cheap as $15. Still not really a great way to get an ingame item (spending real money for virtual stuff, woo!), but if you really want to get your hands on this trinket, there you go. Otherwise, just do a few runs of Scarlet Monastery's Armory, and you'll have all the fireworks you need.
Getting Rid of It: You can't! Vendors won't take it, and it'll never run out of charges, so the only way to get rid of it would be to destroy it. And that would be like throwing money down the drain, which is something that TCG buyers would never ever do, right? Right?
Gnomes or Dwarves: Which would be better to attach to a bottle rocket? - Fri, 04 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST I don't know if it's just the kid in me that likes to blow things up, but I always find myself aiming to make a few explosions happen around this time of year. As I've grown older and understood more about physics, chemistry, etc., I've come to make the explosions even larger. For instance, putting a bunch of fireworks in a barrel, lightening them all on fire at the same time, and then funneling the explosion towards the ground usually has a humorous result.
Humorous might be a few missing fingers, but they can be reattached. And really, who needs their middle finger for anything good?
This year I'm going to try to attach things to bottle rockets, perhaps 10 to 20 all tied together in a bundle. My goal is to see how high I can make things go up in the air. It's going to be a grand ol' time. And after all, what better way to celebrate the birth of America than to blow your own little part of it up?
All this talk about blowing things up has got me thinking though, which race would fit better on a rocket, and which would fly farther? Gnomes or Dwarves? Let's look at the strengths and weaknesses of both.
Our weekly podcast is back on the air tomorrow afternoon, and Turpster should be back at home in England, ready to tell us all about the rest of his WWI trip. I'll be on, along with John "BBB" Patricelli, and we'll also welcome Kyle Horner from our sister sites Massively and Big Download -- he's just recently gotten back into WoW, so we'll chat with him about what's changed since he left and why he's coming back. We'll also read your email (since we missed it last week, we'll have a lot to go through, I'm sure) as well as other tidbits from WWI, what's up with the Wrath world event, and when all of these beta registrations might actually start meaning something.
So join us, won't you? Just tune in to WoW Radio live tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 Eastern, and you'll be able to hear the show live on the virtual airwaves. And you can join us in IRC if you'd like as well -- either chat on the site, or send your IRC client of choice to irc.mmoirc.com and the #wowradio channel. And if you'd rather email the show, you can do that, too -- email@example.com is the address for all your complaints, queries, and general Turpster praise.
[1.Local] serves up a smattering of reader comments from the past week, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
The big news of the week, of course, was the flurry of news about the Wrath of the Lich King expansion let loose at the Worldwide Invitational. Readers dogpiled dozens of news posts with speculation, QQs and cheering alike.
Join us after the break for this week's meatiest reader comments here at WoW Insider. 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.
Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.
This week, Insider Trader will be starting a discussion about trade channel in World of Warcraft, including its usefulness to its likability, abuse, and role in the game.
At first glance, trade channel is supposed to be a channel linking all major cities, providing a forum for craftsmen and buyers to meet up and exchange goods and services.
Within this context, players make a living, purchase gear and consumables, research goods and services, make friends and business associates, and learn the ins and outs of server economy.
Unfortunately, when asked their opinions of trade channel, many players describe it as annoying, useless, or offensive, and many keep it turned off permanently. Still others seem to hover in trade chat, spending a great deal of time in it either chatting, selling or sometimes, buying.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: On my treads - Fri, 04 Jul 2008 13:02:00 EST One of the complaints I see from time to time on the WoW forums and even here on WoW Insider is, to paraphrase is, "there are all these level 70 warriors and yet I can't find a tank." I have a variety of responses to this statement as a protection warrior at level 70. It might be how you ask, for one thing: a polite tell from someone asking me if I'll tank heroic Ramparts once saw me taking an entire group of relatively new 70's through both heroic Hellfire instances. It's also possible that, while I am a tank, I don't feel like tanking for you with an hour to go before raid time, since I'll be tanking that entire time. But I'm curious about this mindset that assumes that with all these level 70 warriors, you should be able to find a tank.
I don't see "all these level 70 paladins and druids and I can't find a tank" nearly as often. Now, I understand that paladins and druids can heal, and the general populace finds that to be just as valuable. But I know there are a host of DPS druids and paladins out there. While they're derided to some degree (and unfairly so, but this column isn't named Matthew Rossi defends every one of the tanking classes if they choose to DPS - we know it's unfair, we'll let it go at that) there doesn't seem to be this absolute assumption that the first and best role of any class that can tank is to tank the way it seems to be there for warriors.
Now, I love tanking. I'm good at it, I enjoy the challenge, I stay up all night working on threat sets, avoidance/mitigation sets, stamina sets, I go to sites like Wowhead and look at shields all day. Tanking is my idea of a good time. So I'm certainly not arguing that warriors cannot, or should not, tank.
I'm arguing that they should not tank just because you want them to.
In all actuality, this short film is as much of a mystery as the creator is. Regardless of the plot, which was not mentioned in English or their native French, it is an amazing film. It looks like a sequel may be in the works as well!
What better way to celebrate the Fourth of July today than to sit outside with some good beer, some tasty BBQ, and a whole lot of cheaply made fireworks? Brom and Seku on the Llane server were kind enough to send us this picture they took of a firework they found at a store in Pittsburg, Kansas -- apparently the "Behemoth," made by the Consumer Fireworks company in China, not only "emits showers of sparks," it also blows copyright law completely out of the water. Very nice.
One more gigantic pic of the Behemoth and its Warcraft III orc cover art after the jump. If you do use fireworks (or break copyright law) today, do it safely, and have a great holiday!
In the United States, the Fourth of July is Independence Day -- the day when we celebrate our country's independence by blowing up a small part of it. If you can't tear yourself away from WoW long enough to watch the fireworks, this screenshot should provide all the pretty colors you need. Our unnamed submitter, possibly Jayvor on Sisters of Elune-US, painted the sky above the Isle of Quel'Danas (and some of its archers) red, green and blue. Are we looking at a video card error, some engineering gadget, or a computer that's discovered how to manufacture its own drugs? What do you guys think?
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. Happy Fourth, Americanos! I'll see you at the fireworks.
Happy July 4, everyone! Just a reminder -- you've only got fourteen and a half more hours to participate in this week's Caption This! contest. To participate, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight!
Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place and a choice of one of seven World of Warcraft action figures (see original post for details) for runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here. Even if you don't get picked for the top ten, you can still participate by voting for the winners on Tuesday morning.
Why do we WoW before WotLK - Fri, 04 Jul 2008 09:00:00 EST The Part Time Druid posted a bit of an existential question -- "Why do we WoW?" It was followed up over on the Altoholic. And while their musings on the motivations for gaming are notable, I'm happy they avoided questions around that horrible WoW-addiction issue. I'm not much of the navel-gazing type, so I wasn't concerned about why I play WoW, in and of itself. (Presumably, I get something out of it, so fair enough.)
But, with pre-expansion blues (and excitement) crashing down on our heads -- why are we playing right now? Our gear's about to go obsolete (and we're about to put on our green-quality clown-suits), our level cap's about to go up 10 levels, and the whole world as we know it is going to be radically different! Oh, yeah, and those guys are going to be around, stealing our tanking spots and doing Elune knows what else! (Anyone else notice they're the first class to have two words as part of their name?)
For me? Nothing special about the pre-expansion time period. I play the same reason I always do. I play with my girlfriend, I play with my friends. I play in the Arena. In a year, what I've done now might not matter to what I'm doing then. But what I'm doing now matters now -- and for now, I'm having fun.
Breakfast Topic: Architectural wishlist - Fri, 04 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST Lone of Bleeding Hollow asks when we'll see architecture, and immediately, a few other players pop up to shout out my answer: we already saw some Egyptian creatures and styles appear around Ahn'Qiraj. But his request for a specific type of architectural style is an interesting one: is there a kind of architecture you haven't seen in game yet that you'd like to?
A few people say they want to see Asian architecture, and as we pointed out a little while back, Darnassus actually borrows a lot from Eastern architecture. I'd like to see a city or village in World of Warcraft with a Northeastern United States, Cape Cod kind of fishing town feel -- Booty Bay is a nice fishing town, but it's a little too far south for my personal tastes. We are heading north for Wrath, however, and since there are not one but two coastal areas open up there, I might just get my wish. Fans of Viking and Norse architecture will also get their fill in Wrath, I'll bet, and consdering the Forsaken, as Neth says in the thread, are getting their own architecture, Gothic style will also be a highlight.
Are there any styles or cultures that you'd like to see represented in Azeroth that haven't been?
Yes, it's time once again for those of us in the United States to celebrate our nation's birthday with fireworks, BBQ, and hopefully a day off. From all of us here at WoW Insider to all of you, happy Fourth of July. And to everyone else outside of America -- get back to work, it's Friday!
As is traditional around Midsummer Fire, the capital cities of Azeroth should have free beer and food available this evening, as well as hourly fireworks displays to watch. If you ask us, the best place to see the festivities is Booty Bay -- nothing like seeing the explosions light up the sky above the Bay, though we've also seen some good displays in Stormwind as well.
No matter what you're up to this holiday, in-game or out, have a terrific and safe Fourth of July.
With the Wrath Beta Opt-in available, we're one step closer to the expansion.We're all anxiously awaiting the time when the expansion is ready.I'm still having fun with the existing World of Warcraft, but I'm a bit antsy.There is a lot of frustration over existing conditions, especially when it comes to PvP.
Chloroform of EU-Magtheridon isn't interested in waiting.He listed his grievances in the EU-PVP Forum, "Balance issues, queue times, destroying premades, AFK problems, uneven teams, world pvp screwed by 9000yd aggro range ultra guards."Like many others, Jasse of EU-Bronzebeard blames the arena for the death of PvP.
This week on Tank Talk I'd like to step outside the technical aspects of being a tank and focus more on the psychosocial side of things. In particular I want to look at what happens when a tank is introduced into a tanking corps of a new guild, how to keep current tanks around, and how to deal with all those old tanks that have been in the guild forever.
For lack of a better phrase, I'll call the time from when a tank joining the guild until their eventual status as "god of all things tank" the life span of a tank. And perhaps the most important part of a tanks life is the new part, and it's something that I've been on both sides of the coin - the one doing the inviting, and the one being invited. Each is equally exciting. When joining a new guild I had not only the opportunity to see new content and progress to new heights, but also an opportunity to improve my skill and focus my ability to tank a mean game. And when I became class lead and eventually the guild's leader, I gained an opportunity to help new tanks become acquainted with our style of game play and watch them succeed and excel within the guild.
I like to look at there being mainly fives stages of a tank's life within a guild: Recruitment, Applicant, Raider, Senior Tank, and Mentor. Let's take a look at each of these and see how people in various stages can help usher a new tank into a guild's tanking corpse while keeping the old tanks around and happy. Since this is a long subject, today I'll cover the recruitment and applicant stages in a tank's life, with the raider, senior tank, and mentor stages coming in the second installment tomorrow.
Beta opt-in F.A.Q. - Thu, 03 Jul 2008 21:55:00 EST More beta news for everyone to enjoy tonight. Bornakk has posted what Nethaera promised earlier in the day, a Wrath of the Lich Kingbeta opt-in F.A.Q. The complete F.A.Q. is republished here for your convenience, and is definitely something everyone should read and re-read. Some of the key things to come out of the F.A.Q.:
You are not guaranteed to get into the WotLK beta if you have a BlizzCon or WWI beta keys. These keys might go to another beta (like Diablo III).
You can opt-in on multiple accounts, but each account can only opt-in once.
If you get a key with one account, you can use it on another account of your choosing. However the key can only be used once.
Opting in early does not necessarily mean you will get a beta slot early. Everything is random (as we previous reported).
If you get a beta key from another source and are selected via the opt-in process, you can give your key to a friend or family member.
Judge compares Vivendi-Activation merger to a WoW quest - Thu, 03 Jul 2008 19:30:00 EST The judge ruling on a dispute related to the Vivendi-Activision deal has used WoW metaphors for the actions of the litigants. William B. Chandler III, the chief judge of the Delaware Court of Chancery, showed an unusually keen grasp of the dynamics of the game -- way more than either of my parents would understand. His ruling describes, among other things, crafting, questing, battlegrounds, guilds, and even our unique linguistic habits. (My mother, for example, calls them typos.) Continuing his analysis, Judge Chandler says that the world of Mergers & Acquisitions is similar to an MMORPG where "participants take on certain roles, interact in their own community, hone specialized skills, and even develop a unique, somewhat curious vernacular." The judge concluded his denial of the injunction with the words "GAME OVER."
Judge Chandler is no stranger to hipness. In previous decisions he has also made references to 50 Cent, Ray Charles, Notorious B.I.G., and Cerberus, the mythological dog that guarded the gates of the underworld. Perhaps he's trying to keep the jurors awake?
WoW Insider sister site Big Download is reporting that the Activision-Blizzard merger is getting closer and closer to reality. They recently won another victory in court today, as a Delaware court struck down an attempt by the Wayne County Employees' Retirement System to gain a preliminary injunction against the deal.
We're now coming up fast the July 8th Activision shareholders' meeting, where they will vote to approve the merger. Activision has already said that they expect the merger to be official on or about July 9th, according to Big Download.
This, of course, squeaks in just under the wire for the E3 expo. Activision-Blizzard has already said they don't plan to participate, but that they will hold a press conference on or near the dates of the expo. It seems likely now that they will be officially announcing the completion of their merger.
Okay, I know we're behind on the Kara gear articles, but this weekend's news from the Worldwide Invitational was too much for me to ignore. Both for all the awesome news for shamans and for what it all doesn't mean. (And yes, I had to steal Mike's image from the roundup post... I even went out and bought that statue I like it so much.) Since we know the Beta Opt-In is live and the Wrath beta can't be far away, I thought we should spend some time discussing what we just found out.
I admit that part of the reason for wanting to discuss this in detail is that I am stoked about it. Some of you readers are, in fact, very good for providing a bucket of cold water in the form of reality checking, and I expect you to do me that service now. But maybe we're all excited, which would be awesome, for shamans to once all be excited.
I know Hex is the greatness, but what it isn't is real CC for five man instances. It's a panic button, like so many other shaman abilities can be, not a long-term solution. To use hex as CC in an instance in the manner of Polymorph, you'd have to renew it every ten seconds. You're taking yourself out of DPSing entirely if you intend to use it that way, basically. Make no mistake, it's a great ability and great utility for the class, but it's more akin to Cyclone than Sap or Poly.
What, you may well be turning to me to ask, is it good for then if it's not going to be good for CCing in instances?