The Tournament Test Realm or TTR is now live and it's where players can create up to three max-level (70) characters of any class and have a cool selection of epic gear. Some readers have written in about having a little trouble actually getting on the server itself. It's really a simple process, and we'll show you how. In order to access the TTR, you first have to download the PTR client on Blizzard's download page. You don't need to have copied any of your characters over to the test realms -- the TTR is a completely different realm with various armor and other item vendors located at each race's starting area. As long as you have the PTR client, you should be able to access the TTR (although all test realms are down as of this writing).
Once you've finished downloading the PTR client, you should find it nestled within a folder called WoWTest inside your World of Warcraft folder. It's pretty much the same as the normal World of Warcraft application but with a bunch of extra files that include the changes to the game. You shouldn't have trouble identifying the client as it will be clearly labeled 'TEST', just so you don't confuse the two (those Blizzard folks are so clever!). When you log on, you can access the TTR by toggling the "Select Realm" option which will open up a selection window with two tabs: Test Server and Tournament. Simply toggle the Tournament tab and you will see the Realm named "Arena Tournament" -- select it, press Okay, and you should be good to go. If you have trouble logging in, note that the PTRs remember your password around the time when it went live, so if you changed your password within the last few weeks, try using your old password. Have fun with on the tournament server!
Lore-wise, I can't say I understand the direction they've taken with a number of characters from classic Warcraft games in BC, but I suppose that's the reason that the term "lorelol" was coined in the first place. Mike Schramm's pointed out that the canon can probably take the abuse, but there's one character in particular whose upcoming story arc kind of appalls me.
If you're trying to stay unspoiled for patch 2.4 -- why are you reading WoW Insider anyway? -- I'll slap the rest behind a cut.
And Blizzard is apparently OK with that. They've been back and forth on attunements since the beginning of the game. On the one hand, attuning a character to an instance like Onyxia makes things feel epic (and indeed, some people think the Alliance version, with the Stormwind reveal, is one of the best quests in the game). But putting attunements in the way just to keep players away from content clearly isn't the way to go about things.
It will be interesting, as always, to see how things change in the next expansion -- Blizzard has already said that they'd like alts to be able to benefit from attunements and reputation rewards, so odds are that while there still will be attunements of some kind, they'll be set up in such a way that once you do them one time, you won't have to do them again. And that's a pretty good balance -- players still get to experience epic content, but it never is forced into a grind where you have to jump through hoops just to get someplace the devs don't want you to be yet.
Possibly the most interesting change is the fact that the Warlock Life Tap nerf seems to be currently completely reversed. The spell is restored to its 2.3 status, with the highest rank swapping 580 health for 580 mana at the base value.
In addition, the Mortal Strike debuff appears to have been removed from the description of the Flametongue weapon and totem for Shamans.
Priests will now also be able to dispel up to 10 friendly and 10 hostile targets using Mass Dispel.
Also added this patch were the musical files for the Sunwell, as well as a handful of new effects with names such as "Quest Complete," "Summon Festival Scorchling," and "Guzzle Beer," which look to most involve the seasonal content for the Midsummer Fire Festival.
Welcome to progressive patching, folks. This is an incredible turn of events for sure. Not only is one of the most controversial nerfs in WoW history completely reversed, but it seems that Shamans can't quite celebrate their re-ascension to PvP power just yet. These could be temporary, of course, and we'll see what happens when the dust settles. If Blizzard has simply decided to revert these changes in the short term, how will they tackle the underlying issues of Warlock mana usage and Shaman PvP viability? Will they put it off for another patch, or take a different angle as testing continues? We'll be eager to find out!
Glenn Rane is the other artist sitting next to Samwise (who you may also recognize as the frontman for L70ETC), and also in attendance were Tom Bava, Randy Gallegos, Terese Nielsen and Justin Sweet, along with Ben Thompson, who we're told was a big part of putting the book together. I suppose it's too much to ask for Blizzard to leave sunny Southern California sometime to do these signings and meet some of us who aren't lucky enough to live there? It is? Oh well -- at least it keeps them close to their real work.
Who knew that all we had to do to solve Blizzard's communication problems was, y'know, ask? Azarialle puts out the idea of what you'd ask a CM if you were sure the question would be answered fully, and lo and behold, Drysc appears in the thread actually answering questions. Of course, he strays away from the big stuff (he adeptly dodges a question about Tseric), but he does provide some pretty honest answers on everything from the ghost wolf problem to the voice chat implementation in patch 2.2 and what classes he likes the least as a player (pet classes -- he doesn't get them). Very interesting stuff.
Blizzard is aiming towards doing some of this stuff with Blizzcast, but I could definitely see a benefit in doing a weekly honest Q&A session like this. If you ever played Dark Age of Camelot back in the day, you know that the weekly Grab Bag was a fun way for CMs to answer player queries, and I don't think Blizzard would suffer from doing this a little more formally maybe once a week.
We've had lots of questions about the game, and it's super nice to clearly get some open and honest answers. Hunting around the forums is all well and good (to their credit, the CMs do try to answer questions like this, only it's in random threads on all the different forums), but it would be nice to put question and answer in the same place on a weekly basis.
PTR down for maintenance - Wed, 05 Mar 2008 15:15:00 EST Wrocas let us know that the PTR servers are currently getting another patch applied to them. They will be down for maintenance between four and six hours today. This means that they should be up around 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. EST.
I have once again managed to steal the Light for another week, as regular columnists Chris and Elizabeth are off on their own epic quests while I am left to tend to the shop, so to speak. For today, we'll take a closer look at how the class is designed and its inherent ironies.
When I first rolled a Paladin, I didn't know what I was getting into. I rolled it mainly as a companion toon for my playing partner, my wife, who was elated at the Horde finally getting a 'pretty' race and promptly rolled a Warlock. As I leveled with her demon-enslaving new main, the experience challenged and frustrated me and it soon became apparent that Blizzard had designed the Paladin under a completely different design perspective. I was hooked. If there are any perceived failures about the class, it is largely because Blizzard had a vision for the Paladin class that was different from traditional class designs.
Blizzard worked hard at defining each class with a clear directive to make each one feel different from the others. Rogues had Energy, combo points and finishing moves; Warriors had Rage, a sort of reverse Mana bar; and Shamans had the totem system. Paladins are designed largely around the interesting Seal system. Everything that a Paladin does revolves around Seals, Blessings, and Auras, with Seals being the primary mechanic for dealing any sort of damage. For the most part, class design has worked for many classes while others, like the Shaman, have had more than its fair share of issues.
Personally, I love the Paladin class. My main is now a Blood Elf Paladin, with my Troll Shaman getting a little less love than it used to. I also used to play a Troll Hunter and an Undead Rogue. While I enjoyed all of them as I played them, it was the Paladin that appealed to me the most. To be honest, I still have no idea why. Maybe it was the challenge. Maybe it was hybrid aspect. Maybe, for all I know, it was the coolness of it all. When you get right down to it, though, Paladins have -- if you examine it very carefully -- what is probably the most inherently flawed ironic class design in the game. Let me explain.
Our good friends at Massively beat us to the punch on this one: as seen on Gabe's (of Penny Arcade) little blurb yesterday, Gallery Nucleus in Alhambra, California is holding an "Art of Blizzard" Benefit Show for Child's Play, the charity started by Penny Arcade to buy and donate videogames to children in hospital. Additionally, Blizzard artists and developers will be in attendance at the event, and Upper Deck will be there demo-ing the WoW TCG (which is probably where some of the art comes from) as well. And the art is going to be from all of Blizzard's different games, not just World of Warcraft.
The PDF press release has more info, and admission is free to the public. I don't think any of our correspondents are in the area, but if you're around and get to go, be sure to take pictures and send them along to us. It definitely sounds like a fun event, and it's always great when developers put their time and work in to help out a worthy charity.
Arena enthusiasts might be elated to hear that the personal ratings required to purchase weapons and shoulder pieces will remain for the current Season 3 items even as Season 4 will introduce new items into the game. According to Tharfor on the European PvP forums, in response to a question as to whether the ratings will be removed from items as soon as the new season starts, the ratings requirement will still exist (to purchase but not to use) the item but will likely be lowered. It's highly likely that Season 4 weapons and shoulder pieces will retain the 1850 and 2000 personal rating requirements. Exactly how much of a ratings reduction Season 3 will see remains to be seen.
This means that players saving up Arena points in the hopes of obtaining a Season 3 weapon or shoulder piece will still need to have competitive personal ratings in order to purchase the items. This is bad news for those hoping to obtain easy welfare epics, but good news for some players who might feel that their item values would diminish greatly if the rating requirements were removed completely. At any rate, it looks like Season 3 will last for a while, so there's still time to jack those ratings up. Good luck, everyone!
The Showdown, his latest video, is an attempt at an action-packed storyline film. Unfortunately there's not much of a story going on. However, it is a very cinematic take on a battle scene. I'd say that the area that needed the most improvement would be the length of the video, but don't let that discourage you, Fishface!
Can a shaman tank Karazhan? - Wed, 05 Mar 2008 11:00:00 EST Galstaff of Durotan believes so, and put his money where his mouth is, so to speak, by doing it. (Warning, the movie is 20 minutes long.) While anyone can 'tank' Shade of Aran, I was pretty impressed by his tanking of Malchezzar, especially when he admits in the thread (and his armory backs him up) that while he's achieved immunity to critical hits by a combination of resilience and defense, he's still taking crushing blows. He also says he chugs Ironshield Potions which makes sense, as his armor is low for the instance (in my opinion as a tank, anyway) which is not surprising since he's in mail. He claims 17.7k health for the Prince Malchezzar attempt, which is certainly within the ballpark. (I've done it with about 1k less on my warrior, although nowadays I'd never have less than 18.5 k for any boss.)
His talent selection shows you the limits of Shaman tanking at this time: He has full Shield Spec, Toughness and Anticipation, giving him the most armor and dodge he could possibly have, but by taking Spirit Weapons (necessary for the ability to Parry, which is essential for tanking) he reduces his melee threat by 30%. This is a great talent choice for a melee DPSer who might get a boss turning to hit him before the tank can pick it up. But for a tanking shaman, it means he has to rely on his spell damage (Frost Shock in particular) as well as Lightning Shield to generate threat, with Stormstrike and Windfury doing the rest of the work. Galstaff also mentions that he had to stack the group with a Shadow Priest to regenerate mana since he couldn't use Water Shield: I'd expect he had to use Shamanistic Rage every single time it was up for both the mana regen and the damage reduction.
Basically, as he himself admits, shamans are the worst 'off tank' with no ability to get enough avoidance to push crushing blows off of the table, so to do this you'd need a ton of resilience on mail (since you're not going to find mail with the stats you need and defense) and some very, very good healers. And as long as shaman tanks require a shadow priest to regain enough mana to tank, it's not going to be a common sight. But as a warrior and shaman player, I liked seeing it. Maybe we could get shamans some actual tanking talents, and they could move into the ranks of the other hybrid classes as being able to DPS, heal and tank? If it's good enough for paladins and druids, why not shamans?
One more great Silithus shot, then no more. I promise. No, really. Ok, we'll see. This one was too cool to pass up. Player Vexxia of The MishMash Crew on the Velen realm risked life, limb and repair bills to get this great screenshot. And right after she got it, the miniboss spawned and her pet ate it for lunch and whined for more. Well, not so much with the repair bills, I guess.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing email@example.com 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. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
Every new patch to World of Warcraft brings buffs, nerfs, new content, and sweeping changes.The game has evolved tremendously from when I first started playing two years ago.I was thrilled with Hunter changes and leveling tweaking in patch 2.3.Sure there are plenty of things to be unhappy about, but I'm a "glass is half full" kind of girl. Read on for a roundup of the top ten changes I'm most excited about.
Corpsebride of Nordrassil made a suggestion that Naga should be a playable race in World of Warcraft.She gives a list of reasons why Nagas should be a playable race such as: they're highly intelligent with their own language; they have a unique architectural style; they have permanent underwater breathing as a built-in racial ability.The author pointed out that Naga would fit in better with the Alliance than the Horde due to their lore and relationship to Night Elves.
I would make Goblins a playable Horde race if I were in charge of recruiting playable NPC races from the existing environment.The Horde needs an annoying little race to balance out gnomes.While they're neutral, goblins already have an inhuman look to them that tends to be characteristic of the Horde. They might have racial traits that help them to get better deals on goods from vendors, perhaps even if they were not skilled in engineering, they might be able to use player-made bombs such as the Exploding Sheep. I would have Goblins play Warlocks, Mages, Hunters, and Rogues.
If you could play any race in the game, what would it be?
Isn't it ironic that the guilds who always brag they don't have drama... seem to have drama? Today we've got a great story of drama, and the best thing about it is that the guild who went through it.. actually called themselves No Drama. Trust us -- Murphy wasn't kidding around.
For more stories of drama, downed and recruiting news from guilds all over the realms, just click the link below. We've got a nice full slate of news this week, so jump right in and start pulling trash, even if you don't have a full raid yet. Enjoy.
We here at WoW Insider would like to pay tribute to him, and recognize his contributions to our gaming lives. Even if the World of Warcraft is not a pen and paper game, pen and paper games were where many of us first gathered with friends to slay dragons, orcs, and all kinds of creatures, and a good number of us who now play games like World of Warcraft first cut our teeth on gaming with a six sided die. The same can be said for many game designers, I'm sure, and it is probably fair to say that we might not even have MMORPGs to play without PnP for the genre to spring from. I myself will have my weekly pen and paper game this Thursday, and even if the system we use isn't Dungeons and Dragons, I'll be rolling in his memory.
Among some of the most memorable quotes from the impromptu message board eulogies I've heard was from someone who said, "He's in chaotic good heaven now." Another said, "As long as people gather around a table to roll dice and slay dragons, Gary Gygax won't be truly dead."
I couldn't say it better myself. Godspeed, Mr. Gygax. May your memory live on.
Kalgan says Season 4 not coming anytime soon - Tue, 04 Mar 2008 20:00:00 EST Although we've speculated in the past as to when Arena Season 4 will be going live, our anticipation fanned by the revelation of more and moreBrutal Gladiator gear, Kalgan pops by the WoW General discussion forums to pour cold water on everyone's expectations by saying that Season 4 will start "Not very soon." He explains further that "S3 rewards have quite a bit of life left in them before they start to feel obsoleted by pve gear." Given that the Arena items uncovered so far in the PTR are only a fraction of what is supposed to be a wide collection, this sounds more than plausible.
As Drysc explained earlier in the same post, PvP gear is designed to match PvE gear progression -- for instance, Arena Season 3 items are roughly on par with Black Temple and Mount Hyjal gear. The Sunwell Plateau needs to be unlocked in stages, as quests and raid drops open up more content, meaning most of the PvE gear that is a step up from BT/MH gear won't be available until at least a few weeks after Patch 2.4 goes live. It stands to reason that Arena Season 4 will only begin when most of the PvE progression has access to the Sunwell Plateau's latter bosses such as M'uru and Kil'jaeden. Considering that Patch 2.4 doesn't seem quite done yet, Season 4 is probably quite a ways off.
There are two important things to realize from this newly discovered information. First, it shows that Blizzard is hard at work on Wrath of the Lich King, and is already starting to include content in the patch files. We saw this same behavior in patch 2.0 with Jewelcrafting recipes.