Let's get one thing straight: in Eye of the Storm, capturing towers is more important than capturing the flag. I don't care how shiny and cool the flag is, that's not where the points are coming from. Well, okay, maybe some of it, but if you don't have any towers to begin with, the flag isn't worth squat. For the past week or so, I've seen a disturbing trend from the Horde on my Battlegroup -- there seems to be a growing fascination with fighting at the middle of the map, right where the flag is.
I wrote about Eye of the Storm and the basics of how it's played. In Patch 2.3, the Battleground was modified so that flag captures will scale with the number of towers your side controls. I can't stress the importance of capturing towers enough. In EotS, unlike Arathi Basin, points are awarded constantly every 2 seconds, regardless of how many towers you control. However, these points scale with each tower you control, as shown by the table on the right. Capturing the flag with only one tower (I mean, why?) will award your team 75 points. If your team controls two towers, it's worth 85 points; three, it's worth 100; and controlling all four towers means a swift and painless (ok, maybe not painless) death for your opponents as each flag cap is worth a whopping 500 points.
It scales, people. And here's the one, brutal truth about the whole thing: it ismathematically impossible to win the game if you control only one tower. Go ahead, make some calculations.
Done? The only way it can be done is if you can capture the flag every 37.5 seconds, which honestly is barely enough time and necessitates complete unmolested passage. Good luck with that. If your side controls only one tower, just don't bother with mid. Get another tower asap. If your team is down one tower to your opponents' three, and you still go after the flag, you are an idiot not helping your team at all. The one and only time it becomes acceptable is with the intention of keeping the flag until your team secures another tower. That way it actually becomes more strategic and less moronic.
Phase 3 is now in full swing on many servers, including mine, and This time, we're working on taking the Sun's Reach Harbor as well as opening up the long awaited badge loot vendor. How do the quests stack up this time around? Does the near flawless run for great dailies from Quel'danas continue? I've had a few days to try out the runs, and I have to say that there's a few rough spots, but you can continue to grow your list of dailies with confidence as the new phases come on.
The trinkets of Magisters' Terrace - Sat, 05 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST The release of patch 2.4 was epic by anyone's standards. New content accessible to every level 70, new items, new high end raids, and a new instance. Magisters' Terrace is the newest addition to the WoW 5 man instance family, and has a lot of great goodies in it for the intrepid traveler.
Heroic mode Magisters' Terrace can be a thing of beauty or a real pain. I find that while it's challenging and requires a lot of good social communication amongst participants, it can be a bit ridiculous at times. Especially the 9 mob pull right before you face Kael'Thas.
However with that said, one of the best rewards in any five man instance comes out of heroic Magisters' Terrace's Priestess Delrissa: the trinkets. The tanking trinket in particular makes me cry it's so great. Five hundred seventy more HP and an amazing live saving dodge increase. The DPS trinkets, casting trinkets, and healing trinkets are equally great. Let's take a closer look at them.
V'Ming, a lock who spends his time between Arenas laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman, is away on a hellish vacation. He won't be able to brag about 8k Shadow Bolts this week because, as Amandanoted, he's acting as a practice piñata for the WoW Insider weekend interns.
Vims is away this week, so I took the opportunity to sneak into his Warlock's sanctum and play with his toys. For this week's Blood Pact, we're going to take a look at the notorious SL/SL spec that's so popular in PvP. SL/SL stands for Soul Link / Siphon Life, the two talents which are the cornerstones of this build and define its playing style.
Let's get one thing out of the way: SL/SL is not a damage build. It has no burst and it doesn't capitalize on damage talents. It is designed for high survivability, utility, and low healer maintenance; to outlast instead of outdamage. In Level 70 Resilience-centric PvP where instagibs are virtually a thing of the past, SL/SL's endurance is a force to reckon with in Arenas and wreaks complete Havoc in Battlegrounds.
The most common symptom is severe keystroke lag while playing the World of Warcraft. Mouse actions also seem to be affected by this. Delays as low as a second and as high as five seconds between keystroke and the game receiving that action have been reported. Supposedly, running WoW in windowed mode fixes this, but your mileage may vary.
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, Kara or BT, everyone can get in on the action and down them some bosses. This week, a bear talks about... bears.
Since the introduction of Zul'Aman many raiding guilds have been fascinated by the time trial; defeat all four animal bosses within 45 minutes and the last prisoner will gift you with a scary-looking bear mount, plus the adoration of your entire server. This article will take you through preparing for, and succeeding at, the Zul'Aman timed run.
Okay, so you want to get a bear.
Perhaps there are ten people in your guild who, bored with farming or wiping, want a slightly different challenge to take up an evening or two a week. The end goal of getting a bear mount (or ten) is an incredibly fun one to aim for, but it's also a lot of hard work (provided you don't just want to pay 20,000 gold).
The first stage in collecting your very own bear cavalry is to assemble a good team. While you can put together a run with whichever guildies feel like going from week to week, we recommend at least starting with a fixed group that's optimised for success. As you become experienced at running the gauntlet, it won't matter quite as much if the team isn't static.
Every week, Arcane Brilliance strives to make us all a bit Mage-ier. This week, we shine our spotlight on two stats every Mage should have, but far too few of us know enough about: Spell hit rating and spell haste rating. Last week we saw that patch 2.4 has made these two ratings a bit easier to obtain on gear, and this week we'll find out why that should make the Mage nation a happy place.
When I wrote up the list of shiny new Mage gear the patch delivered to us last week, I couldn't help but notice a strange preponderance of two stats I was relatively unfamiliar with. Currently, I have a whopping 53 spell hit rating on my Mage, from the Scryer's Bloodgem and the Gladiator's War Staff. None of my current gear gives a single point of spell haste rating. When I saw those stats reflected on so much of the new 2.4 gear, I became very curious. Why is Blizzard pushing these two ratings? Where's my spell crit and spell damage?
I broke out my most scholarly looking pair of glasses, perched them upon the end of my nose so that I could squint down through them at my computer screen, and did some research. I may have scribbled some complex formulae upon a chalkboard, and it's entirely possible that I muttered the occasional "astonishing!" or "brilliant!" under my breath in a faux English accent as I conducted this study.
What did I learn? Well, two things really: first, both of these ratings are important to Mages, and in PvE you can make the argument that spell hit is the single most important end-game stat for a Mage to have. And secondly, I fricking hate researching things. I mean seriously, my mind pretty much shuts off when I see a decimal point. After the break, I'll try to save you the trouble of doing what I did this week, and break down what these two ratings mean in layman's terms. Don't worry, math nerds, I'll link you to the crazy numbers articles too, so you can go make out with your calculators or whatever.
Submissions are starting to trickle in to our inbox, and some of them are quite surprising. Brysan wrote in about his machinima experience, outlining the journey from wee newblet to intermediate hobbyist. However, he'd like some constructive feedback on his latest piece, a PvE video of his guild's Illidan Stormrage kill.
Having graduated from Windows Movie Maker up to Sony Vegas and WoW model viewer, he wanted to make a video that was more artistic than boastful. Brysan managed to come up with an entertaining storyline with what I felt was a decent voiceover and nice visuals. Since he's looking for ways to improve, I'll note that sometimes the lipsynching is off, the aspect ratio changes randomly, and the metal soundtrack made me want to cry, but that last one is more personal than anything. Make sure to include credits for any music you're using in the future!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Sunwell Phase 4 daily quest walkthroughs - Sat, 05 Apr 2008 11:00:00 EST As many servers approach Phase 3, we're going to be one step ahead as always and make sure you're all prepared the day Phase 4 hits. It'll be some time before anyone reaches it I'm sure, but if you're anything like me, you always want to know what is on the horizon.
Phase 4 concludes the taking of Quel'Danas and the progressive content, thus some of the quests are simple things like putting the finishing touches on the new Shattered Sun Stronghold. However, there are still a few things that need some work. This phase will focus on an Alchemy Lab and a super cool statue to plant in the middle of the freshly taken town.
Read on for more information on Phase 4, as well as links to guides for each of the new quests you'll encounter!
Prancing around Quel'Danas for my daily quests day in and day out has reminded me of something I've very dearly missed. Weather! It rains very frequently in Quel'Danas, and combined with all of the action going on around the island, it has a very strong feel of being alive.
Zangarmarsh has rain as well, but I can't think of any other zone in Outland that has weather effects that come and go. Sure, some zones have Infernal rains and such inside and outside of them, but that isn't really the same. It's a constant, it's static. When you go to that zone, it will be there 100% of the time. Azeroth's weather wasn't like that. After it was added, of course. It might be raining in Stranglethorn, it might be sunshine from horizon to horizon. When it was raining, the zone had an entirely different feel. You were doing the same things, but it just felt different.
I brought this up with some friends of mine a few times before, and we tried to think it through with logic at first. You know, the atmosphere is different, so maybe other zones in Outland can't rain. It's an alien world, so who knows? Even if you play the 'alien world = no rain' card, I think there are some awesome weather-related things you can do. Read on for my thoughts on the matter!
When CSI: Stormwind comes around here in about three hours, all they'll find is a bloody axe and a manifesto about the effects of industrialized forestry on the human condition. Social, of the guild <FortyTwo> on Whisperwind-US, captured (but only in a screenshot) this peon that has had just about enough of chopping wood for ... what is it, now, three and a half years straight? Might be time for a proletariat revolution, or at least a new union leader.
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 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. We're trying to boycott them in honor of xeroderma pigmentosum sufferers.
A warrior and his spirit gear - Sat, 05 Apr 2008 09:00:00 EST For some reason on my home server, Eldre'Thalas, when folks see a tank standing around in Shattrath without anything to do, they immediately start sending tells asking if I want to go tank such-and-such an instance for them. I don't mind it when my friends or guild mates do it, but it does get a little annoying when complete strangers do it constantly.
So I've come up with a solution: spirit and intellect armor. Whenever I'm doing anything other than fighting, I'm wearing bright yellow spirit and intellect armor that I got off the AH. I spent about a hundred gold on this dastardly set. It looks awful, it smells awful, and it's a great repellent for annoying unsolicited LFG tells.
I got the idea from looking at people's gear who are apping to my guild. Some of it was just plain nuts - spirit gear on Warriors, "of stamina" gear on Priests, things like that. Of course, they might have just been logged out in that gear the same way I'm logged out in mine right now. But when you're apping to a guild and one of the requirements is to log out in PvE gear for the next week, well, too bad so sad for them.
This week we take a trip once again into husky loot (a.k.a. cool items that anyone can grab) and dip into ye olde garbage bin at the Darkmoon Faire.
Name: Last Year's Mutton (Wowhead, Thottbot,MMODB) Type: Common One-hand Meat/Mace Damage/Speed: 44-82 / 2.00 (31.5 DPS) Abilities:
Pulverize your foes into mincemeat with this leg o' lamb. Whether you're biting down yourself, or flanking your foes until they're well-done, this club o' grub will let you tenderize even the toughest turkey. I'd steak my reputation on it!
Not to be confused with Last Month's Mutton (see in the right hand in the pic above), which does smell a little better, but isn't nearly as tough.. or green.
Unfortnately, weapon enchants don't currently appear on this item, so while it would be completely awesome to have a flaming mutton, apparently that can't happen. Yet.
How to Get It: How can you wield this Excalibur of Lunchmeats, this Frostmourne of Foods? All you've got to do is redeem 50 Darkmoon Faire tickets with Gelvas Grimgate, a goblin at the traveling Darkmoon Faire (it's either in Elwyn, Terrokar Forest, or Mulgore, depending on whatever week of the month you're in).
And how do you get tickets? WoW Insider's Daniel Whitcomb has you covered -- they're the main currency of the Faire, so there are all kinds of turn-in quests and various silly things to do to earn them. Get 50 (or just 10, if all you want is last month's meat), go to Gelvas, and the mutton's all yours!
Getting Rid of It: Is not a good idea -- who knows when you might be hungry next? But it isn't BoP, so you might be able to drop it in the AH. Otherwise it doesn't disenchant, but a vendor will give you 1g 93s 76c for it. Too bad you just can't eat it -- this would be the ultimate marinade!
Penny Arcade wants you to write 10 words about WoW - Fri, 04 Apr 2008 17:00:00 EST Penny Arcade, those funny WoW comic guys, are giving away a metric ton of loot, via a contest, that they've gotten for the WoW Trading Card Game. Things that they're giving away include "four boxes of boosters, tournament playmats, a Winterveil collector's box, deckboxes, sleeves, two binders, three raid decks, three starter decks, and one of these awesome dice chest things." That's a ton of stuff to be handing out. But it gets better.
Three lucky winners will be quite happy. What's the contest they're holding? From the site: "you must write a short story, set in World of Warcraft, and this story must be precisely ten words long." It's so simple and so easy you just have to chuckle. Head on over to their site for more information on how to enter the contest.
Of course, you'll have to go up against a certain WoW Insider writer on this one, since I've already submitted my story: "A casual paladin casually walks up and one shots Illidan."
Addon Spotlight: ChatSettingsFix (Patch 2.4) - Fri, 04 Apr 2008 16:30:00 EST In this installment of Addon Spotlight, I wanted to give you all a chance to alleviate the irritation that came with Patch 2.4 and the changes to the chat log. Notorious addon developer Tekkub has put together a quick fix to force the chat frame to apply filters at login. This will also apply to ChatFrame2, your combat log. Blizzard tried unsuccessfully to fix the problems with the chat log in Patch 2.4.1, so until they work out the problems, this addon can be your solution.
Here is Tekkub's write-up:
'Patch 2.4 introduced a bug where ChatFrame1 does not apply channel filters on login. This addon forces them to be applied. It will check your game version and build and not run after patch 2.4.1 build 8125. If the bug is not fixed in the next patch, a new version will be released."
A man of few words, but an active member of the WoW addon community nonetheless. He has his own site, as well as a collection on WoWInterface.com. I'm new to Tekkub's addons which are either aptly named or named with a unique, and borderline naughty, convention. However, this dev has been very proactive about his addons and responds quickly to changes in the game. Check out this addon if you've been struggling with the chat log and combat log changes since Patch 2.4. While you're at it, test drive some of Tekkub's other gadgets and let me know how they're treating you, as I'm in the process myself and would love to hear your opinion as well. Dismissed!
"Why on Azeroth are you having these two fictional characters fight each other, Adam?" you ask. Because tonight at 10:00 p.m. EDT the final season of Battlestar Galactica begins. There's a lot of fans, including the WoW developers, who are in love with this show. After a year's absence I think many of us are sitting on the edge of our seats to learn who the final Cylon is. (It's going to be Billy, by the way. You heard it here first.) But enough of my fan bois loving. Let's get down to these two bosses fighting it out.
Downgrading your account (or not) - Fri, 04 Apr 2008 15:31:00 EST If you're one of those folks who pines for the days of level 60 and Molten Core, but you've already installed Burning Crusade and made your way to 70, Slorkuz (who?) officially tells us you're out of luck. Once an account has been upgraded to Burning Crusade, there is no going back -- even if you uninstall everything and just put vanilla WoW on your PC, trying to sign in with your BC upgraded account will open up Outland and the latest content yet again.
If you really want to see the world the way it was before the Dark Portal reopened, you'll have to create a new account, and not upgrade it to Burning Crusade. But even then, you won't really go back in time -- you'll still see gems on the AH, and Blood Elves and Draenei wandering around. It's one more reason to keep asking Blizzard for classic servers, apparently -- as of right now, there's no way to really go back to the way things were.
But why would you want to anyway, right? Gold abounds, epics are easy to get, and most of the PvP problems are fixed. Nostalgia may be telling you that you want to stumble around with 39 other people in Motlen Core hoping for a Tier 1 drop every two weeks, but for most people, things are much better nowadays.
Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.
A true Paladin makes his class his cause - we think it's probably safe to generalize a bit when it comes to this honorable class. There's a certain type of player who's attracted to the whole Paladin mythos, and there's a certain type of player who's attracted to the whole support role. Whether it's a reader letter from Alytenn of Stonemaul or a chat on Moon Guard with Baladore, we found that even the most brief of explorations seems to uphold the stereotype of Paladins as fanatic followers of The Light.
There is nothing we love more than a tasty and delicious game-related cake, be it Alliance or Horde (ok, a new content release is nice, too, but beggars can't be choosers on that one). And so this Alliance cake, made by Katalysta on Korgath for her husband's birthday, pretty much hits the spot. The crest looks great, but is that really icing on the "fabric" around the outside? Looks amazing -- no wonder it took her three days to put together. She says it's white chocolate flavored Fondant and plain Fondant, and everything else is done with dyes. Amazing!
By my count, this puts us even on the Alliance vs. Horde cakemaking -- 2 and 2. Who'll be next to serve their faction with some amazing cake-making skills?
The Care and Feeding of Warriors has a big post in mind, but wants some time to work on it. Well, okay, The Care and Feeding of Warriors has nothing in mind. It has no mind. It has no soul. It is just a weekly column written by Matthew Rossi. If it had a mind it might hate him for having told you that it doesn't, but since it doesn't, it can't even respond. Wow, this is getting kind of odd. Anyway, here's a column.
The other day, while grinding some of the new Sunwell Plateau dailies on my PvP warrior (this is him just before getting his season one shoulders) I happened to get into a discussion of specs with a warrior who had chosen a 51 point fury/ 10 point protection spec. It didn't last long enough for me to ask him why he chose that spec, unfortunately. Being that my 'PvP' night elf has a pretty unusual spec himself, although not as unusual (in my case, that spec is the result of wanting soloing viability for skinning mobs and I freely admit it is not maximized for PvP, I just haven't wanted to spend the money to respec a character I don't play all that often, comparatively) I was interested in the why of that spec.
There are cookie cutter specs, of course, and one of the reasons that there are cookie cutter specs is because they work. I'm going to emphasize that. The reason for cookie cutter specs is because they work. There's nothing wrong with choosing one. Tanking with an 8 arms/ 5 fury/ 48 point protection spec is nothing to be ashamed of. But since you're not always tanking, and you're not always going to be running with your Arena team where you've essentially promised them you'll be at your best, there are times when you can sacrifice some efficiency for experimentation. And with the new dailies, coming up with 50 gold for a respec is not hard. I've respecced my human warrior six times since the IoQD quests dropped.