The best of the best will be going head to head next weekend, June 14 and 15 in Major League Gaming's $22,500 tournament.Members of the winning team will each receive a Blackbird gaming PC in addition to a $4,000 cash prize.The arena action will be live in San Diego, but for those of us who can't be in "'s FinestCity," the events will be broadcast on GotFrag TV.Broadcast coverage begins at 9AM (Pacific) each day and will be hosted by Rob "voice" Simpson and Jared "vhell" Coulston.
This event, inaugurating MLG's PC Circuit, promises to be action packed.Registered participants include: fnatic Frag Dominant Frag Dominant (Duelists going for Glad) MoB TurtleForce MoB TurtlePower Pandemic SK Gaming
However sometimes it's kind of hard to tell if everyone is actually spending the 15 minutes to read over and understand the strategies outside of the raid. This is particularly troublesome for the raid leaders and officers, since some of the fights can be very hard to explain without first having an understanding of where and what things look like.
We're having this problem in our guild right now. Not that big of a problem, granted, but it's still something we'd like to get better at. So last night our guild master made a map of the Kalecgos play field, detailing where everyone should stand (I know that some readers will comment that it's not necessary, but it's what works for us). In the bottom right hand corner there's a derogatory yet funny message about yours truly, something along the lines of a suggested act I can go do to/with myself. It's obvious, it's funny, and it sticks out like a sore thumb.
Tonight the GM will go around and ask each of the 35 or so raiders we have in the guild, "What was out of place on the strategy map I posted today?" If they can't answer correctly, they won't be raiding with us again anytime soon.
This week on Know Your Lore, we're going to talk about the faction that manages to be one of the most beloved organizations in the game while also being one of the most hated. Whether you love them or hate them, the Scarlet Crusade remains one of the most interesting factions in WoW, and they're attached to the Ashbringer that the WoW community is so fascinated with. Better yet, they return in Wrath of the Lich King.
The Scarlet Crusade was founded during the fall of Lordaeron, shortly after the Knights of the Silver Hand had been decimated by the Scourge and largely disbanded. Though its founders did not necessarily have the most sane or noble intentions, many of the men and women who joined their ranks did have only one primary goal in mind. They wished to free Lordaeron of the Scourge in the name of the Light, and crush the undead utterly. Considering those undead brought their homeland (one of the most powerful kingdoms in the world at the time) to its knees and blighted it beyond belief, that was a pretty noble cause.
Totem Talk: Stuff to wear to kill stuff in Karazhan Pt. 1 - Thu, 05 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST Last week, we talked about preparing for a shaman's roles in raiding. This week, we'll be talking about what gear to wear when you're stepping into Karazhan for the first time. Since shamans have three very different specs, this will inevitably be a multi-part series. Thankfully, some of the work has already been done for us: here you can find a list of pre-raid belts, bracers and boots for the aspiring raiding shaman.
If you look at the picture of my newly elemental shaman to the right as I took him out of his first Karazhan run, you'll notice he's wearing a goodly amount of cloth. However, since this series would become impossibly long if I listed every possible leather and cloth drop that would be good for a shaman, I'm going to prioritize mail until the end of the series. If there's enough demand, I'll continue and conclude with a 'leather and cloth' post covering pieces that are good for a shaman. (The pieces I'm wearing there? They lack in MP5. Not all that great. You should have seen the crap I was wearing before this run.) I'm also going to try and avoid any badge gear that's superior to Karazhan level gear, because that kind of gear seems to me to be what people run Kara to be able to buy, not what they buy to be able to run Kara.
This is not meant to imply that leather or cloth aren't often 'best in slot' for a shaman. Please have mercy on my poor aching fingers which toil endlessly compiling such lists! I don't want to go on the cart! I feel happy! I feel happy!
If you missed Nihilum's first live streaming raid in May -- and you probably did since they only had 1,000 spots available -- you'll want to install the plug-in ahead of time. (Note that Dyyno has been tested for XP and will run under Vista but Mac/Safari is not yet supported.) The upcoming event has a 3,000 viewer limit, but log on early so you don't miss the chance to view one of WoW's top guilds blast their way through formidable end-game content. During the live broadcast, you'll be able to interact with other viewers in the Xfire chat rooms.
Nihilum's raid will take place on on June 25, 2008, at 1:00pm Eastern Time (convert the start time into your own time zone). The entire broadcast will last 3 to 4 hours so bring your snacks and make sure your seatbacks and tray tables are in the upright and locked position. Good luck to Nihilum! I'll be watching and rooting for you.
So today I'll start up the leveling train again, from levels 10 to 20, and we'll have a closer look at how these general ideas fit in to that period of your hunting career. Except for the sheer time investment involved, the hardest part of hunter leveling is already over once you reach level 10 and get your pet, and that makes this the most dangerous time for a hunter, when we are most likely to fall into lazy hunting habits and neglect the opportunity for complexity that shows up later on. Whereas before you had to work hard to stay out of your enemy's melee range, now it's a simple three-step process:
Send in your pet for the attack.
It is so incredibly simple that idiots can do it. In fact, idiots do do it, and therein lies the problem. We have to do something while leveling to keep our complex hunter brain synapses firing fast don't we? Just what can you do with all the abilities you get at this stage?
The official US website came back up an hour or two ago, and with it came a "reputation tips" guide for the Shattered Sun Offensive. Now I asked myself when I saw this, of all the factions, why SSO? They're one of the easiest, not to mention most profitable, factions out there; surely people can just do a bunch of dailies and get to Exalted in a week or so.
However, it turns out that although this presents itself as a faction guide, what it really is is a quest guide. It covers all the Isle of Quel'Danas daily quest as well as the SSO-associated Outland dailies. While you won't find anything new in there if you've done the quests a few times, newcomers to the Isle may find some useful tips, such as:
I must confess, I've stopped doing the dailies altogether now, as I'm Exalted on both my 70s and have faster ways to get gold when I need it. But it is certainly one of the more enjoyable reputation grinds.
Gearing a Holy Priest for Karazhan, part two - Thu, 05 Jun 2008 17:00:00 EST Hey, Priest fans! Here is part two of our guide to some sweet gear that will get you ready to run Karazhan, everyone's favorite entry-level raid. If you missed part one, go check it out; I'll wait. Previously on "Gearing a Holy Priest for Karazhan" we talked about three relevant sets, as well as items for the head, neck, back, chest, and wrist. Today I'll be going over the rest of the slots, as well as gems. Let's get started.
Hallowed Handwraps (Kargath Bladefist, Shattered Halls). You'll want to be running Hellfire instances anyway to get your Honor Hold/Thrallmar rep up for the head glyph.
Blood Surgeon's Mitts. These drop from Broggok on normal Blood Furnace, oddly enough, but they're darn nice pre-KZ gloves.
Gloves of Piety (world drop BoE). If you really can't get either of the above items, you might be able to snag these at the AH for cheap.
Major Healing. A bit expensive; personally I might wait till Hallowed if not until a KZ drop (there are two good priest gloves in KZ) to enchant that. But if you have the spare cash/mats, go for it.
Vhiari, keeper of the Armory stats, has updated once again, this time taking a look at Arena performance across all three rankings and all of the classes contained within. The 2v2 comparison (showing Arena rankings, across the bottom, with the percentage of players in each class at that ranking) tells the overall story: Mages are seeing major gains in the Arena, as are Rogues, which Vhiari speculates may be at the cost of Warlocks (who took a small tumble). And just as last time, Hunters continue to struggle in all three brackets -- 5v5 has the same situation as above, but in less extreme amounts.
Of course, these are stats, and what these stats actually mean is up to you (and more importantly, up to Blizzard -- this is just a sign of who's getting which rankings at which levels, and this could be the result of many different things, so there's no reason to expect buffs or nerfs based on just this information). Still, it's a pretty clear look at just who's winning out there, for whatever reason -- the stats say Mages have done well the past few months, while Hunters continue to struggle inside the Arenas.
Well, this was certainly unexpected. Allakhazam, one of the WoW database sites that has been around the longest, has undergone a complete revamp. There are all sorts of new features, including:
Profiles, with 3D model viewer and upgrade searching
Not to mention a re-skin which makes it look much more up-to-date. That's not all - they're currently running a contest, wherein every contribution to their wiki, forum, or comments, for the entire month of June, has a chance to win one of the following:
One of 72 60-day game cards
One of three Wii Galaxy bundles
Grand prize: a gamer-friendly laptop
So go forth, and make Allakhazam a more complete site. Overall, I like the redesign; it makes Allakhazam feel much more relevant, and helps answer the quest of what's going to differentiate it from sister sites Wowhead and Thottbot. I'll still probably go to Wowhead most of the time, but that's just me.
The long-awaited third episode of Blizzcast, Blizzard's official podcast, has just gone live. Blizzard's US web sites are still down, but you can listen to it and read the transcript on the European site. As usual, since this is a Blizzard podcast and not a WoW-specific one, they spend some time covering the Starcraft universe as well, including an interview with Dustin Browder, SC2 lead designer, which I won't cover (good material on Zergs though). But later they brought in Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan, WoW lead designer for dungeons and raids, and here's what I found interesting in his segment:
The original WoW raids were too hardcore early on; in BC they eased up on that and they hope to continue this in Wrath.
Lessons learned in BC:
Heroic loot needs to be definitely better than normal-mode loot
Introductory raids need to be more friendly - he says "I don't want to say to casual players, but a little bit more accessible to people in general." Cites Maulgar and Mags as examples of less-than-friendly intro raids.
Some of you may remember me gushing over MazzleUI back in the day, when it first came out of private beta. In short, it's an extremely coherent and well-designed UI compilation, that aims to be lightweight and efficient while still being complete and feature-filled. However, its long-suffering author, Mazzlefizz, quit WoW at a certain point, and MazzleUI started to become plagued with incompatibilities as WoW went through its normal patching process. No more! Docevl has come and rescued this lovely UI from the dust, and it's now all patched-up and ready for 2.4.2. I just installed it myself and it worked pretty faultlessly.
Of course, I did have to bring over a few AddOns from my previous UI (13 of them, in fact), since Mazz isn't meant to be all things to all people, and I have several that I've gotten very used too that aren't included (like MetaHud and TBag). And there are a few things you'll probably want to change from the default configuration:
Set the text size to Large or Mr Magoo, unless you keep a magnifying glass by your monitor (or it has fewer pixels per inch than mine).
Be sure and prevent it from yelling garbage about "mazzlegasms" (seriously) by setting the appropriate menu to "Bite your lip and keep it in" at the end of configuration. Those around you will thank you.
I actually ended up going back to my cobbled-together UI after not too long with Mazz, because I prefer something that uses minimal screen space and I don't need all the machinery that Mazz brings. I've also gotten very used to my setup. But if you want an all-in-one package, this is one of the best ones out there.
I would like to begin by pointing out that this comic was not actually thought of by me. Interpreted, drawn, and displayed by me, yes; but the real mind behind this comic is the same on that brought you the deep and insightful explanation on Engineering (which he also had me draw), Brian Karasek.
Brian has been a friend of mine, and my S.O., for well over five years now. We've stalked followed him through three different games, and ended up following him into World of Warcraft after the two of us were convinced we'd never be seeing him again. Luckily, we were wrong. Brian is a truly wonderful friend, and I am grateful to have him. Now that the obligatory brown-nosing is out of the way, I would like my birthday present now, please!
For those of you who don't know (likely 99.8% of you I'd assume) my birthday is tomorrow, June 6th. I expect lots of lovely supportive comments for this comic, as well as large, unsolicited donations of money from you all, thank you (Just kidding... no really).
There's also a shot of Arthas rocking Frostmourne, and a screenshot of that big furnace inside Utgarde Keep (which has been around for a while, but still looks cool. If you're looking to adorn your desktop with some cold and snowy images while the weather heats up outside, there you go.
In fact, almost any of these Wrath images might work for you. The sizes aren't actually wallpaper, but with a little tweaking, you could pretend you were in Northrend already.
Why are we talking about Second Life on WoW Insider? Because odds are that some kind of mobile WoW app is not far behind. Vollee would certainly love to be the ones to do it (they even say that you can enter "World of Second Life" on their website), but unlike Blizzplanet, I really don't think they will be -- odds are that any mobile app won't be a full client, but rather will be a chat or AH app of some kind ("BattleChat" has already been mentioned by Blizzard), and it'll likely be designed by Blizzard themselves.
But there's no question that there's a huge frontier for this sort of thing. Within the next month, Apple is set to release the iPhone's "App Store" (a distribution platform for mobile applications and games), and we have to imagine that a mobile announcement or even a release from Blizzard will come soon after that.
At what age are you supposed to grow up and start behaving yourself? For this gnome, the answer is never maturing. There are girls to chase, pranks to pull, and plenty of people to offend.
What's My Age Again?, named after the Blink 182 song, won't win any prizes as a machinima. However, you can see that if Mavryc practices enough, he could be great. He went a bit wild with Model Viewer, but didn't pay enough attention to aspect ratios and chroma-keying. The fast cuts look great, though!
Welcome back to Illusionary Tactics, where we look at items or quests that can make you look like something you're not, for fun and profit (profit not guaranteed).
The Orb of Deception is probably the first item I think of when I think about things that belong in this column. It's just so...deceptive!
What does it do? It makes you look like a member of the opposite faction, for five minutes on a 30-minute cooldown. The transformations are determined by your race and gender, and are as follows (thanks, Excorsism):
Okay, I've been listening to forum complaints that rogues are overpowered for months now, but this is the first time I've really believed it. Exhilos of Shadowmoon somehow survived this gruesome battle in the Barrens, either by being 25 levels higher than his opponents or showing up ten minutes after all these dudes killed each other off. But if the scene's still fresh enough for there to be blood on the ground, why are all the corpses skeletonized? Time to call in the Azeroth version of CSI. Maybe they can count how many skulls are in this photo, because I kept losing track.
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. And remember to enter Caption This, guys and gals!
Father's Day is looming just around the corner (for some of us anyway) and what better way to celebrate fatherhood than a chest full of loot? Another uninspired neck-tie and socks combo is hard to beat but hopefully the target of this gift can appreciate the change of pace. If you happen to be the giver of this veritable cornucopia of awesomeness, prepare to be lavished with praise. If you happen to be on the potential receiving end, it might not be a bad idea to drop some subtle hints to your loved ones about a certain column on your favorite weblog. Here is what you will need:
But every little thing stokes the fires of anticipation -- at least for me -- and even silly things like icons of items make my stupidly grin. Never mind that Blizzard has put a tight lid on everything, or at least tried, but it's kind of like Apple trying to put a lid on the iPhone before it came out. Everyone knew it was coming even though Apple wanted to keep it a secret, but in the end, people snapped it up anyway. Wrath of the Lich King is kind of like that. We scrape and claw for every little bit of information, from spells to screenshots to images of possible armor sets.
It's a huge deal for me because as much as I still enjoy playing the game now, I'm really hungry for something more. The only thing I'll ever see in Sunwell Plateau is Kil'jaeden's 'welcome' doormat. Maybe. So while the Alpha might be scraps as far as information goes, I'm devouring every bit of information like a famished man. How about you? Are you excited about information leaking from the Alpha? Does it whet your appetite for Wrath of the Lich King? What information are you most concerned about?