Reserve your Death Knight name right now - Wed, 05 Nov 2008 20:00:00 EST Cameo of Dethecus has a good idea -- if there's a specific name for your Death Knight that you want, probably best to grab it right now. You can create a character with the name on your server right now, and then when Wrath comes out next week, delete the placeholder character and the name should be freed up for your DK.
During the beta, I called my Death Knight Dingbat, only because it was the first thing that jumped to mind. But it was a little silly to hear the great knights of the Scourge ordering me around as Dingbat, so I'll probably go with something a little more threatening for the actual release: Marton? Erathor? Killahdk?
Whatever it is, now's probably a good time to check and make sure your name is free and get a toon in place before someone else takes it. And please: spare us from the "Darth" names. Nobody, including Arthas, wants those.
There is good news, also, for people who are buying the expansion through Amazon -- apparently they're offering release-day delivery in some places, so even if you picked up the game at the online retailer, you could have it at exactly the same time (well, a few hours later, since there are midnight releases going around and shipped games usually don't show up until midmorning at least) as everybody else. That way, you won't miss a minute of the lag and frustration-inducing camping that will surely ensue just after launch.
If you hear about a deal or a special sale on Wrath next week, let us know. We've all spent way too much money on this game already -- every cent we can save is worth it.
If you've been reading my Blood Pact posts in the past, you might already be of the idea that I'm not a big fan of Destruction. I'll be the first to admit that it just doesn't suit my playing style. I really enjoy DoTs because I like being able to move around, which is why I was a huge fan of SL/SL before Patch 3.0.2 broke it. I like Demonology, too, because it takes a bit of strategy to play well if you choose to go the route of utility. But I've never liked Destruction. Spamming nukes and not having a pet out -- I raided with 0/21/40 before Echoes of Doom -- didn't feel right. I felt like a Mage in Warlock's clothing.
But let's get this out of the way before I get (Shadow)flamed. I understand that some of you enjoy Destruction. I know that some of you like playing with Fire and Shadow. That's cool. I want to play with it, too. So I did. This whole week, all I did was muck around with a full Destruction build that went all the way up to Chaos Bolt, casting alien-like nukes, jets of fire, and burning things up. So how did it go? I surprised myself... because I actually had fun.
With all of the news coming out of the US elections yesterday, I'm sorry to say that I haven't updated my client with patch 3.0.3 yet. And since Blizzard uses Bittorrent to pass around their patches, there's always that chance that I might be a little too late -- when there are lots of people downloading the patch, things actually go faster than when there's only one or two sources out there with the update. That's why we're glad to have our friends at Big Download covering all the bases -- they've got the latest 3.0.3 patch up for download on their site right now.
There are all kinds of reasons you might not be interested in using Blizzard's official download client, so there you go -- for whatever you need it for, the patch file is yours. Now it's just, you know, that expansion disc I'm waiting on for next week.
There's only about a week left of Ask a Beta Tester, so get your questions in while you still can! You can be special like Radiophonic and get your name all bold-like up here! I guess we could actually answer the questions, too...
So I'm hearing that there are tons of quests in all areas, has the allowable number of quests in your quest log expanded or should we all start getting those last 10 or so completed?
The number of quests you can have in your log is still limited to 25. If you stick to one zone at a time, it's very highly unlikely you'll ever have more than 15-20 quests in your log at once. If you're anything like I am though, curiosity will probably get the best of you and you'll end up questing in 2-3 different places at once and you'll need that space in your quest log.
You might want to finish up the quests you have now, or when Wrath comes around you can scribble down where you got them, abandon them and go back later.
The Collector's Edition has previously been sold out, and getting a chance to grab one now is pretty amazing.
Wrath of the Lich King will be released next week at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, November 13th. Amazon and other online retailers are "guaranteeing" that they'll deliver Wrath to you during the day of the 13th.
I probably don't need to say anything else, and he probably doesn't either. I'm pretty sure most judges would just throw the motion out right there. But, the motion continues...
"Riches was addicted to video games and lost touch with reality because of [Blizzard]. This caused Riches to commit fraud to buy [Blizzard's] video games. Riches chose World of Warcraft over working a legit job. Riches mind became a living video game."
Wow. Just wow.
Is that all that bad? I would love to live my life as a video game. Maybe one day my girlfriend will show up as an Eredar Twin or Pirate. That wouldn't be so bad. Or perhaps she'll be riding around on a giant turtle. With pink elephants.
There's a new philosophy in Wrath (actually, already here in the post-3.0.2 world) when it comes to who you should bring on your raids. In short, as the headline says: pick the players you like, not the classes and specs you need. In all of WoW until this point, there have been certain specs that were virtually required in various parts of the various raids. Which specs these were has changed with time, but think of Shadow Priests' mana battery capabilities, or stacking Shamans to get many Heroisms/Bloodlusts. To be a cutting-edge raid it was simply required to prioritize "correct" raid composition over other factors. Yes, your players needed to know how to play their class, but beyond that, you took what was needed for the fights you were doing. And you took a Warrior main tank, generally speaking.
All that is set to change forever in just nine days. Now the classes are much more interchangeable with each other than before. Some prominent buffs have been nerfed, and in one notable case, distributed: Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins all give mana back with Replenishment. In general there is more than one class that can provide most types of buffs and debuff. Also, many buffs that used to be group-wide are now raid-wide, such as Paladin auras and Shaman totems. This makes it much more likely that picking two tanks, three healers, and five DPSers out of a grab bag will get you decent coverage on buffs and debuffs.
Forum post of the day: Collateral damage - Wed, 05 Nov 2008 13:00:00 EST Retiribution Paladins had about three weeks to really shine. Think of it as retribution for many years of being laughed out of PUGs. Blizzard implemented promised nerfs to the Class in patch 3.0.3. Dumptruk of Frostmourne is upset about the effect that these changes have had on tanking in the Protection specialization. He opined that reduced damage in Judgments equates to reduced threat per second. He finished is post with a plea to reevaluate protection Paladins.
In a response to the thread Rauss of Sentinels disagreed. He believes that a Paladin tank should not rely on Judgments to build threat. Rauss relies on Consecration, Hammer of Righteousness, and select Seals/Judgments to build aggro- depending on the situation. He thinks the original poster should expand to additional aspects of the class to realize its true potential.
I really liked the story, voice acting, and lore. I watched the video once, enjoyed it, and then listened to the dialogue again while not watching the video. The script is very strong, and the dialogue fits the ambience of Wrath of the Lich King incredibly well.
The camera work, though, didn't do a lot for me. I enjoyed the visuals, and there's only so much Atraira could have done recording scripted in game events. But they still felt a little static to me. We could have used some more dynamic shots, or maybe clever use of shooting angles to mimic the emotion we were hearing from the actors. Atraira admitted frustration while recording the events, and I definitely have sympathy for that.
With a sharpening stone in one hand, he begins to hone the dagger to a fiercely sharp point. Sparks of metal and chunks of dried blood fall from the weapon with each stroke of his trained hand. Once satisfied with his work, the Rogue raises the blade high above his head; the edge catches a ray of the Sun's light and shines with a deadly glow.
The dagger is lowered, and solemnly wrapped in a piece of black mageweave. The assassin hands the dark bundle to his apprentice, who is bowing in reverence. The neophyte takes the gift, and promptly places it in her backpack. Outraged, the elder Rogue demands to know why his student would insult him by not even admiring the gift. She sarcastically replies: "Sorry pops, nobody uses 1.8 speed daggers anymore! Read the patch notes." As she skips off to hunt down a rare panther, the master shakes his head in confusion and shame.
Didn't get to go to BlizzCon this year? Well, too bad, because Cronin of <Final Justice> on Aszune-EU flew over from the other side of the world to take your spot. Looking at his pet, mount and costume, one can assume he's been to BlizzCon in 2007 and 2008 and the Worldwide Invitational this year. One can also assume that many WoW players would like to punch him in the face for having the time, money and motivation to obtain these rare items. Heck, I still haven't even gotten an epic flyer. Grats, Cronin!
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
The Art of War(craft): The limbo season - Wed, 05 Nov 2008 09:00:00 EST Welcome to the most worthless Season ever. This Arena period, not technically a season because there are no associated rewards, is a season in limbo. The end-of-season rewards for Season 4 have been handed out -- incorrectly in some cases -- and there is no scheduled end to the current one with no new gear will be released for Level 70 players. Unlike in the past, this season has an indefinite end for Level 70 players and no foreseeable continuity with future Arena Seasons which will be focused on Level 80 play.
Ironically, this is also the best season for a lot of players to catch up on their Arena gear. For one thing, the top Arena players no longer have anything to play for. Most have already gotten full Brutal Gladiator sets, their titles and / or mounts, and have no incentive to continue participating in Arenas. Because Arena points are wiped the moment a character levels to 71, players who have all the gear have no point in accumulating it. Because there are no end-of-season rewards, ratings don't mean anything. Lastly, dedicated Arena players typically use one season to gear up for the next. Because the next stage of meaningful competitive play is at Level 80, this makes the current season's gear useless for future Arena PvP.
So Thrall was gone for a few hours. The mighty Orc leader has pretty much been a fixture in the Valley of Wisdom for four years now. But yesterday, readers from all over sent us tips that the Horde's main man disappeared. Where he went off, nobody knows. Sure, he started showing up again on the servers several hours later, but the real question is... where did he go? It wasn't to Nagrand to visit his grandmother, that's for sure, even though he's been known to do that on occasion.
Where do you think he went? I mean, I guess four years of standing around waiting for newbs to send him old news about the Burning Blade could get a little old. Maybe just like you guys -- I hope -- he went out to vote. Or maybe he made a quick jaunt to Theramore Isle. Did anybody see if Jaina was at her post during that time? Maybe it was just a glitch in the matrix, because he's back to standing around. What do you guys think?
Yup, that right there is an Arcanite Ripper ninja. Congrats, Slu, not only did you steal a piece of loot, but you stole a piece of loot that most players in the game will have two or three chances at the most to get. Was the trippy guitar animation really worth ruining your reputation? Maybe so.
In other news (and yes, we're running a little late thanks to the historic election results), Guildwatch has all your drama, downed, and recruiting news from around the realms. If you've got a tip to send us, email it along to wowguildwatch at gmail dot com, and you'll probably see it here next week. Click the link below to read on.
It didn't just come back, it seems this portion has restarted entirely, 'kill counter' reset to zero. The clouds rolled back in, and the Argent Dawn tents in each capital poofed back into existence. Was its disappearance a bug with patch 3.0.3? Did the Scourge retreat after a certain number of battles won, and they weren't supposed to? The magic number we've been seeing thrown around is 300 battles, but we don't have anything to back that number up, just anecdotal evidence. A lot of people have said the same thing, but repetition doesn't mean it's true.
Not all servers saw this go down, so what happened? We have no idea, but the invasion is not over. It just sort of nodded off for a little. I guess the Herald of the Lich King needs a nap now and then.
The WoW Insider tipline is lighting up like crazy with shocking reports from Orgrimmar: Thrall is gone. At least, missing from Orgrimmar. Maybe he has a beach house in Stranglethorn Vale, but we haven't seen or heard anything about that yet. A new Apothecary can be seen to the right of the throne (left if you're sitting in the chair.) The apothecary, Apothecary Karlov, has no quest dialogue to speak of but he's tied to The Hand of Vengeance, a faction in Northrend.
What happened to Thrall? We have no idea. It's very likely tied to the Wrath of the Lich King prologue, perhaps part of a soon-to-come new stage of the Scourge Invasion? We don't really know yet, but we're definitely going to be watching this. Thrall is kind of a big deal!
Scourge Invasion comes to a close - Tue, 04 Nov 2008 18:35:00 EST As of 3PM PDT (6 PM by WoW Insider's clock) the Scourge are retreating from Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms on most servers, and the Scourge Invasion has come to a close... for now. In each of the capital cities there is still an Argent Dawn Champion handing out their Stamina consumables, as well as Argent Quartermaster so you can spend the last of your Necrotic Runes. The necropoleis, however, are all gone.
I fully expect we'll see something else crop up in the next week, not only because Tigole said so, but because it'd be really weird if the final week leading to Northrend is completely barren. There are also things we know are coming but aren't here yet... but those are spoilers, so we won't go into detail.
If anything happens, we'll make sure you hear about it, so keep an eye out. I doubt anything will happen this evening, but I've been wrong before.
The elders spoke of a day when great, sweeping changes would come to us Shamans. A day when our command of the elements would become unsurpassed and we would harness power like never seen on Azeroth (kind of like Retadins). Today, my friends, is not that day. In fact, today may well be any other day for Shamans because Patch 3.0.3 is about as underwhelming as it gets with regards to changes to the class.
Let's see... we have a Lava Burst damage increase, which means jack to us because we only train for the spell at Level 75. Speaking of which, Storm Reach was renamed to Elemental Reach because it now affects... Lava Burst. Also in the Elemental tree, Improved Fire Nova totem was reworked to increase the damage done by Fire Nova Totem by 20% instead of a quicker detonation and now stuns opponents caught in the blast for 2 seconds instead of ensnaring them.