Shifting Perspectives: Gearing your Restoration Druid at 80 - Tue, 06 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week we take a look at how to gear a PvE Restoration Druid at level 80, in the hopes of preventing other trees from suffering our fate during our first 10-man Naxx run, which -- no, no, it's too painful even to think about.Pass the schnapps.
Greetings readers, and welcome to Wrath Gear-A-Palooza 2009. We'll be running one of these for each Druid spec.
I'm not going to "rank" gear numerically, because I think that's a fairly unhelpful means of organizing items when your access to all of them as a fresh 80 may be very limited. Generally you're going to have access to quest rewards and faction gear before you get access to badge pieces or oft-uncooperative heroic drops, so I've organized the list by where you can get particular drops. It's generally safe to assume that a heroic drop is better than a blue you're using from an Icecrown quest, but not always. If you're starting to move into higher levels of gear, I found the following links to be incredibly helpful, and I hope you do too:
Otherwise, assuming a proper spec, gems, and enchants, you can successfully heal any of the game's 5-man or raid content (10-man or 25-man) with a healing set derived from the following list. That's a promise. This list assumes that you do not have access to 10- or 25-man raids for the time being and are gearing up primarily through questing, 5-mans, and heroics.
If you thought that Logitech was onto something good when they launched the WoW-ready G13 gameboard, the bigwigs at Logitech tuned into your brainwaves and decided to expand their gaming line. Engadget reports that Logitech is set to launch a slew of gaming peripherals to complement the success of their gaming pad.
The first of these is the $199 G19 keyboard, which has a GamePanel LCD, a 320x420 color monitor that displays "valuable in-game information" for over sixty games including -- ahem -- World of Warcraft. Aside from macro-bound buttons, the keyboard also has a switch for disabling the Windows button, so players don't accidentally lock themselves out of their game when they nerd rage.
There's also the G35 (I don't really know where they pull the number suffixes from), a $129 headset with 7.1 Dolby surround-sound capability and a "voice-morphing" option that allows players to disguise their voice or -- as the Logitech press release states -- "sound like (their) World of Warcraft character". With three different, swappable headbands, the headset seems configurable in more ways than you can shake a Snufflenose Command Stick at.
Finally, there's the equally configurable G9x mouse, a $99 variant of the award-winning G9 mouse and should give the Steelseries World of Warcraft mouse a run for its money. Or your money, since that's almost a full hundred smackers for interchangeable snap-on grips, five ready-to-play profiles, and on-the-fly adjustable dpi. The keyboard and headset will be available by the end of the first quarter, and the mouse soon to follow.
15 Minutes of Fame: Anthropologist digs into WoW - Tue, 06 Jan 2009 17:00:00 EST 15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
While we've written before about academics who are researching WoW from within, we're not sure that we've seen anyone whose primary fieldwork is the PvE raiding experience. Meet Alex Golub, Ph.D., an anthropology professor at the University of Hawaii. Golub plays a Resto Shaman in a Wrath-era raiding guild who's researching what he calls the culture of raiding -- "why people do something as crazy as run 25-mans four days a week."
"There is a lot of research on WoW, actually, but most of is based either on crunching Armory data to produce statistical analysis of game play, or it is more 'cultural studies' where people play the game a little and then write something beautiful about it," he explains to 15 Minutes of Fame. "My unique angle is that I am doing anthropological fieldwork in WoW, living and playing with a raiding guild and putting in 20+ hours a week keeping them healed and decursed."
The main themes of Golub's research (ahem): "American cultures of self-control, efficiency, masculinity and success amongst players of WoW." We asked him to boil that down for us. "I study how guys behave badly in Vent, and how/why people become emo and/or talk about why other people are emo," he explains. "I'm interested in how you get a group of 25 people to keep calm and collected as they try to do something really emotionally important to them, which requires relying on other people when its difficult to see them face to face."
It seems much more unlikely than last year: last year, we were looking down the barrel of Age of Conan and Warhammer Online, and wondering if either one of those might cause a road bump in WoW's traffic. Age of Conanwas called the steak to our game's McDonald's, but in the end, WoW players didn't do much more than give it a cursory glance. And while Warhammer seemed like a good contender to the throne, it hasn't come close to taking a bite out of Azeroth. This year, it doesn't even seem like there will be any MMO contenders. GameDaily cites Bioware's Star Wars MMO, but that's not coming out in 2009, and while The Agency and DC Universe Online might be getting close to finished, it's unlikely we'll see them on the shelves this year either.
This might be a year of recuperation, for both Blizzard and their competitors. Lord of the Rings Online is doing well, so their big task is just to keep the content moving, and unlike last year, Blizzard has no real impetus this year to really push their playerbase to stick with the game. As with everything, we'll have to see what happens, but I'd expect a much more subdued year this go-around for the MMO market. When the MMOs in progress now come to fruition in 2010, then things will likely get more interesting.
It's Tuesday, which means The Guild is back yet again with more wacky hijinx. Episode six is out on MSN Video now (and on Xbox Live and Zune soon), and there's some blowback from the "eruption" at the end of the last episode. Clara continues her campaign of corruption, and Zaboo does something you should never, ever do to another player.
This episode seems long for some reason, but at the same time, it's kind of a breather for what we're sure will be an interesting episode next week. Felicia twittered the other week that they're working on editing down just the last two episodes, so the hard work for them is almost over, even though we're only halfway through the season so far.
And finally, The Guild got a tribute song last week, a video and tune put together by a fan. They're pretty excited about it, but we'll let you judge whether you like it or not. We will say that it is a nice effort, and it's good to see that there are fans of The Guild out there willing to put in the time and energy to do something like that. Rock on!
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
I'm bored of hearing about Pandas and Pandaren, so I am declaring today 'pandas aren't real' day. If you think about pandas at any point throughout the day, you must throw yourself out of a window. No, I'm not going to defenestrate myself for writing this, because I made the holiday so I make the rules. However, I will not think about pandas starting.... now! Kevin Gass asked...
Is there a way (be it a mod or not) to alert me whenever a cooldown is done. For example, as a Shaman whenever Maelstrom is ready, a bright and noticeable pop up says it's ready. I would love something to tell me whenever Ghost Wolf and Shamanistic Rage are ready. I would use them more often! Thanks in advance!
The drawing will be held on January 8th, so if you did give and entered the contest, keep an eye on your email inbox to see if you won. And while the contest itself is over, there's still a few days left to donate to the cause if you missed it the first time around and still want to support the Society.
Sure, we're known for our QQing, we've got untold number of loot ninjas and drama queens in our ranks, and don't you dare nerf our class or we'll whine like nobody's business. But when you ask them to come through and help their fellow human beings, World of Warcraft players are one of the best communities around. Good luck to everyone who entered the contest, and thanks again to everyone who donated to the cause.
Well, while we didn't get a patch after all (looks like that big edible hat I bought for Adam's going in the trash) at least we have happy news in that our usual extended maintenance wasn't so extended after all. I logged on as a test to see if I would start downloading a patch, and instead I found myself presented with a plethora of servers to choose from! All my favorites were there! Even Azjol-Nerub, my original server, which I actually still have a toon on apparently. This is news to me.
If your server isn't up, apologies, but a cursory scan seemed to indicate that most are up now. Yay for less extended extended maintenance! You may now continue your regular scheduled gameplay, already in progress.
The pacing and music are both pretty awesome, in my humble opinion. I will admit to being a little disturbed by how long I spent looking at Van Cleef's tushie, but that's kind of part and parcel of the joke. I want to note, however, that the final shot of the video's protagonist overlooking the spires of Stormwind is a strong image for anyone who knows the lore. It's funny that the moment captures the essence of the Defias story so strongly even while taking place in a comedy music video. That says something about the strength of both WoW's lore, but also the power of the machinimist responsible.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Ding! webcomic is looking for your stories - Tue, 06 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST Webcomic artist Scott Kurtz, the guy behind PvP and (more importantly) Ding! has recently posted that he'll be changing the format of his World of Warcraft themed comic. Currently, Ding! follows the comical exploits of his fictional guild, Panda Attack, but as of now that's all going to be changing.
Instead, Scott is looking to make his comic highlight the community, and be something of a community effort. He's looking for you, the players, to submit true stories about you and your guild. Has something hilarious or awesome (or hilariously awesome) happened to your crew recently? Submit it to Kurtz, and it just might be immortalized in Ding! If your story is featured in the comic, you'll be rewarded with an 11x17 print of the comic itself, which is pretty cool. It's always nice to have little memories of your guild in physical form like that. Typically you'd need to pay a decent amount of money for comissions from an artist as well known on the net as Kurtz, so that's a sweet little bonus beyond just having your story featured.
The full details on how to submit your story can be found on the PvPonline website, and I definitely recommend sending something in! If you or your guild gets featured, you should let us know, too! We'd love to hear about it, and it would probably be shown off on our site as well. That's two times the cool!
With half the hunters nowadays running around with exotic pets, it's easy to underappreciate their contributions to the game. But Rockmar of <Blue Label> on Barthilas knows what a treasure his core hound is, and he's taken the time to give it a wonderful home in which to romp and play. Candles, lava, and the bones of some ancient creature -- what more could a two-headed demon dog ask for? Now all he needs is a Frank and Louie-type cat to chase. (Warning: linked picture may be disturbing to some people.)
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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Breakfast topic: Why didn't you tell me...? - Tue, 06 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST Every time we log into WoW, we find ourselves greeted with trivial, non-helpful bits of information. We learn quite a bit on our own and sometimes from helpful players. These little gems do little to actually help learn the nuances of the game. There have been countless times I've been taken by surprise, causing wasted time and sometimes costly repair bills. Here are some of the things I had to learn on my own, the hard way, that I wish someone would have told me:
* You don't have to wait for a portal, summon, or level 74 to get to Dalaran. Battle ports* work just fine, but you do have to get connecting flight points to make it useful. * If you wait until 74 to go to Dalaran, don't run there to get the flight point. There is a quest that takes you there. If you do run to the Crystal Song Forest to get there you, will find yourself looking forlornly at a teleportation device that is no help to you at all. * On the subject of teleportation, If you're Horde, you should really save the Goblin Transponder that you use to port from Booty Bay to Gnomeregan. It can help for raiding Ironforge. * Beware of the Animal Blood debuff in Borean Tundra. You will be killed on sight if you go into the D.E.H.T.A. Encampment if you have that debuff. It took me two deaths to figure out why I couldn't turn my quests in. * I'm relatively new to tanking, until about a month ago I clicked to set my marks. I had no idea that you can hotkey your lucky charms.
I'm sure there are still many nuances of the game I still don't know. Share your wisdom, what's something you wish you'd been told?
Welcome to the first Tuesday Morning Post of 2009. I trust you've all recovered from your wild New Year's Eve debauchery and ready to face the new year bright eyed and bushy tailed, right?
Anyway, you know what would be an awesome way to kick off the new year? With a new patch. This would be the perfect time for 3.0.8 to go live, and with Ghostcrawler talking about changes that will make 3.0.8 but won't make the PTR and yet another 3 AM to 11 AM (Pacific time) downtime this morning, the time is right.
Still, I'm not making any predictions, since I've been terrible at predicting 3.0.8 as it is. It could just be that Blizzard is trying to let the servers recover from the holiday season and we still have a week or two to go for the patch. Either way, we have at least 8 hours of downtime coming up, so now's a good time to get caught up on all the latest WoW news. As usual, I have some of the past week's best content for you after the break.
Extended maintenance, some hints of patch 3.0.8 - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 21:30:00 EST Maintenance will run "extended" tomorrow for all U.S. realms until 11:00 a.m. PST / 2:00 p.m. EST. The last few weeks we've seen the down time grow as Blizzard's worked out issues, so I wouldn't count on the servers being up at 11:00 a.m. PST. However I'll happily eat my words. However unlike Alex, I will not eat my hat.
We also have heard a couple sources whispering in our ear that patch 3.0.8 will be dropping either tomorrow or next week. We'll have to wait and see on that one. Don't take what we're saying here as any more than a creditable rumor.
However these rumors do have some added credence in that they coincide with comments from Ghostcrawler todaysuch as "These [changes] will be in the next patch (3.0.8) even thought they were not on the PTR," and "We'll be able to share patch notes soon."
No matter if 3.0.8 drops tomorrow or not, there will be downtime. Fable II anyone?
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
On Friday I responded to a question regarding Pandaren, and it turns out I'm about half wrong. Partially right, but also partially wrong, which is certainly a problem. My answer was based off of something I talked about with a random Blizzard employee, but in hindsight that's a pretty poor move on my part, they wouldn't necessarily know the little inner workings of one or two departments within the company. What I said was refuted with quotes from J. Allen Brack and Chris Metzen, which I'm willing to put more weight in as far as game lore goes. The Chinese did, indeed, have a problem with the Pandaren being in-game.
I was right in that there are no laws against virtual pandas getting shivved or whatever, but there definitely was an issue with the Pandaren race, culturally. It's much more likely it just ran into a lot of friction when it came down to dealing with censors and the cultural shift, and it became not worth it to risk losing players over. I'm sure the fact that the Pandarens' original design was much more Japanese (see above) than Chinese didn't help, but that was shifted in the right direction eventually and may not have had an actual impact at all. And with that said...
Gear is one of the main ways characters in WoW get more powerful, and pretty much the only way once we reach the level cap. However, it can sometimes be difficult to decipher whether one item is better than another - as a rogue, will 10 hit rating help you more or less than 10 Agi, assuming you're not capped? (Less, according to most sources.)
Questions like these are why stat weighting scales were developed; they aim to answer questions like that by expressing how much each stat is worth in terms of "points," which quantify how much each stat helps your DPS/healing/tanking. For instance, Shadow Panther has calculated that if 1 Agi is worth 1 point, 1 hit rating is worth 0.85 points, 1 Str, 0.55 points, and so on. Many different rating scales for various classes and specs can be found around the internet.
If you've been in the Arena during Season 5, you probably have noticed a particular change to the way gladiators fight. It can be summarized in a single word: "Damage." In the bygone days of Season 4, drain teams and Mortal Strike debuffs were all but an entry requirement to high ranked play. Without a strategy to reduce or nullify your enemy's healing, you were unlikely to produce sufficient burst DPS to actually kill anyone. A few double-DPS teams managed to thrive, but for the most part, a gladiator's number one priority was shutting down the healer.
That dynamic is all but dead in Season 5. Players output such a high level of damage compared to other players' health that healing is almost a non-factor in most matches. My friends, Ghostcrawler is aware of this dynamic, and is looking into it. (It turns out, Ghostcrawler mostly plays a healer in the Arena.) As stated by the crab himself, the Arena should not simply be about burst damage. (Nor, however, should it be solely about healing or solely about crowd control.)
Of course, Ghostcrawler does admit he has difficulty saying what the long terms plans are going to be. The design team hasn't had enough whiteboard time to say anything with complete honesty. But he also hopes that as more Resilience gear enters the PvP system, the damage might scale down to be more reasonable. (To quote, "It's mostly just math.") Still, there's hope that future teams will include more than just seeing which team can burst down the other first.
Rise of the Lich King excerpt shows the other side of the Lich - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 17:00:00 EST BlizzPlanet has an excerpt up from Christie Golden's upcoming Rise of the Lich King novel, featuring the back story of perhaps the lesser known (though no more less powerful) half of the Lich King, Ner'zhul the Shaman. Arthas has gotten banner credit for being the big bad in this expansion (because it's his form that the Lich King is possessing), but Ner'zhul is in there as well, being all evil and angry. And this little snippet from the book portrays very well just what exactly is going on inside that big spiky helmet. As much as little Arthas is lost inside the Lich King's power, there might still be a tiny bit of him that's still fighting back. Is he worth saving or not?
I love this idea a whole lot. A group of folks on Steamwheedle are holding an RP even (which they've done before), but it's a different kind of event than the usual party or dueling tournament. Instead, it's going to be completely peaceful -- they're having a Saturday morning crafting bazaar. Down in the empty vendor stalls of Undercity, they'll have crafters of all types and levels, some with their mats, some where you'll have to bring your own mats, making items aplenty for players. On January 24th, they're holding a "Black Market", where you'll be able to get almost anything crafted that you want (providing you've got the goods). They're also having a raffle, and they'll be serving food and drink as well. What a great idea.
In fact, I'd love to see something like this come to the game at large -- maybe Blizzard could provide a bonus to crafting when it's done at a certain time in a certain place, like create a "crafter's market" weekly on Saturday mornings (scheduled just like the Sunday fishing tournament), where crafters can make sure to be in a certain area ready to craft for any players who might need it, and can get bonus items or currency or mats for their trouble.
For such a social game, combat seems to always end up being the only way for players to connect regularly (not that there's anything wrong with that, but the only way to bond in game seems to be killing things). It would be nice to see more of this type of connection encouraged by Blizzard, with players using the skills they've earned to help each other and both sides getting a nice reward for it.
Scouting around with the Crashin' Thrashin' Racer - Mon, 05 Jan 2009 15:00:00 EST Cabinetsanchez over on LJ has documented something that I saw in action yesterday while running a few instances -- while it's a ton of fun to run my Crashin' Thrashin Racer around (I'm undefeated since I picked up the achievement the first day I got the toy, by the way), players have found a few extra ways to make the Racers work for them. Yesterday, I saw one of my group members using the Racer a few times to scout the instance ahead and see what pulled with what, and as CS says, it worked great: while the Racer will aggro enemies, they won't tag on to the rest of the group -- they'll just reset after they destroy the little car.
CS also says that the Racer takes no falling damage, so you can send it exploring off of cliffs and platforms, and he says that though the car is considered level 60, its aggro range is pretty small (I can attest to this, as we were driving it pretty close to enemies yesterday without it registering on their radar). And he's got an even more devious use (some might say this is an exploit): bosses aggroed by the racer will sometimes despawn after they conquer it for up to 30 seconds or so. That seems like a hotfix waiting to happen, but I haven't personally tried it, so it may not be as useful as it sounds.
The downside of this is that the Racer was meant to be a fun item, and if it really does lead to behavior that Blizzard considers exploiting, they might have to think twice about including great items like this in the future. We'll have to see what their ruling on this is, but hopefully no matter what happens (I'm guessing a quick hotfix, maybe even shrinking the range of the Racer's controller), this won't prevent Blizzard from giving us more fun toys later on.