Defining "PuGgable" - Wed, 06 May 2009 19:00:00 EST Alan over on WoW LJ has a great question: just what is PuGgable? Lots of people are talking about Naxx and Vault of Archavon and Obsidian Sanctum as PuGable, or able to be taken down by a pickup group, but just where does the line get drawn? Is 25-man Naxx able to be killed by a PuG? Sarth with three drakes? Ulduar?
Most of the 10-man instances are generally easy enough to be dropped by a pickup group, in my experience, though probably not for the achievements. A well-geared PuG can roll right through Naxx or VoA without any problems at all. But when you start getting into the achievements (Sarth with drakes) or the higher content (Eye of Eternity is tough unless everyone in there is experienced), then things get a little shady. Which is why lots of PuG leaders will be checking gear and achievements -- they'd rather take along someone who's already done the content than worry about pulling newbies through. Services and reputations can help that a little bit too -- a good friends list can come in very handy for PuGging even hard content.
And I'd say Ulduar is not PuGgable, yet, for a number of reasons. First of all, it's brand new, which means that most pickup folks won't know the fights, and that leads to wipes and only about one or two bosses down. Plus, since it is so new, every raid reset counts, and guilds don't want their raiders using up their resets when there's a guild run later in the week (of course that's not an issue for Naxx, which most guilds have on farm anyway). Though as more people gear up and more guilds make progress in Ulduar, you have to think there'll be PuGs in there as well
Huge thanks to everyone who's bid so far, and of course to Brigwyn for putting all of this together (if you haven't read why he's personally involved in this yet, please do). There's just over a day left, so make sure to get your bids in ASAP, and help get some kids in hospitals some videogames of their own to play while there.
The last few editions of The Queue had a lot about tanking, and deciding which Heroic is the best Heroic to tank your first time around. Adam said Utgarde Pinnacle was a good training ground, and his opinion was thoroughly stomped upon for being wrong. I have to say, though... Utgarde Pinnacle was my first Wrath heroic as a tank and it worked pretty well. I did a lot of tanking in The Burning Crusade so maybe I'm a little different since I already knew what I was doing, but it wasn't nearly as bad as it's made out to be. Mobs in Utgarde Pinnacle hit really hard, and it taught me to get back into the habit of using my cooldowns properly and not relying completely on my healer to keep me standing.
I won't say Adam was right, but I also won't say he was wrong. Heroic Utgarde Pinnacle and Heroic CoT: Stratholme are the two dungeons that taught me the most about tanking. Teaching myself to remember to use my own cooldowns and mitigation abilities, learning how to pace a group and keep them moving, relearning how to handle different types of mobs. They were a challenge, oh yes, but that's why I learned so much from them. Easier heroics like Violet Hold didn't teach me to do much because you basically nap through the thing. Then again, I am sort of a 'trial by fire' kind of guy. I need to die a few times to figure out whether I'm capable of something or not. CallMeIrd asked..
"Are they going to change or remove the School of Hard Knocks achievements? It's pretty much impossible for a lot of players to achieve."
You could say that only the highest level raiders are going to be that worried about making sure that they have every single buff they can have, but even as a casual raider, I've found a lot of use in buffing as many ways as possible. Unlike the really epic guys (who use food, potions, and elixirs to beef up their already awesome gear), I tend to use potions and food to cover my weaknesses. For instance, I don't have as much +hit on my gear as I should have, so I specifically carry around hit food at all times, and I can see the results in my DPS. Even if you don't have the best gear, using the right potions and food buffs at the right times can help you drop bosses and win fights you normally wouldn't.
Of course, that seems obvious to min-maxers, but many raiders with less experience don't realize how much of a difference the right pots and food can make on the raiding game. Lots of these buffs are cheap to buy (and even cheaper to farm if you've got the professions), so if you're raiding with regularity, definitely take a look at your stats and see if you can't throw a few temp buffs in the mix.
It's still not clear yet either why Blizzard is doing this -- originally, since they started off going after only paid applications, it was plausible that they just didn't want other people profiting off of their game (similar to the new addon policy). But they've taken down both free and paid apps here so far, and Double Bubble also has a list of both free and paid addons still up. At this point, we have to wonder what Blizzard's real intentions are here -- they're squashing valuable resources that fans have made and are giving away for free. If they were planning an Armory or realm status app of their own, that's one thing, but the only reason we can see so far is that their legal department has decided to act against the company's own loyal fans for their own interests. Not a great strategy for encouraging customer loyalty.
And what about sites like Wowhead or the Firefox realm status addon? Why is Blizzard only targeting helpful applications on the iPhone? We can only guess that Blizzard will eventually go after the rest of the apps on the App Store, so if you're working on one or planning to release one soon, guess you might want to think again about how that time might be better spent.
We announced Mountain Dew Game Fuel quite awhile ago now, but it wasn't until recently that we've seen the official Game Fuel website. As you can see in the picture above, when you visit the site you're greeted with a countdown. The countdown says you can 'start earning tokens' when the countdown hits 0, which I assume means we'll be able to get our grubby nerd hands on the soda itself in just under 9 days. Unless they have some odd, magical way of gaining tokens beyond buying and drinking Game Fuel.
Players with any interest in PC gaming or WoW swag at all will be pretty impressed with who they have on board for the prizes they'll supposedly be giving away every 15 minutes. J!NX handles most of the official WoW clothing, and Alienware... well, I've never actually used an Alienware product, but at least their stuff looks cool. That's a good thing, right?
So far there's no evidence of those battle bots we saw being attached to the Game Fuel at all on that website, but there's that whole convoluted saying that's become so cliche over the years. The absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence. We don't see it yet, but we may yet see it.
For those of you worried about the return of Failoc, or just interested in how the BlizzCon ticket process is going to work this time around, Blizzard has posted a FAQ on buying tickets on their BlizzCon site.
Interesting information includes:
You should make a Battle.net account ahead of time, and make sure the payment information on it is up-to-date.
If there are enough people on the site trying to buy tickets (and trust me, there will be), there will be a queue to join.
Once in the queue, you'll get an ETA for how long until you can get your tickets. Do not close or refresh the window. If tickets sell out before you get to the front of the line, they'll let you know.
When you get to the front of the queue, you have 15 minutes to buy your tickets before you get booted and have to join the queue again.
You don't need to give attendee information until after finishing the ticket purchase.
They also note that this queue system will remain in place for future Blizzard items "whenever a certain number of people are making purchases simultaneously," so get used to it - you'll almost certainly be seeing it when StarCraft II and Diablo III come out.
Free character migrations were opened yesterday to the Latin American PvP realm Drakkari. The transfers will go until May 15 at 1:00 PM PDT (aproximadamente). Players on any of the following realms are eligible to transfer:
I thought the whole Curse and WoW Interface vs WoWMatrix scuffle was over, but the people at WoWMatrix have just fired back an "FAQ" giving their side of the story. I put FAQ in quotes because I'm not sure these are frequently asked questions so much as questions Matrix frequently wants to answer, but that's OK. I like the format.
Here is the situation as they put it: The Matrix people are respecting Curse/WI's demands that they quit using Curse/WI bandwidth, so as of now you can only get addons through WM that are hosted on the WM servers. They are hosting addons on their servers that the authors asked to be hosted there, or that are distributed under a free license (such as the GPL) that allows such re-hosting.
Inventing Swear Words has been one of my favorite Oxhorn machinima series. Its lighthearted, playful nature won me over early, and the unmistakable pokes at WoW culture frequently made me laugh. It's been a year since the release of Inventing Swear Words 4, when Mortuus and Lacy got married.
In this final chapter, the team has an epic plan to finally force their new swear words on the entire World of Warcraft. It's got all of the cameos you'd want out of the final chapter of a saga, a great resolution, and the same fun music you'd expect from Oxhorn. Mr. Horn does assure us the characters will be back in other works, which makes me happy. I love those guys.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
At any rate, just shows you how popular the Warcraft universe really is, even outside of the videogame audience. You can pick up the Arthas book at a bookstore near you, or order it up from Amazon as well.
For if u touch this, more whelps will spawn. Aspiring naked rapper Molimo of <Lament> on Cenarion Circle recently recorded his first song, "Draconic for Dummies (Deep Breath Version)", featuring MC Onxyia and the Whelplings. Sadly, it was banned in Orgrimmar for inciting post-traumatic stress in Horde members who remembered having to go through the attunement quest for Ony.
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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.
An old friend approached me last week with the prospect of playing some 2v2 arena with his mage, who had recently hit level 80. Luckily his rolls are amazingly gifted, and he already had a pretty nice set of gear to play with. I equipped my Sinister Revenge and switched one of my dual specs to Mutilate, and that night we entered the arena to play as one of my favorite comps (behind Rogue+Rogue of course!).
Because of my high ratings in Season 5, we were instantly matched against 2000+ players in our very first games. While 2000 isn't quite 'Gladiator' status yet, we were definitely playing teams with some experience under their belts. I had a great time playing, as it was my first set of arena games since the end of Season 5. Mage & Rogue is a comp with some very potent synergy, and a fast-paced playstyle that brings out the best in our class.
Wintergrasp lag a big issue after patch 3.1 - Wed, 06 May 2009 09:00:00 EST Zarhym has got some answers to the widespread problem of lag in Wintergrasp after patch 3.1 the other week. He says Blizzard figures the problem is simply population based -- there are many more people playing in the battleground than there were before the patch. For that reason, they're having trouble coming up with good solutions: the battleground is designed to be non-instanced, and that's why a lot of people like it, so putting a limit on the amount of people in there is not the way to go. Hardware isn't a solution either -- Blizzard's hardware is already top-of-the-line, and not only would upgrading it take a while anyway, but my guess is that most of the lag issues come not from Blizzard's side, but from the connections between players and them, which they may not have any control over anyway.
So yes, we're more or less out of luck -- as long as Wintergrasp is extremely popular (and even Zarhym remembers the naysayers before the release with a smirk), there will always be a certain amount of lag in there. There are a few good suggestions floating around the comments thread -- one is that Wintergrasp should always be conquerable, which seems like it would keep down on the flood of people, though of course there'd be other issues if that were implemented.
At this point, Wintergrasp lag may just be something we have to live with. Eventually, you have to think the population will drop back down, and then those of us still in there will enjoy lag-free battles again. But Blizzard has taken on quite a goal trying to do non-instanced PvP full of vehicles and towers without any lag at all.
As with the last couple of weeks, we've got an extended period of maintenance. Now I know things on the EU servers are a heck of a lot more stable than those of our friends across the pond, after all, they are our guinea pigs, but we're want them to stay that way right?
Once again, realms are down between 5:00am and 11:00am CEST. The downtime might change depending on how well or badly the maintenance goes so just bear that in mind come the top of the hour. However there's plenty to do during the down time, so check out Daniel's post from yesterday for some suggestions. Me? I'm going to read up on how to get the School of Hard Knocks achievement while I sit in the dentist's waiting room.
Ulduar is finding its match in many guilds this week -- more than a few folks are heading into the new content and making it their own. But here at GW, we appreciate all clears -- whether your guild is just starting out in Naxx, has finally cleared the place out like the ragtag group of raiders above, or is taking down progression content in Ulduar, a down is a down. Grats no matter what you're completing.
Lots of drama and recruiting in this week's column, too, as always. And you can see your guild here in the future, too -- our new address is email@example.com, so send along some news if you've got it.
Shifting Perspectives: An Ulduar class preview, part 3 - Tue, 05 May 2009 21:00:00 EST Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week, as other people continue their march through Ulduar, I continue to ask myself if it wouldn't be more cost-effective in the long run just to take my ailing graphics card out behind the woodshed and end its pathetic misery once and for all.
Greetings, fellow Druids. There have been a few changes to Ulduar of late which I haven't yet seen play out on the live realms, but most of the changes concerned are nerfs, which should have little impact on overall raid strategy apart from giving you a bit of extra breathing room. Today we're going to address what you can expect from Auriaya and Mimiron. Mimiron in particular was the subject of some concern from feral tanks on the PTR and, well, the mechanic driving that concern is still a problem, but less of one than you might think.
I was originally going to include Freya in this installment as well, but noticed that her two erstwhile comrades were starting to consume rather a lot of space. Suffice it to say that trying to describe these two fights is awkward at best, so I'm restricting myself to as much Druid-centric information as possible rather than describing every possible means of handling the fights.
Oh well. Batting first for us today is sad spinster Miss Auriaya and her smelly cats, although she's a bit complicated to describe:
There could be up to a million Chinese gold farmers - Tue, 05 May 2009 19:00:00 EST A new report on MMO gold farming claims that there are about 400,000 working in China on gold farming and trading, and that there could be as many as 500,000 to even a full million. Of course there's no way to tell exactly how many people are employed in the business (and the number almost certainly doesn't stay constant for long), but according to interviews and surveys done of business there, that's the number they've come up with. They also claim a $10 billion a year turnover, however, and that number seems way high, though remember that they're talking about all MMOs, not just World of Warcraft. The report has some other interesting information about how China does gold farming: there are a number of brokerages staffed by English speakers in the larger cities that handle the actual transaction, and then the farms themselves are usually outside the cities, where cheaper labor is available. Typical pay in the farms is about $140 a month plus food and board, working in about ten hour shifts, while pay is higher in the city-based brokerages. Most employees are younger guys, who play while drinking beer and smoking cigarettes, and lots of their ingame tasks are automated with custom-made and adapted software.