And Phaelia's got it down -- from setting up button mods (she's using Bartender, one of Adam's essential addons for 3.0.3) to configuring the keyboard itself and even putting in macros for all three Druid forms, if you've ever wanted to use the Nostromo, there's probably something interesting to learn here. Seems really complicated to me -- I'm not sure if I'm willing to commit that much work into getting my interface exactly right, especially if there's a chance that a big patch could wipe it all out.
But I can see how half the fun of playing the game is getting the controls just perfect, and if tweaking things that much makes you play that much better, more power to you. If you want to dive into the world of custom controllers, Phaelia's guide will probably be invaluable.
Someone on the forums noticed what at first appeared to be an oversight: Rusted-Link Spiked Gauntlets, from Grand Widow Faerlina in Naxx-10, are tagged as BoE, not BoP as most boss drops are. As it turns out, this is intended. According to Blizzard poster Verimonde, each boss will have one BoE item on its loot table. This has a few obvious benefits, as Verimonde points out:
More trickle-down items from raiding - non-raiders, be they alts, friends, or just random AH patrons, get access to a few raid items
More excitement - even if nobody needs anything from the boss, there's still a chance to get a potentially lucrative BoE (and badges, of course)
Another income source for raid guilds
Although it isn't mentioned specifically, I expect that this BoE philosophy will extend to all raid bosses in Wrath. I think it's a nice idea. Let's say the average 10-man boss has a 12-item loot table and drops 2 items from it plus badges. If one of these items is made BoE, there's roughly a 17% chance to get it, which sounds reasonable.
My question: what will raids' loot rules be for BoEs? My guild typically does open rolls for BoE items that aren't needed by anyone present, so that's probably what we'll do. But how will DKP guilds handle it? Will people who need it for their alts get precedence? Will they be auctioned off and the funds added to the guild bank, if nobody needs them? I guess it'll vary depending on the guild. But between these BoEs and Heirloom items buyable with badges, raiding is going to be a lot more interesting for those of us with many alts.
Welcome to yet another edition of Ask a Beta Tester. We're coming to you a little later in the day than we usually do, but I think getting the site's redesign up was worth it! It's sparkly, isn't it? We only have a little under a week of Ask a Beta Tester left, so let's make the best of the time we have and get started!
Nick S asked...
Is there any lore for the Trolls? I've seen very, very little that's not negative. Where's the Troll lovin'?!?
Unfortunately, I'm primarily Alliance and didn't see much from the Horde beyond the first couple of zones, so I'm not really sure about the Darkspear. Zul'Drak has a whole load of Troll content, though. It's an entire Troll zone centered on the last Troll Empire, the Drakkari. There's also the return of the Zandalar Trolls, who are much more friendly. You might have met them back when Zul'Gurub was run frequently. They're there to document the fall of the Drakkari and prevent them from doing something really, really bad.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Friday, November 7, 2008 at 6pm ET. One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a World of Warcraft 60-day pre-paid game card (valued at $30). You must be at least 18 to enter and a legal resident of the United States or non-Quebec resident of Canada. You can only enter once. Click here for complete Official Rules.
This will be the last giveaway for today, but we have plenty more coming between now and the Wrath launch so be sure to check back at WoW Insider often!
Well, here we are. It's a week until Wrath launches. What are you doing with your time? Had time to play with the most recent bout of changes yet? In a turn of events I find almost astonishing, I've mostly played restoration on both my draenei and orc shamans. I've been running five mans for achievements I don't personally want (ah, achievement mania, you fuel bursts of last minute heroics) and raiding, mostly in 10 mans and PuG 25's. The thrill of being killed by Fatal Attraction! I picked up my Dark Blessing this week in a PuG so I'm doing reasonably well for healing gear now (I can comfortably heal in a 10 or 25 man raid without feeling too much strain on the mana pool, anyway) and am basically trying to decide what I'm going to do with myself once the expansion hits. Will I be leveling enhancement? Or maybe, if dual specs arrive, I'll go with elemental for leveling and restoration for instancing.
Since we have about a week, I figured it might be a good idea to talk about the starting zones for Wrath of the Lich King, especially for people who are intending to go to them with a shaman who is level 68 or so or who will otherwise be looking at the gear as upgrades. We'll look at the two starting dungeons (The Nexus and Utgarde Keep) and some of the quests in the starting zones with an eye towards loot that will help undergeared shamans catch up to ones that have been 70 for a while. We will of course try and stay as spoiler light as possible while doing this. We'll also wonder why we keep saying 'we' when it's one guy writing this.
There is an interesting gem, however, to be found in their discussion of Wrathbox sales:
"Revenues related to the sale of World of Warcraft boxed software, including the sale of expansion packs and other ancillary revenues will continue to be deferred and recognized ratably over the estimated customer life beginning upon activation of the software and delivery of the services."
That's a pretty packed statement. In summary, it means that the money Blizzard makes from selling the game box isn't immediately counted in their performance metrics at the time of sale. (There's no December "bump" to revenue directly from the 50ish dollars you pay for an expansion.)
Instead, they count the revenue gains throughout your customer lifetime. Doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? Let's talk about why that's such a significant notion.
Finally, the day has come. Our designers here at WoW Insider have been working on a long-awaited new design for the site, and finally, you get to see the fruits of their work. Welcome to the brand new WoW Insider, just in time for the launch of the game's second expansion.
And that's not all -- from now (actually, we kicked off this morning already) until Wrath's launch, we're going into overdrive. We'll have multiple contests every day until November 13th -- we're giving away some of the coolest stuff inside and outside of the World of Warcraft, and all you have to do to win it is keep an eye right here on the site (yes, even you too, EU folks). As we announced a few days ago, we're hosting multiple reader meetups all across the country, too, so if you're in the area, you can come with us to get your copy of Wrath at the midnight launch, and maybe win some stuff there as well.
And of course, we'll have what we always have: unprecedented coverage of this game and its players. Stay tuned for all the Wrath previews we can post -- we'll have looks at all the new zones in Wrath of the Lich King, your guides to which quests to look for while leveling, walkthroughs of all the new instances, where and when to get your new addons, and we'll let you know exactly where to spend your next ten talent points and what to do with your new talents and abilities. If you need to know something about Wrath of the Lich King, it'll be on this site just in time for launch.
After the break, find out what's new around WoW Insider's redesign.
Wrath launches in 7 days and WoW Insider is giving away the good stuff early. One of today's many giveaways is the much coveted BlizzCon Polar Bear Mount. One the great things about this particular giveaway is that your age or location does not disqualify you. Anyone can enter!
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Friday, November 7, 2008 at 3pm ET. Two winners will be chosen randomly and each will receive a BlizzCon Beta Card that includes a code for an in-game Polar Bear BlizzCon mount. What are you waiting for? Get to enterin'!
The digital download for Burning Crusade took a few weeks to get going, and while Claudiog can't say if the Wrath version will take as long, he does mention it won't be available immediately.
This is important if you're living someplace far off and are expecting to be able to download Wrath the night it releases. While there will no-doubt be places around the internet where you can do it - you will have to use those places at your own risk.
You'll hear it here when the digital download does finally go live, but don't expect it anytime soon.
The Ring of Valor is a new space in Orgrimmar -- it features an elevator that rises up to a starting position that leaves players in close proximity, and then there is a set of fire obstacles and two moving pillars that can be used to as many tactical advantages that you can come up with. The other space, the Dalaran Sewers, also mixes in a few line-of-sight tricks, including a periodic waterfall that blocks LoS and a raised platform in the middle that can only be reached via two sets of stairs on diagonal sides.
Personally, I think the new mechanics are exciting, but then again I've played maybe four Arena matches in my life -- word I'm getting from most of the Arena players I know is that these changes add a little too much RNG to the maps (considering the all the obstacles are timed, they're not really random, but that's just what I think). What say you, Arena players?
We're sticking with our theme of preparation for Wrath of the Lich Kingby looking at the trailer for Cold Entertainment's upcoming The Scourge. "The Scourge" is a two man-project about a peasant who's involved with the Scourge war just before Warcraft 3. The antagonist will be affected, of course, and doesn't stay "a good guy" through the events of the movie.
The trailer definitely worked to get my interest. I liked the dark and gloomy animation style, and the use of heartbeats to underscore tension. The trailer does have a few cliches, like the angsty-man-kneels-by-a-tombstone. But these things are cliches for a reason, and the trope communicates that some tragedy is affecting the central character. And since genre pieces are almost always character-driven, focus on the antagonist is valid and to be encouraged.
My only real criticism of the trailer would be pacing. The fades between action/imagery to verbiage then back to action/imagery are a little slower than I'd like them to be. The narrative hook is lost in the long transitions, and we have to be re-engaged several times throughout the trailer.
We've been covering the news about Tenris Mirkblood, a temporary Scourge boss hanging out in Karazhan. Adam even has a handy strategy guide that will help you bring him down. The boss is pretty neat, dropping both a non-combat pet and the ultimate in two handed guitars -- the Arcanite Ripper.
Tigole warned us that the boss would only be around for about 10 days. As of just now, Tenris is still in Karazhan, waiting to dole out his badges, batlings, and axes. Now's the time to get in there, folks. We can't gaurantee how much longer he's going to be waiting for you to come kill him. The Scourge invasion reset and started again after it previously closed down, so this is probably as close to a "second chance" as you're going to get.
As a tip, be sure to pick up your Vampiric Batling, even if you already know the spell. The "Already Known" item sells for 10 gold to a vendor. Killing Tenris is at least worth a daily quest to you.
1st Rule: You do not talk about the role forums. 2nd Rule: You do not talk about the role forums. 3rd Rule: If this is your first post on the role forums, you have to fight.
There are eight rules to Fight Club, and there are eight rules to the new role forums. Coincidence? Highly likely. Ghostcrawler has referenced the movie before, and for some reason I could see him kicking the crap out of himself screaming "Don't nerf me, bro!"
But nonetheless, Ghostcrawler has outlined eight simple and easy to follow rules for these new discussion forums. We'll take a look at them all after the break, but the highlight of the rules is rule #4 which in part says, "Sometimes Blizzard employees, such as me, respond to threads." That along with the preamble remark that "...class designers, such as myself, visit [the class forums] less often than the role forums," makes these new forums very interesting.
It looks like the discussion and back and forth we've come to see in the beta will continue on the new role forums. This can only lead to good things.
The full rules after the break for all you special and unique snowflakes.
Every Tuesday, or possibly Thursday when the writer votes on Tuesday and spends Wednesday screaming and beating her laptop over formatting errors, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting Druids and those who group with them. This week Allison Robert steals John Patricelli's column once again, secure in the knowledge that she will never be forced to atone for her crime as long as she writes something nice about ferals and keeps a respectful distance from Dan O'Halloran's whip.
Good. I got that out of my system and can write something productive. Although, believe me, if I could get away with it, an entire Shifting Perspectives would be devoted to just how much I hate Tauren cat form. I mean, just look at it! Look at the angle on the horns! The cat can't bite anything! Christ, I just -- hi, Dan. Yes, I'm totally writing the column! Look at me go!
This week, mindful as always of American election-year politicking, I'm going to borrow a page from presidential duties and write a little something I like to call "State of the Class." Druids have undergone a number of changes in the transition to Wrath of the Lich King, and will acquire even more as they level to 80. We are one of Blizzard's primary targets for both gear and role consolidation, which raises a few questions over how comfortably we're going to scale in relation to pure classes and what we can realistically expect on the march to a new level cap.
The TL:DR version of this article -- I believe our future is generally bright, the Druid community continues to have a few concerns over certain aspects of the class, our focus in PvP seems to be changing the most, and I hate Tauren cat form. This is a three-part post, so let's get started with balance. However, if you want to jump ahead to feral, you'll find that here; and the third part, restoration, is here.
The night elf mounts are pretty, but rarely considered ferocious. However, this new glitch-formed skin discovered by Wakko of <Fully Rested> on Bronzebeard is enough to terrify any opponent. How on earth did his cat become reversed? Did someone skin it? You can see the bones and sinews and everything. But it seems to be pretty content with the situation. It must have been that mysterious fog that turns everyone inside out.
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.
One of the big UI improvements in WoW 3.0 is the calendar. Next to player housing, a calendar is one of the longest-standing player requests that had not yet been fulfilled (or shot down by Blizzard). Like most gaps in the game's UI, this one has been filled by various add-ons over the years. One particularly popular and enduring one is GroupCalendar. In fact, GroupCalendar is so well-loved that even with the official calender now implemented, many guilds and players are still using it.
Why? Well, mostly it comes down to features. Both the Blizzard calendar and GroupCalendar support the basics -- raid lockouts, holidays, player-created events with attendance lists. But like most things Blizzard, their calendar is fairly simple, and more or less ends there. GroupCalendar goes a bit farther.
Durations and level ranges can be specified
Finer-grained control over invitations; for instance, you can specify a minimum and maximum quota for each class, with a standby list if you're full on (say) Hunters
Automatic invites and queuing when it's time for the raid
Edit: People can be allowed to sign up to an event even if they weren't explicitly invited (this is not the case on Blizzard's calendar, and theirs only allows you to invite up to 100 people)
Those are a few of the features that stand out at differentiating GroupCal from BlizzCal for me. And overall, there are more options on everything.
Don't think this is an advertisement for GroupCalendar, though. If you don't need the extra features, there's no reason to install it. Blizzard's calendar is more lightweight, already built-in, and much more polished (as you'd expect). There are no synch issues, and no bugs (that I've seen). In fact, the only thing missing from the built-in calendar that I really want is for it to show the daily dungeons and battleground. But if you do want the extra features that GroupCalendar offers, the developers have shown no sign of slowing down; you can get it wherever fine add-ons are hosted.
Breakfast topic: Boast your titles - Thu, 06 Nov 2008 08:00:00 EST A lot of WoW folks seem to be collectors: Pets, Mounts, even hats. Collecting titles is the next big thing. It's kind of fun to display some hard earned achievement proudly to other players. Rágnaros of Duskwood asked in general chat. He's interested in knowing which titles are most popular and most rare. It also adds some flavor to the game. Several responders reported having five or six titles.
I'm not much of a title hunter. A friend of mine was running UBRS for the Jenkins title so I was happy to come along. It was relatively easy to get with a handful of 70s and was fun to get. My job was to sprint about and aggro as many dragons as I could, then I dropped a Hurricane to join in quick AOE attack which easily killed at least fifty of them instantly.
The Art of World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King, a 208-page book featuring never-before-seen images from the game.
An exclusive in-game pet: Frosty, the baby frost wyrm.
A behind-the-scenes DVD containing over an hour of developer interviews, the Wrath of the Lich King intro cinematic with director's commentary, and more.
The official soundtrack CD, containing 21 epic tracks from the game, along with exclusive bonus tracks.
A mouse pad featuring a map of the newly opened continent of Northrend.
Two World of Warcraft Trading Card Game March of the Legion starter decks, along with two exclusive cards available only in the Collector's Edition.
To enter, leave a comment on this post before Friday, November 7, 2008 at 12pm ET (noon). One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition box (valued at $70.) You must be at least 18 to enter and a legal resident of the United States or non-Quebec resident of Canada. You can only enter once. Click here for complete Official Rules.
And keep your eyes on WoW Insider. We have many, many more giveaways coming your way from now until Wrath launch day!
He doesn't go into specifics about what will be updated, but we have some good guesses at what we could see included:
Wrath of the Lich King items
Faster character data updates
Crygil also mentions that all the character data will be reset. This means that you have to log into your character to repopulate the Armory information on it. This is important if you have seldom played alts yet still refer to the armory data, or if you are currently applying to a guild that requires armory information.
We'll have more concrete information on what this update brings after it's complete, sometime around 2 p.m. PST.