It's still good to hear that Blizzard's on the right track, of course, and it's actually amazing that even with Mike Morhaime about to get his eighth boss, Blizzard's stayed pretty consistent on quality and dependability, as almost anyone who's had to switch bosses can tell you. But it looks like that, even with the Activision merger, we can expect the same tradition of long development cycles leading to quality games, which is, if familiar news, also comforting news.
Since the inception of the arena system in WoW, players have been very creative in finding ways to boost their ratings.First it was a matter of highly-ranked teams selling slots to less skilled players.Lately the subject of trading wins and losses has been the buzz. Blizzard has taken the steps that they feel necessary, such as instituting the personal rating system, to combat the issue.
In a thread entitled "Selling arena teams ok/not ok?" Legolawls reiterated the subject of team leaders selling off points, and blue posts condoned the behavior.That player feels that selling violates the spirit of the game.This elicited a responses from both Crepe and Turtle (via Auryk) saying that there are currently no rules preventing the sale of an Arena team.Interestingly they even hinted that entire team sales are acceptable.As long as the transaction occurs only in-game it is considered to be a legitimate service.Team captains are free to sell slots or even their entire teams as they see fit.If the team were being sold outside of game, for a real cash sum, the matter would be different.
Hi again sorry I'm a day late on this, I promise not to make it a habit. For today's recipe I am using a bit of creativity and taking the in game recipe a little farther. I am making Buzzard Bite Wraps. For starters lets make the Buzzard Bites and then make them into the wrap.
The in game recipe simply calls for Buzzard Meat. To me that didn't seem quite interesting enough. As you know I am more than willing to jazz up a recipe before I present it to you, so let's begin.
New WotLK bestiary entry and screenshots posted - Thu, 07 Feb 2008 16:30:00 EST More expansion news today as Blizzard has just posted a new bestiary entry and a set of screen shots to the official WotLK site. The new monster is a strange creature called the "Shovel Tusk," which the page describes as a territorial and cantankerous moose-like beast. The concept art looks a bit like some mad scientist tried to splice together a moose, a ram, and an elephant. We've seen these before at Blizzcon, where they appeared in Howling Fjord in a fashion similar to the Clefthoof packs near Oshu'gun in Nagrand, with one hostile "leader of the pack" leading a group of neutrals. Mike Schramm's speculation was that they might be a Clefthoof-like Beast of Burden for the Tuskarr, which seems to have been proven wrong for now. I'm actually thinking that this would make a pretty awesome quest or faction mount, sort of like the Talbuk, that other species over in Nagrand.
In addition, they've added some new screenshots as well, something I always love seeing, since I've been impressed with their clarity and detail. I can only hope my system can display those graphics half as well when the game (or beta!) makes it into my hot little hands. The screenshots on the bestiary page are primarily the Shovel Tusk in its natural habitat, though there's a ruined tower in the background of one shot that looks vaguely Elven, and in another, one of the possibly Vrykul-related Dragon heads of the Howling Fjord, and further in the background, a mining rig and a settlement. Over on the screenshots page, I can't help but notice that the first posted screen shot looks to be some sort of a fort fronted by flags with a dragon's head coat of arms. We already know we'll be dealing with the Red and Blue dragonflights and the Proto-dragons of the Vrykul, so that flag could point to a lot of lore possibilities as well.
To me, there are 3 types of WoW players out there: the Purists, the Moderates, and the Borg. The first group swears off any addons that aren't expliticly required by their guilds. You'll see them writhe in pain as they download the latest version of Omen. I'm probably in the Moderates group. If it's a useful addon, I'm happy to install it, but I'm mindful of what a drain on my system some of them can be. The Borg pretty much have every addon they've ever seen mentioned. Trivia game? Got it! Chat mod that moves all my channels into new windows (which you can actually do on your own, kk)? It's right here!
Well, with Patch 2.4, the Purists are getting an upgrade to the default Raid UI. Rislyn says "The Raid UI now can display the range of players relative to you. The option to enable this is in the Party & Raid section of the UI Options." Now, this functionality has been available via RaidRangeAid V2 for a long time now, but personally I never understood why it wasn't built in to begin with. I mean, my spells always know who's close enough, so why not my frames?
Besides the Purists, I think this will mostly benefit the raid's dps and tanks since most don't need a super powerful Raid UI to just check who's dead. I can see this helping the raid leads see at a glance who's at the start point after a wipe before rolling out the ready check. Mages could use the default UI to decurse since it already handles debuff indication. And I'm not talking about just PvE raids. I can see this helping in BG's, too.
From a healing standpoint, I don't see much change. If you're already using the default UI, then you'll have the added bonus of beig more effective. If you're using one of a number of Raid UI addons, you're not going to give up the functionality and style of those for the default. I think a lot more than range would be needed before you start to see healing converts.
What kind of addon player are you? Will this change make you go back to the default Raid UI or were you using it already?
Whew! Kat's strange and unknown power saved her last week, and it looks like Byron showed up just in time to save her again. Unfortunately for him, the odds against two Naga aren't so great. Can he hold them off until Kat returns with help? You'll have to keep reading to find out.
As usual, click the image above for today's page, or the gallery below to read from the beginning.
Periodically, Hoof and Horn Research and Development will offer a lecture on theoretical engineering. These lectures will deal with concepts, rather than existing designs. None of the schemata presented in Theoretical Engineering lectures exist, nor are they slated to exist.
Engineers are innovators of ideas, testers of limits, and blower-uppers of objects. All three of these traits combine in the Engineer in various percentages, but all three can be found in some quantity within each Engineer. As such, many an Engineer has lost an eye, or a horn, or even a yard or more of their total height. And many have lost limbs. Many an Engineer has observed, over the years, that few professionals are better equipped to replace (not to mention cause) the loss of one's own limb. A precedent exists. Gerenzo Wrenchwhistle, a gnome in Stonetalon Mountains, is known to have developed and implemented a functioning mechanical limb, which serves him quite successfully. Many a demon has been observed using mechanical limbs as well. Unfortunately, the design of both Gerenzo's and more fel-sourced limbs have eluded even the longest beards and sharpest horns of Engineering specialists.
For years Hoof and Horn R&D has developed and designed plans for a variety of mechanical limbs. Herein, we will discuss the potential for this technology to improve our lives, our technical abilities, and perhaps even our arena rankings.
You can see in the video above that it's just barely playable-- you couldn't raid Black Temple (or even Karazhan, I'm sure), but for logging in and grinding or checking mail, it would probably work just fine. The process, unfortunately, isn't exactly simple-- you have to run modified drivers, overclock the PC, and run experimental code (plus, memory might be a problem, as you need an 8gb SDHC card and probably more RAM than you've got now)-- but if you're interested in pushing your Eee to the limit, it might be for you. One suggestion or Dan (and anyone else messing around with this): would the Wine version of WoW let you skip installing XP, since the Eee is Linux-based? Just wondering.
At any rate, sounds like a fun Saturday afternoon project if you've got an Eee to play around with and want your WoW ultraportable.
Totem Talk is the column for Shamans. Matthew Rossi has played two shamans to 70 and is working on a third, his main problem being he can't decide whether to level another Horde or Alliance shaman. Yes, he's technically working on two elemental shamans at once. Once again, we at Totem Talk hasten to point out that no one has ever said that he was very bright.
Now you begin working towards what they call endgame. How does one go about doing that? Well, hopefully you're in a guild that can run at least the five man instances. If not, you'll have to PuG them, but while doing that look towards getting into a good guild. By good, I don't just mean sharding Bulwarks of Azzinoth here... a fully progressed guild may not actually need you all that much, and even if they're looking for a shaman with your spec, sometimes it's more fun to find a guild with which you can progress rather than one that's already done everything. Look for a guild you can get along with first and foremost, because you're going to be spending a lot of time with these folks inside unpleasant places packed with horrible things you'll be trying to kill to crack them open for their nice shiny loot.
Either way, you first need to run instances. In a perfect world, you'd go from instances to heroic instances, then 10 man raids, then up to the 25 man raids if your guild has the numbers. This may or may not be the case: some of the best players I know are in smaller guilds and run just the 10 mans. But you will have to dedicate some of your time to getting gear, it's the nature of the beast, so to speak. You can't step into Karazhan in greens and expect to do well unless you're being carried, or you really are Chuck Norris. If that's the case, thank you for reading my column, sir.
If you're anything like me you're chomping at the bit to devour any new piece of information regarding the highly anticipated Sunwell patch.I was fascinated to read Slouken's description of upcoming changes to the in-game combat log.These changes, he reports, are driven to help assist in with game AddOns in the future.
One of the major changes is the ability for players to filter their combat logs by a number of criteria.This will send only necessary data through the user interface, which can then be picked up by the AddOn.Other changes include formatting options that allow the language and presentation of the combat log output to mimic existing AddOns in syntax and color coding.Blizzard is implementing these changes so that players do not have to use "middle-man" AddOns.
Upper Deck announces WoW minis game - Thu, 07 Feb 2008 12:30:00 EST Upper Deck has dropped an announcement about the final conquest of the Warcraft universe over the complete whole of nerd-dom: they're going to make a WoW minis game (yes, there's already an RPG system, so until someone puts together an official LARPing league, I think we're done here). The miniatures will come out in Fall of this year, and the game will feature standalone raid and dungeon scenarios, which means you can play against your friends or play by yourself against "automated dungeons." Upper Deck also says that there will be an Organized Play structure for the game, including Local and World Championships.
There's nothing yet about any "loot minis"-- Blizzard is apparently working closely with Upper Deck to put this together, so you'd think they might try to replicate the loot cards of the TCG, but I'm sure that if they do come up with something like that, we'll hear about it. There's also no word on actual gameplay yet, but Upper Deck says that they'll update the site with a downloadable gameplay demo, so we can see exactly how it will work.
Excited about this? Halo has been to the mini universe already, as has Marvel and DC. Will Warcraft have success in this, the last of the realms of nerd-dom?
In the course of my daily machinima search, I learn new things all the time. For example, I now know that I need a rainbow unicorn in my life, or the fact that Martin Falch can see into my SOUL! It's a good thing that I wore my tinfoil hat today, or things could have been messy.
How to stop Vashj and Kael from destroying your guild - Thu, 07 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST Last week our own Marcie Knox pointed out in her Ready Check column the daunting task that's given to raiders when they face Lady Vashj and Kael'Thas Sunstrider. These two bosses have earned their reputation as a guild killer, and are some of the hardest encounters in the game. While there is a plethora of information out there on how to defeat the technical aspects of the fights, very little is written on the social aspects these fights give us. Examining what can be done to keep a group of raiders together during this difficult time is critical to success.
Lets take a brief look at why these two encounters are so difficult. When it comes down to it, Blizzard is testing our ability to deal with two different skill sets. The first being immediate and unknown change, and that comes with Vashj during phase two and three: which side will the Naga spawn, where will the Tainted Element appear, how many times is your main tank going to get rooted and bat poison dropped on him, which way will the tanks need to drag the Naga around to avoid getting the melee cleaved, etc...
On the flip side to Vashj's unknown factors exists Kael'Thas. Kael is definitely a scripted encounter. We know what order the advisers are going to come up in, we know (sans gaze) where they'll go, we know what Kael will do when he reaches 50%, and we know what order we need to get the weapons down. This fight is all about repetition of a scripted encounter.
Reader Saldemor took his Undead Mage to the gates of Orgrimmar and did what he does best: let loose with a Cone of Cold. Ok, he probably does other things better. Like making things dead quick. And preparing delicious banquet tables of handcrafted breads and home-brewed drinks. And pulling too much aggro before the tank can lock down the mob. But hey, at least with this, he looks good doing it.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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. And please, no more sunsets. No, really.
Well Fed Buff: Dragonbreath Chili - Thu, 07 Feb 2008 09:00:00 EST Every Thursday, Well Fed Buff will be serving up the tastiest dishes to boost your HP and stats, just in time for your weekend gaming.
Hello hungry readers!Welcome to this week's installment of Well Fed Buff.When the weather gets cold nothing hits the spot like Dragonbreath Chili.This recipe can be acquired from vendors in Dustwallow Marsh or Desolace and requires 200 skill in Cooking to create.For ten minutes after eating, the consumer occasionally belches a cone of flame.The effects of the real version are much longer lasting, but just as deadly.
Patience is the key to the perfect pot of Dragonbreath Chili.Well Sriracha is actually the key, but patience comes in handy.Be prepared to wait at least three hours for this recipe to come to fruition, and keep in mind that it is even better the next day.These instructions makes enough chili to feed a horde of Horde (or Alliance). and are guaranteed to warm you from the outside in... and then some.
Everyone knows you can see your total lifetime Honorable Kills on your Armory profile. Most people know this number only shows up if you have at least 1,337 HKs (ha). But does anyone know who has the highest ever number of HKs? This simple question was the topic of Drifter's (US-Runetotem-H) thread on the forums; so far, the biggest anyone's found is 341,462, on a druid named Kuroma from US-Daggerspine-A. Can anyone beat that? Armory links or it didn't happen.
Update: We have a new champion already! Theplague, of EU-Frostmane H, with 411,701. Anyone want to step up to that?
Update 2: Fartzwrgoben (does that name mean anything?) of EU-Perenolda-A, a subtlety Rogue, handily tops that with an astonishing 560,878!
I love the profession system in WoW, but sometimes it strikes me as odd that we're basically paying money to go to work. I wouldn't run around the world and skin animals, pluck feathers, find rare threads and cause massive environmental destruction for a leather jacket in real life, but I'll gladly do all that to make an epic leather chestpiece in WoW.
Nevertheless, it's a good idea to pick up a crafting profession in WoW, just for the perks. (Unless you want to be one of those ultra-capitalists who take two gathering professions.) We've covered this in general terms before, but today we're going to focus on the crafting profession-specific BOP items and abilities that can really help out rogues in the end-game.
Honestly, alchemy doesn't have a lot of good BOP stuff. It's good for money-making and as a support profession for an alt (someone has to get all those transmutes done), but it doesn't offer a lot of enhancement for your main, unless you count "Being the guy at the raid who sucks up to everyone by giving them pots" as an enhancement. Which, for rogues, is not a bad thing -- there's enough of us out there that being an alchemist can help get you that coveted raid spot. But for pure min/maxing, it might be better to buy herbs off the AH or farm them on an alt and then have a guildie make you your pots. Particularly useful pots include Flask of Relentless Assault, Haste Potion, Insane Strength Potion, Fel Strength Elixir, Elixir of Major Fortitude, Onslaught Elixir and Super Healing Potion.
The Alchemist's Stone is one of two items that are only usable by alchemists, and though it's a good starter trinket, it'll be quickly eclipsed for everyday wear by more rogue-specific trinkets. It really shines for hybrid classes and mana-users, but rogues shouldn't be popping healing potions like bubble wrap in PVE. If you are, you have bigger problems than your trinket selection. The other alch-only item is the Mad Alchemist's Potion, which restores health and mana and gives you a random buff. Nice, but not reliable when you need it.
Blood Pact: The real Lunar Festival - Wed, 06 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.
Today being the first day of the lunar new year (for the eastern hemisphere at least), I shall lay my shadow bolts down and talk about something close to my roots: the Lunar Festival. Hey, even evil warlocks come from somewhere, you know.
WoW's Lunar Festival is based pretty closely on the real life Lunar New Year that millions celebrate all around the world. It's a really nice gesture on Blizzard's part to move in-game festivities each year to match the real life celebrations, as Lunar New Year doesn't fall on the same day each year on the 'normal' or Gregorian calendar. In fact the 15-day festival is determined by the lunisolar calendar, and it begins on the first day with a new moon of the new lunar year. This is the third year we're having the Lunar Festival in WoW:
2006 - The Lunar New Year was on Jan 29; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Jan 27 to Feb 14.
2007 - The Lunar New Year was on Feb 18; WoW's Lunar Festival was held Feb 16 to Mar 8.
2008 - The Lunar New Year is on Feb 7; WoW's Lunar Festival started yesterday and will continue till February 23rd.
What happens during WoW's Lunar Festival, besides Asian-style outfits, fireworks and funky red decor around towns?
But I've got to disagree-- people were (and are) going AFK not because they couldn't pick up enough honor, but because they didn't want to play at all. Going AFK is free honor, and it will keep being so until Blizzard just plain cracks down and starts kicking AFKers. Diminishing honor returns means nothing to serious AFKers-- all they care is that they're earning honor for free. When (or maybe if) Blizzard stops that from happening, then they'll be able to stop AFKers.
As for the removal of returns, I can only think that it'll mean, if anything, more honor farming and turtling. Blizzard says they've crunched the numbers and determined that it's the right thing to do, but I don't see how supplying those Iceblood turtlers will constant honor is going to help things. We'll have to see what effects arise when the new patch drops on the PTR.