As you may recall, Upper Deck recently announced the March of the Legion tour, a series of tournaments against their own legionnaires for fabulous prizes. They've updated the tour page today with information on the first leg of the tour, including the identities of the legionnaires and the places they'll be visiting, including Northern California, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Philadelphia, Florida, Michigan, and Ontario (Canada). The events last through June, so there's sure to be more locations and dates added later.
The legionnaires are no slouches, though. We're talking lead developers and high class judges for the TCG here, so it sounds like you'll have your work cut out for you if you want to win yourself a Varimathras extended art card and a Leeroy Jenkins T-shirt by defeating them. Of course, as mentioned, just showing up gets you that Weeble extended art card, and it sounds like the event should be fun. Let us know how it goes if you show up to one!
This was the scene this morning on Proudmoore, as they were the first server around to open up the Heroic Badge vendor on the Isle of Quel'danas. So for this week's Gamers on the Street interviews, I decided to go there and see the sights myself. Unfortunately, just as on the PTR, it's not quite that easy to get a level one Blood Elf to the Isle -- I figured I could just fly from Silvermoon like normal, but no -- apparently I had to run all the way to Tranquilien to even get the Silvermoon flight point. So I did.
Fortunately, when I got there, the flight master gave me the flight point to Silvermoon, which would then take me to the Sunwell Plateau. Unfortunately, I was completely and totally broke -- I didn't even have enough cash to fly. I sold everything I had, but it wasn't nearly enough, and instead of begging for gold, I did the next less annoying thing on the list -- I spammed the Trade channel. And I was able to find two nice residents of Proudmoore to tell me about opening up the world event content on Sunwell Plateau.
The onset of pre-expansion depression - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST It's that time again. Those of you who were around right beforethe Burning Crusade release might remember this time -- there are no new content patches before the next expansion, and we've got pretty much nothing to look forward to and nowhere to go before Wrath shows up and changes the world for good. Yes, there is a little more yet to discover at the Sunwell, but once we've seen that instance cleared out (Blizzard originally predicted about a month, and it seems like some players might be moving even faster than that), there'll be nothing left but the waiting.
Things went pretty badly last time around -- guilds stopped raiding (what was the point, when the next expansion would replace all of our gear with greens?), players abandoned the game for a while, and there was a general depression in Azeroth. While people were excited for the expansion, the live realms seemed like yesterday's news.
Hopefully things will be better this time around -- back then, we didn't have dailies to do, there weren't any arena matches or tournaments, and the 40 man high-end raid instances were pretty much the only game in town (nowadays we have 10mans, 25mans, or Heroics, and lots of rewards from each). And depending on when Blizzard gets the expansion out, the wait might not be as bad (although if they wait until January again, the time frame should be about the same as last time). But get ready -- the calm before the storm is coming, and we won't see a new game again until we step foot on the icy shores of Northrend.
I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but all of a sudden, fishing seems to have become an extremely profitable profession. With the introduction the daily fishing quests in Patch 2.4, those with a bit of luck have found themselves getting a hefty profit from the Bag of Fishing Treasures that the quests give out as a reward. Any angler worth her salt knows that fishing can be profitable through selling fish cooked or raw through the Auction House, or even as junk through the vendor. Before the introduction of the goodies that come inside the Bag of Fishing Treasures, the Goldenscale Vendorfish was probably the most expensive gray item in the game, selling for 6 Gold to vendors. Anglers who are also cooks could profit nicely from raid buff foods such as Golden Fish Sticks or Skullfish Soup, or simply sell the raw ingredients. Even low-level fish sell rather well to those who would like to level their cooking.
Subsidizing profession progress with guild funds - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 16:30:00 EST Lileah over on WoW LJ has an interesting idea that I've never thought of before. Well, her guild does -- she has a question about Illusion Dust, which yes, is hard to find. Usually your best bet is to run through the old level 55-60 instances, so Scholomance, Stratholme, and so on, but your best bet is probably the AH -- lots of people who can craft greens DE those and put the Dust up for sale there. Pricy but probably worth the time you'd spend grinding for them.
But the reason she's looking for Illusion Dust is because her guild is paying out a 1,000g bounty to anyone who has two leveled professions by next week. That's a super interesting idea. I'm the kind of player who never seems to find time to level my professions -- I'm too busy killing stuff and leveling and gaining reputation to run around picking up herbs or mining nodes. But 1,000 is a nice prize, and definitely helps pay for not only my time running around, but also the extra costs associated with leveling a profession -- crafting mats and so on.
And considering how useful a 375 profession is to the guild, any guild that's raiding at a fairly high level should see benefits come out of having most of the guild crafting endgame items. Very cool idea -- if you have a guild that could use a few more crafters and some gold to spread around, subsidizing profession leveling might be just the ticket.
Despite the fact that my level 70 Hunter isn't technically my main, she's probably my favorite character. A lot of people will tell you that a Hunter is an overly easy class: sic your pet, turn on Auto Shot, and you're done. While having a built-in tank that you can even heal a bit gives you a pretty strong advantage when going it alone, I'd have to say they oversimplify things a bit.
The largest area where the complexity of the Hunter class shows is in end-game DPS. If you want to be the most effective DPSer possible, it takes quite a bit of work. The way that you must weave shots in between your auto shots is a complicated dance that requires split second timing that can mean vast differences in DPS totals between Hunters. Cheeky of the Khadgar-US server (author of the famous Cheeky's Spreadsheet) posted a very concise and well-stated summary of some of the problems with Hunter DPS on the official US forums here a few months back. The post was originally written by Lactose of the Talnivarr-EU Server, who posted it on the EU forms here, where it got some blue lovetoday a while back.
The cake madness continues! Ackman from the Burning Legion got married recently and his (oh-so-supportive) wife agreed to a cake design of his choosing. His idea? A Horde crest identical to the one designed by Samwise. The cake looks absolutely awesome, if not necessarily delectable (are those real or fondant feathers?). Ackman attests to its edibility, though, as he describes the cake as chocolate fudge with mint frosting and fondant, highlighted with silver leafing. That certainly makes me hungry like an orc!
To recap this cake battle, a couple of cakes that resemble the Alliance crest put the Alliance at two, while an Orc shield and one of Orgrimmar give the Hordies a score of three along with the cake pictured above. So, are any creative bakers up to the challenge of making another Alliance-themed cake? Maybe one of Stormwind or -- even more challenging, the Exodar! If you send it to the WoW Insider offices, we'll generously put the score up by two. I'm We're greedy for cake. Check out the link for another pic.
Reader Kyver tipped us off to a gem of a post on the Customer Service Forums today, titled "I'm a WoW Widow" (moderately NSFW, PG-13 rating). The story goes like this: A girl, Missmegan, lost her boyfriend to the Burning Crusades [sic]. They used to play together horde side, but after buying the expansion he turned to the alliance and is dedicated to his guild mates. All is lost, as he's no longer interested in his girlfriend's "assets" and rambles like a two-year old.
Of course this makes our forum posting protagonist upset, and she needs her boyfriend back. Now obviously this is a joke. At least I hope it is. And Katie (my girlfriend), if you're reading this I promise I'll never let it get this bad. I mean, I only play for 5 hours a day, not 13 as the boyfriend in the story does. And I make money with all this, so it's okay, right? Sweetie? Darling? Honey... D'oh....
Tagging the first response to this thread is Belfaire The Mighty, with the simple response "Dear WoW Widow, It's actually Burning Crusade. Yours, Belfaire." This had myself and the other writers here laughing. We had to share it.
Ten innovation lessons from Blizzard - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST The OC Register (Blizzard's HQ -- I'm pretty sure that's where it's at, as they're not exactly open with their location info -- is located right down near them in Southern California) has a blog post up featuring 11 "innovation lessons" other companies can learn from the folks behind World of Warcraft. While the lessons aren't exactly innovative themselves (I think there are lots of companies that do this stuff, and none of them have a ten million player game), the post does provide a good look inside Blizzard's process and the thinking behind what they do.
Blizzard is pretty stubbornly committed to quality -- not only do they notoriously release things "when they're done," but if something doesn't work they apparently are happy to trash it completely (see Starcraft: Ghost). It is amusing, too, that Rob Pardo says he and Frank Pearce are trying to make "great entertainment projects, not perfect ones." WoW has its bugs, sure, but when you look at Blizzard's catalog: Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, you have to wonder what a "perfect" game looks like in Pardo's mind. Those are about as perfect as they come.
And they "eat their own dog food," too: J. Allen Brack apparently spends four hours a night (up to 15 hours a week) playing the game on his own time at home. Seems like it would be tough for other companies to pull these strategies into their own plan (Blizzard really releases one-of-a-kind products), but as consumers, it's neat to get another look into the way they work.
Known bugs in patch 2.4.1, 2.4.2 on the way - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 14:00:00 EST Patch 2.4.1 was rushed out the week after 2.4 hit, to fix some game-breaking errors, and we already know 2.4.2 is in the works; the hard-working Mac CM Tigerclaw, for instance, has mentioned that certain bugs are fixed in 2.4.2. It's a good thing they have another patch on the way, because 2.4.1 has its share of bugs. Hortus has posted a list of about 150 known bugs in the bug reports forum. Here are a few of my favorites:
"The /clap emote is not emitting sound if performed more than once." This is a feature, not a bug.
"Cloak of Shadows do not remove the curse Shrink." Ha! Where's your CloS now? You're little!
"Whirlwind has a new sound." This is a bug? Is it a bad new sound?
"The death emote voice-over for Kael'thas Sunstrider in the Magister's Terrace continues after he has already died." You just can't kill this one. Kill him in the Eye, and he comes back in MrT. Kill him in MrT, and he still keeps talking! Maybe we have to burn him.
"Abilities/trinkets that trigger after killing an opponent that gives experience or honor are being activated after killing mobs during bombing quests" True. I've gotten a heck of a lot of mana from my Power Infused Mushroom, not that it makes much of a difference.
WoW Rookie is brought to our readers to help our newest players get acclimated to the game.Make sure you send a note to WoW Insider if you have suggestions for what new players need to know.
I have to compliment Blizzard on paying attention to the tools the players are using.They've made many changes to the User Interface to integrate those tools into the World of Warcraft.Unfortunately, like the voice chat interface, many of those changes have had bugs and have not been widely accepted by players.As you progress through the levels you will find that you will likely have to download third party programs to facilitate your play.
Ventrilo and Teamspeak are some of the most widely used third party applications used in WoW.These tools facilitate voice chat which is necessary when quickly coordinating activities.In most cases you will find yourself excused from a raid or premade battleground if you do not have the proper tools.
Chaos! That was the scene on Proudmoore as they became the first server to unlock Sunwell Isle's badge vendor. Smith Hauthaa, completely. As you might expect, every Thrall, Jaina and Larry who'd been saving up Heroic Badges descended on the vendor to cash out, and from what we're told by reader Sync, it was madness.
Madness? This is the Sunwell! Surely this is just temporary -- as people get those badges turned in, Hauthaa's popularity will drop back down to much more managable levels. But as you can see from the gallery below, everyone and their alt showed up to buy from the vendor, and there was lots of world PvP, low framerates, and even a server shutdown (we hear) to show for it. Whenever your server opens up, whether you're looking for Warlock, Hunter, Druid, or any other Badge Loot gear, you may just want to wait an hour or two until people settle down and realize that they'll have a long time to buy new Professor Plums with badges.
(The sinister Baron Soosdon felt that Vimeo was the best quality stream, so he made me change it from the Veoh stream. Now it has a funky looking aspect ratio! However, he does not blame me for destroying his non-existant PR campaign, so it's okay.)
The year is 1985. Gnomeregan merges with Aperture Science, which causes a chain reaction, altering history forever. In 1987, they decide to install GLaDOS on a mechanistrider, which leads to a killing spree in 1989. In the distant future, only MechaMurlocs exist, except for one determined little gnome.
OK, guys, here it is: the column you've all been begging me to write. If e-mail had weight, I'd have approximately 1.5 tons of it about how to take a casual guild into the raiding endgame. You want to know how to motivate people, which I've covered, how to keep it from getting too "hardcore," which I've also already covered, and how to succeed where so many others have failed. It's that last bit I'm going to focus on. Since so many have written in about this, I'm not going to quote any particular person's e-mail. So I'll just say this to all who wrote me: Thank you for reading the column and having faith in me that I can explain it. We'll see if that faith was well placed or not!
Ever since my forcible takeover of Around Azeroth a few weeks ago, I have yet to run one of the feature's staples -- the symmetricalcircularphotograph. I considered them a cliche, like sunsets and night elves on rearing nightsabers. But while browsing the archives (yes, we save all your submissions for slow days) I found the mother of all symmetrical circular photographs.
Thonis, of <Tea Time> on Shadowmoon-US, told us that he was doing the Wrangle More Aether Rays! daily in Blade's Edge when he found that if you wrangle from a distance, the rope gets all curvy. After some careful positioning, he got in the center of the rope and took a screenshot. One can only presume that he awoke from a hypnotic daze about ten hours later to discover that he had donated all his worldly possessions to Blizzard Entertainment.
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 email@example.com 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. The sun ain't gonna shine anymore. The moon ain't gonna rise in the sky. The tears are always clouding your eyes when you're withooooooout loooooove ...
While Blizzard has made some steps to homogenize the playstyle of the Horde and Alliance a bit with the whole Paladin/Shaman swap, they've also done a bit of experimenting in the Burning Crusade with allowing people to make choices about certain paths, namely the Aldor and Scryer factions.
While patch 2.4 has bought as an "end" to the Aldor/Scryer rivalry lore-wise, the mechanics remain the same: You cannot enter the other side's tier without being attacked, you can't use the other side's bank, and the item and shoulder enchant vendors will still only sell to those with proper faction. In addition, there's a new twist to the sides from this patch: At exalted reputation with the Shattered Sun Offensive, you can purchase 4 different neckpieces that have seperate bonus that depending on whether you're Scryer or Aldor.
I always roll on PvP servers.I don't know why, but I just don't feel comfortable on a PvE server.There's just something exhilarating about always looking over your shoulder to see where the next attack may be coming from.Since there is such a strong division between Alliance and Horde, PvP just seems natural.Sure, I get ganked, but I can hold my own.
When I'm soloing, I very rarely take advantage of PvP in the environment.I'm usually too busy leveling or grinding for cash to start a land war.I've even been known to help out an ally in distress.About the only time I attack unprovoked in the environment is when there is a quest monster close by that I need to fight.
Your face is the first thing people notice about you when you go out into the world. Quite rightly, most of us put a lot of effort into making our faces look clean, healthy, and happy much of the time. Some people even go so far as to think of their faces as masks which they can use to alternately hide or reveal their true feelings to the world as each situation requires.
When you roleplay, your character is the mask you wear in a world where your real face doesn't matter at all - it defines who you are within this fantasy world and it determines how others will react to you as one of its denizens. Likewise, it deserves its proper amount of attention, like the care you give your outward appearance for your real life interactions. The method of caring for it is different of course, but the spirit and intention is the same.
Roleplayers have certain conventions you can use to quickly identify yourself as one interested in interacting with them. But more important than these is your attitude: just as the way you stand, smile, or keep yourself clean are all more important than the actual look of your face in real life; so, in roleplaying, a humble manner, a friendly approach, and a confident integrity are all essentials, whereas things like race, class, funny quirks and accents are all merely supporting elements.
World of Warcraft allows all of us an unprecedented ability to modify our user interface to meet our needs. Each week WoW Insider will bring you a fresh and detailed look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send it, along with your character name and server, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week the column returns to give you your dose of regularly scheduled UIs. We'll be looking at the UI provided to use by Selece of the Deathwing server. He's submitted a UI back in March of 2007, but the one he sent us a couple weeks ago was so slick we just couldn't pass it up.
Selece tells us his UI is designed for end game Hunters and has four primary goals:
Clean lines - He needs to see what's happening without the UI getting in his way.
Readability - Text elements need to be clean and crisp, everything has to be easily identifiable.
Clear center - He needs to be able to see what's going on around him, and the center of the screen is his place for that.
Visible cooldowns - Cooldowns need to be easy and quick to see, so he knows what's up next.
I really find those four pieces of advice to be very useful for not only a ranged DPS class like Hunters, but also for any class.
Every week, Alex Ziebart comes to you with Hybrid Theory. A column with... theories about hybrids, I guess. I mean, that's what it says at least. I guess it could be something else, but probably not. Honestly, you should probably just read it and find out for yourself.
In the past here on Hybrid Theory, we've discussed what Hybrids are capable of doing in a raid, as far as beneficial talents and utilities. We talked about the fact that a few well-placed hybrids in your raid can take your DPS from 'good' to 'horrifyingly good.' All of this comes to the front again in a boss that many high-end raid groups are clashing against right now: Brutallus.
If you haven't read anything on this boss yet, it's the single largest gear check in WoW yet. It's Burning Crusade's Patchwerk, mostly. To beat Brutallus, you need roughly 29,000 sustained DPS across your entire raid. If you don't pull that off, you hit his enrage timer and he destroys all of you. Simple as that! If you're lucky you can burn off a final two or three percent of his health after the enrage, but that's about as far as you go. That three percent is about 300,000 health, so don't get too confident.