Upper Deck has released the first expansion to the WoW minis game, called Spoils of War. The new set of figures introduces legendary lore figures like Jaina and Kael'thas into the mix, and they can now jump onto the gameboard with player characters and duke it out in the streamlined Arena-style turn-based battles. The new set also contains Action Bar cards, which can modify your characters and party's abilities before a battle (like casting a Wrath of Air totem to modify all of your team's die rolls). And finally, the new expansion also brings items into the mix, so there's one more medium in which you can wield Sulfuras, the Hand of Ragnaros. (And no, unfortunately, real life isn't one... yet.)
The new set is available in booster packs at a hobby and collectible store near you -- the MSRP is about $14.99, but they'll probably be around for cheaper than that eventually, if they're not already. If you're a regular player of the minis game, it sounds like it'll be a must-have addition, and if you've never picked it up before, maybe the prospect of playing some of the more famous lore figures will get you interested.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
This week's Two Bosses Enter deathmatch definitely's got that boom, boom, pow. Now, we know you're not fond of The Oculus. We do know. Nonetheless, we're asking you to set aside your prejudices and consider this week's explosive contestants on their own merit: Drakos the Interrogator of The Oculus versus Salramm the Fleshcrafter of The Culling of Stratholme.
Let's review the ground rules: Assume that these foes share similar levels, health pools, damage output and are fighting on neutral territory. Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter. Focus your debate on the three S's -- Style, Story and Scale - and consider the flavor each villain brings to bear. What do you think would happen during this battle? Leave your comment explaining what happens, and cast your vote for who you think blows up who.
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. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
Do you ever get the feeling that WoW is like some sort of purgatory? That you're trapped in an endless loop of hellish deviations intent on consuming the very soul from which all things good and pure spring forth from? That this game is indeed nothing but the true game which ends all games, and like Sisyphus or John Locke you'll be stuck pushing the boulder up the hill towards a higher level for the rest of your life?
And with, let's throw a little social philosophy in your faces.
"I hate people telling me how to change my spec and how to play. I'm a mage who puts out between 2-3k dps, depending on how bad my lag may be at the time. Sure, I may not have the cookie cutter spec. But it's my game, I am paying for it, and I will play how I want. Want me to change? Fine. Start paying my fee and you can tell me how to play."
Has an option to auto-update, set to "off" by default.
There will be a premium version, but the only difference will be that premium users don't see ads. In contrast to the Curse client, the non-premium version of Minion is not crippled, and will have an update-all button and full download speed.
If an author enables donation requests, they will show up in the updater.
Totem Talk: Patch 3.1 Shaman Gear Part 4 - Thu, 07 May 2009 15:00:00 EST One of the interesting things about new content is the transitional period as you clear the new bosses and start gearing up. Pictured alongside today's column is an illustration of that process, as Tier 7 blends into Tier 8 and Calamity's Grasp is paired with Vulmir.
Myself, I've mostly been screaming "Why won't you drop" again, as I so often do (I have terrible loot luck) at various healing rings, trinkets, necks, and shields. Having recently healed my first 25 man since I switched from resto to elemental in SSC, I've also found that I hate spirit with a passion.
Why there has been no effort to make spirit more useful for shamans as casters or healers, I can't tell you, because it's on every freaking thing. Yes, it helps on mana regeneration out of combat and if you can take five seconds in combat, but otherwise it's totally useless for shamans.
Doesn't increase spell power or crit or do anything, really, just sits there like a less effective version of MP5. (And at least at my current gear and comfort level for healing, I don't spend a lot of time standing around not casting healing spells unless I'm forced to by the dreaded OOM.) Every time I see a healing weapon with spirit on it I want to go back in time and stab myself. I don't know what that would accomplish, exactly, but that's how much I hate spirit. I'd really like to see a talent in either mid-level elemental or restoration (resto would be better, and if it was fairly low in the tier elemental could pick it up too) that made spirit actually useful for shamans, but I'm not holding my breath.This is why I almost always wait for a shield instead of picking up a spell offhand.
And now, on to our show, looking at the items that as of now we know about in Ulduar.
If you're a follower of the "Illegal Danish" series, you've probably already encountered Puff and Lilpuff. The elf and gnome are two key characters in Myndflame's comedy, and they make for an interesting pair. In order to help reach out to both their fans and the machinima community, Myndflame is launching a new audio-based series based on the character, called The Adventures of Puff and Lilpuff.
Myndflame will take emails and answer them daily. The plan is to set up an interactive format between their listeners and the creators themselves. This innovative dialogue will help shape the series, according to the Myndflame site. As the whole project grows and develops, Myndflame says they will reach out to other, well-known machinimists to get them involved in Puff and Lilpuff.
The above clip is the pilot episode, though the series already has three episodes completed. At this rate of creation, Puff and Lilpuff could turn into a mainstay of every WoW player's daily routine. I think it's a very interesting format, since a lot of machinima and WoW productions can feel "at an arm's distance." Giving the machinima audience at large a chance to interact and work with the creators could open up a new level in the hobby, and maybe get more people creating the art. It'll be pretty interesting to see how it all turns out.
The last few days I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out why I'm not particularly enjoying Patch 3.1 when I'm doing something besides raiding Ulduar. I should be enjoying it! When I first checked it out on the PTR, I was extremely excited about it. The Argent Tournament especially. The whole jousting deal, the Arthurian themes, the potential for story progression, the whole thing. It looked great! Unfortunately... I'm finding it pretty boring.
The Argent Tournament feels lifeless. Completely and utterly lifeless. I say it all of the time, but patch 2.4 was my favorite patch of World of Warcraft thus far, no contest. Patch 2.4 brought me more joy than even the Wrath launch. Not only did it have content for absolutely every aspect of the game, but it also actually changed the world. Storylines progressed in an in-your-face way. Sure, patch 3.1 moved the Ulduar and Yogg-Saron story forward, but would you know it if you didn't read fansites or watch the patch 3.1 cinematic? What's different? What indicator is there that something new is happening in the Storm Peaks?
Zeplar pled the case for Novos: "Insanity is really not that hard a phase, considering Novos doesn't have a tree healer messing him up. So I'll have to give this to Novos.
"Remember, though, that the really hard part about Volazj (at least before we got all epixed and stuff) was the trash guys just before him. Those things hit hard. To add to that, I think Volazj will win the vote because he's harder for players -- but if we are really considering him being against Novos, you have to remember Novos doesn't have a healer during Insanity."
Selserene tipped me off to this really cool little video. This is the Avenger trailer by Dtbn. The full movie is probably going to be released sometime in late summer, and is described by the author as being "action packed."
I love to see action-oriented machinima, and if this trailer is any kind of indication, I think Dtbn will be able to deliver. I think it does a great job of setting up quick pathos for the main character, and then conveys stylized, interesting conflict. The use of bullet-time slow-motion and dynamic framing makes the action compelling and interesting, even if we know most of the character movements are based on in-game emotes.
While it is a trailer, and not all trailers turn into full movies, I hope Dtbn follows through. It looks promising, and I'm excited for it.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
This week saw the influx of the first batch of iLevel 232 Furious Gladiator weapons into the community. They're awesome weapons and just about the most accessible iLevel 232 items in the game. Available for a mere 50,000 Honor and 1,400 Arena points, the first tier of Furious Gladiator weapons require an 1850 team and personal rating. This is a rather easy rating to obtain in the 2v2 format but slightly more difficult in 3v3 and 5v5 because of several factors including the population competing in the respective brackets.
I mentioned off-hand in last weekend's WRUP that Blizzard borked the system again, and it turns out they did -- Crygil recently announced on the forums that they are working on an in-game update that should improve the ratings system of the 3v3 and 5v5 brackets to allow players in those brackets to achieve ratings similar to what can be gained in 2v2. They are also pushing the requirement of the iLevel 239 Furious Gladiator weapons from 2200 to 2350 to prevent more mayhem because, well, it's kind of too late to take back all those iLevel 232 weapons running around now, isn't it? The good news is that Blizzard is properly rewarding the other brackets after three seasons of having 2v2 advance faster and farther in ratings. The Arena Ratings system has undergone several iterations since it was introduced so you'd have thought Blizzard fixed it somewhere along the road. Apparently they didn't.
Crygil also points out that for Season 7, Blizzard plans to revert the requirements for the highest rated Arena weapons back to 2200 but ensure that the difficulty required to get those ratings are "closer to what is intended". This means that Season 6 is just about the best season to get into Arenas because ratings come rather easily. You know how Blizzard keeps on nerfingUlduar so more people can experience it? This is the time to try out Arenas because the new progressive ratings system feels good. Just don't get used to it too much because Blizzard is going to 'tweak' the system again for Season 7.
"So, my ward, tell me what you've learned here today. Actually stay at a flag to defend after you assault it? Don't fight pointlessly in the middle of nowhere? And definitely don't follow that mage off the cliff, no matter how low his health is? Excellent. You have learned well, young Salandria. Now can you run around like a demented chicken for a while while I hide behind this bush? I'm trying to get someone close enough to mind control."
(Thanks to Yamichan of Dragonmaw, who took this pic of her defense lessons in AB.)
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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.
Jarod led the charge in the War of the Ancients, a huge battle thousands of years ago in Azeroth's past that culminated in Jarod's taking full command of the Kaldorei Resistance, a one-on-one battle with Archimonde (players have faced him, too), and eventually the collapse of the Well of Eternity. An event that led directly to, you guessed it, the creation of the Maelstrom. See how it's all coming together?
Loregy has more speculation: just like during Jarod's time, the Horde and Alliance are growing apart, and if Sargeras decides to bite back after what happened in the Burning Crusade, we'll need a leader to combine the troops. Thrall and Wrynn are each powerful leaders in their own right, but Jarod is the big daddy of generals. And if big trouble goes down in the next expansion, he could be the key to saving the world again. And the guy doesn't even have a picture on WoWWiki!
I hit level 80 after only finishing a handful of quest zones in Northrend. Since then I've been running Heroics and dabbling in Naxx raiding. But this week I decided to go back to solo questing for a bit and started the much-loved Sons of Hodir introductory quest line. Now, I see what everyone is talking about. It's a quest chain not to be missed.
While I was questing away in Icecrown, I had some guildies running Ulduar 25, others running Outland 5-mans, a few in Battlegrounds and a low level alt or two stuck in the old world. And this got me thinking, just how far are you, gentle readers, into WoW? Are you slow and steady, experiencing all it has to offer? Or are you downing Freya on your 6th level 80? Cast your vote below.
I'm a huge fan of the manga and read it avidly so I'm especially keen to find out what happens to poor old Trag. Indeed, that's possibly the best part of this preview as it shows ten pages from the Trag-centric, Knaak authored story 'Fate'. I think this just made my day. However for those needing a Bloodsail Buccanneers fix, Medievaldragon also posted some concept sketches for you to enjoy!
Oh and if you've not caught it already, don't forget to check out our interview with series editor Troy Lewter.
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.
It doesn't take keyboard gymnastics to prevent your account from getting hacked. As a new player, you're bound to be concerned - and if you do any digging at all, you're also bound to uncover a tangle of acerbic, rather arcane-sounding comments (many of them on posts right here at WoW Insider) about what operating systems, browsers and browser add-ons are most secure.
You really don't have to change your entire computer system simply to keep your WoW account safe. This week, WoW Rookie rounds up a selection of WoW Insider posts that show you how (and why) to keep your WoW account from being hacked and prevent your computer from spilling its beans to the world at large.
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."
WoWHorn tweets your achievements - Wed, 06 May 2009 17:00:00 EST This is an interesting little system -- unfortunately, it's probably a little too complicated for most people to use, but the functionality is intriguing. WoWHorn is an open source application that basically monitors your achievements on the Armory, and will Twitter about it when you earn a new one. To get it up and running, you'll need the application itself of course, and you'll probably also need Ruby installed if you don't have it yet (OS X has it already, I believe, and Linux may as well). I don't think you'll need to input your actual WoW password (the program should be able to look up your info with just your character name and realm), but you will have to punch in your Twitter credentials if you want it to tweet for you. Once you've got everything working (and you'll have to ignore the errors, I got quite a few), you should see a tweet pop up in your feed whenever you get new points ingame.
If you're a programmer type, you can read about the making of the app, and though, as I said, the app is probably a little too hacky for widespread use (it's not quite ready for primetime yet, and do you really want to run a separate application just to twitter about your achievements for you?), the functionality is the thing here. It would be cool for Blizzard to have the Armory interact officially with other networks on the Internet, either Twittering about your character or sending your profile out to Facebook.
Not that anything like that should distract them from future content, of course. But if they want free advertising, allowing their subscribers to more easily share and disseminate information about their characters won't hurt.
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.