Despite the extensive problems and human violations rights perpetuated by the Chinese government, some in service of the Olympic games themselves, most of the world seems to content to settle in and watch the Beijing Olympics one way or another. Apparently, that attitude has spread to Blizzard itself.
Currently on the European and Chinese servers, there are NPCs at each major Battlemaster area in the capital cities who proclaim that Battlegrounds are hosting some type of "Spirit of Competition."
For simply participating in a battleground, you are sent a Competitor's Tabard, which features 4 multi-colored rings on a white background, a clear reference to the Olympics itself. If you win a battleground during this time period, you may also have a chance at receiving a gold medal which summons a spirit of competition, which looks like a small Chinese dragon according to tipster Ichthallus.
This competition does not appear to be live on the US Servers, nor has anyone from Blizzard spoken up to reveal if it ever will be as of this writing. We'll have to watch and see what happens. As Blizzard does not appear to be an official Olympic partner, there is some concern from some quarters that this could simply be a copyright issue. It's also possible that this was meant to be a Chinese servers only event, and it only accidentally got onto the EU servers.
Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week (except for last week, sorry guys!) Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!
Nozdormu is the fifth and final dragon aspect, since the filthy Netherwing aspect doesn't count! Silly mutant spawn of Deathwing, thinking they're special or something. Anyhow, Nozdormu the Timeless is the aspect of the Bronze Dragonflight, and was given his power by the titan lord Aman'Thul. Nozdormu has power over time and can, technically, alter it to his whims. Though he's capable of doing such, he is meant to watch over the timeline and prevent it from being altered by outside forces.
Nozdormu, more or less, oversees the Caverns of Time. Or rather, he has in the past. Currently Nozdormu is preoccupied with some uberpowerful anomaly in the timeline, and has left his prime consort Soridormi in charge. You would think the Timeless One would have all the time in the world to get things done, but his history in Warcraft thus far says otherwise.
Git along, li'l dogies - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST Time for a little WoW blog roundup, cowpokes! Whoopie-ti-yi-yo!
Making gold with second account | Full Time WoW Addict With Blizzard's new refer-a-friend incentive, you might be thinking about opening a second account to get those XP benefits. Even better, Examino at Full Time WoW Addict shows you how to earn your raiding gold with some light multiboxing. No Wrath spoilers!
Spellpower and You: Gearing in WotLK | Banana Shoulders Siha at Banana Shoulders (best blog name ever!) compares theories to practice in Wrath's current Paladin spellpower changes.
A while back, class designer Koraa told Warlocks that their pets would be getting their master's hit percentage. Today, he confirmed the same for Hunter pets. This should definitely be a godsend for raid level DPSers of both classes. Conventional wisdom is that reaching your personal hit cap is pretty much the single best way to increase your personal DPS total, and being able to do the same for pets should only provide a noticable increase to DPS, as well as keep any special buffs or debuffs said pets apply coming in with a minimum of interruption.
Unfortunately, something else Koraa said on the same post is a little less exciting -- resilience is nowhere on the table for being shared. They believe that they currently have the right amount of survivability for pets. In a group situation, you or your group should be healing the pet, and in Arena play, any time spent killing the pet provides a benefit in the form "crowd control" while the DPS is focus firing your pet.
Unfortunately, as the player of a level 70 Hunter and Warlock who have both seen extensive 2v2 Arena play, I'm not sure it's that simple.
Which means if you want to see Naxx in its 40 man version, do it now -- I believe, as I said way back when we first heard about this, that this is the first time Blizzard has removed major content from the game completely (though it's certainly not the first time they've removed something, poor Captain Placeholder). This, of course, also leaves up in the air what's going to happen to all the items around Naxx -- what about Atiesh? Not to mention lore -- we hear that the fact that a group of players beat KT and took his phylactery and returned it to the Argent Dawn is mentioned in the expansion already -- but how did that happen if the dungeon won't be there any more?
Blizzard will probably clean it all up, and I'm sure that out of game, it'll make enough sense. But it's a shame to officially hear that 40 man Naxxaramas as we know it, the jewel of patch 1.11, will soon be gone forever.
As Blizzard's front page has noted, the realm levels page has been updated with all of the Northrend zones and the levels that we'll be going through them. There are ten Northrend zones in total, which you'd think would equate to one level per zone, but of course that's not the case -- as with Burning Crusade, there's a lot of overlap, so it looks like not only will many players be reaching 80 before seeing everything, but you may even have to run the zones twice to get the entire Northrend experience.
And it's interesting to see that Lake Wintergrasp is so [redacted!]. Wait, what? You don't want to know which levels match up with which zones in Wrath of the Lich King? Just in case you think this list is a spoiler, we've gone ahead and thrown it, uncensored, after the break. Read on for where you'll be when.
Totem Talk's Matthew Rossi is in the beta now, and has been playing his shaman around the Howling Fjord as much as he could get away with. Today he'll be talking about his experiences with the quests, the drops, and the mobs leading up to Utgarde Keep.
It's kind of a precarious situation to discuss things like this. On the one hand I'm sensitive to the idea of spoiling content for people who want to experience it firsthand, and on the other I am also sensitive to the demands of those who want to know what's coming. The easiest way to deal with it is to load up on spoiler warnings (and in this case, not much I talk about in this column will be a spoiler, it's all things that have been revealed in other places) and to post behind the jump, which for the most part will be the tactics employed here.
First, however, let me say this much: I have seen my character, a shaman with Kara/T4 quality mail, take a large jump in his DPS. His attack power is up by an easy 300 points. If you are a shaman who has collecting what we used to call 'hunter mail' you will see a serious reward for equipping it in Northrend. The chestplate in the screenshot is what I'm wearing now: on live it grants 88 AP. On test, it's granting 156 AP, since I have the talent that converts int to AP. Clearly (and yes, I'm aware it's an unfair comparison, as that quest reward is leather) you're not going to be dumping your epics for the first quest rewards you come across.
He openly acknowledges the impact of the Xbox 360 and Steam platform's achievements systems, and says that Blizzard even found themselves calling the rewards "achievements," just because the idea was so well established. But they're trying to do things differently as well: whenever they can they'll offer a progress bar, and give players access to many of the stats they have, so it'll be easy to track just where you're at in the process of earning the points.
Kaplan also says that the UI team is working on completely opening up the system to mods as well, so expect to see some wild achievement addons when the mod community gets their hands on it. We do still have one more question, though: just what kinds of rewards will all these achievement points be used for? Kaplan, if you're still up for talking, feel free to chat with us.
I'm moving this weekend, and packing and cleaning all week, so this week's episode is a short one!
When I first heard that Blizzard announced the Recruit-a-Friend program was going to be giving zhevra mounts as incentive, I must say that I heaved a very audible groan. You see, we've already referred all the friends we can talk into playing, the last of which we drug into our mad little World (of Warcraft) not even a month ago.
So, after reading through all the things being offered as referral incentive, my significant other decided to make the suggestion that I start a new account so that he can have a zhevra mount. My response was something very similar to what you see when you click the banner. That and I had to torture the target of what I consider to be one of the most annoying quests ever. Two hours for four hooves is crazy, and I am apparently that unlucky!
Zandalari on Moon Guard hosting a Story Circle tonight - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 14:20:00 EST Here's another player-run RP event that looks like a lot of fun -- the Zandalari, a 'tribe' (read: guild) on the Moon Guard server apparently hosts a weekly "story circle," in which they sit around and tell stories of all kinds. As usual, I remain not so into RP, but I am very much into storytelling and fun player-run events, and this evening sounds like a good time, especially if you just sit and listen (or read, as the case may be).
If you'd like to go, it'll be at the Grom'gol base camp in Stranglethorn (so it's Horde only, but you can roll an alt and fly from Orgrimmar) over on Moon Guard this evening (and every Thursday) at 8pm server. And I'm sure I don't have to say this, but if you do go, be sure to be respectful, or they'll definitely whip out the ignore stick on you, or worse -- it's an RP server, so no monkey business.
And be sure to take lots of pics and send them to us if you like -- we always love hearing about creative player-run events on the servers.
A company called 3 Point Entertainment has apparently been contracted by Blizzard to make some WoW steins -- yes, tired of drinking your ale out of a plain old authentic German stein? Now you can drink it out of a Warcraft-branded, Horde or Alliance themed WoW stein. As much beer as we drink, we can't exactly say we're stein connesseurs, but these look pretty well done to us. Each one features a bas-relief illustration from two artists who've done a lot of work for Blizzard, Glenn Rane and Samwise Didier, and they're made by a company called Ceramarte, apparently a big player in the "beerware" business.
They'll set you back a whopping $79.99, though, which seems pricey (although it's been a long time since we went stein shopping, so maybe that's a bargain). Think we could drink our mead out of something a little cheaper, maybe a Thunderbrew-branded sippy cup?
A couple of days ago, it was with a little good fortune and a lot of soul-selling by WoW Insider lead Elizabeth Harper that I finally got my grubby little hands on a precious Beta key. Over 2 Gigabytes worth of installer and patches later, I found myself creating a Death Knight. It is a fair certainty that every player who upgrades to the Wrath of the Lich King will create one. In fact, after playing the class for just a short time, I have to say that every single player should. The Death Knight starting experience is the single most immersive role-playing experience in the game.
Don't get me wrong. I'm not too big on role-playing. I mostly skip quest flavor text and go directly to the objectives. But the Death Knight starting experience -- it's really called that -- is just game design at its finest. Blizzard mentioned that one design flaw in The Burning Crusade was not making Illidan's presence felt early on in the Outlands. In fact, aside from the raiders who managed to set foot in the 25-man raids, a large number of the player base never got to see the bad guys driving the story of The Burning Crusade. Well... when you play a Death Knight, you won't just feel the lore, it punches you in the face and knocks you off your feet the moment you log into the game for the first time.
You're going to have to keep an open mind for this next video, Piece of Me. It may be based on a Britney Spears song, but it's really well done. I know that you might want to pass up on it just for the music, the same way I do with Linkin Park videos, but hear me out.
The machinimator, Demachic, is a 13 year old girl from Ireland, and this is her first machinima! She managed to do better than some people on their tenth work, so it's surprising that it wasn't spotlighted on Warcraftmovies. She modeled it to look like the original music video, but it's not an exact replica. While I normally hate on excessive varying transitions, her use of them only enhances the video. I'm eager to see what song she machinimates next!
It's 11AM... do you know where your beta testers are? Right here, answering your questions, of course! We're exploring the Wrath of the Lich King beta so you don't have to. Just leave us your questions in the comments and we'll track down the answers and report back! But, really, will you ever run out of Death Knight questions? There's an office pool going and I'm starting to worry... tal* asked....
Will school specific spell power increase healing? I have Drape of the Righteous from Kara, which only increases holy damage right now. Will it increase healing done by holy spells in Wrath?
I have one of those too! And, no, it does not increase healing in Wrath -- school-specific spell power seems to be damage-only.
Wow, the standards for Azerothian holy water have gotten pretty low. This spring in Stranglethorn Vale, the source of the Holy Spring Water, is grossly contaminated with skeletal remains. (It's easier to see in the larger version.) But when you consider that all the other water sources in Azeroth are full of murlocs, naga, makrura, and other humanoid races that have not yet evolved to the point of building lavatories, a skeleton in the water is probably the least of your worries. (Thanks to Mcfunk of Dunemaul for the screenshot!)
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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets (even though you can tell this shot is at sunset.)
Check this out human! Griftah be takin' over dis post today.
Ya know what ya be needin'? One of these necklaces right outta the ruins of Zul'Aman. But ya don't want to be riskin' yerself in a dungeon, do ya? Nah, I show ya how to make one of the most marvelous amulets right here! Here is what you will need:
Breakfast Topic: Missed that one - Thu, 07 Aug 2008 08:00:00 EST I was surprised to find out, as I'm sure you will be also, that our own Zach Yonzon admits he has never actually run Deadmines at the level it's meant for -- he's always run it afterwards, to pick up gear for twinks or just to grind for lowbie stuff. Which means he's never felt the magic of getting stunned by Smite, or really pushed to take that Goblin Shredder down. A real shame, if you ask me.
And it got me thinking: what instances have you missed out on at the level? At first I thought I didn't miss any -- I love running instances, and whenever I hit the right level, I usually run to them as fast as I can. But after looking through the list, I realized that I've basically missed out on Dire Maul -- I've only run the instance a few times, and then only for quests like the Mage water quest and the Warlock mount quest. I've never once run the DM Tribute -- I know, also a real shame.
So be honest -- what instances have you missed out on at the level? And why did you miss them -- did you just not need anything from there (including possibly XP), or did you never have a group to run them with? And have you ever gone back, or leveled up an alt to make up for lost instance runs? I'll definitely have to do something about that Dire Maul Tribute -- I wonder if I could run it solo with my 70 Hunter...
That was odd. I felt a great disturbance in the Force, as if millions of hunters suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced. I fear something terrible has happened.
It was inevitable, it had to happen.Someday, the legendary bow, Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury would be handed over to a Rogue.It so happens this fantastic weapon dropped to the Vicarious guild of Area 52.Analogkid was awarded the bow in the company of two Hunters.Needless to say the Hunters are upset, and the post brought about an outcry from many posters along with a considerable amount of drama.Many believe that this bow belongs in the hands of Hunters, regardless of the situation.
Imagine getting ganked in Stranglethorn on that baby. Our friends at BigDownload (home of all things PC gaming) have discovered a ginormous computer screen, supposedly installed at a government office, used to play -- what else? -- the best PC game around, our own World of Warcraft. The monstrosity consists of twenty seven different 67" monitors all tied up into one PC. Unfortunately, as you can see (click the pic above for the whole thing), it's a little warped, considering that the display has a resolution of 12600 x 3150 -- not exactly a standard even for the very compatible Blizzard.
But it is pretty awesome to see -- we only "wish" they'd taken some gameplay footage or other pictures so we could see this thing in action. And just what kind of rig is powering all of that? It'd be hilarious if the government splurged on the monitors but skimped on the RAM, leaving a gigantic display skipping along at a low frame rate.
Update: Our crack WoW Insider Photoshop judges (one of whom has "government" experience) are calling this 'shopped. Not that you'll ever have a monitor like this, so it probably makes no difference to you, but take the pic with the usual grain of salt.
Blizzard has been rather vocal in the community lately, a nice change from the long bouts of silence that usually echoes in the official forums. In the Wrath of the Lich King forums, particularly, Blizzard has been wonderfully candid. One blue response addressed the apparent "bloat" in the new talent trees, a sentiment I've heard more than a few times, including from our readers.
Koraa says that bloat is another term for "I can't have everything I want" and that Blizzard actually intends to make every class tree feel a little "bloated", forcing players to make tough yet interesting decisions regarding the talents they take and, ultimately, the talents they sacrifice. I said as much in a response to one reader, noting that talents look so good now that it's hard to ignore a lot of them.
This is actually a good thing. This allows for creative gameplay and diversity in builds... although of course, with millions of players looking to min/max, I have no doubt that there will eventually be cookie-cutter specs. If anything, it might be what Blizzard is trying to avoid. It would indeed be refreshing to see a little less homogeniety in viable specs in the game. Looking at the Wrath talent trees, do you think that they're bloated? Are there too many good talents to pass up on? In this case, I think, a little bloat is perfectly fine.