We had a little bit of controversy in the first installment, so I'm just going to state this as baldly as possible; if you hated what I wrote last time, there's a good chance you'll walk away from this one thinking I eat babies. Delicious, delicious babies. While I never mean to offend people, I reserve the right to tell them the truth, or at the very least a highly entertaining and plausible lie.
Truth, she be at times an ugly mistress. And she ain't gettin' any prettier as we move from DPS to tanking.
Tanks have significantly more responsibility, both in groups and raids, and they face the competing directives of maximizing mitigation (to keep their healers happy) and maximizing threat production (to keep their DPS happy). I've healed dozens of Death Knight tanks at this point, and while the average pugged DK tank has gotten noticeably better, there are still a few trends you'd want to be aware of as a healer. The problems in beta right now are made worse by Blizzard unintentionally overselling the ease of tanking on a Death Knight in 5-man runs. Many people seem to have interpreted the statement that they should be able to tank well with Blood, Frost, or Unholy specs as being tantamount to saying they can tank well regardless of how their talent points are spent in those trees.
Any experienced tank can tell you right now that this is not true, but people believing that it is is how you wind up with 11K-life Death Knights taking 7-8K enraged hits from Keristasza in the Nexus. If you've never tanked before but you're interested in tanking on a Death Knight -- or pragmatic enough to know you'll probably wind up tanking a certain number of 5-mans on your DPS Death Knight -- I hope this article helps you avoid what I went through in May 2007 when I started tanking and sucked at it.
I came to the beta to slowly lose my mind trying to heal insane tank damage and gulp Extra Strength Tylenol. And I'm all out of Extra Strength Tylenol.
Ghostcrawler just recently posted some good news for both Protection and Holy Paladins. Some of them are simply a matter of convenience, but all of the changes posted were nice little buffs.
First, Righteous Defense now has an 8 second cooldown. It's 15 seconds on live realms, and was 10 seconds previously in the beta. I'm very, very glad this change was made, though it's an example of the 'slippery slope' of homogenizing classes/tanks. Paladins were the only class with a ranged taunt, but now all of the tanks have one. Righteous Defense still taunts multiple mobs, but all of the other tanks had/have AOEtaunts as well. Righteous Defense mostly lost what made it beautiful compared to the other taunts, so it really needed this buff to not look terrible. I'm glad they did it.
When is it fair for classes to share? - Tue, 07 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST Recently an interesting thing happened in the world of game design. To non-WoW players, it may seem like a minor detail, but it really shows an insight into the way that Blizzard designs their games.
Rogues have, of course, been stealthy for a long time, and when word first dropped that hunters might be getting Camouflage in Wrath of the Lich King, we were pretty excited that some element of stealth might be added to our class too. Blizzard went back and forth on this ability, first putting it in, then taking it out, then putting it in again, and finally taking it out again. In the end they decided that it was just too similar to the rogue ability, and they didn't want to blend the classes together too much. This was about the same time that they gave rogues a new ability, called Tricks of the Trade, which looks a lot like the hunter's ability, Misdirection.
To one player who asked what was up with this unfairness, Ghostcrawler spoke up and explained some of their design philosophy. She started by saying that they have 10 classes now, and they have to add more in every expansion. The "lazy-designer" way to handle this kind of situation is just to find an ability that works for one class and just give it to another. This would end up leaving the classes without enough to distinguish them all individually, and it's something they wanted to avoid.
So why was Misdirection an okay ability to share, while Stealth was not?...
While a lot of debate goes back and forth about how much damage Fury is doing in Wrath, and how fun the tree is, there's one fury talent that is unabashedly awesome in my opinion: Bloodsurge. Bloodsurge is a pure delight to use, and is a perfect example of synergy in action: the Fury tree stacking a boost to critical hit with the new Rampage (which we will also be spotlighting, never fear) which causes your Bloodthirsts to crit, which gives you an instant cast Slam with a high chance to crit as well.
It's quite possibly my favorite Fury ability (yes, even more so than Titan's Grip, which I am currently back in love with - I know you were all pulling for us crazy kids to make it) just for the fun of hearing the swoosh-bang on a BT crit. That sound means hit the slam button for extra damage! It's like getting all cherries on the slot machine, but without having to sit with all those people feeding quarters into the boxes with that desperate, hardened stare. Those folks scare me. I get the sense they'd like an instant cast slam as well, so as to easily steal my quarters.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
So - achievements. They're a pretty neat concept for casual players as well as ... well, over-achievers. Fans of the upcoming new feature have already begun setting up for various achievements, farming rep, running old-school content and collecting gear and quest completions in preparation for the expansion's launch.
Among the high achievers is <Hells Fury> of Eonar-EU. "Unlike most guilds," writes officer Nerfs in a news tip to 15 Minutes of Fame, "it is not focused on raiding or PvP. We are instead focusing on the achievements that will be released with the pre-expansion patch and the expansion itself." Pretty cool idea for a bunch of folks with mixed-up schedules and piled-on work and school responsibilities! We visited with Nerfs yesterday to see how the guild is pulling it all together - and we have to admit, this sounds like a fun new way to play as a group.
In the midst of a mostly unrelated post about the Druid Balance tree, Ghostcrawler let slip the following: "The dual-spec feature will shine more light on talent design (more on that at Blizzcon) and we'll have a better idea of what we want to do with trees when that goes live." Now I don't know about you all, but as someone who plays a healing class for a main, I am very interested in the dual spec idea. Knowing that we'll get more information on it at Blizzcon, just a few days away, makes me a happy priest indeed.
But what could she mean by the dual-spec feature shining more light on talent design? It's a slightly mysterious statement, but my interpretation is that when everybody can have two specs and switch between them either freely or at least cheaply, the load each spec needs to carry lessens. It's OK if Holy can't solo, because you can just switch to your Shadow spec for that. It's not such a big deal if Combat isn't as strong in PvP; just swap out to Assassination for the BG weekend, and swap back in time to raid. The trees no longer have to be strong in all areas of the game. But that's just guesswork on my part; GC may well have meant something else entirely.
Either way, we'll see in Anaheim this weekend, and WoW Insider will keep you posted with live reports.
Nethaera talks about supporting roleplayers - Tue, 07 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST There's a huge forum thread over on the forums right now (though it's been going for the better part of a month) about Blizzard putting in more for roleplayers -- player housing, surnames, and "a more interactive world" are all asked for, and much later in the thread, Nethaera does weigh in with a nice long statement about how Blizzard is dealing with all of this stuff. The bottom line, as always, is that there's only so many hours in the day, and Blizzard has to prioritize what gets worked on. And as of yet, neither player housing nor surnames or any of the other suggestions have made their way to the top of the list.
Which makes sense -- as many roleplayers as there are, nobody would really call them the primary audience of the game. There are definitely other games out there that are much better for defining a character. Which doesn't mean that we'll never see these things ingame -- player housing has been wanted (and promised) for a long time, and surnames are something that's common in almost every MMO but World of Warcraft. Neth just says that it's a matter of time, and that while player housing is still on the horizon, the world of Northrend will be more immersive and interactive than the rest of the game so far. Which is good news not just for roleplayers but for everyone else as well.
Blizzard has been putting off posting system requirements for Wrath of the Lich King for a while, but they've finally made a commitment, posted on the official forums. As one might expect, they're fairly forgiving given modern hardware, but they are significantly bumped from the BC requirements (which were not updated from classic WoW, aside from nominally requiring a broadband connection). Here are the minimum and recommended requirements for Wrath:
Windows XP SP3 or Vista SP1 (Windows 2000 no longer supported)
Pentium 4 1.3 GHz or AMD Athlon XP 1.5 GHz (up from 800 MHz Intel/AMD). Dual-core recommended.
RAM: 512 MB/1 GB for Vista, doubled from same as previous. 1 GB/2 GB recommended.
Video: GPU with hardware transform and lighting and 32 MB VRAM, same as before. Recommended 128 MB VRAM.
Mac OS X 10.4.11 (10.3 no longer supported)
PowerPC G5 1.6 GHz or Intel Core Duo. Big change here: G4s are no longer supported. This one actually affects me, since I do have some G4 machines hanging around the house. Intel 1.8 GHz recommended.
RAM: 1 GB, up from 512 MB. 2 GB recommended.
Video: Hardware transform and lighting, 64 MB VRAM. On the face of it, this rules out the integrated graphics found on MacBooks and Mac Minis, but there's been no official word on it yet. 128 MB VRAM recommended.
In about a week, Patch 3.0.2 will drop on our collective heads and it will be a glorious time for Paladins. Barring any unexpected nerfs from the current build, the new patch should see a new era for the class where our brethren from other trees stand shoulder to shoulder with everyone else. Massive changes to the class will mean that Retribution Paladins will not only find a spot in groups, they'll actually be sought after. Protection Paladins will not just continue to excel in AoE grinding and tanking, they'll be the Energizer bunnies of AoE, turning it into an artform. And Holy... well, Holy still has a few kinks that need to be worked out, but Paladins are still phenomenal healers with more flexibility than ever.
It is our time to shine. Each and every Paladin of every build will be viable, wanted in groups, and formidable to face in a PvP setting. Core changes to the class will make it less of a chore to micromanage and more fun and strategic to play. For many of us, Patch 3.0.2 will be sweet redemption for all those times of sticking with a class that was generally frustrating to level up with (unless you were Protection), had clunky core mechanics on short timers, and oftentimes pigeonholed into one role, later two. These days, anyone who laughs at our choice of tree, even Retribution -- especially Retribution -- will be on the receiving end of our powerfully revamped Avenging Wrath.
Not only will WoW Insider be at BlizzCon all weekend, and not only will you get a chance to meet-and-greet with us on Thursday night at The Lost Bar, but this is the first BlizzCon in the life of our podcast, the WoW Insider Show, and the show's going on the road, too. Friday night at 8pm, we're inviting you to come see us do a live recording of the show, direct from right outside the Anaheim Convention Center. Our partners at WoW Radio will be set up in the courtyard between the Convention Center and the hotel next door, and all of us will be there, doing a live recording of the podcast for you to hear and see as we do it.
And as if that wasn't enough, we've got another surprise, too: the folks from The Guild will be right there with us. Felicia Day and her cohorts will have a panel during the day, but they're spending the evening with us, so we'll talk to them about making the series, their experience with WoW, and what they think of all the craziness that's sure to be at BlizzCon. We'll have some other guests from around the community as well: both Totalbiscuit from WoW Radio and Starman from World of Warcast will be on hand to talk shop with us. And as is usual on the WoW Insider Show, we'll talk about everything going on in World of Warcraft, our most popular posts on the site, and don't be surprised if we have some good giveaways for passers-by to win as well.
It's going to be a lot of fun, and you'll get to see us make the show right there in front of your very eyes. Friday night at 8pm, come right outside the Convention Center, and look for the WoW Radio setup, because that's where we'll be. Everybody have a safe trip out to BlizzCon, and have a great time while you're out there.
On October 14th, when patch 3.0.2 descends, so does the achievement system, and with it, "Shop Smart, Shop Pet...Smart," the achievement for collecting 50 non-combat pets. The reward is of course, another non-combat pet, along with achievement points to help you feel 1337.
The Darkmoon Faire offers you the opportunity to easily and cheaply acquire three of the five frog pets in the game. While you'll have to shell out a bit of money, you might be able to make a profit in the end. For higher levels, the cost won't even be noticeable. Here is what you can acquire:
Here's an endearing little film called Flapping Feast from Tinkersmith Productions. It brings us that universally heartwarming story of a boy and his... um, chicken. Well, the chicken's a man, actually. And the boy is a middle-aged gnome named Falkireohan Tinkersmith the Second. But nonetheless! As I was saying... This film tells the tale of a gnome whose self-defense spell against a ganker goes horribly wrong and, in his guilt, Falkie tries to set things right as much as he can. The story logic is, assuredly, like a Grimm fairy tale -- the only way a man-who-thinks-he's-a-chicken can live happily ever after is if he has a pullet for a bride? -- and it has a feel to it without much of a character arc, but choosing a child to voice the 50-ish gnome and the folk-taleaccented English somehow works for me. And anyone who doesn't crack up laughing at the music which plays over the credits needs to get their funny bone examined. You may want to also view the sequel called Flapping Feast 2, but I didn't find it as charming as the original.
Welcome to Ask a Beta Tester! We're not going to waste any time today, and just jump in feet first with Jerematic's question...
Are there any other world PvP objectives, beyond Wintergrasp?
There aren't any objectives as far as things you can capture, no, not really. However, there are little PvP areas in certain zones. For example, there are PvP quests in Grizzly Hills. You take the quest, you are PvP flagged as long as you have the quest, and you have to complete it in a nearby area. In the Grizzly Hills example here, the Horde and the Alliance are duking it out in a massive logging camp that they've chased the Venture Co. away from. Have you ever wanted to ride down a river on the back of a huge log? Wrath'll do it for ya.
Chalios asked... I'm a prot pally and I was wondering that since Blessings of Kings is going to be 2% stat increase base with an extra 8% on the improved version, will Greater Blessings of Kings start off with 2% as well at base and scale with the improved version or will it still be 10% and provide me with an extra 4 talent points?
The Greater Blessing will work the same way regular ol' Blessing of Kings works in Wrath. 2% per talent point. You don't get to skip out on spending 4 talent points.
"Maelstrom Weapon -- We have a concern that the proc per minute frequency is too often. According to our numbers, it's balanced for a two-handed weapon and a bit generous for a dual-wielder. However, this would be a nerf to Enhancement dps overall that we'd have to make up elsewhere, and it seems to be a fun change shamans are enjoying. So we're going to let this ride for now. It's something to keep an eye on, but we aren't going to change it yet. "
For the complete post in case you can't get to the forums, hurtle across the dark void with me now! Hurtle!
See, this is the problem with being in the beta. You do all the new content early, then the slate gets wiped clean at release and you're stuck redoing all the same quests for real in live. Virulina, guild leader of <Avatar> on Doomhammer, has apparently decided to skip live entirely. She finished with everything she wanted to see in Wrath during beta, and has now staked out the position of first in line for a possible Emerald Dream expansion. The queue starts behind the big, angry dragon! Any takers?
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.
A month until the election, and over a month until Wrath ... what can we do to pass the time, other than play Oblivion yet again? How about a Caption This! contest?
The last contest, featuring the running of the zombies, was won in a landslide by Roahne, with "Red rover, red rover, send -- OH MY GOD!" Sladedarkonis won the runner-up prize with "Jeez, multi-boxing has gotten really out of hand."
Here's how the story goes: I post a picture during Tuesday maintenance. You write a humorous caption for this picture by Friday, October 10 at 11:59 PM EST. It could be a funny description of the situation or a quote that you imagine the characters in the screenshot saying. Examples of previous winners can be found here, here and here. Leave your captions in a comment on this post, and keep it clean -- if Blizzard would warn you for saying it in-game, don't enter it in the contest. During the weekend, I e-mail the post to our list, members of the WoW Insider team respond with their favorites, and ten (or so) of those favorites will be chosen for the final vote. On Tuesday morning, we put the top choices up for a public vote in a new post. Voting ends Wednesday, October 15 at 11:59 PM EST. After the voting, we notify the winners. If they respond to our e-mail and confirm that they're eligible to win, we mail out their prizes.
Let's show the people our fabulous prizes! First place winner gets a 60-day game card, worth approximately $30. And the second-place winner will get his choice of a Legendary Thread or Less QQ More Pew Pew t-shirt from J!NX, worth about $20.
However, to win you have to be eligible -- and to be eligible, you have to be a U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian resident at least 13 years of age. Sorry, EU, Oceanic and other readers, but legal restrictions make it impossible to include everyone. The official rules for the contest can be found here. Read them or get nerfed!
This picture, featuring three gnomes and a basket, comes from the official WoW screenshot archives. A larger version can be found here. Good luck!
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft. This week's round up will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on the site from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed.
Blizzard awarded large payout in 'WoW Glider' case The BBC is reporting that the WoW Glider case (MDY vs. Blizzard) is moving closer to resolution. If you'll recall, the court found in favor of Blizzard Entertainnment back in July, awarding them victory in their long-running feud with 'botting' software. WoW Glider is the best known 'bot software packages, allowing World of Warcraft players to automate their AFK play.
Pain vest is compatible with World of Warcraft If you've ever felt like you've experienced everything there is to do in World of Warcraft, and you're looking for something more, we may have the solution. The 3rd Space Vest from TN Games is a game accessory that players wear to let them feel damage as their characters receive hits.
The Best of Massively: Our top 5 weirdest news stories We're still counting down to Massively's first birthday by compiling the best and most entertaining coverage we've done. So far we've listed our most important interviews and our most helpful guides. This time around, we're looking back at the top five strangest, weirdest and sometimes-raciest news stories we've covered since we launched last November.
MMOGology: I lost a friend to WAR Last week I wrote about Blizzard's Recruit-a-Friend program and my experience leveling through World of Warcraft with triple XP. The Recruit-a-Friend program is a seemingly brilliant strategy on Blizzard's part. In addition to recruiting new players, it also serves as way of keeping existing players ...
If you're going to BlizzCon, you don't have to wait for Echoes of Doom to come out to get a head start on racking up achievements, at least according to the playful commentary going on in the forums right now. Here's a taste of some of the humorous achievements they've suggested you can earn at BlizzCon.
I Have No Use for This - Try to sell a piece of junk to any vendor at BlizzCon
Ruler of BlizzCon - Survived both days of BlizzCon without sleeping, eating, and showering (Blue poster Bashiok begs you not to attempt this one)
Savior of the Public - Brought enough soap for yourself and at least 1 other person (takes achievement away from Ruler of BlizzCon)
I put on pants for this! - Worry about the fact that you're missing a raid with your guild
Defender of the Throne - Order a greasy, overpriced hamburger from the convention center floor and spend at least 2 hours on the john
Everyone's Best Friend - Buy a round of drinks for the Blues
The Not-So Magic Kingdom - Go to Disneyland in Warcraft apparel
I Want My Mommy - Utter the phrase "Don't tase me Bro!" as security comes for you
While we wait for BlizzCon , there's still plenty more news to report on Wrath of the Lich King and the World of Warcraft in general, and considering that WoW's down for maintenance from 5 AM to 11 AM PDT today, you'll have time to read it, right? You can start browsing using the links at right, or check out our roundup of the biggest and most interesting news from the past few days below: