Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
The Oracles have some nice stuff for hunters, the least of which is a pretty trinket, the Oracle Talisman of Ablution. But there's more to the Oralces than loot and a cool hipster named Lafoo. (Don't mention Moodle to us; he's a cad and very ungentlemanly.)
You are invited to download the full-sized version (82MB) of this movie here.
As always, a great big Thank You to the WoW Insider editors for allowing us to publish this movie both here and on our little blog at the same time!
Nobody covers raid Hunters like BRK. Looking for more Hunter goodness? Check out our non-raid Hunter column, Scattered Shots or the WoW Insider Directory of Hunter Guides.
Although I haven't experienced it so much myself recently (fingers crossed), many players have been complaining about high latency both in Northrend and in the various Northrend raids (especially the Heroic versions). I have had Grizzly Hills especially (for some reason) get so bad with the lag spikes that I just logged off for an hour, but that was back in the first few weeks of Wrath.
Apparently, the outdoor Northrend lag has been caused by Wintergrasp battles. There is a "server-side fix" (which I read as hot fix) in testing on internal realms at Blizzard, and Eyonix tells us that they hope to be able to patch up the live realms "in the near future" (which I hope is sooner than "Soon[TM]").
As for Naxxramas, we are informed that there are optimizations in the pipe for it, and that those will be coming in 3.0.8 (which I personally predict for next Tuesday). These optimizations will, allegedly, help both latency and disconnects. Are disconnects a big problem in Naxx? I'm not sure I've seen any.
Winds of the North achievement getting fixed - Thu, 08 Jan 2009 17:00:00 EST When you log in the day after patch 3.0.8 goes live, odds are that if you've hit 80, you'll be picking up a relatively free achievement. Winds of the North is an achievement that's been more or less impossible to get since Wrath was released -- it requires you to get Exalted with all three of the "starter" reputations for your faction, depending on whether you're Horde or Alliance. But while it's relatively easy to get Exalted with the overall reputaiton for your faction (Horde Expedition or Alliance Vanguard), it's very tough to get Exalted with the reputations within that faction (Explorer's League, Valiance Expedition, Frostborn and the Silver Covenant for the Alliance, and Hand of Vengeance, Taunka, Warsong Offensive and the Sunreavers for the Horde -- whew). There are almost no daily quests for any of those factions, and even just doing all of the quests is designed to get you Exalted with the major faction, not the minor ones.
Patch 3.0.8 will fix this, and only require you to get Exalted with the overall faction. Which you probably already are, since if you don't wear a Champion tabard during the endgame instances, you'll instead earn rep with the starter reputation for your faction. (Not to mention that even before you get there, the mini-factions all add up to the major faction, so if you get Revered with two of the mini-factions, you'll be Exalted with the overall faction.) Got all that? In short, Blizzard built an achievement into the game without realizing how hard it really was to get. And in the next patch, they're going to change it so that even if you haven't been paying attentention, you've probably already gotten it. So enjoy the free points.
Garrosh is a PvE EST based US realm. It's been placed in the Emberstorm battlegroup.
Blizzard's announcement lists next Wednesday, January 14th, at 6:00 p.m. PST as the cutoff date for the transfers. However they will close the transfers early if they meet their internal quotas. Transfer early and transfer often. You can begin the transfers via your account management page at worldofwarcraft.com.
The complete list of eligible transfer realms after the break
Healing Way: Now only one application is required to reach full benefit. No longer stacks.
Improved Water Shield: Lesser Healing Wave now has a reduced chance to trigger this talent.
Magma Totem: The damage and scaling has been increased and no longer generates threat.
Mental Quickness and Static Shock have switched positions in the talent tree.
Mental Quickness: Reduces the mana cost of instant cast Shaman spells by 2/4/6% and increases spell power by an amount equal to 10/20/30% of your attack power.
Searing Totem (Rank 4) now does the proper damage for its rank.
Tremor Totem's duration has been increased from 2 minutes to 5 minutes.
The changes to Fire Nova and Magma Totem are aimed at shaman AoE issues: it seems the Blizzard designers are really set on shaman AoE coming from totems or Chain Lightning. While I'm still not sold on losing either Flametongue or Totem of Wrath just to do some AoE, hopefully the removal of threat on these totems will help.
The Imp WS change keeps you from using up a charge on a relatively low mana cost LHW, which I can see even if I won't be happy if I have no mana left and am using LHW because it's the only healing spell I have the mana for. The change to Healing Way is probably due to the fact that a lot of resto shamans don't bother to take it anymore since they have a more varied spell rotation with Riptide and Chain Heal still the standouts. I honestly don't know if this change will really accomplish much: it may encourage people to put a Healing Wave into the rotation just to keep the buff up, but if you're doing 90% of your healing with riptide and CH anyway, you may just not bother and keep not spending the talent points on it.
The many uses of Shadowmeld - Thu, 08 Jan 2009 15:00:00 EST Phaelia's got a guest blogger over at Resto4Life who's extolling the many virtues of Shadowmeld, definitely one of the more OP of the racial bonuses after the big change with the Wrath release. Previously, the spell could only be used out of combat, which made it very useful for, umm... hiding while AFK? But with the change of letting you use it in combat as a temporary threat wipe, the skill really opened up to be extremely useful for all sorts of things. If you're a Night Elf and you don't have Shadowmeld on your action bars, it's time to put it back.
Flipping on Shadowmeld has its disadvantages (almost any action takes you out of stealth and puts you back into combat), but if you need to duck out of combat for a quick drink or a quick change of gear, you can do it. And it can easily buy you some extra time to summon a mount or get away from trouble if you happen to be in PvP outside. And while it's not quite as powerful as Vanish, you can even use it in the Arenas to drop out of combat (hidden, as when you start drinking you'll lose your stealth), and grab a few seconds of drinking before you get brought back into the fight.
None of these uses are exactly gamebreaking -- the Shadowmeld action is pretty fragile, so you're going to have to be fast if you want to put that second or half second of dropping out of combat to good use. But when time is short and you've got to use every little ability you have, it's important to have Shadowmeld around. Ducking out of combat for just a moment might be just the boost you need.
At any rate, this will likely be just a bump in the road -- Activision is poised to become (if they haven't already) the biggest publisher in the game, and as you can see from this graph on their website, the stock is already back up above $9. We don't know what the reason is for this quick drop, but everything else we've seen points to a bright future for Activision-Blizzard.
I have a few alts on Sisters of Elune and occasionally browse their realm forums for news. I'm glad I did last night, because I ran across a thread that was surprisingly absorbing. You may remember a few articles we ran way back during Wrath's beta about the Dalaran fountain and the coins you can fish up there. They're brilliant, albeit tiny, little insights into the lore concerning classic characters in Warcraft, and incidentally they're also the subject of their own achievement.
The forum thread in question is about the coins your character would toss into the wishing fountain during or after their tenure in Wrath. Sisters of Elune is an RP realm, so naturally people came up with a lot of funny, poignant, and elegantly minimalist coins that reflected their character's history or possible future. The whole thread's great, but I particularly liked these:
The holiday season is behind us, and we're pretty much done with the holiday movie extravaganza. However, I wanted to take one last moment and enjoy a beautiful piece by Legs, titled "A very northrend christmas: Out in the cold." I'm not sure how we missed it before now, but I didn't want to let it be ignored this year.
The music is gorgeous, of course. Compared to the more hard rock Christmas videos, Legs's piece really brings out the beauty and elegance of the holiday season. I like the way the young Orc child stares around with wonder, and the serenity displayed by the Blood Elf angel. The music is suitably haunting and harmonious, synching very well with the crystalline imagery of the video.
This is the last of the holiday videos for this season. But, like I said, I wanted to make sure Legs got her due, considering the beauty of this piece. Click here to see it yourself!
Dear readers, I come to you with a humble request: Sate my curiosity. Those of you who have leveled high enough to reach Sholazar Basin, which of the two factions did you choose? The Oracles or the Frenzyheart?
I know for sure that there will be more Oracles than Frenzyheart out there, the gorlocs are just much more tolerable than the softknuckle jabbing bastards, and their Mysterious Egg is far cooler than anything the wolvar offer. What I'm interested in seeing is just how big that rift is right now. Of course, our readership here isn't indicative of the entire playerbase, but I think the numbers will be interesting regardless.
So which is it for you? The big-tongues or the puppymen? What made you decide to pick who you did?
This is all your fault. You promised to help out the Shattered Sun Offensive. You worked tirelessly for them for months, putting in hours a day, to the point where they exalted you and proclaimed you one of them. Then one cold fall day, you went away and never came back. Of course, without your help, Kael'thas immediately managed to summon Kil'jaeden, and they've been destroying the Isle of Quel'danas for the past few months. But you won't notice, will you? Not until the Burning Legion sweeps down on Silvermoon City and interrupts business at your precious Auction House. You disgust me.
Actually, Empwolf of Elune snapped a bunch of shots of a completely empty Quel'danas -- no NPCs, no mobs, no players -- just after a server reset yesterday morning. The whole abandoned-city motif makes me really hope my copy of Fallout 3 arrives soon.
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. 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.
Every week The Overachiever gives advice, walkthroughs and guides on completing your latest Achievement obssession.
Welcome to the inaugural edition of The Overachiever. We're here to help you to finish off the Achievements on your list. And, apparently talk about ourselves in the third person. We're crazy like that.
Today's column covers the Howling Fjord quest achievement "I've Toured the Fjord" and will help you find those last missing quests to rack up the 130 (Alliance) or 105 (Horde) needed. This is one of the prerequisites for the Loremaster of Northrend Achievement (A/H) which itself is a prereq for uber-Achievement The Loremaster (A/H) which grants a title (you guessed it, "Loremaster") and a spiffy tabard with a quest exclamation on it.
You should know that there is no way to tell what quests you have completed in a zone and which one's you haven't. You can only open your Achievements window (Y key) and see how many you've done. Most likely you have hit all the quest hubs for your faction and are just a few shy of earning the Achievement. Or maybe you've completed all you can find, but are clearly missing some major cluster of quests. Here's what to do.
My girlfriend doesn't play WoW. However she probably knows more about it than most people. She's been there when I hoot and holler over vent when I've defeated hard bosses like Kale'thas. And she's listened to me whine and complain about how I think everyone on the internet hates me (I'm kidding of course, it's only Retribution Paladins and Death Knights who hate me, or maybe it was Protection Warriors and Elemental Shamans, I can never remember).
I was doing a bit of research tonight for upcoming articles about patch 3.0.8, and I came across some more changes to clams. Yes you read that right, clams. The little things you get after killing every damn murloc and sea creature.
This topic deserves an article for a few reasons. First, let's take a look at all the changes to clams since 3.0.2:
Clams are now stackable in stacks of 20. (Patch 3.0.2)
Players can now open clams while riding a vehicle, sitting, mounted, stealthed, and invisible. (Patch 3.0.8)
I look at this and think to myself "Some at Blizzard spent time thinking about different conditions that clams needed to be opened up in, wrote out a list, discussed it with someone, and then implemented the changes."
And further, someone said "Clams take up too much bag space, let's let them be stacked together."
Authenticators back in stock - Wed, 07 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST For those of you who have been patiently waiting, trying to catch them in stock - good news! The Blizzard store is currently showing that there are authenticators back in stock for your ordering pleasure. As if that weren't awesome enough, it's not just the United States authenticators that are available and ready for purchase. It seems Blizzard has stocked up across the board as they're showing that the authenticator is available for Canada/Australia/Latin America/New Zealand, Europe and Korea as well. Let's hope this is the beginning of a trend where they're available everywhere more often.
That said, your guess is as good as ours as to how long the current stock might last. (Read: probably not long if history is any indication.) So if you forgot to pick up a present for that WoW player in your life and are looking for a way out of the post-holiday doghouse (or just need one for yourself) head on over to the Blizzard store and get your authenticator ordered - quickly.
Update: Looks like the Canadian ones are gone as of 7:26 PM.
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.
You're madly in love with your new character. You've polished off the early zones and boast a couple of handfuls of talent points. Your professions are coming along nicely, and you've been spending a little time poking around on various WoW web sites to learn more about your class and the game. Yet you're still feeling a little insecure around other players. Shouldn't you be running instances with groups by now? How are you supposed to know what to do?
If groping towards grouping leaves you feeling a little intimidated - we've got your back. How to get into a group, what to do once you're in one, and how to conduct yourself (and what to expect from others) to make lasting friends who'll want to group up again and again ... after the break.
Miners will now only hit the node once to get all the ore and associated loot.
This change might seem mundane but it actually carries some significant weight. Farmers regularly fly or run around zones, stopping at every node they see. Under the current system most nodes required between two and four hits to extract all the ore, sometimes even more for the rich nodes. An ore farmer would spend a portion of his time ensuring the mobs were cleared around the node enough so that he would be able to hit it multiple times, and then actually spend the minute sitting on the node farming it.
With the one hit method that is now being implemented in 3.0.8, the process becomes significantly easier. Point, click, wait a second, fly off to the other destination, profit. There's no "???" in there, just a pure and easy way to make money.
Tips for Strand of the Ancients and how to win it - Wed, 07 Jan 2009 16:00:00 EST Eye for an Eye has a great set of tips up for the Strand of the Ancients battleground. Their tips are aimed towards Ret Pallies, but they're useful for almost anyone, and especially any melee-based classes. And the general idea -- focus on the relic and getting to it, not the players attacking you or other teammates -- is great for anyone to know.
I don't know what it is about Strand and Wintergrasp that has pulled new players into PvP, but there's something new there -- DanO also has found himself PvPing in those places when he never guessed he would. It seems like the objective is a big part of it; the goals in Strand and Wintergrasp just seem more epic than the skirmishes in Warsong and Arathi Basin (and they come with none of the major issues in Alterac Valley).
Still, while most of the tips are common sense, some of them are worth listening to if you haven't though of them yet (I liked the tip about sniffing out Rogues around the tanks -- whenever I've played Strand, I've always headed for the walls, but protecting the tanks is a great tactic, too). If you haven't tried either of the new PvP areas yet, give them a look, and bring these tips along with you.
The value of questing after level 80 - Wed, 07 Jan 2009 15:01:00 EST I'm always amazed when people hit 80 and then start wondering how to make gold. Sure, there are all kinds of money tricks floating around (playing the AH is always fun, and everyone has their own tips they've picked up), but quite frankly, the easiest and most reliable way to pick up a ton of money at level 80 is just to do what you've been doing: go quest. Blizzard has made it so that there's no way you've hit all the quests in Northrend when you've reached the highest level, so odds are that you've got at least one (if not two or three) untouched zones of quests to do. And as folks have discovered on the forums, there's a ton of money to be made there.
Given that after level 80, experience turns into gold, the return on time invested with leftover questing is awesome. You can pick up over three thousand gold easily just by clearing out the zones you haven't hit hard, and by vendoring off the quest rewards that you get for completing the quests, you can pick up even more. Sure, some folks will have AH schemes that will bring in more money, but Blizzard has done their darndest to make sure there's money in them there questgivers, so if you're slouching around at 80 wondering what to do, go finish up your quests.
And of course if you really have finished up all of the quests in the game (and seen all the amazing storylines and character development that go along with doing so), then there's always daily quests to work on. While they won't pay out quite as much as one-time quests, when you break down the time you invest versus the gold you get out of it, they're often the best way to cash in your playtime as well.