As an addendum to the recent Arena system FAQ posted on the forums, Kalgan addresses several concerns about the gear, the system, and questions of skill vs. gear. In a very forthcoming and transparent post, Kalgan admits that Blizzard "botched the ilvls" of the current Deadly Gladiator weapons by making them a full tier below the items from Kel'thuzad in heroic Naxxramas. At the time they designed them, Blizzard didn't account for how easily accessible Kel'thuzad would be.
He promises they won't make the same mistake in Season 6, and that the new Furious Gladiator weapons would be equivalent to the items in Ulduar. Kalgan explains that the aim is to balance the accessibility of the items so that the number of raiders who have access to the best raid weapons is roughly the same as the number of Arena players with access to the best PvP weapons. He even goes so far as to say that Blizzard will make two tiers of PvP weapons if necessary. This might have been in the original plan as Hateful Gladiator weapons are in the game files but not available in the game.
A plea for Divine Plea - Sun, 08 Feb 2009 20:00:00 EST Blizzard is going to swing the nerf bat and it's going to hit Divine Plea. With the intended changes to mana regeneration mechanics in Patch 3.1, where Spirit will be nerfed to curb mana replenishment in raid scenarios, Paladins stand to be unfazed. Spirit isn't a useful stat for Paladins, so Blizzard is looking into raising the healing penalty that comes with Divine Plea, a spell intended to help Protection and Retribution Paladins recover mana. Even with the 20% healing penalty, Divine Plea gives Paladins such phenomenal mana recovery that they don't think twice about using it. Used in conjunction with Avenging Wrath, the penalty isn't even an issue. See, that's a problem.
Blizzard wants the decision to use Divine Plea to be a tough one for Holy Paladins, not a no-brainer. Needless to say, Retribution Paladins and their 5k mana pool use it every time it's up. But when a Holy Paladin with 20k mana can recover 25% of their mana every minute, it's kind of an obscenity. So Blizzard is going to nerf Divine Plea by raising the healing penalty to 50%. Some people think this won't be enough to stop Holy Paladins from using the spell every time it's up, though. Rohan over at Blessing of Kings thinks the spell should not have a healing penalty but be canceled when the Paladin casts a healing spell.
We received the above video from tipster Jimmynorden (better quality video on Vimeo here) about an absolutely amazing bug with the Death Knight ability Death Grip. If you initiate a duel with a Death Knight who's aboard the ship in Booty Bay while you're standing on the dock, Death Grip will pull you -- not to the ship itself, but all the way across and through the world. Elizabeth Harper has just tried this on live servers ("You get PvP flagged from flying through the arena in Stranglethorn!") and her character finally landed on a random ship in what the map insists is the Alterac Mountains, southeast of where Dalaran used to be.
Death Grip is described as harnessing the unholy energy that surrounds and binds all matter. They certainly got that part right. I don't have a Death Knight online in my guild right now and I'm really curious to see if this just works in Booty Bay, or if it works wherever there's a ship or zeppelin docked. I'm assuming it's the latter; from my admittedly limited understanding of the game's plumbing, once you're on a ship you're not actually where the map "thinks" you are but rather in some nebulous area without real coordinates before the ship transfers you between servers.
UPDATE: A few guildies and I tried this; you'll find additional results and notes behind the cut.
Elizabeth had time to take a few screenshots, which you'll see below:
Honor is currently capped at 75,000, a legacy from The Burning Crusade when the most expensive Honor item was a little over half that number. There's a sensible rationale behind the Honor cap, which is in place to curb stockpiling of the currency for future, unreleased rewards. Honor as a currency, unlike badges or emblems, is the same across the board. Players can start accumulating Honor starting at Level 1, while players must be Level 70 to obtain Badges of Justice or Level 80 to collect Emblems of Heroism, Valor, and in Patch 3.1, Conquest.
This works to prevent players from purchasing on-level epics as soon as or even before they ding 80. At most a player can purchase one or two pieces before using up his or her Honor. Emblems work in reverse. It's impossible to obtain emblems below the appropriate level, but there is no upper limit to the number of emblems you can store. Unlike badge gear from The Burning Crusade, where higher tier items for more badges were made available later in the expansion, Blizzard has created different tiers of gear for different emblems. This means it's unlikely that there will be new items available for Emblems of Heroism or Valor.
This means you won't progress gearwise just doing the same thing over and over. In order to get better gear, players will need to raid. In contrast, because Honor is the single currency a singular currency across all levels for PvP gear, Blizzard is constrained as to how to limit accessibility to better gear. They do this by putting a ratings requirement on the best PvP items, requiring successful participation in Arena play. Arenas are to PvP are what raids are to PvE. It's not a perfect system, but it will do for now. But what happens when players reach the Honor cap and have every item they need or want?
Article Update: According to MMOwned, they are moving servers, which is the reason their site is offline for some.
Attempts to reach the sites prove unsuccessful.
This is a good thing for everyone that wants to have a more legitimate gameplay experience in WoW, as both of these sites actively encouraged people to exploit bugs, break the ToS, and do all other sorts of tom-foolery that destroyed the game for legitimate players.
Our tipster mentioned that these sites were taken down in part by action taken by Blizzard, however we don't have any proof of that.
I've selected the angry baby picture for this article, since that's how the exploiters and account traders are feeling right now. Buh-bye.
I didn't realize it at the time because the savages in my guild are still blowing up Crashin' Thrashin' Racers in raids instead of pulling out their usual pets, but it looks like 3.0.8 was the patch in question. Letters from Birdfall actually got video of Stinker's new behavior: when anyone nearby pulls out a Bombay Cat or a Black Tabby, he falls in love and starts chasing them, only to return to his owner with a broken heart. I'm off to go try this ingame, and suffice it to say that my own version of Pepé Le Pew is going to be out even more than he already is.
When AFK attacks - Sun, 08 Feb 2009 14:00:00 EST My wife is a hunter. I don't say plays a hunter because that might give you the idea that she's playing and oh heck no. She's not playing. She's very very serious about taming rare or unique skins of pets, to the point where I find myself leveling a second shaman for the express purpose of using heroism to tame a spectral lupine.
The other day, she completed her most recent mission, which was to tame the attractive fellow in the picture above. As you might expect, there were other hunters trying to accomplish it, so we ended up with a two day marathon of sleeplessness, calls from work asking me to check the zone to make sure he hadn't spawned, a mix-up with a hunter who followed her around dropping flares at her feet while she wasn't shadowmelded, and other exciting (and not so exciting) adventures.
The other day while I was gleefully stealing baby wolvar from the still-cooling embrace of their mothers because a walrus paid me to, I heard a strangled gasp from my wife over at her computer. Somewhat distracted by wrangling bereaved pups, I at first didn't process what "I got the spirit beast" meant, especially since she gasped it out as one word. Eventually, of course, the congratulations started (in my happiness that I wouldn't have to camp Shol... er, I mean for her, yes, of course I mean for her success) and then I saw on her screen that orc hunter she'd mentioned before.
Welcome to Lichborne, WoW Insider's weekly stop for Death Knight news, analysis, and guides.
Fresh on the heels of last week's gemming guide, we have an enchanting guide. Like gemming, enchanting is an easy way to go the extra mile to get your gear the best it can be so you can properly keep aggro without dying and/or top the damage meters in your next Naxxramas raid. Since there's so few enchants available, it's a lot less complicated than gemming too. DPS will just want hit to the cap and attack power (Sorry, there's not many strength enchants), while tanks will want defense to 540 and stamina.
It's also worth noting that almost every slot with an enchant has a weaker version and a more powerful version. Although it's usually frowned upon to go weak when can go strong, in the case of enchants, it's probably okay at the entry level to go with the weaker version of an enchant. The more powerful ones generally take Abyss Crystals and the like, and may be a bit steep. In addition, there's a few other quirks and special enchantments to watch out for. Let's take a look, by slot, at some of the best choices for enchanting for both DPS and Tanking.
And lo, Dreadroberts of <Villains> on Lightninghoof was deemed to have led a good life for eighty long levels, and was lifted up into the clouds by the Powers that Be at Blizzard. There, he could sup on Savory Deviate Delights until he burst and drink all of the Brews of the Month without ever having to worry about his vision getting so blurry he would run into a pack of elites. It was truly paradise. Unfortunately, the Powers that Be got their hands on a Fraps of him PoM-Pyroblasting level 32 Hordies for four hours in STV, and he got dropkicked back to Dragonblight without any Light Feathers.
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Sunday Morning Funnies: Mind your Elders - Sun, 08 Feb 2009 09:00:00 EST As I'm sure you all have heard by now, one of our favorite comics, Flintlocke vs the Horde, is slated to be set aside. Its creator, Dave "Fargo" Kosak, landed a shiny new job at Blizzard helping to give the game we all love some extra oomph. Fortunately, the storyline won't just be dropped, and you can expect it to wind up sometime in April.
In response to reader Keyra's thoughts on last week's Ding! comic, I would like to offer my own. I would have to bet that almost every single person who has played WoW for any length of time at all does ponder why none of their farmers seem to have skulls, or why you can't get enough blood out of a giant monster to fill even one vial.
We've all joked about it too. I mean gee, if only I could learn to rip off Troll ears without dismembering them into tiny chunks, I'd be in business. The lame jokes crop up on almost every quest with a poor drop rate, and I don't personally feel that the comic took it any further than I ever have, or any of my uninspired friends (no offense guys). It isn't that there isn't a humorous element to it, but that it's been done better in-game while roaming around by ourselves.
I'm thrilled that you liked it, I just wanted to explain why so many of us are bucking it, other than that we miss the old stuff.
Experience Points knows what some of you really pray about (please don't send me hatemail, because I don't know what you pray about. It was all a gimmick to work this comic into a sentence when I haven't had my coffee yet). They also know that not all dogs make good anti-burlar hunter pets.
Flintlocke and his overzealous ladyfriend are suddenly in a hurry to flee the scene.
GU Comics: Lucky Red Envelopes. Now this orc isn't as respectful of his elders. Think of the poor elders!
NoObz: Laaag. Coincidentally, if you scroll down to the blurb beneath the comic, there's yet another confirmation that no one listens to their elders.
I was afraid to look. This week's Ding! is definitely an improvement of sorts. The story is funnier, although not really in the comic format. Maybe if it had been told by a talented comedic writer, or as entertainment on a Podcast? I'd even take it as a guildie tale over Vent in between pulls. Still, I suppose I like pictures of people with their mouths open to show that they are indeed talking.
By saying this, I will totally ruin any of the funny in the note from the author beneath the comic strip, but I totally choked on my water when I read the first part of the second paragraph. In all seriousness though, I'm one of this comic's biggest fans, so you totally have a following. The Adventures of Disgraph T. Dwarf: Lunar LoLs.
Our guild recently had a picture taking, or more accurately, a screenshot-taking session for a local gaming magazine. Everybody came dressed to the nines, although what that meant exactly is different for every player. Some players donned their Lunar Festival chongsams, others put on their Tier 7s, while others still whipped out legacy outfits such as their Warlord's Raiment or the Death Knight's full armor from their starting area. We drew the line on one officer who wanted to show up in his skivvies and Mirror Image activated. We didn't want a naked troll showing up on the pages of a magazine, much less three four.
When Love is in the Air in a few days, I'm going to dust off my tuxedo set and take some cheesy screenshots with my wife's character in a sexy black dress. One of our big kahunas, Liz Harper, is taking advantage of Level 80 to complete her full Judgement set. It's still one of the coolest armor sets in the game, I think. I mean, even one of the Top 10 players out of millions seems to think so. It made me think about what clothes we wear to look our best. None of us enjoy looking like a clown, right? I'm sure we keep some outfits stashed away in our ever-filling bank. What do you whip out when you're asked to wear your Sunday best? That Admiral's Hat, maybe? Or Blue Overalls and a pitchfork for that farmer look?
Forum post of the day: Raid timers (poll) - Sat, 07 Feb 2009 22:00:00 EST Today's forum post of the day serves a dual purpose: it brings up issues with raid timers and it demonstrates how not to make friends and influence people on the forums. Our hot-headed friend Phearing of Silver Hand is a mighty bit miffed that he zoned into a 10-man Vault run only to find that there were no mobs there. He was saved to the instance, and thus does not get another shot at it until the raid timer resets.
Nubbyzor of Whisperwind quickly pointed out that if the raid leader is saved to the instance you join their raid ID. This has happened since the dawn of raid timers. People have been mislead into joining raids in progress and cannot get a second shot at a heroic if their group is under par. Heroics aren't really a big deal, if your group fails, you can try again tomorrow. It's lame, but it's only one day. The week-long timer on raids makes this a little bit harder to swallow.
The Colosseum: Footwerk of Korgath - Sat, 07 Feb 2009 21:00:00 EST The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
Footwerk the Druid is a member of highly rated 3v3 team, "Heal me Im strong" in the Vengeance battlegroup. In a time when healers are struggling to excel in the Arena, Footwerk has managed to make the traditional Druid-healer format a viable and powerful composition.
And while we have the bad news that Footwerk may be leaving WoW, we were able to catch up with him to grab a few words for the Colosseum. Obviously, he wants to thank everyone in his guild, Drama, for all the fun and wishes them good luck in the upcoming Ulduar. But, good news for the Colosseum, he had a lot more to say.
Luckily, there's finally signs that Blizzard means to bring us relief. Eyonix mentioned this morning that they've begun to look at possible ways to relieve the tabard space conundrum. It looks like the concept is still in the early stages, and Eyonix specifically said they have no ETA, but it may be coming, which is good news enough. I'm still advocating for a simple drop-down menu of tabards similar to the title dropdown on the character screen, or maybe a way to select a faction from the reputation screen to be your tabard of choice.
But however they do it, I'm looking forward to it. I enjoy flying various colors at various times for RP or fun reasons, so being able to switch swiftly should both make this easier and championing on the fly easier. Here's hoping we get an ETA soon, and that it's sooner rather than later.
One of the most irritating things about raiding would have to be ninja AFK's. You wait for the results of a ready check only to see that -- oh, crap -- someone hasn't returned a verdict. Now, AFK's can happen for good reasons (children, explosions, children with explosives), but just as often they don't. On farm content, it's an irritating wait. On progression content, you check your watch and realize you're inching that much closer to a respawn timer and a raid leader who'll need a prescription for that skyrocketing blood pressure of his. As time passes, the clamor to just pull the boss rises, but that's not really possible on an achievement-oriented run like The Undying or something like a 3-drake Sartharion.
There are still a few fights where you can AFK entirely and no one would be the wiser (here's looking at you, Patchwerk), but they're a dying breed. Too Many Annas, much to our surprise, managed a successful Heigan kill with an AFK player, and Heigan's notoriously unforgiving even to the inattentive. The tactic involves a Paladin and what I assume to be a supremely annoyed heal team, but apparently it worked -- and I am mightily tempted to suggest it for our next Naxx clear.
Each week Arcane Brilliance dispeneses a tall glass of sweet Mage content. Sometimes this content consists of pure, undistilled truth. Other times, there's some crap in the mix. I blame Blizzard, for putting the truth and the crap right next to each other on the same shelf. You'd think they'd put the truth all alone on its own shelf--you know, to prevent any misunderstandings--or maybe put labels on this stuff, clearly distinguish the truth from the crap. If it were me, I think I'd just stop stocking the crap all together. They must know something I don't. I guess that's why they're the giant game developer and I'm the guy sitting in front of my computer in my pajamas eating pop tarts and trying not to get too many crumbs on the keyboard.
In case you've been stranded on a remote island for the past week with nothing but a volleyball for company and only just made it back to civilization, put a shirt on, shave your beard and brace yourself: we finally got some solid patch 3.1 info. I know, it totally makes that week of eating coconuts and talking to yourself worthwhile, right?
We've been waiting for this patch almost since day one of Wrath, with its tantalizing promises of Ulduar and dual specs, and now Blizzard has given us a lot more details. There will a huge amount of class changes, and Mages will not be left out of the mix. The announced changes are intriguing, even if they are infuriatingly vague. We're definitely getting some new stuff, some buffs, some nerfs, some buff-nerfs...but as to the specifics, who knows, really? Pending more detail, we're going to have to take our best educated guesses as to what all of this means. Follow me after the jump for as much unsubstantiated conclusion-jumping as you can handle.
Once you start throwing multiple drakes into the mix, I love the Sartharion encounter. It's very frantic, and takes everyone performing. What I don't love is how hard it is to see the shadow fissures that spawn in the encounter when there's a lot going on. Red on red is awful, and then when you throw a Death Knight's Death and Decay into the mix if you're using one? It's pretty much an orgy of red, and you can't really tell which red is from what source.
I quite literally leapt for joy when Daelo, lead encounter designer, mentioned that they'll be turning blue in a future patch. It's a minor tweak to the encounter, but it will seriously help those moments when you have a void zone beneath a Death and Decay and you have a tank who is tanking loads of whelps and elementals which are already obscuring their vision. The hardest part of the fight isn't the movements, the hardest part is being able to see.
This does make me wonder what they'll do with future, similar things. The terrain alone makes the void zones hard to see during Sartharion, but the largest issue (I think) is Death and Decay. It's big, fluffy, and extremely red. Will they simply not be able to use red ground effects anymore? My raid doesn't do it, but there are raids out there that forbid Death Knights from using Death and Decay for the specific reason that it hides AOEs beneath it, so I have to wonder if there's a better solution to the problem than changing colors without removing the 'cool factor' of the DnD particle effect.
Unfortunately, it looks like he's not going to be able to continue the "Flintlocke" comics while at Blizzard (whether for time-related or legal reasons, I'm not sure), so that's kind of a downer. The current Horde comic has already been planned all the way to its end, which will occur at some point in late April. I was disappointed to read this -- I love Flintlocke, and the Horde storyline is amazing ("What kind of combat skills you got on that thing?" "Probably flee and mate") -- but I expect we'll be seeing some of Kosak's influence ingame.
Congratulations, Mr. Kosak, and from all of us here at WoW Insider, good luck!
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, we look to the future...
In amongst detailed tactical explanations of the various bosses currently residing in the available level 80 raid instances, let's take a break to look at the bigger picture. Many guilds are in a situation several of you can relate to: having cleared Naxxramas, the Eye of Eternity and the Obsidian Sanctum (let's not pretend Vault of Archavon's a proper raid instance), there's nothing left to do but clear them again. And again. And again...
Welcome to farm status. Whether you struggled to defeat the final denizens of these dungeons or facerolled it all in the first week, eventually raiders reach a common plateau with everything killed and these kills more or less easily repeatable. When at this point, there are several different directions you can go, and I'm sure we've all seen other people do one or more of the following: get bored and simply stop showing up; get greedy and focus entirely on loot, playing sloppily and angsting over drops; level an alt and suddenly have the world revolve around that character, trying to get it into raids because your main doesn't need loot; or hunker down and start preparing for the future.
This week's column deals with the latter, but if you're seeing people exhibit less-than-savoury behaviour now you clear everything in one night a week, it can be very telling -- especially if they're a recent recruit. With the leisure of a farm period, you have time to deal with these people as your guild sees fit, although boredom is a real problem when farm periods are long (such as the gap between Black Temple and Sunwell Plateau). With nothing to interest hardcore raiders in the game any more, real life starts rearing its head, and many guilds lose important players at this time, replacing them with untried raiders who might seem great on farm content but whose skill on progress raids is an unknown. There's no real solution to this, it happens, and it's up to your guild how you deal with it.
So how does a guild prepare for a raid instance nobody knows much about?
This is long overdue, but with the Strand of the Ancients weekend upon us, it's a fine time to take a look at the Battleground introduced to us in Wrath of the Lich King. Strand of the Ancients is presumably located off the Southern coast of Dragonblight, and works differently than any other Battleground before it. It is the first timed Battleground and guarantees that the game will end in about twenty minutes or less.
The 15-player Battleground has an attack and defend scenario, where the objective is to capture the Titan Relic housed inside a keep at the southern end of the map. It is very similar to Wintergrasp, and is a fast-paced Battleground where players literally race against time. Attackers, split into two groups, arrive on two boats on the Northeast and Northwest portions of the map. When they land on the beach, four siege vehicles are initially available to attackers, who must break down gates to get to their goal.
These siege vehicles are identical to the demolishers found in Wintergrasp, with about 80,000 hp and the same offensive capabilites. Players on foot can pick up Massive Seaforium Charges in Seaforium Barrels throughout the map. These explosives can be placed near gates to deal damage to them. Players on defense, meanwhile, can man cannons that flank each gate. These cannons have 60,000 hp and have very long range.