One of the many excellent sessions in the ScreenBurn track at SXSW Interactive this year, the "How Gamers Are Adopting the Wiki Way" panel featured George Pribul (lead admin of WoWWiki.com), April "CuppaJo" Burba (Community Manager for NCsoft's Tabula Rasa), Angelique Shelton (GM of Wikia Gaming at Wikia Inc), and Jake McKee (Principal at Ant's Eye View) talking about the symbiotic relationship between gamers and wikis. Interesting factoid: WoWWiki is now the second largest wiki in the world behind Wikipedia. At 3 million unique users per month, a full half of English-speaking WoW players visit WoWWiki every month. Head on over to our MMO-besotted sister site Massively for the complete writeup.
So I was out working on heroic Steam Vaults with some friends last night. Like usual Hydromancer Thespia was being a pain, and we wiped a couple of times. On one of the death walks back, fellow guildie Agate and I meet up with another group of ghosts running over to Coilfang Reservoir. Nothing new there.
Except Agate noticed a couple of guys running behind him. After a bit of moving around he confirmed that they were in fact on auto-follow.
"Hahaha, look at this, these two guys are following me. Should I have some fun?" he asks over vent.
While 84 mana off is really, really nice, I can understand the nerf(or fix), even if it makes my paladin buddies sad. Off of the top rank of Holy Light, it was a 10% reduction in mana cost. In general, a bonus that large comes from 5 talent points or a set bonus rather than one piece of gear, and unless it diminishes over time, it would be hard to beat that bonus in a Relic slot for Wrath. Unless they start adding raw stats to Relics, which they've stated they don't want to do, things would start looking pretty crazy to top that.
In the 84 mana reduction state, it was possible to cast Holy Light rank 2 for free. While not a big heal considering you acquire it at level 6, it was something to do when you're completely drained of mana. You can still do this with the 'nerfed' version, but with Rank 1 of Holy Light, so I'm not sure if that had any effect on the decision.
There's also a strong possibility the devs have crappy handwriting and the people punching in the values read 34 as 84. Who knows?
Erm. Anyway. I check the job opportunities page all of the time, because really, who wouldn't want a shot at working for Blizzard? I know a lot of my guildmates do the same, though not necessarily for the same reasons. Me? I'm all about creative writing and I'm a huge lore buff. No matter the game, if I'm playing it, I want to know all about the lore and backstory of the world. I even take that nerdity a bit further, and spend a lot of my free time brainstorming lore for my guild. For example, my guild's backstory is based in Northrend, so on and off I've been preparing for an intro to Wrath of the Lich King for us. It's an RP server, so it's not too bizarre to have a detailed behind-the-scenes story, and it'll give the guild's roleplay a bit of a jump start when the time rolls around. Fuel for the collective creative fires and all of that.
So needless to say, I would jump all over a creative writing, quest design, or really any other lore-centric opportunity that came my way. Unfortunately, I don't really have the professional experience necessary, so it'll be a good long time before I have a chance higher than zero. Regardless, I check at least once a week simply to stare longingly at the Job Opps. Guildmates of mine do similar with things like programming and graphic design. Some days I think we're obsessive, but most of the time I just pretend we have high aspirations. It makes me feel better when I do.
That object is busy and other TTR tales - Sat, 08 Mar 2008 14:00:00 EST If you've been to the Tournament Test Server (TTR), you might have noticed a few things. Like lag the fact that your previous three characters have been deleted. According to Eyonix, Blizzard's latest push of the TTR sees a new character template whereby newly created characters will have existing sets of gear. In the previous build of the TTR, newly-created characters start out at Level 70 but are equipped with starting equipment like Acolyte's Robe or Worn Mace. Hybrid classes or classes with healing and DPS talent trees will have two to three sets of gear, based on the Merciless Gladiator sets from Season 2. Oddly enough, after creating multiple characters, it appears to me that the default gear equipped on hybrid classes is healing gear -- a hint from Blizzard to spec for healing? Maybe.
One of the new features Blizzards wants to test is the random spawning upon character creation. After creating a Horde character, I would find myself randomly starting anywhere from Sunstrider Isle to Sen'jin Village. Part of Blizzard's test must also be the effectiveness of placing item vendors on a pedestal as opposed to being on the same level as player characters. Some spawn locations have the vendors on pedestals, such as Razor Hill or in front of Orgrimmar, while others have them on the ground such as Red Cloud Mesa in Mulgore. Strangely, the NPCs on the ground no longer have collision detection, as opposed to previous builds.
While adding more spawn locations and randomizing them has eased congestion somewhat, Eyonix goes on to state that Blizzard plans to add more spawn locations in future builds. The same hiccups that were there before still exist, particularly the "That object is busy." response when attempting to purchase an item from a vendor. Lag will also prevent you from seeing that clicking multiple times (out of frustration, I swear) has garnered you bags full of an item you only really wanted one of. Despite these problems with lag and little quirks -- creating characters for the first time sometimes shows your character dressed in Season 2 gear and starting outfits in a mismatched ensemble -- Blizzard continues to encourage players to test the server. Hortus also popped onto the forums to say that not all the Alliance areas have received the makeover, so expect more changes soon. If you're not yet on the TTR, get on and give it a go. Hopefully, all the testing will help Blizzard get everything sorted out for the big brawl coming up on Sunday.
While I can understand the Blizzard dev's taking the realm offline here or there, and taking down an instance for an extended period of time during the week, it does strike me as odd that they would choose to remove access during the weekend - a prime playing time for a lot of folks. And I know that I and many of my friends only raid weeknights, so we have ample opportunity to test out the content on the weekends.
Nonetheless, we can all look forward to reentering the Sunwell on Monday. If this changes, expect to see an update on WoW Insider.
For those of us who use dozens of addons, it becomes far too easy to take the basics of using them for granted. I'd like to take a few moments to go over how to begin using addons.
To begin, you addon newbs may be wondering how to go about finding good, reputable addons. Our own Addon Spotlight feature here at WoW Insider is a great place to start your search. We've reviewed many popular addons, and our readers have chimed in with lots of great advice and feedback about addons. You can also ask fellow gamers, or better yet, your guild. Some guilds require certain addons for members, but regardless of your own guild's policies, your guild-mates may have some good addon advice. There are a few primary sites you can visit to find addons, each of them doing essentially the same thing in different formats.
These three sites are the major hubs for addons and UI packages. Different people swear by different sites, so choose one that appeals to you. As far as I am aware, you can consider these to be fairly safe from viruses and the like. Although I cannot guarantee or endorse the actual safety of any files from any website. (Got to keep the lawyers at bay.) These sites all employ some sort of rating system, which can give you a general idea of how other players rate different addons. Another characteristic to note is how often an addon is updated, as active developers tend to release better software.
Another way to find addons is to search for them by name using a search engine like Google. Many developers keep the most current version of their addons on a native site. Examples are Auctioneer, CTMod, Cosmos UI and Healbot Continued. For you Ace advocates, I should mention the Ace addon system, which many players choose because Ace addons play well with each other and used shared libraries to minimize memory use.
We recently stumbled upon the, uh, spirited machina style of Shepiwot. Now, I'm not a big fan of 22 minute videos, but watching one of these is like all those 22 minutes compressed into six. Not a bad deal. Unless you're prone to seizures. Then you should stay far, far away.
Each week Arcane Brilliance endeavors to deliver a brief glimpse into the flame and sheep-filled (and sometimes flaming sheep-filled) world of Mages. Today we focus on the younger students of sorcery, those of us still growing into our robes and pointy-hats, because we here at Arcane Brilliance hold firmly to the motto that even the tiniest ball of flame is important, and still a freaking ball of flame.
So for some reason, be it temporary insanity, an unhealthy obsession with dresses, or just an irrepressible urge to be completely awesome, you've rolled Mage.
You've fried a few raptors, frozen a couple of furbolgs, completed a few quests, and probably died horribly at the hands of a Rogue or two, or maybe after stubbing your toe on a rock, I don't know, Mages don't get a lot of hit points. You're ready to step beyond the first zone and out into the wide world beyond. You hike up your robes so you don't trip over them and cross the bridge into The Barrens, where you discover that there are a lot of other people doing quests, and killing raptors, and asking inane questions like "where i find mankrik wife?" and "wat is stolen silver at?" and "Who would win if Chuck Norris fought Santa?"
Frankly, I think the answer to that last one is "nobody." If those two fight, we all lose.
After some low-grade emotional scarring your psyche will never truly recover from, you'll learn to tune most of it out. Once your mind learns to filter the madness that flows through that chat channel, you'll see that certain questions are not inane, and may actually be important. Most of these will be variations of the same thing: "Looking for group, Wailing Caverns."
Following some brief negotiation, you may find your new Mage in a party of five, deep within an instanced dungeon, losing loot rolls to a Warlock. You will level at high speeds, and find gear in a hue that is decidedly bluer than you may be used to.
After the jump: I'll spotlight two low level instances that are perfect for Mages, the best caster loot that drops therein, and the bosses you need to hunt down to get it.
Gold sellers hold account hostage - Sat, 08 Mar 2008 11:00:00 EST We all deal with them. Their annoying spam, their flooding of the general channels. Those gold sellers deserve the kiss of death. Wouldn't it be nice if their industry just went and slept with the fishes?
In a tactic that even Don Corleone himself would be angry at, gold sellers have sunken to a new low. John M. wrote in to tell us the tale of a fellow guild mate who fell under the gaze of a gold seller who took his account hostage, demanding payment from his guild. Sit back, open up a new window with this Godfather music, and read on after the break.
Hybrid Theory comes to you yet again from blogger and columnist Alex Ziebart. You're in for thrills, chills, and quite possibly some useful information, but I doubt it.
Last week on Hybrid Theory, I got into some of the basic details of what would make you and your spec desirable in a raid. I covered the DPS specs, and this week I'll be covering tanks and healers. Warriors, priests, I'll be leaving you out of this one. I love you, really, I do! But it's that conditional love, where I only love you if you're specced how I like. I hear Rossi, Knox and Harper still love you! Man, they sound way cooler when you refer to them by their last names, don't they? Like detectives, or super heroes.
...Right. Anyway! I'll be detailing the strong points of the tanking and healing specs of our beloved hybrids, and the utility you provide. Should you be looking for a new raid group anytime soon, these will be the things you'll want to keep in mind when asked what you can offer a raid. Having good gear and knowing how to play is also a plus, but this is a start.
Never fear you QQasuals(just kidding!) out there, next week I'll take a step back from the raiding scene and cover some of the new toys in Patch 2.4 and what they mean to you. However, it isn't next week yet, so read on!
What does it take to get a super-sized bear mount? According to the anonymous sender of this screenshot: "2 growths, a size increasing battle elixir, and had kissed mojo." Sounds like a winning combination to create an XL ride for that special Tauren in your guild.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because we'd love to see it on Around Azeroth! Sharing your screenshot is as simple as e-mailing email@example.com 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. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
G15 Tanking - Sat, 08 Mar 2008 09:00:00 EST Last week I covered playing with your mouse, and playing with your keyboard. In my keyboard post I mentioned that I would share with you all my Logitech G15 keyboard map. For those of you who don't have a G15, the keyboard is unique in that there are 18 programmable keys located on the left side of the keyboard. The keys looks like those pictured to the right.
Each of these 18 keys can be assigned three independent functions - based on selecting "M1", "M2", or "M3" at the top of the keyboard. This gives a whooping 54 possible key combinations and functions. I don't use all these though, only the first 18 for most everything, and then the second for some random addon and programming things. So without further ado, here's what my G15 keyboard map looks like:
Breakfast Topic: Is it possible to /gquit gracefully? - Sat, 08 Mar 2008 08:00:00 EST Inspired by this thread on the official forums, I have a pretty simple question: How do you view guild quitting? Is it possible to gquit with dignity? Is it possible to leave behind a guild with no bad feelings and as little malice as possible on the part of the quitter and the guild?
Unfortunately, it happens to the best of guilds, sometimes things just fall apart and EVERYONE leaves at once. It's also true that a lot of us know of at least one spectacular /gquit that spawned a multi-page "grab the popcorn" type thread on the server boards. Sometimes it's over loot. Sometimes it's over repeated wipes or perceived lack of skill or dedication on the part of a raid group or raid members. Sometimes it's over emotional issues or personality clashes. Sometimes, even if the /gquit seems relatively benign, there ends up being some underlying problems that come to the surface and explode at some later date, like a ticking time bomb.
Now, myself, I believe it's possible. I've seen friendships survive gquits, as much as all the drama that makes it to server boards and blogging sites would suggest that that isn't possible. Sometimes you just need a new experience, or your goals and your guild's goals diverge, and there's nothing wrong with that. With enough grace and aplomb from both sides, you can simply agree to part ways, and go on. Heck, sometimes you can even continue grouping and pooling resources even while you have separate guild tags. Of such things are guild alliances formed!
What do you think? Is drama nearly unavoidable when it comes time to /gquit? Who's at fault when it crops up? And how do you avoid it?
The WoW Insider Show is live this afternoon at 3:30pm ET on WC Radio. I'll be leading the hour along with Druid columnist John Patricelli (aka Big Bear Butt Blogger), Amanda Dean and the always-inappropriate Turpster. We'll be talking about the hot issues surrounding WoW this week including the recent rollbacks of the Warlock Lifetap nerf on the PTR, the back and forth on Druid Lifebloom and more.
Join us live for all that plus reader mail (you can send it in right now at firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also participate through the IRC channel #wowradio on irc.mmoirc.com. It all starts at 3:30pm ET and doesn't end until we've alienated half the listeners!
The first Darkmoon Faire event of the year is set to kick off this weekend (and indeed, has probably already started) in Orlando, Florida. If you're around down there and have any interest in the TCG at all, it's a lot of fun -- they're going to have lots of beginner and advanced tournaments, of course, and an ingame leveling contest on an event server, as well as tips on how to build the best deck and do some card crafting. I went to the Chicago event a little while ago, and I can confirm it's a fun way to spend a weekend afternoon. As always, if you go, take pictures and drop us a note when you get back.
In other TCG news, reader Dave (thanks!) sent us a note about what looks to be a brand new booster set, called The Hunt for Illidan. The set was announced quite a while ago, but with a release date of July 2008, retailers are just now ordering the cards. And there will be new loot cards in the new set, so we'll keep an eye out to see what else Blizzard has up their sleeve for new TCG rewards.
MMO-Champion has found some new changes in the latest PTR patch. It looks Blizzard has turned their focus away from Shaman and Warlocks for a while in the wake of the recent total rollback of the Life Tap and Flametongue changes, and focused on weaking Restoration Druids some more, perhaps in the wake of the recent revelation that Druids are the most overrepresented class in arenas according to Blizzard's Internal metrics.
We'll look at the specific changes after the break.
I will freely admit it: I like the CONCEPT of fishing. The Idea of lazing away the day in a rowboat or on a riverbank, pole in hand, chatting with friends and sharing a brew or two is actually pretty appetizing at first glance. I'm all for being lazy. But really, in the end, it's sort of a lot of work, and you have to learn to handle the pole and cast properly and bring the right bait, and then you're actually spending most of your time watching the line for a pull if you want to seriously catch anything, and it's just a whole lot of work.
And that's just real life fishing. World of Warcraft fishing seems to follow the same basic concepts. As an avid roleplayer, I try to play my characters as close to type as possible and keep up their skills to match. I have a hunter in particular who is a classic backwoods rough and tumble hunter type, and it really seems like she should be a pretty good angler, so it's sort of bothered me that I can't get intoWoW fishing.
While we reported a while back on the use of the Essence of the Immortals as a method to unlock the Sunwell Plateau 25-man, progressive patching has continued its march, as Tigole explains to us in a recent forum thread.
The Essence of the Immortals itself is now gone, and instead, all gates will open automatically over time on each server. Tigole explains that although they like the idea of cross-server competition, and plan to implement in the future, The Essence of the Immortals concept wasn't working out as well as they'd hoped. Of course, servers can still compete to unlock the daily quests the fastest.