15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.
Every three hours in the heart of the Stranglethorn jungle, Short John Mithril bellows out the call to arms: "Arrr, Me Hearties! I be havin' some extra Treasure that I be givin' away at the Gurubashi Arena! All ye need do to collect it is open the chest I leave on the arena floor!" His summons sets off a true PvP free-for-all - players of both factions, including your own - in a race to recover and open the pirate's chest dropped at the center of the arena. Players like Venwe scrabble against friend and foe for bragging rights and a shot at the chest's booty -- except unlike Venwe, most players haven't succeeded more than 700 times.
Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. People sure can be pushy when it comes to drops. Hands off, ladies. That Netherweave is mine!
Today I share with you one of my deepest secrets. There isn't a week that goes by that I don't lay awake at night, seething about the unfairness of raiding drops. Oh, sure, there's always that elusive piece that has a 0.0002% drop rate that every healer wants. Those are pie in the sky dreams of healing uberness. No, that's not what I mean.
I'm talking about the regular gear that's supposed to be dropping at semi-predictable intervals every week. Most bosses have a fairly limited loot table, and in the raiding world, most of that centers around the tier token system. You are supposed to have a 1 in 3 chance of seeing your token on any given kill. But what if that goes horribly wrong? And worse, what if it starts hurting progression?
Join me after the jump for a tale of woe and angst, plus what Blizzard has been doing to unintentionally fix the situation (sorta).
Every Tuesday, Chris Jahosky contributes Build Shop, which takes a look into one of the many talent specs available to players.
Ah, warlocks. Before the Burning Crusade, there was no class I hated more. Of course, my opinion of the class did a 180 once I got my own Warlock to 70. This build (and variants of it) is often called SL/SL, because it picks up both Siphon Life and Soul Link (talents in the Affliction and Demonology trees, respectively). Unlike most other Warlock builds that focus on damage output, this build is meant to help you outlast your opponents by mitigating some of the damage you take, while using Siphon Life and Drain Life to get your health back. Warlocks with this build can be annoyingly difficult to kill, and is still a popular spec in 2v2 Arena.
The downside (and there's almost always a downside, folks) is that you won't top any DPS charts when it comes to PvE -- it's just the nature of the build. If you think you can live with that, I strongly encourage you to try this build out for yourself. I'm a big fan.
MSNBC asked Ken Levine, creator of last year's underwater masterpiece, Bioshock, to list his five favorite games of all-time, and right there on the list, between Civ IV and Heroes of Might and Magic 2, is our favorite MMORPG. Yup, the World of Warcraft makes it into the top five of all-time, according to the guy that created the city that Andrew Ryan created.
Of course, instead of saying he enjoyed the game for its endless replayability, its pitch-perfect reward system, or its effective graphics and design style, he compares his love of Blizzard's game to alcoholism, and calls it his "always-reliable secret shame." Next time you talk about World of Warcraft in the media, Mr. Levine, would you kindly try praising the game instead of your addiction to it?
My main is an orc Warlock - currently destro - in gear from Karazhan, Gruul's Lair and the Arenas.
For the Horde or Glory to the Alliance?
For the Horde!! I did dabble a little on The Other Side, but decided that Horde (on my server at least) was a little friendlier. I also can't stand being surrounded by short people, having the irrepressible urge to punt a certain dimunitive race ...
If you're an Ace mod fanatic like I am, you may use Parrot for your scrolling combat text needs. If you've used Parrot since 2.4, you've noticed, like I have, that the dang thing just plain doesn't work. Even though the ever handy WoWAceUpdater continues to update it, there's some block of data it's missing. And that means that when I get into combat and look for my scrolling information... nothing happens. There's no pretty numbers to the side of my characters. Hey, that's fair enough. 2.4 was the patch of the great combat log change, and it's understandable that not every addon is quite caught up.
That said, I like how I have Parrot set up, and I didn't really want to try to find and install a new mod, or heaven forbid, use Blizzard's base system. So, I went searching, hoping to find some way to bring back my beloved Parrot.
Addon Spotlight: Fizzwidget's FactionFriend - Tue, 08 Apr 2008 10:40:00 EST Many of you may already be familiar with the wondrous little gadgets coming from the secret factory of Gazmik Fizzwidget. For those of you who are not, I would recommend you visit the Fizzwidget showroom and browse the wares. I'll profile them in the coming months, starting with a handy one for newly crowned level 70's.
Fizzwidget's FactionFriend will automatically change the default Blizzard reputation bar based on your current zone or the faction you've most recently gained reputation with. You can also right click the reputation bar to select another faction, open an options pane or open the Reputation window.
I find this a nice "information speedometer odometer" for my paladin, who recently hit 70 and is beginning the reputation grind. Although I wouldn't call this addon a must-have, I embrace the fact that it helps me obsess about gaining reputation. With the shiny, new Shattered Sun Offensive faction, it's nice to know just how close I am to the the next level of reputation while doing the Sunwell dailies.
Read on for some of the other intuitive features of FactionFriend.
Back in the day when Hannibal crossed the Alps, he used armored north African elephants (now extinct) to frighten and trample his opponents. However, the elephants were easily frightened, and often trampled their own forces when shot with enough arrows.
The two European-history-loving paramedics sitting in the room with me right now can't think of any Hannibal-related puns for this screenshot, so I'll just note that it takes a lot for an elekk to not flee from a huge dinosaur -- especially when there's a draenei shaman fighting on its back. Grilox of Kilrogg, who sent us this picture, wrote that he was questing in Blade's Edge with his roommate Arigato when Arigato bugged on Grilox's screen and started to fight on an elephant. Arigato's own screen, however, did not replicate the bug.
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. And please, no more sunsets. This isn't a sunset shot, it's a picture of something else that just happens to be happening at sundown.
Let the lore geeks at WoW Insider help you out a bit. We've put together a scene by scene analysis of the lore behind the Fury of the Sunwell trailer, and we're presenting it to you here. Hopefully, it sheds some more light on this whole "Did Kael'thas go crazy or didn't he, and what is up with Kil'jaedan anyway?" thing.
It's Tuesday, and you know what that means - Maintenance. Luckily, it's a a relatively pain free maintenance day today, as there's nothing but rolling restarts on the menu starting at 5am PDT. Each realm is expected to be down for no more than 15 minutes.
Of course, that still leaves you with 15 minutes of no World of Warcraft if this is your usual play time. And what's the easiest way to pass those 15 minutes than with a bit of WoW Insider?
Make some quick plans for what to do on server up by checking out our Sunwell daily quest guides. Whether you're on Phase 2 or Phase 3, we have all the guides you need to get started when your server comes back up, plus Phase 4 guides for when you get those last few percentage points worth of dead elves turned in to get it unlocked. Speaking of dead elves, we have guides for the new PvP dailies as well.
If you're a little tired of Sunwell stuff, how about a trip back to Zul'aman? Jennie Lees has written an in-depth guide to speed running Zul'aman that'll help you get one of the rarest and coolest looking mounts in game, the Amani War Bear -- if you can convince, cajole, or beat the other 9 people in your raid into giving it up to you, of course.
Been a little off your game since 2.4? Check Hortus' list to see if it's just a nasty little bug that's getting you down.
Hopefully, the rolling restarts go smoothly and we'll see you on the flipside. Either way, thanks for reading, and keep your browser here for all the latest news!
As you may recall, Upper Deck recently announced the March of the Legion tour, a series of tournaments against their own legionnaires for fabulous prizes. They've updated the tour page today with information on the first leg of the tour, including the identities of the legionnaires and the places they'll be visiting, including Northern California, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Ohio, Philadelphia, Florida, Michigan, and Ontario (Canada). The events last through June, so there's sure to be more locations and dates added later.
The legionnaires are no slouches, though. We're talking lead developers and high class judges for the TCG here, so it sounds like you'll have your work cut out for you if you want to win yourself a Varimathras extended art card and a Leeroy Jenkins T-shirt by defeating them. Of course, as mentioned, just showing up gets you that Weeble extended art card, and it sounds like the event should be fun. Let us know how it goes if you show up to one!
This was the scene this morning on Proudmoore, as they were the first server around to open up the Heroic Badge vendor on the Isle of Quel'danas. So for this week's Gamers on the Street interviews, I decided to go there and see the sights myself. Unfortunately, just as on the PTR, it's not quite that easy to get a level one Blood Elf to the Isle -- I figured I could just fly from Silvermoon like normal, but no -- apparently I had to run all the way to Tranquilien to even get the Silvermoon flight point. So I did.
Fortunately, when I got there, the flight master gave me the flight point to Silvermoon, which would then take me to the Sunwell Plateau. Unfortunately, I was completely and totally broke -- I didn't even have enough cash to fly. I sold everything I had, but it wasn't nearly enough, and instead of begging for gold, I did the next less annoying thing on the list -- I spammed the Trade channel. And I was able to find two nice residents of Proudmoore to tell me about opening up the world event content on Sunwell Plateau.
The onset of pre-expansion depression - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST It's that time again. Those of you who were around right beforethe Burning Crusade release might remember this time -- there are no new content patches before the next expansion, and we've got pretty much nothing to look forward to and nowhere to go before Wrath shows up and changes the world for good. Yes, there is a little more yet to discover at the Sunwell, but once we've seen that instance cleared out (Blizzard originally predicted about a month, and it seems like some players might be moving even faster than that), there'll be nothing left but the waiting.
Things went pretty badly last time around -- guilds stopped raiding (what was the point, when the next expansion would replace all of our gear with greens?), players abandoned the game for a while, and there was a general depression in Azeroth. While people were excited for the expansion, the live realms seemed like yesterday's news.
Hopefully things will be better this time around -- back then, we didn't have dailies to do, there weren't any arena matches or tournaments, and the 40 man high-end raid instances were pretty much the only game in town (nowadays we have 10mans, 25mans, or Heroics, and lots of rewards from each). And depending on when Blizzard gets the expansion out, the wait might not be as bad (although if they wait until January again, the time frame should be about the same as last time). But get ready -- the calm before the storm is coming, and we won't see a new game again until we step foot on the icy shores of Northrend.
I'm not sure if anyone else noticed, but all of a sudden, fishing seems to have become an extremely profitable profession. With the introduction the daily fishing quests in Patch 2.4, those with a bit of luck have found themselves getting a hefty profit from the Bag of Fishing Treasures that the quests give out as a reward. Any angler worth her salt knows that fishing can be profitable through selling fish cooked or raw through the Auction House, or even as junk through the vendor. Before the introduction of the goodies that come inside the Bag of Fishing Treasures, the Goldenscale Vendorfish was probably the most expensive gray item in the game, selling for 6 Gold to vendors. Anglers who are also cooks could profit nicely from raid buff foods such as Golden Fish Sticks or Skullfish Soup, or simply sell the raw ingredients. Even low-level fish sell rather well to those who would like to level their cooking.
Subsidizing profession progress with guild funds - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 16:30:00 EST Lileah over on WoW LJ has an interesting idea that I've never thought of before. Well, her guild does -- she has a question about Illusion Dust, which yes, is hard to find. Usually your best bet is to run through the old level 55-60 instances, so Scholomance, Stratholme, and so on, but your best bet is probably the AH -- lots of people who can craft greens DE those and put the Dust up for sale there. Pricy but probably worth the time you'd spend grinding for them.
But the reason she's looking for Illusion Dust is because her guild is paying out a 1,000g bounty to anyone who has two leveled professions by next week. That's a super interesting idea. I'm the kind of player who never seems to find time to level my professions -- I'm too busy killing stuff and leveling and gaining reputation to run around picking up herbs or mining nodes. But 1,000 is a nice prize, and definitely helps pay for not only my time running around, but also the extra costs associated with leveling a profession -- crafting mats and so on.
And considering how useful a 375 profession is to the guild, any guild that's raiding at a fairly high level should see benefits come out of having most of the guild crafting endgame items. Very cool idea -- if you have a guild that could use a few more crafters and some gold to spread around, subsidizing profession leveling might be just the ticket.
Despite the fact that my level 70 Hunter isn't technically my main, she's probably my favorite character. A lot of people will tell you that a Hunter is an overly easy class: sic your pet, turn on Auto Shot, and you're done. While having a built-in tank that you can even heal a bit gives you a pretty strong advantage when going it alone, I'd have to say they oversimplify things a bit.
The largest area where the complexity of the Hunter class shows is in end-game DPS. If you want to be the most effective DPSer possible, it takes quite a bit of work. The way that you must weave shots in between your auto shots is a complicated dance that requires split second timing that can mean vast differences in DPS totals between Hunters. Cheeky of the Khadgar-US server (author of the famous Cheeky's Spreadsheet) posted a very concise and well-stated summary of some of the problems with Hunter DPS on the official US forums here a few months back. The post was originally written by Lactose of the Talnivarr-EU Server, who posted it on the EU forms here, where it got some blue lovetoday a while back.
The cake madness continues! Ackman from the Burning Legion got married recently and his (oh-so-supportive) wife agreed to a cake design of his choosing. His idea? A Horde crest identical to the one designed by Samwise. The cake looks absolutely awesome, if not necessarily delectable (are those real or fondant feathers?). Ackman attests to its edibility, though, as he describes the cake as chocolate fudge with mint frosting and fondant, highlighted with silver leafing. That certainly makes me hungry like an orc!
To recap this cake battle, a couple of cakes that resemble the Alliance crest put the Alliance at two, while an Orc shield and one of Orgrimmar give the Hordies a score of three along with the cake pictured above. So, are any creative bakers up to the challenge of making another Alliance-themed cake? Maybe one of Stormwind or -- even more challenging, the Exodar! If you send it to the WoW Insider offices, we'll generously put the score up by two. I'm We're greedy for cake. Check out the link for another pic.
Reader Kyver tipped us off to a gem of a post on the Customer Service Forums today, titled "I'm a WoW Widow" (moderately NSFW, PG-13 rating). The story goes like this: A girl, Missmegan, lost her boyfriend to the Burning Crusades [sic]. They used to play together horde side, but after buying the expansion he turned to the alliance and is dedicated to his guild mates. All is lost, as he's no longer interested in his girlfriend's "assets" and rambles like a two-year old.
Of course this makes our forum posting protagonist upset, and she needs her boyfriend back. Now obviously this is a joke. At least I hope it is. And Katie (my girlfriend), if you're reading this I promise I'll never let it get this bad. I mean, I only play for 5 hours a day, not 13 as the boyfriend in the story does. And I make money with all this, so it's okay, right? Sweetie? Darling? Honey... D'oh....
Tagging the first response to this thread is Belfaire The Mighty, with the simple response "Dear WoW Widow, It's actually Burning Crusade. Yours, Belfaire." This had myself and the other writers here laughing. We had to share it.
Ten innovation lessons from Blizzard - Mon, 07 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST The OC Register (Blizzard's HQ -- I'm pretty sure that's where it's at, as they're not exactly open with their location info -- is located right down near them in Southern California) has a blog post up featuring 11 "innovation lessons" other companies can learn from the folks behind World of Warcraft. While the lessons aren't exactly innovative themselves (I think there are lots of companies that do this stuff, and none of them have a ten million player game), the post does provide a good look inside Blizzard's process and the thinking behind what they do.
Blizzard is pretty stubbornly committed to quality -- not only do they notoriously release things "when they're done," but if something doesn't work they apparently are happy to trash it completely (see Starcraft: Ghost). It is amusing, too, that Rob Pardo says he and Frank Pearce are trying to make "great entertainment projects, not perfect ones." WoW has its bugs, sure, but when you look at Blizzard's catalog: Diablo, Starcraft, Warcraft, you have to wonder what a "perfect" game looks like in Pardo's mind. Those are about as perfect as they come.
And they "eat their own dog food," too: J. Allen Brack apparently spends four hours a night (up to 15 hours a week) playing the game on his own time at home. Seems like it would be tough for other companies to pull these strategies into their own plan (Blizzard really releases one-of-a-kind products), but as consumers, it's neat to get another look into the way they work.