Logging in is out. So is the main WoW website. At first it was just the Argent Dawn server which our own BRK accidentally took down in the name of charity. But now it seems bigger problems are afoot. If you're in-game don't log out or try to change characters, you won't be able to get back in until these problems are resolved. If you need to change your account through the main WoW website, you also will have to wait it out.
We'll update as the situation changes.
UPDATE1: Authentication servers up. Main website still down. Resume your achievement grinding.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime.
A lot of people are scurrying to level up before Wrath of the Lich King hits ... like me. Some are trying to get their first characters to 55 so that they can make Death Knights. Some are trying to get their first characters to level 70 so that they can enjoy the new content in Northrend. And others are trying to bring up as many characters to 70 as possible so that they have a choice as to whom to level to 80. I have a level 70 druid, but I have recently become obsessed with my mage and am trying to see how far I can get her before the expansion in the limited time I have to play.
Here are some Dos and Don'ts to help you get some speedy leveling done before Launch Day.
I'm going to start off this AABT by stealing a question that Alex actually took last time, mostly because I started laughing when I read it yesterday. I have, oh, conservatively, billions of Wrath screenshots on my hard drive at this point, but there's one I remember all too well.
Some time ago, there was a talk about new player character models for Wrath - and even some bugged pictures. So the question is, are they going live? Are we finally going to get improved graphics on our characters?
Each week, Mages from across Azeroth unite under the banner of Arcane Brilliance. We discuss all things Mage-related, from ways to clean Arcane Powder out of your underwear to fun tricks to play on Warlocks involving portals and the whelp room in Blackrock Spire. We talk about the hazards of Blinking and share stories of Blast Wave mishaps. Mages can be a testy bunch, and sometimes fights break out. Somebody misplaces a Fireball, a Blizzard or two, and suddenly everybody goes Invisible. Then we all share a good laugh when we realize we can all still see each other. Ah, good times.
Yes, the Lich King--and all that pent-up wrath of his--is almost upon us. Soon we'll all be ticking over to level 71 for the first time on live servers, folks will be trying to figure out how to run Ramparts with five Death Knights, and life on Azeroth as we know it will change forever. Mages everywhere will be packing their spellbooks, putting on their fanciest robes, and heading north. Seems there's a whole continent of flammable things up there, and they aren't going to hurl Fireballs at themselves, brethren.
This week, we're doing one last preview of what awaits Mages on those distant shores. Say farewell to Tempest Keep, swap email addresses with Gruul, and kiss Brutallus goodbye. After the jump, we're off to Northrend
Preparing for Wrath Day 5: Dungeoneering and you - Sat, 08 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST I can see that Adam's post yesterday was something of a graphical hit with readers, which frankly I am at something of a loss to reproduce. Stupid Adam with his stupid Photoshop. It's pictures you want? I got your pictures right here, pal. Did Adam get to see Arthas in a highly compromising position? An action shot, dare I say?
Anyway, leaving aside that unpleasant little intrasite feud that will probably escalate and leave millions of people dead, I wanted to use today's Preparing for Wrath to remind people that some things, especially if you're a hardcore achievement bunny like me, are going to get a lot harder to do once Wrath goes live. I think we can all agree that Outland is going to empty faster than a Dave Matthews concert after the cops show up, so you're going to want to exploit the fact that most people are hanging around Shattrath with nothing to do.
Foremost among the things you're probably not going to be able to do (at least easily) on once Wrath hits? Outland dungeons. Warriors and Paladins will also want to be aware of a certain demographic shift that's going to affect the likelihood of their getting a group slot.
The Colosseum: Retrospective and Analysis, pt. 2 - Sat, 08 Nov 2008 16:00:00 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.
We heard a few days ago that even rated matches being played out now will not earn Arena points (which would reset at the opening of Wrath anyway.) That's kind of a slap in the face! for folks who were hoping to win that one last piece of gear before the expansion hits on Thursday. Still, this really cements the idea of us being stuck in a Limbo Season, and supports the idea that now is the time to review the last few months and take some time to understand our lessons learned.
Last week, we started reviewing the answers given by Colosseum interviewees through the last three months. There were three basic themes that seemed to repeat themselves. We'll take a second to review those, then progress with our analysis of the Colosseum so far.
Ready Checkis 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 sing a swansong to TBC raiding in all its glory.
With less than a week to go before we all start frantically levelling and leaving Outland behind for good, let's not forget the ups and downs raiding during The Burning Crusade has brought us. From Attumen to Kil'jaeden, we've run the gamut of raiding, killing anything from pit lords to corrupted naaru with nary a blink.
We've shed blood and tears over rare drops, wiped countless times until the small hours, decked our alts out in epics and moved servers to find a better guild. We've rerolled, watched ourselves and our raid instances get nerfed, hung out in Shattrath showing off our gear, and gotten to grips with major class changes in the last two weeks. So let's look back...
Can't wait to get your hands on the Wrath Collector's Edition box to see what shiny shiny lies within? We've all seen the list of what's included, but now you can watch it for yourselves. Somehow reader Havok of Norway got his hands on the box early and shot a 2 minute video opening it and exploring each element inside. Start about 30 seconds in to avoid some shaky camera set up.
And check back with WoW Insider. We are giving away more Wrath CE boxes as part of our Countdown to Wrath Giveaway!
This is one crazy fun loot card we're giving away today. Papa Hummel's Pet Biscuit increases the size of your non-combat pet to regular pet size. But it also enlarges Hunter and Warlock pets to super-size. Think of the fun you could have.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 6pm ET. No age or location restrictions on this giveaway. Anyone can enter! One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a "Papa Hummel's Pet Biscuit" loot card.
When you have to nap, you have to nap. Even if it is in an evil-appearing magical fish-and-happy-face-containing glyph located in ... well, I'm not sure. Anyone know where this pic was taken? Anyway, Taarna of <Prairie Storm> on Terenas may be unawake and unclothed, but she's not unprepared. That wicked-looking axe should scare away any things from the Dungeon Dimensions that jump through the magic circle.
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.
Analyst: Wrath will sell five million copies - Sat, 08 Nov 2008 09:00:00 EST Here's our first analysis of Wrath sales (actually second, if you count Mike Morhaime's take on the subject): someone thinks it's going to sell big. Gamasutra reports that Mike Hickey of Janco Partners is predicting sales of five million copies for Wrath's first month in stores, which would basically make it the most popular expansion pack of all time. Burning Crusade, a pack that just barely beat out The Sims, sold 2.4 million copies in the first 24 hours, and 3.5 million within the first month, and so Hickey is looking at a little less than double that for the Northrend expansion.
Huge numbers indeed, and yet they don't seem that surprising -- WoW's population has grown since Burning Crusade was released for sure, and while pretty much everyone agrees that not all players will be buying the expansion right away (our own informal poll has about 13% of our readers waiting, not to mention all of the players in other markets around the world), but if even 1/4 of WoW's 11 million players decide to pick up the game on launch, we're still looking at 2.75 million copies, more than BC.
No matter what, Blizzard will make a lot of money, and very likely break all records anyway next week. Wrath of the Lich King will be huge.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Sunday, November 9, 2008 at 12pm ET (noon). No age or location restrictions on this giveaway. One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a "Footprints of Illidan" loot card. Anyone can enter!
We have one more giveaway going live later today and more this week where you may have a chance to win a Wrath of the Lich King Collector's Edition box, a 60-day game card or a complete BlizzCon Loot bag.
Yesterday Alison cover bringing the right food and drinks to Northrend. Quite important to get ready ahead of time if you want to level quickly and easily. Along the same lines are potions, stones, and oils to take with you on your journeys.
Let's take look at a long list of some easily obtainable items you should stock up on now. The goal of this list is to go over things that will survive through death. So we're not putting things like elixirs on it. No need to waste lots of expensive items when you die. Also, while flasks are definitely an option to use if you have them, chances are they're all used up with the last bit of raiding in Burning Crusade.
Ezra Chatterton has gone on to a better place, and we are all better for having known of him, his struggles, and the honor and dignity that he and his family displayed throughout their ordeal. Our most sincere and heartfelt love and wishes for a happier future go out to them all. May they find the peace and comfort they so richly deserve.
We have received emails from his guild, telling us that he read BigRedKitty.net. He was a hunter, and we are proud to have had him among our ranks. Now we are not the best hunter in Warcraft, nor the one with the most PvP kills, nor the best gear, nor anything else that elevates us to any high standard. But we do have two things that we can use to honor the memory of one who has fallen before his time:
A great big mouth and an extremely large and disturbed cult following.
It is with great pride and humility that we announce an event in which you can participate. Where you can join us as we humbly, and with tremendous joy, stand and proclaim our kinship with Ezra, and the Make-a-Wish foundation which gave him so much joy.
[1. Local]: What do Thrall, iPhones, and a Cowbell have in common? - Fri, 07 Nov 2008 20:30:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.
What do Thrall, iPhones, and a Cowbell all have in common? They're part of the comments all you readers left this week.
That dirty Orc Thrall went missing from Orgrimmar this week. He ended up coming back, spontaneously respawning across all the servers. But while he was gone there was rampant speculation as to where he went. Reader Roflpanda suggested that "He went to congratulate Obama on his victory of the presidency." Right on. Crazyfool retorts back that Thrall actually "...moved to [the] Undermine to escape the new socialist Azerothian order."
Anderone hinted that there might be something going on between Thrall and Jania Proudmoor again: "Has anyone checked with Jania? He's probably snuck over to Theramore for a few hours..." Scionic chimes in: "Boom chickie lok tar."
More of the best reader comments this week after the break!
If you play a hunter at all, you've probably noticed a change to pets' Defensive behavior since patch 3.0.2. Ever since the dawn of time, or at least since I started playing (my first character was a hunter), pets on Defensive mode will attack anything that attacks you, the hunter (barring bugs). In this new world, though, pets attack anything that attacks you and anything that you attack. The idea here was just to make things a little more convenient for the hunter; typically, if you're attacking something, you want your pet to attack it as well. And if not, you can use Passive.
It's a nice idea, but it's not been entirely popular. Part of the resistance comes from the fact that it's hard to switch off years of habit. Hunter's Mark, pet attack, I attack. That's how I've done it forever. And part of it is that players want more control; there's no longer any way to attack without your pet attacking if your pet is in defensive. It also really doesn't save much work; a single keystroke per fight, at most (many players have /petattack macroed to things like Hunter's Mark anyway).
Blizzard has noticed that many Hunters have not been happy about this change to Defensive, so they're taking a look at it. If you have any feedback on the new Defensive mode, such feedback is being collected in this thread on the official forums, so you might want to drop by and let them know what you think. Personally, I don't love it, but it might just be fear of change. Skimming through the comments I do seem to be in the minority; most hunters report being quite happy with it. What do you think?
I'm not sure what I think about adding a cooldown to CoH as a solution to this, though. Initially, I hated it; it looked like Blizzard brute-forcing us to play the way they want us to, instead of making it more attractive by buffing other spells or pushing less AoE damage on us. On the other hand, there is talk of reducing AoE damage necessary. And the more I think about it, the more I think a cooldown might actaully feel good. I do sort of miss my other spells; I don't think I used Greater Heal more than a dozen times the fist raid I did after getting Circle. With a cooldown I could save Circle for when I really needed it. I do like the skill involved in selecting the right spell from our arsenal to deal with the incoming damage - it helps keep me awake during those late raids, and it brings an element of strategy that is missing when I'm just spamming CoH three out of every four GCDs.
Sharp-eyed tipster Fontane sent us this very interesting screenshot today. This is a picture of a book open on the table by the Argent Dawn emmisaries currently set up in Shattrath. What does that look like in the circled area? To me, it looks like a map of Azeroth: Northrend at the top, Kalimdor at left, Eastern Kingdoms at right, and the Maelstrom in the middle. But what's that at the bottom? Could it be a new continent?
Sure, it might be a bit early to speculate about the third expansion, given that the second isn't even out yet (five days!). But I'm going to do it anyway; we do know they've got more planned.
Has 20 slots, holds your stuff. You might laugh that we're including a bag in phat loot, but let this be a lesson to you: the bigger the bags you can get, the better your character will do. The more you can hold, the more money you can make, and the more money you have, the better items you'll have overall, which means your character will be better. The best thing you can do for a character in terms of making money is get bags as big as possible, period.
It looks like Blizzard is topping off the bag space around 20, too -- while there are a few 22-slot bags floating around in Wrath, and there are a few other 20 slot bags just like this one to get, we're not seeing the huge increase in bag space than we saw near the end of the Burning Crusade. Then again, once Wrath has a content patch or two under its belt, maybe we'll see bag slots jump up again.
Plus, if you haven't run Zul'Aman yet, you should, it's a great instance.
Today, we will continue from skill level 100 to hit 200, which will place you partway through what a level 20 is capable of training. When herbs are mentioned, clicking on any of the links will take you to a Wowhead page showing you where you can find them.
If you feel you need more background information on inscription tools, milling, or research, check out last week's column to brush up on the fundamentals. Otherwise, pass on through the break!