Englewood, a GM on the Tournament Test Realm, poised for some pictures today with the WoW Insider Arena Team covering the event. We were all pretty psyched to find us all teleported right outside Dalaran, with Englewood, to pose for some pics. He was in his Brutallus getup, and was lookin' pretty sweet.
It looks like the Blizzard staff is dwindling down on the TTR, and I've got a raid to run off to in 30 minutes. So while our live coverage is wrapping up, expect to see lots more commentary and analysis over the next few days.
And of course, the best part of the day for all of us was all you fans - I was getting so many tells at points I couldn't keep up! Thanks for saying hello!
Okay, so back when the old Grand Marshal and Warlord PvP sets were scrapped in favor of Gladiator gear for honor, I was actually pretty dismayed, but not for the same reason as most others. I wasn't really concerned about "Welfare Epics" or "AFKavers" simply standing at the entrance of AV and getting good gear because of it. I was sad because the look of the sets was going away!
Yeah, that my sound a bit crazy, but bear with me for a bit, let me explain myself.
Marking targets is an art form, one that requires tactical know-how of whatever instance or raid you happen to find yourself. This duty can fall to your raid leader, your tank or some other designated distributor of raid markers. Of course, the exception is often the Protection Paladin who often requires no crowd control and lets DPS go to town on whichever target they want. But, eventually, even a great multi-target tank needs to establish a kill order. Regardless of who does the job, LuckyCharms2 can provide an easy-to-use raid marking interface.
During my days as a Protection Paladin, I started out using the somewhat clunky, default raid-marking interface. A druid friend eventually clued me into the concept of binding the aptly named lucky charm markers to keys, which made my marking endeavors much easier. However, being an addon junky, and a confessed clicker, I knew there had to be something better for me. Enter, LuckyCharms2, a nice little addon which allows you to assign raid icons by using a small frame displaying the different lucky charms.
You may remember the raiding guild Risen, from the Alleria server, for their work in Naxxaramas back before The Burning Crusade, being among the first to grab Atiesh and the Corrupted Ashbringer. They're back at the forefront of WoW news again, but this time for a different reason. They've decided to tap out of raiding until WoTLK, and they aren't being very shy about telling us why, with a post on their website under the oh-so-witty title "World of Casualcraft."
Stress test live blog - Sun, 09 Mar 2008 15:02:00 EST We've been preparing for the stress test, are mostly gemmed and enchanted up, and are looking to fight! I'll be updating this post as things happen, hopefully with riveting tales of victory and triumph over Alliance Care Bears. (Kidding of course, my main is an Human warrior.)
Read on after the break for the updates! We'll keep this front page only for things that are affecting everyone.
Update 1:50 p.m. PST: Server's up! *Sort of. It was up for a few minutes, complete with GMs and lots of people back. Then went down again. Suspect they're restarting it right now.
If you're looking for us, we're playing under the banner "WoW Insider". My name is "insideradam", Alex Ziebart's name is "insideralex", and Amanda Miller's name is "Vehn". We'll be joined by other writers throughout the stress test. I'll also be live blogging the event in about 30 minutes from now.
Soloing can be epic, too - Sun, 09 Mar 2008 14:00:00 EST Though everyone talks about it a lot, raiding or even grouping isn't the only way to achieve something in the World of Warcraft. There's something for everyone.
While I do raid, there's a lot of solo content that I really feel proud of completing. At the top of my list is mastering the Shartuul's Transporter event. For quite awhile it would just stomp me into the ground, until one day I found my groove and was able to get through to the end. It took a handful of the Charged Crystal Focuses(foci?) for the 'special' abilities, but I did it. From there, I did the event as often as I could, until I could get through it without using any Foci. Now? Easy as pie. The event is basically free potions and potential epics for me now. Assuming it doesn't bug out. Spawn, you stupid eyeball! Spawn!
I've also been working on rep for a Wintersaber, but even after the buffs to reputation gains on that grind, I have a hard time staying interested. I've been doing it in little bit and pieces, and I really look forward to when I finally get a pink kitty.
So I'm curious, what are your solo accomplishments? That little(or big) thing you met head on and mastered on your own?
While I consider us to be a major source of news, information, and QQness about World of Warcraft related things, I never really thought that we'd ever be included on a list like this. It's kind of nice. So who did we beat? And who beat us?
Shagatrog has put together a short trailer of an upcoming WoW based movie he is making. For his very first try at editing I was impressed with his story telling, music selection and use of the Model Viewer. He needs voice actors for his production so take a look at the trailer and if you're interested in helping him out, check out a forum thread he started about his movie.
Why is Kael a bad guy again? - Sun, 09 Mar 2008 11:00:00 EST A few days ago, Allison posed an interesting question: Why is Kael a bad guy? The answer is pretty clear to me, there's a definite path you can follow to Kael's corruption and downfall. It isn't very well laid out for you in the World of Warcraft, there's some connect-the-dots you need to do, but I think the answer is there. Be warned, there are some spoilers for patch 2.4 ahead, so be careful if you're trying to dodge them.
As Allison detailed, a lot of things had happened in Kael'thas's life just prior to Warcraft III, and during it. The captain of the football team steals his girl, kills his pops, and massacres the people of Quel'Thalas. Dalaran gets destroyed, and the remnants of his people are slowly falling into sickness for unknown reasons. Despite this, Kael'thas forges ahead and steps up to lead his people and protect them, no matter what it takes. This may mean allying himself with the remnants of Lordaeron, the people who indirectly caused the fall of Quel'thalas. This may mean allying with the Lady Vashj and the naga, described by Allison as "vicious," despite being what they are. For the good of Quel'Thalas and the Sindorei, anything goes.
The Horde base in Blade's Edge has a few reminders of the dangers of the Outland. As if the skewered dragons on the mountain spines weren't enough of a warning. Player Luesarim of The Hammer of the Ancient guild on the Thorium Brotherhood server stumbled upon this unlucky fellow. Never make a bet with a cross-eyed sword-thrower, eh?
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 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. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
Sunday Morning Funnies: Your Mom - Sun, 09 Mar 2008 09:00:00 EST Whether it's the need to press the big red button, or the urge to throw insults at your least-favorite NPCs, we have your weekly dose of WoW comedy for you every Sunday morning, and this weekend is no exception.
First off, let me say that my recent Hybrid Theory had a lot of sardonic, cynical little jokes. In all seriousness, I would not tell a Balance Druid that I raid with to "go be useful and Moonfire spam something." I don't think that you're viable Main Tanks for a progression oriented 25-man raid, but if you can have fun with something and your raid will actually let you do it, more power to you. That doesn't mean you should advertise yourself as a tank when applying to a raid group, but there you go.
As far as Protection Paladins go, I believe my stance is not wrong, but I overstated the extremity of the situation. No, Protection Paladins are not only brought along on raids to cheer in the background waving pompoms. I did not mean to say Protection Paladins absolutely cannot tank bosses like Lady Vashj or Kael'thas. My intent was to say that in most raids and situations, a Protection Warrior or Feral Druid(not for Kael, obviously) will be top priority.
Next week is spring break at my university.I'm looking forward to a little time off from school.I'll probably spend at least a little of it catching up on World of Warcraft.I'd love to visit someplace warm and lively for the week, but that's just not in the cards. It's amazing how Las Vegas loses its charm once you've lived there for a couple of years.It looks like once again I will be spending my spring break in Azeroth.
We asked readers where they would live if they could pick any place in the World of Warcraft in a previous Breakfast Topic.Responses varied from a floating island in Nagrand to Downtown Stormwind City.They all sound like nice places to visit, but I'd hate to live there.
I think I would head on down to Stranglethorn Vale for some sightseeing and sunshine. If you could take your spring break anywhere in the game world, where would it be?
WoW Insider will be there in force! The TTR team from WoW Insider will include folks like myself, Amanda Dean, Amanda Miller, Alex Ziebart, and other writers. We'll be there trying to be king of the hill during the arena tests. Our team name is "WoW Insider" (creative, huh?) and we'll be fighting FOR the Horde.
So grab your sword and fight us Horde! Come on over and join the fun - and if you happen to hit us in battle, don't forget to take a screen shot of us standing victoriously over your dead bodies! ;-)
We've added a gallery of screenshots just in time for the worldwide Arena battle.The battle will take place tomorrow, Sunday March 9from noon until three PM Pacific time (GMT -8).The latest patch gives players full sets of merciless gladiator gear for each spec for their given class. This change should reduce some of the frustration in gearing up a character.
Each player is given 5000 gold.You must still purchase you gems, enchantments, and accessories.These are available for purchase from vendors as there are no trade skills on the TTR.If you want alternative armor and weapons, you will have to buy those from their respective vendors.It's still crowded, but it seems more manageable than earlier in the week.
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 English-language 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.
Who else is with us on this? I'm sure most people have at least thought about working for Blizzard once or twice.