There is a chance this may be a bug -- we all know it's not the first time that something has appeared tameable on a PTR when it isn't on the live realms. And the parrot sounds could be placeholders or simply just an option that's not toggled the right way. But Hunters could have a new friend to make if Aotona keeps the tamable flag up until the patch drops.
Computerworld on Blizzard's Warden at work - Mon, 09 Mar 2009 19:00:00 EST We've covered the topic of Warden in the past, and you've probably already got an opinion on what it does to your computer system. Blizzard runs the Warden program alongside your WoW client, and while it runs it examines what else is running on your system -- if there are any third party programs (either hacks or cheat programs) interfering with the client, it lets Blizzard know, and shuts down the client. The obvious privacy concern here, of course, is that Warden is basically watching what you do outside of the game. And while Blizzard has maintained that the program is simply meant to check for hacks and cheats (they also say that no personally identifiable information is sent back to them, though IPs and other network information definitely are), there's always a chance that Warden could see you doing something you don't want it to.
Computerworld's Security section has a nice long article on all of the implications of Warden, especially in one of the more sensitive areas of security: the workplace. While most of us probably won't ever play World of Warcraft at work, there are certainly companies where installing and playing the game at certain times is appropriate. And it's probably in those situations where Warden could be its most dangerous. If you trust Blizzard with your information, then you'll have nothing to worry about. But if you don't know what Warden is sending back, there's always a chance that it could be something more sensitive than you'd like.
Of course, there is a hard and fast solution to this: don't play World of Warcraft on computers that have anything you wouldn't want shared with Blizzard or anyone else. As Computerworld concludes, it's a choice-and-consequences kind of thing. Warden is up and running every time you play WoW, for better or worse -- if you don't want it watching what you're doing, the only guaranteed way out is to not play World of Warcraft.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.
As you are no doubt aware, content patch 3.1 is being tested on the PTR. There is the new dungeon of Ulduar, which really isn't going to affect most casual players for a while. And there is a long list of class changes that are ever evolving and that you can check our 3.1 Guide for the latest about your favorite class(es). Professions are getting some balancing, so keep an eye out for what's going on there as well. Players with limited playtime should also be aware of new features and functionality that will affect your daily play sessions, regardless of class or profession. Following is a list of what I think is most interesting for the casual player.
The Electronic Sports League's Intel Extreme Masters Global tournament has ended, and Korean team H O N have come out on top. And according to World of Ming, they completely impressed every player at the tournament -- while they were one of four teams taking the Rogue/Mage/Priest combination to the upper brackets, they apparently played that comp in a way that just rolled on through any competitors (including having their mage, Orangemarmalade, apparently keeping a match alive even after his teammates dropped). Everyone's expecting the RMP domination by the time the next Arena season rolls around, but for now, RMP is where it's at in professional arenas.
Unfortunately for us Americans, the US teams didn't put on much of a showing -- they dropped out quick, and WoM reports that their behavior after the losses was less than classy. They apparently blamed a teammate for dropping out, and it doesn't help that, unlike the Korean teams who have played the same classes and characters for a long time, the Americans apparently came up with their teams and tactics only recently. Looks like they'll have to do a little reforming and rebuilding before this year's BlizzCon.
Congrats to all the teams who walked away with victories in the ESL's Arena tournament. Even from Ming's commentary, it sounds like it was an exciting few days for Arena players.
Sacco actually posted about this in an update on Saturday, but it was overshadowed by the news about the Brewmaster achievement changes, and it's a pretty big deal: we thought we were getting a break on this one, but apparently not. Though it makes sense that all the holidays should be in there (and this explains, of course, why the holiday was extended to a full week), it still is kind of a bummer that we've suddenly got a whole other holiday to do.
But Violet Proto-drakes should be tough to get anyway, and we're sure that, as usual, Blizzard will end up removing any achievements that they figure are unfair (or at least that people whine about until Blizzard doesn't want to hear it any more). And there's one more thought to take away from this: considering that all of this Noblegarden talk is going along with the 3.1 PTR, does that mean we'll see Ulduar on the live realms by Easter?
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
Family Guy is one of the best shows on TV. Begin the flames if you must, but it's the truth and there's really just no arguments that can be made against it. The final question in the Queue today is the reason I've subjected you all to that awesomely annoying song of an ornithological nature.
And to continue the polls we've recently been doing...
"Which battleground (including Wintergrasp) can provide the most honor for the least time spent? I guess the short answer is whatever battleground the faction on my server usually wins, but any other ideas?"
We've been hearing an awful lot about Ulduar and patch 3.1 lately. As such, this announcement is really not a surprise. Vaneras and Bornakk posted on the forums today to warn us all that Season 5 is drawing near an end. The current season should close at the same time 3.1 drops, or very shortly afterward. (I'd guess "very shortly afterward" means "the following Tuesday.") Your Arena points will reset with the season transition, though your Honor points will remain banked.
The announcement doesn't set a specific date. He just says "soon." Since we traditionally get at least two weeks' warning before an official season ends, that does mean that the patch probably won't drop for at least three. And since Noblegarden has been expanded on the PTR, then I expect the patch to hit and season to wrap up in the beginning of April.
We haven't heard details about season-end rewards yet. That's important because we don't demonstrably know whether those rewards are going to be based on personal rating, team rating, or even the Match-Making Rating. The details of season-end rewards tend to fluctuate a little, but the best Arena teams can probably expect a title. The very, very best can expect the Arena mount. However, we don't know if it'll be a Nether Drake or maybe even a Proto-Drake. We'll let you know as we find out more.
Surazc at I'm Tanking What?! has finished his 8-part series exploring the evolution of RPG rules in terms of class balance and how that applies to the current Death Knight balancing on the Patch 3.1 PTR:
The editors of WoW Insider have spoken the dark words, and another edition of Blood Pact has appeared to wreak havoc on the readership. This week, the first installment of Operation: Respec. And yes, columnist Nick Whelan is well aware that other classes have it way worse when dealing with respec costs. Please don't hate him.
I'd like to begin a new project for Blood Pact, which should prove both entertaining to play with, and interesting to write about, if this week is any indication. In an attempt to expand my perspective on the Warlock class -- thus expanding the perspective of this column -- I will test out a variety of different 'cookie cutter' specs, and detail my experiences playing with them. I've ever-so-inventively dubbed this project 'Operation: Respec.'
These won't be perfect tests of course. My contract with WoW Insider doesn't allow me to bill them my expenses, in or out of game. So any money spent on these tests will come straight out of my own digital pocket. I say this not to complain, but rather to explain why I won't be buying new gems, enchants, and gear for every test. Fortunately the stat requirements of the different Warlock specs are relatively similar. Mostly it's just crit rating and haste rating that get switched around, and for those I can at least switch between Spellstone and Firestone, as well as by using different statfood. Glyphs, unfortunately for my bankroll, have become rather essential to different play styles, so I will of course be switching between those within reason.
Arriving with the upcoming 3.1 patch, Ulduar will be ground zero for hard mode raiding -- complex encounters rewarding the best loot in the game, presumably a hardcore raider's dream. There's only one problem: Hard mode is hard. Some people don't like hard. They like easy. Easy bosses, easy loot, and everybody wins, right? But other players enjoy a challenge. This week, one reader wonders how he can get his guild to dance the hard-mode mambo with Ulduar's finest. Hey Scott,
With the release of Ulduar on the minds of most players, I thought this might be a timely question that ties in a current issue our guild's been having with what I see becoming a serious problem for us in the new 3.1 instance.
The current problem:
After clearing all available 25-man content and having it on farm for over a month, a line seems to have been drawn in the proverbial sand. Half of our raiders consider multiple drake Obsidian Sanctum the next step in guild progression. However, the other half seem to be content farming the content that is "easy" for us and are happy not logging on when we schedule attempts.
Furthermore, whenever we do get enough people for a "progression" raid, we run into the same problem. After a few attempts (I have seen as few as 2), we inevitably get the one or two raiders planting the seed of doubt.
There are Wrathgate spoilers here, if you haven't completed that quest chain. Or if you're stalling completion for nefarious purposes.
I'd just been thinking about the 300 Moonkins late last week, so I was incredibly happy and surprised to see this movie go up on Warcraftmovies.com over the weekend. Karash has created a piece which I suppose was inevitable. Wrathgate 300 uses the trailer pieces from 300 to convey the story of Wrathgate.
Karash didn't simply put the soundtrack over the pre-existing Wrathgate cinema. Instead, he cobbled together a new and compelling trailer from several sources. I recognized most of them, but there were actually a few shots whose origins I can't place. Karash says he created this out of boredom, but I think it was actually an inspired use of the "300" material. Placed in the context of Bolvar's Last Stand, I think the new soundtrack created a powerful spin on the whole Wrathgate story.
I'm focused mostly on the story here. Bolvar is an obvious comparison to Leonidas. While the Kingdom of Stormwind probably didn't shun Bolvar's concern about Arthas the same way Leonidas was left on his own, the small-group-against-many theme is still very strong. I actually would have liked to see some more footage using Leonidas' voice-over, though, since it has that same sense of Pyrrhic victory that Wrathgate portrays. Then again, I could be reading too much into this. Still, it was a pretty cool find since I already had 300 on my mind.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
You can listen to last week's show, as always, on any or all of the links below, and be sure to send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got any feedback you'd like to share. Don't forget, too, that there is no show next Saturday -- instead, we're going to be recording the podcast live on Wednesday night at 9pm ESTover on the Ustream page, so if you've never had the chance to hear the show before, this'll be your opportunity to tune in and listen live. We'll return back to our normal time on Saturday, March 21st.
In the meantime, enjoy the show.
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Welcome to Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is ready to help you roll with the punches (and Death Knight changes) coming from the PTR.
We had a new build hit the PTR this week, and with a week gone by, now's a good time to take a deep, focused look at the changes and see how they're shaking down. They're mostly pretty solid nerfs, and a lot of Death Knights aren't too happy about them. Still, beyond people concern about the fact that they are nerfs, the question remains: Were they merited, and where do they leave us? Let's discuss.
Regular readers might remember that we often run screenshots highlighting the worst of Azerothian decorating. (Previous examples can be found here, here and here.) This painting, found in the dwarven starting area by Nienda of <Made for Alot> on The Maelstrom-EU, features a sultry black-haired damsel dressed in what on closer inspection appears to be a harem outfit. Oh, and she's wearing some sort of bandit mask. Either the designers have decided to incorporate a bit of R-rated fairy tale into the game, or the Defias Brotherhood have figured out a new strategy to get their late payments from Stormwind.
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 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. 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, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
The Chicken quest (CLUCK!) can now be picked up by Horde players as well, via spamming /chicken at chickens around the world. While Alliance players buy the Special Chicken Feed needed for the quest from Westfall, the Horde can now buy the feed from "Westfall" William Saldean in Brill. Technically the Horde had access to this pet before, but it was a real pain. You had to wait around for an Alliance player to do the quest, then steal their egg off of the ground before they could loot it. Harsh. Now you can do it on your own, in your own town.
The Sprite Darter quest is still exclusive to the Alliance, but there's another way for the Horde to get their hands on it now: Killing the Sprite Darters of Feralas. We don't know how low the drop rate is yet, but it's safe to say that the Horde is going to drive the Sprite Darters to extinction. Alliance players, note that you cannot kill these Darters. We still have to do the quest(s).
See? Blizzard loves you, too. They love all of us equally. ...Usually.
When I was first exploring the Wrath of the Lich King beta, I thought that the Dalaran Wishing Fountain was one of the coolest things ever. I'm an avid angler in WoW, and I'm a huge lore geek. Combining the two is a recipe for success, I think! I really enjoyed the ability to get a little glimpse into the mind of various lore characters, and it was offered up in a pretty interactive way. It's not only the fun quotes, but a sense of discovery accompanies each new coin.
The contents of the fountain has inspired a question that's been making the rounds through the WoW community: If you had a coin in that fountain, what would it say? What wish or musing would be left on it? I posed the question to the WoW Insider team to see what they would come up with, ranging from the silly to the serious, from speaking in-character to speaking as a player. Here's what they (we) had to say...
Mining is one of the strangest professions in the World of Warcraft. This may seem counterintuitive in the face of such odd professions as alchemy, and more particularly, engineering. But when you think of it, mining is equally strange in its own way.
Mining in the World of Earthiness is by and large a capitalist venture, where the people getting rich off of the various precious metals in the world are never ever the same people who actually go out and dig the stuff out of the ground. No, the rich people find other people do to the actual digging for them, and then compel those diggers to hand over the fruits of their hard work for a mere fraction of the work's actual value. Furthermore, precious metals here on Earth are not simply lying about at the surface for anyone with a pickaxe to come along and collect -- otherwise those metals wouldn't be precious anymore.
Mining on Azeroth is more like collecting interesting seashells than it is anything similar to what humans do on Earth. Below, we will find a few ideas about why in the world only the very greatest adventurers with the best training can go around picking up shiny ore nodes sticking up out of the ground, as well as what it might mean to your character to do so.
Every weekend (well, almost every weekend), Addon Spotlight takes a look at the little bits of Lua and XML that make our interfaces special. From bar mods to unit frames and beyond, if it goes in your Addons folder, we'll cover it here.
Before I get started, this addon is useful to one class only: Priests. Not only that, it's only useful to healing priests, since all it does is make it easier for you to keep track of your Prayer of Mending (sorry mages, wrong PoM).
Still here? Good. I've tried many different mods to tell me who my PoM is on and how many charges it has left, since it is a lovely spell and I like to use it to its fullest, which means I need to know when the darn Spirit Wolves have snagged it again so I can recast it on somebody useful. I used MendWatch all throughout Burning Crusade, but it had some annoying bugs when Wrath hit and I started hunting around for something more stable and easier to read. I quickly found PoM Tracker, and it's worked like a dream for me ever since.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week, Matt checks out some of the PTR loot along and a suggestion of Hymns that we will never see in game.
Have you checked out some of the drops from the PTR yet? There's a great staff from Iron Council that I'm definitely eyeing. I know a lot of spellcasters favour main hands and off hands. I always had a soft spot for staves (because of their looks). But most staves just could not compete with their main hand and off hand counterparts. Rapture will be an upgrade I'll be eyeing. There's also the Ironmender which is an offhand complement for Priests. I haven't seen any spellpower main hands yet but I'm sure there will be some popping up soon enough.
Read Warcraft: Legends for free until March 17th - Sun, 08 Mar 2009 14:00:00 EST March 17th marks the release of Volume 3 of the Warcraft: Legends manga series, and Tokyopop is offering a pretty slick deal to build some hype around it. As of March 6th, Tokyopop has started putting the entire series thus far online to read for free, one chapter per day This will last through the 17th when the last chapter of Volume 2 is posted. They will not be putting new chapters up on the weekend, so despite the fact that we were a bit slow to notice this campaign of theirs (sorry!), you haven't missed anything yet. The first chapter is still the only chapter currently available, and another will be going up sometime tomorrow.
If you're not familiar with this series, Warcraft: Legends is a series that brings multiple stories from many different authors and artists. It's not one solid story arc like The Sunwell Trilogy (for example), but a number of different stories about the denizens of Azeroth. Each chapter in a volume is a different story, though some of the stories span multiple volumes. Some of them are epic tales that tie into the more famous Azerothian figures (Lich King/Scourge, Richard Knaak's characters), and some of them are just about random Azerothian adventurers getting their adventurin' on. If you don't like one of the stories, odds are that you'll like one of the others.