Strange, no? But true -- Drysc said that they want Sunwell Plateau gear to "circulate" a bit more before introducing a new Arena season. That means that the players running PvE content are actually calling the shots for when the Arena season ends -- if guilds take their time getting through the Sunwell raid, it may be a long time before we see any signs of Arena season 4.
That's interesting -- obviously a lot of players consider PvE and PvP to be completely different parts of the game, but not so with Blizzard. Apparently they consider them very much two sides of the same player base, so much so that even something as arbitrary as PvE gear distribution determines timing of the Arena seasons.
The future of Heroic attunements - Mon, 09 Jun 2008 18:30:00 EST Eloren over on WoW LJ wonders if Blizzard didn't go far enough when they reduced the required reputation for Heroics to Honored level. Personally, even though I'm much closer to the casual end of the spectrum, I never had a problem with Revered reputation -- with my normal questing to 70 and a few instance runs in each zone, I didn't really have a problem grabbing most of the Heroic reputation keys. But even with Honored, some people with different playstyles (solo players, for example, since lots of reputation comes from running instances) are still having trouble.
The good news is that Eloren is basically going to get her wish -- as we talked about last week on the podcast, Blizzard is planning to mix up the ways you can get attuned to a Heroic instance. Heroic Countenance is the first example -- to get attuned to Heroic Magisters', all you've got to do is run the regular once.
In fact, I would be surprised if they didn't play around a little bit with attunements -- for one instance, they might require reputation, for another, turn-in tokens, and for another, a good old-fashioned quest chain. Most of the attunements in Burning Crusade were based specifically on reputation, but there's no reason that has to be the same way in Wrath of the Lich King -- why not give players lots of different ways to reach the different Heroics in the endgame?
Season 4 does not begin June 17th - Mon, 09 Jun 2008 18:00:00 EST There has been a rumor going around for a few days that arenaseason 4 will begin on June 17th. I actually heard this in Alterac Valley this weekend when I was plowing through the place with a few friends and tanking Drek and two of his generals.
While lots of folks wish it was different, season 4 will not be starting on the 17th. Drysc said as much today in a blue post, and went on to reiterate that they will still be giving a two week notice of any upcoming season.
Personally, I expect season 4 to start sometime in late July or early August. That gives it about four months of activity until the supposed release of Wrath of the Lich King in November. But even the release of WotLK in November is unconfirmed, and that's just my guess which is no better than any rumor you hear in a battleground. The only official word will come from Blizzard, which we'll have carried here as soon as we hear it.
They were doing these updates to provide greater security and new features. While we might never know what the new security aspects are of the site (we can guess at stronger encryption, etc...), we expect to see some new features on their site in the future.
Personally I'm glad their update is done. My credit card recently expired and I had to put in a new number, but wasn't able to because the site kept messing up. However this afternoon I was able to update my billing information without a hitch. Back to the multi boxing for me...
Extended maintenance tomorrow - Mon, 09 Jun 2008 16:30:00 EST All U.S. realms will be offline for extended maintenance tomorrow from 5:00 a.m. PDT until 11:00 a.m. PDT. This came from an announcement via the login screen.
Servers have been mostly stable this past week after a series of rolling restarts Blizzard did a few days ago. Hopefully this won't cause too many problems for those hoping to enjoy the game Tuesday evening.
Stay tuned to WoW Insider for the latest on realm issues and other WoW news.
The timing of this meeting is apparently later than expected according to sister site Big Download, but it is worth noting that it still beats out E3, which will take place on July 11th-13th. You'll recall that Blizzard and Activision dropped out of E3. Rumor has it that they are also planning to hold a press conference during E3, on the first day, and being able to reveal final details of when, where, and how the merger will complete during that press conference would be quite a coup, for sure.
No pure +damage gear in Wrath, claims Kalgan - Mon, 09 Jun 2008 15:30:00 EST In an out-of-the-blue quote from an otherwise unremarkable PC Gamer interview, Tom "Kalgan" Chilton, WoW's lead class designer, was asked what might be changing in Wrath of the Lich King. He responded that they would be doing away with +damage-only gear, and adding talents that would convert +healing to +damage and vice versa, which would allow magic DPSers and healers to use "the exact same gear."
Hold on, what? If I'm reading this correctly, it means they basically want damage caster gear and healer gear to be identical.
Not everyone enjoys fishing. Even the fishing quests from 2.4 can only do so much to liven it up. Still, I know several folk who put up with the pain of fishing for the chance to capture that most cagey of crocolisks -- Chuck. (And his three closest friends: Muckbreath, Toothy, and Snarly). In honor of those farmers of fish, we bring you the latest in real life imitating WoW (hereafter referred to as the Rocky Files, owing to the previously-covered real life Mechanical Squirrel).
Officer Glenn Johnson from animal control in Maryland has completed his first fishing daily by catching an 18 inch alligator with a fishing pole. Apparantly, the little fella had been cruising a local golf course. After a few days of baiting the gator with dog and cat food, Johnson broke out the big guns. He set up camp by a lake with a fishing pole and fried chicken. By the afternoon, he'd succeeded -- gator in a bucket.
The baby gator is being hosted in a local zoo, but his name hasn't been announced yet. We're all pulling for him to go by Chuck.
Perhaps most surprisingly, he gives away just how closely Blizzard is watching their competitors in the MMO world to see what's worked and what hasn't -- on the issue of updating the graphical engine and just general influences, Brack has no compunctions about citing Everquest as a huge influence on World of Warcraft, even going so far as to call it "the big foundation" of the game Blizzard made. He also notes that Blizzard pays a lot of attention to their own game as well -- they track how fast players are going through content, and how players do it. He specifically says that Lake Wintergrasp PvP will work like the Spirit Towers in Auchindouin, in that the battle will go down at a certain time, so everyone knows when to get to work and fight there. Battlegrounds and arenas aren't being neglected, either -- there'll likely be "at least" one of each added to the game with the expansion.
Finally, he also agrees that "level separation" (the difference between the characters you've got and your friends who just joined up at level 1) is a problem that Blizzard is keeping an eye on, and while he doesn't mention any solutions yet, he says they'll change it if they feel they have to. Sounds like Brack and his team are well on their way to hammering out the expansion.
Summer's here, gas prices are up, and the economy is suffering both in-game and in real life. Ultimately, it's a "dogs and cats sleeping together" kind of situation for your cash flow. Jagoex over at Warlock Therapy has your wallet covered with "10 Ways Gamers Can Save Money." He's talking about all gamers, and has quite a lot to say for the console gamers, but his tips pretty much apply to everyone.
Of course, there are a few things you can do specifically as a WoW player to save your bank account some stress over this bleeding hot summer.
Do botters really matter? - Mon, 09 Jun 2008 13:00:00 EST Blizzard has had the big botting ban now in place for a couple of weeks, and there are a few people I've noticed who are not online. Additionally I've noticed a change in the auction house price. There are some items like low level enchanting mats that are going for tons more, and others such as high level crafting mats which are going for much less. This is outside of the normal market fluctuations on my server, and many people attribute to the removal of botters.
This could be a fallacy of causation - the removal of botters might not have lead to the shakeup at the auction house. There really is no way to prove it, other than the circumstantial evidence of price fluctuations timed with the removal of often-botted items. And in the end, these price fluctuations end up being a wash anyways - the extra that is spent on the lower level items is more than likely offset by the cheaper higher level items.
Between the recent wave of bannings and the seemingly nominal impact the ban has had on the overall economy, this begs the questions - do botters really matter? And should Blizzard just ignore them?
While it might seem like the answer is a firm no, let's take a look at some of the underlying reasons and assumptions that people bot and why it's considered bad. In particular we'll look at reasons surrounding leveling, playing the economy, and engaging in PvP.
One of the most anticipated machinimas of 2008, The Hunt, finally has a trailer. In January, we were given a brief look at it in David Ciavarella's music video, Welcome to the Jungle. However, we now know that there are at least 65 minutes of finished film so far, but it still doesn't have a release date yet.
The Hunt trailer is brilliant in so many ways, yet fails in others. The editing is superb, but the voice acting misses the mark so much that it's almost comical. He still has time to perfect the video, though, and he'll have a long line of people waiting to see it on premiere night!
Small, casual guilds often have it the toughest of all. They don't have the numbers to run the 25-player content. They often have only a small handful of tanks and healers. With such few resources, how do you attract anyone new in order to maintain any semblance of a guild after people quit? It looks like life may become much easier for these guilds once Wrath of the Lich King launches. But that puts all the small guilds at a crossroads of sorts. What, this week's e-mail asks, should they all do in the meantime?
I am an officer of a guild on the Llane server on the alliance side. Our guild has existed for the past 2 years and have been very casual and most of us have become good friends through the course of the game. [. . .]
We were clearing kara weekly at one point and since we are a very small guild, we only had 1 set of tanks and healers. The kara farming stopped when our Main Tank got all his drops and seeing that Kara was as far as we were going at that time, just stopped tanking to level an alt. He got bored and blamed us for not gearing up any other tanks.
We were recruiting actively at that time and got a few other tanks, but we never had any set times for raids. This killed the spirit for the people who were new and they moved on to other guilds. Of course this hurt our numbers and we finally got back to doing Kara about 3 months later with the core group's alts filling in the tank and healer roles. A note about our core group . . . we gelled so well that we used to do Moroes with no crowd control and 7 out of 10 players in blues and greens. The group just worked and we made the best out of it. With alts tanking and healing, we got to clear Kara.
According to Lethia of Duskwood, she and some friends were hanging around in heroic Blood Furnace waiting for a replacement to get there when they started snooping through the fel orc paperwork. She found a wanted poster sitting on a table. This face looked very familiar, but I couldn't quite place it. So I asked the whole WOW Insider team what they thought. Possibilities brought up included:
The mostly likely possibility would be Zul'jin, but why would the fel orcs in Outland be interested in a troll back in Azeroth? Is there a human somewhere dressed like this? Who do you think is in this picture? (A larger version can be found here.)
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And remember, we're all full on sunsets! Too hot for the sun anyway.
It's June 9th, and it's the time of the month for the Darkmoon Faire set up camp again. This time, they're stationed in Elwynn Forest, just outside of Goldshire. If you're looking for stuff to do at the Faire, or have never figured out just what it's all about, you're in luck. You can check out WoW Insider for all you need to know about getting the most out of the Faire.
The Faire will be here until June 15th, after which time it will disappear again until July 7th, when it will return to Mulgore. Be sure to head over to Goldshire before then, and we'll see you at the Faire!
I have played multiple Night Elves over the years I've been playing WoW (which is since open beta). So why did I just notice the face in the wisp a couple weeks ago? It's not like I don't die a lot. I do. I play on PvP servers but am not very good at defending myself, so I'm easy prey. I guess it could be new (doubt it), or it could be my recent graphics card upgrade (which isn't that recent), but I think it's just that I never really paid attention.
I also just noticed that the Timbermaw Hold cave entrances are furbolg heads. Of course, they've been like that since the beginning, but it's new to me.
What things that have been in the game a while are new to you? Or am I just particularly unobservant?
We're all anxiously anticipating the announcement of a release date forWarth of the Lich King.Many of us speculate that the game will be released in November of this year.Many players have sent us tips about various retailers and their release dates.Lubu of EU-Burning Blade shared an email from the vendor with which he placed a preorder of the game:
Thank you for the following order placed with GAME.
As you may already be aware, the release date for World of Warcraft: Wrath of the Lich King Expansion Pack has changed to Oct 2008. Changes to release dates are relatively common in the videogames industry and are unfortunately beyond our control.
Don't worry, your order is still live and will be despatched prior to its release date via your chosen method of delivery.
Roar! Every Sunday, Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus, and this week he's going to help you survive against other classes and give you a few basic PvP ideas.
Last week I wrote about talents, gear choices, and augmentations for Priests that were interested in PvP. This week I'm going to cover different techniques that can be used against other classes in the game. I'll also write a bit about basic play styles to increase your survivability and allow you to be an asset to your allies.
Officers betting against the raid - Sun, 08 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST After the 20th Supremus kill the game can get a tad boring. There's no doubt about it. Raiders know well that you have to spice things up to keep it fun. One way to do that is to have a lively bunch of people you raid with. With them things can get "interesting" at times. The fellow officers and I in my guild have decided to make things interesting by betting on the number of people that will die during Supremus.
For some reason Supremus always manages to kill a few too many people. Not too many that we can't one-shot him, but enough that it makes you scratch your head. No one dies on Illidan, Council, etc... but Supremus? Run for the hills!
So to keep the fight interesting someone picks a number, say nine. That number is "the line." Myself and a couple others will take under the line, and a couple others will take over. If less then nine people die, each of us gets 20g. If more than nine die the other folks get 20g each.
Is betting against the raid like this a good thing?
Addon Spotlight: Fizzwidget's Feed-O-Matic - Sun, 08 Jun 2008 19:00:00 EST It's been awhile since we talked about Gazmik Fizzwidget's little trinkets. As I promised in this week's Macro Anatomy, here is an addon designed specifically for Hunters and their pets. Feed-O-Matic handles feeding your pet, automating the process of opening your bag, finding food and stuffing into your pets face. The part I find most useful is the reminder it creates for feeding my hungry wolf. I've configured the addon to create an emote when I feed my pet, just so everyone knows how humane I am in my treatment of a pet I ask to fight on my behalf. (Ironic I know, but it helps me sleep at night.)
You can configure this addon to avoid foods needed for quests, anything that provides a "Well-Fed" buff and/or is used for Cooking recipes. You have complete control over what food your pet is allowed to eat, through a series of slash commands, so with just a bit of configuration Feed-O-Matic can streamline the entire process.
Come back after the break for some tips on setting up your new pet-feeding addon.