I may prefer Shadow as my Priest's primary spec, but the Discipline tree has also made a special little place for itself in my heart. When I need a change of pace, playing Discipline is really enjoyable. I probably pay attention to changes to the Discipline tree almost as close as the Shadow tree for that reason. Even if I don't play it a lot, I love it. When they announced a new spell coming for the spec, Power Word: Barrier, I geeked out over it just as much as Matticus, our resident Discipline Fanatic.
Unfortunately, Power Word: Barrier has yet to make an appearance on the PTR, and it turns out that we may not see it at all. It's still a possibility, but that's the extent of it. I can sort of see why they would hold off on it, or even change their mind about it. Discipline has gone through a lot of changes in patch 3.1, most of it a really big numbers game. Discipline is a great tree, and while most players might not 'get' the damage mitigation/prevention thing, it's a really powerful mechanic and probably one they need to be careful with.
MMO-Champion's updated Tier 8 preview - Tue, 10 Mar 2009 19:00:00 EST MMO-Champion put up an update for its Tier 8 listings today, including some high res screenshots showing off the high res skins, and a video of all of the sets. Most of this is stuff that we've seen before, but some of it is new. New and wonderful. I'm really not a fan of the Paladin set this time around, but there also seems to be a robe version which I like much better. It's still pretty awful on Females, though. Again, I ask, why in the world did they bring midriff back on tier sets? Leave that to the greens and blues!
We've also started to see stats for some of these sets on the PTR, but not many. A lot of the raid items that are becoming available on the PTR haven't actually had their stats adjusted from the Tier 7 items they were copy-pasted from. In this case, the Warrior set that we've seen is from Ulduar-10 and shares stats with gear from Naxxramas-25. That might actually be a pretty accurate indicator of what it will be on live, with maybe a little extra tweaking upwards to make the 10-man still useful for people who did Naxx-25 previously.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
Playing WoW is an exercise in organization. You need to organize your bank, you bags, your gear, even your talents. You need to plan which dailies you need today, which factions you're grinding and where you need to farm for what. Oh, and don't forget to check your banker and update your auctions.
Legend of the Alliance from Eonar-EU has ridden methodical organization from scratch to the top of the PvE game. The two-year-old guild has climbed from a chatty, rag-tag gaggle of newbies to a lean raiding organization thanks to careful planning and guidance. We visited with GM Loverose about the guild's history, its custom web site functionality, and the mature, methodical leadership that has steered its course.
That will, as he says, make the Chef de Cuisine achievement that much easier as well -- it'll probably still be a pain, but at least there'll be a few more options to pick up new recipes. And I'm curious to see what the new food does, too: I like cooking the usual stat food as much as the next culinary expert, but I'm almost more interested in the fun stuff like Last Week's Mammoth (what a bummer) and the good old Delicious Chocolate Cake. Those cosmetic items make cooking much more fun than just the usual stat buffs that most food give.
So we'll keep an eye out for new recipes. Completists will have at least two more to grab with the new patch.
Big Red Kitty may have just created the most ideal training tool for up-and-coming Hunters within an age range of "walking" to "why do you still play with toys?" If you've yearned for the elusive Spirit Beast from Sholazar, you can now own yourself with this unique Spirit Beast pull toy. I have to admit, I didn't expect to ever see this. Now that I do, it's totally cool, and I wish I'd thought of it myself.
You can order one of the "SBPTs" to either include the wheels, or leave the wheels off. Of course, without the wheels, it's not much of a pull toy, but I don't think anyone will judge your choices. Wheel-less, the silhouette would probably look good mounted.
If you get the wheeled-and-ready-for-rolling version, the Spirit Beast is about 4 inches tall and 9 inches long. It's only about 40 bucks from his store. These are only available to be ordered through this upcoming weekend (March 14th). You should probably hurry if you want one.
While I don't foresee myself rocking one of these in my workplace, I have a certain nephew who should expect one for Christmas. I don't know if Mr. Kitty is signing these pieces, but maybe that can happen if I ask real nicely. For my nephew, you see. He's a fan.
Our buddies over at Figureprints, the company that makes custom 3D printed sculptures of your WoW characters, have expanded their business yet again -- this time, they're opening the doors to you EU players. Ed Fries, who we have spokenwith twice now, says that they are finally ready to expand overseas, and EU players can now order their own custom figurines through the website.
There is a small catch, however -- at this point, while there is no lottery as far as we know, they are charging European customers €129.95, which ends up being about $166, or about $30 more than the US price of $129.95. And obviously shipping overseas from the company's HQ here in America probably won't be too cheap either, and shipping is extra no matter where you're buying the figures from. It looks like Figureprints just figured they'd charge "129.95" to both sides of the world, but thanks to the exchange rate, EU folks are actually paying more.
But then again, we're guessing that people who have been waiting for their chance in the EU to pick one of these up will probably go for the higher price anyway. Figureprints started out a little rough with their limited production capabilities, and a few early bumps in quality, but lately it seems like they're rolling along better than ever.
Is Wrath too easy, or are we just better? - Tue, 10 Mar 2009 13:00:00 EST In the eternal question of whether Wrath of the Lich King is too easy, Our Girl Friday posits an answer that I've often wondered about myself. Is it really that WotLK is so gosh-darned easy, or could the issue actually be that maybe, just maybe, the players have gotten better?
The wealth of knowledge about the nuts-and-bolts of theorycraft has never been more available. New players and old veterans alike have resources like WoW Insider, Wowhead, WoWwiki, or that juggernaut of theorycraft, Elitist Jerks. There are strategy videos, stategy manuals, and even a few strategy comics. The forums themselves have never been more informative, especially when you consider Ghostcrawler laying down wisdom all over the place. The information about how to play is out there for the taking.
And, c'mon. It's been about half a decade and near 12 million subscribers. Once you've done Nethekurse or Zereketh, you should know that you're not supposed to stand in pink, black, or red circles. Really, just don't stand in stuff. Is that really such a deep and meaningful skill that you have to relearn "Don't stand in stuff!" for Kel'Thuzad? So, if the Wrath raids aren't demanding a gear-based progression (meaning, it's all a gear check), then we should entertain the idea that we've gotten pretty good at not standing in stuff. That's certainly not the only raiding skill, but I'm using it as an indication that we're meeting the basic "skill" requirements.
Of course, even Ghostcrawler has acknowledged that Naxxramas is somewhat the new welfare epics. We know that Ulduar's going to be noticeably more "difficult." But until then, we could probably accept that the current accessibility of content owes some part to us getting better as players.
I didn't originally think I'd feature Forrest GumpDK. Mojorising created the video to help celebrate the four year anniversary of his guild, The Enigma Order. While I like seeing these videos, it's usually not the kind of thing that appeals to an audience-at-large. After watching it through, however, the warm-hearted nostalgia grew on me. I actually found "Forrest GumpDK" to not only be a "happy anniversary!" card, but also a fond retrospective of raiding since Vanilla WoW.
The video is based off a certain Robert Zemeckis film from the mid-90s. At the end of GumpDK, the main actor is credited as "Tom Tanks." Hey, it's the little jokes that make things work. Basically, the movie starts off following a feather as it drifts down to a tuxedo-wearing Death Knight, sitting on a bench in Stormwind. The DK then begins telling the tale (in subtitles) of how The Enigma Order has been raiding over the past years.
While Forrest GumpDK is talking about his Guild, I think we all remember the days of fighting that big guy who's made of fire, then a dragon, then another dragon. And then, shooting off into "space!" That sense of wonder might have worn thin for some of us veterans, but Mojorising's Forrest gave me a gentle, rosy-glass view of the old times. For that, I thank Forrest GumpDK for a job well done.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
Ah, maintenance day. The day where I finally get to go out into the world and suck some sunshine into my pallid flesh. I may even pick up some groceries! One can only order crates of Ramen off of the internet so many times before life starts to get a little bland. ...Wait, but if I leave the house... who will write The Queue!? Oh man, forget it, I'll get some sunlight next year. Maybe I can order some Pringles to add a little flavor to my noodles. Fargostar5000 asked...
Don't know if anyone has asked this yet, but are groups going able to run Ulduar-1o successfully using only the gear from tbe other 10-mans thus far, or will heroic level raid gear be necessary/recommended?
You know your day isn't going so well when the sky opens up and a neon blue vortex starts to suck you in like so much dust in a Hoover. Let me tell ya, when you need a mount that can fight against an upward current like that, a carpet isn't exactly ideal. No weight to it, you know?. I think our Undead friend, Riliansabre of Eredar, would rather be riding a Drake right about now. Or perhaps a really big rock. Yeah, you comedically large Roomba. Try sucking that up.
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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.
Good morning, everyone! My apologies for missing last week's Ask a Lore Nerd, I am apparently very, very bad at time management and I lost track of things while trying to finish furnishing my apartment. We're back in action this week though, so it's all good!
Before we get started, I also wanted to remind people that Tokyopop is letting us read Warcraft: Legends for free until the 17th. I know Daniel mentioned it already this morning, but seeing as this is the lore column of the day, I just wanted to mention it again. Just imagine me as the hammer trying to drive this nail into your head. You can read it for free. And now we get the show on the road! naixdra asked...
Why do the Orcs call Draenor, Draenor? Didn't the Draenei show up out of nowhere and call it that, so why would the native Orcs adopt the name given to it by outsiders (and still refer to it after their attempted annihilation of said outsiders)?
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft over there. Which is not to say we don't love WoW! Our weekly roundup will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on Massively from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed to follow our ongoing coverage of your favorite game.
Do you have a springtime MMO? Spring is nearly here, and that means new videogame releases are bound to decline over the coming months until summer arrives with nary a release in sight. For us MMO gamers, though, what it generally means is we look for a particular game to pack away -- like geeky summertime squirrels!
GM Dave goes for a ride in World of Warcraft, finds out it's not Final Fantasy XI Everyone's favorite drunken Final Fantasy XI game master, GM Dave, has decided to finally cross over to the dark side and take a spin in World of Warcraft. Instead of relating his experiences with feeding people who call GMs for unnecessary reasons to the FFXI dragon Jormungand, he's been asked to relate his experiences with World of Warcraft for one entire week by one of his site's donators.
The Escapist takes a look at multiboxing Multiboxing. It sounds like cheating when you have one man controlling two or more characters, but it's more of a pain to work with than it is a straight out cheat. Whatever your feelings are on the situation though, you have to admit, people who do multiboxing have some tremendously interesting setups and rigs to accomplish this difficult feat.
Your favorite MMO pop culture reference? It seems like no matter which way you turn in many MMOs, you'll eventually find a pop-culture reference nestled in there somewhere. While World of Warcraft may be perhaps the most blunt about using them with quests named after things as varied as a Peter Murphy song and a Kevin Smith movie, we know they're by no means the only designers who have added references.
Tuesday Morning Post: And the PTR goes on - Tue, 10 Mar 2009 07:30:00 EST Good Morning, and welcome to another week of 3.1 PTR shenanigans. In the past week we've had a couple new builds, some rather heinous nerfs to certain tanking classes, and some pretty awesome new achievements and quests. We're expecting more of the same this week, although I can't help but pray for a few fewer nerfs, if possible.
One thing we are also expecting this morning is some downtime, from 5 AM to 11 AM Pacific time. Since you'll be bereft of WoW, we'll do our usual and suggest you do some reading of WoW Insider. For example, you may want to check out back issues of The Queue or The Daily Quest and see if a question or link catches your eye. You can also read on after the break for our usual roundup of the best news and features from the past week.
Realm maintenance for March 10th - Mon, 09 Mar 2009 23:47:00 EST We've had clean and easy rolling restarts on Tuesday mornings more often lately, but this week we won't be so lucky.. The servers will be going down for maintenance at 5:00 AM PDT and are estimated to be back online at 11:00am PDT. Will servers be back up on time this week? Maybe, maybe not! We can certainly hope so.
As usual, if anything unexpected unfolds throughout the maintenance period tomorrow, we'll be here to let you know what we know, which might not be much more than you know but you never know, you know?
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?