Boubouille of MMO Champion has a special treat for Hunters and loot hounds everywhere today, unveiling footage of the legendary bow Thori'dal, the Stars' Fury in action. The bow itself looks pretty awesome, with lots of detail and colors. In addition, it looks like when you shoot it, you get a pretty nice light show going on. I'd say that they've managed to make it rather legendary indeed, looks wise. It's worth noting that the stat data shown in this video is from PTR data mining, so it may not keep those exact stats when the 3rd gate opens and Kil'jaedan is finally downed, but I imagine a lot of Hunters (myself included) are drooling big time over this little glimpse, and can't wait to get their hands on it regardless.
Craig Sherman of Gaia Online: WoW is "not a success" - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 17:30:00 EST See if you can follow this reasoning: WoW has ten million players, which is nice and all, but there are actually 800 million teens in the world. Therefore, since Blizzard hasn't reached even 10% of them (80 million), WoW is not actually a success. That's what Craig Sherman of Gaia Online (a casual, browser-based MMO) said to folks at the M16 Marketing conference in San Francisco this week. He claims that WoW's subscription fee has hampered its growth, and that it would be even bigger if there was a free-to-play model.
But his reasoning is unstable there to say the least. Part of the reason WoW is so successful is that Blizzard has had the cash to put up for new servers, new content, and a brand new HQ, and with a free-to-play model, they wouldn't be making nearly as much money as they are. Not to mention the quality of the players -- in my experience, part of the reason WoW is such a good game is that when people pay to play it, you often get a much more interested and involved player base. And of course, while yes, WoW hasn't reached a larger fraction of its "potential" player base (however you define that -- what makes Sherman think that Blizzard is targeting teens at all?), anyone who thinks a 10 million player MMO is "not a success" needs to examine the rest of the MMO market more closely.
Will there be a game bigger than World of Warcraft? It sure seems like it -- at some point in the future, there should be a game that does go free to play and does hit on all the marks -- casual, hardcore, serious, fun -- that World of Warcraft does (in fact, maybe WoW itself will someday open up a free-to-play model). But to claim that WoW has somehow suffered from its subscription model is pretty far from the truth.
As we continue down the road to Wrath of the Lich King, we get more and more information about what factions we'll be coming across. The Taunka, the Tuskarr, the Scarlet Onslaught, things like that. The one that seems to have gotten the most people excited is our beloved Silver Hand. The inclusion of the Silver Hand has even sparked a great amount of debate on the official Wrath forums, yammering for or against the Horde being welcome in the Order. Because of all of this, I've decided we'll take a little look at the Silver Hand this week!
Contrary to what most people believe/know, the Order of the Silver Hand was not founded exclusively by Uther the Lightbringer. At the time, Uther was actually still an apprentice. His teacher, Archbishop Alonsus Faol, was the true founder of the Order, though Uther was at his side, naturally.
Using the Daily Quests as a way of supplying gold - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 16:30:00 EST We've been talking about this for a little while, but the always insightful Relmstein has a nice summary of what's surely one of the ideas behind Blizzard's daily quests -- they serve as a kind of "Federal Reserve rate" for Azeroth, in that Blizzard can control inflation and gold flow by routinely pouring money into the economy. Before daily quests, Blizzard had big problems with gold sellers -- raiding cost a lot of money, as did the various mounts, reputations, and everything else our characters had to buy. But really the only way to get gold was from farming and grinding, both things almost nobody wanted to do.
Enter daily quests -- with just a few minutes effort, players could cash in and pick up a nice chunk of gold. And with the coming of patch 2.4, daily quests are everywhere. Do an hour of quests and you've easily got sixty gold, do even more and the gold starts pouring in. Which means the reasons for gold buying and selling are shrinking. Of course, it won't erase gold buying completely (some people will always cheat, no matter how little effort it takes them to earn the gold legitimately), but the barrier to earning more gold is lowered that much more.
But, says Relmstein, the Federal Reserve's control is a two-way street. Once you start pouring too much gold into an economy, then you have to start dealing with inflation. He expects that the Sunwell dailies will start to disappear from the game as of Wrath, because if not, then Blizzard will have to go the other way to control inflation: raise prices. Think 5,000g is a lot for a flying mount? In the future, if the amount of gold in the game stays the same, it may be even more.
Some EU realms get a free day - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 16:00:00 EST A bit over a month ago, all the realms in the European battlegroups Crueldad, Hinterhalt, Némésis, and Nightfall suffered some extra downtime, and players on them received a credit for a free day of playtime to compensate. Looks like it's happened again. In exchange for for six hours of downtime on April 6, members on those battlegroups will once again get a free day. Here's a list of the affected realms:
Crueldad: C'Thun, Dun Modr, Los Errantes, Minahonda, Shen'dralar, Tyrande, Uldum, Zul'Jin
Hinterhalt: Arygos, Der Mithrilorden, Dethecus, Forscherliga, Norgannon, Teldrassil, Todeswache, Un'Goro
Némésis: Arak-arahm, Confrérie du Thorium, Eitrigg, Garona, La Croisade écarlate, Medivh, Uldaman, Vol'jin
Although Nihilum didn't seem to bother getting world firsts with the first three bosses Felmyst, Kalecgos, and Brutallus, whom many guilds were able to down on the first day that Sunwell Plateau opened, they seem to be geared towards downing the remaining bosses ahead of everyone else. The second gate blocks Nihilum's progress so far, preventing them from attempting M'uru. Will Nihilum continue to make World of Warcraft history? The second gate will probably open in a couple of weeks, so we'll find out soon enough.
Scattered Shots: Professional development - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 15:00:00 EST Last week David covered pet control, in case you missed it. This week I'll be talking about a question people ask on the forums quite often: "What profession is good for a hunter?" Each profession, of course, has its pros and cons. Most professions, in fact, have a variety of professionals involved at all levels, and in many cases you couldn't get two of them to agree on their career of choice for love or money. A cursory look at the professions forum will confirm it most days. But over the years, and with several hunter characters, I've picked up a few ideas from my own experience and from that handed out in the forums. Herein, I'll share what I know, and perhaps what some others have taught me as well!
The "Basic Income" Not all players take pleasure in crafting. It can be tedious, time consuming, and the gear you produce can be replaced with drops in many cases at the same level. Hours can be spent running back and forth from auction house, to bank, to forge, to auction house, to forge, to bank, to Wowhead, back to auction house, and so on. If that doesn't appeal to you, the "Basic Income" might be perfect.
The problem many crafters run into is an age-old problem of "independent merchants and distributors" everywhere. In many cases, the stuff you can sell for the most profit is also the stuff you need to consume to make things. In many cases, professionals in WoW have to decide between leveling their profession and being able to afford pet food. One way to avoid that conundrum is to take two gathering professions. That way everything you gather, you can sell without consuming it, and you won't be worried about using up your ore to make armor or using up your herbs to make potions. You won't be able to make either!
The National Post has an interview with an artist named Eddo Stern, who has created what he calls "sculptures" of figures from WoW. You can clearly see what looks like a dragon (Onyxia), Chuck Norris, and a Night Elf above, and there is apparently another sculpture in the series featuring Chuck Norris mashed up with something from Chronicles of Narnia. Finally, Stern apparently has created a video installation of a thread from the EverQuest forums called "Best... Flame War.... Ever." Sounds like pretty standard forum posturing to us -- a kid calls another guy a noob, said guy threatens to show up in RL for a fight and then talks about his buddies in Iraq.
Stern is supposedly playing with the virtual machismo of playing in MMOs, and how different the players supposedly are from the heroic character they're playing. Sounds like interesting stuff. While I don't really agree with his premise all that much (there are all kinds of people playing these games, and the vast majority of them don't really emulate Chuck Norris or try to pick fights on message boards), I like the techniques a lot -- those projections look pretty good. And his next project sounds even cooler: he's going to try and project a huge dimensional portal on the side of the highway in San Jose. Should be fun to see.
Alpha is part of the software release life cycle -- a software product in development goes from alpha status to beta status (sometimes including a "closed beta," where a limited few are invited to preview and test the software, and an "open beta,", where anyone can download and try out the beta), to "release candidates" and then "gold" (the final version, used to print the media to be available for sale). This doesn't tell us anything about the timing of the expansion's release (especially since Blizzard historically takes their time going through this cycle), but it does tell us that Wrath's content is in a playable and mostly completed form -- quests, game mechanics, and items are in, even if specific flavor text, names, and even textures are not.
We'll keep an eye, as usual, on any other news we see coming out of Blizzard, through official or unofficial channels. Wrath of the Lich King, the second expansion of World of Warcraft, is in alpha testing. The journey to Northrend has begun.
To Hotlunch's credit, she didn't immediately chalk up the blame to overpowered Warlocks but, probably rightly, to her gear. It's pretty true that poorly geared Rogues aren't much trouble to your well geared Warlock. As long as you have the hp and armor to last through their barrage of stuns to get off a fear and trinket out of Crippling Poison, then kite them around while they burn through Cloak of Shadows and Cheat Death, they're pretty easy. It's when you get the well geared rogues with tons of armor penetration and resilience that you start feeling the sting of those blades.
Of course, some people in the thread rightfully pointed out that she should start looking at Opportunist's Battlegear for a quick leg up on PvP gear - it seems like her situation is exactly what it was implemented to help out with, and might have helped out a bit with the Felguard. Good luck to Hotlunch on getting geared up. With a little more preparation, I'm sure the next AFK Warlock won't be so lucky.
But thinking about the situation, I think it's also a good counter to those people who get caught in complaining about "welfare epics" and all that.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Show your expertise - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 13:30:00 EST This week, The Care and Feeding of Warriors talks about Expertise. There's going to be a lot of math talk. It will probably have an error or two in it. Mr. Rossi needs to get some int gear for writing these columns. Expertise is useful for tanking and melee DPSing, so it seemed time to discuss it. Also, I've recently realized I can't actually hit the 'expertise cap' as a tank with the gear I can get. Sad but true.
We live in interesting times since patch 2.3 here in warrior land. Whereas previous to this patch, we had good old fashioned bonuses to our weapon skill (remember the old Edgemaster's Handguards? Admit it, you wore these at 60. Some of you wore them at 70. You don't have to lie to us, we know.) we now live in the magical world of expertise rating and expertise. What is expertise, and what isn't it?
Well, for starters, expertise is not chance to hit. Expertise can help you hit more often in an indirect manner... it reduces the chance for a mob to dodge or parry your attacks. so technically yes you'll be hitting them more often. But + hit items directly reduce the chance an attack will miss, which in World of Warcraft is entirely different from a dodge or parry (just ask any warrior trying to hit the Overpower button). Furthermore, expertise is not weapon skill. The expertise system replaced bonuses to weapon skill on items, but it did not actually replace weapon skill: weapon skill up to 350 (at level 70) still exists. Expertise is just (just, he says) a direct reduction of your chance to have your attacks dodged or parried. Unlike the old days with weapon skill bonuses, as far as I know there's no relationship between expertise and glancing blows. (If anyone out there has information that contradicts me here, please share it.) So if expertise isn't going to raise your chance to hit, why am I so excited about it?
Well Fed Buff serves up tasty dishes to boost your HP, stats and appetite - with that special WoW twist, of course.
Spring is in the air and it's time to start thinking about grilling.For this week'sWell Fed Buff, we get to enjoy Charred Bear Kabobs.In World of Warcraft, these tasty delights restore 1933 health over 27 seconds. Charred Bear Kabobs require level forty-five, and if you spend at least 10 seconds eating you will become well fed and gain 24 attack power for 15 min. The recipe can be purchased from Malygen in Felwood.
Real life kabobs are a tasty way to express your creativity.Sadly, I was unable to find any Bear Flanks in Las Vegas on short notice.I had to opt for pork loin.It seemed a reasonable substitute.Kabobs are a relatively simple way for fantastic Sunday afternoon bar-b-que dishes, and well worth the effort for a weeknight meal.
Impress your friends with fantastic treats that pair perfectly with your World of Warcraft adventures. Have fun whipping up some or our delicious snacks, meals, and beverages.
The situation is that you're in a raid and you're healing -- you have a little extra mana and you want to use it to throw debuffs on the main tank's target, but you don't want to miss a second of watching the main tank's bar. Using macros, you can actually cast spells on your focus' target (in this case, your focus would be the MT) without ever changing targets -- just set up a macro to cast the spell, put the button on your bar, and rather than ever having to switch targets, you can just run a macro. You can even use "modifier:shift" and "modifier:ctrl" to switch spells and/or targets. And with simple addons, you can watch your focus target even when you tab away.
Focus is such a powerful tool that it's a little overwhelming to think of all the things that it can make easier in game. But whenever you're in a situation where you're always going back to a certain target (whether that be an MT or self or someone else in the group you're playing with) and can set it as focus, then you can often use macros or addons to make everything else easier after that.
When you've accomplished everything on your checklist, what's left to do in WoW? For Ganouille and Esmereth, the answer was to open a travel agency. Their first customer, Hogger, was only level 11! It took them many attempts to actually make it to their destination because anyone that crossed their path killed him for them thinking that they needed help.
Blood Pact: Dressing for the occasion - Thu, 10 Apr 2008 11:00:00 EST After a serving a short stint with the intern babes - involving tape and piñatas - V'Ming returns to laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's rocking SSC and TK with his 0/21/40 build and still bragging about consecutive 8k shadow bolts.
Your comments in my previous Badge loot shopping article got me thinking about warlocks having multiple outfits, just like tanks and hybrids. Warlocks usually serve a single role - DPS - so our outfits aren't generally as dramatically diverse as what a druid, for instance, might pack.
After accumulating a bunch of epics with varying stats, most of us have moved beyond the "one outfit for everything" situation. In fact, I'd say we're spoilt for choice now and can afford to use the right gear for the right situation.
Sure, he doesn't compare to Skwisgaar Skwigelf in appearance, but Talbot of Sha'tar-EU has managed to make the Lunar Festivaltotally metal. The backup dancers could use some skimpier clothing, though. Or, considering that they're rotting, decaying corpses, possibly some very heavy overcoats.
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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. Sunsets are not metal.
If you ever find yourself low on Health or out of Mana, or you're in need of an innovative gift idea for a hardcore WoW fan, then try your hand at crafting these nifty potions. Minimal alchemy skills required. One of these pots is guaranteed to add +10 geek appeal to any players WoWspace. Here is what you will need:
We get our motivation today from Thongsnapper (nice name) of Gorefiend who asks, if you could have any spell in Warcraft in real life, which one would you have? Hearthstone would be an interesting choice for sure, and Polymorph would make for an interesting life (though its uses might be pretty limited, considering that real life doesn't actually have aggro management), but I think personally I'm going to have to fall back on the old superpower standby: stealth. Moving around unseen just seems too fun to pass up.
Actually, I might second guess that -- in terms of practicality, healing spells might actually be more beneficial to the world. Wave your hands, and any ailments, no matter how big or small, are done away with. I'll have to give this some serious thought. In the meantime, let's hear it: if you could have any spell from the game in real life, which one would you choose?
MMO Couples tells you how to find love online - Wed, 09 Apr 2008 20:00:00 EST MMO Couples is a new blog about "how people successfully combine online gaming and relationships," and it's a pretty interesting read, whether you're a fan of online gaming or romance in general. It's written by "Gabi," a woman who met her boyfriend in WoW (she tells the story on the site), and while there's not much to read through there yet, it does seem like it might be an interesting look at how couples find themselves in virtual worlds.
There are also some tips on how to find love in a virtual world, and I like how down-to-earth they are: communicate as much as possible, be realistic, have a backup plan. Online romances are often full of drama, and it seems pretty tough to get a good relationship out of having met in a place where the whole point is that you're pretending to be someone you're not.
But a site like this would help fix some of that -- providing a community and a forum for folks in online relationships would probably help everybody involved.
We took a look first at the history of multiboxing, including how Xzin originally got interested in it.
We examined how exactly it is done, including not only the equipment you need to make it work, but how much multiboxers pay in account fees.
We talked with Xzin about the limits of PvE multiboxing, including class combinations and how far you can get running a raid group by yourself
And in the second half of the show, we get into some of the controversy about multiboxing, including whether it's fair for multiboxers to take their characters into PvP, and whether Blizzard will ever change or reconsider their decision that multiboxing is legal
And finally we talked about the future of multiboxing -- will any MMO game every actually embrace playing multiple accounts at a time as a gameplay mechanic?
Pretty interesting stuff -- not only did we talk objectively about a lot of what multiboxing is, but we were able to debate a little bit about whether it's fair, or whether the game is meant to be played in strange ways like this. The show is now available for a listen over on the WoW Radio website, and of course on iTunes as well.
If you have input on how the show went or anything else you'd like us to cover on the WoW Insider Show (especially any other guests you might like us to have on), leave a comment below or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Next week we'll be back to normal on the show (we're planning to finally have a nice hardcore PvP chat), so stay tuned this weekend for more about our weekly podcast.