Today's item comes to us from the wild and strange land of Twitter, where Jezriyah suggested this might be the prettiest item in the game. Maybe -- but only if you don't count characters, as my Night Elf Hunter is pretty hot. Also, if you're not following WoW Insider on Twitter yet, now's the chance to do so -- you get to suggest items like this!
SteelSeries Qck Limited Edition Mouse Pad (featuring the Lich King)
Wrath of the Litch King Strategy Guide
World of Warcraft Atlas Set
$100 World of Warcraft Apparel Gift Certificate
World of Warcraft Trading Card Game - Drums of War 2 Player Starter Set
World of Warcraft Miniatures Core Set Booste
One again, it's open to everyone, and all you have to do is click here and add them as a fan.
As contests go, it's an easy one to enter and you stand the chance to win a lot of cool swag. I particularly like the rather old school atlases (which have recently been updated) and are perfect for RPers who would rather consult an oversized tome of knowledge while the Drums of War starter deck holds the somewhat small chance of winning precious in-game loot.
But before you rush off, starry eyed at the prospect of some loot, don't forget we're also running a Fan Art competition with Steelseries! Don't forget to enter as the closing date of April 20th is creeping ever closer.
Now while the US forums have had this feature for a while, EU Blue Wryxian has posted that the EU forums have a little more order this afternoon. Rather than clumping the Horde and Alliance guild recruitment threads together, they now have separate areas to, as he puts it, 'increase the usefulness and accessibility of the Guild Recruitment forums'.
Despite his entreaties to the contrary, we're sure it's more to do with furthering the mutual dislike between factions. However that said, it will certainly save a lot of time and hassle.
So if you're Alliance and looking for a guild, take a look here while Hordies can go here.
Christie Golden chat transcript posted - Fri, 10 Apr 2009 16:00:00 EST As planned, Medievaldragon hosted a live chat with author Christie Golden last night, and even if you didn't tune in, you can see the transcript right over on WorldofWar right now. It's a very interesting read, especially if you're into the lore of the book and these characters -- Golden talks about how she built up Arthas' life and relationships, and turned him from the Human prince he started out as into the (her word) "monster" he is today. And she mentions a few fun tidbits about her influence on the game -- she created the Taretha character in the Old Hillsbrad instance, and there's an NPC in the Plaguelands that bears a striking resemblance. There's also something in the Balnir Farm that she suggested they put in. You'll have to go and see for yourself what that might be.
And even if you're not interested in the book and the lore, we get another little pull on the line in reference to Gilneas -- when Golden is asked what's going on at the Greymane wall, she says that she "really can't comment as to that." One more little breadcrumb in the trail leading us to either the next big content patch or the next expansion.
Definitely give the chat a look if you've got any interest at all in the Arthas book (which comes out in just over a week on April 21st) or the history of the game's current big bad.
compLexity Gaming has apparently just started up a new machinima site called Noobflicks.com, and to help promote it, they're hosting a machinima contest. To enter, all you have to do is put their little intro tag on your machinima, and upload it to their site before the end of April, and you'll be eligible to win some cash. The contest is called the $1000 World of Warcraft Movie Contest, but the most you can win is $150 -- they're doing three different contests in May, June, and July. It'll be a public vote for three winners selected from ten chosen by the highest rating on the site, the most views, and four more chosen by the site's staff.
Whew. Sounds complicated, but there's also some Creative swag on the line (as well as even possibly a salaried machinima position), so as long as you post a good bit of machinima and make sure it tops views or ratings, you'll be good to go. We'll keep an eye out for the winners -- you may end up seeing them in our very own Moviewatch column, posted every day at noon.
We're almost six months into Wrath's lifespan. Patch 3.1 is just around the corner, and before too long we'll be talking about 3.2. I anticipate 3.2 will come out quicker than most content patches and that 3.3 will be on its way soon after. After that, I'm willing to put good money on an expansion following it.
Why, you ask?
Recently, Blizzard invited a number of special folks to the Irvine campus for sneak previews and testing. They're under NDA, but some are a little more forthcoming than others.
"I know what the next expansion is, but I don't know what the 3.2 raid is going to be. Something seems backwards."
This surprised me a little, because I knew that there was a preview going on for Algalon and Yoggy, but not for the third expansion. The more I think about it, though, the more I can see how they'd be ready to do a show and tell. I think we'll get an expansion in less than a year's time.
As we posted yesterday, it has been made very clear at this point that Emblems of Valor are the emblems that are going to drop in the 10-man version of Ulduar, while the 25-man version will drop the entirely new Emblems of Conquest. Nothing is being added to the EoV vendors aside from the relics that drop in Naxx-25.
In other words, 10-man raids are basically getting glossed over, and 25-man raiders are getting all the new shinies.
Where 25-man raiders get an entirely new quartermaster with access to gear on par with normal-mode Uld-25 drops (ilvl 226), as well as two of their tier 8.5 tokens, we get recycled EoV gear that was originally meant for Naxx-25 raiders. This is gear that is half a tier worse than the gear that drops in Uld-10 normal mode (ilvl 213 vs 219), and there is no way for us to buy our tier 8.0 gear with emblems, at all.
"Nobody Like You" is just a quick, fun little comedy sketch. I'll sum up. Someone's rolled a new Death Knight. Arthas begins his long, emo speech about how Arthas has bestowed on the newbie rage, anger, angst, and all the other associated dark and spooky things. The Death Knight is nonplussed, quickly accepts the quest, and moves on. Arthas, of course, gets more emo than a Blood Elf writing in Livejournal. The comedy, in my opinion, is mostly about the absurd nature of the game when you start breaking the fourth wall.
The video has lots of little fun shout outs. The "meaningless Gargoyle," cute little jokes, and even a shout out to the WoW Insider song. I think Ninth Batter's really doing well in terms of his dialogue, eye for plot, comedy and pacing. I'm not sure if his animation skills have leapt forward yet, but I've never had any complaints about the appearance of his videos in the first place. All in all, I think "Nobody Like You" was a fun time, and I hope there's an episode 2 out there.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
Five tips for inventory management - Fri, 10 Apr 2009 11:00:00 EST So I've been leveling an alt lately (yes, despite the fact that it makes my skin crawl a little bit, I've been leveling a Paladin so I can tank and heal with dual specs when they show up), and my biggest problem isn't the XP, since Blizzard has nerfed the leveling time so much. It's not the quests, either -- between Questhelper and having done the 1-60 jig five or six times before, I'm all set for quests now. Nope, it's managing my inventory -- I'm questing so quickly that the biggest problem I have is just keeping bag space open.
So here's a few tips I've picked up along the way. Even if you're not leveling, maybe some of these will help. And I'm sure there are plenty of great ways to make sure your bags are clear that I haven't discovered yet (I know for a fact that there are plenty of addons out there that I haven't had an interest in yet) -- feel free to share your own tips in the comments below.
While touring Grizzlemaw in Grizzly Hills, Cuttlebort of Guild of Røck on Lothar couldn't resist her genetic predisposition to try to score some honey from the beehive lampposts inside. According to Wowhead, there's eleven vendors selling Honey Mead in Dalaran alone, so I'm not sure why she'd risk the stings to get the significantly less awesome non-alcoholic kind. Either druids lose some IQ points when they're in animal form, or Cuttlebort is a teetotaler.
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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. 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.
Jack Me Some Lumber is one of the first daily quests you'll encounter upon arriving at the Argent Tournament. Neither of them have any impact on the tournament itself, so they can be skipped if you so choose. They only award gold, no reputation or items, so avoiding them won't hinder your progress through the Tournament content whatsoever. However, the gold is pretty good and the quests are quick, so if it's gold you want then it's gold you'll get.
What's going on in these quests, you ask? Well, the Argent Crusade has outsourced the construction of their coliseum to the Goblins. I don't think I need to elaborate on how catastrophically dumb that is, do I? If you want to help these Goblins strip Northrend of its many natural treasures, just talk to Bezzle Blastbolt and his brother Bozzle Blastbolt. The latter of the two offers A Chip Off the Ulduar Block which we will discuss another time.
So what do you need to do here? Accept the quest, fly out to the western portion of Crystalsong Forest, just north of the Violet Stand. You'll find yourself in amongst a load of trees, as you'll see in the picture at the top of this article. Ask yourself, "One of these things is not like the other things. One of these just doesn't belong! Can you guess which thing is not like the other things before we finish this song?"
Breakfast Topic: What it's like to have a Spectral Tiger - Fri, 10 Apr 2009 08:00:00 EST Cogfizzle of the aptly named Ace of Spades over on the forums recently came across a Spectral Tiger in the TCG, and has an interesting post up about how people are reacting to his new mount. Most of the people who say something to him simply want to know where to get it (which means to us that more people need to read WoW Insider), but there's also an undercurrent of hostility -- some people think that as a TCG item, the Spectral Tiger mount isn't a "real" achievement in the game, compared to, say, a Netherwing mount or a Zul'Aman bear. True, you can (legally) buy the special loot cards from eBay (or win them from WoW Insider, hint hint stay tuned), when you can't buy those other mounts.
But Cogfizzle, we presume from what he says, got his the old fashioned way -- by buying and playing the WoW TCG. Can you blame him for that? I'm of the second group he describes -- when I see a rocket mount or a Spectral Tiger ride by, I just give whoever's riding it a nod and go on my way. But are these mounts less impressive because they can be bought, even if they were gained the "right" way? Or are you not "impressed" with rare or tough-to-get rep mounts in general? Ezra Chatterton famously came to us with the news that he was the first with the Pheonix mount, for fear that players in game might give him grief for having it.
It's an interesting thought, and of course social quirks like this are why we play this game in the first place. Of course none of you would ever harass anyone in the game (right?) but how do you feel when you see someone ride by on a Spectral Tiger?
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
Ever want to throw two bosses into the ring simply because they've both annoyed you? This week's Two Bosses Enter deathmatch strikes me a little that way: Svala Sorrowgrave of Utgarde Pinnacle vs. The Prophet Tharon'ja of Drak'tharon Keep. As much as I constantly urge readers to keep real-game play experiences out of the debate, I have to confess to mentally categorizing both these bosses under the "ZOMG, not this fight again..." section in the Annoying Speed Bump category.
Yet here they are in the ring -- so "to battle!" The usual rules apply. Assume that these foes share similar levels, health pools and damage output. We'll have to assume Sorrowgrave has somehow managed to drag an altar into our little Thunderdome, and we'll allow her to summon her three Ritual Summoners to pin her opponent on the altar. For the Prophet's part, since there are no players for him to turn into skeletons (and since he would be unable to turn Sorrowgrave's assistants into skeletons if he were pinned on the altar), we'll allow him to turn Sorrowgrave herself into a skeleton (with appropriately scaled abilities).
Focus your debate on the three S's: Style, Story and Scale. Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what actual players might do in each encounter. Consider the flavor each villainous gladiator brings to bear, then cast your vote for who you think would come out on top.
On a personal note, I ran into him around the age of 10 while in a St. Paul, Minnesota comic book store (Schinders, for those of you wondering). I was looking at Magic cards mainly, but he was browsing around and came over and talked with me when he saw I had turned my attention to one of the D&D 2e books. The clerk later told me as I was checking out who he was.
New PTR patch notes - Thu, 09 Apr 2009 20:30:00 EST Blizzard has once again updated the PTR patch notes for patch 3.1. As usual, none of the changes here will be a surprise to you if you've been following all the action, but for the sake of completeness, I'm going to list them here anyway. Many commenters requested last time if they could just see what's changed between this and the previous patch notes, so that's what I have for you tonight. These are just the new things in tonight's patch notes revision. If you want to see the latest PTR patch notes in full, head over to the Blizzard PTR forums.
Due to significant talent tree revisions, all players will have their talent points reimbursed. Several new spells and abilities have been added for select classes. Players will need to visit their class trainer to learn new spells.
The Argent Tournament, a permanent in-game event, has come to Icecrown. Players interested in taking part in this event should visit the Argent Pavilion located on the west side of the tournament grounds. Features include:
New ways of gaining reputation with capital cities.
All new daily quests, achievements and titles.
New rare and epic items, tabards, pets, banners, faction shirts and mounts.
Scattered Shots is your weekly guide to improving your Hunter skills, brought to you by Jessica "Lassirra" Klein of The Hunter's Mark, covering a variety of Huntery topics. Today, we'll be talking about how to fix your Hunter's dps!
There are a lot of factors that play a part in making up your damage output: your gear, your talents, your gems and enchants, your glyphs, your ammo, your consumables, your shot rotation, your pet, your pet's talents, and even your latency and frame rate. Today I'd like to spend some time talking about all the pieces that make up the Hunter dps puzzle and offer some ways to help you figure out where you might be going wrong. After all, we've all had those nights where our numbers just weren't what we were expecting, and it's important to know how to identify the problem so you can find a solution.
During the presentation, the rep from Massive, JJ Richards, talked about the three types of advertising that they're running: in-game, around game, and for game. In-game is what you usually see in EA's big sports titles: big billboards that sport real-life brands, or even in-game items like cell phones and clothing that advertise real objects. World of Warcraft obviously isn't much of a candidate for that type of advertising, but Massive does cite them as a huge success for the second type, "around game": they take full credit for the ads over on the forums, as well as the ads we'll eventually see in the Starcraft and Diablo Battle.net interfaces. Strange that they didn't mention the gold ad slipup (/sarcasm). He also suggests putting ads in the WoW launcher, but at least agrees that those will have to be extremely game-related if they're going to get away with it.
And the third type of advertising Massive does is "for game," where they use the various Microsoft properties like Xbox Live and Hotmail to do targeted advertising at gamers -- using Netflix queues on Xbox to shape Hotmail ads, and so on. If that all sounds sneaky, so be it (don't forget that this presentation was made to a bunch of marketers, not necessarily actual gamers). But it sounds like Blizzard has made a nice big deal with Massive (despite the fact that we're still paying a tidy subscription fee every month), so whether we like it or not, we're going to be seeing exactly what they're planning in our games in the future.
Here's an interesting bit of info from the Nielsen folks: over 400,000 women are playing World of Warcraft in the US, which means it's the most-played "core" game for that gender. And even more interesting, females 25 years or older make up the largest block of PC game players overall, and they account for 54.6% of all gameplay minutes in December of last year. Girls don't just play WoW -- they're quickly becoming one of it's main demographics.
You can read the report in PDF form over here -- the chart above might be the most interesting piece of information, as it shows that though males still make up a huge part of the PC gaming audience, many of them have now moved on to consoles, and women (especially older women, over 25), during the last month of last year, are making up a huge audience for PC games. Later in the report, you can see what kinds of games women are really playing: Solitare, Freecell, Minesweeper, and all of those other little attention grabbers on every PC. But among those widespread casual games is our own World of Warcraft. And while the 25-52 male audience of 675, 713 for that game still remains larger than the female audience in the same demo, the ladies aren't far behind.
Neilsen also calculated some base stats for WoW, including the fact that 1.8 million unique people played the game, and the average time of gameplay per week was 744 minutes, just over 12 hours (slightly up from last year's average). Additionally, of those who play World of Warcraft, their second most-played game was Solitaire, followed by Warcraft III. Fascinating stuff. Remember that these are statistics, so they are more general trends than anything else, but it's definitely true World of Warcraft and PC gaming in general is no longer only the domain of the male demographic.
Blizzard's official contest isn't the only one running, either. Fan sites around the blogosphere (good gosh I hate that term) are giving them away like crazy, and we even have a nice stack of our own that we'll be giving away soon. Keep an eye out, and seriously- enter these contests, whether it's ours or Blizzard's or someone else's contest. This book is worth the effort, and the collector's edition is pretty classy. Remember, this is coming from someone who thinks many of the Warcraft novels are pretty terrible.
There has been a certain amount of confusion about what exactly is going on with emblems in Ulduar. We've known for a while that Emblems of Valor, which currently drop from 25-man Naxxramas, are going to drop in 10-man Ulduar, and that Ulduar-25 is going to drop a new badge: Emblem of Conquest. However, there were some rumors that the EoVs from Uld-10 would be a different "color" than the EoVs from Naxx-25, enabling purchase of some gear for the new EoVs that would not be buyable with the Naxx-25 EoVs. There have also been various theories about whether Tier 8 tokens would be buyable with emblems, like some of the T7 tokens are now.
Vaneras has gone and clarified these questions and more, in a FAQ post on the European forums. I'll try to distill the information that I found useful into a few bullet points.
The EoVs in Uld-10 are the same as the ones from Naxx-25, and let you buy the same rewards.
Relics from Naxx-25 are being added to the EoV quartermasters; nothing else is being added to them at this time.
Tier 8.5 gear tokens (chest and helm) will be buyable with EoCs (from Uld-25). Tier 8.0 gear tokens will not be buyable in any way.
There will be a new EoC quartermaster with the two 8.5 tokens and additional ilvl 226 gear for purchase.
The justification for T8.0 not being buyable for tokens is that they didn't want current Naxx-25 raiders stockpiling huge numbers of EoVs to buy stuff on the 3.1 release. This does make some sense, although there are other routes they could have gone with it. Anyway, it's good to have clarification.