WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 10 Jun 2008 21:15:00 EST Miss out on some of these columns the first time around? Worry not! Here's your weekly chance to catch up on some of the best feature content coming out of WoW Insider. If you missed these earlier this week, don't make the same mistake twice.
We were expecting it to take just a little while longer, but it looks like Blizzard surprised us. That's right, Arena junkies rejoice, and get ready to make the final push for your titles: Season 4 is on it's way!Eyonix has just given the promised 2 weeks notice on the new season, and announced that it is now scheduled to begin on June 24th, 2008. As usual, teams will be allowed to keep any accumulated points, but all team and personal ratings will reset to 1500, and all titles from Season 2 will be removed. Also, the top rated teams from Season 3 will receive their titles, and for the very top, Armored Netherdrakes.
It is also worth noting that this season will herald new Arena ratings requirements on most Season 4 gear, including many of the new honor rewards. In addition, Season 3's shoulder and weapon Arena rating requirements will drop slightly, all season 3 gear will cost fewer arena points, and the Season 2 gear will be purchasable for Honor. Season 1 gear will be gone forever, so buy it now if you want it for looks. This is also very likely to be the last season before WotLK comes out. There is still no word on what will happen to the gear after that - whether it will be discarded completely for new level 80 gear, or left as an option for people who prefer to stay at level 70 or do not buy WotLK.
We'll keep you updated if the start date of Season 4 changes, or if any other news comes up, so keep it tuned here into Season 4 and beyond.
Disclaimer: Faction grinding is not actually fun Faction grinding may be a bore, but it is a necessary evil in games like World of Warcraft. As much as you may not like sitting around an area and killing the same creatures over, and over, and over again for items, you may be doing just that once you hit the level cap and have nothing better to do. All of a sudden, that faction grind is looking mighty tempting.
MMOGology: There's no place like Azeroth I was running my daily quests for the Shattered Sun Offensive this week when one of the officers from our guild popped online. He said he was back from a session with Age of Conan and was having a blast with it. I asked him if he liked the combat mechanics -- he did.
Behind the Curtain: Hell is other people How often do you your social experiences in MMOs actually satisfy you? How many times have you been part of a PUG that lasted longer than the bare minimum of time it took to finish the instance and left you with the feeling that you'd met some decent people, instead of ...
Porn addiction more accepted than WoW? Would you say that in a normal conversation, if you were to bring up the fact that you're addicted to porn, that would be more acceptable than if you were to say that you're addicted to World of Warcraft? In a recent interview with Dr. Jerald Block, a psychiatrist who specializes in internet addictions, he says that his clients are ...
Allison Robert wrote a pretty solid summary of a Druid's life in PvP as a moving target. This week in Shifting Perspectives, I'm focused on a specific aspect of your life as that moving target. I'm talking about one of the most quintessential Resto-Druid skills in small-group Arena play: Poledancing.
But, even though I breathlessly await Wrath, I beg to differ with Mr. Newell's comments. I don't think PC gaming is anywhere close to leaving the building, as some so-called experts in the field would have us believe. (Call me cynical, but I'm guessing a lot of those experts came from console manufacturers or optimistic mobile gaming companies.) The trouble with making these kinds of predictions is that there are currently no completely accurate ways of tracking the success of a game except to take press releases on faith. And in that case, you might as well believe the fox's promise to guard the hen-house. (Did you hear clucking? I thought I heard clucking.) Another problem with estimating market share for various games is that you're comparing Mana to Rage: each company can define "sales" and "subscribers" any way they please, making it nearly impossible to come up with clean comparisons of market share.
Blizzard makes approximately $120 million dollars a month. Compare that to Iron Man's opening weekend gross of $109 million. Blizzard beats that number every month, not just with one summer blockbuster per year. Also consider that most PC retailers have devoted entire sections of their hardware floors to gaming PCs. This devotion goes all the way up to the hardware manufacturers themselves. When I worked at Toshiba, we had a product manager whose sole job was to create and improve gaming laptops. (Oh, how I envied that guy!) Yes, Blizzard's release of the Wrath expansion will juice the market, but it's more like an injection of steroids, not administration of last rites.
These kind of interviews aren't uncommon, like the CNN editorial from a few months ago. However, a few things about Dr. Block's interview struck me as pretty well-balanced. First, Dr. Block has quibbles about the phrase addiction. He feels that word addresses the wrong issues and nuances. Dr. Block prefers "pathological computer use." In my opinion, that word indicates the game itself isn't the problem, but instead the manner in which the person uses the game.
Dr. Block also discusses a patient who was very successful at EVE Online. After a fairly disastrous event, he felt betrayed by everyone he knew in the game. Dr. Block spells out the problem isn't only how subject deals with that issue, but that the subject's (out-of-game) friends can't understand. What might be a legitimate, troublesome event is being related-to by people who don't have context to an individual issue. Of course, while it probably ended the player's addiction -- I don't know if I'd list this kind of disaster as a way to quit playing WoW.
It's a refreshing view on WoW addiction, and worth a bit more look at Dr. Block's web site.
The date of the World Wide Invitational in Paris creeps ever closer and closer. Of course, the biggest thing we're looking forward to is all the new WotLK information courtesy of the playable WotLK demos and Developer panels, but the contests should be pretty fun too. If you're planning to enter one of them, the signups are beginning.
Submissions for the fan art and machinima contests are being accepted via web form from now until June 17th, so that leaves you a little under one more week to finalize your submission. As for the dance and costume contests, registration will be open from June 16th to June 20th.
Remember, some of the contests are only open to certain European countries, so check the rules to make sure you're eligible -- and remember, if you're not, you may be eligible for the contests at Blizzcon 2008 instead. Good luck with your entries, and we'll see you in Paris!
15 Minutes of Fame: Player settles in for Wrath with his friends - Tue, 10 Jun 2008 16:00:00 EST 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 at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.
What keeps you playing the game? Especially in light of Wrath's option of seeing all the upcoming new raid content in a 10-man version, friendship is proving to be the tie that binds many WoW players. Small guilds who've felt locked out of raiding content and players who don't care for the atmosphere in groups large enough to chew through 25-man content at a steady clip are reconsidering their options.
This week, 15 Minutes of Fame offers a view from a player who's making exactly that journey, all the way from June 2005 and onward into Wrath of the Lich King. Myrena of Mug'thol is one of those players who's tried to "do it right" for years, trying out different methods of cobbling together scattered friendships, real-life work schedules and end-game raiding goals. Today, Myrena is looking forward to the opportunity to chill with friends in Wrath, nibbling their way through the game in a more intimate group. Peek inside Myrena's WoW evolution and find out why Wrath appears to be such a plum to players like him.
They've just announced the winners, and you can see all of the winning videos on the official WoW website. I have to say, I don't find most of the winners particularly interesting. They're quality videos, and probably exactly what Blizzard was looking for in a L70ETC music video, but they're not really my style. I tend to enjoy the music videos that are a little more... outthere, and don't just show the band members' faces for five minutes. Something happening throughout, with a little less glam or random filler shots. Dayetriper of Nathrezim has a little of that at the very end, but you need to sit through almost the whole thing before seeing it. That's only my personal taste, though. The quality on most of these videos is still very good. After all, they won the thing, and I really couldn't do any better I'm sure.
I enjoyed the video from Naje of Stormreaver, out of all of the glam-filled winners. The scenery and camera work pulled me into the video a little more than the others. You can view that one directly above, or head over to the official page to see them all.
Plus, we answered reader email (including taking a little Blizzard-inspired quiz) and chatted with Matticus about how the popular Spiritual Guidance column is going. All in all, good show -- check it out on WoW Radio's website right now, or listen in (and feel free to give us a review, good or bad as long as it's honest) over on iTunes.
And if you've got something you want us to talk about on the show, drop us an email at email@example.com. We'll be back next week with Turpster's big ding event, and another show next Saturday afternoon at 3:30 Eastern.
True to form, Tekkub wrote this addon to be simple, efficient and easy to use. The aptly named Fuzzy Logic is a macro-based addon that will react differently based on the current status of you and your pet. As with many of Tekkub's Random Crap, this addon works with pretty much no memory footprint, and very little setup required.
What I love most about this type of addon is how much they add to my own gameplay while asking so little in return. I use this, amongst others, so often during my daily grind (when I get around to rolling my Hunter), that I can't imagine life without them. In a sense, Fuzzy Logic has become part of my own "default UI".
Come on back after the jump for Tekkub's description and how to configure this one. (Just for you, Tekkub)
An interesting thing about the Wrath of the Lich KingAlpha -- well, one of them, anyway -- is the proposed 51-point Demonology talent for Warlocks. More than a few Warlocks have daydreamed about a Demon Form or being able to summon a Dreadlord for quite some time. If the Metamorphosis talent makes it all the way to release, both those wishes will actually come true. The interesting bit is this: two of the proposed abilities for the new form are melee-oriented. This means that Warlocks will actually need to adapt a different playing style when switching forms.
In fact, Warlocks might even have to start looking at a stat they've previously ignored -- top end weapon damage. In the past, weapon damage and DPS was irrelevant to casters, who generally only looked a +Spell damage (or, ahem, Unified Spell Damage). With a melee strike that deals weapon damage, as well as a Charge-like ability that deals normal (physical) damage, Warlocks move into uncharted territory. Will we begin to see Warlocks roll on weapons traditionally associated with melee classes? Or will we see a spike in top end damage for caster weapons? Does this mean that Warlocks will actually have to -- *gasp* -- raise their skill with Daggers or Swords? Of course, none of this matters if the abilities never make it live, but it's interesting to imagine Warlocks actually heading into the fray with the intention of poking their enemies with weapons rather than casting spells.
However, the soundtrack may make you laugh. I've never seen a more diverse selection in the same machinima video. It has the opening theme from Prison Break, Linkin Park, Hans Zimmer, Coldplay, LotR music, Paul Oakenfold, and some Mariah Carey for good measure.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
What's the point of new hairstyles? - Tue, 10 Jun 2008 11:30:00 EST One of the trumpeted features of Wrath of the Lich King are new dances and hairstyles. The new dances, I can understand. They're visually distinctive, fun at parties, and you can never dance enough on top of the mailbox. On the other hand, is there really a point to new hairstyles? I know Daniel has big plans for his characters, and my wife is excited at the prospect of finally being able to change what she disdainfully calls her 80's look. Personally, I've got half a mind to get one hairstyle change on one of my toons, but does anyone actually remember how your character's hair looks?
I keep my helmet graphic off for PvPpurposes, but most of the time, a lot characters have their heads all covered up. Even if they weren't, do you really remember if your Tauren buddy's horns are curved or straight? Or if your Troll guildie has green or orange hair? I'm willing to wager none of your friends remember what kind of haircut your Human Priest has, or what color it is. With few exceptions, even if players choose wacky, colorful hairstyles, most of us won't notice. I don't even really remember if my Rogue Arena teammate has a lower jaw. We simply don't pay enough attention to other people's characters for it to matter.
On the other hand, new hairstyles will probably make us happier with our toons. My wife's looking forward to playing her Priest again, after regretting a hair choice she'd made ages ago while Daniel is excited to get royal purple samurai hair. Even if other players won't really remember how you look, the important thing is being happy with the character you play. The paid name change, for example, is one character customization feature I'm still happy about, even though I have yet to take advantage of it (my customization budget tops off at $10). So while the dances will be something everyone can appreciate the next time someone plays a piccolo at the Auction House, new hairstyles will be something more personal. Even if you cover it up with a helmet, at least you know no one can mess with your new 'do.
Thanks, Koraa! Musolini of Uldaman-US posted a thread in the Shaman forums that is... well, pretty hilarious if you're familiar with the Ollie character they parody alongside their Shaman class. You might want to read through it just for that alone.
To discuss the actual change, which I assume is a change in Wrath (but may come sooner since Koraa didn't specify), the few Shaman I've spoken to about it seem pretty excited. It seems minor, and may be minor in the long run, but this change would allow totems to be used through Spell Lock and Silence effects. When your Shaman gets Counterspelled in the arena, they'll still be able to drop Totems at least. It certainly won't fix everything, but you'll still have some of your defenses(and offenses) available to you, and you won't be completely shut down. There's still a long road ahead, but this is a step in the right direction.
The first submission period for the newly revitalized Caption This contest has come and gone, and now it's time for you to vote on the winners! We picked ten of the best captions submitted for this picture for you to vote on, and now you get to decide who goes home with a 60-day game card, a Gnomeregan Bombardiers or a Hellscream Warchiefs t-shirt from J!NX, or nothing but a flask of their own tears. Voting closes tomorrow, Wednesday, June 10, at 11:59 PM EST (we think, polls can be kind of wonky), and winners will be informed shortly afterwards.
Remember, winners must be U.S. or non-Quebec Canadians at least 13 years old. If you'd like to peruse the contest's official rules, they can be found here. Happy voting, and if you didn't make it, you can try again next week! (Edited: The poll is not showing up on the main page, but does show up when you click the post link. We're looking into this. You can vote by clicking on the story link in the meantime.)
One day, Bill was questing on the dismal shore of a place he would only refer to as "the Isle" when he was attacked by a hostile native. (It was probably this Isle, not this Island, although they do share some similarities.) After falling to the endless chain of respawns, one of Bill's killers decided to take a page from the Isle's massive PvP battles and sit down to camp him. However, he didn't /spit, /rofl, or sit up and down repeatedly on Bill's face, providing that even pre-programmed drug addicted murderers are nicer than some WoW players.
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 thanks for your guesses on the identity of the WANTED poster yesterday. Guesses include Duke Nukem, Dad, the Defias Bandit, Vanilla Ice, Mort from Bazooka Joe, Auron, and "an eight-legged white dog (expletive deleted) a chair with an overhang."
As usual with an Onion article that targets one of my personal hobbies or lifestyle, I'm never 100% sure whether to laugh or be offended -- but in the end I pretty much always err on the side of laughing. Actually, looking the "game" closely, it almost looks a bit like The Sims. You have a character who's modeled after a modern real life person, and you have to keep them happy, well-fed, rested, and entertained. And really, WoW is a pretty legitimate form of entertainment, I'd say. In that case, maybe The Onion is just looking forward to that day when all games are connected in some sort of seamless on-line mishmash of characters and personas. Then again, maybe it's just a funny video. Anyway, go watch it.
So we know that Arena seasons are intended to match PvE progression. Drysc a few days back said what some of us have feared over at the forums, stating that "(Arena) Seasons match PVE progression," and pointed out that the last gate in Sunwell Plateau opened only last May 20. He went on to explain that they "want that gear to be circulating a bit before the next season starts." By "that gear" he must have been referring to items that drop from Kil'jaeden, particularly weapons such as Apolyon, the Soul Render. Although a full 10 item points above its Season 4 equivalent, the Brutal Gladiator's Greatsword, they are very nearly visually identical.
When Season 4 starts, many players will have the maximum 5,000 Arena points banked for Season 4 item purchases. Some teams will be able to hit 2050 Rating on their first week, making it likely that more than a few players will be sporting S4 weapons as soon as the Season starts. Because of the way the current Arena system works, more players will have access to Season 4 gear than those with access to Kil'jaeden or even Sunwell Plateau. What does this imply, exactly?
So like I was saying the other day, one of the things I'm looking forward to the most out of WotLK is the character customization options, such as the dance studio and the barber shop. I've already got a few ideas in my head for how I'm going to change my characters.
For my Night Elf druid, I've been tired of his green hair for a while now. It's not bad, and it blends in well with most Druid tier armor, but I feel like I want to stand out, so I'm figuring royal purple, one of my favorite colors, should look awesome. I'm also figuring I'll give him the short beard (he's clean-shaven), and maybe restyle his hair to be the long topknot style, if only because the Samurai look would be pretty sweet. As far as dances, I'll have to see how the system works, like if it lets you pick any dance currently in game or just gives you access to a couple extra dances for each race, but If it's an option, I am totally switching him over to the Tunak Tun dance, if only because I absolutely love that dance.