Teech from Cenarion Circle penned a brief note on the forums today about the utter agony of farming Timbermaw Hold reputation at level 70. It seems like a lot of people are revisiting this particular rep grind in the interest of obtaining "The Diplomat" title and Achievement in Wrath, for which you need to be Exalted with Sporereggar, the Timbermaw, and the Mag'har/Kurenai. I'm giving some thought to doing it myself because I've already gotten to exalted with Sporereggar and the Mag'har on my main, but Timbermaw is...something else entirely. As a matter of fact, Timbermaw makes no sense. I can understand getting a Diplomat title for being an Alliance or Horde liasion to the embattled peoples of Outland no matter how bad their sense of tabard design, but someone's going to have to explain to me how committing genocide on behalf of a pissed-off subgroup of bears in loincloths does anything to advance the cause of diplomacy in Azeroth.
Why are we so willing to believe the story being peddled by the first furbolg we see in Felwood? For all we know there's nothing wrong with the other furbolg tribes that some micro-lending couldn't cure. And let's face, it, there are other factions in the game for whom both the Alliance and Horde would be much better served by maintaining close diplomatic ties. Take the Consortium, for example. They ask you to lay waste to their colleagues all the time, but at least everyone concerned makes a buck off of it. What do the Timbermaw have to offer but a tunnel that you can fly over? Isn't the national interest of the Horde or Alliance better served by pursuing ties to factions with lots of money or weapons, or at least a massive grudge against things we already hate, rather than involving ourselves in some pointless internecine spat among NPC's whose death animation makes me squirm?
Yeah, I might just be mad I have to kill so many of them. I'll grant that the dubious honor of most legendarily awful rep grind of all time still seems to belong to the Wintersaber Trainers (although the Cenarion Circle is also getting a lot of grief in the thread), but at least the Trainers' rep isn't linked to an amusingly ironic new title. Now if you'll pardon me, I have to go slaughter another several dozen bear men in the interests of social justice for...I'm not sure. Other bears who claim it's the right thing to do. But I get something out of it anyhow, and that makes me an ambassadorial hero.
I thought I'd do a Blood Pact on a Warlock's demons and how they'll be changing somewhat in Wrath of the Lich King, but considering there are two other trees to worry about, I've got the next two weeks loaded. Instead, we'll take a short look at one demon each day and see how the new talents and inherent demon abilities change the way you'll be playing with your pet.
For today, we'll take a look at my personal favorite, the Felhunter. I love the Felhunter because its cute, scaly, and eats my opponent's buffs and locks them out of magical schools. Out of all the demons -- with the exception of the Succubus -- Warlocks get the most benefit from micromanaging a Felhunter. This demon changes the most significantly in Wrath owing to a few things. The bad news first: currently in Beta, Felhunters no longer confer Paranoia, so in Wrath you'll actually get stun-locked by surprise instead of seeing it coming and not being able to do anything about it anyway. It also loses Tainted Blood, which won't be missed because a Felhunter with a Rogue or Warrior on it is going to die, -475 attack power notwithstanding.
Background downloader primed for content patch - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 18:30:00 EST Zarhym announced on the forums that the next patch is coming, and it's going to be a big one. The particular of that news, however, they're going to turn on the background downloader to start its work "shortly." Shortly, in this case, means soon enough that Zarhym supplied some tips to how to control the speed of the download.
We're expecting all that content they've already promised, which includes:
There's no patch notes yet, but it definitely seems as if we should expect them within a day or two. We know that the PTR is already getting primed for the action. This could definitely explain why the Wrath splash is showing up on the Launcher. We should see the 3.0 beta build in the PTR soon, though I guess there's a chance the build will go straight from the Wrath beta forums straight to the live realms.
So, the word's pretty much out. If you have goals you want to accomplish before the content patch hits, you better get them rolling along. You don't have much longer.
As a few of our readers have noticed, Blizzard has fixed the old problems with the Harvest Festival this year -- the new races of Blood Elves and Draenei can now do the quests that start outside of Orgrimmar and Ironforge. Last year was the first time the races had a chance to run them, and Blizzard hadn't implemented the quests for them yet. But this year, things are A-OK.
Unfortunately, there's no acknowledgement that they're new to the game -- while the quests do mention the character's class, they just see BEs and Draenei as just other members of their faction. It was a little weird running to honor Grom Hellscream with my Blood Elf, but if you want to be a good member of the Horde or Alliance (and pick up that nice food dispenser in the mail), have at it.
Eagle-eyed readers noticed that Blizzard is prepping a new version of the launcher for the Wrath of the Lich King launch -- a quick update showed up just this afternoon in the launcher software, and afterwards, when starting up, the program flashes the blank screen above, with the Lich King logo, before it then covers it up again with the current iTunes promotion splash screen.
This means nothing for certain, of course -- Blizzard is either changing the launcher software and the way the splash screen works completely (and putting the new version live behind the current version), or they're just working on an update for when the game does launch later this year. There's a possibility that this was a mistake, and that the screen was sent live too early, but it doesn't appear to have any affect on the actual program or the game itself -- everything else starts up just fine, with no issues at all. Just like the icy logo around the official site, Blizzard too is getting ready for Wrath.
We answered email as well, and we did a live Ask a Beta Tester session, since we were all three in the beta, about Death Knight DPS, what it's been like playing my usually Resto Shaman as Elemental in the beta, and what the Ret Monkey has been up to lately (looks like he didn't actually spec Prot as we'd hoped).
I think it's a particularly good show this week, so definitely give it a listen. And do visit us in iTunes -- subscribing to the show would be great (and believe me, subscribing to shows in iTunes 8 is a definitely improved experience), or just leave us a review letting us know what you think. If you have feedback you want to send directly, the show's email address is email@example.com.
We'll be back on WoW Radio next Saturday again -- if you've never tuned in live to IRC and the live stream, definitely make time for it around 3:30 Eastern, it's a lot of fun, both talking to all the great people in the channel and hearing us spout our thoughts about the World of Warcraft live. See you next week!
Daily Cooking quests from the Wrath beta - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST We've added the Cooking quests from a recent Wrath of the Lich King beta patch to our Wrath Cooking gallery, and I have to say that I've really enjoyed them so far. The quests are more involved and entertaining than the ones from The Burning Crusade, I think. They require more than running to your guild bank, withdrawing 4 Warp Burgers, then depositing whatever random meat you get out of your crate.
They have sort of a fun dynamic: You're helping the chef in your faction's inn supply meals for the denizens of Dalaran. You generally don't need to travel all over the world gathering materials or anything like that. Most of your supplies are right there within Dalaran, and you deliver your meals as needed. You need to pop down into Crystalsong Forest to beat up a few animals for some of the quests, but that only requires clicking on a crystal to deliver you down below Dalaran. If you want to, you can even stock up on the Chilled Meat some of these require. By the time you've leveled to 80 you'll probably already have a ton of it since it drops off of almost every beast in Northrend.
I'm not sure why, but it feels much more satisfying to assemble meals right there in/around Dalaran rather than flying around the entirety of Outland gibbing killer birds and using demons as fire. You would think the whole 'I cooked this upon the corpse of a demon' dynamic would be the more entertaining of the two.
These are daily quests, and at the level cap they reward roughly 15 gold and a Dalaran Cooking Award which is used as currency for buying new recipes.
Here's a fun event for the EU folks (as opposed to all the action on Steamwheedle) -- this Saturday, September 13th, on EU Aggramar, a guild called Deeprun Pest Control (funny) is holding an event called Monkey Island. They're all meeting up in Stranglethorn, and holding an Arena battle, putting on a costume contest, doing a little treasure hunting, and just having what sounds like a good old time.
We have to say -- the trailer is awesome. It makes Stranglethorn Vale look like a place we want to visit again, and that's saying something. Everything kicks off around 2:45 server time, and while most of the events will be for the Alliance, we're told that there will be Horde translaters available. Always awesome to see really well coordinated player events -- if you're able to jump on the Aggramar realm this Saturday, do check it out (and be sure to tell us how it went).
The class designers have filtered out a little more information regarding our Mind Flay upgrades, and it's very pleasant to hear. In addition to the higher coefficient on Mind Flay and gaining an ability to crit, Shadow Power will give Mind Flay 100% bonus damage crits, rather than the baseline 50%. This is very good news, because 50% crits just don't cut it anymore. Almost everybody has 100% bonus crit damage via talents, and not having the option to spec that way is quite a hurdle when you're trying to be competitive. Very good news indeed.
In less game changing but still exciting news, Mind Flay and other beam-type spells (Drain Life, Drain Soul, etc) will be getting a graphical overhaul. Perhaps they'll be more like Penance's fancy missiles? Or maybe they'll just be more of a beam than "behold my blue/green/purple/yellow squiggly line of doom!" Either way, I'm happy to hear it. I'm a firm believer in 'shinier is better.'
It looks like we have another mystery machinima on our hands, folks. Chronicles of Nightfall - Prologue was meant to be an introduction to a series, but it doesn't really explain much in the video itself. According to Ivanzoe's explanation, we're looking at Rederik Aileron, Captain of the Stormwind Militia, coming home after a day of fixing his blades in Ironforge. We see him riding through a bustling town, crossing the bridge, and ultimately, coming home to his wife, Thornflower. What do you think happens in the next episode?
Here's what I'd like to see -- Desperate Housewives in WoW form. Rederik should have come home to find his wife making out with the teenaged herbalist. He'll have more important things on his mind, though, as he's facing tax evasion charges for not paying gold for years. Meanwhile, the stares of the other women on the street do nothing to comfort them, but those women have secrets of their own ... The moral of the story is to describe your series better from the very beginning.
FigurePrints LLC in the Vancouver Sun - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 11:30:00 EST Just this morning, the Vancouver Sun published an interesting article about FigurePrints LLC, which is a name WoW players know quite well, though probably not the little details of the company. FigurePrints LLC, which is based in Washington, has its production center in the heart of Vancouver. A production center with with only 11 employees, up from its original one, with its eyes set on moving up in the world to a mind blowing 25 employees.
FigurePrints works around the clock, producing somewhere between 1,200 and 1,400 figurines in a month. That almost sounds like a lot (they produce over 40 figures per day), but when you consider they need to draw these names from a lottery of over 25,000 potential customers? They really have their hands full, but they're clearly not going to run out of customers anytime soon, especially since their contract with Blizzard is an exclusive one. FigurePrints is also looking into opening a plant in Europe to expand the market to our overseas friends, and they've been approached by other gaming companies as well. They seem to be in a very good place right now.
Personally, I'm curious to see where the company will actually go from this point forward in terms of what they print, and who they print for. I'm sure most of the popularity of this company is due to their arrangement with Blizzard, so will that relationship continue even beyond World of Warcraft? Will FigurePrints LLC be right there with Blizzard when some other MMO rolls around, like Galaxy of Starcraft (or whatever)? Or will they stand just fine on their own when WoW is gone, moving on to other companies and games?
Edit: To try and clarify, it's a Washington-based office with a Vancouver, Canada-based production plant. Not Vancouver, Washington.
Recently 22 slot bags have become available through a vendor in Shattrath for 1,200 gold each. When I saw this my first reaction was to buy-buy-buy, but I questioned whether this was an effort on Blizzard's part to draw gold out of the economy before Wrath. What are tailors capable of creating in terms of bags in Wrath?
Right now tailors in the beta with 410 skill can craft Frostweave Bags with 20 slots. However, it has pretty basic materials and I'd guess that there will be 22 slots, at least, at higher levels. For more of your beta questions -- and our beta answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
Some people enjoy beta testing. Some people enjoy pushing the limits of what the beta is capable of. And some people, like Dawnstalker of The Forgotten Coast, enjoy getting caught in a lag storm and sneaking into what he states is a suddenly NPC-less Icecrown Glacier. Dawnstalker states that this area is called The Fleshwerks, and it seems to live up to its name. Who's suddenly hungry for roasted chicken parts? I know I am! (Not really, but it definitely looks like a giant chicken factory.)
This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it 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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. No more battleground scoreboards, please.
Hot on the heels of Blizzard asking Warlocks for feedback on Metamorphosis, the Wrath development team shows how amazingly fast they work and how they actually listen to players. Koraa and Ghostcrawler materialized into the WarlockBeta forums to announce -- simultaneously on separate threads -- that Metamorphosis was going to change significantly in an upcoming Beta build, with the changes happily incorporating most of the feedback that players threw in.
First of all, Metamorphosis will no longer replace a summoned demon -- a no-brainer feature that should have been there from the start considering that most talents in the tree buff up the Warlock's demon! It will also now increase armor by 600%, up from 360%, a coefficient that scales better with a Warlock's base armor of... cloth. Significantly, the demon form will now also increases all damage by 40%, after players realized that turning into a demon with many melee abilities and being cut off from normal spells actually reduced their DPS. Speaking of normal spells, Warlocks in demon form can now cast those, too. These changes come in addition to a few others that Blizzard is working on such as a few demon form-exclusive abilities -- and it seems like Demonology will finally be truly, diabolically fun. [EDIT: In my excitement I forgot to mention that the spell was reverted to a 5-minute cooldown and the form lasts 45 seconds. Still awesome!]
I griped about this on the last Blood Pact along with a throng of other Warlocks, and it seems like Blizzard has heard us -- Corruption will now be baseline instant cast! It's a change that has been a long time coming, and it's finally turning real. Improved Corruption will instead increase the damage of Corruption by up to 20%, effectively negating Empowered Corruption and hopefully freeing up space for a new, exciting talent or at least more points to use in an already bloated tree.
Death Knight Ghouls' baby name book - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 09:00:00 EST If you spec your Death Knight as Unholy, 30 points into the talent tree you get the Master of Ghouls ability which lets you control your ghoul like a pet. On the PvE beta realms, your ghoul doesn't have a name yet; it comes up "RandomPetName," as pictured to the right. However, on the new Murmur PvP realm (US only), level 80 Death Knight premade characters are getting names for their pet-ghouls. An enterprising poster on the beta forums is compiling a list of possible names using set prefixes and suffixes they've seen. Here's the list so far.
Basically, the ghoul names come from picking a prefix from column A and combining it with a suffix from column B. I hope my ghoul's name comes out to be GraveFeeder or CorpseCruncher. However, as you can imagine, some of these name combinations just will not fly as they may sound too R-rated. (In particular, Blizzard might want to consider killing the "Muncher" suffix altogether.) Similar to a Warlock's minion name, it appears that the ghoul's name stays constant, even after dismissing and resummoning. Blue forum poster Ghostcrawler says that generating a random name for every summon requires a code change that won't happen before Wrath hits. However, Ghostcrawler does say that the randomizing code will likely be included in a post-Wrath release.
Blood Sport: Arena for dummies II - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 08:30:00 EST So you want to get into Arenas, eh? You're a bit late coming into the game, but that's alright. Whether you want to be truly competitive or just try Arenas out for fun, maybe even with friends, it helps to have a little bit of knowledge about what you're getting into. Before anything else, however, we'll take a look at some commonly used terms in the Arenas so you can insert some your vent communications so you can sound like a Pro... or at least not get lost in the discussion.
2345 A team comp (composition) consisting of an MS Warrior, a Discipline Priest, a Holy Paladin, an Elemental Shaman, and a Mage, usually Frost-specced. This is a 2-healer 3-DPS cookie-cutter composition that supposedly originated from the Bloodlust Battlegroup (BG9). Unlike basketball, where the numbers refer to positions (or classes) on the team, 2345 actually refers to the head-rolling-on-keyboard reference of mashing the buttons 2, 3, 4, and 5 repeatedly throughout the match. Roughly, this translates to unloading all offensive abilities based on, or during, the Shaman's Bloodlust / Heroism.
The basic strategy is to assist off the Warrior who applies Mortal Strike on a target and burst damage coming from the Shaman and Mage with Shatter combo often with Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, and Chain Lightning. The Shaman and Priest also work off offensive dispels, removing shields and immunities, while the Paladin plays main healer. This composition can and does switch targets often throughout the course of a match.
Responding to a shared blogging topic over on Blog Azeroth, Aendi from the roleplaying blog Voodoo Ventures recently wrote an entry on how to choose a class. This is certainly a subject that's gotten a lot of play in the WoW community, but Aendi's is an unusually thoughtful look at the problem that results when a player's poured a lot of time and effort into a class that might be a bad choice given the player's goals in the endgame. In one of most succinct and painfully accurate points I've seen on the subject, Aendi asks -- is seeing endgame content so important to you that you're willing to play a class you enjoy less, or is the class you play so important that you're willing to sacrifice a possible shot at content?
It's no secret that classes and specs are not the same when it comes to the likelihood of getting Gladiator or raiding all the way to Kil'Jaeden. You may love your Hunter, but arena's not that kind to them at present. Your Warlock might be endless fun to play, but the guilds on your realm are probably swimming in them. And if you've ever cruised past the recruitmentforums, you've probably noticed that they all seem to want the same thing: healers (and lots of 'em). If you were the sort of person who sat down, looked at the content in the game that you wanted to see more than anything else, and picked your class and spec solely with that goal in mind, your path forward would be fairly clear...but you might also become one of those people who logs off their primary toon as fast as they can after raid, or after their 10 games for the week, and goes to play the alt they'd secretly love to be playing as a main.
Ideally we get the perfect intersection of a class we love to play that's able to accomplish its goals in content we want to experience, but it doesn't always happen -- and if you have to choose, the decision is a pretty personal one. So I ask you: class or content?
Make your Mage magnificent! - Wed, 10 Sep 2008 00:30:00 EST Well, maybe not magnificent, but at least functional and viable in Wrath of the Lich King. Tipster Daniel alerted us to Ghostcrawler -- the blue of blues for Wrath, according to him -- blinking into the Mage forums to request Mages to give feedback about the different trees.
Although Ghostcrawler seems to post her call outs during the wee hours when people are deep in slumber -- or in a drawn-out raid -- we at WoW Insider believe that it's our duty to get everyone in on the action. If you happen to be in Beta and play a Mage, now is the chance to have your thoughts heard on the Frost tree, the Fire tree, and the Arcane tree. While you're at it, give the developers a pat on the back for the overwhelmingly enjoyableMirror Image.
The "negotiating a /gkick" drama above was probably the most legendary drama this week (in fact, if you're a drama connoisseur like we are, you probably already heard about it), but we've got lots more, including the "Tauren or a mouse" quote above, and the usual weekly requisite of ninjas and loot drama. Good times, as always.
For more drama, downed, and recruiting, news, click the link below. And don't forget to send us your tips -- wowguildwatch@gmail is the address. Whether you're tipping us about a great down your guild did, or a hilarious forum thread you saw on your realms' forums, we want to read it all!
Where are you heading once Wrath hits? - Tue, 09 Sep 2008 23:00:00 EST In an earlier post I spent some time wondering if it might be a good idea to level a Shaman alongside the new fleet of Death Knights guaranteed to appear once Wrath hits. A lot of commenters were of the opinion (correct, I think) that the desire to avoid hugely crowded areas is probably better served by leveling an alt to 58-60 and sticking it in Outland. The alt can then await the surge of Death Knights who decide to continue leveling, and who should have some experience with its playstyle by then. While I'm still most likely to level my main to 80 once the expansion hits, having an alt in a less crowded area of the game is pretty appealing. For all I know, the Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord will be packed to the scuppers too. I play on a laptop with a wireless connection, so my gameplay tends to suffer badly when the area I'm in resembles Los Angeles during rush hour. Avoiding overcrowded areas is no small thing.
My realm's considered medium population, but we've still got enough people that, if even 10% of the population typically online at server high time decides to roll a Death Knight once Wrath is released, Eastern Plaguelands is going to be in total gridlock for a while. The same thought occurred to a few friends, who wondered if they might be better off spending a week or two on low-level alts in an empty Azeroth while waiting for the furor to die down. With that said, that's not an ideal option if your guild wants to start raiding as early as possible, or if you just don't want to be left behind by guildies leveling to 80.
I'm genuinely curious. Let's say you've bought the expansion, installed it, and you're at the character selection screen on your usual realm with the option to create a Death Knight, hit your main, or head to an alt. Given your own personal circumstances, which do you pick, and where are you going in those first few hours?