Hunters have had a little secret for a while now, and my friend made a mad rush to 80 when he found out about it. You see, there's currently a bug with some quest mobs in Sholazar Basin that's tagging them, perhaps incorrectly, as beasts. The Oracles' daily quest A Cleansing Song sends you off to kill some evil spirits -- the Spirit of Ha-Khalan, a ghostly crocolisk; the Spirit of Atha, a spectral Hydra; and the Spirit of Koosu, your run-of-the-mill ooze.
The Spirit of Ha-Khalan was tameable, so some Hunters got really cool, transluscent crocolisk pets. I mean, who needs Spirit Beasts? Entertainingly enough, the other two quest mobs were also classified as beasts and were likewise tameable. Eventually some Hunters were running around with a spooky hydra or, like my friend, a disgusting little pile of snot.
World of Warcraft continues to find ways to trickle beyond our virtual lives and into our day to day real lives. In Beijing, a new restaurant has opened up with a Warcraft theme, from the decor to the food. The entrance, which you can see above, is designed to look like the Dark Portal (The Burning Crusade's intro screen) and the interior walls are lined with artwork from the game and shots of characters in epic gear. TV screens throughout the restaurant play footage of the game, too.
The food itself is even based on the game, and while CCTV.com reports that the menu is named after denizens of WoW, I wonder if they borrowed anything from the in-game recipes. The food shown in CCTV's video definitely looks Chinese in style, so I doubt you'll find anything there you would see in our very American Well Fed Buff, but that's probably a good thing. Personally, I'd love to see a menu. I'm also curious if this restaurant was given the go ahead from Blizzard or the9, or if they even need it.
I don't know about you, but I think Jewelcrafting is the absolute worst Profession in the game right now. Back in The Burning Crusade, Blizzard made the awful mistake of having key leveling recipes as BoE world drops, making it extremely expensive to purchase the necessary designs just to level the Profession. In Wrath of the Lich King, they avoided the same mistake by making virtually all designs purchasable through a vendor.
Great news, right? Not really. Actually, it downright sucks. Why? Because most patterns, sold by the cleverly named Tiffany Cartier, aren't purchasable with Gold. Jewelcrafters use Dalaran Jewelcrafter's Tokens to purchase designs. The trouble is, the tokens are soulbound and are a reward from doing the Jewelcrafting daily quest. Unfortunately, you can only do the daily once per day. With designs going anywhere from 2-6 Jewelcrafter's Tokens apiece, it takes at least two days to pick up a new design. While Jewelcrafters won't need to purchase all the designs -- some are BoP gems that don't benefit the player's class -- it will take over 170 days just to purchase all 62 patterns that she sells. There's something seriously wrong there.
Felblood, the Death Knight who recently soloed Zul'Gurub, sent us news of a new accomplishment: he's finished off most of AQ20 as well. Kurinaxx's Mortal Strike-like debuff apparently didn't affect Death Strike, so he just had to dodge the sand there, and apparently Moam's mana drain doesn't work on Runic Power, so he was just a tank and spank. Ossirian and Buru were a little tougher, but eventually with a little practice, Felblood says he was able to keep up DPS on the bosses and move around to their eggs and crystals.
It's not a full clear, however, since Ayamiss didn't get killed -- Felblood didn't think of a way to get away from her sacrifice, since he'd have been the only raider in the instance. But an accomplishment nevertheless -- it's crazy to think of how long we banged our heads on Rajaxx and Ossirian when they've now been toppled by just one level 80 Death Knight.
So what's next -- are we going to see the old 40-man content soloed? Wouldn't be too surprising with Molten Core, as we've already seen it 3-manned at 70, but things might get tougher as you head to AQ40 (where Felblood said he could down some trash, but not much else) or even Blackwing Lair.
Ranking your new loot - Wed, 10 Dec 2008 15:16:00 EST Our good friend Kestrel reminds you that as you're leveling up and getting all this new gear, there are quite a few good tools out there to let you know what's what in terms of what gear is best for you. Lootrank is the one Kestrel mentions most -- you can put in your own stats and check off which ones are most important to you, and it'll recommend and rate your gear from there. We've got our own list of other sites which will help, too -- Kaliban's great class loot lists (at wow-loot.com) have been all updated for Wrath, and of course ShadowPanther has lots of Rogue updates as well (though DruidWiki doesn't appear to be completely updated yet).
MaxDPS.com is a very popular site for seeking and tracking gear upgrades as well, and I remain a fan of the simplicity of Gear Wishlist -- it doesn't get any easier than tossing your info into a form and having the site spit a huge list of gear options at you, based on the rankings from mulitple other sites.
But no matter how you do it, there are plenty of ways to figure out which way to head for your next upgrade. There's a whole continent of new gear out there -- go get some.
There are a whole load of new changes (22, to be exact) but a few of them really stand out. There's quite a bit of Blood love to try and make the spec more desirable at the endgame, one change being Heart Strike. While keeping its cost of one Blood Rune, it acts like a Cleave instead of a Haste debuff. It still hits harder than Blood Strike, too. That's pretty awesome!
One thing Ipersonally don't see as a good change is switching Corpse Explosion to Runic Power, off of an Unholy Rune. Maybe I'm doing something wrong, but on my Unholy Death Knight I never seem to have enough Runic Power to use the abilities I want to use, and this won't help that. Of course, I don't have any spare Unholy Runes either. Maybe the spec needs some Runic Power generation love someday. To see the full list of changes, click through the link below.
New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.
Hitting level 30 is a major milestone in today's World of Warcraft: the level at which you get your mount. Up to this point, you've spent plenty of time hoofing it, getting to know the lay of the land. On the back of your trusty steed, you'll be able to zip across increasingly larger zones and quest areas in style. You'll start off on a standard ground mount, such as a Horse, Wolf or Kodo. Later, you can upgrade to faster versions of those creatures and eventually to mounts that can fly (in Burning Crusade and Wrath content).
Mounts used to become available at level 40. Now that the game extends to level 80 and early character progression has been sped up, you get to speed up at an earlier level, too.
Ghostcrawler announces Mage changes for next patch - Wed, 10 Dec 2008 13:45:00 EST Mages, your changes for the next patch are out, and there's good news for the Arcane among you -- GC says they're buffing the spec to bring it up to par with the rest of the Mage options. On the other hand, they're being careful about PvP, so Arcane Barrage is getting closely examined -- you might want to Iceblock it whenever you can to avoid aggro on that one from the devs.
The full list of changes is after the break, but here's a quick summary: Evocation cooldown reduced to four minutes, with Arcane Flows also reducing the cooldown even further. Arcane Blast got an overhaul -- will now increase the damage of your next Arcane spell by 30%, or you can stack it, for a higher mana charge. So you can use it to buff Barrage, or use it as it is now, just upping the Blast and mana costs every time. Interesting.
Elemental Precision lost the Elemental and will work on all spells, and Improved Blizzard got a slight nerf, with the snaring effect percentage reduced. Actually, that's most of the changes right there, but for those of you at work unable to see the forums, they're pasted after the break anyway. I don't play a Mage but it looks like you guys got off easy -- Arcane is the real winners, but even Frost and Fire got that Precision buff.
Our friend Drayner over at twinkinfo.com sends word of a brand new Logitech "gameboard" (keyboard extension?), called the G13. It actually looks really cool -- it's got the G15's screen, but it's actually an extra set of 22 keys that you can control outside of your normal keyboard. And plus, the keys are all backlit (with hundreds of available colors), and it even has an analog thumbstick on there for extra-precise movement. World of Warcraft gets mentioned not once but twice in the press release, and they say that it comes with support for "Burning Crusade," which we would assume also means Wrath of the Lich King as well.
Pretty groovy. It works with both Windows and OS X, and it'll set you back a tidy $80, which seems like a lot for a "gameboard," but then again, if this is the kind of thing you play WoW enough to actually make good use of, you've probably got a way to justify the purchase anyway (and if anyone's looking for a gift for me this year...). Anyone intersted in replacing their Nostromo with this one?
Echoes of War music set out now - Wed, 10 Dec 2008 13:00:00 EST Blizzard has released the Echoes of War music set we posted about a while back, and they've got a nice new site to go along with it. The site features a trailer of what you'll hear on the CDs (and the included DVD, which has a feature length documentary, among other interviews and features): music from all of Blizzard's universes, from World of Warcraft to Diablo III. Pretty awesome. We originally said there'd be 70 minutes, but it turns out there's over 90 minutes of music to go around here. At $50 for the whole set and $30 for just the CDs, it might be a little pricey to pick up yourself, but it would make a great gift this holiday for a Warcraft fan (hopefully one close to you, so you can burn the CDs after you buy them, too).
And even if you don't want to buy the set, the new site has sample tracks which are definitely worth listening to. Blizzard gets a lot of praise for their art design and gameplay, and while their music isn't the most memorable in videogaming (Mario's theme, Final Fantasy's music, or the Zelda tunes are probably much easier to recollect for most gamers), all of Blizzard's tunes are definitely epic enough to fit nicely in the games they're written for.
We've known for a while that the comic LFG has been working on a feature-length film. Well, they've now released another teaser, just to make sure we keep it in mind and keep looking forward to it. It's a rough animation, without the full suite of effects. But it does include another Disney-inspired song, which makes me wonder if the final movie is going to be a musical. (Which, I think, would be cool.)
I like this teaser much better than the earlier one. The first teaser was cool if you're into Richard, the all-evil all-the-time character. It was mostly a display of him walking around and killing people. I totally dug the animation and song, but the action just didn't really hit my funny bone. "This is war," however, really did it for me -- I think the contrasting characters brought more depth to the "plot."
Thanks to Andrew for the tip!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
After a few all-nighters in a row and a lot of showing up to work very tired, I finally reached level 80 this weekend. After a few victory laps in Dalaran to celebrate my victory over experience points and blue bubbles and Hemet Nesingwary (not for long, I'm sure); the looming realization of level-cap responsibilities started to enter my mind. Reputations, heroics, arena points, and honor - I had a lot of work to do.
So, I took my own advice and decided to start some heroics, but not before spec'ing into my PvP mutilate build. I thought about trying out the truly insane DPS of Honor Amongst Thieves builds, but decided to postpone that until I've got some more gear to give it a real trial. Read on to see what I discovered on the way to my first Emblem of Heroism.
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.
MMOGology: Can Wrath keep us entertained? My World of Warcraft guild is fairly casual - so why do we already have level 80s? Despite our relatively casual nature, five of our members hit 80 just two weeks after Wrath of the Lich King's release. There's already talk of running Naxxramas in the not too distant future (perhaps next Sunday A.D.). I know that's not record speed, but holy crap!
The New York Times logs back in to World of Warcraft The online gaming industry -- actually, the world -- has been changed by World of Warcraft. The game has become a cultural phenomenon played by 11 million people, so it's gotten quite a bit of mainstream media attention -- that is to say, it's not just a geek thing.
Wrath of the Lich King breaks all previous records at GameStop We weren't kidding when we said Wrath of the Lich King would be the biggest MMO expansion the industry has ever seen. This is reaffirmed in a recent article at Ars Technica written by Ben Kuchera, who writes, "This isn't a game as much as it's a juggernaut of money-making power..."
Blizzard deal with in-game ad firm does not mean ads for WoW Despite a recent multi-year partnership between Massive Inc and Activision/Blizzard, the in-game advertising firm will not be adding in-game advertising to our favorite games. "Massive understands and respects our stance against advertising that might detract from gameplay or offend our players," stated Blizzard COO Paul Sams.
Did you think we had forgotten? Did you think we had forgiven? Behold, now, the terrible vengeance of the Engineers! Because you'll do anything to get that bike, and we'll be putting them in AH for amounts of gold you've never dreamt of. We'll be charging the total cost of an epic flyer just for making one with your own mats. Now, all can see this is the hour of the Engineers!
(Thanks to Rhagus of <Light Defenders> on Anachronos-EU for both the screenshot and the epic caption!)
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. 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 or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
"Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Hunter Nerf-Bat Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure lesser-class-ideology. Where each squishie may bloom secure from the pests of contradictory and confusing truths. Our Unification of DPS-Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on Azeroth. We are one class, with one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion."
"We shall prevail!"
We are so totally not slapping on a pair of red short-shorts and tossing a sledgehammer through your screen; everyone knows hunters can't equip maces. /pfft
And now, let's talk about what could be coming to hunters on the next public test realm as if we're not hopped up on Captain Crunch and a triple raspberry latte.
Breakfast Topic: Lake Wintergrasp - Wed, 10 Dec 2008 08:00:00 EST Yesterday in our guide for Eternal Farming, it was made very clear that Wintergrasp is hands down the best spot for farming Crystallized Whatevers if you don't have Mining or Herbalism. That's not the only thing that's easily farmed there, either. It's packed full of herbs and ore. It's currently the only place in all of Northrend that you can find Frost Lotus nodes. Not just Frost Lotus dropping off of Icethorn or whatever, but actual Frost Lotus nodes.
Now, I'm a PvE kiddie at heart. I'll PvP from time to time, but it's not exactly my favorite thing ever. I usually avoid it. Wintergrasp has totally sucked me in, though. The draw of riches has pulled me into the zone, and when the PvP starts it's legitimately fun. I originally thought it was silly that the best farming spot for everything was a PvP zone, but I've warmed up to it. I'm on a PvE server, but the element of risk and reward has become kind of exhilarating. I still have no interest on playing on a PvP server, however.
Now's a great time to join a guild -- everyone and their cousin Roman is recruiting. Usually, our recruiting section is tiny, but this week, it almost outweighs the Downed section -- there's not a lot of endgame, and a whole lot of people who want some extra help in conquering it. If you've never joined a guild before, and you're nearing level 80, you're in luck.
But don't worry, there's still downed (Naxx is getting beat up), and drama news to read through, too. Click the link below to see it, and if you've got tips about drama, downed, or recruiting news in your guild or realm, let us know at email@example.com, anonymity assured.
Here at WoW Insider, we still love to see quirky ways of killing things, and I think the above video definitely qualifies. Pai and Smiliey of the guild Die Überspitzen on Todeswache-EU have duo'd the raid boss Loatheb from Naxxramas. Let me be more specific: Heroic Loatheb, meaning the 25-man version of the boss.
Am I surprised by this? No, not really. I definitely give these two huge props because fighting one boss for 3 hours would drive me insane, but Loatheb is not exactly challenging. In fact, I think bringing fewer people to the encounter would make it dramatically easier for a Healer. This isn't the first time Loatheb has been knocked down a peg by a hilariously small group, either. Back at level 60 when Naxxramas was a 40-man dungeon, Loatheb had been 5-manned by a Warrior, a Warlock, and 3 Shadow Priests.
Yes, we're giving away two different prizes from SwagDog -- a hoodie gift pack (retail value $65, includes a customized hoodie and free shipping), and a t-shirt gift pack (retail value $30, includes a t-shirt and free shipping). To enter, just leave a comment on this post between right now and Friday, December 12th at 6:00pm Eastern, and we'll choose two random winners then to get the gift packs. One comment per person, please, and make sure to use a real email so we can contact the winners easily. Must be 18 or older and live in the United States to win (Canadians can enter, but they may have to pay a few bucks extra for shipping, as the codes only pay for free shipping to the US). Click here for complete Official Rules.
And if you don't win, don't worry -- SwagDog offers gift certificates of all kinds, and we're told that anything ordered from the site by December 16th should show up before the 25th. Good luck to everyone who enters the contest, and let us be the first to wish you a happy Winter's Veil! That's right, it starts next week!