Addon Spotlight: Control Freak - Fri, 11 Apr 2008 19:00:00 EST WoW Insider co-lead Mike Schramm brought up an interesting question for today's Breakfast Topic; how can players utilize the Focus Target feature in World of Warcraft? Macros are certainly a great way to manage your focus target and what is being done with it. I've yet to write a installment of Macro Anatomy that covers the topic, so where can one turn if you want to utilize this feature?
Bad boy developer Tekkub has created Control Freak for people wanting to have fun with the focus target and their crowd control abilities. Granted, there are a lot of other things you can do with this feature, but this addon very efficiently automates the process.
I have to say that after I profiled Tekkub's ChatSettingsFix (2.4), I thought I should start looking into his other mods. As it turns out, Tekkub is a man with the unique ability to provide little fixes and additions that greatly enhance gameplay. I am quickly becoming a fan of his work, so you can expect to see more of the grizzly dev's work here at Addon Spotlight.
Enough of my professions of love for the guy's mods, read on for details about how to use Control Freak.
This early on, details are still scarce, and Blizzard has been reluctant to release any information about Wrath since Blizzcon 2007. More information will probably leak as the alpha progresses. However, I've put everything we have been able to find out about Death Knights in the gallery below, so come on in to learn what we know.
[1.Local]: The best of WoW Insider comments this week - Fri, 11 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST WoW Insiderreaders are a talkative bunch. All of us here at WI monitor our own posts for comments, but there's not always time to keep up with what's happening on all the other posts. And if those of us who hang around here all the time can't keep up, we wondered how much our readers were missing, too?
Enter [1.Local], our new roundup bringing you a smattering of the zingers that may have gotten buried in the peanut gallery. We'll serve up both the sublime and the ridiculous, the thought-provoking and the just plain silly -- definitely a cut above Barrens chat (although we do admit that "Barrens Chat" was a strong contender for the feature's title).
This week's reader comments ranged from thoughtful ruminations on gender and modern culture's definition of "beauty" to an ongoing tussle over what constitutes success for an MMO. Be sure to dive into the comments area and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.
If you could have any spell in RL As so many forum posts state: "Topic says it all." This Breakfast Topic post brought out both comedians and the philanthropists in droves. Many readers reported feeling obligated to choose Abolish Disease or another curing spell, but others had different ideas.
From innajunglestylee: "For serious, though, I'd want portal. Think of having five ports to major cities (say NYC, Chicago, LA, Miami and London) and being able to set a hearth to a sixth city of your choice. At the drop of a hat, you could grab your 40 closest friends and be all 'Let's hit up the LES for dinner; then we can go sit on the beach and drink margaritas'-- and all it would cost is a couple of cheap runes? This would absolutely rule."
The ever-pragmatic mcclary noted, "Find a major company that has a business presence in a couple of those cities. Then have them pay you an insane amount of money to bring employees and clients to meetings instantly from any of their offices. The money they could save on airfare would be amazing. And to all the people saying resurrection ... I would decline that. If it ever got out that you have that ability, you would get constantly whispered IRL by people all over the world wanting you to rez their loved ones. (Potential moneymaker?)"
And finally, mrchicken reported suspicions about his own choice: "'Turn Undead.' I'm pretty sure I already have this power. I've never seen an undead in my life."
Last week, Insider Trader began the journey from 300 to 375 jewelcrafting skill. While we were able to avoid using recipes that required faction reputation or that had to be farmed, the cheapest methods to 375 from about 365 may require a bit more effort to obtain.
If you are like so many other craftsmen, stuck with 375 seeming far away and expensive, then carry on through the break to examine ways to not only maximize your skills, but to attempt to make a profit while doing so, rather than running on a loss.
Featuring several distinct ways to reach 375, you will find that you have many choices to suit your own needs, your guild's needs, and your server's market. In addition, I've put together some links for further reading that you should find helpful.
WoW Insider Show goes live tomorrow afternoon - Fri, 11 Apr 2008 15:00:00 EST Yes indeed, after our short foray into multiboxing last week, the WoW Insider Show is back in its original form this week -- not only will Turpster be back in the WoW Insider Show studios, but WI's Zach Yonzon will be on with me, and we'll have all of our usual features: listener mail (you too can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org), shout outs (I swear I'll remember to do them this week, guys), and the best gosh-darned discussion of the biggest news in the last week of Warcraft, including, but not limited to, yesterday's Wrath alpha news, how all the servers are doing on the Sunwell dailies, and everything else going on at the Sunwell.
As requested, we'll also have some nice PvP discussion -- I especially want to take issue with Zach on what he said about WSG, as in my experience, things still aren't hunky dory in there. And we'll talk about the Arena tourney as well, I'm sure.
Tune in tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST on WoW Radio for episode number 33 of the WoW Insider Show, and feel free to join us in the IRC chat as well: it's at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel. See you tomorrow afternoon.
How expensive is your DPS? - Fri, 11 Apr 2008 14:30:00 EST My lovely and talented wife (she of the hunterish disposition) and I were talking last night about DPS in raids and instances. Specifically, an aspect I'd never really thought about before: how 'expensive' is the DPS of particular classes? Is it sometimes worth it to bring a lower DPS class over a higher one because the lower class is cheaper to maintain? And what, exactly, defines 'cheap' or 'expensive' here?
She brought up ret paladins... they don't do as much damage sustained as a similarly geared rogue would, but they provide a lot of group utility and buffs and auras, and they're wearing plate, so they tend to be more durable than rogues, requiring less healing. But the rogue, despite potentially costing more in terms of healing and often using items like Haste Potions, generates quite a bit of DPS, so that if you take into account the amount of damage he does vs. what it takes to keep him up doing it and what he has to spend to do it at peak, it might still be better to bring the high sustained mana-free rogue over the mana-dependent paladin. Or it might not be. Honestly, she lost me at the point where she started talking about co-efficients.
We started talking about all the different classes and what they have to do or have to be competitive... warriors need buffs from outside like Blessing of Kings and Windfury totem, hunters need ammo and food for their pets, mages are pretty low-maintenance but are still chugging mana pots and mana gems, warlocks can life tap and drain life but are still at risk and need some healer attention... and we didn't come up with any conclusions. I found it interesting to consider the idea, though: when I DPS, how 'cost-effective' am I versus another class? How much in consumables, how much time and effort from other players does it take for me to generate the damage? And how would you rate your own class, are you 'economy' DPS, cheap to keep going, or 'luxury' DPS, requiring a lot of upkeep but bringing higher performance, or are these even valid considerations?
Howling Fjord will be one of the two starting points for those entering into Northrend. The other starting zone will be the Borean Tundra. Wrath of the Lich King will raise the level cap to 80, introduce the Death Knight class, new PvP warfare, and new group and solo play.
WoWWiki has the image listed as a "player made" image. However, the image itself has been found around several other galleries on the internet, and there is no credit to the original author on the image. Additionally, the map itself closely resembles the terrain and layout of the zone that was playable at Blizzcon in 2007. We'll keep an eye on this, and other Wrath of the Lich King media that might be legit, and get you all the latest information when we know it. Stay tuned!
Update: The map is a fake, produced and propagated by user Kanaru on WoWWiki. Welcome to the World of Fakecraft.
Totem Talk is on the wrong day because Matthew Rossi had a big bug in his bonnet (what? No, I don't know if it was a bee or not. Look, I'm not sticking my head into a bonnet to check the kind of bug in it. No, you go look if you're so interested! It's a bug, that's good enough for me) about expert ease or something. Anyway, today we're going to talk about the future of the Shaman class now that there's a new expansion on the horizon.
Wrath of the Lich King is in Alpha. That means... well, it means some folks are playing around with a really early version of the next expansion. It also means that we hearken back to the last time WoW had an expansion, and start considering how the classes will change. Will there be new talents? If so, we'll see even more specialization between talent specs. If not, we'll see a lot more broad viability as people find ways to spend ten extra talent points.
Just before The Burning Crusade we saw the Before the Storm patch which introduced the new 41 point talents to all three trees. Dual wielding, raging enhancement shaman, earth shielding resto shaman, and wrath totem dropping elemental shamans all come from this patch, which changed the face of the shaman class. The ridiculously high burst of a windfury imbued 2h weapon became less common as the new talents changed the way each spec played.
Now, clearly I have no special insight into the direction Blizzard and the developers plan to take the shaman class. I'm just another shammy out in the trenches punching things. But there are things I'd like to see and also things I'd like to see but which I don't expect will happen, and so I figured I might as well speculate as to a few possible changes coming in the expansion. Maybe somehow the viral nature of the internet will cause one of these ideas to worm its way into someone who can actually implement them. And possibly vast sums of gold will rain down upon my shaman wherever he goes, while I'm dreaming.
(We're hijacking this little spot here to let you know that Never Stay Tuned 3 is out. Olibith informed us the other day that it's a little too naughty for this blog.)
Shepiwot is so close to Episode 30 of his How to Paladin series! Episode 29, or XXIX, finds him in Quel'danas and killing Kael'thas. At what point do you think that he'll get a lifetime achievement award? With 71 machinimas under his belt, of which none of them have been sabotaged by me, and one WCM recommendation, we definitely think that he qualifies!
The9, which is the company that runs Blizzard's World of Warcraft in China, has announced today that the game has hit a full million concurrent players (which means that they've had one million people playing the game all at the same time) following the release of the Burning Crusade expansion there last year. Here in North America, concurrent users hasn't really ever been as high (although that is of course unofficial data, and we don't have information after the first month of this year). But MMOs are a different beast in China and other Asian countries -- not only do players pay-to-play (instead of a monthly fee, many players often pay hourly or daily, which means concurrent users equals paying users), and there are actually three games that have hit a million concurrent users over there (while here, WoW is far and above the largest MMO online).
Still, it's quite an achievement. It's interesting that it's coming so late in the product's life -- it seems that, just as over here, the expansion had a significant impact on player interest. Definitely a big milestone for Blizzard's game in China.
Anyone watching Nihilum's recent achievement closely would notice a few odd things. It was notable that the kill was achieved without a single Rogue, or more appropriately, melee DPS class in the raid. Nihilum guild leader Kungen is renowned for his traditional views on class roles, although he is open to off-specs and has even taken a Retribution Paladin on a progression kill. But there's always a simple explanation behind each of their actions (no melee classes were on, can't have all Paladins specced Holy for this boss, etc.). Interestingly, my armory-trolling cousin pointed out something curious that a close inspection of Nihilum's raid make-up would reveal: only three members (including Kungen) aren't Leatherworkers. You read that right, that means even cloth classes dropped old professions in favor of Leatherworking. The thing is, this trend isn't restricted to Nihilum. The most dedicated, progressive guilds in the game have many of their members going for Leatherworking.
The explanation is simple: drums. In particular, the Drums of Battle, which increases melee, ranged, and spell haste. In an exclusive interview with WoW Insider last March, Neg of Nihilum remarked that the one thing that impressed him (and presumably Nihilum and their raid planning) was the effectiveness of haste. Haste is a statistic that became extremely prevalent in Patch 2.4, with many new items containing haste, including spell (currently AWOL) haste gems. Our raid specialist Marcie Knox wrote thoroughly about haste in a seriesof articlesunder her column RaidRX. It's a lesson that the top raiding guilds seem to know by heart. Nihilum was so impressed by haste that most of their core raid members leveled Leatherworking to be able to use drums, because it benefits the raid more than the individual unlike other professions like, say, Tailoring.
Before Patch 2.4 dropped, many members of the game's top guilds furiously leveled Leatherworking. With almost all raid members carrying the Drums of Battle, a raid can have an almost permanent haste buff that stacks with Heroism/Bloodlust. Having all your raid members level Leatherworking -- and basically for one item -- for raid progress is a masterstroke that shows the lengths that hardcore raiders will go to push the envelope. Clearly, it isn't the only reason Nihilum beat the Eredar Twins, but with a 6-minute enrage timer breathing down on every raid group doing the encounter, it certainly helps.
Geoff, who declined to leave his name or server, wrote "Some people never notice the Eagle / Bear tree, even though it's almost smackdab in the center of Darnassus." Count me as one of those people, because while I've leveled tons of little night elves up through Teldrassil, I've never before noticed that the bank is actually a statue of two druid forms. I guess that sometimes you just have to look at things from a distance to get the full picture.
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. That's hippy-dippy night elf imagery.
Each week or so, Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has 2 hours or less to play at a time.
Let the raiders have fun with their world firsts, Blizzard also kept those of us with limited playtime in mind when designing the Sunwell activities. If you are level 70 and haven't gone over to the Isle of Quel'Danas, get thee to a Flightmaster in Ironforge or Silvermoon and get in on the fun.
You may think with all the hubbub about the new bosses like Brutallus that the new Sunwell zone is raider-only territory, but you would be wrong. The daily quests there are fun and easily doable solo. You earn a lot of money, a lot of rep with people who will give you cool stuff, and you help your server progress through the new content. There has never been a better time to be level 70 and casual.
Here's the problem: Those recipes actually don't currently exist anywhere in game, or at least haven't found their way to any Jewelcrafters. You can find Quick Dawnstone, Reckless Noble Topaz, and Forceful Talasite on all the WoW item database sites, but the recipes themselves seem to have gone missing, and aren't on Eldara Dawnrunner, nor do they so much as appear to drop from any mob.
Don't worry though, Jewelcrafters, all hope is not lost.
So let's talk about macros -- do you use them? If not, why not? And if so, how do you use them? Of course, we all play different classes, but within your class, where do you find it's easier to use macros, and it's easier to play things manually?
A lot of good players could probably become great players with a few easy macros, but for players who have no idea what macros are for, it's sometimes hard to figure out where they fit. If you do use them, how?
Apparently it's been away for a while, but like BBB, we are happy that it's back (and I've got some archives to read through). We'll have to make sure to add it into the Sunday Morning Funnies from now on.
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.