Obviously, since the comics are offline, we have no idea what material Blizzard objected to -- you could argue that depictions of certain gear created by Blizzard artists in the game or specific names are under trademark and thus could be protected under copyright law. But even then, Shakes and Fidget is oneof many, manyfan-madewebcomics to obviously depict World of Warcraft and Blizzard-designed items specific to the game, and we haven't yet heard of any other webcomics that have been approached in this way.
Still, as they might say in Germany, wir riechen eine ratte. Without knowing the exact nature of the comics that Blizzard had an issue with, this seems like a complete overreach on their part, especially considering that it's some of their biggest fans who are making these comics, and that many artists have portrayed many videogames in webcomics without anyone confusing the issue of whether they were official or not. We'll keep an eye out for more information (and we've also contacted Blizzard for comment) -- if you know of any other webcomics or fan artists who've been approached by Blizzard in this way, definitely let us know.
GC on Hunters and their DPS - Mon, 11 May 2009 18:30:00 EST It took a few tries, but Ghostcrawler has finally agreed to post a "state of the Hunters" on the forums, and there's both good and bad news. First of all, GC flatly lays out that Hunter DPS was too high in Naxx -- Blizzard wants Hunters to be fighting with Locks, Rogues, and Mages for top DPS, not head and shoulders above them. And Survival is still the top DPS build in PvE; while GC says it's probably not a huge increase from the other specs, they are seeing it do better consistently. That said, Hunter DPS may be a little low now, but Blizzard isn't quite sure, for two reasons. First, people are still learning the Ulduar fights, and they don't completely trust the data they've gotten so far. And second, the main goal for fights in there was supposed to be variety, so there are very few places where DPS can just go all out and test how powerful they really are. GC says you should be asking "what's my DPS in this fight," rather than just "what's my DPS?"
As for PvP, he says that the T.N.T. stuns and the big mana drains that Hunters could pull off in the past were just plain overpowered, and they won't be coming back. But as for where Hunters are going next, he says it's more of a function of nerfing other classes rather than buffing Hunters -- it's not that Hunters aren't going into Arena because they suck, it's because other classes are taking their place because they're better. He does say that Hunters are better in 5v5 (which makes sense -- Hunters have always been better from the back rather than forced into the middle of things like they might be in 3v3, and 2v2), and Blizzard is fairly OK with that, as not all classes are going to rock at all Arena levels.
A small new build was pushed to the patch 3.1.2 PTR today. The majority of the changes were relatively minor, but one is headline-worthy: the Arms Warrior talent Juggernaut now gives your next Slam or Mortal Strike an additional 25% chance to critically hit if used within 10 sec, down from 100% chance. Forum posters have been asking for a Juggernaut nerf quite vocally recently; they ought to be pleased with this one. Warriors also got a second small nerf: the Glyph of Rapid Charge is being changed from a 20% cooldown reduction (3 seconds) to a 7% reduction (1 second).
Other changes included some small tweaks to the Ulduar encounters Iron Council and General Vezax. Auriya's cats took a good hit from the nerf bat, with the damage from their Savage Pounce ability being cut in half. Finally, Priests' Divine Hymn, which was completely reworked in patch 3.1, had its bonus healing to affected targets nerfed from 15% to 10%; I never use the spell, so I don't much care.
Yesterday Ensidia completed the 10-man achievement Glory of the Ulduar Raider, giving them the first Rusted Proto-Drakes in the world. The 25-man version has yet to be cleared by anybody; the Ensidia member who posted the news mentions that he feels the 10-man achievements are significantly easier than the 25-man ones, though I'm not sure if this would still be the case if they were doing 10s in 10-man gear.
In other news, the Rusted Proto-Drake (second mount shown in the video above) is one of the coolest-looking mounts I've seen in WoW, though in my opinion the best mount in Wrath so far is the Mimiron head.
Unfortunately, it's all pretty rote -- these are basically skeleton pages from what Blizzard did last year, and there's no actual information specific to BlizzCon '09: what the DirecTV purchase might get you, or any new events coming up. But if you haven't been to BlizzCon before, these pages will start giving you some idea of what you'll find there, from the lore and art panels (hint: any panel called "lore" usually has Chris Metzen being extremely entertaining, and any panel with "PvP" in the title will involve people asking question after question to the devs about why one class -- usually Paladins -- is over- or underpowered) to the ongoing competitions you'll see around the event all weekend.
And heck, if you have been to BlizzCon before, maybe these scant notes on what is happening will get you even more excited. Ticket sales begin next weekend -- good luck to everyone trying to buy.
MMO-Champion's Boubouille, head of the Romulan Data Miners Guild, discovered the pet's model while performing routine excavation on the newly-updated 3.1.2 patch files.
If I were a betting man, I'd say that all signs point to this being part of the BlizzCon goody bag as opposed to TCG loot, meaning there's even less of a chance for you to get it. Hope you're prepared to beat the queue to get one. Heck, I'm even considering trying to go after seeing this -- I can't wait to see the idle animations he gets. According to the screenshots, it looks like he even blasts the air with his flamethrower. For once, the fish will do the frying.
*puts on sunglasses, plays "Won't Get Fooled Again"*
Blizzard moves from #47 to #1 in studio rankings - Mon, 11 May 2009 15:00:00 EST According to a recent list by Develop magazine, Blizzard has dethroned Nintendo to become the most bankable game studio in the world. I'm surprised they weren't there already, but I guess it's just this side of possible that Nintendo is hard to budge. Develop's top 100 is compiled by their editorial team and accounts for total sales, reputation within the industry, and a variety of other criteria. When all was said and done, the editors wrote, Warcraft "continues to do the sort of numbers previously reserved for crime syndicates and smaller members of the United Nations."
Nicely put, but what I find most bizarre about the list is that Blizzard jumped from #47 to #1 within the space of a year (you'll find Blizzard's 2008 listing on page 82 of a highly annoying-to-navigate Issuu archive). While part of that's due to the merge with Activision, Develop claims that Wrath of the Lich King being the fastest-selling PC game in history was the greatest contributing factor. Hang on. WoW was doing just fine even before Wrath hit, so how did Blizzard manage to get itself ranked behind do-little studios with sales of around $1-2 million per game on the 2008 list?
WoW authors seem to be in the spotlight of late and after their last live chat with Arthas authoress Christie Golden, WorldofWar.net have already got the next one - this time with Richard A. Knaak - set up.
Taking place this Thursday -- that's May 14th -- at 8pm EST, the live chat is mainly focusing on Knaak's latest novel Night of the Dragon, which was released just a few days before Wrath. Itcontinued the adventures of Blue Dragon Kalec and Krasus of the Red Dragonflight. The storyline is particularly relevant to Wrath as it introduces the Twilight Dragonflight (Sarth's minions in Obsidian Sanctum).
Check out the site to sign up and find out the time in your country.
Lately there's been a big discussion about the exact nature of the proc on Val'anyr and which class should get it. Bornakk finally stepped in and explained how the legendary mace works. What people don't know is that the actual fragments also have a mysterious proc: "Chance when picked up: Increases drama rating by 500." This proc is so powerful, in fact, that just one fragment can send a guild's entire healing team into an emotional tailspin. In this week's e-mail, the blessing of an unexpected fragment from a guild's first Ulduar kill quickly becomes a curse.
I've been raiding with the same guild now for close to a year. Started out as a PUG healer doing Zul'Aman. And have since worked myself up to an officer and a raid leader. Our guild has steadily progressed through all the Wrath 10-mans, eventually clearing Heroic Naxx. This week we decided we were ready, and go try Heroic Ulduar.
It was supposed to be just a fun exercise to test the waters, so to speak. We got through Flame Leviathan after a few attempts. (which we were quite happy about) And then something awesome and terrifying happened, a Fragment of Val'anyr dropped. This was completely unexpected. (we didn't even activate any towers) So we hadn't discussed what would happen with the fragments. Keeping in mind most of our raid hadn't seen Ulduar up to this point.
Volcano sent us this tip about Pokerface, the new video by Ayukyo. Volcano hints that Ayukyo could be one of Demachic's favorite machinimators. Whether or not that's true, I can certainly see how that might be the case. Ayukyo's style is light, friendly, and warm. While your mileage is going to vary depending on whether you like the main character Blood Elves, I certainly enjoy the sense of fun Ayukyo is putting in the video.
Like I mentioned, Ayukyo describes "Pokerface" as the first video the author created using Sony Vegas. I think the animation is a little raw, but you can definitely see how Ayukyo is using the tool to expand the video over usual ingame footage. I've seen the card background in a few places, but nowhere as appropriate in this film. (It's a song about poker as an analogy, you see.) Overall, I like the video, and I'll be keeping an eye out for more by Ayukyo.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
WoW Insider Show Episode 89: Best Healer ever - Mon, 11 May 2009 11:00:00 EST Quite a week on the podcast last Saturday -- Alex Ziebart, Adam Holisky, Turpster and I spent a considerable amount of time answering your emails (talking about everything from whether VoA has been ruined with the new raid boss to the never-say-die issue about which tank is best to take with you), and when we finally did sit down to the Meat of the Show, there was a lot, there, too: an interview with Tom Chilton, who Val'anyr is for (and that crazy proc), and we even snuck in a little Bloodlust/Heroism talk. Listen in to the show on any of the links below.
And don't forget: this Wednesday at 6pm Eastern, we'll be doing the show at a special time, since I'm out of town next weekend. And our live video show will be going down on the 23rd at 3:30pm Eastern, so mark your calendars for that if you like.
Thanks for tuning in, and enjoy the show.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Kauro of <Brutal Death> on Crushridge writes, "I was flying around on my druid one day looking for lowbies to gank when I came across the needle thing floating above the Mooncrest Gardens. (I think that's what they're called.) I found out that there's an invisible barrier surrounding the rotating thing on the edge of the platform and stood on it for some fun, dancing tauren excitement! That's not the Arcanomicron! IT'S APOCOTAUREN!" Personally, I think this is reiteration of an important lesson we all learned from Dr. Egon Spengler: don't cross the streams. You never know what's going to come out.
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 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. 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.
Welcome to Lichborne, your weekly look at the mechanics, issues, and zen of the Death Knight class.
With 3.1 sort of leveling out for now, It's probably a good time to switch our views to leveling. It's a good a time as any to welcome any new Death Knights into the fold and give them a few tips for getting through that silly old Outland content and into Northrend.
My own oldest screenshot (see above) is fairly tame by comparison; I had just turned 41, and was proudly astride my new kodo on a starry night outside Orgrimmar. What (if anything) prompted you to start snapping ingame pictures? Are there any historical gems buried in your own screenshot folder? Search your hard drive; you know it to be true.
Blacksmiths are known for being brawny folk -- hammering pieces of metal together is not easy work after all. But in World of Warcraft, even the smallest gnome or scrawniest elf can be a great blacksmith. Azeroth is a land where even the smallest people can wield the biggest of axes, so it would follow that they could craft them too, as well as any other sort of armor or weapon that they could imagine.
Typically, however, even in Azeroth, blacksmiths are, by and large, members of a class that can use plate mail and heavy weapons, such as a warrior, a death knight, or a paladin, just as tailors are usually spellcasters of some kind. So even if a blacksmith appears scrawny on the outside, he or she is very likely still quite brawny on the inside. Underneath that elf's pretty skin are muscles of steel!
Being a blacksmith implies a state of mind as much as it does a state of body, however. Working with metals is not something for the light hearted. The weight, the heat, and all the soot are not for people who like to keep their clothes clean at all times, for instance. It's also not a very socially-oriented profession, requiring long hours spent hammering away at something until it reaches perfection, often using lots of material in the learning process before you finally get one right. Blacksmiths of lore tend to be patient and hardy people, tempered and perfected by their work, like good, hard steel.
I have to say, I still have a pretty soft spot for the Tuskarr. They're sort of minor players in Northrend, overall. You help them kidnap some kids and fight off some vikings, grab a penguin pet and a fishing pole, and you're done, and on to bigger and better things in other zones. They don't even merit art for their females. Still, they're always pretty jovial, they look like big fat and happy dudes, and they got turtle boats. It's difficult not to like them.
One of the things they did is spur me to finally get a character maxed out fishing. I was always sort of planning to, one of these days, seriously, but it took the Tuskarr to push me over the edge, just because they made it so chill and awesome. Ok, so the epic fishing pole probably had something to do with it too, but still.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.
Before Patch 3.1 hit the live servers, I wrote about the changes that would be coming for those of us with limited playtime. Now that we've had the patch and some fixes and more fixes and yet even more fixes, let's talk a bit about what actually happened and how best to take advantage of the features for casual players.
First of all, the Gear Manager did not make it into Patch 3.1 or 3.1.1. Hopefully when it does, it will allow for automatic equipment switching when changing forms/specs. With Outfitter being developed again and with other options available, there is no reason to include this feature until they get it right.
Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every week, Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of No Stock UI, a new WoW blog for all things UI, macro, and addon related. This week, we examine the relationship between tank and healer. More importantly, we look at the raid saving cooldowns that can mean the difference between a boss kill and a wipe.
But Matt! Why on earth are you reading a tanking blog? Have you forsaken us?
No, I have not. I've always been first and foremost a healer. However, this does not mean I do not pay attention to tanks. The relationship between tank and healer is a harmonious one. A tank places their lives in the arms of their healers. Healers have to pray to Elune (or whichever deity you happen to follow) that their tanks are exceptional at pissing off mobs.
Two way communication between tank and healer is a must. If not cultivated or exercised properly, your team will face difficulties down the road.
There is one particular topic I want to zero in on.
Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
Flamers and trolls aside, WoW Insider readers are generally a contentious lot. Their viewpoints are as divergent as the player demographics the site attracts - all types of players, from the casual to the hardcore. With this many angles to consider, WoW Insider becomes a melting pot of ideas and opinions, from the sublime to the ridiculous. (And let's face it - some of the so-called ridiculous ideas are the most entertaining to read.)
Yet this week, readers seemed to be more often of one mind than not - whether that agreement was ultimately to agree over the topic at hand or to agree to disagree. [1.Local] highlights several reader conversations that made the radar this week.
Star Trek references in the World of Warcraft - Sun, 10 May 2009 14:00:00 EST Wait, what? Star Trek is now cool you say? What is my nerdy self going to cling to? What's going to make a geek above other geeks as I recite the Klingon alphabet backwards in the Qo'noS dialect? Oh wait, there's WoW! And what's more geeky than taking a look at all the Star Trek references in the game?
Well, the answer is not much.
But that's okay, because it's geek-chic, or whatever those babbling idiots on What Not To Wear say.
So take a look my geeky bretheren, all the Star Trek references in the World of Warcraft after thy break.