Anyway, it seems like we're not the only ones who liked it. On a recent episode of The Instance podcast, Curt Schilling, founder of gaming company 38 Studios was on. If you haven't heard of Curt's gaming company, you may know him from his other job as a Major League Baseball pitcher. Anyway, he was telling the hosts about this awesome song about Pugging Kara based on a Johnny Cash song that he heard on a podcast he listens to.
As John points out, it's pretty unlikely there was another podcast in the last few weeks that featured a song based on a Johnny Cash song about pugging Karazhan. So hey, let me offer a shout-out to Dax for entertaining Curt Schilling. Curt himself didn't mention the name of the podcast he heard the song on, but I figure there's a pretty good chance it was ours. So, hey, shout out to Curt Schilling too, since he probably does listen. If he doesn't, and he heard it on another podcast, he should listen anyway, and so should you. Seriously. The WoW Insider Show is awesome. Go listen. And go listen to the Kara Pugging Blues while you're at it too.
However, if you have Tier 4 tokens, you'll still be able to head to the Isle of Quel'danas and turn them in for Season 1 Gladiator gear. If you want Season 2 Gladiator gear from PvE, you'll still have to turn in Tier 5 tokens from Serpentshrine Cavern and Tempest Keep. This might be Blizzard's attempt to keep the balance, although it seems like anyone with the ability to go take down Magtheridon for a Chestguard of the Fallen Hero could get Season 2 much easier and faster by grinding honor. It seems in this case that the dev team either felt that it wasn't worth it to go in and switch up the gear vendors or wanted to keep the amount of balance and challenge they implemented for the PvE token to PvP gear conversion.
So is Season 1 gear going away? In short, no. You'll not be able to buy it for honor anymore, but you will be able to buy it with Tier 4 tokens.
WoW enjoys a community created through informative blogs, forums, and most importantly -- Guilds. Guilds form the foundation of most players' experiences. Some Guilds, though, just seem to conduct themselves with a little more style.
Nihilum's live stream efforts are a good example -- they're letting us into their little corner of gameplay, showing us how they do things. Nihilum's well-known for their success, and it's fascinating to get an insider's look at how they conduct their raids.
The members of Agony issue their news with a bit of artistic flair. They turn their raid screenshots into comic book updates. While the plot might be hard to follow if you've not done the raids yourself, the pages are rather pretty to look at.
Sometimes, though, Guilds break up. They can do it with a bit of a drama, or they can choose to do it with a little class. When Forte called it the end of the road, they left a final "goodbye" to fans and foes alike. They ended their story in a way that let everyone know what was going on, and with a final farewell to their fans.
These three Guilds are just examples. We've all encountered Guilds who do something a little extra to make the game fun or enrich their community.
This clip, from PBS' Bill Moyers Journal, is notable for a number of reasons. First of all, I'm fairly sure this is the most balanced, objective look at MMORPGs I've ever seen in mass media -- they talk about both Second Life and World of Warcraft, but there isn't a single mention of addiction or cluelessness or any of the other stuff mass media throws at us.
And it's also a good look at what was behind all the hubbub about the government searching for terrorists in WoW -- in truth, the fact that the government is interested in online communities isn't that huge a deal (who isn't interested in MMOs?), but the fact that they're doing it with the justification of terrorism is a much more disturbing discovery. And this piece then goes into the larger problems with this lately -- that the government is dipping into all kinds of supposedly private communications outlets with this lame justification of searching for terrorists.
Nice piece, but especially so because of that very even look at our favorite past time. If only all reporters were so objective.
Blizzard surprised everyone yesterday by announcing the start of ArenaSeason 4, slaking the thirst of Arena junkies everywhere. Although Drysc's announced that PvP progression is intended to match PvE progression, it seems that Blizzard feels that enough Sunwell Plateau gear has trickled down to the player base for them to unleash a new Arena Season. Or it could be that they feel that the new personal ratings mechanic is enough of a bottleneck to slow down the flood of Level 154 items into the playing community.
At any rate, now is the time to plan for Season 4. If you haven't already started, it might be a good idea to bank some Arena points. With two weeks of point gains to go, that means players currently with 0 Arena points can theoretically obtain a maximum of one Season 4 Arena piece as the gloves cost 1125 points and, more importantly, require no personal ratings. Players will need to earn about 563 Arena points for the next two weeks to earn enough to purchase the item. This means maintaining a 1788 rating in 2v2, 1722 in 3v3, and 1671 in 5v5. It's not an easy feat, but for those who are only starting to save up Arena points, the reality is that it's an uphill climb. No matter how good you are, it is impossible to amass 5,000 Arena points in two weeks.
He says that yes, the flying mount is definitely worth it (it makes playing the game much faster, since most of the time spent in the game is actually travel anyway), but also that actually obtaining an epic flyer was always meant to be optional -- only for players who want to "go the extra mile." Not sure how he can say both of those things at the same time, but there you go. He also says the main consideration in the cost wasn't any effect on the economy, but rather simply making sure that it took a certain amount of time for players to obtain all that gold -- they averaged how quickly players could pick up gold versus how long they wanted players to work for the mount, and arrived at 5000g.
There is some (kind of) good news on the horizon for players who don't want to spend all that money, however. If and/or when Blizzard releases a higher riding skill, Drysc says they'll probably drop the price on this one. Of course, that doesn't really tell us anything concrete -- with the onset of siege vehicles, there may be all kinds of changes to how riding and driving works in the game. Until then, keep grinding, because apparently the only thing that will get you flying fast is a whole lot of gold.
Honey? HONEY! Where did you leave the keys? No, they're not just "on the branch where they usually are." What do you mean, Tethis Jr. was playing with them? Oh, man, he dropped them down the pond! Do you have any idea how much it costs to get a plumber to Un'Goro at this time of night? And right before King Mosh comes over for dinner! I really wanted to impress him so he'd let us use his time-share in STV for a week this year. Well, there's no choice here -- I'm going to have to reach down and get it. Watch my back so I don't get a stupid adventurer on me right now. Honey? Honey? *sound of Pyroblast hitting leathery hide*
Thanks, Houldlum of <Birkana> on Hellscream. You just wiped out an entire family. How do you feel now? (Along those lines, sorry about today's late AA, folks. I wasn't feeling great and fell asleep immediately upon coming home from work at 8 AM.)
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And remember to vote for the Caption This winner!
Part Time Druid fights WoW apathy - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 14:00:00 EST It's that time again -- we're in the slump right before the expansion, when people get bored of playing, no one wants to reroll another character because new options are just around the corner, and there's a general sense of apathy around the game. Why play what we've got when the new and shiny is almost here? Fortunately, this time seems a little better than last time -- lots of guilds are still rolling through the endgame, and there's still lots to do, from Arena to battlegrounds to reputation and daily quest grinding.
Fortunately, Part Time Druid has some good ideas about how to "fight WoW apathy," just in case you can't think of any yourself. PvP and money farming are in here (those are goals that are practically never ending for sure), and the time-tested idea of going back and finding refreshment in an old alt is a good idea as well. But there are some more original ideas in here as well: helping out lowbies (whether they be 16 or 61) is a good idea, and organizing for five mans might be the best idea. With the daily Heroic quest, there's no better time than now to find four friends who want badges and gold, and set up a regular weekly or even daily time to run a Heroic instance.
Let's be honest: we're going to at least be waiting a whole summer for this expansion, if not a few months after that. Might as well make the most of it -- set some goals now and get productive (or go try out Age of Conan, we're not picky), and the boat to Northrend will be loading before you know it.
Gamasutra has posted a nice long feature about what exactly that means, for both companies and for the rest of the industry. As we predicted, there probably won't be huge repercussions for either of the biggest companies involved -- both Activision and Blizzard will continue to go their own separate ways for now, sharing only a name among investors (Gamasutra even says the names on the game boxes won't change at all). The biggest impact will be on the little guys in between -- Activision's previous shareholders now have to answer to Vivendi (who will hold a majority stock in the company), and Viviendi's smaller division, the former glory of Sierra Games, will have to answer to Activision before publishing any of their titles.
And of course the other big consequence we've seen so far is that Bobby Kotick apparently feels he knows everything there is to know about the MMO game. Sure. For now, though, it's business as usual for both Activision and Blizzard -- if there will be any change in either company because of the merger, we likely won't see it for a while.
A player by the name of Kunzite recently submitted to us that he had released his gold-making guide, subtitled "How I Made 100,000 Gold." With a title like that, I had to check it out, and it has some very interesting tips in it. It is extremely long, which makes it all the more surprising that it's free. A lot of the tips are along the lines of playing the auction house, but there are also some helpful introductions to concepts like opportunity cost (a vital thing to wrap your head around in WoW), and detailed lists of what crafts you can turn a profit in (if only by disenchanting them), and so on.
I know I'll be coming back to this site - I haven't read it all yet, but it is a very nice resource, and who couldn't use a little more gold? I've already implemented one of his suggestions and found it to be quite lucrative: farming for Fel Armaments and Marks of Sargeras from warlocks at Legion Hold. My previous go-to gold-making strategy (fishing in Nagrand) was getting me 200-300g an hour typically; Legion Hold would be more like 400g if I sold everything, and I need the Aldor rep anyway (so I'm selling the Armaments and turning in the Marks). The best part about Legion Hold is that the mobs there are perma-spawned: there are always at least certain number alive at a time, so no matter how many people are farming there, you never have to wait for spawns.
Kunzite's guide, like Jame's killer leveling guides (Alliance, Horde), is astonishingly high-quality - and completely free! Go check it out if you have any interest in better ways to make gold. And to Kunzite, thank you for making this great resource available to the community.
The process to open the AQ gates takes months, so obviously, the anticipation was intense when the time finally came. Hundreds of players were there, anxiously waiting for the moment to arrive. However, the person who was to ring the gong couldn't even do it without crashing! Then there was the blinking and falling ... You never forget your first, though!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Even while creative maestro Metzen experiments with making World of Warcraft unique among its fantasy peers, there's not much denying that WoW has some pretty solid roots in, and respect for, Dungeons and Dragons. You can see proof of that in the patch notes from 2.4, which were dedicated to pen-and-paper legend, Gary Gygax. Many of us cruising Azeroth have some experience with good old D&D. WoW has pretty strong, deep roots in D&D, and those roots changed with the newly released 4th edition.
What's new in the 4th Edition Dungeons and Dragons? The class system is radically different, spells work differently, healing works differently, and fights work differently. Okay, it seems everything is pretty much different. But there's one big change that will probably make more than a few folks happy: no more Gnome PCs. Gnomes are now monsters, and not available for play in the core rules. A lot of the speculation about these changes is that D&D might be trying to distance itself a little from the World of Warcraft juggernaut.
It's a good thing Blizzard isn't still following its roots. I'm looking forward to my Gnomish Death Knight in Wrath of the Lich King.
Forte Gaming goes the way of the Alamo - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST Forte Gaming, one of the top guilds in World of Warcraft and the world's first to kill Anetheron, disbanded over the weekend. Their web page cites recruitment woes, long delays between content releases, and continually postponed raid times as reasons for the fall. "For many it has felt like a slowly sinking ship for some time and now it's over," says the guild's last post.
Forte was consistently ranked in the top two or three guilds in worldwide rankings and stayed in a tight race with Nihilum for game firsts, snagging no less than nine legendary Warglaives from Illidan in the Black Temple. In their three-year reign, they changed realms three times. Although the raiding arm of the guild (EU Boulderfist-A) will no longer exist, they will still maintain a more casual form of the guild on their previous server (A-Kazzak-EU).
Breakfast Topic: Horray for n00bies - Wed, 11 Jun 2008 08:00:00 EST We have a policy of not using much gamer slang here on WoW Insider.I'm feeling a little naughty today, so I'm going to take this opportunity to break the rules. N00b is on the list of words we generally avoid. It refers to players who should have learned the mechanics of the game, but continue to make stupid mistakes. We are surrounded by n00bs from the Hunter who consistently tab targets to the Shaman that utterly refuses to use Totems.
We've all been subjected to the annoying Murloc game where people spam trade chat with movie titles with Murloc replacing one of the words.I find this behavior to be somewhat juvenile and nearly completely asinine. I never participate in the trade chat spam, but like I said, I'm feeling naughty. I propose we go to town with the word n00b.I'll start:
2001: A n00b Odyssey
Charlie and the n00b Factory
Plan n00b from Outer Space
Indiana Jones and the Temple of n00b.
Alright, it's your turn!
/e defiantly accepts her punishment and saunters down to the torture chambers in the basement of the WoW Insider headquarters.
It seems the vast majority of drama we've heard regarding guild banks comes from ninja schemes and disgruntled members.Vaela of Hyjal expressed her exasperation with guild banks in the Guild Relations forum.She feels that there is an imbalance between players who donate resources to the guild bank and those who make the most withdrawals.The original poster asked for suggestions on systems to fairly distribute guild bank resources.
The responses focused on cooperation and reciprocity with the guild bank.The purpose of the guild bank is to fun the guild's activities and exchange objects of value.In the end, the system comes off as a communist type of public ownership arrangement, as opposed to the free trade system that rules the auction house.To quote Karl Marx, "from each according to his ability, to each according to his need."Communism as we've known it has largely failed, most likely because people don't fully buy into the system.
We're just going to go ahead and declare this Journey masterpiece the official song of raiders -- apparently one of our guilds in the Downed section this week found a lot of inspiration in these rockin' lyrics, and so for the rest of you, here you go. Just like your guild's attempts on Kael, it goes on and on and on and on. Be thankful -- we could have embedded this raid video, which doesn't quite have the same inspirational music to it.
Click the link below to check out this week's news of guild drama, downings, and recruiting notices -- we've got everything from more app drama to a ton of great downed news from regular tipsters. In fact, a few people told us this week that seeing their guild in Guildwatch actually got them raiding better than ever -- if you want your guild here (and have something interesting to tell us), drop a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new mechanic has given rise to a new form of Arena point selling, however -- mercenaries for hire. Many players who aren't after end-of-season rewards have used their PvP skills to earn a bit of Gold on the side by instead joining low-rated teams in need of a little push. Most of these players have already gotten full Season 3 gear and have no use for personal or team ratings and Arena points. With the onset of Arena Season 4, which is slated to begin on June 24, it might happen that we'll see a few of these mercenaries peddling their services all over again.
With the new personal ratings requirements for Brutal Gladiator items, players will need to work a little harder to get the latest PvP gear. For some players, this means looking to swords-for-hire (or axes-, or daggers-, or spells-...) for help. It's actually more profitable for seasoned Arena player in the new scheme of things, as they no longer need to maintain a high-ranked team and no longer limited to taking on a few customers at a time for the minimum three games (out of requisite ten). Arena mercenaries (or usually a pair) can simply hop from team to team helping raise players' personal ratings. With a modest 1700 personal rating the only requirement to get 4/5 Brutal Gladiator, it seems that PvP progression will finally catch up to PvE progression. With a little help for some, of course.
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 its 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 (unless you buy it with T4 tokens, thanks Thorn), 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 ...