Although Wowhead has a blog now, and those of you who (like me) are huge fans of the site are probably reading it already and thus have already seen this news, I figure a good many Insider readers would be interested: Wowhead has released another round of new features.
Stat weighting presets are updated for Wrath. If you have any suggestions on how the new presets could be improved, please drop by the thread on Wowhead's forums.
Combat ratings (hit, crit, and haste) have been combined across melee, ranged, and spell, to reflect changes made in the 3.0 patch.
Filters have been reorganized to cut back on clutter and scrolling.
When using stat weightings, you can now group gear by slot (example). If the stat weightings are solid enough, this provides a much prettier (IMO) alternative to sites like Lootrank.
I like the "group by slot" especially, for quick access to gear lists. Another set of solid updates by the Wowhead team, making the best database even better. Thanks, folks!
As the newest member of the WoW Insider team, I thought it'd be a good idea to introduce myself before diving right into news, news, news. We might not be total strangers, though! I was the blue poster formerly known as Belfaire (the talbuk). A good number of youmay be familiarwith my workalready, and may have even wondered where I'd gone off to in the past two months. Now you know!
That's right--I've given up the animated avatar and moved on to greener pastures. I'm still the same incorrigible talbuk you knew, though, and my unique experiences make me a real...WoW insider.
With the obligatory terrible puns out of the way, let's talk shop, yeah?
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft.
I'm sure The Queue is the last thing you're all interested in the day the PTR goes up, but too bad! You get it anyway! Let's get the Q&A started, eh? Velina asked...
I have a Shadow Priest I leveled to 34, then had her boosted to level 60 through Recruit-a-Friend level grants. She's now stuck in level 25-30-ish questing greens and SFK blues. I'm wondering what would be the best way to gear her. Would she be able to survive questing in Outland in her very low-level gear, or am I going to have to round up some gold for her?
GC on the Deterrence change and the future of Hunter melee - Thu, 11 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST When the Hunter changes dropped earlier this week, I understood the Volley change, and I even got the Kill Shot cooldown drop, but the one I really didn't understand was the Deterrence change. Like BRK said, it seemed pretty useless: sure, becoming immune to damage for five seconds helps survivability in the Arenas, but what's to stop people from just continuing the kill after that. And the directional effect was just perplexing as well.
Now, Ghostcrawler has provided some background on the change, and while it still doesn't make much sense, at least we have an idea of where Blizzard is coming from. First things last, the directional ability is still being tested and may not make it to the live game. But the ability itself is designed specifically for Arena, as we'd guessed. And even more strangely, he says the reason they wanted to change the spell was to make it different visually -- letting the Hunter see themselves parrying every single attack while their backup helps them out. That argument may not find much ground in the numbers-driven Arena crowd, but GC says lots of times, a strong visual can give what seems like a useless spell a lot of use. Interesting look into Blizzard's design philosophy -- they don't program the numbers, they program how it plays.
Finally, he says that Hunter melee damage is being looked at -- they are primarily a ranged class, but the problem now is that it's all or nothing. Either you're in a Hunter's barrage or you've closed to melee and they're not a threat. If they can put the sting back in melee, GC says (within a few patches -- this is long term), then they'll give them more viability "to flee or stand and fight." We'll have to see what Hunter's think about that one when we get more specifics.
Never mind that World of Warcraft, is a game, not an addiction, and never mind that most of those 11 million people play it and are completely healthy socially and financially, and never mind even that any evidence you'd find that World of Warcraft causes dropouts is anecdotal at best. Can you really blame a game for someone making the choice to leave college? We, as you might have guessed, think not.
And there's more: Tate's Wikipedia page says that not only has she spoken out strongly in favor of DRM, and not only has she taken talking points directly from Clear Channel in trying to work on the Sirus/XM merger (a government official speaking the words of a corporation, that's just what we need), but she has also blamed television for childhood obesity. Nice one. One more reason why we are thrilled to see that we may finally get some folks in the FCC who actually know what they're talking about when it comes to online gaming.
PTR character copy is up...for now - Thu, 11 Dec 2008 14:00:00 EST If you want to copy your characters over to the 3.0.8 PTR I would do it soon, as in the next few minutes. The copy is currently up and working via the account management page at worldofwarcraft.com (go there yourself and navigate to account management as to ensure there's no trickery involved in links, etc...)
The PTR client is not available to be downloaded yet, but we'll let you know when we hear that it is. Expect that to be anytime, probably before the end of the business day on the west coast.
There's a good bit of changes to check out over at the PTR 3.0.8 patch notes. Be sure you do so and stay tuned to WoW Insider for more analysis of specific class changes.
Warriors are now the most powerful class in the game. Please delete all other characters and switch to your level 13 Warrior alt you haven't played in three years. Also, please be sure to level bandaging up quickly as 24 other warriors bandaging the main tank is all you'll need to defeat most Wrath raiding content.
Okay, now that I've got that out of my system... let's take a look at the three changes they've made to the Warrior class for PTR Patch 3.0.8.
First and foremost, the one you'll hear around the campfire the most - Titan's Grip has had the hit penalty removed. Completely gone. It is no more. The Titan's Grip hit penalty ceases to be. It is an ex-hit penalty!
'Ello hit penalty? Testing! Testing! Testing! Testing! This is your nine o'clock alarm call!
Reading through these notes, keep in mind that they're probably not complete and we'll see updates to them when the PTR itself goes live. The test realm always has quite a few undocumented changes as well to keep an eye out for. Again, when we know more, we'll let you know.
Edit: Updated to reflect the official patch notes.
Baron Soosdon is one of the biggest names in WoW machinima out there, and is an author we've featured on WoW Insider any number of times. He's been involved in just about every style machinima, from music-video to story-based films. Today we feature his work Raid Together, Die Alone 2.
The good Baron's created this homage of Burning Crusade raid bosses. All the footage was created between May 2008 and November 2008 and the raids themselves were conducted by the guilds Beastro and Beyond Oblivion. You can find them on the Twilight Hammer (EU) server. And while it is basically a retrospective of the raid boss fights, the Baron obviously covers it with the same style and panache he brings to all his work.
As the Baron himself warns, though, be sure to watch through the end. There's an easter egg at the end of the film that you won't want to miss.
First off, happy birthday to me. (It was actually this weekend.) As a present to myself, I've switched toons, sort of.
Strangely enough, I've taken a break from my horde shaman to start leveling my alliance shaman, in one of those weird caprices of mood I get into from time to time. I don't know why, but the past five levels on the alliance side went faster than one level horde side, which is odd because I leveled exclusively as horde in the beta and enjoyed it immensely. Maybe it's just that I really enjoy Dragonblight from the alliance quest perspective, or maybe it's just being tired of the horde quests since I ran them so many times before. Maybe I'm just freaking insane. At any rate, I'm currently loving my space goat.
With Christmas around the corner raiding seems to have dried up pretty heavily (maybe I just don't know enough obsessed people) meaning that I'm having a better time leveling than I would in trying to get a raid together. Right now, my main focus is on what gear I want out of heroics and what I want to spend my Emblems of Heroism on. Since I've been covering heroics in the various instance posts (and we still have three or four instances to cover) I figured today would be a good chance to take a look at Emblem loot, in an attempt to keep going in the same vein as last week's Rep post.
Personally, I'm torn -- way back when I first started the game, I created a female Night Elf Hunter, thinking along the old classic lines of "if I'm going to stare at someone's backside for hours and hours, it might as well be a woman." But since then, I've gotten a lot of flak for being a dude playing a female character, and since I've played all male characters since then, I think I better identify with male characters anyway, even if the view isn't as good.
But on the other hand, I'm used to my Hunter now -- she's looked the same for almost 80 levels, and it would be weird to suddenly see a Night Elf guy on the screen in her place. So I'm torn -- change my character to a male and make being social in game much easier, or stay the same and keep my character familiar to me?
What do you all think? Are you facing the same situation or is the choice easier (or even harder) for you?
Hey. Hey! I see what you're doing there. Don't stand in my pool with those dirty shoes on. That's nasty. . Hey ... what are you doing now? Don't drop that Rotting Bear Carcass in my pond! Ooh ... when you come back here at level 80 and I'm in corporeal form, you're going to be in for a world of hurt. You know what a fungal infection can do to your body? In the warm, moist places? That's right. Stay out of my pool and I'll stay out of your life.
(Thanks to Donkers of <Disciples of Divx> on Dark Iron for this shot from Ahn'Kahet! And before you ask, I'm not one hundred percent sure that the face is Amanitar, but it certainly bears a strong resemblance.)
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.
The Feast of Winter Veil is almost upon us. The festivities kick off on December 15th, and will run until January 2nd. There are plenty of achievements to be had, as well as the title "Merrymaker" for completing them all.
You can refer to this guide for information about completing each achievement for this holiday, including links to maps and our usual comments section that should not be passed over if you're looking for tips.
Character Re-Customization available for a small fee [UPDATED] - Wed, 10 Dec 2008 23:00:00 EST The WoW launcher was updated this morning, and just now what was behind that curtain was revealed: Character Re-Customization. What does that mean? In short, for a fee of $15, you can rebuild your character, with some restrictions. You can change your gender, face, skin, hair, and name, but not your race or class. You can do hair in-game already via the barbershop, so I imagine the ability to do those via this service is just for convenience. The real draw is the gender and face options.
Don't want to play your Female Undead Warlock anymore because they move funny? It's okay, turn them into a way awesome Male Undead Warlock. Sick of looking at your Male Draenei? Try out something more... pleasing to the eyes. This is a feature people have been asking for since WoW launched, so I'm surprised it took so long for it to happen. If you're taking full advantage of the feature, it's really not a bad deal considering a paid name change is $10. For an extra $15, you can more or less have a new character. Well, sort of.
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.