After the break you'll find a concise listing of what you need to know to get the Fool for Love achievement done, as well as pointers to other places to look for more information. Don't forget to check back here and send us a tip if you notice things amiss.
And remember, you only have until Sunday to finish everything up. And if you're like me Saturday night will be a solid no-WoW night, so you probably need to do everything tonight and tomorrow night. Unless of course Kara Thrace is your other girlfriend, in which case Friday night is out too.
All the updates to Love is in the Air after the break.
WoW is the new "third place" - Thu, 12 Feb 2009 18:00:00 EST This is interesting -- a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison (just up the road from me here in Chicago) says that World of Warcraft is an emerging new "third place." That is, it's a place in between your work and home where you make friends and otherwise interact with new people. Starbucks has even used the term in their actual marketing (to try to make their coffee shops a hangout more than just a place that you stop by and grab a cuppa joe), and WoW isn't even the first videogame to fit the critera -- Sony advertised the Playstation 2 as a "third place" in Europe.
But even though Blizzard has never actually marketed the game as a "third place," it almost fits the definition most. Sure, it's not actually a different place -- most people do play at home, I'd imagine -- but in terms of having a different crowd of people that you interact with outside your home or work, that is often exactly what WoW is for us. As Professor Constance Steinkuehler (who has a pretty wild website for a college professor) says, "most people go for the game and stay for the people."
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Northrend.
Have you met Commander Kolurg or Commander Stoutbeard, or Erekem? If you haven't, don't feel bad - I've run The Nexus and Violet Hold heroics until my eyes bleed, and I haven't made their acquaintance either. (Bad luck? Late-night runs turned lazy? Another case of birds avoiding my sweet lil' Cookie?) This week's Two Bosses Enter pits the less frequently encountered "extra" bosses from The Nexus against Erekem of Violet Hold.
Before we get into the details of this week's match, I need to point out that I'm not alone in not having met these bosses, if the lack of screenshots on the usual sites is any evidence. If you have a screenshot of Commander Kolurg (or an especially nice shot of Stoutbeard or Erekem), do take a moment to submit them to wowhead.com or wowwiki.com, then notify us via our tip line (marked "Two Bosses Enter").
Here's one for the 'huh' files. Reader Jessica emailed us asking what was up with her interview, as she is currently engaged in trying to get the Scarab Lord title on her server and was wondering why 'Matthew' didn't show up to interview her as he had promised. A further exchange of emails revealed that someone claiming to be me and using the handle 'Insidernews' had told her that he wanted her and two other people on a podcast.
This is the first time I've heard of someone using WoW's inherent anonymity to pretend to be someone from WoW Insider. In case anyone else has been contacted by 'Insidernews', we wanted to make it clear, this person does not work for WoW Insider, he is not me or anyone else here.
Congrats to Blizzard and the EU for four full years in Azeroth! North America had our anniversary late last year, and WoW Insider put together a look back at what it was like for us. We all (including the EU) got the anniversary pet as well, so apparently, other than these contests, Blizzard is just giving this date a nod rather than a big in-game celebration. But there's always the ten year anniversary -- we'll see you in 2014!
Jeff Kaplan leaving World of Warcraft - Thu, 12 Feb 2009 14:48:00 EST In a surprise announcement this afternoon, World of Warcraft's Game Director Jeff Kaplan (whom you may know from the forums as "Tigole," and whom those of you with a longer memory may remember as the guild leader of Legacy of Steel back in the EverQuest days) is leaving the WoW team to work on a their unannounced MMO. (What this means for how far along that project is it's hard to say -- are they perhaps bringing in a solid game designer because they're just now getting things started? Or to polish off the finishing touches?) Says Kaplan of his time with the World of Warcraft team:
I wanted to take a moment to let the community know that I've switched roles here at Blizzard to work on our upcoming, unannounced MMO. World of Warcraft has been such a central part of my life these past six and a half years, and it's success would not have been possible without the tremendous community around it, so I wanted to say thank you to all our players who've shared this amazing experience with us so far.
World of Warcraft isn't going anywhere, however, as the rest of the team is remaining in place, including Kaplan's "partners in crime" Tom Chilton and J. Allen Brack.
Mr. Kaplan, while we haven't always agreed with you, we'll certainly miss having you around. And, since you're going, we have to ask... can we have your stuff?
Totem Talk: Meantime - Thu, 12 Feb 2009 14:00:00 EST First off, Glyph of Windfury Weapon was reduced to 2% in patch 3.0.9. Now, I don't agree with the logic that this makes Windfury useless and we should all get caster mainhands, so don't even bother trotting that one out. But it is a nerf, and a fairly sizeable one. (Edited to add: yes, I do agree it's a big nerf. But please, let's take a deep breath, run some parses over the next couple of weeks, see if the AP that seems to be there is going to be hotfixed out, and then we can all freak out. I'd just say this in the comments but I'm having some bugs with that. I agree that it's a big nerf.)
Other hybrids rolled into Wrath of the Lich King looking sharp. Paladins effectively rolled up in a pumpkin coach wearing glass slippers thanks to some fairy godmother or another at Blizzard who shined them up nicely. (Okay, maybe holy got stuck as one of the mice pulling the thing.) Druids have been more uneven, but for a class with such variety of roles (if you view Hybrids in WoW by what roles they can fill, Druids are clearly the most hybrid, being capable of filling tanking, healing, and both ranges and melee DPS roles) they didn't come off too badly.
You'll have to be max level to use the dual spec system, and you'll have to pay a one-time fee (not yet specified) to the trainer to use it.
Blizzard has apparently cemented how it will work: you'll need to be at a Lexicon of Power to change out your spec, or Inscribers will be able to make one (maybe reusable, maybe not) that will be summonable by "a ritual of several players" (no number given yet).
Respeccing will change only one set, so if you want to respec both specs, you'll have to pay twice.
We'll be getting a "Gear Manager" that will let us quickly and easily change out gear, either for the two specs or just to "strut around town." (This is the official Itemrack we've heard about.)
Hunters will be able to respec their pets at will, and they will get a new long cooldown ability that will let them remotely access their stables.
Players who respec will be able to configure their talents before they are saved.
And while the system is starting with two specs, Blizzard is considering adding more in the future.
Wow. GC says we'll see this on the PTR when it's ready to go (which sounds to us like the patch 3.1 PTR, but no guarantees there, either). Unfortunately, not all of this will be out right away (the Gear Manager specifically is marked as "not quite ready"), but it sounds like Blizzard is aiming to go all out with the dual spec feature and make sure everyone gets what they want.
Activision loses money, Blizzard to release one marquee game per year - Thu, 12 Feb 2009 13:00:00 EST Activision-Blizzard held a conference call for the press yesterday, and so there's all kinds of financial and release news floating around out there. The biggest news isn't necessarily Blizzard-related, but it does mean that our game's company is finally feeling the crunch a bit: Activision-Blizzard reported a loss of $72 million in the last quarter, and their outlook for the coming year fell short of analysts' expectations. Even though that sounds bad, it doesn't mean things are necessarily bad, though: Blizzard themselves added nearly a billion dollars to the total, so while A-B might not be doing so well, B is doing just fine.
Blizzard CEO Paul Sams also announced during the call that the company is now aiming for "one 'frontline' title per year," though not necessarily World of Warcraft related. That likely means that we'll see the first Starcraft 2 this year -- our friends at Joystiq have a quick report on the beta appearing soon, as well as the Battle.net revamp we've been waiting for. And it also means that (unless Blizzard is really rolling on Diablo III, which I doubt, given its condition when we played it at last year's BlizzCon), that we'll be looking at mid/late 2010 for the release of the next WoW expansion.
Besides the loss of the $72 million (it's always in the last place you look), things seem to be hopping at Blizzard and their parent company. Should be a pretty busy 2009 for them.
This movie -- or one like it -- was inevitable. I am, in fact, shocked that it hadn't come about before now. This was a hole in the world of WoW machinima, one which Bullshitmaster has stepped forward to fill. He has created this short, wonderful piece revealing a simple thing. It is the Tradition of the Sith.
If you're looking for deep story or meaningful prose, this ain't the movie for you. If, however, you're interested in seeing a pair of Undead Sith undergo the ancient rite of passage, this is totally the way to go. To sum up, in every Sith's lifetime, the student must slay the master. That's how you become the master, you see. You kill the old master. That makes you the top dog.
Most of the music and soundtrack come from somewhere else, but it's all brought together very well for the "Tradition of the Sith." I'm especially impressed with how well BSM blended the lightsabers into the scenery. I didn't feel like it was some weird mash-up. The visual portions all actually worked very well together.
Check it out, and enjoy a little bit of Star Wars in your Azeroth.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Northrend.
Last week's Two Bosses Enter ... One Boss Leaves deathmatch saw King Ymiron handily dispatching Drakkari Colossus. This week, Ormorok the Tree-Shaper (The Nexus) chops down Meathook (The Culling of Stratholme), as readers dodge gameplay mechanics to really get into the swing of theorycrafting.
Crowfoot sums it up (with a good geek reference, to boot): "I voted for Ormorok but think there are some real random factors in this from Ormorok. I don't think Disease Explusion would be reflectable, but the chains should bounce right off and mulch up Meathook. But is he going to reflect enough of those chains? How are the spikes going to be placed? All the same, they've both got some hard hitting abilities but advantage goes to the guy made out of rock.
"'Go for... its vulnerable spots!' ... 'It's a rock; it doesn't have any vulnerable spots!' -- Galaxy Quest"
Vote later today in the next matchup of this season's Two Bosses Enter ... One Boss Leaves, and cheer on the five-man instance bosses of Northrend.
Hey, folks, remember to send in your Valentine's screenshots! Now, I've seen pictures of in-game weddings before, but never one with such a ... unique couple. Shadowdrak and girlfriend Zlopocasna of <Guards of Alliance> on Drak'thul-EU tied the knot in the Temple of the Moon, but unfortunately the priestesses forgot to supply Shadowdrak with the ladder necessary to kiss the bride. Fun fact of the day: according to my googling, "zlo pocasna" translates roughly as "bad honor" in Bosnian. "Pocasna Salva" is also a Bosnian anti-war song. The more you know!
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. 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.
In a discussion of new realm transfers opening up, we get this tidbit: from now on, new realms will be created with the AQ gates already open. What that means is, there will be no races on any newly created servers in the future to be the first to gain the Scarab Lord title, for one thing. Those servers will have no Scarab Lords until one transfers there, because it will be impossible to complete the quest chain necesssary for the title. It also means that if you missed the title on your original server but were going to try and transfer to pick it up, you can forget it. Unless you can find a server that's currently active that doesn't have the gates open, I suppose.
The way the statement is phrased is a little odd: By automatically opening the gates and allowing immediate access to the Ahn'Qiraj instances, we would like to promote the higher level content that is available as well as ensure a smooth overall experience for players on these new realms. I suppose they just mean the 20 and 40 man instances that are already there, but it seems odd to call level 60 raids higher level content at this point.
Breakfast Topic: Sorry about your nerf - Thu, 12 Feb 2009 08:00:00 EST I like Trixter's "silly idea" over on WoW Ladies. She says she came home the other day to a boyfriend bummed out by the Curse of Tongues nerf, and wished she had a greeting card for the occasion. Something, we'd guess, like "Sorry about your nerf. Hope you pwn soon." Funny. Which got us thinking: what other kinds of greeting cards might come in handy for WoW players?
"It's a proto-drake! Congrats on your new mount!"
"Our condolences on your recent ninja attack. Here's wishing you all the best loot in the future."
"Thanks for all your help with the raid-leading! You're the best!"
Ok, so those aren't that great. But what other ideas might Hallmark be interested in if they were designing a new line of greeting cards for you to give out to fellow players afflicted by what happens in Azeroth?
Small patch deployed - Wed, 11 Feb 2009 22:20:00 EST There has been a small patch unexpectedly deployed tonight. According to some, the patch updates the launcher. It appears the game version remains stable at 184.108.40.20651, which is the same numbering we saw earlier in the week when 3.0.9 was released.
The patch is about 5 megs in size. We do not have a download mirror, as it appears to only update the launcher.
While there is some speculation that the launcher is being prepared to get ready for the 3.1 PTR, all that is speculation. We do however, expect the 3.1 PTR to drop sometime soon. In the mean time you can check out our list of known patch 3.1 changes.
If there is any information from Blizzard on the patch, we'll update this post.
For about five shining minutes, Mages were over-powered. Arcane Mages, to be precise. Or so everyone tells me. All I know is that for the first time in a long time, I felt the kind of power I always assumed Mages were meant to wield.
Patch 3.0.9 has brought Arcane Mages back down to earth, though, and only some of the bad stuff was actually in the patch notes. You see, along with the incredibly clunky and obtuse changes to Arcane Power and Presence of Mind (effectively ending PoM-Pyro specs as we knew them), and the nerf to Slow, this briefly mighty spec has also received a bonus undocumented nerf to our signature spell: Arcane Barrage.
After a whole lot of us noticed we simply weren't doing the same damage post-patch that we were pre-patch, the official forums lit up with Mages contending that Arcane Barrage simply wasn't packing the punch it used to. Though the tooltip hadn't changed, the damage had fallen off considerably. Last night, Eyonix responded with a post explaining the change and letting us know that its effects would be monitored. I always thought the PTR was a good place to monitor changes, but what do I know?
Before we discuss this any further, let me just put it up front that I'm setting the over-under on "QQ MOAR" comments following this post at 45. I'm taking the over.
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. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
No no no. I'm not being political here.
The change I'm talking about is changing the game. We can all believe in changes to WoW because we're all reading a big flashy World of Warcraft news and information site. Namely change about Wintergrasp, audio settings, mob behavior, and craftables.
Except changing Paladins. They don't need any change. /snicker
"I was wondering if there's been any noise coming out of Blizzard regarding fixing Wintergrasp?"