Roll a Death Knight (almost) anywhere in 3.0.8 - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST Oh, you poor unfortunate souls! Forced by the cruel silver hand of fate to roll a Death Knight only on realms on which you already have a level 55 character. You've cried out in pain as the lashes of this restriction struck you, and through the anguish you've yelled "Yo Blizz! Lemme roll my DK anywhere, aight?"
Starting with the launch of 3.0.8, you'll be able to roll a new Death Knight on any realm as long as you have a level 55 character somewhere. The normal restrictions for character creation are still in place, though--can't make an opposite-faction DK on a PVP server, can't roll a DK on a server closed to transfers unless you've got a 55 there already, etc. All fair!
Before you ask why this feature wasn't implemented from the get-go, remember that it wasn't even very long ago that the developers were deciding "how is dk formed?" (though they did say that the restriction would be lifted soon after Wrath launched).
So fret not, ye oppressed. Soon, your chains (of ice) will be broken.
This morning, when we started receiving tips that the realms were coming back up early, I eagerly checked to see if my own realm was among those that had been brought up. I have some serious DK leveling to do (75 and my De-raged Waraxe has made the class even more fun). Of course, poor little Shadow Council was not up yet. I didn't want to keep reloading the realm status page, but I did want to know as soon as the server was up. What's a person to do?
Enter wowrealmstatus.net. It's a simple service: it sends you one email when your realm is brought up. (It can also be set to send you an email when your realm is brought down, or when its load is low, medium, or high, but I have yet to find a use for this functionality.) Enter your email, pick your realm from the menu, click the "Alert Me" button, and you're done. It only ever sends the one email; if you want another alert in the future, just set it up again then. Simple, effective, not annoying: a great web tool.
And if you didn't know already, your mobile phone almost certainly has an email address which translates to text messages (AT&T phones, for instance, are [phone number]@mobile.att.net, like firstname.lastname@example.org), so you can get alerts that way too, though your carrier will bill you for it if you don't have a text plan.
15 Minutes of Fame: The most untalented player - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 17:30:00 EST 15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
We admit to developing a soft spot for hard-headed, level-80-by-hook-or-crook metagamers like Noor the pacifist and Gweryc the melee Hunter. How can you resist this much sheer creative enthusiasm? These guys undercut their own characters just to see if they can manage without: without killing anything, without wearing any armor - and now, without training any talents.
Lithiumflowr of Bronze Dragonflight-EU started making plans for his second Hunter not long after dinging level 80 with his first. But this time, he had an investigation to conduct: At a time when epic-length forum threads split hairs over moving a single point between trees, what would be the effect of going 0/0/0? How could he compensate for a lack of talents? Could he compensate at all?
Evidently, he's compensating rather well. Lithiumflowr is humming right along, moving into Burning Crusade with an eye on level 80. He may be the most untalented player you've ever seen - but he's definitely no Huntard.
Another Tuesday, another maintenance. As much as I'd like to write something amusing here to entertain you on your slow, boring day, I've got nothin'. Bone dry. I'm like the freaking Shimmering Flats here. Well, you know, like the north parts. Not the south parts with that little lake. Just the dry stuff, people. ...Oh, screw it. Jamesisgreat asked...
Now I've hit level 80 and am looking at all the loot available to me as a feral druid, I've spotted a few of the PvP pieces that you can purchase with just honor. So my question is - where's the best place to grind honor nowadays? AV? Wintergrasp? Elsewhere?
Episode 7 of The Guild's second season is out now, and it should be out on Xbox Live and the Zune Marketplace soon, and it's revelations for everyone: Codex tackles some issues, and Zaboo and Vork end up learning a little something about themselves. And at the end of the episode, there's a new twist, which will probably end up being pretty timely to those of you who've been suffering on your own lately. Great show as always.
Forum post of the day: Serious business decisions - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST WoW has changed considerably over the years, often for the better and sometimes for the worse. Better and worse are, of course, a matter of perspective. Slovotsky of Turalyon is getting fed up with people complaining about the easing of raids. He's confident that Blizzard made the choice to lower the difficulty on raids because more of the player base can now have a chance to experience them. He disagrees that casual players have ruined the game. Familiarity may also lead to boredom. Some of the guilds that have progressed through Naxx have already done so either in the Pre-BC era or on the PTR.
As some pointed out, Blizzard is a for-profit business. The company's job is to sell a product, not to rule with a heavy hand or coddle the incompetent. The switch to an inclusive raiding environment was most likely a marketing decision. Caydence of Draka drove this point home, to rebut the argument that players will quit WoW because it's easier. It is simply a better business decision for Blizzard to alienate the "hardcore" players who make up a small minority. She suggested that the subscriber base has grown with each ease in difficulty.
Today's extended maintenance has turned out to be not-so-extended, with many realms already online, and more coming up every moment. I suspect that this will become the norm from here on out, with Blizzard's maintenance window larger on average than it used to be, which is pretty good for us. Let's be honest, we'd much rather have them overestimate how much time they need than underestimate it, right? It kind of sucks to see an extra two hours tacked on late every week, but it's nice when you know it ahead of time.
For those of you that were still hoping and praying that patch 3.0.8 was today, nope. Didn't happen, didn't think it would happen. Will it happen next week? Ask someone else, because we give up on the guesswork.
Edit: Almost forgot! Thanks to everyone who sent in tips about it. I was busy headshotting zombies. Shh, don't tell anybody.
PvP-oriented videos aren't really the usual fare for WoW Moviewatch. I admit I watch a lot of them myself, though, mostly trying to pick up tips and tricks for the Arena. So, when I came across Insane Gouge Crits: 7 by Buddhist, I was pleasantly surprised.
Don't get me wrong -- this is a PvP video, with all the action of "I sneak up on a guy and crit him" that you'd expect from that kind of rogue action. But that being said, Buddhist put a lot of work into making this PvP video more interesting that others you might see. It definitely stands out from its fellows in terms of the opening and closing sequences, both of which hint at movie-esque stories happening behind the scenes.
I think this shows that it is possible to bring PvP videos up to the thought and art of more full machinima. There's voice acting, framing, and thought put into scenery. It's definitely a step up, and I would encourage Buddhist to keep bringing his PvP exploits to another level.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Activision exec: Videogames will eclipse other entertainment - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 11:00:00 EST Activision-Blizzard exec Mike Griffith also made a showing at last week's CES, crowing about an industry that he and his company are heading towards the top of. He said to a crowd there that videogames would "eclipse" "movies, recorded music and TV" as forms of entertainment in the future. He claimed that media such as films and music were passive, and that games are moving ever closer to becoming "a legitimate story-telling medium that rivals feature films."
Which all seems true, except that it's coming from someone who stands to make a lot of money off of just that happening. Still, for all of the bluster of Activision-Blizzard's hotshots, they've got a few of the most popular franchises in gaming behind them -- Blizzard (of course), the Call of Duty franchise, and Guitar Hero, which has made over a billion dollars for Activision. Especially in a time of declining CD sales, Griffith's words ring truer than ever.
But let's not forget, of course, that you can't have great stories without great storytellers, and the folks at Blizzard are definitely that. For all of Activision's bragging, they can't forget that these franchises, all of them, came from strong and talented studios -- Call of Duty was crafted by Infinity Ward, Guitar Hero by Harmonix, and obviously all of Blizzard's properties were put together by the company formerly known as Silicon and Synapse. Griffith can brag that his media is taking over the world, but we hope Activision doesn't forget who helped them get there.
The 1977 Protocol 1 amendment to the Geneva Convention states, "It is prohibited to employ methods or means of warfare which are intended, or may be expected, to cause widespread, long-term and severe damage to the natural environment." Clearly this protocol has not been ratified in the World of Warcraft.
From the chemical contamination of Hellfire Peninsula to the pollution of the Plaguelands by the Lich King's illegal biological warfare, Azeroth has been rendered halfway uninhabitable by war. And now the Illidari are defoliating our precious tree druids, like Delurm of <Veterans of the Phoenix> on Malygos! Forget raids, quests and dungeons. The best way for the Horde and Alliance to defeat their enemies is by hiring a really good environmental protection lawyer.
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.
Some of you may remember that some months ago, we tried out these WoW Crosswords on Sunday mornings to go along with Sunday Morning Funnies, to give your lazy-day a slight newspaper feel. Open up the blog, read your comics, fill out the crossword, and then read the stories. Really, though, what WoW player does that on a Sunday? If you're at home, you're probably killing boars or whatever and not trying to fill in some blanks. Tuesday is more likely the WoW player's Sunday, isn't it? Kind of a slow day, you catch up on the news, you don't have to worry about tending to the crops, so you find other entertainment, right? So let's try this crossword thing again, but with feeling.
Here's how this works: Below the cut will be your hints/questions. There is only one correct answer for each blank. Some answers are two words, and if that's the case, leave the space out of your answer. Pretend the space between them does not exist. Most of those ones are obvious, and usually marked.
All of the questions are related to WoW, WoW Insider, or the greater community around the MMO, such as machinima, fan content, or simply related nerdity. For example, one day you may run into a question in which the answer is Kevin Werbach. He plays WoW and has been mentioned on our site, so he is fair game. You will not, however, get a question like "What is Batman's true identity" because as far as I know, that has nothing to do with what we do, unless Bruce Wayne is the next Lich King. If that becomes the case, we're just screwed then, aren't we?
Much like yesterday's Breakfast Topic, this is another story of an identity crisis. I recently discovered the wonders of being a Mage and she has replaced my Druid as my main. I changed the first letter of a favorite name, Kira, into something more Blood Elf looking (to my way of thinking): Qira. It's pretty and simple.
Then one day I Googled it. It's the name of a village that some people consider to have been ethnically cleansed [Edited to be more neutral--I had such a kneejerk reaction that I didn't even research it]. I immediately paid to change the name without even spending the time to come up with a good substitute. Robiness is a fun name for an It came from the Blog character, but do I really want it for my new main?
If I had slept on it, rather than changing my name instantly, I may not have changed it. After all, it wasn't my intention to commemorate anything like that. And you can't change it again for 30 days. So now what? Do I keep the name Robiness or do I change it again in a week or so when I am able? Have any of you gone through something similar?
Tuesday Morning Post: Flip a Coin for 3.0.8 - Tue, 13 Jan 2009 05:30:00 EST So last week at this time, a bunch of us were pretty sure we'd see 3.0.8 this week, but then we got a new build on the PTR with a whole bunch of changes that will probably need at least another week or two to simmer and gain feedback, which has pretty much caused us to throw our hands up. At this point, you might as well flip a coin every Monday evening. You'll get about as accurate a forecast to whether or not 3.0.8's finally going live as anything we can tell you.
Okay, to be fair, there is extended downtime this morning, from 3 AM to 11 AM Pacific, but as of this writing, there's no other indication we're getting the patch, and a general feeling that the PTR was patched too recently for this to be a patch day.
As usual, we might as well just forget the patch day divinations and focus on the downtime. 8 hours of downtime equals plenty of time to read WoW Insider. So, here's a list of some of the best content from the past week:
The clam issue itself is simple to understand: Blizzard is updating a relatively obscure area of the game in patch 3.0.8 while ignoring other problems. At least that's what some people think. Truth be told I'm not sure where I stand on the issue. I can see how updating clam stacking is easy programmatically and fixes a small annoyance for some players. But at the same time I can see where people are upset that larger issues are not being addressed.
Massive Pwnage makes light of the situation in a comic posted today. "World of Warcraft: Ground-breaking changes with every patch," reads the subtitle.
The comic gets my stamp of approval, and gave me a good chuckle this afternoon when it came through our tip line. Be sure to head over there and check out the larger version.
Extended maintenance for January 13th - Mon, 12 Jan 2009 21:30:00 EST The login screen is announcing an extended maintenance tomorrow morning, from 3 AM PST until 11 AM PST. Will we be seeing patch 3.0.8 tomorrow morning? Well, I say no, probably not. My gut says the last PTR build was too recent for it to hit live realms, but Blizzard is fairly unpredictable when it comes to patch releases. I'm bad at predicting patch dates anyway, so listening to me is probably not the wisest thing ever either way.
If we hear anything to the contrary, we'll be sure to let you know as soon as we see it. As always, patch or not, WoW Insider will be here for you all morning tomorrow if you're looking for your fix.
Greg Street, aka Ghostcrawler, is the lead systems designer at Blizzard for World of Warcraft. It's his job to make sure all the numbers work right, that the talents are spiffy, and all that "other" stuff. He became a presence during the Wrath of the Lich King beta, posting daily about updates to the game and interacting with players in a way that hasn't been seen before.
The daily activity by Ghostcrawler has lead to him become a staple of sites such as WoW Insider and MMO-Champion. Every day you can see at least one or two items from him. We here at WoW Insider are particularly watchful of what he says, since his posts usually contain detailed information about why something was done and what might be done in the future. That's great content that we like to talk a lot about.
However despite the volumes Ghostcrawler publishes each day, some people feel that his welcome has ran out - that this experiment of him providing community interaction has failed. Some feel that his penchant for forum interaction is time wasted, that he's done nothing more than incite riots with certain classes, and that his demeanor is less than appealing. There was a forum post today about this very topic, but that in itself is nothing new as lots of people have been QQing over Ghostcrawler for a while.
Don't let all the crying fool you however - he has some major supporters throughout the community.
Ghostcrawler: Okay with Titan's Grip not being an optional talent - Mon, 12 Jan 2009 19:00:00 EST One of the founding points in WoW's talent system, or any game's talent system, is to allow players to customize their characters based on their personal preferences. Want to play a healer with your Priest? Great, here's a few dozen holy talents. Your Paladin needs to crit some face off? Retribution is your key.
Within each of these talent trees are many, many choices. And while cookie cutter specs eventually develop, the option is still there to allow for whatever spec or combinations of specs you decide works best for you. The rest of the world be damned, it's your choice.
However there are some exceptions to this. These occur in talents that we all need to play, more or less. Or in more specific terms there are talents that the rest of the tree is designed around. One such talent is Titan's Grip, and according to Ghostcrawler Blizzard is okay with that (for now).
Titanguard appears to still be part of 3.0.8 - Mon, 12 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST In the latest PTR patch Titanguard, the new weapon enchant that will be introduced with patch 3.0.8, was removed from the vendor. Titanguard provided a weapon with +75 Stamina. Many people felt this was the tanking enchant for Wrath.
Because of its removal from the vendor, many people thought that it wasn't going to appear when 3.0.8 goes live. Many folks have sent us tips via our tip line saying as much, and the official forums have multiple speculation posts on the subject.
However it appears that the removal was accidental and that by all indications Titanguard will be showing up in the live version. Maaven, the Blizzard blue poster over in the PTR forums, tells us all: "We'll investigate." Since they have been rather forthcoming lately as to the removal of PTR items (see the information about Death Knight tanking weapons), we're taking this to mean it's just a temporary issue.
"Don't Panic" tanks! That sexy 75 stamina will be yours soon enough.
The sights range from the disgusting (you get offered to cyber by just being a lowbie and hanging around Elwynn, apparently), to the boring (there is some really, really bad vampire RP), to the fascinating (some of the character descriptions are very well written, and use some commonplace ingame gear to portray a character's backstory very well). There's no judging involved -- it's basically a (pretty) objective survey of what RP players are doing on RP servers lately. Even if you're not an RPer, it's an interesting read (though some of the images and situations are NSFW, depending on where you work).
There's more info in a Q&A on the journal, including a plan to possibly do some group RPing, but just the idea of surveying what's out there is cool. There is so much happening on the realms (in terms of RPing and grouping and PvPing), and even here at WoW insider we can only document so much of it. Definitely cool to get another look inside what players are coming up with (no matter how weird or boring or wild) on the realms.
Mostly compatible, anyway -- we're told that lots of the new animations aren't working yet, and there are quite a few bugs still poking around. And there's more trouble -- the program's admin has reported that the site could use a new host, since the last admin had some troubles with the hosting provider. Surely there's someone out there who can help -- lots of people use the program (and of course it's spawned countless terrific machinima movies that we've all enjoyed).
Hopefully Model Viewer will find its way back on track -- the program has really jump started the world of machinima, and it would be a shame to see it fall into disrepair due to lack of support.