It'd be quicker to count the number of WoW Insider staffers who aren't working on Love Is in the Air achievements this weekend than to count those that are. (And if you're interested in becoming a Fool for Love, too, check out our guide to earning the Love is In the Air meta-achievement.) Though there are a couple of hold-outs doing something called "raiding" or "real life" this weekend, holiday-mania seems to hold sway. If you're interested in knowing what sort of trouble the WoW Insider team is getting into this weekend -- or want to tell us what sort of trouble you're getting into this weekend -- read on!
Warlock makes Thunderfury - Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:00:00 EST Reader Angie sent us a curious Armory profile of a Warlock who was able to obtain the classic legendary one-handed weapon Thunderfury, Blessed Blade of the Windseeker. Although no raiding guild in their right minds would've allowed such a travesty to happen no matter how much DKP the Warlock had back in the day, now in a time where Onyxia is visited every few days for some easy Gold, anything goes.
This news comes on the heels of what is reputedly a world first Death Knightobtaining the legendary sword. Here's the kicker, though... the left and right Bindings of the Windseeker have class restrictions (revised to include Death Knights)... and Warlocks aren't among those eligible to start the quest chain. Mages and Warlocks are both casters who can equip swords, but this doesn't explain how the Warlock obtained the item.
The Warlock's guild seems to be a rather accomplished one (the 'lock has The Immortal title), so there's a good chance that getting the weapon was a guild effort. It's quite possible that the Dormant Wind Kissed Blade that drops off Thunderaan was assigned by Master Looter to the Warlock, who then started the quest.
Blizzard LF numbers geek, pst - Fri, 13 Feb 2009 16:00:00 EST If your idea of fun in playing World of Warcraft is to mine the auction house or raid buffers for statistics and then turning them over every which way, then Blizzard may have a job that's of interest to you. Admittedly, the best candidate would also have a degree in "computer science, statistics, operations research, industrial engineering, and mathematics, or business administration, marketing, or management with strong quantitative focus" but we're sure there are some WoW Insider readers who fit their Data Analyst posting bill.
Sure, it may not be the most glamorous position ever offered, but it's still working for Blizzard - and in this case, working away from the front lines. Think of the perks; the awesomeness of being able to get in on Blizzard games well before anyone else gets to; the cool gifts that Blizz seems to like to give employees; the ability to get in to BlizzCon without having to play tag with the mrglrfrling Failoc. All that, and hey - it's translating numbers to non-number-geek English, which seems to be a passion amongst many of the numbers geeks I know. So if you've got the chops and are looking for a job many would envy you for, what are you waiting for? Get to applying - and good luck!
Quinionn on Magtheridon sent us this picture -- apparently dating website eHarmony has gotten in on the in-game advertising just in time for Valentine's Day. He had just joined a Warsong Gulch when this guy showed up spamming an ad.
Very weird. At the very least, the spammer's aiming to lose his character, and at worst, if this is an organized action, Blizzard might actually have a case against eHarmony for spamming inside the game. Have you seen any other ads like this around the game?
We've got a good show planned on the podcast tomorrow afternoon: we'll welcome back Michael Sacco (formerly "Belfaire" on the official Blizzard forums), and, after long last, we're welcoming Matthew Rossi back onto the show -- we just couldn't ignore the demand after he posted that badass picture of himself the other day. And speaking of pictures, the pic above is put together by Michael at Galefire, from Turpster's little illustration we posted last week. How awesome is that?
We'll talk about all the biggest stories of the past week, including patch 3.0.9, the dual spec news, and the Love is in the Air event. Our Facebook page is less than 100 fans away from our goal of 4,000, so odds are that the new Turpster song is really close. And as usual, we'll answer your emails and hold our unofficial pre-show and aftershow, so be sure to come a little early and stay a little late.
It all starts at 3:30pm Eastern tomorrow (20:30 GMT) over on Ustream, and we've also put the streaming dealy below the cut on this post, too, so you can just click through below to listen and chat if you happen to be around. See you there!
[UPDATE: It seems that Blizzard bent over to much QQ (again?) and decided to raise the drop rate of the Bag of Candies in a hotfix applied last night, according to Kisirani. So you shouldn't complain about it anymore, really. Oh, and Kon Yelloweyes does not have a higher drop rate than other NPCs. Stop it.]
Some people are crying foul over the apparently horrendous drop rate of the Bag of Candies, which produce the various candies needed to complete the Be Mine! Achievement. This, in turn, is required for the Fool for Love meta-Achievement. On average, players will need to get two of these bags of candies to produce all of the eight possible messages, as each bag has ten charges.
Many players haven't had much luck picking up the Achievement, including our own Liz Harper, who claims to have gotten one bag in two days of trying. One guildie swears that a specific NPC in Thunder Bluff hands it out, dismissing the fact that it is actually... completely random. This random drop rate has gotten some players up in arms. Blizzard poster Zarhym comes over to the forums to pronounce that the Bag of Candies drop rate is, in fact, working as intended.
The short answer is, we'll all have two specs. However, I'm fairly sure if I try and stop there and go get a sandwich that Dan will come to my house with an army of trained marmosets. I don't want that, you don't want that, and Dan doesn't like to travel with the marmosets, so let's just spare everyone the trauma.
It is my opinion that when dual specs are implemented, almost all warriors will be expected to spec prot for one of their specs. We don't really have a tank shortage anymore with tanking generally more fun for everyone and there being four classes that can do it, but since warriors have one tanking tree and two dps trees, it's unlikely (possible, but unlikely) that we'll see a lot of deep arms/deep fury dual specs. Those of us with more than one warrior might try this on one of them, mind you.
Of course this is all complicated by the state of warrior talent trees at the moment. Since protection is one of our strongest talent trees for both PvE and PvP content and arms is underperforming in both, it changes what specs you might select. I'm going into this analysis of the feature and its uses assuming that arms will be buffed to be a valid option for a dual spec.
Keyra is totally up-front about the fact that, having used an older machine, the video's framerates suffer in a few places. So, that being said, let's pretend that's not the case for the sake of the review. At first glance, Hot-Blood-Elf and Rocker-Night-Elf sing to each other and walk around a lot. Also, there's angst. Okay, so not ground breaking choices there. But when the models for L70ETC kick in on the chorus, I start feeling like the video really comes together.
I really liked the elements for this video. They're all appropriate to the genre of the song, well-paced, and creative, even while operating in the confines of the genre's memes. (It's a rock video. Guitars, for example, are mandatory. Without them, it's not a rock video. Just ask Slash.) I liked the way Keyra framed the orc singer, and even the Blood Elf guitar player. (Usually, I just want to slap that guy, and this might be the first time I felt someone's made him look cool.)
Overall, I think it worked great. I hope Keyra keeps creating, and gets the chance to rock out on a computer without framerate issues.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Forum post of the day: Great idea, poor implementation - Fri, 13 Feb 2009 11:21:00 EST I'm still moderately excited for dual specs on my level 80 characters, it should be handy for switching between raids/instances and dailies. Cvarto of Proudmore began a thread about poor implementation about only allowing level 80 characters to use this feature. He fears that players will level as a single spec and have to relearn the other options for their class once they hit level 80.
GC's reasoning is that MMOs are overwhelming for new players to learn without working with two specializations. Cvarto contends that it still more difficult to learn a completely new aspect of the game, such as tanking, at level 80. I'd like to add that most players have little patience for inexperienced tanks and healers at max level.
Darling, remember our wedding? It was right here in the cathedral, back before we were freed from our mortal shackles. You look stunning, baby. Losing those twenty pounds, along with most of your skin, just makes that dress look even better on you. I only wish my clothes could look as good. Then again, I was buried in them, so they've had a little wear and tear. Here, have a bite of this cake -- I had it made special in Dalaran. The formaldehyde adds a hint of vanilla, don't you think? I love you so much, darling. I only wish your mother could be here to celebrate the anniversary of our joyous union. Too bad we ate her.
Thanks to real-life couple Delgada and Sinnerman of <KNR> on Smolderthorn for this lovely Friday the 13th/Valentine's Day shot. Delgada's doing a feature on "Romantic Azeroth" in her blog, so check it out if you're interested. And remember to send in more Valentine's screenshots for the weekend!
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, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
When to use Life Tap during a fight is actually kind of tricky. Life Tap eats the GCD, which eats into rotations, which then cuts down DPS. This is why it's almost never a good idea to Life Tap in succession -- even with the 4-piece bonus of the Plagueheart set. A few Warlocks argue that the first Life Tap will benefit the second one, which is true, but that also translates to a 3 second downtime. The only good time to Life Tap is just before you run out of mana so that your next cast won't result in an Out of Mana error message and when you move during a fight and no instant cast DoTs need to be refreshed.
Otherwise, casting Life Tap needs to be at a minimum, except when you have the 4-piece bonus. In that scenario, trying to keep a 100% uptime on the +Spirit buff is ideal, but probably won't happen. In a case where all instant cast DoTs are ticking, however, it's a good spot to insert a Life Tap just before casting a Shadow Bolt. Just don't do it so often that you find yourself Life Tapping when you have more mana than you need. The ideal is ending a boss fight at exactly 0 mana. Of course, Elleiras makes an excellent point, as well, so don't waste those sweet HoTs. When you see a swirly green thing around you (the good kind), Life Tap with gusto.
Man, WoW just throws so many items at us. They're greens, blues, and purples. They're vendor trash and they're enchanting mats. They all fill up our bags and our hours in the game. They drive our raid attendance and our questing time. And some, out of all of those thousands of items, mean something to us. We've all got our cherished items, ones that we can't bring ourselves to get rid of.
This breakfast topic isn't about what we don't want to get rid of, though! This is about what we can't freaking get rid of no matter how hard we try.
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!