Patch 3.1 may be here sooner than we expect. As of this evening, people exiting WoW should see their background downloader start up in order to deliver patch 3.1 -- or at least parts of it.
As to whether this means we should expect the whole shebang to go live on Tuesday, I still wouldn't bet on it. Not only have there been indications that the devs are willing to delay Noblegarden if they have to to keep testing the patch, It seems like class balancing work still has a bit to go.
With this in mind, it seems most likely that what we're getting now is mostly finalized art and zone files that won't change before the patch goes live. But whether we have one more week or one more month the preparations are underway. We're one step closer to the Argent Tournament and Ulduar!
[Thanks to everyone who gave us a heads up on this!]Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
New Talent: Juggernaut: Grants the warrior the ability to Charge while in combat.
Unrelenting Assault: Now also increases the damage of Overpower and Revenge by 10/20%, and causes Overpower (when used to attack a casting target) to decrease the effectiveness of all the target's non-physical damage and healing by 25/50% for 6 seconds. Tooltip and visual updated.
Pretty obviously they switched Imp Intercept and Weapon Mastery because arms will not be expected to use intercept at all now that they'll be able to charge in combat, similar to the protection ability Warbringer. We've basically now seen two out of the three warrior specs given the option to dispense with Intercept altogether. In addition, fury warriors have lost the only 'expertise compensation' talent they had. While for warriors with sufficient expertise this is a non-issue, if you were using Weapon Mastery to fill a lower than necessary expertise stat, get some exp gear fast.
Unrelenting Assault sounds like a promising buff. I won't know how promising until I get back onto the PTR tonight, but a damage buff and an anti-caster function? Yes please. It does PvP and PvE duty, can't complain about that. All in all, it's a trickle, but a trickle is better than nothing. Not too thrilled about the loss of Weapon Mastery for fury warriors, but it's survivable. Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
I'm just going to skip the introductions this week and let Matthew Rossi launch this week's WRUP:
Matthew Rossi: Spain. 1938. Madrid. The Spanish Civil War is in full swing. President Manuel Azana's Second Spanish Republic is on the brink of defeat. One man... one lonely man... has been entrusted with the most dangerous mission of them all. I'm not that guy, though. I'm going to level my Horde Shaman.
A less dramatic cliffhanger, but a cliffhanger nevertheless. We do hope Alex will keep us informed of his progress -- but in the meantime, here's what the rest of the WoW Insider team is up to over the weekend. Not interested in reading about us? That's okay! Why don't you tell us what you're playing this weekend?
Tonight on the US Patch 3.1 PTR Mimiron will be tested, and we're brining you the live stream of Alliance guild Symbolic Logic on Area 52. You'll be able to watch them (hopefully) down the boss.
Mimiron is a mechanical boss with a slew of abilities for players to deal with. He has two phases: one where he's in his Levianthan MKII tank, and one where he's got a VX-001 Anti-personnel Assault Cannon.
While in his tank Mimiron will toss napalm out dealing AoE damage, fire a plasma blast, drop some mines, and chuck about rockets all while causing a blast wave. With his cannon he will deal fire damage to players within 80 yards of him, do some frontal cone damage, and charge up his lasers for a big ol' blast that puts the BFG to shame.
Edit: Comments are disabled for this post. Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
Players have become increasingly bored with raiding because the content that was released with the expansion pack, Wrath of the Lich King, was too quickly conquered. Across the board, players are showing up to raids on an inconsistent basis, and many people now spend much of their time on the Public Test Realm playing through Ulduar.
This has contributed to falling prices on the Auction House for raiding materials and consumables, because not only have many people stopped raiding, many others have decided to save their gold and raid without being buffed to the gills.
What should you do in these tight times? Aside from the things for which you are currently saving, the patch will bring with it a 1000g bill to learn how to dual spec, costs to fund raid wipes, bring new consumables, and enchant and gem new gear.
By learning what to sell and purchase and when, you can minimize your post-patch costs and make some gold while you're at it.
Demonstrative of their commitment to seeing Arenas succeed, the World of WarcraftArmory has been updated with new tools that allow players to scan Match Histories, Opponent Histories, and more surprisingly, Match Reports. Blizzard has apparently been tracking a lot of data under the hood for some time, as all the matches of Season 5 are available for viewing.
The new tools are incredibly powerful, interesting, and intuitive, allowing players to look through a teams performance over the course of a season. The Match History tool represents matches in a graph form, which players can toggle to show selected periods of time. It shows which opponents a team faced, how much ratings were gained or lost, the average ratings change during the selected period, and even when and what time the matches were played. There's just so much data available, players can conceivably spend lots of time just studying team histories.
Glider down for the count - Fri, 13 Mar 2009 16:00:00 EST We knew this would happen after that last big Glider decision, but the judge's ruling has turned into action, and Glider has suspended their sales and operations. They're still hoping to bring it back up at some point -- there's still an appeals process to go through -- but that seems unlikely. Keep in mind that using Glider or any other botting software like it is a breach of Blizzard's terms of service and will most likely get you banned from the game.
The company also has a FAQ up (which includes a PDF link to the latest ruling), and they sound hopeful there as well, saying that they'll know in a little while whether they'll be "back within a month or... gone for at least a year." Just in case you have (against Blizzard's rules) purchased and used Glider and are concerned that your information is being passed on to Blizzard, worry not -- they say that the ruling doesn't require them to give up any sales information, just shut down their operations and sales of the program.
As Blizzard posted last month, they see this as a clear victory for both the company and players of the game -- Glider undermined both the wishes of the designers and the experience of other players in the game. Blizzard apparently feels the battle is over, while we're sure Glider is planning to continue the legal fight for as long as it takes. It seems unlikely that we'll see this software (or any bot software) back up for sale legitimately again, but if we do, we'll let you know.
Skeleton Jack has finished revising his extensive Best In Slot list for DPS Death Knights. He doesn't just list a bunch of high stat gear, he actually organizes it based on what stats your DK is already capped at.
The Queue: Eight - Fri, 13 Mar 2009 15:00:00 EST 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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
In yesterday's edition of The Queue, my partner in crime Adam Holisky did some speculation about Battlestar Galactica that was taken as a huge, massive spoiler. As far as I know, it wasn't actually a spoiler. I'm here to fix that. I'm here to give you a real, true spoiler. Are you ready for it?
In fact, the whole state of warriors on the PTR is pretty static. They've decided not to change stances and how rage interacts with them although I can attest that yes, they've added armor pen to battle stance (I was running around Un'Goro on my tauren looking for the Ravasaur trainer) and they've already fixed the potential TG bug I mentioned so that there's no way you can switch specs and have both 2h weapons equipped. Shattering Throw is indeed fun in mass PvP: I haven't had a chance to test it yet outside of a few melee's around a summoning stone, though.
We've been told repeatedly that arms warrior DPS is too low in PvE. And I know that they can't think that changing Taste for Blood to a 100% chance to proc with a built in 6 second cooldown is going to do it. Buffing Blood Frenzy? Not really enough. There have to be arms changes somewhere at least going internal testing.
Throw another nomination on the list for Wrath of the Lich King -- Blizzard's cinematic team has been nominated for an Elan award for the WotLK cinematic in the category of Best Animated Short Subject. And the nom is well deserved: while the trailer broke with the tradition of showing the various races and classes of Warcraft doing battle with each other, Blizzard's choice to instead recap the story of Arthas and the Lich King while he summoned Sindragosa worked well and looked amazing.
Unfortunately, Blizzard missed out in the actual game nominations -- for best PC game, the expansion was overshadowed by Fallout 3, Crysis Warhead, Lord of the Rings Online: Mines of Moria, and Left 4 Dead. You can argue amongst yourselves whether that's justified or not. But we're sure Blizzard is happy with the animation nomination anyway -- their competition there is Turbo Dogs, so they'll probably do fine when the awards are announced on April 25th.
The Harvest - Chapter 1 is the first, full-length machinima movie attempt by UltraViolet. She's the same author who created Buff My Warlock back in January, and I think you can see the growth of her skills over time. "The Harvest" is somewhere between a horror and mystery drama.
As the story goes, there's been a recent rash of deaths in Elwynn Forest. (Presumably, not Hogger's fault.) All the victims are young women, lacking any tell-tale signs of how their deaths may have occured. The story's focused on a young barmaid named Elane, whose greatest concern in life is dodging every bit of work that comes her way. Hijinks ensue, including the appearance of a mysterious figure.
The first thing I want to say about UltraViolet's work is that I'm strongly encouraged that the main character isn't a "Mary Sue." If you're not familiar with the term, a "Mary Sue" is an escapist character written by an author. The character is usually the most awesome, coolest thing ever. (This is a criticism often applied to Bella in the Twilight series.) By virtue of Elane's faults and characterization, I'm pretty sure Elane isn't serving as a prop for UltraViolet's fantasies, and that gives me a lot of hope for the continuing series.
The dialogue and action is a little awkward. The voice acting and scripting all seem in earnest, and the heart's in the right place, but there are a few too many tropes and cliches scattered through the character interaction. I chalk this up to this being UltraViolet's first piece. Her pacing, plot plan, and basic flow all seem pretty good. She just needs some more time working with her actors, and putting pen to paper, to get away from some of the easy-fallbacks for dialogue. I'm eager to see how the plot develops for Chapter 2, given the promise I see in this installment.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
No vanilla WoW realms. Really. - Fri, 13 Mar 2009 11:00:00 EST This is a tired old argument, but Blizzard poster Vaneras wanted to drive another nail into the coffin by stating, simply, that Blizzard has no plans of launching classic or pre-TBC realms. Aside from being a very complex endeavor that undoes a lot of class balancing over the years, the game simply isn't designed for Level 60 content anymore. Still, there are some proponents of the idea, which has even gotten some enterprising folks to set up private (and illegal) servers just for vanilla WoW.
It's a line Blizzard has drawn from way back when, yet suggestions or requests for classic realms continue to pop up on the forums. Let me tell you here and now... don't bother. Blizzard will eventually just lock your thread or delete it entirely simply because it's not in their best interests to provide such a service. First of all, so much development time has been invested in moving the game forward. Blizzard is also ramping up leveling time because they want players to focus on the endgame that they're developing right now. Besides, really, the game has never been more fun.
Flamingcrow of <Kamikaze Penguins> on Uther sent in this screenshot for anyone who has ever been wait-listed for a raid. Waiting by the instance entrance, staring at a dragon's behind, earning half-DKP while they hear everyone else get the first kills and the loot and all the glory on Vent ... it's a depressing experience. But without them, who would take that DPS slot when the rogue disconnects again? Here's to you, Mr. Sitting Outside The Portal Man! (Edited to add: KP gives full DKP for sitting. Apparently my old guild were the only ones who did half-DKP. Curse you!)
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.
Hate Arenas all you want, but I love it for the fact that you will sometimes see the grandest display of skill and mastery of the game in PvP and when those moments happen... it's magic. How appropriate then, that the most magical moment in quite possibly all professional Arena Tournament history was performed by none other than a Mage. It's a phenomenal comeback tale that ranks right up there with the greatest comebacks in sports -- and not just eSports.
Team H O N was down 1-2 against SK-Gaming Asia, better known as the Council of Mages, winners of the Worldwide Invitational in Paris. Both teams from Korea sported the same RMP comps, with some spec changes in between matches to keep everyone guessing. In the fourth match, played in the Ruins of Lordaeron, SK-Gaming showed superb control despite H O N going offensive in the first few minutes... so superb, in fact, that at one point the shoutcasters were already congratulating SK-Gaming. If you've kept abreast of the tiny bits of the ESL Global Finals here at WoW Insider, you'd already know that H O N won the tournament so it should be no spoiler that they escaped from being down 1-2 to tie and eventually win it all.
That's not the magical moment, though. You have to see it for yourself. Don't worry, the video might be long (that's just the first part of the match) but the most jawdropping moment happens right before the four minute mark. The movie may well be Moviewatch material if only because it's so unbelievable you're tempted to think it's all machinima. But the coolest thing about it is that it's not, and OrangeMarmalade will be celebrated as one of the greatest PvP Mages of all time.
Death Knight class and item changes changes in patch 3.1 PTR build 9684 - Thu, 12 Mar 2009 23:10:00 EST A New build went up on the PTR this afternoon, and as expected, there were another handful of Death Knight adjustments. Overall, not as many of them are nerfs as you might think, and some of them seem more adjustments in philosophy rather than straight up buffs or nerfs. We also got a handful of Glyph changes and even a sneak peak at our tier bonuses. Let's look at the changes after the break, courtesy of MMO-Champion:
They're $9.99 apiece with free shipping, which is not too bad. And if that's too much and you want to try making them yourself, they've even got a tutorial on how it's done right there on the site. We do have one issue, though -- these pretty pendants and cute crafts are fine for the ladies and all, but what about us dudes? Maybe we can get some "pwned" or "woot" cufflinks?
Well, I had a long rant about the Mana Spring change and some more about the leveling process and then Blizzard chose to drop a new PTR build on us, so we'll be talking about that instead. Some of these changes are holdovers from previous PTR builds and some are totally new. We'll be covering them step by step here and discussing them all as they are the state of the art for what's coming for the class, but to avoid deluging anyone with information they'd prefer not to see yet (since it is all of course subject to change before going live) we'll do so behind the jump.
Wow. MMO Champion, long trusted to datamine anything that's not nailed down to the floor, brings us the complete (to date) list of Ulduar achievements added to the 3.1PTR, and yeah. It's long. Blizzard promised us some new achievements for Ulduar, but I wasn't expecting a list THIS long. Or this hilarious.
There are the expected "kill these bosses" achievements, the inevitable "kill these bosses while doing something hard" achievements, silly achievements you'll get without trying, and more. Bear in mind that many of these numbers, and even some achievement criteria, are either incorrect or placeholders. Don't freak out.
The full list is after the jump and is, of course, quite spoiler-heavy, so stay away if you want your Ulduar experience to be as pure as driven snow.