One of the biggest surprises Hunters found when they logged on after this morning's patch was that all was not as it was supposed to be. Although the tool tip for Scare Beast reads as instant cast, the old 1.5 second cast time is still intact. Netheara confirmed that the reversion of the cast time was, in fact, intentional. It was considered too strong and reverted, although the 30 yard range buff is still intact. The instant cast designation in the tool tip is an error that will be fixed.
The rise of disease - Tue, 13 May 2008 18:30:00 EST Death Knights. Seems like they're all the rage these days, and they haven't even been released yet. It was revealed that Death Knights start at Level 55, the only requirement being that the player has an existing Level 55 character. Daniel has even declared his intention to make a Death Knight his main when the time comes. I wouldn't be surprised to see a proliferation of Death Knights when Wrath of the Lich King is finally released. When that time comes, prepare to get inoculated because the class is the first to finally use diseases as a core class mechanic.
Aside from Undead Priests and their Devouring Plague, there are no player abilities that inflict the disease Dispel Type. So far, two disease-based abilities have been revealed: Blade Strike and Blood Strike. Designed to work off each other, Blade Strike is an attack that applies a disease on the target in addition to base damage while Blood Strike deals damage based on the number of diseases on the target. Death Knights are also able to raise Ghouls to fight for them and are projected to have an ability that applies a disease on their targets. Load up on Airborne, because it's going to get pretty toxic in Northrend.
15 Minutes of Fame: Arena team Smites its way to the top - Tue, 13 May 2008 18:00:00 EST 15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous, the remarkable and the player-next-door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.
Meet 5v5 Arena team M L H of Argent Dawn, ranked 7th in the Ruin battlegroup when we spoke with them recently and holding strong this week at 12th with a team rating of 2340. M L H's claim to fame: they are currently the highest-ranked 5v5 team that includes a Smite Priest. The core of this chilled-but-skilled team is a Boomkin Druid, and their secret to their success is the savvy deployment of four healing-capable DPS classes. In this lengthy interview, 15 Minutes of Fame sat down with the whole team to get their insights on PvP, strategy, team composition and a brand new video of the team in action.
Within the last week, articles on a couple different websites has given us a little look at how much of a juggernaut Activision Blizzard really is on the gaming front.
The first comes from VentureBeat. Not directly about Activision Blizzard, this article talks a little about the current state of PC gaming. VentureBeat mentions that The NPD Group, a market researching group, has said that online gaming subscriptions generate around $1 billion per year with World of Warcraft leading the pack. I wouldn't use this as proof of PC gaming still going strong as VentureBeat does, but rather that the PC gaming community has shifted toward subscription based multiplayer experiences with consoles taking over single player experiences, for the most part. You can probably thank piracy for that. That bit is a topic for another time, though.
Our other bit comes from Gaming Today on Filefront. This one is quite directly about Activision Blizzard, mentioning that they've become the number one game publisher around with a net earning of over $2.9 billion. That's a lot of money! Again according to The NPD Group, Activision dominated both the console and handheld markets. Between the Guitar Hero series still going strong and the upcoming release of Wrath of the Lich King, it won't be much of a surprise to anybody if Activision Blizzard comes out on top again in 2009.
Are you an MMO fanboi? We all love massively multiplayer games. Otherwise we wouldn't be here reading this right now. But when does your love for a certain game become an unhealthy obsession? We're not talking about addiction, but we're talking about defending your favorite game regardless of the problems the game may have or what the game's developers might do to completely change the difficulty level.
Harvard looks to MMOs for online leadership styles While much has been said in recent weeks about raid leaders and whether the job necessitates being a jerk, nobody seems to dispute that the position engenders players with valuable leadership skills. In fact, according to a recent report by the Harvard Business Review...
The Gaming Iconoclast: Taking Sides What about you? Bastion of righteousness or purveyor of deceit? Some folks, to be certain, put a lot of thought into this, balancing role-play, game and class mechanics, racial traits, and a whole constellation of other factors.
Teron Gorefiend is usually the fourth boss players face in Black Temple and is really the first one to prove difficult in any way. While guilds new to the attunement-free Black Temple might have breezed their way through High Warlord Naj'entus, Supremus and the Shade of Akama, we're seeing many run into a standstill when they face Teron. Even those clearing Black Temple for the first time last year had some difficulty on the fight, so this Ready Check aims to look more closely at the fight and help out raiders who might be stuck on it even today.
You first encounter Teron Gorefiend in Shadowmoon Valley, during the popular 'Spectrecles' questline. We won't spoil the quests for those who might not have done them, but suffice it to say Teron is now un-alive and well in Black Temple. To get to him from the Shade of Akama, wait for the Ashtongue mobs to turn neutral ('Hail Akama!' yells ring out), return to the courtyard where you fought trash prior to Akama and go right. A repair, reagent and rep vendor is unlocked at the back of the courtyard, if you detour, otherwise continue through to a flight of stairs and some Shadowmoon Champions plus friends.
Gorefiend's trash isn't too tricky and can be done with two tanks and CC, although be careful of patrols and adds. When you're done with these mobs you'll find yourselves standing in a room with Teron alone on a platform at the other end. Ready for some fun? Let's take a look at what he does.
Patch 2.4.2 surprised me - Tue, 13 May 2008 16:02:00 EST Not that it was happening, but rather that it added a really strange sound effect to my Bloodrage and Berserker Rage abilities. My wife described it as sounding like the mutant offspring of an orc and a murloc howling in anguish, and she's not far off. After a while I realized I recognized the sound as being the same one that plays when Horde shamans use Bloodlust.
Now, I don't know why, but while I accept the sound when it comes out of an orc, I have a really hard time hearing it when my human pops bloodrage... which he does a lot, since you know, needs more rage and all. This is reminiscent of the previous patch with the unexpected change to Whirlwind (also a sound effect change) and it makes me wonder every time if I just wasn't listening or if it's an actual change.
Furthermore, it always makes me stop and think about just how much development work goes on for things like new music in inns, new sound effects, a new pet model... these things all add up and it's a lot of work if you stop and think about it.
Have you noticed any other changes, undocumented or just stuff you didn't really think about?
Blizzard's Rob Pardo, Senior Vice President of Game Design, has been recruited to keynote the Paris GDC this summer, which will take place on June 23rd and 24th at the at the Coeur Défense Convention Centre in Paris. He'll participate in a Q&A session in which he will discuss his inspirations and challenges, as well as Blizzard's future plans.
The Paris GDC will be taking place a few days before Blizzard's World Wide Invitational in the same city. We're expecting a lot of choice WoTLK news to drop there, but certainly, Pardo may say something juicy ahead of time at the Paris GDC, and we'll be sure to find out if he does.
Racism in arena names - Tue, 13 May 2008 15:00:00 EST I think there are few things more disturbing in the modern world than ill-conceived notions of racial, religious, and sexual divisions. For some reason parts of humanity continue to believe that just because one group or another looks and/or acts differently, they are bad. One of the reasons I enjoy WoW and just games in general is because it allows us to escape the problems this world gives to us, even if only for a few hours a week.
Unfortunately, some people find it necessary to bring their attitudes in game. We've covered some of this before, from border-line inappropriate arena names to sexism in WoW. However while playing an arena game recently fellow writer Amanda Dean came up against a team named "Rosa Parks Stole My Seat," and this name is possibly the most offensive one I've seen. Rosa Parks (for those of you who need a history lesson) refused to go to the back of a bus because of her skin color and continued to sit in the white only section of the bus, despite being told to do otherwise. She represented a key moment in the history of civil rights.
WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 13 May 2008 14:30:00 EST Once again, we're breaking down the most popular weekly features of the past seven days. Our writers work hard to get terrific weekly features up for your enjoyment, so if you missed these the first time around, don't make the mistake again.
Guildwatch: Going too far Guildwatch has drama, downed, and recruiting news from all over the realms all in one place. Did your guild show up this week?
Fresh from the Wall Street Journal comes some news from Dell: They're phasing out much of their XPS gaming line, including their Warcraft laptops. You might remember the Dell XPS M1730 from our giveaway contest, hand-ons analysis and reviews back when it first hit the market. According to the article, the phaseout begins next month, so if you've been thinking about getting one of these bad boys, you'd better act fast.
The website still doesn't mention anything about the phase out, but it seems likely it'll be pulled soon. the $2999 price tag still seems a bit steep to me, but it's probably better than than the initial $4500 price tag, and better than the price that would probably be asked for any versions that might appear on various auction sites once Dell officially discontinues it.
We don't know for sure if the Laptop sold well, since Dell doesn't release sales information, but according to the article, the main object of this phase-out is to bolster the flagging Alienware line, which has lost much of it's luster since being purchased by Dell. Whatever the reason, the laptop is going bye-bye, so if you want it, go and get it. But you better hurry, because it may not last.
WoW Insider Show Episode 37: Happy Mother's Day - Tue, 13 May 2008 13:00:00 EST This last week on the WoW Insider Show, which is now available for listening on WoW Radio, we celebrated Mother's Day by inviting on both Amanda Dean, and her mother Linda Emrys, who is herself a WoW player. We also had Robin Torres on, who not only writes for us here at WoW Insider, but also is the mother of a two-and-a-half year old. Turpster and I were both on, but we didn't do much more than ask questions this time around -- the ladies got in some good discussion about what it's like to play WoW as a mother, how this game might actually help you raise children, and what it's like coming to WoW as someone who doesn't have a lot of gaming experience. If you're a casual gamer (or just know someone who is), the show should be really interesting to you.
I thought it was a pretty good show, but if you have other opinions (or any opinions, really), feel free to share them by emailing us at email@example.com. And don't forget that while you can listen to the show either in WoW Radio's archives or on iTunes, you can also hear us live every Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm EST/8:30pm GMT.
Hope your Mother's Day was excellent, and enjoy the podcast!
Fans of Gnomechewer's faster-paced work may end up disappointed with this video. It has a slow development and focuses more on relationships among a group of people. Nevertheless, it's a well-done, beautiful story -- with cookies! For a higher quality version, be sure to check out his Warcraftmovies page.
Della Bitta confirms, also, that Blizzard is still interested in letting players watch the matches, either via television or some other way (we heard that way back when from WSVG's President -- when they were still around, anyway). And Joong Kim lays out a simple timeline for the Arena tourney: Blizzard expects the online portion to be finished mid-July, and the Global Finals will start later in the year, around October (which is when another big Blizzard event is taking place... coincidence?).
Wong doesn't get Kalgan to list a favorite class (obviously -- think of the torment that would cause on the forums), but he does confirm yet again that Blizzard isn't giving up on keeping both the PvP and PvE games the same. They want players using the same abilities as much as possible in both types of gameplay, and apparently they're committed to juggling both of those flaming torches for as long as they can.
Each week or so, Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has 2 hours or less to play at a time.
You may have noticed that there has been quite a bit of news about Wrath of the Lich King lately. In that news, there are some very wonderful things in store for those of us with limited playtime. There is also a lot of resentment because of that from some of the players. In this column, I'll be discussing what we casuals have to look forward to in the next expansion and I'll be defending what is essentially our right to participate in the WoWlore and endgame.
What I won't be discussing, like I used to, are the casual friendly events in the schedule. If you look in the right hand column of this page, you'll see a great calendar of Upcoming Events. So check there for the latest Call to Arms weekends, Holiday events and It came from the Blog activities.
Join us after the jump for the news and perhaps a little ranting.
Yep, as expected after the test realm ended, patch 2.4.2 has hit the live servers, and is now available for download and installation. Daniel did a terrific roundup of what you can see in the new patch this morning. The patch notes aren't available online yet, but the only change I can see between the PTR notes and what's live is that the Druid Natural Perfection change didn't go through -- otherwise, everything else is in there as expected, including the Arena changes and the Growl changes (whatever they are).
Enjoy the new patch (and if you're an Outlands Hunter like me, enjoy your new pet!). This might be the last one we get for a while.
All right, we all know that one day the sun will eventually become expand beyond its capacities, become a supernova and burn the Earth into nothingness. But did it have to occur while Tamamunch of Dragonblight-EU was enjoying a big hunk of cheese? (Actually, Tama was just enjoying a snack in Shadowmoon Valley before being hit by a meteor.)At least, I think that's cheese. It's larger than her head. Considering how many times the average Azerothian adventurer eats today, and that the most popular foods are meat, milk, alcoholic beverages, and magically conjured items that are probably filled with radiation, why do none of our characters ever develop coronary artery disease?
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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets, unless they've fallen to earth and are slowly burning a hole through your apartment ceiling.
Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.
Breakfast Topic: Goals before Wrath - Tue, 13 May 2008 08:00:00 EST Last week on the podcast (which will be posted later today, and is pretty good, if I say so myself), Turpster informed us that he's gotten up to level 61 on his Shadow Priest that he started a while ago. His goal is to make it all the way to 70 by Wrath of the Lich King, which means he and I are in an informal race at this point -- my Hunter is currently 64 and I'm aiming to hit 70 by the expansion as well.
Unfortunately, we have no idea when the expansion will drop. If you're the optimistic type, yesterday's BlizzCon announcement might have hinted to you that the expansion will come out before the big event in Anaheim, which means we'll be in Northrend before October. I'm not so optimistic -- I'm still thinking we won't see Wrath until right before the holidays, and Blizzard being Blizzard, probably delayed until January again.
But either way, you've got at least a few months, so what are your major goals before the expansion hits? Going to level a character, get a certain Arena rating, or do every Heroic? Aiming to get your mount, still, or have a goal with your guild to finish Sunwell before all the new content shows up? What are you aiming to do before going to see Arthas?
Good Morning Azeroth! It's Tuesday, May 13, 2008, and that means maintenance. As we mentioned earlier, it's an extended maintenance, from 3 AM to 11 AM PST (That means you have about a half an hour of play time left), and it's looking rather likely that 2.4.2's going to drop. Exciting news, but that still means that you'll have at least 8 hours in which it is impossible to play World of Warcraft.
Of course, this means the perfect thing to do is browse WoW Insider. Since 2.4.2's probably on it's way, why not browse all our 2.4.2 news?
But enough about 2.4.2, what about the big news? First, of course, is the fact that Blizzcon 08 was announced. Check out the details and look back on some old Blizzcon 07 memories in our announcement post.
You may also recall all the Wrath of the Lich King news that dropped this week. Of course, you know we have it all for you on WoW Insider. Check it out after the break.