We've talked about the Insane in the Membrane achievement ourselves, but The Unconventional Priest has a guide of her own that may help you out on your quest to become completely and utterly insane. Make sure you check out parts I, II, and III.
April Guild of the Month: Wildfire Raiders on Feathermoon - Wed, 13 May 2009 18:00:00 EST Huge congrats to our second Guild of the Month, the Wildfire Raiders of Feathermoon. We combed through all of the entries sent to us over the last 30 days, and the Wildfire Raiders came out on top -- not only do they run some exemplary raids, but they are a shining example of fun and interesting RP, and we really enjoyed their one loot rule, too. Read on after the break to find out what it is, and what kind of people make up April's Guild of the Month.
In addition to being featured right here on the site, Wildfire Raiders also picks up a raid pack from the good folks at Swagdog.com, who offer hats and t-shirts custom printed with your guild and character information -- the perfect piece of clothing to pack up for BlizzCon later this year. And speaking of BlizzCon, Swagdog tells us that they're going to be there yet again (last year they were giving away custom mousepads), and that they've got some more customized guild gear in the works, so stay tuned. Thanks to them for helping us sponsor this contest -- go head over to their site now to make your own custom guild shirt or hat.
And of course we're now opening up nominations for the May Guild of the Month. To enter, send us an email (no more than 200 words please) to email@example.com stating why your guild deserves to win. Please note that you must be from the US or Canada (excluding Quebec) and age 18 or older, as them's the legal rules, and also note that even if you sent us an email last month, you must re-nominate your guild if you want to be considered again. You can send us the same message if you want, but we've got to keep everything current, so please re-send. Official rules are still here, and this month's deadline will be midnight on June 13th.
Blizzard EU has a pretty sweet offer to you European players out there: If you like cosplay (and you're good at it) you could win a chance to go to BlizzCon for free. The official contest page states, "All you have to do is create a costume inspired by one of our game universes, pose in it, snap a photo, and send it to us!"
Of course, certain rules apply, contests are never that simple, as I'm sure you've noticed with some of the contests right here on WoW Insider. The contest will begin on May 20th, 2009. It will end on June 22nd, 2009. Submissions sent early (or late) will be discarded. Entries are also limited to individuals 18 or older residing in the following countries:
What's up for grabs, you ask? We've got an Epic Purple Shirt that'll let you "be the center of attention," two of the very popular Sandbox Tiger codes (I just rode on one the other day, and it was so much fun my character was throwing their hands in the air), and five different P.A.R.T.Y. grenades, sure to blow up a party no matter where you are. To win, just leave a comment on this post telling us your favorite ingame item of all time, loot card or otherwise. You may only enter once, and we'll close the comments 24 hours from now (at 5pm Eastern on May 14th), choose eight random winners, and email the codes out to them, so use a real email address when you comment. Codes work in either the US or EU realms.
And while you're waiting to win, don't forget to head on over to WoWTCGLoot.com for pages and pages of great info about all of the loot cards available, including fact sheets and FAQ pages about each card, and even price trackers on eBay so you can get the card you want for less money than you thought. They're also giving away cards on their site -- you can hit up their chatbox page to talk with other readers and maybe even win some more cards. They're an awesome resource for everything you need to know about TCG cards, and as always, we are indebited to them for helping us run contests like this. Good luck to everyone!
Reader Claire sent us these awesome pictures of a plush Murky, made of felt and fluff. She says she's been a collector of vanity pets since she first started playing WoW, and since Murky is one she'll probably never get her hands on, she decided to make one herself.
As mentioned, it's made entirely out of felt and stuffing (and string and glue, I assume). It looks really good, and seems like it only would have cost a few dollars. If I'm wrong about that, hopefully Claire will correct me... and submit a pattern for the rest of us!
You can check out all of her Murky pictures in the gallery below.
Our weekly podcast is broadcasting a special midweek edition this evening -- tonight at 6pm Eastern (so you've got time to listen in before the big Lost finale), we'll be over on the Ustream page doing what we always do: talking about the most popular post of the week. Our good friends and colleagues Amanda Dean and Lesley Smith will be on the show, and Turpster will probably make an appearance as well (given that we can convince him to stay up late enough). We'll be chatting about the latest PTR patch notes, the big changes coming to Wintergrasp, and what Blizzard legal has been up to lately (with both iPhone apps and webcomics). Plus, we'll answer your emails -- you can send us questions, comments, or insights at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Should be fun. Head on over to our Ustream page at May 13, 2009 6:00 PM EDT to listen in live, or just step behind the break on this post to find an embedded feed. And if you can't make it tonight, don't worry, we'll be back at our normal time on Saturday, May 23rd at 3:30pm Eastern in the afternoon for our long-awaited video show. Now that will be a great time.
You probably remember that a few weeks ago, WoW Insider ran a fan art contest with some pretty sweet SteelSeries items as prizes. We said we were going to show off the winners, and we will! We wanted to contact the winners before we told you who they were, and these things take awhile sometimes. We've now spoken to every single one of them, and it's time to show things off!
Remember, winners were chosen by the editorial staff, taking the theme of the contest into consideration along with the scoring system detailed in the official rules. You can check out all of the winners and submissions in the gallery below.
Today's Moviewatch is a production of FlyingCow Studios. The Inevitable Cataclysm is a trailer for an upcoming PvP film. These things just keep getting more and more finely produced, don't they? Even though it's a trailer, I'm pretty sure that the final video will come to fruition. We'll have to wait and see if it actually lives up to this preview.
What's interesting about this is the implication of a story driving the inevitable PvP footage. We've seen other authors do similar, but I think FlyingCow is being very upfront about its own tongue-in-cheek nature. Of course, the same could be said about Buddhist's work. But while I felt like Buddhist had a lot of commentary in the video, "The Inevitable Cataclysm" feels more obviously sarcastic. The opening monologue is pretty over the top, and the "coming soon" seals the deal.
If nothing else, though,"The Inevitable Cataclysm" might be worth a faint chuckle for its 90 second run time. They did a good job of keeping it short and to-the-point, and letting us hope for more.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
While writing the most recent Shifting Perspectives column and browsing old records on Druid population statistics, I started to wonder about the various factors that play a role in how popular a class becomes. While Blizzard and Blizzard alone has the exact numbers on who's playing what, various fan sites have honed data collection strategies over the years and amassed a pretty impressive pile of numbers. This only got easier when the Armory launched in spring 2007, and by now I'd be surprised if players weren't at least broadly accurate about overall trends. If we can trust what we see, how we do best explain fluctuations in class popularity? Has Arena success (or the lack thereof) been as influential as we think? Is class population an accurate, albeit crude, guide to the overall "quality" of a class at any given moment -- or just a guide to the perceived "quality?" I'd be interested to hear what people think.
Having played a Druid since the beginning of Burning Crusade and observed it going from the second least-played class at 60 to the third or fourth most-played class at 80, I have my own theories about what's influenced Druid population numbers particularly, but I need to do a little more digging before I can be sure. However, I don't know whether any of it really applies to other classes, and the meteoric rise of the Death Knight is a thought-provoking (and somewhat troubling) trend.
As Kafalli of <Guitarred and Feathered> on Frostwolf looked on in horror, a thick hedge of brambles covered in strange druidic symbols grew over the city. The evil warlock's corruption of his graphics card had succeeded, and his beloved was trapped inside the castle, deep inside an enchanted lag storm. Kafalli knew he would have to use all of his abilities on the long, perilous journey to rescue her. Or, he considered, he could just get a new video card. And a new beloved. That would probably be a lot more efficient.
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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.
There's been an active thread for the past few weeks called "Stealth Nerf to Elemental," wherein Elemental shamans voice concerns that their DPS fell in patch 3.1. Blizzard assures us that there was no intention to nerf Elemental DPS in the patch, and that they couldn't find any bugs.
However, they must have come to the conclusion that Elemental was a bit low, because they're hotfixing in a buff to Lightning Overload. Currently, it has a 7/13/20% chance to proc; when the hotfix goes in ("sometime over the next couple of days"), it will be raised to an 11/22/33% chance, although the tooltip will not change (this will be fixed in a patch).
Ghostcrawler's estimate is that this will be about a 5% to a raid-buffed shaman, but they'll keep an eye on it, and further buffs will ensue if necessary.
Breakfast Topic: What if achievements had existed in classic WoW? - Wed, 13 May 2009 08:00:00 EST One of our readers, Eli, wrote in last night with a suggestion for a Breakfast Topic: if achievements had existed in classic WoW, what would they have been? It provoked some back-channel discussion here with staffers wondering how the game would have been different if beating the boss or dungeon wasn't the only thing on your plate:
Me: What would a hard-mode Ragnaros have been like?
Adam Holisky: Kill Ragnaros using only one tank!
Eliah Hecht: Domo comes back from the dead and starts randomly sheeping raid members in revenge.
Other suggestions included killing Hakkar with all of his priests still up, hearthing with Hakkar's debuffs and infecting at least 500 players with Corrupted Blood (back when this was still possible, of course), killing at least 500 Dwarves without dropping combat in the Lyceum, the Stratholme timed run, and -- as Sacco suggested -- "getting through an UBRS run without (anyone) quitting." Having recently leveled a Shaman through this content, I can tell you that's one achievement I wouldn't have managed.
If you were back in classic WoW again with no chance of advancing beyond level 60 talents and gear, what would make for a worthwhile achievement?
Updated: European weekly maintenance: 13th May 2009 - Wed, 13 May 2009 04:00:00 EST Greetings folks, it's once again Wednesday and you know what that means? Yes, it's maintenance day once again. Where did the week go? I must be getting older because time is flying by way too fast.
Things finally seem to be settling down as we're back to the normal maintenance routine of downtime between 5am and 7am CEST. Of course, our poor American brethren were once again in guinea pig mode. They experienced a rather lengthy period of extended maintenance yesterday afternoon so, as usual, don't hold your breath.
As if anticipating the whiff of downtime, Daniel W. compiled a rather extensive list of things do to during the (hopefully short) downtime. See y'all when the servers come back up!
Update: All the servers seem to be back up a bit earlier than anticipated. However Blizzard have posted a note concerning 'technical difficulties' relating to the login/authentication servers and promise they're looking into it. Hopefully the problem will be fixed pretty quickly but if you find yourself unable to get into Azeroth, that's why. All you can do is keep calm and carry on, folks.
Ah yes, the sinking feeling you get when you see that someone has ninja'ed your guild bank... and it's your guildmaster. Never a good thing, for the guildies, the GM, or the guild. Actually, it's a great thing for the GM -- they get to walk away with thousands of gold (and most of them, through some twisted logic, even think they deserve it). That's why I recommend you do what I do: pack all of your ingame stuff in a virtual mattress somewhere. Sure, your guild might not appreciate a lack of bank contributions, but at least it'll be safe, right?
The story of the picture above and much more drama, downed and recruiting news all in this week's GW. Click the link below to read on, and if you've got news for us (everything but recruiting, please -- we are uber full on that one lately), hit us up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There are too many bosses to write about in Ulduar. I find this vexing. Please eliminate 5.
Sleepless in Silithus
Salutations, Druids. As is probably obvious, we're going to take a detour out of Ulduar class strategy this week, because I'm going to shoot myself if I have to write about another boss I haven't been able to smack around since the PTR. We'll be back for Freya, Thorim, and assorted vaguely Norse-sounding entitites wishing to destroy the world for some unspecified reason but they drop phat lewtz so who cares next week.
Anyway, one of the things that's fascinated me about the Druid class since Burning Crusade is the growth in its popularity. Historically we have never been among the more commonly-played classes, and for a wide swathe of classic WoW and BC, were actually the least-played class or within the bottom 3. While there are various reasons for this (and I could devote a column to how this probably happened), Druids became more popular as time went on, and an increasing number of people began to play the class without knowing just how far it's come.
A little time spent reading through Wowwiki's list of the game's patches makes for interesting reading. A little more than 5 years ago, Druids could Feign Death, the Feral 31-point talent was Improved Pounce, and Moonkin form wasn't even in a gleam in a designer's eye.
Blizzard has announced a partnership with ESL TV to bring streaming footage of eSport competitions of Blizzard's games, including Warcraft 3, WoW, and Starcraft. The service has been dubbed the Blizzard eSports Channel, likely due to its preponderance of Blizzard, eSports, and channels (but no man can be truly certain). The service is accessible for World of Warcraft subscribers through the Account Management page of WoW's main site.
This is pretty cool news for the type of people who like to watch really, really good players have it out, replete with commentary. I visited the site today and found that there was not only a ton of archived games to watch, but there was a bunch of live games going on too. You can filter the videos and live channels by the game or game type, too, in case you hate watching Starcraft players practice their uber micro but just love Sentinels on Scourge action.
I imagine the chances are pretty good that we'll see Starcraft 2 added to the list of games available for viewing once it's launched, too, as well as future titles that make their way to Battle.net.
Given Blizzard's years-long push now for better representation in the eSports world, this is a neat step in the right direction, even if it might not be everybody's cup of tea. If you love eSports, it's worth a look; if not, then OMG! No rush.
WoW Lifecounter tracks TCG life on the iPhone - Tue, 12 May 2009 18:00:00 EST Double Bubble has a good little writeup on a pretty useful WoW-related iPhone application. But instead of the MMO, this app centers on another game in the WoW universe: the Trading Card Game. WoW Lifecounter (iTunes link) is a utility that will (you guessed it) count your life points as you play the TCG -- it tracks both sides' heroes, and you can take away or give life points with just the touch of a button. It's pretty simple -- all you do is punch in the starting health of each character, and then the app will even track wins for each side. Usually, you can just track the points with a pen and paper, but if you don't want to bother doing math in the heat of a battle, the app can be fun to use.
It's 99 cents, which might stop the cheap among you from picking it up -- we won't blame you if you'd just rather have a Junior Bacon Chee and write things down. But if you play the WoW TCG a lot and always have your iPhone with you, it's probably worth the investment.
BlizzCon badges are back - Tue, 12 May 2009 17:00:00 EST Danielle "Shyka" Brown is back again, and making custom art badges of your character to put in your BlizzCon lanyard. We covered her last year before the convention, and so if you're headed to BlizzCon and want to put a little custom memento of what your character looks like, now's the time to order them. She's starting a little earlier, so they're a bit cheaper, only $30 per badge, but any orders after June 16th will go up to $40 because presumably she'll be in crunch time. The good news is that since the last set of BlizzCon ticket sales are on May 30th, you should know for sure by then whether you're going or not.
And as you can see from the pictures at left, the quality of her work is pretty darn good -- there's a whole collection of her work from last year over on the blog, and it would be neat to have any of those hanging from your neck at BlizzCon.
If past years are any indication, Blizzard will definitely put your character's name somewhere on your ID badge for the convention (and they've also asked for your faction affiliation and/or class in the past, so those may make an appearance as well). But this is something a little extra, especially if you're planning to meet up with in-game friends or guildies (or attend the sure-to-be-awesome WoW Insider bash, which we'll be having on Thursday night yet again), to identify yourself on the convention floor.