If you're even moderately interested in Arenas, I hope you caught the live stream of MLG Orlando yesterday, hosted by GotFrag TV. The stream quality was much better than the one from the Worldwide Invitational, and it was truly entertaining, um... television. A lot of video entertainment is available through the web these days, and GotFrag TV has been providing topnotch coverage of the Major League GamingWorld of Warcraft Arena tournament series. As a student of Arenas, I've found the coverage to be extremely fun and educational. This is competition at its highest level, where players actually get paid, or win money, for playing. And just like any sport, there are a few special elements that make it interesting to watch. The stars Every sport has its stars. You have athletes like Tiger Woods being the face of golf, or Kobe Bryant being the guy you either love or hate in basketball (for the record, I've been a Kobe fan since he got drafted by the Hornets in 1996), or even Maria Sharapova for tennis, who doesn't even necessarily have to win in order to be fun to watch (I mean, look at Anna Kournikova). Tournaments, when they're in a televised LAN format -- as opposed to online, such as the Blizzard-sponsored 2008 World of WarcraftArena Tournament -- means that audiences will actually get a glimpse of the players behind the characters. Just like sports stars, these players need to have some special quality that holds the interest of fans. Let's go through a few examples.
Common Sense: There is no beta hack - Sun, 13 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST There has been a YouTube video that has been circulating around the internet lately claiming to show how to get into the Wrath of the Lich King beta via a backdoor security flaw. The video directs you to another site, which you then must enter your user name and password that you use to get into WoW. Surprise, surprise: this is nothing but another trick to steal your account.
This video has been showing up in links around the WoW community lately just about as much as a certain great music video. This initially caught my attention when it was posted here in our comments a few times.
Since the real beta signups are under way, and access to the beta is expected to begin any time, we were expecting and indeed seeing a large uptick in the number of beta scams. Be sure to protect yourself.
Addon Spotlight: PallyPower - Sun, 13 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST Today I thought we'd look at an addon that many guilds require their paladins to use. To be honest, I'd never really understood why until I transitioned to 25-man content. Coordinating blessings with one other paladin (our Karazhan runs rarely had more than two paladins.) was never complicated, but when you've got three or more paladins, it can get messy and can waste valuable raid time.
As my guild continues its efforts in The Eye and Serpent Shrine Cavern, I've found myself somewhat frustrated by paladins who don't use this one. Granted, I was that guy until recently, thinking that because ZOMG Buffs played nice with buff assignments via PallyPower, that I was good to go. Now suddenly I'm taking a more active role in buff assignments and realize that like Omen, Healbot and logging for WWS, the more players using a utility, the better.
The MLG Orlando tourney has come to an end, with Orz coming out on top. As I mentioned this morning, Orz has come back from a pretty severe choke last month that concluded with MoB Gaming dropping their sponsorship. They were put up against some of the best teams the MLG has to offer, and met the challenges every step of the way. The final round against the Frag Dominant Duelists was a matchup nobody ever expected Orz to win, with Orz running Warrior/Lock/Druid in the final round up against FDD's RMP. Orz walks away with $12,000 and three HP Blackbirds. Frag Dominant makes off with a mere $6,000.
Last month's winners, Evil Geniuses, placed third in this year's tournament, not doing quite as well as the last time around. That's almost to be expected, and they even said as much in an interview GotFrag held with them prior to the tournament. Being last year's winners, they had a great big target painted on their backs and a lot of teams probably spent a fair amount of time doing little more than scouting out EG and their moves. It's actually rather impressive they still walked out in third despite that, and it's a testament to their skill and ability to adapt. Evil Geniuses walks away with $3,000.
The next tournament will be next month in Dallas, Texas. Orz is looking for a new sponsor, but even if they don't find one I'm sure we'll see them there. That $12k has to go to some use, right?
Are tanks the most drama prone? - Sun, 13 Jul 2008 14:00:00 EST My tanking corps rocks. They really do. I'm quite happy to be their officer representative. We all play our role as the meat shield very well, rarely do we miss a shield block in our rotation or forget to pop a health stone as healers make transitions in and out of the demon realm in Kalecgos. What is interesting about any tanking corps I've been apart of is the inevitable drama that comes up.
Since I've been in a few different guilds with a few different tanking corps and this drama always seems to happen and happen the same way, I have to ask: are tanks the most drama prone?
It's best to define what drama actually is. Drama is any whining and moaning from anyone about things out of their control. If they complain about things in their control, well, then they just fail miserably and probably should spend some time outside to recenter themselves.
For instance, a tank complaining loudly that his healer always is the first to get constructs in Gorefiend and demanding that they get a soulstone before the fight even starts, is drama.
A tank complaining that they need healers X, Y, and Z, in the raid or else they won't do anything but auto-attack Illidan, is drama.
A tank complaining that they deserve extra guild repair money for their expensive plate armor, is drama. And since the tank is special, they also need their own rank to let everyone know this (but it's also practical because only they should be able to withdraw 300g a night in repair money).
Few World of Warcraftmachinimas stand the test of time. Here Without You is a great example at over three years old, yet still manages to touch us today. The Demise may have just been recently released, but the story is incredibly emotional and will hopefully resonate for years to come. It revolves around a girl who is alone in the world, until she discovers a "portal" to love, happiness, and ultimately, loss. It brought a tear to this blogger's eyes.
I blogged about Olibith's Worldwide Invitationalmachinima contest-sweeping video, The Bountiful Chest, yesterday. Today, I want to show you the video that should have won. While there's nothing wrong with the winning entry, this one just seems far superior in terms of subject matter and effort. Surgee put a tremendous amount of work into The Demise, yet promised himself that if he didn't win, he would give up. I, for one, think that he should continue!
[Thanks, #machinima on Quakenet IRC!]
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.
It's a little early to get nervous about not being prepared for the upcoming expansion, but it's never too early to start the preparations. If you start ahead of time, you'll never even need to worry about it coming down to crunchtime. Plus, if you finish getting ready ahead of time, you can take those last few weeks before Wrath nice and easy. Something I noticed a lot as we neared The Burning Crusade, everyone and their mother spent eight hours a day in battlegrounds that final month before the expansion, and by the time we could go through the Dark Portal most of them were burned out on playing WoW.
The absolute number one thing we can be sure you'll need in Wrath is gold. It doesn't matter what they do to your gear or your class, gold will be needed. Even if gold won't be worth as much as it is right now, you'll need it. You can be sure of that. Heck, even if you don't need gold for anything at all in Wrath by some miracle, it's cool, don't worry. 10,000g can buy you roughly 6,666,666 bottles of Moonglow when the Lunar Festival comes around. Think about that, man. Moonglow is awesome.
What, another sunset pic? I say, nay! It's just Khazica of ... not even going to mention the guild name ... on Skywall. Khazica has discovered that when you use Flamestrike on the pillar between the bank and flight tower in Orgrimmar, you get a cool sun ray effect. This will be useful for people who like shiny things and/or are on a drug trip, which I believe encompasses about 96% of WoW players.
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets.
Sunday Morning Funnies: A new day - Sun, 13 Jul 2008 09:00:00 EST This week we are going to approach the Sunday Morning Funnies in a new format. Hopefully this will improve reader understanding of the purpose of posting the artwork. Voting will be removed. Please let me know what you think, as well as other changes you'd like to see!
When I queue up with friends, I expect to play by their side.Whether we're conquesting new objectives, defending our assets, running a flag, or retaking lost towers, two or three people dedicated to working together stand a better chance than one person alone.When I wear the battleground crown, I make sure that whoever I came in with is in my group.I also answer other people's requests to be placed with their friends. Those groups are likely to be fighting side-by-side.
When someone else is not the leader of the battleground, it can be exceptionally difficult to be transferred among groups.This is not like saving a spot at the lunch table for a friend, but it's about winning the game.I've been playing Paladin lately, but I usually play Shaman.As it stands now, only people in my group can receive the benefit of my Auras and Totems.This may be changing in the future, when some of these buffs will affect the entire raid. For now it just makes sense to honor these requests.If the players have a working synergy, the entire team does benefit from placing them together.
If you haven't been following GotFrag's coverage of the MLG 3v3 Tourney going down in Orlando this weekend, you really are missing out. Coverage kicks in again this morning at 9am Eastern, 6am Pacific. After the warmups, I believe the opening matchup will be Evil Geniuses (formerly Frag Dominant) up against Orz, formerly sponsored by MoB Gaming.
Let me give you a little background on this matchup. Evil Geniuses came into the last tournament as Frag Dominant. While they were never a complete unknown, most of them had never experienced the LAN tournament setting before. They managed to wow us and their competition by proving themselves capable of running multiple compositions between the three of them, and running them very well. In the end, they came out as the victors after a long series against Nihilum.
Orz was formerly sponsored by MoB Gaming, and one of their members is the fan favorite Hafu. Last month, they were slammed with a pretty major upset. They didn't do very well at all, and it actually led to their team losing sponsorship. MoB Gaming replaced them for this month's tourney. Now in Orlando, Orz has made a fantastic comeback, beating out both the SK Gaming team and the team MoB replaced them with. I bet MoB isn't feeling so hot right now.
First thing this morning, these two will be going head to head (I think). Even if you're not a PvP fan, you have to admit that's a pretty cool showdown, no?
The Death Knight has been touted as the first heroic class in World of Warcraft.Hopefully there will be more to come in the future.We've heard some interesting tidbits about this class, and many people are chomping at the bit to play one.Aegulle of Cenarius wants to know what it is about Death Knights that makes them "heroic."To him they appear to be just another class.
Some suggested that the starting level of this class makes them heroic- that nothing more thank skipping 55 levels of grinding is enough to qualify for an elevated status.Unlike existing classes, a player must put some effort into WoW before it can even be rolled.Death Knights can only be created by those who "unlock" the class by leveling at least one character on the server to 55.
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and down some bosses. This week, it's all about shadow.
Six down, three to go. Our next Black Temple boss guide looks at a lady with more arms than should be strictly comfortable, Mother Shahraz.
Upon killing the last of the previous three bosses, which can be killed in any order -- Teron Gorefiend, the Reliquary of Souls and Gurtogg Bloodboil -- you'll see a message indicating that the door to the Den of Mortal Delights has been opened. This means it's time to pay a visit to Mother, although you don't need to iron your shirt for this particular drop-in.
What you will need, however, is shadow resistance -- and lots of it. The encounter is primarily resistance-based, and requires the epic craftable shadow resistance gear. This in turn requires Hearts of Darkness, which drop from Black Temple (and occasionally Hyjal) trash, so if you've blazed through the instance so far, chances are you won't have enough to kit out your raid group.
So how do you design Diablo 3 anyway? Bargain Bin Reviews has an idea -- just retrofit World of Warcraft. Shift talent points to spells, decrease enemy health and damage and increase the number of enemies by a factor of 10 or so, do away with healing spells and tanking, and you're essentially done. It's a bit silly and a bit tongue in cheek, yes, but it also brings up a good point. In the end, WoW is probably influenced by Diablo 2 as much as it is by Warcraft 3, if not more.
Players prove time and time again that WoW is an outlet for creativity in addition to being a game we all love. We have a number of columns here on WoW Insider that put that on display each and every week, and we get a number of submissions from readers that reinforce it.
Reader Sashimikitty, member of Crypt Friends, has sent us a couple of pictures of a neat little craft she made as a gift. The Bulwark of Azzinoth is, in my opinion, the absolute coolest looking shield in the game, and the Crypt Friends main tank is now quite prepared if Illidan happens to knock on his door IRL. Assuming, of course, Shield Block isn't on cooldown for Shear. Sashimikitty sent us both a shot of the front and the back of the miniature Bulwark, which is made of a polymer clay.
If they made Christmas Tree ornaments like this during the holidays, I would buy ten.
Each week Arcane Brilliance serves up a big slice of Mage-cake. Of course, Mages have a very different idea of what it means to "bake" and then "frost" something, so Mage-cake might not be quite what you're expecting. Unless of course you were expecting a blackened husk of indeterminate (vaguely Gnomish) origin frozen into a block of ice, in which case you'll get exactly what you thought you were getting.
I have to say, I expected some controversy, but nothing like that. My earlier column about how much I love being a Mage got 32 almost universally positive comments, which seemed quite respectable to me at the time. This one, in which I bemoaned what I perceive to be a very fixable problem with the class (the fact that our DPS doesn't balance out our incredibly poor survivability) is at 200 and counting. Reading through them over the course of this week, terrified to post any sort of response lest I be torn limb from limb and devoured, it seemed like there was no middle ground. Responses ranged from "Please consider discontinuing this article from here on" to "I think this is the most well written piece on this site that I've ever read." Of the 200 responses, I'd wager 150 or so were negative.
So what have I learned? You guys prefer optimism. Apparently.
This week, I went in search of things to feel good about. I do still love to play my Mage--much moreso than any other character I have--and I truly want to be optimistic about the direction we're headed as a class. Once I went actively searching for happy thoughts, I found they were out there, in abundance. In fact, many of them were suggested within those same 200 comments.
You see, as it turns out, Frostfire Bolt has the potential to be very, very nice. In fact, Frostfire Bolt could actually change everything. Come back after the jump to find out why.
When asked about perceptions of Frag Dominant, the Evil Genius responded that before the MLG San Diego tournament (which they won), the only really available basis for opinions was from the Tournament realm and other tournaments. But his real point is that since Frag Dominant could run multiple class compositions using the same players, they had a very good chance of winning -- their adaptability was higher than other teams'.
He reinforces that idea of composition flexibility at the end of the interview. The Genius says whether you like it or not, you need to be aware of WoW's metagame if you're going to compete seriously in the Arena. (This means each person on a competitive team should have experience with multiple classes, and how the dynamics between those classes change.)
I think this outlines an idea that many folks miss about the Arena. Arena competition isn't just about your character competing, but also the players behind the characters. I could be the best Hunter to ever tame a pet -- but I probably don't bring much to a team if I can't tell the difference between a Silence and an Interrupt. Your skill isn't just fast-twitch reflex or single-class knowledge: it's overall knowledge about the whole enchilada. In the midst of nerf-calling, we should keep in mind that player skill doesn't just mean "skill at my class."
First, earlier this week, I saw this nice little piece of fan fiction over on WoW Livejournal. I'm not usually a fan of fan fiction, but this one just explains so much. And I really do hate those things, too.
And then yesterday, swampers put together this terrific little Shakespearean parody in the World of Warcraft style. "To quit, perchance to /afk" -- that's great. "Out out, brief arena match -- life's but a walking Shadow Priest, a poor player, who struts and QQs while the tank goes down, and then runs OOM."
Great stuff. Literary humor is always fun, and mixing it in with WoW makes it even better. Laugh and enjoy.