Tanking has been getting a good, long look from the developers for Wrath of the Lich King. And about time, too - I'd say the number one issue right now in the group PvE game is a lack of tanks. Introducing another tank class is going to help, of course, especially when it's one as cool as the Death Knight, but that's not all that's being done.
Most characters in tanking classes (Warriors, Druids, Paladins, Death Knights) should be able to tank a normal five-man just fine, with heal specs (for Druids and Paladins) being the exception.
Heroics and raids will require investment in tanking talents, but all tanking classes should be able to tank them if appropriately specced. Ghostcrawler notes that this is a change of strategy for Blizz; previously, for instance, feral druids were positioned by the devs as being better off-tanks than main tanks. Now, he says, "if nearly all guilds want the same class as their MT, we've failed."
Hunters will be getting a big push with lots of changes in the beta build after next.
These are definitely welcome changes. In PvP, being able to stand up to focus fire or get back to range have long been weaknesses of the class. Having a non-talent way to break out of snares or add a bit of extra defense attacks will go a long way to making a bit tougher. It's not trainable Scatter Shot or pet resilience, exactly, but it's nearly as good as either, and may be better for us in the long run than the former option. Finally, we'll have a dependable way to get away from Hamstring or Crippling Poison that does not involve Beastmastery or being a Dwarf.
Animal Handler has been looking more and more lackluster lately in the face of other mount speed talents that provide more speed and better benefits, especially now that pets will share our hit percentage, so hopefully this revamp makes it desirable again. Similarly, the state of Silencing Shot and its inability to interrupt silence-immune mobs has long been a sticking point with PvE-focused Marksmanship Hunters. So so far, all of the announced changes are definitely welcome news that should hopefully be nothing but useful to Hunters.
We'll definitely be looking forward to this build after next to see the final state of Animal Handler, whether Serpent Sting will be useful for damage purposes again, and whatever other changes -- such as the promised counters to LOS -- Blizzard tests out.
Many of us with cable internet connections are well aware of the problems that arise when cable companies specifically block certain applications, such as the recent problems with Comcast blocking Bit Torrent.
It looks like there may be a similar problem with Time Warner and Roadrunner Cable, as many of their customers have found to it difficult to impossible to play due to lag and latency issues for some time, reports the New York Post.
To some extent, both TWC and Blizzard have been blaming each other for a while, with Time Warner claiming they have done nothing to block any packets or traffic related to World of Warcraft, and Blizzard pointing out that all of the players on the east coast with these problems are Time Warner/Roadrunner cable customers.
It's difficult to say if Time Warner is being genuine in their confusion, since other ISPs have lied about similar issues in the past, but there are signs they are taking this seriously. They have contacted Blizzard's ISP, and players are saying that they have been contacted by Time Warner representatives looking to fix the problem.
Seeing the issue making it into print media, perhaps, will give them the extra initiative they need to get it completely sorted.
DIRECTV will be selling a BlizzCon coverage package directly through the official BlizzCon site. This package will be free to any new DIRECTV subscribers who sign up through the site, and cost $39.95 for anyone who's already a DIRECTV subscriber.
By purchasing the package, you'll not only get 16 hours of BlizzCon coverage, you'll also get the aforementioned BlizzCon bear mount, the same one that all the con attendees will get in their goodie bag. Sounds like a pretty good incentive to me. The package isn't available for purchase yet, but keep watching the official BlizzCon website to find out when it will be.
How Blizzard mishandled the BlizzCon ticket situation - Wed, 13 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST As you may or may not know, we here at WoW Insider are not an official Blizzard fansite. There are a few different reasons for that, but one of them is that within the Fansite Program Code of Conduct, there is a clause that states, "fansites should present content that is supportive of World of Warcraft and Blizzard Entertainment." We don't disagree with that clause -- fansites are run by fans, and they should support Blizzard. But our status as an unofficial site leaves us completely free to talk indepth about situations where Blizzard has messed up big time. And as many players already know, the BlizzCon ticket sales process that took place earlier this week is definitely one of those situations.
Blizzard is, of course, a game company. No one expects them to put on events like WWI and BlizzCon -- they do so to serve the community that's grown up around their games (and, let's be fair, market and advertise their products to the core of their fanbase). And the community loves those events, both hearing about and attending them. Which is why it was a surprise to no one (except maybe Blizzard themselves) that when the ticket sales kicked off Monday morning, it was a nightmare -- the site was hammered by fans trying desperately to buy tickets, the Failoc was a familiar sight, and within a few hours, even Blizzard.com's main site was down.
Everyone could have predicted that there'd be problems like that -- when a fanbase of 11 million tries to buy 12,000 tickets, of course you're going to have technical problems. But Blizzard's mishandling of the situation didn't happen on Monday morning -- anyone can suffer from server outages. It happened over the next two days, days full of frustration, endless page refreshing, and a lack of useful communication from Blizzard about just what was happening.
The Assassination tree, home to the deep dagger Rogue, is a major part of Rogue specifications for both PvP and PvE play styles. While the Combat tree is focused on increasing white damage overall, and Subtlety about survivability and burst, Assassination is all about the liberal application of consistent damage through a repertoire spells and damage application modifiers (a la poison). Burning Crusade talents and spells like Cold Blood, Lethality and (Improved Poisons assisted) Envenom are amazing non-positional damage sources, with Mutilate being the positional coup de grâce to a fight.
All that said, it should be noted that while Assassination Rogues do benefit from three times the combo-point generation potential, white damage is reduced in comparison to other builds, most mobs in end-game are poison immune (and in situations where you need to change targets, you have to build back up your poison stack on them) and Find Weakness does not apply to white damage.
Knowing all this, what's new that might make wayward-but-dagger-longing Rogues want to go deep into the tree?
Entering is as easy as telling them why you want it and putting your email address in (they say they don't send unsolicited email, but as always, enter your info at your own discretion), and you've got to enter before August 17th to be a part of the contest. Good luck to everyone who enters!
Now that the scramble for tickets is over, it remains for the wounded and battered veterans of the battle against the Fail Murloc to gird themselves and march forward, looking for succor where they can get it.
Luckily, a list of panels for BlizzCon 2008 has been released, giving us something awesome to look forward to as we count down the days. For those of you who can't make it, be sure to check WoW Insider. We'll have liveblogs and notes from each WoW panel so you'll know exactly what was said and how it will affect your gameplaying experience. For the Diablo III and Starcraft II stuff, you'll be able to get the same treatment from our sister site, Joystiq.
Check after the break for a complete list of panel titles.
Where exactly are those Dell/BlizzCon/WWI keys again? - Wed, 13 Aug 2008 13:30:00 EST This one's been flying under our radar for a while, but I'm not sure why -- I happen to be one of the affected. Still, while everyone was spending the past few days worrying about tickets for this year's BlizzCon, a whole other set of folks were worrying about last year's BlizzCon. Specifically, the beta keys they received there. Originally, they were all told by Belfaire that there was going to be a wave of invites after August 1st that included people who'd recieved beta keys from Dell, or for attending BlizzCon '07 or this year's WWI. But now we're almost two weeks past that date, and we (I was one of the folks who entered a key from BlizzCon '07) haven't seen any beta keys at all yet.
Last Thursday, about a week ago, Belfaire acknowledged there was a problem on the forums, and asked people to enter their names if they'd input their beta keys and hadn't recieved a beta email (here's the BlizzCon thread, and here's the Dell thread). But there's been no answer since then, and I certainly haven't recieved a key at all. In fact, we've heard from people who got invited to the beta through the random opt-ins, which means these keys we paid for haven't done thing number one for us.
To tell the truth, I'm not that concerned about it -- I really enjoy seeing new content on the live realms rather than on the beta or test server, and there's certainly enough Wrath beta news coming through here on WoW Insider about the beta to keep me satisfied. But the beta is only going on for so long, and every day that passes without invites sent to Blizzard's biggest fans (the ones who've spent money on the Dell deal and attended Blizzard's invites) is more of the beta key wasted. I doubt we'll be able to use them again, so it's a shame Blizzard hasn't let us use them yet.
Raid ID stolen? Blizzard says report it. - Wed, 13 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EST Apparently the new policy on raid stealing is to report early and in detail. Blizzard poster Belfaire, in a thread entitled 'Raid Harassment' explains in response to a post about a couple of people using a gullible guildmate's trust to snag his raid ID by 'asking for help on quests' and then wiping them repeatedly on Illidan attempts. Seems that now, if this kind of thing happens to you, (I once zoned into MC to find that, instead of half done, it had been cleared up to Ragnaros by another guild that had just accepted one of our mages as a member... he brought our raid ID with him, so they decided to take advantage of not having to do the first three bosses.)
The change in policy may not make much of an actual difference in some situations... if someone's wiping your raid on boss attempts, the GM's probably won't be able to act before your raid is done for the night... but it's miles ahead of the 'there's nothing we can do' policy that's been enacted in the past. After all, it is possible for GM's to teleport jerks off of the Isle of Quel'Danas when they're making the badge vendor impossible to reach, so maybe they'll start porting griefers like the ones in Ironhide's post. I can only agree with poster Podric, and Belfaire himself, when they say that it's about time for this change.
Oxhorn must be totally out of ideas for movies. While well produced, We Eat Flesh! is yet another mockery of all things that he doesn't approve of, which we now know includes Satan, the scientific community, and vegetarians. At least before he was (mostly) able to keep his personal views out of his machinima and focus on an enjoyable show.
We Eat Flesh! is about a man, Francis Baconmeister, Jr., that vows to his father that he will continue the legacy of serving juicy meat to his patrons. When a group of hippies elves protest his eatery, will he give up? The real life images of meat look out of place for a movie from WoW. Otherwise, despite the mockery, the movie is amusing in a different way. When can we get the old Oxhorn back?
Though this ability has been data-mined from the expansion files, it isn't currently available from trainers. So the pattern is either a random drop or it simply hasn't yet been added. Either way, we haven't run into anayone who knows it to confirm one way or the other. Sorry, Orno, but you know as much as anyone about this one!
For more of your questions -- and our answers! -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
[1. General] [Obama]: My fellow Alliance, the time has come for a change. The past eight years have left our lands a bankrupt, smoking ruin. We need to shrink the income gap in professions, end the conflict in Alterac Valley, and reduce taxes at the Auction House. Together, we can bring hope back to Stormwind!
[1. General] [Mcain]: While I respect my fellow senator and the enthusiasm he's generated in trade chat lately, I must point out a few things. First off, he only has 30 days /played. Where was he when we were raiding Molten Core and grinding battlegrounds 18 hours a day? He was a councilman in Lordaeron. He has no experience dealing with the Horde, and he has no experience with the problems of real Azerothians. If you elect me, I'll make the changes that really matter, like getting the hunter standing behind me named "Pewpewdontqq" banned.
[Obama] whispers: wtf, way to pander to the blizz fanbois. when'd you join the RP police?
[Mcain] whispers: qq more noob.
[Obama] has challenged [Mcain] to a duel.
(Thanks to Kalaran on Stonemaul, who took the best pic he could of this crowded debate hall.)
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. Please, no more sunsets or screenshots with massive UIs.
The list goes on. In fact, there are several interesting and fun abilities and recipes on the horizon for all professions. Which changes are you most excited about? Are you thinking of switching trades because of some of the upcoming goodies? If you don't currently have a crafting profession, are you considering getting one? Edit: The best items you can craft for any given slot in The Burning Crusade came at the skill cap (375) and Blizzard now feels this was too late. In Wrath, you will acquire them earlier.
Forticia of Dragonblight does not care for battlegrounds, but was tempted by the Spirit of Competition event to give it a go.She discovered her own secret to finding a little enjoyment in PvP: "Don't look at your health bar."She realized that death isn't permanent and that sometime you just need to jump in do what needs to be done.Other posters joined in with more suggestions:
Palpatina of Uldum, "Play smart (i.e. don't let your team down) but don't worry too much about whether you're winning or losing. Enjoy outsmarting and outlasting your enemies. Have fun."
Abracapocus of Whisperwind, "I'm frankly amazed at how when I run into a group of Alliance and hit Ice Block, LOTS sit there trying to hit me even though I'm invulnerable"
Nevermore of Malfurion, "The secret to enjoying BGs is winning. Sorry, but that's all that does it for me."
Kalerender of Thaurissan, "I like to go in, annoy pvp whingers who sook because I'm wearing T6 and not pvp gear, and then 2-3 shot people as a super-duper glass cannon."
I love the battlegrounds, but I understand that not everyone does.I get frustrated when players refuse to work as a team. I enjoy the battleground most when grouped with my buddies so that we can work together toward a given objective.I disagree that winning is everything, but it is a lot of fun. I find it a great way to take out frustration.
We'll keep an eye on what's happening here on this post -- feel free to comment if you're waiting for tickets, and if we see the sold out sign (or a notice from Blizzard that they're all gone), we'll let you know when to refresh. We don't know exactly how many tickets Blizzard wants to sell tonight, but we know it'll be less than they've sold so far, and actual selling time is less than an hour or so by our count. So these will likely go fast. Updates after the break.
Update: At 11:21pm, the main site is reporting that tickets for BlizzCon are completely sold out.
And yet we play World of Warcraft all the time. You wouldn't think this tiny little tell, above, would cause a guild to rupture apart, but in fact it did exactly that -- Runforyalife sent this tell to someone, they posted it on the forums, and the next thing you know, the GM had kicked Run right out. For his part, Run regrets what he said (we think the GM is a little testy, and whoever posted the tell is at fault, too), but there's a point to be made here: even the little tells you send in game can cause big trouble.
All this drama and more after the break. We've got good news too, though: there are guild downings aplenty, as well as a few recruiting notices (though it seems recruiting has slowed down with the Wrath beta in full force. If you've got a tip, send it to email@example.com as always. Click the link below to read on.
Here's a somewhat annoying little problem with the Beta. As of the latest build, you can't just walk into Dalaran, or rather, you can't just use the teleportation crystal go up. Instead, you have to complete a quest to align yourself to Dalaran. But this quest is only available at level 74.
In the Outlands, it's not uncommon for a fresh 58 to head through the Dark Portal and right to Shattrath City. Binding in one of the Inns there essentially puts all of the Outlands before you, with flights connecting you easily to where you wish to go.
It seems strange that Blizzard has put up this strange quest attunement roadblock to those who wish to alight from the boat to Northrend and head straight to the capital. Perhaps it's a similar decision that caused them to restrict flying mounts to level 77 and above -- they don't want people skimping on exploration and seeing content, so they make you hang around the newbie zones for a while before you can just stick with Dalaran.
Luckily, not all is completely lost. Much like with Shattrath before level 58, You can still get teleported or summoned up by a Mage or Warlock before level 74. Still, it's a strange little extra hoop Blizzard's having us leap through to get the to top.
Last remaning BlizzCon tickets go on sale at 8:00 p.m. PDT tonight - Tue, 12 Aug 2008 19:32:00 EST If you want to go to BlizzCon in October, you have one last window to buy your tickets: 8:00 p.m. PDT tonight. That's 11:00 p.m. Eastern, and 10:00 p.m. Central. This news comes from an announcement on the main page of the WoW website. The announcement further tells us that all the available tickets were sold out within minutes of the Blizzard Store coming on-line this afternoon.
Considering there will be a third hall open this year, we believe around 12,000 tickets have been made available (this number has also been reportedly confirmed by phone sales reps), which is 50% more than the 8,000 that were sold last year. The World Wide Invitational that took place in June also sold out very quickly.
In the case of the WWI, additional tickets were made available after the primary batch had sold out. However, and this is important, there is no indication Blizzard will do this again.
We'll update with any further information when we have it.
Basically, you start a team with the phrase "AJOlympics" included in its name. Then, you go play in the Arena. The better you do, the more chances you get to win a key in the final drawing. You have to get at least a 2k Rating to even get one chance, so finally a 2000 rating will mean something again.
They'll keep updating their leaderboards until the end of the contest, so you can see how many people you'll be facing off against in the final drawing. I think it's a pretty cool contest, and I wouldn't mind seeing one of our readers win it. Not that I'm hinting at y'all or anything.