Skill Mastery: Damage Shield - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST Do you like it when people hurt themselves trying to hurt you? Sure, we all do! And Damage Shield makes sure that's exactly what happens. A simple, beautiful, long needed change for warrior tanking, Damage Shield inflicts damage on anyone who hits you with a melee attack, or anyone who you block in melee. This is, to my minds, a nice compromise with an avoidance ability still having positive threat results: while it wouldn't make sense to damage someone if they miss you, or if you dodge them, it does make sense that you can block their attack and whack them a sharp smack on the snout for the trouble.
So, this is going up a little late, huh? The panel was Saturday night! Trust me though, I have a good excuse! I think it's more fun to not tell you my excuse, so have your fun making one up for me. Let's get into what you're here for, though: A rundown of the Cinematics panel.
The panel was a lot more technical than most of the other panels that I saw. It was very technical, giving more insight into how the cinematics were made than you would expect. They started from the very beginning of the process: The storyboards. The process of the storyboarding was described as, "sitting down and jamming out ideas." A very, very interesting note is that the Wrath of the Lich King cinematic started out in the same form the previous ones did. A montage of various action scenes, with a few one-liners from Arthas. There were even going to be gnomes in the montage! As they continued refining the storyboards, it became less and less of a montage and more and more Arthas, until they finally went for a more story-driven cinematic, focusing on Arthas himself and the might of the Scourge.
Patch day resources from Blizzard - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST Vaneras over on the WoW EU forums put up a post today listing Blizzard resources for WoW players when the patch drops tomorrow. While the post doesn't say "Patch 3.0.2 is tomorrow" it does have the title "10/13 Patch Day Paradise!" But the fact that 3.0.2 is dropping tomorrow isn't really anything new.
The Blizzard resources he provides includes an FAQ on connection and patching issues. Topic covered include being stuck on connecting, having problems with your firewall, game version validation, corrupt patch files, blizzard downloader issues (see our patch mirrors for a quick and easy solution to that), and general patching advice for your operating system of choice.
He also points out the technical support phone numbers (USEU), but usually the fastest solution is to post on the technical support forums (USEU) and you'll get a response very quickly from a fellow player or from a blue.
All of us here at WoW Insider are staggering around somewhat zombie-like in the wake of BlizzCon with the patch (probably) coming tomorrow and the amount of information we're hoping to get out in the next 24 hours. So in all truth I don't know whether the answers to today's questions are completely factual or just stuff that started swimming in front of my eyes at 1:00 this morning. Arthas is actually a girl underneath all that armor, just like Samus Aran. The zone music to Icecrown is "Won't Get Fooled Again" by The Who. The Hateful Gladiator cloth belt is a pink tutu. Flying bunnies will be available in the next expan-
(Sound of a short scuffle in the background, followed by a whip crack)
Thank you, Dan, a little perspective is always useful in these difficult times.
Will Northrend be accessible at 68 like Outland was accessible at 58? Or do I need to be a solid 70 to quest and instance in Northrend?
Technically, Northrend will be accessible to anyone with the Wrath of the Lich King expansion installed; you can hop a boat or zeppelin on any character of any level. There's no "You must be THIS HIGH to cross through the portal to Outland" restriction, but you won't be able to pick up any of the quests available in Northrend until level 68. Could you grind your way to 68 in Northrend from the mid-60's? Maybe, but I wouldn't recommend it.
So...tomorrow's the big day, huh? When you log in tonight, be sure to open up your talent interface. Take a long look at your talents. Give them all a nice, long, figurative kiss goodbye. Do this because the next time you see your talents, you won't recognize them at all.
Since we have 8 billion things to talk about and substantially less than 8 billion words with which to talk about them, we'd better get started.
Patch 3.0.2--the pre-expansion patch that we're almost certainly getting tomorrow--changes a crapload of things. We went over the more general Mage-related changes in Arcane Brilliance on Saturday, so if you haven't seen that yet, take a look and then come on back.
Today, we'll look at the vast, sweeping modifications our talent trees have undergone. Trust me when I say a lot has changed. Did I mention the changes were sizable? Well they are. Come back after the jump for a massive review of new and remodeled Mage toys.
The feedback for this patch (and Wrath of the Lich King in general) has been different from previous times. There has been a ton of constructive, well thought out posts on the official forums about all the changes. Often times they've attracted the attention of Lead Class Designer, Greg Street (aka Ghostcrawler), and the discussion that results from such series of posting are quite enlightening and entertaining.
So no more PTR, a nice little thank you from Blizzard, and a whole lotta patch to look forward to tomorrow.
On the edge of change Pt 2: Shamans in patch 3.0.2 - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST If you're like me, you're writing a guide for shamans explaining how the class will change when patch 3.0.2, the Echoes of Doom patch, goes live tomorrow. Hi, I'm doing that too! Right now, in fact. By the time you read this, I will have finished it and the blistering, searing array of changes will have stopped erupting in my poor, addled brain.
One of the interesting effects of Echoes of Doom is what won't be accessible: the long awaited and somewhat controversial shaman CC, Hex, will not be ours until level 80. The new fire-based spell Lava Burst will also not be attainable, which was even listed as a reason for a nerf that didn't happen to our lightning spells. Many of the changes to our class will still be in the future when this Tuesday's patch rolls around.
There's still plenty to comment on, though. Spell coefficients, the unified spell power system, and specific talents and spells aimed at changing how you spec and how shamans feel to play. Earthliving Weapon is just one change, but it's one of my favorites... a useful imbue for resto shamans and anyone forced to emergency heal. There are still concerns (well, okay, I still have a few concerns, I can't speak for everyone) about how things will look as we all level up, but none of that will affect you when patch 3.0.2 hits, since 70 will still be max level and you'll still be in the gear you have now.
One last chance to run Onyxia's key quest - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 15:30:00 EST Reader Blinger wrote in to remind us that if patch 3.0.2 does, as expected, go live on the servers tomorrow, tonight will be your last chance (for the foreseeable future) to see one of the best quests in the game, the Alliance Onyxia key quest, featuring Marshall Windsor's valiant walk through Stormwind to confront the deceiving and treacherous dragon. He's hosting a final viewing of the quest tonight on Khaz'goroth at 9:30pm Central, so if you've never seen it go down (and it is cool), you may want to stop by and check it out.
In fact, why don't we try to make this a worldwide event? If you have the quest ready to do (or can get ready in the next few hours), why don't we say that at 10:30pm Eastern/9:30pm Central this evening, you can run the quest and let everyone in Stormwind on your realm see just what happens when Marshal Windsor runs out of bubblegum. There's quite a bit of prep work to do, unfortunately, so maybe not every realm will have someone ready to run the quest. But you can use the comments below to coordinate -- sure, everyone could jump onto Khaz'goroth to see Blinger do it, but it would be even more awesome to have every realm experience an unmasking of their own, because tomorrow, it might not be able to happen again.
And of course, if you check out this or any other player-run events, be sure to let us know about it (with pictures if possible, we love pictures). It's always awesome to hear players finding new (or in this case, old) ways to experience the game together.
Before continuing to read on, you may wish to refer back to part 1 of the Holy and Discipline Priest 3.0.2 overview. Part 2 will cover many basics including mana management, healing spells, gem questions, and glyphs. It is a very strong bet that patch 3.0.2 patch will activate on Tuesday. For the Priests that are still raiding (I feel like I'm the only one), find out what you need to know after the jump!
Last time we talked to Ed Fries, he was a man setting out with a brand-new company, new not only in terms of age, but new in that they were doing something no one had ever tried before: bringing 3D printing to retail. FigurePrints started printing 3D figurines of WoW characters last year, and since then, they've been through good and bad (the earliest figures were plagued by quality concerns, but the company is doing well enough that they've even raised the price since they started already). So we were very curious to each up with Ed at BlizzCon and see how things were going. Was demand still up? Has the process changed at all? How's the quality thing being dealt with? And we were perhaps most curious about just what people were putting on their figures when they got them printed.
Ed answered all of our questions and more: demand is still up, quality is getting better, and people are dressing in.. tuxedos and beer steins? Click the link below to check out our second interview with Ed Fries, founder of FigurePrints, and catch up on the company that promises to bring your virtual WoW characters to real life.
Mirrors to get you caught up with patch 3.0.2 [UPDATED] - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST It's going to be important for everyone who wants to play tomorrow to download all the available parts of the 3.0.2 patch. Right now the download consists of over 1gb of data. Tomorrow there'll probably be another 250mb to 400mb final part released, which you'll either need to get via the patch downloader or check here for mirrors. If you don't get the parts of the patch file that are available now, you'll be waiting a long time to get them on Tuesday.
Check after the break for our listing of virus free patch mirrors. And be sure to check back tomorrow; as soon as we have a few spots for you to download the final part we'll get them up ASAP.
This is it, ladies and gentlemen. In exactly one month, Wrath of the Lich King will be on store shelves. So for all of us raiders out there, the next few resets are all that we'll have to hit Burning Crusade content one last time. As one particular reader expresses, this last month presents quite a dilemma. Do you keep moving forward, scale back, return to old bosses that you skipped, or just take a break entirely?
I'm currently an officer of a guild that has been progressing since forming from Kara all the way to BT, Hyjal. However with the coming expansion there's been a severe split in the guild's opinions towards raiding. It's come down to 4 differences. One, many would like to continue pushing content in BT and Hyjal till Wrath. Others would like to push towards downing Kael and Vashj before Wrath (which we skipped on our way to BT Hyjal). Then there are people would like to cut our raiding days from 5 down to 3 for many reasons to have more casual time before Wrath and the eventual push to 80 and continued progression. And finally there is the group that wouldn't mind stopping completely till Wrath hits to have some time to rest up.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week Matticus is going to light up a two-part Spiritual Guidance post about all the necessary and relevant information you need for patch 3.0.2!
Welcome to part 1! This post will cover all of the new Holy and Discipline talents that will be accessible when the patch becomes live. Not only that, I've offered up some suggestions on different builds to remain raid viable (at least to the rare few guilds that are still raiding). I've isolated 1 traditional build and have 2 experimental builds for you to toy with.
Ever wonder what happens to your character when the boat or zeppelin goes out of your view as it zips across the ocean? Well, WoW That's Irregular is here to 'splain you, Lucy. The filmmaker, Wizeer, is a pal of Baron Soosdon's and a student of Machinima 101 and his third machinima makes it clear he'll be a force to be reckoned with.
The movie is really two separate vignettes which both riff on the theme of unexpected outcomes. The first story shows an Undead Rogue capturing the flag in Warsong Gulch with comedic flair. There is little standing in his way except a rookie Gnome, a surprised Draenei, and a Dwarf Hunter who looks surprisingly like BRK. One of these three offers the rogue his comeuppance, which is amusing, but what actually happens is a bit difficult to follow. According to the film's notes, the rogue overused Sprint, but I'm not entirely sure what occurred.
In the second half of the film, a Night Elf boards a boat and gets mobbed by a gang of Horde who apparently don't judge gender very well. The special effects on the boat ride showing us what happens when the boat hits the worm hole are splendid. The voice acting in this segment is also quite amusing. (Did you know that Orcs scream like little girls?) Give it a shot; I think you'll like this one.
For those of you interested in the non-WoW music used in this film, Wizeer lists "Concerning Hobbits" (Lord of the Rings), "Lacrimosa" (Immediate Music), and "Ringtone" (Battlefield Heroes).
Encrypted Text: Dough for your cookie cutters - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. In this special 3.0.2 edition of Encrypted Text, we'll be talking about the new talent trees that are coming this Tuesday with the release of the patch.
With 3.0.2 right around the corner, all three of our precious talent trees are about to get shaken up. Talents are getting moved around, point costs are travelling in both directions, and a lot of rebalancing is taking place. Blizzard has been removing bloat from certain areas, and also adding some very cool new abilities for our class.
With all these changes, it can be hard to see the forest for the trees. (Get it? Talent trees? Haha!) For a detailed analysis of all the changes, I recommend reading the patch notes. I am going to give my readers (you) exactly what a busy Rogue wants: what's nerfed, what's buffed, what's good when the dust settles?
I am, I must admit, one of those people who frequently plays World of Warcraft with the sound muted. I've been playing for a long time and, well, I've heard it all before. So, as a person who doesn't exactly consider sound an essential component of their gaming experience, I wasn't entirely sure what I was getting into when I attended the Blizzard Sound panel at BlizzCon, featuring In attendance were Russell Brower, Director of Audio and Video; Glenn Stafford, who founded the audio department; and Derek Duke, a full-time composer. But, presented with live musical performances accompanied by enthusiastic explanation from people passionate about making music a part of the game, I have to say I'm a believer.
This poor dwarf in Sholazar Basin has discovered that you should never task a gnomish engineer with building any sort of life-saving device. Otherwise you get things like parachutes with "Warning: May contain giant holes that get you caught in trees" and MREs that have a quarter chance at turning you into a murloc. I will say one thing -- with a fifty percent success rate, those goblins make a damn good defibrillator. Could I buy one of those for our ambulance, please? It would make my day job easier, and I'm pretty sure the mats are still cheaper than a Zoll monitor.
Tomahna of Sister of Elune sent us this image straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it 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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. No more battleground scoreboards, please.
Blizzard has announced that the regular Tuesday maintenance will be extended to a lengthy 12 hours, expected in anticipation of Patch 3.0.2. The new patch, dubbed the Echoes of Doom, will introduce new talents, barber shops, the new Inscription profession, as well as numerous other changes to classes and gameplay to prepare for Wrath of the Lich King in November.
The patch is a hefty one, clocking in at slightly over 1Gb, so if you haven't downloaded it yet, be sure to run Blizzard's background downloader and get all the necessary files before the big day. That way, you can hit the ground running as soon as realms come back online. Realms are scheduled to go down at 2 AM Pacific Daylight Time and should go up around 2 PM PDT. Don't worry too much about the exceptionally long 12 hour downtime. We'll keep you company.
Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
We didn't make 80.
Nope, we were much more focused on obtaining a Spirit Beast for a hunter-guide movie. We failed.
But we spent hours patrolling in Sholazar Basin, playing with Gorilladin, making leatherworking gear, and trying out all the hunter talent trees while not leveling as fast as we could have. Actually, we leveled from 77 to 78 without doing any quests at all.
We also haven't run any dungeons or raids. OK, we did one Utgard Keep, but it didn't count. The entire party, except the healer, was was way over-geared for the place.
We also haven't done DPS-testing with Recount or Training Dummies in sufficient quantities to provide factual evidence of one hunter-tree's superiority over another.
We also haven't done hours of arena, battlegrounds, or PvP-zones. We've done a little, killed and been killed, but nothing that would give us a serious insight into the solutions that Blizzard has come up with to make our class more amenable to PvP.
We have played all three trees, full 51-points each, for at least one entire level. We have tried just about every tree/pet-class combination at least once. Except Spirit Beast, natch.
And we've cranked our leatherworking to 432! /win!
So when we discuss the new hunter talent trees, keep in mind that your opinion of our opinion my vary. We may have some seriously beta-PvP-experienced hunters who disagree with some of our assessments of the new talents. We may have some Naxx-raiding hunters who disagree with some of our conclusions.
But that's OK! The major purpose of this column is to give you, the WoW Insider reader, a point of reference. You know our writing, you know our play-style. You should know our limitations and the areas at which we're not too shabby.
Read, absorb, analyze, and prepare to test to it all yourself on Tuesday.
Mounts and Vanity Pets in Patch 3.0.2 - Mon, 13 Oct 2008 08:30:00 EST One of the coolest changes in Patch 3.0.2 is the way mounts and vanity pets work. Done as a way to save bag space, this is great news for collectors and might even spur other players to start collecting, too. On live servers, pets and mounts summoned through the use of an item. When tomorrow's patch goes live, these pets and mounts will become consumable, single-charge items that teach you a spell to summon the relevant pet or mount.
The pet or mount will then disappear from your inventory. Don't panic, those simply become spells that you will be able to access through your Character panel. There's a tab there labeled 'Pets', which will contain two sub-tabs called 'Companions' and 'Mounts'. Selected pets and mounts will be previewed in the window, and you can easily drag your pet and mount spells to your hotbars. Pets are instant cast spells that can be cast while moving and activate the GCD. You can create macros and key bindings for pets and mounts just as you would any other spell.