Northrend is finally available, and it seems like everyone is out in full force. There are so many new things to do and see that it might be pleasantly overwhelming at the moment.
In order to help you find some direction, I've put together a list of 10 easily attainable achievements that you can earn in the next few days while questing. These are along the way, so you won't have to break your stride. Many can even be achieved today.
If you haven't, but would like to, then check out our guide to leveling Fishing to 375 as well as Cooking to 375. First Aid should be a breeze, as all you need is cloth! Still, should you find yourself at a loss, check out our Guide to Farming Cloth.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Sunday, November 16th, 2008 at 6pm ET. One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a Lachesis gaming mouse (valued at $80). You must be at least 18 to enter and a legal resident of the United States or non-Quebec resident of Canada. You can only enter once. Click here for complete Official Rules.
When we told our own Zach Yonzon that we were giving away this mouse, he pretty much fainted from the excitement. But he's not even eligible to win it -- you are, so leave a comment below, and good luck.
Papa's got a brand new blog. If papa were our favorite World of Warcraft database, that is. Wowhead recently announced a new feature on their site to coincide with the release of the Wrath of the Lich KIng, a blog dedicated to our favorite game. The blog will be written by the people behind Wowhead, to serve as a sneak peek into the people behind the game and the site. Malgayne writes that they'll "also be posting theorycrafting essays, weekly discussion topics, WoW news and maybe even a hardware review or two."
This is great news for everyone as Wowhead just keeps on getting better (kind of like, ahem, a certain World of Warcraft blog), and a better Wowhead is always a better gaming experience for everyone. You can always visit the blog page or subscribe to it through the RSS feed. There isn't much on it for now -- it's just the announcement post -- but expect the spot to fill up with some excellent reading material.
Shattrath's a ghost town. Emptiest I've seen it ever, with a few low level toons wandering through the empty streets begging for an instance run and the occasional demand for a portal to Dala-someplace or other. I didn't catch it.
Sorry, you'll have to forgive me, I'm still a trifle out of it over the launch of Wrath of the Lich King and my own late night excursion to procure copies, made possible by my good friend Ruarri (thank you very much, man) who is himself currently running around Outland on a level 65 shaman with a Spinal Reaper equipped that he got from an MC pug a couple of weeks ago. It's a strange time in WoW, as The Burning Crusade joins all that level 60 raid content on the ash heap of obsolescence.
I personally find myself on the horns of a dilemma with my shaman: while I very much enjoy restoration spec and healing instances, the current improvements to enhancement make it hands down my favorite spec for leveling. Until the dual-spec switching comes to pass, I'm probably going to focus my leveling on my orc shaman and take him enhancement in a clown suit of cast-off raiding epics no one wanted (I have bear heads on my shoulders and my best weapon is a two handed axe for a spec designed to dual wield, but I'll gear up fast enough) rather than elemental in his far superior caster set. Why am I doing this?
Because Windfury is what got me into this class, Windfury is how I made it to 70, and by all that whispers in the wind and the rock I'm betting on Windfury to take me the rest of the way.
MapWoW maps Northrend - Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:40:00 EST MapWoW is one of my favorite WoW resources online. I have to admit, I don't use it as much as some other helpers, but it's really well done -- someone put the Azeroth map inside the Google Maps interface, and added herbs, ores, flight paths and everything else you need to find on the map. If you've ever asked "where can I find..." in a chat channel, odds are that MapWoW had the answer already.
And now they've got Northrend in the mix, ready to go for your exploring needs. It's a little spoilery, actually -- a pretty detailed bird's-eye view of all the new content in the expansion. They do have flight paths included, but they don't quite have herbs and ores uploaded yet -- we're told they'll be in soon.
Don't get me wrong -- there's definitely something to be said for exploring: pretty soon, we'll have tagged and catalogued every single mob up there, so it is fun to just run around now while it's all still a new world. Don't depend on maps right away, because you never know what might be just around the corner in the land of the Lich King. But if you need it, there's your map.
Wrath of the Lich King class changes roundup - Thu, 13 Nov 2008 16:20:00 EST Over the last two days, the WoW Insider team has been busy reviewing and gathering all of the still-current class information to bring you up to speed for your first steps into Northrend. You've probably had a chance to get a handle on your class since most of the changes were pushed through in patch 3.0.2, but you have an extra ten levels ahead of you, an extra ten talent points, and a whole bunch of new skills and abilities you're going to need to learn. Don't know what to expect? We're here for you. If you do know what to expect? Well, I guess you can keep reading if you want. We'll let it slide just this once.
Death Knight - Being the new class on the block, there's certainly been a lot to talk about in the recent months. Daniel Whitcomb points you toward much of it, including leveling builds, in-depth looks at their core abilities and mechanics, as well as some sage advice from Allison Robert.
Druid - Speaking of Allison Robert, she'll be your guide today if you're looking for more on the Druid class. Talent builds, a glimpse at raid healing as Restoration, the rise of the Moonkin and much more can be found within.
Between the high possibility of servers going down, potential queues, or just general lack of mobs to kill because of the massive influx of Northrend nubs you're probably going to have some downtime. Yeah, you could probably join in with the Barrens Chat-esque Chuck Norris jokes that will inevitably plague the general channels of the two starter zones, or you could bust out the Crayolas and color this awesome Wendigo. Here is what you will need:
We hope that you've enjoyed the week of WoW Insider giveaways leading up to the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. And we're happy to say that it's not over yet. For this one, we are giving away a complete BlizzCon loot bag. What does that include, you ask? The very long list is after the jump, but the highlights include a Polar Bear Mount code, the BlizzCon Authenticator, and an inflatable Frostmourne.
We've had such a great response to the giveaways that we are going to extend it! We have two more phenomenal Razer loots for prizes still to go. Be sure to keep your eyes on the site later today and tomorrow!
He talks about what it was like coming from working on Age of Empires III for Ensemble Studios, and Blizzard's theory of "concentrated coolness" -- they want there to be cool everywhere you look in the game. He says dispel and spell pushback mechanics are still due for updates, and of course he talks about talent changes (this is Ghostcrawler, what did you expect): Destruction Warlocks and Ret Pallys get mentioned, and he says there's a whiteboard in his office with a list of things he wants to fix. Affliction Warlocks, you're next. Beware of ending up on Ghostcrawler's nerfboard!
We're kidding again. GC also talks about the long-awaited dual-spec feature, and says that they're thinking of building in costs like the Mage table, where everyone will have to click on something to change a spec, or there may be a consumable charge. He specifically mentions a "trash" build versus a "boss" build, so we'll have to see how that works out -- it would be a little weird to have to get a full raid together to change over to your PvP spec. And lastly, he talks about the forums -- their goal there is to have people talk to each other, not yell at each other. And good luck with that. Very nice interview.
Your copy hasn't shown up yet? We've got two ways for you to pretend you've actually gotten the game, even if you're stuck at work or Amazon hasn't delivered on their shipping. First, up above you can see our Ustream show from last night, featuring a very tired me installing and stepping into Northrend for the very first time. Yes, it's silly, and yes, it's a little wacky without seeing the chat (though I tried to say everything I was asked while we did it), but if you want to see what it's like to set up and run the game, there you go. The second part of the video is after the break -- sorry I didn't stay up to play longer, but you can at least get a good look at the starting Alliance towns in Northrend, and if you stay all the way to the end, I do find the object everyone will be racing for eventually.
And our good friends at Massively have documented the event in their own way -- they got their hands on a Collector's Edition, and they've got an unboxing gallery up that you can flip through below. Sure, sure, laugh if you want, but not everyone out there has the expansion yet, and it's our pleasure to try to bring you the experience as vicariously as possible. Enjoy.
Welcome to Wrath of the Lich King, my fellow Druids -- and welcome, I hope, to another expansion full of great things for the class. In general I believe the future is very bright for each spec, and with dual specs coming to the game, it's going to be a lot easier to enjoy the Druid's versatility without having to finance your class trainer's boat payments. THE DRUID CLASS IN WRATH
Restoration: Resto, covered here, has probably taken the biggest blow in terms of both PvE and PvP viability in the form of a Lifebloom nerf and the disappearance of now-classic PvP specs, but we still got a lot of big buffs. Tree of Life has been vastly improved and we've gained both a flash heal (at 80) and an AoE HoT. Unfortunately, Wild Growth may be facing a nerf in the form of a cooldown soon, but nothing's certain yet. I don't want to sound too down here. You will notice the Lifebloom nerf in the post-3.0.2 world, but resto's gained a tremendous amount of raw healing output coupled with its customary mana efficiency. Stay tuned; healing is likely to undergo some major changes soon.
Usually when we come to you with addons to highlight in one of our features, it's because we think it'll enhance your game play in some way. Well not today. Today it's all about the eye candy, or dare I even make this pun, the WoW factor. (Snap!) You've just gotten your interface ready for Wrath, so today we'll gonna trick that ride out. Can't begin our adventures in Northrend with a boring interface can we? You've seen some of the amazing interfaces in our Reader UI of the Week feature, so after the jump we'll take a look at 3 addons that help add that artistic flare to your interface.
Odds are, I'd say, that we'll see our first level 80 sometime this afternoon (and probably in Europe, since they got a little bit of a time zone head start) -- we've had reports come in from one very obnoxious Paladin, but his claims to level 80 aren't actually true. But in the meantime, here's the first level 70 Death Knight we've heard of: Arello of Raptors Open Doors on Shattered Hand dinged 70 as a Death Knight in Northrend's New Agamand. The Armory doesn't have his character in yet, but this seems credible to us.
We're not sure he's the absolute first, though, just the first we've heard of -- anyone else have proof of a Death Knight at 70 already? And we'll keep an eye out for (credible) claims of level 80 firsts -- the run from level 60 to 70 took about 28 hours the first time around, so unless Blizzard did things a lot different, we'll probably see it sometime today.
Paul Sams and his Blizzard collection - Thu, 13 Nov 2008 13:20:00 EST The Orange County Register was all over the place yesterday -- being the hometown newspaper of Blizzard's hometown, they posted all day about the release and what Blizzard was doing for it (they've got some really good coverage of the event in Anaheim, which our own Dan O'Halloran attended as well). But perhaps most interesting is this post about Blizzard COO Paul Sams -- we haven't heard a lot from him in press before, but apparently he's a bigger Blizzard fan than any of us, with a collection of Blizzard items that includes a mint Spectral Tiger Card, Blizzard skateboards (which are apparently a licensing deal that never went through, so you can't buy those anywhere), and the second Frostmourne ever made -- we assume the first one went to Arthas.
And not all of it is Blizzard stuff -- he's got a first edition of The Count of Monte Cristo, and lots of sports memorabilia, too (but let's be honest -- a signed jersey is nothing compared to a Frostmourne. It's real.). Sams also collected his wife from Blizzard, too, apparently, and he says he'd be happy spending his whole career with the company. Sounds awesome to have someone who's such a fanboy sitting in one of your top exec positions.
Sams' favorite item, though, is probably the coolest: three drawings by the man Chris Metzen himself. That would be awesome to see. Check out all of Sams' collection in the OC Register's gallery.
In what might be the most welcome -- or disturbing, depends on how you want to look at it -- news to World of Warcraft players looking forward to more character customization, Blizzard dropped hints at possible gender and race changes as a paid service feature. About a month back, some folks dug up a paid character customization button hidden away in the Wrath of the Lich King files, hinting at the possibility of a new service. Lead Producer J. Allan Brack explained that it was in the plans for the future but Blizzard hadn't set a price or extent of the customization at the time.
WoW Insider's resident RP maestro David Bowers was thrilled at the possibility of more character customization than just hairstyles, but it seems that there might even be more than that. Eurogamer's interview with Blizzard's Paul Sams and Lee Sparks revealed that the technology to do such changes is taking some time and energy to put into place. They point out that the monetary barrier is merely in place to prevent players from abusively changing their characters' features constantly. Sams said that Blizzard "think(s) that it's important to have some consistency in the game, we don't want people changing their look and feel every day."
If this feature pushes through, it will add to an extensive menu of character customization options, from paid name changes to in-game barbershops, as well as realm transfers (even the once-unthinkable PvE-to-PvP transfers). The feature would allow players to undo some decisions they later grew to regret. According to Sams, "when you create your character, often times you wish you'd done things differently. You wish you were on a different realm, you wish you'd had a different name or you wish you'd chosen a different look and feel to your character." This hints at the possibility of race and even gender changes, which should pretty much open up every available customization option for players.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Friday, November 14, 2008 at 6pm ET. One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a World of Warcraft 60-day pre-paid game card (valued at $30). You must be at least 13 to enter and a legal resident of the United States or non-Quebec resident of Canada. You can only enter once. Click here for complete Official Rules.
We have one more giveaway coming today and it's a sweet one. The lucky winner will receive a complete BlizzCon loot bag including the Polar Bear Mount code and more!
Wrath is out! It's time to celebrate! We can all dance in the Tundra with this music video by Legs, called Route 440.
There's no story here. Legs warns us that there is no coherent narrative to speak of, and we're pretty well suited to believe him. I will say, though, that I felt the gnome action was a little dramatic, and I felt bad for the critters when they were laid low. Why people always gotta be so rough on gnomes? And while that wasn't a story, per se, it definitely felt like narrative to me.
That being said, I really loved the way the imagery works. Legs admitted right up front that it's all pretty random, but the variety of scenes and sets came together fairly cohesively. The music was strong for its pacing, and I liked the use of current graphics (pre-Wrath) to help motivate the "not-story."
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Cheer up and be optimistic! Try not to be too worried about the Priest class. True we haven't changed all that much, we are still the most diverse healing class in the game. Even Elizabeth Harper and Phaelia agree that we still remain the best healers (for now). Don't be disheartened! But the challenge starts now. Hitting 80 will be a bit slower for us Holy specced players in comparison to other classes and specs. We can still hold our own against Arthas' minions! So where are we at then?
State of the Game
For the Priests that have just returned to the game, the biggest change is the fact that Priest racials have been removed. Hymn of Hope, Holy Nova and Devouring Plague are baseline abilities for all Priests .
Good Thursday morning, everyone. I'm sure by now that many of you rushed home from your midnight openings, installed the game, and started up a new Death Knight. Many others may, like me, be expecting to do that tonight after work or school, while others are looking at rolling a Death Knight in a few weeks or months after the rush has died down or they get a main to 80. Whatever your plans, if you're playing a Death Knight anytime in the future, you'll want to read on. We have a nice selection of some of the best news, information, and analysis of the Death Knight class after the break, including a lot of information that the new Death Knight will find useful.
"Where are the Wrath screenshots," you ask? Probably still in line at Gamestop behind a hundred angry people with suddenly non-working credit cards. Anyway, this pic comes from Jerival of <Exigence> on Jubei'Thos. He was questing in Zangarmarsh a while back when he was struck by the beauty of the sky, and decided to take a moment and watch the sunset with his pet ravager. Hopefully this tranquil image will give you strength to make it to Northrend/update your addons/not throw the Gamestop credit card machine into the wall.
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. 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.