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, we try to avoid dying in a fire. Again.
In keeping with this weekend's theme, we all know there's nothing that shows your love for another pixellated avatar as sincerely as slaying a dragon for them. Throughout history, knights in shining armour have triumphed victorious in the face of fire-breathing monsters, and this week's Ready Check is no exception. (We'll deal with Sartharion's frost-breathing compatriot in an upcoming week, don't fret!)
Sartharion the Onyx Guardian is a 'standalone' boss located in the Obsidian Sanctum below Wyrmrest Temple. Accompanied by a trio of lesser drakes, this encounter can be approached a number of ways, making it challenging to a wide audience. Although clearing the trash is necessary, killing the drakes before engaging Sartharion is optional; any drakes left alive before beginning the fight will join in during the encounter, adding extra challenge (and loot) to those who desire it.
Has the Ice Stone melted? The Ice Stone has definitely melted - at least, so says a very special web site devoted to its welfare. See for yourself by typing HasTheIceStoneMelted.com into your browser - we won't link directly because the impact is so much sweeter if you enter the text yourself. "I laughed way harder at that than is in any way justifiable," giggled Soifra. "In fact, I'm still laughing." Adam Holisky noted, "I think this is the first image-only post WoW Insider has done in its 3+ (or however old we are) years of existence."
Each week, Arcane Brilliance brings you a wealth of Mage news and information, an unhealthy amount of incredibly biased commentary, a sprinkling of unnecessary and entirely random pop culture references, at least one unapologetically hateful and frequently childish comment about Warlocks, several examples of poor spelling and questionable grammar, and the occasional wildly inappropriate fart joke. I apologize in advance.
Patch 3.1 is allegedly bringing with it one of the most significant changes the game has yet seen: the dual spec system. Players have been clamoring for the option to switch between specs freely as long as players have been clamoring for just about anything, so this new system promises to make a lot of people very happy. I'm a little excited about it myself. I may or may not have taught my two-year how to say "dual spec." I think she believes it to mean "when I say this, Daddy starts smiling and talking a lot." I also may or may not be secretly training her to be a tiny Warlock-killing machine. "OK, kiddo, this button here is called 'Counterspell.' Go ahead, push it. Now blow up the Gnome with the ugly doggie over there. Good job!" I believe Warlock-hate is something that can only be taught at home. I'm not trusting the school system to instill those values in my kids, that's for sure. And, yes, I'm a terrible, terrible parent.
Ahem. Back to dual specs.
Though the system will undoubtedly be more exciting to hybrid classes, we Mages will still benefit greatly from ready access to two different talent specs in our own special pure-class way. No, we can't switch roles like a Warrior or Druid will be able to--no matter how we spec, we're always going to be DPS--but having a different brand of DPS at our fingertips to switch to when the situation calls for it will be more significant than you may think.
So what, exactly, will dual specs mean for Mages? Click on the magical orange text below and we'll discuss the possibilities.
So. Dual specs. More than any other class except, perhaps, for those freakish shapeshifting Druids, dual specs will have a great impact on Paladins. For one, it will save a lot of money on respec costs. I spend at least 600 Gold a week on respecs and re-glyphs, toggling back and forth between my raid and PvP specs. It also allows players to diversify their roles in a raid. At a glance, the feature has a lot of potential and should greatly improve the experience for all players regardless of class.
What do dual specs mean for this Paladins, anyway? For a hybrid class that can fill the three archetypal roles in the game, it means a lot. Healers can become tanks, tanks can become DPS, DPS can become healers... anything, really. It's simply a matter of toggling the proverbial switch both in the game and mindset. You can even bring PvE and PvP specs into the equation, expanding the Paladin's options considerably. When dual specs kick in with Patch 3.1 (fingers crossed), let's take a look at the delicious possibilities that open up for the class.
Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every Thursday (usually), Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! 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 I explore dual specs and the effects it will have.
World of Warcraft as evolutionary model - Sat, 14 Feb 2009 13:00:00 EST This must be the time of year for zany social theories about videogames. First, we heard that World of Warcraft might quality as being a religion. Then we heard that it might make for better citizens. And now, in an essay over at Gamasutra on the event of Charles Darwin's birthday, Noah Falstein suggests that games like World of Warcraft are actually models for evolution -- as we level up with experience points, our characters get stronger and more evolved, and we feel comfortable with that because that's exactly what we see happening in the world around us.
Technically, of course, you can't model Darwin's theory of evolution with a single character -- evolution isn't about one individual getting better, it's about a process of natural selection in a species over a period of time. To really model evolution, you'd have to play hundreds of alts, and quit them each time you ran into a problem, leaving you with just a few characters that worked really well. Wait -- maybe some of you are already doing that.
But Falstein makes good points in saying that certain elements of what Darwin described as evolution have shown up in game design as well -- the idea of specialization for certain character classes, tribal and national allegiances, and even the idea of memes (which are certainly widespread in WoW -- anyone ever heard of Chuck Norris or Leroy Jenkins?) are all drawn from Darwin's thinking and definitely embodied in the game we play.
Just in time for Valentine's Day, Ataraxaven and Alastriona of Azuremyst sent us this picture of their "soulbound" wedding rings -- just like the other wedding rings we've posted before, the couple says that "soulbound" works well for them. It has a nice gamer reference (they're both WoW players, obviously, and they've been playing together for two years now), and even people who've never picked up a BoP item at least get the meaning.
Think your Valentine's Day horror story is bad? Imhokek of Dethecus can beat you. You see, a young lady has stolen his heart and left him lying in the gutter. Specifically, the thief was a level 14 blood elf rogue who has not yet learned the proper use of Wowhead and is thus looking for Rotting Hearts in all the wrong places. Imhokek went out to a singles bar, accepted a free drink, and woke up lying in a heart-shaped bathtub full of Frozen Orbs with an exciting new scar. Just another Saturday night in Silvermoon.
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, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Insider Trader: Tailoring Q&A - Sat, 14 Feb 2009 09:00:00 EST Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.
This week's Insider Trader will be devoted to addressing some of the reader mail that I've been receiving recently. Surprisingly, many of the questions and requests have come from Tailors who are confused about some of the changes made in Wrath.
Here are some of the questions that have been shot my way:
Why can't Tailors make bags bigger than 20 slots? We were making those in BC!
Why can't Tailors make Tailor-only bags?
Where do I go to make the specialty cloths?
Northern Cloth Scavenging gets us scraps right? Why can't we turn those into cloth the way Leatherworkers can turn their scraps into leather?
I'm not satisfied with what I can make as a top level Tailor. Should I keep it?
Breakfast Topic: The quest that dinged you - Sat, 14 Feb 2009 08:00:00 EST I experienced something of a double whammy last night. I completed my 1,500th quest and I leveled to 80. I will always think of the night fondly, but I'm sure that I will also remember the particular quests I dinged on. For the 1,500 quests achievement it was a quest in the Love is in the Air chain out of Stormwind, Dangerous Love. I wasn't paying attention to my quest count so it was quite a surprise.
Are you admiring the above awesomeness, but missed our Blood Elf Paladin vs. Draenai Shaman giveaway earlier this week? Never fear -- we're still accepting entries until this coming Tuesday at 6PM EST! (Sure, there are already over a thousand entries, but you know how fickle the random number generator can be... winners will be chosen completely at random, so it's still anyone's game.) So if you want to win the above... don't comment here, but go and leave a comment on our contest post!
It's the Arathi Basin Call to Arms holiday once again, and The OverAchiever is here to help guide you through the Master of Arathi Basin Achievement, which is required for the Battlemaster meta-Achievement. You should be playing quite a bit of Arathi Basin this weekend considering it's one of the most fun and balanced Battlegrounds, so why not grab some Achievements while you're at it? Speaking of Achievements, one of the requirements for I Pitied the Fool is to hop into Arathi Basin and visit the Blacksmith, so head over to a Battlemaster and queue up! Arathi Basin Veteran Win 100 games. Like all the Veteran Achievements, this is just a matter of time. The hardest part is slogging through all the losing games. Difficulty: Moderate
Arathi Basin Perfection Win 2000 to 0. In the one hundred games you're supposed to win with the previous Achievement, you're quite certain to have one of these. However, if you want a little strategy thrown in, the best tactic would be to send teams of five to the Lumber Mill, Blacksmith, and Mine, with one to tag the node nearest your spawn point and any team that finds no resistance to head straight to the Farm or Stables. Essentially, the idea is to prevent any flag from being captured, as all it takes is ten seconds for it to tick for 10. Because it takes ten seconds to tag a flag, that's ten seconds too late. Difficulty: Moderate
Me and the Cappin' Makin' it Happen Take 50 flags. This is easy, and again just a matter of time. It's quite possible to have a lot of flag tags in one game -- you're not required to capture the flag you've tagged for it to count for the Achievement. In a worst case scenario, simply be the first to take the nearest node (Farm or Stables) in fifty games. Difficulty: Easy
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
Today in The Queue we're going to spend the entire time answering a question we got from a U.S. Marine currently deployed in Iraq. And while the above YouTube clip has very little (or nothing) to do with the Marines or Iraq, I think that everyone can use a little more Bill Murray in their life.
"I currently am a Marine deployed in Iraq and I was wondering how much the game will change in one year? I am worried that when I do get back, it will feel completely different. What are your thoughts?"
First and foremost, thanks for your service. I hope that things are as safe as possible for you and your fellow servicemen and servicewomen.
I'm going to answer your question in two parts. First, what has happened to WoW in the past year. And second, what will probably happen to WoW in the following year. That should cover the entire timeframe for yourself and others in your situation.
It'd be quicker to count the number of WoW Insider staffers who aren't working on Love Is in the Air achievements this weekend than to count those that are. (And if you're interested in becoming a Fool for Love, too, check out our guide to earning the Love is In the Air meta-achievement.) Though there are a couple of hold-outs doing something called "raiding" or "real life" this weekend, holiday-mania seems to hold sway. If you're interested in knowing what sort of trouble the WoW Insider team is getting into this weekend -- or want to tell us what sort of trouble you're getting into this weekend -- read on!
This news comes on the heels of what is reputedly a world first Death Knightobtaining the legendary sword. Here's the kicker, though... the left and right Bindings of the Windseeker have class restrictions (revised to include Death Knights)... and Warlocks aren't among those eligible to start the quest chain. Mages and Warlocks are both casters who can equip swords, but this doesn't explain how the Warlock obtained the item. [EDIT: Whoops. Looks like I dropped the ball on this one. Daniel already wrote that even though the Bindings have class restrictions on the tooltip, they're actually usable by any class according to Blizzard.]
The Warlock's guild seems to be a rather accomplished one (the 'lock has The Immortal title), so there's a good chance that getting the weapon was a guild effort. It's quite possible that the Dormant Wind Kissed Blade that drops off Thunderaan was assigned by Master Looter to the Warlock, who then started the quest.
Blizzard LF numbers geek, pst - Fri, 13 Feb 2009 16:00:00 EST If your idea of fun in playing World of Warcraft is to mine the auction house or raid buffers for statistics and then turning them over every which way, then Blizzard may have a job that's of interest to you. Admittedly, the best candidate would also have a degree in "computer science, statistics, operations research, industrial engineering, and mathematics, or business administration, marketing, or management with strong quantitative focus" but we're sure there are some WoW Insider readers who fit their Data Analyst posting bill.
Sure, it may not be the most glamorous position ever offered, but it's still working for Blizzard - and in this case, working away from the front lines. Think of the perks; the awesomeness of being able to get in on Blizzard games well before anyone else gets to; the cool gifts that Blizz seems to like to give employees; the ability to get in to BlizzCon without having to play tag with the mrglrfrling Failoc. All that, and hey - it's translating numbers to non-number-geek English, which seems to be a passion amongst many of the numbers geeks I know. So if you've got the chops and are looking for a job many would envy you for, what are you waiting for? Get to applying - and good luck!
Quinionn on Magtheridon sent us this picture -- apparently dating website eHarmony has gotten in on the in-game advertising just in time for Valentine's Day. He had just joined a Warsong Gulch when this guy showed up spamming an ad.
Very weird. At the very least, the spammer's aiming to lose his character, and at worst, if this is an organized action, Blizzard might actually have a case against eHarmony for spamming inside the game. Have you seen any other ads like this around the game?
Update: Mystery seems to be solved: it was just some guy messing around. Strange way to mess around, though. He's in our comments, and says he's getting a free name change after the GMs said what he was doing was not so cool.
We've got a good show planned on the podcast tomorrow afternoon: we'll welcome back Michael Sacco (formerly "Belfaire" on the official Blizzard forums), and, after long last, we're welcoming Matthew Rossi back onto the show -- we just couldn't ignore the demand after he posted that badass picture of himself the other day. And speaking of pictures, the pic above is put together by Michael at Galefire, from Turpster's little illustration we posted last week. How awesome is that?
We'll talk about all the biggest stories of the past week, including patch 3.0.9, the dual spec news, and the Love is in the Air event. Our Facebook page is less than 100 fans away from our goal of 4,000, so odds are that the new Turpster song is really close. And as usual, we'll answer your emails and hold our unofficial pre-show and aftershow, so be sure to come a little early and stay a little late.
It all starts at 3:30pm Eastern tomorrow (20:30 GMT) over on Ustream, and we've also put the streaming dealy below the cut on this post, too, so you can just click through below to listen and chat if you happen to be around. See you there!
[UPDATE: It seems that Blizzard bent over to much QQ (again?) and decided to raise the drop rate of the Bag of Candies in a hotfix applied last night, according to Kisirani. So you shouldn't complain about it anymore, really. Oh, and Kon Yelloweyes does not have a higher drop rate than other NPCs. Stop it.]
Some people are crying foul over the apparently horrendous drop rate of the Bag of Candies, which produce the various candies needed to complete the Be Mine! Achievement. This, in turn, is required for the Fool for Love meta-Achievement. On average, players will need to get two of these bags of candies to produce all of the eight possible messages, as each bag has ten charges.
Many players haven't had much luck picking up the Achievement, including our own Liz Harper, who claims to have gotten one bag in two days of trying. One guildie swears that a specific NPC in Thunder Bluff hands it out, dismissing the fact that it is actually... completely random. This random drop rate has gotten some players up in arms. Blizzard poster Zarhym comes over to the forums to pronounce that the Bag of Candies drop rate is, in fact, working as intended.