World of Warcraft allows all of us an unprecedented ability to modify our user interface to meet our needs. Each week WoW Insider will bring you a fresh and detailed look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send it, along with your character name and server, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This week I want to take a break from reader submitted user interfaces and profile my own. Pictured above is a compilation of what I like to call "my baby." It's a UI that's taken me over a year to perfect, and I like it quite a bit. What we'll do is take a look at the philosophy behind the interface and what addons I use.
I wear many hats in my guild. I'm the GM, the main tank, and help drive the raids. My UI serves me well in all these roles, and it allows me a plethora of options at my disposal. My multiple duties in my guild means that I not only have to be fully accountable for everything the boss does to me (and for a tank in and end game guild that's a lot), but I also have to keep an eye on everything else that is happening in the raid.
The Philosophy Behind My UI
Information and functions need to be easy to access, and be accessed quickly. In addition to the ease of use, it is vital to have a clear view of the play field when engaging in raids and groups. When getting the raid ready and driving the trash pulls, I need to be able to see everything and hear everything. It's unacceptable to have information more than a click away - if that. If someone sends me a tell, I want to know about it right away, and if someone dies I want to see it in bright colors in my chat windows.
Since my in-game responsibilities are numerous, I have to be able quickly switch between them. To do this I have to utilize both my keyboard and my mouse.
Blood Sport: Gear decisions for S4 - Mon, 14 Jul 2008 19:30:00 EST We're now a few weeks into Season 4. And, we've known even before it started that Season 4 gear would carry some rating requirements. And while we're all hopefully enjoying the new challenges of the new season, there are some folks who are starting Season 4 relatively fresh.
They don't have much Vengeful gear, or even Merciless Gladiator's gear -- they might be starting out in some quest greens and blues, with only a smattering of PvP gear across the character. Heck, some players might be in all Vengeful and Vindicator's gear already, and still facing the same question. Where should you start with the Season 4 gear?
Rating requirements and high point costs can make the gear curve seem like an insurmountable obstacle. Don't worry -- WoW Insider is here to help.
Let's chart a basic path of gear accrual -- via PvP only -- that will help every fledgeling PvPer grow into an Arena powerhouse. We're going to follow two paths, actually. One will assume that you do have the ratings required for each piece of gear. The other will assume that you do not have the ratings. In either case, our goal here is going to be to be sure you have a plan to pick up the available gear as you gain the available points.
Last week I opened up a big can o' worms by giving you a mini-guide to starting your own WoW blog. I've conceded to popular demand and decided to give you more detail on what's involved with each step. Today I'm going to talk about what's involved in finding a place to host your blog.
There are about a bajillion places to start your blogging life. Some are easier; some are more customizable. Usually the more customizable they are, the more complex they are to set up and use, and sometimes they are also more expensive. Let's call these two options (1) the Easy Way and (2) the Fancy Way. After the break, I've listed five things to consider when choosing which of these ways you want to go:
Here's a quick heads up: It looks like tomorrow's maintenance will be lasting from 3am PDT to 11am PDT, for a total downtime of 8 hours. Anyone who usually plays during that time, it looks like you'll have to find something else to do (such as read WoW Insider).
Neutrality in factions started with the Steamwheedle Cartel and only got worse. It seems that once you get to the level cap, most of the intense rivalry between the factions, at least as expressed in the PvE game, peter off to nothing. Almost every faction accepts both Horde and Alliance fighters. In Burning Crusade, they even share the same capital, and it looks like that will be happening again in WoTLK with Dalaran- despite that fact that, 50 levels earlier, the Horde utterly devastated Dalaran's holdings in Silverpine Forest and Hillsbrad.
The general argument for this change is that at higher levels, most people learn to put aside their differences and fight the greater challenges that threaten to wipe both sides out. My problem with that line of reasoning is that up until the end game, what we're trying to wipe out is each other.
Most folks are probably at least aware of Shamus Young's DM of the Ringsseries. It was the only web comic I've ever religiously checked every day, on the off chance the creator was feeling kind and had put up an extra comic. DMotR has long since finished, but Shamus is still out there blogging on various gaming topics.
Shamus started playing World of Warcraft about a month ago, and has been having the same growing pains many of us rookies did in our younger levels. But since Shamus is something of a name in the pen-and-paper gaming Internet circuit, it's interesting to see what he has to say in his review of WoW.
His first complaint is about low drop rates for quest items -- yeah, the eyeless Murlocs of Westfall spring to my mind. Most of the other issues are pretty familiar (bag space,respawns, res sickness). But one that did really stick out for me was a complaint about the in-game day/night cycle. Shamus would prefer a four-hour cycle to Azeroth's day, so that he could actually see the change. I think it's a fair point, even if we have heard it before. So, Shamus's list doesn't really bring a brand new light to how we view Azeroth, but it's still an interesting read.
She also gave a much better answer about why Blizzard is opposed to the leaking of talent data from the game. Before, all we heard was that leaking the data was "extremely offensive and inappropriate" (that comment's been deleted from the forums, actually). And this time around, Neth is much more reasonable -- the reason they don't want data leaked is because they want players to theorycraft from gameplay, not from talent data. Of course, that still doesn't mean hearing about the data earlier is a bad thing, for the players or devs, but she has a point -- reading talent data isn't the same as playing the class.
Other than that, the questions aren't too great. People ask if Blizzard is going to do anything original, and of course they are -- Blizzard's great ideas don't come out any sooner than "when they're ready," but when they do, they're almost always groundbreaking and fun. It's completely understandable that Wrath is taking their focus, and while yes, the waiting is always the hardest part, Blizzard has never shown us that the wait for their games is anything less than worth it.
In an online environment where people rarely, if ever, come face-to-face, it can be quite easy for misunderstandings to occur. Ninety percent of the time, these misunderstandings happen because someone makes an assumption about another player's intentions based on something they did or said. In those circumstances, who is to blame: the person who didn't make their communication or intentions clear, or the person who jumped to conclusions? In my opinion, both share fault, but pointing fingers gets us nowhere. This week's e-mail is a good example:
I was just booted from a guild and I have a question about the circumstance. I took an enchanting recipe from the guild recipe tab and learned it. They accidentally put it into the wrong tab, so instead of the private tab they put it into the open guild tab. I apparently wasn't supposed to have it and was booted. Now I have a guild harassing me and demanding I replace the pattern. I would like to but it won't get me back into the guild but it might hurt my chances for getting into another guild. What should i do and is it really my fault?
We've had more than enough arguments about the ethics and morality of multiboxing on this site, but there's one thing neither side can deny -- you can get some pretty cool screenshots. In this pic, the orc shaman Borg quintuplets of <Bloodfists> on Silvermoon are doing Nathanos' Ruse, and are taking advantage of their human disguises to indulge in the terrible, terrible human dances. Urgh. The macarena. That takes me back to being thirteen years old at summer camp. Thanks, Blizzard -- now I'm going to have nightmares. (Thanks to Raogrimm of Silvermoon for the pic!)
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 email@example.com 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.
It won't be all work there -- we'll also be at the big Joystiq meetup on Thursday, so if you're in LA and want to come by and say hi, please do (I'll try to wear my BlizzCon t-shirt so you can find me). For us WoW fans, the big events of the year are the Worldwide Invitational and BlizzCon, of course, but WoW Insider's got you covered at E3, too.
Death Knights are in the unique position of being open to every race (Warriors can choose any race but Blood Elf). This means you will have a lot of options for trying to pick the best racial bonuses for your new DK; complicating the matter is the fact that DKs can both tank and DPS. Milkgas, of Anvilmar (US), recently wrote in with the opinion that Dwarves would be optimal for a tanking DK, due to their frost resistance (speculating that frost will be prevalent in Wrath). But let's go over the options (listing only the racials that seem relevant to DKs):
Orc: Blood Fury would be handy for DPS, not so good for tanks; Hardiness, on the other hand, would be nice, if not essential, for a tank to have; and Axe Specialization is helpful, given that axes will be available for DKs to use as rune weapons (as well as swords and maces)
Tauren: War Stomp is great for PvP. Endurance is probably the best overall tanking racial out of all the races. And Nature Resistance will probably be handy somewhere, though it's not a huge deal.
Troll: Berserking is a useful, if occasional, boost.
Forsaken: I still contend that Will of the Forsaken is overpowered. May certainly come in handy while tanking, and of course in PvP. Shadow Resistance, like Nature Resistance, is a marginal benefit.
Blood Elf: It remains to be seen how the Mana Tap/Arcane Torrent system will work with DKs' Runic Power, but this has the potential to be very useful. Magic Resistance is, numerically, stronger than any other race's inherent resistance - you wind up with 25 points of resistance overall.
Breakfast Topic: Improving the noobgrind - Mon, 14 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST As The Burning Crusade has progressed, there have been a lot of improvements made to the leveling process for lowbie alts. Revamping low level dungeons, reducing how much experience is needed to level up, nerfing the elites so most quests are able to be solo'd, and anything else I may have forgotten. Now in 2.4.3, as we've mentioned time and time again, you'll be able to get your first ground mount at level 30 instead of level 40.
The community is really, really split on this. Some say Blizzard has gone too far, some say they haven't gone far enough. Personally, I'm in that second half... conditionally. You see, I have four level 70 characters, coming up on five. I like to have a variety of top level characters, just so I have some feel of how they play or I can help my friends out if they need it. I can supply a tank, a healer, DPS with CC, DPS without CC, et cetera. Leveling is by no means hard, I don't think I ever put active effort into any of them past my first. It's very easy.
However, it is boring after the first time. Boring boring boring. While I adore the old world, it is very linear. There is a little overlap in zones, but the path you take is pretty much the same each time. This is mixed up a little in Outland as the zones overlap better once you're done with early Hellfire Peninsula and Zangarmarsh. You can branch out into the other zones if you'd like, and you're not punished with exceedingly long travel times anymore.
I want to skip Azeroth. I love it, but I don't want to grind through it anymore. I don't think that the lowbie leveling process even contributes to learning your class. You don't really know what you're doing until you're closer to the level cap. I would really really like it if you could just start at Outland and work from there.
That may be a little extreme, but hey, I'd love it. How about you guys? Do you hate how quick leveling has become? Love it? Should it be faster still? Do you have any better ideas as to how to make leveling alts more fun?
I love most of the battlegrounds.Oddly enough, even as Horde, AlteracValley is my favorite.Warsong Gulch is the exception.Maybe because of it's small team size, it seems really difficult to get organized and the games drag out.Now I don't necessarily need honor from WSG, but I do need marks for some of my gear.Should I just go in with the intention of getting a single mark, offer no resistance to the opposing team, and collect my singular mark.That's not my style.I'm in it to win it like Yzerman.
Aparently not every feels the same as I do.Pigskin of Medivh is unimpressed with mark farming.Even if it's a premade losing team, there are still often folks who get pugged into their groups who can't do much alone when they lack the support of their team.She's hoping for a response from Blizzard.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. For the next few weeks, I'll be taking a look into the depths of Black Temple from a Priestly perspective.
Welcome to part 2 of the Priestly Primer to Black Temple. Last week, I looked at the first three bosses of Black Temple with details and techniques on how to handle their abilities. Continuing the trend this week, I will be advising you on handling the different aspects of Reliquary of Souls, Teron Gorefiend, and Gurtogg Bloodboil. The early bosses faced had their own gimmicks about them. The next three encounters are unique in their own right and they represent the next big challenges within the instance.
I can't speak for anyone else, but one thing Momma always warned me about is that there are a few topics you just don't talk about over dinner or in polite company. Sex, drugs, money, politics. If you're like me, your sweetheart gives you that look if certain subjects are brought up. "Don't even get started," that look warns me.
I admit, I can be a powderkeg about feminism, racial equality, and general "do the right thing" subjects. But these issues do come up during the course of roleplay. There are more than a few victims among WoW's characters, and there are certainly some bad guys who'd do despicable things.
If you're going to play with hot-topic issues, there some things you can do to help keep everyone's sensitivities in mind.
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment! skoll asks...
Whats your speculation about the Burning Legion in the new expansion, since Kil'jaeden has been killed/defeated? IF he is dead.. will it that be the end of Burning Legion? If not, what you think their role will be?
Answer: Well, Kil'jaeden isn't dead. Not at all. In the Sunwell Plateau, Kil'jaeden is being summoned but never fully makes it through the portal. We bop him on the head and he just falls back in. What presence will they have in Wrath? Well, it will probably be minimal. I am sure they'll have some presence, the Legion doesn't really have any love for the Scourge, but it won't be anything like what we've seen in The Burning Crusade. Kil'jaeden is alive and well, but I think they'll scale way back on demons just because we've seen so many lately. They will probably want to step away from thrusting the same thing on us for another entire expansion.
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.