Every week The Overachiever gives advice, walkthroughs and guides on completing your latest Achievement obsession.
Last week, I kicked off this new column covering the "I've Toured the Fjord" Quest Achievement for the Wrath starting zone Howling Fjord. Today, as promised, I'm going to cover the Quest Achievement for the other starting zone in Northrend, Borean Tundra with "Nothing Boring about Borean" (A/H)
But first, I want to highlight some excellent resources brought to my attention in the comments of last week's column. I stated that there was no way to track which quests you have completed and which you haven't. Turns out you can with an AddOn called Everyquest. It can only track quests you've done after it's been installed, but you can manually mark off quests you've done previously. An alternative is QuestGuru.
Another good tip is to turn on your low level quest tracker if you are going back to older zones to finish off quests. You'll find it by right-clicking on the magnifying glass icon on the edge of your mini-map.
Since somewhat before the Wrath beta, we've been seeing a much more interactive Blizzard development team. The level of open communication with and feedback gathering from the community has been raised significantly, and with people like Ghostcrawler giving straight answers as much as he can, I'm feeling a lot better about the lines of communication between developers and players.
At the moment, Ghostcrawler is specifically asking for feedback on the following two issues:
Shamans: Totems, totems, totems. Again, please do not talk about extraneous issues in that thread - just talk about totems. They're not going to remove or sideline them, but they are interested in making them "cooler," which is certainly much-needed.
So go on and post your feedback in GC's threads (warlock, shaman). Or feel free to talk about it here, whatever. I do think totems feel clunky, but I can't think of how to fix them exactly - I guess that's why I'm not a game designer.
A new build, number 9464, went up on the PTR last night for the perpetually predicted, not quite here yet patch 3.0.8. The changes aren't huge; for the few list, you can check out MMO Champion. But there are a few that interest me.
Vampiric Blood, which got a huge buff in early 3.0.8 builds, has been taken down a little bit, although still better than it is now. In the latest build, it temporarily gives the DK 15% of his maximum health, and increases the amount of health generated through spells and effects by 35%, for 20 sec. Previously in 3.0.8, it was 20% max health and 50% increased healing. In live, it's just 50% increased healing.
Our good friends at Upper Deck have announced a day of tournaments, demos, and giveaways at a hobby store near you. Upper Deck Day is being held February 7-8, 2009, and the event will feature a WoW TCG beginner's tournament, as well as on-site demos of the new WoW minis game. If you've never played either of these games, this is the perfect chance to check them out -- mark your calendars now, and bring a friend to check out the other ways to play World of Warcraft.
They haven't yet released the list of locations for the event, but Upper Deck tends to use the same places most every time, so if they've held a previous event at a store near you, odds are that they'll be there again. Actually collecting both of these games can get pricey (and let's face it, is really only fun if you've got a friend or two to play with often), but that's what makes these events so perfect -- you can get a taste of what the games are like without having to break the piggy bank to pick up all the little doodads.
And as always, if you go, be sure to snap some pictures and send them to us. We're always interested in what players of the offline World of Warcraft games are up to as well.
There's also a note at the end of the post to the effect that although these are all for PvP realms, PvE transfers will be announced shortly, so stay tuned, carebears (don't get me wrong, I'm one of you).
Players on these realms, will you be transfering? Remember that if you want to, you should do it as soon as possible. These transfers are scheduled to stay open until Wednesday, January 21, at 6 PM PST, but they do close early if the transfer goals are met.
I don't put too much effort into crafting professions, for the most part. Something like Inscription, where I can get a number of points by just remembering to research once a day, fine. But Blacksmithing or Engineering, with stacks of metal per point? Not for me. (The exception to this is Tailoring, which I keep on my priest more out of tradition than anything else.)
Engineering is another profession that seems to take a lot of work per point (although I haven't gotten it very high myself, so I can't speak from first-hand experience here). On the other hand, there are a lot of really cool gizmos engineers can make for themselves, from hand rockets to motorcycles.
One of those gizmos is about to get significantly more useful: the Scrapbot will be able to repair your gear "in a future patch." The smart money is on 3.0.8 for that future patch, since Scrapbot repairs were added to the latest build of that patch on the PTR just yesterday. This means that once again, Engineers are the providers of in-instance repairs, and this time around it's significantly cheaper than last time, with 10 Saronite Bars giving you 5 of the little guys. And they're so cute!
Arcanite Ripper gets a model change in patch 3.0.8 - Thu, 15 Jan 2009 13:00:00 EST Patch 3.0.8 is bringing an interesting change to one of the more nostalgic items added to the game recently besides the many Heirloom items that came with Wrath. The Arcanite Ripper, a nod to the Arcanite Reaper of old, is getting a graphical overhaul. Its new model is much cooler, but it's a little sad to see that model go. I'm not too busted up about it, because I can still pick up a Bloodied Arcanite Reaper if I get sentimental.
The new Ripper will use the guitar model used by Bergrisst of the Tauren Chieftains (who you transform into upon right clicking the weapon). The new model is way cooler looking, but it's still a little sad to see the old one go. Despite the more awesome model, I can't help but feel my attachment to my Paladin's Ripper fading away.
It's like it's song week here on WoW Moviewatch, but today's entry is something I know many of our readers have probably been eagerly anticipating. Nyhm has released his new video, titled (Holy) Priest. (It's a take-off of Notorious B.I.G.'s Hypnotize, if you don't recognize the music.) He dedicates this piece to what he calls one of the most underappreciated, but most needed, classes in the game. And, of course, he's sure to thank them in that dedication also.
The video itself is pretty standard Nyhm work, thematically. It has some creative music video shots of himself and Summergale as they sing. (Well, shots of their avatar personas.) The tricks Nyhm uses to create a variety of dance moves and poses are always impressive, and his work really brings the Blood Elf and Troll models to life.
While this genre of music isn't my cup of tea, Nyhm uses creative cadence and lyrics to morph the lines of B.I.G.'s song into a great song about the struggles of healing in WoW. There's praise, jokes, complaints, and a little bit of everything else thrown into the song. Check it out, and enjoy!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
I'll let Ahead tell his own story: "It had been thirty long years since she left. It was agony when she quietly took her leave to learn the ways of the beast and forest while I stayed behind in Silvermoon devoted to my studies. I gave up waiting for her to come home, realizing that her home was where her head lay. Yet ever since Champion Bachi released me to go forth into Azeroth I kept trained an eye to the horizon, wistfully searching for the woman who gave me reason to push forward. Until at long last...she found me."
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Yesterday, Ghostcrawler got into a discussion with some Priests on the Healing forum. It's in a thread that started out pretty negative, but unfortunately reflected an opinion rippling its way through the Priest 'community.' Many (not all, not nearly) Priest players are getting sort of grumpy about their Healing role, and that's not actually a new sentiment. It's been sort of an everpresent issue since well before Wrath.Priests don't feel they have a role. They sort of exist, without any clear purpose.
The issue that came up is that a number of Priests think Blizzard is down on them, they're subpar, the devs don't care, blah blah blah. Ghostcrawler is of the opinion that Priests are actually pretty great (not said in those words) and I gotta be honest, I agree with him on that. On all things? No. On that? Yes. Priests are very, very capable Healers. But capability is not actually the issue at all! It's an issue much harder to pinpoint.
Priests, when you look at their spells as a whole product and don't get hung up on any one ability in particular, work great. It's a well rounded class, and operates very well on its own. Holy Priests are great healers, and there's really no situation where they're completely helpless. I am not sure what the phrase "healing dynamo" means exactly, but for some reason that pops into my head when I think of Holy Priests, so it's probably a good thing.
Some of the commenters in yesterday's Breakfast Topic talked about how we were all adults and shouldn't be bothered by adult content. But we aren't all adults. Kids play this game -- and often it's teenagers who are the ones with the adult oriented chatter.
We've discussed the concept of age restricted servers before and many have expressed that they would join them in an effort to escape what is perceived as underage offensive behavior. But what I'm proposing here is not an adult only realm to avoid adult content, but one that is age restricted because of the adult content.
I've never been a big fan of quests. I've always done them as a means to an end, whether to level up or to earn a bit of Gold. My questing rate dropped considerably once I hit Level 80, with the only quests I did consisting mostly of Wintergrasp dailies and about a week's worth of Ebon Blade dailies in Icecrown to raise my reputation. But the truth is, quests in Wrath of the Lich King have been downright phenomenal. They are well-designed, fun to do, and -- if you actually stop to read the quest text (something I'm often guilty of skipping) -- wonderfully written and filled with story.
I finally got off my lazy butt to do the long Sons of Hodir quest chain, a "necessary evil" to raise reputation with what Alex has dubbed one of the most important factions in Wrath. There was little urgency for me to do the chain, considering I was satisfied with the Wintergrasp shoulder enchants even though they wasted points on Resilience. On the other hand, it became increasingly frustrating for me not to be able to assist my wife whenever her character (often) became the target of merciless gankage. You see, like many parts of Northrend, the Storm Peaks zones where you do Sons of Hodir quests are phased. I simply wanted to get to the point where we would be in the same phased stage, so using Alex's handy guide to the Sons of Hodir quest chain, I set off on what was a surprisingly good and fun adventure.
Let's face it, Resilience blows right now. In their effort to give escalating rewards through the Seasons, Blizzard allocated minimal Resilience for Season 5 gear. It's not bad, but in order to make Resilience count, you would need to stack over 1,200 Resilience Rating to hit the optimal cap. That's not even possible with the current gear. In order to even reach about 900 Resilience Rating -- the point where its effects start to be palpable -- players would have to gimp themselves with all their gems and enchantments. This means severely lowered damage output.
In the current Arena setting, it's all about burst damage, with matches lasting nowhere near as long as they used to back before Wrath of the Lich King. Ghostcrawler pops over the forums to talk a little about Resilience and how Blizzard feels that it still makes, or will make, a difference. He explains that the reason so many players are wearing PvE gear to PvP is because its readily available, going so far as to call Naxxramas gear the new welfare epics. He says that as more players get Resilience, other players will have to keep pace.
That might take some time. Like I mentioned, even with a complete set of Deadly Gladiator gear and non-set items, it's going to be impossible to hit the Resilience cap. Resilience makes very little impact in PvP encounters right now that the risk to using PvE gear over PvP gear is minimal. Hitting 600-700 Resilience is very possible with a decent complement of PvP gear, but this only reduces damage from crits by about 17% at best. Resilience in its current design does nothing to reduce normal, or non-crit damage. Until more Resilience shows up in PvP gear or its coefficients or ratios changed, the trend of using a lot of PvE gear will probably continue throughout Season 5.
My own Death Knight is not quite up to raid tanking yet; I've got a few more levels to go on that one. However, some players have noticed that DK threat, especially on single targets, seems a bit low - significantly lower than the other three tank classes, to the extent that the tanks were having trouble keeping threat against high DPS.
It turns out that there was a slightly complicated bug involving Frost Presence, the foundation of DK tanking. It went like this:
Some aspects of Frost Presence don't go away when you die, and some do (this is the bug).
Part of the threat boost, however, does go away when you die.
When you res and come back without changing presences, the game doesn't reapply Frost Presence, because it sees that you already have some of the effects of it.
However, you still don't have all of the threat boost.
So potentially, DKs who die and come back without switching to another presence (Blood or Unholy) and then back to Frost were missing out on 15% of the 45% threat that Frost Presence brings. This has been hotfixed now, so there is no further need to worry about it. If you saw your DK threat go up a lot yesterday, that's probably why.
Ghostcrawler adds that "it is likely" that Defensive Stance was also being affected by this bug, although I haven't seen any prot warriors complaining about their threat since 3.0 hit.
There are two main complaints: first, that Blizzard doesn't supply any onsite Arena servers. We know this is true -- Blizzard has event servers that they use for events like this, kept offsite so they don't have to set them up all the time. But GotGame claims that this causes problems -- as much as 300+ ping, which in the quick world of Arena matches, is practically unplayable. We're not sure why Blizzard doesn't allow setups on site, but that seems like a reasonable step to take if they're serious about making professional Arena big.
The second is a little tougher: this post claims that Blizzard has brought the pro Arena servers up to the Season 4 patch, but locked the gear down at Season 2. Our own Zach Yonzon says he's not sure where the Arenas are -- he doesn't believe that official Arena matches are underway after Wrath yet, and if that's true, then Blizzard may already be updating this (bringing the gear on the realms up to level 80 levels to match the talents). But either way, it's strange to hear someone say that Blizzard isn't supporting professional Arena matches correctly. You'd think that if they were as into supporting WoW as an e-sport as they say, that they'd address some of these concerns.
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Are you a talentless n00b? It's really ok to admit it here, among friends -- you wouldn't be the first player in the world to have overlooked (or been completely befuddled by) talent points. Just take a peek at this post about a player who purposely skipped training his talent points, just to see what would happen. If you read through the comments after the post, you'll find plenty of players who missed training their talents along the way, either through not knowing that talent points existed or after becoming paralyzed by the sheer variety of choices.
The talents you choose for your character can completely change the way you play the game. Your "spec" (specialization) is determined by where you've distributed your points among the three talent trees available to your class. So-called "hybrid" classes such as Druids or Paladins take on entirely different roles depending how they are specced: tanking, DPSing or healing. For other classes, spec is more of a flavor tool that determines how your character goes about doing his or her thing.
Our friends at Massively and GamerDNA are at it again -- they're digging into their database of players, this time to determine some Death Knight demographics. They want to know what kinds of players are picking up the new Hero class. Unfortunately, their sample size is super small -- only 500, according to Sanya Weathers, which seems way too tiny to determine anything about the Death Knight class at large. But we'll go with it anyway, and see what we can get.
As you can see above, Blood Elves and Humans dominate the race choice in our little group, which seems about right, considering that those are the two most popular races overall. Death Knight players in this study generally tend to have reported themselves as male in real life. And GamerDNA also lays their Death Knights up against the Bartle test and while WoW players trend pretty well to the norm, Death Knights go way more towards the "Killer" and to a lesser extent the "Explorer" end of the scales.
So according to this little survey (and we'll remind you that this is 500 people, so there are plenty of exceptions out there), the average Death Knight is male, chooses whatever race is most familiar to them, and wants to go kill and do damage rather than worry about socializing or achieving. In other words, lots and lots of former Ret Paladins. It'll be interesting to see how this changes over time -- lots of these players are interested in the newest thing, obviously, since they've switched their mains to a new class at the first chance, but as things settle down and more people head back to get new alts, maybe we'll see a different crowd coming out of Acherus.
The Queue: Wrap me up, baby - Wed, 14 Jan 2009 16:00:00 EST 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.
In the comments of yesterday's edition of The Queue, Gilgamesh mentioned that you're actually able to attack the projection of Mr. Bigglesworth in Wintergarde Keep, or at least, you could for a long time. It's inspired me to... tell a little story.
Once upon a time, The Queue was Ask a Beta Tester. We were still in the midst of exploring Northrend before every Joe and Jane could waltz in there, and I was a puny level 71 traipsing all over the world and taking in its beauty. Ohh! Dragons! Ooo! Yetis! Oh look, hehe, there's a kitty on the projector! Let's click on it!
Oh no! Oh nooo! It's attacking me! Oh gosh, it's just a critter, I can just 1-shot it. Unfortunately for me, it was level 80, and I was a level 71 caster. It resisted absolutely everything. I ran around Wintergarde flailing my arms in horrified desperation, hoping and praying it would leash and leave me be. Unfortunately, it did not, but I had healing spells and managed to weather its furious paws until my Prot Paladin friend showed up to tank it for me. Not my proudest moment, that's for sure.
At any rate, we wouldn't quite recommend jumping in headfirst yet -- they haven't, as far as we can see, revealed any prices, and while you can register your characters, you can't actually get any sort of payout quite yet, as they say they're still working on the system. For all we know the site could be an elaborate scam at this point. But it is an intriguing idea, and if they're really ready to put their money where their FAQ is, these guys may have an actual business plan that depends on Blizzard keeping the servers up. Just like all insurance companies, they must have figured out that the servers stay up more often than not, and that there was money to be made there.
It's quite an interesting plan, and we'll keep an eye on it to see if they ever announce a fee or explain themselves better. The math doesn't quite seem right here, but if somehow their fees are low enough and the payouts are high enough, it's possible that you really could be compensated for downtime by a completely separate company other than Blizzard. Very interesting.
Update: The company has contacted WoW Insider, and we've requested an interview. Stay tuned.