Welcome to another installment of Hybrid Theory, wherein columnist Alex Ziebart assures the world that he does not, in fact, hate Retribution Protection Paladins. In fact, he raids with a Retribution Protection Paladin. Really. He does. Pinky swear.
Nearly every hybrid has felt the sorrows of lacking itemization at one time or another. Every hybrid has seen its ups and its down, has watched class balance fall into and out of order, and embraced their spec through the good and the bad. Throughout all of this, though, there has always been one ever-present issue. Completely unchanging. Viability and acceptance? Oh, no no no.
Bag space. The Blue Crew of Blizzard has made it very clear over the last few years that limited bag space is fully intended. It's viewed as an important aspect of game play. A mini-game, if you will. I must say, being forced into choosing whether you want to keep an item you enjoy or vendor it in favor of that new piece of resist gear that is mandatory for your raid's upcoming boss fight is the worst game ever. Sometimes little vanity items mean quite a bit, like your first epic. A lot of them are just plain neat, like the furbolg outfit maker.
Zanzer of Mal'Ganis posted on the World of Warcrafttest realm forum that he is displeased with the user interface change that shows hunter traps in the combat log.Obviously this is a PvP related change, as PvE mobs probably don't care if a hunter sets traps or not.The ability to trap is one of the most important features of the Hunter class.
Typically players know when Hunters are dropping traps for two reasons.First, there is an unmistakable squatting animation that shows the character setting the trap.Of course you have to have your camera on the Hunter to see the animation.Second, Hunters who are worth their salt lay traps whenever they are able to in the PvP environment.The difference is the combat log now states what type of trap has been dropped.
Last week reader Jay sent me a screen shot of something I hadn't seen in a while - a gold seller using /tell to spread their wares. For a long time Blizzard has maintained this is illegal activity, and has taken substantial steps to negate the spammers ability to do this. In game spam protection done behind the scenes has been working well. However it looks like the gold spammers have found a way around this.
Initially I was pretty surprised to see the screen shot. After all, this hadn't been happening much. However a couple of days after getting this, I found some gold spam in my chat log as well. I was floored. Now they're back to their old tricks, and even some new ones.
The Blizzard Entertainment Worldwide Invitational information page has recently been updated.Tickets for the event will be going on sale next week for the event held at the Porte de Versailles Exposition Center, Paris.Tickets are priced at 70 € which converts to about $109 USD.The Invitational will take place on June 28 and 29, 2008.
Tharfor posted details on the European World of Warcraft forums.Some of Blizzard's executives and members of development teams from Europe, US, China, Taiwan, and Korea will be present to for signings and seminars.This is a great chance to get a peek at Wrath of the Lich King and Starcraft II.The event will also feature game, dance, costume and machinima competitions. For more information on conference events and rules, check out the Invitational's FAQ page.
Addon Spotlight: Minimap mayhem - Sat, 15 Mar 2008 15:00:00 EST In the shadow of an ominous sense of addon doom, I wanted to talk about a problem that some of you may relate with. I have issues with cluttered user interfaces, specifically a messy minimap. I should really consider myself blessed that this one can be near the top of my list. Either my life is boring or I am very much a control freak.
I've recently taken it upon myself to combat the rude nature of a cluttered minimap, only to find myself somewhat frustrated by a lack of viable options. I'm going to guess that many of you many be screaming Ace right now. To that, I say stow your bilge, my pretties. The Ace solution fails, which simultaneously surprises me and makes me sad.
In my efforts to enforce my Spring Cleaning initiative, I recruited MinimapButtonBag to wipe up the little buttons that surrounded my minimap. This little Ace addon did the job about as perfectly as possible, with one glaring flaw. The little "addon that could" was a memory hog; a beast that defiled my allocated addon memory. The fact that it was stomping around with the same clout as my beloved AtlasLoot Enhanced and the godly QuestHelper irked me to no end.
Every week Arcane Brilliance strives to deliver a tiny parcel full of Mage-craft to your doorsteps. Not your real doorsteps, that would be creepy. Your virtual interweb doorsteps. This week, in addition to its usual magey goodness, that tiny parcel is pulsating with warlockian evil. You've been warned.
In case I haven't been clear on this in the past, I hate Warlocks. I've hated them since I was a child, when a Warlock ate my family. Just kidding, that didn't actually happen. My family is alive and well. In fact, I would say my Warlock prejudices originated as recently as last year, when I hit level 70 and took my first wide-eyed look at the brutal world of end-game PvP.
When our own V'Ming Chew (the only decent Warlock I know) suggested that we engage in a little back-and-forth in yesterday's Blood Pact column I was at first reluctant. I worried that halfway though the series of emails we sent back and forth to each other I might realize that I had 8 different DoTs hovering above my head, and a felhound might at some point end up eating my face. That didn't happen. Well, a felhound did eat my face, but that was in a completely unrelated Arena match last night. In fact, I thought the dialog went quite well: we agreed on a few points, agreed to disagree on other points, and nobody got killed. Or had their souls drained from their bodies.
Still, and not just because as a Mage it is my job to QQ more, I felt there was more to say. Last week I promised you a look at the Mage/Warlock rivalry, and after the break, I will try to deliver on that promise.
First of all, I really do have to thank you for changing the name of that guy called Longjohnson. Yeah, He sent us this pretty long rant about how it was unfair his name was changed, but honestly, it was a pretty clear violation of the naming policy against inappropriate references to bodily parts or functions (Sorry Jason, I'm only siding with you to a point here. Your character's name needed to be changed). That said, I'll give him this: It is pretty annoying that he was able to then proceed to the Armory and find 19 characters named Longjohnson and 60 characters named Bigjohnson. If a name is impermissible because of being profane or inappropriate on one server, it should count on them all, right? Every server has the same set of naming rules, except for RP servers, which have the extra "appropriate for an RP server" qualifier, so this shouldn't be a problem. Mike has actually observed that enforcement tends to be a bit lax in the past regarding both the naming policy and RP server policy, but I figured it was worth bringing up again.
Obviously, the removal of that bit of the Sunwell Plateau isn't particularly devastating or crippling. Its inclusion could actually be crippling for the more underpopulated, raiding-light servers, holding the one or two raiding guilds back from experiencing content simply because they chose the wrong server to roll on. I can understand the removal, but my mind being the strange creature it is used this as fuel to wander to similar topics, my braincells discussing it amongst themselves.
In his 16th video, Maëvah takes a cinematic approach to PvE. He uses music from War of the Worlds (2005) (According to a reader, it's the 1978 version) as the soundtrack for his battles. While not the biggest fan of this genre, I really enjoyed the randomness of the credit song and dance!
Crazy names for guild ranks - Sat, 15 Mar 2008 11:30:00 EST Corrosiveaffy on WoW LJ wants to know if there are any good ideas out there for guild ranks, and I can tell her that there are tons. There's the standard "rookie," "officer," "raider," and "veteran," but it seems like some guild ranks are even more creative than the guilds they're named after. I've seen all kinds of stuff, from "larva," "pupae" and "queen," to the old "padawan," "jedi" and "master" mentioned in the comments. One guild I was in way back just had two ranks: most people were "peons," and the GM was the only "king."
Usually it's funniest when they tie into the guild's name somehow -- I like the example of "The Nouns of Adjective" from the LJ comments, where the GM is called the "Pope of Punctuation." I know there are some more excellent ones out there, but whenever people fish around for them, they seem a little hard to come by. What are some of the best guild rank names you've seen?
You all remember Sleepy Willy? He was one of the three pet rewards for doing the Children's Week quests. Show the Outland orphans all the war and carnage that infests the lands and in exchange for that touching moment, they give up their prize pet. I guess you never thought to ask where they got that pet, now did you? Dopervius of Impulse Raiders on the Stormrage realm has provided us the answer.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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. And please, no more sunsets. This means you. I'm not kidding, yours is not the exception. No, really. Sigh.
Thank you all for the encouragement I received in response to my recent keylogging experience.As a whole the experience was just dreadful.As I mentioned on last week's WoW Insider Show podcast, I am still afraid every time I log in that I will get the "The information you have entered is not valid" error.For the most part things have settled down, but the fear remains.
The worst part of the keylogging episode was that my Shaman was transferred from a PvP to PvE server.After about a week in limbo my beloved Tauren was returned to her proper place.I was extremely relieved.Unfortunately that's the only thing on my account that Blizzard was kind enough to restore.They refused to return any of my gear or gold and did nothing about the items ninjaed from the guild bank.I appealed their decision with several emails.Those appeals were ubiquitously denied despite logical arguments and heart-filled plights.I thought it was all over, for better or for worse.
I got more bad news in my email box the other day:
Those of you who are fanatics of the WoW TCG have probably heard of the new Servants of the Betrayer expansion already, but even if you have, it's worth checking out this new article on the official Upper Deck TCG site. It goes into greater length about the philosophy behind the new cards, and introduces the basic ideas, mechanics, and lore behind the new Traitor Heroes. While "Servants of the Betrayer" rightly assumes you'll be able to control Vashj and Kael, they decided that they did not want to make those two central to deck building, since they already plan to release a new Black Temple raid deck later on. Instead, they will be possible allies of a new series of "Traitor Heroes."
I remember the night of January 15, 2007.I stood outside a game store in the bitter cold anxiously awaiting the doors opening so we could get our hands on a shiny new copy of the freshly launchedBurning Crusade.There were probably thirty people there, and of course the conversation was all about World of Warcraft.The air was tense between proud members of the Alliance and the Horde. Most players identify strongly with one faction or the other.It was strange to me how the faction rivalry crossed over into the real world.
I play Horde. I've been known to wear a t-shirt that says "Real Women Roll Horde."I've tried playing Alliance characters, and it just doesn't work for me.My real-world friends who play WoW also play on Horde side.I gravitate toward fellow followers of Thrall.Recently I've started a new job where a number of people play the game.Much to my surprise, I've found some Ally players that I actually like.
+13 Shadow Resistence, which was pretty good back when this was gear you picked up right before the endgame. But not so much anymore.
A leprechaun did tell me that this thing will grant you good luck, though.
How to Get It: This is the fun part -- this is actually the quest reward at the end of a fun little self-contained questline that will take you from either Stormwind (for Alliance) or Undercity (for Horde) into the Plaguelands. Yes, the Plaguelands -- it's that little lobby right before you enter the Ghostlands. Just look for those poor, lonely Argent Dawn questgivers (or just follow the sounds of them whining under their breath that the expansion isn't here yet).
To start the quest, you've got to grab Janice's Parcel, which you can find on the Felstone farm while in the Western Plaguelands. That will send you off to the capital city of your faction, and then take to you some familiar faces (apparently the Felstone family roots reach far and deep). You'll meet a few Felstones, and eventually you'll be able to collect the Felstone Good Luck Charm, which, in true luck o' the Irish fashion (it's actually a curse), is being handed down to you from a family that hasn't had much luck at all.
Kind of a fun quest, not too long, and has some good flavor text in it. And if nothing else, you can consider this Blizzard's holiday reward for you, since there is no "Aldor Patrick's Day" in Azeroth.
Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 71s 64c or disenchants into a Dream Dust, Lesser Eternal Essence or a Small Brilliant Shard. Happy St. Patrick's Day, everybody!
A little while ago, Drysc said in a post that "a prot warrior or shadow priest or what have you should though be able to jump into a battleground or arena and be able to do something with some small amount of success." This hasn't gone over well with many shadow priests. Even with Drysc trying to correct himself in multiple threads and insist that he doesn't mean that the class will never get more viable, a lot of shadow priests are up in arms.
It's probably pretty understandable. After all, before Burning Crusade, a Shadow Priest was pretty much universally feared upon the field of battle. They seemed to take almost no damage in Shadowform, and their DoTs tore through you with ease. Even in the early days of the Arenas, you saw quite a few Warlock/Shadow Priest teams tearing up the charts. These days, Shadowform doesn't really absorb damage like it used to, Psychic Scream doesn't really cut it as CC, and resilience makes sure that their DoTs are blunted quite handily. So what DO you do when you chose a class and spec to PvP, only to have that spec suddenly become lackluster in PvP? This isn't like Protection Warriors, who have known from the start they'd be good as tanks, and tanks alone.
We all generally have a good idea these days of what we roll a class and choose a spec to do. A Protection Paladin expects to tank. A Mage expects to DPS. But it's the divide between which specs are good at PvE and which at PvP that seems to be getting a little thorny lately. Should a player be able to count on their spec always being viable at the same aspects of the game? If so, should Shadow Priests expect PvP buffs sooner rather than later? Or should they accept that their age of PvP dominance was in the Battlegrounds and the pre-70 era, and resign themselves to speccing Discipline if they want to succeed in Arenas?
Between Arenas, V'Ming spends his time as a lock laughing ominously in AV, tanking Olm with his own minions and pondering troll fashion from Zul'Aman. He's recently started to plumb the depths of SSC with his 0/21/40 build and bragging about 8k shadow bolts.
One of the most enduring and fiercest rivalries in WoW is the bitterness between mages and warlocks. I'll like to characterize my relationship with Mage friends to be one of friendly, respectful rivalry. In fact, Christian Belt - our Mage columnist - will be my guest here today to offer his side of the story in beautiful italics.
By now, many mage players would have dabbled in at least a little warlocky DoT-slinging, and the converse is probably true. If you haven't, go on - roll a Mage or a Warlock, I'll wait.
So there really isn't any grounds for misconceptions when it comes to the abilities of both classes, and we should all live in contented peace. Or is there?
WoW Insider Show live on WoW Radio tomorrow - Fri, 14 Mar 2008 17:00:00 EST Yes, indeed, after a short trip away from the podcast, I will be back on tomorrow afternoon, live on WoW Radio at 3:30pm EST. Turpster is supposed to be there as well, and both John Petricelli (the Big Bear Butt blogger) and Matthew Rossi (who, I hear, once wrestled a bear and won) will be on the show with us. It'll be a rip-roaring adventure as, I'm sure, we'll chat about all the recent changes in patch 2.4, as well as all the kerfluffle over tanking and protection specs, and why Blizzard is banning a famous Arena hunter. We'll also hit on when patch 2.4 might go live, and of course we'll be reading listener email (which you can send to us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Should be fun, and I don't know about the rest of the guys, but since I'm in Chicago, I'll likely be celebrating St. Patrick's Day, so I'll bring green beer along (for everyone of age, of course). Tune in to WoW Radio tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST to join us for the WoW Insider Show, the best bear-related WoW podcast you'll ever find.
Addon updating made easy - Fri, 14 Mar 2008 16:30:00 EST With 2.4 looming, many of you are on the verge of an addon crisis. With most major content patches comes the horror of watching your lovingly crafted UI crumble into out-of-date obscurity. Amidst the chaos, some crusade to protect us addon pilgrims on our journey to updated bliss .
These brave souls have developed addons that automate the updating process, and they just save your soul in the coming weeks when we face the Sunwell. Many of you already use programs to manage this process, but for those of you doing it addon-by-addon there are some other options.
The developer of UI Central 4.0 was kind enough to tip us off to the new version of this software package. Stop! Before my fellow Mac users sigh and move on, this one will work with OS X Leopard, so there may yet be hope for your salvation. However, you must have an Intel-based Mac, as I sadly discovered.
Cross-faction inspecting now available on the PTR - Fri, 14 Mar 2008 16:00:00 EST Great news for compulsive /inspect-ors from the new patch -- Hortus confirms that in neutral areas and out of combat, players will be able to do a little cross-faction inspecting. No more will you have to wonder what kind of helmet that dirty Human Warrior is wearing around Shattrath -- you'll be able to pull them right up and check out all of their gear.
The sky, as you may have noticed, didn't fall when Inspect changed back in patch 2.3 to let anyone see anyone else's gear and talents, and it won't fall again when this change is introduced (trust me). It is interesting to consider how much the Armory has changed the game, though -- odds are that if you'd suggested that we should be able to check the other faction's gear and talents to a developer at the launch of vanilla WoW, they'd have said that, like limiting cross-faction communication, it wasn't right for the feel of the game they wanted to make.
But now that the Armory is up and showing off everyone's secret gear of shame, there's no reason to hide it any more in the game either.