Emblems to be easier to loot in 3.1 - Sun, 15 Mar 2009 20:00:00 EST Here's a nice and simple change that recently showed up in the official patch notes on the 3.1 PTR: Now, when someone loots a badge or emblem, everyone in the raid or party will automatically receive their proper emblem. This doesn't apply to people outside the raid instance though, so no twinking your lowbie second account character while they wait outside the instance, sorry.
It's a minor change, but still a welcome one, since it's sometimes easy to forget to check the corpse when you're not in charge of loot and would rather be focusing on getting ready for the next pull.
Speaking of nice instancing changes, this is something we've actually reported on before, but now it's officially in the patch notes and everything: Come 3.1, you will get a confirmation box when you're in danger of being saved to an instance so you know what you're getting yourself into. If you click no, you'll be teleported to the nearest graveyard. Hopefully that'll cut down on those annoying instances where one of your group members forgot he already cleared Sarth that week and got you all saved.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. 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. Hymn of Hope is back in a new way! But it's not the only Hymn to get a face lift. Divine Hymn also underwent an overhaul!
Well guys, we got our Hymn back. Thank goodness. On a side note, I gave Mimiron a shot the other day (with the Sacco fellah again). We had to 9 man the guy on Normal. There was a bug where raids were unable to invite players into their group. The healers consisted of Disc Priest (me) and a Resto Druid. Yeah, the developers weren't kidding when they said 3 healers was going to be needed for normal mode Ulduar. We barely got into phase 2 intact.
Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every week, 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 we look at which heroic encounters will help strengthen your new healers and why!
A question I get asked from healers is how can I prepare myself for raiding? On the other side of the spectrum, guild leaders ask me how can they judge or measure a healer in other areas other than healing output. Let's knock out two birds with one well timed stone.
Here's another nice set of tradeskill updates to show up on the 3.1 PTR recently, as Kaliope points out: New Jewelcrafting recipes.
First up, Shifting Twilight Opal will now finally exist in game. This purple gem should be a great possible choice for tanks looking to fill out a metagem or slot bonus requirement, especially. It's available from Tiffany Cartier in Dalaran.
After seeing Medivh's laser light show in the Caverns of Time, Vírendra of <The Legendary Sisterhood> on Sentinels felt the need to contribute her own flashy effects to the party, creating a new Cavern of Time to 1977. The matching Travolta poses don't hurt the effect either. If only the swamp water didn't stain bellbottoms, they could open a new Studio Level-54-and-Up.
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.
So I broke out the old movie soundtracks for my listening pleasure while doing some writing this weekend, and one track struck me as especially awesome: Tarawa, from Snow Falling on Cedars. The music is especially swelling and epic. The type that makes it hard to, you know, sit still and write. So I ended up lost in my imagination instead.
I couldn't help but imagine my Death Knight striding into Icecrown Glacier accompanied by the music, striking down scourge left and right, then raising their corpses under his own command to leap upon groups of unsuspecting cultists and gnaw their faces off. The climax, I think, would be a one on one fight with a massive, super-powerful abomination. We're talking Blizzard cinematic quality mano-a-flesh-golem blade-on-oversized-meat-cleaver action here.
Authentication issues tonight [Updated] - Sat, 14 Mar 2009 23:27:00 EST In the last fifteen minutes or so we've received numerous reports that authentication servers are down for North American realms. While the outage does not appear to be affecting anyone in game, those folks logging in will be stuck at "authenticating" for the time being.
There has been no word from Blizzard about this, but if we've gotten a dozen tips about this in the past fifteen minutes, I'm sure they have too.
We'll update this post when we have more information. Update #1: Speak of the devil, there's a blue post about this now. Update #2: It appears the issue is now resolved.
The Colosseum: The man known as Varl - Sat, 14 Mar 2009 22:00:00 EST The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
In the world of the Arena, one Paladin's name stands alone. It is a name of pride and success. It is a name that veritably screams, "I am a gladiator." It is a name that is very, very hard to spell. That's why Varluneyna's friends simply call him "Varl."
If you're not familiar with him, Varl is a Holy Paladin. His 2v2 team is the top rated team on the Reckoning battlegroup, while his 3v3 team ain't doing shabby either. He's also the top rated Paladin in the world right now, but his live server ratings. Varl took the time to talk to us (which was awesome) about both his 2v2 and his 3v3 experienes (which is totally awesome.)
Hodir has been tested a couple other times on the PTR, which means the fight is getting more and more refined now. This does not mean that patch 3.1 is close to being released on the live servers, but just that some of the fights are getting a good workout.
Update: The live stream came and went, and the PTR testing is over tonight. Stay tuned for more tomorrow! Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
The9 has actually already paid for the game itself, having secured the Chinese licensing rights for a hefty fee back in April 2008. Add to that the upkeep cost of many of the most powerful supercomputers in China, and rumors that many Chinese WoW players have either quit or moved on to Taiwanese accounts for their Wrath fix, and it's easy to see why they're is getting a bit cash starved. If the9 goes under, it's difficult to say whether Wrath can be salvaged in China, but we'll keep you posted whatever happens.
If you've been keeping tabs on the Paladin changes lately, you might've noticed one thing that jumps out -- Spiritual Attunement will no longer be a skill but a talent deep in the Protection tree. Essentially a mechanic designed to help Paladin tanks keep their mana up, it was also key to Retribution Paladins' mana regeneration as it works synergistically with Seal of Blood / of the Martyr, the primary Retribution Seal.
Of course, if Spiritual Attunement being removed from trainers, the self-damage of Seal of Blood becomes little more than a gimmick and an inconvenience. It also tended to invalidate one glyph, which was the Glyph of Seal of Blood. If Spiritual Attunement is deep in the Protection tree, then the glyph becomes aimed at tanks... who don't use the seal. When players pointed this out on the forums, Dresorull replied to test it out in a future build (I still had Spiritual Attunement as a skill on the PTR) and locked the thread.
In a related post, Ghostcrawler lays out Blizzard's intentions for Paladin mana regeneration, saying that Spiritual Attunement is critical to Protection, but they "don't actually like Holy and Ret having (it)". He explains that such a mechanic depends too much on the encounter and gave Patchwerk as one example where SA won't return mana to anyone but a tank. He notes that Blizzard would still like to tune Paladin mana regeneration -- Holy through Illumination and Retribution through Judgements of the Wise.
[1.Local]: The word from the back room - Sat, 14 Mar 2009 18:00:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
What 3.1 means for casual players What's the future of five-man instances, in the face of Patch 3.1? "I think the biggest news for casual players is what isn't in 3.1: more Emblem of Heroism gear," said dcisko. "Instead, we're getting Emblems of Conquest dropping in heroic Ulduar, with associated high-level gear. Unlike BC, there won't be much point to running heroic five-man instances after raiders move on, and even casuals will get everything they want before too long. I'm worried about what this means for the five-man game."
"I also worry about the future of the five-man," agreed yellow. "Leading a small guild of friends, we just cant get Naxx going with seven. In BC, we ran heroics to get badge loot and got through all of Kara and four bosses into ZA. No chance to do that this time. Raiders whined about us getting BT/Hyjal loot without putting in the time. Believe me, 300+ badges? We put in the time."
As expansions and patches march onward, how important is five-man progression to you?
Each week Arcane Brilliance runs out of mana halfway through a column about Mages. Seriously, Arcane Brilliance is terrible at managing its mana. And then every time it Evocates, Arcane Brilliance manages to get interrupted before it gets any mana back. It really sucks. Yep, Arcane Brilliance spends a lot of time wanding. To be honest, Arcane Brilliance is probably about one more wipe away from getting kicked out of its guild. LTP, Arcane Brilliance...LTP.
I tried my best to be optimistic last week, to look at the changes to Fiery Payback and Impact (especially Impact) as semi-good things. The Fiery Payback-disarm effect will be marginally positive, I told myself, and at the very least, Impact being triggered by Fire Blast will make the spell less random and more controllable, right? We Mages get such a reputation for being whiners that I try to steer clear of pessimism as much as a can just to avoid being lumped in with that lame generalization. I try, and most of the time I fail, but I award myself an "A" for effort.
The comments section set me straight last week. Fire Mages are not happy with Blizzard's attempt at improving their survivability in PvP. You guys were brutally frank in your comments, and I have to admit that I see your point. Nobody likes dying, but as a Fire Mage you sort of expect it, similar to the way nobody likes getting tackled, but as a football player you know it comes with the territory. All Fire Mages want is to be able to dish out an acceptable amount of pain before they explode. In fact, a lot of you proposed the idea of allowing Fire Mages to literally explode upon death, making killing one a dangerous proposition. Several of you commented that this was a Fire Mage's idea of survivability, to die, but leave a smoking crater behind. Seriously, this is an idea I can get behind.
Here's the thing, though: If you weren't happy with the changes last week, you really aren't going to like the latest PTR build. Follow me through the break and we'll talk ourselves through the changes. I'll try to keep the tears to a minimum.
One of the complaints heard from the Horde is that they have fewer buyable mounts than the Alliance side, making it intrinsically harder for them to gain the 100 mount achievement. 3.1 will see some steps taken to amend that gap, as the Horde will now be able to purchase a Black Wolf, a White Kodo, and a Black Skeletal Horse.
Some Horde are still not satisfied, saying that at least one of those mounts should be Epic to truly equalize numbers, but for now, there's at least more easy mounts to get toward the Red Dragonhawk (Which is honestly a lot cooler looking than the silly blue one Alliance get, seriously).
The Ulduar boss Auriya is now up for testing on the EU PTR. This is the first time she's been seen in testing, and WOR and MMO-Champion both have links to live streams, and we've posted one above. Major abilities so far include summoning a swarm of Panther adds that have stacking damage buffs. She has about 3 million HP in 10 mans, about 17 million in 25 mans. Let's see how the raids of Europe do against her.Patch 3.1 brings us Ulduar, dual specs, significant changes to all the classes, and more! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1.
If you've always felt your character's RP story could give Rhonin a run for his money, here's your chance. The contest is global too, so almost anyone can enter, with a few exceptions. Check the official rules for complete details.
And yes, there are prizes, too. The grand prize winner will get a trip to Blizzard Headquarters to meet the Blizzard writing staff and a Frostmourne sword, while 7 runners up will get a signed collection of various Blizzard novels. The deadline is April 12th, so you'll probably want to pick up that pen as soon as possible. Good luck and happy writing to everyone planning to enter!