+106 Strength, +125 Stamina. Which means this is a straight-up 2h DPS weapon -- the Strength adds a huge damage bonus to Warriors, Death Knights, Feral Druids, and Paladins by giving them a +212 attack power just from the weapon alone, not to mention other places Strength is used. Shamans also get a buff -- not quite as big, but still nice.
If you're a raiding healer, chances are you use or at least have heard of Grid, the popular raid frame mod. It makes the essential task of staring at health bars significantly easier. However, Grid is a darn complicated mod. So complicated, in fact, that Llyra over at Healing Way has written a blog post all about how to configure it.
I've been using Grid for years, ever since Molten Core (in fact, one of my first posts on WoW Insider was about Grid), and I still learned things from this article. The way Grid composites information onto its little squares is not intuitively obvious, so it's probably worth taking a look just for that. There is also a video on how to configure the mod, which might give you a hint just how complex it can get. The post ends with a list of some useful plug-ins for Grid; I fully agree with the author that GridStatusThreat, which shows which raid members have aggro, is a must-have (although I can't find a working link to it at the moment - is it included with Grid these days?).
The high cost of rez sickness - Fri, 15 May 2009 18:00:00 EST Lotonero got his thread locked because he posted it in the wrong forum, but he makes an interesting point: rez sickness costs are higher than ever. Death costs are already pretty high -- when you're dressed in greens and blues it's not much of a problem, but get yourself down to red on some high-level epics, and see if you don't wince when you hit up the repair vendor to pay the piper. But rez sickness costs are even worse -- they affect durability on all of your items, even those you're not wearing, and so when a dual-specced healer or tank with two or even three sets of gear goes rez-sick, the amount they have to pay goes through the roof.
Now, you might think what I thought: if you're carrying around that much epic gear, then a) why are you dying, and b) why are you rezzing from a spirit healer? But Wryxian, right before sending Lotonero packing to the suggestions thread, throws in his own two cents: "Maybe not." Maybe Blizzard might consider it -- dual specs wasn't around when they originally thought up the cost of rez sickness, and maybe since many players are carrying around two sets of gear now, it's due for another look. I didn't think the Hearthstone cooldown needed a nerf either, but we got that anyway.
So maybe it's something for Blizzard to think about. My guess is that most players will not think it's worth the change -- gold is flowing so freely nowadays and the death penalty is so cheap (back in the EQ days, we used to lose XP or even levels) that it's not a big deal, especially when you choose to go rez sick. But it's true that this is one of the game's oldest mechanics, so maybe it's time to take a critical look.
Update: This promotion seems to be US only. Sorry, rest of the world. Hopefully you guys will get something like this soon as well. China had a Coke promo, so maybe the EU/Oceania will get a turn sooner or later.
The Mountain Dew Game Fuel site is officially live, and we're all free to earn lots and lots of tokens. You'll need to register first, so be prepared to hand over a fair amount of personal information. They want the usual things, like your name and birthdate and home address. If I had to guess, I would say they need all of that for contest reasons. You always need to ask those things so you don't run into any regional legal issues.
Now, tokens. How do you get tokens? There's a full list of ways to earn them on the official site (that you need to be logged in to see,) but I can tell you this: Almost all of them involve clicking on some random links scattered around the internet. Watching videos on their site, clicking banners on Facebook, going to their Twitter page, all of that sort of thing. Time to start setting up a Mountain Dew bookmarks folder, folks.
There's also an FAQ that confirms one of our suspicions: Yes, a WoW vanity pet is one of the potential prizes you can win. It doesn't state what it is, but we can all safely assume it's the battlebots we posted about previously. Among the potential prizes is a trip to BlizzCon as well, so if you can't afford the trip yourself, you ought to start hoarding tokens.
As we've mentioned before, BlizzCon tickets this year will be handed out in a queue system. That means first come first served. If you haven't done so already, follow our pro tip and get your Battle.net account setup today.
We'll be here with updates throughout the day tomorrow on the ticket sales, and hopefully it will all be smooth. However in the event that sales falter again like they did last year, expect to see that news as well.
This isn't exactly shocking news (this just in: Blizzard has an advertising budget!) but it is worth noting: Mark C. was watching the NBA playoffs the other day and lo and behold, guess which familiar logo appeared during a halftime sponsorship. Apparently the announcer even read off the name of the game during a tag. I don't think Mark is exactly right about it being one of the "first non-sports games being advertised in a sporting event" (I'm pretty sure I've seen one of those Killzone 2 or Call of Duty spots during my Cubs games lately), but it's the first time we've seen WoW promoted outside of the usual TV spots.
It's interesting to note, too, that it's being presented during the NBA playoffs as well -- I've seen more WoW twitterers tweet about the hockey playoffs lately than the basketball equivalent. Then again, Mark also says he saw it on the NBA TV subscription service, so maybe it was targeted at people who are willing to subscribe to a digital service. And just for the heck of it, we'll also point out that it was an LA (Blizzard is in Anaheim) vs. Houston (Blizzard also has an HQ in Austin) game, so maybe it was geographically targeted as well.
But this will probably not be the last time you see WoW in this context. Keep those eyes open.
It's been rumored already, but now we've got Blizzard confirmation: the cost of the Argent Hippogryph (obtained as a final reward from the Argent Tournament) will be lowered in "the next minor patch" to 150 Champion's Seals. We don't know exactly when ("next minor patch" could be 3.1.2, or possibly a quick hotfix before then), but Blizzard is for sure lowering the price.
And to make it even more confusing, they're already telling us ahead of time that it might be bugged: the display may not get updated right away, which would mean that ingame, it'll still say that the bird sells for 250 seals, when it really only sells for 150. Don't ask us how, if they know the issue is coming, they can't fix it when they change things, but who knows how Blizzard's code works anymore? At any rate, if you're planning on buying the 'gryph and want to save some seals, hold off on buying for now.
As I mentioned last week, they're hotfixing Lightning Overload: The chance for the Lightning Overload talent to be triggered is being increased from 7/13/20% to 11/22/33%. The reason this change is going live is a little more confusing. It's going live because elemental shaman DPS is low, but the developers can find no reason for it.
I find this interesting because it's illustrative of the complexity of the game itself and also of the elemental shaman and the way the class interacts with others for its damage potential. We can assume that the damage loss moving from Naxxramas to Ulduar is real, because the developers are already hotfixing a change to compensate for it (something they have not done for other classes that have demonstrated DPS loss in Ulduar) and so we're left with something of a mystery. Why is elemental shaman DPS decreasing since patch 3.1?
I won't pretend I know better than anyone else. If the people who work to predict and design these systems didn't see this one coming, and it's not due to an obvious nerf (which it's not) then it baffles me. But we can still muse about possible culprits. (By we, I really mean we here. I want to see what you guys think, because I have to admit, I cannot figure this out. I've looked at raid WWS for my guild and our elemental shaman does seem to be lower, but he and I discussed it and he has no more of a clue than I do. Since all my gear is resto, I offspec elemental but am by no means an expert yet.)
Well, here's the pro tip of all pro tips, even better than Turpster's Tips: make your Battle.net account now and make sure your credit card / check card has enough money to cover the $125 cost of the ticket.
While Blizzard has done a lot to make sure that the system will be smoother than last year, if you've already bought a plane ticket out to LA and have the hotels booked, etc., you'll want to be 100% sure you do everything you can do get these elusive tickets easily.
The whole process takes just a couple of minutes, and you don't have to tie your World of Warcraft account to the Battle.net account unless you want to. They can remain entirely separate. Head over to the Battle.net account creation page and do this now!
Blizzard's success with equalizing content - Fri, 15 May 2009 13:00:00 EST Kinless Chronicles talks about something I think Blizzard has done exceptionally well with the latest expansion: "equalized content." Their story is about taking control of a Blightblood to finish off Drakuru, but there are countless examples of this in Northrend, from the last fight of Drak'theron to the encounter in Eye of Eternity with Malygos. World of Warcraft (and MMOs in general) has always been about levels and gear -- get better gear or level up, and you can cast more spells, swing an axe harder, and move on to more epic encounters. But Blizzard's "equalizing content" means that gear isn't always an issue -- by putting you in control of something else, whether that be a mind-controlled Troll or a siege vehicle, you can have extremely epic encounters without worrying about whether you're powerful enough for them or not. The limiter becomes not gear but skill (and/or the knowledge of how to use those skills).
Obviously they can't do nothing but equalized content, otherwise we're all just playing the same game (and, under pressure from players, they've even moved on to a mix of both, where gear does affect how you play in a vehicle). But Blizzard has really hit on something brilliant with what we're calling "equalized content" here, and used in a balanced way, it can allow players of all kinds of different skill levels to do even more epic things than they'd normally be able to do.
BlizzCon tickets will be going on sale tomorrow, Saturday May 16th. While no specific time has been announced when they go on sale, there has been some conjecture. But it should be taken with a very small grain of salt.
WoW Insider will be up and running from 8am EDT onwards tomorrow, bringing you everything as it happens. This includes posting and twittering the moment the ticket sales go up.
For additional BlizzCon information, check out our recently released Guide to BlizzCon 2009. All the latest information will be kept there, and of course, right here on the main site when the news breaks.
And if there are any ticketing problems... well, we'll be covering that too. Here's hoping for the best.
Okay, I need help with this one. Waus from Trollbane sent Why you should never eat a brownie in to us. As the story goes, Waus was eating a brownie when he suffered from a collapsed lung. While in the hospital recuperating, he was inspired to create this machinima. I don't know what to make of this video, so I'm curious what the legion of Moviewatchers think about it.
The video's short and fast-paced. Basically, an evil Draenei snags a dangerous brownie and tricks a Night Elf into eating it. The voice acting is subtitled, but I'm pretty sure the Japanese dialogue does not match up with the subtitles. Obviously, after the Night Elf eats the brownie, she suffers dire consequences.
I feel almost ashamed to admit it, but the video made me laugh. It's just so over the top that it got giggles from me. The Blood Elf voice was worth a chuckle, and the whole thing is just so absurd it hit my funny bone. The animation isn't fancy, but I don't think that was supposed to be the point anyway. So, I don't know. It made me laugh, like I said, but what do you think of it?
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch
EDIT: By the way, Waus is a "he." The pronoun monster bit me.
Since you all liked our last massive UI glitch shot so much, I thought I'd throw up another one we recently received. Solitary of <Cerberus> on Ravenholdt-EU sent in this screenshot from a very different Tirisfal Glades. "I particularly like how my character's face has been used as the texture for her shoulder," she writes. "And the sky writing is just bizarre ... maybe that pesky Orphan slipped some pills in my drink."
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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.
Dealing with temporary changes in-game - Fri, 15 May 2009 09:00:00 EST Larisa's got a good rant about something I've considered before in a slightly different context: players aren't very good at anticipating how temporary game changes will work out. We, as a group (not individually necessarily), are quite quick to judgment when we see changes to the game, and the word Larisa uses is "conservatism" -- she notes the examples of the reaction to the zombie outbreak and the Children's Week batleground issues, and says that players "tossed the gift away, like spoiled kids." We (again, in general, not you specifically) have a very short view of how temporary changes will affect the game, lambast Blizzard for changing what didn't need to be changed, and very often, when the dust settles and the zombies are gone or the event is over, we realize that it wasn't so bad after all.
She's not talking about class changes here -- those are more permanent changes that affect the basic rules of the game. But specifically with temporary events (I'd even throw the Brewfest controversies, and the Headless Horseman complaints in the mix), players sometimes have reactions that are way out of proportion to the events themselves. These holidays and world events are temporary: shouldn't we just enjoy them while we can?
It's definitely a valid point, and something to remember for the next time a temporary event throws off your usual routine in-game. The fact is that we players are spoiled -- Blizzard generally does a great job keeping this game fun, and so when even a little issue sneaks into the game during a temporary event. But Larisa promises that next time she gets shaken up by a temporary change, she'll give it another chance. Sounds like a great idea to me.
WoW is a many-faceted game. One of the facets that I've really been enjoying recently is fishing; after getting my Dark Herring last weekend, I only need to polish off my last few Northrend pools to ding Accomplished Angler on my rogue. I also pulled up a sea turtle last weekend, and let me tell you, that thing is fun, especially because I don't have my flying mount yet (three more levels to go on that character), so it's the fastest way I have to get around aquatic areas.
I'm impressed with the way they've expanded on fishing in Wrath of the Lich King, especially with the new fishing dailies and the other changes that came to my favorite secondary profession in patch 3.1. My biggest gripe is that the Weather-Beaten Fishing Hat still evades me. The fishing gods even went so far as to taunt me with a Battered Jungle Hat last time I turned in the daily. That's just not cool, man. Not cool.
Has anyone else been having a great time fishing lately?
BlizzCon tickets go on sale in two days, this Saturday, May 16th. One question we at WoW Insider have received several times is: "when on Saturday do the tickets go on sale?" So far, Blizzard has been silent on this issue.
Turns out there's a good reason for that - they don't know themselves. Bornakk puts it as follows: "we don't have an exact time on when they will be up but our web engineers will need to be here to properly start and monitor the system when it goes live so we don't plan to be doing that in the middle of the night."
In response to a poster's conjecture that since the billing department is going to be open from 9 AM to 6 PM this Saturday (they're not usually open on weekends), tickets will be sold during that time as well, Bornakk calls it a "solid line of thought." So that's the best information we have so far: not in the middle of the night, and probably sometime between 9 AM and 6 PM PDT. If we hear any more, we'll keep you posted.
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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
The Queue is generally a weekday affair, but since this Saturday is going to be a busy day for us WoW players, we're going to be doing a special edition this weekend. You didn't forget about BlizzCon tickets going on sale this Saturday, did you? I hope not! If you have any BlizzCon related questions, get them in over the next couple of days, and we'll see what we can do for you this weekend. Erogroth asked...
"What is the status on the Warcaft movie? I have not heard anything in a long time. Is it even in production? Will we ever see it? Is there even a website?"
I tried to make a "stealth nerf" pun in the headline, but it just wasn't coming to me. Anyway, Blizzard has decided that items that grant stealth detection were feeling too mandatory in arenas, "forc[ing] players to use lower level equipment even when more powerful items were available to them." Therefore, they've nerfed the lot of them.
This hotfix is already live; tooltips are not updated, yet, but will be in the next patch (patch 3.1.2).
What's your reaction to this? Obviously it's bad when people feel compelled to wear low-level items because they're overpowered (witness the Badge of Tenacity for Druid tanks), but is this going to lead to rogues becoming even more overpowered than (I hear) they already are?