We've been a little husky the past few weeks here at Phat Loot Phriday, so this week we're aiming to fix that, and get back to what this column is all about: gigantic spiky, glowy things that you can kill with.
Name: Torch of the Damned (Wowhead, Thottbot, Retribution) Type: Epic Two-hand Mace Damage/Speed: 396-595 / 3.80 (130.4 DPS) Abilities:
+51 Strength, +45 Stamina
Improves crit strike rating by 38, improves haste rating by 50.
Great for Paladins, and any other class that uses weapon damage for certain abilities. Warning: this gets into some deep math, and you guys know I'm bad at that, so expect to see some more number crunching in the comments. Basically, Seal of Command, a Ret Pally talent, gives a chance to add 70% of the weapon's damage to any normal attacks, and since most weapons trade off speed for damage (as in, the slower the weapon, the higher the damage), slow weapons are better -- you'll get more damage output when SoC procs. And since this weapon is very slow and very powerful, you'll get more damage overall out of Seal of Command.
The Haste rating is also good for Paladins, not because it will help with Seal of Command (SoC is a procs-per-minute talent, so no matter how many times you hit, you can't get it to proc more often), but because it'll let you hit more often, which means more white damage. Any class that benefits from big swing damage (Windfury is awesome when it procs with a huge weapon like this) will love this mace.
Oh, and anytime we mention a two-handed weapon, Matthew Rossi's eyebrow twitches until we mention Titan's Grip. Imagine seeing a Warrior wielding this baby... and something else at the same time. Yeah.
How to Get It: Drops from the Essence of Anger, which is part of the Reliquary of Souls in the Black Temple (which, trivia for you, was influenced heavily by Sinistar, an old arcade game). Essence of Anger is the third phase, so get your 25 man raid up to that point, be one of those silly Ret Paladins (silly Paladins -- DPSing is for Hunters, Locks, Mages, and Rogues!), and spend your DKP or win the roll, whatever you need to do. Then you too can haul around this big purple spiky Mace, swinging it at will and bringing your enemies to their knees with just one proc.
Getting Rid of It: You probably won't, for a while. But it does disenchant into a Void Crystal, and vendors will buy it back for 18g 43s 86c
Reader Thiago asked a good question today: Why do so many NPC races not have female models? I admit, it's something I and a lot of other fellow lore nerds in my guild have noticed and discussed before. Why have all the females gone?
I figured it might be fun to do a little bit of an analysis, and see what might have happened to all these ladies. This is by no means a complete list of the femaleless races in game, of course, or I'd have to spend a couple days on this article. But here's a few select ones to discuss.
WoW Insider Show's Turpster on How I Wow - Fri, 15 Aug 2008 15:30:00 EST Somehow, our good friend Turpster has scammed his way was invited on to another podcast, Patrick and Shawn from How I WoW -- a podcast that interviews "interesting people from all walks of life" -- wrangled him into their virtual studio for a long chat about what he's working lately, including our little show, his work with Turpstervision, his musical makings, and his upcoming movie and book, Why I Are teh Best (strangely, they didn't touch on his new fashion line, but that's not coming out 'till the fall anyway). It's a long podcast, and they hit on all kinds of things (from the issues over the leaked Wrath alpha to what kinds of games Turpster's girlfriend beats him at), so definitely give it a listen.
How I WoW (both Patrick and Shawn are regulars on The Instance, another popular WoW podcast) has been doing a lot of good stuff so far -- they chatted with our friend Veronica Belmont a little while ago, as well as Felicia Day from The Guild, and they sat down with Curt Schilling a while back to talk Warcraft (and a little bit about the WoW Insider Show, I understand, even if not by name). They've offered a lot of fun indepth looks at people around the WoW community, and not surprisingly, Turpster turns out to be no exception. It's definitely cool to get a look at the man behind the T.
Not surprisingly, Blizzard says they just weren't prepared for the demand -- last year, tickets sold much slower, and the close release date of the next expansion, in addition to the growth of WoW over the past year and, on the horizon, interest in Starcraft II and Diablo III, pushed fervor for tickets to a high. Blizzard thought by adding in more space and selling more tickets they'd account for demand, but they say a review of the entire process is now in order.
Damron says a lottery (like the one they plan to use to sell the extra 3000 tickets) will be a definite possibility. We'll have to see exactly how that process works as Blizzard sells off the rest of the tickets for this year's BlizzCon, but it does definitely sound to us like they are taking serious considerations to make sure that buyers of BlizzCon tickets, many of Blizzard's biggest fans, don't go through what happened earlier this week again.
The current Wrath of the Lich King beta has had a lot of ups and downs. At present, since you can't say any class is finished and talents and abilities are subject to change at a moment's notice, all that can really be done is to evaluate what's currently the situation with the class. (As a warning, everything beyond this sentence will most likely be full of spoilers.)
My general overview would be 'flawed, but with a good deal of potential'. I've covered my favorite talent to death, and the situation remains the same as it did last week, so I'm not going to belabor that particular deceased equine. I should point out that I'm still using the talent in my current build at level 75, and doing very good DPS in instances, tanking, and soloing with it too. I try and respec every day and have that day be dedicated to testing out talents and abilities, but when I decide to push for the next level, I always go back to a heavy fury TG spec. The burst damage potential of TG itself is half of the equation, but the other half is how wildly improved Bloodthirst is. To put it succinctly, I can now regain about 1000 health every 6 seconds. Sometimes, I actually end fights healed from when I went into them. Mortal Strike will probably remain the king of PvP, but for leveling I cannot imagine not taking bloodthirst now. You will bandage maybe one fight in ten. You will eat to get a food buff. It's that good.
I'm going to try and go over as many comments from last week and answer what I can, and when I can't answer them I'll try and be up front and say so. I've not had a chance to do everything: I'm trying to level a shaman and a warrior to 77 as fast as possible and that's while still MTing for my guild for a full raid schedule.
Reader Jacckk sent along this funny bit of WoW, hidden in a strange place. On the menu of one Eden's Pizza in St. Paul, Minnesota, there is an item for an "Ornate Triple Pepperoni Blunderbuss," right in between the "Mean Supreme" and "Sicilian" styles (actually, the "Rastafarian" sounds really good, too). And yes, for those of you who've done some gun shopping in Azeroth, the artery-clogging pepperoni with mozza and feta monstrosity is apparently a reference to the old Ornate Blunderbuss, a vendor weapon available pretty commonly throughout the game.
Why they'd name their pizza after a vendor weapon in WoW, we have no idea, but there you go. If you do call them up to order the pizza though (think they'd deliver me one to Chicago?), make sure to get a side of Sulfuras Buffalo Wings, too -- they'll make you "taste the fire of Sulfuron!"*
* I also would have accepted "Sulfuras Buffalo Wings: By fire be purged!"
Longtime machinimatorsSveth and Qvist, the duo that makes up Founding Arts, have put together a teaser for their upcoming film, Echoes of Time. Based on lore, they've chosen to break it down into two films which will be released in Fall 2008. The first part covers the shaping of Kalimdor, the Alliance of Lordaeron, the Second war, and the Arthas's putrefecation. The second part will touch upon Illidan's alliance with the Blood Elves, the deceit of Kael'thas, and the powers of an Eredar God.
We're not sure how long they've been working on this, but they haven't released anything since December 2007. That would probably explain why they're asking for voiceover, writing help, and general support. For more information on the film, check out their blog.
We're starting out today with a question on everyone's favorite mystical city: Dalaran. (That is your favorit mystical city, rihgt? Because otherwise we'll have to start all over...)
How does Blizzard account for all the wanton slaughter of Dalaran folk by the Horde? How would a hordie get into Dalaran because of this?
Not being Chris Metzen, it's tricky to answer this question. Dalaran was not treated kindly by the Horde in the Second War and even today in Silverpine Forest and Hillsbrad Foothills, Horde questlines encourage the killing of Dalaran's mages. So how exactly is Blizzard working around this minor problem? WoWWiki claims that Dlaran has been neutral since the Lands in Conflict RPG sourcebook, but provides no additional details. How Blizzard is going to mkae lore mesh with reality? We aren't sure yet, but we're keeping out eyes open.
For more of your questions -- and our answers! -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
Oh, Kael'thas. How the mighty have fallen. You went from a courageous, empathetic Alliance mage who had a thing for Jaina to a megalomaniac self-styled King of the Elves, and now you're just a broken-down heroin addict with a sickly pallor and an unfashionable shrapnel wound, getting repeatedly farmed for your pet bird. At least you still have something to play with. Maybe you and Jareth could get together and have an isolated-lunatic-magic-orb-twirling contest. (Thanks to netcowboy for the dead-draenei-eye-view screenshot!)
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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets.
Hey, folks. You've only got fourteen and a half more hours to participate in this week's Caption This! contest. To participate, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight!
Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place and a choice of one of seven World of Warcraft action figures (see original post for details) for runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here. Voting for the winner should be available Tuesday morning, so you'll have something to do during maintenance.
With all of the Wrath news flying around lately, it is a welcome break to be covering live content. For the past few weeks, Insider Trader has been delving into the recipes that each trade can acquire from factions by earning reputation.
So far, we've covered:
Plans for blacksmiths.
Recipes for alchemists.
Patterns for leatherworkers.
Patterns for tailors.
This week, we'll be looking into faction-supplied designs for jewelcrafters, and because of the sheer number of them, this will continue into next week as well.
Here's a breakdown of the factions to which you'll be paying a fair amount of attention: (Note that the bold entries will be covered in this week's edition).
So, recently we learned that Blizzard would be doing everything they could to reward achievements retroactively. Besides the obvious rewards for exploring, they will also look at your quest logs and gear and give retroactive rewards out for dungeons and raids based on what they find.
It's a pretty cool idea that'll help us old vets feel like we've accomplished something with these years in the game, and I'm all for it. It's also been sort of fun to look at my transferred characters on the Beta servers and see what I have and haven't run, or what I have run but am not credited for.
What's occurred to me though is that I could go back to the live servers, run a few dungeons, finish a few quests, tuck a few pieces of random loot away, and come out of the gate on Wrath release day with a whole bunch more shiny achievement points. You know, if I could actually tear myself away from the Beta servers.
But anyway, the idea is tempting, if only because it's a constructive thing to do with my characters before Wrath hits and the grind to 80 starts for real. After all, no matter how often they up the level cap and add new dungeons, they'll never take the Slave Pens achievement away from me.
Are any of you out there working at racking up what achievements you can preemptively? If not, are you considering it?
So, we theorized about talented pets a bit quite a few installments of Scattered Shots ago, but now we have the actual trees live and testable on the Wrath Beta, and they seem to be firming up nicely. There's a few promised changes yet to come, such as the removal or lowering of focus costs on many major abilities and talents, and it's still very possible that Blizzard may make changes here and there before live, but I think they're solid enough at this point that we can look at each tree and make some solid predictions about how people will use them and how various talent builds might look.
Leveling alts seems to be a popular way for some folks to pass the time they wait for Wrath to hit. After reading what people love about playing a 'lock, perhaps you're toying with the idea of crossing over to the dark side to join us. So, for this week's Blood Pact, we'll explain the things you should know about starting a warlock if you're coming from the perspective of having a level 70 main from a different class.
Think of a warlock as the bastard child of a mage and a hunter: high damage-producing, squishy casters with pets. If your main is one of these classes, you'll feel right at home with ranged damage, casting, mana management, and pets. On the other hand, any class that relies solely on melee or provides a primary healing function for a group is so not similar to a warlock. The polar opposite of a warlock is either the protection warrior or the holy paladin.
Here's how to change your mindset based on what your main's class or group function is.
Very impressive. She says she hit Exalted only two quests after 30, and that she basically just did every single quest there was to find, save for the Raene's Cleaning end quest (so she could keep the rod). She doesn't mention /played time (all of the traveling probably added a little bit of extra leveling time in there), but however long it took, it was worth it, as she's one of the lowest non-faction Exalted characters we've seen. Nice job.
The European-gaming savvy among our readers will already be familiar with the Leipzig-held Games Convention. "If a seismograph were installed in Leipzig," says the GC website, "it would probably swing to its limits for four days non-stop in August."
Vaneras announced today that Blizzard's going to be once again showcasing at the Games Convention. Not only will attendees be able to try out StarCraft 2 demos, they'll get a chance to play around with Wrath of the Lich King. And, as seems to be standard operating procedure, Blizzard will be providing a "Live Raid" during the show. They've not announced who the Live Raid is going to be, but I think safe money's on Nihilum.
The other thing at Leipzig which is pretty cool is that Blizzard's going to have representatives at the booth ... recruiting. They recommend bringing your resume along when you visit the Blizzard booth, and asking questions about what it's like to work for the Big Blue.
The Leipzig Games Convention had a few interesting things coming out of it last year, so we might get a chance to hear even more without having to wait for BlizzCon.
Glyph of Lightwell - Increases the amount healed by your Lightwell by 20%.
I've played around with Lightwell on the beta quite a bit, actually, and its current incarnation is fantastic. The HoT rarely breaks, and my guildies are generally intelligent enough to know when to use it. At level 77 in full level 70 gear, each tick of LIghtwell currently heals for around 2,200. Each tick healing for 2600-2700 with this glyph is pretty amazing, considering it's a "set it and forget it" heal.
Glyph of Renew - Reduces the duration of your Renew by 3 sec. but increases the amount healed per tick by 40%.
Sounds good to me. It will be a little more mana intensive to keep the HoT on a tank, but strong HoTs are priceless.
The OC Register article makes a good point noting that some major events, such as the World Series, have had ticketing problems in the past. However, it is also pointed out that other sites such as NBCOlympics.com still stay up even under the pressure of lots of traffic.
With Mike Morhaime's apology late last night, and his offering up 3,000 additional tickets via a lottery, it will be interesting to see what this does to appease the fans in the long run. It is good to see that this issue is getting some wider coverage outside of the game and fan sites. While bad press isn't exactly good, it usually leads to things being better the next time around.
The latest beta build has brought a new twist to the good old map interface. As MMO Champion reports, there is now a dropdown box on the map screen, letting you choose from a few different "floors." What this means exactly, we aren't sure -- the obvious conclusion is that you'll now be able to look at different sections of the world map (for example, see into different levels of buildings or caverns). And Dalaran (which this map is a part of) is one of those areas that has two different levels, so this particular menu will let you see both halves of the city.
But this also suggests an even bigger change: including maps of instances in the official interface. Since launch, Blizzard hasn't ever shown us ingame instance maps (though we're not sure why -- maybe they want to require players to explore instances rather than follow a map through them). But lately, addons like Atlas have made them easily available to players, so maybe Blizzard has decided it's time to map out dungeons as well. We'll have to see what use they put this new dropdown to.
I was all set to tell you that I'd had a couple of interesting PuG runs in the beta testing out restoration spec, and that all was relatively well. The new spells are interesting and even powerful, at least at the five man level, I was about to say. I would have told you about successful and unsuccessful runs in both Utgarde Keep and the Nexus. All of this would have been what I wrote about today.
However, for most of yesterday the beta was inaccessible and when it finally came up again, it was patched, and that patch kicked me in the metaphorical testicles. I don't think I've been as shocked by a change to the game, especially one that's apparently intended like this one is. My first thought was that I'm not going to be using rank 1 healing wave to stack healing way on a tank before a pull anymore. In fact, several of the pieces of advice I gave back last September (wow, it's really been over a year) on beginning to heal as a shaman are now outdated.
I understand that this change isn't just aimed at Resto shamans nor does it just affect them, but it's a big change for at least how I heal, so I'm going to discuss it along with other aspects of the class that I've observed. Note that most of these are from before patch 8788 but they should still be valid... well, as valid as any observations about a patch on a beta server can be.