Yep. Ask a Beta Tester is officially The Queue. It's kind of a joke, you get it? Get it? You know, queue, like you wait in line for an answer? An A to your Q? Q? Queue? Hahah! Get it? Get it!? Hahahah! Ugh. Queue queue.
Anyway, The Queue is now our daily Q&A column, where the WoW Insider staff answers your questions about the game to the best of our ability. Previously limited to Wrath content, we'll now happily answer most anything about the game if we're able. Today is obviously no exception, so we're going to start with a question from Andostre...
TBC saw a rise in the necessity of Hit Rating. Is Hit as important in Wrath? I ask because Hit isn't nearly as fun as Attack/Spell Power or Crit rating.
Each week, Arcane Brilliance rounds up all of the quest mobs in an area, gathers them all up into a giant, tagged, frozen gaggle, then AoEs them to death while everybody else has to watch and wait for the respawn. Just kidding, Arcane Brilliance doesn't actually do that at all. Why? Because that would make Arcane Brilliance a selfish jerk. I'm not even making a joke here. I'm saying in thinly veiled code to that Gnome Frost Mage in Gjalerbron yesterday, "you, sir, are a selfish jerk." Ok, so maybe the code isn't even thinly veiled. Maybe it isn't even a code, exactly. All I know is that one of these days, I hope you forget how much mana you have, and run out right when you've gathered an extremely large group of quest mobs, and that those quest mobs then surround you and tear you limb from Gnomish limb while you mash your Ice Block button in vain. Jerk.
So, apparently an expansion came out, or something? Seriously, what are you doing here, reading this? I'm going to assume that you're trapped at work or something. Don't despair! There's still time for you to cultivate a nice, wet, contagious-sounding cough, something that can only be cured by a bit of time off, spent nursing yourself back to health in front of your computer, killing zombified murlocs and getting sea-lions to mate with each other. Not that we don't want you here, of course. We here at WoW Insider appreciate every second you choose to spend here. But holy crap,Wrath of the Lich King is awesome.
Follow me after the break, and we'll discuss the process of leveling in this strange new continent, list a few leveling builds, and just generally blabber on about how awesome everything is.
Unlike a great many of my friends and acquaintances, I'm on record as liking the graphical design of Outland and The Burning Crusade. I never had any trouble distinguishing between the Naaru and their crystal, dimensional ships and spacecraft, I absolutely love the Draenei and the Exodar, I'm a big fan of Nagrand and the stark, barren and destroyed vistas of Netherstorm and Shadowmoon Valley. So I expected that, unlike what seems to be the majority of players, I would in fact be dissatisfied with the visual design of Wrath of the Lich King.
As you can see, however, they realized some of us would be hard sells, so they let me dual wield two hand weapons from the back of a flying carpet. Blizzard, how do you know me better than I do? I didn't even know I wanted to do that!
Bat Boy, everyone's favorite tabloid freak, has gotten in on the Wrath of the Lich King fervor -- unfortunately, he's too young (and creepy) to actually earn money, so instead he reportedly (reported by the Weekly World News, of course, your number one source for Bat Boy news) scared a Warcraft fan, causing him to drop his copy, and sending Bat Boy off to Northrend to level up to 80 with the rest of us. You can add "stealing the expansion" to the list of crimes Bat Boy's already perpetrated.
Bat Boy could not be reached for comment for this story, which is too bad -- we really wanted to know what class the West Virginia legend plays (is that an Undead Warlock on the screen? And why doesn't he have any skills on his action bars?), and whether he started in Howling Fjord or Borean Tundra.
A screenshot and a quick Armory check shows that Dessembrae of Mazrigos-EU is quite possibly the world's first Level 80 Death Knight. Unless proven otherwise, Dessembrae earned the feat at around 19:00 CET. Deathknight.info, the resource for all things Death Knight, reports the achievement after making a call-out to all Death Knight enthusiasts. It appears that Dessembrae overtook Arello, whose Death Knight reportedly hit 70 ahead of everyone else.
It's quite apparent that the early launch of the game in European realms proved to be too much of a hurdle for US realm-based players as most major achievements were obtained by European players such as the first player to Level 80, and even the mastery of all current PvE content. With most world first and realm first Achievements getting snapped up, it looks as though it'll soon be time for most players to settle into a more comfortable groove. That is, um, maybe actually enjoying the scenery.
Just an hour ago, we reported that über mutant guild conglomerate TwentyFifthNovember, a merger of two of the world's bleeding edge guilds -- SK Gaming and Nihilum -- beat the 'entry-level' raid of Naxxramas. This was fast, although not entirely unexpected considering that Naxxramas was an old-world raid that was retuned for 25-man (and 10-man) content. However, TwentyFifthNovember's website reports that they have also defeated Malygos, currently the end, and supposedly most difficult, boss of current Wrath of the Lich King content (Icecrown and Arthas will be accessible in a future patch). Their website says 'soon...' but I didn't take that to mean 'right now'.
This means that within three days of the game's launch, a guild has leveled to max level (although some members of the raid were below 80) and defeated all available raid content. While Blizzard has admitted to tuning the game to become more accessible to more players, or a more casual audience, TwentyFifthNovember's defeat of all PvE content available in the current game brings into question just how tuned down PvE content has become. It will be interesting to see how long it will take another Guild to clear through all of Northrend. Congratulations, TwentyFifthNovember! You can now all go an play Guitar Hero. Or something.
Wrath 101: Upgrading equipment in minutes on the AH - Sat, 15 Nov 2008 14:00:00 EST New Wrath greens are dropping fast and furious, as are BoE blues, plus crafters are cranking out new Wrath pieces to level up and much of this is getting dumped on the Auction House. If you're still wearing Outland greens and blues, I highly recommend heading directly to the AH and search the Armor and Weapons section. Sort the results by level so new Wrath items will show up at the top. Now, go crazy.
Clearly this won't work well for those who are Kara geared (and beyond) but for everyone else, you can grab some excellent pieces for 10-50 gold. If you have trouble determining if a piece is an upgrade, install the RatingsBuster AddOn that translates stats into direct benefits (i.e. +5 Agility displays as +0.13% Crit & +0.26% Dodge for my Feral Druid.)
Arthas awaits and so do your questions. Find the answers you've been looking for that will help you with your journey into Northrend and to level 80 with Wrath 101.
As predicted, the WoW Minis game from Upper Deck has launched -- starter packs and booster sets are now available at a collectible store near you. I got to play the game with one of its designers at BlizzCon, and I actually found it a lot of fun -- it's very much like a turn-based Arena match, though there are fewer abilities to choose from, and if your characters are killed, they actually come back, as the victory is points-based, not just a deathmatch. But it's very similar to Arena matches in that you spend points on abilities, terrain can help or hurt, and each class has its own counters and tactics.
I found it to be a lot of fun, and probably would get involved in it if I had a friend I could also sucker into it, but no dice so far. Plus, it's two hobbies in one -- not only do you get a fun strategy game (that's surprisingly versatile -- you can play with more than two players if you like, and your victory points requirements are based on your characters, not the opposing sides', so you can play with whatever characters you like), but you also get to collect some cool minature reproductions of some of Warcraft's most famous faces. Good deal. Have you checked the game out yet, or is it something you're interested in?
How long has it been since the game launched? Two, three days? It was news when French player Nymh power-leveled his way to 80, but barely a day after that... guess what? Naxxramas has been cleared. This feat was achieved by TwentyFifthNovember, the newly merged SK-Gaming and Nihilum über-guild of Magtheridon-EU. The two bleeding edge guilds have had the most combined world first achievements of any guild and their clearing 25-man Naxxramas is almost expected.
What's not quite expected is how soon they achieved it. I know Blizzard already said that there would no longer be any raid dungeons as hard as Sunwell Plateau, but this is somewhat ridiculous. I mean, getting to Level 80 is one thing, but clearing the first 25-man raid before the weekend is over? Did Blizzard make it too easy? Are they really just that good? Or do the rest of the world just... suck? It's greatly impressive but somehow also seems to leave me with a feeling that the game is just a little less fun now. Just a little. Congratulations to TwentyFifthNovember! It's a phenomenal feat -- but it looks like their Guild name stands for something else, though. I wonder what they will have cleared by November 25?
If you decided to skip on the midnight launches that happened all over the world, or if you managed to resist the urge to go out and buy the game soon after launch, leaving you as one of the few (and perhaps proud) last bastions of anti-Lich Kingdom... maybe it's time to give in. Blizzard has now made direct online upgrades to Wrath of the Lich King available on their website. It's not easy to find, as the option is hidden away in the account management page, and the Buy The Game button on their splash page still leads to the outdated, unhelpful Preorder page. We at WoW Insider are going to do a public service and make it easy for you to upgrade. Just click on the picture above.
This is great news for players unable to secure the game through regular channels, as some stores in other countries have reported trouble stocking the game. The direct online upgrade is also an affordable option as it does away with any shipping costs or related sales taxes by area -- for the most part, anyway, as some states will still get charged a tax. For exactly $39.99 and a roughly 1.7Gb download (if your account is already upgraded to The Burning Crusade), you too can be joining your friends in the cold of Northrend.
This is also a welcome move from Blizzard, who made online upgrades to vanilla and The Burning Crusade comparatively late after those games launched. That the direct online upgrade appears mere days after the game's launch is somewhat surprising but progressive, indicating that Blizzard only wanted to ensure attendance during the worldwide events. I reckon that if this option had been available on launch day, we'd have had pretty empty stores. Now, where'd I put my credit card...
[UPDATE: Please note that some readers have sent in feedback that using the online upgrade service results in an error, so we'd advise to proceed with caution for the meantime. You can learn more about the errors on this thread at the official forums.]
What do you mean, I'm not on the list to get in? How is there a list? This is an ancient tower in the middle of a frozen wasteland, surrounded by dead things. I'm here to kill dragons and steal their loot, not dance to horrible techno music with a bunch of hopped-up club freaks. Well, fine, then! I'm going to make my own temple, with blackjack, and hookers. In fact, forget the temple. (Thanks to Barjin of <Bankai> on Darkspear-EU for this Dragonblight screenshot.)
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The mount is starting to show up on live realms today. Some folks that have very deep pockets are picking them up for the maximum cost. Reactions are mixed. Most people will target the mount, look through the vendors, and some will ask to get on it for a quick ride. Others will /point /laugh.
The vendors on the mount are both a reagent vendor and a food / general goods vendor. The reagent vendor allows you to repair on the fly, the food / general vendor lets you pickup food and water when ever you need it, and both allow you to sell stuff on a whim. The general vendor also has unlimited arrows and bullets.
It's very nice for leveling in some ways, and will be quite nice for raiding in that you'll always have someplace close with reagents and other essentials.
And it even gives you +18 hit rating, which is extra nice (by 78 you've hopefully already reached your hit cap, whatever that is, but putting it on the gun and off of your other gear will allow for a little more flexibility. It's an all-round good gun on your way up to 80 -- there will certainly be better but for the rep, which you'll probably get sleepwalking through Howling Fjord, it's a new reward.
The Countdown to Wrath Giveaways are all wrapped up, but we've got one more awesome Razer product for one lucky winner. The Razer Destructor gaming surface isn't just a mouse pad -- it's a nature reserve for your gaming mouse. This thing was designed with tournament teams in mind, and it's such a crazy piece of mouse-supporting machinery that it comes with its own case. Even non-gaming mice play better on this thing, and if you've got a gaming mouse, your tracking could be up to 37% faster just by putting the mouse on this baby. This isn't the Cadillac of mousepads -- it's the just-paved, scrubbed, and re-painted highway underneath that brand new Cadillac.
To enter, leave a commenton this post before Monday, November 17th, 2008 at 6pm ET. One winner will be chosen randomly and will receive a Destructor professional gaming mat (valued at $40). You must be at least 18 to enter and a legal resident of the United States or non-Quebec resident of Canada. You can only enter once. Click here for complete Official Rules.
This is one of your last chances to pick something up during our Wrath contests if you haven't yet -- make sure to get your comment below to get in on the random drawing.
It's that time of the week again, and even though Wrath is out and we're all playing up a storm, we'll be taking some time out of our schedule to put out our weekly podcast, the WoW Insider Show, and you should come join us. We'll be live on Ustream tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern (time zone calculator), and this week, we'll welcome the site's other co-lead blogger, Dan O'Halloran on with us -- he was live on the scene in Anaheim with Blizzard and about a thousand fans during the launch, and he got to talk to Tom Chilton, so we'll get him to tell us all about that. And Chase Christian, who writes the Encrypted Text rogue column, will be joining us as well to talk about his experiences from 70-72 so far. Additionally, we'll be chatting about Blizzard issues with server downtime and how they've fared post-launch so far (very well, I think, queues notwithstanding), and we'll talk about that first to 80 player and all of our other experiences in Northrend over the past few days.
Should be a terrific show, definitely tune in on Ustream, or just come right back to this post, as we've embedded the stream after the break. If you've got a question for the show or something you'd like us to talk about, just drop a note: our email address is the show AT wowinsider dot com. And of course we'll be on for our usual aftershow -- after the show ends, we turn off the recording and chat directly with the people in the channel, so if you haven't listened live before, there's a great reason to tune in tomorrow. See you there!
WoW Insider interviews Tom Chilton - Fri, 14 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST A couple of days ago at the midnight release of Wrath of the Lich King in Anaheim, CA, our very own Dan O'Halloran had an opportunity speak with Tom Chilton (also known as Kalgan), Lead Game Designer of World of Warcraft. They spoke on a wide variety of topics, from raid philosophy to the growth of the game in North America and many things in between. Read on to see what Kalgan had to say! WoW Insider: What did Blizzard think was the most surprising class development of The Burning Crusade? Did you think Paladin tanks would be as popular as they were, did you anticipate the Druid supremacy in the arena?
And odds are that you've met the main guest of the expansion already as well -- I bumped into him during a walk through the spirit world in Wyrmskull Village, and he wasn't very nice to me already (and frankly, I saw a side of him I've never seen before -- having identifed myself as a Shaman for so long, it was extremely interesting to see him do the same). Blizzard promised from the beginning that we'd meet and greet with the lore heavyweights early on, and they weren't kidding -- we're right in the mix from the time we step off the boat.
I love it -- without getting too spoilery, what else is worth seeing in these starting zones? We almost got Keristrasza down last night in The Nexus, and it's almost hard to remember those days when it took 40 players to take down a dragon -- even solo and five man players get to do epic stuff nowadays. What have you done already?
For some of you, your eyes will be on the goals of end game. You're not going to need as many consumables now as you did before. This represents a change in Blizzard philosophy. Don't even think about using Mana Oils or Wizard Oils (or stones) as they will not work on items over level 70. Pro tip: Chances are, you'll be using your present weapons for a while. Might as well use any you have left over for those while you level until you come across a replacement weapon.
It once hovered over the Eastern Plaguelands. Now you can find this entry level instance in Dragonblight to the east. Players that experienced the old version of Naxx will notice many similarities in this latest rendition. Many of the bosses have returned (with the exception of a particular Knight from the 4 Horsemen).
This is the first entry level Onyxia style boss you'll encounter. Sartharion is surrounded by 3 mini-boss dragons. Think of it as a modified Zul'Aman instance challenge. You can set the difficulty of the encounter by sparing any number of dragons. Leaving all 3 up when you engage Sartharion results in more items (and better quality). The Sanctum is also located in Dragonblight below Wyrmrest Temple.
The Eye of Eternity
Malygos makes the Eye of Eternity his domain. This is the only raid instance you will find in The Nexus. Before you can summon Malygos, you need to have the Heroic Key to the Focusing Iris (or its 10 man counterpart, the Key to the Focusing Iris). It'll be the first instance where you get to engage the boss on flying mounts!
Check out our walkthrough of these three early Wrath raids in the gallery below!
I've been waiting to do some breakdown analysis of the Wrath world event until it actually ended, and since we're now swarming over Northrend and exploring Arthas' domain, I think the time has come to determine a verdict on whether or not Blizzard's world event delivered.
The short answer? I think it did, but not without a few bumps along the way. This was certainly the most ambitious world event Blizzard has attempted yet, both reusing some of their old techniques (the Scourge invasion), some newer tricks (a special boss with extra loot, which they learned from the Horseman last year), and even some tricks they picked up from players. But there were certain issues -- the timing was just plain bad, and the event really fizzled out rather than finished with a bang.
After the break, we run through what Blizzard did right and wrong with the world event, and what we can expect in the future.