Mr. Peanut and his monocle: Bank toon fashion - Wed, 16 Apr 2008 18:30:00 EST So you're getting all rich and the gold's started to pour in. You've made lots of wise investments and your arbitrage has been paying off great dividends. You've even got a bank toon to handle all your business -- after all, the rich folk leave all the dirty work to their accountants. Here's a question for you... is your bank toon dressed for the part? See, it just isn't right for your bank toon to run around Stormwind or Orgrimmar in their underwear, no matter how much that delights your inner pervert. Bank toons must be dignified... classy, even. They are the keepers of your wealth, so give them their due by throwing out that ratty Thug Shirt.
Fortunately for you, WoW Insider has prepared a simple makeover guide for your bank toon. If you've been treating your banker right, you've probably dressed them in the tuxedo sets made from Tailoring or obtained through the Noblegarden event. Complete the look with a perfectly matching pair of Frayed Shoes. You probably won't find these on the Auction House, but they drop from Level 1-5 mobs, so they shouldn't be a problem to farm. If you're too lazy (or unlucky), you can purchase Heavy Weave Shoes from clothiers in most cities. These also go very well with tuxedo sets but require Level 12. I personally keep my banker at Level 1 too keep her ego in check, so it's the Frayed Shoes for her.
I wrote up about Leatherworking as the hardcore raider's profession of choice. This is due to one particular item -- the Drums of Battle -- which greatly increases raid efficiency, particularly if the buff can be kept up indefinitely throughout a boss encounter. The item is so raid-beneficial that even cloth-wearers, who cannot equip any leather items, drop more aligned professions such as Tailoring. For Arena PvP, where each stat point counts towards survivability and lethality, there is no better profession than Enchanting and to a lesser degree, Jewelcrafting. Arena players competing at the highest levels have taken up Enchanting purely for the exclusive ring enchantments. A quick inspection of all players rated 2k and above will reveal that most have taken up at least Enchanting and enchanted their rings with the appropriate enchantments.
Today I dropped Mining to take up Enchanting after months of internal debate. I know the cost involved and it would break my back to level all the way to 375 for the Enchant Ring - Stats and the Enchant Ring - Healing Power along the way, but if I felt that if I were truly dedicated to Arena play, there simply was no other way. In fact, I'm rather disappointed in myself for having taken this long to take up Enchanting. Embarrassingly, I wasn't hardcore enough. Fortunately, I had informed my wife of this decision weeks ago and she's been generous enough to amass a bunch of Enchanting materials for me to use in skilling up. She even made me a Spellfire Bag. Now the trek begins.
I'm not as sold on Jewelcrafting for PvP, however, so I'm keeping my Blacksmithing. I also have an emotional attachment to my Stormherald, even though I know the Season 3 mace is arguably better. But as more and more players run around wielding one of the coolest-looking weapons in the game, thanks to the easy availability of Nether Vortexes, I'm pretty sure my love affair will soon end. Jewelcrafting only has unique-equipped gems with minor stat point benefits so I think I'll pass on it for now. I'm also willing to wager that Wrath of the Lich King holds nice BoP surprises for crafting professions. It feels good to have finally made the jump. At the very least, I can put this silly little racial skill to good use. Enchant Bracer - Minor Health, anyone?
World of Rick Roll - Wed, 16 Apr 2008 16:00:00 EST I don't know what it is about the WoW community, but every link I see I'm forced to double check its authenticity just so I don't get Rick Rolled. What is this cultural phenomenon of Rick Rolling you ask? No, it's not some sort of new drug, it's just a YouTube video of Rick Astley singing "Never gonna give you up." When you watch the video for the hundredth time it gets a tad annoying. And you do have to watch the whole video, because let's face it, if you don't the tune is just going to sit in your head for the rest of the day. Then you'll be dreaming of Rick Astley, and that's...well... just unsettling.
Often times in the official forums people will post a link to some WoWWiki article or something, and instead of the link actually going where it is advertized to go, it'll go to the Rick Roll video instead.
I personally am rather tired of always having to check the link to see if the video ends in uuiU, which seems to be the most common YouTube video used to Rick Roll people. There are some browser addons out there that'll stop you from being Rick Rolled, if you're so inclined to install them. But as always, be sure that you're getting these addons from a reputable source.
Have you been Rick Rolled lately? Share your tales of horror.
Popular hunter pet site Petopia gets a facelift, new informational pages - Wed, 16 Apr 2008 15:00:00 EST Here's a nice little bit of news for all leveling Hunters, people looking into starting a hunter alt, or people looking to switch out or tweak out their current pet: the popular depository of all things Hunter pet related in WoW, Petopia, has gotten a facelift and a few handy new reference pages. The quick links and references seem to be a lot more streamlined now, and it should be even easier to find information. Some pages are still making the transition, and some of the pet pictures have not been updated to the new color scheme, but Mania assures us she is working on that.
In the meantime, she's also added a few new pages to the library, namely the Retired Pet page and the "Fake" Pet Skills page. The former deals with formerly tamable pets that can no longer be tamed, while the latter deals with pet skills that are present during the newbie hunter taming quests, but not on any permanently tamed pet.
I rather like both of the new pages. Not only should the information be helpful (if sad) to any newbie wondering where they can get that awesome ghost wolf, but the pages were a nice walk down memory lane for this old hunter. I remember when I made first Tauren Hunter, I was always disappointed that Swoop wasn't an actual bird pet skill, and I was considering a pet crab for my Dwarf Hunter at one point, and would have loved to have a thorny pet to add a bit more damage and threat power for tanking. Crabs could probably use some love anyway, as they seem to be competing with the likes of Sporebats and Bears for most neglected pet family.
But anyway, if you're a Hunter, and you haven't checked out Petopia in a while, it's worth a look, there's some pretty cool stuff going on over there.
The Infinite Dragonflight in Stratholme - Wed, 16 Apr 2008 14:33:00 EST We hit on this one with Mount Hyjal before, but Ironcog brings up an interesting point: why exactly are we going to be mucking around in the old city of Stratholme via the Caverns of Time? In Escape from Durnholde, we're obviously trying to make sure Thrall gets out of the prison camp, and the Infinite Dragonflight is fighting to stop us and ruin history. Same deal in the Black Morass -- the Infinite Dragonflight is trying to keep Medivh from opening the Dark Portal. But in Hyjal, the dragonflight is nowhere to be seen, and we're basically just time tourists. You'd think the Bronze Dragonflight would want us to stay out of there.
Of course, we don't exactly know what's happening in the Stratholme of the past -- maybe the Infinite Dragonflight is causing problems there that we need to stop (or, even better, maybe we'll get to see an as-yet-unknown reason why a Paladin of the Silver Hand, headstrong as he might have been, decided to slaughter an entire town even before he was under Frostmourne's corruption -- maybe there's more to Arthas than we saw in Warcraft III).
But hopefully the Infinite Dragonflight storyline will be continued in some way -- mucking about in time isn't exactly safe, so there should be good reasons the Bronze Dragonflight sends us back to these past events. Watching history firsthand is fun and all, but the lore of the Bronze Dragons falls apart completely if they just start opening up theme parks in the past.
Wife Swap seeking gamer families - Wed, 16 Apr 2008 14:00:00 EST WoW Insider has been contacted by a producer of the reality show Wife Swap -- apparently they're on the hunt for families who play WoW and other MMOs together, so they're sending out a casting call to the community. Any families applying should play MMOs together, have two parents and two children between 7 and 17, and live somewhere in the United States. If you're chosen for the show, you get a $20,000 honorarium, and anyone who refers a family that makes it on the show gets a grand for their efforts.
Of course, you couldn't pay me enough to appear on a show like this (and there is no guarantee, of course, that the show will competently portray a family that plays games together as a healthy, valuable thing), but to each their own -- maybe this is just the opportunity you've been waiting for. If so, drop an email to the producer: gaby dot wifeswap AT gmail dot com, with a family photo and a description.
It definitely sounds like an interesting experience, though. If you're willing to throw your family's hat into the ring, there you go -- throw away.
Vims has already speculated on when ArenaSeason 4 will arrive, pegging it somewhere around early to mid-June. I tend to agree with that statement as Blizzard has noted on several occasions that Season 4 isn't coming anytime soon. Considering that none of servers worldwide have even opened the second gate in Sunwell Plateau, it means that equivalent level PvE items won't be cascading into the player base for quite some time. This gives players roughly around a month and two weeks to prepare for the next Arena season, if not longer. Banking ahead Because Arena points are capped at 5,000, players with enough Arena gear can start banking points in preparation for the new season. If gear prices remain the same (which is likely as prices have been constant through Seasons 1-3), players can open the Arena week with 3/5 Brutal Gladiator pieces: the gloves, which are priced at 1,125 Arena points during the current season; and any two of the chestpiece, headpiece, or leg piece, which go for 1,875 points. It is also possible to purchase the 1,500 points worth shoulder piece on the first week if players manage to raise their personal rating to a highly restrictive 2200 if the speculated changes make it live. Because personal ratings are calculated directly after each game, it is possible to purchase the personal ratings-limited shoulder pieces or weapons provided the player has enough points during the first week.
This time around, Stormscape finishes up the loose ends from Chapter One, and creates new plotlines with which to move forward in the saga of the Thaenor brothers. He also employs voice actors, which was a major complaint from the first movie. However, since YouTube nerfed Director's accounts, he had to upload his 20+ minutes opus, The Thaenor Chronicles: Chapter Two, in threeseparateparts. If you liked the first part shown here, we highly suggest that you check out the high quality Filefront download.
Blizzard has released a new wallpaper featuring exquisite artwork from the "Mias the Putrid" card from the WoWTCG. The work is just as fantastic as it was with previous TCG-themed work -- maybe even better. Well, nothing is gonna beat the Stefen Colbear thing, but still. It's fabulous.
I say it's "putrid, but in a sexy way" with tongue in cheek, of course. This evil Mias lady is half-naked. She's in chain-slave-bondage. Oh, and ... I'm not one of those guys who has all the cup sizes memorized, but I'm pretty sure that proportionally this is on the higher end. No, I'm not gushing; I actually have a point! WoW Insider has talked about sexism in WoW before, but usually we've focused on the actions and words of some male players, and not so much on things like the art style of the game or the TCG. I'm not making a judgment here; I'm just pondering.
See, when I saw this new image, I thought of a conversation I had with a friend of mine a couple weeks ago. She long since quit WoW, but she said that as a female gamer it's always a little frustrating when many of the female characters are half-naked elf-slaves with huge breasts. What a standard! But then, doesn't WoW's art style exaggerate the male characters' muscles and such, too? Ah, well. It's food for thought. Type up your two cents if you want. Or just download the wallpaper.
So what the heck is going on here? According to Lightblaze of Black Dragonflight, he was being chased by a hunter through Nagrand when he was suddenly set upon by another enemy -- his own user interface. As you can see, his action buttons decided to invade his cloak, helmet and landscape, while what appears to be a railing has taken over the sky. Lightblaze stated that the glitch fixed itself after he alt-tabbed, and that while he was glitched, the hunter ran past him as if he wasn't there.
I was torn on posting this one. The glitch looks almost too bizarre to be true, and I suspect a lot of people will say it's been photoshopped. But stranger things have happened in-game (i.e. gnomes with night elf faces) and I tend to believe our contributors. I'm not a UI or Photoshop expert by any means, so I'll leave it up to you guys.
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 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, unless they're glitched to look like skulls.
Wowace.com site owner Kaelten has disabled the ads on WoW Ace Updater completely for now, and is talking to his Ad provider to find out what went wrong and which ads might be causing problems.
This isn't the first time a popular WoW site has had trouble with trojans in ads, and unfortunately, it is unlikely to be the last. Kaelten seems to be on top of it, though, so hopefully he'll get to the bottom of these claims. Since the ads are currently disabled, the program itself should already be safe to use. If you're feeling a bit skittish, though, you can check out some of Sean's recommendations for other upgrade programs here.
I should note that, being a religious user of WoW Ace Updater myself (I run it at least a good 5 times a week), I just made sure to scan my computer with the aforementioned Spybot Search and Destroy as well as AVG Free Edition. According to those programs, It has a clean bill of health.
The one caveat of team buying is that players will almost never get what they're paying for. The irony is that those who purchase teams are almost never equipped or skilled to compete at the level they're purchasing. These players often end up tanking their newly-bought team a couple of hundred points just to complete the minimum 10 games to qualify for Arena point gain. In this way, team purchases are an unwise investment unless players can competitively maintain the team's rating. In some dastardly cases, very high-rated teams are bought by win traders who use the purchase to inflate their team ratings.
Chilton meant that Blizzard has solid ties into the community, but should it worry us at all that those ties might be a little too close-knit? We already know that Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan has major ties to a guild in the game (he was actually hired by Blizzard from his Everquest raiding guild), and quest designer Alex "Furor" Afrasiabi also comes from a guild that is still active in World of Warcraft. In fact, we've already seen Blizzard get in trouble by their own admission for treating the devs' guilds differently -- is it right for them to keep their guild associations anonymous?
On the one hand, obviously it's much easier to keep the developers' ingame identities anonymous, otherwise they wouldn't be able to play the game at all without getting approached with questions and complaints every time they log on. But on the other hand, not only is there the potential for favoritism in terms of game design, but what if the PvP guild mentioned in the article was one that won an eSports or the Arena realm tournament? Is it right for Blizzard's developers to keep their guild associations anonymous?
Guildwatch is back, and boy do we have a drama-stacked edition for you this week. How about this Vent recording we've got, complete with classical piano playing in the background. Or this hacked guild that didn't really get hacked at all? We've got Shaman ninjas, Auction House drama, and even a Warglaive fight. Our tipsters really, really came through this week (thanks everybody!), and you reap the benefits.
Additionally, there's also plenty of downed news behind the break as well, and just a bit of recruiting news also (seems like most guilds are filled up for the time being). If you've got a tip for GW, whether for your guild or a great piece of drama you've seen somewhere, drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and see it here next week. In the meantime, click the link below to see this week's GW!
Player vs. Everything: Raid leaders are jerks Most raid leaders I know are jerks. I'm not making generalizations about personal character, of course. People who end up in those positions tend to be helpful, dependable people who are genuinely committed to the progression of the guild.
MMOGology: Gamerz is speshul Gamers have always taken a degree of flack about their hobby of choice. Some people call gaming a waste of time (whereas watching TV is completely productive), some people bash it as anti-social escapism...
Making/Money: Newbs at Auction One of the most frustrating aspects of being a new player in an established game, to my mind, is the cost of start-up crafting materials. Hit up any public market area, auction house, trade square or similar as a newbie and you will see what I mean.
Player vs. Everything: Learning by doing In most MMORPGs, it's practically considered a right of passage to learn advanced concepts by the sweat of your brow and with a big helping of independent research. We're MMO players, after all! We don't need tutorials guiding us through the advanced aspects of the game. Right?
I love this -- miladyhikara is working on a series of sketches featuring "Bad Girls of Warcraft," and the beginnings of the pieces are now up over on her deviantART page. They look fantastic -- I especially think this Shivarra looks good, but she's also got a female Naga, a Succubus, and Lady Barov herself. She says she's working on color palettes for most of them, so we'll have to wait to see the finished product -- if the sketches are any indication, they should look amazing.
She's also still asking for suggestions apparently -- who else would go in the "Bad Girls of Warcraft" series? Sylvanas? (is she really bad?) Onyxia for sure (in both forms). And she's also thinking about doing a "Good Girls of Warcraft" series, too -- hello Jaina, Tyrande and Fandral Staghelm. Wait, he's not a girl? Then why's he wearing that dress?
Challenging Chilton on old world PvP nostalgia - Tue, 15 Apr 2008 20:00:00 EST Players are reacting to (quite a few things, actually, in) the Tom Chilton interview we linked to earlier, but one of them is rubbing a lot of older players the wrong way -- when Gamespy asks Chilton about world PvP, like the kind that took place between Tarren Mill and Southshore, he called any fondness for that "nostalgia" -- he says that people didn't really like it at the time, they only want to go back to that because they're nostalgic for it.
Fortunately, we here at WoW Insider keep all of our old archives online, and as you can see, most people did actually enjoy the old Xroads and SS/TM world PvP -- I have fond memories of fighting in Ashenvale as well. But Chilton isn't wrong that there was complaining (isn't there always?): it was usually just complaining that those were the only places any real PvP happened. Nowadays, we've got BGs and Arenas, and actual rewards for world PvP, but it's still a little hard to come across one of those all-out battles that used to rage in Xroads or south of Tarren Mill. Most of the time, the only reason those battles were going on was because, well, what else did you do besides raiding at 70? Now that there's more choices, no level 70 would waste their time fighting lowbies in SS -- there are much more epic rewards doing dailies or fighting in the Arenas.
There's no question that nostalgia definitely makes things better, but Chilton is wrong to dismiss any wishes for SS/TM-esque world PvP as simple nostalgia. Blizzard has a tough line to walk here -- they're being asked to encourage, by careful planning, something that always happened spontaneously in the past (and mostly because PvPers didn't have much else to do). It's not nostalgic to think that it was fun (it was fun), but nowadays we've got choices that are fun and give epic rewards, so old world PvP just doesn't compare for most players.
Starting soon are two new columnists. Breathing new life into our weekly Priest column, Spiritual Guidance, is one of the most popular Priest bloggers on the Internet, Matticus. Also joining us is Jon Eldridge. He will be tackling a weekly column focusing on one of the hottest topics outside the game: computer security. From keyloggers to trojans to Blizzard's Warden program, Jon will be providing advice on keeping your account from ending up in the wrong hands.
Finally, many of you have noticed the lack of new pages for our on-going World of Warcraft webcomic, Tales from the Lion's Pride Inn. Chris Jahosky suffered a bad hard drive crash costing him a number of pages that were in various stages of completion. But never fear, Chris is rebuilding them all and Tales will be returning in just a few weeks.
Rushter of Incgamers.com explained to us on the comments of the previous article that the problem was with a seperate attack on a different hosted site (which was quickly dealt with, and unrelated to worldofwar.net, says Rushster), but Google marked the whole site as bad. The worldofwar.net UI database was unaffected, he says, and after some back and forth, Google has now dropped the warning.
Of course, it's still always a good idea to check your computer for viruses, trojans, and keyloggers regularly, and realize that no website is completely safe (though having a good defense always helps). That said, at the moment it looks like wowui.incgamers.com, also known as wowui.worldofwar.net, is a safe spot to grab your addons from.
WoW Insider Show Episode 33 now available - Tue, 15 Apr 2008 15:30:00 EST Yes, episode number 33 of our podcast is now up for download over at WoW Radio, and if you're a big fan of the show, it's a doozy. Since we haven't done our "normal" show in a few weeks (because of the interview with Xzin last time around), we decided to go all fan service, and caught up on all the shout-outs, fan email, and other fan shenanigans we usually do (there's even some Turpster love poetry). But even if you're not down with the silliness, there's lots of good WoW news in this week's episode, including:
And of course, you can always listen live -- we go live on the air every Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm EST over on WoW Radio. Tune in next Saturday and every Saturday for the WoW Insider Show -- it's just like this very site, except in audio form.