First we had a Druid do it, then a Pally, and then after Wrath Hunters and Death Knights got into the mix, and now it seems anybody with a pulse and a level 80 can solo the old 40-man boss Onyxia. Here's video of an Elemental Shaman taking the dragon down (Skitlash of the guild Unrelenting on Aman'thul), and we've even heard of a Disc Priest doing the deed (I believe that way back, when the Druid first downed Ony solo, a Priest, we thought on the podcast, was the least likely class to do it).
But time has proven us wrong. Does any of this mean anything? Probably not -- while it's certainly an achievement for these guys, the old bosses will only get easier as time goes on (until, of course, Blizzard decides to break out some Heroic versions of these instances), and the once-feared Onyxia will only become more and more of a punching bag. Grats to everyone who's been able to solo the old lady of raiding, but at this point, if a Disc Priest can do it, anyone can.
Erorus sent us some cool Armory-related tools he's been working on -- you can find them all at QuickArmory.com. Aside from the usual Armory lookup (with a much faster loading design), he's got an Heirloom item tracker (you put in your level and it will show you what the Heirloom items look like throughout the game), an Arena Points calculator, and perhaps most interesting, an Achievement Tracker. That last one actually does something a little different from most Armory sites -- it uses the Greasemonkey Firefox script to have your browser pull information from the Armory rather than Erorus' servers doing it. The output ends up looking more or less the same, but basically his site tells your browser what information to get, and your browser gets the info rather than his server. Interesting way of getting around the problem of stability, though the tradeoff is that you've got to use Firefox and install the addon to use his site.
None of the tools provide quite as much functionality as some of the other more specializedArmorysites out there, but Erorus does some new and interesting things with the Armory information, on the Achievement tracker especially. If you can't get enough of your character's stats (and in this case, happen to also use Firefox), they're worth checking out.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
Talk about teamwork: The First Responders-H bring pack pride to Lightning's Blade (US) in a big way. This two-and-a-half-year-old, multi-game clan had cleared most of Black Temple prior to Wrath's launch, is digging into Naxxramas with a vengeance and, beyond WoW, maintains a well known and successful XBox team.
Their tactics: military precision - literally. The First Responders are primarily firefighters, medics, police officers and military personnel. The guild accepts civilians on a case-by-case basis, emphasizing common attitudes about teamwork rather than the usual min/maxing or gear focus of other guilds. While their nontraditional schedules may dampen progression speed, it certainly doesn't dampen their enthusiasm or guild pride.
Druid's Swipe now generates 50% increased threat - Tue, 16 Dec 2008 16:40:00 EST Ghostcrawler mentioned last night that the Druid ability Swipe was on their radar for a fix. Blizzard, and many Druids, felt that when you combined Swipe with the global cooldown it wasn't generating enough threat. There have also been extenuating issues concerning Swipe's effectiveness in picking up mobs in a uniform manner, often requiring the druid to have near perfect positioning.
Previously the limitation on the number of targets swipe could hit was removed, along with other classes AoE tanking abilities like Thunder Clap.
The immediate effect of this won't be known beyond "it'll let Druids AoE tank better." There might be some backlash from the other classes that Swipe will now cause too much threat compared to their abilities (thus tipping the scale in favor of a Druid tank). There also might be some concern that people will just spam Swipe.
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.
So I made an oopsie yesterday. A rookie mistake! I referenced a picture that I used in The Queue a couple of days ago, and also showed off a picture of the character it may have been referencing. Only I used the same file name for both, so the original picture turned into the second picture. I'm pretty pro, I know. It's been fixed though, so if you want to see what the heck I'm talking about, check out Sunday's edition and then yesterday's edition and you will understand! Now, on with the show.
I heard that there are new DK only facial features coming in the next patch. Will existing DK's get a chance to redo their toons or does Blizzard actually expect us to cough up $15?
Realms are up - Tue, 16 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST Despite the issues associated with the extending of today's maintenance, all US realms are back up and running. We don't have reports of any stability issues, so everything appears good.
Patch 3.0.8 is not out on the live servers, however you can access it on the Public Test Realm (PTR). Today also marks the start of Arena Season 5, so expect a lot of PvP to be going on tonight.
There's also the Winterveil celebration going underway. Today is a great time to get some of those achievements knocked out before the holidays kick in next week.
Yes, The Guild is back with another Christmas special this year, and this time it's a retelling of "The Night Before Christmas" with a decidedly MMO spin. St. Nick is a level 90 rare spawn, apparently, and the guidies have to be careful -- not only does he have a few mean adds (including a reindeer with a Shiny Nose buff), but he's got more than one phase to get through, too.
Very cute. The video should be on Xbox Live and the Zune marketplace as usual, and we should be very close to having the rest of the guild's episodes sitting right on The Guild's site as well, so stay tuned for that. Maybe next year we'll be able to see some of St. Nick's dropped loot tables.
Just like that, ArenaSeason 5 sprang upon Wrath of the Lich King. Even though Blizzard already made the announcement, it still feels kind of sudden. If Season 5 caught you with your pants down (we really hope not), then let's get you up to speed with what's happening in the latest and (hopefully) the greatest Arena season yet. Here's a quick FAQ about the new Arena Season 5.
NOTE: Most of these answers are based on information taken from the Patch 3.0.8 PTR, such as gear availability and ratings requirements. If the items don't show up when servers go live today, this post will be updated when they finally do.
At what level can I join Arenas? You can enter Arena skirmishes at any level, with brackets at Level 71-75 and 76-80. However, only Level 70 and Level 80 players may participate in rated Arena matches, acquire personal and team ratings, and earn Arena Points to purchase Arena gear. Only Level 80 players are eligible for end-of-season rewards such as titles and possible new 310% speed flying mounts, although none have been announced or found in the data files as of this writing.
Internet Explorer exploit targets game passwords - Tue, 16 Dec 2008 14:20:00 EST Is anyone still using Internet Explorer on a computer where they have control of the software? The browser is so targeted and so flawed, and there are so many worthwhile and freealternatives that it's almost silly to continue using Microsoft's monster of a browser. But if you still are, watch out -- the BBC says that Microsoft has announced another vulnerability, and this time it could be used to obtain "game passwords," like your account information for World of Warcraft.
The good news is that, like most virus scares (ever notice that all of the virus warnings come from companies that happen to make their money on antivirus software? In this case, it's Trend Micro, spreading as much FUD as they can), this warning is probably overblown -- even if you are using a browser full of holes like IE, you have to wander off your beaten path of trusted sites to get in trouble. So don't click random links or follow spambait on the forums or in your email, and you'll probably be fine. But again, installing and using another browser is so easy (and will help you so much in the long run) that you might as well give up IE anyway.
Thanks to everybody who sent this in! And yes, I used the old login screen for this post's picture. But don't you kind of miss it?
I really don't know why Blizzard doesn't just change their times for extended maintenance to make it last until 1pm PST every time, or just push it back to 3pm PST and be done with it. That way there are no failed expectations when the servers don't come up.
It's a relatively contradictory thing for them to say they'll wait push a patch to live until it's ready and never give a time estimate, and then turn around and give a time estimate whenever the severs are down. Don't you think? Perhaps they should just say the severs will be back up "soon."
Of course, I'm probably just QQing because this afternoon my lazy butt is finally going to hit exalted with the Kalu'ak. I'm going to go get that sweet fishing pole first thing. I'm going to dance with it too, a pole dance if you will. But alas that'll have to wait until I can log on.
We'll put up a post when servers are back up, or some other debacle happens. Stay tuned.
Do you care about PvP anymore? - Tue, 16 Dec 2008 13:00:00 EST Today, our own Zach Yonzon asked if you were ready for Arena Season 5. This led me to reflect and realize that no, I'm not ready. I don't even know if I'd say not ready so much as finally, completely and totally uninterested in PvP entirely. I simply don't care, not even remotely. I don't care about Wintergrasp, haven't been there since it opened. I don't care about Strand of the Ancients, or any of the older battlegrounds. I sure as heck don't care about Arena and I'm not trying to come up with a comp for any of the brackets there. By intertwining the aspects of PvP as they have, making it so any of the decent rewards require you to do both arenas and gather honor points, Blizzard has finally succeeded wildly in their 'Make PvP totally uninteresting to Matt Rossi' program. They've been working on it for a while but with Wrath of the Lich King, they've finally delivered the goods.
Wow, Christmas is only 8 days away. I feel like it snuck up on me this year. But Kael'Thas is plenty aware, and he goes to pay a visit to Santa in Kael'Thas and the Santa Claus by Ian Beckman. While the Bad Boy of the Sindorei is eager to plop in Santa's lap, Santa's having none of it. The Christmas Dwarf remembers all too well the stink Kael'Thas made last year.
This is definitely an antic driven comedy, and is a wonderful bite-sized bit of Christmas humor. The graphics are pretty simple, but that really just helps the audience focus on the dialogue. Ian Beckman's the auteur behind Azerothian Super Villains, and I think his emphasis on word play and surreal speech comes across well.
We've known that heroic Loken is currently the hardest mob in the game for a bit now. Alex broke the story a couple weeks ago, and Loken is currently killing approximately 1.8 times as many players as the next hardest boss, Sapphiron. That statistic is skewed a bit too, considering Sapphiron is a 10/25 man fight, and Loken is only a 5 man.
One of the chief complaints about Holy Paladins has been their relative lack of AoE heals. This becomes particularly evident when a Paladin attempts to heal Loken in the Halls of Lightning. It should be noted however, as Ghostcrawler does and I can attest to, it can be done with a Paladin healing.
It's on this note that Ghostcrawler has provided some tips on the strategy used to defeat heroic Loken. And while these appeared in discussion about Holy Paladins, they apply to any class equally well.
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft over there. Which is not to say we don't love WoW! Our weekly roundup will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on Massively from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed to follow our ongoing coverage of your favorite game.
Employers screening WoW players during recruitment? Would you consider your MMO-gaming habits to be detrimental to your performance as an employee? Lucky for us, we here at Massively are kind of expected to be invested in the MMO world, but it seems that it may be best to keep your playing a secret when looking for other lines of work.
FCC Commissioner blames WoW for college drop-outs According to FCC Commissioner Deborah Taylor Tate, online game addiction - namely World of Warcraft - is "one of the top reasons for college drop-outs." And here I was thinking it had something to do with decreased funding for education or lowered standards for college admission.
The Digital Continuum: Microtransaction stigma There's been a lot of news about microtransactions this week, and because of that I felt it was as good a time as any to discuss the topic. Are they good or bad, useful or useless and are they really the future of the MMO industry?
Raph Koster on whether torture in videogames is evil Debate over what is considered 'right' and 'wrong' in terms of behavior in a videogame has become commonplace in recent years. Virtually any mass media commentary on the myriad evils of Grand Theft Auto or the 'Debbie Does Dallas in Space' view of Mass Effect drives this point home.
I'm a big fan of rats, and I'm quite happy that WoW, unlike most RPGs, doesn't send you on a million quests to kill the fuzzy little things. But even I have to draw the line at the kind of rat faced by Chawakanda of <The Zug Initiative> on Kael'thas. Not only is it the size of most mounts, it's apparently learned to use weapons -- this one was found shopping at the axe store. Why, Giant Sewer Rat, why? We took all that time to fish you out of the sewer, cleaned you up, and even fed you some pet biscuits, and this is how you repay us? For shame.
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 or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
You know you play too much WoW if... - Tue, 16 Dec 2008 09:00:00 EST I admit it. I play too much WoW. That's alright, if you're visiting this site, you probably do, too. I have found it interesting how WoWisms have made it into my everyday life. I'm not talking about weird things like naming a kid Onyxia or getting plastic surgery to look like a Blood Elf. Some WoW habits just become normal. So here goes, you might play too much WoW if:
...words like gank, pwn, and aggro have made it into your regular vocabulary. ... you find yourself hitting your push-to-talk key to the person next to you, on the phone, or any other place that's not Vent. ... You've had nightmares that involve Death Knights, Murlocs, or *shudder* Gnome Rogues.
It's finally here. The real reason I rushed to 80 and moderately gear up by mid-December is because I wanted to be ready for ArenaSeason 5. To be quite honest, now that it's here, I'm a bit nervous. Not nervous, that's not the right word... giddy, I think, excited like a six-year old going to the playground. Strangely, though, I've been having so much fun in Wintergrasp that I've hardly given a thought to Arenas.
Now that I've given mulled it over a bit, I realize that the gear gap -- or lack of one -- is going to become immediately palpable simply because so much gear is readily available in Northrend. Any player who has just hit 80 will have immediate options for gear, and it won't be so hard to catch up or gear up for Arenas. Even without Resilience, so much gear has massive amounts of Stamina. I mean over 100 Stamina for a trinket? That's kind of insane. Players have so many options for gear now that some people won't even be doing Arenas to get Arena gear.
It's going to be a completely different ballgame. The presence of Death Knights will completely change Arena PvP, as it already has in PvE. Knockback effects such as Thunderstorm or Typhoon will be exciting tools in the movement-heavy environment. How will players react to a sudden Death Grip into the opposing team's kill zone? Will HoT-impairing effects like Shadow Embrace or Plague Strike be enough to curb Druid dominance? We'll see. It's exciting. Are you prepared for Season 5? Not just in terms of gear, but psyched and ready for the unpredictability of the metagame, at least for the first few weeks?
Relics of Ulduar will be non-soulbound next patch, and will garner Sons of Hodir reputation when turned in to them in groups of 10 as well. Unfortunately, there is a small tradeoff. Hope you got your boot flask in time.
The image I used for yesterday's The Queue raised some eyebrows, with a lot of people wondering what it was or where it was from. It's just one of a series of paintings throughout Dalaran of the various player races. There are some hanging in the inns, some in the shops, et cetera. My plan was to cycle through them all over the next week or so, and random selection gave me the incredibusty human female first. It might be interesting to note that I'm pretty sure that painting is a nod to Tifa Lockhart of Final Fantasy 7. It could also just be a regular ol' human female wearing the level 1 Warrior starting gear. Who knows?
Today you get the Female Blood Elf, and now let's get the Q&A started.
Any chance they'll let me use Badges of Justice to buy new badges? Or possibly a reduction in prices for lvl 7o badge gear? I'm basically looking for any reason NOT to use as many of my lvl 70 badges for gems to Auction off.
The ethics of a botched deal, redux - Mon, 15 Dec 2008 20:30:00 EST "The ethics of a botched deal" turned out to be a much more popular article than I'd been expecting. I didn't really think the subject matter was going to result in that much commentary, but, having read all of the comments, I think I see why. Everyone's been on at least one end of a bad deal, and stuff like that is a lot more common in the early days of an expansion with new recipes, dungeons, and raids everywhere you look, with the attendant opportunities for costly mistakes.
A few people quite fairly said it would be tough to make a call on the incident given the limited account I'd written in the original article. Others pointed out that you could probably draw an ethical distinction between the Blacksmith's decision to: a). accept a tip, and b). keep the gold gained from vendoring the 2H mace (and I think this is accurate, although it does raise another question. More on this in a bit). Commenters also observed that, the ethics of the Blacksmith's actions aside, you wouldn't necessarily want to be a repeat customer of his for reasons that hadn't been articulated in the original piece.
So behind the cut is a more inclusive look at the issue, a little more background on what happened, and how other players responded to it ingame.