In the World of Warcraft, just as in real life, your professional duties seem to extend beyond your job title. Perhaps most of your guild can cook, but are they all farming and contributing raid food? Which guildmate is the go-to-person for enchants, and who is donating materials instead of selling them on the Auction House for personal gain?
Don't get me wrong, here. Personal gain is a perfectly legitimate pursuit. We all have to support ourselves, and we all have expenses as well as things that we simply want. Still, there is a difference between someone who has maximized a skill and someone who really works it.
What is your niche? Are you the master of profits, a provider, or someone who brings the goods that no one else can? Today I'll be talking about how we practice our professions, and the roles and styles that we can adopt to enrich our in-game professional experiences.
Our friend Medivaldragon over at Blizzplanet brings word that the mind and man behind Warcraft himself, Chris Metzen, will be live at the New York Comic Con in just under a month. The con takes place in New York over February 6-8, 2009, and Mr. Metzen, the creative director and central creative force behind all of Blizzard's modern universes, will be signing books at both the DC Comics and Pocket Star Books booths (apparently for the promotion of WoW's comic books and novels). As Turpster is often inclined to say (along with many other Blizzard fans), "Chris Metzen is a god," so here's your chance to meet the deity himself.
There'll be some other expanded universe notables there as well, including Jim Lee (who'll no doubt be promoting DC Universe Online as well) and Walter Simonson will be there, and there will likely be some other familiar faces, either signing books or just stopping by. Those of you in New York who are free, consider yourselves lucky and head on over there. And bring a camera -- if you can capture the elusive Metzen on film (random adventurers are always freeing him), send us the pics.
Each week, Arcane Brilliance stirs you up a delightful goulash of Mage news, opinion, tips, and info, and seasons it all with an unhealthy sprinkling of Warlock hate. Mmmm. Tasty, delicious Warlock hate. Enjoy!
My formative years fell mainly within the late-80's and early 90's, back when Double Dare and Saved by the Bell were a daily afternoon ritual and it was perfectly acceptable to show up to school wearing parachute pants and looking like Brian Austin Green from 90210 (I'd be careful about clicking that last youtube link, the video contained therein quite literally made my brain bleed). My family was...um...frugal, so school shopping was always an exercise in humility.
I know that last one isn't at all related to education, but even while school shopping, my mind was on games. A lot of my best memories involve the Playchoice 10 display at Montgomery Ward.
All of these questions and many more elicited the same response:
"Chris, you shouldn't worry about what other kids have. You can't compare yourself to other people."
Oh Mom, how wrong you were. How very, very wrong.
In World of Warcraft, the late stages of the game revolve around how your class compares to those around you. Your raiding value is determined by how much healing you can muster, how many other classes and specs can out-DPS you, or how well you can hold aggro and mitigate damage. PvP is essentially a caste system so rigid and brutal India would be proud of it. So now that we've had the Lich King around for a solid two months and the classes have begun to settle into their roles, how do Mages stack up? Where do we rate? Can we walk down the cool kids' (Death Knights) hallway? Or are we the nerds, staying in the library at lunch to avoid getting beaten up because we bring Dragonlance novels and issues of Nintendo Power to school? Join me after the jump and we'll discuss where Mages stand.
Well, they promised a new RP transfer server, and here it is. Not only that, but to go along with it, they're giving us another brand new PvE realm, a transfer one this time.
These transfers opened up last night at 11 PM PST, and are scheduled to close on Friday, 1/23 at 9 PM PST/midnight EST (but could close early if enough people transfer, so go soon if you intend on going). The details:
Destination: Winterhoof (PvE), Wyrmrest Accord (RP). Both realms are in the Emberstorm battlegroup and the Pacific time zone.
There's a note in Zarhym's post to the effect that Wyrmrest Accord is in fact an RP server, and the RP rule set will be enforced there. Probably best to go to the other server if you want to grief RPers, roll a character named "Arthuss," or otherwise do non-RP-server-friendly things.
We got half-way through our available raid content last time we talked about raiding gear. Since the next big topic I intend to cover is stances and their current implementation, and since this column is a day late, I decided to finish up the topic before moving into one as controversial as stance penalties. This week we'll talk about armor, rings, trinkets and necklaces for both tanks and DPS in Naxxramas (or Naxxaramas, as my subconscious insists on misspelling it) and then we'll discuss Malygos and what booty he has in store for warriors if there's room.
Before we get going, I wanted to point out that in the most recent PTR patch notes, the change to Sudden Death (where no more than 30 rage is used on a Sudden Death execute) has been implemented, but there is as yet no change to Deep Wounds. This doesn't mean there won't be one, but for now it's not part of the notes, so it's possible any such change won't take place in time for 3.0.8 depending on when that happens. (Basically, if the patch happens this week we're probably clear until 3.1.)
To be honest, I don't like the reasoning for the change, that Deep Wounds damage is too high because it is damage unmitigated by armor, especially since (as many prot warriors reminded me in the column where I first mentioned it) it's used as a source of constant threat by a lot of tanking warriors. Since Deep Wounds puts a DoT on anyone the warrior crits, and tanks have a high crit chance with abilities like Incite, it's not hard for a warrior tank to get Deep Wounds up on a lot of mobs at once and thus keep ticking threat on them even when focusing on other mobs. Any change to Deep Wounds needs to keep this use of the talent in mind. (I went and specced prot for a heroic Utgarde run the other day just to try it out, and it's fantastic threat. It even seems to work when Thunder Clap crits.) We'll definitely be watching how this all plays out.
Reader Richie mailed us a review of the SteelseriesWorld of Warcraft mouse some time back, but it's gotten to the point where his frustration made him put a post up on his own blog. Some of his major concerns involve the custom software remapping his keys, such as making his character jump when he presses 'M' to bring up the map. He also claims that some of his buttons now stick, instead of springing back into place as they should after a few days of playing. He writes that he's contacted customer service several times and was told that it was "a known issue" and was told to "snap" his buttons.
How has your experience with the Steelseries mouse been? Are you one of the lucky Europeans who won one in Blizzard's Holiday giveaway or managed to snag one of these lately? There aren't too many reviews over the web by players who actually play World of Warcraft, so it's interesting to see if Richie's is an isolated case (although a couple of posters on his blog concur with his findings). The mouse doesn't have a driver for the Mac, and Steelseries doesn't seem to be producing one soon, so I haven't popped out the $99.99 (or more expensive 89.99 EUR) for it. After reading Richie's review -- or rant, rather -- I'm not certain I still want to, either.
36 realms down for maintenance - Sat, 17 Jan 2009 13:36:00 EST We started getting a few tips about realms going down about half an hour ago, and Blizzard's now confirmed that 3 dozen realms are down to address "some instancing issues." Interestingly, the brand-new realm Borean Tundra is among them, and I recognized a few others that are relatively new, as well as the usual forum whipping-boy Misha.
2 hours is the estimated downtime, so if you're on one of the affected realms, I'd start checking back around 2:45-3:00 pm EST. We'll keep you up to date if maintenance is extended. Read on for the list:
UPDATE 2:03 pm EST: Anub'arak is now listed as the only realm affected.
UPDATE 2:32 pm EST: Looks like all the affected realms are back up early.
And as usual we'll answer your emails and just generally have a great time. The show starts at 3:30pm Eastern, 8:30 GMT over on Ustream or right here (we've put an embed of the feed right after the break, so you can listen right from our site). Remember, if you're in the chat and you want to change your name, use "/nick name" (where name is the name you want), and if the feed cuts out for any reason, you can probably refresh the page and it'll come back up. Please keep your hands and feet inside the ride at all times, and please don't feed the Turpster, his trainers give him plenty to eat as it is.
So the patch didn't go through this week. It's alright, though. I guess we can wait another week or so for Patch 3.0.8, which seems to be getting heftier as the weeks go by. It's a patch that promises to be a pretty good one for Warlocks, and even then it's not the complete change. Ghostcrawler has said they're looking at improving Warlock DPS and survivability in the future, which means we'll probably be in a rough spot until 3.0.8 or -- later down the line -- 3.1 hits.
Not excitingly, most of Patch 3.0.8 consists of bug fixes, so there won't be any major changes to gameplay or dramatic shifts in the way we do things. The biggest change is arguably in the way Ritual of Summoning works, which will save us Soul Shards the way Soulwells changed how we handed out candy. The new mechanic creates a sort of summoning object -- currently some sort of infernal flasher who opens up his cloak -- that works almost exactly like an instance summoning stone. This is great for raids, but not so hot for parties when you just want to summon one person. It has a cooldown of two minutes (down from the originally planned five).
Blizzard has posted a poll on the forums asking what players think is the toughest Heroic dungeon in the game. Unfortunately, they don't say much else besides that, so guessing the reason why will be up to us and our commenters. They want to make sure Ulduar is tougher than Heroics? They want to look for particularly tough mechanics for future instances? They just enjoy seeing players have a tough time of it? Your guess is as good as ours.
Unfortunately, this may not help Blizzard -- I doubt many players would be really excited if they re-used the "drakes" mechanic in a lot of future dungeons, as the difficulty there lies in playing a completely different game rather than using the abilities of your character that you're used to. But It's an interesting poll anyway. What instance are you finding the toughest in Heroic mode?
Oh, the penguinanity! As Badash of <Notorious Walker> on Eitrigg describes it, "Sadly, the climate of chilly Northrend was not long lived. Soon the global warming of Azeroth fully reached the north and has affected even the smallest of creatures, who have decided to cope in order to survive. It takes a bit of getting used to, but they seem to manage pretty well. The Lich King, however, has decided to move rather than sit in a puddle waiting for raids."
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WRUP: Vampire of choice edition - Sat, 17 Jan 2009 09:00:00 EST Another week is gone and another weekend has arrived -- which means the WoW Insider crew are hard at work with what we like to call "work-related research." (And which our loved ones call "goofing off and playing video games.") What's the team doing this weekend? Avoiding vampires, obviously. Robin Torres: Our whole family has come down with the plague and I'm not sure how much time we'll have to play in between zombie explosions. I've also been bitten by the RP bug and am trying to find an RP/RPPvP realm to suit my needs (and without a vampire overpopulation).
Alex chimed in with a response: Robin, give up now. Such a server does not exist. The only difference is what kind of vampires you'll come across. Anne Rice? Twilight? Dracula? Hellsing? Nosferatu? That's what you need to consider. A vampireless RP server does not exist. Though the WoW Insider team can't agree on their vampire of choice, we do all enjoy a good time in World of Warcraft. So what's the rest of the team up to this weekend?
Breakfast topic: Bunk in my trunk - Sat, 17 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST I'm sure we've all had someone dash ahead of us when we're out gathering to take our mining node, our herb, or even our skin. It's frustrating when it's a member of the opposite faction who does this. On a PvP server, you might kill them, on a PvE server, your only recourse is a /rude. It's more annoying when it's a member of your own faction and you can't even kill them. Ultimately the same is also true of Daily Quests and some quest mobs. Whenever recourse's are scarce, bad blood settles in.
I have never seen a quest that brings out the worst in players than "Junk in My Trunk" in Utgarde Pinnacle. For this quest you must gather items laying around the instance. There are not enough for a full group on the quest to pick therm up on the same run, so many people jockey to be the first to get their junk. The first time I ran that instance I was amazed at how greedy people would be. The tank would pull but the healer was off picking up a silver bar or a bauble. You guessed it, wipefest.
Figureprints lottery is over - Fri, 16 Jan 2009 20:00:00 EST Blizzard has posted on the official WoW site that the Figureprints lottery is over, and though there are no big news items over on the Figureprints site, all mentions of the lottery have disappeared also, so it looks like if you've been waiting for demand to clear up over there to order your figure, now's your chance. Figureprints is a company we've covered extensively here at WoW Insider - they'll make little custom statues of your character with a 3D printer. A print will run you $129.95, but if you're willing to pay for it, you can have a custom-made real-life souvenir of the toon you've spent so much time playing in game.
The last time we talked to the guys over there they were working on all kinds of ways to make printing the figures easier and better, and it looks like they've found a few: Blizzard says that better methods have led to increased production, so even if you haven't heard from your lottery entry yet, odds are that you will soon. Unfortunately, they still haven't landed on a way to print out Hunter and Warlock pets to go along with those figures (their site still says they're working out how best to do it), so if you want Battlecatlol to go with your Hunter, Hemanlol, you'll have to wait a while longer.
Of course, like Rossi, you might still be saying to yourself, "what's the point?" But if you do want one, now's apparently the time to come and get it.
[1.Local]: The WI week from the inside out - Fri, 16 Jan 2009 18:00:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
Don't be that guy You are not prepared - but do you really need to be? Readers are of varying minds when it comes to how much preparation to expect (and even to demand) from fellow players in heroics and pickup raids.
"Whether you like the idea of being 'carried' or not, I don't see a problem with people diving right in on heroics," notes Steve. "As many posters in this thread have demonstrated, if you know how to play your class, you can make up for being undergeared. ... I recognize that most of the folks out there in your PuGs will not be min/maxed or have ever heard of the Elitist Jerks site or have an optimal rotation. No worries -- I don't bother to look people up on the Armory, since Armory doesn't tell me anything about their skill level. And now that I'm outfitted head to toe in Naxx epics, I can do the carrying for low party DPS or a tank that isn't def capped.
"I actually enjoy healing bad PuGs more than guildie groups, because if everyone is geared and knows what they are doing, there isn't a lot for the healer to do -- the tank is taking steady predictable damage and I occasionally need to throw out an AOE heal if the party takes damage from something. So go ahead and 'be that guy'; I'll still heal you as long as you aren't rude and are at least trying. Just be up front with the group about where you are at in gear level or DPS when you join."
Our reader Fenn wrote in to let us know about a forum thread written by a suspicious player who's certain that her tank of choice is cheating on her with another healer. He never seems to want to group anymore and he's "too tired" to raid. "We have 3 dps so i can't just leave him," she confesses. "(I) don't know what to do."
The thread is pretty much win from the start, and even gets a visit from an amused Nethaera to boot. Suggestions range from "Make him a sandwich" to "Respec Discipline, all tanks like a good beating," sparking arguments over whether the healer had buffed him properly ("A tank has needs!") to whether tanks are cheating scumbags by nature ("What happens in AV, stays in AV"). You can't go wrong, but Fenn correctly observes that page 21 is a particular gold mine.
I have to admit that the response that made me laugh hardest was an early one from Öbvious of Zuluhed: "This is going to sound dirty, but can one of your DPS respec?"
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.
Apparently I missed a Doctor Who reference in one of the questions I answered yesterday. Maybe? Heck if I know. If you're looking for our resident Doctor Who nerd, direct your references to Elizabeth Harper. They go way over my head. Zoidberg asked... A while ago, we heard some rumors about a new hero class called archdruid. (Or something like that.) What do we know about these guys? Is this a possibility for the 4.0 hero class?
"I Play WoW" Facebook app reaches 100,000 users - Fri, 16 Jan 2009 14:00:00 EST "I Play WoW" is probably the premiere World of Warcraft-related application on social networking site Facebook. We reported on it a while back, and since then, it's come quite a long way, including bringing in Armory updates when that became possible, and slowly growing over the past six months. And now they've hit another milestone -- Korale of Medivh (who runs the app with his wife Jeanelly, also on Medivh) has announced that they've reached over 100,000 users tracking over 260,000 characters. That's quite an undertaking. He also says that over 70% of people invited to the app actually use it (which is fairly high, we'd imagine, for Facebook), and that over 40,000 people visit the app at least once a month to update their status.
Congrats to Korale and Jeanelly on all their hard work. Our own Facebook page isn't quite as big -- it's at 2,601 fans so far, but we're aiming higher. Our very own Turpster from the WoW Insider Show has promised us a brand new song if we can break 4,000 fans, so if you're on Facebook (or even if you're not yet, it's free to sign up) and have a few WoW-playing friends to invite, send them our way -- the sooner we get 4,000 fans, the sooner we get that song (and Turpster tells us he might even have a few other familiar faces on WoW Insider join in, too). Sure, it's not 100,000, but if we can hit that magic 4,000, the results should be worth it.