Remember those World of Warcraft steins you thought were way too expensive and passed on buying? There's another one. Three Point Entertainment has released a new stein, this one featuring everyone's favorite bad guy, the Lich King himself, brandishing Frostmourne and leading an army of the Undead in the way he's apt to do. We have to admit, it does look cool and all, but at $90, we'll be drinking our ale from the usual sippy-cup, thanks.
And just in case you happen to be burdened with too much money in this horrendous economy, you can get a "Legendary Collection" version for $175 that's signed by the artist, is limited to only 750 steins worldwide, and includes "premium hand painting throughout." No idea why you'd want your hands painted, but if you're really spending $175 on a World of Warcraft mug, you're already nuts.
The new steins start shipping in late April and May. Considering all of the bailouts lately, your house will probably have regained its value enough for you to afford one of these, right? We say go for it.
Base regen (which is an equation that factors in both Intellect and Spirit) will be nerfed by about 40%. This means the mana you would regen while just standing around doing nothing will be quite a bit lower than it currently is. However, in exchange, regen-while-casting talents such as Meditation, Intensity, Spirit Tap and many others, whille be buffed so your in-combat mana regen shouldn't be harmed very much. It'll essentially prevent you from trying to wiggle in and out of the 5 second rule for big regen ticks, while not terribly bothering your mana regen while you're actually doing things.
It looks like this arc is not only focused on Garona's half human, quarter orc, quarter draenei son, but a few other things, too. It looks like this arc will focus somewhat on Fandral Staghelm and the state of Teldrassil, what's happened to Ahn'qiraj since we were there last and potentially the relationship between King Varian and Valeera. To avoid spoilers, I'll stick a few more things behind the cut below.
The Blizzard Blog also spoke with the IEAA, the classification board down there for games, and they were told the same thing that Massively was: while the board thought that MMOs did not require a rating, it has since become clear that they do. The difference, says the AG guy, is that the IEAA believed that "games" like WoW were actually services, not games, and thus didn't fall into the classification system.
But now it's clear to everyone that they do, so we'll expect to see the IEAA pass out a rating for World of Warcraft and the other MMOs on sale down there, and then this will all be over. It's interesting to note that ratings may be a very cultural thing -- here in America, ratings are pretty strictly issued by the ESRB, partially because the videogame industry is worried about governement intervention in the system (if the industry can't police themselves, angry parents may ask the government to step in). But in Australia, the government obviously seems largely unconcerned about the ratings. Then again, Aussies aren't completely laid back about everything having to do with MMOs.
In a thread started by Lightsnight, who argues that hard modes in a dungeon are 'a stupid gimmick', Valnoth counters with what I think is a measured response (keeping in mind that I'm very sarcastic) - " Hard Modes are intended for people that want additional challenges and rewards. You might view them as a gimmick, but I assure you that hard modes will test the mettle of the most seasoned raiding guilds. The choice is yours, my friend. " This is a relief for me heading into Ulduar.
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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
Good afternoon, WoW Insider! I'm feeling pretty good today, how about you? Why am I feeling so good? The idea of the PTR potentially going up in the next couple of days is giving me a bit of a rush. Seeing all of the new stuff is one of the big things that excites me about MMOs, and of course passing that info on to you guys. Let's hope it goes up sometime soon, because it will rule. Firestride asked...
What should I do if I get into an AV raid that is intent on zerging, and going up against an opponent who is also zerging, only better at it?
Steelseries partnering with Best Buy, credits WoW for growth - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 14:00:00 EST We've heard before about World of Warcraftstrutting up the PC gaming market before, but could this game also be holding up the PC game accessories market? Seems that way for Steelseries -- they're the makers of the WoW mouse that we've mentioned (the one that might not be quite kosher with Blizzard's Terms of Service, use with caution). They've just recently inked a deal with Best Buy to carry some of their products (including the WoW mouse), and World of Warcraft played so much of a part in the deal that CEO Bruce Hawver credited Blizzard's MMO with creating his "high-quality gamers": "The way I used to pick up the phone after school, now, kids log into World of Warcraft and chat... Online gaming might cost $14 to $18 a month - less than a single movie visit for two people."
It does follow -- if WoW is one of the only reasons left for people to spend money on PC games, it does seem that it would be one of the only reasons for them to spend money on gaming accessories. High-end mice and keyboards use to be the domain of the FPS player -- guys like Fata1ity pimped their own lines and all the mice bragged about their resolution and ease of use. But the PC market has changed, and MMOs are the game of the day now -- everything is about squeezing function into as many buttons as possible and reaching this 11 million player group roaming around Azeroth. If Steelseries and other accessory manufacturers want to sell their products, they've got to try and sell them to us.
WoW Rookie: Help! - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 13:00:00 EST New around here? WoW Rookie points WoW's newest players to the resources they need to get acclimated. Send us a note to suggest a WoW Rookie topic.
Do you ask for help from other players in game? If you do, do the other players actually help out - or do they slam you for being a "stupid n00b"? Friendly reader Gisbon wrote in recently to say that while he enjoys helping new players, they don't always pick the best ways or times to ask.
Granted, today's in-game culture is a little different than it was back in the day. In the earliest days of the game, before game information was readily available on the web, players had to ask other players for help in game. If you were confused by a class mechanic, you'd find a higher-level player and send a few whispers. If you were lucky, you'd find someone with time to answer (most seemed to be willing) and at least point you in the right direction. Today, questions to random strangers can net you insults for being clueless - but you could strike gold, too, with some great insights and the beginnings of a new friendship or mentor relationship.
DC has officially announced their latest series of World of Warcraft action figures, and while there are only four figures shown off so far, they look awesome. These are the same figures we saw in the coverage of the New York Comic Con -- there's Lo'gosh (better known as Varian Wrynn, the new King of Stormwind), Hunter Alathea Moonbreeze and her pet Sorna, a demon form Illidan (hot!), and Rottingham, a Ghoul. We've got pictures of all the new figures in our gallery below.
Unfortunately, we aren't going to see this for sale for a long, long time -- DC has the date of release set as October 28, 2009. That doesn't really seem right to us (they only want to release four figures this year?), but that's what they say, so we'll go with it. Still, that Illidan figure looks awesome. The Hunter would be cute, and Lo'gosh would be nice to have if you're a fan of the comic book series, but Illidan is definitely the standout so far. Also check out all of our other DC figure galleries after the break.
Demachic posted Demachic: Lonely Valentine on Warcraftmovies.com yesterday. I would have loved to see it during the Love is in the Air in-game event, but hey -- I'll take what I can get. It is a short, dialogue-less story about a gnome seeking true love, and the artillery she builds to obtain that love.
I have to admit that I actually thought to myself, in actual words, "Oh my god, so cute!" This video really is cute. It captures all the bittersweet and totally-saccharin flavors of Valentine's Day. It's got a little hopefulness, a little despair to counter, and a whole lot of wistful, wishful romance. And, it's got a totally adorable gnome to drive home the cute-puppy-love angle.
The movie is created without any spoken or subtitled words. I actually really like that, since it encourages the audience to create and interpret their own story for on-screen events. It works great, and the musical selection matches the overall mood of the video. Great job, Demachic!
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
If you've been keeping tabs on what everyone's favorite crab has been disseminating to the community, you're familiar with the upcoming Dual Spec feature in patch 3.1. In an interview between Nethaera and Ghostcrawler, he goes into all the details of how it is planned to work and what to expect in terms of functionality. There are still a few unknowns, but for the most part it seems like they're ready for us to start testing it on the upcoming PTRs.
Rogues are one of the 4 classes that are considered to be "pure" DPS, as we have no other role to play besides damage dealer. While Mages and Warlocks have very different PvE and PvP specs, for most Rogues it's just choosing between daggers and everything else. So how can we take advantage of this feature to its fullest? Read on for a few ideas I have for the new dual spec system come 3.1.
Personally, I've only done Oculus, but I do agree with Eliah that putting us in vehicles takes away a lot of the achievement we've gained by leveling and questing -- it's not fun to fail on a boss just because you're trying to deal with a whole new set of abilities you've had no control over until you jumped in the driver's seat. But the fact that the Ulduar vehicles will scale helps a little bit -- players were concerned that every time you went in there, it'd be the same fight, but with new gear that should change. And obviously Blizzard has heard the concerns about the Oculus, so you'd have to hope they wouldn't make the same mistake twice.
Elsewhere on the forums, Zarhym promises, comically, that we'll all enjoy this (and that we'll forget to post how much we enjoy it on the forums afterwards). He says that the fight is different from anything else we've done in the World of Warcraft, and that when all is said and blown up, it'll be an epic encounter. We'll see.
Need more news about Ulduar? We've got updates, previews, speculation, and everything else you need to know about the next big raid coming in patch 3.1. If the Titans are hiding it up there, we'll tell you about it here.
Is there such a thing as a Darwin Award in Azeroth? If so, Dæmonis of <Unrighteous> on Nagrand-EU may have just nominated himself. Remember, kids, when the cannon doesn't fire, proper procedure is not to stick your entire upper body into the tube to do some hands-on troubleshooting. Unlike your phoenix pet, you won't rise from your own ashes.
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, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Between lollygagging here at WoW Insider Central and engaging in some extracurricular indolence, I've often wondered where I'd take the column after finishing the bear pre-raid post. I could write something on how to theorycraft the highest-HPM tree, I thought, or get around to testing whether weapon skill has an unintended effect on bear threat. Look at the potential return from Eclipse procs as a function of fight mobility? Argue whether it's worth it to take Feral Aggression in a hybrid feral build? Or compose an entire column as a mockument to T.S. Eliot's most famous poem:
Q: Let us go then, you and I --
All good ideas. But then we received the following missive from that enemy of all that is good and right in the publishing world, the editor:
MEMO: To all WoW Insider class columnists
FROM: You know who.
TEXT: Write something on how your class will deal with the upcoming dual-spec system in patch 3.1, or Dan "One-Eye" O'Halloran will "remember" where he left his whip.
"Well," I thought. "That sounds like a good idea too."
New PTR announcements [Updated] - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 08:35:00 EST A couple of new things about the Patch 3.1 PTR this morning for you all. Dual specs, character copying, premades, downloading, vendors, and PTR release; it's like our own version of lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
No plans to have them be available. This doesn't completely rule them out, but Blizzard is usually pretty upfront with us if they're going to allow us to make some premade characters.
Dual Spec is not finalized
There is a lot of QQ already about dual specs and how they will work. We've seen everyone under the sun now tell us that the system isn't finalized. That means that the level 80 requirement for dual specs is still the way it'll be, but that could change in a heartbeat.
Breakfast Topic: No ifs or bots. - Wed, 18 Feb 2009 08:00:00 EST It's not even a question, really. Botting is against the game's TOS. If you're caught doing it, you're going to get banned. In case you hadn't already heard, Blizzard recently dealt the botting program Glider a killing blow in the courts, which should lead to the demise of the program. Whatever your views on it, Blizzard frowns on botting and even here at WoW Insider, most if not all of us are strongly against it.
That said, yesterday's 15 Minutes of Fame was an eye-opener for me. I guess because I'd never viewed botters with much regard I often dismissed them. I've even reported one or two over the past years. But Daedren's interview was actually something to mull over.
If you did bot, what would you bot? All of us have experienced horrible, senseless grinds in the game. Whether it's farming for mats, grinding Honor, completing long quest chains... at some point in playing the World of Warcraft, we've all felt the tedium that can sometimes lead to unsavory (and TOS-breaking) thoughts of hassle-free automation. I'd never do it, but if I did, I'd probably have used it to level from 1-80 -- something I don't particularly enjoy. How about you? Hypothetically, what would you have botted? Or does the thought of bots make you feel all dirty inside?
No classier way to /gquit than that, really -- have a power outage in the middle of a raid, and then return just to tell everybody that you're gone forever. Good luck with that whole "life" thing -- tell us how it turns out.
Lots more drama, downed, and recruiting news in this week's Guildwatch. Who knows: your guild (or server) might even be in here. Click the link below to find out.
Rolling restarts incoming - Tue, 17 Feb 2009 23:40:00 EST There will be a series of rolling restarts Wednesday morning for all U.S. realms beginning at 5:00 a.m. PST / 8:00 a.m. EST and lasting a "minimal amount of time." That usually means about 15 minutes for each realm, and the restarts are usually completely over with by 7:00 a.m. PST / 10:00 a.m. EST.
There is no information as to what the restarts fix, however things have been relatively stable tonight and there haven't been any abnormal number of complaints that WoW Insider has picked up on.
And since you'll obviously be up at five in the morning and will need something to do, why not check out our patch 3.1 coverage (hopefully the PTR will drop very very soon), or read up on dual specs? Good times ahead to be had by all.
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.
Daedren (not his former WoW character's name) ruffled more than a few feathers with an internet "confessional" (was it, really?) last week about his experiences botting in World of Warcraft. (To "bot," a term that comes from the word "robot," is to use a third-party program to play the game for you.) He initially declined an interview with 15 Minutes of Fame but was back in touch a few days later, after the comments and reaction began piling on.
With a measured, reasonable approach (somewhat at odds with the abrasive tone he takes with commenters on his blog), Daedren visits with us about botting. Is botting a blot on the soul of gaming humanity or a benign, time-saving technique for busy gamers? Read Daedren's post to learn what his botted characters were up to in WoW, then join us after the break to learn why his botting post was actually a farewell "ode to WoW."