So ends the age of the weekly loot piñata. The Wintergrasp raid instance, somewhat inappropriately called the Vault of Archavon, has a new tenant who isn't quite the pushover Archavon the Stone Watcher has been since the launch of Wrath of the Lich King. The Vault of Archavon was essentially every Level 80 player's weekly lottery and near guaranteed shot at Emblems. It was the most compelling reason to capture Wintergrasp as the raid was only available to the faction in control of the zone. Enter Emalon the Storm Watcher, a new raid boss with Patch 3.1 who drops Ulduar and Season 6 loot. Emalon's difficulty is ramped up considerably from Archavon and -- if initial forays are any indication -- hard enough to give seasoned raiders like our own Matt Low an aneurysm.
Unlike his meek neighbor Archavon, Emalon actually requires a bit of strategy and situational awareness. He also comes with four bodyguards, the Tempest Minions, who are integral to the fight. As can probably be inferred from his name and his crew, Emalon the Storm Watcher's primary source of damage is lightning, or Nature damage. It won't be necessary to stack resistance, just an understanding of the fight, his abilities, and knowing what to do and avoid. You can visit Emalon by turning into a corridor on the right just before heading into Archavon.
Each week Arcane Brilliance brings you a column about Mages and all things Mage-related. That's right, Arcane Brilliance is nothing if not consistent. You won't find any server instability here. We're never down, we're always up, and you can always enter our instanced content. And the best part? Arcane Brilliance doesn't charge you 15 bucks a month. Although, donations are totally welcome.
So how's everything? Did you make it through patch day unscathed? Did you log in, like me, and find that your Mage's face, forearms, and feet were gone, and there was a hole through his chest (pro tip: upgrade your video card drivers more than once every three years)? Are you running out of mana at an outrageous clip? Are your crit numbers from Molten Armor up or down? Did your guild manage to make it into Ulduar yet, and if so, did you manage to snag any phat loot? Did you dual spec your Mage so he can now both DPS and DPS? I went Frostfire/Firefrost, myself. When triple-specs hit, I'm taking a Frarcano-fire spec. Mark my words.
All in all, I'd say 3.1 wasn't too bad. We have some new glyphs to play with, the Argent Tournament is good, clean fun, our mounts can swim, and we have a whole new batch of loot-pinatas to blow up. Our DPS seems to be down a bit, but we're still beating Warlocks, so I'm not going to mail any angry, expletive-laced letters to Blizzard just yet. I've written them--rest assured--but I'm not yet prepared to actually invest in stamps for them. Those things are like a buck apiece these days.
So now we turn to the third and final installment in our guide to professions for Mages. If you missed them, the first two parts can be found here and here. This week we'll investigate the merits of Blacksmithing, Leatherworking, and Engineering. As an added bonus, we'll take a quick peek at the three secondary professions and enumerate the reasons for investing in them. Yes, even though you can conjure Strudel from the very air around you with but a word and a snap of your fingers, you still need to learn how to cook
[1.Local]: Patch week patter - Sat, 18 Apr 2009 16:00:00 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.
Patch madness Patch 3.1 went in; stable servers went out. Were you one of the players who shrugged and pushed back from the keyboard to enjoy some spring weather, or did connectivity issues leave you steaming?
Some readers ranted that $15 a month should provide smooth, uninterrupted service. Others felt that at something like 50 cents a day, they were getting a reasonable value.
"Interesting comments on the worth of WoW," observed Jalindrine. "The 50-cents-a-day logic, though, is obviously flawed. The question isn't 'Can I afford to spend 50 cents a day on a product?', but 'How many products/services can I afford to buy at 50 cents (more or less) a day?' Every so often, WoW's the one not worth it, which is much harder to realize when you're literally addicted."
Sounds like time for a sweep underneath the couch cushions ...
It's Saturday afternoon! What are you doing? I have no idea! I know what you should be doing, though. You should be finishing up your submissions to our Fan Art Contest! You only have a couple of days left, the contest ends the evening of April 20th.
Again, submissions are judged based on artistic skill, presentation, and creativity. Creativity is weighed much more heavily than the two. If you can make us smile with a crayon doodle, you probably still have a chance to win. Plus, it'll get you featured on our front page even if you don't win, so that's pretty cool. Right?
Fixing FPS issues with patch 3.1 - Sat, 18 Apr 2009 14:00:00 EST A few people are experiencing slowdown issues with patch 3.1, and since our last bit of technical help went over so well, we figured we'd do a little troubleshooting for you on this one, too. If your computer is running slower since you updated into patch 3.1, the first thing to do is check your video options -- Blizzard has tweaked a few things in there, and chances are that by tweaking them again, you might be able to fix your problem (or at least make it a little better). Specifically keep an eye out for the new Video Mode Ultra setting -- that specifically is not designed to be used unless your computer is current and top-of-the-line. Shadows also are quite a drag on the video card and CPU, and turning them down won't affect gameplay that much.
If your options are already low, the next thing you might do is check your videocard's make and driver version (scroll down to the "manually" section there -- you don't need to run Intel's program). Nvidia, who makes the common GeForce series of video cards just updated their drivers to version 182.50 on April 2nd, so if you have an earlier version than that, running the update will probably help. If you have an ATI card, you can find the drivers over on their site.
And of course if all of your software is set up and you're still having issues, there's always the possibility of updating your hardware. That can be quite an ordeal, though, so if you're not so sure on how to install new RAM or can't recognize the difference between SATA and IDE, you might want to enlist a friendly techie for a little help. WoW is still very forgiving, but Blizzard has been slowly adding on the graphical goodness, so if you've been playing with the same PC since launch four years ago, it might just be time for an upgrade.
In the aftermath of one of the biggest patches WoW has ever seen, many realms are still experiencing some technical issues. Talents and items are going missing, world and instance servers are down, and I've heard at least one report of trash mobs in Naxxramas suddenly breaking out in song.
Okay, I might have made that one up. The point still stands: problems exist in the realms right now. Blizzard knows this too, and they've decided to keep their technical support department open today until 7 PM Pacific time (10 PM Eastern). Usually they're only open on weekdays. Support will be available over the phone, through email, and in the tech support forums, as usual. Eyonix has posted a list of the methods to contact tech support, so check it out if you're having problems.
The show starts at April 18, 2009 3:30 PM EDT over on our Ustream page (or just check the feed right down on the bottom of this post), and we'll be chatting live with you during the show as well as answering emails that you send to firstname.lastname@example.org. We'll see you this afternoon!
And if you've got a little bit of time after the show, be sure to head on over to Rawrcast's Ustream page for their show, directly after ours. Our friend Stompalina is going to have none other than the inimitable Turpster, and apparently he'll be playing a game show that you can participate in. Turpster was also on The Instance earlier this week, too, so give that a listen if you just can't get enough of the T. Man that guy's like the Jaina of podcasts this week -- he's getting it on with everybody!
Top Ulduar achievements earned thus far - Sat, 18 Apr 2009 12:00:00 EST The folks over at GuildOx, a guild progress and achievement ranking site, were kind enough to email us some interesting new statistics about Ulduar's achievements. As it stands a large portion of the raids are, of course, not getting encounter specific achievements the first time they go into the zone. However there are some that are getting them nonetheless.
People may wonder if guilds are getting the achievements this quickly because Ulduar is too easy. My opinion on the matter is that Ulduar itself sans hard modes won't be abnormally challenging, however when you put in the hard modes and various twists to the encounter in order to earn the achievements, Ulduar is going to become quite challenging.
The achievements that have made the list so far, like A Quick Shave where you have to kill Razorscale with her only flying into the air once, just requires a lot of DPS. That's not too hard for most geared out groups to muster.
Take a look after the break for GuildOx's list of the top five Ulduar 10 and 25 man achievements, and head over there to take a look at things overall.
FigurePrints celebrates Ulduar with 10% discount - Sat, 18 Apr 2009 11:00:00 EST In celebration of the release of Patch 3.1, Secrets of Ulduar, FigurePrints is having a little sale. When placing your order, if you enter the promotional code 'ULDUARSECRET' you'll get 10% off of the price of your Print. Normal price being $129.95, you get $13 off bringing the subtotal to $116.95. Shipping is about $20, so your print would come to $136.90. This sale will only last through the 30th, so you have a little under two weeks to make your purchase.
I suspect that discounted price is still too high for most people, and only the crazy folk like me will pick up on it. I bought a FigurePrint at full price awhile back, and it was certainly worth it to me, even if the print was much smaller than I expected it to be. It was less a monument to my character, and more a little physical memory of what I've been doing for four years. That's worth $150 to me. To most people? Probably not. That's rather steep for what you get, even if it is crafted for your character.
High on my personal list of pain-in-the-ass mobs lies the Umbrafen Eel, which combines a low quest item drop rate with a highly unpleasant shock when you try to hit it in melee. (Other mobs on the list include Kurzen Medicine Men, pre-nerf Defias Pillagers, and any member of the murloc family with the inclination to run towards three more of its confederates when at 20% health. You're all on notice!) Many players have had similar bad experiences and avoid the eels on alts, but new death knight Iamsparta of Stormscale jumped into the fight without hesitation and received an electrifying lesson. Some things you can only learn through experience.
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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. 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.
The prologue is centered primarily on the native races in Northrend and how they react to the unnatural storms brought on by the Lich King's inner turmoil; the Tuskarr through community and the Taunka through defiance. We also see the exact nature of that turmoil, catching a glimpse of just how much of Arthas is left in there (or Ner'zhul for that matter), and we see it all to the tune of Metzen's sultry voice.
Blizzard is famous for adding references from all kinds of films, TV shows and other media into WoW (aka Easter Eggs.) Take this lovely young flower seller in Dalaran. Remind you of anyone? As I wander through Azeroth and Outland, I'm struck by the number of references to real world pop culture. From snakes on a plane in Nagrand to Dr. Boom in Netherstorm to Florist Gump in Stormwind, not to mention a talking rat and some turtles in Dalaran sewer. The list goes on and on. I also quite like the virtual presence of beloved Blues in the form of Eyonix in the Stormspire and Drysc in the Exodar, but my favourite is that human joke about a bracelet of power.
With the addition of Wrath, it seems we have even more references to uncover. So tell us, constant readers, which are you favourites and have you uncovered any new ones post Patch 3.1?
Fix for missing items to come during rolling restarts; instructions follow - Fri, 17 Apr 2009 23:50:00 EST There have been rolling restarts the past several days, which is nothing new. However on the morning of April 18th beginning at 5:00 a.m. PDT the realms will be restarted in order to correct a bug where items were missing from players backpacks after the previous restart.
Not every player experienced this issue. For those that did, items which were in their bags when they logged off Monday night were not there when they finally got into the game after patch 3.1 was applied Tuesday evening.
Last week's WRUP was dismally quiet as the team waited (a bit impatiently) for patch 3.1 to hit the realms. So, with the patch out, what is the WoW Insider team playing this weekend? Like the rest of you, it looks like we're scoping out new content! Want to know what the team is playing this weekend -- or want to let us know what you're playing this weekend? Read on!
Another Twitter recommendation for Phat Loot Phriday this week, this one from @MEA_Alex. Probably our last piece of Naxx gear, too -- next time we'll get into Ulduar, as there is some really awesome stuff in there, too. Name: Death's Bite (Wowhead, Thottbot, WoWDigger) Type: Epic Two-Hand Axe Damage/Speed: 554-831 / 3.40 (203.7 DPS) Attributes:
+101 Strength, +114 Stamina
Improves hit rating by 62, and crit strike rating by 90.
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If you are a Scribe who has not yet stepped into the glyph market since patch 3.1 went live on Tuesday, April 14th, then you'd better hustle!
As we discussed pre-patch, the glyph market is undergoing a radical shift. For a limited time, perhaps very limited, it is soaring to epic heights. Unfortunately, this will not last, and I expect the market to take a sobering downturn in the next couple of weeks.
This upswing is also affecting related markets, such as those for inks and herbs, and although we will likely see a bit of a price crash once the glyph market deteriorates, these should stabilize relatively quickly.
Today, I will be reviewing why and how the glyph market is changing, and make some predictions for the future. I will also discuss how you can earn some of this post-patch wealth, as well as ways to continue making some profit even after the demand for glyphs drops. I will also be pointing you to some interesting stories around the web of how other Scribes are cashing in this week!
What can I say, I enjoy musical theatre as long as I don't actually have to go to it. (Did you know that was Murray Head, Anthony Stewart Head's older brother? I didn't.)
So for the past few days I've spent my in game time divided between 10 and 25 man Ulduar. I've almost moved into the place, really: save for the first day the patch dropped, I pretty much only log on to pick up consumables and flasks and head back to Storm Peaks. In part this is due to my personal life, as I actually have slightly less time to play now than I did before so almost all of that in game time has to be concentrated, and partly it's just been for the fun of seeing new boss fights. My guild is a 'learn as you go' kind of guild, so we're not worrying about PTR runs or prepared boss strats, we're going in and seeing what works for us, which so far has killed the four bosses in the Colossal Forge section. Razorscale died with three people up, but hey, a kill's a kill.
So far in Ulduar from a warrior perspective, I can say certain things.
Congratulations, Argent Champion! You've progressed past the Valiant rank and become a true Champion of the Argent Tournament. You're the finest that the Tournament has to offer and you've made your city proud.
And that means playtime's over ... again.
Yep, it's time to kill some Scourge outside Icecrown Citadel again, but this time you're after their commanders, the ones you've so deftly avoided in the past.
The Queue: Rested - Fri, 17 Apr 2009 17:00:00 EST 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, folks. I want to take a second to apologize for The Queue's absence the last couple of days. Patch days pretty much murder Adam and I, so we set this thing aside for a couple of days. We're much less busy now though, so it should be back on schedule! thatoneguy asked...
"So is the Argent Tournament a one time thing or is it going to keep coming back? I'm kinda worried i'll miss it if I reroll with a friend."