Since time began, chants of "Onyxia Deep Breaths more" have been heard throughout the land announcing the arrival of new WoW patches. Sure, bugs have come and gone, but Onyxia's Deep Breath has never Deep Breathed more. Really. Deep Breath is fine. I promise.
Burning Crusade has spread this phenomenon to other bosses, too. In Karazhan alone, the Prince, the Maiden of Virtue, and Nielas Aran seemingly cast whatever it is they cast more frequently. Infernals, Holy Fire, Flame Wreath, the whole shebang. In general, this crops up for encounters that have an element of randomness. Malchezar's infernals can drop wherever they'd like. Safe spots are only safe until the randomness of the encounter decides to be random. In the case of Deep Breath, it simply occurs for your raid more often because you didn't take the proper steps to prevent it.
I actually think it's sort of fun to see so many people complain about these things with every patch because it's a good sign of the encounters actually working as intended. I just wonder how many encounters this has applied to over the years. Onyxia is most famous for it, but how far does Deep Breath Syndrome reach?
A couple of people have posted about the Shattered Sun Peacekeepers slacking off on their jobs lately, quite possibly thanks to something Blizzard fed them in Patch 2.4.2. In their reports, they complain about Peacekeepers attacking them for no reason, sometimes not even in retaliation for attacking (or defending yourself against) a member of the opposing faction. I can actually empathize with this as I encountered the ill-placed wrath of the Peacekeepers myself when I rezzed my wife's toon in front of the Staging Area. Without having done anything other than rezz, the Peacekeepers promptly charged and made short work of me.
In my experience, I have found that the Peacekeepers around the Shattered Sun Staging Area have been slacking off. In fact, my wife's toon was ganked right in front of the building and the so-called Peacekeepers did absolutely nothing. Sensing a bug, my wife wrote a ticket and got a somewhat rude e-mail response saying that -- you guessed it -- it was working as intended. An Alliance guild on my server seemed to be aware of the fact and exploited it to full effect, killing solo players who could seek no refuge under the apathetic -- or even hostile -- Peacekeepers.
According to reports, it's a known bug -- one player even made a video to document it -- but so far Blizzard has turned a blind eye to it. I got a more sympathetic response from my GM who at least mentioned he'd look into the situation. An in-game GM even reset the Peacekeepers in order to see if it would change anything (it didn't). I don't mind gankage... it's part of being on a PvP server. But when an area is supposedly a sanctuary, you don't expect to go through the hassle of a fight. Even worse, you shouldn't have the Peacekeepers tossing your butt around when you're being peaceful yourself. If things keep going the way they are, The Shattered Sun Offensive should probably downsize or hire some more useful temps.
My wife is a shrewd little fox. She knows just how much I love the fact that she plays the game with me so sometimes, when we have our little domestic arguments, she makes sure to cancel her WoW account just to drive home a point. Of course, it doesn't mean much since we're both paid up for the next few months, but the message is clear -- "we make up (or you see things my way) or I'm quitting the game!" Of course, we don't reconcile merely because I'll be losing my favorite playing partner, but I have to confess that it doesn't make me happy one bit.
For parents, World of Warcraft can be a useful bargaining chip for their kids with the parental controls feature. It's easy enough to control WoW time if kids aren't doing their homework, floundering in school, or simply not doing their chores. Conversely, a friend of mine gave his son a WoW subscription when he did well in school. World of Warcraft can be so much fun and addicting that it's often used as a social tool, and it's often upsetting when our friends quit playing the game. How many of us have had friends whose significant others have "allowed" them to play the game after, say, a wonderful date?
I'm not sure if it only applies to me, but because I play the game with many of my RL friends and my family, I use the lure of WoW to full effect. I once had my brother do a specific task for the promise of an upgrade to The Burning Crusade. A little before he finished what I asked him to do, I secretly upgraded his account so he could finally make his Blood Elf Priest. Kind of manipulative, I know, but we did end up having a lot of fun leveling our alts together. How about you? How much a part of your life is WoW and has it ever been used as a bargaining chip in your social life?
We ran Karazhan the other day and for the first time in a long time we didn't clear it in one run and took almost four hours only to call it at Prince. Only about half of our regular group could make it that day and we were forced to PuG the rest, even filling the last spot with a player who had never done Karazhan before. Our raid leader and tank grumbled throughout the entire run, sending me tells of wanting to kick people from the group. In the end, we conspired to end our misery by acceding to a couple of attempts at Prince but no more.
For the past weeks, we had been doing 2 1/2 hour Karazhan for badges, and for the most part we made sure that our raid members were equipped in Tier 4-5 or better. We'd turbo pull to bosses with a Paladin tank and Disenchanted nearly every drop because, really, no one needed anything from there. We ran it for badges and wanted to breeze through the instance as quickly as possible. We would wince if we brought someone who wasn't familiar with the strats or had more than a few blues.
No David this week, I'm sorry to report. No, you're stuck with me. Before we get rolling, I'll establish my 'cred', so to speak. I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in 1981, when I was ten years old. You can scroll down the page at the Acaeum till you hit the eight edition: that's the set my mom bought for me at a local department store. To this day I still remember the Erol Otus cover. From there, it's been a long, rambling flirtation with the genre, from AD&D to the Hero System (Champions mostly) to Steve Jackson's GURPS to the various FASA offerings (mostly Mechwarrior and Shadowrun, I liked Earthdawn but no one else wanted to play it) to Chaosium's Pendragon and Call of Cthulhu lines (and Stormbringer, the Elric RPG) to the present day, with d20 system games like Mutants and Masterminds and Arcana Evolved ans well asWhite Wolf's Exalted setting being in my current pile.
As a result, when I first got into World of Warcraft, I was under the impression that you were expected to role play your character. My poor human paladin (who I had decided had been sent to the order as a child because his parents didn't particularly care to feed yet another mouth after the war, and who was frankly too slow to grasp book learning to make a good priest) quickly learned that any attempt to discuss epic adventure, make comments about how boring life at the Abbey had been, or even treat kobolds as anything other than copper shedding piñatas to be beaten until the glittering candy came out would be treated with extreme derision. I didn't know about things like roleplaying servers back then.
My wife's Holy Priest got ganked on the Throne of Kil'jaeden the other day by a full Season 3 MS Warrior. She grouped with a Shadow Priest who was questing in the area and had also fallen victim to the bloodthirsty Human. They got ganked a couple more times while I took my Shaman over to lend them a hand. We managed to take down the ganker several times but not before he almost killed the poorly-geared Shadow Priest. Every time that the Warrior would rezz, he would immediately Charge the Shadow Priest and proceed to Mortal Strike him to within an inch of his life, despite getting heals from my wife's Holy Priest and my Restoration Shaman.
After several more tries, the Warrior mounted up and proceeded to taunt me away from the group, the only one he hadn't yet ganked, but I simply brushed him off with a /bored emote. My wife wondered why the Warrior kept on going for the Shadow Priest instead of herself. It only made sense, I replied, pointing out that the Shadow Priest was the most logical target considering he was undergeared. My wife countered that she wasn't equipped in PvP gear, either, but I reasoned that since he'd killed her once, he knows she's not specced Discipline because he's seen Spirit of Redemption pop up. That meant no Pain Suppression, and that there's no way she could heal through his damage.
One of the most crucial skills in PvP is choosing the right target, and encounters, matches, are won and lost through choosing the right target. This necessitates a full understanding of the limitations of one's own class, a moderate knowledge of other classes, a familiarity with gear, and an awareness of one's surroundings. It's rapid threat assessment and measured response. Almost every encounter will be different, even with the same players involved. Even with a lot of experience, choosing targets in PvP can still so often go wrong.
Answers from a Lore Nerd part 1 - Sun, 18 May 2008 13:00:00 EST Yesterday I posted Ask a Lore Nerd, in which I asked you, the readers, to ask me any lore questions you'd like. Your questions came, and I'm doing my best to answer! There were quite a lot of questions, many of them multi-part questions, so I haven't been able to get at all of your questions today. I picked ten comments, answered their questions, and I'll get to the rest of them as soon as possible! Don't be afraid to ask further questions. Keep them coming! Milkingit asks: Where do murlocs come from?
Answer: We don't know for sure, but there are many theories. Their appearance on land is supposedly a rather recent event, but it's likely that murlocs have been living on the ocean floor for many thousands of years, walking Azeroth even longer than Trolls. The Trolls have been believed to be the oldest sentient race on Azeroth, so if the murlocs came first, they're a very old race and we may never know their exact origin.
There are also a few theories on what has inspired murlocs to move inland. The naga taking over the ocean depths may have driven the murlocs inland. The murlocs may be in cahoots with the naga, and the infestation of the mainlands is a tactical move. The murlocs may also be being controlled by Neptulon or some other force, and are doing his/their bidding. We may learn more in Wrath of the Lich King, as the murlocs make a comeback there.
Set to a Nine Inch Nails song of the same name, In This Twilight is packed with all of the goodness that you enjoy. There's travel, battle, scenery, and suspense shots, or, something for everyone. If you're a glutton for punishment, check out Cryfury's WoW interpretation of Everybody (Backstreet's Back).
PvP in its purest form is a beautiful thing. Amanda Dean, always obsessed with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat brings you news you can use in the Arena. When last seen, former Blood Sport columnist V'Ming Chew had defeated a pack of angry Gnome Warlocks and had decided to take up retirement in a lovely chateau overlooking the Ring of Trials in Nagrand.
So thanks to the new point requirements for Battleground gear in Arena Season Four, many people who are not as familiar with the arena will be forced to queue up.When I first started playing arenas, I didn't see it as tremendously different from battlegrounds.After several hard-learned lessons I found that I had to be much more flexible.I've also picked up a few tricks along the way.
You have to count on all of your opponents using every tool available.If you're not already doing these things, give some of them a shot.
Finlome of Firetree appears to be trying a new method of killing Onyxia. Instead of bringing a raid of forty people, he's decided it would be best to bring himself and a torch. This may sound crazy, but hear me out -- Onyxia's Lair has over fifty dragons in a cave with no apparent ventilation. That thing's got to be FILLED with methane by now. Torch + methane gas + fire resist gear = free Tier 2 helm. It's brilliant! No, wait, it's the dumbest plan I've ever come up with. But it's still less painful than running that instance twenty weeks in a row waiting for Bloodfang.
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, if you've got a suggestion for a new ending joke, write it in the comments, or else I'll subject you to samples of Around Azeroth Nigerian scam e-mails!
Sunday Morning Funnies: I'll tickle your soul - Sun, 18 May 2008 09:00:00 EST This week, we have things that suck, users and abusers, opportunists, resourcefulness, and even some creepy happiness. You know that when drawings get emotional, entertaining things happen. If you get bored, you can even read the handful of poor reviews last week's lot was given!
Supermegatopia shows us daily quests from the other side of the fence.
There are two great comics from Ding! this week. Have you ever wondered about some of those people who queue battlegrounds and then immediately leave? Are they all queue hoppers? Other people have been showing around their orphans. Some, have been using their orphans.
You should check out the latest LFG. As a side note, which is not necessarily showcased perfectly in this week's comic as much as some others, I've been reading this book. Sometimes I read, you see. At the recommendation of several friends, I picked up a Terry Pratchett book, The Colour of Magic. Now, to continue my ramble, I have always enjoyed LFG's warlock the most, as I'm sure others might agree. To my delight, there is a warlock of sorts in this book that seriously reminds me of this character. Not in any way, shape or form am I suggesting they are related, but if you like one, you should like the other. /ends tangent.
This morning we ask you not if you are leaving WoW for AoC, but if you are indulging in a little weekend sideline fun in the lands of Hyboria. Or have your stalwart guildmates suddenly disappeared yesterday?
I am a terrible leveler. I started playing back in January 2007, and in all that time have managed to produce a single 70. Admittedly, I think she's a very good 70 and she stays busy, but you would think that nearly 1 1/2 years would be a sufficient period of time to level another class to the endgame. Guess not.
Lately I've been trying to fix this and have gone back to leveling a few alts. While talking to a friend last night about his propensity for leveling alts at the approximate speed of an SR-71, it occurred to me that I have two warriors, only one of whom has leveled quickly. The other just can't seem to fill up the XP bar. Obviously there's no class difference to cite as a possible reason, so I started thinking about what affects the leveling speed of an alt, and why I've got so many unsuccessful ones littering the character selection screen:
Death Knights are playable, although the starting quests and talents are not complete.
Spells and Talents past 70 are available for the Druid, Mage, Priest, Shaman, Warlock, and Warrior classes
You can head to Northrend via Menethil Harbor and Theramore for the Alliance, or Undercity and Ogrimmar for the Horde
The Howling Fjord, Borean Tundra, Grizzly Hills, and Dragonblight are the zones currently open for testing.
Utgarde Keep, Utgarde Pinnacle, The Nexus, and Drak'tharon Keep are currently available for testing.
If they already have talents for quite a few classes past 70, it would seem to suggest that they are further along on the expansion then we think. Hopefully, if these patch notes ring true, we'll hear about those talents soon. You can read the full Patch notes behind the jump.
So Leafshine has a problem: She's got way too much stuff to disenchant. Her friends have been sending her things to disenchant for quite some time, letting her keep the ingredients. But now there's two things different: They're sending her droves of level 70 items, and they want the materials back.
If you've played the level 70 game and done the Shattered Sun Offensive dailies, you probably know where this is going. On a good day, doing the complete Outland daily circle, I can come out with somewhere around 10 disenchant-worthy items between regular drops and Shattered Sun Supplies. Leafshine says she can sometimes spend up to 10 minutes working on Disenchanting, and I can believe it. Every time I process a batch of greens on my disenchanter, not only does it take some time to get through with them, then I have to process multiple piles of reagents, and figure if I'm going to store them, sell them, or use them to make a tailoring blue which I will then disenchant into a shard.
If added disenchanting for friends in there, I could spend all the day disenchanting. I have to commend Leafshine for putting up with it, and I don't think it would be a bad idea to start charging a disenchant fee - even if it's as simple as taking a cut of the materials. It's one thing to expect a disenchanter to be ready to disenchant dungeon blues that no-one needs, but it seems like another to mail your stuff to them and expect them to take their time to disenchant it free of charge. I know that friends should help each other out with tradeskill stuff, but there's a limit. Yeah, we're friends, we've raided together, but if I expect you to take 10 minutes out of your play time to help me out, throwing you some gold for your time seems like nothing more than common courtesy.
Arcane Brilliance comes to you every week from the top of Archmage Xylem's tower in Ashzara. Yes, in between sending wave after wave of power-hungry Mages to kill Morphaz over and over and over again, the Archmage finds the time to put quill to scroll and conjure forth a weekly Mage column for WoW Insider. Just kidding, it's actually just some guy at a computer who writes these, and all Xylem does in between giving quests to unwary adventurers is walk from the bottom of his tower to the top and back again. It's a boring life to be sure, but all I do between typing paragraphs is walk from the computer to the fridge and back again, so who am I to judge?
When people who don't play World of Warcraft find out I play the game, a common question I get is "what level are you?" It isn't always asked that way; those unfamiliar with basic game mechanics might not know what a "level" is precisely, but the intent is the same. If they care to ask questions at all, they frequently want to know how "far" I've gotten in the game. Progression is a basic ingredient in video games, and when I tell them I'm level 70 (I generally leave out the part where I explain that I actually have two characters at 70, and between all my alts I have gained over 400 levels across 14 characters, so as to avoid getting the "oh, you're a crazy person" look from whoever I'm talking to), and they learn that 70 is the highest current level attainable, they typically assume I've "beaten" the game, that I've completed it somehow.
The problem, of course, is that WoW doesn't work like that. Hitting level 70 is definitely a milestone, and a genuine accomplishment, but it is nowhere near being the end of anything. If anything, level 70 is the flaky crust through which you must chew to access the real meat of the game. Frequently, characters will clock far more playtime after level 70 than they ever did while they were still gaining experience points.
Last week we discussed the myriad options available to a newly minted level 70 Mage, and I suggested a checklist of things to do to improve your character once that particular plateau had been crested. This week we'll begin going over one of the most important decisions a Mage needs to make at endgame: nailing down a talent spec. After the jump, we'll discuss some common raiding builds, what each build is good for, and how you can tweak each spec to match your play-style.
They're asking for an exclusive piece of artwork from one of their Blizzard game franchises. They're asking that submissions be high definition JPG images, with a 1920x1200 resolution and no larger than 3 MB in size. I wear the world's largest dunce cap when it comes to this sort of art, so I am not sure if those are highly limiting requirements or not. Perhaps you can fill me in!
Registration is being done online, and it is taking place between June 6th and June 16th. Blizzard has posted the full rules on EU website, so you can head that way if you're in the mood for some legalese. They've also posted the prizes, which I've tucked behind the cut.
Ready Check is a weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and get mad purpz. Today, we take a look at why endgame guilds die.
This week, world-first guild Death and Taxes made an announcement which floored most of the raiding community: The End. Death and Taxes is no more. For a long time, raiders and non-raiders alike have been following the adventures of those guilds with the time and dedication to be competing for firsts. Seeing a household name disband, and not for April Fool's, is particularly poignant because it brings the message home that even the loftiest raid guilds are human too, subject to the same problems and drama as any other guild out there.
There have been multiple reasons given for the disbanding of D'n'T -- what's most interesting about these is that many people have commented on the same things happening in their guild, or in guilds they know about. Were the problems introduced by The Burning Crusade and other Blizzard-based changes, such as paid character transfer? Or are they fundamentally the result of high expectations, raiding downtime and the ensuing attrition over two years? Let's take a look at some of the problems facing endgame guilds' longevity, and perhaps an insight into how to avoid the same fate.
To cut down traffic on the Guild Recruitment forum and give advertisements a little more staying power, the Guild Recruitment forum will be cast aside. In its place will be two forums, one specifically for Alliance advertisements and one for Horde advertisements.
That is definitely good news for aggressive recruiters, and I'm sure it will come into play even more in Wrath of the Lich King, when 10 and 25 man raiding starts up in that expansion's life cycle.
Ask a Lore Nerd - Sat, 17 May 2008 13:00:00 EST I'm a lore nerd. Plain and simple. Nerdy nerd nerd. Thus, my kryptonite is questions such as, "Who is Aran's son?" and "Why are Blood Elves in Mount Hyjal anyway?" These questions make me weep and wish Know Your Lore was more than just weekly.
I've decided to draw a little inspiration from these questions instead of seethe with nerd rage. I ask you, WoW Insider readers, ask me your lore questions! I'll follow them up with nice and easy explanations tomorrow afternoon. If you have a more complicated, more involved questions, maybe I'll take it over to Know Your Lore.
I don't mind getting questions we've answered on the site before, it's pretty easy to miss posts that fall off of the front page, so ask pretty much any lore-related question you'd like, and I'll do my best to answer you! Not everything is as epic as Azjol-Nerub and Oshu'gun, so even small questions are just fine. Don't be afraid!