The lists are a great read if you want to plan out how you can go about completing those Achievements, from the simple tasks, such as completing five daily quests (worth 5 points), to the loftier goals such as defeating the 25-man Naxxramas with only 20 people (worth 50 points). Achievements are classified under different categories, such as General, which involve collecting vanity items or finishing "whimsical" goals; there is the Quest category for those who are obsessive questers; there are also PvP goals that involve specific tasks in the Battlegrounds or Arenas.
It's not secret that I'm very excited about Achievements. Over 500 little questlets to do and work on all the time, with snazzy tabards and pets as rewards? Sold. But aside from a few screenshots on Blizzard's official page, we've had little idea what it was going to look like for the players. Now, thanks to Skosiris of Wowhead, that's going to change (Wowhead's WotLK site just opened up to the public, by the way). He sent me these exclusive screenshots from the beta just a little while ago - click on for a promenade through the Achievements UI.
Finally. We get to the most exciting -- albeit also most likely to change -- part of our Paladin abilities analysis. The new Wrath of the Lich King talents! Readers who have been keeping watch on the expansion's Alpha and all the rumors and leaks know only too well that Paladins have had nothing significant throughout the entire Alpha stage. That all changed with the sudden release of the Beta yesterday, however, and a flood of overwhelming Paladin information came streaming in. You can read the list of changes in my first post, and a general review of baseline abilities and existing talents in my follow-up post.
Paladin talents have been greatly reworked, with some talents jumping from one tree to another, and other talents scrapped completely. The general vibe from the new talent trees is that Blizzard, after so long, has finally given the class some much needed love. I don't think I've gotten this excited about the class -- or heck, about the game -- in a long time. We'll take a look at each tree, the new talents, and what they could mean for Paladins in Wrath after the break.
I am just finishing things up in Los Angeles (E3 ended yesterday, and most of the team here is still recovering from the Joystiq meetup last night), so while I'm on the plane tomorrow, the one and only Matthew Rossi will be kind enough to host the WoW Insider Show for me. The show goes live on WoW Radio at 3:30pm Eastern, and he's rumored to have not only everyone's favorite ursine posterior, John Patricelli, as well as an appearance by none other than BRK, the Hunter with the Big Red Kitty. And Turpster should be on as well, rounding out an excellent team of podcasters. It should be a bang-up show, and I'm sure they'll chat about the beta, as well as the brand-new achievements system announced for Wrath, and whatever else I missed this week while playing amazing games at E3.
They'll also be chatting in the IRC channel, which you can find at irc.mmoirc.com at #wowradio, and they'll be reading your emails I'm sure -- you can send them messages at firstname.lastname@example.org. Rossi, in particular, is definitely a big fan of the new hairstyles, so be sure to ask him how he's going to dress up his main tank.
Definitely tune in and check them out, they're sure to talk about something you're interested in. It kicks off tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern -- just load up WoW Radio around that time, and keep your ears open.
Thanks to Mania (creator of the indispensable Petopia), we now have information on the new pet talent trees for Wrath. This excellent information was brought to us by Nimizar, a hunter lucky enough to get into the beta today. Mania hasn't had time to code any talent calculators up, but I'm more than happy to look at the text of this stuff.
Each pet family has access to one of three talent trees, named Tenacity, Cunning, and Ferocity; however, the trees have a large amount of overlap. There are 17 talents per tree, nine of which are shared with the other two trees and eight of which are only found in that tree. The talents are arranged in five tiers. Each tier requires you to put three points into it to move on to the next tier (compare to five for character talents).
The full description of the talents is too lengthy to put here, so I'll just give the highlights. There are some very appealing skills.
While we've had some fake Wrath of the Lich King login screens before, this one is the real deal. It's being reported on by numerous sites, and several people have confirmed its authenticity. The image itself is of a ice fortress. You can see the version, 3.0.1, along with the latest build number and date: July 15, 2008.
Many people will notice that you have to sign in via an email address. This is part of a new system that Blizzard has put into place for the Wrath beta. Essentially, you'll have to create a new "Blizzard Account" to log into the beta. This account is separate from your retail WoW account, however you still have to have a retail WoW account and a beta key to get one. There's not a ton of information out on the new account system they are using for this, but when we have more information on it we'll post it.
If you'd like to play around with your could-be future talent tree, both Wowhead and MMO Champion have updated their talent calculators to reflect the information revealed from the Alpha once the NDA lifted.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Wrath Beta Edition - Fri, 18 Jul 2008 16:00:00 EST Well, we were going to talk about other things, but with the Beta coming out I have to admit I've entirely forgotten what they were. There's really no point in pretending that we're not going to be talk about this, is there? I don't think so myself.
We learn nothing about any new talents that don't directly replace older talents. Nothing about Bladestorm or Titan's Grip, and talents like Incite are only mentioned because they're directly replacing talents like Defiance. We also don't learn what the big new protection talent to replace Shield Slam is from these notes. (We do have other sources and we will be discussing those talents in more depth, I'm just pointing out what the notes don't specifically mention.) The notes focus more on protection spec than others although we do find out that mace spec and sword spec are being slightly nerfed while poleaxe spec is getting a nice little buff: these changes seem PvP related to my eyes, but I have no idea how effective they'll actually be.
The juggling of talents and the alteration of their effects definitely seems to confirm the notion that crushing blows are a thing of the past. On the one hand, this is a huge change to warrior tanking mechanics, as we're noted for our ability to hit uncrushability while druid tanks simply soak the damage with higher armor and stamina (paladins use the same mechanic as we do for uncrushable, they just need more block rating but can stay uncrushable longer than we can due to how their abilities work vs. ours): we've yet to see how this is going to play out. With the addition of DK's as tanks, removing CB's keeps them from having to rely on a gimmicky high parry (since they won't use a shield to tank) to avoid being crushed, but it also means that warriors will need a means to stay competitive with other tanks. Threat seems to be getting entirely reworked, so for now I'm cautiously optimistic about where tanking is heading for protection spec warriors, and indeed, all warriors.
I'll go so far as to say that arms and fury warriors will be tanking in Wrath. I don't expect them to be dedicated main tanks for raids, but I do expect to see them tanking in five mans without respeccing, and that is without taking the possible two talent spec idea into account.
We've seen some interesting things come out of the Wrath beta already for some of the crafting professions, including Jewelcrafting, Alchemy, Enchanting, and the new Inscription. But what about us humble gatherers? Skinners, Herbalists, and Miners need love too. Well, it looks like Blizz is ready to give us some of that love, at least for Skinners and Miners. Check out the following spells:
Note that those buffs are passive. 35 stam all the time for all grand master miners, and 25 crit rating for grand mister skinners. Each of those abilities have six ranks, which I take to correspond to the six ranks of profession skill: apprentice, journeyman, expert, artisan, master, and the new grand master.
This is awesome stuff, if you ask me. My analysis is that these benefits are meant to stand in for the epic BoP items that the production professions get access to. Why there is no benefit for herbalism is something of a mystery; it might not be implemented yet, or it might be absent on purpose. Natalie pointed out that it might be because several herbs already give buffs when you pick them, so that's another possibility.
I think these benefits are low enough that people with maxed-out professions aren't going to be dropping them just to get the extra 35 stam, but high enough to provide a meaningful, stabbity perk for those who've just about had it with skinning their ten-thousandth beast (who am I kidding, skinning is fun). Good change, and I do hope we see something for herbalism.
How to constantly check your email for a Beta invite - Fri, 18 Jul 2008 15:00:00 EST If you're like me, you're constantly refreshing your email box right now waiting for a beta invite. Also if you're like me, you'll probably get bored eventually and go find some Horde to kill in a Batteground. After all, taking out your aggression on Orcs is what it's all about. But after that PvP session, you'll probably go right back to checking.
There's a few key things you can do to constantly check your email and make sure you know when the beta key comes. Let's take a look at them.
That's the magic refresh key. It works on all browsers, and is a throwback to the old days of computers.
Press Control-R or Apple-R
Does the same thing as F5.
Auto check your email every minute
Most email programs allow you to "grab" email off the server as often as every minute. This is how I have my clients setup, and it will more or less let you know as soon as you get an email.
Seeing as how Alchemy is not yet officially implemented in the Wrath beta, we don't know all of what's in store for the masters of elixirs, flasks, potions, and transmutation. However, we can get some idea, given that the spells themselves seem to be in the game files, so we know the names of some alchemy spells and products, if not their actual effects (though some recipes are easy enough to guess).
"Windfury Totem is now a flat 20% melee haste totem. All ranks have been modified."
The up side for shamans is that our own Windfury Weapon ability seems to be unaffected, according to MMO-Champion. In fact, there's no reason that the two efffects couldn't co-exist, meaning that an enhancement shaman could get the benefit of Strength of Earth (with its new strength and agility benefits), Windfury Totem (with the flat melee haste) and Windfury Weapon allowing for the damage of two extra attacks with increased attack power.
We can talk more about the changes inside, shall we?
Before we get into the really juicy things, namely the new Wrath Paladin talents, we'll take a look at the changes to baseline spells and current talents. In some cases, these were totally reworked, and in others they were significantly improved. The first spell that leaps out with a huge buff is the change to Avenging Wrath, which no longer causes Forebearance. Its damage increase has been reduced to 20% (down from 30%), and now increases healing done by 20% (up from 0%).
Being the only non-gathering primary profession that has, thus far, been implemented in the Wrath beta, enchanters should feel special. No word yet on the long-rumored ability to sell enchants on the AH, but we do at least have some interesting new enchants to look forward to. Here are some of my favorites:
While every class is getting new talents and spells in Wrath, there are three big, brand-new additions to the game: Death Knights, Northrend, and the new profession: Inscription. We've known for a little while that the general gist of Inscription would be to add effects to spells you already have, like a knockback to your fireball - basically enchantments for your skills.
Now that the beta has gone up, we have a few actual examples of inscriptions and what they might need, though so far we still aren't seeing any inscriptions that add to spell effects. Inscriptions evidently require various kinds of ink, which will be made from herbs by a skill called Milling, which destroys five herbs to create ink (very like jewelcrafting's Prospecting). Parchment will also be required to create scrolls, although the items it's made from are not yet implemented. And what could this Mysterious Tarot be? Maybe just a high-level parchment, given that it requires the same reagents, only more of them? There's another skill called Decipher that "allows the deciphering of tomes, books, and scrolls," though what that might mean I"m not entirely sure.
Snoman, the young model-changing prodigy from Nogg-aholic, is back with the latest in his Dreamscapeseries, White Dreamscape. He felt that most of the Wrath of the Lich King areas that were previewed in other videos went by too quickly, so he took the scenic route. He also showed off some of his newest and unreleased model changes. YouTube doesn't do this video justice, so download a higher quality version if you like what you see!
We've already shown you screenshots of some of the new Runeforging abilities for Death Knights. Now, we have them all via MMO-Champion. As expected, they should let you customize your weapon for whatever role you expect to play, whether it be tanking or DPS, and what type of enemy you expect to go up again, be they undead, spellcasters, or melee. It looks to be an exciting system.
Read on for a full list of the Runeforging Enchantments.
The crafting professions may not yet be implemented in the Wrath of the Lich King beta, but we do get to see their mats. I'm not sure how much we can figure out from them. I do, however, really like some of the names, especially for the gems.
It looks like we'll have the same gem system as in BC, with six colors (three primary and three secondary) and one uncommon and one rare gem for each Epic gems have, understandably, not been unveiled yet, and common gems have made no appearance. Here are the names we have:
Though this may not have been the case earlier this morning, CM Nethaera has just confirmed that invites to the Wrath beta are indeed going out via email. So if you're opted in to the beta, check your email! I know I will be checking it many, many times today. If you don't get in, never fear; as the NDA has been lifted, we will keep everyone fully informed of all the latest news right here on the Insider.
If you do get in, you'll be asked to create a temporary account using your email and a new password. So be very, very wary of any email that asks you for your current username and password, since this is almost certainly a scam. Also, verify that any links you click are located at worldofwarcraft.com (and not, say, wow-blizzard.net). The scams are only going to come faster now that the beta is really going on, so be careful.
Edit: I should have remembered to mention this. Beta invite is completely random from the pool of people who have opted in.
The tauren druid Bufalo of Area 52 sent in many, many screenshots, and enough of them featured him wearing a Bloodsail Admiral's Hat that I began to wonder if he ever took it off. Then I Armoried him and found him completely naked except for a Time-Lost Figurine and a Piccolo of the Flaming Fire, which is infinitely more disturbing. In this picture, a thankfully clothed Bufalo leads a team of Hordies on triplicate Raven Lord mounts. Bufalo suggests that they're forming a new city guard, in which cast I have some serious questions for whoever's providing the uniforms.
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