The state of the Azerothian economy - Thu, 19 Feb 2009 19:00:00 EST Thermalnoise over on the WoW LJ thought of a great poll, and the results are interesting. He asked readers there what the average amount of gold they had on their characters was, and I thought the amounts were relatively high: between 2,000 and 10,000g for about 40% of those polled. The other big chunk is between 200 and 2,000g (a little under 30% of respondents), which is where I'd expect most of the player base to be, but no: apparently Blizzard's bigger rewards in Wrath of the Lich King (not to mention the higher gold sinks, requiring us to try and raise more gold if we want to fly around or ride a mammoth) have made us richer as a whole.
Thermalnoise also asked how much your savings of gold fluctuates, and for most people it apparently stays pretty much the same, or generally increases (probably as they run professions, do quests, or sell off drops and pay repairs). I'd imagine Blizzard is keeping a pretty close eye on just how our gold moves around, and that "steadily increase" is what they'd want all of our money to do, just to keep the game's economy moving around.
In fact, though I'm probably repeating myself here, it'd be nice to have them give us some insight on just what's happening with the ingame economy. We've gotten a few hints at what sells and doesn't on the realms, but it would be interesting to see some official numbers about the average amount of money that players have and keep at the various levels of the game. and exactly where it all goes when we spend it.
MMOCluster has a great little app on their WoW page that allows you to create your own Achievement banner. You come up with the snappy title, the amusing text, even an appropriate picture if you're up to it and the site generates the banner. You can use the banner as a signature or just to make a point in a forum post.
The possibilities are endless. Some other's I'm going to make:
Did Somebody Call A Whaaaaambulance? - Complain about the pulls, the heals, the loot, the game, the design, your class, your life. In a PuG. During a boss encounter. While not contributing to the fight. 10 Points.
High Roller - Roll on every loot drop regardless of your ability to use or equip the item. 10 points.
Charmed Life - Run a Pick Up Group with no deaths or loot drama. 50 points.
I could do this all day, but I think I already hit my bitterness quota with those three. There's always tomorrow!
New glyphs incoming soon - Thu, 19 Feb 2009 17:00:00 EST Eyonix chimed in on the General forums earlier to say that we'll be seeing new glyphs soon. It's just a small line, but it should be good news for all tradeskills. It's very rare for them to add a significant amount of items to one tradeskill in a content patch and leave all of the others untouched. Personally, I think it's a good sign that we'll be seeing a lot of tradeskill love in patch 3.1, but maybe I'm reading into it too deeply.
Even if we're in some crazy world where only Inscription receives tradeskill love, this is interesting news regardless. We might be seeing more glyphs incoming for a lot of our Wrath of the Lich King abilities that weren't given glyphs, so we could experience the base abilities before we started augmenting them. It wouldn't surprise me at all if we started seeing things like Glyph of Frostfire BoltMind Sear in patch 3.1.
As soon as the PTR comes up, we'll be hitting the trainers and reputation vendors to see what is coming our way, so keep an eye on WoW Insider for all of that good stuff once it happens.
Edit: Shhh. You didn't see that. It has a line through it, that means it didn't happen.
Dual specs are coming at long last! What will this mean for shamans? Shamans come in slightly behind other hybrids but are still capable of fulfilling two different DPS roles (melee or caster) as well as healing. What spec combinations can we expect to see? Which will be the most popular or the most in-demand? It's fairly easy to expect that shamans who raid at either the 10 or 25 man level (especially the 25) will be expected to have restoration as their dedicated off spec, especially now that unified spellpower means that they may well be able to heal reasonably well in elemental gear with a few changes.
While enhancement gear isn't even close to as good for either elemental or restoration play, it's still likely that enhancement shamans who raid will be expected to choose restoration as their offspec, since in either case (elemental or enhancement main specs) shamans 'switching to benefit the raid' would most likely be asked to backup heal. However, it is possible to imagine an enhancement/elemental offspec for specific boss fights that are more suited to melee or ranged DPS: the shaman simply switches over to whichever spec allows him or her to contribute the most damage. Gear will of course be an issue.
And who knows what BlizzCon will hold -- even though we're only now reaching the steps of Icecrown, the time is ripe for Blizzard to start hinting at content patches that come after 3.1, or maybe even expansion number three. Blizzard and their parent company at Activision are on top of the world right now, so there's no question why 30% of the industry folks surveyed said they'd have the biggest 2009 around. We can't wait.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
This week's matchup squares off two more of Wrath's five-man instance bosses who only appear in the heroic versions of their dungeons: kangaroo-on-crack Eck the Ferocious of Gundrak versus 'shroom king Amanitar of Ahn'kahet. What happens when Eck goes bounding across the tops of Amanitar's mushroom garden? Let's work it out.
First, the basics: assume that each boss has approximately the same level, health and damage output as the other. Since Amanitar's mushrooms are an integral part of his defenses, we'll set this match in Amanitar's boggy home turf, minus any adds but with the mushrooms he summons. Beyond that detail, we're out to debate the three S's: Style, Story and Scale. Don't get caught up in the game mechanics and player dynamics of each encounter. Consider the flavor each villainous gladiator brings to bear, then cast your vote for who you think would come out on top.
If you do a lot of instances, you're probably familiar with the error message "Additional instances could not be launched. Please, try again later," and the accompanying dance of spamming the instance portal until it lets you in. For me it seems to happen most at the Azjol-Nerub portal, but that's probably just coincidence.
Anyway, although I've been seeing this error pretty much since WotLK launched, Wryxian just made a post today in the European forums explaining what it's all about. Basically, it's an attempt to fix instance performance; if too many instances are running at the same time on the instance server, lag and possible crashes result (and I'm sure we've all experienced that), so there's a limit imposed on how many instances can be up at any given time.
So remember when Curse introduced their database last year called WoWDB, and we pointed out that it bore a strong resemblance to that other popular WoW database, Wowhead? Turns out ZAM, the owners of Wowhead after the acquisition a little while ago, agreed: completely under the radar last May, they filed a lawsuit for copyright infringment to the tune of no less than $1.5 million. ZAM says in the suit, copies of which we've obtained, that they've "expended substantial resources to maintain, update, and promote use of the WOWHEAD website so that it would become... one of the most recognized, and utilized websites designed to attract individuals" who play World of Warcraft. They claimed that WoWDB stole their look and layout purposely to create confusion among customers. This story wasn't reported in the WoW community at the time -- we hadn't heard about it at all until now.
And then, in January of this year, the case was dismissed completely by a judge. We've also seen a copy of the order for dismissal, and from what it says, both sides wanted out: "Pursuant to the parties' stipulation for dismissal, the court hereby dismisses the above-captioned action without prejudice." We don't have any information, however, why the case was suddenly dismissed, but there may have been an agreement made between the two parties -- either money changed hands or WoWDB offered to change its look (as you cansee, there's still many similarities between the two sites). Or, as a third option, ZAM just decided it wasn't worth fighting -- according to the comments and activity on both sites, WoWDB doesn't seem to be a serious threat to Wowhead.
We've contacted both sides for comment, and we'll let you know if we hear anything from either one. On the front of it, this looks like ZAM was merely covering themselves -- they filed suit just in case, but never found cause to follow through. But there may be some other agreement between these two companies that lead to the case's dismissal.
It's time to head back into the Nether. This Eye of the Storm Call to Arms weekend, why don't you make your forays into that floating space rock a little more meaningful by completing the Achievements required for Master of Eye of the Storm? Out of all the Battleground masteries, this is considerably the easiest of them all, with only eight Achievements to finish. It should take a modest effort to complete, and is a good step towards the Battlemaster meta-Achievement.
Eye of the Storm Veteran Win 100 times. You know the drill. This is easier than accumulating other victories because Eye of the Storm matches never last for very long because points tick for every second. The more towers a team controls, the more points per tick and the more each flag capture is worth. Even if you lose a game, it's never such an excruciating wait. Difficulty: Easy
The Perfect Storm Win 2000-0. Anybody who has played Eye of the Storm enough times will know that this happens rather often, more so than Arathi Basin, at least. This is because unlike Arathi Basin, towers are controlled through numbers and proximity, so overloading a tower will lead to its conversion. As long as a team starts strong or in greater numbers, it will usually result in control of the towers nearest the opponents, which sometimes results in a 4-0 game. It's easier from there. Play enough games to reach 100 wins, and you'll pick this up along the way. Difficulty: Easy
Tipster Dread Raven dropped us a note about Zimtower's music video Cloud 9. The tip labled the video as amazing. I admit, I was nervous about that word at first. The last time I got a tip labled that way was for BLIND, and that can be a hard one to measure up to. Also, just as importantly, we did a gnome-based video yesterday, and sometimes our readers have a low gnome-to-nongnome tolerance.
But when I fired up the video and started watching, I was enthralled. Zimtower's work to animate the singer was astounding. Face and body movements are well-tuned and expressive. You can see her eyes behind her gnomish goggles. The soft glow of scenery and motion-capture are all beautifully done, giving the video an overall ephemeral quality.
The song itself fits perfectly. While it's not my genre of music by preference, the strong bond between visual and audio has cemented "Cloud 9" as something to live in my iPod. Zimtower said the video was about joy. I was skeptical, but the sense of serenity and peace during the movie really did bring that across. I admit, I thought the music video was, in fact, amazing.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
Commanders Kolurg or Stoutbeard carried this week's matchup by popular decision over contender Erekem. Dissenters made a strong case, though, for the Arakkoa's comeback potential in the likely event that the Commander's Whirlwind took out his guards.
"Anyone who thinks the Commanders would win, clearly hasn't fought Erekem," protests Karilyn, "for one simple reason: when Erekem's guards die, he becomes more powerful than you can imagine. I seriously doubt the Commander would hold back on using Whirlwind, as that's his biggest strength. A quick sacrificial offering of his guards, and Erekem would easily have a significant upper hand."
Vote later today in the next matchup of this season'sTwo Bosses Enter ... One Boss Leaves.
Most undead revere the Dark Lady Sylvanas, and Noahdeer of <almost> on Dark Iron is no exception. Even while they're fighting off an Alliance raid, she's still his center of attention. Heck, even the blood elf Ambassador Sunsorrow couldn't take his eyes off her, which is probably why he's lying dead on the ground. Maybe it's some of the post-Love is In The Air pheromones still hanging around. Will you look what love has done?
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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.
While reading these, I was reminded of comments I've seen on guild applications during my time as a raider. Some simply expand upon the points addressed by Casual Hardcore and Matticus; others were slightly different sentiments people were prone to airing whenever they recognized certain undesirable patterns. I've never been a recruitment officer (my guild leader has correctly observed that, as a soft touch, I would cheerfully rubber-stamp every match-girl, axe-murderer, and mortgage lender on the server), but over time it's been hard not to get a sense of what that person would want to see when they open a new application:
It doesn't take Mind Vision to determine that I'm really, really excited for 3.1, and of all of its features, the Ulduar raid has me enthralled the most. I love new raids, and after all this time running Naxx, I'm ready to move on to a bigger and badder place. It doesn't hurt that everything I've heard about Ulduar sounds great! 14 bosses, hard modes, optional bosses, getting launched onto the back of a giant fire-breathing robot... I honestly can't think of any negatives about the place. I guess it's just what I needed.
Of course, I haven't played it yet. But soon, very soon, the PTR will go live and I'll be able to bask in all of its brass-and-marble glory. And you won't be able to shut me up about it if you try. If you can't beat me, though, you should consider joining me there.
I'm aware, of course, that raiding's not for everyone, and that some people don't want encounters spoiled for them before they go live. So what about you guys? Are you looking forward to checking out Ulduar for yourself on the PTR? Gonna wait until it hits live WoW to try it out? Or do you just not care about Titantown too much?
THESE QUESTIONS AND MORE ANSWERED (BY YOU) IN THIS, THE BREAKFAST TOPIC.
Now, on to new arrivals. Daniel Whitcomb is moving on from the Hunter weekly column, Scattered Shots, to focus on our Death Knight weekly column, Lichborne. Taking over the reins of Scattered Shots is Jessica Klein aka Lassirra of The Hunter's Mark. Also, the weekly Warlock column, Blood Pact, will be getting a new writer, Nick Whelan from Curse of Senility. They'll both be starting in the next week or so.
But wait! There's more! Coming soon to WoW Insider:
a weekly community blog spotlight
tips on making gold in game (legally)
a daily round up of great WoW articles around the blogosphere not written by us!
new and revised leveling guides (man, Blizzard just can't stop with the sweeping class mechanic changes)
Thanks for reading the site and let us know below what other kind of content you'd like to see here. I can't promise it will happen, but we're always looking for different ways to keep you informed and entertained.
There's a cloud of gloom hanging over our collective Paladin heads over here at WoW Insider, and a lot of it has to do with the fact that Divine Plea still works. Even with the 50% healing penalty, Divine Plea is still a critical spell that's used without much of a second thought. Now it's just used a tiny, tiny bit less. Of course, Ghostcrawler also mentioned in his explanation of the new mana regeneration changes that they're going to nerf Spiritual Attunement for "non-tanking Paladins," too. So yes, there's that cloud.
Here's the thing, though... that change will hurt Retribution Paladins more than it will Holy Paladins. Retribution Paladins rely on the synergy of Spiritual Attunement and Seal of Blood / of the Martyr in addition to Judgements of the Wise, Replenishment, and Divine Plea. We'll probably have to see exactly what the incoming nerf looks like before we panic, but considering how Paladins have a history of getting beaten by the nerf bat, it's not an altogether rosy proposition. In fact, I think Paladins are probably going to get nerfed beyond the current Divine Plea and the future Spiritual Attunement. My thoughts after the jump.
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.