Swagdog will print your guild's logo on a hat - Thu, 19 Mar 2009 19:00:00 EST Our good friends at Swagdog (who are sponsoring our Guild of the Month contest -- have you entered your guild yet? only a little while left this month!) have added a new customized guild item to their lineup: hats. CEO Mike Horn tells WoW Insider that they've "had great success with the personalized Guild Shirts and had numerous requests for accompanying Guild Hats," so wish granted. To buy the hats, just go through the system, and once you get your guild information in there, you'll be able to choose whether you want a hat or a shirt.
They run a little pricy for hats, at $24.99, but each hat is custom made to order -- you get your guild logo (with all of the game's choices and colors, or pulled straight from the Armory if you want) on the front, and a Horde or Alliance icon on the back, as well as your guild or character names if you'd like. Hats are flexfit and come in two sizes: Small/Medium or Large/XLarge. Paladins, you'll likely need the larger version.
Pretty smooth -- I like the fact that it's just the tabard logo. The shirts can be a little overboard with all of the tabard art and the text and the class icons, so if you want to show some guild pride a little more subtly, this seems like a great way to go.
Zarhym also says that they will be giving us advance notice before the tickets actually start selling, so people will have time to make travel arrangements if necessary (and/or ask the wife or parents for the money to go if need be). And he says that a pay-per-view type of event, as they did last year, or even a live stream of some of the events online, is not beyond the realm of possibility.
The Argent Tournament has been overshadowed quite a bit by Ulduar in patch 3.1, it hasn't been talked about a whole lot since the first thrill of finding out it was actually there in Icecrown. Since that rush a whole lot of things have changed with the Tournament, but beyond the dedicated few, I have my doubts it was receiving as much testing as it needed. That's probably why Kisirani has put out a call for focused testing on the Argent Tournament, asking for as much feedback as you can supply.
Kisirani's thread on the official forums lays out a few things: First, a lot has changed since the early PTR. This means that if you only did the quests in the first week or two of the Tournament, you should try them again before submitting feedback. If you've never been to the Tournament before, Jean Pierre Poulain awaits you on Krasus' Landing in Dalaran. He'll send you out there for free. If you want to do it yourself, the Tournament is just north of Sindragosa's Fall.
According to a new Battle.net support page, there will be a new Blizzard Authenticator app for your mobile phone which will generate a code just like the physical authenticator does. The authenticator app will act just like the physical authenticators currently available. The page is sparse on exactly what phones and mobile devices will be supported, but it does mention that it works with the iPod Touch and iPhone.
According to the webpage, you only need a WiFi connection once to activate the authenticator application, and after that you're all set.
This comes right after the transition of the EU World of Warcraft account management to the new Battle.net account management. The US transition is reportedly done, although there has been no official world from Blizzard yet (however all their webpages have already changed over).
The app is not available for download yet via Blizzard or from the Apple store. But we'll let you know the second it goes up!
Shadowfiend nerf explained by GC - Thu, 19 Mar 2009 16:30:00 EST Ghostcrawler makes a quick run by the forums to break down that Shadowfiend nerf we heard about yesterday. The patch notes in the new build say that a Priest's creepy little best friend has lost their "reduced chance to be hit by spells and melee attacks." Apparently, Shadowfiends had a (completely?) random chance to sometimes cause a miss on various attacks aimed at them. Lots of people saw that as a nerf (and it is), but there are two buffs on the way, according to GC: Not only are the little fiends getting an HP buff "for PvP, " but they're also getting the standard pet AoE avoidance in PvE so they'll be able to stay alive longer on bosses that shell out damage to everything around them.
There was also a bit of confusion on the datamined suggestion that Body and Soul is getting a nerf -- GC clarifies that the talent has two ranks, one at 30% and one at 60% movement bonus. That's been the way since we first heard about it -- no change to Body and Soul right now.
That said, remember that all class changes are still not carved in stone until they go on to the live realms. The planned Shadowfiend changes may not ever go through, but clearly GC and Blizzard are trying to make Shadowfiend surivivability much less random than just a chance to not get hit. Until we see just what the HP bonus is, it may still be a nerf, but at least it'll be based on specific rules rather than RNG.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
With the past week's battle devolving into a popularity contest (a Mal'Ganis landslide over Varos Cloudstrider), we come to the next deathmatch in our Wrath season lineup: the Infinite Corruptor (The Culling of Stratholme) versus Gortok Palehoof (Utgarde Pinnacle). Get ready to unleash your comments, because this matchup will call upon your creativity to lay out the likely outcome of this protracted battle.
You see, the Infinite Corruptor is the not-so-sociable Dragonspawn from The Culling of Stratholme's heroic timed event. He leaves the instance ("My work here is finished!") if you don't defeat him within 25 minutes. Well, we're not going to give Gortok a free hall pass here - he's going to have to work his way through things in 25 minutes, too, along with his posse: the Furbolg, the Worgen, the Rhino and the Jormungar.
The tie between the shooter and WoW is slim. But a new study over there says that 50,000 to 60,000 minors could be classified as addicted to videogames. And the combination of the two events is causing Ross-Luttman to call for stronger ratings on "addictive" games like World of Warcraft. It's also interesting to note that in the US, the game is rated T by the ESRB, which actually calls for children 13 and up to play it, one year older than the German standard.
But of course there are two conclusions here. First, every parent needs to take responsibility for what their younger children do: if these kids are addicted, parents need to step in and make sure things get straightened out. As a former employee of a gaming retail store, I can tell you that ratings only go so far. The responsibility has to lie with the parents. And secondly, while Ross-Luttmann is apparently using the shooting to try and push this agenda against addiction, the young man involved in the shooting was experiencing deep depression, and had access to firearms that he probably shouldn't have had. Changing game ratings is fine, but it won't do anything to help when you've got much bigger problems to deal with first.
Blizzard's various websites (official WoW site, the Armory, etc) have all been down for maintenance today, and we had no real idea why. Word is coming in from the EU that the switch to Battle.net accounts that we talked about previously is finally coming about. Portions of the official EU site are redirecting to this Battle.net login page.
We knew this would happen eventually, especially since the name of the Authenticator changed on the PTR from being World of Warcraft specific to a more broad Battle.net name, but the fact that it's coming without formal notice is a bit surprising! If you're unfamiliar with what a Battle.net account actually is, it's more or less the same as your WoW account but instead of an account name, it uses your e-mail address and it spans all Blizzard games. Considering the Starcraft II beta is rumored to be starting quite soon, this is probably good timing for the switch.
We have no idea if this switch is happening in the US yet, but it's probably a safe assumption that it will. Or if it hasn't, we'll be seeing it very soon. If we find out more, we'll be sure to let you know.
Yesterday, a new PTR patch dropped with changes for shamans. We'll be covering them. But first I wanted to talk about the change to the Windfury Glyph that I've frankly been avoiding discussing for weeks now. I've avoided it because, frankly, I haven't wanted to discuss it until I could come up with something to say that wasn't a lot of cursing. Amazingly this change was so extreme that the highest damage an enhancement shaman can get right now is to use the Torch of Holy Fire in your mainhand and a fast offhand with flametongue on each weapon.
Yes, that's right, a healer/caster weapon is the highest DPS an enhancement shaman can get. This is the sound of me banging my head against the desk. My forehead's got splinters. Honestly, I still don't know what to say about this. When the attack power was taken out of WF glyph they might as well have just removed it from the game.
In the above post Blizzard hightlights their intention for the class (slow MH/slow OH with WF/FT), the problem here is not what they intended but what they did. By reducing the WF glyph and removing the attack power bonus it was giving, the glyph became inferior to double flametongue with a caster MH/fast OH, due to how Flametongue Weapon works.
Right now, the base damage on each Flametongue proc scales with weapon speed, but the percent of spellpower that affects the damage that the imbue does is always a flat 10%, meaning that until 3.1 flametongue does more damage on a faster weapon. The enhancement playstyle that takes advantage of this is an anomaly, in that we know it will be much less effective in 3.1, but as of right now we know that if you are an enhancement shaman, you will do more damage with a caster weapon and a fast offhand.
The Ulduar testing is continuing for at least another week, and the blues have posted the testing schedule along with a few other tidbits. And since those tidbits are going to be of more interest to most folks than the testing schedule, let's cover them first:
All trash will now be in place - that means we'll get to see the trash we have to deal with when Ulduar goes live.
All loot should be in place, except for some trash loot - that means look for updated and complete loot tables soon.
Many achievements are active and functional - many placeholder achievements have been removed, but a few are still there.
Since things are being finalized, keep an eye out on WoW Insider and around the internet for more Ulduar information.
The complete testing schedule for this week is after the break. We'll continue to carry live streams when we can (or when the PTR cooperates with us)
WoW Moviewatch: Paul Revere - Thu, 19 Mar 2009 12:00:00 EST Any machinima that uses The Beastie Boys wins a few extra points in my book right off the bat, but it certainly helps that this video in particular is well choreographed. The video fit the music very well, and I think my only real complaint is that it started to drag on a little. To be truthful, I can't tell if that's the fault of the machinima or the fault of my fascinating inability to sit still for more than a few minutes if there are no explosions in my direct vicinity.
I do like the fact that there was a story being played out using the lyrics of the song, rather than just a bunch of unrelated scenes cobbled together as we see so often. It's nice when someone sticks to a theme rather than flashing back and forth between random characters and scenes, only focusing on words that stick out in a song rather than the entire song. The jarring scene switches have their place, but this isn't it. It's good to see the author recognize that.
The creator, CSid, mentioned that this was a test project and they'll be working on their own WoW web series. I haven't seen enough from CSid to make a prediction on its quality, but I can say that I plan on giving it a shot. The animation quality is there, and the ability to tell a story through WoW models is there. We'll see about the writing, I suppose. If you can't see Youtube at home for some reason, here's an alternate Vimeo link.
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. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
The above picture took me all of five minutes to put together. Super Troopers is a great movie, and I encourage you all to go watch it today. But finish reading WoW Insider first, and in particular finish reading The Queue to understand the reference. How many times can Alex say Mountain Dew? The answer is a lot. Update: Go and read Massively's take on the coming Mountain Dew. It's quite good.
"Now that you can queue for battlegrounds from anywhere, are we looking at the new ghetto hearth?"
... but he ain't messin' with no green armor. Sloke of <Crucial> on Ursin sent us this screenshot of the massive wealth he's recently accumulated, through no effort of his own, and to the detriment of a great many people who saw their hard-earned gold taken from under their noses. Unfortunately for Sloke, Congress is making him give most of it back to the taxpayers. Ho! Ho! It's topical political humor! But seriously, I'm sure Sloke is neither a gold farmer nor a gold buyer, so don't harass him for that. Harass him for his overalls instead.
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. 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.
Reader Tridus went on a multi-post tear against the ease of Mal'Ganis' reader victory. "Epic lore character who gets defeated and retreats over, and over, and over, vs. a random boss who doesn't?" asked Tridus. "I agree, tough call. Try them in game some time. Mal'Ganis is a joke. ... Never mind that Mal'Ganas died in Warcraft 3 and was retconned back, and never mind that he's so easy in WoW as to be a total joke. His only power is talks a lot and is invincible while talking. But people have heard of him, therefore he's going to win. ..."
Breakfast Topic: To talk or not to talk on Ventrilo - Thu, 19 Mar 2009 08:00:00 EST I like Ambrosyne's Vent chart, even if it is a little harsh. It's true, when you're not part of the raid leadership (and especially when you're a talker like me), it's sometimes a little hard to tell whether it's ok to try and crack a joke in the middle of the raid on Vent or not. Usually: no. I've learned the same thing by my own experience -- no matter how easy the fights are or how your guild is doing, the raidleader probably won't appreciate you trying to play some "Safety Dance" over Vent during Heigan's dance-off.
However, in my experience, there usually is a place for joking during raids, and it's the guild chat channel. Actually, that's where I do most of my communicating -- I leave the Vent chat open for raidleaders to address the whole raid with the actually important stuff, and the rest of us hang around in the peanut gallery of raid chat, grats'ing each other on good loot and slipping in some commentary for the raid. You've got to have fun, right?
Raidleaders, are there any good times to open up Vent and let everybody talk? And everybody else: have there been problems in your raids thanks to an unwanted Vent outburst, or does your guild pretty much understand that silence is golden?
This one has been in the game files for a while -- the screenshot above has been with MMO Champion since November of last year -- but the latest PTR Build reveals that the ArenaSeason 5 reward mount is a Frost Wyrm. Just as the otherworldly Armored Nether Drakes were representative of Outlands, the Deadly Gladiator's Frost Wyrm is the perfect symbol of Northrend. As with past seasons, the mount is expected to be a 310% speed flyer awarded to the upper 0.5% of Arena participants in each of the three brackets.
With Arena Season 5 expected to close soon, perhaps as early as the release of Ulduar, players now have a small window in which to earn that Gladiator title and what might arguably be the coolest-looking mount in the game. In mount-related news, the Coralshell Turtle was renamed to Sea Turtle, whose tooltip reveals it as the first aquatic mount in the game: "This mount can't move very quickly on land, but she's a great swimmer." Better practice that fishing...
Tier 8 set bonuses hit the PTR - Wed, 18 Mar 2009 23:00:00 EST A new build has hit the patch 3.1 PTR, and with it has come something that many people have been waiting on most of all: Tier 8 set bonuses! We have all of them listed below, but keep something in mind while you read them: They are probably not finished, just take this as a preview. Set bonuses always shift and change before they go live, and I can guarantee that some of these will. At the very least, they'll have some typos and grammatical issues cleaned up, and we'll find out where the missing percentage symbols are supposed to go.
I'll be honest with you. Retribution DPS has made me a rather sad panda lately. It wasn't my DPS exactly, but I sat down to watch my brother-in-law farm Valkyrs in Valkyrion with his three-week old Level 80 Death Knight. He pulled about five mobs and proceeded to demolish them. With Cinderglacier and Killing Machine proccing, he hit all mobs with a Howling Blast for about 6-7k each, and topped things off with a 7k Frost Strike. It made my jaw drop. Mind you, my brother-in-law is an excellent player, so this probably isn't your average Death Knight. But then, he was only equipped in heroic gear, with his best loot being a Wraith Spear. He hadn't even hit his peak.
I know anectdotal stories like these are plenty and tangential to the issue, but if you've raided as a Retribution Paladin with equally geared and skilled players, you'll know exactly what I'm trying to say. So it was a major surprise in Patch 3.1 that the slimming down of the Retribution tree hit our DPS hard with a nerf to Fanaticism (reduced to three ranks for an 18% crit, down from 25%) and Righteous Vengeance (reduced to three ranks for 30% damage, down from 40%). Was it to balance out the fact that Exorcism could be used on any target? Certainly not. At any rate, Blizzard was aware that Retribution DPS on the PTRs wasn't where they want it to be.
World of Warcraft is categorized as a MASSIVELY Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game (MMORPG) - so it only makes sense that you should aim to connect with (relatively) massive numbers of other players when you're playing. While it's true that you can successfully fumble about in the relatively unpopulated leveling zones on your own, you'll enjoy a richer, more complete game experience if you play with other players, as intended. At some point, even social butterflies who meet other players at the drop of an emote should consider teaming up with other players in a more structured way by joining a guild.
Guilds are teams of players who share similar goals or play styles. A guild that fits your needs will sweep your enjoyment to a whole new level. It's like gaining a pool of automatic friends. Your guildmates are the folks who can group with you, craft items for you, lend directions and advice to you, loan you a few gold when things are tight, and keep you company in guild chat or Vent as you quest your way through the levels.
But not just any guild will do. Guilds are formed, evolve, break up and reform for all sorts of different reasons. It's up to you to find a group that matches your play style, personality and needs. Being part of the coolest, most uber raiding guild on the server is utterly worthless if you're the only, lonely level 32 casual among its ranks. Joining a level 80 progression raiding guild or a competitive PvP team can be a tricky endeavor, and it's most assuredly not what we're covering here today. For ways to target a guild that fits you as a new, leveling WoW player, read on.
Tobold has a post up with an interesting analysis of all the epic loot that drops in the ten-man version of Naxxramas, broken down by armor type and by broad stat type (tank, melee, caster). At the top of this post is a chart I made from his armor type breakdown ("Other" is anything that's not cloth, leather, mail, or plate, i.e. weapons, off-hands, shields, jewelry, and cloaks). As Tobold mentions, this confirms that there is significantly more plate than anything else, about 50% more, even though there are the same number of plate classes as cloth classes. My guess is that this is because they expected an influx of DKs bumping up the plate numbers.
As far as stat types, leather and mail are both split half-and-half for caster vs melee. This is a little iffy. In both cases, there are two caster specs (Balance and Resto Druid, Elemental and Resto Shaman) out of six total specs (Druids and Rogues, Shamans and Hunters), so it seems a 33/66 split would make more sense, but maybe they just wanted to keep it simple.
The case that really bothers me is plate, which is split evenly between caster, tank, and DPS (see right). The only plate spec that wants caster gear is the Holy Paladin. That's one of three specs from one of three plate-wearing classes, and yet it gets a third of the plate gear. I'm sorry, my plate-clad healing brethren, but that's just not an equitable proportion. Mostly it just means that our prot pallies have full healing sets and we're still disenchanting a good chunk of the plate every week. Here's hoping we see less caster leather, mail, and especially plate in Ulduar.