There are two things that every WoW character has: a hearthstone, and a backpack. Well, some bank alts might have destroyed their hearthstone, actually, but absolutely everybody has that 16-slot backpack occupying their first bag slot. 16 slots made some sense back when that was also the biggest size bag that wasn't crazy expensive, back in classic WoW (Traveler's Backpack/Mooncloth Bg). But now that 16-slot bags are dirt-cheap, 18-slotters are reasonable, and 20- and even 22-slotters are obtainable, and especially moving forward into Wrath with the basic tailored bag being 20 slots, the backpack's 16 is starting to look a bit puny by comparison.
This leads one to ask: when are we going to be able to upgrade the darned thing? I'd love to be able to grab a few extra slots by trading it in for an 18- or 20-slot bag. And it really doesn't make sense for our backpack to be the smallest holding container on our body. I mean, I like that everybody starts out with a free decent-sized bag, but it really should just act like any other bag slot after that. Someone asked the same question in the WoW forums recently, and Zarhym responded in a non-committal fashion, saying they were thinking about it but didn't have anything to report just yet. Personally, I don't see the downside of transforming the backpack slot into a regular bag slot, but there may be something going on behind the scenes that I'm not aware of. It is also worth noting that we will be freeing up a few bag slots already in Wrath with our non-combat pets, mounts, and tokens leaving the inventory, not to mention bigger bags being available. Still, it seems like one can never get enough space.
WoW Insider Show Episode 51: Downranking no more - Tue, 19 Aug 2008 17:30:00 EST I didn't realize until right now that that was Radiohead's National Anthem sneaking into the WoW Insider Show's theme song -- shows how much I listen to the cool mix of Warcraft sounds that Duncor put into our intro. But yes, if you listen to this week's WoW Insider Show, now available on WoW Radio's website and over in iTunes, not only do you get the dulcet tons of my voice, Turpster's accented vocalizations, and the stylings of WoW Insider's Amanda Dean, but you also get to hear a little bit of Thom Yorke's band as well. And, you'll hear us talking about:
And lots of other stuff, including Turpster's appearance on How I WoW, and all kinds of emails from listeners, including a tip about a mobile Armory app, and whether I'm still a Shaman fan or not (I am, but frankly I'm slipping a bit -- Hunters are just so much more fun).
If you'd like to email us about something you hear on the show, please do: the address is email@example.com. Enjoy the show this week, and we'll see you next Saturday as always over on WoW Radio for the WoW Insider Show.
People are still reeling from the downranking change on Beta, but as the dust clears and Blizzard continues to stick to their guns, it may be that we'll have to live with it. One thing Blizzard has said, however, is that if it looks like there's genuine void created somewhere by the loss of downranking, they'll fix it.
One genuine void is that of rank 1 Earth Shock. Shamans have longed used the spell as a spell interrupt when they can't afford to spend the mana on a max rank shock, both in PvE and PvP. With the new mana cost rules, that cheap interrupt is now gone, complicating a shaman's already touchy mana preservation issues.
Luckily, not all is lost for Shamans, as Koraa says that they are creating a rank 1 Earth Shock spell equivalent that should show up in the Beta at some point in the future.
This, at the least, is a good indication that Blizzard means to make good on plugging up holes left by the abolishment of downranking -- or at least the holes that the dev team sees as needing to be plugged. Will we see a replacement for rank 1 Moonfire for totem killing, or for rank 1 Arcane Explosion or rank 1 Consecration for flushing out stealthers? That remains to be seen, but it seems much less likely, since those are roundabout ways of using a damage spell for a non-DPS reason rather than the straightforward purpose of using rank 1 Earth Shock as a cheap spell interrupter.
Blizzard will likely offer free respecs before Wrath - Tue, 19 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST I finally logged in to the Wrath beta for the first time last night, and frankly, was a little disappointed. Like a lot of players, I really enjoy seeing content live, and playing around on the beta feels like I'm somewhere i'm not supposed to be -- things are not done (it's a little unnerving to see a Blizzard game without impeccable amounts of polish on it), and there's no flow yet from the old world to the new -- you're dropped into Northrend and it's like you've jumped forward a few months in game continuity. Something is missing.
But having been to the strangely buggy future, I can tell you one thing so far. Blizzard will do something they haven't done for almost two years now: every character will very likely get their talent points back around the Wrath of the Lich King release. Sure, it probably seemed obvious to most, but this is a bigger deal than you might think -- free respecs used to be a pretty common occurence, as almost every patch, Blizzard would refund talent points to at least one or two classes. But that was changed right around the last expansion, as Blizzard has opted for smaller class changes rather than content patch revamps. We haven't seen a talent point refund in a long time.
If this release is like last time, we won't necessarily see our talent points refunded upon installation, but rather around a big content patch right beforehand. If you were planning on respeccing for Wrath, you might want to wait a bit -- while respecs still aren't free all the time, we are apparently getting one done for us.
So Blizzard apologized for Failoc and the ticket fiasco, offering up 3,000 more tickets to the massively popular BlizzCon 2008. I'd like to think Mike Schramm's insightful essay on the ticket travesty (along with the public's general uproar, of course) had a bit to do with that, and now Blizzard has announced the method by which fans can purchase a ticket to the hottest show in Anaheim this October.
Learning from the experience, Blizzard announced early on that the next batch of 3,000 tickets would be sold via lottery, giving everyone a fair chance at attending the event. There are quite a few limitations, such as having an active Blizzard Account that was created on or before August 12, when the first batch of tickets sold out. Note that a Blizzard Account isn't the same as your World of Warcraft account or an account for other Blizzard games. It's an account made specifically for their online store, so wannabe attendees who haven't created an account are flat out of luck.
Also out of luck are residents of countries that aren't the United States, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Austria, Denmark, the Netherlands, or South Korea. So yeah, all you Blizzard fans in Zimbabwe, I'm looking at you. Alright, the Philippines isn't on that list, either, so we're all on the same unwelcome boat. Just like the Wrath Beta, Blizzard will hold an opt-in period for Blizzard Account holders and will pick 1,500 lucky chumps from those who opted in, allowing the purchase of up to 2 tickets each. Learn more about the details on the BlizzCon lottery through their BlizzCon FAQ.
You may recall a while back that we covered the problem with bear tanks in Wrath of the Lich King. In short, the new shared gear itemization between Rogues and Feral Druids is leaving bear Druids incredibly starved for armor and stamina. Extra stamina and armor is wasted on rogues, but is mandatory for Bears. Bears, therefore, have suffered.
Ghostcrawler has now let us know that the dev team has noticed the problem. The justification, of course, is as usual: They want less useless stuff to drop. Ideally, itemization should be tight enough that there is a high chance of people getting stuff they can use off a boss, even if that means 12 other people in the raid can use it as well.
The first female "deluxe" collector's figure is being released as part of the new series: Lady Vashj. "Deluxe" mostly means that she's bigger -- she's being hailed as standing as tall as Illidan's sculpt. But, yeah. She looks cool.
Your lineup for Series 4 inclues:
Succubus Demon: Amberlash o. 8.5"
Tuskarr: Tavru Akua o. 7"
Gnoll Warlord: Gangris Riverpaw o. 7.75"
Murloc 2-pack: Fish-eye and Gibbergill o. 6.5"
Uh huh. It's got a Murloc 2-pack. I suspect that's going to become my premier Christmas gift for friends and foes alike. The Tuskarr also looks pretty cool, and confirms this Series lives in the world of Wrath.
You've still got a little while to wait on these new figures, though. The advance solicits advertise that they won't go on sale until April 2009. That's about eight months out. So maybe they'll be the premiere Christmas gift next time around.
15 Minutes of Fame: A man and his (80+) pets - Tue, 19 Aug 2008 13:00:00 EST 15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
A couple of months ago, WoW Insider reported on the immortalization of WarcraftPets.com founder/owner Breanni with an NPC in Wrath of the Lich King. In the expansion, Breanni of US Scarlet Crusade-A appears as a NPC selling pet supplies in Dalaran. Curious about the growing public enthusiasm ("Obsession"? We think Breanni might agree ...) with non-combat pets, we contacted Breanni for more perspectives into the vanity pet craze -- as well as what it's like to run into yourself in the game as an NPC.
15 Minutes of Fame: Vanity pets - who knew? How many vanity pets are out there now, and how can players get them? Breanni: Vanity pets (also known as companions, small pets, non-combat pets and mini-pets) are those adorable little critters that follow your character around the game world, catching the eye and imagination of others. Currently, there are 98 vanity pets, and new ones are added to the game nearly every major content patch. However, not all of these pets are available in the United States - a few are region-specific.
There are six ways to obtain vanity pets. Vendors, drops and quests offer players some of the most familiar pets. Additionally, there are a handful of pets crafted by engineers. Some of the rarest pets are obtained through real-world promotions, such as loot cards from the WoW trading card game and trade show giveaways. Finally, a new source has emerged for collecting certain pets: they can be earned through various feats, such as battleground victories or collecting a certain number of pets with a single character.
Elysia, a French machinimator, came out of nowhere to bring us her World of Warcraft spin on Silent Hill. If you enjoyed the critically acclaimed video game series, you'll like Silent Wind. She combined WoW scenery with scary elements, such as ghosts and children laughing, to replicate the eerie feeling you get when playing.
My only complaint is that the machinima is far too short to thoroughly enjoy. I wouldn't mind seeing a series born out of this video. WoW is seriously lacking in the horror department!
In case the perspective in the above screenshot confuses you, I'll give it away: that's me riding a magic flying carpet. No, not the tailored version (though I'd expect the tailored version to be the same sort of thing), but one you ride for a quest. (I was assured before I took flight that these were the safest way to reach my destination, though the things seemed pretty flimsy to me...) However, now, on to your questions!
Priests in general seem pretty underwhelming. You look at the flashy things some classes are getting, then take a look at Holy Priests... I mean did we really need a third talent to increase healing of some spells by 10%? Especially since the second one (Empowered Healing) was nerfed to always be weaker then the first one (Spiritual Healing). Yet another one for a different set of spells just smells like "we needed a talent to fill this spot but had absolutely no ideas."
The way it looks right now I expect that I'll be healing pretty much exactly the same way at 80 as I am right now, except without down ranking. Has anything really changed for Holy Priest healing?
Priests, like Rogues, are looking a little unfinished in the beta right now. The existing talents don't have anything that screams "pick me!" and there's only one new skill on the path to 80. (In fact, you don't get it until level 80 -- Divine Hymn.) Matticus recently talked a bit about healing as a Discipline Priest in Wrath, but didn't go much into the Holy spec. However, despite my lack of enthusiasm -- and the possibility that Priests just aren't finished -- there are some interesting options in the talent trees right now that could be good for the healing Priests out there.\
For more on Holy healing ability -- and other questions -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
How good are the landscape graphics in Wrath? Well, this picture captures the essence of a cold, snowy, bleak winter morning so well that it makes you want to go into hibernation. I'm having acute January-in-Wisconsin flashbacks. We need five daquiris and a continuous Jimmy Buffett mix tape, stat! This picture is actually of the area around Wyrmrest Temple in the Dragonblight, and it was snapped from the beta by Merced of <Sound of Inevitability> on Greymane.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And sorry, I never watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as a kid. Do I have to return my geek card now?
It's Tuesday maintenance, so it's time for your biweedly duty -- voting for the winners of this week's Caption This contest. After weeding through a record number of totally inappropriate entries, the WoW Insider staff has picked some of the best captions submitted. Now you get to decide who goes home with a 60-day game card, a choice of one of seven World of Warcraft action figures as detailed in the original post, or nothing but wistful memories. Just pick the best caption for the above picture. Voting closes tomorrow, Wednesday, August 20, at 11:59 PM EST, and winners will be informed shortly afterward by e-mail.
Remember, entrants must be U.S. or non-Quebec Canadians at least 13 years old. If you'd like to peruse the contest's official rules, they can be found here. Happy voting!
Note: Once again, an entry that is too long for the poll has been nominated. Here's Sammy's entry:
"Silvermoon Craigslist >> Women Seeking Men
I WANT TO LEVEL WITH YOU
I'm a single female Blood Elf who's tired of soloing. LF 2s partner who can bandage my broken heart. I don't have time for freeloaders, so you should be working...as intended.
Must love cats.
* Location: 49,50 * it's NOT ok to whisper this poster with services or other commercial interests
With Wrath's release inching closer and closer, we've had a flood of profession information coming in. The latest Blizzcast gave up some insight into the future of professions, and we've seen rumors and recipe lists for quite a few professions. Even gathering professions aren't immune to the fun, with some nice little innate bonuses being granting to mining, skinning and herbalism.
So, with Wrath coming, it's the perfect time to take inventory of your tradeskills and decide which way you're going to go. Will you drop Leatherworking now that you don't need the drums for raiding? Will you head over to Inscription so you can trick out your own spells and skills? Will you go strictly gathering for the buffs and for selling off raw materials to everyone trying to level their professions?
In short, what profession will be your primary pursuit in Wrath of the Lich King?
So does this mean that playing videogames can replace education entirely? Not so fast, back to schoolers -- apparently playing games also makes things not so complicated seem not so interesting. While leading a pickup group in Karazhan will definitely help your problem solving abilities (though probably not your stress levels), it will make it harder for you to do things like settle down and study a book. As with everything, moderation is the key.
I know, you're thinking "wait a minute, I'm already a human, aren't I? Isn't roleplaying a human in WoW just like being a human in real life -- plus some sword and sorcery, minus some boring office jobs and unpleasant bodily functions?" The answer is no, it's not so simple -- there's a bit of history and culture at work in Azerothian human society that all roleplayers of human characters need to be aware of. Otherwise, it's easy to fall into the trap of inconsistency with the Warcraft lore and the roleplaying that everyone else is trying to do within it.
Suppose for example that you say "Hi! My name is Walter and I was raised on a farm. Now I've come to Stormwind to have adventures and become a hero!" You may find the never-seen-danger-before style of new hero interesting to roleplay, but it would be very unlikely to find such a human in the actual Warcraft lore: ever since the orcs first came through the portal 30 years or so prior to the setting of our game, every human nation has suffered terribly as the human race barely survived 3 huge waves of devastating warfare, with some whole nations of humans completely wiped out. No human growing up in that time would have been untouched by the conflict -- and if you want to roleplay a human, you ought to know about it.
Similar issues exist for all the available player races in WoW; there are certain details about your race's history that you need to know in order to roleplay well. So today we will provide you with the basic knowledge you need to be a human. We'll leave the in-depth lore to other columns, though -- today is just a basic roleplayer's primer on one race, with other races to follow in the future.
Ask WoW Insider: Defining mains and alts - Mon, 18 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST There's a ton of asking going on around this site lately -- between "Ask a Lore Nerd" and "Ask a Beta Tester," you guys are asking more questions than a two-year old who just learned what "why" means. But this column, Ask WoW Insider, is the O.G. of Ask columns here on the site, and unlike all of the other Ask columns, we put the question back to you readers. Chippen of EU Doomhammer sent in this great question this week:
We are having a discussion in our guild whether alts have priority on loot before guild members and we do have different views on this. Some say that an alt is an alt, and need to wait to be geared up, while others can't really see the problem. What is a main and what is an alt?
I suppose a main is the...well...I don't know. The first character I created? Or is it the character I play the most? Or is it the character I want to play the most and also enjoying playing the most? When does an alt become a main, and is it possible to swap between the two?
If you're asking me, I'd say it's definitely possible to switch mains (I've done it a few times) -- your main is currently the character that's getting the majority of your playtime, and the one where loot matters the most to you. Some guilds ask you to declare a main, so that they can make a clear distinction for passing out loot, while other guilds just have players switch alts depending only on what situations require what.
So let's show up those other Ask columns and give this great, open-ended question out to you, our dear readers: what is a main and what is an alt? And what's the difference between the two?
Petaholics Anonymous releases a pet name generator - Mon, 18 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST About a month ago, we posted in anticipation of a pet name generator that Petaholics Anonymous was working on (especially of interest to me, since I've been playing my Hunter like crazy lately), and now the Pet-o-licious Namerator is now up and running. Right now, I've got a raptor that I've named Jumpy, but I very well could have named it "Bahir" or "Claws," both good names out of the Namerator. As was decided back on the poll, PA has apparently put the names into Silly and Serious categories, so you choose your pet's family and whether you want a silly or serious name, and you can choose from the ones that pop out (and if you don't like any of them, you can click Generate again and you'll get more).
If you've got a great pet name that's not in there, you can submit some more, as well, and apparently Bats are the most needed category (though I really love "Guano" as a silly Bat name, and "Vlad" as serious -- why would you need anything else?). Definitely some fun ideas in there for Hunters to choose from. Unfortunately, we'll probably still see Hunters going around with their pet "Cat" following them (so boring!), but maybe this will help.
Paul sent us this picture (thanks!) he saw on a ride at a traveling fair -- he doesn't say where he's from, but he does play on the EU realms, so we imagine this to be somewhere in the gypsy country of France (France has some gypsy country, right?), in among the carnies and popcorn. As you can see, it's everyone's favorite Warcraft image, "repurposed" into a scary ghost train ride. And if you click to embiggen the photo, you can see that it's not just Thrall on the sign. Apparently ghost train ride artists aren't scared by a little thing like copyright law.
Of course, while non-Warcraft players would probably see a sign like that and think it's gross or scary, we know the truth: Thrall's a loveable badass. He's the guy you elected the supreme leader of Azeroth by a huge margin, so using him on a ride that's supposed to be scary kind of defeats the purpose. While most might leave that ride screaming in fear, we'll probably just leave it screaming, "For the Horde!"
Characters for iPhone updated to 2.0 - Mon, 18 Aug 2008 14:00:00 EST The Warcraft Characters app for iPhone that we reported on a while ago has been updated to version 2.0, and with it come a host of terrific improvements. As we were told last time, gear has been added in, so your iPhone can not only show you information about your (or anyone else's) characters, but it can now also show you all of their gear, and even reputation status. And there's good news for non-US users, too: the app now supports characters from any and all realms, not just US and EU, but Korean, Chinese, and Taiwanese realms as well. The only thing that's still missing is seeing individual talents -- otherwise, it's as featured an app as you can get. Sure, guild search and stats might be nice, and there's always extra features like be.imba integration, or character comparisons, but as a portable Armory, it works great as is. We're not sure if this is all Rudi's work or a result of a teamup with Omen of Clarity (who's been working on an iPhone web app for a while), but either way, great job.
If this is true, that means we only have 3 days left until we finally see if Gnomes get their cinematic day in the sun. We'll be sure to keep you updated on the cinematic and any other new information that comes out of Leipzig, so stay tuned.