Living without General chat - Wed, 19 Nov 2008 19:00:00 EST I have a confession to make: all the whining, questions, and confusion that's been in General chat for the last few days? I haven't heard any of it. As soon as I logged in after the expansion, I typed "/leave general" and strangely enough, haven't looked back. I usually enjoy General -- it reminds me that I'm not playing a singleplayer game, and most of the comments there, while not really the smartest, are at least pretty entertaining. I figured if you're going to play a game with other people, you might as well give them the opportunity to talk with you.
But Northrend has been different -- I didn't want the inane chatter, the constant stream of questions (sometimes answered, usually not), and the occasional desperate requests. I wanted to be in Northrend by myself, more or less, and explore the world as if I wasn't on the same server as thousands of people. And it's been worthwhile, for the most part -- while I've dived back in there once or twice just to check and see if certain quests are bugged for anyone else, I've mostly stayed out of there, and I think it's made the game better.
Some of you will probably think I'm late to the game -- you may have removed the General channel on day one, and the Trade and World Defense channels along with it (I'm keeping the Trade channel, though -- when I am in cities, I kind of appreciate the bustling back and forth, and I've found a few deals in there). For the moment, though, I appreciate a quieter Northrend. No General for me, thanks.
Zarhym showed up, in his classic witty manner. He points out that the folks who're doing this immediate clearing are, in general, the same folks who've done every raid encounter in WoW for like . . . ever. In a sense, they're pretty high on the "pro" scale. (For the record, they are 25 people out of 11 million subscribers. Certainly, others have done the content by now, but it would take 110,000 people having completed the raid to say even 1% has "beat the game." ) Zarhym also cautions about relying on "truthiness" to judge the content -- which is to say, going with your intuition when the facts are still out.
We're waist deep in the content of Wrath by now, and despite the newness of the strange land, it all feels so familiar, too. Not only have we gone back to the gothic (yet sparkly) style of Old Azeroth, but we've been followed to Northrend by a whole lot of old friends.
I've been having a lot of fun bumping into 'old' NPCs and quest givers that I've helping out on my journey from 10 to 60, or 61 to 70. They add a real sense of progression and continuity to the world. I solved their problems years ago, and that's allowed them to move on in life, for better or for worse. It's also strangely heartwarming to see people I did quests for so long ago, like a little slice of nostalgia.
I've heard a few people hating on how many old world NPCs you run into in Northrend, complaining that Blizzard is just recycling old content. I quite seriously disagree in this case. Seeing NPCs progress in the world alongside us gives a much greater feeling of the world being a story, and as we go up in level, the world moves forward. I like it a lot, and I hope it continues into the next expansion, too.
We have an old gallery sitting around of some of the returning faces you'll see in Northrend, so you can check it out if you want. Be warned, there are some minor spoilers inside.
Apparently there have been some mistakes made in the realm-first achievements being given out. You've probably seen these (Blizzard apparently broadcasts them across the realms) -- when someone hits level 80 or finishes a profession first, they attain a feat of strength achievement. They don't get the original titles, but they do get credit for getting their first.
But on a few realms, Blizzard ended up giving some of the awards to multiple players, resulting in the ingame mail you see above. We're not sure if it's because they all hit within a certain time period, or whether Blizzard's servers weren't working correctly, but as you can see, they say the issue is fixed for now. If you did rush to be the first on a server, you can be satisfied that you're the only one. Thanks, Penny!
World of Warcraft: The Comic issue 13 preview - Wed, 19 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EST If you've been following the World of Warcraft comic, you might be pleased to hear the official WoW website posted a preview of issue #13 last night. After reading it, if you're like me, you'll be dramatically less pleased. Maybe you'll enjoy it, but I personally have no idea how much longer I'll keep reading this thing. The comic was never really good good, it was corny good, which is sometimes exactly what you're looking for. It's quickly falling out of corny good into bad.
Varian Wrynn talking to Varian Wrynn #2 is just a silly, piss-poor way or trying to drag character development out of him. Come on now. He can't talk to another character about his past? He needs to talk to himself? Oh no, it can't be an inner monologue, either! You know what we need? Two Varians so they can be emo together. Come on. Varian Wrynn has the potential to be a really engaging character, but this writing make me cringe. I don't care if the clone turns out to have some totally super awesome twist in the end, this is still terrible.
Oh, and if I see one more character thrust their chest to the sky in a futile attempt to look powerful and noble I am going to stab myself in the eyeballs. Gah. It's so bad it hurts. It feels like we're in the early 90s again.
MTV's Multiplayer blog has an interview with Blizzard CEO Mike Morhaime (who is apparently sitting pretty with the elven ladies after last week's big expansion launch). He says that he sees no end to the expansions -- Blizzard has told us before that as long as they have ideas (and players), they'll keep making content for this game. He also says that they're happy with the subscription model in the United States -- although we'd imagine that both of those things might get rethought if Blizzard's subscription numbers were going the other way. For now, though, while things are headed up, Morhaime sounds pretty happy with the way things are.
Finally, they ask about an iPhone app, and Morhaime says Blizzard is working on connecting mobile devices up to the game, but he also specifically says they're not looking at a stand-alone app. So maybe a mobile version of the Armory? I'd love to see an iPhone app, as we've said before, with mail or auction house functionality, but maybe Blizzard doesn't see the majority of their audience on the iPhone anyway. Then again, their Mac guys always need something to do...
I'm currently working on leveling my priest right now (78 at the moment), so I haven't played with this ability first-hand, but Rogues get a fun tool to look forward to at level 80: Fan of Knives. This significantly helps address one of Rogues' long-time weakness: AoE damage. Sure, we're great on a single target, but it's very difficult to build up CP and use them effectively on poly-mob pulls, and Blade Flurry only goes so far. Hence FoK, which is well-timed given how much AoE there seems to be in Wrath. It also gives you something to do when you need to be at range, which happens from time to time.
But FoK has a ten-second cooldown, which certainly limits how much you can use it - for now. Ghostcrawler recently popped his crabby head into the Rogue forums to announce that "We think we are going to remove the cooldown of Fan of Knives altogether." Yay! I would assume this is going to be coming in the next patch, which they keep saying is coming before 3.1, the Ulduar patch. Patch 3.0.4 Rogues, now with ten times the knife-fanning action!
And as if that wasn't enough nice news from GC, he also said "in case it gets asked, Feral druids we haven't forgotten about your AE either." Hmmm, I say. I have also faced this issue on my druid in cat form - I don't really want to go Bear to Swipe, because then I run a high risk of pulling off the tank, but cat form has literally nothing that hits more than one target. I wonder what they're going to give us. Any predictions?
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.
It's been a few days, you know how this goes by now. You ask your questions in the comments section below, I answer them in the near future. Got it? Good. jared.daniels asked...
I just got to level 72 last night and realized that I have five different dailies that I can do in Northrend. Should I bother doing all of those every day, or just focus on the last one that I uncovered? And if I do go back, how long should I do them before I drop them for higher-level dailies?
Things You Need is a submission to the machinima category of the 48 Hour Film Project by Stone Falcon Productions, Oblivious Films, and Slashdance. It's a little raucous, and a little rowdy, so your mileage on this film is going to vary according to your taste. It's the story of a down-trodden gnome who encounters a magic shop, gets a tub of magic paint, and hijinks ensue.
I really enjoyed the first part of the film. It was cute, amusing, and the musical portions were pretty darn funny. I loved the shop owner, and the dialogue and play between the two characters. It was lighthearted, fast paced, and totally worth the time. I'm not as sold on the gnome's female companion, created using the magical bucket. She's stereotypically vacuous and unsatisfying for the gnome, who decides to erase her.
There's two schools of thought on this. The first is the obvious concern about the misogyny, the creation of a "perfect" woman, the exploitation of her, and the immediate use of her for base purposes. The other side to that discussion, of course, is that you can interpret the piece as a criticism of that kind of behavior, questioning the motives and character of a man who would do such a thing. Ultimately, though, I don't know if there's a lot to be read into it except a joke, and whether or not you find the joke funny. Like I said, your mileage is going to vary.
Blizzard recently announced that December 16th would be the official start date of Arena Season 5. At just over 1 month from the launch of WotLK, it sounds like it's their expectation that a large number of players will be at the level cap and ready to PvP when the Season hits. While the numbers may make it seem like a daunting task, leveling in Northrend is easier than ever before.
Rogues have it pretty good when it comes to questing and grinding. We're finely tuned killing machines with the defensive capabilities to prevent unnecessary deaths and the offensive capabilities to turn those Group quests into solo outings. I've been fielding several questions from other Rogues about where to level, questing tips, and gear choices. After the cut, I'll break down the first couple levels of the trek to 80 and share what I've learned so far.
Well, swing your partner off to the side/Grab that kodo and ride, man, ride It's your fault the tank just died/Get out of the instance
Through the valley, through the gate/Forward march to meet your fate Saurfang's daughter is your date/At her dad's insistence
(Thanks to Chris for the shot!)
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When I hit 80 it was the first thing I picked up. The powerful ability to teleport myself to a major city is, in my opinion, invaluable as I conquer the end game of Wrath of the Lich King. But after I right clicked to buy the 8,000g ring, I paused.
I felt a small twinge on the back of my head.
Was that the tingling of buyer's remorse? Did I just buy the Sega Dreamcast of rings?
Will my ring fade away to soon be vendored? No ring to control them all, and no ring to in the darkness bind them?
Don't get us wrong: ninja'ing the guild bank is one thing, but when your guild gets ninja'ed and everyone wonders who the guy who did it is and why he has access to the bank, it might be time to look at your security plans and reevaluate.
Lots more drama, downed, and recruiting news in this week's Guildwatch below. If you've got news of drama on the realms, your guild has dived into the endgame with panache, or you'd like some good WoW Insider readers to join your guild, send us an email at wowguildwatch AT gmail dot com. Click below to read on.
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.
The diminutive subject of 15 Minutes of Fame's inaugural profile, back in January of this year, spent a good chunk of change longer than a mere quarter-hour in the limelight. The life and times of Noor the Pacifist, who levels without experience from kills, garnered widespread attention not only here at WoW Insider but in an onslaught of hits from Digg, Stumble Upon, Fark and even the very cool people at Boing Boing. It seemed like everyone wanted to talk about the guy who plays World of Warcraft without actually killing anything.
Naysayers opined that Noor would give up the ghost of the tedious task of leveling without killing long before he reached level 70. But lo and behold, here we are just post-Wrath launch - and Noor's ticked right past 70, plugging steadily along toward the new max level cap of 80. 15 Minutes of Fame caught up with him to see how he was holding up on the long, slow climb to the top.
Upgrading to greens? Not so much - Tue, 18 Nov 2008 18:00:00 EST I have to agree with Lowangel: where's the upgrades? We all knew that the gear dropping in Northrend wasn't quite going to be as huge a jump as it was when we headed off to Outland, but I was only dressed in late Karazhan gear, and at this point, close to 73, I've upgraded one thing. I thought I'd get a little upgrade -- time and time again, I've picked up soulbound quest items, only to have to vendor them off because they don't have the hit I worked to get or the extra Agility on top of the Stamina I've already got.
As much as I appreciate keeping the epics on, it is a little disappointing that I may not actually get new gear for ten levels (indeed, many of the folks who cleared the PvE content already were dressed in their old gear as well). Dressing yourself in clown greens is embarassing, but having no upgrades at all is a problem in the opposite direction. Bornakk says to be patient and that we'll find upgrades soon enough (and I have, to his credit, already seen a few nice rep items that I'd want, even if I don't have the rep to buy them yet). There are upgrades out there.
But so far, I've only hit a few sidegrades and hardly any clearly better gear than what I had before. How about you?
On to part 2! This series of questions spans August and early September, and we'll keep moving forward this week.
How much gold roughly would you get from questing 70-77 (until you unlock the flying mount)? I was wondering if it would it be worth farming money beforehand or would the money from questing be enough.
Elizabeth answers: I'm not 77 yet, so I can't exactly address the question as asked, but I can tell you that I've made about 400g leveling from 70 to 72. That's just from questing, vendoring trash & unneeded greens -- and it includes some stupid deaths, plenty of repair bills(I blame Dalaran for many of them!), and training a couple of professions (35g to train a primary profession to the next skill level and 100g to train a secondary profession to the next skill level).
Allie adds: I finally started keeping track of how I was doing gold-wise while leveling. On the beta I leveled a lot through instance runs because the demand for healers was so high; on the live realms I've leveled mostly through questing. Between 70 and 76 so far (remarkably fast for me but my guild starts raiding next week) I've made somewhere in the region of 2K gold after training, repairs, professions, etc., mostly through questing and keeping my bags as open as possible to sell vendor trash. As Elizabeth observes, that part's key; Northrend vendor trash and greens sell for a LOT.
That's right -- Activision's own Call of Duty: World at War beat out Wrath for the number one spot, but before you start worrying whether WoW has lost its charm, don't: not only was Wrath an expansion pack (expansion packs obviously don't sell as well as standalone games, sequels or otherwise), but the Call of Duty game has already outsold its prequel, the extremely successful Call of Duty 4, by a 2:1 ratio. Unfortunately, we don't have numbers yet, but all indications are that, in the UK alone, Wrath did almost as well as a game that outsold last year's best selling game. That all make sense?
If not, hear this: Blizzard made a lot of money last week, and pretty soon we'll hear how much. Even more amazing, Activision Blizzard, who owns Guitar Hero, Call of Duty, and World of Warcraft, accounted for a full 25% of all UK game sales last week. The merger has already paid off.
In a (not so) shocking announcement on their website, The Championship Gaming Series revealed that they will be ceasing all operations immediately. The International gaming series, which expanded to every continent except Antarctica this year, is shutting down after only two seasons. The professional gaming league, which aimed to promote eSports in a flashy, televised format, was patterned after professional sports leagues with player drafts, team managers, and city-based teams.
The CGS featured five games during its two seasons, Counter-Strike: Source, Dead or Alive 4, FIFA 07, and Project Gotham Racing for Season 1; with FIFA 08 and Forza Motorsport 2 taking up the latter two slots in Season 2. Although not included in seasonal coverage, the CGS also recently promoted World of Warcraft Arena tournaments, with Europe's Nihilum winning the 2008 Championship. Arenas were also included in the CGS-run College Gaming League. A full statement from the league can be found on their site.
The supercomputers behind World of Warcraft - Tue, 18 Nov 2008 15:00:00 EST The New York Times has an intriguing story up about supercomputers around the world, and, as we've heard before, some of the most powerful computers ever created are being used... to run World of Warcraft. The9, which is the company that Blizzard has licensed the game to in Asia, runs more than 10 supercomputer systems, hosting at least a million players online at a time. Some of the other tasks listed for these supercomputers include flight simulations and animation rendering -- the same type of computer that designed the wing of the plane you're flying in might have calculated just how much gold you should have after repairs.
I have a personal note to add to this one, too, though I have to be fairly vague.
Wrath of the Lich King has a lot of new dungeons, and hopefully you've been running them all as you level. Personally, I find them all pretty awesome, but Ahn'kahet: The Old Kingdom is the first one that completely blew me away. Overall, I'd say it's not as good as Halls of Stone or Halls of Lightning, but Ahn'kahet has certain elements that make it one of my favorites.
Not only is Ahn'kahet visually stunning, but it gives you a glimpse into the story of Yogg-Saron and his relation to the Scourge and other forces. It's a little repetitive in some places (the first boss is a bit boring), but it also houses some of the best 5-man bosses we've seen yet. The final boss, Herald Volazj, is the embodiment of the technical advances Blizzard has made with the gameplay in Wrath of the Lich King. I almost feel bad mentioning him at all, because I've been running Ahn'kahet repeatedly with people who have never done it before. Seeing them wig out the first time they do the boss is awesome.