I love Wintergrasp. I do. I think it's the most fun aspect of the game right now, and I take every chance I get to play it. The first thing I did when I logged on was play some Battlegrounds and headed to Wintergrasp as soon as a game was up. Patch 3.0.8 kicked in earlier today with gameplay changes to the zone, aimed at making it faster-paced, more balanced, and more rewarding. That was the aim. Blizzard, however, seems to have missed terribly. A bug seems to occur every time a faction wins in Wintergrasp, crashing the entire continent of Northrend. Numerous tips have come in noting the same experience.
When servers come back online, the tables have turned and the battle begins anew. If players continute to battle and win, the server will continue to crash. The bug prevents Wintergrasp from ever being controlled, and has caused many servers' Northrend to crash repeatedly. It's kind of a bad episode of Twilight Zone. No official word about it on the forums yet, but it's a considerably large bug that disrupts gameplay for a lot of players, so I wouldn't be surprised if Blizzard takes down tall realms for a quick fix. Meanwhile, I'm about to try my luck in Wintergrasp again. Crash notwithstanding, I don't think I've ever had so much silly fun in my life.
Many people who don't otherwise use mods much use a bar mod, since Blizzard's default bars are quite limited. Back in the day it was Flexbar or Trinity; nowadays it's usually Bartender or Dominos (but oh, how I miss Flexbar). Dominos is the successor to Bongos, so if you used Bongos in the BC era, you'll probably be at home here, although it's missing a few features that the author found troublesome and not worth it. It's also the bar mod I use on all my characters (along with Autobar, which I'll discuss in a future Spotlight).
The goal of Dominos is to be simple to configure, yet powerful enough for most situations. It also uses the default action bars, so any bars you have set up already in Blizz's interface will port over fairly seamlessly, and things like tooltips work just fine. It also works just fine with vehicles, which are prominently featured in many Wrath quests. Most of the options are hidden away in the bars' individual configuration frames, which are accessible by right-clicking a bar while in config mode (/dom config). A bar can be made as many buttons as you want it, they can go horizontally and vertically, any size you want - all the options you'd expect from a modern bar mod.
Greetings, fellow Druids, and welcome to another installment on Wrath gear at 80, and this week it's the boomkins' turn. Next week I'm going to tackle Bear gear at 80; Dan O'Halloran will take care of our Cat colleagues.
As a number of people have observed, it's basically impossible to get +hit-capped in all-leather gear at the moment, so you're going to find an awful lot of cloth on the list. I realize this represents a new and exciting development in the history of moonkin itemization. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. That's French for "We're screwed."
Garona's return to Azeroth - Tue, 20 Jan 2009 16:00:00 EST Apparently DC first announced this last October, but it's the first I've heard of it: Garona Halforcen is coming back to World of Warcraft. Garona has been a fan favorite character ever since the early RTS games -- she's a half-orc Rogue who originally assassinated King Llane of the Alliance (under one of Medivh's spells and working unintentionally for the Shadow Council). But she's been MIA for a while -- until now. DC's next World of Warcraft comic, number 18, has Garona reappearing in Azeroth, supposedly working with the Twilight's Hammer, and possibly even secretly aligned with the Scourge.
Not necessarily an auspicious re-entrance, but with Garona, just like Jack Bauer, you never know who she's really working for or why. Blizzard has always made it clear that they were going to have her appear in World of Warcraft -- early in the beta, she was actually the leader of the Rogue Ravenholdt faction, though she was later removed from the manor there. The DC comic drops on April 15, and it wouldn't be a surprise to finally see everyone's favorite half-orc rogue in the game sometime after that.
The most obvious PvP changes will be to Wintergrasp, where a number of things were changed to improve gameplay. The first major change is the way Wintergrasp Marks of Honor, currently useless, will become usable to purchase Wintergrasp Commendations as well as new epic items. This is a great thing which further encourages participation in the battle for Lake Wintergrasp itself. There are also impactful changes to the game mechanics that should see control of the zone shift more often and greatly favors offense. Let's take a look at those changes after the jump.
Patch 3.0.8 download mirror [Updated] - Tue, 20 Jan 2009 14:45:00 EST Out sister site Big Download has hosted the patch files to bring WoW up from its previous version, 3.0.3, to the current version of 3.0.8. The patch itself is 56megs, and the Blizzard downloader has been known to lag out when everyone gets home from work / school in the evening.
Head over to Big D and grab the download. The servers are ran by AOL folks, our parent company, and promise to have super-fast speeds. And best of all? There are no annoying nerd coasters CDs in the mail!
Take a look after the break for Non-US/NA patch files.
Please do not leave comments with other patch mirrors, we cannot verify the authenticity of them, and therefor will be forced to delete all comments linking to other sources. We do this to keep you safe!
PTR closes, after patch is released - Tue, 20 Jan 2009 14:30:00 EST Today the PTRs have closed their doors, officially ending the testing phase of patch 3.0.8. And while there will be some crying folks who say things like "This patch is broke, and they're testing it on live," well, there are some good tissues to be had.
It's also good to note that the PTR closed after, not before, the patch was released.
Many people, both our readers and several people on staff, use the PTR's status as a barometer for when the patch will come out. And while often its closure heralds in a new patch, it is now evident that its activeness does not mean a patch is not coming. An important point to be had
As a DPS warrior, I've come to hate the very sight of Archavon, especially his hindquarters. You see, Archavon has a terrible tendency to... how do I put this delicately... he tends to fart on the melee DPS.
Okay, that wasn't very delicate, but it was accurate enough: Archavon expels a cloud of noxious fumes that does AoE damage and radically reduces the chance to hit for anyone standing in it. Since us melee types tend to try and stab, claw, pummel and otherwise do damage to his posterior I can understand why he might view us with disdain. However, it does lead to an issue. Many tanks when fighting Archavon, especially in PuG's where you might not be used to the mechanic, only pull him so far out of the cloud so that they escape its effects, but leave his butt hanging out in the gas. This means the melee DPS has to choose between standing in the death cloud and taking damage while missing with almost every attack or coming around to give the boss a greater chance to parry.
We got a tip today from Jaxtrasi saying that he'd written a visual guide to the fight. While it does lack in stuffed animals, he does a good job of demonstrating to the tank new to this fight how to move the boss out of his nacho-laden death gas. Well, I just assume Archie eats a lot of nachos, he has that kind of look. The only thing it fails to mention is that Archie also likes to lunge the tanks and if the offtank is in that gas cloud his taunt has a huge chance of being resisted, leading to a DPS warrior ending up tanking because he was just outside of it, not that I know anyone who's ever screamed like a 50's sitcom wife seeing a mouse upon realizing that he just lost 18k health in two seconds or anything.
I hate you, Archie, because you are dangerously flatulent.
But don't let your anticipation get the best of you! In the meantime, why don't you read some of our other extensive 3.0.8 coverage and get yourself pumped for it, or do Alex's crossword? Idle hands, and all that.
Anyone who loaded up WoW this morning and patched their game up to 3.0.8 was greeted with a pleasant surprise--a slick new Blizzard Launcher. It looks to have been redone slightly, with a cold-steel Wrath-y theme and a more organized interface. Immediate additions I can see from my end are helpful community/forum links at the bottom, a well-lit link to the Blizzard Store right up top, and (of course) our boy the Lich King, stage right.
Yes, the new episode of The Guild is now live for your watching enjoyment, and the gang deals with the servers going down the only way they know how: by driving each other crazy. Strangely, rather than running for the hills while they don't have to be in the game together, they decide to party up in real life as well, and that should be a sight to see next week. Plus, Codex gets her own game shut down by an unexpected player.
Good times as always. The latest episode should also be up in HD soon on Xbox Live and in the Zune marketplace as well. Just the thing to keep you entertained during today's extended maintenance.
Hunter aspects bugged in 3.0.8 - Tue, 20 Jan 2009 12:30:00 EST We covered a couple of known bugs in 3.0.8 yesterday, namely some animation errors (which we're anxiously awaiting being able to log into the game and grab some video of), and some problems with casting of the Warlock spell Ritual of Summoning.
Frank & Beans is a pretty unique video, created by Apt-T Productions. I would have trouble saying that the production values are very high, since it really is just a pair of characters standing on a boat talking. However, what it does have is exactly the kind of thing I like -- dialogue, and dialogue-based comedy.
Of course, your mileage is going to vary. I have to admit that I didn't actually laugh, but that could just be me. The humor itself is fine, based on the absurdist observations about whether the two characters are riding a turtle or a boat. But, I enjoyed everything about the idea of the movie, and hope to see more like this in the future.
I think my only real criticism would be that if the characters spend so much time talking about the Turtle Boat, we should probably see the boat itself. I was having problems trying to picture what they were talking about, and really wanted that reference to be able to "get" the comedy.
We probably have at least an hour (or seven) of maintenance and downtime before realms start coming back up, so this is as good a time as any to make a nice list of the Wrath of the Lich King gear guides we've done so far. Not every class and spec is complete, but progress is progress, right?
If you don't see the spec/role you're looking for in our list below, never fear! Our columnists are always working on these things, and the best inspiration for all of our writers is knowing what everyone is looking for. Don't see what you're looking for? Just let us know. Don't be afraid to look at guides for similar classes, either. They might just have the information you need. For example, the Shadow Priest spell hit guide will work for most casters.
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.
ZG (Farm)? Blackwing Lair (2/8)?! LOL wut?!? We've written before about players who love to chow down on some good, old-fashioned retro WoW content, avidly mixing original instances with the latest hotness from Wrath. Heralds of Yore from Smolderthorn takes that idea to the next level: not only do they specialize in old-school content, they do it as intended - at level 60.
Why would a guild put two entire game expansions on /ignore? Hearken back to the days of "vanilla WoW" with 15 Minutes of Fame and Heralds of Yore, after the break.
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.
Good news, everyone! We have a guest star today on The Queue! Yes, that's right, a very special guest! Well, sort of. I guess she's not that special after all, but our resident Feral Druid guru chimed in to answer a Bear question yesterday, and she answered it better than I ever could. Our first question of the day is hers to handle, then it's back to me. Because you all love me, right?
I've had a lot of heated debate on the current def cap of Druid Bear Tanks. Is there one if specced into Survival of the Fittest? Is it lower than a normal tank class? I'd love to be able to tell them for certain to pipe down!
Maybe all the people who are complaining about the ease of Wrath raiding have a point. I mean, look at Malygos here. He's just flying right by those tasty elven morsels as they sit there defenseless. They're even taunting him by laying out a delicious lunch spread. I can't see any of the pre-BC bosses putting up with that sort of disrespect. C'thun would have lasered them to death as soon as they walked in, Onyxia would have made them eat in the whelp caves, and Nefarian ... well, he would probably have waited until the raid buffed up, given a stupid speech, and then sent his weak minions to try and finish them off. Nef never seemed like the brightest bulb in the chandelier, if you catch my drift.
(Thanks to Aliasneo of <Order of Thrones> on Mannoroth for the pic!)
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It's a new week, and that means a new crossword. If you don't remember from last Tuesday, this little project is an experiment of ours. Some time ago, Amanda Dean started this Crossword activity which was posted on Sunday mornings. It's been awhile since we've done them, so we're going to give them a whirl on Tuesdays instead, with Tuesday being the WoW player's lazy Sunday. Considering today is patch day, you probably have plenty of time to do this thing.
Last week I asked for feedback on the crossword, and you all supplied a lot of helpful advice that we attempted to put into play. We'll see how it turned out. The details on that are below the cut, along with the clues for this week's puzzle.
Breakfast topic: When real life is greater than WoW - Tue, 20 Jan 2009 08:00:00 EST Believe it or not, there are things out there that are more important than a computer game. Occasionally you need to turn off WoW and go do something like eat, bathe, sleep, engage in some form of non-finger exercise, etc...
One of the problems with a MMORPG like WoW is that some people often get consumed in the dynamic social and entertainment parts of the game, leaving off activities and events happening in the real world. This is problematic for a number of reasons, and is something that everyone who plays this game a lot should guard against happening to them.
And with that in mind, today I heartily recommend that you take a respite from our Azerothian domain and head over to the television to watch some of the presidential inauguration. No matter if you're a democrat or a republican or a whig, watching the historic swearing in of America's first African American commander-in-chief is something that you'll want to be able to tell your children and grandchildren about. The last thing you'll want to say was "I was playing WoW with all those cool 3.0.8 changes."