No, no, no -- we haven't heard any rumors that microtransactions are coming to our own World of Warcraft, but when we discovered that some of our staff wasn't aware of this hot MMO topic, we had to start our own education campaign. So some of us seem to be hitting the books this weekend... Adam Holisky: I'll be doing one word this weekend: microtransactions. Alex Ziebart: Trying to get some Heroic groups going on my Protection Paladin, and if that fails I'll either be playing Warhammer or Left 4 Dead. If the PTR goes up tonight or sometime this weekend, everything else gets shelved for that. Also, giving Adam lessons on microtransactions.
Despite the desire for our bloggers to have a well-rounded knowledge of the gaming world, we are hoping that Adam finds something better to do. For the rest of the team -- and your own weekend play plans -- read on!
With the character copy page being up too, signs are continuing to point to it being 3.1 PTR go time very soon. Be ready to download that client and, as always, keep an eye out here for when the PTR news trickle inevitably turns into a flood. We swear to shake it up if you swear to listen.
Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.
Engineers have plenty of fun tricks up their sleeves, and that includes a hip, quirky means of gathering. Specifically, they ride around on fancy machines zapping clouds into Crystallized elements, at least in the far North.
Such elements are used in crafting, or combined in stacks of ten to form Eternal elements, which are also a common reagent in patterns and schematics.
Both forms of these elements sell for handsome sums on the Auction House, and can be stockpiled for one's own needs, such as updating item enchants.
This week's Insider Trader is devoted to helping you find those clouds and zap them with a vengeance!
Yes, I'm pretty sure this is the second Feral Druid piece we've done in a row (even though last week was technically a combination of PvP gear). We'll do a Warlock piece next week -- or if there's something you're specifically wondering about, speak up in the comments. But look at that staff -- how could we pass this up?
As most of us know, WoW credit card subscription plans in the US and Europe are auto-renewing. If I sign up for one month at $14.99, as soon as that month is up, Blizzard immediately re-bills my credit card and signs me up for another month. This is problematic for some people, who may want to switch to a game card at the end of the month, or who simply might not want their cards to be automatically billed.
Fortunately, there's an easy solution: cancel your account. Yep, just push that big red button (well, actually, it's a smallish grey button, but you get the idea). You'll still get to play until the time you've paid for runs out. And since Blizzard retains your character and account info indefinitely, you don't have to worry about your characters getting deleted. At the end of the time you've paid for, when you try to log in, you'll get a notice that your pre-paid time has been used up, at which point you can go on the web site and add whatever payment method you like.
I've used this method many times myself. It's only a few extra clicks, and if you want to have more control over how you get billed, it's definitely worth considering, even if it does make the peons cry.
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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
Adam called yesterday's edition of The Queue 'the Extreme edition,' but I'm of the opinion he didn't quite follow through. So I'm posting something extreme to make up for it, which you can see in the video above. Extreme. If you don't feel it's extreme enough, feel free to post your extreme links in the comments below with your usual questions, as long as the links are safe for work (and sanity.) Eternauta asked... I have a question, too. I know it's pretty stupid and obvious, but here I go: Why is everybody DPS and why is it so hard to find healers or tanks?
Okay, everybody. Stock up on tarps, bottled water, and canned beans, because the PTR character copy site is up and running again. We don't know if this means anything, or if this PTR is actually going up soon, or even if these copies will actually work, but it is our duty to make sure you get a steady news trickle of anything and everything related to the 3.1 PTR.
There are currently two realms to which you can copy - Broxigar (PVE) and Anasterian (PVP).
Go copy a character or two, then get in the fallout shelter, because things just might get exciting soon. Alternatively, these copies might go nowhere like the last set. Fingers crossed!
Arena players say they can't compete with Death Knights - Fri, 20 Feb 2009 15:00:00 EST A Korean Arena team named Kill e A has dropped out of the upcoming Extreme Masters tournament and claimed that they just can't compete with Death Knights in the Arenas. "Due to recent balance changes resulting from the 3.0.9 patch, we believe that it is no longer possible for the Mage and Rogue character classes to remain competitive in a high-level PvP setting," says the statement posted on the ESL's site. They go on to say that "our testing has shown that it is now impossible for other classes to compete effectively with the Death Knight." Since they don't have a DK player and their team's strategy is based around using a Mage and Rogue, they're out, and another team from SK Gaming is in. The SK Gaming team will be running with a DK, and they say they're certain they won't be the only ones.
[1.Local]: From our readers' point of view - Fri, 20 Feb 2009 14:00:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week.
My buggy Valentine With no (buggy) world events to obsess over, life has been much calmer for some players this week. "The way I've been logging in every hour to hope beyond hope that I'd get a Bag of Candies has made me feel like I was in the hatch on Lost, pushing the buttons every 108 minutes to save the world," moans Jeff. "Two bags so far, and seven of the eight candies needed. I'm going crazy.
"The RNG must die."
Did frustrations over Love is In the Air this year dampen your ardor for world events?
This video is entitled "Pull! A Guide to Faster Raids," and it's been produced by Kyth, of Fusion (US-Turalyon H). Set to the backdrop of (part of) a Naxxramas speed run, the video presents some easy tips for raiding faster. It's mostly addressed towards raid leaders, but I certainly plan on bringing some of the concepts here forward in my next raid. You should watch the video - it's well made and fun - but here are some bullet points I've taken away from it:
Pull fast. Have impatient pullers, have your plate DPS off-tank trash if need be, and don't wait for rebuffs if one or two people die (just do it on the fly).
Loot fast. Whether you use /roll, DKP, or loot council, make someone in charge of it, and do it fast.
Set high expectations. Initially, your raiders might have difficulty keeping up with an increased pace if they're not used to it, but within a night or two they'll get used to keeping moving all the time, and you'll have more fun because you won't be standing around constantly.
Warning: The language in this movie is not safe for work.
Today on Moviewatch, we take a look at the second piece from MozQ -- his first, Keep Browsing, was a fun little pastiche of geeky clips and fast cuts, and this one is more of the same. The animation has improved a little bit (the effects in the first few scenes with the gnome are done pretty well), but the humor stays about the same, so if you enjoyed the first one, you'll like this one, too.
Between then and now, he's joined up with a group called Silverlined Productions, so we'll expect to see more from MozQ and his compatriots. Their blog says they've hooked up with a music director to make music for them, so keep your ears open for some original music in future productions.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
And so we finally return to our discussion of hit and expertise for warriors, in this case DPS warriors. Having finally gotten around to leveling my tauren warrior to 80 I've taken him arms for grinding reputations and running instances (I need a new weapon and several gear upgrades before he's ready for 10 mans, although he'll probably end up in a couple before he's geared enough to do much) which means I'm now looking at these stats from both a fury and an arms perspective.
It also means I'm back to my old "you have how many max level warriors?" days. It's a shame I'm currently working on my DK and shaman horde side or I could level another warrior. Yes, I'm aware that with Dual Specs coming having more than one warrior per faction per server is kind of ridiculous. Luckily, this means I can have two warriors per server! Look, I don't love this class because I'm sane.
So, we now have hit and expertise to discuss for Arms and Fury warriors. How much do you need? The short answer is enough to ensure you don't miss your special attacks and push dodges off of the attack table. The short answer is also remarkably less than helpful in terms of telling you how much you want on your gear.
After finishing off their "For the Alliance!" achievement, Xeptor of Area 52 and his comrades just couldn't wait to show off their new bear mounts. So they had an engineer drop a MOLL-E right there in Silvermoon and clustered around the mailbox to pick up the bears for a triumphant ride out of the city. Unfortunately for us schadenfreude fans, while they were all sorting through their mailboxes and mount tabs, a Horde revenge raid completely failed to show up and massacre them. Sometimes life has no sense of dramatic timing.
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.
I was pretty lazy about heroic achievements at first. Too many people needed frozen orbs for their resist sets, or badges for gear, and the general consensus in most groups (whether they were pugged or guild runs) was that achievements would be great to have, but not really worth going out of our way to get at the time. Why spend 3 miserable hours trying to get Watch Him Die, we reasoned as fresh 80's, when we could finish Azjol-Nerub and do 2 or 3 other heroics in the same time period?
With better gear, some free time on our hands, and the siren call of a cherry-red drake, heroic achievements became less an afterthought and more an interesting challenge. The odyssey's been an education on the limits of the otherwise admirable mantra "Bring the player, not the class" (does said player bring Bloodlust?), how much DPS you can squeeze out of your tanks and healers ("Smite harder!"), and the welcome role that luck often plays. I am ashamed to admit that Less-rabi, one of the most difficult and frustrating hurdles of Glory of the Hero, was accomplished because yours truly can't tell the difference between her Maul and Bash hotkeys in the heat of the moment. Accidentally interrupting a 0.4-second cast ability within a tenth of a second is going to go down as one of the great Fortunate Fool moments of my tanking career. My friends, if you're working on heroic or raiding achievements, whether casually or seriously, I wish you that kind of dumb luck.
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.
Welcome back to an extreme late night edition of The Queue. What's so extreme about it? Read on after the break. Why is it coming out so late at night? Well, I've been busy today. I've finished up leveling my last two characters while two of my accounts are linked via the recruit-a-friend program. Now my Paladin and Warlock are level 60, and my set is complete. WTB account wide achievements now, please. "K. Thx. Bai," as the kids like to say.
"Does anyone know who the three characters in all the BlizzCon announcement graphics are (see posting earlier this week)? One looks just like Thrall, but the other two seem pretty vague... a paladin and some sort of demonic rogue looking thing (maybe an Orc)?"
Easiest? Chess (duh), I always found Baron Geddon to be pretty easy (though no less fun), Attumen the Huntsman, and Venoxis was a knockover, too. But as you can see from the thread, people are all over the place -- some of the hardest bosses in the game for some were simple for others. And while some guilds fly through content, others can bump their heads on bosses for quite a while. I wouldn't put him on the hard list, but I know a few guilds I've run with had quite a bit of trouble with Moroes while they were first starting out.
And it's no surprise that most of the hardest bosses in the game came near the end of expansion cycles -- AQ40, Naxx, and Sunwell. A few people in the thread predict that we'll eventually see the Lich King on these lists, and given that Blizzard goes tough when you get a couple content patches into an expansion, that wouldn't be a surprise at all.
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.