Insider Trader: Leatherworking in alpha, and profession changes for patch 2.4.3 - Fri, 20 Jun 2008 18:46:00 EST Although there is information being leaked about the upcoming expansion Wrath of the Lich King, because of the alpha testing that is currently underway, it is too soon to tell what will make it into the final copy, and what will not. Furthermore, most things will be changed, and there are details that may never be leaked until, of course, release.
Still, it is a valuable experience to peer into Blizzard's process of designing, reforming, and progressing the game's professions. This week, Insider Trader will focus on analyzing the tentative progression of the leatherworking trade.
In addition, we'll take a brief look at professions-related changes in the upcoming patch 2.4.3. While mounts at level 30 and Haris Pilton might be first in your mind, Blizzard isn't overlooking the trade sector this round.
Once more into that there breach what with the dead already filling the walls and suchlike.
When last we left our intrepid band of heroic warriors (that's you guys) they were about to head into Karazhan and hit stuff. We've already covered what to wear if you're one of those warriors who hits things and gets hit back in return, and last week we did an overview of the main slots (head, shoulders, legs, chests and hands) for your aspiring breaker of limbs. Whether it's arms or fury you intend (or some weird hybrid of the two like the spec I'm currently playing with on my tauren) you need attack power, crit chance, hit and other good things on the armor and other gear you choose to help you achieve your aim of wanton re-slaughter. I assume it's re-slaughter. I mean, most of the stuff in there has died at least once.
He does have good recommendations for what he'd tell Blizzard to change, though: first things first, he wants to see an official "WTB" mechanism for the Auction House, where you can offer a price not only for what you want to sell, but for what you want to buy as well. He'd also fix the LFG system (and who wouldn't, really? has it ever worked?), and he says that Karazhan was a great example of a mistake -- by putting such a rough, guild-killing instance first in line for progression, Blizzard really put the hurt on players (especially solo players -- he says Karazhan is impossible to PuG) heading into the endgame.
Finally, he's excited for "Lich Kingdom" as he calls it, but not really happy about it: "The only reason that I played up to level 70 was credentials," he says, "and when Lich Kingdom comes out, I shall have to requalify myself." We can't say he doesn't have a point -- as popular as WoW is, competition always makes a marketplace better, and up to this point, WoW hasn't had any competition at all, leaving its faults glaring to an expert developer like Bartle.
The Wrath of the Lich King Information Wiki, the primary source of leaked information from the friends & family Alpha, is currently not hosting any information on its site. Reports say that the WotLK Wiki team has been served a Cease & Desist order by Blizzard's legal team and given stringent restrictions on hosting Alpha information. A brief message on the site explained how the site administrators were contacted by a legal firm. The issue dealt with a few key points, such as the site referring to themselves as the "Official WotLK Alpha Wiki" despite not being endorsed by Blizzard; not having a copyright on any of the information, necessitating the inclusion of a copyright line to the main pages; and an order to remove all of what Blizzard considered "over-the-line" content such as leaked screenshots.
The WotLK Information Wiki formerly had detailed information on the spells and abilities of the new hero class, the Death Knight, as well as new 51-point talents for most classes. It also hosted and updated a copy of the latest build of the Alpha client, and showed previews of numerous models in the expansion such as speculated vanity pets and armor sets. None of this information is currently available, although the site's message states that they are "having a little trouble" and "hopefully will be back shortly". The current refuge of Alpha-hungry players are in an IRC channel called #wotlkwiki in irc.mmoforge.org, where the header cryptically (or not-so-cryptically) states that "THE MEN IN SUITS, THEY TOOK THE WIKI ON VACATION TODAY. Might return tonight."
If the Alpha wiki team succeeds in conforming (or going around) the rules laid by the intellectual property firm, it might return to serve up information sometime soon. We'll keep a close eye on these developments; whatever happens, we've learned that it's tough to keep a good secret from getting out.
Once again, the WoW Insider Show is returning to the virtual airwaves, and this show is taking place in a very different world than last week: Turpster's Shadow Priest is 70, dogs and cats are living together, and I am out for the week. But worry not -- the very capable John "BigBearButt" Patricelli is stepping in to take on the hosting duties, and joining him will be the raid-ready Shadow Priest himself, Turpster (John, could you do me a favor and ask Turpster when he's going to start leveling his Paladin now?), along with another man with his own popular WoW blog, Matt "Matticus" Low. I'm sure they'll chat, as we always do, about all the big news from the World of Warcraft in the last week, including level 30 mounts, the various talent changes that have come down, and what's on deck for the Midsummer Fire Festival next week. Since I'm not around, they probably won't talk about Shamans at all, so you can look forward to that.
And if there's anything else you want to ask them, it's easy and free -- just drop them a note at email@example.com, and they may even answer your question live on the air. During the show, you can even join them in IRC for a live chat -- point your IRC client to irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel and make sure to say hi for me.
Should be a "hum-dinger," as they say in the business. Well maybe they don't say it in the business, but I'm sure they say it somewhere. Tune in to WoW Radio tomorrow afternoon at 3:30 Eastern to hear BBB, Matticus, and Turpster take on the past week in Warcraft.
Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. Interweb friends, I am sorry I've been MIA so long. It was an accident, I swear! I have missed you. /sniff
Last time, creatively called Part 1, we went over healing analysis philosophy and all the tools you'll need to be sure you're seeing the whole picture. This time? My little whelps, we are going to start in on the big one: WWS healorz style. Grab a snack and join me after the break as I cover exactly what you should have in your grubby little hands before even pretending to know what's going on in WWS.
If you havent read the full patch notes yet... well, what are you waiting for? The gallery below has most of the eye candy, but there are a lot of changes worth looking at that aren't quite as photogenic, such as the Cheat Death changes, some quest tweaks and the retuning of Magisters' Terrace.
Click on the first picture in the gallery to start your guided tour of what awaits in Patch 2.4.3!
Remember when it was cool to dream about pixie dust, ponies, and watermelon? Ah, to be a kid again. Legs is back with Silversun, a music video seen through the eyes of a child.
Legs wanted to enter this in the Blizzard WWI contest, only to find out that they didn't allow Swiss entries! While this is a departure from her usual work, she did a great job with the machinima. Hopefully there will be an upcoming contest where she actually participate and showcase her talents!
Figureprints raises their price - Fri, 20 Jun 2008 11:30:00 EST Figureprints (that company that will make a 3D mini-figurine of your character) has posted a notice on their site that they are in fact doing so well... that they're raising their price. Now, if you want a real-life copy of the character you've worked so hard on, it'll cost you $130, a $30 increase over the original price. What will the extra money buy you? They say they're stepping up production, and that they've opened up a brand new production facility on the other side of the country. But even though they say they can make more faster, they're still doing that random drawing thing -- instead of actually buying a figure, you have to enter a drawing to buy one.
The other reason they cite for raising the price is that their "material costs" are much higher than they expected. Could that have to do with the fact that we've seen a lot of figure replacements in their run so far? These things can get pretty expensive when you have to make two for every other order.
Is $130 too much for you or are you still interested? From the beginning, Figureprints has been working around the clock making these, so even if they lose a little business over the higher price, maybe it'll help them keep up with demand better. And if the new price doesn't work out, maybe we'll see them cutting back again (or offering deals via Blizzard or someone else).
Each week Matthew Porter contributes The Creamy GUI Center, a column aimed at helping you enhance your WoW experience by offering an in depth guide to addons, macros and other tools we use to play WoW, along with commentary on issues that affect how we all play.
No you're not seeing things, The Creamy GUI Center is back! As my first column back after such a long time I thought it would be a good idea to get reacquainted, and take a look at what all has changed in WoW's user interface while I was gone. Also, find out where I've been all this time, and where we're going as we take a sneak peak at what's in store for future editions. So grab a drink and get comfy as we once again take the plunge into the world of WoW's user interface and addons.
Midsummer Fire Festival starts tomorrow! - Fri, 20 Jun 2008 10:30:00 EST There are a few unmistakable signs of summer -- the days get longer and the sun stays up later, the smell of barbeque drifts around the neighborhood, and oh yeah, the Midsummer Fire Festival starts. June 21, tomorrow, marks the start of the Midsummer Fire Festival in game, and this year we've heard that there's going to be some new things going on. In addition to all of the old festivities (firepole dancing and flame honoring, or desecrating), there are lots of new things to do as well -- Ahune the Frost Lord is threatening the Slave Pens (he's a boss similar to the popular Headless Horseman of Hallow's End), and there are new daily quests around, including a "torch tossing" event and a bounty on a Twilight Cult NPC.
Stay tuned to WoW Insider -- we'll have coverage on all of the new stuff in game, as well as fill you in on exactly what's going down when during the Festival. It lasts until July 4th, and right around then there are also lots of terrific fireworks shows ingame as well -- those goblins really know how to put on a good time.
It's been a while since we've had one of these pure landscape shots, but even though we've seen Nagrand a million times already, sometimes the pure beauty of the zone can take your breath away. This is a glimpse at an unspoiled, pre-humanoid, pre-you Nagrand. Sure, if you look closely you can see a Horde tent and what looks like a Draenei guard in the background, but that's not the point. Look at what you did to this place! Man, it was so awesome and then you all had to go in and kill hundreds of animals for some semi-useful ranged weapons. You're a monster! (Healing-type shamans, druids and paladins are excused from this rant. Those idols/totems/librams are too good to pass up, even if you have to become a mass murderer to do so.)
Thanks to Gonek of <Vulcans Rage> on Archimonde for this pic. And if you want a full-size wallpaper version, you can click on the picture.
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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets or shots of battleground scoreboards.
Hey, folks. Just a reminder -- you've only got fourteen and a half more hours to participate in this week's Caption This! contest. To participate, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight! Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place and a choice of an I Survived Barrens Chat! or You No Take Candle! t-shirt from J!NX for runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here, and if you don't want to enter, you can still participate by voting for the winners after the weekend. See you soon!
In case you were wondering, there will be premade characters for the 2.4.3 PTR before all is said and done, according to Hortus. There's no word for sure on why they're needed, what gear they'll have, or when they'll come along, but they'll be here. You'll need an account that had Burning Crusade activated before these PTRs went live, and when the time comes, you'll be able to sandbox it up with a fresh new premade while you help test the patch.
This phase, says Hortus, is also not intended for testing Season 4 gear, since it was already tested on a previous PTR. Besides, with 4 days left until Season 4 goes live, the 2.4.3 patch won't be on live servers until Season 4 is well underway. That said, it looks like most (but not all) of the Season 4 gear is still on the PTR right now, so if you want to go check it out, you can fly up to Area 52 on the PTR and check out Big Zokk Torquewrench's wares. Of course, you can also expect us to give you all the Season 4 news you need in the next few days here at WoW Insider as well, including gear guides.
Turning around, he came face to face with a rogue -- one high leveled enough to sport a skull on his level indicator. Somehow, he says, he managed to get off a lucky Fear, and after a frantic bit of running and free application of Curse of Agony and Corruption -- or thrown copies of Illidan and Akama's swimsuit issues, if you believe him -- he got the rogue down. Apparently, this rogue then proceeded to call in a bunch of his guildmates to tear apart Tarren Mill in search of him, but by then Cyanrose was swimming down south of Southshore, laughing over his unlikely victory.
This story got me thinking of some of my own unexpected, funny, and epic PvP battles.
Tank Talk: I love tank - Thu, 19 Jun 2008 23:00:00 EST Tank Talk is WoW Insider's raid-tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column will be rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish. That's what we said we were doing -- and by golly, I'm sticking to it.
Welcome back to Tank Talk. I'm your Paladin tank. I like shields, consecration, and beer. This is our third week of Tank Talk, and we're in a "things that apply to all of us" phase -- your Tank-centric writers are getting loosened up, having a little dialogue about what we're all up to, what we all think about things. Things that tanks think about -- repairs, threat, and more repairs.
Allison started us off with some discussion about questions to which you should have answers before you pick up your shield and paw. She also helped us out last week with some chat about the angels on our shoulders - the optimist guy, and the pessimist guy. But I don't want us to get off to a too-dim start. It seems a little gloomy.
I want to talk this week about the fundamental point of our column, our Raison d'être -- why we tank.
I'll be honest. I've been rather bored with World of Warcraft lately. As great a patch as 2.4 was, there was little in it for me except for a bit of money-making on the Isle of Quel'danas. Magister's Terrace, or Mr.T, as Mike fondly calls it, was fun and the quasi-Arena match is a cheap thrill, but you can only do so much of it. Specially when Kael'thas refuses to cooperate and drop his prancing white chicken. As cool as "of the Shattered Sun" title is, the ease by which players reach exalted with the Shattered Sun Offensive and the rapid Gold flow of doing the daily quests made it immensely unappealing. With every other character running around with the title, it's just not as enticing anymore.
Even PvP, my favorite thing to do in-game, has become a bit stale. Grinding this last week of Season 3 in the pursuit of personal goals has been tiring and nerve-wracking. I no longer have as much time to run around in the Battlegrounds, but neither do I have much of a desire to. I log in to do my daily Battleground quest, maybe the Spirits of Auchindoun if I luck out on the time, and play some Arena matches with my team. Otherwise, the crash of my raiding guild, the quitting of my friends, and the long wait for Season 4 took quite a toll on my enthusiasm for the game.
5 loot ranking sites to check out - Thu, 19 Jun 2008 20:00:00 EST I am often flummoxed when trying to decide which piece of loot to take from a quest or to purchase for an upgrade. I end up doing math on index cards or, if I'm really desperate, cranking out Excel and going for full-on geekery. Sometimes, though, this seems like way too much trouble and I will probably end up dumping the thing soon anyway. Although the Armory offers a "find an upgrade" tool, it's simply a list of items with stats. I still end up doing the math. So I went searching for some easier ways to figure out my next best loot options and here I share them with you.
Kaliban's Class Loot Lists - Probably considered the gold standard of loot resource sites. Choose your class and then slice and dice until you find your perfect match. I found loot for level 68+.
Loot Rank - Lets you enter complex stat requirements and weight the stats you like best. It seems targeted to endgame players for the most part.
Lootzor - Lets you choose any level gear and even normal instance gear. Weighted stats.
ShadowPanther - Rogues R us. Breaks down recommendations by every category imaginable.
Druid Wiki - Recommendations for druids of all specs, including a section called "Must have quest rewards."