The results aren't exactly a surprise, which supports the analysis's validity. Warlocks -- once the Arena juggernaut to the sounds of much QQ -- have lost 8% of their dominance in the Gladiator ranks. By comparison, Rogues have picked up 6.5%. Druids are the big winners, though. Only 7.5% of Season 1's gladiators were druids, compared to 16% of Season 3's. And yeah.
There's a lot of metagame interpretation that could be done regarding these numbers. Melee have slowly risen in power over the span of three seasons, and Paladins -- once the bubbling unstoppable -- have really dropped in performance. Druids used to be unremarkable, but now the "science" of Line-of-Sight and Mobility has taken the day.
Arena Junkies promise to further update their analysis when the Hall of Fame is updated for Season 3. But I agree with Tyveris: I think the current sample is indicative, and we're not going to see any huge differences between these numbers and those.
Four of the top ten PC games are World of Warcraft - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST Normally, we don't concern ourselves with sales charts too much -- we really only cover the one game, so comparing it to others really isn't our thing. Unless it's the only game in town, which, according to this month's NPD PC game software sales charts, posted by WorldofWar.net, it pretty much is. Out of the top ten PC games, Blizzard is responsible for a full half, and of those five, four are World of Warcraft related. 1. WoW: Battle Chest 2. The Sims 2 Double Deluxe 3. World Of Warcraft 4. Nancy Drew: The Phantom Of Venice 5. Spore Creature Creator 6. Diablo Battle Chest 7. Warcraft III Battle Chest 8. WoW: Burning Crusade 9. The Sims 2 Ikea Home Stuff 10. Call of Duty 4
Just wild. Diablo's Battle Chest is undoubtedly there because of the Diablo III announcement, but the rest is all World of Warcraft -- people are picking up the game, its expansion, the Battle Chest (which combines both), and even the predecessor Warcraft III (in which the Wrath backstory features prominently) in droves.
PC gaming isn't dead at all. But there's no question that of the struts keeping it standing, Blizzard is definitely one of the strongest.
Wrath of the Lich King is shaping up to be one hell of an expansion. It looks like Blizzard has pulled out all the stops with remarkable quest design, breathtaking landscapes, and even wonderful music that really sets the mood for adventuring in Northrend. Even though World of Warcraft allows players to access iTunes from within the game -- and I know a lot of players turn up their own music when playing -- I highly recommend playing Wrath with the music on and turned up when it finally hits retail.
Music in World of Warcraft has always been a point of pride for Blizzard, with their work on Karazhan being widely praised for setting a great mood and being enjoyable overall. The music in Wrath continues that tradition with scores from Blizzard veterans Russell Brower, who composed the login screen theme for the new expansion. Brower was also behind the music for The Burning Crusade login screen as well as the affecting melodies of Eversong Woods and the Ghostlands (some co-written with New Age musician David Arkenstone and fellow Blizzard veteran Jason Hayes).
Why Blizzard needs to put AH data on the Armory - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 16:00:00 EST There is a certain party, a regular emailer to us among our readers, who believes that we here at WoW Insider take a little too long at the start of our posts to get to the actual point of each story, so in this one, I'll just get right down to it: Blizzard needs to put Auction House information on the Armory.
I've been on the grind to the 5000g for my epic flying mount lately, and I've been playing the Auction House like a demon: calculating, buying, selling, and crafting my way to as much gold as I can throw together. And while Auctioneer has definitely helped, the best way I've found to track prices and make sure I get the most for my time in the AH is just to see the prices themselves -- no average price calculated by Auctioneer is worth enough as seeing the real thing. And that's where Blizzard comes in -- while there are a few sites that attempt to track prices with various methods, they have actual, constant access to the prices on every server. And they have a great place to put them: on the Armory.
The item pages on the Armory right now are practically empty -- besides some vendor and reagent information, there's almost nothing there (especially compared to, say, Wowhead). Giving player access to AH information would pull them into the game even when they couldn't play, not to mention let some of Blizzard's most talented web programmers -- their fans -- at data that they could do tons of great stuff with. Want a text alert when your favorite mats drop in price, or when there's room on the AH to finally sell off those Elixirs of Agility you've got? By passing out AH info to the Armory, Blizzard could give fans access to the data needed to make their own great tools, not only leaving Blizzard free to work on actual development, but giving us Auction House haunters all the access we need to track prices and have that much more fun playing the AH.
Site updates around WoW Insider - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 15:30:00 EST There have been a few tweaks and updates the past few days around here at WoW Insider. First of all, you've probably noticed that our comments system has been upgraded a bit, and now in addition to signing in with your standard Weblogs, Inc. name and password (more information about how to do that here), you can choose to sign in with with your AOL or AIM screenname. Unfortunately, there is no way to link your Weblogs, Inc. profile (which you can see by clicking on your name in any of your comments) with your AIM screenname, so you'll have to recreate your profile (or just keep using your old signin). But if you're new to the comments section, you can now use your AOL SN to leave a comment. This is a fairly new system, so there are still a few glitches floating around -- if you have a problem with anything, let us know, and we'll try to fix it and/or get back to you.
Since we're talking about profiles, now might also be a good time to point out that you can change that default picture that goes with your profile. We've got lots of icons to choose from (and even more here), so if you're still using that boring gray question mark face (what are you, a low level questgiver?) spice it up a little bit by clicking on your profile page and putting a picture in there. The more colorful our comments section can get, the better.
And finally, some good news for iPhone and iPod touch users -- while you can always see the full version of our site on those devices by using MobileSafari to go to wowinsider.com, you can now see an iPhone-formatted page at i.wowinsider.com. And if we may say so, our designers did a really great job on it. They continue to work hard to make our site better all the time, so stay tuned for more updates to WoW Insider and the other sites in the Joystiq network.
You've seen it happen. Players fighting on the road or midfield, ignoring the Battleground's objective. Or sometimes the opposite, such as Alterac Valley races where players ignore each other in a mad rush to the opposing army's General. In Wrath of the Lich King, Blizzard will introduce Achievements, a system that measures a player's... well, achievements in the game. There's a category that tracks PvP Achievements, as well, including some interesting goals for the Battlegrounds. The question is, will these Achievements actually improve the Battlegrounds PvP experience or ruin it?
On the surface, it looks as though the various Battlegrounds Achievements are designed to improve World of Warcraft PvP. Achievements like Frenzied Defender, which requires players to return the flag five times in a single Warsong Gulch battle, seem like the perfect solution to get players to actually try and win the game. The Achievements also add a little spice to every game, where players can pursue personal goals which contribute to the overall objective.
Tauren needs ride to BlizzCon - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 14:30:00 EST One good thing that's come out of the BlizzCon ticket chaos last week is that the WoW community is showing all kinds of creativity in dealing with Blizzard's mistakes. Last week on the podcast, we talked about "DizzCon," an event being organized by players who couldn't find tickets, but still want to go to Anaheim that weekend, and now here's the story of AreEss. He wasn't able to get tickets either, but is now offering a deal to anyone who has an extra -- he'll pick you up on his drive to Anaheim from Cleveland (or "The Cleve"). And as if that wasn't a great enough deal, he's also buying food on the road, and he's going to be wearing a handmade Tauren costume the whole time (which, apparently, you may have to help with -- that might be a dealbreaker right there).
He's now moved over to a blog (and adapted the great name "BlizzCon Cow"), and starting posting how it's going, complete with pictures of the costume and some how-to info on making it. If I had a free ticket, I'd totally hook the guy up, because clearly he really, really wants to be at BlizzCon. Hopefully he'll keep us updated on how it's all going, and especially if he's able to find a ticket -- it'd be great to see him at the WoW Insider meetup.
Creativity like this just shows how committed Blizzard's fan community is -- even when things go bad, the community steps up to make events like BlizzCon something even bigger than Blizzard ever planned them to be.
If you're interested in trying for one of the 3,000 BlizzCon tickets being sold by lottery, and you had a Blizzard Account before the evening of August 12th, head over to the Blizzard Store now, as Opt-ins are open.
You should able to put yourself in to the drawing on the Account Management page. The opt-in period will last until the evening of Sunday, August 24th, and you will have an equal chance of getting a ticket no matter when you sign up.
After the Opt-in period is over, 1,500 accounts will be chosen at random for a chance to buy up to 2 tickets. Be sure your contact information is up to date so they can contact if you win. Good Luck, and we'll see you at BlizzCon!
Rare mobs are one of my favorite unexpected pleasures in WoW. It's such a thrill to be questing or grinding along and see that silver dragon; it adds a lot of flavor to what could otherwise be some boring runs through out-of-the-way zones. In fact, that's an upside to the current depopulation of Azeroth: I find many more rare mobs, since no-one's been by to kill them in an hour or two. Fun fight, interesting mob, automatic green.
However, when Burning Crusade came out, it was discovered that all the Outland rare mobs were also elite. There was a blue post around the time that defended the decision as allowing them to put better loot on the mobs, making them walking treasure chests (BC also has no world treasure chests, sadlyThanks; I guess there are still new things for me to learn in BC) . But it did make them basically unsoloable, which takes a lot of the excitement out of spotting one, at least for me: by the time I get four more people to come help me out, I don't really care any more.
Gnomechewer consistently dazzles the crowd with what he can put out in such a short period of time. He has such a gift for rewriting lore and putting a totally new spin on it. Argent Crusade: Salvation is no exception. Is it me or is he getting really good with his special effects?
His latest story centers around Tirion Fordring overhauling the Silver Hand. He uses a voiceover by Caruu, as Fordring, to act almost as a transmission. Tirion voices his doubts about winning the war as the battle is waged on screen.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Ask a Beta Tester: Don't want to look like a clown edition - Wed, 20 Aug 2008 11:00:00 EST When I first installed The Burning Crusade and started leveling, I upgraded a lot of gear immediately. And stats aside, I've got to say I was disappointed in most of it. I'd been wearing full sets of armor that I'd spent months of effort and countless instance runs to collect. My reward for the time spent had been, in old Azeroth, great stats and a custom tailored set of armor that all matched and made me look pretty awesome. I stepped through the Dark Portal looking and feeling like a hero. An hour later I had a bright purple helmet, dark green robes, a yellow belt, and a pair of bulky blue gloves. Though each piece of armor was a tremendous improvement upon my carefully completed set, it left my character looking as though she'd been dressed by a colorblind clown. "Heroic" would not be a word I would use to describe myself at that point. So on to our first question... Mattimus asked....
What do quest rewards look like, graphically? Going into BC from raiding in WoW was incredibly jarring -- stripping off epics for bright green paints with big purple polka dots was one of the most painful things Blizzard could've done to anyone. Do the quest greens in Wrath allow us to quest in dignity, or are we going to be spending our off-time entertaining children's' parties?
After a lot of disappointment leveling up through BC as some kind of circus clown (I considered myself lucky to be a Priest leveling through the Shadow tree -- Shadowform hides many flaws), I have been pleasantly surprised by the quest rewards I've seen in Wrath. It looks like Blizzard has taken a lot more care this time around to make even random greens and blues look cool and -- gasp! -- match. The image to the right all quest rewards from the starting zone, and while you may or may not like the look, I think you have to agree that It's nowhere near as bad as Outland Clown Syndrome (or OCS as we shall call it from here on).
For more on of your questions -- and our answers -- 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.
Just another beta screenshot, you say? Fools! This screenshot is actually from the end of Naxxramas -- it's apparently the portal to Northrend that the Icecrown Guardians flee through after you beat Kel'Thuzad into the ground. Considering the percentage of current players who have killed KT, I won't be surprised if very few people recognize this. Heck, my guild fell apart at C'thun.
We'll all get to see Naxxramas in the expansion, but three guilds on The Sha'tar-EU -- Athanatoi, Dark Glare, and A Perfect Circle -- decided that they couldn't wait. They combined forces to get a bunch of players attuned for Naxxramas and then stormed the place, scoring a server first kill of Kel'Thuzad just a few weeks ago. Senya of <Athanatoi> snapped this shot of the victorious raid staring into the portal, no doubt proud of their still-rare accompishment.
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. Please, no more sunsets.
Bah. Beta. Everything I read all over is Beta this, Beta that. There's so much praise going for Blizzard's upcoming Wrath of the Lich King expansion that it's about time we give it some rightful hate! That's right, I'm going to go through a nasty little list of all the things I hate about the Beta. 10. None of my AddOns work Ok, well, some of them do. But since this is a Beta build, it's best to stay clear of any AddOns. I want to test the Beta build, which is unstable enough on its own, so any technical issues I experience will result in a GM telling me to scrap my WTF folder and toss out any AddOns, anyway. So I have to play without critical PvP AddOns like Afflicted or graphical idiosyncrasies like MetaHUD and fun stuff like ShaderMod. Of course, it also means I've got to re-import all my macros and reprogram my key bindings, which -- since I'm a lazy bum -- can be a chore.
The debate over whether Death Knights should get a free hand up on their primary professions continues to rage, but what actually interests me most are some of the arguments put forth by those opposed to Death Knights getting "free" tradeskills. Some of them are saying that it doesn't matter that Death Knights have to wait, because people should wait until max level to deal with professions anyway.
This is a completely alien concept to me. On any new character, the first thing I do upon hitting level 6 is run to the nearest profession trainers to learn my chosen professions. I like being able to doing something about those herbs and mineral nodes I see while I'm leveling. I can go do some tradeskilling if I start getting bored of leveling, and I can use the final product for my own leveling process, or sell the raw materials on the AH for a nice chunk of change.
I can't really fathom waiting for maximum level before I started a profession in earnest. Why go back to Elwynn forest to harvest bushels of Peacebloom at level 70 when you could have done it from level 1-11 while you were there?
So here's something that may be considered somewhat of a companion question to yesterday's profession question: Do you level your professions while you level up, or do you leave them until after you've leveled up?
Dark Haven on Baelgun actually killed our buddy Illy D this week, but we liked this picture on their website better. Yes, they're coming for you, Defiler.
This week's Guildwatch is chock full, as always, of drama, downed, and recruiting news from around the realms. If you've got some to share with us, about your guild or anyone else's, feel free to send it along to email@example.com. Click the link below to see what's going on this week in guild news.
With about a week left to go in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, our favorite wiki WoWwiki gets with the Olympic spirit and holds the WoWlympics, a scavenger hunt-type contest over at their site. With the help of Blizzard, WoWWiki is giving away five Wrath of the Lich King US Beta keys and twenty Worldwide Invitational cards which contain the codes for EU Beta keys and the Tyrael vanity pet. Both US and EU Beta keys can be converted for use between regions as necessary.
The WoWlympics kick off with Clopper Wizbang asking players to search the site for five missing items, each located on a WoWwiki page, providing clues along the way. Each item or wiki page is worth one entry to the WoWlympics sweepstakes, with a bonus three entries for finding all five -- a total of eight entries eligible for the grand draw. You've got until the 25th of August to find all five rings -- and if you're stumped, you might just need the help of a lore nerd. If you're a sucker for scavenger hunts, eager to get into Beta, or want a mini-avenging angel, head on over to WoWwiki's WoWlympics page and get started!
So, one of the big news pieces to hit the streets about the Wrath of the Lich King beta is that "downranking" has been nerfed. There's a little bit of history that you need to know to get why that matters.
Downranking isn't actually that complicated, in and of itself. When you learn a new rank of a spell, you keep the lower version of the spell available in your spellbook. Not all classes function that way, but all spell casting classes do. When you "downrank," then, you're casting a lower level version of a spell than the highest one you have available to you.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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.