You all know about the new in-game calendar feature that came with patch 3.0.2, right? Right! The calendar has just been integrated into the Armory as well, and it's really quite cool. By logging into the Armory and clicking on the Guild tab, you can check out all of the events your guild has listed on the calendar via the interwebs. You can Accept and Decline event invitations right from the Armory, but I haven't seen an option to create new ones from there. That's something you'll still need to do in-game.
When I saw this on the official WoW website, I sort of rolled my eyes because the Armory hasn't updated my Shadow Priest's gear or spec in months. How can it possibly keep up with the calendar? I did a little poking around with it, and I was pleasantly surprised. I created a new event in-game on our guild calendar, and it showed up on the Armory about ten minutes later. I accepted the event on my alt on the Armory, and that showed up in-game almost instantly. If the features keeps that kind of stability long term, I will definitely appreciate having it. Little conveniences like this really help the community feel of guilds.
Now to bug people about integrating this into Facebook and the like.
The WoW TCG site has lots more, including play-by-plays of all the matches if you're interested in how the top players play the game (Jim won with a Shaman -- SHAMAN POWER!), and they've even got video of all the folks throwing down to win the crazy prizes. Looks like lots of fun in Paris for players of the TCG.
The 2009 season kicks off with the end of these world champs -- the next event will be a Darkmoon Faire event in Anaheim, CA on November 9th (right before the Wrath release), and of course the Drums of War expansion is due out soon, with those loot cards we've been drooling over.
Ask WoW Insider: Loot rolls and seasonal boss summons - Mon, 20 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST Time once again to put a question to you, dear readers, and see what you have to say about a current issue in the World of Warcraft. This time around, Rylia has a question about loot ethics with seasonal bosses -- everyone and their guildie is taking down the Headless Horseman (making the Scarlet Graveyard an actual destination, strangely), and Rylia wants to know what the policy is when an item drops: What's your group loot policy for seasonal bosses? (a) Use the usual in-game loot roller; everyone roll Need on the rare items (mounts, small pets, etc.) (b) Whoever summons the boss for that particular attempt gets the rare item drop from that attempt. The logic behind (b) is that it prevents people who've used up their daily summons from getting more than one chance per day (and thus making their groupmates get less than one chance per day). If someone who didn't have a summon in your seasonal group wins a rare roll, do you think that's a ninja?
Personally, I think all the summons should get settled before you enter the instance -- if you invite someone in without a summon (for example, because they're a tank, and you just need them rather than waiting for a tank with a summon), they're a part of the group after that and have as much chance as anyone else to win a roll. And yes, if an item drops that someone can use, it should be a Need roll. So if that mount drops, everyone's got a chance to win it. That's just me, though -- I can see the point about someone without a summon taking loot from people who entered with a summon.
Though I have no idea what to do if a mount and pet drops on the same run -- would the person who won one not get a chance on the second? What think you, readers, both of general loot rules on season bosses and of Rylia's summon policy?
Wrath manual hidden in latest WoW files - Mon, 20 Oct 2008 16:00:00 EST If you just can't wait to read the Wrath of the Lich King manual, Maeglin of Khadgar made an interesting discovery -- it's already on your computer. Inside your World of Warcraft folder, if you go to the Data folder, and then "enUS" and Documentation, you'll see a PDF file called Manual_WLK. It's the Wrath manual in black and white -- there are good writeups in there (spoiler-free, as far as I could tell) on the story so far and Northrend, and some cool concept art for weapons and other sights of the next expansion. The credits are in there, too, and make sure to go to the very end to read all the thanks from Blizzard -- some of them are pretty funny.
This likely isn't the final manual -- there's something in the Death Knight description that still says runes can be customized, and while we heard that earlier in development, it's since been removed from the class. And it's in black and white, while we'd expect the full manual to have color when it's finally printed. But it's a cool find, and something to tide you over until you can get the real thing on release day (which, as you can see from our countdown, is growing ever closer).
BBC: WoW's patches may push some over the bandwidth limit - Mon, 20 Oct 2008 15:00:00 EST We've posted a few times already on the bandwidth limits recently introduced by some ISPs, and in general we've decided that WoWdoesn't use nearly enough bandwidth to get you in trouble with your Internet Service Provider. That's likely still true, but as this columnist at the BBC found out, if you're close to the limit, this month's 2gb patch might have been enough to put you over the top. Generally, while the WoW connection does require a strong bandwidth hookup, it won't use too much bandwidth sending data back and forth. But patches and other downloads definitely add to the total, and on a patch like 3.0.2, you're looking at a lot of data flying back and forth.
I'll still maintain it won't get you near the limit -- if this columnist really did have a 25gb limit, the 2gb download was still just a fraction (he's been downloading a lot of other stuff, seems to me). So it's not time to start worrying yet -- if your ISP does send you a letter, then you can look at your internet usage, and see, if like this columnist, it's time to switch ISPs.
But he's got another point, and that is that gaming is clearly having a large effect on computers and technology in general. Would we be fulfilling Moore's Law every two years if we didn't have 3D graphics that needed upgrading? Would high bandwidth connections be as prevalent today around the world if it wasn't for games like WoW that required a high bandwith hookup? Gaming is affecting the basic technologies and economies of the Internet these days, for better or worse.
They throw gender into the mix as well -- turns out that while the classes have generally the same percentage of players (not surprising, given that gameplay dictates the classes should be fairly balanced), things start to break up when you add gender to the mix. Priests and Warriors seem to have the biggest separation: according to their data (obtained via the profiles on their site), most Priests are played by females, and most Warriors are played by men. Paladins as well tend to be male, though not as much as Warriors, and Druids tend to be female, though not as much as Priests. Women also tend to prefer the elven races (Blood and Night), while guys apparently prefer Orcs and Dwarves (which helps my -- sexist, I admit -- theory from way back on the WoW Insider Show that the Dwarven starting area appeals to guys more than women).
The Bartle breakdown is interesting, too -- Killers prefer Rogues (duh), Warriors tend to be Achievers, and Hunters have the slight Explorer edge, but in general, the classes have a fairly even distribution across the board. All of the different roles can be filled by all the classes, which speaks to the way Blizzard has built the classes -- you can really solo, PvP, or group up with any of them. WAR's differences were distinct, but in WoW, Blizzard has done their best to make it so that whatever Bartle type you are, you can log in with any class and do what you want. gamerDNA promises more research here (including a Horde and Alliance breakdown), and we can't wait to see it.
Sometimes I get an e-mail describing to me a guild leader who fails for so many reasons that I am simply at a loss for words. However, words are all I have to work with here, along with my trusty Picard ASCII (courtesy of Blizzard poster Datth), so I will do my best. I warn you that this e-mail is a very long read. But those of you who want some insight into exactly what not to do as a guild leader, read on!
Around May the more progression-ready members of my casual guild started filling in spots for an established raiding guild doing 10man content with promises of moving to 25man content fairly quickly in order to see the BC raid instances pre-WotLK. One thing led to the other and I ended up gutting my guild of those more dedicated members and all of us joining up with the raiding guild which seems to be usually how these things go.
What I ended up discovering is the guild I joined into had been much bigger and more organized at one time but was in its last throes and the person who brought the two guilds together was given the GM role in order to facilitate his, and others, dreams of 25man content. Long story short the raid guild had long since mastered Kara, but always struggled on ZA, and had only barely glimpsed the insides of the 25man instances.
Today we're featuring Releasing the Beast II: Don't Call me Huntard! by Sazabi. It's an intriguing, mesmerizing, hilarious, self-aware take on a PvP movie -- following up the hugely successful Releasing the Beast. Now, wait! Don't tune out if you don't like PvP movies. It's not actually a PvP movie, per se. It's a comedy all the way, including the filmmaker showing his own failures in the battlegrounds and making fun of his arena rating. It's certainly not a how-to movie. In fact, the story goes out of its way to demonstrate that it is NOT a model of PvP play tactics.
The premise is this: after brutally failing during a PvE raid (with a very funny guest voice appearance from the star of Onyxia Wipe Animation) caused by his hobby as a Fraps-aholic machinima filmmaker, our hero decides to try his hand at the battlegrounds and arena scene at the urging of his main character, an Orc hunter. (Hence, the subtitle: Don't call me huntard!) The PvP scenes are interludes within the arc of the bigger story and are set to some great music, mostly from the Naruto Original Soundtrack. These battle scenes are slickly filmed with split-screen punctuations of the action. (My only complaint about them is at times the camera angle is too high to see well.)
The battle fray is framed by the comedic conflict between the Sims 2 avatar of the filmmaker and his WoW creation (or so he believes), Sazabi. The story folds in on itself so many times that you feel like you're in a Möbius strip that's been flagged in enemy territory. But that's exactly the fun here. Even though the film is 27 minutes long, you need to wait for the twist at the end which presents a fine comeuppance for our hero. (Which hero you'll have to find out for yourself.) I also recommend downloading the FileFront version because the subtitles are a bit difficult to read in the streaming version and they help clear up some of the European accents at times.
It's a fact of life. Burning Crusade is about to become obsolete. All those rep grinds, all those exalted purples, all those dungeon keys are just so much pretty little bank space wasters. Sure, gear lasts a little longer into Wrath, but for the most part, we're still going to be leaving it all behind for the new environs of Northrend, while Outland becomes a bump in the road to 80.
For Death Knights, this is probably still true. We're going to want to rush to get through Outland so we aren't desperately trying to find groups for Utgarde Keep while everyone else is getting Kel'thuzad on farm mode. But that means we'll have only the bare minimum of faction, no grind, no turn-ins, no purples. On the whole this is probably pretty much OK, since we'll be able to get good gear right out the gate in Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra. But is there still a reason to grind some of the Burning Crusade factions, or even to pay attention to them while leveling up?
Let's look at some of the factions you'll probably come across while speeding through Outland and what benefits they can offer the leveling knight.
Stalked a rogue but couldn't keep her So he put her in a pumpkin shell Until she shadowstepped her way out, garotted him, glassed him with a broken beer bottle for good measure, camped him until he logged out and posted a message on the realm forums about what a pervert he was. Peter had to transfer off and eventually rerolled a female gnome.
(Thanks to Kajirae of <Ultima> on Ysera for this shot from Toshley's Station!)
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 battleground scoreboards.
Of unstable servers, MIA pets and one Scarab Lord Dinosaur - Mon, 20 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST As I mentioned earlier, my server Silver Hand was down Saturday night. All night. I gave up trying around midnight. Friday night, when I was actually able to log on, the Heroic Instance servers went down catching many in my group in a neverending loading screen that forced them to restart the game only to find their toons were not logged out, blocking them from getting back in. Other reports have been pouring in, not only of servers down, but entire Battlegroups, laggy geographical regions and in one case, the disappearance of all of Outland itself.
Speaking of mounts, how many of our trusty steeds and non-combat pets were eaten by the servers when we tried to utilize the new storage options implented in Patch 3.0.2. Many players have been petitioning to get those back. Today, Blizzard confirmed what we had been hearing in our tip line: missing mounts and pets are being mailed to characters who lost them. The process isn't complete, but it's happening. They also recommended going to any Stable Master (ask a Hunter) to claim any pets or mounts you deleted yourself before the patch.
In the same thread, class balance was addressed as well. It boils down to yes, some classes are OP and others are out of whack. Suck it up til Wrath hits and it will all smooth out. I don't know about you, but I'm going back to my OP Boomkin now. If my server is up.
Breakfast Topic: Are server outages driving you to other games? - Mon, 20 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST I hate to be blunt about it, but I've heard quite a few WoW friends tell me that the rampant server crashes that have cropped up since Patch 3.0.2 have driven them to other MMO's until Blizzard fixes the problem. Many other games are offering Halloween/Fall Festival type activities including City of Heroes, Lord of the Rings Online and EverQuest 2 and many of us have played those titles (and still do!)
Are you waiting it out, slogging through or heeding the siren call of other online games?
This week on All the World's a Stage, Michael Gray fills in to talk about how you can use Hallow's End specifically for your character. David Bower will be back next week to tackle "So you want to be a Blood Elf."
Maybe more than any other Azeroth holiday, Hallow's End celebrates a significant event in the history of our characters. According to the offical community site, Hallow's End is Azeroth's celebration of the Forsaken's break from the Scourge. (Personally, this makes me even more happy that we got the new model for Sylvanas in the recent content patch.)
The story of how the Forsaken broke free is certainly significant. But the fact alone that both the Horde and Alliance do celebrate this break is even more meaningful. Let's take a look at some of the impacts it can have for classes and races ... behind the cut.
Since the patch hit, we've been flooded with requests for cookie-cutter builds for various classes, specs, and roles. We're working on it, but our bloggers only have so many hours in the day (if only haste rating worked in real life). However, I do have a new site to tell you about that might help with these types of questions. TalentChic is a web site that aims to determine what the most popular talent builds are for all nine classes, and it's very well made, in my opinion.
The site makes use of Armory data, so it stays relatively up-to-date. Builds are organized by class and by primary tree, and you can also filter for playstyle (Raid/PvP for instance). Playstyle is determined by what kind of gear the player was raiding when their data was cached, so it's not foolproof (a raider could have been wearing their PvP gear and thus counted as PvP), but it's about as good as can be done with Armory data.
As far as the information displayed goes, it seems reasonable to me. I'm a little surprised that Combat is still so dominant with Rogues, given that I've heard Mutilate got significantly buffed. And I'm very surprised that 0/61/0 is the most popular Holy Priest build; I haven't seen people talk about that one very much, and I certainly wouldn't want to be without Meditation. It does drop to only second most popular if I look at raiding Holy Priests. Are your own talent builds popular? Does TalentChic give you any ideas on how to spec?
Most of you have hopefully managed to get patched up to 3.0.2 by now, and fortunately it seems like the servers are stable enough that we can often get some playtime in (with last night being an exception, at least for my realm). If you have installed the patches, I have a word of advice from you, straight from Eyonix: Do not delete your 3.0.x patch files. You will need them when you install Wrath of the Lich King.
The reason for this is that the Wrath DVDs, having gone gold a week ago, contains an installer for patch 3.0.1, so after installing the Wrath client, you'll have to patch back up to 3.0.2 (will almost certainly be at least 3.0.3 by then, actually). So if you delete your patches now, you'll just have to re-download them on November 13th, and it's a good bet that that will not be a pleasant experience. Save your patches!
After much research, the only new ability I was able to find that is similar to what the gathering professions got is Mixology, which Alchemists can train at the Master Alchemy Trainer in either Honor Hold or Thrallmar. Our Alex Ziebart and friends tested it out in the beta and determined an approximate 25% bonus when drinking flasks and elixirs. It's a nice little bonus and I'm happy to have it, I just wish the patch notes had told me it was in the Echoes of Doom patch rather than having to find out from a helpful commenter.
Are the other crafting professions getting abilities in Wrath? The Q&A panel said they were going to make sure all professions were valuable in the endgame. Does that mean more Mixology and Lifeblood-like abilities or other self-only benefits? What abilities do you think the other crafting professions should get?
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.
After a brief BlizzCon-inspired hiatus, Ask a Lore Nerd is back! Let's get started with Grimgore's question...
I was wondering if there was anything in the lore that implies that demonic blood could empower any races other than orcs? And if not, what is it about orcs that makes them so susceptible to demonic taint? Does that imply some sort of common ancestry?
Right in World of Warcraft we see other races being empowered with demonic energy/blood. It's not just Orcs. Satyrs were once Night Elves (or Highborne, or Kaldorei), and I'm sure you've seen what happens to Blood Elves when they drink in the demon juice. The horned, winged elves you see in Magisters' Terrace, Sunwell Plateau, and the Throne of Kil'jaeden. They're not all specifically caused by drinking demon blood, but it's the same idea, really.
I would like to take this opportunity to disagree with my own post the other day declaring Divine Providence worthless. I was so moved by all your comments that I specced 14/47/0 and took Circle of Healing for a spin through half of Tempest Keep and all of Zul'Aman, and have changed my mind entirely. Circle of Healing is amazing, and I never want to let it go. If Blizzard wants to give me a talent to buff it and other heals by 10%, and lower the cooldown on Prayer of Mending, they can go right ahead.
As you all had predicted out, my estimate of Greater Heal and Flash Heal covering 70% of my healing between them was woefully inaccurate. In fact, in both instances, CoH alone accounted for 70% or more of my healing. The new Divine Providence is +10% to all multi-target heals, and 3 seconds off Prayer of Mending's cooldown (with 5 points in the talent). Even if I ignore the other effects and just look at the boost to CoH, I get (70% * 2%) = 1.4% increase to my healing per talent point, well above the 1%-per-point benchmark.
So much for power-leveling to 60 in under 20 minutes. Tipster Chopstix pointed out that the much awaited and celebrated Echoes of Doom patch borked the bonus levels obtained through the Refer-a-Friend program stashed away by some players. Players hoping to zip towards the end game were surprised to find that the free levels gained before the patch could no longer be conferred to characters after the patch.
Even more surprising was a dismissive response by Game Master Issuntril that basically said, "they're gone, sorry for the inconvenience." Naturally, there was an uproar over at the forums over this as the free levels are one of the most appealing benefits of the program (no, it's not the Zebra, really). Subsequent responses from other GMs were more sympathetic and advised a wait-and-see attitude stating that Blizzard was aware of the problem and were looking into solutions on how to fix it. Hopefully this problem gets resolved. While it's understandable that intangibles such as free levels might be harder to restore, these are arguably as important as gear. Considering how swiftly Blizzard hotfixed the issue with pets and mounts (not the selling part yet, unfortunately), there's hope for a resolution yet.
Mila Kunis, who got her breakthrough role playing air-headed Jackie on That 70's Show, was always one of the more famous people playing our favorite game. Ukraine-born Kunis was interviewed by Complex magazine a while back and she revealed a surprisingly pleasant grasp of the game, which she plays with her long-time boyfriend Macaulay Culkin (yeah, that kid from Home Alone. He's all grown up now, sorry, guys.). This won the approval of nerds everywhere -- that includes me -- because a hot babe playing a video game always gets a thumbs up.
In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Kunis promotes her new movie, the video-game inspired Max Payne, and talks about having had to quit the game "for good, going on a year now." Confusingly, however, the actress continues to talk about "the game" in the present tense, talking about being in two guilds, getting recognized through in-game voice chat, and how she plays a kickass Alliance Mage. It's an interesting and funny interview where she also hints at keeping tabs on the expansion's new 10-man raids as well as confesses to sucking at shoot-em ups. For someone who hasn't played the game for about a year, she sure does give it a lot of love, saying that "it's such a good game" and that she "loves it so much." Maybe when Wrath comes out she'll rethink that hiatus from the game, eh?