There are a few quests I've done so far that have really made me squirm. I play Horde, and you just know that most things the Forsaken are wrapped up in are going to be kind of dodgy. A lot of our early questing in Northrend concerns the Apothecary Society's attempts to find a Scourge-specific plague (...right), and that doesn't end particularly well. I can sort of accept that, because the quest series skates a thin moral line between plausible deniability on the character's part as to the apothecaries' true intentions, and what actually ends up happening. But there's one quest in particular that has nothing to do with the apothecaries that really gave me pause. It's actually one that has an Alliance equivalent as well, although it ends somewhat differently there.
If you're not that far into Dragonblight quests and don't want to be spoiled, I'm putting it behind the cut.
Though some of you may not have made it outside since the release of Wrath of the Lich King, I assure you that in some places the weather is quite cold.
One way to keep warm this season is by adorning these 100% hand-crafted scarves sold in Wingo's Crochet Shop. Each scarf is reversible and is perfect for the coming winter. She currently has both Alliance and Horde scarves in stock.
BlizzCast episode 6 available for download - Thu, 20 Nov 2008 18:00:00 EST The 6th episode of BlizzCast was posted today, and though it contains very little WoW-specific information, the podcast still contains a ton of information general Blizzard fans would like to hear. When listening to it, keep in mind that it wasn't recorded in the last few days or anything like that, it's a few weeks old at least. They mention Wrath of the Lich King still being in beta testing and Sylvanas' custom model hadn't yet been implemented, for example.
Their guests this time around are Lead Tools Programmer Monte Krol, Senior Art Director Samwise Didier, Lead Game Designer Dustin Browder, and senior artist for Diablo IIIAnthony Rivero. That lineup of guests really offers up a cool look at the early design and development of Blizzard games, and the guests actually offer a little insight into just how you can start working for Blizzard yourselves. They also have another installment of their Q&A portion with various developers.
Starcraft and Diablo fans will find the gameplay information in this BlizzCast more interesting than people who are exclusively WoW players. As always, BlizzCast is available for download through the official website (EU has it as well), iTunes, or you can read the transcript right on their website.
It's a pretty terrible deal though -- you've got to order $50 worth of stuff to get the free shipping, and at Upper Deck's official prices, you're probably just better running out to a hobby store and picking the things up yourself. But who knows. Maybe there's one of you in Alaska who have wanted to buy tons of stuff from UDE without paying shipping, but don't have a hobby store for miles around -- if so, you're in luck.
The sale inexplicably ends on November 21st, which by my calculations is tomorrow, so get your order in fast. But seriously, someone needs to teach Upper Deck how to have a holiday sale -- who buys all their gifts by Thanksgiving? Maybe we'll see a better sale on Black Friday.
Checking your caps: Defense, Block, Hit, Expertise - Thu, 20 Nov 2008 16:00:00 EST Honor's Code has a great post up about the secondary gear stats that often get overlooked in favor of the main attributes. Everyone knows that Hunters need Agility and Warriors need Strength, but after that, things tend to get a little fuzzy -- just what does Expertise or Hit do for you? HC breaks it down from a Pally perspective, but what they say about these stats is helpful for any class that has to deal with attacking the bad guys.
Defense comes first -- defense rating, for tanks, allows you to make sure that bosses can't crit you. Each class has its own defense cap, and the cap has changed from 70 to 80, so you'll have to keep an eye out for your own cap when you get that far. Block is next -- a high Block rating means you're pushing other attack options off the table when you're hit, so that when something does hit you, you block the damage on it. Both of those stats are mainly for tanks -- other classes, who aren't getting hit, won't have to worry about them at all.
But Hit and Expertise you will have to worry about if you're DPS -- Hit will make sure that you don't miss your target (the fewer misses you have, the higher your DPS), and Expertise makes sure that those hits don't become dodges or parries. This is tough stuff, and it shows up much earlier in Wrath, it seems, than it did in Burning Crusade, But the good news is that there's a lot of help around -- Honor's Code offers a great overview for what everything means, and from there, you can search our site or others for what you need to know about each stat and how it works with your class.
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.
Daily quests and reputation has been a really hot topic lately, not only in The Queue but across WoW in general. Some of our questions today will focus on that, but I'd also like to let you guys know that WoW Insider will overall have more information on those things coming really, really soon. Keep an eye on the site today and in the coming days for all of that good stuff.
Alright, let's gets started with my2cents' question...
Where, if anywhere, is the quartermaster for Valiance Expedition? I'm almost revered and I'm curious to see if there are any rewards available.
Obama's FCC transition co-chair is a WoW player - Thu, 20 Nov 2008 14:00:00 EST I've had a political dream for a while now that I think all of us WoW players can agree on: someday, I hope, we will have a President in the White House that plays videogames. We're not quite there yet, but we're closer -- apparently, Obama's FCC transition co-chair is a WoW player, and has played in two different endgame guilds, including Joi Ito's famous We Know guild. This is a guy who knows all about the communities that these MMOs create, and just how awesome it is to run through Karazhan, or grind PvP for a Merciless Gladiator weapon... and he's been selected by the incoming President of the United States to run the FCC. That's beautiful.
Too many government officials (both Democrat and Republican, this isn't partisan at all) suffer from the "series of tubes" mentality -- they are being asked to regulate and coordinate things that they don't understand at all. But getting guys like Kevin Werbach in there, no matter what your political affiliation, is a great step forward for all of us gamers -- we'll have people behind the regulatory wheel who know how important and wonderful virtual worlds like Azeroth can be.
Waltermonkey on Livejournal actually uncovered the guy's Armory profile (and has some great insight), and yes, though I'm sure some of the comments below will be about how you'd never be able to run a transition team AND get to level 80 at the same time, Werbach's been playing recently -- while he's still only level 70, he's actually got the Jenkins title. We've got a Resto Shaman helping run the FCC -- how awesome is that?
Totem Talk: Dragonblight and Azjol-Nerub - Thu, 20 Nov 2008 13:00:00 EST Okay, I admit it: my experiment with 2h exnhancement lasted until I got a fist weapon I liked. My threat was too bursty, my DPS too low and I really missed being able to play with Lava Lash. I'm currently running slow/slow with Windfury Weapon on both, but once I have tine to sit down and really look at the numbers I may switch to Flametongue on the offhand for the benefit to Maelstrom Weapon procs like Chain Lightning.
Since I myself am finally done with Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra, I thought this week would be a good one to look at the gear you can get while questing in Dragonblight or running one of its two instances, Azjol-Nerub or Ahn'katet. As is usually the case for this column, we won't be going over every green item that drops... you'll stumble across those in your leveling push and there's a lot of them... but we'll do our best to cover drops for all three specs both in the instances and through general questing.
Dragonblight has some of the best lore-related quests in the game. Since I'm focusing my leveling efforts on my alliance warrior and horde shaman, I may have missed some quests from either faction but I've made my best effort to be comprehensive. Please feel free to mention anything I didn't catch in the comments.
I don't usually do a lot of WoW music videos, because I tend to be more of a story-buff. But Polystyrene Dream by Yume caught my attention. I'm not sure if it was the ethereal quality of the video, which lined up very well with "Fake Plastic Trees" by Radiohead, or maybe the hints of narrative that persisted through the piece.
I could probably drive myself crazy projecting motivations on the two central characters, and trying define relationships, reasoning, and results of their actions. In summary, two blood elves repetitively walk up to an increasing variety of critters, stab them, and take their stuff. It could just be meant to be pretty, and it definitively is pretty.
I don't have much to say about the audio track, since it is essentially a nice song by a widely known band. It's possible that if I knew the song or band better, I might see more relevance in the imagery. Still, if you're talking about "Fake Plastic Trees," I guess it's fair to use a pair of Blood Elves as protagonists.
Blizzard has put together two new TV spots for the holiday season. The first, seen above, features Steven van Zandt (better known as Silvio Dante on The Sopranos, but also a real-life performer in Bruce Springsteen's band) spouting an old Godfather III reference (that a lot of returning fans are probably saying to themselves after re-entering Warcraft for level 80).
And the second (definitely the more hilarious one) features Ozzy Osbourne as an Undead Warlock having it out with the Lich King over just who's WoW's Prince of Darkness. It's embedded after the break, definitely a must-see. Blizzard's doing terrific already -- their games are setting records, and subscriptions are higher than ever. But it doesn't look like they're taking this holiday season lying down at all.
Wrath sells 2.8 million in the first 24 hours - Thu, 20 Nov 2008 11:25:00 EST We knew it was going to be a lot, but I think the game outsold even our expectations: Blizzard has announced that the game's second expansion, Wrath of the Lich King, sold 2.8 million copies worldwide in the first 24 hours, and undoubtedly many more in the weekend after that (we're expecting an announcement later this month around five million in the first 30 days). That makes the game the fastest selling PC game of all time, and by far the fastest-selling expansion of all time (remember that this isn't even a complete game that's flying off the shelves). The previous record, of course, was set by the Burning Crusade, which sold 2.4 million copies during launch.
Pretty huge, but when you consider that the game has 11 million subscribers around the world, those numbers are just about right. Looks like Morhaime is on to something -- as long as they have players ready to buy the game in numbers like this, Blizzard will undoubtedly release expansions as long as they can.
So you're on the shore in Northrend by now, one hopes, and maybe you're level 71, still tooling around the starting zones, looking for the right quests to do to get some decent gear for yourselves. Now if you've spent a decent amount of time in Tier 4 or better content, or if you decked yourself out in badge gear, I'll be honest, you may not find too many upgrades here. But for people who started their Hunter a little late or didn't quite clear Karazhan before the expansion, there's some very nice stuff here.
Let's take a look at the quest rewards of Howling Fjord and Borean Tundra and their attached dungeons, and see what they offer:
[1.General - The Island] [Locke]: WTF, why's there a giant hatch in the middle of nowhere? To [Locke]: Dude don't go there, I heard it's like full of elites. [Locke] whispers: I've got a party, we should be cool. You want in? To [Locke]: I'm telling you it's a bad idea. It's got the numbers on its side! 4 13375? 4 13375? This is not a good thing. The last time we saw those numbers we got chased halfway across Un'Goro by that damn polar bear! I think something kited it down there! [Locke] whispers: Look, Jack's agreed to actually heal for once. We can't wait much longer. Are you coming or not, Hurley? To [Locke]: If the rest of the guild is in, I'll go, but if the tank dies I'm running out. [Locke] whispers: K. Bring a Seaforium Charge, none of us has the key.
Thanks to Smokeu of <Undead and Fabulous> on Crushridge for this pop-culturelicious screenshot, and to my LOST-watching boyfriend Jon (aka Grottu of Moon Guard) for helping me with the details.
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Hi, Feral fans! When last we met to talk about a big Ghostcrawler post, he previewed that they were working on changing the bear armor bonus so it didn't work on jewelry, cloaks, and weapons any more, and on doing something about feral attack power (as seen on feral staves). He didn't have details at the time, but said he'd get back to us. As GC is a crab of his word, he's now come back to let us know exactly what's going to happen, and when.
Only cloth and leather armor (excluding capes) will benefit from the armor multiplier on bear forms. This means armor from trinkets, rings, necks, and weapons will not be multiplied. However, Survival of the Fittest is gaining the additional effect of adding an additional 22/33/66% to your armor from cloth/leather. Net armor should stay the same.
Feral attack power will be removed. Instead, attack power in feral forms will scale based on weapon DPS. As with the armor change, this should make no actual difference to your performance - the conversion will be such that your DPS remains the same. What it does do is make it so some staves might be useful to both hunters and druids (for instance), or some two-handed maces might be useful to feral druids. In Ghostcrawler's words: "This does not mean we are no longer going to create bear and cat weapons, just that those weapons will be slightly less niche than they are now."
These changes will be coming sometime before 3.1 (Ulduar), which I've been referring to as 3.0.4 (though perhaps 3.0.x would be more accurate).
Both great changes in my opinion; the armor change should give us more viable options for tanking jewelry and weapons, instead of being forced to hold on to whatever has armor. And the FAP change will just mean we don't always have to DE a feral piece if the one or two ferals in the raid already have it; and conversely, there won't necessarily be only one weapon in a given raid that's of use to ferals (I'm looking at you, Stranglestaff).
It's a weird feeling. I'm conscientious about making sure my characters are well-rounded, making sure they have the skills to pay the bills, so to speak, first aid and cooking in addition to a set of well maintained trade skills, but on my Death Knight, I just can't bring myself to let up on the questing and grinding for professions, even if it means leaving piles of dead, unskinned Bog Lords in my wake.
Admittedly, this may have something to do with the fact that his trade skills start at level 1 while he's level 55. In the end, I'd rather level in Hellfire Peninsula instead of picking daisies in Elwynn. Can you blame me? Still, I promise at level 80 that I will make time to level up his Inscription.
While I have asked about this before, I thought I'd see if the responses were any different now that Wrath is underway. Are you taking breaks on the road to 80 to level your tradeskills? Why or why not?
WoW Insider on Massively Speaking this week - Wed, 19 Nov 2008 21:00:00 EST Miss hearing Turpster and I on the same podcast? I do too -- I think our show has definitely come into its own, but at this point, there's just a scheduling conflict keeping us apart (Turpster's new show is recorded at exactly the same time as ours). Worry not, however, because whenever we can, we'll try to podcast together, and here's your first chance to hear us again: Michael Zenke and Shawn Schuster of our sister site's Massively Speaking podcast invited both of us on to sit down and talk about the Wrath release with them.
It was a lot of fun -- we talked about the Wrath launch and how it went, and then went on to hit on some of the most important new features for MMO fans in general, and how Blizzard has really done some great work with the new expansion (while also simultaneously borrowing from other developers). And we confronted the topic of whether there was enough content in Wrath at all, and whether it was a bad thing that all the PvE instances have already been cleared. And finally we talked about the future of WoW, and where we might be headed next.
We had a great time (as you can probably hear), and you can listen to the show right on Massively. WoW Insider covers WoW, but Massively covers all MMOs, so if you're also a fan of Guild Wars or LotRO or Warhammer, check them out. And if you're a Turpster fan (who isn't, really?), you can also see him every week in his video series over there, called TurpsterVision. Thanks to Zenke and Schuster for letting us run amuck on their podcast -- we'll have to return the favor on the WoW Insider Show soon.
DeathKnight.info is having a Death Knight Disease Design contest (say that three times fast) -- they're working on putting together a disease-timer addon for you former slaves of the Lich King, but they need a little design help with it. What you've got to do is take the graphic above (you should probably take the one off of their site, just to be safe, because it's got to be a certain size), and design a way to use it as a disease timer -- it's got to show all the info you'll need in an addon, and it's got to "look awesome," too.
I'm terrible at design, but maybe there are some budding designers out there with some kickass ideas. If you win, not only do you get your ideas included in the Runes addon, but you will pick up a free 60 day gamecard as well. Hit up their dev thread if you have questions about how the mod works -- hopefully we'll see some creative entries here when the times come to vote for a winner next month.
Living without General chat - Wed, 19 Nov 2008 19:00:00 EST I have a confession to make: all the whining, questions, and confusion that's been in General chat for the last few days? I haven't heard any of it. As soon as I logged in after the expansion, I typed "/leave general" and strangely enough, haven't looked back. I usually enjoy General -- it reminds me that I'm not playing a singleplayer game, and most of the comments there, while not really the smartest, are at least pretty entertaining. I figured if you're going to play a game with other people, you might as well give them the opportunity to talk with you.
But Northrend has been different -- I didn't want the inane chatter, the constant stream of questions (sometimes answered, usually not), and the occasional desperate requests. I wanted to be in Northrend by myself, more or less, and explore the world as if I wasn't on the same server as thousands of people. And it's been worthwhile, for the most part -- while I've dived back in there once or twice just to check and see if certain quests are bugged for anyone else, I've mostly stayed out of there, and I think it's made the game better.
Some of you will probably think I'm late to the game -- you may have removed the General channel on day one, and the Trade and World Defense channels along with it (I'm keeping the Trade channel, though -- when I am in cities, I kind of appreciate the bustling back and forth, and I've found a few deals in there). For the moment, though, I appreciate a quieter Northrend. No General for me, thanks.
Zarhym showed up, in his classic witty manner. He points out that the folks who're doing this immediate clearing are, in general, the same folks who've done every raid encounter in WoW for like . . . ever. In a sense, they're pretty high on the "pro" scale. (For the record, they are 25 people out of 11 million subscribers. Certainly, others have done the content by now, but it would take 110,000 people having completed the raid to say even 1% has "beat the game." ) Zarhym also cautions about relying on "truthiness" to judge the content -- which is to say, going with your intuition when the facts are still out.
We're waist deep in the content of Wrath by now, and despite the newness of the strange land, it all feels so familiar, too. Not only have we gone back to the gothic (yet sparkly) style of Old Azeroth, but we've been followed to Northrend by a whole lot of old friends.
I've been having a lot of fun bumping into 'old' NPCs and quest givers that I've helping out on my journey from 10 to 60, or 61 to 70. They add a real sense of progression and continuity to the world. I solved their problems years ago, and that's allowed them to move on in life, for better or for worse. It's also strangely heartwarming to see people I did quests for so long ago, like a little slice of nostalgia.
I've heard a few people hating on how many old world NPCs you run into in Northrend, complaining that Blizzard is just recycling old content. I quite seriously disagree in this case. Seeing NPCs progress in the world alongside us gives a much greater feeling of the world being a story, and as we go up in level, the world moves forward. I like it a lot, and I hope it continues into the next expansion, too.
We have an old gallery sitting around of some of the returning faces you'll see in Northrend, so you can check it out if you want. Be warned, there are some minor spoilers inside.