Yep, another PTR post. For all we know, the recent frenzy surrounding the PTR has been manufactured by Blizzard as a practical joke while their programmers are out playing skee-ball. We don't have the foggiest idea of when it's going to hit, but back-channel discussion here at WoW Insider HQ currently has the smart money on "whenever Elizabeth Wachowski is away from her computer."
My real reason for writing this is that a lot of people in the beta seemed to treat the server as an extended vacation from the live realms, and this upset a lot of old PTR hands who assumed people knew they were supposed to submit feedback, and not just play with all the cool new toys. Yes, you should have fun, and you can contemplate the trippy philosophical notion of your character's existence in an alternate universe (duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!), but you can do a lot of things to help patch 3.1 launch without issues. The point of the test realms' existence is for Blizzard to test everything new with as large a population of players as possible. If you're uninterested in submitting polite, honest, and frequent feedback, you're making it harder for them to get an accurate sense of the patch's impact on live realms.
I know a lot of you have asked for this, and I know I haven't been delivering on the tanking front, so here it is. Today, we focus solely on Paladin tanks, who in my very humble opinion make the absolute best tanks in the game. With dual specs looming on the horizon, many of you will be considering the Protection tree for the first time. Some of you might have been picking up the odd tanking piece here and there with your spare DKP or heroic drops that nobody else needs. This is good. Let's go over a few things that should help us know the tanking role a little better.
First off, today we'll focus on the basics. Veteran tanks won't need all this information, but you're all free to read and nitpick because, well, I'm your whipping boy. Ok, so, you want to tank? The good news is that ever since 3.0, Paladin tanks share pretty much all gear with the other plate-wearing tanks. No more of that silly Spell Power nonsense. You're looking at gear with Stamina, Strength, and all those tanking stats like Defense, Block Rating, etc. This means it's easier to gear up. Actually, you should probably think about gearing up now before dual specs roll around and that Holy Pally rolls on your Red Sword of Courage for his "other spec". For today, let's take a look at some attributes that contribute to our survivability.
Arcane Brilliance is a Mage column on a weekly spawn timer. It shows up all of a sudden on your computer screen or your iphone and starts wandering about, waiting for somebody to come shake it down for loot. What does this rare and wondrous column drop, you may ask? It drops a magical potion that, when imbibed, grants the magical ability to waste about 15 minutes of your employer's time reading a column about Mages. Hurry up and tag it, before the guy in the next cubicle does!
Dragon Warrior was my first role-playing game. It was my first exposure to such concepts as experience points, and leveling up, and hit points. Stats in games of that era were pretty simple. You had strength, which affected how hard you hit things, and agility, which...made you more agile? Who knew? That was about it. Hit points measured how many whacks you could take before you died, and magic points ran out as you used spells. There wasn't a whole lot to it.
When I first started playing WoW, knowing which statistics were important to my Mage and which weren't was comparatively simple too. As you leveled, you looked for intellect and spirit. At max level, you learned the value of a few other stats, like spell crit, spell damage, and spell hit rating. Generally, if it said "spell" in front of it, your Mage wanted it. Now, though, we have so many different stats--one covering every aspect of every spell we cast, and so many different ways to customize the amounts of each that your Mage's gear has--that it can be quite daunting trying to decide which ones to prioritize. Follow me through the break where we'll discuss the various caster stats and the relative value of each to our class.
Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every Thursday (usually, unless there's a PTR soon), Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week it's all about the tools of communication!
You've just been promoted. You've been granted supreme authority over the rest of the healers in the guild. Your guild leader has placed you in charge and made it clear that you are responsible for quarterbacking the healers in the raids. Your healers start looking to you relieved that someone who has a general understanding of the different strengths of the healer classes will be instructing them on what to do.
So now what?
Assigning healers can be a huge headache. I know I've done it and I keep some pain relievers on hand. We haven't gotten to the multiphasic-switch-healing fights yet. We're still waiting on Ulduar for that. This is a great time to get acquainted with different addons and methods for healing assignments.
Are disenchanters getting robbed by rolls? - Sat, 21 Feb 2009 14:00:00 EST Sardonis sent us a note the other day, with an interesting, if probably controversial, point inside: when we're in instances, Skinners take their skins, Miners take their ores, and Herbalists take their herbs (or of course they rotate around if there's more than one). At the end of the instance, we don't sit down and /roll on all of the herbs or ores that people have picked up. So why do we do it, Sardonis asks, with disenchanting shards?
Good question. My first response was that everyone needs enchants, and everyone can use those mats. But if everyone can get their friendly guild enchanter to enchant something, can't you get your Leatherworker to use skins, or your Blacksmith to use ores? Of course, you could argue that Leatherworkers can get skins from anywhere, but disenchanted blues only show up in instances. If it's an item that required five (or even 25) people to get, everyone should have a chance at it. There are herbs and ores in instances, true, but those can be found elsewhere as well -- they don't need a group to get them. And what about Rogues who unlock chests in instances -- sure, we need them to open the chests, but they need us to get them there.
You can get blues through questing and drops, though, too, so who knows who deserves what. Sardonis is at the point where he won't even say he's a disenchanter -- he'll just do a greed roll like everyone else, and if he gets the item, then he'll DE it. The tradition seems to be that we all roll when we've all helped drop some boss loot, but it's true that we'd never get the shards if it weren't for DE'ers. Maybe they do deserve to take what they make.
Despite so much hate surrounding them in the beginning, the motorcycle mounts added in Wrath of the Lich King have been a massive hit. They're absurdly expensive, and yet there are tons of them running around. Some people still hate them, but there's plenty of love to go around.
Some of that live hit the official World of Warcraft website recently with a huge gallery of Hog/Chopper screenshots, from both factions. My favorite out of them all is the one I used above, because what's more awesome than Tauren in Lumberjack shirts and silly hats? Not much.
We also posted a little, much smaller gallery of our own quite awhile ago, you may remember. We took the screenshots in the gallery below during the Wrath beta when the motorcycle still had some pretty funny graphical glitches, so check that out too, if the official gallery isn't enough hog for you.
Yes, our show is going intercontinental yet again today -- on one side of the world, we'll have the inimitable Turpster chatting with us from England, and on the other, Zach Yonzon will be calling in from his home in the Philippines. We've tried to tackle some Paladin news lately, and we haven't done it very well, so Zach will help us get a grip on what's up with you plate healers lately. And from the US, Michael Sacco (a.k.a. Belfaire) will be on with us as well.
Should be a great show. We'll go live at 3:30 EST over on the Ustream page (and there's an embedded stream right after the break here), and we'll talk about the plans for Ulduar, the imminent PTR, vehicular combat and why some people dislike it so much, and we may even fit in a little bit of discussion about pets tanking and why Blizzard says no. And we'll answer your emails and questions -- you can talk to us in the live chat if you're around for the show (and the preshow and the aftershow), or you can always email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can appreciate this display of grief from Swea of <Once> on Sunstrider-EU, particularly since death knights tend towards the emotionless side. But what did she think was going to happen? Sure, we no longer have to hold our horses in our enormous, invisible backpacks, but there's not exactly a ton of breathing room in those tiny little squares in our Pets tab. If we don't take them out enough, our mounts and minipets will inevitably turn on each other. This little guy was probably the second to be eaten, after the hawkstrider.
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.
Every day we at WoW Insider will be providing you with links to great WoW-related articles, guides and humor we found around the blogosphere. Today's inaugural edition includes giveaways, gold farmers and good old fashioned raid guides. And be sure to check out the end of the post, because I saved the best for last.
The Law of the Game blog looks at a gold farmer study that graphed the buying habits of players over 90 days. They look at the reasons behind the gold purchasing and possible solutions Blizzard could implement.
BigRedKitty has his personal podcast #14 up. Who knows what madness lies within...
Big Bear Butt blogger has posted two of this three planned videos on bear tanking Heroic Violet Hold:
I'm seeing the first glimmers of such nostalgia for BC content start to emerge, and hearing a Sunwell PuG advertised as a "fun run" the other day left me speechless for a moment. It's equal parts compelling and unnerving; part of me misses the struggle to down bosses in Tiers 4, 5, and 6, but I also remember ugly M'uru wipefests. Everyone likes looking back on the first boss kill, nobody likes remembering the 45-minute trash respawn timer in SSC, and I like to think that as the game has "grown up," it has also gone resolutely forward.
But then, I'm not an old-school WoW player on the level of these forum posters, and I'm also not sure that the nostalgia for BC content will ever approach that for classic content. Is, say, Black Temple going to be looked upon as fondly as its classic counterparts like AQ40 someday, or is the classic "classic" and irretrievable for a reason?
By the way, Yaaarrrr! is the spell that comes with the Savory Deviate Delight that turns you into a pirate or a ninja.
It does look like there's a good bit of activity going on over at the official forums - the PTR forums have gone up and came back down, and there are several new stickies over there. This kind of activity usually happens right before the PTR client is available for download and the realms go up - but they could just be getting this out of the way before they go home for the weekend. In which case it wouldn't be surprising at all to see the PTRs up on Monday.
But with that said, there's half a dozen of us up at WoW Insider HQ tonight that will be anxiously waiting to cover all the news.
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?