WWI costume contest announced - Wed, 21 May 2008 20:00:00 EST Blizzard's Worldwide Invitational contest is becoming quite a production. They've just announced another contest as part of the lineup: a costume contest! Just to recap, let's see what has been announced:
Actual gameplay contests, in Warcraft III, Starcraft, and WoW
Hands-on play of Starcraft II and Wrath of the Lich King
...and now a costume contest.
The fourth annual WWI will be held in Paris, on June 28th and 29th. So you have just over a month to scrape together your best Curator suit and learn how to say "gallery rules will be strictly enforced" in that disaffected, slightly psychotic robot voice. Get cracking! I want to hear your costume ideas in the comments.
With the gates having opened yesterday or today, depending on which side of the Atlantic you're on, guild are starting to test their might against Kil'jaeden. In this video VANQUISH, of Cho'gall (US), shows an early attempt at KJ. They deliberately showed us a try where they didn't know much, to avoid giving spoilers; nonetheless, of course, if you don't want to know anything about the fight, this is not the video for you.
Although it's pretty hard to tell what's going on, it certainly looks epic. Reminds me a bit of Ragnaros, actually. And it seemed to be going pretty well for Vanquish, at least until a small dragon showed up and everybody wiped -- except for one craft rogue. Good luck to all guilds trying to down him!
Telasero of Ravenholdt made an interesting discovery.He claims that he has found proof that Blizzard favors the Horde.He found a some kind of prehistoric bone art hanging from the wall that he believes matches up to the a Cuneiform Symbol for "Favored Son."I am no expert on ancient writing, so I have a hard time verifying the actual symbol, but the pictures are strikingly similar.It could be a coincidence, but I'd like to believe it's an Easter Egg.
Slorkuz has posted some information of interest for European PvPers. The first qualifying round of the Arena Tournament is over, with the second one beginning today, May 21st, and lasting until June 2nd. You can sign up at the European Information page (for Americans, our information page is here). Ranked matches for this round will be starting on June 16th and last until July 16th, so you should have plenty of time to prepare and practice, and plenty of time to get in your matches.
Remember, if you win, that's a good 25,000 dollars in the bank. Not bad for a bit of 3v3, if you're already into it. Good luck to all competitors!
Inside the mind of Metzen - Wed, 21 May 2008 15:00:00 EST Cecil Vortex has a long interview up with none other than Azeroth's rockstar mastermind, Chris Metzen. He actually describes himself as a "world creator," and that's about right -- he's the guy (along with everyone else at Blizzard, obviously) who's come up with the entire universe that the World of Warcraft exists in -- from Orcs to Dwarves to Titans and Old Gods, Metzen is the guy who dreamed it.
And for a guy who's created everything in this gigantic universe, he's remarkably "geeked" about it -- he still talks like he's a guy sitting at his basement table creating D&D quests (which, don't lie now, we've all done at one point or another). The second part of the interview is even more interesting -- Metzen talks about his creative process and just how much of a group process it is at Blizzard. Since they're all in the target audience, every group member censors each other and pushes each other to bigger and better heights of storytelling.
Metzen also mentions a non-Blizzard project called Soldier: 76, about a guy making his way through a second American Civil War. It came out a while ago, apparently, but would definitely be interesting to see what Metzen does outside of Blizzard continuity. And as if there was any doubt that Metzen was a rock star, he ends the interview exactly the way you'd expect a creative superstar to end it: when "you've tapped into something beyond the individual," then "it's off to the races."
Unfortunately, there's no official word on this yet, so we're not sure if it's just this week, or if Blizzard just didn't have to restart this servers this time around, or what it was. But we do know that Oceanic players are cheering loudly that they didn't have to suffer mistimed maintenance this week, so hopefully Blizzard is taking action as promised on this one.
So very good news for Oceanic players, especially since the lag and shutdowns have been a huge problem for them in the past. If this really is a official change, hopefully we'll see Blizzard confirm that they've finally responded to all the player problems down there.
In fact, it sounds like the tournament is actually starting on the live realms themselves -- CGS says that they're going to invite the top 1,000 Arena teams from North America and Europe, so if you're one of those, you can probably expect an email with an invite. The actual tournament takes place in June, with the finals in Los Angeles on July 19th, and the winner netting a $25,000 purse. The second place team gets half of that ($12,500), and the 3rd and 4th place teams will each take home $6,250.
Nice work if you can get it. Good luck to everyone out there.
"An armed society is a polite society." - Wed, 21 May 2008 11:00:00 EST Or so wrote Robert Heinlein in Beyond the Horizon. The general idea was that, in a country where there were serious (and officially sanctioned) consequences to misbehavior from quarters other than the police, you'd wind up with a place where people really thought hard about whether it was worth pissing someone off just for the fun of it.
Whenever I'm reading about PvP, that quote always springs to mind. People who have played MMORPG's with more "hardcore" PvP systems have mentioned that the amount of random ganking you see in WoW just doesn't seem to occur on the same scale elsewhere. WoW's PvP is pretty consequence-free. Corpse runs are annoying, sure, and being camped is nobody's idea of fun. But you don't take durability or experience loss after a PvP death, and you don't lose money or items to the attacker. Nor does the attacker gain anything from killing you (unless it's honor if you weren't a gray target).
Oh yeah. This is just what I needed after a long day. A hot bath, a couple of candles, and you. Oh, rubber ducky, you're the only one who truly understands me. You're the only one who doesn't make fun of my massive, oversized arms, or call me a space squid, or mock my cousin who tried to take an exfoliating lava bath. If only we could be together! But alas, the anchorites frown on that sort of thing. Don't they understand that a manly man like me has to find something to relax with?
(Thanks to Vesuuvius of <Lights to Fight Monsters> on Anvilmar, who I'm sure is less of a pervert than the preceding paragraph made him out to be.)
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, and I promise I will get the gallery working again tonight.
As you are likely already aware, the internets exploded yesterday with what is apparently leaked details from the friends and family alpha of Wrath of the Lich King. Arguably the biggest part of this news was that we apparently have access to very early versions of the new talent trees for several of the existing classes. Being the responsible, conscientious Mage columnist that I am, I immediately pored over the Mage talent trees, devouring this very premature, more than likely never-to-see-the-light-of-day info like a starving man would tear into a steak.
Of course, as we all know by now, information coming out this early is almost guaranteed to differ radically from what actually makes it live. Still, it serves a purpose. Even if none of these spells and talents reach the live servers unmolested, at least we're getting a glimpse into Blizzard's development process, and possibly seeing the direction they intend to take our beautiful class in.
We like Blizzard around here, and since they made it clear that they do not want us posting the new info directly, I won't be specifically listing the new Mage talents here. You can find those on the WotLK information Wiki, so click away. When you're done, come on back and join me after the jump, where I'll give my take on what the expansion appears to have in store for Mages.
It looks like Blizzard is busting out the ban hammer in full force.Last week is was on point sellers (and buyers) in the arena this week they're bashing down Glider users.There was a lot of noise on the forums last week from folks that felt they were unjustly punished.I'm sure we'll hear similar stories as a fallout from the glider events.
In the recent explosion of news about Wrath of the Lich King, Ten Ton Hammer had an interview with Jeff Kaplan and Tom Chilton, where they asked some solid questions on why exactly we needed another tanking class.
Chilton:We're kind of designing the Paladin tank to be the best AE tank, and we're designing the Warrior to be the best sheer mitigation tank, and we're designing the Death Knight to be the anti-spellcaster tank.
From that statement, at least, you can see that the subject of a feral druid's place in the end-game main tanking plan doesn't even get a mention. You might think that, as far as the designers are concerned, a feral druids' future tanking viability is merely an afterthought.
But that doesn't mean that in the new expansion, all of the new Talents will only be buffing up the Balance and Resto trees.
Oh, no. Not hardly.
No, I have seen what is currently active for the new Talent trees up to level 80, and I can assure you, we may not be in the forefront of the developers' minds when it comes to 'cutting edge' tanking, but we have NOT been forgotten.
When most guilds have trouble in Sunwell, they go to Mount Hyjal or Black Temple to do a little raiding and pick up some more gear. But not Reforged on Runetotem, pictured above -- they go to Vegas and blow off some steam at the blackjack tables and the all-you-can-eat buffets. That's my kind of guild!
That story and more, all in this week's Guildwatch, right after the jump. Don't forget to send us your tips of drama, downed, and recruiting news -- we collect them all at email@example.com. Whether it's your guild or someone else's let us know what's going on out there on the realms, good or bad.
Every week, John Patricelli of Big Bear Butt presents a well-researched, educational, and entertaining look at the state of the Druid class in WoW today. This week we said, "Screw that," and got someone off the street.
Veronica: Look at you, all helpful. Logan: Your peskiness being unleashed on Connor brings me joy. Annoy, tiny blonde one! Annoy like the wind! -- Veronica Mars, "An Echolls Family Christmas"
With apologies to Diane Ruggiero, the writer of the episode quoted above, but I find Logan's snarky comment (did he even have another kind?) to be a perfect, albeit general, means of describing successful Druid PvP.
Let us be frank; I am not, nor am ever likely to be, a hardcore PvPer, and to a great extent this post is directed mostly at people like myself. If you're one of those Druids carrying a 2K+ rating in full Vengeful, then I invite (nay, implore) you to leave comments and corrections based on your own experience, but the article's mostly for regular folks like me, who may not even particularly like PvP but recognize that it is desirable or perhaps necessary, given our ingame goals. As such, most of this applies to battlegrounds, and on a later date we're going to get into arena. Today, we are simply going to talk about how to avoid letting your PvP experience turn you into a miserably unhappy player who would rather undergo an appendectomy via Roto-Rooter than set foot in another EOTS.
About the Bloggers: Alex Ziebart - Tue, 20 May 2008 20:30:00 EST Twice a week, our writers will tell you more about themselves, and let you get to know them and the characters they play a little better. Click here to read moreAbout the Bloggers. What do you do for WoW Insider?
Glory to the Alliance! While orcs bug me for some reason I can't decipher, I don't really have anything against the Horde. I started playing Alliance because that's where my friends rolled and we started a pretty awesome guild there, so I stuck around and came to love it. If those people had rolled Horde instead, I might be playing there. Both factions have their own feel, and they're both very cool.
We've gotten more tips on this than any other topic in recent memory: apparently many users of the popular WoW botting program Glider have been hit with the ban hammer, including some of our very own readers. You may recall Glider as the company with whom Blizzard is currently embroiled in a lawsuit (does the word "embroil" have any use other than lawsuits?). The Glider forums are abuzz with comments and complaints, to which I can only reply "QQ." Botting is clearly against the EULA, the spirit of the game, and the best interests of the other players. Yes, I would be sad if I got banned, but honestly, anyone who was botting had it coming.
There are various objections to be made to this stance. Most of the people who wrote in claim to have been botting in order to bypass the tedious leveling process. I agree that it can be boring to level 1-70 multiple times, even with the new, faster 20-60 process. However, that doesn't make it OK to cheat. Others claim that with fewer bots in the system, the supply of primals will be reduced and therefore the price will go up; I'm not much of a WoW economist, so I'll leave that to others. But to this blogger, banning botters can only be interpreted as a good thing: some cheaters got what they deserved. Whether you agree or disagree, please feel free to sound off in the comments. And if you are a botter yourself, and haven't gotten banned yet, I'd advise you to stop -- they're clearly getting serious about this.
Allegedly, this is the music that you'll hear at the Wrath of the Lich King log-in screen. I love it! It achieves just the right blend between savage and graceful, haunting and heroic, and of course it contains the main WoW motif that we all have come to know and hum at inappropriate times (or is that just me?). I've seen this file in a couple places now, and if it is fake, it's extremely well-done. Kudos to Blizzard, assuming it's not fake; this is another piece in a long line of great atmospheric music.
Blizz updates Death Knight site - Tue, 20 May 2008 18:30:00 EST They may be slower than all the fan sites to release info, but when they do put up pages, my do they make them pretty. Blizzard has updated their official Wrath of the Lich King page with some more information on the Death Knight class, including discussion of their class role and some sketches of their capabilities. This is nothing we haven't already seen, from that time a week or so ago when every site except us got invited to Blizzard HQ a few weeks back, but if you missed that, here's the highlights:
All you need to be able to create a DK is to have a character of level 55. This allows you to create one DK per realm, on any realm(s) you choose. If you're on a PvP realm, the DK must be the same faction that you're already playing.
DKs start at level 55, and can be made in any race you want (subject to PvP realm faction restrictions).
The DK can tank for 5-mans and raids; Blizz claims that "his or her damage output while tanking will be respectable."
DKs can also spec for DPS, using both melee and magic.
Final Sunwell gates open today in the US - Tue, 20 May 2008 18:00:00 EST I'm surprised it took this long for a tip to come in to us about this: the final gate in Sunwell Plateau is open today on the North American realms. This means all the raiding guilds who can down M'uru now have a chance to test their skills against Kil'jaeden, boss of the Burning Legion and, more than likely, the final baddie of TheBurning Crusade. How long until we see the world-first Kil'jaeden kill? The gates should probably open for the European realms tomorrow, which is their maintenance day.
Not much is known for sure about the fight, since nobody's actually done it yet -- the PTR testers of patch 2.4 didn't manage to down M'uru, and if they had the gates probably wouldn't have been open -- but we do have some pretty solid speculation on what raiders might be rewarded with when they eventually do manage to drop the guy. And yes, I am very happy that I get to use that image of KJ in a top hat again.