It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone, especially after the Wrath of the Lich Kingbeta went live last week. In many cases, hardcore raiding guilds just aren't making the Big Push anymore. Many have simply disbanded. Prior to the expansion, there really isn't much reason for raiders to keep going at the same pace, unless there's still content they haven't seen. So what are all these raiders doing in the meantime? Some, much like salmon, are instinctively returning to the ancestral casual guilds where they first spawned. But should those guilds take them back? This week's e-mail asks exactly that. Hello Scott:
I am a high ranking officer in a casual raiding guild on Khadgar.
Recently several top raiding guilds on my server are dissolving. Our guild is a casual raiding guild that are slowly progressing in SSC. We received several requests from former guild member that express interest in coming back into the guild. Most of them said they miss the friendly and fun environment our guild provides while still doing decent raiding.
Spells will be enhanced by Glyphs, which will be created by inscribers and will be tradable (though there may be some inscriber-only Glyphs).
Glyphs come in three sizes: Minor, Lesser, and Greater. Minor Glyphs have small effects or cosmetic changes, Lesser Glyphs give moderate upgrades to spells, and Greater Glyphs give major upgrades to spells.
Each character has six Glyph slots: two Minor, two Lesser, and two Greater. The screenshot shown here is the Glyph interface, available to every character. The slots at top and bottom are for Greater Glyphs, those at top-right and top-left are for Lesser, and the sad-looking ones at bottom-left and bottom-right are for Minor glyphs.
There is an ability called Glyph Mastery that's categorized under Inscription which gives access to an additional Glyph slot for the inscriber, but it is unknown how this ability is attained. Maybe it's a specialization, like other professions have.
World of Warcraft, and lack of it, at E3 - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 19:30:00 EST I was lucky enough to go to E3 this year with the Joystiq crew last week, and while I had planned to cover some stories about WoW for you guys, the biggest story I came back with was: that there was no story. I didn't hear or see World of Warcraft mentioned once. When Blizzard said they were not showing at E3, they meant it -- I didn't even hear a competitor mention their name.
There was one mention of Blizzard at the Activision press conference on Tuesday. Mike Griffith name-dropped Blizzard once just to say the merger had happened, but there was nothing at all about World of Warcraft or any of Blizzard's properties. And I had planned to try out the Novint Falcon controller with WoW. I did try it out, and it is an interesting, if expensive, PC game controller, but Novint told me they didn't have it working in a form they wanted to show off with World of Warcraft yet.
Kind of strange that the biggest game in the world didn't get a single mention at the biggest game show in the world, but then again, it's not that weird when you consider that E3 has scaled way down by magnitudes from past years. Companies aren't as interested in the event when there are many, many other ways to market and show off their games to journalists, and considering that Blizzard has invested heavily in not one but two giant events of their own this year, it's no wonder they don't want to spend any money at E3. Shame that we couldn't bring you more WoW coverage from LA last week, but we'll be back there in October, and there'll be plenty of news to report then.
He does, however, say that a "portfolio review" is in order, and so employees of Sierra (Vivendi's other games division) should start working on their resumes, if they haven't started already. He also says the sales teams of each company will likely be consolidated -- they want to put an "all-star team" together, but the thing about stars is that not everyone can be one.
So the merger remains good news for Blizzard, not-so-good news for the rest of Vivendi. We're still curious to see what happens when/if Blizzard falls out of Activision's good graces. Sure, everything is peachy-keen right now, but when Blizzard's stubborn commitment to quality bumps up against Activision's almost yearly franchise releases, who'll walk away the victor?
It sounds like he talks pretty insightfully about how he sussed out main character traits for the NPCs of the Warcraft universe -- he based what he had them do on their past actions, and he says that Blizzard has a few "lorekeepers" (we'd imagine Chris Metzen is among them) who track the history of Azeroth and its inhabitants for reference purposes. He's only played a little bit of WoW, apparently, but he pieces the rest from lore and screenshots.
And, perhaps most interesting, at the end of the interview, he says he's working on a new book called "Stormrage," which we'd assume would be about a certain Demon/Night Elf. Fans of the extended universe will certainly want to check out the interview itself.
The many MMOs of Blizzard - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 18:00:00 EST Our good friends at Massively have put together a feature on "the many MMOs of Blizzard," and we can hear you now: You're asking what they could mean by "many MMOs," since Blizzard only has the one. But Blizzard is working on, as you probably know, a next-gen MMO, and their writeup is all about the many possible MMOs they might have rumored to be in the works.
As much as everyone would like a Lost Vikings MMO, or even a World of Warcraft 2, or a long-rumored Universe of Starcraft, I'm going with the last answer: none of the above. Blizzard could adapt any of their worlds to the massively format (well, except for Rock N' Roll Racing, but Massively has included it anyway), but considering that Starcraft 2 and Diablo 3 are already in the works as non-MMOs, my guess is that Blizzard is going to break new ground with a brand-new IP whenever they return to the MMO format with another game.
Of course, this being Blizzard, they're not likely to give any hints until they want to give them to us, and if for some reason the next-gen MMO never does come about, we'll probably never even know what it was. But speculation is half the fun. What would a Blackthorne MMO even be like -- maybe a free-to-play sidescroller?
Remember a little while back, when someone accidentally added the Death Knight to the Classes page on the official site? Now the DK class description page is there, although it seems that this too is probably an accident (the DK entry is still gone from the Classes page). As expected, it contains nothing in the way of new information, aside from a fetching misspelling of "Alternative" and a frankly terrifying picture of what looks like a Dwarf Rogue (obviously faked; everyone knows there's no such thing).
Still nothing mentioned in "standard bars" about runes or runic power. Also the "Allowable Weapons" (listed as Axes, Defenses, Polearms, Swords, Two-Handed Axes, Two-Handed Swords) still doesn't match up with what we expected (one- and two-handed Axes, Swords, and Maces are what we've been told before). And Blizz doesn't usually call it "Plate Mail;" typically it's just "Plate." Anyway, I vote "slip-up" on this one as well - anyone want to take bets on how long it'll stay up?
Retroactive achievements and how they'll work - Mon, 21 Jul 2008 17:00:00 EST I was away at E3 last week when the big news dropped about achievements coming to Wrath of the Lich King, but that doesn't mean I'm any less excited about them -- I am a huge fan of achievements on Xbox 360, not only because it's really fun to see what other people have and haven't done in game, but because they definitely extend my own gameplay. Despite the fact that the only reward on Xbox Live is meaningless gamer points, I often find myself going the extra distance in games just to earn those achievements, and considering that the achievements in WoW will actually offer tangible rewards like tabards, titles, and whatever else Blizzard can dream up, I'm all for them.
Of course, the biggest question players have asked so far is whether or not the achievements will be retroactive. The short answer is: yes. The longer answer is: most of them will be. Starting with Wrath, Blizzard is going to be tracking an astounding number of things about our characters, and obviously some of them haven't been tracked the whole time -- it'll be very hard to determine how many yetis, for example, that you've killed, and so something like that will likely not be retroactive. But it's easy to know, for example, whether you've turned in a quest or killed a raid boss, and so that stuff will almost assuredly be retroactive.
My guess is that Blizzard will tune some of the old world achievements to make them more easily checkable (i.e. instead of "Kill 1,000 Furbolgs," it'll be something like "Be Exalted with Timbermaw Hold" -- something they can very easily know about your character). In the future, we'll probably have a few more silly achievements (Blizzard is already working on implementing a few more in-depth stats). And the real question is how/if this will all be shown in the Armory -- if websites can determine guild progress just based on the gear characters are wearing, imagine what we'll be able to do with all of this achievement data.
European players have been apparently encountering lag, disconnections, and neglect from Blizzard Europe for the past little while (or so they keep writing into us and saying). Perhaps this is what the European team has been working on: they've just released official Wrath talent calculators, for all ten classes.
At a glance, I didn't notice any differences between this and the calculators that have been up on Wowhead (and elsewhere) for a little while - i.e., they both reflect the current beta versions of everything. And I actually find that the Wowhead calculators run better for me (after all, talent calculators were Wowhead's original reason for being). Still, it's exciting to see these made official: a sign that the Lich King draws ever nearer. Can anyone spot a difference between the official calculators and what we already knew?
Yes, apparently in Wrath you will see your shadow do things like change depending on where you are in relation to light sources and look more like you and less like a circle on the ground. It may not seem like a big change, but it's certainly an interesting one and helps to progressively create a sense of immersion (yay, my one theatre class finally pays off) in the world.
Now that we have this feature being implemented (although it does make me feel that time is fast approaching where I will have to upgrade my computer) what else would you like to see? We already have day/night cycles, some zones have weather to a degree and clearly that's going to also be the case in Northrend, so what's left? What are you looking forward to or hoping they'll add to the look of the game? Personally, I'm still hoping for dyes to customize my armor colors somewhat.
Those wacky folks of the Sleeper Cartel guild (on Perenolde) emailed to let us know they are having their annual summer party this coming weekend, July 26th at 7pm server time, and it looks to be a hootenanny. They'll have player-run quests, trivia contests, and scavenger hunts, there'll be a snowball fight and fireworks aplenty, and they're even planning to give away an honest-to-goodness epic. If you're a fan of player-run events, this is the Super Bowl -- as you can see from their last party, they do it up right. Roll Alliance and show up in Perenolde on Saturday if you want in on the fun.
And here's another player-run party: on July 27th, a couple of Hordies on Steamwheedle are planning a "Tribune of the Horde" RP event -- apparently they think the Horde needs leaders, and Thrall and the rest of the gang aren't cutting it. So they're having a Horde meetup in ZG to talk things out -- one Horde member of each race has been chosen as diplomat, and diplomats will give their own speeches, while those in attendance will be able to ask questions and speak their mind as well.
Sounds interesting -- we always love hearing about (and hopefully attending) events like this. If you're putting one on, feel free to tip us about it, and if you go, take lots of screenshots and send them back to us so we can see what players are up to in the realms.
Okay, there's so much happening with Shamans that I don't think we can wait for the next Totem Talk to discuss it all. Between itemization changes, patch notes and new talents, there's a lot to discuss. First off, the new itemization.
In part, the real power of the shift towards granting AP from agility isn't even that it will make agility more attractive on our gear, although it will. The real power is in this move's synergy with the incoming enhancement talent Mental Dexterity. A great deal of the mail currently sneered at as 'hunter mail' has both agility and intellect on it. One example is the Mantle of the Tireless Tracker, an SSC drop. Under current itemization these shoulders grant 64 AP. With the new way items work with shamans, they will grant 86 AP, or 109 AP if you have full Mental Dexterity.
To tell the truth, I'm a little disappointed. I've got a beta key from BlizzCon, but I've already signed up for the Wrath beta through the usual channels. Of course, we still don't know how this works -- maybe those with a key will be given access before those who just signed up randomly, but it sure seems like everybody will get in eventually. Which means that even if you didn't get a key at BlizzCon, you'll still get into the beta anyway. I thought that Blizzard would have treated those who came out to their event a little better (and, at the very least, been a lot clearer about how registration for the beta is working -- are they making it up as they go along?).
But on the other hand, the open registration just means more people will get into the beta, and I don't have a problem with that -- the more the merrier. As always, the problem with Blizzard is communication -- it's fine if they want to keep which beta these WWI or BlizzCon keys are for a secret, but when the beta registration actually starts, they should make a plan, stick with it, and let all of us would-be beta testers in on what it is.
Let's take a short breather from this whole flood of Wrath of the Lich KingBeta news for a bit. I know everyone's excited to find out more about what's waiting for us in Northrend, but some of us would actually like to play the game right now, instead of waiting for *cough* a few months. As exciting as the new Paladin changes seem to be, players with fresh Level 70 characters would do well to focus on gearing up for now. After all, it'll make it so much easier to fight the numerous baddies in Northrend.
Previously, we discussed the weapons for a Retribution Paladin only starting to gear up for the ever-popular Karazhan. More than anything -- more than any piece of armor -- a Retadin must find the biggest, baddest 2-handed weapon she can find to strike righteous fear into the hearts of her enemies. Once she has that, everything follows. In this installment of The Light and How to Swing It, let's take a look at the armor pieces that every Karazhan-bound Retadin should be wearing.
This time around, Justin Gedzus took what would normally be an ordinary exploration video and added a unique twist to it. WotLK - WTF!? was designed to look like a travel journal, with notes entered at various locations as the traveler searched for someone. In the end, not only did the fearless explorer find what he was looking for, but was treated to breathtaking views while he did it!
In the video above, he focuses on the Frost tree. You can see the control that Frost provides specifically - the freezing effects actually seem to last a remarkably long time, certainly long enough to set up a nice chain of abilities and spells for maximum damage. A Hungering Cold followed by a Deathchill and finished up with a Howling Blast can be particularly devastating. Jadefury also points out that if you have any lingering diseases on any of your targets, you can use Blood Boil to quickly wipe them out, doing extra damage and making them susceptible to being frozen again.
Frost, reports Jadefury, is probably the least solo-friendly build. Because you need to go very deep into the frost tree to get all the abilities you need for maximum control and damage, You can't get the self-sustainability talents in the Blood tree such as Vendetta. That said, Frost should still be amazing for groups, since you'll be able to provide some very passable crowd control and damage, and I myself am still looking forward to seeing what a good Frost Mage/Death Knight team can do in PvP.
Now that his Death Knight is a bit higher level, Jadefury also released a second Blood tree video that showcases a higher level build.
We've seen more than enough shots of the swirling sky above the Bone Wastes, but this one is differently. Apparently, Outland is now under aerial attack by a team of Flying Spaghetti Monsters. The overly large meatballs, the dangling pasta -- it all makes sense! Quickly, bow to His Noodly Appendage! In actuality, this is just a picture of the sky near a dead clefthoof. The FSMs are actually close-ups of flies -- or so Ganya of <The Authority> on Jaedenar-EU would have you believe.
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. Please, no more sunsets.
Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week "stay at home mom" writes in:
[Edit: The original image was of Clara from the Guild. Upon further review, I felt it did not go with the title of the article and what I wanted to be a discussion of community, as well as bringing the post to a low level. I offer my apologies. -mtc]
[Edit 2: For some reason the photo credit isn't coming through. It was taken by carf.]
As a stay at home mom, I have 16+ hours a day that need filled. Before the "omg, spend more time with your kids" posts, I have two things in my life that I truly have a passion for, my family and WoW. My family ALWAYS comes first. But let's face it, after a few diapers are changed, books are read, and naps are taken, I have a LOT of time on my hands.
I fill that time playing WoW, reading about WoW, thinking about wow, etc but I want to do more! My dream job (don't laugh) would be as an in-game GM but my husband's job doesn't let me be in an area where that is possible. I spend way too many hours a day trolling various forums; Customer Service, Guild Relations, server forums, etc. I participate in nearly all PTRs that are released. I subscribe to practically every wow related blog on the planet. But it comes down to this: How can I really help? Find a bug, it's already been reported. See a question, it's already been answered.
Didn't go to Paris -- no beta key for you! (kidding, kidding, but that's the rumor, no?) I have a huge desire to help and want to do something that will make a difference with this game and the people who play it. I feel like the places I'm used to hanging around already have all the help they need and don't need another troll spouting off the typical "wrong forum, customer support is that way ->>" kind of stuff. So, any advice on how I can take my WoW knowledge and experience and give back to the community that would actually be effective and useful?
I'm not looking for some special title or recognition, I truly want to help here and I actually prefer something with a little anonymity. Did I mention 16+ hours a day? There's only so much farming and raiding a girl can do before she goes crazy.
By now, you've hopefully had a chance to look through all the Achievements that we'll be seeing in the Achievement system to be released with WotLK. There's definitely a lot of them, and they seem to cover almost every possible angle of the game. Still, there's bound to be one or two good ones Blizzard missed.
In this Beta forums thread, which is apparently being watched by Tigole, people have begun offering some pretty good suggestions for possible achievements that could be implemented in the future. Gish of Lich King suggests that one could get achievements for collecting full tier armor sets. Pez of Lich King suggests class specific achievements such as number of Mage tables summoned or number of lock boxes picked.
I'd like to hear your suggestions too. Is there an Achievement that you'd like to see in Wrath of the Lich King?