Last week, I asked what you all wanted to see here, and the answer I heard most was "leveling upgrades through Northrend." So we're going husky (around size 72-79) for a while -- here's a nice attack ring from an instance that levelers will probably be hitting up this weekend.
Name: Jedoga's Greatring (Wowhead, Thottbot, Armory) Type: Rare Ring (Unique-Equipped, which means that you can only wear one at a time) Damage/Speed: N/A
Throughout the lifespan of Ask a Beta Tester (now The Queue), people have asked if there are any factions like the Aldor and Scryers. Are there two factions like that, you get to pick one or the other? The answer is yes, but they don't play as big of a role. They're less prime players of the expansion, and more lolcat comedy relief.
I'm convinced that this situation in Sholazar Basin isn't to be determined by which faction you like more, but which faction you hate less. The two warring factions are The Oracles and the Frenzyheart Tribe. The Oracles are a group of fully sentient, 'intelligent' gorlocs (a step up in murloc evolution) that unknowingly worship the Titans. The Frenzyheart Tribe are a tribe of wolvar (little wolverine men) and they're fairly new to Sholazar Basin. They're huge jerks that do jerk things and steal gorloc land like jerks. The gorlocs do have big, annoyingly floppy tongues though, so I guess it's justified.
Good news, EU players -- now you can store your ale in a WoW stein also. 3 Point Entertainment, the group responsible for making those official World of Warcraft beer steins, has announced that they are now selling the steins overseas as well, meaning that even EU players can spend $80 on a cup that won't even fit in your cup-holder.
We kid -- at $80, these things better be nice, and they probably are -- each one, we're told, is handcrafted and made of "fine grain stoneware," whatever that is. The company says that the North American sales have been very good so far, and that a few people have even bought them for wedding or groomsmen gifts. Because nothing starts a marriage off right quite like a WoW stein, yeah?
Still, Europeans, if you've been waiting to get your hands on one, now's your chance. Cheers!
Reputation in Wrath of the Lich King works a lot like it did in The Burning Crusade, except refined. Most of your reputation will come from dungeon runs and questing, and not grinding mobs off in some random corner of the world. At the same time, they've thrown in some 'extra' hooks to some of the reputations that make it pretty different from what it used to be, for better or for worse. That's what we'll be digging into here.
Factions The Horde and the Alliance each get a set of factions: The Horde Expedition and the Alliance Vanguard. These are a bit unusual, because those two primary factions have four other secondary factions. For the most part, those secondary factions don't have any rewards of their own. As you gain reputation with the sub-factions, your overall Horde Expedition or Alliance Vanguard reputation goes up, and that determines your rewards. Why did they do it that way? I don't know, but they did!
Yes, you read correctly. While leveling to 80, I've been respeccing constantly. The reason is simple: I love fury, I love Titan's Grip, I have a ball running around with 2h weapons, but protection is the best leveling spec for warrior right now.
I want those of you who remember the Burning Crusade launch to read that sentence again. If you needed any proof that it's a whole new game now, then let this be your proof: protection is the best leveling spec for warriors right now. It's fast, fun and powerful. These are not things I ever expected to say about prot spec.
Now, I've been tanking for a long time now, and I've been prot since I hit 70 in TBC. It's always been excellent for tanking, but unlike other tank classes, it dedicated all of its tanking power to static threat moves and had weak multi-mob tanking abilities (I detailed what I saw as the problems of the class as tanks here) but all of that is gone now. Everything I wrote about as a weakness of protection? Gone.
Multi-mob tanking? We're strong. Damage output? Very good. Threat? Holding steady. Our health bars? You can't kill me until I run out of tricks. I have solo'd or 2 manned (with my lovely hunter wife and her pet) group quests that call for up to five people. (To be fair, I had 200 health left on one of them.) My love for DPS spec TG is still there, but if you want to finish a quest fast, nothing beats being able to pull an entire room of undead onto yourself, pop shield block, and know that they are going to kill themselves beating on you.
Protection is the best leveling spec in the game right now, good damage, excellent survivability, and moments when you revenge and shield slam for 2k back to back and things disintegrate. Today we'll talk about a protection DPS build at 70, 75 and 80. It's a strong build for grinding and can tank instances, but is not a raid tanking build for reasons we'll explain as we go.
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.
Be warned that today's edition of The Queue contains some light spoilers at the very end, regarding the Death Knight intro quests as well as some quests in Icecrown. To avoid spoilers, stop reading a little before the end, but you're safe until then.
Thiosion asked... What instances other than Ulduar and Icecrown are (is?) Blizzard suspected to be working on?
Behold the power of WoW Insider -- GotGame told us about their browser and social networking service a little while ago, and we were so much more fascinated with the browser part of their app that they split it off. And here it is: Rogue is what they're calling their ingame browser application -- you can download it for free from the site, and after a quick install, you can open up a browser in any PC game.
As lots of commenters said on our last post, this isn't really an ingame browser, it's more of an overlay that lets you browse while playing the game. And all it really does is save you the couple of minutes it would take to tab out and check your own browser (or just run WoW in a windowed mode, and use both at the same time).
But there are a probably a few users out there who would find it really useful. Downtime is the main issue I can think of (though lots of my downtime is filled lately with the Bejeweled addon anyway). But if you've been waiting for a solid, standalone ingame browser to come along (complete with Flash support, which makes it easy to pull up Hulu or Pandora while playing), Rogue is it.
Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
One more Mammoth-movie, no hissing please.
The Traveler's Tundra Mammoth is a vehicle, not a mount. The difference is that a vehicle is part of your party, like a hunter-pet. This means that he can be buffed, just like any other member of your party.
Hunters have a nifty party-buff called Aspect of the Pack that grants 30% increased movement speed to the hunter and all members of the hunter's party, who are within thirty yards of the hunter. Our Mammoth is a vehicle, thus, AotP buffs our Mammoth. We did this movie to show you just how fast a 130% Mammoth is.
Mammoths can accept any buff, like Water Walking! And if you have a party of five people, all on Mammoths, and member of that party is a hunter with Aspect of the Pack cooking, all five Mammoth-riders will be riding at 130%! Who needs Paladins anymore!
You are invited to download the YouTube version (26MB) of this movie here, and the full-sized version (42MB) here.
As always, a great big Thank You to the WoW Insider editors for allowing us to publish this movie both here and on our little blog at the same time!
Nobody covers raid Hunters like BRK. Looking for more Hunter goodness? Check out our non-raid Hunter column, Scattered Shots or the WoW Insider Directory of Hunter Guides.
A lot of it is common sense, but it's mostly "go fast, and go big." Get as many quests as you can, and do them all at once. Pop all your cooldowns whenever they come up, and even while you're looting something, be looking for the next quest target or the next thing to kill. Professions are out the window, of course, and reading quest text will just slow you down, so just click accept, and read what you're supposed to find while you're running out to find it.
In case you're wondering, no, I don't recommend playing the game like this (it's fine to be a slow leveler), and even Matt admits that you'll miss out on pretty much everything pre-80, including all of the lore and story Blizzard's baked into the game this time around. But if getting to 80 is your only goal, his tips will help.
During the last round of skill-ups, we made a pile of ink that will be used today to level from 305 to 355, the point at which you should consider traveling to Northrend for further instruction, provided you are at least level 65.
If you would like to delay having to gather or purchase Northrend herbs, you can level up to 365 using Outland herbs alone, giving you an additional ten points. I will outline this method as well but be aware that you will be dealing with green recipes.
At that point, I will walk you through Northrend Inscription, providing you with a cost-effective and efficient method for maximizing your profession!
There's different takes on whether or not you have to see all the episodes to "get" the humor. Some say you do, others say you don't. I say, "Why wouldn't you want to watch them all?" I had plenty of fun with my first episode, and I had plenty of fun with this episode as a stand-alone. But, the series is entertaining and worth the time to check it all out. Do yourself the favor and get caught up on the series.
Trying to avoid spoilers, I'll simply point out that this is the last episode before the season finale. I'm excited to see that finale, and felt like there's appropriate moments of buildup in this episode to get us there. Thanks to Baka Savant Productions for another awesome installment.
Dalaran, as we all know by now, is Wrath's equivalent of Shattrath. It's a neutral city with portals back to every other major city (each faction's four capitals plus Shattrath), it has profession trainers and a bank (but no class trainers besides Mage and no auction house), and we'll probably be spending a lot of time in it once we all hit 80. It floats above Crystalsong Forest in central Northrend. But how do you get there?
Mages can teleport there at level 71, and give portals there at 74. So that's one option. Similarly, you can get a Warlock to summon you, if they can find players around to help. Players also get quests to go there legitimately and get attuned to use the crystal that teleports you up and down at level 74, but who wants to wait that long?
Enter the Battleground summon. This is how I and almost everyone I know got to Dalaran the first time, and it goes like this:
Find someone in Dalaran ("/who Dalaran" is helpful for this) and ask politely if they are willing to group with you and queue the group for a battleground.
When you get into the battleground, /afk out (or play it through).
Poof! You're in Dalaran.
This works at any level, for any character (although you do need to ensure the person queueing you is in the same battleground level bracket as you; thanks to Faeries Wear Boots for pointing this out). Once there you can set your hearthstone at any of several inns for quick return, and there is a flight point at Krasus' Landing - if you grab a flight point or two in Dragonblight for connections (Mo'aki Harbor being the easiest), you should then be able to fly to Dalaran from most flight points in Northrend.
Arthas awaits and so do your questions. Find the answers you've been looking for that will help you with your journey into Northrend and to level 80 with Wrath 101.
This picture's submitter, Darkwhisp of <The Dons> on Anvilmar, writes that he took this shot because "I wanted to make a portal that you could "see" the other side of the portal (which would be really cool if portals actually did that)." I'm not a hundred percent sure what's actually going on here -- I'm not experienced enough at magedom to say if this is an actual portal or some sort of Photoshop creation -- but it's quite a pretty screenshot. Too bad he's probably porting his raid members to The Exodar, hmm? Mages, any idea what's happening here?
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. 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, "mounted mounts", or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
I just hit 80 last night, and was the first in my guild to do so, so we won't be hitting Naxx for probably a couple weeks. Still, when I get there, I want to be prepared, so I did some quick spreadsheet math to figure out what consumables I should show up with as a deep holy priest. I'm basing the numbers off this very well-research post on A Dwarf Priest. Since I'm sure Disc will be rising in popularity with its newfound tank-healing viability, I did the math for Discipline values as well, but it didn't change the rankings in almost all cases. The best consumables are best for both Holy and Discipline.
I'll be giving the values in parentheses after each item, first Holy and then Disc; for the math behind these, see MK's post. Old-world (BC or classic) recipes will be italicized.
It's a full week after the record-breakingWrath of the Lich King. How has it been so far? Did it all go according to plan? If you're like most players I know, you had a plan going into the expansion. Personal targets, maybe, or things you were looking forward to doing and achieving. Some of you might even have been your Realm's first Level 80 <insert class here> or <insert race here>. For the rest of us, I have to ask -- did everything go according to plan?
I must confess, I'm not even 80 yet. I had expected to hit Level 80 within a few days, but I had to wait for my wife, with whom I leveled since Day One, to get her Collector's Edition key (eventually made possible only with some arm-twisting and name-taking by our very own Dan O'Halloran -- thanks, Dan!) before I could set foot in Northrend. When my wife finally got her key last Monday, she found my pace too frenetic because I would simply accept quests and do them as I remembered them from Beta. She, on the other hand, wanted to read and enjoy the quests and level up her professions at the same time. We ended up stopping at every Cobalt Node, slowing down our leveling pace considerably.
That kind of changed things. Instead, I eventually decided to level ahead of her on my own time and just accompany her through quests whenever she played. I also stopped rushing myself and didn't mind spending some time in Dalaran's Underbelly looking for elixirs. I guess I'll hit Level 80 eventually. It's not going the way I envisioned it, but I'm actually still enjoying myself. I guess I'm the Man with a Change of Plans. How about you? How has your first week in Northrend been?
Soul Shards: love them or hate them, they're iconic of the Warlock class. Most choose to hate them, but I think locks are just full of hate in general and need to vent it somewhere. Along with a tantalizing note about "exciting changes to how soul shards might work," European CM Vaneck has just let us know that one common shard-based ability, Ritual of Summoning, is going to be changed Before the 3.1/Ulduar Patch (a promise I'm seeing a lot of lately; we can only hope that patch is soon).
Essentially, the new RoS will create a meeting stone-like object. It'll still take two players in addition to the Warlock, as well as one shard, but once the ritual has been cast, the stone can be re-used to summon as many people as desired within its five minute duration, and that summoning action will merely require any two players, just like a meeting stone. You can also summon multiple people simultaneously, and all just for one shard. You won't be able to summon in situations where you currently can't (Netherstorm, battlegrounds, in combat), but this will make summoning much easier, quicker, and less shard-intensive. A great idea.
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.