V'Ming - who thinks that gnome warlocks are travesties of nature and need to be KOSed - shares thoughts and ideas on becoming deadlier at the Arenas. He also dabbles in the dark arts in Blood Pact.
Looking at some of the upcoming class changes in patch 2.4, I can't help but feel that many of them are driven by PvP - particularly Arena - issues. Blizzard is undoubtedly trying to level the playing field for the classes before the 3v3 Arena Tournament, tentatively set to begin in April. That's a very short time to iron out problems and further imbalances that the patch will bring.
A design philosophy that Blizzard has insisted on from the beginning is that each class should play similarly in both PvP and PvP. Tom Chilton (Lead Designer, or Kalgan) said at last year's Blizzcon that the game "shouldn't have significantly different rules for spells in PvP vs PvE."
"Slower" water in Arenas is the latest change that depart from this philosophy, in addition to PvP-only diminishing returns, and PvP-oriented stats like Resilience and Spell Penetration. However, since many class changes apply to both PvP and PvE, PvE players seem to be "dragged" along by changes meant to tune their classes' PvP performance. Shamans and druids seem to be most affected this patch with changes to Nature's Swiftness, Elemental Mastery, Call of Thunder for shamans, and Lifebloom for druids.
This is probably old news to a lot of you, but just in case you happened to join us after Burning Crusade dropped, you might not know about this magical liquid available only in the snowy wastes of Winterfall. Here's something fun that almost anyone after 55 can get.
Increases your attack power by 35 for 20 minutes. This counts as a Battle Elixir -- you can only use one Battle Elixir and one Guardian Elixir at a time.
But the best part of this nowadays (since 35 attack power ain't that much, especially when you scale up to 70) is that it makes you grow in size, which lets you do funny things like the picture above.
There are a couple of other ways to grow in size -- the most common is the Shaman spell Bloodlust. Stack a few of these together with the Firewater, and you can see some pretty crazy stuff. You can put your own "huge player" experiences in the comments below.
How to Get It: This is a drop only from Furbolg in Winterspring, and though most of the percentages out there say it drops only about 4-6%, experience tells us that it drops pretty regularly. Anyone who's ever grinded those bears for Timbermaw Hold rep will tell you that they've seen tons of these. And for that reason, they're also pretty readily available on the AH as well, for as cheap as a gold or two.
Still, it's always fun to have a few around, just in case things get a little boring during a raid, and you feel the need to, y'know, be big.
Getting Rid of It: AH it, because vendors won't buy it. Or just drink it, specifically during raids when Bloodlust gets dropped. Always fun.
Basically, the minis will become available in three different ways: there will be the core booster sets, which will contain three minis of the same Horde or Alliance faction, plus three character cards and six ability cards, and will have a suggested retail price (SRP) of $14.99 per booster. Additionally, each booster will have a chance to include an ingame Loot Card, supposedly from the Trading Card Game (there is no word if there will be loot cards specifically for the minis game), and a 1/8 chance to have an "epic" character.
More info on the starter sets, including the full text of the "sell sheet," after the break.
This week's Insider Trader rounds up some of our favorite professions-related add-ons - and more importantly, it's a spot to share your favorites. I've learned that no matter how much time you spend poring over add-on sites and forum threads, as soon as you mention your latest cool find to a friend, he'll pop back with the name of another great new mod that you've never heard of. It's a fast-moving field, certainly.
As you browse the list of mods we've discussed in the past, be sure to scan all the comments for more ideas. Keep in mind, too, that some of the mods mentioned may have been replaced by newer, shinier mods or might even be defunct and no longer maintained. Read on for a taste of some of the sweet little tools that make life easier for every profession.
Tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, February 23rd at 3:30pm EST on WoW Radio, we'll go live on the air yet again with our august podcast. This week, we've got myself and Turpster as usual (did you hear that he's doing something every week on Tuesday over at Massively nowadays?), and relative WI newbies Amanda Dean and Adam Holisky will be along for the ride. We'll be chatting about all those patch 2.4 changes we've seen in the past week (including the vaporous promise of Shaman buffs), what Heroic Badges are really for, what our compadre Elizabeth Harper heard at GDC, and of course we've got to get the inside story from Adam about what made him so bitter about PuGs.
Should be a good time as always. Meet up with us at 3:30pm EST tomorrow afternoon on WoW Radio, and if you'd like (and you have IRC), you can also join us in chat on irc.mmoirc.com, in the #wowradio channel during the show. And if you have a comment, complaint, conundrum, or compliment for us, you can always send it along to firstname.lastname@example.org. We're getting tons of great emails there lately, so we can't answer them all on the show, but we'll answer yours if we can. See you tomorrow!
P.S. Oh, and I almost forgot -- as promised last week, we will have exclusive news of a brand new, upcoming WoW Insider contest. Listen in to the show to find out what we're planning!
I'm not quite sure what else to say to that, except that I wonder what he played. My guess is that it was a Shaman -- he probably didn't have so many problems with spending too much time playing the game (after all, he's a DJ, and they don't work before sundown anyway) as he just did with all the constant nerfs. Maybe when those buffs show up, he'll be back.
Gamers on the Street logs onto U.S. servers to get the word from the front on what's going on in and around the World of Warcraft.
In last week's installment of Gamers on the Street -- and despite fresh blood in the water, with patch 2.4 news hitting left and right - city-bound players steadfastly remained focused on matters of the heart. Perfume and hearts obviously took priority over returning the /whispers of some hapless reporter from WoW Insider.
But we hapless reporters are stubborn - real stubborn. This week, we trucked off to Stormwind on Lightning's Blade, a high-pop PvP server, to meet up with a trio from <Glory of War>. These "casual" raiders (1/6 SSC and 1/4 TK) unleashed their perspectives on what they've seen on the PTR for 2.4, the war between PvE and PvP balancing and more.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors burns from within this week. Matthew Rossi has played a lot of warriors, and this week he dedicates the column to fury warriors, the spec which seems the most basic to the rage concept, really. It's a rage bar, after all. No, not a place you go to drink rage. How would that even work, rage potion cordials? It doesn't bear thinking about.
My first warrior leveled as arms, back in the dim past before patch 1.2. It's hard to explain to people just how bad playing a warrior was back then. We didn't generate rage on blocks, parries or dodges, executes took all of your rage even if they missed, and there was a bug that caused attacks that were dodges to be calculated as misses, causing you to miss out on a ton of overpowers. Berseker stance used to grant 10% melee haste, but no one really knew what that meant. (I wonder if warriors today would trade 3% crit for 10% faster attacks?) I managed to get him to 60 mainly through instancing with friends/guildmates. (To be fair, I was ahead of most of my guild, with the exception of a couple of hunters who'd started playing before I did.) So when I created a new warrior on a new server to play with some real life friends, I wanted to do things differently.
And so I went fury. Being the stubborn cuss I am, though, I didn't level fury with a dual wield build... I didn't like the way I'd miss so many attacks and at that early stage of the game there wasn't much I could do to prevent them, so I stayed with my beloved 2h weapons. I still remember when I got the Relentless Scythe and started to really understand how to output DPS with it. While most warriors were carrying Arcanite Reapers around, I was tweaking my gear for AP and crit and trying to figure out how to squeeze the most DPS out of a two hand weapon (although I also had a pair of Bone Slicing Hatchets enchanted with +15 agility to annoy my wife... as a hunter, she found it irritating that I got them before she did, and I did enjoy using them) - amusingly, just as dual-wield specialization was coming into the game, I was getting into raiding and the guild I was in didn't need a prot warrior, just an off-tank for various MC mobs. I picked up a Draconian Deflector cheap off of Drakkisath (he was very slightly dead at the time, he got better) and headed into Molten Core - you could tank as fury in those days, and I did.
Voodooray has been a busy guy this week. Fresh off the success of Voyage comes lolwowcats, a condensed history of WoW ... illustrated with lolcats. I'm not much of a fan of captioned kittens, but I know that they have a devoted fanbase, so here you go!
The page mostly focuses on the more underhanded tactics the companies use to get money, such as keyloggers and trojans, or simply stealing the accounts of people who paid for powerleveling, and using them as farming bots, or spamming in high traffic areas on level 1 characters with hard to spell names. It's a good start, and certainly reminds people of the harm that these gold farmers do, and how it can hit close to home.
As a veteran MMORPGer who's watched Johnathan Yantis and Brock Pierce practically invent the industry and most of the dirty tricks it pulls, I'm glad to see Blizzard continue to make a stand against these types of leeches and hope they continue to do so. I'd love to see them explain more fully how the constant amount of kill stealing and spawn and AH camping they do hurts the game. A campaign of information might be just what we need to stop the gold farmers once and for all. Legal measures and community shame (and thus shrinking of their customer base) for a one-two punch? Here's hoping!
Breakfast Topic: Heroic PuGs from hell - Fri, 22 Feb 2008 08:00:00 EST Gravedancer of the Runetotem server has started a thread that has been at times both amusing and horrifying on a subject that's near and dear to the hearts of many players: the pitfalls of Heroic PuGs. Now, I generally just run dungeons with guild groups, but every once in a while no-one's really interested, and I really need 4 or 5 more badges so I can get that one last piece of badge gear before the raid this weekend, and I find myself opening the LFG tool. So yes, I can sympathize too.
So what makes WoW players cringe to see when they join a PuG for a heroic dungeon?
Tipster Aikiwoce points out something intriguing on the PTR for alchemists and jewelcrafters. We've already said some things about Razorthorn Rise and the the new daily quest from the unlocking of the Harbor Phase of the Sunwell dailies that sends you there, but here's a bit more information for you. It is given by an NPC named Mar'nah, an alchemist who needs the roots from the quest to "get started" on her efforts to assist the offensive. Another NPC standing next to her, a Draenei named Shaani who is marked as a jewelcrafting supplier but currently has nothing to sell, says that she believes that once Mar'nah's laboratory is complete, they "will be able create gems that were thought to be lost to time."
What exactly could this mean? Let's talk about it after the break.
World Designer Kisirani has just announced that the Midsummer Fire Festival is now active on the PTR. While the Lunar Festival and Love is in the Air Events have mostly been about the same (aside from the occasional love rocket), it looks like the fire festival got some major additions this year, and they've activated the festival on the PTR a few months early so that they can be previewed and tested. New quests and a seasonal boss not unlike the Headless Horseman in the Slave Pens of Coilfang Reservoir will be awaiting us this summer. There is also a new quest chain that in part has you disguising yourself as a crab in order to spy on Twilight Cultists for the Earthen Ring, which sounds like enough fun in and of itself. The all levels quests have gotten a slight revamp as well. The quests to visit various smaller fires are gone, replaced by a quest to visit just one of the smaller fires. As well, there's now some torch tossing and catching games to play.
In addition, the Burning Blossoms that once mostly took up space in your inventory (since you could only use so many for that buff) will now be useful for buying things at various Midsummer Suppliers, including a rather intriguing looking dress and pair of boots that promise to "add fire to your dance moves" when used, a brazier that looks like it may create that Firedancer Draenei we've seen from patch mining expeditions, some Midsummer Ground Flower fireworks, and a Bag of Smorc Supplies for making your own Toasted Smorcs.
But while people have asked for classic servers before, Drysc repeats what some of them might not already know: that though Blizzard has "seriously" considered the idea before, they eventually determined that it would be too much to run two majorly different versions of the game at a time.
It's worth stating that you can definitely still run vanilla WoW without installing Burning Crusade at all, but even if you do that, you'll still see Blood Elves and Jewelcrafters running around, and people in the battlegrounds at level 60 will probably trounce you with all of their shiny Outland gear. It might be nice to experience the old endgame the way its meant to be experienced, but at least until WoW's population slows down and Blizzard determines they have the resources to do so, you can't go back to Old Azeroth again.
This afternoon gaming luminaries Rob Pardo (Blizzard), Min Kim (Nexon), Ray Muzyka (Bioware), Jack Emmert (Cryptic), and Matt Miller (NCsoft) got together at GDC to exchange their thoughts on the future of the industry. Sister site Massively was there live, no doubt typing furiously in order to catch every crumb of information. Want to know what's going to happen to your favorite game (or games!) in 10 or 20 years? Check out Massively's live coverage.
Badges for dailies - Thu, 21 Feb 2008 19:00:00 EST Originally, there was only one way to obtain Badges of Justice: Heroic bosses. Now there are a couple more: Heroic daily quests as well as raids. Still, there hasn't been a way for the die-hard solo player to get their hands on some badges -- until now. The Shattered Sun Offensive (SSO), the new faction associated with patch 2.4, assigns many daily quests (to help you fill the new 25-dailies-a-day limit). Several of these quests reward you with Shattered Sun Supplies, a box which contains a high-level green item, and also -- coming to my point -- has a chance to contain a Badge of Justice.
According to Wowhead, there are seven dailies that reward Shattered Sun Supplies. Some of them are apparently only available during certain phases of the SSO effort, so let's say you can do five of these per day. I don't have numbers on how often the supplies contain a Badge, but let's say it's a 50% chance, based on one comment that Badges are contained "more often than not." So on average, you could get 2.5 Badges per day just by doing these daily quests, which means 60 days to get one of those snazzy new 150-badge weapons. That's a long time, but arguably justified by the fact that these quests are probably pretty easy. Overall, this is, in my opinion, an excellent enhancement to the Badge system. Your thoughts?
Update: Suzaku questions my hypothetical 50% drop rate in a comment. Obviously, the impact of these badges will depend on how frequent they are, and we just don't have solid numbers on that yet. Not to mention it may change during testing.
You wouldn't think something as prosaic as the water that restores our precious blue bars would be undergoing a controversy, but that has certainly happened during the time patch 2.4 has been on the PTR. A change was made such that if you sat down to drink, and drank for less than five seconds, you would receive a reduced benefit -- i.e., less mana. The assumption was that this nerf was made to combat people regenning mana too fast in the Arenas, which led to objections to the change being applied to PvE situations as well.
European US CM Bornakk replied that in most cases we'd be drinking more than five seconds in PvE situations, and players responded with many counterexamples (chain pulls, etc.). Bornakk replied to that saying basically that he still thought it wouldn't be hard to drink long enough to avoid the change's effects, and that the change was meant to effect "more than just Arenas" anyway. Well, it looks like they've changed their mind: Kalgan himself just announced that the water nerf will now only affect Arenas. PvE casters rejoice!
For those of you who have hitting the PTR to attempt WoW's hardest raid yet, the Sunwell Plateau, it's going to be turned off for a little while, until the next PTR patch, which "will be very soon." Updates on the various bosses:
Kalecgos is close enough, will be finished internally and therefore presumably disabled on the PTR when the Sunwell comes back
Brutallus's stomp will remove burn when he comes back, only for him to be tested briefly and then disabled.
Felmys and the Eredar Twins will get "major changes"
Trash (or, in Blizzard's euphemism, "the oh-so-compelling, non-boss mobs") gets "a good deal of tuning" as well
What have your impressions of the Sunwell been so far?
Every week, Brian Karasek and David Bowers bring you help, tips and advice for the leveling Hunter in Scattered Shots. For those veterans looking for high end Hunter goodness, BRK is back on active duty.
You probably know by now that Big Red Kitty refers to himself as "we" in all his articles. For the longest time I thought this was just him being silly, but with his return to WoW Insider after a long hiatus, he explained that this is actually a kind of philosophical statement as to the oneness of hunter and pet.
You needn't worry that we (being Brian and I) will start trying to mimic him, but he really does have a good point. When a hunter reaches level 10 and gains his or her first pet, your pet becomes an extension of yourself, and an incredible source of power. The game suddenly gets very easy, and enemies start dying very fast. In effect, with a pet at your side, you become your own tank-damage-healing group all by yourself, able to finesse the control over your character and pet alike to achieve all sorts of neat stuff.
In this, the latest episode of The Guild, not only do we see the aftermath of last episode's surprise visitor (and the result of the babysitting argument), but the worst thing that could possibly happen happens: yes, guild drama finally rears its ugly (and "naked-ed") head. Plus, the episode ends with a shocker that nobody could see coming!
Good stuff as always, and I think the sniffing in the beginning might be my favorite joke of the series so far. You have to wonder where they're going to go from here, though-- the Zaboo story seems like it's about to get all tied up, so to speak.