Player vs. Everything: I look hot in leather Well, not me personally (I think), but my my World of Warcraft Shaman sure looks hot in leather. By hot, I mean ridiculously badass and uber. It's not just fun to run around looking like a Tauren Rogue-- it's also functional. You see, I play an Enhancement Shaman.
How to get to level 70 without losing your marbles In World of Warcraft, getting the thousands upon thousands of rotting bear carcasses and boar meat required to get from one to seventy was enough once. Doing it twice makes most of us want to slam our heads into a keyboard repeatedly.
Massively Speaking Podcast Episode 1 It is our great pleasure to introduce to you a brand new podcast! "Massively Speaking" is a medium-length (40-60 minutes) weekly podcast from the writers at Massively.com! The podcast will be covering a week's worth of highlights...
Player vs. Everything: Loading... A few weeks ago, I was reading an Age of Conan interview with Shannon Drake where he was discussing several of the features that would be present in the game. One of the questions he was asked was why Funcom made the choice to use world zones for AoC instead of a seamless world.
Making/Money: The Wisdom of MMO Banking Does it seem strange to save up to buy a house in a game? We are in an era where the real world economies of some nations are paralyzed by debts incurred from home purchases. Yet in games where there is player housing there is a surprising lack of player debt.
Ready Check is a twice-weekly column focusing on successful raiding for the serious raider. Hardcore or casual, ZA or Sunwell Plateau, everyone can get in on the action and wonder where all the good resto shamans have gone. Seriously. We need you.
Many of us involved in raiding, endgame or otherwise, have been in a situation where a member of our raid force has quit, or we've decided to get a specific niche spec on board. Suddenly, a vacancy's open -- but how do you fill it? This article talks about the different approaches to endgame recruiting and other ways you can plan for contingencies such as your only enhancement shaman suddenly getting a girlfriend. This is from a guild's point of view, but for those interested in getting into raiding, this might give you some idea of the challenges you might face.
Why does this relate to endgame specifically? A lot of guilds recruit at various stages in their lifecycles, but the requirements for endgame are somewhat harsher; not only do you want someone who will perhaps fit in on a personal level, but more importantly you need someone reliable who will do their job, and come equipped to do it from day one. In general, although we'll get to this a bit later, you don't recruit someone in level 65 greens who's never been beyond a 5-man straight into a Sunwell guild. But what are the options when it comes to finding more suitable players?
Yeah, I know what Blizzard said. They improved the wait times. They even ran a survey asking how it's all going. Well, for the most part it's been pretty good. There are some occasions, however, when queue times lie. It's happened to us post Patch 2.4, where the queue times say that we'll have a match in less than a minute... then one minute passes and nothing comes up. Then another minute goes by. And another. Before we know it, the minutes have all rolled over into one huge bundle of minutes and we still haven't gotten a match.
Why does this happen? We're not entirely sure. I figure it's probably because there are no teams close to our bracket, but when that happens we usually get an estimated wait time of 'Unavailable'. That's when I know our night is going to be bad and filled with dueling outside of Orgrimmar in between queues. Because of the new matching system, which Drysc said they continually improve, teams are better matched than before. For some, this means longer wait times, although it also looks like they've allowed more concurrent matches for lower brackets. For 2v2, in particular, the most populated bracket, the wait times used to be excruciatingly long. This has changed drastically, which is a good thing. Matches are almost always instantaneous. Almost.
Sometimes, the estimated queue times are still way off. The problem with lying queue times is that it doesn't allow you to do anything in between. It's almost like waiting for the school bus while wanting to hit the loo. You don't want to go because you're thinking the bus will be arriving shortly. You wait and you wait until you finally decide you have time to do No.2, and when you're finally settled on that seat, the school bus honks its horn with your pants down. That's kind of how erroneous estimates are. It doesn't leave you free to do much. So, while I appreciate Blizzard's efforts at making our Arena queues better, I'm still WTB accurate estimates.
You guys already know how I feel about Paladins, but if all Pallys looked this badass, I might have to change my opinion. This is Graccus, the anti-hero Paladin featured in the latest TCG wallpaper released officially by Blizzard.
See, most Paladins are just shiny golden boys, wandering around the land trying to do good and "win for the Light" or whatever. But this Graccus guy looks like he's seen a lot of dark in his day, and he's spent way too long slaying undead rather than prancing around on his little Pally pony. This guy doesn't bubble, he breaks out the Righteous Fury. This is the kind of Paladin I might really like -- he's not holier-than-thou, he's just a holy warrior willing to get his hands dirty.
I'm just your everyday regular normal blogger. I post on whatever looks cool in the World of Warcraft, and I try to keep on top of breaking news as much as I can. I tend to be biased a bit toward Hunter and Druid issues, I think, since I play both classes pretty religiously. I'm also a pretty hardcore Roleplayer, so I make sure RP issues get some play on the site when I can too.
What's your main right now?
Funny you should mention that, since I pontificated on that just this morning. Right now I'd say I still consider my Feral Druid my main, although I probably play my Hunter more, and either she or my new Death Knight will probably end up being my main come WoTLK. I play on the Cenarion Circle server, by the by.
A: Just one, but he needs two other people to click on it.
Yes, that's the kind of quality humor that you'll hear on this week's podcast (and the best joke is right at the end of the show). It's now available for listening on WoW Radio and also in iTunes. This past Saturday, Turpster joined me, Eliah Hecht, and Matthew Rossi for a little discussion about all things WoW in the past week. We got in some good discussion about speccing as a mage and lots of other reader emails, as well as:
Plus of course instant feedback from the IRC channel, and the usual wackiness. If you liked the show or have a comment for us, feel free to send along a note to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we might even read it next week live on the virtual air. Thanks for listening, enjoy the show.
15 Minutes of Fame: Inside PvP twinking - Tue, 22 Apr 2008 14:00:00 EST 15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.
Despite grumbles from some players, PvP twinking - playing at max level of a particular PvP battlegrounds bracket, with the best available gear and enchants for that level - has been legitimized by Blizzard as a valid meta-game within WoW. While most players I've spoken with don't seem to have strong feelings about twinking one way or the other, neither do they seem to understand why someone would be interested in getting into it. What's the attraction?
We at 15 Minutes of Fame have an undeniable curiosity when it comes to meta-gamers and players who've carved out their own niches in the immense world that is World of Warcraft. That's how we came across Angrenous of Shadow Council, a PvP-aholic who runs warriors in almost every PvP bracket. Here's a player with his eyes wide open to all the various restrictions and limitations of WoW's PvP experience - and having a blast careening around in it.
Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. Holyrizz, a Dwarf Holy Priest on Thrall, sent in this screenie of RoS. You know the best part? The tiny mage peeking out from under all of the raidframes. Click on it for a bigger version.
Doing the assignments is the glamorous and most visually apparent part of being a healing lead. Every boss fight you dish out tasks with a hefty side of sage advice like "If it's on the floor, stand in it no more." and my favorite "Ok, one more time with feeling." after some rather nasty wipage. The healers look to you for guidance and the ability to use each class to their fullest potential.
Well, in order to do that last part, you need to be serious about the real purpose of you position: setting the bar for performance expectations and helping every healer reach or exceed them. This isn't an easy task by any means, but it's definitely something that needs to be done to maintain the well-oiled machine that is your healer group.
In this series, I'm going over how to analyze your healing team, including various tools and techniques, plus how to relay that information back in a way that motivates a healer to change. Note that I didn't say it'll motivate them to like you and bake you cookies. If that's what you're going for, you need to switch to Guild Nice Person and save yourself the heartache.
Today I'm going to talk about my philosophy when it comes to analyzing classes you haven't played, plus what you need in place to perform a solid, thorough critique of you healers.
(Please note that some viewers may find the contents of this machinima offensive.)
Legs, of Destination Unknown fame, is back with an interesting take on an old comedy routine. She used material from Jeff Dunham, a world-renowned ventriloquist, to create a puppet act inside World of Warcraft, or to be more accurate, Model Viewer. She did a great job of getting the emotes down! The original act is available on YouTube, where it has been viewed over 43 million times.
According to Drysc, Blizzard has been making changes continually since releasing 2.4 in order reduce the wait times. He asks that you leave feedback in his post on the forums if you have played in the Arena within the last week.
Reading through, the feedback is all positive. Well, mostly. Poe jokes that the queue times are too quick now and would like a couple minutes to do a round of mining in Nagrand. Otherwise, everyone agrees that the queue times are now just a few seconds as opposed to several minutes. The only real negative comments are about how they would like Blizzard to crack down on Win Trading.
I am happy that Blizzard is soliciting feedback to find out what is really happening in the game. Do you think the Arena wait times have decreased?
Jilara of <Black Dragon Clan> on Perenolde sent us this screenshot from her time in Stratholme three years ago. Some kind friends offered to take her level 55 self on a run through undead side, with the sole condition that she stayed behind them while they cleared some mobs. Ever the adventurous paladin, she wandered off to take screenshots for a while on her own. She turned around to rejoin her friends and found ... this. "I hit Print Screen by reflex, and then promptly died," she writes.
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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more brains. Brains. BRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAINS!
Although Blizzard has designed a plethora of content for your leveling pleasure, the vast majority of play time occurs once you reach the level cap.It can be very frustrating reaching the level cap only to find that substandard gear limits your ability to be competitive in PvP.In patch 2.4 the World of Warcraft development team added a series of gear sets for purchase from quartermasters of Outland factions.The Battlegear sets are of a superior quality and are equal to the Level 70 High Warlord sets that can be purchased with honor points.
These introductory level 70 sets will help boost your gear as you enter endgame battlegrounds and get your feet wet in the arenas.The pieces can be purchased by becoming honored with Cenarion Expedition, Honor Hold/Thrallmar, Keepers of Time, Lower City, and the Sha'tar.Which faction has the piece you need varies from set to set, but for the complete set you must be honored with all five of these factions.
WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 22 Apr 2008 08:30:00 EST Here's our most popular weekly features from the last seven days. Just in case you missed them, click on the links below and see what our writers posted this week.
So, I was thinking the other day of one more thing I was planning: switching mains. We've discussed the art of switching mains a bit before, but there's always a lot of hassles to it: there's the concern that you'll fall behind your friends, the concern that your gear won't be good enough, the concern that you'll have to grind your reputation up for certain keys and essential reputation rewards all over again.
A new expansion is just the ticket for getting rid of most of those problems. As long as your character is max level at the start of WoTLK, they can catch up on gear pretty quickly just from level 71 greens and quest rewards. Everyone's starting out grinding all the new WoTLK reputation grinds, so no worries that you're behind on those either. Despite being on a relatively "new" character, you'll be able to join your friends in Utgarde Keep right away.
So the reasons not to switch mains mostly manage to resolve themselves when a new expansion hits, and the question becomes, do you want to switch mains, and why?
Tuesday morning maintenance - Tue, 22 Apr 2008 07:00:00 EST Sometimes I feel like Blizzard chooses a handful of random servers to Ice Block every few days - not letting players on, and giving a (hopefully) short window when the servers will be offline.
If you're on the unlucky servers of Agamaggan, Azshara, Baelgun, Dark Iron, Detheroc, Emerald Dream, Greymane, Kalecgos, Lightninghoof, Maelstrom, Malfurion, Moonrunner, Nazjatar, Sargeras, Staghelm, Twisting Nether, Ursin, WildHammer, or either of the Tournamenet Servers, you're going to have at least two hours of downtime from 5:00 a.m. PDT until 7:00 a.m. PDT. Blizzard will also be doing rolling restarts across all realms this morning.
For those of you waiting to get your morning fix of WoW, fear not. There are several pieces of news and entertaining reads to catch up on.
New WotLK alpha screenshots - Did you know that WotLK is in alpha, and the first batch of new screenshots has been leaked? We've got them confirmed from an inside source and mirrored here for your enjoyment.
As a tank, I hate to pug. Our Warrior columnist Matthew Rossi agrees with me. Check out his enlightening piece for One reason tanks won't pug. And I hope the subject of his piece, Primula, enjoys his or her new found fame as one lowly ninja-looter.
Do you have a life outside of WoW? Not that I do, but if I did I would be a casual player and appreciate Robin Torres' advice from WoW, Casually: Finding groups fast. Just remember that they don't always have to be random pug groups.
Two pieces of Season 4 gear have been accidently enabled by a GM on the live realms. You can check out the new stats and have look at them. They remind me a bit of the Ori from Stargate, so I have to ask: Hallowed are the Ori, anyone? Hopefully the bosses at Blizzard are a bit more understand than the Ori and will let the GM that made this mistake keep his job.
And finally you can check out my new favorite column of the week, [1. Local] by Lisa Poisso. Lisa takes a look at all the comments posted on WoW Insider and rounds up the best of them for us to marvel over. I know that I've sent her a few lately.
The guild charter is a game mechanic that's never really been questioned -- to start up a guild, you have to grab a charter from an NPC, and then get nine other people (not characters, people, as alts on the same account can only sign once) to sign it. But in many cases, a guild isn't even planning to have nine other people. And so, they come, the charter signers, asking and sometimes even paying to get nine signatures on their guild charter.
The mechanic is a good one -- it keeps people from starting guilds lightly (or exploiting the guild interface too much) without actually being a big barrier to entrance. Some people are happy to sign charters, others not so much. I like St. Andrews Girl's approach over on WoW LJ -- she's actually started up a community of people willing to sign on and sign charters to get guilds started. Do you happily sign charters or would you rather people leave you alone? Sign My Charter is pretty empty right now, but you never know -- maybe there's a whole world of people out there willing to help guilds get off the ground.
It should be fun to watch these rankings as the tournament progresses, both to see what class and spec makeups stay near the top, and to see what outrageous and silly names people can come up with for their teams -- without breaking the naming policy, that is.
What's interesting to me is that despite the fact that the Tournament itself is 3v3 only, the 2v2 and 5v5 brackets are still in full swing, with quite a few teams. I suppose this is a sign that people really do like the idea of a good solid PvP only realm to duke it out with high powered characters to prove their worth. I have to wonder if Blizzard is watching those brackets as closely as they're watching the 3v3 bracket, or if this is a sign that they may make these arena practice realms more permanent in the future.
Either way, all this activity should be fun to watch. Keep your browser pointed to WoW Inside for all the latest Tournament Realm news, including the escapades of our own WoW Insider Arena Team.
I wrote about dropping Mining to take up Enchanting, and I'd like everyone to know it's going fine. I'm now at 357, being patient with the last few points to 360, opting to sell enchantments and save what little money I have after blowing quite a bit on all the materials up to 300+. Of course, now I feel somewhat compelled to acquire Enchanting formulas just so I have more options to use as I level up. The tips are a nice bonus.
Anyway, one of the formulas I wanted to go after was the Formula: Enchant Bracer - Spellpower, which drop off the Bloodmaul Geomancers in Blade's Edge Mountains. So off I go to kill these ogres, I figure it'll take maybe an hour of so of farming. Easy, right? Well, what I didn't expect was that these ogres still paid fealty to me after I completed the chain of quests to unlock the quests in Ogri'la. I didn't make much of all the yelling those fatties did when they made me king, but since I didn't bother going around Blade's Edge much after that, I didn't notice that the Bloodmaul had turned yellow, or neutral, towards me. So it took me by surprise that upon killing these ogres, they say mortifying things like, "Me honored, King kill me," or "King <name>, me die now."
Thanks a lot, Blizzard. Now I feel like a total jerk. These ogres consider me (and I'm sure millions of other players... but anyway...) their king and now I'm cutting them down like some maniacal despot. They also reference Ogri'la, which is kind of like paradise to them and a Blizzard reference to the Utopian haven of Shangri-La. It's heart-wrenching when they keel over saying, "King really think... there is... an Ogri'la?" or "Me go to... Ogri'la." It's like having some distant friend with Down Syndrome die in your arms with dreams of shiny, happy places. It's tragic. I know, it's a silly video game, and I'm not even on an RP server. But still, you have to wonder how you can keep killing those who consider you their king. After a while of killing and not getting the formula to drop, I called it a night and took a break. I probably shouldn't feel so bad. After all, if I'm truly their king, why don't they just hand over the stupid formula?
Vhiari has released some interesting stats about the Arena Tournament realm over on his Blogspot site. What he did is take the top 5000 (due to "Armory limitations," he says) personal ratings in each bracket, and then charted them according to classes. Keep in mind that this is the Arena Tournament realm (the live realm data is also available separately), so this is more an indication of what players are doing so far on the tournament realm rather than class viability in day-to-day situations.
But keep in mind also that Blizzard is watching the Tournament realm closely for PvP balance, so what we see here could have some hints into the future of Arena changes. Mages especially don't make out too well on the 5v5 chart, and Hunters don't appear to fare much better. Warriors, as you might expect, are off the charts, but comparably on 5v5, Druids aren't at that level. Rogue placement is a surprise, too, but Vhiari just says in the comments that that's more an indication of how many people rolled rogues on the TR rather than a signal that Rogues are rocking 5v5.
Interesting stuff. Unfortunately, the data is a little too fuzzy to pull off any serious conclusions (even if Mages aren't getting high ratings, this chart does nearly nothing at all to help us figure out why that might be), but it's an interesting look at what's happening on the TR so far.