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.
Hi there. It's nice to finally make an introduction. The name's Amanda, but you can call me mandy. With a whole generation of Amanda's out there it helps to differentiate us.
What do you do for WoW Insider?
I'm technically just your average, run-of-the-mill blogger.Since coming on staff in February, I've picked up the WoW Rookie column and Blood Sport.David Bowers and I write He Said She Said together, but we're taking a little break due to educational commitments.I have the most fun writing Well Fed Buff.I really enjoy writing about intersections between the real and virtual worlds, and I love any topic that gets people talking.
As copyright holders, they certainly have ownership of any notes, updates, or models released, so it could be considered a violation of copyright law to rehost the information. But to really get to the center of the problems behind this leak, you have to realize where it likely came from: the Friends and Family Alpha release. A little while ago, Blizzard distributed the client for Wrath to a number of their "friends and family" -- probably a group that consisted of employees and their WoW-playing relatives, as well as likely some folks at Vivendi and Activision, other Blizzard partners like Upper Deck and Figureprints, and probably a number of high-end raiding guilds who've done a lot of pre-beta testing for Blizzard before. Somewhere in there was someone not quite as trustworthy as Blizzard thought (odds are that Blizzard at the very least collected a signed non-disclosure agreement from everyone that they sent the client to), and that person uploaded or otherwise shared the client, against the agreement.
Cut to a few days later, after that person shares it with another person, who shares it with one more person, who then uploads it to a popular bittorrent filesharing site, and suddenly everyone's got access to everything in the Wrath client, and even if they can't play it, they can still datamine and grab information.
Which is not only awesome because, man, we sure missed Murlocs in Outland, and also because apparently the Oracles (that's what the faction will be called) will be a reputation faction, so we'll actually get to earn reputation with Murlocs. We have no idea how we'll possibly communicate with them, though -- rumor is that they're "more evolved" than the murlocs we've been fighting so far, but it would be super out-of-place to see a Murloc saying anything other than "Murrrglgglrrlgglll!!"
Then again, we already know it's possible (at least unofficially) to capture a live Murloc and develop a translator. Never underestimate the power of goblin ingenuity, I guess.
Scattered Shots is temporarily subtitled "Scattered Thoughts" this week, as David goes off on a speculative tangent. Perhaps all this expansion leakage is causing a leak in his brain too, but hey, a little bit of intellectual pondering never hurt anyone, right? This column is for hunters, by the way -- but, yeah... you knew that.
After writing last week's article about hunter problems and predictions, I got to thinking about how hunters use mana, and reflecting on the question of whether hunters should be using mana or not. Hunters have many things in common with classes like rogues and warriors, such as doing physical damage, and yet they have much in common with mages and warlocks as well, such as being vulnerable to mana-draining abilities. This issue is vague enough that my observations here can only be considered personal opinions, and they won't be of interest if all you want from this column is a list of the greatest gear and talent builds. But for the speculative among us, there's lots to discuss here.
Myself, I think my raiding experience on my Druid can be best summed up thus: "Damn Dire Bear butt!" Seriously, whenever I tank a boss, that is all I see. The scenery gets boring. And furry. When it comes to my Hunter, I think it would be something like: "Why won't Wolfslayer drop?" The rifle never dropped for me.
Of course, we hardly need to stop there. Why not expand the challenge to what you're looking forward to the most in WoTLK ("Fear my undead army!"), or what is frustrating you about your trade skill ("Drowning in Mithril Spurs"), or an ode to your favorite quest reward("Alliance has Boot Flasks!")? Give me your four word descriptions in the comments.
New WoW shirts at Jinx - Thu, 22 May 2008 16:00:00 EST Long-time purveyors of WoW wear, Jinx have updated their line with some new spring fashions. There are five new t-shirts available for both men and women, and one nifty Carrot on a Stick keychain (if only it made your car go faster). Many of their older designs (specifically, Alliance, Horde, and each class) are also now available in youth sizes. You're never too young to say "glory to the Alliance" with your t-shirt.
I like most of the new designs, although I still have yet to actually buy anything from Jinx. I'm not too keen on the Illidan one; it's a little melodramatic for me. The Hunter design calls in mind the good old days of Shadowmelded Aimed Shots, and the faux-vintage baseballshirts are cute. My favorite, though, has to be the 8-bit Molten Core shirt (which, by the way, is a limited edition). That's one of my favorite of Blizz's many April Fool's jokes, and it plays well on cotton.
Engineers frighten me. Mostly because I tend to be the guinea pig in anything and everything I find myself involved in, and because of the things they do when we're not looking. But also because I don't understand a single thing they're trying to tell me.
I don't know about you guys, but anyone who thinks a good time involves playing with dangerous things with electrical charges, and trying to outrun explosive sheep is a little bit on the crazy side.
Every week, Barrens Chat drags its readers through the clutter-filled, cobweb infested mind of Megan Harris, and exposes the readers to her decaying sense of humor. So if you're interested in soft, fluffy delights, or are more into a quick and tasty snack you... wait. Why are all these comics focused on food so far? Maybe next week our starving artist will be a little more well fed and provide less food-for-though, and more funny.
The Care and Feeding of Warriors is written by a human being. That human being is weak, and flawed, and does things like read forbidden patch notes from leaked alpha clients. That human being (old Matthew Rossi, you all know, lives in that crazy haunted mansion atop Death Hill... which, by the way, is a perfectly pleasant little town, it's just unfortunately named) knows it is verboten to host any files or take screenshots from said alpha, but he still wants to talk about the future.
The future, Conan?
Now, if I knew how the Azerothian calendar worked, I'd have a joke here. But since I don't, let's talk about talents and abilities that may or may not actually come to pass. (Fear not, Shaman enthusiasts, your regularly scheduled Shaman column will be coming to you tomorrow) You know how alphas are, they tease you with abilities that later are removed, changed or totally revamped due to feedback, but there's still lots to talk about. For instance, the image that heads up today's picture might well be waiting for you to meet... or even to be... in Northrend. Man, that's so awesome it makes my brain hurt. I really hope these talents aren't just a lot of hoaxish blue sky, but please make sure you keep your grains of salt handy in case you have to take a few.
More delicious rumors are starting to surface regarding what the Death Knight starts out with. Recall that he springs fully armed like Athena from Eastern Plaguelands (which when you think about it is kind of the forehead of Azeroth; it is, at least, a giant headache), and we were told earlier that he will come with the ability to summon a normal-speed mount. Well, rest easy: from what I'm seeing, it seems that mount does indeed greatly resemble the Baron's Deathcharger (Baron's mount pictured; to see the DK mount, look here). And there was much rejoicing.
Everyone needs a good rod. This runed copper variation is the ideal candidate for the apprentice enchanter. Just be mindful of where you whip out your magic stick because everyone will want to get their hands on it. Here is what you will need:
Wood Dowel (1/2" x 12")
Wood Dowel Cap (1 1/2" x 3/8" Hole)
Metallic Craft Paint (I actually used a deep bronze)
Under Contract is about two dwarves and their friends that are contracted by the Explorer's League to carry out missions. Unfortunately, I'm not sure that Gnomechewer properly conveyed the story that he had in mind this time. He mentioned that he rushed through a lot of it, and he seems to have mixed a jumble of things together so that it makes no sense. Well, at least it looks good visually.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
The Defias Brotherhood is something that I'm sure both factions have at least a little familiarity with, though the Alliance most definitely has more exposure to them. There aren't many Horde questlines that will give you a brush with this faction of bandits, but even my Horde friends take a trip to Westfall to check out the Deadmines every now and then.
I don't blame them, either. Not only is the Deadmines an awesome instance, the Defias Brotherhood also has quite the interesting background. While there are superhuman entities involved in their story, it isn't laid on as thick as in other Warcraft plotlines. Theirs is more a story of political and social unrest, and the power of manipulation. I would go as far as to say this is part of the single largest plotline in Warcraft currently, spanning half a dozen zones, three expansions, a comic series, and involving at least five different major factions.
NOTE ON WHAT HAPPENED HERE: Basically, I thought today was the 21st and scheduled this post as such. When I realized I was wrong, I somehow managed to click the wrong post and reschedule ... YESTERDAY's post for today. So that's why this morning's AA was yesterday's. It has been removed to its rightful home, and this has been brought forward in time to today. Sorry to all who thought they were going crazy, and a special apology to Nycterun, who had his thunder stolen (and moved through time repeatedly.)
If you've read a cursory account of the lore of racial origins -- or if you've been waging a massive war against night elves in Alterac Valley -- you know that many scholars believe that night elves and trolls evolved from a similar ancestor. And knowing night elves, I suspect that Nycterun of <Kiss of Death> on Arathor was not looking to underline the similarities when he "put on" a mojo mask decorating the outside of Zul'Farrak. Nevertheless, if the mask fits, you must equip. *rimshot* Nycterun certainly looks like he could have troll ancestors. A little more slouch, a little more radical of a hairstyle, and a lot more Visine and he could fit right in in Orgrimmar. What do you think?
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, if you know of a good, funny, mature RP guild Alliance-side on Moon Guard, hit me up!
Alpha: Changes to existing abilities - Thu, 22 May 2008 11:00:00 EST Some kind soul just dropped by the Wrath alpha wiki and posted a whole slew of purported changes to existing spells and talents, slated for Wrath. I trust these changes even less than the usual alpha information I see floating around (hence the "rumors" category on this post), but other people on that wiki's community do seem to be verifying them. And they do jive with what you can see at this site, for what that's worth. Of course, even if they are really what's showing up in the alpha, they have a long ways and a lot of change to go before Wrath goes live.
There's a lot of interesting, strange, and flat-out unlikely stuff on there. As usual, for the full list of alleged changes go look at the wiki. Here are some of my reactions:
Sometimes it just gets out of hand -- how exactly are Hunters wearing Tier 1 supposed to use their peripheral vision? But just as Bob says, oversized and garish shoulders are a big part of what makes WoW Warcraft. If we walked around with realistic shoulder armor, the game would look that much more boring.
So here's to the praises of huge, awesome-looking shoulders. We're looking forward to a lot of stuff in Wrath of the Lich King -- the new class, the dungeons, and the new continent to wander around on. But I'm also looking forward to seeing just how the armor designers will top having blindfolded statues of women on shoulder pieces. It'll be amazing for sure.
I would like to take a moment to talk about the leaked Priest spells and talents from the Wrath friends and family alpha. We have decided not to keep this information on the site for legal reasons, but there are many other places on the internet to find it, such as this wiki (which, by the way, seems to have been semi-locked to prevent recurrences of Tuesday night's rampant vandalization).
Note that these are alpha leaks (for those not conversant with software testing, alpha comes before beta, and beta comes before release), and most of these talents and spells will change before Wrath goes live. Some of them will probably not be recognizably the same, or even there at all. Nevertheless, it's certainly something to talk about in a game that, in my opinion, has had far too little change over the past couple of years.
Breakfast Topic: Guild sayings - Thu, 22 May 2008 08:00:00 EST Anteia emailed us about sayings that her guild has -- when guildies enter guild chat, apparently they say "Parn," for no other reason than at one point someone said "Hola" while their Draenei filter was on, and it came out as "parn." Thanks to a guild typo, they also use "exacrit" in place of "exactly" (as something that crits logic), and running away in cheetah form is referred to as "hauling cat out of there." That's a good one, actually.
My guild has a few sayings (most of which have already sneaked into Guildwatch), though my personal favorite is simply yelling "Shaman Power!" when a Shaman in guild gets a nice drop or does something spectacular. Not nearly as catchy as Anteia's examples, though.
Has your guild built up your own jargon or sayings? When a group of people are placed in situations like this, it's almost unavoidable that they'd build up their own meanings and words among each other. What are some good sayings and phrases that your guild uses ingame?
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 player of some sort. Jeez. 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.