Today we continue to expand on our mini-guide to starting your own WoW blog. After you find a blog host, determine your goals, and figure out your slant, you should work to become part of the WoW blog community. Although it's true that the WoW newsy-type sites like WoW Insider are very competitive with each other about breaking stories, WoW bloggers on the whole are a very collaborative, friendly, and helpful group. It can only benefit you to jump in and get to know them, so here are a few tips to help you break into the community.
Last time we met to talk about Jewelcrafting in Wrath, I only knew the names of the various uncommon and rare gems. Now I have the names of the epic gems too, as well as values for the cuts. The epics are called:
Red: Cardinal Ruby
Yellow: King's Amber
Blue: Majestic Zircon
Orange: Flawless Ametrine
Green: Eye of Zul
More cool names, in this blogger's opinion. Except Cardinal Ruby - that sounds a little "blah" to me. Which is not to say I won't socket them, of course; that +parry rating cut that looks quite tasty for a Death Knight tank.
Ready Check is a 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 down some bosses. This week, we brace ourselves and enter LookingForGroup.
Fancy a bagful of badges and maybe a bit of loot too? Are the words "Anyone for Kara?" met with deathly silence in your guild? Do you despair you'll ever get that vial from Vashj?
Never fear, because PuGs are here to save the day. Instead of raiding with a group of guildies who are mostly competent, know the instance inside out and have a unified set of strategies, you too can spend an evening with random people from the LookingForGroup channel who think green is the new purple. Who's with me?
Badges of Justice: I love them. It's brilliant that you can go to a raid, down a boss, and have everyone walk away with a piece of an epic (albeit a fairly small piece). It really cuts back on the angst of not having what you want drop, as well as giving Blizzard a way to provide for uncommon specs without too much loot table bloat. And with the relatively recent system that has all raid bosses dropping badges, and some pretty great new badge rewards, the system is now quite strong. However, in my view, they do have one defect: they're soulbound.
Now there's a strong argument to be put for the concept that if a character can't do a raid, they shouldn't get the reward. And I certainly agree that badges should not be salable on the AH. However, I do think we should be able to send them between alts. I have one character who needs very little in the way of badge gear, and correspondingly rakes in badges like nobody's business by tearing through Karazhan. My character that really needs the gear is typically not taken on raids, or not "A-group" raids anyway. It would be nice to be able to send all my badges over to that toon to get an undergeared character geared up, without being able to give them to just anybody on the AH.
Initial reports tell us the amount of experience points necessary to progress to each level has been decreased by 30% (for the 60 to 70 range only). Additional posters are reporting that mobs which give 500xp on the live server are now giving 600xp on the beta server. There doesn't seem to be any increase in the XP rewarded by quests yet, but this might be a future change.
Kaplan asks everyone to provide feedback on the change (if you're in the beta), and it looks like they've got his ear for the time being. So if you're in the beta and want to weigh in on the subject, now's the time.
Many thanks to the various users who submitted this news tip.
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.
"Troy, you've been a Super Bowl MVP and are one of the greatest quarterbacks of the 20th century. How do you feel having to retire after receiving your 10th concussion, and how has that incredible series of blows affected your brain?"
"Ummmm... I like... pudding!"
How is this pertinent to WotLK and hunters? Well, the new 51st talent point in the beta of the Beastmaster tree is named Beast Mastery. As written, it's kind of obscure, a little open-ended, and the programmers don't seem to have a clue what it could really mean:
"We're still working on implementing this particular talent. The talent will allow you to train a different "class" of pets which we're calling "exotic" right now. Only hunters with this talent will be able to train those pets. They won't necessarily be "stronger" (though will all have unique abilities that you can only get from exotic pets), the extra power you should get from the talent will be from the additional pet skill points (pet talent points).
So when pressed for an answer on the WotLK beta forums for what "exotic" entails, the blue-poster basically said, "Pudding!"
But did you ever have a doubt that BigRedKitty wouldn't know what "exotic" is? We sure hope not! We're totally on the case, ready to spill the beans on "exotic" pets, and announce what you 51/15/5 Beastmaster hunters can expect to find come expansion-time.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame at wowinsider dot com.
Last week, 15 Minutes of Fame brought you Part I of our exclusive chat with the Leftovers raiding community. The Leftovers are neither a guild nor an alliance. Instead, they're an open-ended uber-community of players on Silver Hand -- both guilded and unguilded -- raiding everything from Old World content and Karazhan all the way up through 7/9 BT.
Check out their phat stats:
The Leftovers run some 70 to 80 raids per week.
Ninety percent of players who sign up get into raids.
Over the past 3 weeks, 661 players (on 1,094 characters) have attended a Leftovers raid.
More than 1,700 players have attended or signed up with Leftovers raids since the Burning Crusade launched.
The Leftovers marked their three-year anniversary in May of this year with eight Magtheridon/Gruul runs, including seven kills, plus four Molten Core fun runs.
This week, we're back with Part II of our interview with the Leftovers. We chat about the advantages and disadvantages of "open" vs. "closed" raiding groups and the custom tools that make such an immense raiding community practically run itself.
Many players love to collect vanity pets and mounts, and in Wrath there will even be Achievements for collecting certain numbers of them. Which raises the problem of bank space - after all, we only have so many slots, and we're already using a lot of them for extra reagents, crafting items, consumables, resist sets, and so forth. So how are we supposed to find the space to store 75 vanity pets? Fortunately, Blizzard has come up with a solution.
Come Wrath, mounts and vanity pets will be learned as spells, CM Wryxian has just announced. The items that currently summon pets/mounts, like Sprite Darter Egg or Ashes of Al'ar, will serve to teach us the spells, at which point the item will disappear from your inventory and the spells will be found in your spellbook for all time (bindable to hotkeys like any other spell if you want).
This should make collectors very happy: collect all you can now, and they won't take any space whatsoever once you learn them. Be sure to check out WarcraftPets for help on how to find them (that site's creator was recently honored with an in-game NPC). And everyone will gain at least two more inventory slots that are currently devoted to their ground and flying mounts (except people whose mounts are already summonable, i.e. paladins, warlocks, and druids). Excellent move, Blizz; this is even better than the vanity pet bags people have been asking for.
Moviewatch commenters are always asking to see some action. I've decided to cave in and give you what you want! Devlin filmed this epic battle scene on the EU Coldarra beta server on the 19th.
Weighing in at a whopping 383mb and 1680x1050 resolution, this video focuses on the Death Knight's introduction questline. It deals with lore involving Arthas, the Fordring and Mograine families, as well as a new alliance. For more WotLK beta gameplay videos, check out Daniel Whitcomb's in-depth look at the quest. Note: As you might expect from that description, this video may involve spoilers about Death Knight lore and the starting area.
One of my particular favorites is the beta patch notes, which are nicely formatted and have links to all relevant spells, abilities, talents, and items mentioned in the notes (super-handy). New data updates are coming in all the time. There are many neat and yet-undiscovered things to be found there, so take a look around, and let us know if you come up with anything interesting.
After the 2.3 implementation of a quest and some tailoring patterns that create a full Mariachioutfit, we have been besieged by more pictures of sombrero-clad drunks than the producers of Girls Gone Wild: Spring Break. This particular selection showcases a sleeping dwarf (Lockdanon), an overly alert draenei (Soba), and two bored, disguised blood elves (human Gerras and draenei picture-taker Jhana), all of <smug lyfe> on Sen'jin. You'd think that dressing up as a blood elf would be considered a capital crime among draenei, but apparently not. Or perhaps it's just too hot a day to die.
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 -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets, and happy birthday to me!
This isn't Jon's first book, obviously. (I say obviously, because he is being trusted with Blizzard's baby, so it's safe to bet he's got the chops for it.) My favorite of his previous books includes Midnight #13 through #15, and a short stint on the City of Heroes comic book. (Hey, the CoH story might have been a little weak, but I loved the art.)
We were fortunate that Jon was willing to do an interview with your intrepid reporter at WoW Insider. Check out what he had to say behind the cut.
There's nothing stunning, I'm afraid; more like some nice upgrades to current favorites. But I certainly expect be popping flasks and pots in Naxx at least as much as I currently am in Zul'Aman. Anyway, let's see what we've got. I'll compare to the BC or old-world versions where appropriate.
Breakfast Topic: Knowing about the Wrath beta - Tue, 22 Jul 2008 08:00:00 EST Well, it's here -- we've been waiting for the Wrath beta and all the information that'll come with it for a long time, and soon we'll all be headed to a pre-release Northrend to see what there is to see. But how much is too much? Iris asks on WoW Ladies, and we're asking too, "How much do you want to know about the Wrath beta?"
A few people have already asked us for a non-Wrath RSS feed, and we're working on asking our tech guys if that's possible (it's very possible to get RSS feeds of any of our categories by adding "rss.xml" to the end of any of our Category listings, but it's not so easy to get a feed if everything but a certain category), and we're doing as much as we can to keep major spoiler information behind the breaks and out of sight if possible. But the information's out there, and just like the Burning Crusade beta, odds are that you'll have heard a little bit about what's happening in Northrend if you read any WoW sites at all.
The good news, of course, is that Blizzard always keeps a few aces up their sleeve -- even if you drowned yourself in the latest and greatest Wrath leaks and information, it's a guarantee that you'll find at least something in the live version of Northrend that you didn't hear about before. But until then, just how much do you want to know? Are you planning on playing the beta nonstop in the hopes that you do so much you don't have to buy the actual game, or are you keeping ears and eyes closed for the next few months in hopes that you'll enter a completely new and unfamiliar world whenever you install the next expansion?
Good Tuesday morning, everyone. It's a light maintenance week tonight, with nothing but rolling restarts this morning. US Servers will see the restarts at 5 AM PDT, while Oceanic servers will see them at 5 AM AEST. As usual, each server should be down for no more than an hour, and the whole process should be about an hour.
While you're sitting around waiting for your server to come back up, I think this a perfect time to remind you to check out (and maybe bookmark) our Wrath of the Lich King directory page, which is being updated daily with the all our articles, sneak peeks, guides, and analysis from the Beta, which was announced this week. Beyond that, why not take a peek at some of the other stuff we've been working on this week? Welcome to the Tuesday morning roundup!
Need Wrath of the Lich King news? We got it, of course, especially with the Alpha ending, the Beta beginning, and the information floodgates opening. Here's some of our articles from the last week:
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.