It has finally happened, ladies and gentlemen. Sylvanas has finally received her true High Elf model in the latest beta push. It's about time! The lighting of Undercity does her a bit of an injustice when she doesn't have a Night Elf's skin, but things are as they should be now. Don't worry, this isn't another fake or 'fan interpretation' or anything like that. It's the real deal, seen in Undercity with my own two eyes.
We haven't seen her in Northrend yet, my personal guess is that she'll be in Icecrown once that has opened up, and she'll probably look much cooler out there. This beta patch brought us the Storm Peaks, so I would guess Icecrown isn't too far off. If you want a close-up of the shiny new Sylvanas, just click the link below.
In the Arena, long matches sometimes happen. The longest I've ever been involved with left me watching my Holy Paladin partner and a Resto Druid chase each other around the Blade's Edge bridge for a half hour. And I thought 30 minutes was pretty long-in-the-tooth for an Arena match. It turns out, that's nothing.
Richard tipped us off to a show-down that ran for 13 hours and 30 minutes. It seems like a long time, but when you check out the discussion thread -- it's revealed that the Warlock and the Druid weren't really fighting no-holds-barred for the entire time. The druid was skilled enough at his LOS and heals that Bandiago, the warlock, couldn't do enough damage to kill him. In return, the resto druid didn't have the DPS to burn down the Siphon-Life/Soul-Link warlock.
The two players started exchanging messages during the match. Bandiago would apparantly get up to go make brownies and post on the official forums. Whenever the druid would try and kill him, the warlock-chef would come back long enough to get in the fight. It eventually wound down, according to Bandiago, when he was able to get a Drain Life to keep channelling through a pillar. At 13.5 hours, Bandiago pulled off a win.
I guess we should offer congratulations, but I don't know. 13 hours is a long time. Many of us have had shorter love affairs. It seems like a long time to chase a bear around an Arena, to me.
It's only got one: landing a direct damage spell has a chance to deal 100 Shadow damage and restore 100 mana to you. So basically every time you hit with a DD spell (not a DoT), you have a chance to do damage and restore mana. Pretty awesome.
There's no apparent cooldown on the proc. As mentioned, it doesn't work on DoT tics, but it sometimes does work on AoE, and it does work with spells like Lightning Shield (though it doesn't work with totems). So depending on your situation, the dagger might be worth keeping around even into the higher levels. Until downranking is killed off, it might be a way to build back up some mana.
Oh, and the minimum level is 49, which makes this definitely a twink item -- while it's great for leveling, it's most likely twinks who are going to be asking for Princess runs to grab this one.
Trivia: For a long time, this was the first non-World epic item in the game. As of 2.3.0, Blizzard redid the loot for a lot of lower level instances, and now it's a ring in Scarlet Monastery. But this is the original Epic drop, baby!
How to Get It: Yes, you've got to go in and kill the Princess in Maraudon (which is probably my favorite, pre-BC instance, though Dire Maul is a good one, too). As you probably know, there are really three parts of Mara -- there are two paths that go through the instance (one full of orange crystals and one purple), and then they meet up in the middle for a third section that leads to the main boss of the instance, the extremely ugly Princess Theradras. If you've done the quest for both sides of the instance, you can get the scepter that will let you use the portal at the beginning of the instance to warp right to the last part. Doing just the last part is called a Princess Run, and that's what you'll need to do to get this item.
It drops from the lovely lady at a rate of about 2%, so it's definitely a rare drop to come by. But twinks have proved that it's farmable, so if you really, really want it, you can get a higher level to run you up to the Princess and drop her a few dozen times, and you'll probably see it. If not, keep farming -- a coin has to fall tails sometime, right?
Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 4g 67s 96c (which isn't a lot at 70, but is a whole lot of money at level 49). Disenchants into a Small Brilliant Shard.
Yeah. I mean... yeah. Hard to come up with a response to that, isn't it? Well, okay, I had one. I believe I turned to my wife (lovely and talented mistress of beasts and long time WoW partner) and I began gibbering like a maniac who had just stumbled upon a shipment of new chainsaws. As I write this, the download is 41 percent complete, and I am nearly losing my mind with each slow, incremental tick of the bar towards completion. Titan's Grip with no speed penalty? Furious Attack? You're telling me that I'm going to be able to main hand this with no speed penalty at all? That my white hits are going to have 100% chance to debuff healing by up to 50% for up to 8 seconds? That my melee critical hits are going to increase the melee criticals of myself and everyone within 20 yards of me by 5% for 10 seconds?
I'm not even talking about the arms tree buffs yet. I hereby dub this beta patch "The patch warriors will never actually see go live" because it's simply too amazing. While yes, mace specialization has been nerfed, I honestly hated it anyway: getting stunlocked is bad enough, but it's even worse when it's another warrior doing it. The new version doesn't really offer much, though, I can't imagine anyone taking it over Sword or Poleaxe.
[1.Local]: Readers zing the posts - Fri, 22 Aug 2008 15:00:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have cooked up over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.
A 12 inch Ornate Triple Pepperoni Blunderbuss When a sharp-eyed WoW fan noticed an "Ornate Triple Pepperoni Blunderbuss" at the local pizza joint, his WoW-lovin' heart leapt for joy - but when WoW Insider posted the shot, the comments began filling up with pooh-poohs from Doubting Thomases. Eden Pizza's owner came out to settle the difference: "I am the owner of Eden Pizza, and while I am not a WoW fan per se (I quit after Warcraft 3), my wife and brother-in-law are quite the WoW fans and they both work here with me," edenpizza says. "My brother-in-law and wife made this particular pizza up. And yes, we got a call today asking about it, so I thought I would check this blog out. The pizza is a popular one, and it's delicious. WoW fans are welcome here.
"Also, we can put a pizza on dry ice and FedEx it to Chicago, or anywhere in the 48 states (sorry, London) ... for a ridiculous price."
On the lack of females among Azeroth's NPC races Quite a few readers seemed to appreciate Keyra's backgrounder notes in this post: "'Of course, there are also Amani mobs called 'Witches,' which is generally a term reserved for females.' Perhaps in-game, but IRL this is not true. Looking back through the persecutions during the last few thousand years, men and women alike were called 'Witches' (the term 'warlock' is actually a misnomer that came about during the height of the persecutions in Scotland, and is a Scots Gaelic term meaning 'traitor'). The Stregheria (Italian Witches, and still in existence today) is both male and female and there is no differing term between them. The religion of Wicca is likewise both male and female with 'Witch' being a term shared between them. Just some food for thought. :-)"
Lore Sjöberg at Wired's Alt Text talked yesterday about the Zhevra mount you get as part of the Recruit-a-Friend program. It's a pretty fun read. He talks about the myriad of vanity items, and how these items can be such a motivator for WoW players, even though they don't really affect your gameplay at all.
I do want to add a point to his article, though. The new Recruit-a-Friend benefit isn't just the Zhevra. For me, the ability to gain triple-XP is the huge motivator. I'm involved in a Guild that's doing it's best to truck through Zul'Aman content. I can't wait to get a good friend of mine involved in the fun, but getting from 0 to 70 is going to take a while.
Even with the speed levelling records out there, going from zip to end-game isn't going to happen overnight. So, while my friend will be starting after Labor Day weekend, there's a little bit of delay before she's rocking out to left-handed Nalorakk. The triple-XP bonus -- and the ability to teleport me to her when she needs help -- overcomes the big hurdle to getting a friend started.
This is the real power of the new Recruit-a-Friend benefit, in my opinion. The Zhevra's cool and all, but the XP bonus and teleportation feature makes getting my friend involved three times faster. The benefit doesn't just reward getting friends involved, it empowers us to get our friends involved.
Reader Vid is from Croatia ("the homeland of Niko Bellic from GTA IV," he says), and he sent us this t-shirt he found in his closet. He's had it for a few years, but just recently noticed the emblem sitting on the chest pocket -- if it makes you want to grab your sword and fight the Horde, you're right. It's a slimmed down version of the Human Kingdom of Lordaeron symbol (although most of Lordaeron is now held by the Forsaken, but no mind -- the blue and gold are a widespread symbol of the Alliance).
Of course, how that symbol ended up on a cruise t-shirt, Fordragon knows. If the Lordaeron insignia is a reference to any real symbol in real life, we couldn't find it. Vid says the patch wasn't added by him, and it's been on the shirt since he owned it. Interesting -- either someone at S&A is a Warcraft fan, or there's a real-world link here we're missing. That's a nice t-shirt you got there, cousin!
Yesterday, I posted an epic vampire movie, yet most of those commenting were unable to get past the fact that it wasn't lore-accurate. The lack of lore will continue until morale improves! This time, try to think of WoW as the real world and the model viewed characters as actors that star in lots of movies.
The Phantom of WoW is an interpretation of the famous Broadway classic, The Phantom of the Opera. The story centers around a soprano that lacks focus until she is mentored by a mysterious masked man, who terrorizes the Paris Opera House. For only his second machinima, Whistel did a pretty good job!
What exactly is going on in the screenshot above? Well, if you really want to know, there's only one answer: keep reading! slicertool asked.... Any idea what these 'focusing lens' things are for Jewelcrafting?
In the latest beta build, Jewelcrafting got a little love in the form of these focusing lenses and a few other patterns. At present, nothing interesting. They have 20 charges and when you use one, it sends a beam of light to your target, regardless of range or line of site. Perhaps they have a real use coming and maybe they're just in the game for the pretty light show effect -- either way, time will tell!
For more on of your questions -- and our answers -- read on! But if you're the sort who wants to avoid spoilers, turn back now. We're aiming to avoid major story spoilers, but this feature is all about beta content and we can't talk about the beta without giving a few things away.
Was all of Wrath of the Lich King designed while watching Comedy Central and Adult Swim? New death knights need to kill Mayor Quimby, some mobs drop ground gears (a probable Family Guy referenence), and now the gnomes in the Borean Tundra are stealing their plans from South Park. The Wrath questlines are beginning to strongly resemble my DVD collection. Anyway, Namus of Korialstrasz noticed this master plan on the wall of an oil derrick in the geyser fields of Northrend. My question is, why do you even need Step 2? Oil rigs are a great way to profit. At least until the mechagnomes come.
This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it 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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. And please, no sunsets.
Just in case, like me, you were wondering just what happened in the cinematic for Wrath of the Lich King yesterday (wait -- Arthas puts Frostmourne in the ground and a dragon comes out?), it looks like we're likely to get some answers. We didn't exactly see any familiar player characters or races in the trailer, but apparently the location of Arthas' little dragon summon can be seen in Northrend, as per the shot above. We still don't know what spell it is that summons a frost wyrm, but you can clearly see the hole in the ground the thing left.
And while most players assumed the wyrm was Sapphiron (the frost wyrm boss of Naxxramas), MMO Champion doesn't think so -- there's a model in the beta called Sindragosa (labeled "The Frost Queen"), and there's a place called "Sindragosa's Fall" -- we're not sure where it is in the game, or if that's it above, as Icecrown Citadel has barely been explored.
So maybe further questing and lore in the expansion will give us a little bit of a clue as to what exactly Arthas was doing in that trailer. Odds are that dragon we saw is ingame somewhere, and we players are probably just the dragonslayers to slay it.
Update: Yep, the area is Sindragosa's Fall, which makes the dragon almost definitely Sindragosa. So it looks like the summoning we saw in the cinematic might be more story significant than we thought.
So the Wrath cinematic is out. It's gotten mixed reviews, with players like Mike Schramm generally unimpressed and disappointed there aren't any Gnomes, and other players, like myself, really liking it. In fact, I think it's the best World of Warcraft cinematic trailer to date. Whatever anyone thinks, though -- love it or hate it -- the cinematic has stirred thoughts about the World of Warcraft movie. Some people, impressed with the CGI, have even suggested that the movie should be done as a full-length animation a la Advent Children.
It's almost unsettling not to have any news on the movie, despite Blizzard's modus operandi of keeping everything under wraps until "it's ready". In fact, the last news we heard was how Blizzard laughed off B-movie hack Uwe Boll. While that's certainly good news, it's been quite some time and we're quickly approaching Legendary Pictures' pegged release date of 2009. While I trust Legendary Pictures (behind Superman Returns, 300 and The Dark Knight), let's take matters into our own hands this morning and cast the movie.
Even if it were done as an animation, you'd still need some actors for their voices. WoW player and Blizzard fan Brandon Routh expressed wanting to be in the movie, so why not? He'd make a good... uh... human, I guess. Varian Wrynn, maybe? We'll hear more for sure in the upcoming, sold out BlizzCon, but for now we can play casting directors and imagine who should play who in a Warcraft film. Who would you cast in the Warcraft movie?
As Inscription is slowly built into a viable trade skill, Blizzard sneaks more and more glyph data onto the Beta server, even if none of it is directly available thus far. This build, MMO Champion discovered a nice selection of Warlock glyphs, and I have to say that most of them look pretty sweet. Of course, it's hard to say for sure on how good some of them are until we know for sure if PvE damage rotations besides Shadow Bolt spam will be viable in Wrath's endgame, but I'll assume they will be, for the most part.
I've heard from more than a few people that the new trinkets are quite a bit underpowered for the level they're supposed to be, and I'm inclined to agree. 100 spell power for 20 seconds every 5 minutes from a trinket at level 80 doesn't impress me much, especially considering its level 70 equivalent, the Living Ruby Serpent. The new trinkets will be greatly improved sooner or later, I'm sure. Personally, I found the new gemcut pretty cool. The Enchanted Tear is flat +6 to all stats in the form of a unique-equipped, any-color gem. Not too bad. I'm willing to bet almost everyone will take advantage of that and use the one they're allowed.
With the newest Beta build that hit live servers last night, MMO Champion found yet another round of inscription glyphs in the build. In particular, I'd like to talk about the Hunter glyphs. They still seem half-finished, with some values that are most definitely placeholder, and a good portion of them are firmly in the PvP camp.
Still, most of them are complete enough that they're worth analyzing, if only to know how to advise Blizzard to change them in future Beta builds. Not to say there aren't some good ones, but there's also some that no sane Hunter will use. Let's check them all out after the break.
Tigole also notes that premade characters will be made available at a later date on a different server. It looks like they'll actually be doing this now. More changes and analysis of the latest Beta patch to come throughout the evening. Stay tuned.
*We did some rough calculations. Daniel's Hunter was approximately 50% of the way through level 70. His hunter is now 60% of the way through level 70. Thus, the XP required to level was reduced by approximately 20%. These are just rough estimates, and no official word on the percentage has came out yet.
Update 11:49 p.m. EDT: Zarhym has said that patch notes are still being compiled. We'll have them up as soon as Blizzard releases them.
Heroic leap has moved from Tier 11 to Tier 9. You now can get it at level 50.
Titan's Grip is now a Tier 11, instead of Tier 10.
Titan's Grip is now only 1 rank, and does not have any speed penalty.
Furious Attack - New Tier 8 fury talent. Normal melee attacks have a 50%/100% to reduce healing done to a target by 25% for 8 seconds. Stack up to 2 times.
Shield Mastery in the protection tree increases block value by up to 30%.
These changes are quite simply amazing. A friend of mine found me in vent and began the conversation by screaming about how over powered Titan's Grip is now. At first glance it looks like nearly every fury DPS warrior will be using Titan's Grip, hands down.
More analysis on all this later. Stay tuned. Lots of great changes coming out tonight!
Tank Talk is WoW Insider's tanking column, promising you an exciting and educational look at the world of getting the stuffing thrashed out of you in a 10- or 25-man raid. The column is rotated amongst Matthew Rossi (Warrior/Paladin), Adam Holisky (Warrior), Michael Gray (Paladin), and Allison Robert (Druid). Our aim is to use this column to debate and discuss class differences, raid-tanking strategies, tips, tricks, and news concerning all things meatshieldish.
This week's Tank Talk is a little bit of a public service. Recently huddled around the ticker-tapes of WoW Insider, we came to realize that your intrepid Insider lacked a particular resource: a basic guide to aggro.
Certainly, this most important of subjects is old hat to us meatshields ... but maybe not quite so much to everyone around us. And gosh, who better to talk about this subject than your devoted Tank Talk tanks!
And, really. If your team doesn't know aggro, then you're going to have a hell of a time as a tank. So, let's Tank Talk about aggro. What it is, where it comes from, why you want it, and why they don't want it.
As cool as a title like "The Dread Pirate" would be, we're not sure whether Blizzard really needs to pass out any more rewards for the Bloodsails (you want something besides a hat and an achievement?). But it will be interesting to see just how titles and other little rewards come into play with achievements. We know that more titles are coming into the game, and since it's super easy to change those titles, you'd think Blizzard was going to give out plenty. "The Dread Pirate" or "Admiral" is not beyond the realm of possibility, to be sure.
I'm still rooting for something like "Boar-killer" or something even sillier -- special titles for folks who have completed all the quests in BRD once upon a time, or a special note for people who have made the switch from Aldor to Scryer. Bloodsail reputation might not be the right place to start putting rewards, but considering all this stuff Blizzard has us tracking, here's hoping we'll see a few obscure titles find their way above players' heads.