Remember a little while ago on Ask a Beta Tester, someone asked if Jaina Proudmoore has any role in Wrath? And I said no, she has no new story involvement? Well, a recent beta patch made a fool out of me. She has a role, it's epic, and no she doesn't make out with Arthas you horrible, horrible people.
And with that out of the way, let's get on with the questions. Shadgalaul asked...
What about the whole dual-spec situation? Was this implemented, or did it just fade out and get scrapped?
This hasn't been implemented yet, and nobody is sure whether it's on hold or been scrapped. It seems like instead of giving dual specs, they're trying to make one spec be able to hold its own. For example, tanks are getting higher DPS so they can go off and do their quests without wanting to hang themselves. It's not a perfect solution and there are still a few balance issues, but I bet that if they shelved the dual spec thing, this is what they tried instead.
We may still see dual specs in the future, but we haven't so far.
One of the new talents for Wrath of the Lich King, Shockwave is the 51 point protection talent. Described as having been intended to help with both tanking and soloing, it is a cone attack directed in front of the warrior for ten yards, dealing damage based on attack power and stunning for four seconds. As you can see from the screenshot, it can do reasonable damage if it critically hits (that cloud heading off into the distance is the animation of the spell). In my opinion it does exactly what it is intended to do, helps protection spec warriors with both soloing and tanking.
Ask WoW Insider: The rate of release - Mon, 22 Sep 2008 17:00:00 EST James G. has been debating an issue with his guildies for a while now, and he wanted to put it to you, the readers of WoW Insider: Basically, Blizzard said shortly after the release of Burning Crusade that they would ideally have one expansion released each year. Do you feel they can keep up with this or that they will ease back between expansion releases in future?
He says that Blizzard has been learning and improving the whole time the game's been out about how to make content and release it, and that they should be more than capable of making an expansion every year or so. His guildies, however, point to the big gap between 2.1 and 2.4, and claim that even if Blizzard can release content faster, there still needs to be time for people to play it.
What say you, readers? Obviously, Blizzard is likely releasing content as fast as they can (and let's be fair, no one is really holding them to that "once-a-year" thing -- their games are quality enough that we're ready to play them "when they're ready" anyway). But is Blizzard releasing content too fast for people to play through it, too slow to keep people interested, or just right?
WoW Insider currently looking to expand -- but not, as you might have guessed, in the writing category. We're blazing new trails and looking for an addondeveloper to add to our staff for... well, an addon-related project! However, we can tell you that we're looking for someone who's able to commit a serious amount of time in the short-term to completing a large project and some amount of time over the long term to provide updates as needed. Think you have the coding skills to pay the bills? Then send an application to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information:
What sort of gameplay experience you have. (We don't need a detailed resume of your work, but give us an idea of how much you play, what you play, and how you play. Raid? PvP? RP? Paladin? Priest? Warrior?)
Your previous coding experience -- we're especially interested in any addons you've developed.
How much time you'd be able to commit to working on our project (how many hours a week on average).
If you have any questions, please send them in to email@example.com. Otherwise... what are you waiting for? E-mail us your applications! We'll be accepting applications for the rest of the week and hope to start contacting candidates the following week to talk details.
The first cultural influence you'll probably think of when you see the tauren and walk around in their villages is "Native American." That's fine as far as it goes, but you should remember that they're mainly based on the stereotypical image of what Native Americans are rather than their actual reality. I'm hardly an expert on Native Americans, however, so rather than try and speak for these differences, I'm just going to put the whole issue aside and take tauren as tauren rather than parallels to any human culture. Besides, aside from certain aspects of architecture, music, clothing, and mythology, the tauren are really their own species. They are quite general enough to remind us of all kinds of different cultures around the world, many of whom cherish the earth, revere their ancestors, and try to live in harmony with the world.
Some people say that the tauren are the noblest and most peaceful of the races in World of Warcraft, but for most of their history, they have been at war with the vicious centaur -- though not by choice. The centaur have always been very hostile towards tauren, driving them out of their ancestral homelands, slaughtering them and even cannibalizing them whenever possible. In a way, the centaur seem like four-legged versions of the nastier trolls who never joined the Horde. When Thrall came to Kalimdor and encountered the tauren in the midst of their struggle against the centaur, it marked the beginning of one of the greatest changes in tauren history.
The Human/Computer Interaction Design group at Indiana University seems interesting -- they're apparently working on the connections between the Human/Computer interface, both studying what's already being done between humans and technology and thinking of new ways for the two to interact. And they're concerned with abstracts, not specifics -- they look not at which buttons are being pressed, but why and how the software informs you what to do next.
One of the students in a class there has written up a cognitive account of what it's like to play World of Warcraft, which is a look at the game strictly through sense perception. Even if you're an experienced player, it's interesting to see the game in a new light like this -- rather than talk about the lore or the mechanics of gameplay, the writeup is all about the sights and sounds of the game, and how Blizzard's overall design clues you in to what can and can't be done in Azeroth.
There's probably lots more work that could be done on this as well -- lots of games, including World of Warcraft, use design elements like colors and lighting to nonverbally clue you in on the next door to go through or where to send your attention during a scene or fight. Most of their other cognitive accounts are about actual UI design, but there are many, many things left for those studying user interfaces to mine out of the way videogames express themselves to the user.
Like many players, I was really bummed to hear that the Brewfest mounts had been moved from tickets to the holiday boss -- I was really looking forward to racing those rams for tickets, and I'm not always the best at finding a group for myself. But I ran Direbrew with a full group twice over the weekend, and it's not too bad -- as long as you can five four other people, all "with summons" (which just means, I had to learn, that they haven't done the quest yet that day, so Direbrew will appear in BRD), it's a fairly easy fight. To start it all off, you've got to do the Welcome to Brewfest quest from the guy outside of Orgrimmar or Ironforge, and then pick up the Save Brewfest quest there as well before grabbing a group and heading to BRD.
Update: Some people are saying you don't need the starter quests, which is probably true -- there's a quest NPC inside the instance, so probably all you need to do is talk to him. But it is important to not have done the quest already that day -- pickup groups won't take you if you've already summoned him that day, as that means they get one less chance at the loot.
I'll admit it: I liked Arcatraz. I know, I know! It's supposed to be awful, how could I like it!? Well, while I didn 't necessarily like the layout of the dungeon and some of the trash (ethereal room, I'm looking at you), I like how it brought a lot of nostalgia from WoW Classic with it. A few of the trash mobs were pulled straight out of level 60 raids, though toned down a bit, and the last boss was like the "Best of Level 60 Raiding." Flamewakers? Qiraji? Awesome!
This is why I love the upcoming Violet Hold, too. Dalaran's Violet Hold in Wrath of the Lich King is a throwback to everything we've done so far. To the people who have been raiding since the beginning, this dungeon is going to prompt a great big, "Man, do you remember when..." moment. For the people who haven't been raiding since the beginning, this dungeon will show off a lot of fun mechanics they've never seen before.
And then there's Destruction. I'll be honest and admit I was never a huge fan of Destruction. Spamming Shadow Bolts and -- this was what made it oddest for me -- having no pet out didn't feel right at all. I believe that Warlocks are a pet class, and sacrificing our pet for more DPS throughout entire encounters was off, even if it was the infernal thing to do RP-wise. The classic 0/21/40 raiding build essentially made our demons a 6 second cast buff.
Things are going to be somewhat different in Wrath of the Lich King, although Destruction is still pretty much the tree for blowing up things into oblivion. A lot of the talents incentivize mixing up spells and steer away from chain casting Shadow Bolt. A talent deep in the tree also rewards keeping a pet out. The tree is essentially a crit tree, the tree to make things go boom, although Blizzard clearly wants Destruction Warlocks to throw other things into the mix.
Well, I can't say that I understand the point of this video. I've heard that Dragonball Z was popular, but I always thought it was like Pokemon. At some point, you grow up out of that phase and are embarrassed to admit that you ever participated in it. However, Tryton appears to still be in it, so I'll humor the fans that are still letting go ...
He attempted to make a feature movie out of Dragonball Z, but tired of it. Instead, he took some of his favorite scenes from his effort and turned it into a trailer. In it, you can expect shiny colors, balls, and ... more balls ...
Guild leaders aren't always the most popular people in a guild. Sometimes they have to make the tough choices for the good of the organization, and that can lead to hard feelings. But then there is the guild leader that members hate for just about every reason you can hate someone. One reader wants to know how to get rid of this guy once and for all.
I joined a great casual raiding guild about 2 months ago at the point where we were putting Kara on farm and moving on to Mags, Gruul and places beyond. Now we're 2/6 SSC and 2/4 TK, I'm class lead for my class, have full T4 and one piece of T5, and we're progressing steadily.
Some people have wondered why we replaced the "Please, no sunsets" clause in the standard text with "Please, no battleground scoreboards." Well, we occasionally get the really nice sunset shot -- such as this one -- but I can't figure out a single scenario where a battleground scoreboard would be appropriate. And trust me, we do get them. In this pic, Frogg, the co-GM of <Dark Omen> on Rexxar, takes a moment to contemplate the quiet beauty of the Swamp of Sorrows. It's almost enough to make you forget that all the quests there are disjointed and terrible.
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
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.
Gorillas are nothing new; they've been around forever. What is changing in Wrath of the Lich King is that gorillas are going to become AoE-Tanks.
No no, don't /pshaw just yet.
There are two keys to the Ascent of the Gorilla in WotLK. First, Thunderstomp's cooldown has changed from one minutes to ten seconds. Take 3/3 points in Longevity, and Thunderstomp's cooldown can be reduced to seven seconds. /blink
Second, we're getting a hugely buffed Volley. It is totally losing its one minute cooldown, foshizzle, and we can Auto Shot while Volley is being channeled. Sweet? Sweet.
Take a Tenacity pet with an AoE attack, add a Volley unhindered by a cooldown, stir in the "Auto Shot keeps cooking" bonus, and we get a hunter-pet combo that mimics a Paladin.
Don't believe us? Watch the movie.
You are invited to download the YouTube version (53MB) of this movie here, and the full-sized version (218MB) here.
As always, a great big Thank You to the WoW Insider editors for allowing us to publish this movie both here and on our little blog at the same time!
A few weeks ago while I was browsing the official forums, I noticed an interesting guild recruitment post. Someone was recruiting for people not based on class, skill level, or preferred play style, but rather on geographic location. He was hoping to create a guild of people from Portland, Oregon.
It's an interesting idea, and one I've sort of kept in the back of my mind since I saw the post. I like to think that most of us, these days, have started to realize that there really are other, living, breathing, flesh and blood people on the other side of the keyboard. In fact, many of us have met some of these people at conventions and guild gatherings. There's also many families and friends who have decided to play WoW together.
However, building a guild from the group up to be a "local guild" seems to be a different beast altogether. You're not meeting up with each other after having been in the guild for a while, or playing for family ties. Instead, you're looking to get actual benefits, game-related or otherwise, of being in a guild of other residents of your city, state, province, or what have you.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. For the next few weeks (unless it's something game breaking), Matt will do his best to guide you through the Priest leveling process!
Congratulations! You've made it past the initial hump of the first 20 levels in the game! Great job getting this far. I personally know of a few players who gave on the way to 20 because it was "too hard". If you're on a PvP server, break out the stress ball. Be prepared to get rocked on the road to end game (especially as a Priest).
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, where each week Alex Ziebart answers your quests about the lore in the World of Warcraft. If you have any questions, no matter how big or small they might be, ask them in the comments section below and we'll try to answer it in a future edition.
Let's get this party started with Lionheart's question...
What is that barred off instance looking portal thing in Stormwind, by Old Town? Were the gates once open?
There are actually two of these in Stormwind. Neither of them were ever open, they're relics of unfinished projects. One is a closed off little guarded island in the Canals. That one was going to be the Stormwind Vault, probably a dungeon like Arcatraz or the upcoming Violet Hold in Dalaran. Probably.
There's also the barred off one at the end of the Canals, right down the way from that one. This is probably the one you're referring to, I'm going to guess? I don't think we've gotten a real answer on this was supposed to be, but it was probably going to be the portal to player housing. They actually did start work on player housing at one point, but never got far. There are relics of it in the game files. Half completed houses/structures, things like that. They all use the Stormwind motif for their appearance, and they would have to put it somewhere. Through this portal is a safe bet.
Jaina Proudmoore and Arthas. Any chance they'll hook up against in the future? What are the details of their history together?
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player who has limited playtime.
Brewfest is here and unless you are opposed to virtual beer-related events, you should get down to Ironforge or Orgrimmar and join the fun. It isn't as casual-friendly as the Midsummer Fire Festival, but it's a blast and every activity can be done by a player with very little playtime, even the boss: Coren Direbrew.
"Tigole Deep-Breaths more" - Sun, 21 Sep 2008 16:00:00 EST Interesting note from the forums, although apparently quite a few threads are being deleted or locked even as I write this; Jeff "Tigole" Kaplan appeared momentarily in this thread written by a player complaining about the 51-point Restoration Shaman talent, Riptide. The original poster notes Blizzard's guiding philosophy of never shipping a game before they're truly done with it, and contrasts that with the fact that some of Riptide's visual and audio effects are unlikely to be finished in time for Wrath (the spell itself is apparently 100% functional, just not the bells and whistles Blizzard usually programs to accompany player spells and abilities).
Another player down the thread characterizes this as Blizzard caving to demands made by Activision. Tigole appears a few comments down to ban the first commenter for "trolling," adding that the game is still being worked on. The second of the two commenters mentioned is then handed a ban by Tigole as well. One of the response threads that appears to have survived is here, with a set of reactions ranging from sympathy to Tigole to a recountment of EverQuest history to concern over how the two players were banned.
I'm somewhat torn, and had wondered whether the whole thing was a joke; I've not seen Tigole appear on the forums to ban people before (although it's entirely possible he has and I've just missed it). I've seen worse behavior on the forums escape official comment, but it does seem as if the number of complaints (rational or not) has hit fever pitch on the discussion boards. And -- let's be frank -- a lot of it does seem like pretty pointless carping. I've had a chance to see the beta myself now, and I don't think anyone could realistically accuse Blizzard of skipping its usual attention to detail (indeed, the only running complaint I've seen on the beta servers is that they're too popular). Still, these particular bans seem a little out of the ordinary, unless there's something going on I haven't seen.
**EDIT:as of 4:12 pm EST, it looks like the above referenced response post has also been deleted, but the original source thread is still intact.**
PvE to PvP transfer impact - Sun, 21 Sep 2008 15:00:00 EST Since PvE to PvP transfer option became available, I've kept a close eye on my own realm to see if there'd be any discernible change to transfer patterns both on and off. As far as I can tell -- no. I've seen a few people transfer off but there doesn't seem to be any more so than usual. Only a few players did so purely for the purpose of PvPing on a different battlegroup, and most of them, like Zach Yonzon, had previously been PvP-realm transfers or rerolls anyway.
The flood of high-level PvE to PvP transfers gloomily predicted by many doesn't seem to have materialized. People who'd rather play on a PvE realm are doing just that, and most of the people who'd rather play on a PvP realm were already there (never saw that one coming, eh?). I thought at the time that Blizzard's decision would probably have its biggest impact, not on PvP players, but on PvE raiders who had previously been restricted to recruiting PvP-to-PvP, PvE-to-PvE or (much less commonly) PvP-to-PvE only. If you've ever been in a raiding guild which found great recruits from the "wrong" kind of realm, you're probably familiar with what a headache that was.
I play on a medium population PvE realm that launched when Burning Crusade hit. Since we're not really at the cutting edge of either PvE or PvP content as a result, mine is probably a bad sample size as we're not a hotbed of transfers either way. So, I'm not sure if my own experience is representative. If you're playing on a medium-to-high population realm, either PvE or PvP, are you noticing any difference to the traffic patterns, on or off? If you're on a low-population realm, has your situation improved or worsened?
Do you still need a Wrath of the Lich King beta key? Or perhaps you covet your very own mini-Tyrael (which you can now bestow on all your characters)? If so, you may want to check out Wowhead's latest contest, which is once again giving away cards from the Worldwide Invitational with codes for the LK beta and for Tyraels. Happily, this one is open to both EU and US. It's happening today, starting at 4:00 EST (1:00 PST), which is just under two hours from now. It's a similar format to their previous contest (which unfortunately had to be cancelled), but with a twist:
The goal is to identify five screenshots, figuring out which exact Wowhead pages those screenshots are displayed on.
When you get all five answers, put the URLs of the Wowhead pages corresponding to the screenshots in an email to email@example.com. Make sure your answers are in order.
At 4:00, a heavily altered version of the screenshots are posted (seems to be run through a random Photoshop filter). This is phase one, and if anyone could recognize a phase one screenshot, I'd be amazed (see above for an example).
At 4:20 (phase two), the images are posted in a slightly less altered form, though they're still pretty hard to recognize.
At 4:40, for phase three, the images are brought even closer to their original form. In yesterday's round, the winning entries were sent within two minutes after phase three started.
At 5:00, the original images are posted.
The first five people to email in a correct set of answers will receive a WWI card.
To see yesterday's pictures, including the answer to what the heck the screenshot above is (no, I'm not going to give it away here), check out the contest thread on the Wowhead forums. That's also where today's screenshots are going to be posted, starting at 4:00 EST (1:00 PST). Get ready!