The arena tournament is live. You can still sign up for the tournament, but your team should be pretty close to stabilized. From this point forward any new additions, beyond team founders, to teams will come with a price of a 150 point penatly a pop.After May 6, you will not be able to adjust your roster at all.
If you plan on being competitive in the tournament, your team must complete at least 200 games between now and May 20, 2008.The ratings were all reset to 1500 after maintenance yesterday and the top teams are already flexing their muscles. The top three teams (as of this writing) are all over 2100 points.Outrageously Better Pros is on top at 2180 points, followed by Shadowplay at 2133, and godawful pmr at 2109. The top ten are equally split between Horde and Alliance teams.
Things are just heating up and the tournament will definitely be exciting and enlightening. The WoW Insider arena team will be back in action tonight.Manda, Zach, and I (mandy) will be taking on the world with epic Warlock-Paladin- Druid action.We'll see you in the queues tonight at 7pm PDT! Good hunting.
No beta for me, thanks - Wed, 23 Apr 2008 18:00:00 EST Reader Ian C. wrote in with an interesting thought. He says that if he was offered a spot in the Wrath of the Lich King beta tomorrow, he'd probably decline. With the news that the expansion is in alpha and that an open beta is probably not too far off, it seems like everyone and their brother wants in early to Northrend. But not Ian -- he says that he'd rather experience the content on the live realms.
And I mostly agree. I never played in the BC beta, and generally I like to stay away from the PTR if possible -- any progress that you make on test or beta realms is completely lost when the beta closes, and while yes, there are some fun reasons to jump onto the PTR or a beta realm, I'd rather experience the content as its meant to be played when it comes out.
Everyone else might be excited to see the beta, and of course we'll have lots of information as it comes out about Wrath (which means if I'm invited to the beta, I'll probably load it up just to see what's there and try out the Death Knight mechanics), but playing on a beta realm isn't the real thing. Any progress you make there is more or less a waste of time -- I'd rather see Northrend in a finished form, through my character on the live realms.
The Outland daily circle - Wed, 23 Apr 2008 17:00:00 EST With Phase 4 upon us, The options for dailies are pretty much long and endless. Of course, with a daily limit of 25 dailies, you can end up doing most of them anyways, and while certainly don't try to spring for 25 dailies every day, I still do my fair share of dailies. About once or twice a week, I do what I have come to call my Outland Circle. All three of my characters have all the daily hubs unlocked, so between Ogri'la, the Skyguard, the Netherwing, and the Shattered Sun Offensive, I can get a lot done.
Death Knights will start at a level less than 70, but Blizzard wants them to be able to get into Northrend "a little faster".
Converting a preexisting character to a Death Knight has been ruled out.
This is interesting in that it has been previously thought that the starting level for Death Knights might be as low as 50 or 55. However with Bornakk saying that they want Death Knights to get into Northrend quickly, I would take this to mean that the Death Knight's starting level will be somewhere in the 60s instead. There's still something for Blizzard to clarify here, but this news is interesting nonetheless.
Bornakk also waxes philosophical about the decision to not have a character convert into a Death Knight. He says that "Leveling a character just to throw it away doesn't really fit [fun game play] very well." He also expects that Death Knights will "find their way" into raid groups just as the Paladins and Shamans did on the Horde and Alliance with the release of Burning Crusade.
While this news on the Death Knight is really just clarification of some previously released information, it does provide a good insight into what Blizzard is thinking about the class. WoW Insider will have all the latest on the Death Knight and Wrath of the Lich King, so stay tuned!
Mania is excited because they're a new form for pets, and they may even be a new family. But I'm more excited because the raven, in its current form, actually also is used as the Night Elf Druid's flight form. Finally, I get my very own Druid to run around and tank for me. Unfortunately, it won't be able to switch into bear form, and Regrowth isn't an option, either, but it will definitely be nice to have another bird of prey in the mix.
No word yet on which abilities they'll have, but if they follow Owls or Vultures, they'll probably come with at least Claw, Dive, and Screech, and maybe Bite if we're lucky. If I can get one that actually says "Caw," or even "Nevermore," I'm totally sold.
Comedy Central's Indecision 2008 blog (humor about the upcoming US elections) has a... well, OK, it's not all that funny, but it's a post offering the three major candidates (Obama, Clinton, and McCain) tips in their strategies to appeal to World of Warcraft players. That's right, we vote, too!
Unfortunately, it would probably have been a lot better if they'd gotten someone who actually plays WoW to write it -- there are some OK references in there, but nothing really insightful into the world of Azeroth (and a few just don't make any sense). And none of the candidates are portrayed as Horde (Barack's an NE Druid, Hillary looks like a Dwarf Female Paladin, and Johnny Mac is a Gnome caster of some kind), especially since being Horde has already been proven to be politically popular. Throw in the fact that they missed out on four classes (what am I supposed to know as a Shaman?), and this turns out to be a pretty poor attempt by Comedy Central for a little Warcraft humor. Too bad.
As I mentioned on the WoW Insider Show the other day, reader Chad G. sent us a tip about the Figureprints character he received (probably one of the first shipped figures that we've heard about so far), and as you can see from the pictures, he was a little underwhelmed by the quality, While the actual process went OK, the figure itself just seems kind of dusty, which hardly counts as the "vibrant" colors we were promised back when these things were first announced. From across the room, he says, it's hard to make out any colors at all -- the whole thing looks "dusty black."
Chad says he doesn't know if he would buy this thing again, although since he posted the pictures, he says that Figureprints is sending him another figurine, so maybe this was a mistake (there was also apparently a spot of paint missing on the figure's arm, and that seems more like a flaw in the specific figure than the process). Either way, while it's cool to have your character in actual, real 3D form, maybe the Figureprints folks don't quite have all the kinks worked out yet.
Before 2.4.2 is even up on PTRs, MMO-Champion and World of Raids have undocumented changes listed on their sites. That's dedication! Of course, given that none of this can be verified, you should take it with a grain of salt, but most of the time changes found in the game files end up going live. Here's what's been noticed so far:
Most mount-speed-increasing trinkets (Carrot on a Stick,Skybreaker Whip, Riding Crop) have been changed to enchantments, which can be permanently applied to a single mount in your inventory and cause it to become soulbound. Furthermore, Charm of Swift Flight (which will stay a trinket) now also reduces the mana cost of Flight Form and Swift Flight Form by 115 mana, and Carrot on a Stick is now craftable (1x Simple Wood, 1x Fine Thread, 1x Golden Sansam). I imagine it would be an engineering recipe.
This seems like a good change for the most part, since we won't have to use add-ons to swap in our riding speed trinket all the time (and we'll save an inventory space). However, it does have the major drawback that you'll need to get a new one for each of your mounts, which could get expensive if you're a mount collector. More business for the leatherworkers, I suppose.
Continuing on the mount theme, a sort of horned Swift Zebra mount appears to have been added to the game, as well as a Headless Horseman's Mount (both pictured).
Aspect of the Viper has been buffed. Previously, it generated mana equal to up to 55% of the hunter's Intellect every five seconds; now, it generates up to 55% of the hunter's Int plus 35% of his or her level. This means a boost of up to 24.5 mp5 at level 70.
There are also some changes to various items and recipes; check MMO-Champion for those. What do you think of this mount trinket change? Oh, and if you haven't seen the official patch notes yet, check Adam's post from early this morning.
Update: I just signed on to the PTR, and was unable to verify the change to Riding Crop. So this might well not end up happening after all.
On the surface, this video looks like a very polished production. However, beneath it lies distracting music and a plotline so unclear that I can't tell if it's a comedy or meant to be taken seriously. It appears to have something to do with dragons, or possibly multi-colored aliens. Dragonwhelp Productions seems to be open to constructive feedback, though.
The trailer for Redemption II: The Calling is meant to preview the second part of a planned trilogy. The first part of the trilogy, Redemption: The Corrupter, was released about 9 months ago to fairly good reviews. There is currently no scheduled release date for the full-length version of the trailer.
One of my favorite quests of all time is Ruse of the Ashtongue, to the point where I won't even turn the quest in no matter how many times we kill Al'ar. The reason I love it? Because it lets me experience what it would be like to switch my main, only not to my ordinary draenei warrior, but rather to a super-awesomely deformed and cool broken. I've always been dreading turning it in and now that we don't have to do so to get keyed for BT, I'm debating waiting until we're done with Tempest Keep once and for all (I could have already completed An Artifact From the Past this past week but I don't want to) just so I can tank as a broken every week.
Frankly, I've always wanted the option to play as a broken from the moment they introduced the draenei as a playable race. If I could, I would switch race to broken in a country minute. I just think they're awesome. The only other race who piques my interest this much are the worgen, and I think they'd look kind of dumb in my gear, but the broken have this whole 'Hulk smash' vibe and I've always liked their voice emotes. "Must not give up... must....remember the light."
I've come to see this image as kind of a cultural litmus test. Papachango of Doomhammer, who sent in this screenshot, states that he took the pic while returning the Blessing of Incineratus to the Lost Ones in Nagrand. He chose to stay in the hut as it burned, resulting in this nice picture (and about 131 points of fire damage, one presumes.)
Timothy wrote that this pic reminds him of the iconic Sephiroth walking through a burning room in Final Fantasy VII. However, I've always thought that FF7 was overrated, and Sephiroth even more so. (Edited to add: While I understand that a lot of people see FF7 as a major breakthrough in gaming, I prefer the expansive worlds, likeable characters, and humorous tone of FF6 and FF9. Brooding villains are cliched.) For my villains-walking-out-of-a-fire reference, I prefer the more subtle tones of The Usual Suspects'Keyser Söze, which was my immediate mental picture on looking at this screenshot. I guess we'll just have to agree to disagree on this one. What does this picture remind you of?
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. And please, remember that the greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist.
Zjo asks on the European Forums, as many have done before her, if there is any possibility of changing races. Her point is that with changes to racial abilities, the choice you made several levels ago may no longer be the one you would make today.
I can see both sides of this issue. On the one hand, it would be difficult to come up with an in-world, non-lore-breaking way to implement this change. Going to a barbershop to change your hair makes sense. Converting from Human to Gnome, does not.
On the other hand, the racial abilities changed without any thought to lore. So if Blizzard wants to make changes to balance the game, why not let players change their race if they don't like Blizzard's changes?
Personally, I don't think they should, but if they do, it should be one time only with a fee attached. But I like re-rolling. Alts are fun!
We've asked before if you would, but I'm asking today if you think you should be able to change your race rather than being forced to re-roll? And if so, how do you think it should be implemented? Do you think re-rolling is too much of a pain or part of the fun of the game?
Patch 2.4.2 notes released - Wed, 23 Apr 2008 05:14:00 EST Blizzard has released tonight the patch notes for patch 2.4.2, which means the PTR will probably be up and running sometime soon. Patch 2.4 will likely be the last major patch before Wrath of the Lich King, and we expect to see a couple more of these minor patches before WotLK comes out.
Void Shatter no longer has a cooldown, and other cooldowns have been reduced.
Illidan will no longer despawn if a raid wipes during his death speech.
If you are sheeped / polymorphed by a mob, you will no longer gain back health (ie: the mass sheep in Aran, which regens your health before he fire blasts the raid). This is a potentially large change.
Many main hand weapons are now one hand weapons.
A good list of bug fixes, including several problems associated with sounds.
Full patch notes for your convenience after the break!
One person in the conversation above is making sense. And the other one is named "Krazyhunter." Be careful whose alt you roll against in Kingdom of Fire on Khadgar -- losing a roll on a piece you need to an alt of a co-GM might get you kicked. And, oh yeah, no matter what guild you're in, be careful who you send angry whispers to, because they might show up here on Guildwatch.
The story above and much more in this week's GW, including the return of lots of recruiting news. If you have tips for any of the sections below, send them along to email@example.com, and click the link below to see this week's drama, downed, and recruiting news.
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.