Forced to choose - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 19:00:00 EST I think everyone who's run an instance and a raid has been in this situation -- you wait all night for a Karazhan run, it fills, so you decide to go run a heroic or some other five man, and then a few minutes in, you get a whisper: "Someone left, and we need a healer! Are you still in?"
Sigh. An embarrassment of riches. So now what do you do: ditch your newfound 5man group for the raid you originally wanted, or stick with the group you signed on with, passing up the original raid? Neither way is very smooth -- either you disappoint the folks you're with, and look like an elitist raider, or you tell the raiders that you're already in a group and run the risk that they won't ask you again. So awkward -- it's like choosing a social circle in high school all over again.
Usually, the best course of action I've found is to cover yourself before you leave either group -- jump into LFG or ping the guild for a replacement before you leave anybody behind. Short of finding someone to fill in for your fill in, the next best option is probably to explain yourself well and promise help next time -- hopefully the group you're with will understand that raiding is fun and/or the raiders will understand that you couldn't wait and keep you on the list for next time. Any other ideas for getting out of an instance pinch like this?
A full Achievements database is now live on Wowhead's Wrath of the Lich King site. When first I heard about this, I said (as you may be saying to yourselves now) "big deal, other sites have had achievements lists for a few days now." But you owe it to yourself to go check this out. They've taken their time to do it right as only Wowhead can, and it looks great, with complete information on achievement chains, meta achievements, point values, and just about anything you might want. "Shop Smart. Shop Pet... Smart" is a good example - it lists every pet that's valid for the achievement, all 103 of them. Attention to detail for the win.
Blizzard has shown their usual flair in naming these things, too; my favorites include:
The Achievements listing includes Feats of Strength, zero-point achievements that may be unachievable in the current game (like old honor system ranks), or at least unachievable by most people. Among these are several "server firsts", such as being the first on your server to reach level 80 with a given class, or the first to kill a given boss. It's nice to see that this information is going to be memorialized somewhere besides blogs and realm forums.
In other Wowhead news, talent calculators for the new Hunter pet talents are now available. Additionally, new weapons and armors now have 3D models viewable on the site (just click the "View in 3D" button on item pages), so you can check out what we'll all be seeing in a few short months. So far I haven't found anything that looks totally amazing, though I did come across something that looks rather like the walrus hat that Blizz seems to be fond of showing off in Death Knight promo pics.
Sure, it's silly (and probably not true -- just because someone says they're a Finnish college student means nothing at all online). But I found it strangely touching, the thought that a real human connection could be made in an online game. And isn't that why we play these in the first place?
The joy of grinding - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 16:30:00 EST I couldn't agree more with Mystic Chicanery -- despite the fact that most players consider the "level grind" to be the most boring part of the game, a stodgy run towards the much more interesting endgame, I've found that I tend to invest myself more in my character while actually leveling up, strangely enough, and it seems to me that endgame is the much more boring part of the equation. While leveling, you get a constant meter (literally) of how much your character is progressing, but after 70, progression becomes much more nebulous, and you have to do a lot more poking around for things like enchants and gems.
Of course, the main complaint with the level grind isn't doing it the first time, it's doing it again and again, and thankfully, as Mystic notes, will bring us ten brand new levels to roll through. But maybe I have a bad memory, because even when I do hit 70 with a character, going back to the beginning with a new class or a new faction is a new experience. And Wrathgoing through the same content a second time makes it faster and more interesting to me -- I already know where the hard quest targets are, and I can catch up on lore or secrets that I may have missed.
Each to their own, of course -- maybe you've already leveled all nine classes to 70 and couldn't imagine going back and running through Stranglethorn Vale or Hellfire Peninsula one more time. But I've found that I almost prefer the leveling "grind" -- it seems more core to me, improving the character constantly with an XP meter, than the current method at endgame of raiding your way through the instances for gear upgrades.
But when to use it is the question. Especially in 1v1, the best times to break out your trinket are when it will allow you to immediately avoid damage, so breaking it out for things like Sap or Polymorph (which don't actually cause damage to you) can be a waste of the cooldown. But things like Kidney Shot, Fear, and Frost Nova mean that more damage is incoming, so then is usually (there are, of course, exceptions) a good time to pop the trinket and escape the damage.
YAWN bravely goes out on a limb here and tries to provide some guidance for an activity that isn't very well governed by guidance (don't tell PvPers what they can't do!). Actions and rules are very, very situational, and so there sometimes will be times when you should trinket out of Sap, or spend your two minute cooldown on Death Coil. But as a starter guide to when to use and not use the trinket, it's a great read.
Continuing our series on Shaman talents in Wrath, we're going to talk today about Elemental Combat, and the new talents for it. One of the first things I notice comparing the current talent trees to the ones coming is the move of Elemental Devastation down to a 5 point talent, making it much friendlier for Enhancement Shamans to pick up (as was commented upon in our previous post on the subject) especially now that Nature's Guidance is gone from the Restoration tree. With the ability to guarantee a Lava Burst crit by using Flame Shock, you could theoretically keep your melee crit rate up for a very long time, and in so doing reduce the cost of your shocks significantly as well as keep Maelstrom Weapon stacked.
Which is very nice for enhancement shamans who want to spec into Elemental, yes, but what about for elemental shamans themselves? What talents will they be looking at?
Well, just for starters, let's talk about Paralysis.
Wrath storage solutions - Wed, 23 Jul 2008 14:33:00 EST By now you have surely heard of the new Achievements system set up for Wrath of the Lich King. While this will finally give collectors an extra incentive and reward, players are a bit worried about their bag space.
It was announced recently that non-combat pets and mounts would take up no bag space in Wrath, and instead, the item that currently houses the pet will serve to teach you a spell for summoning the pet, and then disappear. While this is a huge weight off of the shoulders of many players, when reading through the current list of Achievements, one begins to wonder where all of their tabards, battleground tokens, badges, holiday items, epics, trinkets, and the like are going to go.
Although we don't have information regarding the storage of every item we'll soon be collecting, Tigole made the following statement:
Your bags will be ok. I promise. Pets, Mounts, Heroic Badges, BG Tokens are all getting storage space.
I wonder how badges and tokens are getting storage space. Surely, they cannot be turned into spells, and I don't have room for bags specifically dedicated to only one or the other, so I'm definitely interested to know what they have up their sleeves, and if any other collectible items will get similar treatment.
The introduction of runeforging to the Wrath Beta was a bit of surprise and slightly unexpected. Instead of rune swapping -- the idea of being able to change the nature and configuration of the runes on your runeblade -- Death Knights got a solid 2 Unholy, 2 Blood, and 2 Frost runes. Runeforging itself became a weapon enchantment system whereby Death Knights could enchant their weapon with various special procs and buffs for various situations.
And Zarhym says it's still on track to do al that -- he specifically mentions that they've designed the battleground zone to supposedly be impervious to problems with realm imbalance, "trivial at the endgame," or "forgettable because of a lack of incentive." So if you hold a lot of faith in what Blizzard's working on, that would mean Wintergrasp is meant for 70s, has functionality that doesn't necessarily require a lot of players on both sides (siege vehicles come to mind), and will have an extensive rewards system (we've heard before that it may be token-based and equivalent to the level of current Arena gear).
If Blizzard is doing everything they promise to with Wintergrasp, it should be a sight to see for sure. A world PvP event that adds the permanency of the Auchindouin rewards with the mechanics of Halaa and the epic feeling of the old Southshore/Tarren Mill world PvP battles? We can't wait.
Hunter talents are out, and there's definitely a lot to say about them, both good and bad. While we have discussed some of the changes to the lower Survival tree, what we haven't touched on is all the new talents and the talent changes in other trees. If I was to sum it all up in one sentence, I'd say this: The 51 point talents look lackluster, but most of the rest is downright drool inducing.
Marksmanship's early tiers are now full of easily obtainable goodies for any Hunter, Survival's gained even more group and raid buff utility, and Beastmastery has even more amazing pet synergy.
There's a lot to cover, so we'll tackle it one tree at a time. First, we'll look at Marksmanship, which was once premiere Hunter tree, but has fallen a bit to Beastmastery in Burning Crusade. It's certainly seen some marked improvement for Wrath so far, and even if you don't plan to spec Marksmanship, you'll at least want to know about the first few tier talents, as you'll probably want to grab many of them anyway.
I've had my eye on Goldskin for quite a while now. He produced some machinima that has yet to be featured, but is really interesting and unique. That's why I'm not surprised by Azeroth Walk, his latest work, which involves stop motion, a frame by frame animation technique.
Created for GameTV-fr, you can really tell that a lot of work went into the production of this short piece. He took over 2500 pictures, but used only a little over 1900 of them. When you consider all the sifting through, preparing of images, and positioning the model viewed characters, it took 35 hours of work from start to finish!
I think I've got a pretty big job ahead of me as the new Rogue columnist here at WoW Insider. Sitting here, freshly unwrapped, I know I'll have to both balance the need to fairly represent "real" issues and not get too lost in "rah-rah-rogue" points of view. I'll need you, dear reader, to keep me honest and call-out the unintentional errors or oversights. We're a community and I absolutely want to know what you are thinking, what you love or hate and what you'd like to see me bring to this column that represent your needs.
Like a "do-not-toast-in-the-wrapper" warning on your box of PopTarts, I'd like to point out that any references I make to skills or talents in the Wrathbeta should be taken with a grain of salt since they are subject to change at any time.
I must confess that due to my habit of playing WoW with the sound turned off, I've never actually heard the music of Level 1060 70 80 Elite Tauren Chieftain. In case you didn't know, L70ETC is a group of Blizzard employees who recorded some Blizzard-property-related songs and are now represented in-game as a Horde hair metal band. Lead singer Samuro is actually art director Sam Didier; bassist Mai'Kyl is Blizzard president Mike Morhaime; and so on and so forth. Vindonnus of Stormreaver took this particular pic of Chief Thunder-Skins (aka longtime Blizzardite Alan Dabiri) as the band played their hourly show at the World's End Tavern in Shattrath City.
Please note that the Blizz employees are not actually playing the characters and cannot hear complaints and suggestions /yelled at their in-game avatars. And sorry, egg-throwers and forum trolls -- Kalgan, Tigole and Metzen aren't in the band. Save your all-caps complaints for General Discussion.
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 -- but we would love some beta screenshots here.
From our mini-guide to starting your own WoW blog, we spawned more in-depth posts for each step. Now that you know a bit more about finding a blog host, determining your goals, figuring out your slant, and becoming part of the WoW blog community, it's time for you to hop on your keyboard and get to work! Okay, wait. I don't mean for it to sound like a job (even though for some of us, it is). I mean, don't be afraid to just start writing! No reason to fear the blank screen, my friend. Here are a few tips to get you steaming up to at least your high school 30 words-per-minute mark.
It's definitely too early to tell, but since some of you lucky readers actually got into the Beta after Blizzard sent out invites yesterday, I might as well ask -- what new talents stand out for you? Even if you didn't get into the Beta (or haven't yet... don't give up hope!), I'm pretty sure you've read up on the new talents and gotten excited about some of them. I know I'm pretty stoked, specially since Paladinsgot so much love. Matthew geekasmed all over Titan's Grip so much that he wrote an entire Warrior column dedicating his undying love for it. Then there's Christian, who thinks Frostfire Boltcan change everything.
Personally, I'm really excited about The Art of War, just because of the name (it's one of my favorite books, after all). It's also currently bugged in Beta, with crazy reports of over 20k damage on a Judgement. It'll be fixed pretty soon, of course, but I can't help but geek out over that. The Death Knight talent Infested Corpse looks particularly gruesome! And then I want to spec for Haunt to complement SL/SL. If you haven't looked at the new talents yet, you can check them out over at Wowhead's talent calculators or Blizzard's official one. Did anything catch your eye?
The guild above, Natural Order on Steamwheedle Cartel, has graced these pages before for dramatic reasons, but just to show there's no bad feelings, we're highlighting them in the downed section this week -- as you can see, they were able to topple Archimonde, and that's an achievement for any guild. As long as you can keep progression going, no drama is all that bad.
Unless you run into some of the really harsh drama found in this week's GW, which starts right after the jump. Drop us a tip (anonymous or otherwise) at firstname.lastname@example.org if you've got news about drama, downings, or recruiting notices from around the realms, and Sargeras-willing, you'll see it here next week.
Now that Blizzard has confirmed that beta keys from Blizzcon 07 and Worldwide Invitation 08 will be used to get into the Wrath of the Lich King test, they've become a pretty hot commodity.Sure they're for sale on eBay ranging from about $200 to $600, but what are they worth.I kind of wish I'd been able to go to one of those events to guarantee a spot in the beta.This same thing happened during the beta release of the Burning Crusade.
Cheesytacos of Dragonblight thinks it's unfair to folks who win the beta lottery that folks are selling their beta keys for profit.For those willing to part with their keys, the sale price is at least worth the price of admission.I have to admit, it's well, annoying that folks who went to Blizzard's little soirées are granted passes into the new content. We come across the issue of property ownership many times in WoW.
In general the assumption is that all things WoW are not actually the property of the players but of Blizzard. Are beta keys the property of the key holders to do with what they please until activation?
Numerous reports are coming in that the Wrath Beta keys are making their way to players now. Attendees of last year's BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, and the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, received a card with a code for a "future Blizzard title" as part of their goody bags. Wryxian confirmed over at the official forums that the said title was Wrath of the Lich King and urged everyone to register their codes immediately. Players who do so will be prompted to enter the codes from the cards as well as their e-mail address, as Beta access information is sent through e-mail.
Reader Phi mentions that it doesn't matter when the codes were claimed. She registered her code right after BlizzCon last year while her boyfriend registered only yesterday after Blizzard's announcement, and both received their keys today. If you're one of the lucky few who attended either Blizzard event or managed to snag a beta code through other channels like eBay, registering the code should see you receiving invites in the mail. WoW Insider's Elizabeth Harper, who attended both, received two invites to the Beta eight minutes apart from each other. The official e-mail from prompts players to follow the step-by-step instructions over at Blizzard's official Beta page. Thanks to everyone who tipped this in!
About the Bloggers: Zach Yonzon - Tue, 22 Jul 2008 21:00:00 EST Twice a week (if writers like Zach here keep to their deadlines), 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 more About the Bloggers. What do you do for WoW Insider? I write the incorrigibly erratic columns The Art of War(craft) and The Light and How to Swing It that deal with PvP and Paladins respectively (and sometimes interchangeably). I also tend to mix up my posts with regular, run-of-the-mill news and the occasional opinion piece, like my analysis on the new Wrath changes to Paladins. What's your main right now? I spend most of my time in-game on my Level 70 Blood Elf Paladin, who re-specs 3-4 times a week. One day I'm mashing faces with a big hammer, and the next I'm waving my glowing fingers in the air like somebody's boy toy. I've spent thousands of Gold on re-specs that I'm probably a spec-a-holic. Just don't ask me to tank. I also have a neglected child in my Level 70 Troll Shaman, who was originally my main. Well, that's not entirely accurate. I started playing the game with an Undead Rogue and later a Troll Hunter on a PvE server. My wife and friends later rerolled on a PvP server.
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.