A Dwarf Priest is one of my very favorite WoW blogs. The author writes about exactly one topic - Priests - and she does it very well. So when she says that Shadow Priests are "on the endangered list" in Wrath, I think there's probably some truth to that. The core argument is that Shadow Priests' utility is not at the point it was once at (group mana regen is not unique any more; Shadow is not as important for raid synergy), but their DPS has not (yet) been increased accordingly.
One reason why Shadow's DPS is low has to do with spell coefficients. You know how items with +damage or +healing (or now spell power) always say "adds up to [however much] damage"? The coefficient on a spell is what determines exactly how much is applied. Generally it's based on cast times - Greater Heal gets 86% of +healing applied, while Flash Heal only gets 43% - but there are exceptions for spells with added effects, such as Mind Flay and its snare.
Wowhead Beta key contest cancelled - Sat, 23 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST Wowhead has put up an announcement this afternoon that the beta key contest they were running has been cancelled. The announcement tells us that the distribution of the keys were exploited. Though there is no official word on what exactly the exploitation was, there is some unconfirmed talk about the beta keys being ebayed.
This is most unfortunate for those wishing to participate. Malgayne, the "Voice of Wowhead," does go on to say however that the remaining prizes will be given away using a different method soon. We'll get any more news up on this as soon as it becomes available.
Each week, Arcane Brilliance inscribes a glyph into the greater glyph slot of your Saturday afternoon. It's called the Glyph of Mageosity, and it Mageifies the entire rest of your day. A few words of warning, once your day has been Mageified: you may find fire bursting from your fingers at inopportune times. You might discover that certain nearby people who were formerly human may now be sheep. Also, for the rest of the day, you may want to avoid any contact with Rogues or Warlocks.
As you may have noticed, build 8820 has touched down in beta land, and with it we Mages finally have our first real taste of how Inscription will affect us as a class. There are still a great many things we don't know about these glyphs, but just having a list and knowing that Glyph of the Penguin won't be our only reason to track down an Inscriber in the expansion is newsworthy. I mean, I'm as excited to turn a Warlock into a penguin as the next Mage, but I'm glad to finally have some idea what our other glyph options will be.
Now, I'm still not one of the fortunate few who've gotten into the beta, so sadly I have no first-hand information to pass on to you. I'm sure that a goodly number of Mages more blessed than I are logged into the beta, busy testing out damage numbers as we speak, and I look forward to reading their euphoric and/or rage-filled forum posts later on...reading and dreaming and plotting to kill them and steal their beta keys. For now, though, you'll have to make do with my own uninformed and hastily formulated analysis of these forthcoming glyphs. Frankly, I wouldn't offer you anything less.
Join me after the break for the full list of Mage glyphs, and as much hyperbole and bias as you can shake a Chilly Slobberknocker at.
Raid composition is going to change in Wrath of the Lich King. A certain part of this is obvious and inevitable: they're adding a new class. But there is another major factor that's changing. Currently, buffs and synergy are a large part of the reason you might choose to bring one class over another. Shamans' awesome Bloodlust/Heroism, for instance, and their Windfury Totem, has made it often a good idea to bring many Shamans to a 25-man raid, and almost mandatory to have at least one. Similarly, the fact that Warlocks synergize quite well with each other (Warlocks cause other Warlocks to do more damage), due to effects like that of Improved Shadow Bolt, has contributed to Mages being much less favored for Sunwell Plateau.
How is this going to change in Wrath? Ghostcrawler made another rather long post yesterday on raid stacking, and this is the essence of what he said:
We want to limit the power of stacking raid buffs, like we limited the power of stacking consumables earlier.
"We want the challenge of the encounter to be the fight itself, not collecting all of the buffs and debuffs you need to succeed." They don't want to nerf buffs, but they want them to be "less of a burden."
Therefore, for most buffs, there will be multiple classes that can provide that buff, and they won't stack. For instance, you can get your magic vulnerability debuff either from Warlocks or from Death Knights; those two abilities will not stack with each other.
The ultimate goal of this is to cause raid leaders to want to bring players they like, or good players, and not feel like they have to bring certain classes to get certain buffs and debuffs; and also to help class balance. Of course, they recognize that certain guilds are going to strictly min/max in any case, but the idea is that the benefits of a few classes shouldn't be so overwhelming that you feel like you have to bring five of them.
It's an interesting move. Assuming they execute it well, and preserve class uniqueness and utility (as they are promising to do), I think it will be very good for the game. And as this is still beta, and they are actively collecting and implementing feedback, if it doesn't work well right now they'll have time to fix it. The Wrath development team seems (thankfully) much more responsive to feedback than the Burning Crusade dev team was.
Spoiler Alert! The guys over at the WotLK Information Wiki have uncovered what appears to be sound files related to the world event that will open up Northrend. There are three separate monologues that have Arthas talking in villanous tones and creepy background music. Spoiler-heavy details after the jump! You have been warned!
Blizzard has been hiring mobile developers for a little while now, and we might finally be getting a hint as to why. Theoria, the developer of Armory Browser, recently received a cease and desist letter from Blizzard legal, and will therefore be suspending development on the program, and pulling its distribution on Monday the 25th. Armory Browser is a $0.99 app for viewing Armory profiles on the iPhone/iPod Touch. The interesting part is that it contains all original artwork - nothing taken from Blizz - and, as the author puts it, is "basically a fancy web browser." So why should Blizzard bother putting a stop to it, when it doesn't really infringe?
Well, maybe they're writing their own. Legions of WoW fans would certainly love to have a little bit of the game to carry around in their pockets, whether it's mobile auctions or just an Armory viewer. I've certainly installed an Armory viewing app already, and I just got my iPhone three days ago. Anyway, the only way I can make sense out of Blizzard bothering to put a stop to this little development project is if they want their own software to be the only iPhone Armory browser out there. Or it could also be because they don't like someone else making money off their game - $0.99 isn't much, but it's something, and as far as I know the free Warcraft Characters app is still in the clear. I prefer to believe it's a sign of a Blizzard iPhone project in the works, though.
Our weekly podcast will go live at 3:30pm this afternoon over on WoW Radio, and as usual, it's gonna be a humdinger. Krystalle Voecks, of both WoW Insider and our sister site Massively, will be on to talk about what's going down at DragonCon next week (we're going to be there in a huge way), and also about what competitors WoW will be facing this fall on the retail shelves (ever heard of Warhammer? You will). And BigRedKitty will also be on with Turpster and myself, so you know we'll talk Wrath beta, Hunters and their pets, and all the other big news of the past week in WoW, including what we thought of the Wrath cinematic.
Be there at 3:30pm Eastern this afternoon for all the fun, and don't forget you can join us in IRC on irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel, or just email your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org (and you might even hear us talk about them).
See you this afternoon, it's sure to be a good time.
Forget the fantasy world that you're used to. In VoodooRay's eyes, WoW is the wave of the future -- literally. WoW 3K is a futuristic sci-fi look at the game we all know and love. The man that brought us Moonkins in everywayimaginable has supplied us with stormtroopers, bunkers, and plenty of action this time around.
At the end, VoodooRay offers up tidbits about certain scenes. For example, he pushed his computer to the limit by modeling everything except the characters in Adobe After Effects. He actually had to remove some elements in order to function! In another scene, he even had to model it blindly and hope for the best. I think it turned out pretty well given the circumstances.
I may have mentioned this before, but I just have to say it again. Northrend is gorgeous. Gorgeous in a way that puts the rest of the game to shame. Just when you thought you'd seen all the good there was to see in Azeroth and Outland, Blizzard comes along and drops Northrend in our lap and makes everything we saw before look a bit plain and dull. Let's start off today with a question about Northrend's look:
Northrend is an arctic zone. Will there be aurora borealis in the northern night sky?
A similar glow effect exists in Northrend's Howling Fjord zone. It appears there day and night throughout the sky.
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.
Elementals rarely herald anything good. They're often a couple levels too high for their areas, are annoyingly immune to certain spells, and trying to farm them for their motes on a PvP server is like hanging a "Camp me for several hours until I throw the keyboard into the wall" sign on your neck. But sometimes elementals can be useful. Susurrus and his counterparts, seen here on top of Wildwind Peak in Azuremyst Isle, give draenei shamans their air totems at level 30. They do nothing else, which begs the question of why the clearly non-draenei Serrea of <Legacy of the Lunatics> on Wildhammer-EU is hanging around taking screenshots. Is she trying to become a draenei? I wouldn't blame her -- they're quite shapely, and their hairstyles are to die for, even if they live in a wrecked airplane.
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more sunsets.
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.
It's like Hunter Paradise in the land of hunter pets, lately, no? You need a tanking-pet? Gotcha covered. DPS? Yeah. Stealthy, tricky, neat-o, and maybe even make your lunch for you? No sweat, we're loaded with potential heart-warming killers for you hunters now.
"But what about fluorescent, BRK?"
Ooo. That's a new one... let's check the menagerie...
Yes! Wasps! And check out Sting! Still breathing? Yeah!
You are invited to download the YouTube version (44MB) of this movie here, and the full-sized version (153MB) 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!
Groups of Words' anonyomous blogger bought up a rather interesting theory regarding World of Warcraft expansions: They're actually more like sequels, in that they change a lot of the basic groundwork of the game and the classes to such a point that it feels like a completely different game.
As evidence of this, he puts forth a large list things that have changed between original WoW and Burning Crusade. Being a semi-old-timer to WoW, I certainly recognized pretty much all of the changes, and thinking back, a lot of them have been doozies.
New schematics are finally in for Engineers in the WrathBeta, with the exception of the eagerly anticipated and widely speculated upon motorcycle. Despite the glaring absence of The Hog, there are a bunch of neat stuff for Engineers from the basic -- such as the space-saving Hammer Picks and Bladed Pickaxes -- to the cool and complex, such as MOLL-E, a portable mailbox. Check out the gallery for a quick look at the new schematics in Beta and an overview after the jump.
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.