Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.
Last week we talked a bit about gear and spell power, and various related things. I mostly approached it as supplying my personal experiences, but a lot of people wanted numbers. Specifically, how your current gear will translate into the new spell power mechanic.
A kind fellow named Dan helped us out with a little bit of that in the comments section last week, so let's expand upon it somewhat. Again, this will focus mostly on the Healer and Caster aspects of the Hybrids. You Melee guys don't really need to worry about how spell power will change your gear.
Alright, so the question is this: If you have a choice between taking +Damage gear or +Healing gear in the current game right now, which would be a better choice for taking with you into Wrath of the Lich King leveling? Let's make liberal use of Wowhead, shall we?
Addon Spotlight: Minimalist - Sun, 24 Aug 2008 17:00:00 EST Welcome to this week's Addon Spotlight, where I'm going to pay tribute to your feedback by giving an official thank-you to you all for turning me on to Minimalist. Basically, this addon does everything I've been using multiple addons to accomplish in one simple package, with a memory footprint even Tekkub would be proud of. (I think, he gets pretty fired up about wasted resources.)
Alright, back to Minimalist, the addon that makes a bunch of little adjustments, helping to clean up the some-times cluttered default UI. It provides a way to automate some simple commands and remove some unwanted knick-knacks. (Actionbar chickens, begone!) The good news is that this is an Ace addon and there is already a Wrath-compliant version for those of you in the Beta.
If you tend to be a strictly weekend-centric WoW Insider reader, you may have missed some of the best stuff to come out of the Wrath beta thus far: the eye candy! Class updates, mechanics changes, pfft, who needs that stuff? No no my friends, me, I'm all about the shinies. Okay, and I like all of that other stuff, too. Luckily, we have a little bit of everything, and in case you did miss our eye candy, let's take a look back at some of it, shall we? Be warned, however, that most of these galleries contain some minor spoilers. If you don't want to be spoiled, be careful!
The Borean Tundra The Borean Tundra, accessed from either the Orgrimmar zeppelin tower or the Stormwind Harbor, is one of two starter zones in Northrend. The Tundra houses Valiance Keep, Warsong Hold, D.E.H.T.A. the Coldarra (home of the Blue Dragonflight) and much more.
The Howling Fjord The Howling Fjord is the second of the two Northrend starter zones, accessed via Menethil Harbor or the Tirisfal zeppelin towers. The Howling Fjord is home to Valgarde, the Forsaken's Vengeance Landing, the Vrykul fortress Utgarde, and the Ember Clutch.
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, the column that answers your questions about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe. Click the Comments link below (or e-mail us!), ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer your question in a future installment! Without further ado, let's get to the questions. Justin of Firetree-US wrote in to ask... Along the coastline in the Swamp of Sorrows there are skeletons of giant turtles with structures built onto the back of their shells. Is this a nod to the Gnome submarines used in Warcraft II? If I remember correctly, they were turtles as well.
While yes, the Gnomes did use the turtles as submarines in Warcraft II, they aren't the only ones that have made use of them. According to a few quests in Darkshore, the Naga have put the Giant turtles to work as transports. Also, in Wrath of the Lich King, the Tuskarr use giant turtles with carriages on their backs as transportation as well. In fact, you can use them to get from one end of Northrend to the other.Edit: I was wrong, the Gnomes didn't use the turtles. It was a Horde unit. Same answer applies, though.
It should be a good time -- even if you're not in Bloomington, Indiana, there is a live stream on their website that plays really well in iTunes, so if you're awake around midnight this evening (finishing up those dailies or farming those last few motes), feel free to tune in and check it out. We're not sure if they can do call-ins, but even if not, you can always send us a tip with a suggestion of what you'd like to hear and I'll do my best to get it on the air.
The show starts around midnight on the East Coast (and goes pretty late, I believe), but if you're up for some late night Sunday Warcraft discussion, definitely tune in.
What happens when a player gets fed up with tactical PvP? Sefearion brings us his interpretation of strategic planning from both sides. While he admits that the portrayals are blown out of proportion, they end up entertaining nonetheless.
The model viewed characters need some work, but the voices and topic matter help make this an instant classic. The Alliance team members are portrayed as whiny and disorganized, while the Horde are prim and proper. He leaves us with a cliffhanger, so we won't know what side wins until later. Given his humorous bias towards the Horde, you can easily figure it out without seeing the battle, though.
Beta tester Landon has stumbled upon a secret in one of the Titan-centric areas of Storm Peaks -- an entire galaxy. This miniverse is holed up inside what appears to be one of those giant test tubes that aliens use to hold people in suspended animation in bad b-movies and that Simpsons Halloween special where they kidnapped the presidential candidates.
What does it contain? Is it a parallel universe? A split in the giant Trousers of Time, where the Burning Legion won at Mount Hyjal and now rules Azeroth? Is it the galaxy of Azeroth, encased forever inside itself? Or is it the most terrifying thing of all; our very own Milky Way? Landon, you fool! What have you discovered? No, don't log out! You'll destroy us all! Just play WoW for all of eternity. It's a small price to pay for not dooming existence.
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.
Sunday Morning Funnies: Just a few Centaur feet - Sun, 24 Aug 2008 09:00:00 EST Another Sunday is passing, and with it, summer break. Soon, raids will pick back up, we'll see a return to relatively child-free hours on the servers, and the weather will start to cool off. Here are this week's funnies, to help you stay in a summery spirit. Humor
If you read WoW Insider, or really any WoW site, there's really no way you can be unaware of the Wrath cinematic's debut. Some people loved it, some people hated it, some people can go either way on it. I found that pretty interesting, because I personally loved it. While watching it, I actually thought to myself, "Wow, Daniel is gonna love this." Turns out he wasn't a fan of it at all!
I loved the fact that it was more heavy on the story than the previous trailers. The Burning Crusade cinematic had some story, but it all seemed like it was just an excuse to kill some people and then throw in a quotable one-liner. Not that there's anything wrong with one-liners. Yelling 'You are not prepared!' with a few dozen other nerds at BC's midnight release was pretty sweet.
I think that the trailer missed on the adrenaline factor, which is what made the previous trailers so fun. Daniel had some gripes with the Lich King's character, but I think that oomph of adrenaline would've pushed it from 'awesome' to 'completely amazing.' It needed something that gets you pumped. I adored it, but I came out of it going "wow, that was neat" and not "Hell yeah, I'm off to kill some undead, woohoo!" I think the only thing I would have done differently is add some conflict. A battle between the Horde/Alliance and the Scourge, maybe. Quick snippets of random pairs duking it out would've taken away from the 'epic' of this trailer, but I like the idea of a massive battle raging down below. That likely doesn't jive with the storyline they're working with since that dragon is going to be an actual character and/or boss in Wrath, but it would have been nice anyway.
What about you guys? Let's say you were given the opportunity to rewrite the script for the whole thing, what would you do? Would you scrap the whole shebang and start over, is it fine how it is, or are you somewhere in between?
The Colosseum: Maimage of Korgath, Vengeful Gladiator - Sat, 23 Aug 2008 23:00:00 EST The Colosseum takes us inside the world of the Gladiator (Brutal, Vengeful, Merciless, and otherwise), to interview some of the top Arena fighters in the battlegroups. Our goal is to bring a better understanding of the strategy, makeup, and work that goes into dueling it out for fame, fortune, and Netherdrakes.
Maimage, a Warrior on Korgath, is one of the many high-ranked players competing in the Arena Junkie's Olympic contest. He's sitting right now on the team AJOlympics at 2321. Maimage is one of few, the proud -- the Vengeful Gladiators. Like many such players, however, he also has a fairly high alt priest named Maimgler, hovering around the 2K rating mark.
We caught up with him, as we tend to do, and Maim was helpful in supplying some insight about the way the Arena works. Check out what he had to say after the cut. Since he's more experienced with his Warrior, his answers are mostly focused on that class. That makes him the first Warrior for the Colosseum, and his answers contrast interestingly with previous week's speakers.
So here's yet another example of how mutable Death Knights are at the moment: This week, I decided to spec Blood all week and make a genuine effort to learn all the ins and outs I could so that I could bring you a good solid overview of Blood for this weekend's column.
Then build 8820 came along, and Blood, while having the same basic mechanics, got a rather big hit to its health regeneration and DPS abilities, and I'm left trying to figure out the extent of the damages. In the end, I don't think Blood was horribly nerfed in this build, but it might have been slightly overnerfed.
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.