Each week Matthew Porter contributes The Creamy GUI Center, a column aimed at helping you enhance your WoW experience by offering an in depth guide to addons, macros and other tools we use to play WoW, along with commentary on issues that affect how we all play.
Whelp, BlizzCon 08 is slowly fading to memory, but before it's completely out of our mind I wanted to take one last look and comment on some of the insight we got on how Blizzard design's their interfaces. Also the big 3.0 patch hit and I hope you're enjoying it. If you're anything like me it's been a rollercoaster ride of highs and lows as I discover all the new features. For today, we'll take a look at the state of the interface and addon world with an analysis and commentary recap on the UI news that came out of BlizzCon. I wanted to look at that earlier, but the new patch took us by storm and made me rethink some issues. So kick back, relax, and get comfy as we examine where we're at and where we're going in the world of addons.
Step one is to become a zombie. Step two, rampage around a lowbie zone. Step three, scream "Braiiinnnns!" for everyone to hear. Step four, wait for an immersive roleplayer named "Pwnsurface" to kill you, in accordance to his Retribution Paladin's most tightly held beliefs.
Okay, there's a little more to roleplaying the event than that. It's tempting to launch yourself at the suspicious crates and transform into a brain-hungry beast. But to borrow a quote from a roleplayer on Shadow Council, if you're going to do that, chances are that what you're really doing is "taking an OOC day."
Most characters in the Alliance and Horde aren't yearning to find themselves transformed into an instinct-driven cranium muncher. Zombies are not only evil, they're members of the Scourge, out to destroy all life as we know it. They also have fairly bad personal hygiene. (Okay, so maybe they're not that much different from the Forsaken.)
But to us players, Zombies are cool. You get to do stuff, and attack people, and explode, and convert people into zombies, and it rocks! And while your character might find itself outta bubblegum, and decide to start kicking butt instead, you-the-player might feel bad for ruining someone else's good time.
Another big show on the podcast tomorrow -- this week we'll welcome back Matthew "Who needs a shirt?" Rossi, who hasn't been on with us for a while. And since he's on, you know we'll be talking about tanking and Shamans, specifically what things are like in patch 3.0.2. Amanda Dean will also join us, and we'll chat with her about how Hallow's End is going so far, and what else she's been up to in game. And while Turpster is off at a wedding this weekend, Duncor from WoW Radio has kindly agreed to join us, so we'll chat with him about his experiences at BlizzCon, the "zompocalypse," and what else might be in store for the big world event going on.
Plus, we'll get some talk in about achievements, since we still need to give out that loot card from last week, and we'll have the usual good times, including checking out your emails (feel free to send them to theshow at wowinsider dot com) and putting a few polls in. Don't forget, the action all takes place over on our Ustream channel (I've embedded a stream after the break), and the show kicks off promptly at 3:30pm Eastern. You can use this handy time zone converter to figure out when that is in your neck of the woods.
Should be fun -- we'll see you right back here (and on the Ustream page) tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern.
If you are a fury warrior, rejoice. Some of you were wondering where I was during the initial discussion. Frankly, I I was bodily assumed into what I can only assume was heaven. Sorry about that. Turns out it's really nice. I honestly don't have a real lot to say on this score (amazingly) aside from noting that I'm very pleased, it was exactly the change I was hoping they would make. It will be much easier to gear your fury warrior as he levels and when he reaches 80 for prepare for raiding. Admittedly, I'm not thrilled with the increase to armor for bosses, but it hits all physical DPS about the same.
I've wanted to discuss gearing in Wrath since we were interrupted a couple of weeks ago. Granted, we've been interrupted by awesome news like the above, but still it seems like a decent time to get back into looking at what gear we'll be picking up as we level through Northrend. And frankly, if we don't start talking about that again, this entire column will probably be me typing "Titan's Grip aarrgh 5% ahmina kill everything gaaaaa" and nobody wants that. Well, maybe you do, I don't know what you're into. But I'm pretty sure that I should try and move past "You will know I am the warrior when I lay my vengeance upon thee" ranting aside and get on with the column.
Well well well. Don't have a full ten minutes to turn yourself into the Undead? As a few tipsters have noticed, the incubation time for the plague has dropped in half to just five minutes -- click a crate (of which there are suddenly plenty around, whoever put those out there) or kill a roach, and five minutes later you're a member of the walking undead.
I thought it was going to take a while for this whole thing to play out, but things seem to be moving pretty quickly. Blizzard likes to drop new patches and holidays, it seems, on Friday night/Saturday morning (so weekend players can experience them), so keep your eyes open in Azeroth this evening -- we might finally find out just what this zombie business is all about.
When: 6:30pm Pacific Time (7:30pm Server Time, 9:30pm Blog/Eastern time)
Who: Any Horde character, any class or race or level
How: Send a tell to Robiness or anyone in guild for an invite to the raid and the guild.
I am offering summons to new Tauren characters, but everyone else should be able to make it to Brill easily. Please login a few minutes ahead of time and make your way to Tirisfal Glades. If we have time, we may have to zombify the place -- more than it already is.
I'll be there with a too much candy sugar high (though I don't like candy corn) and a few other bloggers may be attending as well (if they aren't too busy eating brains). We hope you will join us!
Ezra's father thanks the WoW community for their support - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:30:00 EST The Orange County Register's Blizzard Blog has posted a message from Micah Chatterton, father of Ezra "Epheonix" Chatterton, who, as we reported yesterday, passed away earlier this week. Micah's pain is tangible, but he says that Ezra loved his life, and the greatest tribute that he or anyone else can pay to Ephoenix is by trying to love life as much as he did. He also thanks the WoW community for their outpouring of support. There's no question that we can be a little silly and raucous at times (which is what makes, as Ezra certainly knew, being around this game so much fun), but when it comes down to it, we are a community, and when one member of the community suffers, we all do.
Once again, we pay our condolences, along with all of our readers who posted comments yesterday, to Micah and his family in this time of grief. Definitely give his statement a read -- it's extremely sad to hear about the suffering that Ezra went through, but Micah is exactly right: Ezra's life and the smile he had even when facing a tragedy like this should be an example for us all.
Micah also forwarded the message along to us, so we've posted it in full after the break.
The price of a game time refund - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 14:00:00 EST Is it just me or has it been a long time since Blizzard passed out some free game time? Reader Jim T. emailed me about a conversation he recently had with Blizzard's customer service -- he was disappointed with the lag, the queues, and the downtime on his server lately, and checking in about how he might get a refund or credit. The customer rep told him that while they didn't give out individual credit, they occasionally do give out game-wide credit for downtime mistakes.
Which is true -- Blizzard will occasionally give out a free day to folks affected by major unexpected downtime or server issues. But while they used to do itfairly often, by my recollection, they seem much less inclined to pull the trigger on a refund lately. On the one hand, sure, Blizzard does a better job than they used to -- last Tuesday's maintenance lasted quite a while, but it wasn't anything compared to the days the servers used to be offline a few years ago. On the other hand, though, there's no question players are being affected -- by queues, by problems logging in, and by lag on the instance servers and elsewhere.
Of course, we have no idea if Blizzard has an actual rule for when they give out free gametime and when they don't -- at this point, the criteria for giving players a refund happens to be "when they feel like it." Which is all right, we guess -- it's their company, of course. But it does seem like the criteria has changed -- we used to get refunds all the time, and even with all the problems lately, Blizzard hasn't decided to give customers any game time back.
Our friend Boubouille over at MMO Champion has done some more digging in the datafiles of the beta realms, and pulled out a brand new boss in Karazhan of all places. Meet Prince Tenris Mirkblood of the San'layn, a group of elven princes aligned with none other than The Lich King himself. He's not live on active servers at all -- again, Boubouille dug this up from beta realm files, so we may never actually see Tenris in game.
But there are a few quests surrounding the boss as well -- for more on how he might be included in the game during the world event (including possible spoilers), hit the link below.
This is awesome -- Jimzter of Carnage Kings on EU Darkspear decked out his Lambretta scooter with some great looking WoW art, and I mean decked: top to bottom, the whole thing is a celebration of the World of Warcraft. He's got character art all over the place, maps of the two major continents in the floor panels, and even the license plate font is WoW-ized. Apparently Jimzter designed all the custom artwork, and a friend painted it to his specs. As you can see, the guild's logo also got a promient place in the design. Looks amazing.
Jim is, we're told, also a member of the Beverly Scooter Club, and if you happen to be in the area of Bridlington (near Yorkshire, England), you can even come see the bike, as he'll be showing it off at the Bridlington National Scooter Rally on October 24 through 26th. With their kind permission, we've put pictures of the scooter in the gallery below. Very nice work.
More Hallow's End spirit to end your week, in the form of a little horror flick called The Little White Poney Inn from Olibith. It's a silent horror film that was originally made in French for Le Grand Prix MMO Machinima in 2007, which won the grand prize. (Anyone surprised? This guy eats awards for breakfast.) This version contains English subtitles over the French dialog cards (subtitles for the subtitles?) and a dialed-down "old film effect" compared to the version he entered into the contest. For this year's version of the same contest, Olibith won a finalist spot for The Noob Song.) If you like to be spooked, you'll have fun with this film and I have to admit that the ending made me laugh.
Here's a roleplay event, nicely timed to take advantage of the brain-munching Zombie plague. The Scourgebane Resolute on Shadow Council are holding a rally tomorrow (Saturday, October the 25th) to kick off their withdrawal from Outland, and re-focus their miiltary efforts toward Northrend. And like any good military body about to launch a strike, they want to convince the community of Azeroth that the Scourgebane are in the right, they have a plan, and everyone should go with them.
The leader of the rally will be providing an inspirational speech, which is also recorded as an audio file. You can get a copy on their their Guild's website. And while they don't provide any information about other, structured activities, you can probably expect a plethora of roleplay, duels, and discussions about what the Scourgebane will be up to in Northrend.
Since this event is taking place on the fringe of Brill, Alliance characters could drop by and hang out, also. It's on the way to the Wicker Man, which makes it easy for you to visit and say "Howdy!" (Alliance are invited, and since this is an RP server, you don't get insta-flagged for wandering nearby.) The Scourgebane don't explicitly say they'll be ganking zombies on sight -- but they are called the Scourgebane. Brain-munch at your own risk.
Okay, I know a lot of fangirls have a thing for broody bad-boy Illidan, at least before he became a giant purple demon overlord, but <Last Man Standing> of Tarren Mill-EU has taken it a little too far. Or maybe they're just expressing their affection for 25-man raids. Either way, I've got to hand it to them -- my old raiding guild had enough difficulty just lining up to take a kill shot without someone facing the wrong way. We could never have made an actual design.
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 battleground scoreboards.
Guten tag, freunden. Just a reminder -- you've got a little more than half a day left to participate in this week's Caption This contest. To enter, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight.
Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place, and a More Dots! or Ding! Grats shirt from J!NX is available to the runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here. The voting poll for the winner will be available Tuesday morning, so you can vote while "enjoying" weekly maintenance. Have fun!
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.
We are concerned.
One the one hand, we've received truckloads of emails asking for help with Gorilla-pets. And we can understand that, as the Gorilladin (Gorilladin = Gorilla + Paladin AoE attack) version of this pet deviates from the standard hunter-pet model of single-target destruction. This guy is an AoE-tank and the way to properly utilize him is different than every other hunter-pet. Thunderstomp and Volley are your friends with a Gorilla, foshizzle.
But on the other hand, the hunter-community has had to "endure" two of our movies about the Gorilla already, and doing another seems to be a little overboard. Can one have too much Gorilla? We really don't want a backlash.
We decided to do one more Gorilladin movie, but this is the last one. We're going to try to cover, in fine detail, a successful way to train and utilize a Gorilladin for use with farming multiple mobs. We chose Talbuks because we love leather, but the methods herein work with any non-caster mob: humanoids, beast, demons, etc.
The two macros we discuss in this movie are:
The Simple Pet-Misdirection Macro
/cast [target=your_pet's_name] Misdirection
The Pet-Attack Macro
/cast Hunter's Mark /petattack
There are many variations of these, but we're aiming for simplicity here. This is a 101 class, not graduate studies.
The chaos of the plague has most everyone's attention right now, but the world event potentially brought something a little less easily noticed as well. Just off the road to the Scarlet Monastery, there's an old grave that appears to have recently been dug up. As far as I can tell, it has appeared on servers on either the 19th or 20th or October. It's possible it went in with patch 3.0.2, but if that's the case then nobody noticed it until a couple of days ago. I find that unlikely. Either way, if it did crop up on the 20th, that means it predates the plague by a few days, and may have actually been the kickoff of the whole thing.
So what is this grave? According to the gravestone, Prince Arthas Menethil's steed was buried here. The horse, named Invincible (which was apparently a lie), seems to have been dug up recently. By the Scourge, or by someone else? Probably the Scourge, but anything can happen. It's fantasy after all. Drunken Dwarves might have dug it up on accident thinking it was the skeletal remains of a Titan or some nonsense.
I look forward to seeing what comes out of this, because the words on the gravestone don't give much away. It's very short and sweet, telling you what's there and little more. I guess that makes sense, It's a gravestone/memorial and I doubt the Scourge would spraypaint "ARTHUS WUZ HERR" across the stone. If you want to see what's engraved upon it, just take a look behind the link below.
First of all, let me be clear. I love the Zombie Invasion. I have spent hours trying to zombify towns and won't be satisfied until all of Orgrimmar is hungering for brains. I adore the comaraderie with my fellow players when turning each other into zombies and defending ourselves against those do-gooder paladins and priests. And I love that this is a pre-expansion, lore changing event.
But there have been complaints. Someone I know thinks this is the worst thing to happen to WoW. Her specific complaint is that this event is allowing players to "grief" their own towns on PvE servers. She believes that the zombies should not be able to prevent people from completing quests -- even if it is only temporary.
What do you think? Should the PvP component of the event be removed for PvE servers? Or do you find that the fun outweighs the drawbacks?
Server restarts for Friday October 24th - Fri, 24 Oct 2008 00:12:00 EST While the connectivity and general lag seems to have gotten better in the last day or so, there are still some lingering issues here and there. All servers will be undergoing rolling restarts on the morning of the 24th from 5:00 a.m. PDT to 6:00 a.m. PDT. Each realm is expected to be down only 15 minutes.
Ideally this will solve all the issues we've had since patch 3.0.2 hit last week, but more likely we'll just see things be better for a short time.
If this temporary down time turns into anything extended, we'll update this post.
Of course, this restart might have something to do with Zombies hungry for brains.
As you probably already know, there are zombies everywhere. Fortunately, you won't need to go to extreme lengths in order to fight them, such as grafting a chainsaw to yourself as a replacement hand. On the other hand, boomsticks will serve you well. Before we go about the strategies of how to fight legions of undead, it might help to read on all their abilities as well as some of their nefarious strategies for growing their numbers. Obviously, we won't need to tell you how to fight NPC zombies... they're mindless. But those crafty players-turned-zombies must be smote with righteous fury! Move faster The good news is that Azerothian zombies, just like in most movies, move slow. Just be sure to stay farther than 21 yards away from them as they have Retch! a ranged spell that will slow anyone within the area of effect. This is the smoky green cloud on the ground you see in all those screenshots. They can also summon a burst of speed using Lurch! so don't be too confident that they won't close the distance. That ability also frees them from movement impairing effects so trapping them or slowing them isn't a guarantee you'll be able to stay away from them. The idea is to kite the zombies, because getting into melee range with them is a very bad idea.
We were lucky enough to try out the WoW Minis game at BlizzCon, and I have to say that I really enjoyed it. I've never been much into collecting (I used to play CCGs back when I was a kid, and when, at one point, I spent half my allowance on one pack of cards that didn't have any new ones, I pretty much decided it was over), but the game itself is pretty fun, kind of a mix between an arena match and a turn-based battle. I'd need someone to play with, I think, but if I could convince a friend to sit down and be nerdy with me, I could see getting into it.
If you haven't gotten a chance to see the game in action yet, you're in luck. Upper Deck tells us that they've passed out free starter kits to more than 1,500 hobby stores around the country (they didn't provide a list, but if the previous TCG events went down at a store near you, odds are the minis kits will be there as well), so if you have some free time this weekend, stop in and ask if you can see the game and how it works.
The game itself launches on November 11th, so if you enjoy playing the game at the store this weekend, you'll be able to pick up a starter set and booster packs then.