Like many of my siblings of the shadows, I play WoW in both the PvP and PvE environments. As a guild leader, it is my responsibility to organize raid groups and to lead my team to victory (and the associated purple loot). While keeping up Hunger for Blood & Slice and Dice & Rupture up may seem interesting for others; after a while the raid DPS grind wears away at my soul. I was not born to be a number-crunching math machine. I am a Horde assassin at heart: born to taste the blood of my Warchief's enemies!
I have been flexing my PvP muscles in the new Lake Wintergrasp and Strand of the Ancients battlegrounds, though I find myself sitting in a turret or catapult fairly often. The arena has always been my true love. It was what brought me back to WoW for TBC, and it is what tempted me to level in Northrend for the next installment. With Season 5 now officially underway, my week has consisted of the most bloodthirsty battles I have ever been a part of. So go buy your Hateful Gladiator's Band of Triumph (best initial upgrade with no rating requirement) and read on!
I know I was supposed to write a guide to gearing up for Haste, but some of you pointed out that Hit is way more important, particularly with the change to melee Haste in late Burning Crusade. You guys are absolutely right, as melee Haste no longer gives the same oomph in Wrath as it did back then. In fact, if we're looking at maximizing our DPS, it's important to actually land our hits. All that Strength isn't going to do jack if we miss our target.
So first things first. We make out Hit cap, which frees up our gems and enchants for the all-important Strength. At Level 80, every 32.8 Hit Rating gives us 1% Hit, which means that we'll need a total of about 262.4 to reach the cap or 8%. Raid bosses are considered to be Level 83, three levels above max level -- hence the skull, so we'll need 8%, or 3% above the 5% base chance to miss targets of the same level. Fortunately, there's a whole lot of +Hit DPS plate in Northrend that we won't struggle to hit that cap at all. Here's a quick guide to gearing up our Retribution Paladins for +Hit.
Welcome back, flight path fans! Storm Peaks is the penultimate zone in Northrend, and a welcome return to navigational complexity. As I mentioned in my last post on Sholazar, it is also my favorite zone in Northrend; I really enjoy all the Titan stuff as well as the background on the dwarves we get in the Alliance quests. The Sons of Hodir have the dubious honor of being probably the most difficult essential faction to rep up with, but that's going to get much easier in 3.0.8 when Relics of Ulduar become a rep turn-in. Anyway, I'd better get on with the FPs; there are quite a few of them.
K3 (41,83), run by the goblins, is the entry point to Storm Peaks (and a pun off a famous mountain). I only wish we could ride on rockets all the time out of this one.
Dun Niffelem (63,61) is a heavily phased Frost Giant town, headquarters of the Sons of Hodir. You will not be able to go here without being attacked before doing some significant questing (but don't worry, they're very enjoyable quests).
Bouldercrag Refuge, in the northwest of the zone, has a flight master at 31,36.
There's also a small cluster of NPCs up near the Ulduar instances, including a flight master (45,28), a repairer, and a reagent vendor. This is very handy for those Halls of Stone and Halls of Lightning runs (both of which are pretty nasty on heroic, in my opinion, especially the Tribunal and Loken). It will become even more essential in patch 3.1, when the Ulduar raid is due to be added.
How do you control your character? If you move with the W-A-S-D keys and stab at spell and ability icons on-screen with your mouse, you're missing out on a whole world of options that can streamline your game. Simply by setting up your character controls a little differently, you can make your game play easier and more efficient. WoW Rookie pulls together a whole host of options to mull over.
One of the first points to consider: How do you move your character? If you read a bit of WoW and gaming sites around the 'net, you've probably seen the phrase "mouthbreathing keyboard turner" bandied about. You're a keyboard turner if you use keys (usually W-A-S-D) on the keyboard to turn and move your character. Your character can turn (and get behind and around things and other players) much, much faster if you whip around with the mouse rather than slowly pivoting in place with your keyboard. So why's that such a big issue?
Unfortunately, that number alone doesn't tell us much, except that there's a lot of gold moving around in Northrend (it would be interesting to compare this to, say, Azeroth or Outland's equivalent, though the more useful numbers would probably be Outland before the new expansion hit, when everyone was still farming and selling items from there). And it will be interesting to see this tracked in the future: the real GDP is usually used as an indicator of both standard of living and a country's economic health, and while there are drawbacks to using that number to gauge both of those qualities, it's probably fair to say the economy in Northrend is booming. Maybe tracking this in the future will let us see how new content patches or item or even class updates can affect what the economy does there.
Very interesting. EVE Online's creators, CCP, have actually hired an economist to help run their ingame economy, and while WoW's isn't generally seen as quite that complicated, there are still plenty of big numbers to play around with..
Some of the (many) great things about the holidays are the wonderful movies created by machinimists. Some are serious, some are heart-tugging, some are just plain hilarious. Northrend Wonderland by Firebolt Productions falls into that last category. It's such a strong holiday comedy piece (for WoW players) that I'm sure I'm going to be playing it repeatedly tomorrow.
The premise is simple. It's Winter's Veil in Northrend, and Arthas has the blues. One of his loyal minions offers the Lich King a stroll through the torture chamber to help perk up. Song and comedy ensue.
The production values are good. I enjoyed the scenes, models, and camera work. But the soundtrack is really where Northrend Wonderland takes the cake. The music is awesome and hilarious. I guess the only criticism would be that the Darth-sounding voices of Arthas and minions can be tough to understand without subtitles, but that's why the subtitles are there.
Who will deliver presents to the denizens of Azeroth when Greatfather Winter gets dazed off his epic flyer? Why, Doodlebug of Kael'thas, of course! He'll presumably be joining up with KwanzaaBot and the Chanukah Zombie later on, but for now, it's just him and his reindeer ... hey, it IS just him and his reindeer. Where are the presents? He stole the blasted presents! They're up on the auction house! I guess that's one way to raise the cash for that Tundra Mammoth.
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This is purely anecdotal, of course (everything is with this column), but it seems to us that there are fewer incidents of drama nowadays after Wrath (probably due to changes with the endgame and the loot), but the few incidents out there are much harsher. Take this pic as exhibit A -- it's an instance ninja, which happens occasionally, but it's a very unrepentant instance ninja. People aren't jerks to each other as much (because presumably they have less opportunity to do so), but people who are jerks... are really big jerks.
That's what we've seen anyway -- if you've seen otherwise, let us know: send your drama, downed and recruiting news to firstname.lastname@example.org. This week's guild updates after the break, including some awesome TLDR drama, and lots and lots of new guild downs.
Gamesindustry.biz has a quote from Senior VP of merchandising at GameStop Bob McKenzie, indicating that it's not just Wrath of the Lich King doing well. These numbers haven't spiked because of all of the returning customers, WoW is gaining plenty of new ones, too. The base WoW package and the World of Warcraft Battle Chest are still doing quite well. Better than last year, he specifies. So while those base package purchases are certainly fueled by the Wrath hype, it's bringing in new customers, not just the returning customers.
WoW may not be the kind of game for every gamer out there, and the game isn't without its flaws. Despite that, it has proven over and over that it's by far one of the best games out there, and definitely the best of its genre. I don't expect it will be going away anytime soon.
Episode 4 of The Guild's second season released - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 17:30:00 EST The latest episode of The Guild is up, and as has been the case with previous episodes of this season, if you're not seeing it on XBox Live or Zune yet, it'll surely be there soon. It's a great episode, with plenty of the laughs we've come to expect from The Guild. I'm curious to see what impact this new character will have on the crew!
In other Guild news, a gag reel for episodes 1-3 is also available. It's short and sweet, but their bloopers are just as funny as some of the real scenes. It's not super surprising that even their flubs would be hilarious given the cast they have, I suppose. I'm almost as much of a fanboy of Sandeep Parikh and Jeff Lewis as I am of Felicia Day. Almost.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about.
The internet is abloom with emoticons - fragrant flowers peppering the soil around posts filled with fertile viewpoints, hoping to soften and breathe context into black and white text. Posters struggle to assume an innocuous mantle. Not Tobold. MMORPG blogger Tobold has built a reputation as a straight-shooter. He unabashedly gulps down macro and micro topics alike, spitting out analyses minus the ubiquitous apologies and humble posturing that characterize so many blogs. Opinion as opinion, fact as fact - and an audience of readers who appreciate the opportunity to volley between fact and opinion, hardcore and softcore topics.
The man behind the blog is really a pretty humorous and easy-going guy, and our e-mail interview with Tobold actually did start out with an emoticon. Find out what made Tobold smilie, after the break.
WoW Insider's Loot-idays: Day two - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 16:00:00 EST Hey hey it's our holiday buddy Great-father Winter! What's up, GFW, how's your holiday going? It's going great? Good to hear!
What's that? You've got more presents under the tree for our readers today, thanks to WoWTCGLoot.com? You've got six prizes in total, four dance grenades, and two pet biscuits, and you want to give them away to six lucky commenters on this post in the next 24 hours? You say the codes work on both US and EU realms, so all players need is to comment with a real email (so we can reach them when the contest is over) and make sure their characters are on one of those realms? Well that sounds just peachy, GFW! Thanks so much!
Boy, that Great-father, he's quite a guy. Oh, what's that, Great-father? You were hoping that we brought cookies and milk for you? Oh... errr, ummm... we actually ate them already. Sorry about that. But thanks for the giveaway, and good luck to everyone who enters!
Tweaks to enchanting in 3.0.8 - Tue, 23 Dec 2008 15:15:00 EST Are you an enchanter? Have you started tearing out your hair at how hard it is to get things to DE to Infinite Dust or Greater Cosmic Essence, while Dream Shard after Dream Shard piles up in your bank even after you've bought all the enchants? In my case it's Essences that are the issue. Nothing I disenchant seems to want to turn into them, while even lowly greens keep turning into shards. I have all the enchants to learn, I simply can't get enough essences to do any enchants.
Turns out this is being retuned in 3.0.8 although I'm not sure I like how it sounds. See, the solution of jacking up how many shards enchants need would certainly make shards more valuable on the AH, but I don't sell mine anyway. Meanwhile, am I going to be getting essences from DEing now? Dust isn't that hard to get in my opinion (certainly not as hard as GC seems to think it is) - it's essences I can't get enough of, and essences that limit the enchants I can and can't do. On my server a Greater Cosmic Essence can run you 50g for one, and when I need 10 for an enchant and only have 1 after DEing two days worth of farmed/quested greens, that's a problem for me. I don't see how making it take more shards to do an enchant would be any great favor unless those shards somehow took the place of Greater Cosmic Essence, and if they do, what's the point of GCE at all? Here's hoping I'm just being reactionary and the changes coming in make it easier to level this profession.
Servers seem to be coming up a little earlier than the most recent estimates, though there aren't a whole lot of them up yet. As I write this, there are only a dozen or so servers active and ready to go with more coming up every moment. Update: Looks like most servers are now up at this point, if not all of them. Huzzah!
For those of you who are on vacation and are eager to play, go on! Have fun! Hopefully there will be no more issues today and your holidays in Azeroth will be uninterrupted. For those of you who are sitting at work or school right now, I am sorry. Come over to my place, I'll share my cookies with you.
And no, I don't play on Argent Dawn. Sorry! Lowbie alts for the win.
Technically it's more like second time squared, as I'm leveling two characters to 80 right now, but the point still stands that I think now that the initial rush for most folks to get their mains to 80 is over, questing in Northrend is just plain easier.
Obviously this is in large part due to the fact that you're not competing with everyone for the same kills. When I did the Ned, Lord of Rhinos quest the first time it was a chaotic melee as something like twelve groups (groups, as in two or three people per) vied to tag the guy as soon as he spawned. And even as parties would get their kill and move on, more would keep arriving so that some people waited for upwards of an hour while those that have the better instant casts tended to get the tag off. When I did the quest on my shaman a couple of weeks ago, it was much more managable, I basically just waited until the horde party tagged him and got him on the respawn. And when I did it on my night elf last night, I basically had Ned all to myself. Borean Tundra and Howling Fjord are effectively deserted compared to their state after the launch.
You'll probably be doing the same thing we are for those additional two hours: Wasting time at WoW Insider. We'll be sure to keep you updated, whether realms come up early or maintenance gets another extension. Keep an eye on the site, and we'll keep an eye out for you, and thanks to everyone who did the same for us and wrote into our tipline!
I'm a dork. I admit it. I love my mage and I love making portals for people, even non-tippers. In fact, you have to work pretty hard not to get a port from me. Which is why, even after decades of dealing with anonymous jerks in BBS chat rooms and on the internet, I was a little shocked at how rude a level 62 Tauren Shaman who shall remain nameless was when demanding a port from me. Maybe he just didn't know any better. So here is a little guide as to how to increase your chances of getting a port from a mage you don't know.
Since these changes haven't gone live yet, your guess is as good as mine as to whether or not they'll all combine to meet or even exceed GC's predictions. My shaman's elemental gear is solidly in that category of gear he states 'won't see quite such a lift' so as soon as I manage to get on the PTR and test it, I still won't be in the gear needed to really verify this.
Our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe - it's not all just World of Warcraft over there. Which is not to say we don't love WoW! Our weekly roundup will try to give you a look at the best WoW-related content on Massively from the last week. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed to follow our ongoing coverage of your favorite game.
Massively's picks for the best of 2008 Massively doesn't hand out awards. We're not the Oscars, we're not the Emmys. What we are, though, is a bunch of opinionated MMO bloggers. Like it or hate it, 2008 was an enormous year for our favorite genre of games. We took a poll among the staff of the site, taking stock of an entire year in gaming. What follows are our picks for the best, the most surprising, the games that we just can't wait to play.
The WoW vs. WAR debate makes Top 10 list of video game rage Alec Meer of Rock, Paper, Shotgun recently put a new twist on the 'top 10' lists that are cropping up at year's end -- a sort of top ten of gaming rage as expressed on the intertubes. Much of this list is focused on single-player titles and the industry itself, but Meer's 'Orc vs Orc' (#8 on the list) caught our attention.
Fill out your "WoW Code" to show your Azeroth pride If you've ever woken up in the morning and said to yourself, "Gee, I'd like to appear nerdier today," then do we have the story for you! Scare your real life friends and confuse even the staunchest gaming nerd. Use "WoW Code" in your forum signature!
Player Consequences: Movie Magic and MMOs Video games have quickly grown into one of the most popular forms of entertainment in this day in age. Almost everyone under eighteen plays them and developers are getting better at making games that appeal to older generations. Still, there are other forms of media that enjoy more mainstream awareness.
Behind the Curtain: Multiple MMOs Is one MMO ever enough? Lots of people play more than one MMO. Among the staff here at Massively, you would be hard pressed to find a writer with only one active subscription. Ever the exception however, I am a one-game kind of guy.