That's a big deal, and it pins just a little more credence onto the longtime rumors that the next expansion of the game will take us into the big watery swirly known as the Maelstrom. Lots of water activity was actually updated in this expansion already -- there are many more items designed to help us breathe underwater, and breathing itself was buffed quite a bit.
If you played WoW at all during the Love is in the Air holiday event that ran in early February, then you surely heard the moaning about the meta achievement, Fool For Love, which grants the title, Love Fool.
Whether you wanted to celebrate this month or not, anyone seeking to complete their long and strange trip and acquire the coveted Violet Proto-Drake, had to be a Fool For Love.
One of the requirements was to complete the achievement, Be Mine, which had players running back to old world capital cities, dousing themselves in smelly concoctions, and begging the guards and citizens not to break their hearts.
This gave us one chance per hour at obtaining the elusive Bag of Candies that would allow players ten chances to create, ideally, eight unique candies. The drop rate for the bag was so poor and the holiday so short that people begged Blizzard to improve their chances.
Blizzard has since crunched the numbers, and some great news was handed down by Zarhym that should put everyone's mind at rest. While the Be Mine achievement is not being removed as a requirement for completion of the meta achievement, instead of needing all eight candies, you will only need to have obtained six!
Not only that, but you won't have to wait until next year. As of patch 3.1, all you will need to do is login to be granted your achievement, as well as your title, as long as you had made at least six unique candies.
Many players would still like to see that particular achievement removed from the meta entirely, but Blizzard stands firm that the point of What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been and its reward is to be something that only a dedicated few will earn each year. They aren't about to make it too easy.
But Ghostcrawler responds with an insight that all classes might benefit from hearing: Players will find a way. First, he says that if Blizzard didn't want Death Knights to dual wield, they wouldn't be able to. He says that the damage needed to be nerfed, if only so other classes didn't think they were going to start being able to do that kind of DPS. And then had adds that just because one build is being quashed, it doesn't mean other builds won't eventually appear -- Blizzard predicts what players might do with their talents, but GC says they're almost always surprised by what players come up with, and that he expects Death Knights will come up with another way (some already known by Blizzard) to make two weapons more than viable.
Which some players don't appreciate (they accuse GC of designing by breaking first and letting player fix later), but I kind of like that idea. As Ghostcrawler says in his followup, if there was just one way to play a class, everyone would play it that way. It's Blizzard's (and his team's) job to put the challenge not just in the dragons we fight, but in the tough choices in the talent trees. Everyone knew DKs were getting nerfed (and GC even says that players always say "but I didn't know they were getting nerfed that much!"), and it's interesting that Blizzard is already looking forward to Death Knight players re-finding their grooves, even with the nerfs.
One of the more mysterious bugs currently on the PTR is the fact that Human Females (maybe others, but none I've noticed) transferred over to the PTR are having their faces swapped around. In the picture above, you can see that my Paladin has two different faces. The one on the left is from Live servers, the one on the Right is from the patch 3.1 test realm. It isn't happening to all characters, oddly. Just some of them. My Priest, who is also a Human Female, transferred just fine and has the same face she always does. Which happens to be the face my Paladin has on the PTR now. Funky.
It's a known issue, and I'm sure it'll go away long before this patch ever hits live realms, but it's a very curious bug. It was likely caused by something quite mundane, but it makes me wonder if they were working on something that caused faces to shift out of the numerical order they had before. Adding new skins, perhaps? Updating old ones? Maybe, maybe not.
This is very cool -- Jellis of Keepers of Stromgarde on the Venture Company server (the guild is an RP-PVP guild that has taken root in Stromgarde and claimed it as their own) put together this real-life version of their tabard, and it looks great. It's a little different from the "official" Stromgarde tabard, but I think this is probably the best they could do with the guild interface. She's even offered to make copies for everyone in the guild (we're told there's 75 members), which is pretty darn incredible. Plus, if you're willing to wear a tabard around in public, clearly you're dedicated to your guild.
This reminded me of the Scarlet Crusade t-shirt we saw made a while back -- you can check that one out in the gallery below. I'll admit it: I'm jealous. Maybe my guild needs to recruit some crafty people so we can start getting some cool real-life stuff of our own, too.
15 Minutes of Fame: The overachiever - Wed, 25 Feb 2009 16:30:00 EST 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.
Achievements - just the ticket for a player with time to spare. The concept fits like a glove for Helcyon of Draka-US (H), who currently stands at 6,430 Achievement points and counting. (That's 593 out of a possible 749 Achievements, in case you wondered.) If you've ever pined for more free time to tick off Achievements (or if you've avoided purposely going after Achievements at all, like me, in the interest of not getting sucked into something you don't have time for), Helcyon's story will leave you green with envy.
You see, Helcyon's no obsessive-compulsive basement dweller, checklist and mouse in hand. Retiring young has left him with plenty of time to indulge in gaming, and he exercises complete freedom in dipping into and out of the Achievement pool. "I really like to complete things, but at my own pace -- which varies ... a lot," he admits. "When patch 3.0 hit, I hit the Achievement path pretty quickly. I was up over 3,000 points within a few days of release. Achievements took a back seat as I leveled a couple characters to 80; however, I am now back on track earning my 10 points here and there!"
Which isn't exactly unexpected (in fact, we have already heard that it wouldn't make the 3.1 PTR), but even the things that were promised to be in the PTR (no need for ammo pouches or quivers, bigger stacks for ammunition) still don't seem to be there. We still believe that Blizzard has this on the to-do list, but it looks like this change has been put aside for now.
Too bad -- that was a pretty exciting adjustment for Hunters. But Blizzard seems hard at work on things like the Argent Dawn Tournament and the Dual Spec system. We'll get the ammo changes when they get around to them.
Yes, yes, we know you're curious about what the Ulduar boss encounters will be like, loyal readers. With 14 bosses, 11 hard modes, and an optional heroic boss, we wonder, too! We'll be able to test some of these encounters on the 3.1PTR soon, but there are, of course, those of us who just can't wait to know anything about what's going on in Ulduar.
Luckily, ever-resourceful players and dataminers have acquired information about spells and abilities related to bosses in Ulduar from the 3.1 PTR files. There's a lot of of stuff in here -- some of it may make it into the live game, some may not, and some may be related to vehicles or other sundries involved with encounters. I'm going to go into detailed analysis of those encounters for which detailed spells exist.
It goes without saying that these will be huge spoilers to anyone who doesn't want their Ulduar experience to be anything but pure, so don't read past the jump if you don't want to know!
The Argent Tournament is part of the new content coming in patch 3.1, and it was sort of a surprise when it was announced the other day, just before the PTR came up. We hadn't heard anything about it previously, not even any hints at its addition, so it grabbed our interest right away.
We had to check it out, of course. There are a few quests you can do right off the bat, but they're not particularly exciting. The first two quests you pick up are just some gathering quests. It gets a little more exciting from there, but I was honestly much more interested in the visuals of the event. While there's obviously a lot of development still happening there (lots of placeholder tags), what is done looks really awesome. When this event goes live, I have no doubt we'll see a lot of people going back to using their racial mounts once these new skins have been added in.
Just south of the tournament, there also seems to be a failed Frost Wyrm resurrection site, a Death Knight's blade jutting out of the ice with a wyrm just below the surface. I wish we knew the story behind that!
Screenshots of the new mounts, tabards, banners, and the whole shebang are in the gallery below. Check it out, and if there's anything you want to see in greater detail, leave a comment to this post and I'll see what I can do for you.
Ulduar is here, and Blizzard has released a new video you can watch above. We see new mobs and animations, get a look at Freya and some vehicle combat, and see some absolutely stunning interiors of the new raid zone.
The video lasts just under 2 minutes, and is worth your time to take a look. There is also some Blizzard music along with it, so be sure to have your sound turned up a bit. You can download high resolution versions of the video from Blizzard.
Perhaps the coolest thing in the video is around the 1:20 mark where we see a new tram style monorail (cue the Simpson's song). There are also very interesting stain glass like windows shown at the end.
Ulduar represents the latest in Blizzard's dungeon making and artistic design, and by the looks of it they're poised to create one helluva masterpiece.
3.1 and Ulduar are coming soon. No doubt a lot of you have been looking forward to seeing what your reward for hacking apart a variety of priceless Titan artifacts and servants of the Old Gods would be. MMO-Champion, as always, has your back! They've released a preview for the weapon and accessory models that'll be in Ulduar, and they look fantastic. The theme of the instance seems to carry through into all of its gear, and I'm going to love just how good my guild and I will look after a bit of time in there.
The image above is a paladin holding one of the Ulduar shields and the much-touted Val'anyr, Gavel of Ancient Kings, and that's just the tip of the iceberg from MMOC, who promises a video of it in action very soon.
Bear in mind these are still tentative models and the art may change, but even then, what are you waiting for? Santa won't get mad if you peek. Go go go!
Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Adam Holisky will be your host today.
So the Patch 3.1 PTR has dropped and all the madness associated with it has started. I always find it interesting to watch how some ideas and changes morph from "AMG! Imma gonna stop paying MY $15 A MONTH right now and you're gonna be out of a job because Titan's Grip didn't need to be nerfed!" to "WoW! These new Warrior changes make the Titan's Grip nerf pointless! I am so uber again!" I /facepalm at that sort of thought progression, as I suspect many of you do as well.
"How how long do I have to get title and mount rewards for the achievements associated with Wrath raids and heroics? Is it until patch 3.1 when Ulduar gear will make them easier? Until the next expansion? Some time in between?"
Zarhym took the time out to answer some questions about the Argent Tournament surprise event that Blizzard sprung on us the other day. He explains that it will be a permanent event unlike the opening of the gates of Ahn'Qiraj or the scourge invasion. If I understand it correctly, it will be similar to the phased events in the Isle of Quel'danas, with daily quests to contribute to the construction of the coliseum.
The coliseum itself will not be part of Patch 3.1 and will be introduced in a later content patch. Blizzard plans many events centered around the Argent Tournament and plans to roll them out over time. Zaryhm confirms that the coliseum, or the event proper, will be instanced and will not be PvP-related. He also explains that the Argent Tournament is a concerted effort from all the capital cities, and players will earn the chance to represent their city of choice in the eventual battle against the Lich King.
For those concerned about the lore behind this seemingly festive jousting tournament, Zarhym states, "Tournaments and competitions like this may seem like trivial games in times of real struggle against the Scourge, but it's also an opportunity to rally those who oppose the Lich King through blood sport." Nothing like a little knight's tale to get players pumped for battle, I suppose.
With the PTRs recently launched (my bet in the WoW Insider pool was Tuesday during maintenance), we've seen the first iteration of the 3.1 patch notes. They match what Ghostcrawler and Eyonix were kind enough to give us early, mostly in the flavor of Combat buffs and a change to HfB which I predict nobody will be happy with.
While talking with some fellow assassins, we began musing as to what these changes will mean for Rogues of all specs and playstyles. Read on after the cut for a full analysis of the big changes.
There are hundreds of reports coming in from around the net going up on the official Blizzard forums, tons coming into the WoW Insider Tip Line, and the problem has been experienced by every staff member here that's been on the PTR.
You can move no more than a few dozen paces in Dalaran without there being a critical error that causes WoW to crash.
There were some early reported rumors that the problem is linked exclusively to ATI video cards, but I can say beyond a doubt that such is not the case - I have an nVidia GeForce GTX 260 I'm getting crashed every few minutes while in Dalaran.
As a note, if you're having trouble viewing this video through the stream, there are many more viewing options at the good Baron's blog. I highly recommend downloading the HD options for best experience.
I first got word a few days ago. A small wisp of warning, a whisper that today's big news was coming. Time passes, days go by. Then, yesterday, a heads up sent by Selserene (whom I thank vastly for the message). Then, a promotional message on the front of one of my favorite sites, Myndflame. And, finally, a link! Confirmation! It was true my friends -- the good Baron Soosdon has released his 30 minute masterpiece, No Point: Stretching Time.
Now, I feel that me reviewing Baron Soosdon is a little like a college newspaper fantasy columnist trying to review Peter Jackson, but I'll share my thoughts on his new movie.
You may have noticed in the past day or so, as a few of our tipsters did, that Mania's great Hunter pet site, Petopia, has been down for the count lately. Loading up the main page gives the message above, and going straight to the redirect gives a "this site has been suspended" notice.
What, no nitrous oxide? Unsatisfied with his current jobs of alchemy and herbalism, Szadeck of <Angels of the Underworld> on Thunderhorn has decided to retrain in dentistry. Of course, those snooty First AId trainers won't have anything to do with oral hygiene, so Szadeck has had to practice his skills on patients who can't feel any pain. But at least he's got a nice side business selling knockoffs of the Hundred Tooth Necklace.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Robin Torres writes WoW, Casually for the player with limited playtime. Of course, you people with lots of playtime can read this too, but you may get annoyed by the fact that we are unashamed, even proud, of the fact that beating WoW isn't our highest priority. Take solace in the fact that your gear is better than ours, but if that doesn't work, remember that we outnumber you. Not that that's a threat, after all, we don't have time to do anything about it. But if WoW were a democracy, we'd win.
Raiders have a long list of addons that they are required or at least encouraged to have in order to participate in raids. But casual players who are still leveling -- perhaps on multiple alts -- don't need to know threat levels, nor are we likely to encounter a mob that can shift polarity or do anything else we need to be warned about. We also don't tend to have max spec systems that allow us to get frivolous with our UIs. There are a lot of addons out there, however, that can make casual play a lot more convenient. Following is a guide for choosing addons to enhance your WoW sessions.
I love Silvermoon. I mean, really, I think it's the best capital city in the game. This probably has a lot to do with the fact that all the Battlemasters are close together in one room and I hardly have to move in order to queue for three Battlegrounds. Of course, if the changes in Patch 3.1 push through and I'm able to queue from anywhere, that plus won't be so important anymore. That said, I think Silvermoon is beautiful, has multiple mailboxes, two banks, two Inns, and more importantly, is always lag-free.
This brings me to today's question... with the Argent Tournament that's slated to arrive with Patch 3.1 allowing players to choose a city to champion, which one would you pick? You could, of course, base your decision solely on what appears to be city-based vanity pet rewards. An Elwynn Lamb, perhaps, for championing Stormwind? Or a Durotar Scorpion for taking hits for Orgrimmar? I'm destined to end with an Enchanted Broom, I think, similar to what you find in the streets of Silvermoon City.
There are probably other rewards, such as city-based tabards, and maybe even titles (remember the original titles for server-first races?). Without knowing all the rewards, though, which city's name are you inclined to fight under when the Argent Tournament arrives? Are you a defender of Dun Morogh? An exemplar of Exodar? Or maybe even a soldier of Sen'jin Village!