Because Noblegarden has been extensively reworked, most of what you'll be doing this year is completely new, and some of this guide is going to be comprised of educated (or not-so-educated) guesses as to the difficulty of the achievements on the live realms, and tips on how to get them done. I'll let you know if I just plain don't know something or have to hazard a guess based on PTR information, but fortunately most of the holiday is pretty straightforward. We're only going to cover the achievements you need to worry about for the meta, as everything else you can achieve is really based on luck and doesn't count toward Noble Gardener.
The seasonal revamped extravaganza that is Noblegarden is due to start tomorrow and the Blues have revealed a little more about the new week-long festival. Yesterday night Zarhym posted on the official forums, revealing some new details as well as linking to a revamped festival page on the official site.
The new Noblegarden (which starts tomorrow) has its origins in a druidic festival, but the modern peoples of Azeroth seem more interested in egg-hunting and scoffing chocolates. Focusing on the starter towns like Brill and Goldshire, it's one of those great festivals which is aimed at newer players as well as die-hard level 80s.
Zarhym promises egg hunts and new daily quests as well the chance to find cool items within brightly coloured chocolate eggs. There's also a stack of new achievements (you know you want that Violet Proto-Drake) and if you get sick of eating chocolate you can also use them as currency to buy awesome Noblegarden swag.
WoW Insider will have guides and galleries up tomorrow. Noblegarden runs through next Saturday.
It's been over a week now since Ulduar was unleashed, and I hope that you've all gone in and had a taste of what Blizzard has emphatically called a "hard" raid. Harder than Naxxramas, at least. Aside from towerless Flame Leviathan, who was cruelly invented to trick players into thinking that Ulduar was puggable, the bosses -- heck, even the trash -- in Ulduar is a return to some good old-fashioned wipefests and headbanging against the wall. Of course, the world's top guilds were well equipped and prepared to clear all the way up to Yogg-Saron, but most guilds will struggle a bit.
Did I say a bit? Some guilds will struggle a lot, actually. While Ulduar still seems easier by far than the so-called guild killers, Blizzard has ramped up the difficultly nicely and many guilds will find it a challenge but eventually conquer it in time. So where do Paladins fit in with all this conquering business? Well, it depends on your spec. Fortunately for us, Patch 3.1 also introduced dual-specs, and if there's anything a Paladin should plunk 1,000 Gold on, it's to learn a secondary spec. Today we'll take a look at how healers fare in Ulduar two weeks in after the jump.
Northern Exposure Map helps you hunt rare game - Sat, 25 Apr 2009 14:00:00 EST One of the more time consuming set of achievements to get is the rare spawn killing achievement, if only because you need to compile information on every spawn, then head over to their spawn point and wait, then hope you grab the monster before someone passing through sees the Silver Dragon and gets the loot gleam in their eye.
We can't really help you with the last two, that's up to you. What we can do is help you with the first. For the Northrend achievement, Frostbitten, that we have a map submitted by tipster Mike, player of Paksenarrion on Bonechewer. It's a hand color coded map of Northrend that shows where each require rare spawns. It's pretty basic, and Mike admits he took most of spawn information from sites like Wowhead and Thottbot and has only managed to find about half of them himself, but it's a nice start.
Myself, I doubt I'll ever seriously pursue Frostbitten unless It's the absolute last achievement I have to work for or some such. Still, for those of you who seek the bragging rights that come with a massive luck-based time sink, maybe this map will help. And if nothing else, Northern Exposure only requires you kill one of the rare spawns, so knowing thier spawn points can at least help you keep an eye out while you quest and pick up that quick achievement.
I think the in-game fixes should be ending soon, or at least not be noteworthy enough for the blues to announce every day. Last night there were only three announced, which we list after the break. But more interesting I think than the bankruptcy of Ghostly Philanthropists is the number of fixes announced each day, which is displayed in the nice graphic above.
There is a spike of fixes on April 21st, which was this past Tuesday. That is likely due to two reasons. First, patch 3.1.1 was released and many of the changes had to be done via a client side patch and by some realm maintenance. Secondly, there were not any fixes released during the weekend of April 18th, so a few days of bug-e-ness went by.
Just by looking at the graph you can tell there's about an average of 13 or so fixes per day, and that number is steadily dropping.
Hopefully this means that the bugs are going away too, and overall things are becoming more stable in-game.
The show starts up at April 25, 2009 3:30 PM EST over on our Ustream page, or you can just click below to find the embedded Ustream feed in the second half of this post. And of course if you can't make it to listen live today, don't worry, because the show will be recorded and available in its entirety (well, minus the preshow and aftershow that we usually do for the live listeners) on Monday as usual.
Oh, and we owe you readers a big thank-you: our Twitter page did in fact hit 9000 followers this week (actually, over 9000), so it looks like Turpster and I will have to gussy up and turn on the cameras for a video show. Stay tuned to the show today for more information on that, and keep an eye on the site here for when we'll be doing it. It'll definitely be something to see. Get it? "See"? Video?
I can honestly say that I would love to have WoW available on the go, for things ranging from checking my mail to browsing the auction house to leveling a death knight on long car trips. The iPhone seems like a great platform for something like that -- a pared-down but fully-functional WoW client.
And now we might be a little closer to that becoming a reality. Our sister site, Massively, just picked up a hot tip from Youtube, where someone has posted a video of a rumored Vollee port of World of Warcraft for the iPhone.
And it looks pretty darn cool, fake or not.
We've got the video and impressions after the jump.
The members of <Cult of Reason> on Tichondrius had a particularly difficult first kill of Razorscale -- everyone in the raid was over 1k latency. So after the beast was down, they decided to use their kill shot to commemorate their victory over both the dragoness and the server itself. If only the real lag monster went down so easily. Thanks to Timothy for the shot!
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Though not everyone 'fessed up to it in this week's WRUP, I'm pretty sure there's a simple, one-word description for what we'll all be doing this weekend: Noblegarden. Ulduar's been out for weeks now, but Noblegarden is going to be brand new this year. And while not everyone may admit to running around hunting colored eggs, the proto-drake that awaits us at the end of this long, strange trip is getting closer every holiday. So what does the WoW Insider team admit to playing this weekend?
Adam Holisky: My girlfriend and I will be paying good money to take a small white ball out to a very flat field filled with holes and swing at the aforementioned ball with a very hard metal stick. I'll then come home and try to earn another thousand gold over the weekend.
Alex Ziebart: Ulduar 25. Wednesday night we cleared up to where we left off last week, so we have Sunday night and Monday night free to kill new bosses. Very exciting!
Allison Robert: The game is still crashing my computer too much to properly enjoy doing much of anything there. I'll be writing a special edition of the OverAchiever for Noblegarden while wondering if I'll actually get to enjoy the actual in-game event.
Daniel Whitcomb: I'm plugging along on the Argent Tournament, and I should finish out my Gnomeregan champion status at some point this weekend. I'm also thinking of buying a pair of heirloom shoulders and powering my Druid through to 80, but I am torn between grabbing Feral or Healer shoulders, so I may just run heroics until I can afford both. Also, I'm getting into Wintergrasp some, if only to grab the Mammoth for achievement purposes.
Eliah Hecht: I gave my Warlock a new spec (and Cold Weather Flying) as a level 77 present, so I'll be Incinerating my way to my fourth level 80 character.
Elizabeth Wachowski: I'm still running into the getting-disconnected-every-few-minutes problem, so I'll probably be playing Oblivion and watching my boyfriend accidentally blow himself up with grenades in GTAIV.
Matthew Rossi: Between continuous bouts of bad news I'm running Ulduar -10, having cleared up to Yoggy in 25 man this week. Hoping for a full clear of 10 this weekend, and then we can start on hard modes. I'm also re-playing Jade Empire because I like to kick things in the face but society frowns on it.
In short, come 3.2, it seems more than likely that we can expect the Goblins to be done building that coliseum, and the next phase of the tourney to be underway. So the question is, what exactly will we see?
+54 Stamina, +49 Intellect. These stats and the name point to Warlocks as the main users of this dagger, but really, given the rest of the stats, almost any caster could get some good use out of this thing. The main thing it's missing is Spirit, so if you count on that, you might want to look elsewhere, but this is Ulduar gear: chances are it's an upgrade no matter who you are.
Tips for raiding faster - Fri, 24 Apr 2009 19:00:00 EST I am definitely an advocate of the fast instance or raid -- when I played a tank, I pulled pulled pulled (according to the healer's mana, of course), and even now, mostly as a Hunter, I still get impatient. When the healer's mana is full and the tank is not /afk, I sometimes just throw a Misdirect up and go. That's probably why I really liked Naissa's tips for speedy raiding -- she lays out a few really practical things you can do to get your raid moving faster, from only marking skull and X when necessary to only worrying about the healer's mana. It's not the end of the world if the Mage or Hunter has to drink for a second after the pull. While you should always get back to full before a boss pull (and as she says, that's a perfect time to break down the basics, only the basics, of the fight), usually as long as you've got the tank and healer ready, a quick pull will give you time for aggro to settle down as well.
I don't completely agree with her DPS meter remarks -- I do think that beating the raid is much more important than trying to win the DPS meters, but as a DPS player, I like viewing the meters as good feedback on where I should be. If I'm super low in the meters, it's time to look at my gear and rotations and try to figure out why so I can get better, and I think it's valuable for DPS, as long as they can keep their attention on the raid, to do the same thing.
But all of the other tips are great, and in general, "pull pull pull" should be the order of the day. Some groups are better at rolling through content than others, obviously, but as long as you've got a solid tank and healer in play who know the instance and know how to handle what comes, most raids and groups can move through the content pretty quickly.
Replenishment hotfixed, changed for arena play - Fri, 24 Apr 2009 18:30:00 EST The developers are continuing their hotfix spree, this time targeting Replenishment in the arena. While in an arena, any class that procs Replenishment will only proc it for themselves. It does not apply to the entire party while in an arena. This is something that a lot of people have expected would happen eventually, and it's good to see that they didn't wait for another major content patch for something like this. It had to be done, so they did it. I'd love to see that trend continue.
The arena community has been asking for this for awhile, and if you want to know their reasoning, Serennia discussed it just the other day. I strongly suggest giving it a read. Replenishment is a game changer in the arena, and in a format with teams so small, you can't really expect every team to find a Replenishment to slot like you can in 10 and 25 man raids. Replenishment essentially being a requirement in the 3v3 format would be a disaster, and it's been made pretty clear that teams with a Replenishment have a severe advantage over those that don't.
A post-Patch 3.1 world seems to be one where broken things get fixed quickly, rather than just sit there broken for months until the next content patch. As long as that holds up for more than these few weeks immediately after the patch, I'm a fan of it.
Like Boubouille, I'm pretty surprised to find that Val'anyr, the legendary healer mace from Ulduar-25, is up on the Armory, but there it is [update: it's been removed from the US Armory; still up on the EU Armory], and that means we now know all the stats on it. Just on the off-chance that someone considers this information to be a spoiler, I've put it behind the cut, so click on if you want to know what the Hammer of the Ancient Kings has to offer.
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.
I'm very glad today is Friday. It means that... well, all it really means is that we'll work on weekend content for WoW Insider tonight. We should have some great Noblegarden content coming out on Saturday and Sunday, so keep an eye out for that. And then of course there's the constant bug fixes and hoopla around patch 3.1.1abc. Talking about bug fixes everyday is a blast I tell ya, a blast.
"Is there any reason that JC, fishing and cooking are the only professions with daily quests? I love those dailies and I feel more profession specific dailies would enhance the professions themselves."
The pros and cons of autolooting - Fri, 24 Apr 2009 16:00:00 EST Gnomeaggedon has a really insightful post about one of my favorite "hidden" features in patch 3.1. The first time I ran Naxx after the patch, I was a little worried on the first boss that I couldn't loot my badges or Stone Keeper's Shards. But of course, I'd missed it in the patch notes: all of that currency stuff now works like currency should. Whenever one person in the group or raid loots it, everyone gets their own as well. No more forgetting to loot your Badge, as it all goes automatically into the currency screen. Very nice change.
But as Gnomeaggedon says, there are still a few kinks in the program (aren't there always?). Quest items still don't get auto-looted, and since Badges do, that's even less encouragement to go check the loot to see if there's anything you need. He'd also like it if items got autolinked while Master Looter is on -- right now, it's the responsibility of the Master Looter to link and give out items that get looted, and that doesn't always get done clearly. That second one is kind of a good point -- my raid looter does pretty well with showing off items, so I don't really have much of an issue with that, but it would be helpful to see for sure what's in there.
But back to autolooting: the flip side of this is that if Blizzard uses autolooting too much, the game becomes that much more simple -- they already show you where the monster is and how to kill it, and now you want them to give you the loot automatically too? While it would be easier to have quest items sent to your backpack automatically, let's not forget that mobs with loot on them are shiney. It might make sense in raids to do autolooting (since everyone is grabbing for the same quest item), but autolooting while soloing might be a little too streamlined.
I'm not going to talk about it this week... I'm waiting for more T8 level gear (just got my pants last night) but in general, I'm moving from 'mild discontent' to 'frothing nerd rage' at the state of fury right now. The main reason isn't even my own DPS, which is going up... it's that other classes and specs that aren't 'pure DPS' are now bumped up to where my spec was before patch 3.1, when the reason for my spec's nerfs was stated as that level of DPS being 'too good' for a class that had options besides DPSing. If a class can tank, heal and DPS why is it okay for them to do the damage I used to do when I can only tank and DPS?
But that being said, I've discovered a unique joy in the past week, and that's the Dual Spec system. Ironically, I still respec about twice a week. In fact, I may even respec more now than I did before dual specs were available.
For myself, I don't think anything quite approaches the sheer agony of having accidentally passed on Idol of Worship from Grand Widow Faerlina just because I wasn't paying attention at the time. I don't do much cat DPS, but losing the best-in-slot idol directly affecting the attack (Rip) that contributes the largest share of feral DPS is...again with the ouch. I still ask myself what was so amazingly enthralling about tanking Maexxna trash that night that I could have zoned out to that degree, and -- naturally! -- the idol never dropped again. While I guess it's possible that there are players out there who are practically perfect in every way and have never missed a drop, I have the sneaking suspicion that most of us still find a reason to kick ourselves.