Blizzard, as well as reps from companies that make Blizzard products (TokyoPop, Upper Deck, Wildstorm) were on hand at Comic-Con in San Diego today to talk about their plans for the rest of the year. Comics, books, sculptures, miniatures, and the trading card game were all discussed and WoW Insider was there to bring you back this report.
Wildstorm Comics, makers of the WoW comics Wildstorm kicked off the session by polling the audience on who would like to see a comic title that focus solely on Horde, then solely on Alliance and then pitting the two against each other. As you can imagine, the audience was very happy to hear this. No details were given, but clearly something along these lines is already in the works.
When expansions come to World of Warcraft (well, at least when the last expansion did) people either get Beta invites or they don't, people start fretting about gear resets, new abilities get discussed, alternating doom and gloom and wild, frenzied excitement over new talents rages... but while all that is going on, the game is still being played. My own guild has marched firmly into BT and Hyjal, and we're one boss away from clearing the later, ol' Archie himself. In the process of clearing the other four bosses, gear has started trickling in and with it comes the realization that sometimes, higher tier gear is optimized for the places it drops.
I've been using Shield Block Value as my primary threat stat on my armor. As time has gone on, without really realizing it, I've been moving to a more hit/expertise system which relies less on big shield slams and more on consistent white damage and specials that don't miss and are not dodged or parried. While this has been occurring, armor with higher dodge rating has been steadily dropping, meaning that my avoidance goes up and my rage generation is more and more dependent on not missing or being dodged or parried. T5 content, with the reliance on SBV, allowed me to stack stamina and block value in a way that T6 content does not. I've dropped my block value from around 800 to a little more than 600 lately, while looking to increase my hit and dodge for bosses like Azgalor, who doesn't crush. (He's a nice little preview of the future in that regard.)
My point is two fold: one, especially for a warrior (be he a tank or DPS, I'm just using tanking as my example because it's what I primarily do) gear obsolescence is constant. You're always changing and upgrading your gear as you go through content. (This is true for just about every class, mind you, but I'm talking to warriors.) Furthermore, however, you also become a bit of a packrat, holding on to outdated gear because it has a stat that may be desirable for a specific fight. I still use The Sun Eater if I feel dodge is absolutely essential for a fight, despite having overall better weapons now.
WotlkWiki, which has been a great source for all kinds of information about Wrath ever since the Friends & Family alpha started, is launching a new attraction, which they're calling WotlkWikiTV. It will consist of live broadcasts from players in the beta, which is pretty cool for those of us who still haven't gotten beta keys. (I maintain hope!)
Their first stream is live right now: Death Knight leveling! They've got a source in beta who will be on "pretty much every day," so if you want to get a good look at what the DK will be like to play, head on over to their streams page and load it up. Personally I'm torn as to whether I want to watch or not - I am really curious about the class, but I'd kinda like to see it for myself before I see someone else doing it. We'll see if if my impatience or my desire to remain spoiler-free wins out.
This is another step in an interesting trend of "WoW TV;" Nihilum has been streaming a few raids for a little while now, and SK-Gaming apparently just did one as well. Does anyone see a new cable network in the future, or is the potential viewership still a little too small?
Scattered Shots is for Hunters. Your host this week will be Daniel Whitcomb, who will continue his foray into the wide world of Wrath of the Lich King talents.
Beastmastery has pretty much dominated the world of Hunters in Burning Crusade, with Serpent's Swiftness alone nearly singlehandedly allowing for the most efficient damaging shot rotations possible -- With a little bit of wrangling between haste and ranged weapon speed, of course. While the changes to Auto Shot clipping in Wrath will likely make shot rotations as we know them a thing of the past, Beastmastery is still looking to be a very viable tree in Wrath of the Lich King, thanks to some clever synergies and some amazing pet buffs.
As you may have noticed in the latest patch, workers in Stormwind are busy building Stormwind Harbor, a relatively large addition that will give us a convenient boat dock to get up to Northrend. As an aside, is Stormwind going to be the Alliance jumping-off point for all expansions? It's already the most convenient capital to the Dark Portal, as well as (I think) the only city with trainers for all classes. Anyway, it's my favorite city, so I don't really mind, but still - when's Ironforge or poor Darnassus going to get some love?
What was I talking about? Oh right, I have here a beautiful gallery of screenshots of Stormwind Harbor, its boats, and a lighthouse that seems to be on the way out of the city. The Harbor will offer non-stop trips to the Borean Tundra in Northrend, as well as to Auberdine (the current boat in Menethil is being re-routed, and Menethil will now connect only to Theramore). This should make it much less painful for low-level Alliance characters to travel between the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor - "no more Wetlands Deathflop," as one Blizzard CM put it.
I really like the look of the the boats, too, with the big paddle wheel and the gryphon prow. It's always nice to see a little more steampunk in my WoW. Come on in and check out the beautiful scenery, and thanks to Kevin from WoW Macros for providing all these lovely screenshots.
Hey, everybody, it's Great-father Winter! What's up G-FW?! What's that? You want to give some Winter's Veil swag away right now? But Great-father, it's the middle of summer here in the real world -- the Winter's Veil festival takes place in December! Aw, look at that scraggly beard, we can't say no to you. What the heck, we'll do it!
Yes, WoW Insider (and Great-father Winter, along with our our friends at Upper Deck) is giving away a TCG Winter's Veil Collector's Set, featuring all kinds of holiday-themed TCG goodies. To enter, just leave a comment on this post telling G-FW how your summer is going before next Friday, August 1st, at 11:59 PM EST. You may enter only once (please use a real email to comment, so we can get in touch with you afterwards), and one commenter will be selected in a random drawing to get a free Winter's Veil Collector's Set (MSRP $39.99). You must also be a resident of the United States or Canada, and age 18 or older -- all the rest of the contest rules can be read by clicking here.
Good luck! Thanks, Great-father Winter, for spreading your holiday cheer even during the offseason!
Our good friends at WoW Radio have somehow boonswaggled their way into the beta, and they're letting you all reap the rewards: Totalbiscuit and his buddies all ran Utgarde Keep, the first instance of Northrend, and you can see the results above. This is the same instance we played way back at BlizzCon of last year, and it looks about the same -- you can see the hulking Vrykul, the big flame forge with its walls that come down when you pull mobs, and later on you can check out the other boss battles, including a dual boss battle (two bosses, and both have to die, or else the one that dies first spawns a shade of himself), and Ingvar the Plunderer, who has a pretty mean AoE and some cheating help. There's also a few glimpses of other beta features, including Illidan form way at the end.
Unfortunately, they don't run the next instance, Sar Chasm, which features a boss who says things to you he doesn't actually mean (spoiler: that's a joke, watch the video). But it's awesome to get a first look at Utgarde, bugs and all (the dragons who walk through the air are pretty fun), and the WoW Radio guys are pretty entertaining the whole time.
Yes, not only is the WoW Insider Show going live again tomorrow afternoon as usual, and not only will I be making a return to the airwaves (after being stuck in LAX during last week's show), but Turpster is going to make the ultimate sacrifice and give away a beta key from the Worldwide Invitational to one lucky listener. How can you win this treasured set of letters and numbers? By listening to the show, of course -- tune in tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern over on WoW Radio, and we'll let you know how we're giving away the key.
Plus there's another surprise, which I'm a little too scared to even talk about -- let's just say that Turpster may be showing off his musical talents, and he may have roped some other folks in this time. And since I (unlike Rossi) do in fact have the email login, we'll be answering your emails from firstname.lastname@example.org and chatting live in IRC at irc.mmoirc.com in the #wowradio channel.
So tune in tomorrow for not only your chance to hear great insight and commentary about the latest World of Warcraft news, and not only to Turpster (and maybe some other familiar WI voices) sing, but also your chance to pick up that rarest of epic treasures lately: an honest to goodness WWI beta key*. See you tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm EST over on WoW Radio.
*Note: We'll talk about this on the show I'm sure, but please note that we're giving you a beta key, not access to the beta -- it's up to Blizzard to actually let you in. And we're giving you a WWI key, which means it's for EU players only -- the key won't let you enter the beta on US realms. Sorry US players, but all of our other contests are for you, so karma evens out.
Many players were frustrated that their hard-earned gear was quickly reduced to obsolescence in Burning Crusade, and fear that that will happen again.Manbearppig of Frostwolf wants to know if gearing up a character now will be a good way to spend time. Some point out that better gear earned now will translate into easier leveling in the future.In a similar thread, MVP Faizaniel of Dragonblight stated: My scrubby non-purple gear is getting replaced pretty fast; high-end gear, not so much. While it's unlikely that you're keeping much from level 70 at level 80, it's really up to you whether the benefits of getting to use the nice gear now, and having it help you level more quickly once Wrath comes out, are worth earning the gear now.
Are you going to step right into a Death Knight first to see how the new Hero class works? Which of the classes has got you most interested in trying new things? I'm excited to see all the Shaman changes, and I've got a Shammy waiting at 70, so that's probably what I'll do first. As for the Death Knight, I kind of want to see that stuff on the live realms, though by the time the beta ends, the call of a new class may be too much for me to ignore.
What's up first for you when you log into the beta realms?
Blizzard's Wrath talent trees page has been updated with minor changes, such as new icons for Wrath talents, as well as major changes such as a long-clamored for polish to the Mage trees. A noticeable change, for example, is the removal of Spirit from the equation for the Arcane tree. Potent Spirit and Student of the Mind, Spirit-based talents, were removed to make way for Arcane Flows and a reworked Netherwind Presence. The former reduces the cooldown on Arcane Power, Presence of Mind, and Invisibility by 30 seconds, while the latter now grants a passive 6% spell haste at max rank.
Most changes are cosmetic -- the humorous placeholder icon used on many of the game's spells in development have been removed -- although astute players may find updates to the wordings of talents across the board. Other changes include some talents buffed and reduced in talent points such as the Paladin talent Vindication (down to 2 talent points, from 3; buffed to 20% from 15%). Check out Wowhead's talent calculators, which haven't been updated as of this writing, for comparison.
In the comments thread on the post yesterday regarding Wowhead's new pet talent calculators, many of you seemed somewhat misinformed and accused the calculator of being buggy. To set the record straight, here are some fun facts about pets and pet talents in the current Wrath beta:
Hunters get one pet talent point at level 20, and one every four levels thereafter.
The total number of pet talent points available at level 80 is 16, unless you are a Beast Mastery Hunter with the 51-point talent Beast Mastery, in which case you get an additional five points, for 21 total.
Each successive tier requires three points per previous tier to unlock (compare to five points for player talents). The exception is single-point talents such as Charge or any of the tier 5 talents, which require five points per previous tier, according to their tooltips; the exception to this exception is Boar's Speed.
This means that the tier 5 talents are only available to BM hunters, since they require 20 points to unlock (again according to their tooltips), and any given pet can have at most one of them at a time.
The last two points are based on how the tooltips read. However, this is not how they're currently implemented in-game; in the beta right now, All talents require three points per previous tier to unlock, which means non-BM hunters can get them as well. So there is a discrepancy between how the tooltips read and how it actually works when you go to spend the points. I'm guessing the tooltips are correct, since that would keep the tier 5 talents BM-only, and prevent hunters from getting more than one tier 5 talent.
Update: The tooltips are incorrect. Ghostclaw confirms that all tiers require three points per previous tier, which means non-BM hunters can get the tier 5 talents.
All of these facts are confirmed by sources in the beta. Of course, it is beta, and any of this is very subject to change, but that's the way things stand right now. By the way, how amusing is it that moths will be Ferocity pets? Ahhh, run! Ferocious moth!
The figures all have signs that say "Worldwide Debut Friday 4pm" on them, so it looks like we're getting to see them a little early. And Blizzard is excited, too -- Slorkuz has even written a poetic ode to Hogger in honor of his likeness being immortalized.
We'll keep an eye out for more info -- looks like DC is expanding their action figure line to include a few more less traditional character types. Who else should they honor with a figure in the future?
As I promised you, our look at Wrath talents and skills for Shamans (started here and continued here) concludes with a roundup of restoration talents and skills and then a discussion of what all these new abilities mean for shamans in the expansion. I know how much you guys love discussion. For instance, the picture accompanying today's post is most likely of a resto shaman who is, for whatever reason, attacking a shovel tusk. Now, with the changes to spell power that are coming, that resto gear probably packs a good deal more punch than it currently does with the healing/damage rates it has now. Nevertheless, resto shaman, attacking defenseless wildlife, I have no idea why. He looks cool doing it, though.
First off, of course, I will talk about Earthliving Weapon. Now, we all know I love this (despite a lot of naysayers who look at it as similar to the Fel Reaver's Piston and call it undesirable) but let's be fair: we have no idea how good it will be at 80. All of the current ranks are the same as rank one. The reason I linked to the comments was to show user defektunge's estimate for how it will look at rank 6. Assuming he's in the ballpark, at rank 6 it will be an extra 102 healing plus a chance to proc roughly 1400 healing over 12 seconds. Depending on how high stamina values are on gear by then, and how often the proc really contributes to healing, the HoT of Earthliving could be a gimmick or it could be pure awesome. It's definitely an attempt by Blizzard to address the shaman's lack of any kind of heal over time while remaining true to the Windfury 'random proc' mechanic.
I personally hope that this estimate is low. By level 80 I expect stamina values to be significantly higher (a well geared T5/T6 tank can have well over 22k health, as much as 26k on some right now, so I expect tanks in blues to be easily pushing 19k by the time we're all 80) so I'd hope for double both those numbers. But I'm still excited for Earthliving, especially for leveling shamans or shamans who need to heal in a pinch. Throw on your healing weapon and imbue it for extra oomph.
Wowhead recently went live with their database of all the Achievements currently in the Wrath beta. Among those Achievements is one for clearing each dungeon and raid currently in Wrath. Each Achievement lists its requirements for completion, so what does that mean? We now know the names of all the dungeon bosses (as well as a little from the raids)! Everything placed after the cut for those who want to avoid spoilers.
Now, I know last week I said in a comment that I am trying something entirely new this week. However, that plan sort of backfired when I found out my scanner is no longer in the realm of the living, and those Spirit Healers apparently don't speak binary.
I've Wanted to put this comic up since I saw the movie. If you have not seen it, you might not get this unless you watched the movie previews, or have someone explain it.
Supposedly, to deactivate an Authenticator from an account, you need to get in touch with Billing services, and reportedly they'll then ask for a notarized statement with a picture, like a driver's license, just to remove the Authenticator. But obviously, this one was removed even without that, and we're being told that all you might need to remove the Authenticator is the answer to the user's secret question and a CD key (or even less). In other words, the fault isn't with the technology, it seems to be with the support reps on Blizzard's side of the phone line -- if they can be convinced to remove the Authenticator, the account can then be hacked.
The little keys have been selling like hotcakes since they were released -- almost everyone has figured that $6.50 was cheap for peace of mind. But while an Authenticator still does provide an extra step in security, the sad truth is that it hardly makes an account impermeable.
Update: Married IRL has more analysis, including a comment that confirms all you really need to get past the Authenticator is the user's secret question answer, usual address information, and the original CD key. If the standard for getting an Authenticator removed really is a Photo ID, it's fairly clear that Blizzard's reps aren't doing their jobs right.
Last night we were pursuing a key issue of our own, and all we got was an automated response from the email address pointed to in the Beta invitation. Tonight however, that no longer happens - so it appears as if this email address is being staffed by a live person.
This is great news for those that have issues, including any that might revolve around a WWI '08 EU key not working with a US account. Hopefully Blizzard will respond promptly to all of us that have been emailing this address. If Blizzard or any of the blues release any more statements you'll see them here at WoW Insider.