At first glance, I didn't really think there was much out of the ordinary about a post made by one of Nihilum's resto Shaman, Neg. A number of raiding guilds have complained strenuously about the presence of easy-to-obtain epics in the game, but any post entitled, "Does Blizzard Hate Raiders?" is typically going to get a scoff and little else.
I had read the article shortly before zoning into Black Temple for the third time ever, and for the first time with the ingame sound on. My guild had recently killed both High Warlord Naj'entus and Supremus, and while the Karabor Sewers portion of the instance is interesting to look at, it pales in comparison to what you'll see once you're offered a teleport to a different floor by a member of the Ashtongue Deathsworn. My guildies and I were really just there to farm Hearts of Darkness for resist gear and to explore a little bit, with nothing really important on our minds. Nevertheless, what we saw that night was beautiful. The floor you're ported to has a tiny, friendly area with the Ashtongue Quartermaster, but beyond that lie a number of sinister things. The ceiling is pillared by giant statues much like those that guard the portal into Outland, and rogues lurk in pairs seemingly all around you. Not infrequently you find yourself turning around to shouts on vent to see them rapidly killing off members of the raid; we finally hit upon the strategy of sending our own rogues off to sniff out the presence of danger while the raid itself was ringed and guarded on all sides by the tanks. Once another set of rogues was found, our hunters set up Flares to flush them out of hiding, marked them, and pulled carefully. You were only really safe if you were in the middle portion of the raid; wandering off to go explore on your own was unthinkable.
The music is lovely, the atmosphere is stellar, and for the first time ever in a raid I felt the real sense of a dangerous place with violent, unpredictable creatures that didn't want us there. It was one of the few times that we've actually had to use real strategy as a raid outside of a boss fight. Black Temple makes it abundantly obvious that you are a small, embattled group struggling to survive against overwhelming odds. Most raids are pretty straightforward - learn the tricks to the trash, pull the trash, clear the trash, ask "What's the respawn timer?", and then kill the boss. Tempest Keep is a pretty cold and sterile environment; Serpentshrine Cavern is more interesting visually but the trash is, in many cases, just pull after pull after pull of the exact same stuff (weirdly enough, Karazhan and Zul'Aman seem to come a little closer to the Black Temple raid mentality than their Tier 5 brothers). But there is so much obvious care and attention lavished on the endgame raids, I said to myself (while taking tons of screenshots and turning the sound up), that I just don't buy the argument that Blizzard doesn't give a hoot about raiders.
But Neg isn't really writing about the conflict between raiders and the rest of us, which has been a pretty thoroughly discussed in one form or another. It's his contention that the raiding world - what I saw on Thursday and what Nihilum practically does professionally - is becoming obsolete in this, the Age of Purple.
Free US transfers now open - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 18:00:00 EST Once again, it's time to balance the server load a bit. Free character transfers are available on select North American realms, starting a few hours ago at 12:00 PM PST and going for one week, until Tuesday, March 4 at 12:00 PM PST. Here's the server list:
From: Area 52, Arygos, Ghostlands, Hellscream, Zul'jin
As usual, the transfers may close early if the population levels get to where Blizz wants them, so transfer early if you intend to. And again as usual, the realms chosen are based on Blizz's extensive internal stats, so at least in theory, the realms that you're transferring from are the most overpopulated, and the realms you're transferring to are the most underpopulated. Will you be taking advantage of these transfers? If you're on Vashj, Zuluhed, or Velen, do you welcome the newcomers?
March of the Warlocks - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 17:30:00 EST The World of Warcraft community has pounded it into our heads that the recent Life Tap change was pretty lame. Luckily, Hortus has let us know that there will be additional changes coming to Lifetap, as Eliah told us a bit earlier.
I'm not here to hit you with the shovel of logic, detailing the Life Tap change yet again, so don't worry. My question is on the methods of giving feedback that the WoW community has displayed. Most specifically: Protests.
The Warlocks were a little more creative in their griefing than the Shaman have been. While it hasn't happened on all servers, many of them saw Warlocks summoning, enslaving, or kiting many powerful demons into the heart of Shattrath. Uvuros, Pit Lords, et cetera. Did this non-peaceful protest have anything to do with the devs' decision to make further adjustments to Life Tap? Personally, I somewhat doubt the protest was a direct contributor to that decision.
I don't think that a protest has ever directly changed something in WoW. I don't believe it strikes fear into the heart of Blizzard. However, it does bring the fact that there are issues into the spotlight. Is this the best way to do that? No, probably not. It does seem to get noticed, at the very least.
[EDIT: My apologies for any misunderstanding: I am aware that this protest was unofficial and not widely organized amongst the Warlock community, and I do not mean to trivialize the feedback the Warlock community has given on the topic. It is merely something that accompanied the Life Tap incident that I wished to supply thoughts on, and see the views of others.]
Eyonix gives Paladins some (forum) love - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 17:00:00 EST Eyonix seems to have taken quite a lot of coffee this morning and made a rare appearance on the Paladin boards by making a lot of posts on a couple of threads. The Blizzard CM, not to be confused with the eponymous Innkeeper in Stormspire, surprised the Paladin community by responding to some threads dealing with Protection Paladin weapons and Avenging Wrath. One thread asks for a decent Paladin tanking weapon, which is in short supply compared to the numerous Warrior tanking weapons which have Warrior-friendly mitigation and threat-generation stats. A Paladin tank benefits from a +spell damage weapon -- oddly enough one of the best Paladin tank weapons are the different Gladiator Gavels. Eyonix responds that the amount of spell damage a Paladin tank needs is directly proportional to the raid's DPS capability (in a nutshell, strong DPS needs higher +spell damage) -- which doesn't quite answer the request for more +spell damage tanking weapons, but it was nice to hear from Eyonix, anyway. As a bonus, Eyonix reveals that his Paladin tank is currently raiding SSC and TK with a *gasp* Continuum Blade.
With regards to Avenging Wrath, Eyonix doesn't quite address the fact that it's an easily dispellable (leaving Forbearance, to boot!) buff that has little use for Holy Pallies and in PvP (great from screenshots, though!). He does chime in to say, however, that the Blizzard devs "didn't shoot down" the observation that Avenging Wrath currently confers no benefits to Holy Paladins. Without making any promises, Eyonix says, "you never know what the future holds." Of course, Paladins should learn not to expect anything. This is Blizzard, after all. Eyonix cleverly avoids posting a response on a thread that has had seven maxed response iterations -- suspiciously Kalganized. WoW Insider's Dan and Brian both think that Blizzard could communicatebetter, but any presence from Blizzard is better than no presence at all. Eyonix also posts a sobering thought on his own thread by saying that "All classes are a work in progress. That doesn't mean any class is "unfinished". Our design team will simply never be satisfied with any area the game. Our goal is to make this game the best it can be in every area imaginable." Coming from someone who has more than a few 70s -- and thus knows classes reasonably well -- that's certainly good to know.
WoW Insider Weekly - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 16:30:00 EST It's Tuesday, which means it's time once again to roundup our weekly content and put it all in one post for you to enjoy on Maintenance Day. This week, we're doing things a little differently -- instead of listing all the weekly features of the past week, we're going to go reality-show style, and show you the top 10 weekly features of the past seven days, according to your reading habits. If you missed these the first time, don't make the same mistake again. Click through and check them out.
Hail Mandy: The Druid's Soulstone - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 16:00:00 EST We've all wiped in an instance from time to time.It is significantly easier to keep going when a rezzer has a self-rez ability so the group doesn't have to waste time running back to the instance.Soulstone and Ancestral Spirit are wonderful things.The Druid's Rebirth spell can also be used occasionally to save the party the walk of shame back to the instance.
I call this maneuver the "Hail Mandy." I started doing this when I was multiboxing my Paladin and Druid.When the Paladin, who was tanking, died and the Druid was going down, I would cast rebirth on the Pally.Then after the Druid was killed and the mobs reset, I would accept the rez.This allowed me to raise both characters and start back up on my merry, dualboxing way- just like using a Soulstone.
Most of us have at least a couple of alt projects that we're working on.Once you've leveled to seventy you get a feeling for which quests are a breeze and which ones are painful.Arross of Thorium brotherhood started a thread entitled Really bad quests where players listed their least favorite quests.Some honorable mentions include:
Arross of Thorium. "I have to say so far the worst quest I have ever had was Super Sticky in Un'goro Crater. The drop rate isn't bad, it's horrible."
Shrosarias of Burning Blade, "Any quests having to do with murloc. Murlocs = evil."
Ashcroft of Smolderthorn, "Zeth'Gor Must Burn! had me tearing my hair out by the roots. It was so very demoralizing to go from BG-topper to single-quest-dyer in one fell swoop."
Arteree of Rivendare, "Almost every quest in Westfall."
Etamalgren, "imo, any escort quests are the worst quests overall, except for the skettis daily and the nagrand escort."
Many raiders and machinima fans will be disappointed to learn that Stage6, one of the best purveyors of high quality DivX videos, will be shutting down. Moo announced yesterday in his WoW Moviewatch the shut down will take place this Thursday. This is a big blow to not only the WoW community due to all the superb WoW videos hosted there, but also to the larger DivX community.
If you're like me, you probably have half a dozen boss videos that you either need to watch, or do watch after wipes to learn from them. Stage6 has an option to save these videos to your hard disk, and it looks like after this Thursday, that will be the only way to enjoy them.
In light of the closure of Stage6, what video sites will you use to get high quality boss and strategy videos from?
Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. Sometimes healing can be a bit too serious, imo. Sure, it's your life or death, but come on... Let me have some fun, too.
"But the meters..." has long been the cry of dps who just aggro pulled a cleaving mob over top half the raid, the reason trash mobs are running loose, and why someone just died from a rather nasty curse. But the love of being numero uno isn't confined to those that pew pew. Not by a long shot.
Raid healers are often stereotyped as some sort of self-sacrificing pacifist whose sole goal in life is to help others, sometimes at their own peril. They're like raid moms who make sure the crazed damage dealers have remembered their lunches and that the brutish tanks have their shoes tied. And the raid absolutely cannot take a step forward unless every single person is buffed. Leave off one Fort and the world will end as we know it.
Blah! While the rest of the raid runs from damage, we face it head-on. Everything a boss dishes out, we return and then some. We also make the hard calls, like who has a higher healing priority and who should have known better. And at the end of the day we'll check to see how we did. Today I'm here to tell you how to ensure your place at the top, one beaten down dps'er at a time.
This past Saturday the WoW Insider Show welcomed Amanda Dean and Adam Holisky on, as well as myself and Turpster, for the 26th episode of our podcast on WoW Radio. Despite some lackluster, if I may say so, email from readers (you can send us some better emails at firstname.lastname@example.org), we charged through and got a lot of good discussion done:
All in all, good show, and you can listen to it right now over on WoW Radio's website. You can also subscribe to our podcast in iTunes if you so choose, and we'll be back at it again next weekend -- every Saturday at 3:30pm EST. Enjoy the show!
Life tap changes coming - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 12:40:00 EST This just in: many players are unhappy with the Life Tap changes that have come on the PTR. But in all seriousness, Blizzard has evidently taken notice, and they promise that more changes are to come. Specifically, Hortus just posted the following in the test realm forums: "Some changes are going to be made to lifetap in an upcoming PTR build. Until that time I think we've got enough feedback." So now it's time to just sit tight and see what happens, I suppose. That doesn't mean we can't talk about it -- how would you deal with Life Tap to fill Blizz's goals of making it hurt more in PvP, while not totally breaking it for PvE?
Pinkhair dug deep into the archives of WoW machinima to recommend this gem. Horde - Episode 1: "That's how we role!" is parody of popular movies from yesteryear. When a group of strangers are jailed for not roleplaying on Maelstrom, they are assigned an essay to identify themselves. What role will each of them fulfill?
I have to say that I didn't pick up on the cues as to what movie they were mainly referring to until the very end. If you are a fan of 80s movies, I think that you'll find this movie pretty amusing. Due to this being a guild-based movie, Slurvin was unable to create a sequel, as the group broke up afterwards. Still, I wouldn't mind seeing another comedy like this, commercials and all, in the future.
How many 70s does Eyonix have? - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 11:00:00 EST Surprisingly, US CM Eyonix has dropped in on a thread titled "How many 70s do you have?" I'm surprised because I wouldn't think it would necessarily be in a CM's best interest for people to know what classes they play, as a common perception in the community is that if you don't have a level 70 <insert class here> you obviously know nothing about the class and should stop talking. Anyway, here's the four classes that the whelpling has gotten to the level cap (in the order he put them in):
WoW Insider fan Morduk sent in a tip about an add-on that may tickle many of you. Align is a little gem for User Interface control freaks. What this add-on actually does is lay down a grid overlay on your UI, allowing you to align (hence, the name!) your add-ons and other UI elements into an orderly array.
I have to admit that at first I was skeptical about the value of such a thing, but I have seen the light. This program has a minimal memory footprint, is simple to use and makes my sometimes-cluttered UI look so, well, dress-right-dress. Being an old Army sergeant, I can immediately appreciate the control I have over my add-on placement. Many of you eyeball your UI into what looks like order, but Align can be the decisive element in your battle for a centered Totemus sphere.
Activating and deactivating the grid is controlled by one easy command:
To change the size of the grid squares, simply put in a value. An example would be "/align 64". These values round to the next multiple of 32 and stop at 256. A lower value produces larger grid squares, while a larger value creates smaller squares.
For players using add-ons that change the action bars or allow one to move the minimap, Align may just be the thing you've been looking for. One feature that I think would come in handy would be the option to snap UI elements to the grid, which would just tickle my controlling nature. Give this one a run around the block and let me know what your thoughts are!
While many players on the Public Test Realm and delving into the mysteries of Sunwell Terrace, Kadathwack of Cenarion Circle has been collecting Burning Blossoms. They are gathered during the Midsummer Fire Festival which, though not due until June, is currently on the PTR. He has turned in 350 Blossoms to acquire a new festival reward: the Brazier of Dancing flames. Worth the price?
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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 prefer full screen shots without the UI showing. And please, no more sunsets. No, really. Ok, only if it's a sunrise in new Patch 2.4 lands. We'll take those anytime.
Last Week on Massively: WoW-related stories - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 09:30:00 EST This week's round up of WoW-related posts on our sister site Massively covers many different angles of the MMO universe dominated by World of Warcraft. The Game Developers Conference 08 coverage took up much of last week with many people comparing their efforts to WoW's success. You can click on the links below or subscribe to a special WoW-only Massively feed.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous.
In last month's Confessions of a Teenage Warlock, we saw a well spoken, capable, creative young man out representing for the legion of teenagers who play WoW without dragging everyone else on the server down to the level of Barrens chat. "He's nothing special!" cried some readers in the comments - and rightly so. Seldorm's not the youngest player, or the most uber player or even the most outspoken player. In fact, you might most accurately characterize Seldorm as the poster boy for "normal" WoW-playing teens who don't make little worgs of themselves online. (There are more of them than you think!)
This week's 15 Minutes of Fame looks at another young WoW player - "young" being the operative word. Under the protective wing of his parents, Zeshon began serious raiding in Karazhan last summer at the age of 10. Now 11 years old, he's filling in as a DPS sub in his guild's Serpentshrine Cavern raids, studying boss strats ... and getting his homework done and to bed on time. We talked with Zeshon and his mom, Melynthris, to see how the family that raids together, stays together.
Welcome to the first edition of our new twice-monthly column, Pimp My Profile. Readers submit their Armory profile to us and every two weeks we pick one to review. We provide a Gear Check, Talent Tune Up, AddOn/Macro recommendations and more to help you reach your goals in the game.
For the inaugural column, I asked my long time friend Jon to submit his new Paladin for da pimpage. He had recently shelved his Warrior in favor or leveling a new Paladin to 70 to be the main tank for our casual group. Having played the class for only two months, he had a few questions and concerns. Here is what he had to say:
"I'm highly aware of needing to obtain the "uncrittable" defense numbers so far in order to get a defense anywhere near 490 I've found that I have to sacrifice too much spell damage which eats into my ability to hold agro. I abandoned a 63 warrior in favor of my Pally tank and the teary eyed joy that comes with being able generate lots of agro quickly on multiple mobs. Big spell damage is essential to my ability to tank for my trigger happy friends whose 5 man instance approach is more akin to "Who's Line Is It Anyway" rather than the production of Shakespeare most people reading this think their guild regularly produces."
Jon's goals as a new level 70 Protection Paladin on the verge of tanking Heroics are:
To attain uncrushability by equipping more avoidance gear (+Dodge,+Parry or +Block equipment)
Regain his threat generation through +Spell damage
Retaining his uncrittable status by keeping his Defense at least at 490
Let's look at Jon's current set up and what he, or any pre-Heroic L70 Protection Paladin, can do to achieve those goals.
It's amazing to me exactly how hard instances can be.Not the mobs, but the group.We've all been in ugh-PUGs before.Some players don't understand how to use their class or play nicely in an instance.That's only on regular dungeons; heroics have their own set of potential disasters. Sometimes you just have to give up.
Putting a group together for instance can be extremely difficult, and sometimes you have to take what you can get.While there are many excellent tanks out there, the shortage on my server makes for slim pickings. Folks who think that pulling aggro off the tank is an honor make up another problem.I am occasionally guilty of trying to heal and DPS at the same time. I'll admit to causing a wipe or two because of it.
It's Tuesday and that means maintenance. Realms are down, players are frolicking (read: bored), and everything seems somehow more like Tuesday. It is scheduled to last from 5:00 am PST to 11:00 am PST. If you're wondering what on Azeroth you are going to do doing downtime, while at work, or otherwise lazing about, here are a few suggestions.
What are you doing this week during maintenance? Are you reading up on the changes to your class or profession, and what that will mean to your PvP or raiding self? Have you been inventing the next WoW /dance? Or are you trying to get more work done than you do on other days of the week?