Every week The OverAchiever gives advice, walkthroughs and guides on completing your latest Achievement obsession. This week we look at how to track down 75 critters with a minimum of pain.
At some point in your pet collecting career, it's best just to give up and admit you're obsessed. When Lil' Game Hunter went live with 3.0.8, I started looking at my options to get to 75 pets. Most people shouldn't have too much difficulty reaching 50 (Shop Smart, Shop Pet...Smart), but 75 is a little unnerving. I don't have any of the Collector's Edition, Trading Card Game, or fan event pets, and I also play Horde. That leaves me without access to the Sprite Darter Hatchling, and on a lot of realms also makes it harder and more expensive to get the White Kitten, on top of being more expensive to get the lion's share of the faction-specific pets (which, naturellement, are Alliance). What's up with the Horde and pet hate? Sheesh.
So that was somewhat worrying, and I approach this achievement with one question in mind: is it possible to do this without having dropped money on CE, TCG, or event pets?
Forget what Blizzard said about not having a testing schedule. That was just to throw you off the trail. Daelo just announced on the forums that some Ulduar bosses are going to be available for testing very soon. And by soon I mean within the next hour. Here's what Daelo had to say:
On the North American test realms Hodir - Thursday night, February 26, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST. Iron Council - Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm EST/4pm PST
On the European test realms Thorim - Friday night, February 27, starting at 7pm CET. Freya - Friday night, February 28, starting at 7pm CET.
That means that Hodir will be available to fight in less than an hour in North American realms. The Iron Council will be available tomorrow. On the other side of the globe, the Europeans can have a shot at Thorim and Freya. This surprise testing comes right after Blizzard told everyone to stop asking about a raid schedule. Well, there you have it. Note that this will be bare bones testing of the bosses... there will be no trash, no loot, and no Achievements. It's just the boss in order for Blizzard to tune the encounter. Get to the PTR now and form your raids!
NOTE: According to Blizzard, "To get to Hodir from the front of Ulduar, travel all the way through the exterior section headed straight until you teleport into the interior section. Go up the stairs, over the temporary bridge, then Hodir's wing is to your right. The walls of his wing are ice covered and he's at the end."
Our good friend Drayner over at Twinkinfo.com has gotten his hands on video of the brand new TCG items uncovered the other day for Upper Deck's upcoming Blood of Gladiators expansion. Of the three, the Foam Sword rack seems the coolest -- it looks like a pick up and go heirloom weapon that you'll be able to challenge others with. And while the Epic Purple Shirt is definitely purple (and Epic), the "Sandbox Tiger" is probably the sillest. But if you've always really wanted to ride a Spectral Tiger, there you go (and it does look like that Orc is having a lot of fun, doesn't it?).
Cool office decoration or the coolest office decoration? The statue was sculpted by the Weta Workshop in Australia, and shipped all the way into Irvine. No easy task, considering it's bronzed and 12 feet tall. Though from the pictures, it looks like it was installed in two separate pieces -- the wolf mount first, and then the Orc on top. And it also looks like Blizzard had a short unveiling ceremony, but it seems like it may have been just for employees from inside the building.
Bet that statue is more awesome than whatever's outside whatever building you're in right now. It's more awesome than what's outside mine, and I'm in Chicago.
Scattered Shots is your weekly guide to improving your Hunter skills, brought to you by Jessica "Lassirra" Klein of The Hunter's Mark, covering a variety of Huntery topics. Today, we'll be diving into what hunters will have to look forward to from the world of dual specs.
So far the uproar about the dual spec feature coming to us in patch 3.1 has been predominantly from classes that are able to fill multiple roles in a raid environment, giving them more flexibility to swap between tanking, healing and dealing damage based on the needs of their group at the time. The 1000g price tag on this feature may seem a bit daunting to some, but the benefits of being able to swap between tanking and healing at a moment's notice without costly respec fees or inconvenient trips to the nearest not-so-nearby trainer are obvious. This all begs the question, though: what's in it for us pure DPS folks?
The easy answer to that is being able to swap seamlessly from a PvP build to your raid build when invites start going out for the night. And lets not forget that Survival Hunters are the new Shadow Priest, right? If you're missing one of your friendly neighborhood mana batteries one night, you can swap into a spec for that at the drop of a hat. There are also plenty of opportunities for enterprising young Hunters looking to farm old world raid bosses solo, and there's a spec for that, too. There's plenty of fun to be had for us Hunters, and this new dual spec feature will make the transition from conquering the wilds of our world as a lone tracker to wiping the floor with the deadliest of raid bosses that much easier.
Totem Talk: PTR Roundup - Thu, 26 Feb 2009 16:30:00 EST Well, my PTR transfers haven't gone through yet. I debated putting this column off until tomorrow in the hopes that they would have happened by then but the fear that they might not and I'd be late and still in the same boat caused me to decide to write about it today.
We've talked about the most recent changes on the PTR here and here. As of right now these are the changes we're working from in terms of speculating about what the class will look like in 3.1. It's fairly clear that most of the changes are aimed either at shaman viability in PvP. I'm disappointed to see that Frozen Power, the talent aimed at giving shamans a snare/root in PvP is 25 points down the enhancement tree, but not surprised, as it seems to be aimed more at giving enhancement shamans an anti-kite than in giving other shamans a kiting ability.
To be honest, none of these changes really makes me want to take an elemental or enhancement shaman into PvP. They're incremental improvements, changes that could in the future form the basis for something exciting for shamans (the new Glyph of Stoneclaw Totem has real potential, even though yes, it does use up your earth totem so that you can't be fear immune when you use it... this is and has always been a drawback of shamans in PvP and I don't think Blizzard is ever going to entirely remove it, although with Frozen Power you at least have a replacement for Earthbind) but at present it still feels somewhat unexciting. The way the changes affect PvE seems more positive, which is odd in a patch aimed at PvP tweaks for the class.
With Patch 3.1 already on the PTR -- although without Ulduar yet -- the clock is ticking for aspiring drake riders. All hope isn't lost, however, as Blizzard is introducing two new reward mounts to go with the 10- and 25-man Ulduar raid Achievements. Pictured above as mined from the PTR files by MMO Champion is the Ironbound Proto-Drake, which I suspect is the reward for the Heroic Ulduar Achievments. There's also a Rusted Proto-Drake, which is likely the reward for the 10-man meta-Achievement. For those of you working towards the Plagued and Black Proto-Drakes, you don't have long now! Hop to it and don't die!
Video of Val'anyr, the Gavel of Ancient Kings - Thu, 26 Feb 2009 15:30:00 EST Video of the legendary mace coming in patch 3.1, Val'anyr, the Gavel of Ancient Kings, is already making the rounds. The animation is pretty cool, but I remain unconvinced of its overall awesomeness. We can't see any of the particle effects this weapon may have, because none of that stuff is ever built into the model. We won't know what it really looks like until we see it in-game somewhere, or someone digs out the other bits and pieces it all together.
The animation itself, which is the whole point of watching the video, is really freaking sweet. If it's an animation that happens semi-randomly and isn't just a constant thing, I really, really like it. My only concern about the weapon is, again, the particle effects. Something really cool looking is going to need to fill in that gap in the middle. As long as there's something there, this weapon is going to be amazingly cool. If there isn't, it's going to be amazingly boring. A very 'make it or break it' situation, I think. That's just my opinion, though. Do you guys disagree?
There are epic weapons for everyone (right now priced at 25 seals, though that may change -- the weapons seem to be a little higher 5-man Heroic level), as well as blue boots, belts, gloves, and neckpieces for most classes and specs (all just 10 seals -- about equivalent to the Revered options the endgame reputations). Additionally, you can get tabards for each faction city (at 50 seals, that seems expensive, but they could have a special proc or ability granted with them), you can buy specially colored faction mounts for 100 seals, and at the top of the heap is an Argent Hippogryph for a whopping 250 seals. Seals, it seems, will also be able to be exchanged for reputation commendations, so if you just want to rep up with a certain old faction rep, you can do that, too.
Pretty enticing. We have yet to see how exactly seals will be earned or how easy they'll be to come by, but it seems like Blizzard is planning to make this a catch-all option for endgame in terms of picking up rep, mounts, or gear. Just like the champion tabards let us choose just how we could earn rep for the endgame factions, the Argent Tournament appears to be a chance for folks at level 80 to pick up whatever rep or options they like by doing whatever the Tourney offers.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
Loosen up those fingers and get ready to post your theory on who will come out on top in this week's Two Bosses Enter matchup: Gal'darah of Gundrak versus Krystallus from Halls of Stone. It's Impale against Petrifying Grip and Shatter - who's doing what, while who's out of commission?
As always, the basics: assume that the two bosses share similar levels, health pools and damage output, that any crowd control abilities they have affect one another, and that they are fighting on neutral territory. Because one of Krystallus' key abilities (Shatter) is designed for use against multiple opponents, we'll allow its effects against Gal'darah here. Other than that, we're out to debate the three S's: Style, Story and Scale. Don't get caught up in game mechanics and what players might do in each encounter. Consider the flavor each villainous gladiator brings to bear, then cast your vote for who you think would come out on top.
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. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.
Before we get started today, I just wanted to take a moment and mention that I'm working on a Special Edition (super special!) of The Queue focusing on Dual Specs. It won't interrupt our regular daily doses of The Queue, it'll come seperately. It might take me awhile to piece it together because people have asked a lot of Dual Spec questions, but it's coming! Slowly but surely. jam asked... What happened to the new instance that was supposed to be in Un'Goro crater, accessible only by through the Waygate in Sholazar Basin?
I don't mean getting outed on Guildwatch for ninja'ing that T7 staff (no, it's still not a Hunter weapon) or cybering the guild masters girlfriend by mistake. I mean the new little beauty in the movie above that we've heard rumors of since Patch 3.1 hit the PTR late Monday night. And fresh from the Dalaran toy store, here it is, the Wind Up Train Wrecker. Just place down a train set, summon your little buddy and watch him go to work. This may very well replace the Crashin' Thrashin' Racer for miniature motorized fun.
Like Moo Money said many moons ago, it's hard to categorize Shepiwot's work. It's pretty firmly in the "WTF" category, and I think it's probably best if we just leave it there. You're probably going to find the How To Paladin series funny, entertaining, or just plain annoying. Maybe all three. I'm in the "it's entertaining" camp, and I can live with that.
This edition has everything you might expect from Shepiwot journeying to Northrend. Dancing, dancing, and more dancing. Some fighting. Tanks! Explosions! Over all, it's a crazy, whacky ride. It felt to me like it moved faster than previous editions, which is probably a good thing.
"How to Paladin" might not be your cup of tea. But, for the fast pace of the film, it won't take you long to drink it.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
Instead, the effects are being rolled into talents so that, if talented, the Death Knight herself still gains the benefit, but does not extend it to party or raid members.
Although they will now be called, for example, Improved Blood Presence, the benefits will be applied regardless of the presence assumed by the character.
I have to admit that my first reaction to the change was a negative one. It feels weird to me switching from a Holy Paladin to a character that simply does not have a comparable range of buffs and auras to offer.
Unholy Aura, which grants a 15% movement speed increase, was slowly "becoming mandatory as a raid buff." The ability is not only handy for long corpse runs, as well as fights where movement speed and reaction time are critical, but it seriously impacts the overall damage done by the meleeing crowd.
Melee characters spend an annoying amount of time backing out of range because of AoE or ground effects, running around the mobs to always stay behind them, following after a mobile tank, and the like. This disrupts their damage, and because this has always been the case, classes and encounters are balanced assuming that this is still going on.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's duelists hail from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
It was kangaroo vs. 'shroom as Eck the Ferocious took on Amanitar in this week's Two Bosses Enter, One Boss Leaves deathmatch. The little Gorloc bounded to a fairly tight victory.
Reade Rhoz offered up a dissenting opinion on how this matchup would go down: "My vote goes to Amanitar, because his tactics seemingly counter all of Eck's strengths. Eck deals poison damage, and as a giant mushroom, Amanitar is likely to be highly resilient to poison. Eck jumps around, Amanitar entangles. Meanwhile, while Eck is rooted to the group, Amanitar's fungal friends are spouting up all over the place, damaging Eck. Since neither of these bosses are notable for their intelligence, by the time Eck realizes that the spores are ripping his body apart from the inside out, it'll likely be too late. Coupled with a powerful Poison Bolt Volley from Amanitar, and it looks like the Gorloc doesn't have much of a chance."
Vote later today in the next matchup of this season'sTwo Bosses Enter ... One Boss Leaves.
In this screenshot, Licantrope of Sporeggar-EU is demonstrating an important life lesson; when you're physically outclassed in a fight, go for their weak spot. Although next time he might consider using his axe, or, y'know, realizing that the bear is incredibly dead and merely mounted in a lifelike position. Oh well, not everyone can be Thrall. The orcs need ditch-diggers too.
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As many of you pointed out through numerous, apprehensive e-mails, our favorite Hunter pet resource was down for a while. As Mania pointed out, however, she was aware of the issue and was working actively to get the site back online. It seems like she's knocked the right heads, too, because Petopia is back on its feet again, supplying us with all the Hunter pet information we could ever want. So as unsettling as Petopia's disappearance was, especially in light of another favorite WoW resource closing its doors, there's no need to panic. Whew.
The Moonfire! blog follows up their first 10 Commandments for DPS with 10 More Commandments. The last one is priceless. (NOTE: We may have melted their servers. Try again later in the day if the link doesn't work. It's worth the wait.)
Breakfast Topic: Pride in your Achievements - Thu, 26 Feb 2009 08:00:00 EST The current Achievement system is extensive, and growing. While many seem to exist just to give you a small pat on the back, others push you into new content, silly stunts, and wacky doings.
It seems like a simple question, but when I began pondering my answer, I wasn't sure what to choose. I'm proud that I have completed every meta achievement leading up to What a Long Strange Trip it's Been, so far this year. I'm not sure if that should count yet, considering there are still plenty of chances to fumble the whole thing.
I believe that I will settle on Twilight Assist. Sarth with a drake or more up is definitely the hardest content currently in the game. Although we haven't managed two or three, I belong to a small, tight-knit raiding guild that started from the ground up. None of our players are recruited from elite guilds, and we don't have 25-man gear. Getting this achievement was an awesome feeling.
So I ask again, of which achievement are you most proud, and why is that the case? Was it the most fun or challenging? Was it because of a reward or title?
And with this new build, we're going to try something new here at WoW Insider. Each time the patch notes change, we'll bring you a listing of significant changes to them.
What's a significant change?
Non-grammatical, there are grammar and spelling errors in the patch notes. While people might like to make fun of them, they're not of any consequence.
Non-contextual, sometimes the context of a note changes but doesn't really make any difference. Something like a Shield Bash change moved from the Arms tree (where it was mistakenly placed) to the Protection tree (where it belongs).
Non-formatting, often times the format of the patch notes will change. This includes things like using ":" or "-" in the appropriate places. These don't concern us.
Sometimes the new changes to the patch notes will just be undocumented things becoming documented. But that's important to know too.