Upper Deck starts "Road to Worlds" - Mon, 26 May 2008 19:00:00 EST Upper Deck has announced the series of tournaments that will bring them down the road to the World Championships for the WoW trading card game -- "The Road to Worlds," they're calling them -- and the events began this past weekend. You can check on their website right now to see what's going down where -- odds are that if you're near a metropolitan area, there's something happening near you. These events aren't that big themselves (the prizes are a few art pieces and some extra cards, including this awesome Robotic Chicken quest card), but the big deal here is that the top two from each event move on, and eventually will try for a chance to compete in the World Championships later this year.
Good luck if you do go, and as always, bring your camera and let us know if you get pictures of the events. This is the small end of Upper Deck's tournament year (things will get much bigger later on as they move towards the big Championships), but all the same, every time they show up somewhere to play cards, there's a lot of fun to be had.
Unfortunately for some players, very likely not. While Kil'jaeden was definitely one of the driving forces of the Legion (and I'm sure we'll see more in the lore cutscene that apparently takes places at the end of his fight, whenever SK posts the video of it), he's nothing compared to Sargeras himself, and we'll definitely need more than a raid to topple the World of Warcraft's biggest big bad. Throw in the fact that there are still demons running rampant all over Outland (not to mention portals from all kinds of various places bringing them in), and even though we've just spent a whole expansion trying to kill the Burning Legion, odds are that we'll see them again soon.
But not too soon -- hopefully, as Morbosa says, the next expansion will offer a return to the old swords, sorcery and politics that high fantasy lovers love so much. It's not that we don't enjoy fighting demons -- they're fun. But nothing feels as good sometimes as a mace cracking some skeleton heads towards the goal of beating a king of the undead, and hopefully that's what we'll find in Northrend.
Every week, computer security expert Jon Eldridge is your Azeroth Security Advisor. He will delve into the darkest reaches of computer security rumor and bring the facts back home even if they're wriggling at the end of a pike. His goal is to provide useful information to gamers who don't think about security much and flame fodder for those self appointed experts who need to rationalize the cost of their expensive certifications. Like any good security force he's a mercenary at heart and is happy to take subject requests from the user community that he serves. So feel free to leave a comment below or just sit back and enjoy the show.
So you've made it to the top. You're in a 1337 raid guild that can sleepwalk through heroic instances. The PvP teams that are lucky enough to have you grace them with your presence are first in your battle group. Your favorite hobbies include disenchanting purples and watching the n00bs pass out when they inspect your gear. You've been around since beta and everywhere you go people know your name. Yep is sure is great to be you(r toon). /emote pat self on back.
Then it happens. You login to find that somebody in your guild is the object of much ROFLMAO and that somebody is you. Your stomach drops out and your heart goes into overdrive as you read that chat. Now everybody in your guild knows your real name, home address, social security number, political affiliation, and drivers license number. But wait it gets better! Your arch rival just posted links to your online dating profiles, anarchist news group posts you made back in high school, and your criminal history. You've been RL PWN3D in the worst possible way.
There's a lot of the usual stuff that you hear from guild after a big down, but there's a few new things in there, too -- apparently SK and other raiding sponsors are actually paying "premiums" for world first kills. Doesn't sound like a lot, but they do say they'll be able to do a meetup this summer thanks to their run in Sunwell, so that's a fairly substantial amount for playing a game. Both M'uru and Kil'jaeden are on their top 3 encounters in the expansion, along with Magtheridon, apparently. And the Sunwell "gates" system gets a pretty good review -- SK says it kept some guilds going even when they might have been burned out on the tougher fights.
All in all, an interesting interview. They dive into drama a bit when talking about the friction between SK and Nihilum, but mostly, they just stick to what it's like raiding as a professional guild in the Sunwell. It will definitely be interesting to see how these kinds of guilds react to the 10/25 man change in the expansion -- raiding has come a long way from the 40-man runs in vanilla WoW, and these guilds may have a lot more competition for the 10man world firsts.
As we noted last week, Blizzard is planning to sell more tickets to the World Wide Invitational 2008 in Paris, France. We now know the exact date: Thursday, May 29th. If you're planning to be in the area on June 28th-29th, here's your chance to catch all the contests and dev panels that are sure to showcase some great creativity and reveal some juicy WoTLK and Starcraft 2 information. If you're not planning to be in the area, but have always wanted a European vacation, here's a great excuse.
The last half of June is looking like a great time to be in Paris for a game developer groupie as well, since the European Game Developer's Conference will also be going on, complete with Blizzard Senior VP Rob Pardo as a keynote speaker.
"It's only a game" - Mon, 26 May 2008 16:00:00 EST I still remember my first run in Hellfire Ramparts for exactly this reason. It was a new instance for all of us, the healer and mage were new to the game and hadn't instanced much (having just hit 59 when the expansion came out in the case of the priest) and the rogue kept berating everyone for not being up to his standard of play. As you might expect, he also didn't seem very good, but it was late and I just wanted to get the quests done.
It was endurable, although not terribly fun. We finally got to the first boss, Watchkeeper Gargolmar, and thanks to some really nice work on the part of the priest and hunter, got him down our first try. He did not drop the Bracers of Finesse, however, and the rogue went ballistic. Note that neither I nor anyone else in the party can control what the bosses drop. While we were discussing if anyone in the party was an enchanter, as no one needed the Light-Touched Breastplate, our rogue went off stealthed, deliberately pulled several groups of mobs onto us, vanished and hearthed out while I tried desperately to keep aggro long enough and not die with enough time for the rest of the party to escape. They didn't make it, and between that wipe and the loss of a DPS, we were effectively done for the evening.
Since I knew his guild reasonably well (I'd been in it) I sent the GM a tell expressing my dissatisfaction with what had happened. I mean, who exactly was he angry at? How was it anyone's fault that the bracers didn't drop? The answer I got back was one of my first exposures to the "It's only a game" mentality, as this is the tell our rogue sent to me after his GM got done ripping him a new one. It was 'uncool' of me to have brought it to his GM, it seems, as it's just a game after all. Apparently it's not just a game when you don't get your drop, but it is when you wipe an entire group over it.
Mana Regen Calculator updated for Mages - Mon, 26 May 2008 15:30:00 EST Resto4Life has updated their very helpful Mana Regen Calculator -- if you want to figure out just how much mana you're picking up while buffed and dressed in a raiding or group situation, it'll tell you, including talents, items, and even abilities used on you (Innervate and Mana Tide totem). Pretty slick.
The new update allows for Mages to have a set of abilities of their own, including Mage Armor, and Evocation, which means that Druids, Priests and the followers of the Arcane all have their chance to see how much Mana they're getting back per tick. Shame that Shaman aren't on the list yet (maybe all of the mp5 on Shaman abilities and gear would make it too hard to do?), but if you're one of the listed classes, it's a terrific resource for seeing what your Mana regen abilities are like and how you can best make use of them. Very cool.
Every Sunday (usually), Spiritual Guidance will offer practical insight for priests of the holy profession. But since it's Memorial Day weekend and Canadians don't celebrate the holiday, I decided to keep you all entertained on Monday! Your host is now Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus, and this week he's written different "If" statements to follow.
The launch date for the new expansion is coming ever closer, and soon the race will begin to get from 70 to 80. Looking forward to the grind? I know I'm interested in the new quest designs and mechanics! I'm one of the few crazy people in WoW who leveled Disc/Holy. There are a few good tips on leveling to 70 without having any points invested in Shadow. This week's piece discusses the reasons for leveling as Discipline, talents you should consider, and the spells in your arsenal. I'm happy to see the purpose of the Discipline tree being more focused. Here's why I did it, and why I plan on doing it again when Wrath of the Lich King is released.
The given answer is something that we heard at BlizzCon last year: Blizzard wants this Hero class to be epic in a way that no other class has before, so they don't want anyone who can literally command death running around as a level one noob. But does that justify cutting off more than half of the Death Knight's lifespan? Can a class that you started past the halfway point really be as epic as that Hunter or Warlock that you leveled to 80 all the way up from level 1?
Again, we don't yet know exactly how a Death Knight is created -- maybe there's something in the quest to get one that will explain what's going on here. And other people say that just letting the Death Knight start at 55 isn't enough -- if you get a character to level 80, you should be able to get a head start with any class, without having to go back and do all the lowbie quests again. We'll see in the expansion if Blizzard can make a class that you level only 25 levels feel as epic as they say it will.
Daniel Howell contributes BigRedKitty, a column with strategies, tips and tricks for and about the Hunter class, sprinkled with a healthy dose of completely improper, sometimes libelous, personal commentary.
Episode 2 of How 2 Machinima focuses on how to realistically lip-sync your actors using images of their own mouths. According to this tutorial, you would need pictures of the mouth in various stages of opening and closing. Then you would study the sound chart, which Ian has linked to on How 2 Machinima. From there, it only gets more complicated, so you'll need to pay special attention to the video. I personally use CrazyTalk, by Reallusion, for all of my lip-syncing, but the choice is yours!
Naming your guild is a funny thing. You want it to stand out in some way, but, at the same time, you don't want to give it such a weird or offensive name that people are embarrassed to walk around with it above their heads. It can be an agonizing decision. I remember back in the days before my officers and I founded our guild, we exchanged dozens of messages trying to find the perfect name. So I can sympathize with the author of this week's e-mail, who discovered that her carefully chosen name had also been chosen by another guild with some eerily similar characteristics.
I don't know if I have a conundrum, a mystery, or a coincidence. I find it kinda funny more than anything else, but wonder if I should feel some concern or do something about it--
More than a month ago, I split off from a friendly, pretty well-knit social guild to form my own of same. I had decent ideas about the sort of people I wanted together, and still have aims of trying to build a Kara team (I follow the casual raiding articles religiously). We're still very small, but we're out there, and we have a pretty notable guild name. It was also the only guild of that name across all servers -- I checked the Armory at that time.
Just last night I happened to be trawling the armory, looking up some friends and their gear, and, of course, popped in my own guild name. Much to my surprise, I see a brand new guild (~10 members) on another Normal server with the same name, cross-factioned. Further, their guild tabard is nearly identical (save for a slightly different border; the colors and image are same), and their GL is the same class as I am, a Blood Elf to my Human.
At first, this seems to be an ordinary picture of Orgrimmar. Sunrise, gates, spiky things, blah blah blah. But doesn't it look a little ... empty? Almost as if, say, half the buildings and all the people were missing? I had to get another pic to compare, but it was true -- in this pic, the Horde capital city has lost its zeppelin tower, north wall, and what seems to be the entirety of the world northwest of the city.
How could this have happened? If you look closer, you'll discover the awful truth. A nuclear explosion has eliminated the top half of Kalimdor. You can even see the mushroom cloud. And what's the only thing that can survive a nuclear explosion? That's right, High Overlord Saurfang (also cockroaches, Twinkies, and a certain action hero in a refrigerator.) He's still there to the left of the torch, defending the city even as the buildings fall. And I'm sure whoever caused that explosion (*cough*Fandral Staghelm*cough*) is going to be in a world of pain.
Thanks to Bloodelfer of Anachronos-EU for the pic!
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. We prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Also, how awesome would a Lego Warcraft console game be? Pretty awesome.
Welcome to today's edition of Ask WoW Insider, in which we publish your questions for dissection by the peanut gallery -- now with extra snark and commentary by one of our writers. This week Anonymous writes in: A long, long time ago I dinged level 70. At that time I was in a guild that only had a select group of level 70 players and we tried to make the best of what we had. I had tons of fun discovering all the level 70 dungeons, and finally also the heroics, as a tank (which I rolled due to the tank-shortage). After a while our guild started to attract more level 70 players and we started raiding Kara. Something we never expected to happen since we were nothing like a raiding guild. After clearing Kara we soon moved up to ZA which we cleared with the regular 10 people we pretty much always ran raids with. After this many people started aching for 25mans, and we merged with another guild. We downed Gruul on our first try, piece of cake. Then things started to go bad. We were raiding casually, 2 to 3 nights a week of Kara and ZA. Most people in our guild were casuals (only available about 1 to 2 nights a week to raid) who were really psyched we got a chance to raid. Of course we had a base of "hard-core" raiders. They wanted more and things started to bubble up. Then came the worst news ever, our guild would disband. Our guild leader couldn't do his tasks any more due to a busy schedule out of WoW and he didn't have fun in playing anymore.
Our guild disbanded and many players moved on. I as one of the casuals got left behind. We are all very over geared for the content we were raiding due to farming ZA and Kara for so long we could easily afford the new 2.4 badge loot and of course we'd have a lot of drops from ZA. Most people were easily accepted into MH/BT raiding guilds. However these end-game (even the SSC/TK raiding guilds on my realm) have requirements if you wish to raid, you need to attend at least 3 times a week. I, and a lot of other casuals, simply can't do this due to engagements besides WoW. I've gone on a quest to find a casual raiding guild. I had no luck.
First I applied to a guild that seemed okay with my requirements, however they didn't need more tanks and denied me. After a while a spot for a tank came up, but they just aren't progressing, at all, so I declined. I couldn't bear the thought of raiding Kara or ZA one more time, I wanted 25man content. So I joined another guild, which turned out to be total chaos. Sure, I could raid there, but when they raided it took all night to down one boss, I left. Now I've joined another guild, which draws a line between "Casual" and "Raider" like many other guilds tend to do. As a casual (even though I'm geared as a raider) I won't get invited into any 25man raids apart from the "lower" content such as Gruul, which I've already seen one too many times. This guild is currently clearing MH/BT and were actually looking for an extra raiding tank, however I couldn't get invited into the raids being a casual (not even two nights a week) so they keep looking.
Now I ask you, WoW Insider, where do I find a freaking guild that makes me raid 25man content with the not so many nights a week I have? This is getting urgent, since I'm now finishing my Netherwing rep grind and have nothing else to do besides raiding in this game and it's starting to turn me away from a game I love playing.
Breakfast Topic: Addons requests and recommendations - Mon, 26 May 2008 08:00:00 EST Lileah on Livejournal was looking for some help with an addon the other day, and her request gave me an idea. For this morning's Breakfast Topic, we're going all out with the addon requests. If you've got a need for an addon (like custom timers, an addon for keeping track of food, or any other weird needs you might have), ask in the comments below, and if you're an addon expert, show off your expertise by letting the requester know if there's an addon that will fill their needs.
And if there's isn't an addon that can do what they're asking, maybe this comments section will be the impetus for someone out there to create one of their own. Think we can find a need out there for an addon that doesn't yet exist? Of course, there are some things that addons can't do (choose targets or spells for you is a big one), but otherwise, consider this thread your clearinghouse for addon service requests.
If you can't get an answer here, feel free to tip us, too -- we at WoW Insider always love finding out and writing about new addons. Whether you need help finding an addon that does what you want or you know of a great addon that could use some coverage, let us know and we'll be thrilled to take a look at it.
Fresh from the alpha leaks that have been coming our way is a new video posted on Vimeo that shows new Wrath of the Lich King gear for Hunters, Mages, Priests, Rogues, and Warlocks. We don't know what tier level (ie: 7.5, 8, 9) this gear is for, but we do know that it fits the overall model of previous tier gear.
When you watch the video you'll notice that not everything is done yet. Obviously, this is because the game is still in alpha. And remember that these models could be completely thrown out and replaced with something different. My personal favorite is the rogue gear.
Give it a watch and get yourself some of these juicy alpha leaks!
Getting into character isn't all that easy. First of all, as Matt demonstrated last week, one must have the desire and the gumption to just do it. You can't sit back and say, "But I don't know how to do it right!"or "But what if people don't like my roleplaying?" or any other excuse like that. You have to put your fingers to the keyboard and just start playing your role. Whether people like it more or less depends upon a bunch of things, including your skills and knowledge about how to do it well, but first and foremost it depends on your willingness to go out and try things out -- then look back and learn from your experience. You won't stop having problems and making mistakes, but you will get better over time.
Today I'll share with you one idea I found that helped me a lot with a problem I was having: when I found myself having a bit of trouble "logging in" to a particular character's personality, I found the concept of the "Character Diamond" to be extremely valuable in pinning down exactly who this character is, how she would respond, and what it feels like to be inside her head. This concept was originally thought up by a screenwriting teacher named David S. Freeman, but it has gone through a bit of modification to suit the MMORPG world. So, with permission from the folks at Dramatis Personae who first taught me about it, I would like to sum it up for you here as a starter's guide and reference for making character diamonds of your own.
My internet browsings brought me upon this YTMND page, and I thought it was funny enough to share with you all.
Endgame raiding, for those of you who don't know, can get a little predictable at times. Each class has their pre-defined roles, and each has their own unique style to them. Each raider usually carries with him or her (possibly ill) conceived notions of what players of each class are like.
For instance in my guild we usually poke fun at our Mages as being "emo mages," since they like to die a lot. Another one has lately been that I AFK tank, since when I get above 50k threat on the top DPS, there's very little chance they'll catch up to me (and on that note, they joke is on them, because as the main tank I often times do go AFK during phase two of Illidan.)
Take a look at this moderately funny YTMND take on WoW Endgame raiding. And have your volume up a little, because as my girlfriend explained, "That's Little Spanish Flea! You know, Homer sings that all the time."
World of Warcraft allows all of us an unprecedented ability to modify our user interface to meet our needs. Each week WoW Insider will bring you a fresh and detailed look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send it, along with your character name and server, to email@example.com.
Pondera of the Blackhand-US server sent in his UI, along with a short description of the major addons he's using. One of the major decisions in shaping this UI was to make it viable for each of his alts, something I strive towards with my own UI. Pondera is a 26 year-old Web Developer from Brazil, which shows in his UI. (Note the aesthetics and organization.)
As you can tell, his setup is similar to many UI's you'll find out there, with much of the game function happening at the bottom, and a compliment of information "gauges' at the top, courtesy of Fubar. I'm not sure what skin he's using for his "Fu-stuff", but I'm digging it myself. Note where Control Freak, his consumables and Decursive are. I like that he's found a home for those in the nooks and crannies of his UI, although I would imagine that Decursive could be problematic in that location when running Alterac Valley.
Check back after the break for his addons and description.
Welcome to Ask a Lore Nerd, WoW Insider's newest weekly feature column. Have a question about the story and lore of the Warcraft universe? Click the Comments link below, ask your question, and blogger/columnist Alex Ziebart will answer you in a future installment!
Thanks to the overwhelming popularity of Ask a Lore Nerd's first installment, we are now a weekly feature! I hope you enjoy it, because it's here to stay. This week we're fielding a large number of questions from a few contributors. A number of you have taken full advantage of this opportunity and posted an avalanche of questions. Good! That's what I like to see! Let's jump right into it, shall we?
Matt said: Not a lore question, but lore speculation. Blizzard hinted at a major event would cause the uneasy-peace of Horde and Alliance become not on uneasy. What could cause tensions to rise? Also in the real world alliances crumble, and are reformed. What races of the Horde and Alliance do you see possibly switching sides?
Answer: From what I understand, Garrosh Hellscream will be following in his father's footsteps and the good ol' Orcish bloodlust will color his actions in Northrend. Additionally, I'd be willing to bet the Alliance is mighty nervous about the Forsaken's new plagues, considering they had been thoroughly tested on Alliance citizens in the past. The Lich King may also play a substantial role in the rising tensions, playing the two factions off of one another. As far as switching sides, I don't see it happening. If anything, factions would splinter further but not switch sides. The Forsaken and Blood Elves might go off on their own. The Night Elves might go off on their own. Pretty unlikely in both cases.