One of the things Patch 3.1 is supplying in spades is glyphs and glyph changes. Every class is getting a ton of them, and it's really hard to keep up with them there are so many. Priests are coming out alright so far through the whole process, with a lot of our current glyphs being improved and our new glyphs being legitimately useful, if situational. Let's see what's new, shall we?
Glyph of Fade - Reduces the cooldown of your Fade spell by 9 sec. (Old: Increases the duration and cooldown of your Fade spell by 50%.)
This is massively better than what it was previously, and I suspect that this will become a popular Shadow Priest glyph in PvP. Two points in Veiled Shadows plus this glyph means a 15 second cooldown on Fade. Every 15 seconds, a Shadow Priest will be able to clear all movement impairing effects, assuming they have Improved Shadowform. That's pretty friggin' sweet.
It's definitely been a big request for a long time, and surely even the devs have seen the awesome work of artists like Andrige to update and enhance the models currently in the game. Zarhym says artists are "very actively working" on redesigning the Druid models, and that "it's way beyond being an idea at this point." He doesn't think they'll show up as soon as 3.1 (and neither do we), but he says that it's in progress. You have to think, then, that there's concept art, if not working models somewhere ready to go into the game in the future. Excellent news for Druids seeking a slightly more updated look than what they've had since the game began.
The 3.1PTR has brought a lot of wonderful quality of life improvements, but here's one that players and GMs alike will undoubtedly appreciate more than a lot of them: you finally, finally get a confirmation window when you enter an instance that would lock you to it. You get the option to accept the lockout and stay in the instance or leave the instance and save your ID for later. You have 15 seconds to make said choice.
This means no more getting screwed out of heroics by some idiot who forgot he already ran Violet Hold today or any other of the myriad ways you can lose your ID for the day (or week). It's about time.
Hey, everybody! How's your Friday afternoon so far? Mine is full of rain and Vanilla Coke. Mmm. Delicious Vanilla Coke. You know, I'm definitely a Mountain Dew man, and Voltage is my lifeblood, but some days you just want something else. I couldn't drink Vanilla Coke every day, but cracking one open now and then? Caffeinated heaven.* Now, if I can just find my dentures, I'll start answering your questions... Hellscreamy asked...
A few days ago I read in one of the posts that Noblegarden would be getting new achievements, items and events. Is there any indication at the moment (PTR or otherwise) that this will count towards the 'What a Long, Strange Trip It's Been' achievement?
Last night was an exciting night -- the first night of Ulduarencounter testing on the 3.1PTR. Lead Encounter Designer Daelo, a.k.a. Scott Mercer, was on hand to open up the instance portal and guide us to our intended boss (the only boss in the instance for that night) -- Hodir.
I've talked about Hodir a few times; he was featured in my Ulduar boss speculation post (and I was right), and I went through some of his datamined abilities a few days ago. Getting to finally test the encounter was exhilarating, and getting back into the process of learning a strat by hitting the ground running was something to which I've been looking forward for a long time.
While there is some truth in the premises offered, articles like this one only serve to fuel conspiracy rumors and encourage players to think of themselves as victims rather than take responsibility for their own account security.
Gaming companies do place some of the blame for a compromised account on the account holder, and for good reason. The hacker certainly didn't gain access to your computer because of their actions, and their computers that store your information are as yet untouchable.
The browsers you use, sites you visit, firewall settings, anti-virus software and update practices are just a few of the ways that you contribute to your own hacking experience.
Sharing your account information with your lover, best friend and mother may sound safe, but you don't control the security of their computers, or their friends' computers. The majority of people I know who have been hacked signed into their accounts on their sibling's computer or a publically shared machine.
It may be hard to hear, but a hacked account is because of something you did, whether it was an unfortunate stroke of luck, such as stumbling onto a redirect on a legitimate website in the small window before the site addresses it, or a serious oversight in security on your part.
Yesterday saw me still without PTR access, followed by a massive cable outage and some computer problems that kept me offline until very late. Logging onto my Horde server (my alliance server was already dead thanks to it being on east coast time, plus I generally prefer Horde now anyway) I found myself needed to tank an Obsidian Sanctum run, which went fine. Then, I was needed to DPS in Naxx, so I respecced, but mistaken specced fury because I respec on autopilot now. So after the raid I had to respec back to arms. So basically, I dropped 150g to raid yesterday. You could argue that were I not an idiot I could have saved myself 50 gold.
Let's start the day with a fun quote from Ghostcrawler:
"Fury warriors who think their dps will be too low after this change in PvE are probably comparing themselves to classes or specs with inflated dps who are also being brought down (even after the Deep Wounds fix). If you are worried about the PvP ramifications, I think we can probably agree that a 10% swing in dps is not what is going to determine whether warriors are viable in Arenas or not."
Yeah, we can agree on that. People would have to be taking warriors to arenas in order for us to determine if warriors were viable in arenas or not. Since they are not... I guess lowering warrior DPS bt 10% (as Ghostcrawler has just admitted these changes intend) doesn't really matter. When no one brings your class anyway, it's unimportant if it gets nerfed or not. Good point, GC. Very good point.
Though there is great news coming out of the PTR Patch 3.1, life goes on for us mortals playing on the live servers. Here's some interesting WoW-related posts from around the interwebs to keep you going.
How do you pump up for Arenas? Out of Mana loves herself a little kung fu fighting music. She has embedded two excellent videos that use the song in entertaining ways (one of which is above.)
Another great post on World of Matticus, Wrath Dailies for Healers for those holier than thou types that don't want to get their hands dirty, but still need a steady stream of income. Those heals don't come for free, people.
Player reactions to dual specs - Fri, 27 Feb 2009 13:00:00 EST Just in case you haven't been following what people have been saying about the dual spec system lately, Slashhug has a terrific post up covering all of the concerns and thoughts about the new system and how it will affect groups and raids. It's long, but he covers all of the bases, from how hybrids with two specs will affect which players get chosen for groups, to loot and how that will work (the same -- main specs first, offspecs if needed), and even soloing and why dual specs will be a blessing for classes who are normally built more for group play.
There's not a lot of new complaints or answers in here -- lots of it has already been discussed on the forums and in our own posts. But Slashhug does a great job of wrapping it all up into one big tasty dual spec sandwich, so you can catch up on all the thinking about dual specs so far. The bottom line, in terms of player reaction, is that dual specs will allow you to do more with your class than you can with just one spec. If you want to heal, you can still heal, or if you're built for tanking, you can still do that. But in groups where things don't quite fit (you've got a few tanks and your DPS is a little low, or your Priest could use a little extra help healing for this boss fight), dual specs will let you make the necessary tweaks right then and there, and excel that much more.
Okay, I admit it. I missed an obvious part of the punchline here until I did my due diligence research after the fact. When I first loaded up Atraira's music video for Boombox, I didn't get it right away. I dug the music, thought the message was great ("Music can bring the world together!"), and then was rightly confused at the end. I did notice that the singers were obsessed with "boiled goose," so I did a bit of Google-fu. Then I got it.
The song itself is actually written and performed by The Lonely Island. You probably remember them as the chaps who sang a song about their parts in a box or a good "Lazy Sunday." Suddenly, the song became that much funnier, since I understood it was satire comedy.
At any rate, the video itself is actually pretty good. I enjoy the two male Draenei as singers, and thought their costuming was well chosen and quite inspired. The milieus of old stuffy men spontaneously dancing worked very well against the lyrics.
And if you're like me, you can probably still enjoy the message of "Music will bring the world together!" I refuse to let go of that.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com.
He points out that if you're feeling burned out, it's "not the worst thing in the world to try out some other games -- the past couple of years has been great for them."
Of course, he did take the time to remind everyone that there is more to the game than clearing raid content or completing your latest PvP gear set. There are achievements, alts, questing, and tradeskills, to name a few.
While this does indicate that Blizzard is feeling pretty confident in their chokehold on the MMO market, it's also a smart move on their part. There are already enough paranoid conspiracy theories out there claiming that the company merely wants our money, and less concerned with product quality than with elaborate plans designed to trick us into playing longer and shelling out more money.
In fact, GC said this in response to one of these inspired theories. This reminds me of one of the loading screen tips that urges players to spend some time with their friends outside of this game as well as in it. As Ghostcrawler says, "just check back in with WoW every now and then."
As Nadie of The Venture Company recently learned, Blizzard has found a cheap and effective way to reduce the workload of their GMs. While sanctioned for a wide variety of offenses, this particular punishment is most frequently used for people who link "anal <item or spell>" in trade chat. Also on the drawing table: reducing the penalty volcano with an actual volcano.
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 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. Please include the word "Azeroth" in your post so it does not get swept into the spam bin. We strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards, double-mounts, or pictures of the Ninja Turtles in Dalaran.
Encounters are being designed so that no one single class is necessary, although the 25-man Razuvious fight currently requires at least one priest, preferably two or three, with at least one specced shadow.
The rigidity that came with Sunwell is one of the reasons that development has taken this direction. The motto sparked high hopes, and not all players are convinced that the implementation has been successful.
In response, Ghostcrawler points out that just like everything in WoW, it is a process. It's not going to be perfect, because things are always changing.
In fact, the development teams learn a lot about class balance by watching us play the content. GC mentions that they expect Ulduar, specifically in heroic mode, "to shine a much harsher light on class balance."
This equates to admitting that they do not intent for content to be perfect on first release. It should work bug-free, ideally, and be balanced fairly well, but new raid content liek Ulduar is also an opportunity for study.
GC expects "great debates" about the necessity of various buffs, debuffs, classes and specs, and while it will be "interesting, perhaps a bit rocky...we're also prepared to make whatever changes we need to make."
I don't know about you, but this has renewed my excitement for patch 3.1 and Ulduar's release. This sounds tough, challenging, and our own performances will directly affect class balance and raid composition.
On the bright side, Ghostcrawler confirms that there is no current trend where certain classes are being shunned out of raid slots, and that classes that used to be ignored by raid leaders in BC are now working competitively alongside their raidmates.
Once upon a time, digitally distributed content, such as downloaded copies of WoW and its expansions, allowed customers to avoid the sales tax that they would pay if they bought a copy from a store.
This proposed tax is poised to increase the costs of downloading music, books, videos, games, and other similar content.
Wisconsin is one of the most recent states to hop on board, adding a 5% tax to digitally distributed goods. One of the opponents, State Rep. Scott Suder, commented, "it's basically taxing students to fill in the Doyle budget shortfall, and I think that's unfair."
This tax will also affect families, and in these economic times, further taxing the people may not be the best way to drum up state funds.
Steve Delbiano from NetChoice, which encompasses Ebay, Aol, Yahoo and many others, points out that this tax is anything but environmentally friendly.
"With global warming and a world that's running out of oil, the last thing governments should do is add taxes on something that uses no oil and produces no carbon. A digital download is the greenest way to buy music, movies, and software, since it requires no driving to the store, no delivery vans, and no plastics or packaging."
Breakfast Topic: Most frustrating moment - Fri, 27 Feb 2009 08:00:00 EST The vast majority of the time, WoW is just pure fun to play, and even nights spent wiping on a boss can be an oddly happy experience if you're running with a cool group of people and you feel like you're making progress. But we've all had that moment in a raid or a group where you realize that things have unstoppably taken a turn for the worse, and that there's not much (if anything) you can do about it.
I've actually had two of these in recent memory: being within one perfect Kel'Thuzad kill of server-first Immortal and then losing a single player to the second Frost Blast, and then having to call a Sarth 3D kill because people seemed to find an array of new and interesting ways to get themselves killed. The silence in vent on both occasions was pretty awful, and that these two nights occurred back to back probably didn't help anyone's frame of mind. I've had a Hunter buddy previously describe her worst moment as triggering the old Karazhan pet bug -- wherein you could aggro almost everything in the instance due to bizarre pet pathing mechanics -- when she was a trial member with a new guild. A Warlock friend still cringes when he thinks about the night he accidentally looted the Champion gloves off Curator, and then having to keep the group there for two hours while we waited on a ticket (back before any of us knew how loot transfers worked). Sometimes you realize the night's just going to stay bad, and that it's time to get out of Dodge. What was your worst experience in this vein?
Alright, so they killed ghetto hearthing. Blizzard never intended the instance boot system to be used as means to travel back to one's home city while Hearthstones were on cooldown, so they're setting things right in Patch 3.1 by making it port players to the nearest graveyard, instead. Naturally, this sparked outrage amongst the instance-abusing community and some players demanded Blizzard to make up for the loss of one of the most frequently used means of travel.
Eyonix was quick to shut down these arguments in a long thread but eventually capitulated to the will of the masses, announcing that Hearthstones would be usable every 30 minutes when Patch 3.1 goes live. Eyonix still doesn't quite understand what the fuss is all about, though, and points to mage portals, Dalaran portals, and good old mount riding as acceptable means of getting from point A to point B. He even dismisses the complaints as QQ at one point. That said, it looks like some QQ has won the day for now. Enjoy your 30 minute hearthstones, everyone.
It's been just two hours since we first heard Blizzard would be opening Ulduar for testing, and after a rocky start (filled with crashes of all shapes and sizes) we're in game and collecting screenshots. If you can't get into Ulduar yourself, why not take a moment to peruse our gallery? (And, yes, before you even ask: spoilers inside. Don't click if you don't want to see!)
Obviously, here at WoW Insider, we're fans of the game, and it's hard to blame an inanimate object like a computer for serious problems in someone's life -- while World of Warcraft is one of the easiest ways an addictive personality can manifest itself, millions of people around the world are able to play it and maintain healthy livesand relationships.
Still, if you're playing World of Warcraft (or doing anything else) so much that it's affecting your health or social life, it's time to stop and/or get help from an organization like this. We won't blame the game for causing someone to pass out (common sense says that doing anything for 15 hours straight isn't good for you) or do poorly in school, but if either of those things are happening to you, in Sweden or anywhere else, because you're playing the game, then cut it out.
Raid Rx has returned from retirement! Every Thursday (usually), Raid Rx will help you quarterback your healers to victory! Your host is Matt Low, the grand poobah of World of Matticus and a founder of PlusHeal, a new healing community for all restorative classes. This week we're going to cover the steps in figuring out who heals who!
Last week I looked at addons for the healing lead. I suggested using a combination of macros and addons like Surgeon General. But what about the actual logic and process of assigning healers themselves? As in deciding who covers who? That's a much more trickier process that comes with time and experience. I'll share some of the basic mindsets here.
This week's Raid Rx is inspired by a topic from Plusheal. When assigning healers, I try to have a general idea of what the players and the classes excel at. I keep that in mind when picking out the healers and tanks.