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Patch 3.1, for all of its grand changes, has also dedicated itself to imposing smaller tweaks aimed at making some mechanics more convenient, logical, and fair.
The application of applying a glyph is one of the latest in a line of positive changes that we'll be seeing on patch day. While the old (current) process is an annoying charming ritual, the new method is better for the Azerothian on the go.
Currently, applying a glyph requires that the player be standing in front of a Lexicon of Power, usually found in main cities. With patch 3.1, this will change, and we will be able to re-glyph at will.
This means that if you asked your buddy to hook you up for the raid that night, and it arrives in the mail a few minutes before go time, you can just switch it in without having to hearth and be re-summoned. Heck, I'll just be happy to be able to do it from the mailbox rather than having to ride through the city!
While some may complain that this makes the process less special, it might be wise to consider the glyphing change that is accompanying dual specs. Once we glyph our main and off-spec, we will not need to glyph again unless we change our minds on which glyph we want, or spec to our third spec.
The only hitch is that you cannot switch them during combat, in Arenas, or in Battlegrounds once the fight has started, which sounds perfectly reasonable to me.
Another major, and welcome change, relates to flasks, which brings us to our topic of the week. I will be addressing the new mechanics of flask creation, and discussing the benefits of the new system.
Well, say goodbye to patch 3.1, guys. Tevri of Shandris has made sure that the developers will never release it. All those who say Blizzard never listens to its customers, well, here's your proof you're wrong. 3.1 is cancelled. Forever.
In a thread innocently asking when 3.1 would be coming out, Blizzard CM Crygil remarked that it would be out soon. Tevri, in his infinite wisdom, decided that this was, in fact, too soon, and told Crygil as much. Crygil immediately responded that he would inform the devs to cancel 3.1 development.
So, great job, Tevri! Way to royally screw us! My dream of not being able to cast Slow Fall on NPCs has completely disappeared, and it's all your fault.
Tomorrow's Breakfast Topic: How are we going to gank Tevri?
WoW Insider had correspondents there on the site, and they sent back audio of Kaplan's speech. We've paraphrased the salient points, and you can find them all after the break. There's some really interesting stuff in there, including the fact that in the past two years, 80 billion quests have been completed in North America's Azeroth alone, and just who is behind the frustration that is The Green Hills of Stranglethorn (hint: it's Kaplan himself).
Hit the link below to see what Kaplan told the crowd at GDC.
The tournament itself involves a minigame of mounted combat -- you can ride around on a mount, lance equipped, that has a few different abilities. There's a ranged attack that will let you break down an opponent's shield, there's a Defend ability that will let you build up your own shield, and then there's a Thrust melee attack that just does damage, and a Charge attack that will do damage as well as break down your opponent's shield. And out of combat, you can fully heal your mount or challenge someone else to a duel. The Aspirant quests teach you all of this, and then the Valiant quests really put your knowledge to the test as you move up through the ranks, fighting NPC mobs as challengers to the title.
The Argent Tournament definitely seems like a lot of fun -- as I said way back when, the whole event seems like a one-stop shop for picking up rep and items in Northrend, so I wouldn't be surprised at all if Blizzard plans to add more events and more daily quests on to what we're building up there. Banana Shoulders will be posting part three of their guide soon, and of course you can stay tuned to WoW Insider -- as we get closer to the patch 3.1 release on the live realms, we'll have everything you need to know about the Tournament and then some.
As they sometimes do, Blizzard has updated the official 3.1 PTR patch notes. Most of it won't be new to you if you've been following along with all the latest developments, but if not, there's some good stuff in there. The entire patch notes are replicated after the cut, in case you are (for instance) at work and unable to access the Blizzard forums.
All Ground Mounts may now swim without dismounting the rider. Flying Mounts still may NOT, and will dismount the rider upon entering water.
Ulduar is now available for limited testing. Please visit the Public Test Realms for more details. http://forums.wow-europe.com/board.html?forumId=11095&sid=1
Players level 40 and higher will now be able to visit their trainer to pay a one-time fee and access the dual talent specialization feature.
The achievement Brew of the Year has been removed from the Brewmaster meta-achievement. The achievement Brew of the Month has been added in its place.
Noblegarden has been redesigned into a week-long holiday with new items, quests, and more. Various achievements have been added, including the meta-achievement Noble Gardener, which is now required for the meta-achievement What A Long, Strange Trip It's Been.
Applying a glyph no longer requires a Lexicon of Power. The same rules for switching between dual talent specializations now apply to switching glyphs and cannot be performed while in combat, Battlegrounds (except when Preparation is up), or Arenas (no exceptions).
Copied Test Realm characters will no longer be copied with their achievement history in order to better facilitate the character copy process.
A few days ago, Blizzard semi-accidentally revealed that they were working on a cell-phone version of the authenticator (which works well along with the whole Battle.net account thing). Excitingly for many of us here, the iPhone was one of the supported platforms. Today, the Battle.net Mobile Authenticator has appeared in the app store, and I've got it installed on my iPhone. And it's free!
You can find it in the app store on your phone by searching for "Blizzard" and scrolling down near the bottom. Or you can just click this iTunes link. Anyway, once you install it, it's a pretty simple matter to attach the authenticator serial number to your Battle.net account, and then use the generated codes to log in to WoW.
It is also supposed to work on the iPod Touch, with the caveat that you need to be in wifi during the setup; thereafter, it can work without a network connection (on the Touch as well as the iPhone).
Although this wasn't the biggest PTR patch in the world (they're coming smaller and faster now, perhaps suggesting that 3.1 is near), there were still some notable changes for my new favorite melee class. The changes for Death Knights are as follows:
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.
One of our questions today comes from a reader who's moving to London for a couple of months, and I just wanted to take a moment to say that I've always wanted to go there. Consider yourself very, very lucky! London has all kinds of great things I've always wanted to see, like Big Ben, Stonehenge, the Eiffel Tower, the Parthenon, and Papahānaumokuākea. One day, hopefully, I'll get to go myself!
Let's get started, hm? SithVicious asked a pair of questions...
A new build was pushed to the patch 3.1 PTR yesterday, and while the list of changes wasn't huge, there are a few significant ones for paladins:
Seal of the Martyr/Seal of Blood now add 48% of weapon damage, up from 22%, to all your melee attacks as holy damage. However, the Judgment was changed from 16% of AP + 25% of spell power + 26% of minimum weapon damage to 11% AP + 18% SP + 26% min weapon damage.
In other words, the bonus damage per attack was roughly doubled, while the coefficients of AP and SP on the judgment were cut by 30% (approximately).
The general expectation is that this will keep overall damage pretty much the same, while reducing burst damage. This makes the seal play a bit differently in PvP - it's no longer going to hit like a truck when you judge, but you'll get more consistent damage out of it (edited). A benefit of the change is that you won't see quite as big hits on your health when you judge the seal: more survivability in PvE, which is something the blues have shown concern about with respect to this seal.
There was one other change: a new talent called Divine Guardian was added, at tier 4 in the Protection tree. Note that this is not the same as the old Divine Guardian, which was reworked and renamed Divine Sacrifice. I do really like the icon, so I'm glad they're reusing it, but the naming is slightly confusing.
Our podcast returns for another live broadcast tomorrow afternoon at 3:30pm Eastern (over on our Ustream page), and this one's a doozy: Turpster and I will host special guest Alex Albrecht, from TechTV's long-ago program The Screen Savers, and more recently from the popular Diggnation podcast, as well as the WoW video podcast Project Lore. We'll also have French friend of the show Patrick Beja on, and WoW Insider Contributing Editor Michael Sacco (who is represented by a talbuk in the machinima video of our song above, made by very talented fan Jack R.).
For those of you who always have trouble figuring out when the show is, we've cooked up something special for you. This should show you, from whatever time zone you're coming from, exactly when the show will be. This week's show will be at: March 28, 2009 3:30 PM EDT . You can watch it, as always, over on our Ustream page, or right here after the break. See you then!
If you've been paying attention to the latest PTR changes, you know that among them is a change to fury that alters the talent Improved Berserker Stance. Instead of providing 10% of AP, it now will provide 20% of your Strength. (It's been buffed since it was first introduced, it was 15% then.) When I saw this I thought it was the greatest change ever... until I remembered there are no strength enchants to gloves in Wrath level content, but just AP. Massacre? AP enchant. Berserking? Provides AP. Blessing of Might? AP. What about most of the rings and almost all of the cloaks and neck pieces available in current Wrath raiding? AP. And of course, what about leather gear you may have been wearing because it's the best in slot, like say the Frosted Adroit Handguards? No strength on those.
In short, I went from ecstatic to that sinking feeling you get when you realize that lovely Everglades condo is in fact just swamp. I'd just told everyone how awesome this change was, and here I stood on test with less AP than I had on live. Was it a huge loss? No, about 70 AP or so. But I still felt that lovely combination of chagrin and slight anger that comes from not only being wrong, but being wrong and finding yourself worse off than you'd been.
To be fair, the change to 20% has brought the AP back up to close to where it was. My warrior on test is lacking a couple of best in slot items that I've picked up since transfering him, which means that to compare them I have to take off bracers and neck and look at the AP from there, but we're talking a 20 AP drop now. The real issue is buffs like Blessing of Might/Battle Shout and procs like Berserking. On the other hand, Blessing of Kings, Gift of the Wild and Horn of Winter/Strenth of Earth just got better for us.
You might (should?) remember Ian Beckman from Azerothian Supervillains. He's now released a new rap video as part of a Senior Thesis Project at Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts. Ultimately, this video -- titled HAX -- is in competition with a few other musically similar videos. So, if you like it, take a moment to visit the site and vote for it.
This is simply one of my favorite music videos I've seen for this genre. Not only is the music awesome, the video itself is a fun and nostalgic romp through games of old. Pac-Man and Mario Brothers are just two great examples. Ian's done a great job making his video's main character Zeldo fit within the games' context. It's obvious Zeldo's a visitor, but affected by his location.
The dancing girl is a great nod to the genre of rap music videos. You always have a pretty dancing girl. (I'm sure someone can show me rap videos without a pretty dancing girl, but I'd be hard pressed to find it myself.) However, she's suitably pretty, suitably dancing, and still screams "video gamer" to me. She's also not dressed in a skimpy outfit, which fits my out-of-date, prudish sensibilities. I enjoy the way Ian's blended real world footage to video game graphics. It works great.
If you could, take the time to visit the contest site and vote for HAX. If Ian wins, maybe we'll get lucky and another video in this style.
If you have any suggestions for WoW Moviewatch, you can mail them to us at machinima AT wowinsider DOT com. Previously on Moviewatch ..
We here at WoW Insider are on a Daily Quest to bring you interesting, informative and entertaining WoW-related links from around the blogosphere.
The new Coffee with Sargeras blog has posted recently discovered chat logs between [theLichKing],[Kel'thuz4d],[Killzone'jaeden].[An00b'arak] and of course, [Sargeras.] With special appearance by [Sylvanas.] Parody at its best. In honor of this hilarious send up of Wrath's major figures, I'm reposting a great CoSPlay video from a few years back above.
So, my friend, you wish to go to Skull Rock? Follow. But follow only if ye be orcs of valor, for the entrance to this cave is guarded by a creature so foul, so cruel that no man yet has fought with it and not wiped. Bones of a full forty-man raid lie strewn about its lair. So, brave warriors, if you do doubt your courage or your strength or your crit rating, come no further, for death awaits you all with nasty, big, pointy teeth! Which unfortunately only have a 18% drop rate for the quest you're on.
Actually, this shot comes to us from Fîfthdream of <Mobius> on Velen, who used forced perspective to create a giant bunny rabbit to rival Frank. But I suppose it's true what they say -- we geeks just can't pass up an opportunity to quote Monty Python.
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. 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.
Blizzard's hate (/love?) relationship with consoles - Fri, 27 Mar 2009 09:00:00 EST Rumors are bubbling up from GDC '09 that Blizzard is finally considering consoles again for their future games. Blizzard seems to have a hate/hate relationship with consoles -- despite the fact that they started out with some extremely popular console games (Lost Vikings was one of the best games on the Sega Genesis), they've become very solidly a PC gaming company in the past few years. Sure, they released Starcraft 64 and the Playstation port of Diablo, but since Starcraft: Ghost left a bad taste in their mouths, they've stayed away from the console market (and some might say that's saved the PC market).
The main problem, says Rob Pardo, is one of control: console controllers just don't have the flexibility to do what Blizzard wants to do with their games. "If I were them," he told the press, "I'd be sitting around trying to figure out what's a cool new input device that supports all types of new kinds of games." And he also hinted that he might be trying to do just that -- Blizzard is apparently in talks with Microsoft, not to develop for this generation of consoles, but to help them advance to the next generation. This is a little more than just Diablo III on the Xbox 360 (though that's definitely a possibility) -- it's Blizzard possibly getting the chance to bring what they love about PC gaming to the next console generation.
Heady stuff. Blizzard doesn't need to do anything these days, of course -- if they want to take their next sequel and release it in, say, three separate parts, they can do that and it will likely still be a hit. But if they want to set their sights on innovating in the console space, we'll probably all benefit.
Breakfast Topic: Choosing the best mob noise in game - Fri, 27 Mar 2009 08:00:00 EST There's a fun little discussion on the forums right now about the best noise out of a mob in the game, and people have all kinds of different opinions. Among the many brilliant things Blizzard has done with World of Warcraft is the way their sound design makes each and every encounter with a mob very memorable, so that even if you're not paying close attention, you know a) when you've aggroed something, and b) what you've aggroed. We all know what a wolf growl sounds like, we know what it sounds like when the caster you're trying to sneak past starts casting (and many of us can probably tell what spell, just from the sound), and of course, probably most memorably, we all know what that gurgly murloc sound means, especially when you hear it in numbers.
Lots of the best audio clips are actually from bosses (all of Molten Core's bosses were memorable, for some reason, and "Too soon!" has even reappeared in the game since). My personal favorite lately is the quote from Elder Nadox, the first boss in Ahn'Katet's Old Kingdom. He shouts an otherworldly phrase (apparently in Nerubian) and it ends with a "k-k-k-k-k" sound that must have been edited together -- it definitely doesn't sound human. Every time I hear that (and he says it a few times throughout the fight), I get the feeling that we are fighting something that is very, very old and very, very evil.
But of course lots of the audio cues help pull you into the game like that. What are some of your favorite mob noises in the game?
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 browsing the bestiary of Azeroth, Outland and Northrend to identify some of the most unique pets to be found in the wilds ready for taming.
As a Hunter, your pet is an extension of yourself and a means of expression your (or your character's, for you RPers out there) personality, so finding the perfect pet can often be difficult. Today, I'd like to take a look at some of the more unique pets available in the game to help you pick out the perfect companion to set you apart from the crowd.
Because cats are arguably the most popular family of ferocity pets in the game, we'll start with them. All cats come with three abilities in addition to the standard Growl ability shared by all pets: Claw, Rake and Prowl. There are a number of unique cat skins available to help set your chosen feline apart.
If you prefer the look of a sleek lion, Araga, a level 35 rare found only in the Alterac Mountains is an excellent choice. She's the only cat in the game sporting this particular skin, so if you favor the sandy coloring sans mane, she's the cat you want. If you're looking for that coloring but with a more manly countenance, The Rake, a level 10 rare in Mulgore is a great alternative. If you're unable to find The Rake, there are three other mobs found in The Barrens that share the same skin: the Savannah Highmane, the Savannah Prowler and the Savannah Patriarch.
You like the mane, but not the color? Don't worry, there are other options available! Humar the Pridelord, a level 23 rare found in The Barrens and Pitch, a level 76 found in Sholazar Basin boast the same manly mane as The Rake, but with a much darker charcoal coloring. Not digging the black, either? Try Echeyakee, a level 16 quest spawn from The Barrens or Sian-Rotam, a level 60 quest spawn from Winterspring. Both feature a light white and gray coloring that's sure to set them apart.
Two Bosses Enter ... but only One Boss Leaves, in WoW Insider's series of fantasy death matches. This season's bosses come from the five-man instances of Wrath of the Lich King.
Prepare your spell counters: it's magician versus magician in this week's Two Bosses Enter, as we pit Prince Keleseth of Utgarde Keep against Grand Magus Telestra of The Nexus.
There'll be no tricks or handicaps in this battle. The usual rules apply: assume that the opponents share similar levels, health pools and damage output, and that they are fighting in neutral territory. We'll allow Keleseth the use of his summoned skeletons. Remember, focus your debate on 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.
Of course, nowadays, whether they mean to or not, we're back to the way it was -- patch 3.1 will have pretty huge changes for all of the classes, and everyone is getting a free respec. GC says that while the "progressive patching" idea was a good one, Blizzard just doesn't have the chance to take that time -- patching is a big undertaking, and the way they change the game just plain leads to putting a lot of changes in a big patch. He would love to have the team make smaller patches more frequently (tweaking instead of a complete revamp), but the way things are now, the system just isn't set up that way.
He also reiterates that Blizzard is designing the game, not the people who complain on the forums. Blizzard listens to what their customers have to say, but they make their own decisions from there. Sometimes, that means we complain about problems that don't get fixed (Cower bug, anyone?), and sometimes it means they hear us complain about things that turn out not to be a problem (back in beta, a few forum posters claimed Death Knights would never be able to tank, and we now know that's clearly not true). We can hope for more sequential changes in the future, but GC says that right now, the way the game works is that Blizzard fixes as they can, and those fixes will come out in large chunks like 3.1.
More and more people (myself included) are starting to use iGoogle as their homepage, because it's incredibly useful. There's all sorts of widgets you can use to customize your homepage, from useful things like the weather and a feed of the top news stories, to goofy things like games and videos. I started using it awhile ago, so I was excited to hear about the addition of World of Warcraft iGoogle theme.
The theme is pretty basic as far as its appearance goes: A little art on top, a little art on the bottom, and text colored to match. No absurd bells and whistles or major distractions. The cool thing this theme does, like a few other iGoogle themes, is it changes depending on the time of day in your region. When I first put this theme on my homepage earlier today it had a somewhat orange tinge to it all, the art being what I believe is Durotar. Orcs, all of that sort of thing. As of my writing this, it's only 2 PM Central and it's already switched over to the dark blue of the Lich King. It seems a bit early to be swapping to what appears to be the nighttime version of the theme, and it's somewhat depressing in an odd sort of way.