Tips for the youths applying to guilds this summer - Tue, 27 May 2008 20:00:00 EST This time of the year brings with it an influx of guild applications from the younger crowd. These applications are often done with zeal and lust for a summer's worth of gaming that is unappreciated by adult players. After all, school's out and what better way to enjoy the good weather than to spend it sitting in front of a computer screen?
My guild in particular has seen an increase of the 15 to 18 year old crowd applying to raid with us. Unfortunately many of these applications are not on par with what we're looking for in raider's gear and experience (we're done with the Black Temple and Mount Hyjal, and are working on the Sunwell). Everyone is also 18+ in our guild, and we'd like to keep it that way.
However, we have seen a couple of applications come our way that have stood out from the rest. While these people are young, they have shown excellent communications skills, along with solid understanding of their class and raid awareness. While we have covered applying to a guild before, I think it would be appropriate to talk for a moment about some tips for the younger crowd trying to get into a guild this summer.
Welcome to the first installment of my new column series, Illusionary Tactics. Each episode will bring you the full intelligence on an item or quest that disguises you, enabling you to better carry out those secret missions -- or at least confuse your friends and guildmates.
What does it do? It turns you into a furbolg for three minutes, with a one-minute cooldown. Unlike many disguises, you can still fight while in furby form, although the form is removed if you are damaged, so it's possible (and I've seen it done) to furbolg-heal and furbolg-ranged-DPS. Just right-click the item in your inventory to activate.
15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - from the renowned to the relatively anonymous, the remarkable to the player next door. Tip us off to players you'd like to hear more about at 15minutesoffame (at) wowinsider (dot) com.
Take a deep breath, everybody - that stale smell is just the whiff of a lame duck era. We'll be back in fresh air again soon. If you've been wondering what's left for you to accomplish between now and Wrath of the Lich King, we've got good news. As guilds begin taking down the infamous Kil'jaeden (the last boss of the Sunwell Plateau and final raid content available before the Wrath of the Lich King comes out) and a druid solos the hapless Onyxia, Tamzin is on your side. The creator of the madly popular tactical videos that have helped so many guilds master end-game raiding content, Tamzin wants to see as many players as possible experience juicy raid boss goodness. Her clean, classy and accurate videos have helped steer countless groups to success in content that might have blocked them in the absence of clear direction.
15 Minutes of Fame recently conducted a week-long correspondence with Tamzin about her strategy guides, her own WoW habits and experience and her work in the movie and music industries. She had so much to say that we decided to give her not just 15 minutes but a whole half an hour - two installments -- of fame. Read the first part of our exclusive visit with Tamzin after the break, and be sure to click the screenshot here to link over to her most recent video, a guide to taking down Illidan.
Helping addon developers help you - Tue, 27 May 2008 17:00:00 EST Many of us take full advantage of the hard work of a small community of addon authors, often without considering how we can give back. Whether you're using a few must-have raiding mods, or you've completely changed the default UI to something more to your liking, your fifteen clams a month don't actually help support the men and women working in the addon community.
The goal here isn't to make you feel guilty, but rather invite you into a more active role in creating and evolving the third-party software we call "addons". Many of you may not possess the requisite coding skills to write your own, but based on Mike's recent Breakfast Topic on addon requests and recommendations, many of you have the ability to communicate new ideas and suggestions about how to improve mods or even for new ones. So let's take a look at some ways you can help addon developers in practicing their craft.
We aim to hold premiere events every year, and this year is no different. Our intention is to continue running topnotch competitive events that players want to take part in and spectators want to watch.
This is what first leapt out at me when reading the new article over at Gotfrag. We've already seen the fine folks at Big Download quiz the folks at Blizzard about how Arenas are developing and affecting the overall gameplay of World of Warcraft, so it definitely seems like there's a renewed emphasis on PvP as an e-sport going on. Maybe I just missed the boat on them doing something every year for it... how is this going to work for next year, when Wrath of the Lich King has been out for a while? We're looking to add new Arenas for Wrath of the Lich King that may be a bit different from the current Arena environments, but we're not ready to go into specifics just yet.
Frankly, new arenas sounds like a good idea to me, but I'd also like to see a new arena bracket. 2x2 has always struck me as being too small to really be anything more than glorified dueling, but I enjoy 3x3 (I'm not terribly good at it, mind you) and find 5x5 starts to get a bit hectic. I think 4x4 could be a fun addition to arenas, but I have no idea how popular it would end up being. The masochist in me would like to see 10x10 brawling, or even 10 man King of the Hill style arena matches where all ten players are hostile to each other, similar to the way Gurubashi Arena and the Maul currently work. It would be a means for single players to gain arena points but would be challenging and a change from dueling.
They're also considering means to allow for spectators on arena matches, which I'd be interested in seeing. The whole article is up at Gotfrag.com so feel free to take a look and see what you think about the future of arena as put forth by the inimitable Mr. Chilton.
Additionally, we answered some reader email (including trying to decide what Turpster will do to ding 70 on his Shadow Priest) -- if you'd like to send us some of that, just drop a note to email@example.com and maybe you'll hear your email on the next show. A huge thank-you to Veronica for coming by this past week -- don't forget to check her out on Revision3's Tekzilla every week, and if she does any more WoW-related broadcasts, you'll hear about them here for sure.
And don't forget, we run the WoW Insider Show live every week right over on WoW Radio -- stop by around 3:30pm EST every Saturday (and drop into the #wowradio channel on irc.mmoirc.com if you'd like to chat with us live) to hear everything you already enjoy about the WoW Insider site right there in audio form. Enjoy the show, we'll see you next week.
On top of the already extended maintenance today, many US realms, as it turns out, will be undergoing even more extended maintenance. The ETA for completion on this is 1:00 PM PDT. The Reckoning, Vengeance, and Bloodlust battlegroups are affected. This includes my own realm -- there go my plans for leveling my druid this afternoon. Realms not on this list are currently up and available for play, so maybe I'll go hang with ICftB on Zangarmarsh.
The complete list of affected realms is: Aegwynn, Akama, Aman'Thul, Arathor, Barthilas, Blackrock, Bonechewer, Caelestrasz, Chromaggus, Dath'Remar, Dragonmaw, Drak'thul, Draka, Dreadmaul, Eitrigg, Eldre'Thalas, Firetree, Frostmane, Frostmourne, Frostwolf, Garithos, Gurubashi, Hakkar, Jubei'Thos, Khaz Modan, Khaz'goroth, Kil'Jaeden, Kilrogg, Korgath, Kul Tiras, Malorne, Mug'thol, Muradin, Nagrand, Nathrezim, Ner'zhul, Proudmoore, Rexxar, Runetotem, Scarlet Crusade, Sen'jin, Shadow Council, Shadowsong, Silver Hand, Silvermoon, Skywall, Smolderthorn, Spirestone, Terenas, Thaurissan, Thorium Brotherhood, Tichondrius, Vek'nilash, Windrunner. Again, these realms will allegedly be up at 1:00 PM PDT/4:00 PM EDT.
Update (4:15 PM): All realms appear to be online and operational.
In what is probably the last "first" post I'll be making until we get to tear into Wrath (my money's on November, by the way), Deus Vox (Laughing Skull-A) has gotten the US first kill of Kil'jaeden (SK Gaming achieved the world first three days ago). Congratulations to Deus Vox! Glad to see the North American realms stepping up, even if it does take us a few days. Anyone have any speculation on why the European realms are usually ahead of us?
And, presumably, some Sunmotes and Badges. The winning raid here was two druids, two hunters, one mage, two paladins, four priests, three rogues, five shamans, three warlocks, and three warriors; for more details on this and Armory links, check World of Raids.
This makes, as WoR notes, four KJ kills without any drop of Thori'dal, so maybe there is one more "first" post in the making after all. The world-second and third kills were scored by Method and Nihilum, both European guilds and both yesterday.
Brace yourselves for Revenge of Akama, an epic 38 minute machinima by Fal Bulon, of Dei ex Machina. It has action, adventure, and excitement, among other things. Apparently it's the conclusion of a saga that focuses on Illidan, Malfurion, Tyrande, Akama, and Maiev. The main plotline for RoA centers around Illidan and his battle in the Outland.
This is a well done movie, but unless you download it, you'll have a hard time reading the English subtitles, as the entire movie is in German. In addition, some feel that it mimics Burning Crusade: The Movie too closely. Nevertheless, it's an entertaining video, and we look forward to seeing what else Fal comes up with!
When the going gets tough - Tue, 27 May 2008 11:00:00 EST A few friends and I have begun leveling alts in the interests of having a few more 70's around for Wrath, and I got a comment on my Warrior after she dinged 29. "We'll need to get you some good blues," said a buddy, a 70-Paladin-turned-10-Shaman (in hindsight, probably cringing over said toon's Armory profile). "Warrior 30-40 is kinda tough."
It didn't mean much to me at the time, but I started thinking about it while contemplating the possibility of starting a Hordeside Hunter. A 1-10 Hunter without a pet is a fairly unpleasant (if mercifully quick) experience, but that one is pretty obvious while others seem less so. There's a strange alchemy of level, quest drops, scaling, gear, dungeons, and skills that seem to combine to make life tougher in certain level ranges.
A 2005 guide to classes' relative leveling speed insisted that classes alternately sped and slowed as they aged and that the difference could be tracked statistically, and while I'm not sure I trust all of their math (and the information's outdated anyway), you can't fault the amount of work that went into it. Moreover, as the commenters point out, someone who picks a Rogue as a main is not necessarily playing the game with the same goals in mind as someone who picked, say, a Priest. A less scientific, but more detailed, look at leveling speed and class difficulties was written by Breanni of WarcraftPets.com, and her experiences seem to gel a bit more with conventional wisdom, particularly with respect to the speed of Hunter and Warlock leveling. That being said, Druid 1-20 was pretty ugly, Shaman late-30's is a parade of mana inefficiency, and I'm not looking forward to getting another Hunter to 10.
You know what I really hate? A guy who looks just like me. Long black hair, bushy eyebrows, unkempt beard, veiny neck, red shoulders. Y'know, some dude just sitting there with a slack jaw and vacant stare like he grew up drinking Bloodmyst Isle water instead of Stormwind municipal. Wait ... what are you looking at? Oh, crap. There's one right behind me, isn't there?
Saberix of <Defenders of the Pass> on Eldre'Thalas had a bit of double vision in Karazhan the other day -- he looked into the abyss and found the abyss gazing back at him, with a familiar face. He figures that he must have had a long-lost relative who was pals with Medivh.
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. And as God as my witness, I will get this gallery working again!
One of my favorite memories of WoW came from a year and a half or so back, when Alex and I were both leveling a pair of DPS Warriors as alts, mine a Gnome female, his a Night Elf male whom he RPed as being absolutely insane and having an unhealthy love of cheese. We had a friend who was leveling a Druid, another who was leveling a Shadow Priest and a third who was leveling a Warlock. So, it seemed on a lot of nights, all 5 of us would get together and take on whatever dungeon was in our level range. We conquered most of the mid-level dungeons once or twice this way, with no tank -- Alex would just charge ahead screaming and pull a bunch of mobs -- and somehow (we were never sure how) we generally killed them while staying alive. Often, neither of us Warriors made a special effort to tank, we just somehow DPSed them to death before they killed us.
You all remember Onyxia. She was basically the Magtheridon of original WoW, a 40-man single-boss raid positioned in difficulty between the entry-level raid (Molten Core) and the next one after that (Blackwing Lair). Well, now a druid has managed to solo her. You can see a video of the fight above, or at WarcraftMovies.com. This astounding feat was performed by Serennia of VANQUISH (Cho'gall US), who recently gave us a nice preview of the Kil'jaeden fight. The druid had a 35/0/26 spec. The previous record was two-man (paladin and warlock) in BC, or three-man pre-BC. Serennia was also a part of that pre-BC record. Congratulations -- I love it when players push the envelope just to see what's possible.
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.