Twenty two U.S. servers open for free character transfers - Mon, 27 Oct 2008 20:00:00 EST Normally there are only a handful of servers involved when Blizzard opens the door for free character moves. However Bornakk announced today a total of 22 U.S. servers that you can move off of. There are various groups of servers, labeled "Source A" through "Source E", that are allowing free moves to destination servers, labeled "Destination A" through "Destination E."
If you are interested in taking advantage of these free moves, get in quickly as these offers have been known to close down once Blizzard meets their transfer goals. The transfers begin tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. PDT and end at 12:00 p.m. PDT on November 4th (election day, next Tuesday). You can begin the transfer process by visiting https://www.worldofwarcraft.com/account/character-move.html when the transfers are available starting tomorrow.
The full list of servers are reproduced for you after the break.
It's a good thing the zombies are going away now, isn't it? For the past few days, I noticed -- or rather my money-making wife noticed -- that the undead throng was badly tanking Azerothian commerce. The reason is that a lot of players' bankers and Auction House entrepreneurs are low-level alts that succumbed easily to the plague and random zombie attacks. When a Level 65 city guard turned into a zombie, it would naturally aggro the low-level bank mules and auction house regulars, killing them instantly. It didn't help that most players-turned-minions-of-the-Scourge usually targeted the Banks and Auction Houses for infection. Actually, we even recommended it as the best course of action as a (not so) mindless ghoul.
When the disease grew potent enough to transform anyone it infected within a minute, it became practically impossible to accomplish anything. Specially not with Argent Healers calling for a hasty retreat. Entire cities -- or key areas of cities -- were quickly transformed into ghoulish carnivals and it was simply too bothersome to do any business. As a result, players couldn't put anything up on the Auction House nor could anyone buy anything, either, slowing commerce to a crawl. My wife's daily Auction House profits of upwards 500 Gold dwindled down to nary a copper with her alt being unable to collect from the mailbox, move stuff from the bank, or scan the Auction House, as she died istantly to roving zombies.
What's next in store for us? Did Blizzard really cave in to the demands of players who felt that the World Event disrupted their normal routine too much? Or is there something more devious waiting in the wings? I know my wife was so upset by being unable to conduct her business that she decided to hold off from logging in at least until the event died down. Now that the zombie infestation seems to be under control, perhaps business will pick up again. Or maybe not, depending on what Blizzard has prepared for Azeroth. One thing's for sure, these Dawn of the Dead-type events certainly take a bite out of the economy.
Every Monday, we put a question back to you readers, and see what you have to say about a current issue in the World of Warcraft. This week's question actually comes from our Guildwatch column -- Lugbruz is an officer in Reforged on Runetotem (they just downed M'uru -- grats!), and he has a question about how much you need to raid to be successful:
Are there other guilds who have a 3 night/week raid schedule (or less) who have enjoyed success in high-end raiding? We killed Mu'ru before the nerf and don't know of any other crew has gone so far with so little time. Our primary competition of the server was at equal progression with us pre-nerf and they're a 5 night/week crew.
We assume that 3 nights (4 hours per raid) is the minimum, but can endgame be done with less?
For those of you that enjoy the music of WoW and Blizzard's other games, there's good news from our sister (brother? cousin?) site BigDownload. The Eminence Symphony Orchestra and Blizzard Entertainment have announced a 2-disc album and DVD collection of music from across their franchises. Starcraft II, Diablo III, and Wrath of the Lich King are all accounted for in this 70 minute collection.
In addition to the basic two disc package, they're going to be offering a limited-print Legendary Edition (think Collector's Edition) featuring the Echoes of War DVD which features interviews with the composers and behind-the-scenes footage. The Legendary Edition will also include a 32-page "commemorative tome" with lots of pictures and artwork. It will retail for $49.95 on November 1st, while the basic 2-disc set will not be released until November 22nd, at a price tag of $29.95.
But LucasArts didn't stop there -- years before the game is even scheduled to come out, they're ready to say the game will be bigger than WoW. Now, we get it -- WoW's the 800 lb. gorilla of MMOs, and thus they make the biggest target you'll find. But please, can we see some actual gameplay before the hype machine gets rolling?
If they don't actually release the game until WoW's servers are turned off, then sure, they'll be bigger than WoW, and hey, maybe if BioWare is able to make their game casual and accessible enough (we're looking at you, Mass Effect inventory system), they'll be able to come close to WoW's current peak of almost 11 million players. But LucasArts, let's get the game working before we start bragging about how big it's going to be.
The plague is gone, zombies dropping like flies - Mon, 27 Oct 2008 15:15:00 EST Just as Tigole said, the plague has indeed gone away. The crates are still there, but you can't contract the plague anymore. The zombies haven't been wiped out yet, but they'll eventually just wear themselves down, they can't spread the infection. No ceremony, no big events or explosions, the plague just stopped being effective. A little disappointing, really.
However, there is a rumor, a rumor, that at 4 PM PST there will be stuff goin' down in Azeroth. Supposedly it will be 'epic.' What is it? I don't know. It's entirely a rumor, but man do we love us some rumors. You do too, don't you? I thought so! Well, if anything actually does happen, we'll be right here to let you know!
Edit: Well, a whole lot of nothin' happened. Rumors are a fickle mistress! A few readers have reported that the necopoli outside of major cities are hovering lower in the sky, but it's difficult to tell. That's all we've seen or heard so far.
"Over here, you idiot!" ring a bell? We've had a bunch of readers ask us lately just who does the voice for the Headless Horseman -- corny poetry aside, players are really loving the laugh and timbre of the guy who doesn't even have a throat to speak with. The most common guess we've heard is Gerard Butler, star of 300, but that doesn't really compute, as Blizzard usually uses lesser known voice actors and even most of their sound crew and artists (Chris Metzen does quite a few voices, actually, including most of the Orcs in game).
We've got two guesses for the Headless Horseman: the first is voice actor Michael McConnohie -- he's done a few other voices for Blizzard before (including Kel'thuzad). While his voice is definitely recognizable (he sounds like the Human male to me), the other strong male voice we know has worked for Blizzard is Mark Graue, who runs a voice studio in LA, and has worked on WoW since the beginning (he did the Undead emotes). Here's Graue's demos -- he sounded to me like the Horseman for sure when I first listened, but a few times in, I'm not so sure any more.
You can listen to the voice demos for both those guys and judge for yourself. Again, those are just guesses, based on who's worked with Blizzard in the past -- we don't really know for sure who it is. But we do have a query in to Blizzard on just whose manical laugh that is you hear when you throw a Jack-o-Lantern on your friend's head, so if they get back to us with a name, we'll post it here.
Now this might be some unabashed fanboi-ism on my part, but the question I have after reading that is "What kind of gin do you drink?" I have to imagine Ghostcrawler is the kind of guy who enjoys some top shelf liquor. I'm sure he's making enough at Blizzard to afford it. Perhaps some Tanqueray Rangpur? Or some Anchor Junipero?
Personally I enjoy Bombay Sapphire and the Rangpur, though I've been known to grab some Beefeater if that's all that's available. If Ghostcrawler is reading this, we'd love to know what kind of gin you drink. Feel free to drop us a note on our tip line and we'll update this post.
Every Monday Scott Andrews contributes Officers' Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership.
Raids after 3.0.2 are far less difficult than they once were. My server has pick-up groups forming for everything up to and including Black Temple. Seeing content these days isn't so much about being in the right guild as it is being online at the right time. So it shouldn't come as a surprise that many high-end raiders are looking more closely at which guilds to join, choosing them more for who their members are than what tier they're farming.
This week, one officer is wondering whether or not to relax his application standards for a few well-geared players who want to join. Is it worth the risk?
I'm the GM of a casual to, what I like to call, medium core (that really sounds way to much like mediocre) raiding guild. Before the last patch we had Kara on farm as well as Gruul's and Mags. We were farming the first 2 bosses of ZA and Void Reaver in TK. Many of us want to begin serious raiding when WotLK hits in a few weeks but we don't quite have the numbers for consistent 25 man raids now.
I was hanging out grinding up inscription on my druid when I got a bunch of whispers from different people asking for guild invites and information.
Last Saturday on the WoW Insider Show (which you can hear right here, with an embedded mp3 post coming in just a bit), we voiced an opinion about the Scourge Invasion world event that's getting a little lost in the mix: not everyone is having lots of fun with zombies. While I personally love zombies in all their forms (and am thrilled by all the content the event is bringing us, even if it is moving really fast), lots of players out there are logging in to play World of Warcraft, and finding themselves in the middle of World War Z.
As we said on the show, Blizzard is making sure that this is an event that everyone feels -- in the past, you could avoid most of the world events just by staying out of certain areas or certain zones. But at the same time, that made some players feel it wasn't immersive enough -- why have a world event if it doesn't affect the whole world? And so this one does -- no matter what level you are or where you play, whether you got eaten by a zombie or downed Tenris Mirkblood, you know that the Lich King is coming. And some folks, who play the game casually or at a low level, just don't care.
Update: Well that's timely. In between the time this post was written and planned to go live, Blizzard has decided to cure the plague. Considering that things moved so fast this weekend, that seems premature, but we'll have to see how the event plays out -- Blizzard is of course saying that it's not because of the vocal minority speaking out against the zombie gameplay, but we'll have to see what happens next.
The Undead Plague ends today - Mon, 27 Oct 2008 13:00:00 EST We have good news and bad news. The good news is, if you hated dealing with zombies and the plague, it's going away in just a few hours. The bad news is, if you loved dealing with zombies and the plague, it's going away in just a few hours. Tigole confirmed it in a thread on the General forums, and also mentions that this isn't all that they have planned for the pre-Wrath umm... festivities, I guess?
He doesn't go into specifics about what will be happening next, but the plague is going away. The special bosses and the necropoli wil be around for awhile yet, a week for the former, a few days for the latter, but the zombies will be no more as of noon PST. Tigole also assures us that this had nothing to do with the whining. This part of the story had simply run its course. We have no idea what's next, but whatever it is, I can't wait to see it.
Oxhorn's got a new series of movies out which he's posted under the name BMD over at WeGame.com. His latest flick is the third episode in the Dynamic Action Team series, called Fitting In. It's a bit of a hybrid movie for us to show here at WoW Moviewatch, since its premise revolves around three characters from Team Fortress 2 who try to find their way around our beloved World of Warcraft, but we love the nearly seemless blending of the two games.
Episode 3 follows the team's attempt to fit in with guilds and arena teams. Let's just say their social skills come with a 3-day waiting period and their classes are definitelyOP. I'd absolutely want these guys on my side against the zombie scourge, but I'm not so sure I'd want to pal around with them. I like to see Oxhorn playing with the medium's possibilities; moviewatchers can only benefit as he continues to stretch his talents.
You don't need to know anything about Team Fortress 2 to enjoy this film, much like you didn't need to know about any version of The Sims to enjoy Releasing the Beast. It's a great way to poke fun at WoW's foibles while at the same time winking at us with some inside jokes.
In the chaos of the plague and looming ziggurats, a portion of the overall invasion has been overlooked. Tenris Mirkblood of Karazhan isn't the only limited edition boss during this invasion, and not all of the content is exclusively for top level players. There are unique bosses with unique loot for players of all levels, starting from your early 20s right on to level 70.
Whether you're leveling your first character or you're leveling you umpteenth alt, the Scourge Invasion has something for you to do. You get to do it away from all of the chaos, too. Round up some appropriately leveled friends and fill out a group to tackle these bosses, or find a kind-hearted level 70 looking for something to do, and knock these guys out! Behind the link below you'll find a list of each of the bosses, as well as a quick guide for each one of them.
Sanya Thomas continues a look into the demographics behind all of you World of Warcraft players -- last time around, we examined gender and how players measured up in the Bartle test (and crashed their servers -- sorry about that), and this time, it's all about the Horde and the Alliance, and why and when players choose a faction. No surprises until the very end -- the majority of players in game (though I swear it's become less of a majority since the game's launch a few years ago) choose Alliance, whether it's because of a "human bias," or just because they've usually been the heroes, and gamers tend to play with their friends.
But things get more interesting when you start putting classes and gender into the mix. Women are pushing the average on Alliance side (men even out around 58/42, but women prefer to "grab their sword and fight the Horde" at 65/35). And when you compare the classes to faction choice, as above, then the stats really start showing signs of life:clearly, women prefer Alliance Druids (and when you look at the Druid forms, there's no question why). You can see the Alliance/Horde separation in the Hunters (that's all those Night Elves), and you can see the gender separation again in the Priests. And the Warriors probably have the weirdest stats: Men play more Warriors overall, but the gender gap is even wider on the Horde side. While there are some women playing Horde Warriors out there (I know an Orc played by a female that will tank anything you can throw at her), Horde Warriors are much more likely to be men.
Very interesting. Keep in mind, as last time, that these gender numbers aren't character genders -- they're self-identified on the gamerDNA site, so we can be reasonably certain that we're looking at an (at least slightly) realistic stack of data here. There's probably lots more data to be explored, too -- it would be interesting to see what Blizzard knows about their players that we don't. What class, for example, logs in the most on any given week?
Thundgot makes a point of saying this will improve performance. If you think about it, many of these statistics revolve around "best" or "top" attributes from a character's dataset. Collecting this much information for each character will take a few extra process cycles each time an attribute changes, or each time damage is doled out (since many spells / enchants / procs change these numbers). Multiply this by a few thousand times for a character in a given night (due to potential changes via combat), and then multiply it by around 11 million people playing the game... and you get the picture.
If they make yet another sequel to everyone's favorite modern-day dinosaur movie, Jurassic Park, we at WoW Insider feel that the film would best be served by being shot entirely in World of Warcraft. The Devilsaur, of course, would have a starring role. And did we mention the zombies? Yes, such a cinematic jewel would, by necessity, feature zombies. We had a screenplay half-finished when this screenshot from Cinate of Sasquatch Vanguard on Azgalor arrived, showing us that our Jurassic Zombie concept had already been done, and better than we could have ever imagined it. In the meantime, our search for fame and glory continues. Raiders of the Lost Zombie, perhaps?
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
Welcome to this week's edition of Lichborne, where Daniel Whitcomb is totally bumming out that he won't be getting a sweet axe on his Death Knight.
I know a few of you have been asking for some good solid builds for powerleveling your Death Knight through Outland and through to Northrend, and I'm hoping to deliver soon enough, but unfortunately, it's hard for me to recommend something when it could very well change another couple times before release.
We're getting down to the wire, though, so it's likely the trees will solidify soon, and I'm hoping to have some recommendations on good Death Knight builds in the next week or two. For now, I've decided to take a look at one of the 51-point Death Knight talents to give you a taste of how things change in Beta. Specifically, I'm talking about Unholy Blight.
I have a Troll Hunter. He's one of my favorite characters. Back before The Burning Crusade, whenever the Ancient Petrified Leaf dropped off the Cache of the Firelord in Molten Core, I would pass on it so that it could be given to other Hunters in the raid even though I was in line for it. I wasn't being generous... I just hated bows. In my opinion, they made utterly boring sounds when fired. I preferred guns. I loved the bang of shots and autoshots. That was fun for me. I mean, I wanted the Gurubashi Dwarf Destroyer because it looked cool.
I know what you're thinking. I was a troll passing over a bow. Well, I didn't care for (what was then) +5 weapon skill. I liked guns. Even now that Bow Specialization grants 1% crit, I still prefer guns. That was just the way I want to play and I'd usually pass on all ranged weapon loot unless it's a firearm. This Troll Hunter of mine also has white hair and as a rule, only tames white pets. My stable includes the white bat Ressan the Needler, the white cat Sian-Rotam, and the white spider Leech Widow. The day Blizzard makes Aluntir, the white Silithid wasp, a tameable exotic pet is the day I spec Beast Mastery.
I like min/maxing as much as the next guy, really. But there are just certain idiosyncrasies with the way I play, such as my Shaman who pursued Goblin Engineering for the Pet Bombling. He's all about Engineering, so when Wrath comes he's likely to be on his motorcycle when on land and on his flying machine when in the Outlands or Northrend. Oh, he's got white hair, too, just like my Hunter and Paladin. It's just one of those things. I'm sure you also have little quirks on your characters or the way you play. What are your WoW idiosyncrasies?
"Don't nerf me, bro!" was a bad joke. It turned out to be an ominous statement because Retribution Paladins are being nerfed -- how shall we put it -- to the ground. Ghostcrawler has bravely come on to the Paladin Beta and live forums to address some concerns and answer some questions about the forthcoming nerfs to the class.
In the Beta forums, which players seem to be unable to post on at the moment, Ghostcrawler outlined the nerfs and explained the reasoning behind each one. Over at the live forums, he answered some questions fielded by players from several upset posts. It's a very illuminating read, and here are some of the interesting points:
On Retribution burstiness as part of design - "Yes, that's the design. It's also a tough design to nail because if you're too bursty the opponent doesn't even get to respond."
On Paladins running out of mana - "we might as well take the mana bar off the UI because it was just irrelevant to hitting any buttons."
On why they said Retribution was fine (even during BlizzCon, where the now-famous joke quote was uttered) - "Because we didn't want to have to nerf the spec. Ret players were having fun."
On other classes now laughing (again) at Retribution - "Well, they're jerks."
Retribution has long been the butt of jokes of the game, with players coining the often-heard terms 'lolret' and 'retardin' pertaining to the spec. I wrote at length about my thoughts on the nerfs, and while I agree with most of them -- even the nerf to Judgements of the Wise to a degree -- I think it was incredibly irresponsible of Blizzard to have released the class in that condition with the Echoes of Doom patch. He acknowledges that Retribution players were having fun... to nerf the spec now is akin to taking candy away from a baby after the baby already tasted the candy. It actually feels like some cruel joke.
One look at the blood elves and you might think "arrogant pop star," but their story entails much more suffering and tragedy than is at first evident. Like so many in the World of Warcraft, they have very nearly lost everything that was important to them, and more than once their entire way of life has been upset, turned around, and set in an entirely new direction. They are at once brilliant and desperate, beautiful and woefully flawed, addicted to evil magic and yet not yet beyond hope of redemption.
The blood elves are the descendants of the original "Highborne" of the night elves 10,000 years before the setting of World of Warcraft, who used to follow Queen Azshara and studied the arcane magical energies flowing through the Well of Eternity. Following the "War of the Ancients," (discussed in the article on night elves), most of their peers at the time observed that arcane energies tended to attract evil demons from the darkest dimensions in the universe, and thought the world would be better off without it. The Highborne who survived that war had gotten very used to the power of arcane magic coursing through their bodies, however, and they suffered from serious magical withdrawal when those energies were no longer available to them. From their point of view, it was cowardly not to try again, to simply conceal themselves from the demons rather than to give up arcane magic entirely. Their addiction and powerlessness made them desperate enough to turn to violence, though they were no match for the new rulers of the night elf people.