Since this column has been dominated by news of the Ferlol kind lately, I thought this week would be a good time to bring some true leafy fun into the mix.
I am still working avidly on a gearing for Karazhan list for Restoration Druids, with research and insight provided by Bellwether of 4 Haelz, with full expectations of having it ready for you to enjoy next week.
In the meantime, here is a wonderful opportunity for Treelovers to show their Bark is stronger than our Bite.
Phaelia, the mind and heart behind Resto4Life, decided that Arbor Day was the perfect time for Resto Druids to let their imaginations bloom.
Tanking for beginners - Wed, 28 May 2008 18:00:00 EST Maybe you've heard that there's a tank shortage and you've rerolled to help your buddies out. Maybe you just like the idea of one of the tanking classes and you're interested in being as valuable for groups as you can be (and in the case of two of them you don't like healing). Maybe you enjoy being in the forefront of things. For whatever reason, you've decided you want to tank.
It's not too late. You can still run. There are quite a few DPS classes, and you can even spec DPS with each of the tanks. You don't have to do this.
You still here?
Okay, don't say I didn't warn you. The positives of tanking are many: it can be fun to consider yourself as a cussing, roaring, or even holy juggernaut who can take the beating and keep the enemy focused on you. It can be challenging, and mastering that challenge can be extremely rewarding. With the right group, tanking can be a heck of a lot of fun. If you dedicate yourself to tanking and do it well, eventually you may find yourself annoying some of the most powerful and evil bosses in the game.
But tanking is a fundamentally group related activity: it consists of two major tasks and you cannot succeed at either without the support of your group. Being a tank is essentially sacrificing soloing utility and the ability to succeed at your class' other focus in order to excel at a group utility role. And of course, whenever anything bad happens... bad pull, lose aggro on a group pull, what have you... it will be your fault. It will be your fault even if it isn't. Heck, after a while you'll start taking it personally even when everyone else is amazed at how good a tank you are. Tanking seems to create a perfectionist mindset, one that measures every single moment and always wants to do better. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it is something to keep in mind.
Okay, on to the basics. There are essentially two tasks involved in tanking. Holding aggro, and surviving having it. Both of these things are impossible without group support and even group sufferance. (Long time tanks, you will find little new here, and may in fact find it to be overly simplistic, so feel free to add class specific comments or details that simply didn't fit the constraints of the post.)
And just in case you were worried that a CM would get away with making fun of what might have been a serious player question, Drysc gets burned right back when Aure asks if the same thing happened to Shaman armor sets. "Ouch," as many players say, is about right.
Of course, none of the burning actually answers the questions, so I guess that's what we're here for. No, Bolvar probably won't be redone in the expansion: if the King of Stormwind storyline comes to a head, he may be on his way out anyway (although then who would fight off Onyxia's minions?). And be careful what you ask for with Shaman armor -- next thing you know, we'll have totems coming out of our shoulders (actually, that might be pretty cool). And yes, High Overlord Saurfang can punch the whatever he wants out of whoever he wants.
New exploits target Flash - Wed, 28 May 2008 16:30:00 EST According to reports, a new wave of exploits has appeared taking advantage of a vulnerability Adobe Flash Player. Allegedly over 200,000 web sites now have redirects to malware, including keyloggers, through embedded Flash. And we all know how evil keyloggers can be. Flash Player 18.104.22.168 appear to be the affected version.
Adobe quickly responded to the issue, saying that the vulnerability is fixed in 22.214.171.124, the latest version of the player, so to make yourself secure, all you need to do is update your Flash. To check what version you are running, go to this Adobe page. Keeping your software up-to-date is one of the best ways to close security holes; if you're truly paranoid, you could always go the route of adding Flashblock and/or No-Script into your browser. And be sure to keep an eye on our new Azeroth Security Advisor column for more tips on how to keep yourself from being compromised. Once again, to update your Flash and patch this vulnerability go to Adobe's "Get Flash" page.
Update: It is possible that certain versions of 124 (namely, the standalone version for Linux and the standalone version with debug capabilities for Windows) are also affected by the exploits. At this time it is recommended to disable Flash if you are running those versions.
Should be a great show on both counts. Does make us wonder, though, what Blizzard is planning for BlizzCon this year -- a repeat of last year's performance would be nice and all (and we have no doubt that no matter who else plays, L70ETC will definitely have to be there, considering that they're made up of Blizzard employees), but maybe we'll get some new blood in the mix? Jonathan Coulton is definitely a name that springs to mind -- even if he's not specifically a Blizzard guy, his music is very familiar to WoW fans of all levels.
Who else could they hire? Nyhm? Felicia Day to host? As fun as Jay Mohr was, seems like after all the taunting last time, he just might be trouble to get again -- Blizzard might as well choose someone that WoW fans want to see.
Unfortunately, according to the Murloc translator, what's printed on the window there is just gibberish, not an actual Murloc saying handed down from the Oracles of years past (like, you know, "honk if you love Murlocs"). Still, I'd laugh if I saw it, no matter what it means.
We've added this pic to our gallery of WoW license plates car-related WoW art. If you've got a pic we should have in here, feel free to send it along and we'll take a look.
This is pretty ludicrous, but it's too funny to ignore: this YouTube posters swears he hears "World of Warcraft" and "give us your money" hidden in the whispers swirling around the Spirit Healer while dead (there is one NSFW word in the video, if that rubs you the wrong way). Personally, while I do hear it, it's a little too off to be taken seriously. And of course we all know that subliminal messages don't work anyway. But still, if you're the type to go for a good conspiracy theory, it is in there -- maybe the reason Blizzard has the top MMO ever made isn't because it's a great game, but because they're transmitting messages to your brain!
The question does remain: what's really being said in those death whispers? Whatever it is, odds are that it's not in English. My guess is maybe Titan, the language of the Titans -- but that assumes that whatever's speaking to you is from the world, and there are probably more deceased spirits floating around Azeroth by now than actual living creatures on it. For all we know, it could be the Others.
But Kevin G (who kindly sent us this tip -- thanks!) brings up another interesting profession topic -- just how are Death Knights going to deal with leveling up their professions? Surely, since Blizzard doesn't want them running around level 1 areas like noobs, they wouldn't actually have to level up from the beginning, would they? As hilarious as the thought of a black armorclad bringer of devastation chasing wolves around Elwynn for their leather is, it's probably a good bet that Blizzard will avoid that scenario.
But how? We have no idea yet. We do know that Blizzard wants to make things easier for people leveling professions all the way up (especially from the higher levels), so maybe there'll be a plan in place that Death Knights can get in on (maybe a quest to do, or a simple charge of a few hundred gold, since that's probably what it would cost to just buy the lower level stuff off the AH). Either way, hopefully we'll see a solution that's both easy on Death Knights and fair to characters who've leveled it up the hard way.
Update: Andrige, as you can see in the comments, has asked us to not post his movie -- he says that it wasn't done (though the movie was publicly available, and still is at the link below). So instead, we've decided to bring you an oldie but a goodie today: Mr. Lonely, based on a song by Akon (that has one NSFW lyric in it). We'll see Heart of the Wild here again when it's ready to go.
Believe it or not, at 13 minutes, this isn't the finished movie. Andrige, the creator of Heart of the Wild, has a 40 page script that he estimates will fill an hour and a half of movie time! Apparently he's even adding chapter links to the main video as he goes along! He describes the film as taking place during the invasion of Qiraji, but with his own twist to the story.
Heart of the Wild is a beautiful machinima, where Modelview characters aren't the main focus, however there are some things to point out. There is a lot of text to read on the screen, and sometimes, it's not easy to read it. Voiceovers and voice acting would solve this problem if done right, or at the very least, he could make the text stand out more against the backdrop. This series has the potential to become wildly successful, so keep your eye on it!
The single most informative resource out there for Shadow Priests, shadowpriest.com, has recently undergone a makeover! They've launched a custom theme tailored to their logo's color scheme, and a few new features have come with it. In addition to the awesome new look, they've added a couple of (unobtrusive) RSS feeds to the sidebar. LightNatured (their sister site for healers) is one of them, and WoW Insider is another! That's always a good thing, eh?
I'm sure I've said it a few times since I've joined the WoW Insider team, but if you're a Shadow Priest and don't stop in at ShadowPriest.com once in awhile, you're doing yourself a disservice. Even the bleedingest of bleeding edge players have room for improvement and can learn new things once in awhile. ShadowPriest.com goes well alongside Elitist Jerks for all of your gear, strategy and theorycrafting needs. Especially with all of the discussion that will inevitably crop up when the Wrath Beta rolls around, you definitely owe it to yourself to take a look.
Ulkesshern of <Phantas Magoria> on Hellfire-EU writes in that after his guild killed Kalecgos for the first time, they decided to poke around rest of the instance. But apparently, Brutallus doesn't recognize that major combat operations in the Sunwell have ended for the night. Despite his flag of peace, it looks like Ulkesshern's about to get creamed. Too bad that murloc suit doesn't provide any extra protection against a rampaging pit lord.
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. Today's forecast for the comment section calls for a 42% chance of a political discussion related to the post title!
I was having a discussion with my brother yesterday, and he was telling me that he really doesn't pay attention much to the raid game anymore. Back in Everquest, he used to be a pretty hardcore raider, part of a giant guild that could field raids of 100 or more people, ready to track down and kill bosses the minute they spawned (since they were never instanced, you only got kill each boss around once per a week on each server). Because so many people were needed, and you might not even get to kill some bosses some weeks because other groups would beat you, you might go months without loot.
Because of this, he says, he doesn't really care any more about server firsts or world firsts. The 25 man raids don't really interest him, and he doesn't feel like 25-man raiders are worthy of respect. They get loot at a much faster rate than he ever did, and even if they don't get the drop they want, they still get badges. There's probably other people like him. There's also other people who may ignore 25-mans because it really doesn't affect them. They run their 5 mans, maybe an occasional Karazhan, and they really don't care what people do beyond that.
People just might have heard all the bad drama that they want to hear -- we had a few good stories this week of guilds actually doing well, or making their way past useless drama to continue with progression, or just generally making the world a better place for other players. Then again, we still got lots of good guild-breaking, whine-filled drama, so who says you can't have both good and bad?
Both good and bad are after the break, as well as downed and recruiting news from around the realms. And don't forget, if you've got drama, downed, or recruiting news to support (if it's your guild or anyone else's), just drop us a note at email@example.com. We could especially use some really nice downed news and screenshots -- the shot above, from Kill on Sight on The Forgotten Coast, is good, but surely you all can do better, right?
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.