15 Minutes of Fame is our look at World of Warcraft players of all shapes and sizes - both the renowned and the relatively anonymous. Know an interesting player you'd like to see profiled? E-mail us your tips.
The subject of this week's 15 Minutes of Fame is not a rare drop - he doesn't have a novelty schtick or an unusual lifestyle, nor is he a WoW culture mini-celeb. Seldorm, a level 70 warlock on Exodar, is that guy you PuGged with yesterday: the guy with solid if not stellar PvP gear who handled himself well and lent a witty, gracious and friendly note to the group. Based on the way he presented himself, you assumed he was 20something - but you'd have been wrong.
Here's what a guildmate had to say about this 15-year-old Canadian: "On the young and incredibly funny and mature front is Seldorm. He's in grade 10, although he became my guildie in grade 9 (and one of the only upper level officers, actually). People who don't ask are completely floored when they eventually find out his age. I've never seen him display an even remotely immature bone in his body, even when goaded or insulted. He's trustworthy, hilarious, loyal and very generous."
Meet Seldorm and get a glimpse inside the views of a player from "that" age group, after the break.
But the idea of more abilities that directly affect mana is an interesting one. Right now, there are only four "mana drain" spells in the game (warlocks can steal mana for themselves, priests can turn mana into damage, and hunters can sting mana off of a target). But as much as mana pools and regen have grown in the last patch, it's true that there hasn't been a balance in the opposite direction. No, warriors don't need another buff, but what if shaman were given a mana drain totem somewhere in the next ten levels? Or Boomkins got a spell that negated mana over time?
It's nothing to play around with lightly. But Blizzard does have to come up with ten more levels of abilities and talents for the next expansion, and messing with mana is something they haven't done much of lately. In Northrend we might not only be worried about health and DPS, but mana draining and mana attacks might become another piece of the class balance puzzle.
Warsong is the least effective battleground from which to farm honor.
Warsong reputation is not necessary to acquire PvP gear. In addition, reputation gains with the faction are low.
Games often last a very long time.
Fortunately, Drysc commented this morning on a forum thread started by Moobert, designed to call attention to the issue and draw out a response. While Drysc confirms that the developers are aware of the problems with Warsong Gulch, and that in fact, several possible solutions are already being tested internally. Unfortunately, he cautions that these changes are not likely to be seen any time soon.
How do you feel about Warsong right now? Do you love it or hate it and why?
This week on Build Shop I'm checking out a possible Marksman PvP build for the hunters out there. Hunters have been underrepresented in the Arena until recently, but they've been a staple in battlegrounds for a long while, so it's nice to see them finally gaining a foothold. Today's build focuses on increasing stamina, survivability, ranged damage, and picking up a few nifty utility skills. This is definitely more of a PvP build, and as such you'll want gear that maximizes your ranged attack power, resilience, and stamina to support it. Once you're geared up though, this build should serve you quite well.
One thing this build doesn't include that I'm curious to hear your thoughts on is Improved Arcane Shot. It seems like with the new dispelling power of this shot, you'd want to take this talent but I can't find 5 points to spare for it from anywhere. Perhaps that's why I haven't seen too many builds that have it, but I'd like to hear your thoughts. Is it worth it, or is it more situational? Better in some brackets but not in others? These are some of the questions I'm hoping you can help me answer (because honestly, I don't PvP on my Hunter... I PvP with my Warlock). Read on for my dissection of the 0/45/16 build!
We all know that death is a one-way journey in reality: death's permanence affects everything we do in this world -- all our laws, customs, and moral values. Yet in Azeroth it is not so: the main consequence of dying is a tedious and expensive "corpse run" for your ghost to retrieve your body. If this sort of impermanent death were a reality on Earth as it is in Azeroth, then everything about our world would be changed. As Nibuca points out, people would take risks with their lives much more lightly, execution would no longer be the ultimate punishment, and doctors might sometimes find it easier to let their patients die and then resurrect them, rather than deal with the mess of curing their sicknesses.
Roleplayers have to be somewhat careful not to let impermanent death and other such necessities of computer gaming become realities from their characters' point of view. After all, if the rules of Azerothian reality were the same as the rules we have in the game -- where death never lasts and good gear is the ultimate goal -- then there is really nothing of importance at stake for any of the characters in the Warcraft stories, least of all yours. That kind of world would effectively be just a game, whether it was real for its inhabitants or not.
Can you imagine how real life would be different if death were impermanent like it is in the game? Would such game-world realities enhance our own real world, or reduce it to trivial meaninglessness?
There are three combat mechanics that have a direct bearing on the Feral Druid in PvE at level 70, and each have a functional upper limit on how much you need, before adding more becomes a waste of points.
When discussing these combat mechanics, there are three numbers I want you to remember; 142, 91 and 415.
If you remember nothing else from the rest of this article, I hope that you carry these three numbers away with you.
142 is the total amount of Hit Rating needed to reduce your chance to miss against raid bosses to zero. Above 142, adding more Hit Rating does nothing for you whatsoever.
91 is the amount of Expertise Rating you would need to reduce the chance of an attack being Parried or Dodged by 5.75%. Currently, it is believed that level 73 raid bosses have a base 5.6% Dodge.
415 is the total amount of Defense skill you need to be immune from critical strikes by level 73 raid bosses, assuming you have 3 points spent in the talent Survival of the Fittest. And if you're tanking at level 70, you should have 3/3 in SotF.
Why are these three combat mechanics so important?
Well, for that we need to go behind the scenes and under the hood to find out a little more on how combat in World of Warcraft actually works.
Extended maintenance and you - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 14:00:00 EST So yes, as you may have heard, maintenance is extended today, and the official forums are abuzz with what you might expect: a few people complaining that their playtime is ruined, with most people saying that a few hours of maintenance every two weeks shouldn't be that much of an ordeal.
Personally, I don't have a problem with longer maintenance today, as long as it fixes the stability problems we seem to have been having all weekend. Multiple realms and instance servers have been up and down over the past few days (maybe Blizzard wasn't really ready for 10 million), and so if the maintenance makes sure that we can have a full Kara run without a server crash tonight, it's all good.
That's the real issue here-- players want to see maintenance that's worth it. I don't think any of us have a problem with taking Tuesday mornings off, as long as when we log on again, things are better than they were before.
Those loony guildies of The Guild are back for episode number 6, and things are rocky after the real-life meeting at Cheesybreads. We get a (scary) glimpse into Codex's romantic past, Zaboo still won't stop with the weirdness, and Clara needs some help with the kids, which leads to even more friction between Vork and Tink.
But things promise to get interesting next time around-- someone shows up at the end who might finally have the ability to set Zaboo straight once and for all. The Guild is always a good time, and this episode is no exception.
I've talked before about playing with insomnia, and how my current schedule has caused me to play at odd hours with my Alliance toons instead of my Horde ones. I miss playing Horde, but the late shift and my new guild means that I have found myself with almost a guaranteed group for whatever the daily heroic happens to be, and I know I can rely on those players to not stun the mobs before I hit them, fail to cast heals on me while I'm tanking three mobs, set sheeped mobs on fire while I'm looking at the two mobs I was planning to tank, or what have you. So far the guild groups I've run with have been so smooth it's like I'm playing an entirely different game from when I run PuG's, and the new game is fun. We make smart recoveries from bad pulls, kill bosses, get loot and badges, and even handle the occasional wipe with aplomb rather than sniping at each other. It's been delightful.
Happy Tuesday, everyone! - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 12:30:00 EST Ah, Tuesday! And as usual, all US realms are down (extended maintenance this week -- it started a few hours early), the official World of Warcraft website is extremely sluggish, and the forums are jumping on and offline... What's a player to do!? (To European players in the audience, you're probably looking forward to the same on Wednesday.) The realms are scheduled to come back up in about an hour and a half (presuming maintenance runs as scheduled, but I suggest being prepared for the worst), but while we're waiting, it seems like a good time to chat about what we're all up to during these downtimes. Do you run to other MMOs? Pull out your copy of Starcraft? Take the dogs for a walk? (Sorry, cat owners -- I don't know what you would do.) Stare at the breaking news box in hopes that it will change? And maybe some of you out there have even better ideas... so tell us, how do you spend your downtime hours?
For one glorious hour yesterday, I had the chance to chat with the great Shepiwot, of the How to paladinseries. He mentioned that he would soon start editing the 26th episode. In the meantime, he had a special treat for us while we waited.
How to paladin Crusader Strike focuses on what happens when Shepiwot finds a giant sword and decides to test out the buff to Crusader Strike. What follows is the epic account of the event. Fans will notice that this is a slight departure from the rest of the Htp series, but still quite enjoyable.
Raid Rx is designed to encapsulate and cure the shock and horror that is 25-man raid healing. Ok, so it's mostly horror... Anyways, if you're a big fan of X-TREME Whack-A-Mole (or are being forced into it against your will) this is the column for you. When a search for "Alar" (meaning winged) puts this car in your lap, how can you resist? Srsly. The front end even looks like a phoenix. Now this is the legendary mount I want for Love is in the Air... muhahaha
This week's post is a bit different in that I actually got... dun dun DUN... An email! With a question and everything! I know. I'm surprised as you are. I was starting to think my fancy WoW Insider email was broken. Or sending all my fan mail to John over at Shifting Perspectives. You just can't trust ferals.
So after basking in the glow of having something addressed to me, I got to work on a response. In the interest of fostering good raid healing practices, I present you with an Al'ar Tale of Woe after the break.
Reader Skipper's guild had been raiding for hours through Molten Core. Just when it couldn't get more frustrating, the server, for lack of a better term, had an epileptic fit. The entire guild fell under the world and didn't stop falling for 20 minutes in an endless loop. Skipper tells us it was a great tension reliever after the stress of the raid run.
Do you have any unusual World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? Because 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!
Breakfast Topic: Spoiled rotten vs ignorant bliss - Tue, 29 Jan 2008 08:00:00 EST With Patch 2.4 close to going live on the PTR, thousands, if not tens of thousands of players are ready to descend on those poor servers to dig into Sunwell's secrets. We will, of course, be reporting on the good stuff here on WoW Insider, but I'm curious to know how many people avoid the spoilery information versus how many surf the net tirelessly until they know every last detail?
And for those who don't want to be spoiled how the heck do you manage it? Between guild chat, general chat and news sites you would be hard pressed not to hear tantalizing details from the test patch. I get that you want to be surprised and experience the new content in-game, but do you have to be a virtual hermit to achieve that? And, then, how do you plan on your day's activities in-game when it all goes live? Will you just head over to the new Sunwell area when it goes live and let the NPCs lead the way?
Where do you fall between knowing everything in advance and blindly stumbling into fun and adventure as it comes, learning along the way?
Something about Karazhan seems designed for player-created minigames. First, we had Soul Society's game of musical chairs in Moroes' room. Then my guild started betting on who Little Red Riding Hood would be in the opera. Now, a dwarf priest has come up with a new way to pass the time in Kara: BINGO!
Sadly, I've seen most of these -- especially "Screw it, let's eight-man this" and "A brb with zero explanation takes 30+ minutes." Then again, I raid with a lot of stoners. I've also committed some faux pas myself -- particularly breaking shackles and running in the wrong entrance and requiring summons.
Do you think your raid could win a game of Kara bingo? What mistakes do you see people making over and over again in instances?
A while back, I wrote that the single most important change to World of Warcraft PvP was the introduction of Resilience. Many of you had strong feelings for or against the new mechanic, but one thing is clear: PvP has changed in the post-TBC world. Combat has become less a matter of how much hurt you can dish out but how much of it you can take. The result is -- in single combat encounters, at least -- longer battles and more creativity with the use of spells and abilities. High Resilience is a necessity in Arena combat, particularly in the current Season where Resilience gear is abundant and easily attainable with Honor. Resilience will allow combatants to survive just a little longer against focus fire. In matches that sometimes last under a minute, an extra second or two of survival can make a big difference.
It is also interesting to note that Resilience is almost exclusively an endgame item property, clearly designed for Arena combat. There are no items with Resilience usable below level 60 other than Elixir of Ironskin, which is usable at Level 55. Aside from token items from the Reinforced Fel Iron Chest in Hellfire Ramparts and uncommon quest rewards in the Outlands, most items with Resilience are usable only at Level 70 -- the level where competitive Arena play begins. The idea behind PvP in today's environment is all about damage mitigation. Last week, I discussed the key talents and a few abilities that classes have access to prior to obtaining Resilience. In the process of accumulating gear with Resilience, it helps to be familiar with the various forms of damage mitigation.
Today, however, we dive right into the juicy part. Resilience is an item property or statistic that reduces the chance you will get hit by a critical strike or spell critical strike; reduces the damage taken from critical strikes and spell critical strikes; and, as of Patch 2.2, also reduces the damage taken from Damage-over-Time effects (DoTs). Each 1% of Resilience will reduce the chance you will be crit by a spell or attack by 1%, reduce damage from crits by 2%, and reduce damage taken from DoTs by 1% (edit: It was erroneously written as 2%. Thanks to Phlipy for pointing it out!). A Resilience Rating of 39.4 grants 1% Resilience at Level 70 and -- as a bit of useless information -- a Resilience Rating of 25 grants 1% Resilience at Level 60. Because of the clear advantages it provides, any player moderately serious about PvP should accumulate Resilience gear.
I always love hearing tips I've never heard about something I use all the time, and Nibuca at Mystic Chicanery posted exactly that. Auctioneer apparently has a listening module called AskPrice (enabled by typing "/auctioneer askprice on" when the addon is loaded up) which will allow other players to use a trigger (? is the default, as in "? [Wolfrunner Shoes]") to find out your Auctioneer's price via whisper. And you can set it to listen in guild chat as well, so as a guild officer or leader, you could easily and quickly answer all those "what's this worth again" questions.
I'm not sure how exactly it gets around the no-spam requirements on sending so many messages at once (although spamming is "allowed" in some whispers and chats), but if this is something that pops up in guild chat or among your friends really often (and there is someone online enough to be around whenever this question is asked), this is handy little tip for something that you probably already have installed. Very nice.
The rest of the Wrath bestiary - Mon, 28 Jan 2008 17:30:00 EST Matthew posted the other day that Blizzard has posted a bestiary for Wrath of the Lich King, and noted that they've posted news about two new beasts we'll find in Northrend: The Nerubian Vizer, part of the spider people that follow an "unseen emperor," and a Plague Eruptor, the "most destructive" part of the Scourge's army. But what Matthew didn't mention was that there were eight other creatures mentioned in the bestiary. What, you might wonder, are these guys all about? We don't know (well, at least one of them we do). But we can guess. Get out the speculation salsa and chips!
Shovel Tusk: "Tusk" brings us to the Tuskarr, a race of Walrus-men in the Borean Tundra. And Shovel hints that this is a beast of burden or utility for the Tuskarr-- something like the Clefthooves in Nagrand.
Darkfallen: Your guess is as good as ours on this one. Sounds like something to do with the Scourge-- maybe someone that has fallen into ghostlike or demon form.
Ice Troll: No big surprise here-- we already knew there were trolls in Northrend. But it'll be interesting to see what trolls look like in the ice and snow-- surely they can't walk around with just those loincloths, right?
More, including the one member of the bestiary we at WoW Insider have already seen, after the jump.
Neth answers pretty quickly, and this issue goes almost directly back to the issue of communication between players and CMs. The CMs feel they have a lot more freedom to post on silly threads, obviously, and so they do it more. But when talking about "serious" issues (or maybe just more touchy subjects), their words carry more weight, and so they have to pick and choose what they say.
And to that, I have to agree with Tolki, who posts in the thread that we'd rather have an Oprah than a Tony Snow. Sure, things didn't work out so well the last time a CM was completely honest with us, but surely there's a middle ground. BlizzCast is a start-- maybe the devs and CMs should work together to make sure that fairly often (once a week or even once a day), they can speak out on a "serious" issue, and give the player base something to chew on. It could be argued that the CMs' words carry so much weight on serious issues because we almost never hear from them, and if that's true, a regular schedule of discussions with either CMs or devs would help give the CMs more freedom to be more honest with us about what they think about (hey heeeeyy) what's really going on in game.