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Just spent half an hour fruitlessly spamming the Trade channel in hopes of getting your new gear enchanted? Maybe (just maybe) the players on your server aren't the most unfriendly, unhelpful people this side of Silithus. Maybe you simply haven't figured out the most effective way to use [2:Trade].
According to loyal WoW Insider reader Sarabande, there's more to successful in-game transactions than simply advising someone to "use the Trade channel for trade." We agree - so this week, let's cover some basic tactics to get your sales sold, your portals ported and your enchantments enchanted.
Addon Spotlight takes a look at the little bits of Lua and XML that make our interfaces special. From bar mods to unit frames and beyond, if it goes in your Addons folder, we'll cover it here.
I love it when people send in tips for cool addons. There was a time when I could subscribe to the RSS feed for an addon site and check out each new mod as it came out, but the scene is too big now; I'd be at it all day. Today we'll look at DagAssist, which was submitted by Rodney earlier this afternoon.
DagAssist puts a single, quite attractive button on your minimap that, when clicked, opens a pop-up menu containing things like:
Teleports and portals, for mages
Summons for warlocks
You can see what it looks like for my warlock at right.
Curse has released a premium version of their add-on client. The service they are offering goes for $30 a year on their annual plan, or $5/month if you choose to pay like that. There are some features of the premium client worth looking at if you're interested in spending the money.
The premium client offers one-click updating of all your add-ons, which is a very nice feature for those of us that have a few hundred of them floating around. When I tried this earlier today the updating went smoothly and without any problems.
Another feature of the premium service is that you're not subjected to all the ads on the Curse website while you're logged into your account. This is good if you're still going to the site often, but I'm not sure how often you'll go to their site if you're using their add-on downloader client.
We first received a tip on a mysterious guild that was blowing through Ulduar's hardest achievements one after the other, all in one day, about a day or two ago. Their gear and raid experience stated very well that they were in no position to do any of those achievements, but we sort of shrugged and let it pass by. It was odd that these players were barely in Naxxramas gear, and their first recorded Kel'thuzad kill was only two weeks prior to their explosion of Ulduar achievements, but we initially ignored these reports because surely, nobody could be hacking the game. On top of that, the forum threads submitted to us all had so many posts deleted from them that they were completely incomprehensible. There was nothing solid about any of it.
Tips on it are still flooding our mailboxes today and a bit more information has surfaced, so let's look into it a little, shall we? The guild is The Marvel Family of US-Vek'nilash. The character Karatechop is the one that has attracted the most attention, and you'll see why in just a moment. If you look over his gear, it's not that bad, really. Epic tank gear, a lot of it from Naxxramas, so it's feasible that he could make some progress through Ulduar. It gets weird when you go to his Statistics and/or Achievements panels. Let's go to his statistics first.
No idea what the cost is (she offers the extensions on her website, but we're not sure if it's a rent/buy/commission type of thing), but come on: can you really wear that Tauren costume around BlizzCon now without having these to leave hoofprints in? We didn't think so. See you there.
However, as a few players have noted, there's still some functionality missing there. While the notification will tell you that bosses have been killed, it won't yet tell you which ones, so a malicious or confused guild could invite you a Naxx in which only one wing has been downed, when really all they've got left is Sapphiron and KT (or no bosses at all, if they really wanted to ruin your week). Fortunately, Zarhym agrees, and says that discussion about adding a little bit to the notification is incoming. It seems a little bit weird to just have a list of killed bosses on your screen when you first walk into the instance, but maybe they could add some sort of "boss tracker" to the instance maps, where you could see at a glance what was going on in any instance you join.
As a few other people say in the thread, most of you may never have seen this notification pop up -- if you only join instances where nothing is killed yet, you'll never see it. But for those of us who take boss kills where we can get them (in PuGs and guild runs where an opening appears), it's a nice feature to have.
Randomizing the Strand of the Ancients spawn points - Wed, 29 Apr 2009 13:00:00 EST Strand of the Ancients is a battleground that's gotten relatively short shrift lately -- it came along into the game with the crown jewel of Wrath PvP so far, Wintergrasp, and while it's still frequented on honor weekends (it's one of the best ways to farm honor, actually) and for achievements, lots of players, specifically those on the Horde, aren't happy with it. Why? Because right now, Alliance always starts the battle on offense first. The battle is a regular attack-and-defend map, and Alliance reportedly has a "significant advantage" by beginning on the attack side: they only have to play offense for a few minutes, and then defend for the same amount of time, while Horde have to defend the whole first round and then attack if they want to win. Plus, the battleground doesn't always start full, which means whoever attacks first usually is fighting fewer defenders.
So how hard would it be to throw a coin flip in there and randomize who starts first? The good news is that Blizzard is working on it, but the bad news is that it's taking longer than they thought. It's not as simple, unfortunately, as choosing a faction randomly -- there are apparently mechanics in the spawn points that make it difficult for them to randomize who shows up on the moving ships. Go figure? We've never understood how Blizzard's code works, and we're not starting now.
But again: Zarhym says a fix is incoming in a future patch. So if you're Alliance and you want to do some honor farming, better start now.
X-Cross has been building a new machinima series, titled FI5VE. As an author works on this kind of thing, there are myriads of outtakes. These aren't always mistakes. Some of the scenes they build, film, make all pretty, and then simply decide that the final product doesn't work our for them. This deleted opening is exactly such an out take. X-Cross ultimately decided that it was too long to open each episode.
But it's still an awesome piece of video. FI5VE is about five gnomes with unique, special powers. Well, unique and special to gnomes. The five superheroes have managed to become the five classes gnomes cannot be in game. (Those five classes are Priest, Paladin, Druid, Shaman, and Hunter.)
This sounds like a really cool project, so I was excited about this deleted opening. The animation and character work looks really great. X-Cross has managed to squeeze a lot of personality into these few seconds. And, of course, getting to see a gnome turn into a druid cat has long been a wish of mine.
While I was on the WoW Insider show last weekend, a question came up regarding weapon speeds and poison selection for a Combat Rogue. I answered the question in detail, and after finishing my explanation, I realized that I sounded more like an algebra teacher than a gamer. There is a lot of math involved in mastering the Rogue class.
While spreadsheets provide exact numbers for DPS and gear comparison, it's often that a Rogue is unable to take the time to run the numbers for every weapon and gear combo. It's important to have a firm understanding of HOW Rogues work, in order to make your own decisions without needing to consult the formulas. After the cut, I'll be explaining a few of the current "Rogue axioms" in detail, so that you can understand the logic behind the tenets.
TOO SOON! YOU HAVE AWAKENED ME TOO SOON, EXECUTUS! WHAT IS THE MEANING OF ... wait a minute. You're not my Majordomo. You're a small orcish child wearing a rather garish hat. Why am I sitting atop a mound of collapsed cake? And why are there sparkles everywhere? By Sargeras, did I finally agree to do one of those kid's birthday parties that Hakkar is always pestering me about? Sure, I'm hard up for work these days, but there's something undignified about an elemental lord popping out of a mound of cake. I must have been plastered when I took this job. Oh well. Might as well play it up and give the kid her two pairs of pants so I can go home and sink into a six-pack of the finest Dark Iron Reserve. YOU, INSECT! TASTE THE FROSTING OF SULFURON!
(Thanks to Elder Nindle of Moonglade-EU for the Ragnaros pic, enhanced with an Elune's Candle!)
Do you have any unusual, beautiful or interesting World of Warcraft images that are just collecting dust in your screenshots folder? We'd love to see them 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 posted a list of hotfixes to Ulduar last night in their ongoing hotfix thread, almost all nerfs, and a notice that they were "making further difficult adjustments via hotfix" to Ignis, Razorscale, XT-002 Deconstructor, The Assembly of Iron, Kologarn, and Auriya, with changes to other encounters "highly likely" to occur once they're done with these. In this case I read "making adjustments via hotfix" as "giving them a good whack with the nerf stick."
The specific changes that they just announced for Ulduar:
The Ignis the Furnace Master encounter has received the following changes: The interrupt effect and duration of the damage from Flame Jets has been reduced, the damage from the Slag pot has been reduced, the number of Heat stacks needed to transform an Iron Construct into a Molten state has been reduced, the base melee damage done by Ignis has been reduced, and the damage bonus Ignis receives from Strength of the Creator has been slightly increased.
My favorite MotoGP rider Sete Gibernau is back for the 2009 MotoGP after coming out of his retirement in 2006. Although I'm ecstatic that Sete's back, he's obviously lost a step, clocking 13th in Qatar and a DNF in Motegi. We've got a whole season to go, though, so things can definitely get better. This whole business of coming back to the sport reminded me of players who have quit the game for one reason or the other. I mean, we've got pretty notable players like Phaelia and BigRedKitty who have put away their staves and guns in order to pursue other endeavors. It happens.
I got a message from an old friend this morning asking me if I still played WoW, saying that he might play again once he's finished moving to his new pad. Just like Gibernau, who once declined an offer to continue to race, we also know players who have come back to play the game. What interests me, however, is everybody's reason for coming back. Our GM, who quit midway through the Burning Crusade, was enticed by the promise of Wrath and became a total Achievement-addict, returning to the game and eventually leading us to remarkable raid progress.
Patch 3.1 and Ulduar, along with other game improvements, are certainly enticing to players. If you had to cast Scroll of Resurrection on an old player who's retired from the game, what arguments would you use to convince them? Or if you quit the game once before, what compelled you to play again? Was it something in the game? Was it merely a temporary break, and that you'd always intended to play again? Was it the invitation of friends? While we all have good reasons to quit the game, I know we have equally great reasons to come back.
This week we're getting yet another patch: 3.1.1a and I'm seriously hoping this will be the end of all of the patch 3.1 chaos. That said, we here in European haven't had such a bad time of it thanks to the American guinea pigs over the pond.
As you've probably predicted by now we're getting downtime until 11am CEST this morning. Hopefully this latest patch will make it all better, eh?
In the meantime, I suggest you make some tea, enjoy a leisurely breakfast and install the patch. You can, of course, also check our posts from yesterday which have fun suggestions of things to do during the downtime.
*Sniff sniff*. Smell that? It's the smell of desperation -- the smell of a ninja who knows he's been caught. Zlickrick above found a piece of loot in his mailbox that was supposed to go to someone who won a raid roll, but instead he put it on. And now, confronted, you can almost see the desperation in his text. Unfortunately, once an item is soulbound, it's pretty much lost. But still, he knows he's been caught. And GW knows it, too.
That story and more in this week's Guildwatch, bringing you drama, downed, and recruiting news from around the realms. Send your guild's information (or any drama you've spotted) to email@example.com, and click on to read this week's column.
Just a quick word of congrats tonight to our friends the moderators of the WoW Ladies Livejournal group -- their community has been spotlighted over on the Livejournal front page. Definitely some well-deserved recognition for one of the best sub-communities in World of Warcraft.
The WoW community is a gigantic one, but it's all of the little interrelated communities within it (from us here at WoW Insider to the theorycrafters on Elitist Jerks to all of the hundreds of WoW player blogs, each with their own little voice and insight) that really make it such a diverse and creative group. Good to see one of the best WoW communities out there spotlighted on a major mainstream site.
Now I don't get papercraft myself although I have come across it periodically. Basically it is the art of folding paper, turning 2D images into 3D models. Now this is not new and we've covered it before (check out our papercraft gallery below while you're here) but Blizzard Europe have taken some time out to interview papercrafter and designer Pascal as well as featuring some of his awesome creations.
I'm trying (and failing) not to go all fangirl over his papercraft moonkin (Druids FTW, etc., etc.) but it's impressive how intricate these models can be, from a mail box to a dragon. The spotlight also offers some hints on how to get started and while I'm totally useless at any crafty stuff, it makes me want to have a go at one of these beauties.
As embarrassed as I am to admit it, the truth is that Retribution has a pretty low skill cap. This is an old accusation, but one that has quite a bit of weight in it. Although it used to be primarily an auto-attack class in PvE, things changed with the introduction of Divine Storm and now Exorcism in Patch 3.1. Still, many Retribution Paladins can faceroll their way to good DPS because, well, the class design is really easy to play. There are buttons that you press to do damage, you wait until cooldowns are up... rinse, repeat.
Because you can pick up all talents that contribute to DPS even before you hit Level 80, it becomes a matter of gear scaling after that. In most cases, similarly geared Retribution Paladins in a raid will put out nearly identical numbers with few exceptions. Unlike other DPS classes where the spread can be wide owing to particular talent choices, differences in rotation, gear, and play style, Retribution Paladins have the relatively simple task of resolving priority when an ability comes off cooldown. There are no combo points, no freeze effect bonuses, no procs to wait for.
This isn't to say that Retribution is one-dimensional. It's not. Particularly in PvP, Retribution can reach deeper into its bag of tricks with stuns and incapacitate effects, instant Turn Evil, and a plethora of survivability and anti-cc abilities that you often won't bother with during raids. That said, there isn't anything particularly creative about how Retribution Paladins kill their opponents. It pours on damage. Prior to 3.1 that meant quite a lot of burst. For one glorious week, that meant ranged burst with Exorcism, too.
This week information about the final boss of Ulduar has slowly been revealed, thanks to the guild Wraith on EU-Ysondre. We never got to meet Algalon the Observer on the PTRs so this encounter is one of the most mysterious, both in terms of tactics and of lore.
From what I've seen it's also one of the most gorgeous, but then again, I like stars and floating planets. Algalon himself is an entity composed of stars, a spectral being who is not uncompassionate to the heroes who have come to kill him. He just has a job to do. A job which could see our world being put in serious - even cataclysmic jepoardy.
Needless to say, from here on in, there be SPOILERS about the actual boss fight so read on at your own peril!
Last week, we met Lileya of Lightbringer-EU, who has a rare, lifelong condition that causes her joints dislocate at the drop of a pin. Stacking up a Lifebloom roll can literally dislocate a finger or her wrist. "I get up in the morning, and the first thing we do is check to make sure that all my joints are in place -- which they rarely are," she recounts. "I need help sitting up, and the first thing my husband says when I put my feet on the ground is 'Slowly, let's not dislocate those ankles standing up.' Each day is different but the same."
What keeps Lileya at the keyboard despite these seemingly insurmountable challenges? We visited with Lileya to explore how her love of end-game raiding and her struggle to balance a precarious collection of symptoms and physical challenges keeps her connected to WoW and to life. This week, Part 2 of our interview with this determined player.
Paladin blogger Ferarro thinks that the new legendary mace from Ulduar is a Paladin weapon and she explains why in a detailed post over at her nook. While Val'anyr, Hammer of the Ancient Kings is a mace that all healing classes can use, the "discovery" of the weapon's proc -- something that's been speculated on for a while -- puts the weapon squarely in the hands of a Paladin. Even Allison found it something of a bummer (she plays a Druid) when she found out about the proc, and even talked about how to assign it when your guild gets those fragments to drop.
Ferarro compares Val'anyr to other best-in-slot competitors, from the Turning Tide from Kel'thuzad to the new Ulduar weapons. Given that the proc seems to favor humongous heals, it seems tailor made for Holy Paladins, masters of nuke healing. The effect also seems to proc pretty often according to Ferraro, who reveals, "for what it's worth, when I saw it in action a while ago it was proccing 100% of the time". Not only that, but she points out that the lack of Spirit makes it sub-par for Priests; the lack of MP5 makes it less than attractive for Shamans; and notes that Druids aren't exactly in the market for Crit Rating, which Val'anyr has. It's a rather interesting read, and something I'll probably send to our GM for some, um, consideration...