Any discussion about World of WarcraftPvP nowadays inevitably involves Arenas. With the onset of Season 4 and its new rules and requirements, Arena play is getting more intense than ever. Of course, as the competition heats up, the cries of an imbalanced contest grow louder than ever. Blizzard seems to be aware of the issues and have taken some steps in the development of the Wrath of the Lich King to address class and spec viability.
During the panel on "PvP Game Systems", however, lead designers Tom Chilton and Corey Stockton devoted most of their Arena discussion to the new maps rather than the hairy, and probably inconclusive, issue of class balance and representation. The new Arena maps follow Blizzard's philosophy of keeping things simple yet have room for innovation; having dynamic points of interest; having conceptually different starting areas; and leave allowance to make adjustments during development.
Heroic attunements gone in Wrath - Sun, 29 Jun 2008 18:30:00 EST Another interesting thing to note from the Dungeons and Raids panel of the WWI earlier today is the topic of Heroic attunements. We've known for some time that Blizzard has wanted to move away from reputation requirements for Heroic keys, and we saw an example of that in Magisters' Terrace. This was reinforced early on in the panel when Cory Stockton stated that there will be no faction and reputation requirements whatsoever for any of the Heroics.
This doesn't particularly surprise me, because Heroic keys at Honored is little more than a formality and way to waste a little gold. You hit Honored with most places just through leveling up, so by the time you're top level you can probably already go into those Heroics. Requiring Honored might as well be no requirement at all.
However, the possibility of a Magisters' Terrace style attunement was something I assumed they would do. Run the Normal at least once before the Heroic, or by completing some other type of task successfully. That, too, was shot down later in the Q&A. A question about attunements was answered with the fact that none of the Dungeons or Heroics will have any attunement at all, and neither will the first raid zone, Naxxramas. I don't mind this too much, it leaves it up to the player to judge whether they're ready for Heroics or not. I still would have liked to have seen some attunement quests for Heroics, because I think the added flavor or added challenges those quests could provide would add some depth to things. It seems we're not getting those, and I'll cope with it I'm sure, it just feels like a lost opportunity.
When you decide to roleplay, a whole new world of imagination opens up to you -- soon you realize that all the World of Warcraft is a stage, and all the orcs and humans merely players.
Blizzard definitely cares about roleplayers. They listen to us and there's a special place for us in their hearts -- which is natural, because in many ways, their whole world has its own story and background which means a lot to them, and while all players get to see that story unfolding through their activities in the game, roleplayers are the ones who participate in that story by making their own stories within it.
The problem is that Blizzard and its roleplayers are on pretty different wavelengths when it comes to what roleplayers want to receive and what Blizzard wants to provide. Blizzard wants to give us more neat toys and perfect places to enjoy, with lots of lore and story behind them -- and while this is all very interesting and everyone enjoys it, most roleplayers are wishing they had more sandbox-like tools, spaces and items they can easily bend or shape in their own ways, to use for their own purposes.
Blizzard may care, but do they really understand? Read on for insights Blizzard may be missing.
Ladies and gentlemen, I rarely get very excited about new addons, but OPie has revolutionized my UI in a way that absolutely fits with my clutter-free mindset. Ultimately, as I test addons, only a few end up being a permanent part of my gameplay. I can't necessarily promise OPie will stay, but it's looking like such an innovative mod that I may just come to rely on it.
We've discussed both Totemus and Necrosis here at Addon Spotlight, and praised the way they wrap things into a neat little package. OPie does the same thing, but to an extent that not only are your spells hidden until you need them, but they can be easily integrated with a minimalist play-style.
What OPie does is take spells, items, trade-skills and macros and creates virtual rings for them to reside in. By assigning a keybinding, one can simply press a button and have a quick menu (a ring) appear on the screen, which will cast a spell, use an item or a macro based on where the mouse is hovering in relation to the ring.
We warlocks have a litany of curses at our disposal, with wildly varying effects and durations. Fortunately for our targets, we can only land one curse per target, whether it's a straight-up DoT like Curse of Agony, or a debuff effect like Curse of Tongues.
Much of the Warlock's group utility and versatility are defined by our access to these various effects. While some curses have wider applications than others, it is hardly a one-curse-fits-all situation. Knowing which curse to use in the right situation is key to maximizing your Warlock's potential.
World of Warcraft allows all of us an unprecedented ability to modify our user interface to meet our needs. Each week WoW Insider will bring you a fresh and detailed look at reader submitted UIs. Have a screenshot of your UI you want to submit? Send it, along with your character name and server, to email@example.com.
Babyshotta of Alexstrazsa (charming name, no really...) brings us this week's reader UI. I'd classify this kind of UI as "the working man's interface". Sure it's a little rough around the edges, but it gets the job done. He wrote us saying he plays on a 17 inch monitor so his screen real estate is cramped, but that his layout tries to make the most of the limited space. He said he probably has over 50 different addons installed but listed are the few, the proud, the brave(?) he just can't live without!
Working with such a small resolution can be difficult, particularly if you're an addonaholic like myself. He might try playing with the UI scale to trim down the space some of his addons take up. That way you can fit more on the bottom area keeping the middle of your screen less cluttered. If the font gets too small to read, try using Clearfont to adjust the typeface and size to something readable yet taking up less space.
Have a cool UI you want to submit? Take at least 3 screenshots of it in action in various situations, and send it, along with your character name and server, to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The panel at the WWI earlier was cleverly titled "PvP Game Systems", where Tom Chilton and Corey Stockton discussed Lake Wintergrasp, new Arena maps, and the new Battleground. It was a rather uninspired panel compared to the previous ones, revealing very little that anxious players didn't already know. Because of the suspiciously lengthy yet predictable presentation, very little time was left for questions (of class balance, I bet), although a few good ones were asked -- and surprisingly answered -- during the session.
To me, one of the most exciting parts of this morning's Dungeons and Raids panel at the WWI is the fact that they're going to add more nonlinear elements to five man dungeons. Thank Uther! As far as time it takes to complete dungeons, The Burning Crusade was a massive improvement, but I couldn't help but feel something major was lost when they all amounted to pull-drink-pull with solid hallways guiding you straight forward. I really started to miss places like Blackrock Depths.
The Caverns of Time was a gloriously refreshing change from that, and I'm glad they took something out of that poll they did awhile back. The previews of The Occulus and Caverns of Time: Stratholme were fantastic, and that nonlinearity is one of the best parts, easily. Even though you will probably have killed all of the same bosses in the end that you would have if the dungeon were linear, just in a different order, having choices available and environments that aren't simply enclosed hallways that go in one direction really brings a place to life. It's hard to believe that the Botanica is just one really long constant hallway, for example.
Here's hoping that these elements extend beyond Old Stratholme and The Occulus, and Wrath will bring dungeons back to life.
When: Today at 4PM Pacific (5PM Server, 7PM Eastern)
Where: Orgrimmar, Zangarmarsh U.S. Server
Who: Any Horde character, any level
How: Send a tell to Robiness or any guild member to get an invite to the guild and the raid
I'm currently farming shards on Robiness for summoning purposes, so don't worry if you can't get to Orgrimmar easily. And the quests we'll be doing can be done by any level and in a raid, so make a new character if you don't have a Horde character on Zangarmarsh already.
(It pains me to even write this, but if maya-rendered "ogre testicles" offend you, do not watch this video.)
In April, I blogged a little gnome ... err, known, machinima called Unstunted Prologue. It was a short clip of a gnome being punted by an ogre. This time around, in Unstunted - Volume II, the gnomes are back for revenge. Indeed, it begins where the last one left off -- where the gnome falls in the tavern.
Macky, the creator of the series, says that this will most likely be the last time that he does a video this long, and we can see why! He exported models from WoW Model Viewer and put them into Maya, made them symmetrical, rigged, and hand keyframed the characters. That's why it comes as no surprise that some shots took over 48 hours to render! The result is an amusing story with a happy ending that you'll just have to see for yourself.
If you're a speedy reader, you've got a few minutes to get yourselves down to Xfire. We'll be taking part in a live chat with them starting at 1800 CEST/12:00pm ET (that's in a few minutes!). To sign up for the event and join in, add Chatteox to your Xfire friends and you'll get an invite to the chat room. You'll be able to ask us anything about the invitational you like, so fire away! The chat ends at 1830 CEST/12:30pm ET.
The information pouring out of Paris this weekend has been astounding. Upcoming class changes, Arena tweaks and gear resets have all been recorded, poured over and analyzed. But there's one thing you really want to know above all else: what's in the attendee goodie bag?
Fear not, lovers of swag. For we have provided you with not a dry list, not a lifeless description, but bright, shiny pictures of all the phat loot given to those lucky enough to be attending the Worldwide Invitational in Paris this weekend. Click away and be amazed.
We've been pretty mean to blood elves here at Around Azeroth, so today, we're going to ... continue to be mean to them, actually. (Don't worry, there's a really sweet belf pic coming up tomorrow.) In this screenshot, Zu of <Reforged> on Runetotem has discovered that donning the complete firefestivalgarb gives him power over fire. And what does he do with that power? Why, burn down Silvermoon City! It's every tauren's dream!
But seriously, he's just chilling on Quel'Danas. The festival garb doesn't give you any powers -- the only thing you get for collecting it all is a worthless Diablo III beta invite. (Note: Do not try this at home! You have been warned!)
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 email@example.com 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 please, no sunsets or shots of the Stormwind water glitch.
Sunday Morning Funnies: On the flip side - Sun, 29 Jun 2008 09:00:00 EST The summer season is just starting to gear up, and it seems that if you are not checking out arena season four, you're planning a trip, hosting a barbecue, or otherwise outside enjoying the sunshine. It seems that your favorite webcomic artists are no different!
Though this week's selection is small, less choice should make for a tighter run. As always, feel free to suggest new comics in the comments section!
From Awkward Zombie comes In a Blink, showcasing the perils of using blink as a primary form of travel.
This week's Ready Check comes live from the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, where top raiding guild Nihilum were shown live on stage doing what they do best.
The Worldwide Invitational is all about spectating. Watching live Starcraft, Warcraft III and WoW arena tournaments brings fast-paced action to anyone who cares to drop by, and even if you don't play the games themselves, it's fascinating to watch the experts at work. But does the same apply to raiding?
Yesterday Nihilum took part in a Kil'Jaeden raid live, over two 30-minute sessions. Kungen, Hath and Sniffy were raiding on stage, with Marilyn providing commentary. We never saw the raiders' screens; instead, three cameras inside the room provided multiple views of the encounter to give a cinematic feel. With commentary pointing out various aspects of the fight, the raid was a rare glimpse at a boss many players are unlikely to see.
Here at WoW Insider, we pride ourselves on bringing you the latest, greatest news about the World of Warcraft we all know and love. (You haven't all gone off to play Diablo, have you?) What this means is that we crawled out of bed at what our watch says was three in the morning, even though by local Paris time it was already mid-morning under a sunny sky. We've fought our ways through crowds at the Worldwide Invitational to bring you a front-row seat to today's PvP panel, starting shortly. For the latest updates on the game's PvP system -- right from the developers! -- keep reading for live updates from the panel.
Welcome to Hybrid Theory, where we discuss all things hybrid in the World of Warcraft. Hybrid Theory is brought to you each week by columnist/blogger Alex Ziebart.
Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen. Today's Hybrid Theory is purely guesswork and speculation. In no way will I pretend that these are facts, and you should not take them as such. It's a topic that grabbed my interest, and it's something I really enjoy trying to figure out despite the missing pieces of information we don't have yet. I welcome all of you to add your thoughts on it in the comments section below. Perhaps we can get a decent idea of what's to come.
Let's get started, shall we? In the previous weeks of Hybrid Theory, we've discussed all we knew about some of our favoriteclasses. During this discussion, matters of itemization often came up. Most notably, the new Spellpower mechanic. This would allow healers and DPS classes to use the same gear, but Healing spells would get twice the benefit.
First thought is that DPS and healers will share gear. Right? Well... maybe. Possibly. There are a lot of factors we don't really know yet. While it isn't always the case, for some classes there is a pretty large divide between gear that is good for a caster and gear that is good for a healer, and the deciding factor isn't how much damage or healing is on that item. In some cases you'll be able to switch seamlessly from DPS spec to Healing spec and not need to change your equipment, but trying to optimize your gear in both cases is not going to be so easy.
At the Worldwide Invitational, the Dungeons and Raids panel is about to begin. We'll be bringing you updates on the anatomy of dungeons and raids straight from Blizzard's mouths, and of course any tidbits of information about dungeons and raids to come, all after the jump. Stay tuned!