Some of you may have heard about the ISP Comcast's new 250 GB per month bandwidth caps. We've even gotten a few emails asking how this is going to affect WoW players. You can set your minds at ease: this will not affect us in any significant way.
The highest bandwidth I've ever heard of WoW using at a time is 30 KBps; this is in situations like raid fights or zoning into a city when there's a lot of data flying around. So if WoW was always running at peak bandwidth, 24x7, you'd be looking at around 70 GB per month, a sizable chunk of your cap. However, I rarely if ever see it go as high as 30 KBps; typical usage is more like 5 or below, often even in the sub-1 KBps range. And nobody plays WoW 24x7 all month, I hope.
Let's say your average WoW bandwidth is 2 KBps, which I believe to be a reasonable estimate. That comes out to about 7 MB per hour. So to estimate your monthly usage from WoW, multiply that 7 MB by how many hours you play a day (on average), then by 30. The average WoW player is on for something like 20 hours a week, which comes out to 600 MB per month - about 0.2% of 750 GB. Even if you were on 24x7 all month, you'd still only be looking at 4.8 GB, less than 1% of the cap.
In short, you won't have to cut back on WoW to stay under a 750 GB per month cap.
Recently, a reader wrote in with a question that everyone ponders from time to time. When trying to make money from a profession, it can be difficult to determine what to sell, what to convert, and what to avoid doing all together. Here's what she asked:
When making gold from Mining, is it better to Prospect the Ore? Or is it better to just sell the Ores and Bars?
Taking a break from the faction recipe series to shake things up a bit, let's take a look at how this breaks down.
A meta and blue socket, with a socket bonus of +5 spell damage and healing
Requires Engineering 350 to wear -- if you lose your Engineering skill for some reason, you won't be able to wear these anymore. See "How to Get It" below.
On equip: improves spell hit rating by 12, spell crit rating by 40, and increases damage and healing up to 55. Pretty sweet for a helm.
Also on equip: shows the location of all gas clouds on the minimap, very useful if you've got a mote extractor (and if you're Engineering at this level you should).
And on use, allows you to see into the distance. This is similar to the Shaman Farseeing spell -- only really useful in certain instances, but kind of a little added bonus to wearing the goggles.
Very good gear for caster Shaman Engineers, which admittedly is a small group. But Blizzard catering to historically ignored gear specs like this is good to see.
How to Get It: You've got to be an Engineer to make and wear these -- they are trainable from the regular Engineer trainer at around level 350, and you need to be 350 to actually make them. Total ingredient list is pretty steep: thirty Knothide Leather, 120 Adamantite ore, six Khorium ore, a Primal Fire, forty-eight Fel Iron ore, thirty-two Eternium ore, two Living Rubies, and one Primal Nether, which will run you a few hundred gold just picking them up off the AH. Not to mention the costs of actually leveling up Engineering, although there are tons of costs and advantages to leveling up any manufacturing profession anyway.
But get the skill, train the recipe, grab the mats, and the Goggles are yours. In my humble opinion, it's one of the cooler-looking crafted helms out there, too. Assimilate or die!
Getting Rid of It: Sells to vendors for 5g 83s 63c, and of course with the Engineering requirement on it, it's BoP. Does disenchant into a Void Crystal however. But it'd be an expensive Void Crystal.
[1.Local]: Reader comments from this week - Fri, 29 Aug 2008 17:30:00 EST Reader comments - ahh, yes, the juicy goodness following a meaty post. [1.Local] ducks past the swinging doors to see what readers have been chatting about in the back room over the past week. Be sure to dive into the comments area of each thread (not this one!) and add your own thoughts - unlike your mama, we like us some hot, fresh backtalk.
Engineering fun builds up in beta [1.Local] regularly runs across what we call "shiny pennies" among our reader comments. These comments aren't very big, and they aren't worth very much - but they're sure a bright, shiny spot in the day. Reader dotorion contributes his own shiny penny to a post mentioning a new set of goggles that allows the wearer to see others without ... well, without their clothes on: "Interesting. Low-level people with goggles identify these people as twinks. High-level people with goggles will now identify these people as perverts. I'm looking forward to being chased by a balding gnome with goggles on ..."
It took several days longer than I expected, in part due to there being one less zone than there would be live, but last night I managed to level my tauren warrior to 80 in a mix of blues and greens, all of his PvP epics and Karazhan gear having been finally replaced. Admittedly, in some cases I deliberately chose a sidegrade merely to be able to say that I'd changed my gear or to try and preserve my crit rate from level degradation, so it's safe to say that if you have Kara epics or better they'll certainly last you into level 74 - 75, but by 80 I had only one piece of gear from before the beta still intact. And that was a really nice trinket that I kept mostly for the proc.
Based on the leveling experience, I can tell you various things about gear and spec in Wrath that I would have felt premature talking about before now. However, since it would be spoilertastic, it will go behind the jump. Just imagine me flapping my giant white arms now. Also, while it's not the subject of today's post, I am kind of concerned that Battle Shout won't stack with Blessing of Might anymore. That seems like a nerf. We'll see how it plays out.
First appearing as an 11-point Beastmastery talent, Master's Call is now a new baseline skill for Hunters in the Wrath Beta. With this skill, your pet will rush to your target and remove all existing movement impairing effects or stuns on the target, and cause them to be immune to them for 4 seconds. It can be used while you are stunned.
This is certainly a handy ability to have. In PvP, this should be awesome for getting away from Warriors and Rogues. In PvE, there's bound to be bosses and mobs with slow and stun effects, and this little skill could in theory, save a wipe.
Gives you 100% chance to gain 10 Rage when you shapeshift into Bear and Dire Bear Form, and you keep up to 100 of your Energy when you shapeshift into Cat Form, and increases your total Intellect while in Moonkin form by 10%.
Holy sweet monkeys, Druid fans. Not only is there now no penalty whatsoever for switching in and out of cat form, we get some added Moonkin utility for this already excellent talent. This is one of those days where I just want to hug the devs, all of them.
In case anyone is unclear about how this latest iteration of Furor works, here's a quick rundown (as I understand it). The game will now track your energy regeneration even when not in cat form, like it tracks your mana regen in feral forms now. When you shift back into cat, you'll have whatever amount of energy you would have had if you had just stayed in cat in the first place. Shift out to heal at 80 energy? You'll have 100 when you pop back in, 2 seconds later. Arrive at your destination and switch from flight into cat form? 100 energy to go mangle some faces.
Powershifting is still out, but this is way better for the soloing Druid, not to mention the Moonkin perks. There is some concern that this may be overpowered in PvP: what's to stop you from DPSing in cat till you're at 0 energy, then shifting to bear for 10 seconds to DPS that way, then back to cat? Well, nothing, as far as I know. However, keep in mind that this is still beta, and if ferals end up hideously overpowered in arenas, I'm sure they'll make changes as necessary.
We'll be realistic here: we don't think anyone believes, including EA, that WoW's numbers are attainable for another MMO coming out this year -- even Blizzard believes that eventually WoW will go by the wayside, but as Jacobs says, anyone releasing a game today isn't just competing with WoW, they're competing with WoW and Burning Crusade and Wrath of the Lich King. And no matter how long your development cycle or how big your budget, you can't compete with three years of people working around the clock to make the game better for live players.
But EA does want to be successful, and Jacobs says success for him would mean upwards of half a million players. Six months from now, he says, if Warhammer is folding servers and not adding them, the writing is on the wall. There's no reason to think that will be the case, of course -- Warhammer looks like a great game led by one of the biggest publishers in the world supporting one of the best MMO developers, and it's about as close to guaranteed a success gets in the MMO space. But even Mythic would say WoW stands on its own -- while WoW is running, it's highly unlikely we'll see any MMO come anywhere near its 10 million total subscribers.
One of our readers thinks that he's the best Warlock out there. I'm almost inclined to agree. After getting his S3 gear last year, he became bored with the arena and began looking for ways to spice things up. He created this compilation video of 3v1, as well as some 4v1, PvP. Although he discusses some of the motivation in his thread on the official WoW forums, I wanted to get a little more in-depth with it.
We'll begin this post with the usual: this is Blizzard we're talking about, and Blizzard doesn't release games or the dates they'll start selling those games until they're good and ready. So any speculation about Blizzard's release dates, is, by its nature, pretty useless -- if Blizzard wants to announce at BlizzCon that Wrath isn't coming out until January, they will.
However, as many readers have noticed, there's been an interesting development in the rumored release date lately. Before now, all the online stores have had all kinds of different dates: some were saying October, some were saying early November, and some were saying late November. But over the past week or so, almostall of theonlinestores have settled on a single date: November 4. The sign above, sent in by reader Daniel A., is from a JB HiFi store in Australia, and beckons toward a midnight release on November 3rd.
So. We'll stress again: retailers often set their own release dates way in advance of an official announcement, just so they can sell preorders of a game. It's very likely this means nothing, and Blizzard will release their game whenever they want -- don't start filling out your vacation form yet, because this is not an official date. But something has pointed all of these online retailers toward Election Day of this year, so if you want to guess at a release date, that's as good as any.
Thanks to Ollie, Daniel A., and everyone else who sent this in.
Let's get right into the meat of things. Meethan asked...
Does Bone Shield stack with Earth Shield? If so can I see a screenshot? Yes and yes.
There's been an idea going around about using a large group of Death Knights to continuously use "Death Grip" to lock players and keep them from running. Does this work? I'm not able to convince enough Death Knights to try out this silly little trick, but it could work in theory. Death Grip is currently of the Physical school and does not suffer diminishing returns. It's like having several Warriors alternating Hamstring for a permanent snare, except more evil.
What's with the presences and auras? Do they count separately? Stack? Passive? As of the current build, presences and auras are no longer connected (e.g., you no longer have to have Blood Presence up to have Blood Aura) and thus count separately. However, neither presences nor auras currently display as buffs (unlike Paladin or Hunter auras) which can be a little confusing, although Blood Aura has the Death Knight emanate an inappropriate green gassy mist [EDIT: Discograndpa correctly points out that this is a bug from the Bloodworms talent, and not Blood Aura. Thanks for the correction!]. Presences and auras stack and are passive effects.
There hasn't been a lot of information put out about fishing in Wrath of the Lich King. According to El's Anglin', grand master fishing was just introduced in the last couple weeks, and beta testers are still figuring out exactly what's available in the waters. But there's one thing we know for sure -- whatever new tricks and trinkets Blizzard come up with, the path to 450 fishing will involve a lot of hours spent staring at the screen, waiting for a little bobber to go up and down in the water. El's Anglin' puts it at about 1,000 catches from 375-450, or approximately four to five hours. (This is why I never made it to 375.)
Beta testers may have just gotten the ability to fish, but it looks like the NPCs have been working on leveling their skill for a while. Tinuviel of <Soldiers of Fortune> on Antonidas, who writes the Steady Shot hunter blog, sat with some of the local Tuskarr while they reeled in their catches near one of the local turtle boats (which seems to also serve as a fishing vessel.) She then jumped in the water, electrocuting everyone with her shoulderpads.
This image came to us straight from the Wrath of the Lich King beta -- and we'd love to have your beta screenshots, too! If you have anything our readers might like, beta or not, sharing it 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.
Hey, amigos. You've only got fourteen and a half more hours to participate in this week's Caption This contest. To participate, leave a caption for the above picture on the original post by 11:59 PM EST tonight!
Eligible winners (U.S. or non-Quebec Canadian residents above 13) will receive a 60-day gamecard for first place, and a choice of one of seven World of Warcraft action figures (see original post for details) goes to the runner-up. Remember to read the official rules for the contest here. The voting poll for the winner will be available Tuesday morning, just in time for our lovely maintenance period.
Blizzard has been promising changes to raid buffs and raid stacking for a little while. Last night, they laid all their cards on the table in a giant blue post. Here's a run-down; all of this will be going live in 3.0.2, the pre-Wrath of the Lich King patch.
Almost all buffs and debuffs will work raid-wide -- Warriors shouts, Shaman totems, Paladin auras, and more.
There are approximately 30 categories into which raid buffs and debuffs fit. All raid buffs/debuffs have been put into one or more of these categories. Most categories have only one or two buffs in them; see the post for the category breakdown.
Buffs cannot stack within each category; only the most powerful one will apply. For instance, Battle Shout and Blessing of Might will no longer stat.
"Mana battery" action (such as Vampiric Touch) is changing significantly. It won't depend on damage done any more. Whenever such effects occur, the ten people in the raid with the lowest mana will receive a buff called Replenishment restoring 0.5% of their maximum mana each second. This buff will be provided by Shadow Priests, Survival Hunters, and Retribution Paladins.
Heroism/Bloodlust will now affect the entire raid, but you can only be hit by it once every five minutes.
Malkavius of Korialstrasz posed an interesting question in the General Forums.Is it too late in WoW's life for new players?She told a tale of how a friend got frustrated soon after purchasing the game because of inflation and an inability to find groups. The responses were split.
Vylaria of Ch'gall believes that it's not too late for a rookie to get their start.Gathering skills help to boost the personal pocketbook, and even veteran players that reroll face the same problems with finding a group.Cptobvious of Bonechewer believes that it is easier for folks that have played other MMOs than it is for online gaming virgins.
Breakfast Topic: Skippable quests - Fri, 29 Aug 2008 08:00:00 EST Shellyw has a good question on the forums: what quests do you always skip? Blizzard is pretty good about the rewards system -- even if a quest is a pain to get through, they'll usually make the reward worth it. But there are quite a few quests in the game that just don't have anything you want, and just aren't worth the time putting into them.
Green Hills of Stranglethorn is mentioned early on in the thread, and I couldn't agree more -- any of those collecting quests I usually just give up on, as it's usually easier to just sell the pages off inside that zone to someone who is actually doing the quest. I often skip a lot of group quests as well, especially while leveling. While the rewards for those are usually very good (and they're often the end of long chains, which means both XP and items that come from them are great), it's often tough to find a group, so they usually sit in my quest log until grey and then get abandoned.
And occasionally, especially when I need space in my quest log for newer quests, I just plain skip anything that doesn't give an item that I need. If there's a choice of quest rewards, and none of them fit my class or spec, I'll just abandon the quest entirely to replace it with a quest that works better for me. What quests do you find skippable? How do you do triage on quests when your log fills up?
Blizzard announced that World of Warcraft 3v3 Arenas are part of the new College Gaming League, the first official amateur league partner of the Championship Gaming Series. The Dell-spearheaded venture works with Intel and Microsoft to offer educational discounts and PC bundles for students, faculty and staff at numerous partner schools all over the United States. Students and faculty at Dell University partner schools can register and receive benefits like special offers on games and systems, access to public game servers, and compete in tournaments.
Among the tournaments -- which include Xbox 360 and PC games -- is the World of Warcraft 3v3 Arena competition. Registration began last August 21 and closes on September 11, while the official matches span from September 15 to October 5. Loot up for grabs are three Alienware m15x notebooks as Grand Prizes, three Microsoft Zune players as First Prizes, and three $50 Dell gift cards for the runners-up. It's an underwhelming selection past the Grand Prizes, to be sure, but registration is free and members can participate in other tournaments with a host of other prizes to be won. Initiatives like these certainly give students something to while away their time... after they've submitted those term papers, of course.
Welcome to Know Your Lore, where each week Alex Ziebart brings you a tasty little morsel of lore to wrap your mind around. Sweet, sweet lore. Mmmm. Have suggestions for future KYL topics? E-mail us! Or, if you have a question for our sister column Ask a Lore Nerd, e-mail us those, too!
Did you know that Kalimdor and the Eastern Kingdoms were actually separated by a stray swing of High Overlord Saurfang's axe? Did you know giraffes are just zhevras that were on the receiving end of a Saurfang Uppercut? Did you know that Saurfang doesn't have a face beneath his mask, just another axe? Overlord Saurfang is only afraid of one thing... Mrs. Saurfang.
Okay, I'm sorry, none of that was true except for possibly that last one. It was just as obnoxious to type out as it was to read, trust me. (Un)fortunately, it's a pretty good introduction to Saurfang, as he somehow evolved into a fan favorite bad ass over the last few years while his Alliance counterpart remained a Blizzard Employee ego stroke. It took me awhile to buy into the hype around this guy, but he's been winning me over as of late.
Gnomewarrior, a site devoted to tracking Arena matches, has a growing database of over 23,000 Arena matches contributed by over 400 players. It's a pretty small player sampling right now, but the match data that the site shows are pretty interesting. Even with a small overview, visitors can check out specific Arena teams (that have contributed their data) and details on their matches such as match duration, their Team Rating, the maps they fought on, and the all-important team compositions. Mousing over a class icon will show that player's spec, which is extremely useful.
Arena enthusiasts looking to contribute should download ArenaHistorian from WoW Interface and upload their data on Gnomewarrior. The mod itself tracks pretty much everything in an Arena match such as the "exact race, gender, talents, healing and damage done for both the enemy arena team and yours, along with which map it was in, how long it took and if you won or lost." It's a lot of data, and as with all databases, the more data you've got, the better. Gnomewarrior collects all that data and makes it extremely searchable, allowing visitors to search for how teams or even how certain class / specs performed.
Perhaps we'll see tools that will parse the data, like finding out the average time for matches depending on the brackets and maps (glossing over the lists, for example, it looks like most matches last from 3-6 minutes). It's also interesting to see how certain -- sometimes oddball -- comps do against others. As it is now, it's interesting enough to browse through and visualize the tons of matches they display. With a big enough sampling, I'm looking forward to Gnomewarrior working alongside other sites like Realm History's Arena Statistics in becoming a valuable resource for analyzing Arena play.
Reminder: Two chances left to win a Tabard of Flame from WoW Insider - Thu, 28 Aug 2008 19:00:00 EST Pssst. Hey evening readers. We know you guys usually can't visit us at work or school -- you have to wait until you get home to check the site every day. Maybe you're eating dinner right now, chowing down on leftover takeout and catching up on all the WoW news of the day while flying around to do your daily quests. We appreciate you tuning in, and that's why we've waited until your time of the day to remind you that you've got two chances left to enter to win a Tabard of Flame from WoW Insider and WoW TCG Loot.
We started this contest on Tuesday (in the morning, which is why we were worried you guys might not see it), and since you can put a comment on the contest post every day (until tomorrow night at midnight), that means that you all have two days left to enter a comment. So even if you missed the contest before, you can still get in on the action. Please note that to enter, you must leave a comment on the contest post, not this post. Leaving a comment on this post gets you nothing but our satisfaction, and while that's worth a lot, you probably want a Tabard of Flame even more. And make sure to use a real email that you check often, so we can get in touch with you if you win.
So thanks, evening readers, for tuning in every night here after a long day's work. We appreciate it, and we really hope you win the tabard. Because as much as we love our early morning and late night readers, they don't read the site at quite the same time as you do, if you know what we mean.