Back in early September, I told you about a trio of level 80 players in the Wrath beta that cleared Karazhan with just the three of them. At the time, it was quite a feat and really surprised a lot of us, bloggers and readers alike. Well, it's been 3-manned again. At level 70.
Metosai, a partially Sunwell geared Protection Warrior, recently ran Karazhan with a mix of experienced characters and some lesser geared ones. About a third of the raid was in greens, he said. They cleared the place in under an hour. Metosai was surprised at just how easy it was, and decided to see if they could do it with just three.
He looked for a couple of people from his guild to help him, and they took to Karazhan with a team of a Protection Warrior (Metosai), a Retribution Paladin (Dok), and a Holy Paladin (Dantez). The first half of the instance was easy, they say, but the second half got a little more dicey. Netherspite was cited as the most difficult to figure out how to do with three people (it took 5-6 tries), but they managed it and supplied video.
Yeah, I know, more Ghostcrawler love. We all look like a bunch of fanboys, don't we? Well, what can I say, we love developers that communicate, even if they make mistakes and end up wrong sometimes. We're not the only ones that love him, either.
The fabulous crab-o'-lantern above was made by Isana of Lightning's Blade-US. As far as we know, there's no huge story behind it, it's just downright cool. It's made even more cool by the fact that my jack-o'-lantern skills don't go beyond triangle eyes and crescent moon mouths, so this just blows my mind. I think it's about time I pick a quirky mascot so people start carving me pumpkins. I'm cool too, right? ...Right?
Animated models now on Wowhead - Wed, 29 Oct 2008 18:00:00 EST Just when I think Wowhead is feature-complete, they go and add something that never even occurred to me. This time around it's animated models in their 3D model viewer (high-quality Java version only). So if you can't manage to bag that elusive Squashling, at least you can see what it looks like, in full motion (be sure to click Java, if it isn't selected already). So far, animations are available for pets, mounts, player models, and NPCs, but items are coming soon (Terestrian's Stranglestaff, anyone?). Not only that, but they're already working on expansions for what sorts of animations are shown. Currently it just shows "idling" behavior; in the future, you should see a lot more, up to and including "/dance" (for player models) and casting animations.
I'm really excited about this (especially with my main computer in the shop, leaving me unable to play WoW at the moment). It lets me gaze at all sorts of interesting things:
The plural of "necropolis" - Wed, 29 Oct 2008 17:00:00 EST With the Scourge invasion in full swing, there are a lot of large, pyramidal structures hovering around Azeroth answering to the name of "necropolis." This has led to a certain amount of discussion in game and around the WoW Insider bullpen, as well as on the WoW Ladies community, on the topic of what you call more than one of them. Naturally, I had to go look it up.
And the answer is: necropoleis or necropoles. The first form comes from Greek, where the word originated (literal meaning: city of the dead), and is pronounced as if it were spelled "-ase." The second form comes to us through Latin (as most of our Greek-derived words do), and is traditionally pronounced by English speakers as if it were spelled "-ese" (although in Latin it would have been pronounced as "-ase" again). Necropolises is also perfectly acceptable as an English-native pluralization, so don't be too hard on your fellow adventurers who just want directions to the darn things.
There are a number of words that are not a reasonable plural of "necropolis." Foremost among them is "necropoli," which arises by mistaken analogy to words like "cactus." Although the -is ending in "necropolis" is pronounced more or less the same (depending on your dialect of English) as the -us ending in "cactus," it does not come from the same category of Latin words (third declension as opposed to second, if I'm not mistaken), and thus does not pluralize the same way. Just say no to "necropoli" -- kill that urge and fight the Scourge.
Edit: Yes, I know that languages evolve, and that M-W likes "necropoli." I still don't like it, though, mostly because it's based on a bad analogy. Now get off my lawn, you crazy kids!
As the beta winds down, Ask a Beta Tester becomes a little more infrequent, but as long as we have questions, we will answer. Let's start with Rob's question...
Are they planning to put in recipes for green items between 350-375 to make it easier to grind up professions? Or should i just suck it up and make (obsolete) blue/purple items to level up.
Many professions start with new recipes at 350 skill in Northrend, and some of them at 360. Nobody starts at 375. 360-375 is usually taken up by 'end-game' items so you won't have to grind those out to skill up before Northrend. I recommend checking Wowhead to see where your particular profession starts out.
I know there's the Wrath Gate cinematic and so on, have you come across or know any other cinematic events like this, or was this the only one? I'm sure there has to be in game scripted events. Thanks.
But there are parallels to be drawn, and professors say that the zombie plague worked a little closer to real life than Hakkar's corrupted blood did (no coincidence, I'm sure, that the zombie plague was designed to be spread, while the Corrupted Blood was basically a bug). While the plague never did really infect everyone in the world, it did spread pretty quickly -- apparently there's a number you can use to track how quickly a disease spreads, and the zombie plague landed in the arena of a normal outbreak of smallpox (given, of course, that we don't know exactly how fast or how widely it spread).
Very interesting. There is still more to say about this plague, I think (and though things have slowed down on the realms, hopefully the event itself isn't completely over). But it is fascinating how Blizzard turned emergent gameplay into an official event, and how they mimicked the real-life qualities of a spreading disease (the more of it around, the more likely you were to pick it up) while still leaving the idea firmly grounded in the in-game lore. Very cool indeed.
But that hasn't kept some players from continuing to ask -- someone has even put together a whole site called, cleverly, "Level 60 Love," designed to convince Blizzard to re-offer the vanilla game again. They've got a mission statement, a FAQ and forums, and even a few ways to "help" out (though you could question how signing a petition helps, but we guess every little bit counts).
It's not too farfetched -- as they point out, Dark Age of Camelot once hosted "classic" servers, and the idea of legacy raiding is something that's already happening in game. But of course it's up to Blizzard -- even if they feel the demand is there (and it sounds like it would take a lot of demand), they might just see it as a sign that they need to justify the newer content and do more things like the recruit-a-friend and quicker leveling.
I love it when WoW is in the news. I love it even more when the media's not talking about us being game-addicted fiends smashing the buttons for our Pavlovian treat. While FOX's story isn't exactly ground-breaking info for those of us toiling against the continuing Scourge invasion, it might reach a few of our friends and coworkers and convince them to give WoW a try.
Or, this coverage could just be another sign of the impact Blizzard's game is having on the mainstream, while that 11 million subscriber base just keeps growing. And, yup, FOX's article does mention the upcoming Wrath release, so it's certainly possible Blizzard will see a few more players from the coverage. Every time WoW has an event like this which has mainstream interest, there'll be a few more people logging for the first time to see what the buzz is about. And, hey, it certainly lines up with the Holiday theme.
World of Warcraft, T.V., and some good comedy. What more does a guy need?
According to Walter, one of the characters of the ventriloquist Jeff Dunham, a new wife.
Of course his marriage isn't something that most people experience (at least I hope not, I'm not there yet, but will be someday relatively soon). But no matter what and how bad his personal problems are, they get a few chuckles from me.
Legs over at Machinima.com put together today's featured piece with Walter as a small gnome and Jeff Dunham as a bald human with a black beard, all set to the audio track of one of Dunham's bits. The video itself is pretty well produced, however it could use a better audio recording of the shtick. We previously featured legs when she gave another one of Dunham's characters the same treatment: Achmed the Dead Terrorist.
This video is pretty safe for work, but that might depend on where you work - it's nothing that you wouldn't hear on Letterman. So you should be safe.
One of the things that caught my attention in this most was the hand gestures and movements that Legs has Walter doing. They're very much like what Dunham has him do during his shows. Right down to the shoulder rolls.
Encrypted Text: Art of the peel - Wed, 29 Oct 2008 11:00:00 EST Every Wednesday, Chase Christian of Encrypted Text invites you to enter the world of shadows, as we explore the secrets and mechanics of the Rogue class. This week, we'll be talking about one of the most important things a Rogue can do that's not called 'DPS'.
In WoW, we don't get to decide much about our characters. A few pre-built faces and skin tone are about as deep as the customization options run. Gear is typically released in discrete tiers, and you'll find that most Rogues use mostly the same leather sets. Talents are similarly stale: there are rarely true choices in our trees. Choosing one talent over another either cuts your damage or cuts your usefulness, and for most Rogues the decision is easy.
Most people assume one Rogue is as good as another. Take two arbitrary Rogues, Gankenstein and Istabbedu. They're both undead Rogues: their chins are falling off. They're both sporting full Season 2 gear with a few PvE epics sprinkled in. And they both traded in their Slicers for Shankers & Shivs this patch; all aboard the Mutilate train. So what separates these two from each other, and from the other 9,000 Rogues on any given server?
Badunkadunk of <OQB> on Tanaris has a natural instinct for showmanship. And where better to put on the world's greatest rock concert with your new Arcanite Ripper than the Dark Portal? I think he picked the wrong side, though -- having an invading demon army creating mayhem in the background of your concert would be totally metal. *Skwisgaar voice* Shows thems the true meaning of brutality and nihilisms. */end Skwisgaar voice*
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 strongly prefer full screen shots without the UI showing -- use alt-Z to remove it. Please, no more battleground scoreboards.
Breaking down Blizzard's world event so far - Wed, 29 Oct 2008 09:00:00 EST Blizzard, as we've said already, has really outdone themselves with this latest world event. It's been so fun and so innovative that players are wondering just why the rest of the game hasn't been this good so far (even though, of course, it's been superb anyway). The zombie invasion really gave players of MMOs everything they've wanted since this genre first came into being -- a growing, changing world populated not by mindless AI characters stuck in static patterns, but actual, creeping story and chaos. For all of the anti-zombie whining, this world event has been MMO gameplay at, I'd say, the best it's ever been.
And while I was waiting until the event completely ended to do a final analysis, Colin Brennan over at Massively isn't waiting -- he's got a good analysis up over there about the zombie event and just why it was so brilliant. He describes how the world event not only gave players a terrific reason to hate Arthas enough to go to Northrend and want to fight him, but how the gameplay design of the event (when you are killed by a zombie, you become one) was tuned towards fueling the story and the immersion. As he says, the best way to fight the plague was to embrace the fact it was in the game, whether you were a zombie or a cleansing Paladin.
There's lots more to dissect with this world event, including how Blizzard brilliantly invoked something that had happened by accident -- the Corrupted Blood plague -- and incorporated it into the game itself, and how the various zombie abilities were aimed directly at gameplay only possible in an MMO, from the AoE healing to the shrinking plague incubation time. I'll go so far as to say it expanded the boundary of what an MMO can do -- Blizzard let zombies loose on the populace not by hiring GMs to run around on every server, but by giving power to the players. But again -- there'll be time for analysis later, once we've discovered ingame just exactly what's going on here and how it all ties to Arthas. Colin's analysis is a good start, though -- Blizzard really outdid themselves with, even considering the complaints, one of the best world events ever seen in an MMO.
Breakfast Topic: Last minute tasks for Hallow's End - Wed, 29 Oct 2008 08:00:00 EST The Hallow's End event is set to end in a couple of days. During its first years, the event was merely a way to get some moderately useful candy. Last year, the introduction of the Headless Horseman gave away some pretty sweet loot, giving everybody reason to visit the least popular wing of the Scarlet Monastery. Actually, before the Headless Horseman arrived on the scene, quite a lot of players had never even gone into that part of the instance!
So anyway, this year Hallowed's End came along with the introduction of Achievements, and a lot of players have gone after the Meta-Achievement Hallowed Be Thy Name. Some people want it for the title, others merely as a component of the Meta-Meta-Achievement that grants a Violet Proto-Drake flying mount. My wife already has the Hallowed title in the bag for her Warlock, and the Squashling was pet number 45 towards getting herself a skunk. I just used the trick or treating to level up my Hunter -- at over 4,350 xp per bucket and the reduced XP requirement, I actually got lots of bubbles in.
How about you? Have you been enjoying Hallow's End? The zombie invasion caused a bit of havoc for some people, and I'm sure it led to more than a few aborted Horseman visits, but now that its over, we can all go back to enjoying the Seasonal event in relative peace. What last minute tasks have you yet to accomplish? I know a lot of folks still need those elusive Tooth Picks, while others got really lucky with their treat bags and got the pet and helm. Daniel asked this a few days back, so I'm gonna see how everyone's done so far. With only a couple of days to go, I hope everyone's gotten what they want or need!
Yes, last week it was slow going, but this week, guilds are charging ahead, powered by the crazy raid nerfs (not to mention our shiny new 51-point talents). There's nothing wrong with that -- Blizzard did exactly the right thing by letting guilds who'd never been into the later content see some new bosses and nab some epics before we all head to Northrend and pick up ten more levels. But all the same, even guilds downing bosses for the first time have to admit -- this is the time of the lolpatch.
Drama, downed, and recruiting news from around the realms all after the break. Want to see your guild here (or see a particularly tasty drama thread, on your guild's forums or somewhere else, with some delicious tears to drink)? Just email us your tips at wowguildwatch at gmail dot com, and make sure to include your guild's name, server, and faction (and try to keep it short, if you would -- some people are sending us novels about their guild, which we appreciate, but as you can see below, there's not much room if we're going to fit everyone in). Thanks -- enjoy this week's GW.
The official World of Warcraft website has been updated with previews of the next issues of both currently running Warcraft comics, the Ashbringer series and the series featuring Varian Wrynn.
The Ashbringer series is starting to feel a little more like a story and a little less like random happenings in Alexandros Mograine's life superglued together, so that's good. I wasn't too impressed with the first edition in the series, but I'm hoping that's because it had to string together in-game events to set the tone/story in motion. This is only a preview though, so we can't really judge from that. There's a neat little discovery at the end of the preview that grabbed my attention, so I'm curious to see where that goes. The Varian Wrynn comic is starting to come to a close I think, as we're finally seeing the King make his comeback. It looks like the player's role in ousting Onyxia has been nullified, which is disappointing but expected. It would've been nice if they left that nod to us, but what can you do?
Anyway, if you're into the comics, go check it out!
Scourge invasion in Stormwind and Undercity - Tue, 28 Oct 2008 19:00:00 EST While it's not something new exactly, it seems a lot of people haven't quite seen it happen yet. Along with the Scourge Invasion in places like the Burning Steppes, Azshara, and other points around the world, the invasion has hit some of the capital cities. Every now and then a strike team of Scourge, a Pallid Horror and Flameshockers, will spawn in a capital city and start attacking nearby guards and NPCs. When defeated, they'll leave behind a broken Necrotic Crystal which will have a quest for you.
This is something exclusive to the invasion, but it's not something that just started happening today, and not the next step/phase of the event. A lot of people are under the impression that it is simply because it happens so infrequently. It really is rather cool when it happens, though. The first time I saw it was back in 2006 when this event happened the first time. Since I roleplay when I'm not raiding, I was sitting in the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind just yapping away with some people. The Scourge actually spawn in the 'basement' of the Cathedral, so my first experience with them was seeing them rise up out of the catacombs. Freaky? I think so!
The other day, in response to a Hunter pet tanking Gruul, I posted a video of a Voidwalker tanking Illidan... almost. The Voidwalker survived most of phase one, which is quite nearly identical to all of the 'humanoid' phases, so to me that was good enough. It wasn't good enough for everyone though, so they're back with a video of the entire fight.
The Voidwalker tanks all of the phases except for the fire elemental phase, because that requires far more finesse than what you can do with a pet, or they can do on their own. The Voidwalker also didn't tank the demon phase, because there wasn't one. Their gear levels combined with the new talents of patch 3.0.2 and the added raid nerf let them beat the encounter without ever seeing an entire phase of it. That's like opening a bag of Runts to find out someone took all of the bananas. The bananas are the best part, you jerks.
It is very funny to hear WoW locales and situations stuck in between the usual patter of a couple in a relationship, and though this is, we presume, a fictional account of something that Dr. Phil claims happens all the time, it's well-written. Plus, the dig at "role-players" made us chuckle, too.
But we do have one nit to pick, one issue in here that we just can't ignore and/or laugh casually at as we're obviously meant to. Seriously, with the leveling changes since 2.3, why would anyone run Gnomeregan anymore? If he doesn't know that there are much easier and more profitable ways to level through that range, maybe he deserves to be dumped anyway.
Regardless, the zombie plague seems to be over for now. We talked last week about how you could roleplay your sudden transformation into the undead brain muncher. Now, let's take a bit to talk about how your survivors are going to be feeling about this mess.
Remorse. If you acknowlege that you died, came back as a zombie, died as a zombie, and came back yet again as a humanoid race, then you should probably acknowledge that you did some pretty horrible things. It's one thing to think, "My God, I ate the neighbor's cat," but there's a whole level of horror involved with "My God, I ate the neighbor!"
This also supplies that most beloved motivation for roleplayers everywhere -- angst. You can be horrified ("I ate the neighbor!"), angsty ("And I liked it!"), and perhaps even be corrupted ("I'd do it again!"). If the memory of your wanton deeds aren't enough to sustain your remorseful roleplay, you can look to further naughty urges to supply more angst.
Sure, this is hardly the most important change to come down in patch 3.0.2, but anything Furbolg is worth a mention in my book.
Personally, a Furbolg casting is more than enough excitement for me, but you, our readers, are discerning people, and we know you'd like a little bit of insight tailored to your own expectations, so we're going "choose your own adventure" on this one. You can read either one of the next two sections of this post whether you're the sarcastic and cynical reader type or the excited, "can't get enough rumors and speculation" type: Meh: "So Blizzard improved an animation only used by lowbies (Alliance lowbies at that) with an obscure quest item? Is this why we can't have more battlegrounds?"
There you go: either you get a chance to whine that Blizzard isn't working on more important things, or you can extrapolate a ton of rumors from something that probably took a developer a few minutes to do. Enjoy.