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How to fix Paladins

You can't kill them, but they can't kill you either. That's been the conundrum of the Paladin class since release. Non-paladins scratch their heads and wonder what Paladins complain about, what with their 37 different protective bubbles, heals, lay on hands, ranged stun, plate armor, and more.

Meanwhile Paladins are frustrated because the amount of damage they output is so low relative to some other classes that players tend to ignore them in PvP fights. I know I do.

The fix is in, according to Blizzard, with the new 1.9 Paladin talents, but Gamepro doesn't think so. "It's not that Paladins are underpowered, weak, or even dull (Shaman dropping totems in PvE is almost as bad). At 1.9, Paladins are by no means a pushover. The problem is Blizzard poorly designed the class--and worse yet, doesn't know what to do with it."

Gamepro goes on to argue that Blizzard never has understood the role that Paladins should play in group situations. "An off-tank in PvE? A defensive hybrid? A Diablo II melee fighter?"

I think Gamepro makes some valid points, but in defense of Blizzard I think a class flexible enough to at least step into different roles isn't a bad thing -- it gives players more variety in play style. I think the real problem is just that players all want their characters to do a lot of damage and Paladins, with their superb self-preservation abilities, just can't hit as hard for balance reasons.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

A rogue's paradise: Tyr's Hand

I knew they were there, the enemy rogues. They glided all around me, the "whoosh" of their fading back into the shadows betraying their presence. All around me too were the elite troops of the Scarlet Crusade.

I had no quarrel with the Crusade at this point, though doubtless in the future I would have some dealings with them. No, today my mission was to interrupt the supply chain of gold being filched from the Scarlet Crusade by Alliance rogues and then funneled to vast, shadowy organizations in the Far East, laundered, and then used to resupply the Alliance efforts against my Horde.

We're talking gold farmers working the plough nonstop in Tyr's Hand, turning around selling the gold for real cash on any one of several world markets -- eBay, IGE, etc. On my server, Frostwolf, it was just nuts at Tyr's Hand. I could go there with my Horde rogue and see 15-25 Alliance players, most of them rogues, killing Scarlet Elite mobs non-stop. These were the killing fields.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

WoW Insider Exclusive! New Reindeer Mount!

reindeer mount

We're not sure what this fella's name is -- Prancer or Dancer or Comet and Blitzen -- but we'll just call him Cool Beans!

Thanks to Blizzard for these exclusive screenshots of a reindeer mount players can get in the game. How great is that!

Click on the Continue reading link below to see a few more screenshots of this handsome mount. We have no idea what players will have to do to obtain this "pimp ride", but we're sure everybody will want one.

Thanks again Blizzard!

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Filed under: Events

WoW pen and paper games

Blizz Planet has an interview with Luke Johnson, the freelance writer and designer of the World of Warcraft RPG books from White Wolf Publishing. (White Wolf is the company behind the Vampire game, as well as several others.) These books use the D20 game system from the latest version of Dungeons and Dragons.

The interview touches on how Johnson works closely with Blizzard to ensure that World of Warcraft lore in the pen and paper RPG books he creates is in line with Blizzard's vision. How involved is Blizzard? "They are very involved, Chris Metzen especially. They (and some other fine folks at Blizzard) are always available to answer our questions. Totally random ones; I'm sure some of them they haven't even really thought of before. (For example, what do murlocs speak? How long do satyrs live? What do you call that crazy weapon that shadow hunters wield?) They're very nice and patient about it."

In fact, these books may reveal some upcoming content in WoW before it is in the game. Lands of Mystery, which is due out in January of 2006, includes lots of information on the South Seas and Northrend that hasn't made it into WoW yet. The book is also narrated by dwarven explorer Brann Bronzebeard, so that could be entertaining for WoW players even if you don't ever plan on playing a pen and paper version of WoW.

[Via Blizz Planet]

Filed under: Fan stuff

World of Warcraft novel on the way

Looks like that World of Warcraft cow has a lot of milk in her. Blizzard and Simon and Schuster will publish a WoW novel in Januaury 2006. The book is being written by Keith R.A. DeCandido, a writer who has penned Star Trek, Andromeda and Buffy the Vampire Slayer novel books.

The plot will center on the Horde's Thrall and the Alliance's Jaina Proudmore attempting to avert all-out war between their respective sides, and will lead Jaina to an "encounter with a legendary, long-lost wizard" -- we're guessing Medivh, who made his appearance in the original Warcraft game that started all this madness back in the early '90's. Who knew orcs would be so popular?

Filed under: Orcs, Fan stuff

New Flintlocke comic strip at Gamespy

There's a new Flintlocke adventure starting. The first episode, The Scarlet Hootenanay, is up at Gamespy. Looks like the Scarlet Monastery is going to get the Flintlocke treatment!

Flintlocke is the creation of longtime Gamespy writer Dave Fargo. He follows the comic misadventures of an Azerothian dwarf who has the kind of personality that will ensure a life of bachelordom. If it's "susceptible to being shot, blown up, or pounded with a mace" then Flintlocke is your man, er, dwarf.

Filed under: Dwarves, Fan stuff

World of Warcraft Weekly

Blizzard has posted their weekly list of links of official posts made by Blizzard staff on the WoW forums. This handy list is a good way to avoid the Cthuluian madness that would result from any single human being attempting to read all the posts generated over a given week.

You can read about changes being made to the 1.9 patch currently in testing, Blizzard comments on raid dungeons, weather changes, and so on.  

New armor art designed by Elton John

What's with the crazy new art for some of the best armor sets in the game. The picture to the right is the new art for the Dragonstalker set for hunters, the top tier armor for hunters currently available in WoW. It's not just hunter armor either. Many other sets have gotten the Rupaul treatment.

So the dilemma we face is if we're willing to look like the Ringling Brothers bus left us behind in exchange for the uber stats of this armor, or we go for something a bit easier on the eyes but live with being less powerful.

Hmmm...wonder where I can buy a red rubber nose to go with my Dragonstalkers?

Filed under: Items

Heart of Tauren Darkness

The Escapist, a slick webzine devoted to gaming, has an interesting article about a WoW player who was griefed and the conversation he eventually had with his tormentor.

Yep, this guy got camped a bit: "What happened next went beyond mere ganking. I was killed a total of 19 times over the next hour-and-a-half by this Tauren druid and whatever low-level Horde he could recruit." Ouch.

The writer borrowed a friend's account and made a Horde character on this server and asked the druid why in the heck he killed him over and over. The dialog went as you might expect, but it's still interesting reading the back and forth dialog between the two.

This was my favorite part, when the druid admitted he was corpse camping because he had been corpse camped when he was leveling. The writer said, "Ah, you were enacting revenge on my character for perceived wrongs against you? This is the proverbial gauntlet we all must run through in order to have played the game successfully and reached 60?" The druid's reply to this rather philosophical musing?


That got an LOL from me. Good read at The Escapist, and other good articles as well. Kind of a high-toned magazine though.

Filed under: Tauren, Druid, Analysis / Opinion

World of Warcraft: The Board Game

Forget to pay your utility bill and you realize you can't play WoW without electricity? An asteroid crashes into your local power station and you find yourself WoW-less? Your computer is emitting wisps of blue smoke and beeping at you and you have a sinking realization that you won't make that Molten Core run tonight? Never fear! You can still get your WoW jones in by playing World of Warcraft, the Board Game!

This $80 board game (yikes!) is due out in a few weeks from Fantasy Flight Games and does look rather neat. You play as Horde or Alliance and are part of a team trying to be the "...first to defeat the invincible Overlord – be it the lich-king Kel'Thuzad, the dragon Nefarian, or the demon Kazzak – or, failing that, to be the last faction standing when it comes to all-out war!" according to Fantasy Flight's website.

The game certainly looks handsome and you get plastic figurines to push around on the board while you create the appropriate sound effects -- practice those murloc gurgles. Eighty bones is a lot to put down for a board game, but look at the bright side -- no monthly fees!