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More options for party communication

Our buddy Rufus from the WoW LJ brings word of a sneaky change in the recent patch: raid warnings (those warnings that pop up in the middle of your screen, created by typing "/rw" while leading a raid) no longer work in parties. Apparently you have to be in a raid to actually toss off a warning. Of course, that could have happened before this patch, but at any rate, it's in the game now. No more /rw in party chat.

Not only is it a bummer because some people used to use it constantly to keep party members in line, but this also means that there's one less means of communication between all of these random parties forming out there on the realms. Sure, in a perfect world, everyone would know the fights and chat would be enough to make sure everyone was on the same page (or depending of your vision of a perfect world, everyone actually uses the in-game voice chat -- a quick survey of our staff here presumes that it works in cross-realm PuGs, but given that I've never actually seen it used on the live realms by anyone, who knows?), but we're hardly running instances in a perfect world. Sometimes chat is not the best way to get a complicated boss fight organized and ready.

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Filed under: Fan stuff, Walkthroughs, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Instances

Breakfast Topic: Make it all BoA

Gnomeaggedon happened to post something so interesting the other day that I thought it merited a bit more discussion. He actually posted it almost as an afterthought (I guess he's moving in RL -- good luck with that), but it's quite an idea just the same: "Make it all BoA," he says. Blizzard has added in some more Bind-on-Account items, and most recently made it possible for BoA items to go across factions. But Gnomeaggedon says it's time to stop messing around: mounts, emblems, tier and arena gear, currencies, vanity pets, reputation items, anything that would be useful across toons should be able to be traded freely between them. Why, he asks, should there be limits on which character you decide to play with?

And actually, while the possibilities there might make some players' heads spin (imagine how many badges you could earn on your geared-out pally for your newly 80 warlock), I think that Blizzard is probably headed that direction. They may not want to open the floodgates completely, but look at where we've come -- we just heard Frank Pearce say the other day that faction changes are a direct result of Blizzard wanting to give players more choice of who to play with, so wouldn't it follow that we'd eventually get more choice about which characters we use? You have to think that we'll see more and more BoA items, so why not just skip to step ten and open it all up? What do you think?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Making money

Shipping costs removed from Authenticators

We'd already noticed last week that the Authenticators in the US store had gone free shipping, but now official updates on Blizzard's site say it's true in the EU as well. American authenticators still cost $6.50, but you no longer have to pay anything extra for shipping, and EU authenticators have had their price dropped to €6.99. That's still over $10, but they're at least cheaper than they used to be. There's a drawback, however: apparently they went with cheaper shipping, because you can no longer track shipments of authenticators, and shipping will take a little longer (up to 15 business days in the US). Which makes sense, given that you want these things as cheap as possible.

Ancilorn answers some other Authenticator questions as well -- there's no discount for buying multiple units at all; what you see is what you get. And while the only authenticator for purchase at the moment is the Corehound branded unit, there may be more art available in the future, and of course you don't need a Corehound-branded Authenticator to get the Corehound Pup pet. Any Authenticator will do that, including any of the authenticators made for mobile phones, as long as it stays attached to your account. Whew -- that should answer all the questions anyone has. As we said the other day, if you don't have one of these yet, it's probably time to look in to getting one. Not only will your account be more secure, but you'll get that free pet as well.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Making money, Account Security

The Guild sells out for Christmas


It was just on Sunday that we first heard about a Guild Christmas special, and now here it is. The Guild gang have decided that the web series thing isn't really happening with the money, so they're taking the advice of commenters and selling out with six different pieces of merchandise, one for each Guild member. They're actually pretty funny, from a Codex "answer Orb" to a talking Tinkerballa doll to a Vork unbreakable bank (unfortunately, all of the items have been recalled for various reasons). There's some cool guest stars in the mix as well -- see if you can spot Heroes' James Kyson Lee (in a Delorean!) and our buddy Alex Albrecht, along with a few other familiar faces.

Good stuff, and man, The Guild crew is getting really good at making some quality video. No word whether these will show up on Xbox Live at all (they're actually out now on YouTube, so this may just be something the guys did for fun, outside of the Microsoft agreement), but you can watch them all right now above. Merry Christmas, guildies! All I really want for Christmas is a Vork unbreakable bank -- in these troubled times, it's really the safest thing to do with your hard earned money.



Like The Guild? We do, too! We've got all the episodes of season 3 posted: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, and episode 12 above. We've also chatted with all of the folks at BlizzCon, including Felicia Day, Sandeep Parikh, and Jeff Lewis and Michele Boyd. And as if that wasn't enough Guild, here's the liveblog of their panel, and the guys were nice enough to stop by our meetup as well. Stay tuned for more Guild here on WoW.com!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Guilds, Blizzard, Humor

Guildwatch: We're over applications, too

The image above is a little tough to read, but you can probably get the gist: someone posts on the forums that secretly, he's been taking things from the guild bank and selling them off on the AH to make money for himself. He posts on his alt, supposedly, but whoops: he leaves his forum signature up. And the very next post is someone from the guild saying he's been caught red-handed, with a gkick imminent. Moral? Steal if you want, we guess, but never, ever tell. Or at least don't use your forum sig when posting on your alt.

Much more drama, downed, and recruiting news in this week's Guildwatch, which starts right after the break. We are super low in the buffer for tips, so please be sure to let us know about your guild's action in Icecrown, any recruiting you're doing, or any drama you see on the forums by sending us a quick email at guildwatch@wow.com. Thanks! Enjoy this week's column.

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Filed under: Ranking, Guilds, Instances, Humor, Raiding, Guildwatch, Bosses

The ups and downs of the Battered Hilt

Yesterday, Bornakk said clearly that the Battered Hilt drop that starts the Quel'delar questline was dropping at the right rate, which is much less than when the patch first hit. And then of course, in last night's fixes, they went ahead and increased the drop rate anyway. He also claimed there were no plans to make it BoP, but who knows what'll happen in the future? For now, however, you can still buy and sell the quest item for quite a bit of gold. We'll have to see where the price eventually ends up -- on the staff here, we've seen anything from 8,000g to over 23,000g, and Twitter tells us that people are paying an average of around 12k or so, going up to as high as 30k (or even shady real money offers in online classified ads). Our own Matt Low has actually seen the drop three different times, and lost every roll. It drops off of any of the mobs in the Heroic versions of the Frozen Halls 5-mans, and as Bornakk says, any class can use it to come up with a pretty solid weapon, so the competition will probably keep the price high, depending on where the drop rate ends up.

The silver lining, if you really want one, have terrible luck, and don't ever expect to have all that money, is that the price will probably go down eventually. Bornakk says that as people move up into Icecrown and start picking up weapons that are even better than the sister blade, demand is likely to drop off a bit. But he also says that Blizzard does want this to be a special and relatively rare item, so you'll still have to probably either be lucky or ready to grind it out. Good luck -- I'm out there searching for one with you.

Filed under: Items, Fan stuff, Blizzard, Instances, Quests, Wrath of the Lich King

Updated Armory app features Find an Upgrade, saved talent builds

A few readers (thanks!) sent us notes pointing out that Blizzard has updated the Mobile Armory app for the iPhone. The new version, 1.1.0, features a streamlined character selection screen, the ability to save and load custom talent builds (though unfortunately it doesn't look like there's any way to bring these into the game automatically -- you just have to choose points the same way), in-game reputations on character profiles, and a number of other bugfixes and user interface improvements.

The one big feature is that "Find an Upgrade" now works on the mobile app -- you can search directly in the app for a gear upgrade for any equipment slot on your character. That's a nice bonus; it means that while you're sitting on the bus with your iPhone, you can look through your gear, and figure out what you're going to be upgrading to in that waist slot the next time your guild heads up into Icecrown. I'd still like to see a little more integration with the game itself (a few MMO companies have hinted that they're pushing for more integrated iPhone tie-ins), but since the app is called Mobile Armory, and yes, is still free, I can't complain too much.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Wrath of the Lich King

Felicia Day says The Guild comic is coming in Spring 2010

Felicia Day told us back at BlizzCon that she was going to go undercover for a little while as The Guild's latest season wrapped up, but undercover for this woman seems to mean that she's only in two TV shows and prepping for a comic book release. She showed up in last night's Lie to Me episode, singing, and in this interview over at Newsarama from the Video Game Awards with Sandeep Parikh (who himself just showed up in Tiki Bar TV -- slightly NSFW, language) she says she's still working on the unfortunately canceled Dollhouse as well. So that's where Eliza Dushku got her addiction from.

She also says that the Dark Horse published Guild comic book is due out in spring of next year -- Jim Rugg is working on the art right now -- and fans of The Guild may even get a little Christmas present from the show and Microsoft. We'll keep an eye out for that for sure. So even though we're in between seasons (and we assume that season 4 is upcoming next year, even though we haven't heard an official announcement on that yet), there's lots of Guild goodness to go around.

Filed under: Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Guilds, Humor, Interviews, Comics, Fan art

A chat with Check Six, WoW Arena team

The official Microsoft Sync blog (apparently the blog isn't official -- they fooled me) has posted a video interview (which you can see above) with Check Six, one of the high level World of Warcraft Arena teams showing up in tournaments lately. The video is somewhat tame, but that actually works in its favor -- this high-level Arena play can be complicated and hard to follow, and so simplifying it a little bit actually makes it more palatable. You high level Arena players won't get to hear their opinions on the latest builds or balance tweaks, unfortunately (for that, you can check out our Coliseum column), but the rest of us can at least put some faces to one of these team names floating around, and hear a little bit more about how these guys run these tournaments.

They've been playing together for about two or three months, and they practice quite a bit: together, they do about ten or twelve hours a week, but I'd assume they play outside of the team as well. They say that WoW has a pretty "easy skill cap to reach," but after that, it's a matter of getting the right team members together, because they say teamwork is more important in Arenas than even a game like Counter-Strike ("CS"). And they kind of surprised me with how young they are -- it's a big deal to go running around the world and playing in tournaments when you're probably dealing with school and an early career at the same time. It's not the most well produced Arena interview you'll ever see, but I liked the frank look at the guys and what they're like away from their computers.

Filed under: Odds and ends, Interviews, Arena, Rumors

Tom Chilton on Cataclysm additions and the upcoming world event

Our friends over at WorldofWar.de (who were listening live to the podcast this past weekend) recently got an interview done with Lead Designer Tom Chilton, and you can read it over on their site right now. There's not a lot of news in there (though Chilton does gush over the Dungeon Finder, just as players have for the past week or so), but aside from the usual player housing deny and the old "we don't know what the future holds" back and forth, but there is one fun thing he reminds us of in the second half of the interview: Blizzard is adding on to the old Blackwing Lair instance in Cataclysm. It sounds like kind of what they've done with VoA: Blackrock Caverns, which we heard about at BlizzCon, will be a new area (supposedly level 85 5-man, though Chilton says "lots of bosses") inside Blackrock Mountain that's connected to all of the Black Dragonflight bosses in Blackwing Lair.

Finally, Chilton sorta-kinda re-confirms that there will be a new content patch before the expansion -- he says it probably won't be a numbered patch like 3.4 or 3.5, but he says there may be some more class balances in there, new Battle.net features, and possibly even a new raid boss. But mostly it'll just be the patch that brings us all of the world events previous to the Cataclysm shakedown that we'll all go through. Sounds like fun.



World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it. Nothing will be the same. In WoW.com's Guide to Cataclysm you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion. From Goblins and Worgens to Mastery and Guild changes, it's all there for your cataclysmic enjoyment.

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Lore, Interviews, Cataclysm

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