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Patch 2.4 has better ways to go

Blizzard has started to realize that travel (as in real life) can be boring in the game. On the Public Test Realm (PTR), they have put a few new ideas to good use when forcing players to travel long distances to get to new content.

I copied my character to the PVE test server (once it started working again), and began a flight to Quel'Danas from Ironforge. First off, I already had the flight path, which was refreshing to start with. The odd thing is that upon reaching the gates of Ironforge, the bird rocketed straight up vertically which panicked me a little until I realized that it was on purpose. All the sudden, welcome to a loading screen appeared. I was dropped on the far side of the Ghostlands gate and continued my flight all the way north to the new content at Quel'Danas. This shaved off several minutes flying time and provided an easy way to bridge an old flight path to a new one easily. A flight path spanning from the original content to the content now in the expansion (technically a patch is both and neither) is the type of crossover innovation I knew Blizzard was capable of doing.

Another new idea is to provide a quest reward to transport you to Shattrath, Darnarian's Scroll of Teleportation from the new quest Know Your Ley Lines. This is as opposed to the hearthstone you get. This item only has a 20 second cool down, so at least the outbound trip from Quel'Danas to Shat will be quick and painless.

Blizzard is adding some creative ideas to help travel become a bit easier especially for those who have run around the world and picked up every last flight path during the course of their rise to 70, and now are tired of flying everywhere.

Now what I wonder is how travel to and from the floating city of Dalaran will work, not to mention other destinations, once it has blasted off from Hillsbrad and begun to hover over Northrend. Perhaps travel will be done in much the same way. This isn't all that new, since boats already use a very similar mechanism from Darkshore to Azuremyst Isle. I imagine things will get even trickier to manage with 2 expansions up and running, from a technical perspective for Blizz, so it is nice to know that they are thinking ahead on how we will get there, get back, and generally move about the world we love. Nice to know indeed.

Filed under: Patches, Blizzard, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Shifting Perspectives: When am I outside?

I am lame, a noob, and whatever else, but I still love my Entangling Roots, even at level 70. Give me a break people, it is the only crowd control I have as a proud dps kitty who moonlights as a tank. All the rogues have this wonderful sap that apparently brings all the boys to the yard in an instance. Cyclone lasts 6 seconds, which is nice, but doesn't "control a crowd" per se, not like Entangling Roots.

For some reason, Entangling Roots only works outside, and I am okay with it. That may seem like a simple and very ordinary uncomplicated statement. As a Druid, I feel it is my duty to complicate everything (a result of the "overpowered class" buff), so let us decide once and for all what this term "outside" means. Apparently Blizzard is confused about this whole "Outside" thing as well. It may not seem important to non-druids, but just think about having to pee and not knowing whether you are outside or not. I think you'd agree that this is a major problem, peeing or not.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Druid, Analysis / Opinion, Instances, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The forgotten feral form

Shifting Perspectives is the Druid column normally written by someone else other than Ryan Carter, but he is currently cutting his level 68 teeth on everything that moves, so he is filling in for your regularly scheduled Druids, who are on vacation in Nagrand and points beyond.

Moonkins, mongeese, and bears oh my! Is there a reason that everyone hates cats, or is it that no one likes them? As a Druid, I hear about Dire Bear tanks, I hear about those party-animals, the Moonkins dps-ing their way into the lime light, and of course those restro Druids, who hang out with healers. What about the feral kitty? Why does no one play them but me? Is it harder to be a cat, or is it just a misunderstood sub-class? Personally, I love playing the cat, since there are many advantages to this spec. Sure, bears, owlbeasts and trees are great, but since I am biased, let me explain what I consider to be the distinct advantages of playing a kitty.

First off, Prowl (stealth) is an extremely powerful tool in groups, solo, or in an instance. Rogues have this ability too, but putting 3 early talent points into Feral Instinct makes it even harder to detect you when roaming around (like a talent rogues have). Stealth is useful for recon, figuring out the best way to pull a difficult group in an instance or for doing things other classes can't even dream of doing, like soloing LBRS to get your own Smolderweb Hatchling or Worg Pup. I was a level too low to be running LBRS in daylight, yet was inside stealthing through LBRS to get my pets, all alone. Wanna be the talk of the town or do the impossible before it should be possible, roll a druid.

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Filed under: Night Elves, Tauren, Druid, Talents, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: Flight form, not just for flying anymore

Druid Flight FormYou veritable shape-shifter you, you've leveled, quested, and hit at least 68. As you know, you now get the express privilege of one of the coolest things in the game, Druid Flight Form. Sure, for the first while, simply soaring over Outlands is teh coolest, but after a while, you start to wonder if there is something more that flight form is good for besides high altitude tourism. Don't even get me started on how cool the Swift Flight Form is once you hit level 70.

Flight form does have distinct advantages over regular flying mounts, and rather than bore you with that, since you probably already know about them, consider these interesting uses for your newly acquired and admittedly overpowered form. Feel free to /evillaugh at this point.

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Filed under: Druid, Tricks, Mounts, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Shifting Perspectives: The Druid-Shammy double whammy

Every Tuesday, Shifting Perspectives explores issues affecting druids and those who group with them.

Lately I have been leveling a Shaman, and I was surprised to learn that Druids (my all-time favorite class) and Shamans (might become my second favorite) are quite similar. I know I am a Shammy noob, having never leveled one before, but am quickly learning to love them and hoping to suck in all the knowledge I can in coming days.

Not only with Shamans and Druids, I guess you could say that there is a lot of class crossover in many areas, for example, a Warlock functions much like a Hunter, being a long ranged fighter with a pet, or how druids double up on many of the Rogue's trademarks, at least in feral form. The list is endless, and I could go on, but after all, this is a Druid column, so let's get to it.

I don't think crossover is all that uncommon, nor is it detrimental to any class, in fact, much of the time, the class crossover actually helps and can fill a void especially in instances when your (insert loser class here) bailed on you at the last second before a big fight. This is what makes druids the cream of the cat, um, crop. We druids can do almost everything, but with varying degrees of effectiveness depending on spec, motivation, and of course fun-ness index. Shammies are also quite versatile and varied in their skills, which makes me like them for sure, and thus our first class crossover comparison between Druids and Shammies today.

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Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Features, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Walking into a void

me and VWIs it just me, or did the process for obtaining my voidwalker get way too hard in the Burning Crusade? I now play a Blood Elf Warlock along with my alliance toons, and just last night I had to go into Ghostlands, to Goldenmist Village to summon a VW, defeat him and high-tail it out of there to get my big fluffy blue peep. No, I have done it before on other toons on other servers, but even with a friend I found this task to be all too difficult. ON the Alliance side, getting your VW in Stormwind can be done while eating IRL, giving the dog a bath, or watching reruns of <insert favorite show>. An ambitious imp can nearly solo it.

Generally, most starting area content in Burning Crusade has been easier. Early quests in both Eversong Woods and Azuremyst Isle give you bags to help you hold more right off the bat, and in both areas you can go from 0-12 in a matter of a few hours. Most quests are geographically close together, and the content is very well laid out to help you move on to the better stuff quickly.

This Warlock rite of passage is the hardest thing I have seen in the lower-level starting areas for a Blood Elf, and it is incredibly hard, especially if you are soloing it. The aggro, and respawn rate of all the ghosties in the area are cranked up much higher than they should be in my opinion, and I think many players would agree. You literally cannot stop running or 3-5 ghosts will be owning your imp in nothing flat, not to mention you. Try it yourself, roll a Blood Elf Warlock and get it to level ten, and try to get your VW, and you'll see what I mean.

Have you found the content in Burning Crusade to be too hard, starting areas or otherwise? Are there areas and problem spots that continually give you hassle that you Blizzard should maybe address, you know, after they put out the new expansion pack that is? Sure it is easy to complain, and says things aren't right, but in this case, I feel that some sort of tweaking is needed. I can't imagine someone who is just starting to play being able to complete this quest, and I have been playing for a while.

Filed under: Warlock, Quests, Blood Elves, WoW Rookie

WoW Moviewatch: The Guild

Felicia Day, who played a recurring character on Buffy as well as other shows, brings you this live-action comedic webisode called "The Guild."

Felicia wrote to us saying, "It's a webisode about a group of online gamers. I wrote it after coming off a hard-to-shake WOW addiction. I think it's funny, but please see for yourself." Personally, it is nice to see that Felicia has overcome the addiction but can still find humor about the predicament many of us find ourselves in, with good reason. Happy Door-stepping!

previously on Moviewatch

Filed under: Virtual selves, WoW Moviewatch

WoW Moviewatch: Time Gnomes II

You've seen Jimmy: A World of Warcraft Story and also Time Gnomes, both made by the evil machinima mastermind Robert Moran, and now the Time Gnomes are back for part 2 of this mayhem! Featuring the resolution to the cliffhanger at the end of the first Time Gnomes, and a lengthly Ming flashback, or two, you'll also enjoy the P-A-L-I-aladin who thinks he is all that. Did we mention that the Time Gnomes have their own website? Well, now you know.

I can't wait to hear that they have Time Gnomes action figures, or that they will hold a TimeGnomeConn in the Eastern Alps, or even get my night elf a Time Gnomes action costume to wear. Come on guys, what is taking so long? I guess I'll just dream until then. Enjoy!

Filed under: WoW Moviewatch

WoW Firefox search plugins

pluginsHow many times a day do we all search Thottbot, Allakhazam, WoWWiki, Wowhead and others? It gets old really fast to type in the address or go dig it out of bookmarks every time right? About 50 of you are right now thinking, "geez ya noob, like thottbot is my homepage!"

Before you get all huffy and start chargin' your fireball, realize that there is a better way to look-up those [ACME Pauldrons of the Whale]. Think of them as WoW UI add-ons for Firefox. What? That's right, IRL WoW add-ons for your Firefox browser. Check out these search plug-ins that you may get some use out of if you look up things like a banshee. By the way, I've heard that Lady Sylvanas can Google stuff like nobody's business, but that is unconfirmed as of this writing.

Firefox search plug-ins for WoW

-WoW Armory (both US and EU versions)
-Allakhazam Quests
-Allakhazam Items
-Allakhazam Mobs
-Curse gaming add-ons
-WoW Official forums

The links to all of these search engines are at Mozilla's "mycroft" website, which lets users build their own search plug-ins for their favorite sites. For any of the search plug-ins, simply click the name of the site you wish to install, and Firefox does the rest.

Our very own search plug-in
Also, I am proud to introduce the official WoW Insider Firefox search plugin that you can now download for your WoW Insider perusing pleasure (without having to type the address or leave your browser). Please use this plug-in responsibly, no members of the Burning Legion are allowed to use this search. Enjoy

Filed under: Tips, Odds and ends, News items

Religion in Azeroth: Why God is Alliance

cowsWe got into a guild discussion the other day somehow about whether God is Horde or Alliance. There is never any rhyme of reason to why you discuss such things, but how about it? What do you think about the off-the-wall subject?

I personally think God is Alliance, because in the Bible it says God pwns the cows on a thousand hillsides (Psalm 50:9-11). If God pwns the cows (read: Tauren) on a thousand hills and all the animals in the forest (read: Horde), he is clearly Alliance and has pwned all of Elwynn too, doesn't it sound like it?

No offense to the Horde, but I think this is definitive proof that God is Alliance, not that this makes you evil at all, just not on God's side. If you disagree, or can find evidence to the contrary, I'd love to hear it. Oh, and if you're wondering, I am Alliance too. A question for next time, which class would God play?

NOTE: I also have Horde characters (Tauren in fact) which I play and like very much, so I am obviously kidding here. This is for the benefit of those of you who never got the EPIC drop of [A Sense of Humor]. Cheers!

Filed under: Tauren, Analysis / Opinion, Humor, Factions