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Race changes confirmed



The possibility of changing your character's race was indicated at BlizzCon 2009, during one of the panels. But then the news about it really got hot when Faction changes were officially announced, because eagle-eyed players noticed the following damning question in the new program's FAQs: Can I use this service to change race on my existing faction? The answer was confirmation enough for most folks: No. We will be releasing a Race change service in the near future for this purpose.

But, this wouldn't be the first time a bit of miscommunication or other confusion has occurred. The final confirmation of upcoming race changes came today, confirmed by Neth again in an official forum thread. All she was actually doing there was referencing the original thread about Faction changes, which had already said Race changes were coming. The announcement even showed up on the official Warcraft Twitter account. So this isn't exactly a brand new thing. Still, it's nice to have it confirmed all over again.

Race changes, of course, subtly differ from Faction changes because you'll still stay Alliance if you're Alliance, or Horde if you're Horde. Race changes might be performed for aesthetic reasons -- you might just prefer the look of a sexy little gnome. Still, I bet most Race changes will be to get access to "better" racials. Especially if racials do get revamped in Cataclysm, a lot of players will see the grass a little greener on the other side. Every Man For Himself, anyone?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Forums

Ghostcrawler on the Path of the Titans


Our good friend Ghostcrawler (I can say that now, because we all got to meet him at BlizzCon the other week) has done his best to explain the new Path of the Titans feature coming in the Cataclysm expansion over in this forum thread. We had this same question come up on last week's podcast as well, and we said pretty much the same thing GC does: Path of the Titans is a brand new way for max-level characters to keep improving themselves. Of course, the feature is still being developed, but the goal is a "gated, not grindy" way (as in, you'll earn rewards by doing things, not by doing them over and over again) to experience character progression outside of just reputation grinding, PvP, or raiding.

He clarifies the idea more later in the thread as well. The different paths of the Titans are meant to be class-independent, but GC says that they do want players to debate which path is best for which class, even if they do end up with a "best" solution in the end. Archaeology is meant to be a part of it, so GC agrees that it could be more of a mandatory secondary profession than Cooking or Fishing has been in the past, but they're aware of that danger. And just because the paths may be tied to dailies or instances doesn't mean they'll work the same: the time in which you can progress might be longer than the daily quest limit or shorter than the weekly raid limit. The idea, as above, is to give players who don't necessarily raid or PvP something else to do with character progression at endgame.

Should be interesting to see what they come up with. Personally, this sounds a little bit to me like D&D's prestige classes -- not nearly as powerful or varied, but a way of separating your character out from the rest of those that chose the same class you did. That's just me being hopeful, though -- Blizzard seems to have a lot of development before we see this as a finished product.
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: Items, Blizzard, Leveling, Forums, Cataclysm, Archaeology

Official Cataclysm forum opens

The official WoW forums got another section today, one dedicated to the upcoming World of Warcraft expansion Cataclysm. There's nothing useful in the at the moment, like a roundup of everything Blizzard has posted about the third expansion, or short bullet pointed lists of major features (although we have such information in our Guide to Cataclysm).

These forums are open to the general WoW population, and are NOT the alpha / beta forums. The alpha has NOT begun yet. But things are at least moving in the direction of more Cataclysm presence in WoW's official community.

With Cataclysm expected to be released in 2010 (remember, according to Mike Morhaime, not us), we should start seeing greater details about what was announced at BlizzCon in the next couple months. Lots of good stuff to know, and hopefully this forum will be a conduit for Blizzard's old top hats like Ghostcrawler to begin some more detailed information dissemination.

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: Blizzard, News items, Forums, Cataclysm

Totem Talk: Revamped stats in Cataclysm and Dwarven/Goblin Shamans


Totem Talk is Wow.com's weekly column about all things Shamanistic. This week, we go "aaah aaah BlizzCon! Goblin and Dwarven Shamans! All sorts of stats changing! Aaaah!" with Matthew Rossi. Be warned that Cataclysm spoilers may be thick on the ground in this post.

The past few days have been a crazy basket of news for us Shaman players. The Alliance will have a second Shamanistic race with the inclusion of Dwarves (which makes sense, really, since Dwarves are effectively descended from beings of pure earth) and the Horde will get a fourth race of Shamans in the Goblins.

Frankly, an expansion based around the upheaval as Deathwing himself smashes the elemental plans pell-mell into Azeroth is pure bliss for a Shaman. This is what we're for! The elements in disarray, Ragnaros bucking wild on Mount Hyjal, the planes leaking through into Azeroth... time to get out there and do what we do best.

But that's not all. With stat simplification gear is changing, Mastery will change the way our talent trees function, and then there will be the Path of the Titans to help customize us even more than Glyphs did. Shamans are going to gear differently, have five more talent points (but the talents themselves will be changed and streamlined, we're told) and play differently in Cataclysm. Let's start talking about how.

Read more →

Filed under: Dwarves, Shaman, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, News items, Expansions, Classes, Buffs, Alts, (Shaman) Totem Talk, Forums, Cataclysm, Goblin

Death to spell power plate

Except Judgement, because even I admit it is awesomeIn a recent set of posts on the subject of Prot Paladins wearing holy gear in PvP, Ghostcrawler mentioned that Prot Paladins are not intended to be able to out heal Holy Paladins in the same gear and that fixes are intended that will remove their ability to do this. I'd like to offer a suggestion: destroy all spell power plate. Destroy it! Destroy, destroy, destroy! Exterminate it! Extirpate it from the surface of Azeroth! Perhaps in a Cataclysm of some kind. (Except Judgement. That can stay.)

My reasoning isn't to nerf Holy Paladins as healers. I love all healers equally. Rather, my idea here is to incorporate a class design that's been picking up steam since the end of Burning Crusade. Back before patch 3.0 dropped, two Paladin specs wore spell plate, Holy and Protection. Since that was two specs out of a possible six plate wearing talent specializations (2/6 = 1/3 = roughly 33 percent, I'm not doing a repeating) that meant that there was a fairly sizable minority that wanted the stuff.

Flash forward to Wrath of the Lich King. There are now three plate wearing classes. Two of them (six total talent specs) have absolutely no use for spell plate. The one class that does use spell plate? Well, the Protection tree was revamped, so tanking Paladins don't wear it. Retribution has been giving spell plate the stink eye forever. So we now have 1 out of 9 possible specs wearing the stuff, and yet it drops everywhere. There's no reason spell plate needs to exist, much less be a protected species by Blizzard when they went out of their way to do away with tanking leather, for example.

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Filed under: Paladin, Items, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, News items, PvP, Forums, Arena

Scattered Shots: Hunter Q&A Part 1

Good day folks and welcome to Scattered Shots. The column that takes a good look at what it takes to be a Hunter in the World of Warcraft. I am Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington from the Hunting Lodge. This week we'll be reviewing the recently released Hunter Q&A.

The Hunter Q&A was like the other Class Q&As, a mixed bag of frustration, tease, and interesting concepts. It shouldn't be a surprise that we didn't get the details we wanted. Nor should it be a complete shock to you that some Hunters would feel disconnected between what players want versus what the Developers are concentrating on. Given all that, I still felt that this Q&A was overall pretty decent.

There is so much to review and discuss I've decided to break the Q&A out into 2 parts. Here's a quick highlight of the main things discussed in Part 1:

  • Developers feel Survival Hunter spec is currently performing within normal operating parameters.
  • Crowd Control still needs work.
  • PvP has a big influence on PvE Class Balance
  • Ammo remains a consumable because of technical difficulties.
  • Ammo is a focus point on Hunter damage progression.
  • Blizzard is hoping to cut the cost of Ammo to address the cost burden for Hunters.
  • The Hunter "No Fire" zone will remain in effect.
  • Development considers enhancing Hunter melee attacks.
All that is just in Part 1! So let's see what Ghostcrawler had to say.

Read more →

Filed under: Hunter, Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Interviews, Forums, (Hunter) Scattered Shots

Ancilorn wants to know your favorite form dance

For some reason, this post in the WoW Europe general forums asking what shapeshift form has the best dance moves makes me suspicious. The poll itself is innocuous enough, although I don't understand why Tree of Life and Moonkin carry such a commanding lead (Cat is my personal favorite).

No, the suspicious part is: why are they asking this now? New dances were a much-hyped feature in Wrath of the Lich King, although they have so far entirely failed to materialize. If they're still working on them, for 3.3 or 4.0, this might be some market research to see what sort of dances we like.

On the other hand, it may just be an innocent piece of fun from Ancilorn. Who knows?

Filed under: Druid, Shaman, Forums

Insider Trader: Woodworking in the expansion?


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Ideas for a woodworking profession have been bounced around for years, but have previously been dodged by Blizzard. Although they assured us that they have plenty of ideas, they've always been working on too many others.

Woodworking was not to be for Burning Crusade or Wrath of the Lich King, but what about the upcoming expansion? Considering that Goblins and Worgen could become playable, it might be a real possibility.

In late summer 2007, Nethaera posted a list of some of the things that need to be considered before they can even begin to implement a new profession. While it became clear that it wasn't going to work for Wrath, it seems a little more plausible now.

Today's column will be dedicated to presenting the crafting community's Woodworking ideas, discussing their implementation using the (incomplete) criteria set forth by Nethaera, and speculating about its possible presence in the next expansion.

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Filed under: Skinning, Analysis / Opinion, Features, Insider Trader (Professions), Forums, Rumors

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Going Back To The Well

The Care and Feeding of Warriors is WoW.com's weekly column about all things clanky and rage-related. Matthew Rossi felt like using that old, old, lookit me in my bug shoulders from AQ40 screenshot. Yes, those are the Might legs. We can all look back and laugh now, sure. Back then it wasn't funny.

Believe it or not, there is a method to this particular madness. Since Blizzard was so kind to go back and release more Q&A for warriors this week, I felt to some degree constrained to talk about the answers they gave (and the questions they answered, for that matter) and in going over the post, one particular passage brought me back to the beginning, so to speak. To the days of running MC, BWL and AQ, gearing up in anticipation of patch 1.11 and Naxxramas. Let's look at the particular exchange I'm referring to.
  • Community Team: It appears that many players who enjoy the Warrior class for its damage aspects continue to feel that, without best in-slot items, their class's performance is very truncated.
  • Q: Is this an issue that we have seen in the Warrior class? If so, do we have any plans to accommodate those players who do not have best in-slot items, while still keeping those with the very best equipment from being too powerful?
  • A:This really just gets back to the way rage works, which is that damage leads to rage so you have to pick a point at which you balance warriors. High damage and high rage? Low damage and low rage? The way to fix it is to normalize rage even more so that you always get X rage per second regardless of gear. But once you always get X rage per second you essentially just have rogue energy. So, as with the previous question, we don't like the way it is working and want to change it but we don't have a perfect substitute in the can just yet.
This has been an issue for the warrior class since Blackwing Lair. See? I told you there was a reason I dragged out the old picture.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Classes, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

Ghostcrawler on class representation and balance

Ghostcrawler has a nice exchange on the forums (and it's not marked "Not Tracked", so you know he wants us reading this one) about how much of a role class representation actually plays in class balance. Obviously, balance itself plays the biggest role in class balance -- if (using GC's completely hypothetical example) Feral Druids are overpowered as tanks, then Blizzard would have to look into nerfing Feral Druids.

But what if Feral Druids only make up a small percentage of the tanks in Ulduar? Should Blizzard nerf the 5% of tanks that are Druids down until they're only 2% of the population? Just because classes are overpowered doesn't mean that actual class populations are, and all of these things go into the mix when Blizzard makes decisions about how to balance the classes.

Look at Hunters as well -- just last week we talked about how the class population is falling off, and yet they're one of the top three classes played on both factions. So should Blizzard buff or nerf them?

Read more →

Filed under: Druid, Hunter, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Instances, Classes, Death Knight, Forums

The Care and Feeding of Warriors: Where the Action is Not


The Care and Feeding of Warriors once more shuffles forth clad head to toe in clanking metal, devoid of holy light, harnessed death magic or any of that fancy stuff, to bash things about until they cough up shiny pixels. Matthew Rossi has been bashing things about for their loot since January of 2005. He'll be doing an analysis of the Warrior Q&A soon, he promises, please don't stab him with pitchforks.

Honestly, I'd like to rant more about how Warrior DPS is still way too low in PvE. Especially since I keep seeing posts on the forums from the blues telling me classes with equal or better DPS are in fact too low. It's sort of maddening, really. But as much as I'd like to go on a written rampage about encounter design serving as an arbitrary limiter to warrior DPS in Ulduar, and how paradoxically my DPS is at its best on fights that are supposed to be hard mode fights (this week, for instance, my personal highest DPS numbers were recorded on XT - 002's Heartbreaker mode, where two Warriors including myself finally managed to break the top four and were ahead of the other hybrids) due to the mechanics of those fights actually allowing the warrior some uninterrupted DPS time.

But unfortunately, a whole lot has been said about tanking this past week. So as maddening, vexing, downright baffling as I find the encounter design limitations of Warrior DPS in some cases (really, not much can irritate me like knowing my DPS time was broken up by big chunks of having to run away, run around, get out of the way of lightning or exploding seeds or any of the sixteen things Mimiron does that make me unhappy to be alive) that rant's going to have to stay confined to these opening paragraphs. (For a simulation of what I sound like during a raid, get four angry woodpeckers and have them attack your keyboard while you scream "Oh, COME ON" every few seconds and imagine you're the Gravity Bomb again.)

So what happened with tanking this week, you ask? Well, more was said about block, about avoidance, and about tanking specced players as DPS and in PvP. So let's go over what was said.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, Instances, Raiding, Bosses, Buffs, (Warrior) The Care and Feeding of Warriors, Forums

Warrior Q&A Analysis

Well, the warrior Q&A is finally here. if you play a warrior and you were hoping that this would be the beam of sunshine that would fix your issues with the class, I'm sorry to tell you that it probably won't be. This isn't a huge surprise... so far the entire Q&A series has been fairly conservative and this one's no different... but let's go over it anyway.

First off, of course, we have the intro to the class, which contains this interesting sentence: The warrior class has been a very tricky one to balance, largely due to the way rage converts into damage (which converts into rage, which converts into damage...), and we haven't completely nailed that design just yet.

I think it's fair to say that anyone who remembers Rage Normalization trembles just a little bit when they see sentences like that. It's so very easy to render warriors absolutely impotent by tinkering with our rage generation, so I'm going to say right now that I desperately hope they test whatever changes they make very, very thoroughly.

Read more →

Filed under: Warrior, Analysis / Opinion, News items, PvP, Instances, Raiding, Classes, Talents, Buffs, Forums

Time change for this week's European extended maintenance

European Blue Ancilorn has updated the times for this week's extended maintenance which will affect a large percentage of realms. We mentioned the extended maintenance to you last week and that Ancilorn was keen to make sure players had an "opportunity to plan accordingly".

The selected realms will be offline from 1:00am to 3:00pm CEST, not
3:00am until 5:00pm CEST as we previously reported. The following servers are affected by the extended downtime:

Balnazzar, Bloodfeather, Darksorrow, Defias Brotherhood, Earthen Ring, Frostwhisper, Genjuros, Haomarush, Hellscream, Laughing Skull, Lightning's Blade, Magtheridon, Neptulon, Nordrassil, Quel'Thalas, Ragnaros, Ravencrest, Runetotem, Shadowmoon, Shadowsong, Shattered Hand, Silvermoon, Skullcrusher, Spinebreaker, Stormrage, Stormreaver, Stormscale, Sylvanas, Terenas, The Maelstrom, The Venture Co, Thunderhorn, Turalyon, Twisting Nether and Vashj.

Filed under: Realm News, Realm Status, News items, Forums, Europe

Ancilorn reveals extended EU maintenance next week

European CM Ancilorn has revealed that, for next week's EU maintenance, some of the realms will be offline for a whopping fourteen hours. The Blue was keen to ensure players were given enough warning of 15th July's maintenance to make sure that players who have toons on the affected realms had an "opportunity to plan accordingly".

The affected realms are: Balnazzar, Bloodfeather, Darksorrow, Defias Brotherhood, Earthen Ring, Frostwhisper, Genjuros, Haomarush, Hellscream, Laughing Skull, Lightning's Blade, Magtheridon, Neptulon, Nordrassil, Quel'Thalas, Ragnaros, Ravencrest, Runetotem, Shadowmoon, Shadowsong, Shattered Hand, Silvermoon, Skullcrusher, Spinebreaker, Stormrage, Stormreaver, Stormscale, Sylvanas, Terenas, The Maelstrom, The Venture Co, Thunderhorn, Turalyon, Twisting Nether and Vashj.

While the problem seems to be specific to these realms, Ancilorn didn't elaborate on the precise reasons for the extensive maintenance. He only informed readers that these realms will be offline from 3:00am CEST until around 5:00pm CEST. I suggest this might be a very good time to explore the opposite faction on another server, roll a twink or level that long-neglected alt. We'll certainly keep you updated next week and hopefully the maintenance should run smoothly.

Filed under: Events, Odds and ends, Blizzard, News items, Forums, Europe

Breakfast Topic: Does WoW help you learn a foreign language?


Living in Europe and playing WoW has one major perk over the US, thousands of players from a dozen countries get to play together. Of course we have realms specifically for people who speak Russian or French or English but it's quite common to find people who don't speak one of the major EU tongues on an English realm. For example, my guild's Assistant GM is French and he effectively learnt English by playing WoW.

When I joined my current guild I suddenly found out about this hidden multi-cultural and multi-lingual side to the game and as a result three of my best in-game friends are from Norway, Russia and the Netherlands. All have fantastic English skills but it's still common for them to go back to their native languages in group chat or over voice. They know I can't understand them but that doesn't stop me being able to guess what they're saying. Indeed the language barrier exists but it doesn't hamper the game one bit.

So I wonder, readers, do you regularly play with people from around the world? Have you learnt another language or improved your linguistic skills using the game? Do you play on a realm which doesn't speak your mother tongue? Do you enjoy playing with people from other cultures and countries? Has it inspired you to take up learning a second or third language?

Filed under: Guilds, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Quests, Raiding, Forums, Europe

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