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The Queue: Slanderous words {WoW}

May 17th 2011 5:47AM Specifically the mirror test is you secretly mark the animal in some way that they can't see directly (e.g. write an X on a human's forehead in marker while they're asleep) then let them examine the mirror. A toddler, a chimp, and various other creatures will notice that the mirror image is marked, and that the image is of /them/ not another creature, so they will try to examine the mark on themselves, e.g. touching it.

It's possible some creatures understand the significance of what they see but aren't interested in doing anything about it. This would give us the false impression that they don't understand.

In parallel with studying non-humans we also run a lot of these type of tests on babies, to try to better understand the process by which a baby becomes a person. But once the child can string together a sentence, tests intended for non-humans are less useful because we can just ask e.g. "Why did Molly think the sweeties were in the box?" to find out what's going on.

Patch 4.1: Rise of the Zandalari features and official patch notes {WoW}

Apr 23rd 2011 6:03AM The gold was really disproportionate. Blizz is comfortable with players organising small over-geared groups to do obsolete content for some specific achievement ("She Deep Breathes More") or reward (that damn Phoenix) but having them pair up* to kill Mag or Gruul for the money was silly. You should be able to find more rewarding things to do with your time on a level 85 character than kill a TBC raid boss each week for the cash. This change ensures that remains so. People will still go back and do this stuff for the achievement, just not every damn week.

* Solo these bosses can still be frustrating at 85 depending on your class, but in a pair it's easy.

Ask the Devs round 5 achievement questions answered {WoW}

Apr 14th 2011 6:00AM Ditto on Keymaster. For me it was closure to an enthusiasm I had in Classic era wow. My not-so-great level 60 warrior wanted all those keys very badly. Years later on my level 80 DK it was not actually very difficult to obtain them, but it was certainly no easier than reaching max cooking skill, which is also an achievement.

I don't think the "we de-emphasised that, so we shouldn't make it a FoS" line makes sense. There aren't any other places with zone-limited mounts, but "Why? Because it's Red" is still a FoS. Blizzard will probably never add another quest line that takes months to complete and results in gaining an item you can't use - but there's a FoS for those who did it. That just leaves the fact that they suspect they've thrown away the data needed to give out the FoS. Which is, frankly, lame.

4.1 PTR patch notes updated for April 7 {WoW}

Apr 9th 2011 5:13AM The IPv6 deployment requires a (probably very long, like a decade or more) transition period in which both IPv4 and IPv6 are actively used on the public Internet. The first part, which we're entering now, means essentially everyone having IPv4, but increasing numbers of people having IPv6 too. Because of address space exhaustion it will become impossible to obtain new IPv4 addresses over the next year or two, and increasingly users will have IPv4 only via some nasty proxy, perhaps operated by their ISP. So for those users IPv6 will be faster or more direct when possible.

Someone like that will want "Enable IPv6 when available" as will anyone whose job is to test whether IPv6 works properly for customers at an ISP. That's not a bad excuse right? "I'm testing whether IPv6 works properly, not just playing World of Warcraft" ? If you're one of the rare people who already has great IPv6 connectivity and uses the PTR then what are you waiting for? But for most of us, this will either do nothing or make latency a little higher with no benefit for now. It's Blizzard being prepared for the future, that's all.

If your PC is correctly configured, checking this box without having IPv6 will do nothing, the Wow client will notice you don't actually have IPv6 yet, and continue using IPv4 hence the phrase "when available".

Patch 4.1: Blizzard unveils dungeon finder Call to Arms {WoW}

Apr 7th 2011 5:46AM DPS Queues actually don't seem that bad to me these days. 15-20 mins of old world questing or chatting in guild and then it pops.

I am seeing a lot of last bosses, which is a little odd (did they kick the DPS on last boss? That's very cruel! Or did someone quit rather than do the last boss?) and an amazing number of first bosses which is if anything more worrying. I also saw a bug where everybody votes kick, the game says the vote passed, then doesn't kick the (disconnected) player. Repeatedly. That sucks.

And I am still learning new things - someone showed my PuG the other day how to skip a bunch of Tol'vir trash. It took 3 minutes to get the trick right and only takes 2 mins to clear the trash, but hey, it's all good to know. And it's better than the GB "skip" that sometimes kills everybody by dumping them straight into combat, solo, after they fly to the checkpoint.

The Queue: Stranger Danger {WoW}

Apr 1st 2011 11:27AM I'm already doing (some) heroics in 15 minutes. It is partly a function of gear, but getting down to 15 minutes (rather than, say 30) is also a matter of familiarity. Gear means that mistakes don't slow you down - the DPS who stand in a fire are injured but not dead, for example. And it means boss fights go quicker - 50k+ combined DPS will make short work of 2M health. But experience means everybody targets that healer without needing raid icons. It means the hunter has already unsummoned his pet before you jump off to skip some trash without needing to be reminded. When you type "split, I'll take left lever, rest right" people can execute on that without a five minute discussion. As people get more comfortable they also take shortcuts that save a few seconds here and there. It starts to add up.

Some of the current instances may never be 15 minutes. Deadmines for example, it's linear and you get teleported back to half way, there are few opportunities to skip. SFK is also surprisingly linear although at least two bosses can be skipped easily.

Breakfast Topic: We need a title for our titles {WoW}

Apr 1st 2011 9:51AM it's not a FoS. They just took away the achievement. No real explanation except they don't like keys any more. Maybe one day they won't like Night Elves any more, and it'll be "Yeah, we erased all the Night Elf characters, they don't fit our current thinking about the game, too bad".

WoW Rookie: How to win Tol Barad {WoW}

Apr 1st 2011 9:03AM I see that more and more people understand the basic elements of TB, particularly of the late TB dance in which a flag is taken by one side just as a corresponding flag is being taken by the other side.

The early fight needs work though. If your side have trouble winning attacks this is the period to concentrate on more than any other. The enemy don't yet have a clear leader and there is no established pattern for them to follow.

Blitzkrieg can work. Small teams, maybe 3 each sent to WV and SW may find limited opposition or even none. These should be among your first people to get into TB, because they have a long way to run. They should try to co-ordinate to capture both simultaneously or as close as possible. This increases confusion for the enemy - they know they must re-take these flags, but which one first?

Remember there are two alerts, first for the defenders losing a flag, and then a few seconds later (hopefully) for your side capturing. On the first, your main group, at IG should try to consolidate, and then when you see the captures announced, go all out. The increased capture rate for having two flags means that if everybody plays their part you should take IG before the confused opponents can re-take either WV or SW. If the world freezes and you lag out for a few seconds congratulations, you have just Blitz'd TB. You should receive an achievement ding too.

For defenders, be aware that you are vulnerable to this blitzkrieg. Try to have one defender at every base even when you're not seriously contesting it. When the flag is lost their purpose is to harass, and to report what's going on. Is it heavily defended? Is it just one rogue who thinks no-one sees him? But in the early game they are the early warning system. When the solo guy at WV says four attackers arrived and killed him, you can expect to lose WV soon. With the red and blue portions of the flag bar much larger now the built-in warning is very short, so the extra few seconds notice is valuable. And if just one person is sent to WV and SW the scout can keep them waiting indefinitely - the flag bar won't move with 1:1 so it's a game of hide and seek.

Breakfast Topic: We need a title for our titles {WoW}

Mar 31st 2011 9:16AM Keymaster!

Everyone who had the Keymaster achievement before it was removed (it wasn't turned into a FoS, for no reason that's ever been clear) should be awarded this title.

Yeah, we're not bitter.

Gold Capped: Patch 4.1 and Maelstrom Crystals {WoW}

Mar 29th 2011 7:01AM JP are now a very interesting currency and it may be that the JP/VP system is a notable legacy of Cataclysm era WoW that we some day can't imagine being without, like the introduction of map makers for quest objectives or the daily quest concept from earlier upgrades.

At first, JP are precious. Someone with their first level 83 toon would no sooner trade JP for mere herbs or ore than voluntarily jump off Dalaran. But as they approach the 4000 cap more JP seem less valuable, because you can't keep them.

Then JP shift from precious to merely valuable as you gear up. You're buying BiS items for some slots, then maybe second and third choices until you get a drop you want, then maybe some offspec gear or heirlooms, most players will find something they want for a while, but gradually it's less and less important. That level 13 goblin will probably do OK without an heirloom weapon for a while.

At last JP are useless for gear. This is the point where you are happy to see Rajh or some similar end boss as you materialise into a daily PuG because you'll get your VP in less time and don't care about JP. Probably less than 10% of Cataclysm players have reached this point on even one character. These are the players for whom the JP -> trade goods option is intended.

But then the real twist happens, at a tier upgrade better gear appears for JP. JP that were almost worthless to you a few days previous are now suitable for buying what was once some of the best gear in the game.

This decidedly non-linear value of JP is a really good thing in my opinion. And it makes attempting to set a "price" based on JP trade goods fairly nonsensical, each player will value JP differently.

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