Every week, WoW Insider brings you Blood Pact for affliction, demonology, and destruction warlocks. This week, Megan O'Neill wishes the mages would stop sending out the bad voodoo vibes to everything she owns so she can buy new fun things for her birthday instead of old replacements.
There's plenty to look for through the datamining, but the question on everyone's mind is, "How do I start the questline?" Trust me, when someone finds out, I'm sure the internet will explode about it. It'll probably be on a Monday, during my other job's hours, and right after this column posts, knowing my luck.
But before I get into an all-out walkthrough of the questline, I want to discuss one thing: does green fire have to be exclusive? Is exclusivity required for meaningfulness?
This seems like a really exciting proposition, and the question is, what dungeons would be the best ones to redo? We discussed this at WoW Insider, very briefly, and one suggestion was Upper Blackrock Spire and Lower Blackrock Spire. My preference would likely not be anything that took place in Blackrock Mountain, just because it seems like such a samey place, but what do you all think, dear readers?
Blizzard has announced that they'll be present at this year's Dreamhack Winter 2012 in Jonkoping, Sweden, from Novermber 22nd to the 25th. In addition to Starcraft Academy, where lucky people will learn how to play SCII from professional SCII players, there will be a Jade Serpent Challenge Mode contest (you can use your own computer), as well as round table discussions about World of Warcraft, Starcraft II and Diablo III.
The round tables will be on November 23rd and 24th, and if you're interested in participating, send an email to community-EN@blizzard.com with [DHW12] in the subject line. (If you use that link, it should be included for you.) The World of Warcraft round tables are scheduled for Friday at 12:30 CET – 14:00 CET and Saturday at 16:30 CET – 18:00 CET. Your email should include your name and what panels you're interested in participating in.
So if you're going to Dreamhack, definitely go chat with the fine folks at Blizzard.
These leaderboards aren't exactly alight with activity right now, as most players are still engaged in leveling and the minimum level for challenge mode dungeons is 90. However, once more people get to 90, get familiar with the dungeon content, and get their item level up to the advised, but not required, 463, the leader boards the team have put together will be an invaluable resource.
They allow you, of course, to view all the top-ranked team runs, but also allow you to filter those by class. You could look up every team with a priest in it, or a mage. And once you have that information, you can also use the leaderboards to easily access their spec and gear. If you're logged in, you can also check out how well your guild is doing in challenge modes for various dungeons.
Blizzard's Lead Encounter Designer Ion Hazzikostas, a.k.a. Watcher, has taken to the forums a few times lately, along with Community Manager Zarhym, to provide clarification on Challenge Modes.
With all the bad air swirling around Blizzard from certain minority groups within the WoW community about catering to casuals, challenge modes are something they seem very keen to stand firm on. When asked if challenge modes would ever be nerfed, Ion replied as follows:
If at all feasible, we're not going to be adjusting the content itself. Persistent leaderboards are the backbone of the system, and if we make the dungeon easier, then your 14:13 time last week might actually be more impressive than my 14:05 clear today, but there would be no way of knowing that. It's conceivable that we might adjust the actual Gold/Silver/Bronze cutoff times slightly if it turns out we were badly off the mark with the tuning, but we're pretty confident in our numbers.
The Dungeon and Raid Finder tools are getting a visual overhaul in Mists of Pandaria, combining multiple tools into one. The new menu, opened by default with I or Ctrl+I, mashes together the Dungeon and Raid Finders into one utility along with the new Scenario Finder and a tab for dungeon Challenges.
I liked when the PvP interface was mashed together but it still had the drop-down menu issue. Hopefully, there will be a day when drop-down menus are gone forever.
Check out this gallery of the new Dungeon and Raid Finder utilities that I just snapped in beta. What do you guys think?
It's open warfare between Alliance and Horde in Mists of Pandaria, World of Warcraft's next expansion. Jump into five new levels with new talents and class mechanics, try the new monk class, and create a pandaren character to ally with either Horde or Alliance. Look for expansion basics in our Mists FAQ, or dig into our spring press event coverage for more details!
Cataclysm has been a fairly, er, cataclysmic expansion when it comes to the status quo of tanking. For starters, threat was decimated with the introduction of Vengeance and nigh removed from the game with the recent buffs to threat generation. Likewise, variability in the number of tanks a fight required seemingly died along with Halfus Wyrmbreaker. And, perhaps most troubling of all, the profession of tanking has generally been made less and less interesting as far as encounter design is concerned.
What makes a fight "interesting"?
If you think back to some of the fights in previous tiers, the most interesting ones were always the most demanding ones -- the ones that required you to juggle multiple balls over the course of the encounter. These balls could be one of many mechanics. To name just a few:
Picking up adds that are dynamically joining the fight
Shepherding adds to a specific location
Hitting cooldowns to counter a near-death attack
Moving out of hazards constantly
Taunt swapping boss on a debuff
Combating the threat output of buffed DPS
And countless other tropes that I've neglected to list.
Reading any of these, you can think of a number of mechanics that Blizzard has constantly repeated that encompass them. It's a fairly limited bag of tricks, and Blizzard has done a bang-up job mixing and matching a handful of them and compiling the resulting smorgasbord into some of the fights we have known and loved.
BoK brings up something I've thought a little bit about lately: their guild will occasionally run an encounter "blind," which means they'll go in without researching or learning any boss strategy ahead of time. This is generally something that only the highest-level guilds often do, and even then only on the PTR -- by the time bosses hit the live realms, their abilities are usually posted online somewhere. But some guilds enjoy a challenge, and doing a raid without knowing what's coming definitely keeps you on your toes. A lot of raiders think that's actually the "right" way to do it -- Blizzard's game doesn't come with strategies installed, so if the designers created the fight correctly, it should be clear, just from watching buffs and boss animations, what to do during a fight.
So today's query is: have you ever run something blind, or would you like to? I haven't run any raids blind -- my guild raids so little already that when we do, it's best to be fully prepared. But I did run the new 5-mans blind on the PTR, and it was an interesting experience. You really have to stay alert and try to analyze the fight as you're doing it, look for buffs and balances and try to position yourself as best you can, all while running your usual casts and abilities. It's a fun challenge, though as the fight gets tougher, it's probably less fun -- we were running with premades on five-mans, and I doubt a high-level raid would be as easy on us. Still, some of you must do it regularly, or at least be interested in going blind. What say you?
Here's our podcast from last weekend, when both Amanda Dean and Adam Holisky tuned in to join Turpster and I and talk about the biggest stories of the past week in Warcraft. Unfortunately, it was a bad day for Skype, so we had some rough tumbles with lag and audio problems, but we did manage to get in some good insight about Matt Low's thoughts on why you probably shouldn't play a Priest, the incoming lore reasons on why those new race/class combos are possible, Adam's challenge to Blizzard and their veiled release information, and what our faction transfer survey came up with in terms of conclusions. Despite the technical issues, I'm told it was still a pretty good show, so tune in below to hear it for yourself.
This week, we're going live at a special time (and yes, apologies to the guy who last week that we were switching around times constantly -- this is only because I'm embarking on a cross-country move later in the week, and the rest of the year we should always be found on Saturdays). We'll be live this Wednesday evening, September 16th, 2009 6:00 PM EDT right over on our Ustream page. I know that's probably a little late for you EU folks, but the last few shows have been earlier than usual, so this one's for the Americans getting home from work. And of course if you can't make that time, we'll definitely have the show on the iTunes feed later on for your listening enjoyment. See you then.
Get the podcast: [iTunes] Subscribe to the WoW Insider Show directly in iTunes. [RSS] Add the WoW Insider Show to your RSS aggregator. [MP3] Download the MP3 directly.
Peeking around the official forums, I saw a few threads dedicated to the reincarnation of 40-man raids. Do you remember the old, pre-BC epic AQ-40/MC/Naxx days? I can honestly say I really do not. I was a freshly minted 60 when BC came out. I got my feet wet in ZG and AQ-20, but that's it. Perhaps I'm missing out on something important. It's entirely possible that others feel the same way.
Since Blizzard has tuned Wrath raids to both 10 and 25 person versions, what's stopping them from rounding it out to a full 40. Perhaps they could even go for more. Many are already complaining that Naxx is too easy. They're looking for a real challenge. I don't know if Blizzard is open to the possibility of tuning up the dungeons, but we've seen evidence that the developers do listen to player feedback.
As a whole was as WoW players are a pretty tough crowd to please.This is probably because of the diversity of the player base as well as the variable goals that we set for ourselves.We range from casual PvPers to hard core raiders.We all have our fair share of complaints, but judging by the games massive popularity, it seems Blizzard has done a decent job of responding to the competing demand of its subscribers.
Amgusrex of Moon Guard is concerned that play in Wrath of the Lich Kingwill not be challenging enough.He feels that Blizzard does a disservice to players by nerfing the difficulty of content with progressive patching.His post is pretty inflammatory, calling others cry babies and pointing toward a "massive population that is bad at video games."Taking a look at the Original Poster's Armory profile, I have to assume that he is not posting on his main, because if he is he still has to over come many challenges himself before declaring the game "easy mode."
So one of the most exciting announcements from the recent flurry of news about WoTLK, at least from my point of view, is the that there will be 10-man and 25-man versions of every raid. Think about that for a moment. Yeah, that's right. That means that you and 9 other friends will be able to scale the heights of Icecrown Glacier and topple Arthas himself from his frigid throne.
You've entered Azeroth with a brand spanking new character and you're trying to find your footing in the world. Perhaps this is even your first MMO entirely, and while looking for guidance, you're overwhelmed at the sheer volume of information available. Sound like you?
While our very own WoW Rookie column has a wealth of information specifically tailored to new players, this week's Insider Trader is going to go in-depth and personal with your profession choices to help make sure that you get the job you want.
Whether you are looking for a challenge, thinking ahead to your future, or looking to maximize your profit, you'll find the advice you need to make an informed decision. Have you already chosen, and are regretting it? Never fear, I'll walk you through backing out of the deal and finding something that really suits you.
Make sure not to skip the comments section, as input and personal experience will help you learn about the different outcomes you might face.
We've already reported this week on new and exciting ways that players are coming up with to PvP, and it looks like another interesting and possibly unique challenge is taking place over on the Deathwing server. Ruzai, the creator of this thread over on the Deathwing forums that explains the details, calls it "The Ganking Challenge."
It seems to have generated lots of interest, and sounds very fun! It's world PvP based, obviously, but it provides enough structure and basic rules to turn ganking into a game. Here's a quick overview:
There are 3 targets at a time.
Post a screenshot of your kill, and then pick 3 new targets from your own faction.
All targets must be level 70 and not in a BG.
You can't tell the targets that they're being hunted.
Playing dirty is encouraged.
Example: Targets are now Narkan, Pacsan, and Mitsuomi. If Volarun was to come into Orgrimmar and gank Narkan and post a SS proving the kill, the Horde hunt would end and Volarun would get to choose 3 new alliance targets.
There are further details in the thread if you're interested, but I would love to have this challenge come to my server! I especially like that the active targets switch from Horde to Alliance after every kill, as it gives each side a chance at being the predator and the prey.