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Posts with tag Keys

WoW Archivist: The keys to content

Karazhan entrance
WoW Archivist explores the secrets of World of Warcraft's past. What did the game look like years ago? Who is etched into WoW's history? What secrets does the game still hold?

Keys in WoW have come in many forms. Some hang around our neck. Some hide in belts. Others open aircraft hangars or other, very special places. Some let us pretend to be rogues. Some never made it to the live game. Some we eat or play with. Some help us get the mail or reach new heights. We find some in unexpected places. A few are just trash.

This column is not about those keys. This is about the keys that used to be a Big Deal. The keys that people went to extraordinary lengths to obtain. The keys that put you on everyone's friends list. The keys to content.

Literal gates

Today, content is rarely locked. Players take it for granted that when a new dungeon or raid goes live, they will have immediate access. For the first half of WoW's history, however, this was not the case at all.

Vanilla WoW locked away virtually all of its end-game content. Raids required attunement, which means that every single person in your raid had to complete a certain quest line.

Keys worked differently. Content that required a key wasn't gated according to some arbitrary release schedule, such as the Heart of Fear -- but by actual gates.

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Filed under: WoW Archivist

Keybindings and how to change them

Xella has a great post over at WoW LJ about keybindings, and it got me thinking. I play with what I thought was the "standard" way -- with the left hand sitting on the home fingers of Shift, A, W, D, and the spacebar, and then jumping up to the 1-6 (or further down the number line if necessary, though truth be told, I usually mouse-click those when I have the time to do so) to hit various abilities. But xella does it very differently -- she maps her fingers to the top abilities keys, using only her ring finger for movement. I would probably never have come up with that on my own (my habits come directly from FPS games, where the 1-6 keys are mostly for weapon switching, something you don't do quite as often as casting abilities), but it does make a lot of sense, even if xella says her ring finger, with all of those movement motions, is getting somewhat worn out.

And then she hits on something else I've been dealing with lately, too: changing what you've got. Setting up your keybinds is one thing, but actually changing them can be tougher.

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Filed under: Tips, Tricks, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Add-Ons, Hardware

BlizzCon 2009: Hands-on with Razer's Naga MMO mouse

We posted last week that Razer had released an MMO mouse fittingly called the Naga (technically after the Sanskrit word for "snake," but c'mon, who plays WoW and doesn't know what Naga really means, right?), and when we did that, we mentioned it would be usable on the floor at BlizzCon. Sure enough, when we ran into the hall (hey, had to get to the store before those plush murlocs sold out) in Anaheim, there it was. We sat down with Travis Wannlund, community manager for the mouse and accessory company, for a quick demo and hands-on.

In that demo, we learned that Razer has actually developed their own WoW addon for the mouse's use, allowing you to map your abilities right into on-screen slots that correspond to the 3x4 touchpad of buttons on the thumb side. He also let us in on some of the design reasoning for the mouse itself, and what they've got in store for the device's future. Read on to learn more.

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Filed under: Items, Add-Ons, BlizzCon, Hardware

More beta keys sent out

Several people, including many WoW Insider authors, have received Beta Opt-In keys for Wrath of the Lich King in the last 24 hours. This latest wave seems to be quite large. In previous waves I've known 1 or 2 people that have gotten in, where as this wave I know at least 16.

There is some speculation that this might be an attempt by Blizzard to thwart the release of Warhammer Online, which is set to come online next Thursday. Warhammer has received some mixed reviews, with many comparisons to World of Warcraft, including one by Michael Zenke of our sister site Massively.

Nonetheless, those that have received keys are enjoying the thrills of the beta. New levels, the Death Knight, and servers crashing a few times an hour. Good times had by all!

Filed under: News items, Wrath of the Lich King

Ten of our favorite Achievements

A few readers have emailed us recently asking just what kinds of things to expect in the Achievements releasing with Wrath of the Lich King later this year. There are going to be over 500 of them (with more added later), and while there are a few standard things you might expect (getting Exalted with all the reputations, exploring the world, and maxing out your character), there are lots more that are meant to do what Achievements do best: extend gameplay.

So we hunted through all the Achievements in the beta, and pulled out ten that we really liked. Not all of these are unique (for the Alterac Valley time limit one, there is actually one of those for every battleground in the game), but all of them are great examples of why you should be excited about Achievements when they hit the live realms. From the silly to the "requires a serious commitment," here are ten great Achievements we've seen in the beta.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Galleries, Wrath of the Lich King, Achievements

Certain old keys, pets, and tabards to be retrievable in Wrath

One of the nice things about Wrath is the consolidation of bag space. With mounts and pets becoming skills instead of items, it'll free up a lot of bag space for us pack rats. Unfortunately, for now, we still need that bag space, and to get enough of it, some of us have been forced to delete pets, tabards, and keys that we've otherwise outgrown.

But if you're lamenting the loss of your Miniwing, or if you're having second thoughts about deleting that Battle Tabard of the Defilers, take heart. Tigole's announced that Wrath of the Lich King will include a way to recover deleted unique tabards, keys, and vanity pets. For keys, you'll talk to a locksmith, for pets, a stable master, and for tabards, a tabard vendor (likely the ones in the capital town halls).

This only works on unique, one-per-character items, of course, so if you deleted a rare drop, you'll still have to go farm it again. It also doesn't appear to be currently implemented on Beta, but hopefully it is soon so we can test it and make sure all the right unique stuff can be recovered again -- I'm hoping they include non-key keys like the Scepter of Celebras.

In the meantime, it's nice to see that Blizzard's continuing to allow us just a little bit more leeway in character customization and giving us pack rats more options to keep the stuff we love. Next stop: Player housing with item display cases! Hey, I can dream.

Filed under: Items, News items, Expansions, Wrath of the Lich King

Wrath Beta keys sent out to BlizzCon and WWI code holders

Numerous reports are coming in that the Wrath Beta keys are making their way to players now. Attendees of last year's BlizzCon in Anaheim, California, and the Worldwide Invitational in Paris, France, received a card with a code for a "future Blizzard title" as part of their goody bags. Wryxian confirmed over at the official forums that the said title was Wrath of the Lich King and urged everyone to register their codes immediately. Players who do so will be prompted to enter the codes from the cards as well as their e-mail address, as Beta access information is sent through e-mail.

Reader Phi mentions that it doesn't matter when the codes were claimed. She registered her code right after BlizzCon last year while her boyfriend registered only yesterday after Blizzard's announcement, and both received their keys today. If you're one of the lucky few who attended either Blizzard event or managed to snag a beta code through other channels like eBay, registering the code should see you receiving invites in the mail. WoW Insider's Elizabeth Harper, who attended both, received two invites to the Beta eight minutes apart from each other. The official e-mail from prompts players to follow the step-by-step instructions over at Blizzard's official Beta page. Thanks to everyone who tipped this in!

Filed under: Blizzard, News items, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King, Worldwide Invitational

BlizzCon 2007 Beta codes will be used for Wrath

EU CM Wryxian has good news for everyone who attended BlizzCon last year (or just bought the beta key cards off of eBay): the codes given out last year will be used for the Wrath of the Lich King beta. Wryx says if you've got a code, register it immediately, and then do what everyone else is doing -- wait for the beta email to show up.

To tell the truth, I'm a little disappointed. I've got a beta key from BlizzCon, but I've already signed up for the Wrath beta through the usual channels. Of course, we still don't know how this works -- maybe those with a key will be given access before those who just signed up randomly, but it sure seems like everybody will get in eventually. Which means that even if you didn't get a key at BlizzCon, you'll still get into the beta anyway. I thought that Blizzard would have treated those who came out to their event a little better (and, at the very least, been a lot clearer about how registration for the beta is working -- are they making it up as they go along?).

But on the other hand, the open registration just means more people will get into the beta, and I don't have a problem with that -- the more the merrier. As always, the problem with Blizzard is communication -- it's fine if they want to keep which beta these WWI or BlizzCon keys are for a secret, but when the beta registration actually starts, they should make a plan, stick with it, and let all of us would-be beta testers in on what it is.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, Expansions, BlizzCon, Wrath of the Lich King

European registration for Wrath Beta now open

MMO Champion (and a few of our tipsters -- thanks!) is reporting that the European WoW site has opened up registration for the Wrath of the Lich King beta. I wasn't able to sign in with my trial account (created for the Dingstravaganza a while back), but there's no question that the page is up (inside EU players' Account Management menu) and accepting signups. Of course, this still doesn't mean that anyone is playing the beta, only that signups are taking place. We're also being told that it's an open sign-up, so it could be a long time before these signups are actually allowed to play, especially if one of the beta keys from BlizzCon or WWI are used to run a closed beta first.

As for why this isn't happening on the main North American site yet, remember that one of the EU CMs was the one to break the news -- perhaps because WWI was local, they're starting things up early there (or maybe it's just a timezone thing, and the EU site has had more time today to get the signups going). No matter what, the wait is almost over -- there's no question now that we're closer to the Wrath of the Lich King beta than ever.

Update: Eyonix confirms the registration on US side is coming soon.

Filed under: Realm News, Patches, Blizzard, The Burning Crusade, Wrath of the Lich King

Singing the praises of Heroic Countenance

Lariana on Skywall has words of praise for "Heroic Countenance," a new NPC spell in patch 2.4 that unlocks you to the Heroic mode of MrT -- to get it cast on you, you have to complete the instance on Normal mode first by doing a quest to kill of Kael'thas once and for all. Basically, it replaces the Heroic reputation keys, which Lariana says were a much less interesting system than Heroic Countenance.

And Bornakk basically confirms that Blizzard agrees (well, all he says is that they'll talk about it on the next Blizzcast, but he adds a smiley, so odds are that Blizzard is down with the Heroic Countenance). They've been talking for a while, too, about making the reputation grind easier for alts and guilds, so maybe this type of spell is how they'll deal with that -- get it cast on one of your characters, and it will be cast on all of them.

The only question, then, is what to do with all those Heroic keys that we've picked up. The answer is probably nothing -- Blizzard doesn't really care, it seems, about updating old content, and my guess is that the instances in Outland won't be changing much from their current form. But in Wrath, it might be fun if the keys stayed, but opened up other, less consequential content. Instead of Heroic mode, what if a Revered rep key opened up the way to an additional optional boss, or an additional loot area per run? Not enough to make it necessary, but enough to reward those who went all the way with the reputation factions in the game.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Raiding

Sticking with just one character

We've done a lot of talking about alts here at WoW Insider, and if I had to guess, I'd suspect that most of our readers tend to be what most of us writers are: alt-a-holics, with many, many classes and levels of alts, sometimes even spanning across servers. But not everybody is like us-- some people, like the Nameless One over on LJ, have only one character. And to tell the truth, I kind of envy her a bit.

I've known a few people who have only played one character in the game ever, and in my experience, they've done great-- all the money they make goes directly to them, they never have to redo rep runs, all the keys they collect never have to be collected again. If you are an altaholic, think about all the gear you've gotten across the board and all the time you've sunk into other characters-- people with just one toon get to put all that time and effort into just one character, and get to reap the rewards.

There is a lesson here, however, even for us altaholics. I've often found that if I really want to level up one of my alts, the switching just can't happen-- I have to choose one character and stick to it. All the money I earn stays with that character, and my only goals while online are for that character alone. And when I focus, and put effort into just one, that's when things actually get done. I, like many players, get bored easily-- if I had only one class ever, I would have had to give up on this game a while ago. But when it comes to earning gear and leveling fast, the best strategy I've found is to sit down, focus in, and play like you have only one character.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Alts

Heroic dungeons now require "Honored" reputation

This just in: In addition to the latest Patch 2.3 updates we just noted, the various heroic instance keys will no longer require "Revered" reputation with the various factions around Outland. "Honored" is now sufficient to get you in to Heroic dungeons everywhere.

This raises myriad questions: Does this devalue the heroic instances at all, or does it simply open them up to more players? Is it a slap in the face to all those who had to grind their way to revered up to now, or is it just the natural progression of opening up content for more and more people to access as time goes by? Will anyone run regular Steamvents, Shattered Halls, or Shadow Labyrinth when they can just skip to the heroic versions? Will this get thousands (or millions?) of players who got burned out on the rep-grind back into the game?

Filed under: Patches, Instances, Factions

Breakfast Topic: Consumable consumption

So I have a question: how exactly do you use your consumables?

I noticed a few weeks ago now that I never really used my consumables when I was supposed to. On my Resto Shaman, I have Nature's Swiftness bound to Q (since my left hand is always on WASD) as a panic button-- need a heal instantly, hit it fast. But consumables like potions and healthstones just sat in my bag-- I almost never remembered to whip them out when the party was going down.

So recently, I opened up the second hotbar on the right side, and put all my various pots and healthstones there. That way I'm just one click away from one if I need them. And that's worked pretty well-- now, even the tank sometimes forgets to use his healthstone, but I always have them available in a clinch.

But they're still all the way on the side of the screen, and it seems like I could do it faster. How do you have your consumables set up? Do you forget to use them all the time, or do you have them bound to a certain key, ready to jump into action at a moment's notice?

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Tips, Breakfast Topics, Buffs

Get trinkets out of inventory-- and on a chain

I can conquer dragons, I can crush Centaur, and I can even take candle (I've been waiting for days to get a chance to post that hilarious thread), but if one monster in the World of Warcraft has cost me more than anything, it's a full inventory. On my hunter, I've got a bag full of food, and on my shaman, I have to carry around four totems all the time. Crafting items take up another bag or two (my disenchanting rogue has a bag full of enchanting mats and a bag full of poisons). Quest items, potions, food, reputation tokens, noncombat pets and mounts, and that hearthstone-- there's just not enough room for everything!

So here's one idea, shared with me by Braila of Thunderhorn (our guild's tree-mendous healing druid) during last weekend's Karazhan run: How about a trinket chain?

It makes a lot of sense. Blizzard implemented a keychain to get keys out of our inventories, and considering that we're all hauling around tons of trinkets lately (I had seven on me, and one of our warriors had eight with him), this seems like the first place Blizzard should go to thin out the inventory. It's not like trinkets are huge items-- why should they take up 1/16 of Netherweave Bags when you can fit 200 arrows in the same place? Spare trinkets should have their own tab to sit in, something that grows the more you get, just like the keychain.

Of course the obvious solution would be to just not carry so many trinkets around. But there's so many of them for every situation-- healing, solo grinding, raid healing, DPS, PvP-- that it's no wonder everyone at 70 has such a collection. Blizz should give us a chain to put them on.

Filed under: Items, Analysis / Opinion, Blizzard, Expansions, Raiding

No UBRS key for you!

Call me crazy, but I am still collecting Azeroth keys and attunements. It's this thing I have with needing to complete things. I realize fully that I will hardly ever go to UBRS now that I am 70 (it's a Murphy's Law thing), but should any of the lower members of the guild need entrance for attunements or gear of their own (my guild is full of collectors just like me), then I will be able to help them out. I have two out of the three gems needed, and have in my spare time been running the instance with our guild leader trying for the third. So imagine my irritation when I read today on that the quest line is bugged, severely.

Vaelen, the schmoe who gives you the quest in the first place, is now in the habit of deleting the quest and your quest items when you talk to him. Now, this isn't right by any stretch of the imagination. Vrakhris mentioned in the forum post that Blizz knows about the problem, and are working on fixing it in an upcoming patch. Meanwhile, there's a workaround to tide us over.

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Filed under: Tricks, Quests

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