This week saw a release date announcement for Curse of Naxxramas, the first adventure pack for Hearthstone. Release dates are fine and all that, but in more relevant WoW news, this week also saw the launch of a brand new beta build that opened up four new levels to obtain, two newPvE zones worth of quests, two model revamps, one PvP island, a mysterious portal, and a whole mess of new places to explore.
Sure, we already have a list of things to expect from Warlords, and a list of features we'll be seeing in the new expansion. But this week, in addition to asking everyone what they are playing this weekend, we decided to ask what one feature they'd like to see added to Warlords. How about you guys -- and what are you playing?
Alex Ziebart (@AlexZiebart) This weekend I'm taking it easy for the most part and spending time outside. When I am playing something, I'll be on the Warlords beta checking out Talador. As for new features? Real player housing is still something I really want after seeing it in action in Wildstar -- the amount of creativity some players pour into their lots is incredible. Though I'd accept a Karabor comeback as an alternative.
This week was a complex mix of big news and no news. Weeks like this are weird. Your intrepid WoW Insider staff assembles itself, ready to lay down the big news smackdown... and then nothing else comes to light. It's a weird mix of hurry-up-and-wait and "Oh, please, let something happen."
But the reality is that WoD approaches closer with every day. While there's obviously no release date yet, we're getting lots of information from the beta. So when we asked the WoW Insider staff what they're playing this weekend, we also asked them to opine on the state of the beta. Are we looking forward to the expansion as a whole new playground, or are we feeling like the not-time-travel expansion is perhaps a bit lackluster?
Robots. They're an awful lot better at many things than we puny humans. Of course, you would rightly argue that we humans have taught these robots everything they know, and you would be absolutely correct. Indeed, Lisa Poisso met the humans behind the robot last October for an interview! But those humans aren't me. I am not great at math -- I can't do the sums required to exactly calculate reforging or best-in-slot gear or how many hit gems I need to get to the cap.
And that's where Ask Mr. Robot comes in. What does he do? Well, he retrieves your character from the armory and inputs all the details into his remarkable computer system, then recommends reforging, regemming, enchanting and gear upgrades for your character! Mr. Robot recently had a substantial facelift and is hugely improved from his old version, now able to advise on far more elements of gear and offer more specific input according to spec. He even has PvP information!
Like many very clever people (and androids), Mr. Robot can appear a little intimidating to the new user. I know when I started availing myself of his services, it took me a fair while to wrap my head around it -- and that's where Hoofit over at More Cowbell comes in. His guide breaks down the Ask Mr. Robot experience into manageable steps, explaining all the sections of the interface to allow would-be users to get the most out of the site.
As More Cowbell says, if you haven't heard of Mr. Robot, you could be missing out on powerful improvements and upgrades for your character. The More Cowbell guide is a great place to start to see what that robot can do for you and how.
What's that image above? Why, that's a screenshot of Azshara before the goblins took over, taken for our massive series of Before the Shattering galleries we put together just before Cataclysm launched. It also happens to be the sixth image from the sixth subfolder in my images folder, which leads us to a meme started by Gnomeaggedon from the blog Armageddon's Coming -- a meme that has taken off with alarming speed.
The premise is simple: Head into your images folder, select the sixth subfolder, grab the sixth image in the folder, post the image, and select six bloggers to tag for the next part of the meme. Those people post their own sixth images, tag six more bloggers, and so on. Those of you who are skilled at math can already see where this is going.
These days, I'm rather akin to my rogue (above, slipping along with her stealth pack after spotting some Alliance players out leveling) or recently departed editor-in-chief Dan O'Halloran in that most of what I do happens behind the scenes. I'm the Mama Smurf of WoW Insider, painting the blue dot that means "copyediting complete" on each and every post that runs through the WI queue. This process is entirely separate from the content review done by our lead editors, and it's where I spend most of my WI time these days -- because this gang has a lot to say, trust me ...
I am a writer. I write! My general responsibility is to cover DPS shaman, once referred to as the Defense Against the Dark Arts position of class columns. I'm also one of the Choose My Adventure crew, currently leveling a goblin priest named Clergelam. Finally, I occasionally write news or the rare Occu'thar raid guide.
What's your main?
My main is the awfully named Elamqt, of Proudmoore. He's a man-cow shaman, generally of the enhancement variety. When I started playing WoW, I went through a large variety of alts that I got to around level 20 and stopped playing. I fell in love with Elam when I discovered that he got Ghost Wolf at 20 and wouldn't have to wait until 40 to get a mount. He became my main then and has largely been my main ever since. I took a short break in Wrath of The Lich King to play a hunter -- and am currently focusing a little more on my mage -- but Elam is always first in my heart.
Horde or Alliance?
I'm a Tauren, but I don't think much of the Horde's politics. In particular, I hate Garrosh Hellscream. I hate him hard. But even without Hellscream, I don't care for the Horde. I play Horde because I love Tauren, but if they were an Alliance race, I'd be there. I don't really like the Alliance that much either, though. Pretty much, I'm just for the Herd.
About the Bloggers introduces you to the people behind WoW Insider. You can find articles on more of our staffers in earlier About the Bloggers profiles.
What do you do at WoW Insider?
Originally, I came on staff to take over the Addon Spotlight column and to help revive and reinvigorate the Reader UI of the Week feature that people have loved in the past but had dropped off as a feature. I applied to work for the site with only the addon columns in mind. Over time, after a few guest stints on The Lawbringer and generally always being around to help with the main site, I've graduated to blogging most days and taking over The Lawbringer full time. It's my labor of love -- I get to teach and discuss my opinions about lots of different esoteric gaming topics.
I was into podcasting for a while with my own little network and wanted to be a guest on the WoW Insider Show for a long time, well before applying to work on the site. I bugged Sacco to let me be a guest and, before you know it, I was sleeping on the show's proverbial couch and they couldn't get rid of me. Now my name is on the banner. It's how I roll.
Last weekend we spotlighted the big healer survey that went around the blogosphere a little while back -- it was chock full of information straight from healers about their classes and abilities and what they thought of them. Now, Death Goddess is aiming to do the same thing for DPS classes. She's only got a few blogs who've answered so far, but they run a good range, from hunter to warlock to mage, and maybe getting the word out like this will encourage a few more DPS-style bloggers to put their answers in the pot.
As long as we're going to keep encouraging this meme (or non-meme, as they may be saying), I'd love to see some of this stuff quantified a little bit more. It'd be interesting to put into numbers which kinds of classes like their roles best, or which situations each role likes to play more (do healers prefer raiding over 5-mans, or do DPS prefer to play solo rather than PvP?). The healer survey was a treasure trove of raw anecdotal information, but it'd be good to see this put into a spreadsheet or graph, and maybe give us a more quantified look at what people think of their class. We'll keep an eye on the DPS data and maybe try hashing it out once the list of those surveyed becomes pretty substantial.
Our podcast brings the usual tricks and treats this afternoon -- before you head out in a costume to go get some real candy, be sure to stop by our Ustream page around 3:30pm Eastern and get some ear candy first. Turpster and I will welcome Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington and another WoW.com writer to chat about the most popular posts on the site this week. On the docket, we'll have the new patch 3.3 notes, hints at things to come, why pallies are up in arms (and why they don't have too much to worry about), and the new looting system and what disenchanters think of it.
And as usual we'll be reading your emails and chatting live with folks in the chat channel, as well as the usual preshow and aftershow (I've heard a lot of feedback about those lately -- people seem to like them). You can join us live on the Ustream page, in the embedded feed below the break, or even in the Ustream iPhone app, if you don't happen to be at home near a full computer. It all begins at 3:30pm Eastern this Halloween afternoon -- see you then!
The Twisted Nether folks have been a huge part of the WoW community for a while now -- I finally got to meet both Fimlys and Nibuca in person at the last BlizzCon, and of course we've mentioned them and their work here on the site before. They've recently announced another big project, in coordination with Stompalina over at Rawrcast and our own Eddie "Brigwyn" Carrington, author of the Scattered Shots column and curator of The Hunting Lodge, and it sounds exciting. Azeroth United is an "Internet media community" centered around World of Warcraft, so it'll be a hub for sharing news and support around not just bloggers, but all WoW-related fansites and online resources.
It sounds like their first project will be a large-scale charity drive, much like the Children's Week auction that Brigwyn put together earlier this year. More news on that, we're told, is coming soon, and we'll keep our ears open to see what they're up to. We've seen the power of the Warcraft community before, both in making a difference with donations and and uniting under a common flag, so a project like this is sure to be fun to watch. Stay tuned for more when we hear it.
The Guild was at our meetup last night (bloggers and Internet stars -- guess who's who above), and now they're about to take the floor at BlizzCon. We're standing by to hear what Felicia and the cast have to say about the new season, the upcoming comic book, and the geeky tour de force that is The Guild.
Liveblogging starts right after the break -- newest at the top. Should be fun!
We're spending our day traveling to BlizzCon, so we figured while we were still in the air, we'd let you in on a little trade industry secret: what we're bringing to the show. The gallery below offers you a look at just what it takes to turn out the kind of BlizzCon coverage we'll be bringing you this weekend -- the tech, the gear, and the, er, beverages.
Great time on the show again last week -- Lesley Smith and Patrick Beja (of, err, all the stuff he does) joined Turpster and I last Thursday afternoon to chat about the biggest news in Warcraft recently, including what we've heard about the new expansion, Ghostcrawler's attempt at comedy, and the re-emergence of Onxyia. How exciting! And of course we chatted live with folks in the Ustream chat and answered all of your emails (which you can send along to us at firstname.lastname@example.org).
Next week, our show will be a little bit different. Instead of the usual Saturday at 3:30pm show, because of BlizzCon, we'll instead be doing a live broadcast straight from our meetup on Thursday evening at 7:30pm Pacific. It won't be a formal show -- rather, it'll be your chance to sit in on the meetup, and meet and greet some of our bloggers live in video person. Both Turpster and I will be there (along with a bunch of other folks from the WoW.com staff), so if you can't make it to BlizzCon, you can still tune in and see what it's like and chat with us (we'll try to save some giveaways for you, too).
We're also planning two different live podcasts next weekend, one each night of BlizzCon, so stay tuned on the site for more information about those. We'll probably combine those into one for iTunes next week (so even if you can't be around live, you can still listen in). More on that later -- meanwhile, enjoy the show, and hopefully we'll see you via Ustream at the meetup on Thursday night.
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.
One more major WoW-related blog has closed its doors. Too Many Annas, among others, notes that Blogatelle has called it quits, saying that Sean and Jess over there both feel they've come to the point where they've run out of things to say. While the blog itself is definitely a nice achievement -- it was an excellent blog centered on roleplaying (we've mentioned it before here on the site as an excellent resource for RPers) -- they will unfortunately leave a number of series behind, including the Katafray project, which followed a roleplaying Paladin up through the levels in Azeroth. As Anna says, they definitely deserve a hat tip, both for giving the RP community a solid and steady blogging voice, and for being accessible enough to bring in new RPers.
This closing follows the shuttering of a few other WoW blogs lately, most famously those of BRK and Resto4Life. You might say three is a trend, sure, but on the other hand, we've seen a lot of blogs and podcasts grow as well lately. Four years in, there are going to be all kinds of people in the community, in all kinds of places regarding their interest to the game. Anyone who sees a few bloggers step away to do other things and cites it as a sign that the game is on its last legs needs to keep looking. We're sorry to lose some popular bloggers, but it sure looks from here like the community is stronger than ever.
And of course, we'll point out our own contribution to the auction page -- we've donated a free guest spot on our podcast, the WoW Insider Show. If you've ever wanted to tell me in virtual person how wrong I am, or encourage Turpster's already oversize ego, or weigh in with us during the Meat of the Show, now's your chance. With your bid there, not only are you helping children who are going through some terrible experiences, but you might also get the chance to speak your mind about World of Warcraft right alongside us on the show. Oh, and we'll poke around our WoW Insider prize closet for some other fun stuff for you, too -- maybe loot cards, a Turpster drawing, or whatever else we've got sitting around.