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Shifting Perspectives: The unbearable suckhood of pugging

Every week (usually), WoW Insider brings you Shifting Perspectives for cat, bear, restoration and balance druids. This Tuesday, we soothe everyone's ego by telling them it's not their fault (while secretly thinking it's everyone's fault).

I apologize for the recent absence, guys. While I would like to say it had something to do with battling hordes of evil minions from some morally questionable wizard with an abundant set of apostrophes in his name, the truth of the matter is that I've just been crushed by work. It didn't help that I started a Shifting edition on gearing a restoration druid at level 85 and thought, "Hey! Wouldn't it be nice to include all the gear available to druids from Cataclysm quests on up, à la Emmerald's old gear list, so that people know exactly where they stand in relation to upgrades?"

Some 1,600 words later, I am pleased to report that I am almost to the end of the shoulder slot.

Yeah. You're gonna have to give me another week or two on that ... unless you're planning to go naked from the shoulders down. If you do, send pics.

Anyway, it hasn't escaped my attention that the forums more or less exploded once people started getting into heroics. One contingent claims that Cataclysm heroics are too difficult and need to be nerfed. Another insists that everyone claiming that heroics are too difficult is a bad player with bad gear and bad talent choices and bad glyphs and they should feel bad. Personally, I've seen enough of both the dungeon finder and guild groups as a tank and healer to arrive at my own conclusion:

People on both sides of this argument are equally correct.

Or, if you're in a judgmental sort of mood today, they're equally full of it.

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Filed under: Druid, (Druid) Shifting Perspectives

Official forums are now read-only

The official forums have gone read-only as promised, effectively shutting them down. The new forums, over at the new World of Warcraft community site, are your new go-to forums.

If there are any threads you loved, discussions you cherished, and anything memorable you wish to keep, it would be best to save those now. The forums are staying read-only until the end of the month, and then they are going away forever. End of an era ...

Forums going read-only
These forums will remain read-only until the end of the month, after which they and all of their posts will be removed ... forever! If you have any posts, information, stickies, etc. that you'd like to keep you'll want to have finished saving it before then.

We've all enjoyed the past few years on these forums, and look forward to creating many more with you on the new community site. See you there!

Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: What threads from the old WoW forums will you miss?

Blizzard announced on Monday that the official forums we've been using the past six years will become read-only on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The forums will be replaced by the new World of Warcraft community site, which offers new and improved forums, as well as a bunch of other features. That's all good and fine, but Blizzard also said in half a month's time, it will delete the old forums and all the threads in it will be lost forever! Eek!

Wait a second ... What am I worrying about? Google Cache will likely allow us continued access to the old forum content for years to come, even after it's wiped off of Blizzard's servers. Still, in that moment of concern that all those years of information would suddenly be lost, I wondered: "What will I miss from the old forums?"

My mind immediately went to "I think my tank is seeing another healer," a thread about an healer suspicious that her tank is being unfaithful. The thread was so epic, WoW Insider actually already wrote about it. Just check out this excerpt from page 21:

She really ruined me. I was depressed about going solo. I was spending all my time in the Underbelly, knocking back Noggenfogger and bandaging myself to mailbox dancers. -- Grokthul

Also, as a PvP priest, how could I miss the comedic gold of "Disc priest/Shadow priest 2v2"? The OP had me at, "When the hunter comes to save giraffes, just darkness priest licorice beam his paladin to slow him," but by the time I read "ice tent," I couldn't breathe anymore because I was laughing and crying at the same time.

Are there any threads that stand out in your mind that you'll miss?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics

Official WoW forums going read-only on Wednesday, new community site and forums ready

Last month, Blizzard announced that it would be launching a new World of Warcraft community site, with new and improved forums. At the time, Blizzard said that the existing official forums would be phased out after testing of the community site was complete. The community site went live earlier this month.

Now, a wave of identical blue posts has hit every section of the WoW forums with the following message:

Bashiok -- Forums Going Read-Only
This Wednesday, November 17 these forums will be put into a read-only state. At that time we'll be inviting all posters to fully migrate to the new World of Warcraft community site and forums.

http://www.battle.net/wow

These forums will remain read-only until the end of the month, after which they and all of their posts will be removed ... forever! If you have any posts, information, stickies, etc. that you'd like to keep you'll want to have finished saving it before then.

We've all enjoyed the past few years on these forums, and look forward to creating many more with you on the new community site. See you there!


So that's it! We won't be able to post in the official forums anymore after Wednesday, Nov. 17, and we have until the end of November to save anything on the official forums we want to keep or remember!

Filed under: Blizzard

New Blizzard community website, forums begin testing in November

The announcement came out this morning on the EU forums that Blizzard is getting ready to roll out its new community website and forums for World of Warcraft some time in early November. Anyone who has been to the community site for StarCraft 2 will already be aware of some of the new features including a more advanced forum system than what we have now. Features will include the ability to report a post for trolling or spam without changing pages, being able to see a quick summary of the thread by mousing over and letting players up- and down-rate responses.

The current forums will be set as locked during the beginning of the transition and then will be completely removed toward the end. This means that if there are any old guides, posts or fun things from days of old that you want to see moved to the new forums, you should copy them to your own computer now.

One thing that is curiously missing from the announcement is what alternative Blizzard has developed to its original Real ID forums concept since it was thrown out. StarCraft 2 has a centralized handle that is associated with your Battle.net login, and it is the same handle/avatar that's used for multiplayer games. Hopefully, they'll provide more details on issues like this as things start to lead up to the changeover.

The full blue post is after the break.

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Filed under: Blizzard, News items

Cataclysm raid progression update

Valnoth comes to the rescue of a forum poster wanting clarification on the intended progression path for Cataclysm instances and raids. Since we figure this is information that will interest a few of our players, here it is in pog form! (Note, it's not actually in pog form.)


Valnoth - Re: Can we get some info on Cata-Progression
Q u o t e:
So with raid testing in full swing, i think it's a good time to ask what the planned progression path will be concerning raids.

Will we be allowed to directly do heroic-modes or are we forced to do normal first?
Will there be any kind of gating?
Any Info on Sinestra? Try-limited? Time limited? Not limited, just hard?
Also, will there be heroic-mode testing in Beta?

Below is the basic progression map. Obviously your mileage may vary, i.e. If you're Paragon or Premonition you will be able to skip some of the below and/or mix and match at your discretion.

*Normal Dungeons/Crafting/Questing to get full set of 85 blues (non-heroic) to do Heroic dungeons.
*Heroic dungeons to get full set of 85 Heroic blues to do Normal mode raids.
*Normal raids to get full set of 85 epics (non-heroic) to do Heroic mode raids.
*Heroic Raids to get full set of 85 Heroic epics, which will presumably help a bit on Sinestra and the next tier (when released with patch 4.1.0)

*Badge vendors to help fill in gaps at all tier levels.

*No real gating to speak of for ship.

*Sinestra opens after Cho'gall is defeated on HEROIC mode. No timers or attempt limits, but she will pound you relentlessly. She has better than Heroic epic level gear (half a tier better).


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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, News items, Cataclysm

Drama Mamas: Keep it secret. Keep it safe.

Drama Mamas Lisa Poisso and Robin Torres are experienced gamers and real-life mamas -- and just as we don't want our precious babies to be the ones kicking and wailing on the floor of the checkout lane next to the candy, neither do we want you to become known as That Guy on your realm.

The Lord of the Rings references stop at the title and this sentence. We're talking about drama here, not an all-powerful ring that sucks your soul and -- oops. Now the first sentence is a lie. Anyway, keep your drama out of guild chat to keep your guild a happy place safe from grievances and transgressions that are best handled behind closed, virtual doors. But in order to be successful at this, you absolutely have to deal with what caused the drama or else it's just going to creep back in again.

This week's letter isn't so much about handling or preventing drama, but how to make sure guildies know that drama-causing issues are being addressed without extending the brouhaha.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Drama Mamas

Rumor: Blizzard employees' real life names will not appear on the Real ID forums [Updated]

Recently a few forum goers have posted that they've been in touch with Blizzard phone representatives and have heard from them that Blizzard employee's real-life names will actually not be appearing on the new Real ID forums.

So here's what we know:
  • Bashiok / Drysc posted his real life name yesterday and had his privacy violated by people posting maps to his house, his parents' names and (potentially incorrect) cell phone numbers.
  • We have seen multiple reports of WoW players who have called up Blizzard's support line and spoken with representatives who've told them blues will no longer be using their real names in the new forums.
  • Josh, a Blizzard phone rep, said that Blizzard employees "cannot risk having their personal lives compromised by in-game issues."
  • Blizzard blue representative Rygarius locked, but did not delete nor deny, a thread on this.
  • WoW.com has emailed PR contacts within Blizzard for comment, and has not heard anything back.
So there you have it. It's a pretty solid rumor at this point. The known facts speak for themselves.

Update: Wryxian is referring people back to the original blue post language about the change. However, we're still hearing from phone bank representatives that Blizzard has changed its mind about blue posters.

Update #2: According to Nethaera, they're going to stick with their original plan and have blue posters use their real names. As to why other parts of Blizzard are saying something different (WoW.com has verified what other parts of Blizzard has said), it appears they're having some internal communication issues.

Filed under: Rumors

Ghostcrawler on guild organization in Cataclysm

In response to players' concern over guild organization and management in Cataclysm, Ghostcrawler's been frequenting a thread answering questions about their design goals for guild leveling and why developers decided to axe guild talent trees.

While you should definitely read all of his responses, there are a few points concerning the new system that really jump out:
  • They didn't want to encourage guild-hopping, and forcing a guild to pick and choose among talents would have wound up suiting some players and not others (e.g. a guild leader picking PvE-oriented guild talents and alienating the more PvP-focused players in the guild). Hence the leveling system rather than the almost-inevitable squabble over which talents to get.
  • Because only a certain number of people in the guild can advance your "level" at one time, there's a cap on the advantage a large guild would otherwise have held.
  • "The guild bonuses used to be talents. They are now more like leveling spells. We call them perks now instead of talents. We haven't cut any content, but just changed the UI from boxes with prereqs to a list."
  • The hazing ritual to get into Ghostcrawler's guild "is pretty dehumanizing."
The upshot is that Blizzard's trying to encourage guildies to stick together and reap the benefits of a strong guild without punishing players who don't feel they've got any choice but to move. I was initially worried about guild talents for just that reason, and the "leveling" system sounds like a much healthier way to do this.

Filed under: Guilds, Cataclysm

Free realm transfers announced

Blizzard poster Turrit announced yesterday that free realm transfers are being made available to address faction imbalance and overpopulation issues on the following PvE realms:
  • Aggramar (Alliance only)
  • Area 52 (Horde only)
  • Blackhand
  • Hellscream
  • Stormrage (Alliance only)
  • Thrall (Horde only)
  • Undermine
Destination realm:
  • Drak'thul
The free transfer period will run from Tuesday, May 25 (today) to Tuesday, June 1 at 11:00 a.m. PDT. However, Turrit did make a point of mentioning that Blizzard has a transfer goal in mind, and if it's reached, they may shut the free transfers down early. If you're on any of the affected realms and have been considering a transfer, this might be a good chance to save yourself $25.

To my surprise, it turns out Drak'thul was actually a PvP realm until very recently, and after a quick look at WoW Progress's list of U.S. realms, I have to agree it looks like the server needs some love. While it's possible the page hasn't been updated, it's apparent that the Drak'thul's raiders are struggling -- and there's some rather illuminating commentary in this thread (I'll grant I can't verify the accuracy) on how some of the server's troubles may have gotten their start. Two things come to mind: Blizzard's observations a year ago concerning only PvP realms being low-pop, and: what's happening on Cho'gall. Interesting.

The full announcement is past the cut.

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Filed under: Realm Status, News items

Official WoW Magazine forums on Wowhead

Wowhead is hosting the World of Warcraft Official Magazine forums. This is now the place to go to ask questions about the quarterly, subscription-only, no-ad magazine. Skaarjonic aka Andy Salisbury, one of the magazine's editors, makes clear in the intro post that they are not Blizzard and will not be revealing any insider info that is under NDA. He is actively answering as many questions as he can, however. Here are some examples: I chatted a bit with Andy, who is actually a guildie of mine (/namedrop), and he had the following quote for our readers:
We're really excited about our new forums on Wowhead! It gives us an excellent opportunity to converse openly with the World of Warcraft community about their thoughts on the magazine. Additionally, we'll be out there picking brains for upcoming articles (for example, our Back to Basics articles that are focused on Battlegrounds) so you could end up being in the magazine!

Plus, if you've got any questions for members of the staff, feel free to let us hear it. See you out there!

Filed under: News items

Breakfast Topic: 101 things to do before the world dies

On the EU forums, a character named Redbranch from Thunderhorn came up with what I thought was a pretty nifty idea -- getting his/her fellow players to chime in on a list of 101 things to do in old Azeroth before Cataclysm hits. It's sort of the WoW equivalent of The Bucket List, and the responses range from the violent ("Slaying as many people as possible") to the nostalgic ("Go base jumping again in Feralas") to the practical ("Prepare plentiful supplies of gold").

Then Slorkuz chimed in with the following:

Slorkuz
Quote:

The old world is changing forever. Let's compile a list of things to do before the end.

1) Play through all the starter zones, to give some idea if each race's lore.

Visit the Shimmering Flats!

We already know that Thousand Needles is going to be mostly underwater in Cataclysm, but it was another nudge to the realization that the world we know is going bye-bye forever. Right now, my personal "bucket list" includes doing the dungeon set 2 quest line, but I'd love to hear from other players on how they're approaching the "end of the world."

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor, Cataclysm

Keeping perspective

It's sometimes astonishing to me how passionate World of Warcraft players can be about the game. This includes myself: I have hot-button topics that absolutely flood me with adrenaline and cause me to rant (just ask my coworkers here at WoW.com all about that some time), and later I'll sit back and be amazed. I'm still amazed I managed to put out a thousand-word column about Sentry Totem. (You have no idea how sad it was for me to not be working on shaman content the day they announced they were going to take Sentry Totem out. Lost a chance for a thousand-word eulogy.)

But as passionate and involved as we can get, and as excited about upcoming patches and new expansions and even sparkly ponies, sometimes we lose perspective. The infamous "slap in the face" forum ranting is based on a real mentality that X (fill in whatever you want) is the absolute ruination of the game. Downsizing raids to 25-man max is ruining the game. Arenas are ruining the game. The badge system is ruining the game, hybrids are ruining the game, pures are ruining the game, 10/25 variable raids are ruining the game, micro transactions, dual specs, what have you. The game has been constantly in a state of ruination since early 2005 when some realms were undergoing severe latency on peak nights and it was, you guessed it, ruining the game.

Frankly, sometimes rather than posting that comment, forum post, or what have you, we as involved, passionate people need to take a couple of deep breaths and chill out.

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion

Battle resurrections may get increased cooldowns

This was actually an offhand remark of Ghostcrawler's a few days ago, but it didn't seem to get much attention. In a thread devoted to the possibility of extending buffs like Blessing of Kings to additional classes in Cataclysm, Ghostcrawler mentioned the following:

Ghostcrawler
Obviously things like Rebirth can't just be handed to out to more classes unless we did something like a second exhaustion mechanic for battle rez or whatever. For now we're going to try the cooldown at 30 min again. In Icecrown's world of limited attempts, a 30 min cooldown likely meant you just cooled your heels until the cooldown was available again. In Cataclysm the hope is sometimes you'll have the benefit available but not every time, which scales back on how much of a game-changer it is.

An alternative to a longer cooldown for Rebirth is something where one druid using it would trip everyone's cooldown for a few minutes. That it's a bit gamey, but might solve the problem.

Also keep in mind that Rebirth is much more useful in today's game where people tend to die from massive damage. In a world where people sometimes die because the healers have run out of mana, then Rebirth doesn't buy you quite as much.

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Filed under: Druid, Analysis / Opinion

More Cataclysm change details for druids

Fear not, my fellow druids; your feral analysis post is going live later tonight, and resto sometime tomorrow. Daniel Whitcomb and I have been talking about the incoming changes to the spec, and particularly the decision to change the tree of life from a constant form into a cooldown. I honestly didn't know how to feel about it at first. But before we get to that, Ghostcrawler stayed up hellaciously late last night to answer questions from druid players about the Cataclysm changes currently planned, and we've collected all of them here for you.

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Filed under: Druid, Cataclysm

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