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Patch 3.1 user interface changes roundup

Lots of the new stuff in today's patch 3.1 update will be in your face -- the class changes won't be missable, and the LFG channel will be full of people trying to head into Ulduar (though who knows how far they'll get). But some of the changes, especially to the user interface, will be a little more hidden -- you'll have to dive into the options to go and find them. Here's a few things we've reported on that you might want to make a note of, if you're interested.
  • Arenas now have an option to show Enemy Unit Frames. These will only appear in the Arenas, but you can enable them in the Interface options.
  • You will now be able to see when the next Wintergrasp battle is from anywhere in the world -- but only by going out to the world map and then zooming back in to the Wintergrasp map.
  • Make sure you hit the map button (usually "M") next time you go into an instance. There are maps in there now.
  • There are new "advanced features" for quest tracking now -- but you've got to go into the Interface Options to enable them. If you're already using Questhelper or a similar addon, these will be familiar to you.
  • The Equipment Manager isn't in the game yet, but the Color Blind mode and new Battleground and LFG options can all be accessed now.
  • Finally, there are a number of new video options available in the Video Options panel, including better shadow and texture details, and even a "Video Mode Ultra" setting. Even Blizzard recommends you run things on the highest setting at your own peril -- lower end computers will have major issues trying to run graphics at the highest setting.
It's definitely worth putting "take a tour around the options screens again" on your to-do list for when the patch arrives on the live realms. There are lots of little changes and updates hiding in there that you'll never know about unless you go look for them.

Patch 3.1 is live and it takes us into Ulduar, delivers us dual specs, and brings significant changes to all the classes! We've got you covered from top to bottom with our Guide to Patch 3.1 and the official patch notes!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Add-Ons, Quests, Wrath of the Lich King

The letter of Sully Ballou

The Lady Bird over on WoW Ladies posted about a quest I've heard about but never done before. It's the Sully Ballou's Letter quest-- it starts from a poor deceased dwarf that you can find in the water beneath the Thandol Span (that's the bridge just north of Dun Morogh). In his hand, there's a letter that you can read, and that needs to be delivered to a woman in Ironforge.

Lady Bird read the letter and found it suprisingly emotional, and then found out the reason for that is because it's real-- it was written by one Major Sullivan Ballou, directly before the Battle of Bull Run in the Civil war. It was famously read in Ken Burns' Civil War documentary, and the full text of the original letter is also available online. It is pretty darn touching, both as a love letter, and as a meditation on what real life war really costs us, both for those directly involved, and for those waiting at home for them to return.

Blizzard has put a lot of hidden gems in this game, of course, but this might be one of the most touching.

Filed under: Items, Blizzard, Quests, Lore, NPCs

The hidden secrets of Outland

Inspired by this forum thread about hidden and mysterious places in Outland, I took to the skies on my windrider to check out some less-traveled places in the expansion. From the empty Horde village above Shattrath, to Challe's Home for Little Tykes, all the way to Skettis, the hidden capital of the Arrakoa, I went on a tour of some of Outland's secrets.

Check out the gallery below to see all the places I found. And while I spent a night touring around, Blizzard spent months making this place. If you've found cool stuff that I didn't include in the Gallery, feel free to drop it in the comments below.

Filed under: Tricks, Features, Screenshots, The Burning Crusade, Galleries

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