Editor's Note: Mr. Gray doesn't know how to read a calendar. There's another week left before the patch!
The new patch is here. You might say that this weekend is the final countdown. (Da da dahhh dahhh.) So when we talked to your intrepid WoW Insider staff, we asked what they most enjoyed about patch 5.1... and what they least enjoyed about patch 5.1. It's a mixed bag, after all.
Anne Stickney (@Shadesogrey) I'm not sure what I'm doing this weekend -- likely writing along with working on alts to level the new guild. Best part of 5.1? Easily the lore in the Dominance Offensive/Operation Shieldwall stuff. I loved doing those quests, and they did a fantastic job of keeping the story moving along. Worst part? Well there was that time my guild went splat. We're back together and doing great now, however -- so I guess you could tack that onto the "best" answer as well.
Halloween is right around the corner. Let's be honest, though: this weekend is the Halloween party weekend. This weekend is when we will dress up as ghouls, ghosts, and goblins and terrorize one another with pumpkin shots and pumpkin muffins and pumpkin pies and pumpkin all the things. We might go a second round on Halloween itself, but this weekend is the party weekend.
So let's see what the intrepidly ghoulish WoW Insider staff is doing this weekend...
Welcome to WRUP, where we try to convince you that we're not spending all weekend shuffling every day Pandaren. No, really, we do other things, too. Like shower (occasionally), get some exercise so we don't become Pandaren-shaped, and even play with the offspring. (They're quite adorable.)
This week we asked your intrepid WoW Insider team what they like to do that isn't play video games. We're all multi-facted like that.
Allison Robert (@AllisonRobert) More work in heroics, possibly an LFR or Vaults run with the guildies depending on laziness (I'm betting we'll be lazy), and finally taking an organizational approach to my farm. At the moment, my favorite thing to do outside of WoW is drawing and painting, but otherwise you'll find me reading or jogging.
Welcome to WRUP, where we tell you what our intrepid staff is playing each weekend. We lead it off with whatever witty commentary comes to mind... or we blather on about something. Either way, we lead off every week with about 100 words before you get to the important stuff: the staff's Twitter handles.
Once upon a time, we got a nice mixture of different games each weekend. You'd ask the staff "WRUP?" and they'd answered with consoles, PC games, and even some physical outdoor activities. Now, there's this whole Panda and baby theme running throughout the staff. Clearly, if you work at WoW Insider, you're going to end up pregnant or a panda. P is involved no matter what you do.
For added bonus, we asked what the best thing about MoP was so far. That image comprise's most of Joe's answer.
Adam Holisky (@adamholisky) Dungeon running for our first raid next Tuesday. Can't wait! Also pet battles... my god they're fun.
The best part has to be the overall experience. I've never felt like there's too much to do in WoW before, but now, there is just an absolute ton at end game to enjoy.
Allison Robert (@AllisonRobert) I'm probably going to be playing Clean the Basement more than anything else this weekend, but any WoW play time is likely to be devoted to gearing my druid for, and in, heroics. Spare time is likely to be spent on archaeology or rep grinds.
Best part of MoP? There are so many good things -- my farm, pet battles, the sheer beauty of the world -- but if I had to boil it down to something, it's the opportunity not to be a hero for a bit. Sometimes it's really nice to just slow down and help someone with their vegetable patch or love life.
What are you doing tonight? Does it involve standing in a line, waiting patiently to get your gaming mitts on a hot new edition of Mists of Pandaria? If so, we might have a treat for you.
You can find our intrepid team of WoW Insider writers at these outstanding fine gaming retailers. You should come by and say hello, perhaps win fabulous prizes (provided by our good pals Blizzard, to boot)! Or, mostly, come by and say hello.
Edit: Frostheim's location has changed! 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!
Big congratulations are in store for Siiz, gnome mage extraordinaire from Premonition, who is the world-first wielder of the newest legendary item, Dragonwrath. Along with completing the legendary staff, Siiz opened up the Lil'Tarecgosa companion pet for his entire guild, as well as the ability to use the staff as a mount to transform into Tarecgosa herself.
The unique Tarecgosa model is used as the mount, much like how players transform into a drake using the Vial of the Sands. Tarecgosa cannot carry another player as a passenger, however. From the screenshots, the mount version looks bigger than most drakes, noting its legendary status. Very, very cool. I like the fact that Blizzard has added in something that will let the legendary staff live on beyond its usefulness, as opposed to just looking nice when you equip it.
Again, big congratulations to Siiz and Premonition. Even though Siiz is a gnome, we won't hold it against him.
Blizzard has released a preview of the legendary staff Dragonwrath awaiting casters in patch 4.2, when players take the fight to Ragnaros' home turf, the Firelands. Players have been clamoring for information about the staff since BlizzCon 2010, when it was announced that the first legendary of Cataclysm would be a DPS staff.
Dragonwrath's story revolves around the Blue Dragonflight's choosing their new leader. Anachronos of the Bronze Dragonflight warns of danger at the Nexus and turns to the players to investigate. Players will take part in an epic quest to reforge the staff that allows the bearer to transform into a blue dragon!
More news, in the form of a few quests datamined from the PTR, has cropped up about the legendary staff that will be available this expansion. While we've talked about the possible links between the staff and the upcoming War of the Ancients raid, nothing had been confirmed. However, the quests seem to be pointing to something a little different.
In the quest A Legendary Engagement, players are sent to the Caverns of Time to speak to Anachronos. Anachronos is the acting "leader" of the Bronze Dragonflight in Nozdormu's absence; we first encountered him way back during the quest line to open the gates to Ahn'Qiraj. Oddly enough, it seems as though Anachronos requires your presence immediately -- something that's more than a little strange for a reclusive bronze dragon.
The stalwart dataminers over on the MMO-Champion forums have uncovered a great number of textures, icons, and models, all potentially leading up to Cataclysm's first legendary -- a staff. We have already known that the first legendary of the expansion would be a staff, as told to us by Blizzard at BlizzCon this past year, but we had no other information or pictures. Above is a picture of what the staff will probably look like.
Check out the MMO-Champion thread here. The forum users working on this have really done a spectacular job figuring out this puzzle. Big grats to them!
So, what do we do once we get something as awesome as this? Speculation! Many of the staff icons and files were named "Firelands," so it is safe to assume that most of the epic staff is put together in Ragnaros' domain. However, there's also a Timeless Eye item mentioned, and the staff's body is made from wood. Wooden weapons don't seem to be Ragnaros' deal.
The Timeless Eye definitely points towards Caverns of Time something or other, and with the body of the staff being wooden and definitely not of the Firelands, we're looking at night elven stuff going on. We'll find out, sooner or later.
World of Warcraft: Cataclysm has destroyed Azeroth as we know it; nothing is the same! In WoW Insider's Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW's third expansion, from leveling up a new goblin or worgen to breaking news and strategies on endgame play.
I've had a lot of requests recently from readers who want a leg up on gearing out their soon to be level 80, or fresh level 80 priest for raiding. This is certainly a worthwhile topic, one I intend to get to, but not this week.
We get a lot of mail at WoW.com and this past week we got an e-mail from a player named Nemikahn who wrote a WoW version of the song Sunscreen. The various staffers read through the e-mail, groaned in realization at how old they were (the original song came out in 1998) before the e-mail got lost in the jumble of BlizzCon 2010 news. I really enjoyed the rewrite though, and thought it rather timely given we are nearing the end of this expansion. Cataclysm is coming, and it's supposed to change everything we've become familiar with. So, this week my fellow priests, my guidance is this: stop and smell the flowers. WoW operates at such a hurried pace these days. Don't feel like you always have to rush off to the next raid or complete another alt. Take more screen shots, visit your favorite zones, make sure you can contact your closest friends in the game outside of it, and most of all: create Benediction. I will, of course, help you with that last part.
We had the loveliest time last Saturday at the Love is in the Blog event. First, many of the WoW.com staff mingled with the guildies at the court fountain in Silvermoon City. Then we ran around and did Love is in the Air quests. The staffers that showed up were:
Fox Van Allen
Robin Torres (That's me!)
It was such a success, that we plan on holding a mixer before the Lunar Festival event as well. Details for that coming soon. In the meantime, please enjoy the annotated snapshots in the gallery:
+153 Stamina, +153 Intellect. Yes, that much. +86 Spirit, too.
A Blue and a Red socket, with a +7 spell power bonus if you match both up. Remember, you don't have to if you don't want to, and this is certainly a socket bonus that's probably not worth going for. If you need an extra gem for your meta, this is probably the place to put it.
All right. Nethaera says that Blizzard can't actually tell us the patch release date before it's out, because they don't want to be wrong. Fortunately, sites like ours don't have any such compunctions, so we're free to speculate on when we might finally see this patch on the live realms. Note that I said speculate -- this is not a guarantee, and we have no secret knowledge save lots and lots of experience at watching Blizzard create, test and release content. Don't use any dates we mention here to plan any vacations from work or family events -- as anyone who's ever tried to log in and do anything significant on patch day will tell you, you're going to be disappointed. And we don't want the patch to come early anyway, so Blizzard can delay as much as they want to. Anyone who complains otherwise has to go into the Octagon with Rossi.
That said, testing is moving relatively smoothly on the PTRs, and lots of the content seems like it's pretty well put together. We aren't nearly done with testing yet, though -- we haven't seen most of the Icecrown raid, and we're still waiting on Halls of Reflection, the 5-man where we'll face Arthas. Gear still needs to go into the game and be tuned. There are around 15 different bosses and encounters in Icecrown (that we know of), and if Blizzard continues on the schedule of testing one or two per week, we're looking at six to eight more weeks of testing for just that content. The PTR itself went up just under a month ago, and it seems that we've got at least a month or, likely, more of testing and updating to be done.
We've got a special treat for you on this week's podcast: it's actually two episodes in one. Since we were all at BlizzCon this past weekend, we went ahead and recorded a podcast both nights of the con -- after the show, tired as we were, we trudged back to the hotel and recorded some audio reflecting on what we'd seen earlier in the day. Obviously, this is our very first of the first impressions -- some of the things we talked about Friday night were clarified on Saturday, and since we didn't have much time here, we obviously hit on only the biggest highlights. But we did get in some good discussion about Cataclysm and what we've been told so far, Icecrown and what the devs mentioned, and of course the convention itself and what we all saw on the floor.
It was actually a lot of fun to sit down and do the show with us all in the same room -- of course it's not usually possible, given that we're all in different places around the country (and world), but it was definitely an interesting thing to try while we were all at the con. And while we're talking about the con, a huge thank you to everyone who came up to us and said how much they loved the podcast -- we really, really appreciate hearing stuff like that. Of course, as you can probably hear, the podcast is a ton of fun to do anyway, but it's great to hear you guys are having as much fun as we are.
Next week, we should be back to normal -- we'll be live on the air at 3:30pm Saturday with Turpster, our usual rotating panel of WoW.com folks, and maybe even some special guests. Thanks for listening, 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.
The9 has been the target of persistent rumors over the last few months that they're on the verge of losing their license from Blizzard to operate World of Warcraft in China. First, we heard about their financial troubles, and then came rumors that Blizzard was going to ditch them. And now we've got WorldofWar.net reporting a rumor that Netease will be the company to take over the reins there. It makes sense -- Netease has been growing a lot during their history, and they successfully operate Fantasy Westward Journey, an MMO with a US value of $761 million, with 400,000 average concurrent users. They're already supposed to take over Blizzard's Warcraft III and Starcraft II in China, so Blizzard will actually be consolidating their properties.
The rumor supposedly comes from a leaked internal memo to The9 employees, which says that an unnamed company (supposedly Netease) is trying to pick up the rights and hardware for the game for a cool $22 million. The9 reportedly paid $73 million for the same capability, so they're losing twice on the deal -- both the license and the money they spent on it.
Not good news for The9 if it all turns out to be true, but maybe this means Chinese players will get their expansions a little sooner. Of course, a lot goes into releasing new content overseas (translation is definitely not a small part of it), but having a more capable operator probably won't hurt.