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Insider Trader: Progressive Professions


Insider Trader is your inside line on making, selling, buying and using player-made products.

Professions in The World of Warcraft are one of the many endeavors in which players can invest their time and efforts. Despite the fact that most players do indeed level them, and the fact that there is quite a bit of interest in them, people are often left questioning their value at the end of the day.

Profitability and cost to level are two of the most frequent complaints against their chosen professions, but today I would like you to consider another reason: boredom.

It is not that the professions themselves are inherently boring. It is more that, in a game where there are always new things to collect, new reasons to PvP or run raid content, new dailies and new factions, professions just can't compete. Most can be leveled in an hour or two at the Auction House, and once this has been achieved, the key items made, and the buffs applied to your gear, what else is there?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Expansions, Features, Insider Trader (Professions)

Breakfast Topic: Create-your-own titles

The other day, I was giving away a loot card code over on our Twitter account (as I tend to do -- are you following us over there yet?), and I asked people to send along suggestions for the titles they wanted to have in game. Mine is "the Noob" (for obvious reasons), but there were some really excellent ones in the mix: The Legend, The Fashionable, The Bounty Hunter, Banker (very practical, I agree), and my favorite suggestion, The Dying, for any character that dies at least 1,000 times.

We've actually asked this question in a Breakfast Topic before, but it was last year, when titles were still pretty hard to come by (nowadays, everyone's got at least one, right?). So let us hear them: if you could have any title you wanted, which would you choose?

And remember, Blizzard's listening: they've already put one fan-suggested title in the game, so who knows. Maybe the one you suggest in this thread will eventually be right above your character's head.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Breakfast Topics, Humor

Mike Morhaime and Paul Sams accept Guinness World Record awards

Apparently there were a few Blizzard blokes at E3 last week, even though we didn't see them wandering the floor at all. Mike Morhaime and Paul Sams were both there to accept their awards for world records from Guinness after making it into the 2009 Gaming edition. World of Warcraft picked up a record for the most popular MMORPG in the world (with, as you probably know, 12 million players), and Starcraft gained recognition for being the best-selling PC strategy game, with 9.5 million copies sold worldwide. Neither of these awards are really that much of a surprise -- both games have already garnered tons of other awards, and both games are already squarely in the pantheon of the best and biggest PC games ever sold. But being recognized is always nice, we're sure.

They honored a number of other extremely popular games and services as well, including two big Activision Blizzard titles: Call of Duty 4 was recognized for being the most-played online video game, and Guitar Hero was recognized for being the best-selling rhythm game series (though Red Octane, the game's original publisher, was honored, and they've only recently been acquired by the Activision overlords).

Congrats to all the award winners, as if they even needed it. Something tells us the millions and millions of dollars in revenue from all of these games was probably a nicer reward than Guinness recognition. Just a guess.

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

Having fun with the Patron/Matron titles

There's some fun to be had out there with everyone's new Patron and Matron titles. And by fun I clearly mean instituting a level of confusion and raised eyebrows that only a transformative romp through the wilds of Storms Peaks can give you.

First, you want to get your title from Children's Week. And with the exception of School of Hard Knocks the title shouldn't be hard to get.

Secondly, display the title and fly out to Brunnhildar Village. You want to head towards the area where you change forms into a Hyldnir Frost Vrykul. You know, the big blue women.

As you form goes "poof," so will your title. If you were a man and are now a woman, you gain the Matron title. Don't you feel special now? Of course as soon as you fly out from the area and shapeshift automagically back to your original form, your title will change back as well.

There are reports in which people have experienced similar behavior being sheeped in PvP. Apparently all sheep are male? Who knows...

Have fun with this, but not too much fun.

Filed under: Bugs

Breakfast Topic: What's the best pun name you've ever seen?

We've all seen some Alliance kiddie named "ikillhoarde" or a Warlock named "ifearyoudie." After all, what Horde wouldn't run for cover from a Hunter who's named after his very death? And woe is the person who actually thinks he can get away from a Warlock's fear. Phear the lock, baby.

Add titles into the mix. "Doora the Explorer" is probably my favorite of all time. Every time I see someone named that I yell out "Swiper, No Swiping!" Of course insert the obligatory NSFW Kevin Smith reference here.

Another favorite of mine that I've seen is "Highlander the Immortal."

What's the best pun name that you've encountered in the game? Ever thought about renaming your character to make yourself pun-famous?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Humor

Flawless Victor title removed in Patch 3.1


With stealthiness worthy of an Arashikage, Blizzard removed the Flawless Victor title granted by the Achievement Hot Hot Hot Streak, along with the Achievement itself in Patch 3.1. This tiny little 'inconvenience' was conveniently left out of the patch notes, surprising many players who logged in to the puzzling message 'Title removed: Flawless Victor'. Conversations with GMs didn't manage to shed light into the situation, either, with the standard answer bring "apologies for the inconvenience".

Blizzard gives no reason for the removal of the Achievement and title, and forum posts asking about the matter have so far received no blue responses. On the other hand, Bornakk was quick to address the bug about the Champion of the Frozen Wastes title, which was hotfixed. It's fairly certain that Blizzard removed the Achievement intentionally. Some suspect that there were exploits that allowed players to obtain the Achievement with ease, while others dismissed it as a meaningless title in what is arguably the most imbalanced Arena season to date. With the Arena system being completely overhauled yet again for Season 6, it is possible that we may see the title return in some form or the other.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Arena, Achievements

Breakfast Topic: The titles of Patch 3.1


Patch 3.1 is a hefty content patch that will introduce a massive new raid zone, the Argent Tournament, as well as Arena Season 6. Of course, along with all those are new Achievements and consequently, titles. Some of the titles have been around since the Beta, where the realm's first Level 80 of a particular race was awarded an 'of the <major city>' title. This was widely criticized and Blizzard pulled the titles long before Wrath went live, but are now set to return with the Argent Tournament. Soon, dedicated players can append an affiliation with their favorite racial cities for all to see.

Of course, there are more titles that are coming with the next content patch, and yesterday it was revealed that the titles for the Ulduar versions of Undying and Immortal were going to be Champion of Ulduar and Conqueror of Ulduar respectively. Is it just me or does Champion/Conqueror of Ulduar not have the same 'oomph' as being Immortal or Undying? First of all, Champion and Conqueror are both existing Horde PvP titles, which lessens the impact. Secondly, the cool factor of 'the Immortal' and 'the Undying' are just off the chain as well as being perfectly appropriate for the Achievement.

There are also the Celestial Defender and Death's Demise titles for realm first Algalon and Yogg-Saron kills in their hardest modes. I think those are much cooler, but are about on par with, uh, Magic Seeker. Sometimes, titles just don't roll of the tongue very nicely. We usually ask for your opinion on these, and we're doing the same today for Patch 3.1's batch of titles. In fact, we're putting up a poll to get your take on all the titles of Patch 3.1. Click on a radio button to kick off your day!
What do you think of the new titles in Patch 3.1?
Awesome! I can't wait to become The Conqueror of Ulduar!644 (8.3%)
Champion and Conqueror AGAIN?1725 (22.2%)
I'm pretty happy with the city titles.1737 (22.4%)
The only thing that matters is THE INSANE!3652 (47.1%)

Filed under: Polls, Breakfast Topics

Breakfast Topic: Pick a title, any title

While doing my nightly pass through my RSS reader (even we bloggers read dozens of blogs per night, blogging is our lifeblood), I came across a fun little post from Aspect of the Hare. If you could give your character any title you wanted, what would it be?

They don't mean picking from what's available via achievements or quests, but what would you make up to give yourself? I asked this question to the WoW Insider HQ before writing this up to see what the gang would want, and Michael Sacco was the first to chime in. His joke answer was 'Ancient Chinese Wizard' as a nod to Zhang Bao, a character made infamous by the Dynasty Warriors series. Being a Shaman, he's pretty good at the whole Thunderstorm spiel. His more serious answer was Stormcaller. That's a pretty good one, I think!

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Breakfast Topics, Achievements

You may be a Love Fool after all

ButterflySha@flickr, wall of candy hearts
If you played WoW at all during the Love is in the Air holiday event that ran in early February, then you surely heard the moaning about the meta achievement, Fool For Love, which grants the title, Love Fool.

Whether you wanted to celebrate this month or not, anyone seeking to complete their long and strange trip and acquire the coveted Violet Proto-Drake, had to be a Fool For Love.

One of the requirements was to complete the achievement, Be Mine, which had players running back to old world capital cities, dousing themselves in smelly concoctions, and begging the guards and citizens not to break their hearts.

This gave us one chance per hour at obtaining the elusive Bag of Candies that would allow players ten chances to create, ideally, eight unique candies. The drop rate for the bag was so poor and the holiday so short that people begged Blizzard to improve their chances.

While the drop rate for the bag was increased at the last minute, many people who put in a superb effort still did not acquire their title.

Blizzard has since crunched the numbers, and some great news was handed down by Zarhym that should put everyone's mind at rest. While the Be Mine achievement is not being removed as a requirement for completion of the meta achievement, instead of needing all eight candies, you will only need to have obtained six!

Not only that, but you won't have to wait until next year. As of patch 3.1, all you will need to do is login to be granted your achievement, as well as your title, as long as you had made at least six unique candies.

Many players would still like to see that particular achievement removed from the meta entirely, but Blizzard stands firm that the point of What a Long, Strange Trip it's Been and its reward is to be something that only a dedicated few will earn each year. They aren't about to make it too easy.

If you missed this requirement, will you be getting your title on patch day, or are you still feeling disgruntled?

Filed under: Patches, Analysis / Opinion, Events, Blizzard, News items, Achievements

Guild leader wins Oscar

I didn't have any interest in watching the Oscars last night (so no, I didn't get to see Wolverine singing and dancing), but there was one piece of WoW-related news to come out of the big event. Steve Preeg is a visual effects artist who's worked on films like the Lord of the Rings trilogy and I, Robot, and last night, he won an Oscar for his team's work on The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. And that's not his only achievement: he's also done everything but Sarth 3D with the guild he leads.

Yup, we've heard from one of his guildies that Preeg is a guild leader in the game -- he plays a Combat Rogue with 450 Enchanting and Inscription, and runs a progression guild that's downed everything but the big black dragon and his three companions. he's even done all of the holiday events so far (though he's rolling with the "Champion of the Frozen Wastes" title).

So he's picked up some excellent loot, both in and out of game (Oscars are epic at least -- the drop rate is pretty low). Congrats to Preeg and his team on the Oscar, and to his guild, good luck with Sarth 3D. Maybe if Anne Hathaway showed up for that you'd have him down by now.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Fan stuff, Virtual selves, Odds and ends, Instances, Raiding, Achievements

The Queue: The patoot edition

Welcome back to The Queue, WoW Insider's daily Q&A column where the WoW Insider team answers your questions about the World of Warcraft. Alex Ziebart will be your host today.

Hey, everyone! How did you all hold up over the last week? A whole week with Adam? Did you miss your ray of sunshine? No? Oh... well, that's okay. I'm back anyway! If you don't read Ask a Lore Nerd, I was more or less out of the office the last week moving into my swank new apartment, so that's why I haven't been around. It's all good now though, so Adam and I are back on our rotating schedule.

We also have a cool little guest appearance from our resident Death Knight Daniel Whitcomb, so that'll be a treat! Hopefully!

Cholestria asked...

Are there any titles I can achieve with my level 1 bank alt? She has an outfit from the Brewfest and usually participates in any of the holiday she can, but all the titles seem to require some leveling. Is there any title she could get without leveling?

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Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Talents, Death Knight, The Queue

Activision loses money, Blizzard to release one marquee game per year

Activision-Blizzard held a conference call for the press yesterday, and so there's all kinds of financial and release news floating around out there. The biggest news isn't necessarily Blizzard-related, but it does mean that our game's company is finally feeling the crunch a bit: Activision-Blizzard reported a loss of $72 million in the last quarter, and their outlook for the coming year fell short of analysts' expectations. Even though that sounds bad, it doesn't mean things are necessarily bad, though: Blizzard themselves added nearly a billion dollars to the total, so while A-B might not be doing so well, B is doing just fine.

Blizzard CEO Paul Sams also announced during the call that the company is now aiming for "one 'frontline' title per year," though not necessarily World of Warcraft related. That likely means that we'll see the first Starcraft 2 this year -- our friends at Joystiq have a quick report on the beta appearing soon, as well as the Battle.net revamp we've been waiting for. And it also means that (unless Blizzard is really rolling on Diablo III, which I doubt, given its condition when we played it at last year's BlizzCon), that we'll be looking at mid/late 2010 for the release of the next WoW expansion.

Besides the loss of the $72 million (it's always in the last place you look), things seem to be hopping at Blizzard and their parent company. Should be a pretty busy 2009 for them.

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Expansions, Making money, Wrath of the Lich King

Breakfast Topic: Titillating titles


We're so close to getting Twilight Vanquisher, I can almost taste it. A lot of my guild mates would love to have the title, and I'm sure when we down Sartharion with three drakes this week -- fingers crossed... -- a lot of them will be sporting it in Dalaran. I'm not too keen on it myself. I couldn't actually care less. It's cool and all, but what I really want is Battlemaster. I'm just one or two Achievements short on every Battleground to get Master in each one. Even if I had the skill to obtain Arena Master (and I admittedly don't, seeing as how I've never broken 2200 on any bracket in any Season), it's not a title I'd display, either. I just like the sound of Battlemaster. That, for me, is the title I want the most.

I know our Guild Master is five Exalted reputations away from being The Exalted. I personally think that's awesome and we're going to help him in any way we can. All my wife wanted for her leveling Priest was to be a Chef, only to meet a roadblock when she found out she couldn't do the Kungaloosh quest yet (she's only Level 74). We came close several times to getting The Undying, even getting past Heigan, so I'm sure that's in the cards pretty soon. There are so many awesome titles now it's interesting to find out what people like.

David asked in his Livejournal what people thought the most prestigious title was. Readers chimed in to say what they thought were the tough titles to get. Salty got a few mentions, as well as the obviously insane Immortal. Today, though, I'm not interested in finding out what the most prestigious title is. I'm more curious to know what titles you've already obtained and what you choose to display. Some of you guys probably have a lot of titles to choose from. What makes you choose the title you display? Maybe you chose the incredibly simple Explorer for your character named Dora? Or keeping the old world PvP title of General for a toon named Anaesthesia? Some choose humor, some choose prestige, and others... well, some just like how a title sounds. How about you?

Filed under: Breakfast Topics, Achievements

Winter Veil ending tomorrow morning

If you're trying to finish up some of your Winter Veil achievements (which are all mandatory if you want to get the Violet Proto-Drake one day), remember that you don't have much time left. Today is the last full day of the holiday. It ends tomorrow (the 2nd) at 6 AM according to the in-game calendar. You have less than 24 hours to get your fill of fruitcake and stock up on Holiday Spices.

If you're trying to finish up your work toward the Merrymaker title, don't forget to check out Amanda Miller's guide to the Winter Veil achievements. The quickest piece of advice, though? If you still need Let It Snow or Bros. Before Ho Ho Ho's, start hitting the revelers every hour on the hour, because your achievements are now in the hands of fate, not your own. Good luck.

Filed under: Events, Achievements

Issues with the realm first achievements


Apparently there have been some mistakes made in the realm-first achievements being given out. You've probably seen these (Blizzard apparently broadcasts them across the realms) -- when someone hits level 80 or finishes a profession first, they attain a feat of strength achievement. They don't get the original titles, but they do get credit for getting their first.

But on a few realms, Blizzard ended up giving some of the awards to multiple players, resulting in the ingame mail you see above. We're not sure if it's because they all hit within a certain time period, or whether Blizzard's servers weren't working correctly, but as you can see, they say the issue is fixed for now. If you did rush to be the first on a server, you can be satisfied that you're the only one.

Thanks, Penny!

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, Bugs, Odds and ends, Blizzard, Quests, Leveling, Achievements

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