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Burning Crusade priest talent review

Power Word: FortitudeWhen I saw the first-released Burning Crusade talents, I was very impressed. Looking from a healer's perspective, I envied the paladin's new holy tree (and determined to roll a Horde paladin when the expansion arrived). And the warlock changes (I have a retired level 60 warlock) made me want to dust off my warlock and start raiding with it again. So I had high expectations -- and the initial talent release disappointed me.

However, Blizzard has more recently released some revisions to the priest talent trees which are somewhat more interesting, and at least make me stop to think before deciding I should immediately reroll. (I have already reserved the character name "Rerolled" on my realm for my paladin-to-be, just in case.) Read on for talent-by-talent impressions...

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Filed under: Priest, Expansions

Around Azeroth: The Twin Colossals


Sent in by reader Bryan, this shot of one of the Twin Colossals gives us some sense of the scale of the massive monuments that flank the road through Feralas (up towards Desolace). Perhaps the most entertaining thing about this particular feature is the Elf standing at the bottom offering to teleport you to the top (and, trust me, the view is great up there!) and the Elf standing at the top selling parachutes. Wheeee!

So do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.com! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Odds and ends

Paid character transfer cooldown reduced

And not just reduced a little bit, it has been reduced a lot. It has gone from six months to a single month. So if you transferred a character at the beginning of September, you can go ahead and transfer again to any eligible realm for the standard fee of twenty five dollars.

I wonder why they did this? I liked the rationale of having a 6 month cooldown, that being to prevent people with generally boorish behavior from jumping from server to server. But at the same time, if someone made a mistake in transferring to a server, it would be nice to be able to reverse it in a relatively short amount of time. And the cynic in me thinks that Blizzard simply sees this as a new revenue stream. But hey...no crime in that! Making money is what they are in business for.

With the new, shorter cooldown, are you more likely to transfer knowing you can undo everything (for $25 of course) in a mere thirty days?

Filed under: News items

Hallow's End is coming!

The great pumpkin of the UndercityIt's that time of year again... the Hallow's End celebration in Azeroth officially begins on October 18th (though we may see signs of it after maintenance ends today). Expect to see cities throughout Azeroth decked out in the finest pumpkin decor and be prepared for trick-or-treating (or just plain tricking, if you'd prefer). The festivities will last until November, however, so you've plenty of time to join in on the fun!

Filed under: Events, Odds and ends

Yet more BC talent updates

Warlock's fel armor animationThey just don't stop, do they? Today's changes make me wonder why I ever stopped playing my warlock (they keep getting better and better!) and also provide a number of interesting rogue changes. I've included the main part of the changes below, but edited out some minor details about updated graphics and the like, so check Nethaera's post if you want every last bit of possible information.

Warlock
  • Improved Firestone - Renamed "Master Conjuror". Now "Increases the bonus Fire damage from Firestones and the Firestone effect by 15/30% and increases the spell critical strike rating bonus of your Spellstone by 15/30%."
  • Improved Spellstone - Removed, replaced with "Demonic Knowledge".
  • (NEW) Demonic Knowledge - 3 ranks. "Increases your spell damage by an amount equal to 5/10/15% of the total of your active demon's Stamina plus Intellect."
  • Demonic Resilience - Now "Reduces the chance you'll be critically hit by melee and spells by 1/2/3% and reduces all damage your summoned demon takes by 5/10/15%."
  • Fel Intellect - Now "Increases the Intellect of your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard by 5/10/15% and increases your maximum mana by 1/2/3%."
  • Fel Stamina - Now "Increases the Stamina of your Imp, Voidwalker, Succubus, Felhunter and Felguard by 5/10/15% and increases your maximum health by 1/2/3%."
  • Demonic Sacrifice - Added effect for Felguard: "Felguard: Increases your Shadow damage by 10% and restores 2% of total mana every 4 sec."
  • Master Demonologist - Added effect for Felguard: "Felguard - Increases all damage caused by 5% and all resistances by .1/.2/.3/.4/.5 per level."
Rogue
  • Disembowel - Removed.
  • (NEW) Envenom - Replaces Disembowel. Two ranks and is available at level 62. "Finishing move that consumes your Deadly Poison doses on the target and deals instant poison damage. One dose is consumed for each combo point."
  • Vitality - Now "Increases your total Stamina by 2/4% and your total Agility by 1/2%."
  • Surprise Attacks - Changed to 8% from 5%.
  • Cheat Death - Now 3 ranks for 10/20/30% chance.
  • Sinister Calling - Now "Increases your total Agility by 3/6/9/12/15%."
  • Cloak of Shadows - Now "Instantly removes all existing harmful spell effects and increases your chance to resist all spells by 90% for 5 sec."
Warrior
  • Endless Rage - Description changed: "You generate 25% more rage from damage dealt."
  • Blood Frenzy - Description changed: "Your Rend and Deep Wounds abilities also increase all melee damage caused to that target by 2/4%."
Hunter
  • Combat Experience - Now "Increases your total Agility by 1/2% and your total Intellect by 3/6%."

Filed under: Hunter, Rogue, Warlock, Warrior, Expansions

Around Azeroth: Under Stormwind


While I imagine everyone's been to Stormwind City at some time or other, not everyone's gotten quite this view of the place. Reader Bubblewrap sends in this excellent shot of what you see when you manage to make your way below the city proper. No, you aren't really supposed to be able to get down here, but it is possible -- as you can see!

So do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.com! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Odds and ends

Combat rating system explained

Eyonix has let us all in on the details of the new combat rating system being rolled out in the Burning Crusade expansion. Basically the combat rating system takes any current combat stat that is measured by a percentage and instead measures that stat by a combat rating. The higher rating you have, the better percent to crit, dodge, parry, etc. And it scales by level, so a 14 dodge rating at level 25 equates to a much higher dodge percentage than the same 14 rating at level 65.

Why change the system? According to Eyonix, this is going to allow Blizzard to create items without eventually reaching a point where people could have a 100% chance to crit, dodge, etc. Eyonix also explains exactly how the new resilience stat will function.

Have I confused you with my lame explanation? No doubt! Thankfully Eyonix lays this out much better than I could, and if you like doing all the math for your character, or you simply want to know what all these new ratings mean, you should definitely check it out. For you folks stuck at work and unable to get to WoW.com, you will find Eyonix's complete post after the jump.

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Filed under: Expansions

Meeting stones useless no longer

According to Nethaera in the WoW.com forums, meeting stones will be quite useful come the Burning Crusade expansion. Instead of simply being a place to try to find potential party members (a feature that has been a terrible failure), the stones will be used to summon party members to the instance provided at least two party members are present.

Out of all the neat little tweaks and features Blizzard is adding to WoW via the expansion, this one sounds like it might be my favorite. Nothing is more frustrating than finally locating a priest to help out in Dire Maul, only to have to wait for them to travel all the way from the Blasted Lands to Feralas. Now every group has the ability to get the last couple of stragglers to the instance whether they have a warlock in their party or not. Great news!

[Thanks to Nelson for the quick heads up via the news tip form, and Sageblade for his comment in the LFG post.]

Filed under: Instances, Expansions

How to quit an MMORPG

One of my WoW playing friends sent me a link to this article over at Life Tutorial this morning. The title? How to Quit an MMORPG. After assuring me that he wasn't trying to give me a hint, I went ahead and read the article.

While these kind of articles are a dime a dozen these days, and yes, the piece does have a few typos, and some of the advice seems drawn directly from a psychology 101 textbook, the article does have an interesting suggestion towards the end...the author actually recommends playing other videogames to help you break a potentially destructive MMORPG habit.

One of my old guildies, who I still keep in contact with, did exactly that. He realized WoW was taking up far too much time, but he didn't have another, less involved, time waster to take its place. What did he do? Having never owned a console before, he went out, bought an XBox 360 and just started playing fun, low commitment games. He said he enjoys messing around for an hour at night with Ghost Recon or Geometry Wars, then he goes to bed. No guild runs to commit to, no 24 hour community to worry about.

Is playing other videogames the easiest way out of a MMORPG addiction? Do you know anyone who has quit recently after having realized WoW was playing havoc with their priorities? Any tips for people that might be thinking they are playing too much?

Filed under: Analysis / Opinion, How-tos

I just looted a Mysterious Unhatched Egg!

I saw this thread in the WoW.com general forums, and it really got me thinking...there are a TON of really weird (sometimes entirely useless) items floating around Azeroth.

I remember grinding in Winterspring with my first level 55 toon, and I came across a Mysterious Unhatched Egg. Being still somewhat of a noob, I didn't take notice of the gray lettering of the item name and I thought I had come across something pretty special. I linked it in guild chat and was told by the higher-ups that it was useless and I was, in fact, still very much a noob. Bummer. Thinking they might be wrong, I hit Thottbot, and sure enough, it was indeed useless. But it does sell for 19 silver to a vendor, so from that angle, the only mystery in regards to the egg is why the vendor wants it so badly.

The thread in the forums has a lot of great examples of weird in-game items, such as the Shiny Dinglehopper, Worn Running Shoes and my person favorite: A Frayed Knot. A Frayed Knot always reminds me of my go-to joke when trying to impress kids on the playground in elementary school. Needless to say, I was not the coolest guy in town.

Do you guys have any weird items you hold onto just to link from time to time? What's your favorite?

New LFG interface announced

We saw some leaked screenshots not too long ago, but now we have official news of an interesting new LFG interface. And, if we're lucky, players might actually use it. Via this new interface panel, you can select what sort of things you might be wanting to group for, and other players can use the same interface to find folks interested in grouping for the same activities. Tobold also gives some information on this system in the first of his Burning Crusade journal entries, in which he notes that most players still seem to shout out for players via the old LFG line. Hopefully by the time the expansion is released, we'll see a whole slew of players making use of this feature.

Filed under: Expansions

Around Azeroth: Rare spawn!


The most entertaining part of playing a hunter, at least for me, has been finding rare and unique pets. Of course some of the wonder does wear off when you find, as reader Tsel from Agamaggan did, someone else roaming around with the same rare spawn trailing along behind.

So do you have a unique shot of Azeroth that you'd like to show off to the rest of the world? Tell us about it by e-mailing aroundazeroth@gmail.com! You can attach a picture file or send us a link to one -- and don't worry about formatting, we'll take care of that part.

Filed under: Odds and ends

Burning Crusade profession updates


Some of this has been categorized as rumor before, but now there's official word on some updates for existing professions. All crafting professions can expect new recipes and all gathering professions can expect new types of item to gather, but there are a few interesting tidbits mentioned as well.
  • Alchemy will have specializations that will occasionally allow the player two create two of their specialization's items. (Potions, elixirs, and transmutations.)
  • Blacksmiths will be given powerful bind on pickup items for their specialization. These items will be upgradable to keep up with the blacksmith's progression in the game. (Nope, there are no further details on this yet.)
  • Enchantments now seem to have a minimum level requirement (based on the sample enchants being shown) and there will be new enchants for rings in the game.
  • Engineers are promised "many new and intense gadgets" but I'm not personally impressed by any of the previewed items.
  • Herbalists can expect to find plant-based monsters beyond the Dark Portal from which a trained herbalist will be able to harvest herbs, much like a skinner skins beasts.
  • Jewelcrafting will, as we know, allow for the creation of necklaces, rings, trinkets, and socketable gems. If you match the color of the gems to the color of the sockets on a socketed item, you'll receive an additional bonus from them.
  • Leatherworking will offer more high-end armor options, with claims of viable crafted gear to help you venture into end-game dungeons.
  • Miners will also find some creatures of the Outlands to yield harvestable minerals when killed.
  • Tailoring is set to have its own specializations, though there's no announcement on what these will be, the specializations will allow the creation of multiple items occasionally, like alchemy. Most interesting, however, are the tailor-made (and tailoring skill required to use) nets that can be used to capture targets for several seconds.
[Thanks, Bonemouse!]

Filed under: Herbalism, Mining, Skinning, Alchemy, Blacksmithing, Engineering, Leatherworking, Tailoring, Enchanting, Expansions, Jewelcrafting

Breakfast Topic: What's okay in a duel?


I can't say I duel much -- at least in part because I primarily play a healing-specced priest who's just hopeless at doing damage -- but also because the informal etiquette of duels confuses the heck out of me. And even worse is that everyone seems to have different opinions of what's appropriate! Some say that a duel is "anything goes" and that both sides may do whatever they can or wish in order to win. Others say that using class-specific abilities is acceptable, and nothing else. (I.e. no buffs from friends, no potions.) Some profession-related items are acceptable (engineering trinkets) while others are not (alchemy potions). In short, the entire affair is sufficiently complicated that I simply steer clear. So to the serious duelers in the audience (you know who you are!) what is and what isn't okay in a duel?

[Fan art by Guillaume Bonnet]

Filed under: PvP, Breakfast Topics

The Burning Crusade: Level 1 - 5


For those poor souls not lucky enough to be in the beta (myself included!), I ran into this movie on Google video showing a Blood Elf wandering the starting zone and leveling from 1 to 5 to give us a taste of what to expect. At over 18 minutes long, it's not for the faint of heart and if you're anything like me you'll keep trying to click things on the video screen long before it's over.

Filed under: Machinima, Expansions

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