Archive for May, 2010

Every Monday, Scott Andrews contributes Officers’ Quarters, a column about the ins and outs of guild leadership. He is the author of The Guild Leader’s Handbook, available this spring from No Starch Press.

Here at Officers’ Quarters I receive a number of e-mails every week that don’t get featured in the column. Sometimes they are too personal and the sender requests that they do not appear on the site. Others are topics I’ve already addressed. Some are questions that don’t require a long and detailed response and thus don’t have quite enough depth to merit an entire column. This week I am featuring a few of these latter e-mails with the common theme of loot. If you think the topic requires more discussion than I’ve given it, tell us about it below!

Culling the Strong

Scott,

I am a part of a raiding guild which has been having a lot of growing pains. I have been with this guild for several years and many of the new players that we get are very poor players in general. I can often out dps someone in my same class running with my spec who has better gear. My guild has a loot policy which gears the lower dps players first in an effort to help progression, even if they have better overall gear than me.

Continue reading Officers’ Quarters: Mailbox roundup

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Officers’ Quarters: Mailbox roundup originally appeared on WoW.com on Mon, 31 May 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This Sunday, Dawn Moore has called a temporary truce with Fox Van Allen so the two of them can take Spiritual Guidance on a group trip to Disneyland. They almost made it through the entire Space Mountain line without a fight on what was better, healing or damage. Later, Fox got a stomach ache and dispersed while riding the tea cups, and Dawn had to go back to the hotel to lie down before the Hannah Montana concert.

Once upon a time, an off-tank coughed.

At the time, the off-tank was zoned into Trial of the Crusader and thoroughly engaged in a battle against Anub’arak. His raid was just transitioning out of the first phase 2, and he was moving to his position to pick up adds. Unfortunately, as the off-tank coughed, he shifted ever so slightly, causing a poorly placed cup of cherry Kool Aid to upturn. Not a second later, the off-tank’s raid was audience to a colorful soliloquy about a different type of penetrating cold.

As the above events transpired, a disco priestess noticed that she had suddenly acquired threat from a newly spawned bug add. She strafed momentarily before hitting the key for her Fade spell and in doing so, saved herself from unknown peril.

The bug, having lost its focus, immediately turned its attention to another priest in the raid named Calvin. Calvin, it turned out, was specced holy.

Before things could get worse, the off-tank managed to pull himself together and resumed his tanking duties; he taunted the large bug and the panic in the raid subsided. Surprisingly, the battle continued without incident, and in the end the nerubian king was slain.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: Spells we forget

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Spiritual Guidance: Spells we forget originally appeared on WoW.com on Sun, 30 May 2010 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The latest Cataclysm screenshot from Blizzard is shown above, featuring another look at the Blasted Lands. Hello, Mr. Demon. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

If you’ve missed any of the previous Cataclysm screenshots of the day or you want to see a hi-res version of today’s screenshot, check out the gallery below.

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Cataclysm screenshot of the day originally appeared on WoW.com on Sun, 30 May 2010 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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I know it’s been a long while since I posted one of these. I’m probably going to write a post on the AVR mod, and in a lot of ways this video is crucial to my perspective on that issue.

I wonder if Blizzard imagined, when they decided to hold the Ataris Music Video contest, that they would get the best WoW video ever made. The #1 video on my countdown is Slashdance’s masterpiece, Frame of Mind.

First off, this is a superb music video. All too often, music videos either ignore the lyrics, or follow them too literally. It’s hard to get the right abstraction, and that is something this video does perfectly. It nails the song, but does so in a way that was not intended by the original artists.

In particular, from 1:17 to 1:24, the lines We threw out all convictions/and traded them for substance, video and song match up beautifully. A lot of videos stand alone, or you could imagine the video with a different song. But here the song makes the video better, and the video makes the song better.

In many ways, this is the best machinima because it is not machinima. Most machinima treats the game world as though it was a stage, with the character models being used as the actors. It is not really that different from television or movies, save that CG models are used in place of flesh-and-blood actors. This video is different. It is something that could not be replicated in a movie.

To see what I mean, consider the main character of the video. It is not Sedrin the Night Elf Priest. The protagonist is the player of Sedrin, and we learn about the player as his actions are reflected in the virtual world. This video exists in the boundary space between reality and game, and that’s what makes it so compelling.

The video also resonates with a lot of players. Every single player has made a character, and starting off the video with that instantly allows us to identify with the protagonist. As well, there is some tension between loot and friendship, and most players can identify with that and the sentiments expressed in the video.

It is a somewhat common story. A man makes the choice in his youth to pursuit wealth and accomplishment, and with the passage of time realizes that he made the wrong choice. The genius is in translating familiar WoW elements to that story, and using those elements to signal emotion. Using the first few levels (instantly recognizable to anyone who’s ever rolled a Night Elf) to stand in for youth, the passage of time reflected as running through the zones as you level up, raid healing as moment of epiphany, the Deserter debuff (particularly elegant in my opinion), and the destroying of gear.

The final concept, and what really puts this video head and shoulders above all other videos, is the idea of the user interface representing the elements that stand between people, that prevent them from connecting at a human level. Somehow, I’m not surprised that a raid healer came up with this metaphor. It succinctly encapsulates the difference between game and world, between real and virtual, and was nothing less than a stroke of brilliance.

Quite simply, Slashdance’s Frame of Mind is the best WoW video ever made.

Top Video List:

  1. Frame of Mind
  2. Here Without You
  3. Tales of the Past III
  4. The Craft of War: BLIND
  5. Big Blue Dress

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The World of Warcraft is an expansive universe. You’re playing the game, you’re fighting the bosses, you know the how, but do you know the why? Each week Matthew Rossi and Anne Stickney make sure you Know Your Lore by covering the history of the story behind World of Warcraft.

Last week we covered the gnomes, who much like the night elves have a history that spans centuries, but unlike the night elves, much of this history is unknown. Also unlike the night elves, the gnomes don’t appear to have much going for them in the way of future conflicts. Today we’re going to talk about the close friends of the gnomes — the dwarves — who are decidedly far more important than any have given them credit for to date.

To summarize their origins: Way back in Azeroth’s history, the Titans created a race of guardians called “earthen” to help protect and watch over the planet. There were a few different “types” of earthen originally created. The first type was prone to a “matrix destabilization” when in high-stress situations, and a nasty thing called the Curse of Flesh. This destabilization in conjunction with the curse led to the creation of the troggs. Yes, the same troggs that are currently plaguing the gnomes and Gnomeregan. These first earthen were sealed away in vaults all over the world including locations such as Bael Modan. Apparently the Titans seem to have this thing for locking bad things under the earth. The second round of earthen creations were just fine, and left as they were.

Except that they weren’t “just fine.” These earthen were also susceptible to the Curse of Flesh, much like the gnomes were, and it worked on them oh-so-subtly. Over a gigantic chunk of time, they degraded into what we know today as the dwarves of the lower continents. As for Northrend, according to the Tribunal of the Ages, the Titans created the Forge of Wills to make yet another series of earthen, these designed to avoid the Curse of Flesh altogether. This is why you see earthen up in Northrend today.

Continue reading Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics — the dwarves, part one

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Know Your Lore: Current Alliance politics — the dwarves, part one originally appeared on WoW.com on Sat, 29 May 2010 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The latest Cataclysm screenshot from Blizzard is shown above, featuring a look at the barge in the new Thousand Needles. Yes, that’s right. You’re looking at Thousand Needles up there.

If you’ve missed any of the previous Cataclysm screenshots of the day or you want to see a hi-res version of today’s screenshot, check out the gallery below.

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Cataclysm screenshot of the day originally appeared on WoW.com on Sat, 29 May 2010 12:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The latest Cataclysm screenshot from Blizzard is shown above, featuring a look at Gadgetzan in the new Tanaris. Something tells me the Gadgetzan Water Company isn’t going to be too worried about those water wells anymore.

If you’ve missed any of the previous Cataclysm screenshots of the day or you want to see a hi-res version of today’s screenshot, check out the gallery below.

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Cataclysm screenshot of the day originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 28 May 2010 21:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors takes this week to look at what your newly 80 fury warrior should be doing. Matthew Rossi hit 80 back before you could pick up iLevel 232 gear by running heroics. Heck, it didn’t even exist in game yet. Get off his lawn.

While the intro is mock grumpy, the basic message is accurate enough. It’s a good time to hit 80 with your aspiring fury warrior. The hit and expertise soft caps have never been easier to hit and with the dungeon finder; you can rapidly acquire solid gear that will allow you to begin raiding almost immediately, if that’s what you want to do. You can also PvP … Fury lacks in arenas but can solidly perform in battlegrounds. And PvP is both another source for solid gear and a reasonably fun pastime for a fury, with the playstyle meshing well with battlegrounds and Wintergrasp’s chaotic melee tumult.

Before we get started I’ll point you at the Fury 101 post we did a while back. Since reinventing the wheel isn’t what we’re out to do, this post will be more definitely aimed at what to do when you reach 80 — in other words, where to get the best gear you can as quickly as you can.

Continue reading The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A new fury at 80

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The Care and Feeding of Warriors: A new fury at 80 originally appeared on WoW.com on Fri, 28 May 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The latest Cataclysm screenshot from Blizzard is shown above, featuring a look at Deephome. There’s a fungus among us!

If you’ve missed any of the previous Cataclysm screenshots of the day or you want to see a hi-res version of today’s screenshot, check out the gallery below.

Cataclysm screenshot of the day originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 27 May 2010 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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One of the consequences of the proposed radical changes to rage generation and abilities like Whirlwind and Heroic Strike has been that DPS warriors (especially fury) have been sitting around wondering what their rotation will look like in Cataclysm. So this forum thread is of interest to any warrior who enjoys the fury playstyle. Since we know Whirlwind is going to be an ability you use specifically when AoE is the way to go instead of a free extra DPS on trash ability, and HS isn’t going to be an on next ability, warriors will be left left with a lot of space in their rotation to fill. What will fill it?

Ghostcrawler – Re: Cataclysm Fury Rotation
That leaves Fury with Bloodthirst and Slam and Heroic Strike. Heroic Strike will play more of a role since it will require a GCD, but you also may not want to push it every time in low rage scenarios. So we do think Fury will need one more rotational button. The one we are messing with right now is Victory Rush. It feels pretty cool so far, but a lot of things will change with classes over the next several weeks. Not sure yet whether it works better as a proc (like Sudden Death) or something available all the time.

I’d personally like to see Victory Rush become a proc like Sudden Death or Bloodsurge Slams: in fact, it wouldn’t be hard to simply add VR to both of those abilities, letting it proc either instead of or at the same time as a Sudden Death Execute or Bloodsurge Slam. You’d need to leave it enough time to not end up wasted a lot, but there’s potential there.

Ghostcrawler also makes a good point about glyphs and Cataclysm (if you think an ability isn’t good because of a glyph or too good because of one, don’t assume that glyph will still exist or be in the same form in the future) and again emphasizes the problem with Whirlwind style abilities. While it’s good to see them thinking about this, we need more details: how is Bloodsurge going to be affected by losing Heroic Strike spam, for just one concern? Still, I’m hopeful they’ll work out the new rotation fairly soon.

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What will fury do in Cataclysm? originally appeared on WoW.com on Thu, 27 May 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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