Archive for September, 2010

The most staggering news to come out of the Cataclysm beta has hit: There’s no more portals in the neutral hubs. That’s right, camping out in Dalaran or Shattrath won’t get you anywhere anymore. You’re going to be moving to Stormwind or Orgrimmar whether you like it or not.

There’s also been a bunch of wild rumors flying around about Cataclysm‘s release date. First Amazon.com started sending out bunches of emails about release date changes which put the release at late November, and now there’s rumors of a December release. Of course, it’s all rumors, only Blizzard knows for sure, and they aren’t talking. Still, 4.0.1′s on the PTR and the background downloader is chugging away, so it feels like we’re on the home stretch regardless.

Maintenance this week consists of rolling restarts at 5 a.m. pacific time, although a small handful of servers will get the normal 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. downtime.No matter which server you’re on, there was a whole lot of interesting news from the live servers, from the beta servers and from the PTR in the past 7 days, so how about catching up on it right now?

Continue reading Tuesday Morning Post: A farewell to portals edition

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Tuesday Morning Post: A farewell to portals edition originally appeared on WoW Insider on Tue, 28 Sep 2010 07:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Tobold recently wrote a post on Board Games Philosophy that I thought was rather interesting. He explores the concept of “Eurogames” vs “Ameritrash”, which is described as:

As RPS describes it, “Eurogames are the board games you can play in polite company” and “If you’ve ever rolled a dice to hit the guy sitting to your left with a poisoned lance, causing him to storm out of the door and march back to his mum’s house with tears in his eyes, you’ve played some prime Ameritrash.”

Tobold feels that Eurogames are a much more popular genre than Ameritrash. But I am not so sure.

First, let’s get rid of the prejudicial names. I observe that there are two main styles of adversarial games: Last One Standing, and First to the Mark.

Last One Standing games feature people being knocked out as the game goes on. The winner is the person who survives and defeats all her opponents. Examples include Monopoly, poker, Axis & Allies, and Diplomacy.

First to the Mark games usually feature everyone gaining score, with the winner being the first person to reach a predetermined state. Examples include Settlers of Catan, Clue, and trick taking games like whist or euchre.

There’s also a third type, High Score at Time. But these games are often just one of the other two types with a time limit. If you remove the time limit, it’s often pretty obvious which category they fall into. For example, Risk is a Last One Standing game, only with a time limit. Scrabble is a First to the Mark game with a time limit.

As you can see from the examples, it is not at all obvious that First to the Mark games are innately more popular than Last One Standing games.

I think that both game types have strengths and weaknesses. To me, Last One Standing games are often better when the stakes are higher. Poker dominates the other card games when it comes to gambling. On the other hand, Last One Standing games are very annoying if the elimination period is very long. It’s no fun being the first person knocked out when the game continues for a significant period of time. As well, two people can often team up against a single other person, and the out-numbered person can rarely survive.

With First to the Mark games, everyone usually gets to keep playing the game until the very end. On the other hand, one thing I loathe about this type of game is the presence of kingmakers. Kingmakers are players who absolutely cannot win, but can determine which of the two leaders will win the game. Often times, a kingmaker’s support will have nothing to do with the game, but much to do with outside relationships.

First to the Mark games are also less adversarial than Last One Standing games. A lot of people might say that this is an advantage, but I am not so sure. Many times, First to the Mark games don’t really feature a lot of interactivity between the players. It’s like each player is playing solitaire, and the fastest player wins.

In more interactive First to the Mark games, negative interaction comes in the form of “refusal to help”. Somehow I find that an outright attack in Last One Standing game is just more honest and less frustrating. An attack is what one expects. Maybe it’s just me, but I take getting attacked in a wargame–or even getting betrayed in Diplomacy–much better than someone refusing to trade in Settlers of Catan.

So both types of games have strengths and weaknesses, and I think it is incorrect to say that one type is obviously better or popular than the other. But one thing is that Last One Standing games are best when they reset quickly, and that is often against the nature of MMOs.

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Every Monday evening, WoW Insider brings you a long list of WoW podcasts that were published the week (and weekend) before. If you don’t see your favorite podcast listed, just let us know in the comments. Be sure to leave a link to it, and we’ll pick it up next week.

All podcasts and content belong to their owners. WoW Insider is not responsible for what you hear, and some of the content may not be safe for work.

Continue reading Weekly Podcast Roundup: Sept. 20-26, 2010

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Weekly Podcast Roundup: Sept. 20-26, 2010 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Mon, 27 Sep 2010 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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The latest Cataclysm beta patch has removed the portals from both Dalaran and Shattrath. In place of the portals in Dalaran are new class trainers. The Caverns of Time portal is still in place.

This is not a terribly surprising move. With the Cataclysm expansion focusing on the old word, the Blizzard developers no doubt want the old Azeroth to feel lived in. As long as Dalaran (or Shattrath) has convenient portals to every old world destination, players would continue to set their hearthstones there for ease of transportation.

Transportation around the old world is not as limited as it was back in vanilla days however. Some of the new zones like Deepholm have portals back to Stormwind and Orgrimmar, and those capitol cities themselves have portals to Deepholm, and others that are not yet active. We’ve also seen signs of new portals being constructed in the Twilight Highlands.


World of Warcraft: Cataclysm will destroy Azeroth as we know it; nothing will be the same! In WoW Insider’s Guide to Cataclysm, you can find out everything you need to know about WoW’s third expansion, from brand new races to revamped quests and zones. Visit our Cataclysm news category for the most recent posts having to do with the Cataclysm expansion.

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Cataclysm beta removes portals from Dalaran and Shattrath originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 26 Sep 2010 23:27:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Every Sunday at WoW Insider, you’ll find Spiritual Guidance, a guide to healing as a discipline or holy priest. Priestess Dawn Moore will bring you the latest in news, discussion and advice for priests in the World of Warcraft while simultaneously battling her shadow priest rival, Fox Van Allen. This week, after contracting a team of gnomish engineers, Dawn has gone inside Fox’s mind to plant an idea deep in his subconscious. The idea? Healing > DPS.

Things are crazy for priests lately. New and dramatically different talent builds are appearing each week like cannonballs, mercilessly destroying everything from the previous week. This week, I was hoping to get everyone ready for the upcoming patch 4.0.1, but that’s easier said than done, since build 12984 was just cannibalized by build 13033 on Thursday evening, before mutating into build 13066 on Saturday afternoon. All the same, I’m going to do my best to achieve my original goal James Stewart style, and if this all becomes irrelevant six ways before next Thursday, then it does — and I hope you’ll be patient with me while I reconstruct everything before the next storm.

Cutting to the chase, I’ve got a talent by talent write-up to get everyone caught up on what’s possibly going to go live in the next week (or three), some recommendations for talent trees, and details on glyphs.

Continue reading Spiritual Guidance: Preparing disc and holy priests for patch 4.0.1

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Spiritual Guidance: Preparing disc and holy priests for patch 4.0.1 originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sun, 26 Sep 2010 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Approximately 37 million of you, in a row, tipped us off tonight about an email from Amazon. This email told people that Cataclysm’s release date was Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2010, and that those who pre-ordered from Amazon would get it soon after between Nov. 26 and Nov. 29 (due to shipping and the U.S. Thanksgiving holiday).

Amazon is not a reliable source for release dates. They are often wrong. But it is “odd” that they’re saying something now, so close the date. We’ve previously heard a rumor that Nov. 2 might be another release date, and we know that Cataclysm is on track for a 2010 release, barring something nuts.

Until Blizzard announces the date itself, we don’t know exactly when Cataclysm will be released. So until then, just grab a towel and don’t panic.

And let me just make it real clear: WoW Insider is not claiming Nov. 23 is Cataclysm’s release date. We’re just reporting on what has happened with Amazon emails.

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Amazon just sent out a bunch of emails about Cataclysm’s release date originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 25 Sep 2010 23:10:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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It’s time again for Arcane Brilliance, weekly mage column of choice for dress-wearing, warlock-hating Frostbolt slingers the world over. Also, fans of the short musical films of Journey, Short Imagined Monologues, and the sublime, video game-based synth and fretwork amalgams of Sixto Sounds. Seriously, listen to this one. Holy crap.

So over the past few days, I’ve found myself a broken corpse lying in a spreading puddle of my own bodily fluids a bit more frequently than I’m used to. The reason for this is simple: heroics. No, not the ones on the live servers — where you can throw together a random group consisting of a ret pally tank, a six-year-old playing a hunter his mom bought him on eBay the day before, a feral druid healer who for some reason came into the instance suffering from nine more minutes of resurrection sickness, a mouth-breathing rogue who may or may not be a serial killer, and an AFK shaman farming badges while auto-following the healer — and still blast through the place. I’m talking about heroics in the Cataclysm beta.

They’re absolutely brutal, guys. Now, granted — it’s still early. The testing process for these beauties is still in its infancy. We’re tackling them using premade characters with talent builds we threw together by looking at the talents and thinking, “This looks nice.” We’re wearing gear that’s barely entry-level for heroics (if we’re lucky) and using spell rotations that we’re basically making up on the fly. We’re going into instances we’ve never seen before, doing boss fights nobody knows the mechanics for, and dealing with crippling, often game-breaking bugs. These places simply aren’t finished, not by a long shot.

But then again, that’s why we have a beta. We go in, throw our soft, cloth-clad bodies against the long claws of some horrifying beast or another, use the final droplets of our blood to scrawl feedback for the developers (“Landmines … everywhere … can’t feel … legs … fading to black … tell warlocks … hate them … so … much … “), and then come back for another round. Blizzard takes the data it gathers from our gruesome deaths and uses it to construct a better game.

Still, there is much we can learn — even in this unfinished state — from the first incarnations of these heroics. Join me after the jump, won’t you?

Continue reading Arcane Brilliance: Things I’ve learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition

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Arcane Brilliance: Things I’ve learned while dying in Cataclysm heroics, mage edition originally appeared on WoW Insider on Sat, 25 Sep 2010 20:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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This should be epic. Are you in the Cataclysm Beta? Are you man/woman enough to go toe-to-toe with the big bad devs themselves? The Cataclysm developers are challenging the players to a focused playtest of Tol Barad on Monday, September 27th at 4 p.m. PST. Here’s the full announcement:

Mumper — Tol Barad Focus Test w/ Devs
We are planning to do a focused playtest on Tol Barad on Monday the 27th at 4pm PST. We would like to get as many players out there on the beta to help us as possible. You must be level 85 to join the battle. We will speed up the game timer so we can play multiple games during the test.

I will make a new feedback post after we finish the test for everyone to post in. Feedback is very important for us at this point so please take your time and try to be as concise as possible with your findings.

Thanks for the help!

I’ll be there with bells on. Maybe an axe or two.

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Cataclysm Beta: Test Tol Barad with the developers originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 22:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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“So, what you’re saying is that it’s a German chestpiece?” Throgg asked.

Lolegolas shook his head. “No, that’s Teutonic. Like Eric. No, this is a Tectonic Plate. You see, it’s a clever pun.”

“Because you can eat off it?”

“No, man,” Lolegolas responded, pushing his aviator glasses further down his nose. “It’s Tectonic Plate. Because, like, this giant earth dragon’s got get its ‘rawr smash’ on. And when that happens, it’s gonna drop earth stuff. And, like, so it’s not just a plate. It’s a Tectonic Plate, like an earthquake.”

Throgg rested his chin in his hands. “They make these things so complicated. OK, then. How do I get it?”

“It’s during a big elemental invasion. You might have heard.”

Tectonic Plate
Type: Plate Chest

  • Armor 2,534
  • Strength 120
  • Stamina 215
  • Socket bonus +8 strength
  • 1 red socket, 1 blue socket
  • Improves critical strike rating by 96
  • Equip Improves haste rating by 72

How do you get it? Drops from one of the Twilight Bosses during the upcoming prologue to Cataclysm.
How do you get rid of it? Sells for nearly 17 gold. We’re not sure yet what it disenchants into.

Or some times you just want to play something relaxing like a sudoku game or easy like happy wheels.

Gallery: Phat Loot Phriday: Cataclysm

Failed Liferocket PrototypeWolf Fur CloakGloves of Unmitigated BaddasseryLord Walden's Top HatPoisonfire Greatsword

 


Phat Loot Phriday brings you the scoop on some of the most … interesting … loot in the World of Warcraft, often viewed through the eyes of the stalwart Throgg and indelible Lolegolas. Suggest items you think we should feature by emailing gray@wow.com.


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Phat Loot Phriday: Tectonic Plate originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 19:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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One of the better kept secrets of vanilla WoW is a zone called Quel’thalas. (Be careful not to confuse this with the zone Isle of Quel’danas.) If you’re not a lore buff, Quel’thalas is the kingdom of the Quel’dorei, or blood elves, as they’re now known. (Check out Elven Evolution and Current Horde Politics: the Blood Elves for the full story.) The blood elf zones we know in WoW as Silvermoon City, Eversong Woods and Ghostlands are all considered part of Quel’thalas — but those are not the zones I’m talking about today.

The Quel’thalas I’m referring to is a tiny peninsula northeast of Tirisfal Glades. It isn’t accessible by road or flight path, only water, and when you arrive you’ll be greeted by … nothing. There aren’t any NPCs, enterable buildings or quest legs — just an empty, unexplained mystery. Take a look.

Continue reading Cataclysm Beta: Last call for Quel’thalas

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Cataclysm Beta: Last call for Quel’thalas originally appeared on WoW Insider on Fri, 24 Sep 2010 13:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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